Our Wedding Series: The Engagement Session

When weddings are your literal livelihood, it makes planning your own that much more exciting and surreal. I can’t say I didn’t feel some pressure to have a literal “picture perfect” wedding as a photographer, but I tried not to let that get in the way of the planning process. I am so thrilled to start writing about and showing you all of the small details that went into the planning for our wedding day. My goal for this series is to not only share a big part of my life with you all, but hopefully to also inspire upcoming brides as they plan their special day! With that, I am starting off from the beginning — with our own engagement photos!

“Who is shooting your wedding?!” is the question I get ALL the time as a wedding photographer. So here, I will get to share about who she is and why I chose her! I had been following Cameron on Instagram for a couple of years, so when Jordan and I got engaged, I knew right away that I wanted her as our photographer. I was obviously immediately drawn to her because of her gorgeous work, but I also admired how she shared on social media. I felt like I already knew her simply from following her because she showed so much of who SHE is, including her love for her family, her couples, and The Lord. When it came to planning our wedding, the first thing I did was reach out to Cameron to make sure she was available before we even signed the contract with our venue. I knew I wanted her and her husband to be the ones shooting our wedding day! And I am still so happy with that decision– even before our wedding has happened yet.

Last summer, we put a date on the calendar for our engagement photos in mid-October. Jordan and I really wanted to do our session at the south end of Wrightsville beach because not only is it so beautiful, but it is where he proposed on the sweetest Sunday morning last April! It made it even more special that we got to relive that joy in the very same spot. However, I can’t say that I wasn’t super nervous about it beforehand. I had a vision of us playing around in the water for our engagement photos.  But a few weeks before our session, Hurricane Florence hit. We all know how horrible that storm was– and Jordan and I were displaced from our home for two weeks. Not only was the city a mess, but the storm had caused a bunch of sewage to be leaked into the ocean. The town had issued a warning that no one could get into the water for several weeks because of how dangerous it was to be exposed to that bacteria. Luckily, that notice was lifted and the waters cleared up just in time for our session. And in mid-October in Wilmington, it was still warm enough to get in the water and have some fun!

We made plans with Cameron & Sam to meet at Dockside before our session. If you’re not local to Wilmington, Dockside is a landmark since it is one of the only waterfront restaurant/bars. Jordan and I sat out on the dock with them over a couple of beers to loosen us up a little (yes, I was a little nervous too!). It felt like catching up with old friends even though I had never met them in person before. These two are warm, genuine, and overall fun to be around and I knew right away we had made the best decision in hiring them to photograph our wedding! After we hung out for an hour or so, we headed down to the beach to begin shooting.

It was the most perfect evening even though the skies were looking rather iffy all day. Just as we walked onto the south end, the most beautiful light began peeking through the clouds. I could hear the excitement in Cam’s voice as she was freaking out over how pretty the beach was looking. And I was too! She led us through the most fun experience together. Jordan and I had the best night together as he picked me up and spun me around, we kissed, we laughed,  and just got completely lost in the moment. We started off the night nice and dry, and as we made our way closer to the water, we gradually got wetter and wetter. Until eventually we were completely in the ocean and submerging ourselves in the waves. I just remember all of us cracking up the entire time because we couldn’t believe we were actually going for it. Somehow my makeup didn’t end up completely all over my face and I managed to keep my false eye lashes on, too.

Cameron was such a trooper because she got almost all the way into the water with us — IN JEANS — and then got back in the car all sandy and wet to drive all the way back to Charlotte. She edited a few of the photos on the way home and sent me a sneak peek that night that I FREAKED over! It’s clear how dedicated she is to her clients and I appreciated everything she did for us so much! Because not only was it an overall great experience, it is a memory that I will always cherish with my FIANCE.

After we wrapped up the photos, we were on cloud 9. Jordan and I went home to put on some dry clothes and then went straight to get Mexican food together and soak in everything that just happened. It almost felt like after taking engagement photos it made it even more real that we were about to begin planning one of the biggest days of our lives, and that we were getting MARRIED!

I cried when Cameron delivered us the final gallery. I was so happy with how every single image came out, and it was so emotional for me to flip through the photos from that night. Like I said, it will be one that I remember forever and ever and I will never stop being in love with these! I even had them printed in a nice album to use as our guestbook at the wedding. I couldn’t let these pictures just sit on a USB on my computer! *That’s a tip for ya, brides: print your photos!! I promise you won’t regret it.* There is something so special about a tangible print or a photo album. Being able to flip through those memories is just such a fun experience that you don’t get from scrolling on your phone.

Anyway– I hope you enjoy looking through and reliving our engagement session with us! I cannot wait to show you all what Cam captures on our wedding day because it’s obvious she is going to CRUSH IT!

xoxo Chelsea

Dress: Altar’d State
Earrings: Francesca’s





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