Charlotte Wedding Photographer’s ‘Best of 2015’ Wedding Photos

Let me tell you about 2015.
It was the year of RAIN. Lots of rain.   (I had more rainy wedding days this year than my past 4 seasons combined!)
It was the year I really worked to find a black and white processing I love and fell hard for what grainy, contrasty black and white can add to an image to showcase emotion.  (Though I have always adored B&W…for whatever reason this year it took center stage for me.)
It was also the year of my rebranding and really focusing on attracting my ‘ideal clients’–those that adore each other, life and look at a wedding as the beautiful beginning of something much bigger vs. just a pretty Pinterest party.
I was looking to find my fellow ‘glamorous, fearless and fiery’ souls who want to to squeeze out every once of this life has to offer  via travel, adventures, friends, food, wine and typically…pets.
..And man, did I.
This year with rare exception seemed ‘easy’ in that my clients and I just seemed to ‘get’ one another other and aside from the honor of photographing their wedding– we have to also exchanged laughs, recipes, travel advice..and more glasses of vino than I can count.:-)
–2015 …you’ve been a good one.
It was also the year of the intimate wedding. Intimate not just in numbers  (Though I did photograph a greater-than-usual amount of under 20-person weddings. a few elopements,  and a surprise wedding too.)   ‘Intimate’ in that they were about love, connection and the main ‘goal’ of most of my couples this year was “that our friends and family have an amazing time and see and feel how much we love each other and them”
That my friends was 2015 in a nutshell:  The year of ‘connection’ and this #momentprotector could not be more pleased with how it turned out. (Even the copious amounts of rain did not deter these fine folks I call clients from having the time of their lives!)
When looking back over the year I am typically always asking myself ‘what needs to change for next year.’   Yet, as this year drew to a close I simply say–more please.  (sure, I have things that I can do better–but with whom I am on this journey with…more please!)

Drum roll please….my 2015 favorite images:
When attempting to pull the ‘best’ images from the year I gave up–instead I decided to recap not only the ‘pretty’ or the ‘technically sound’..but those that meant the most to me.  (You can read about ‘why’ for each of the images below should you choose:-)
These images–they scream what I love about photographing wedding–pure emotion, candid moments, gorgeous location (with a passion for intimate destination weddings)  and lots, and lots of pure hilariousness and happiness.
Thank you were so kind to me.

HIM+ HER: Best of Couples Images
I love this image as it was not only first wedding at the Biltmore Estate (How that is possible, I do not know! But I thank my dear planner friend for knowing me well enough to know I was the perfect fit for these two!)  It was also an elopement– just the two of them..and their 3 children.  It poured, which proved to actually be a little miracle as we had the entire estate almost elusively to ourselves!Biltmore estate wedding photographer
Another rainy wedding:-)   This image hit my list as Lauren had dreamed of marrying on her family private property.  After months of stringing lights and prepping the grounds–a hurricane decided to change their plans.  This is the spot where they would have married.  So we decided to brave the elements and do their ‘first look’ near the shore. This image is the two of them just taking in the site before headed to their INDOOR ‘Plan B’ location.
private estate wedding lake norman
These two–so. much. love.  This image to me shows the giddy-excitement they had on their wedding day just minutes after their ceremony at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden wedding
This image means a ton to me as the lovely bride is a one of my longest friendships here in Charlotte.  When she chose The Mills House in Charleston, SC what Sandy most wanted to capture aside for their love for one another,  was the amazing architecture Charleston offers.  This image offers both.   I love the way he is delicately holding her hand and helping her down the stairs..yet–his eyes are still on her. Mills house wedding charleston sc
If I could write out a script for the wedding day of my ‘ideal client’ it would be this.  Married at an amazing estate surround only by their nearest and dearest…dancing barefoot in the rain.  (sans Louboutins😉   I loved their fearlessness and energy!
bride dancing in rain in louboutin shoes
Ashton despises contrived images.  (Even a slightly ‘styled’ images feels ‘off’ to her’)  So this very quiet moment at of the two of them taking in the gorgeous pond at Champagne Manor just seemed so perfect for she and Logan.  (I also loved the symmetry of the two large trees.  And the fog.  Quiet. Confident.)
2016-01-04_0019Urban Glamour is what Meg and Philip wanted.  And boy did Foundation for the Carolinas deliver.  I love this image as it takes  in the modern elements of the city but more importantly–the stolen kiss by Philip and how his hand is on the small of her back  pulling her in.  (and the twinkling votives on the table just made it feel a little sexy.)
foundation for the carolinas rooftop wedding
Castle+bride swept up by her groom=amazing.biltmore wedding on eddy

