Kelsey inhaled and exhaled slowly, standing in the same space where she and Jonathan would have their first dance as husband and wife. She leaned against the wall and tears filled her blue eyes as every emotion of the day revealed in the stillness. She was about to talk to Jonathan for the first time that day. It was a moment that Patrick and I absolutely love during a wedding day, because quiet moments have to be strategically planned. Jonathan gently grasped her hand and it was in that touch that I saw relief flood Kelsey’s demeanor. It was as though his touch was the key to reassure her that this was all that mattered. The two prayed and Jonathan gave her hand a final squeeze before preparing to see her walk down the aisle. To say that Patrick and I are blessed to have these two in our lives would be an absolute understatement. We had the best time photographing these two for their February engagement session and then Kelsey’s stunning bridal portraits in the summer. And to spend the whole day with these two as they became husband and wife pushed my “feels” to the absolute brink.

Kelsey and Jonathan have a beautiful story and Patrick and I wanted to document that to the fullest. Kelsey is adopted and had both her biological family and her adoptive family there throughout the entire day. Her mothers got to be the first two to see Kelsey in her wedding dress and her dads got to walk Kelsey down the aisle (see where my feels came in). She did a father daughter dance that highlighted the relationship with both of her dads and she continued to honor her family throughout the entire night. Jonathan is a military guy and he and his parents have an incredible relationship. His father served dual roles as best man and Jonathan and his mother shared a tearful mother son dance that had onlookers misty eyed. Their day had some of my favorite elements incorporated into a wedding day, but one of my favorites was their last dance. Guests left the reception and lined up to prepare for the sparkler exit while Kelsey and Jonathan had a moment alone to take in the gravity of the entire day. They held onto one another as music filled the venue and they got to absorb the emotion of the entire day. We hope you enjoy Kelsey and Jonathan’s amazing day as much as Patrick and I have enjoyed journeying with these two.

Jonathan absolutely killed it with his suit choice!


Photographer: Christen Smith Photography

Venue: Carrollock Farms, Willow Springs NC

Planner: Beauty and the Budget

Dress: Lana Addison Bridal | Essense of Australia

Suit: The Black Tux

Invitations: The Lovely Little Bee

Hair and Makeup: Head Turner Salon

Rentals: Greenhouse Picker Sisters | DeeJay’s

Jewelry: The Mrs Box

Shoes: Keds

Catering: City BBQ

Videography: Carolina Media Specialists


I am Jonathan’s grandmother’s sister and was not able to attend the wedding. Your pictures were beautiful. I thank you for giving me the pleasure of seeing them.