It all started with a dog. Joe’s dog that is. Hannah was at a bar with her friends in Raleigh, NC, when she saw a man across the room with an adorable lab. She approached him asking if she could pet the dog, and the rest is history.
Fate works in crazy ways. Hannah is from England and Joe is in the Air Force, so the fact that they both happened to be in Raleigh on the right day at the right time to meet each other is amazing. I am not one to use the word “soulmate” lightly, but I truly believe these two are. This idea was expressed even more throughout the wedding day.
Hannah and Joe got engaged in August of 2020. We all know what happened in 2020, so having a wedding was a difficult task. Instead, Hannah and Joe decided to elope on October 11th of 2020. They eloped on a beach in Florida and had a lovely private ceremony. They decided to have a formal ceremony two years later to celebrate their union with friends and family. Hannah’s family came all the way from England, and Joe’s family came from Virginia. They also had friends who came from all over to celebrate these two.
Hunter and I walked into the most adorable wedding venue I had ever seen. All Saints
Chapel in downtown Raleigh is a great mix of modern and vintage. It is set up like an old church,
but there are no pews. When hosting your wedding there, you can arrange the tables however
you want. The altar has stunning stained glass above, which allows for incredible photos. The
venue felt intimate and cozy for this cold October day.
When we arrived, we greeted Hannah. Hannah was getting ready in a small room in the
downstairs area of the church. The room was filled with mirrors, so I had a good time getting
creative with mirror angles while taking photos. Hannah and her mother, Maggie, were having a
great time with one another, drinking mimosas and joking around. Hannah was getting her
makeup finished up, but she still greeted Hunter and me with a joyful smile. She enthusiastically
showed us her wedding dress. I was blown away by this dress that had subtle pink tints and lots
of sparkles. Hunter took the dress to go get photos of it and I stayed with Hannah and Maggie to
get detail shots and shots of them getting ready.
Hannah did not have any bridesmaids but instead had her close friends come enjoy a
mimosa with her while she got ready. They were all teachers, including Hannah, so as a fellow
teacher, I had a great time talking to them. I might be biased, but teachers always make a great
group of people! Hannah and her friends made a toast with their drinks and spent time laughing
and reminiscing with one another.
When it was time for Hannah to get in her dress, her friends hugged her goodbye and went upstairs to take their seats. Hannah’s mother helped her put on her dress, and the two could not stop smiling as Hannah put on her finishing touches. Hannah looked at herself in the mirror and swished her dress around with pure joy. I loved seeing her excitement and how stunning she looked for her wedding day!
Right before the ceremony, Hannah was meeting her father by the staircase so they could walk up the stairs together. I told her father to turn around so he wouldn’t see Hannah walking out. He jokingly went to stand in the corner and put his head against the wall as if he was a child in time out. He had Hunter and I cracking up the whole time. Hannah walked out and swished her dress around as she walked up to her father. They hugged each other and had a sweet moment as they prepared to head up the stairs for the ceremony. Hunter and I wished Hannah luck as we walked upstairs to get in our positions for the ceremony.
Joe walked down the aisle with the officiant as the ceremony began. Shortly after, Hannah followed with her father. Joe smiled the whole time as he saw his bride walking down the aisle. The officiant began the ceremony by telling the whole story of how Hannah and Joe met. It was a sweet moment that allowed everyone in the room to feel close to the bride and groom. The whole room was laughing, and some were crying as the officiant told their story. Hannah and Joe read vows to one another which was very emotional.
When the ceremony ended, we went straight into photos. We began with family photos and then had time with just Hannah and Joe to get bride and groom portraits. These two had the biggest smiles on their faces the entire time. They were so fun to work with and had Hunter and I laughing the whole time we worked with them. We got beautiful photos of them in downtown Raleigh where they had originally met and fallen in love.
It was then time for the reception to begin. The ceremony space had been completely transformed. The main room of the chapel was originally filled with chairs, but their planner, Jessica (Sweet Oak Events) had completely transformed the space with her team by adding tables with a beautiful set up of blue and yellow accents. Each seat had a little bag of candy. The space felt homey and cozy.
Guests took their seats and the DJ announced the couple. Hannah and Joe walked inside and the whole room was clapping for them. They went straight to the dance floor and began their first dance. They danced to a Chris Stapleton song and Hannah’s dress shimmered as they did their choreographed dance together. Hannah then did a dance with her father, and then Joe did one with his mother.
There was then a prayer before dinner, and everyone helped themselves to a nice meal of classic southern food. When dinner ended, speeches began. Hannah’s father, Pete, kicked it off with an incredible speech. He had everyone in the room in tears from laughing so hard. Pete gave a speech all about Hannah’s life and even included gifts. He gave her a watermelon to represent her love of Dirty Dancing, a small Chewbacca doll for her childhood love of Chewbacca, a piece of a gutter since their house does not have a gutter, and then a barf bag from an airplane because Hannah gets carsick easily. It was the most unique and hilarious speech I had ever seen, and I have been to a lot of weddings!
After the speeches, everyone danced the night away on the dance floor. Joe went to Virginia Tech, as well as a lot of the guests at the wedding, so he had a special song played, and he and his friends held up a Virginia Tech flag and jumped to the song. So many people were jumping that the floor was shaking. It was a blast, and even those who didn’t go to Virginia Tech joined in on the fun. Everyone enjoyed cupcakes and signed Hannah and Joe’s guestbook while some continued to dance.
Before leaving, we took a selfie with Hannah and Joe and said our goodbyes. We had so much fun with them that they felt like long-time friends as we said goodbye. We wished them the best and said goodbye to some of the other guests and vendors before heading out. It was truly a night to remember!