Jess is hilarious.  This moment was captured as her mother Cathia attempts to put in her veil–apparently it sort of hurt. lol 2016-01-04_0010Molly is a daddy’s girl.  When she had a ‘first look’ with dad,  he nervously entered the room and it was clear he was holding back tears…and then this happened.  (Rumor has it he held in the tears until the drive between the ceremony/reception.) bride first look with father
Some of my favorite moments are the laid-back but nerve-filled moments just before the ceremony.  I just loved this crew of ladies, their matching robes (that happened to be a little too short–thus, the blanket:-)   and laughter always wins for me.2016-01-04_0012I am a big believer in ‘equal airtime’ for a dapper groom on the wedding day.  (Pro Tip:  a custom suit or tux is often only a few hindered dollars more than an ill-fated rental.)   Dave looked quite dashing as he awaited his ‘first  look’ with  Sandy.  Its those quiet moments of contemplation just before that always get me.
Mills House wedding dapper groom
Kiersten’s mother sadly passed away.   Her Vanlandingham Estate wedding  offered several opportunities for us to see her mother’s presence though.  Like this one, where her grandmother fastened on her mother’s pearls. The hands.  The light.  The meaning of that necklace.
VanLandingham estate wedding
There is just something about this image I keep coming back to.  The last few moments before she headed to meet her groom after her veil was affixed.  I initially took the image to document her killer eyelashes but the window light was just too perfect and I love her slightly clenched hands along with her serene face.2016-01-04_0032This little one giggled with joy when she saw the bride. Her hands.  Need I say more?2016-01-04_0015I adore this for a few reasons.  The quiet, contemplative look on our brides face, mom lacing up the back of her dress.  The slight smile on the bride’s lips.  (What you cannot see if the room was filled with all of the items of the day: bags, cups, bridesmaids, and the like and we had utilized off-camera lighting to make it all go away.  I often use this to highlight the moment without the distractions of everything else going on.)
2016-01-04_0036When Patti decided to marry Monty she also decided to become a step-mom to his three lovely children.  Patti had selected this necklace for her now step-daughter and after fastening the clasp, she  set her hands on her shoulders for a moment.
2016-01-04_0016A prayer just before the ceremony always gets me…add a tissue and tears or a comforting squeeze from a dear friend…goner.
Image copyright

The Charlotte City Club offers up a billiards room where the groom and his guys can relax pre-ceremony.  Something about the location, their facial expressions, the lighting…and the martinis…. channels the ‘Rat Pack’ days for me.
Charlotte City Club Wedding
In similar fashion–here our groom Philip relaxes in an Uptown Charlotte bar that quite resembled an old speakeasy. I love how the lighting showcases the groom and all of the days important players are in the shadows. #weddingmafia
Dunhill Hotel Wedding
POURING rain, first look… no worries.  I love the raindrops covering every inch of the frame and the softness in their hands and Logan’s smile when he saw Ashton in her dress for the first time.Champagne Manor wedding in rain

At Jessica and Allen’s Westin wedding guests were asked to raise their hands as Jess/Allen’s parents and the officiant placed their hand on the bride and groom shoulders and all prayed for their marriage.  It was a really beautiful and powerful.
Typically children add the ‘comedy’ to a wedding.  At Jessi and  Brent’s VERY intimate wedding (think immediate family only) these two little lovelies were so incredibly emotional and shared a lone tissue throughout the entire ceremony.  Precious.2016-01-04_0023
First, they had a dog in the wedding.  In a tiny tux.  (#mypeople)  and even the dog stares on with what looks like tears in his eyes as Virgina and Wade were wed at Seapark Mansion.
Seapark Manion wedding
Alston is taking in the last few moments before walking down a very long aisle.  I love the storytelling in the image.  The nervous-calm on her face and her sweet father adjusting her veil as her maid of honor looks on.
Bonterra wedding
When it came to the portion of the ceremony when Nancy’s father was asked to give her away–he held on just a little longer/tighter.  Foundation for the Carolinas wedding dad giving away daughter
As everyone gathered to listen to the live music pre-ceremony I saw this.  Comedy and the unexpected always go a long way for me in images.
Intimate outdoor wedding at Vanlandingham estateEvery bride should have the joy of a groom with well-up eyes as she walks down the aisle.  –and Virginia sure did.2016-01-04_0030As did Molly:-) daniel stowe botanical garden wedding
Meg can be a little shy.  (and Philip too)  until:   a.) he knows you a bit b.) he is on a dance floor)
Foundation for the Carolinas wedding reception
His hand on the small of her waist.  The hanging/glowing orbs leading to the bride and groom.
2016-01-04_0037That.  wrinkled. nose. is what you got when you said ‘smile’ to her. (and her tiny little hands holding the bride and grooms fingers..stop it.) 2016-01-04_0038
Though we photograph the heck out of the wedding ‘details’ I do not post them much as I just find the ‘people’ images more compelling.  But this custom cake topper our bride surprised her groom with that included her dog..for the win.custom cake topper with dog siloquette
In a sea of faces…he only saw hers.  Nancy and Seth had around 300 guests at their wedding at Foundation for the Carolinas and it still felt intimate. foundation for the carolinas wedding first dance
Speaking of intimate–this 40 person reception was meant to feel like a classic family dinner…looks about right.  (at least in my family)  The ‘thumbs up’ and the wave in one image…winner.2016-01-04_0042Things they don’t tell you when you buy a weddings dress: they are hot!  I love the expressions on the bridesmaids and guest faces as they assist in ‘cooling’ our bride.  I typically hateDJ dots’ but they work here for me and add a little emphasis to the humorous element.
foundation for the carolinas wedding reception
The. best. first dance this year. (Plus, I love the backdrop of the city Foundation for Carolinas offers) Pro Tip:  dance classes make for a more dramatic first dance and avoid the boring,  ‘prom shuffle.’foundation for the carolinas first dance
This is where our bride learns of grooms mad dancing skills.  I love her facial expression and distortion from the lens choice that give this an almost ‘cartoon; appearance. 2016-01-04_0045Unscripted moments are the best.  An impromptu pull up competition with a pint-sized competitor=hilarious. 2016-01-04_0046I love this long-range view of the ceremony tent at night..the rain drop-bokeh and the purple uplighting make it for me. It showcases the fun to be had–even in the rain.Champagne manor reception tent at night in rain
Dance-offs ALWAYS work for me. (add crazy backlight and shiny ‘orbs’ for excitement and a little humor: sold.) 2016-01-04_0048A stolen rooftop moment during reception and wind…love me some wind. (but their HUGE smiles and natural expression make this for me.) foundation for the carolinas wedding rooftop
As they took in the rainstorm–my camera took them in.  This is one of their favorite wedding images as they had no idea it was being taken and really represents the condition of the day.  champagne manor wedding in the rain
Candlelit-only intimate wedding.  I love the candles framing the image and how the only true light in the room is on the bride face as she stares into her grooms eyes.2016-01-04_0051Sometimes I will sneak the couple away for just a few minutes at the reception. This allows them to ‘slow the night down’ a bit and take a moment to just be with each other.  I love all of the lines and ambient lighting of what was nothing more than escalator.  However, his hand on her arm as she snuggles in whilst still looking glam seals it for me.2016-01-04_0052I love energy in an image.  These next few speak of pure joy to me and such a great way to end a wedding night.  Jess’ amazing smile lights up any room and here..a dark street.
2016-01-04_0053Leigh and Rich’s Quail Hollow Club wedding ended with a dress change and lots of joy.  I love the movement and energy here and backlit sparkler smoke..Im always a sucker for.Quail hollow club weddingAnd finally,  the clean lines, sparkler smoke and sweet kiss between Meg and Philip is classically beautiful. (I also love the seated guest with the cane adamantly celebrating their send-off.)
foundation for the Carolinas wedding sparkler exit
Thank you to all of my ‘glamorous, fearless and fiery’ clients for trusting me with to protect their moments this year.  It was an honor.
Cheers to 2016 and much love and (more) epic adventures!


  1. glenna says:

    Beautiful work Cass! Lauren and Jim were so lucky to have you capture their love!

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