Hi Friends! As usual, it's been a minute since I've written a post. As you know, I don't like to write just for the hell of it. I like to have a purpose; something to say. I've realized, however, that I'm not that great at telling you about our elopements that have happened; how cool they were and/or what made them special. So I'm going to start a new series and try to keep it going for awhile. I want you to see beyond the few pictures that I post on Social Media to see a full picture of an elopement. My hope is that this will serve a couple purposes:
1. If you are new to this concept and still trying to decide if an elopement or micro wedding is something you're interested in, I want to help you understand how elopements/micro-weddings/courthouse weddings work.
2. I want to inspire you! I want you to see how these amazing couples have added their own personalities to their events so that you too can jump in and make your elopement YOU.
I'm not necessarily going to go in date-order for these events, so with that being said, I'm going to start with a super fun April elopement/micro wedding with Rachel & Andrew.
I remember in the first few emails between myself and these two, Rachel told me what she and Andrew would look like when we met. She described Andrew as being “really tall with a long beard.” I was like “hmm… that’s the exact description of my husband. I think we’re going to get along…”
We met at Amelie’s, and it was immediately obvious that we were kindred spirits. These two laughed easily and were the perfect kind of chill. Rachel & Andrew booked, and we landed pretty quickly on the Rose Garden at Independence Park - one of my favorite places in Charlotte. Recently renovated, the rose garden is the perfect spot for an elopement. On the day of, it did not disappoint.
I walked up to the garden on their elopement day and was delighted to see Andrew riding towards me in his 3 piece suit on a yellow bike. I burst out laughing. Just as before, I knew this was going to be amazing.
Rachel & Andrew decided to have an elopement wedding party SORT OF. What does that mean? Well, they asked their close friends to dress a certain way, and they walked down the aisle in pairs, but they didn’t actually worry about them standing up front for the ceremony. And check this out - they picked a tie color for each of the groomsmen, then just had the girls pick out a lace dress to match. It. Was. Perfect.
Rachel asked me to make flower crowns for herself and each of the girls.
The garden makes for a perfect aisle, so Rachel walked down with her sweet dad.
Andrew’s reaction was everything. He kind of laugh cried, and he had everyone tearing up. Actually, this whole ceremony had everyone tearing up. These two. OMG.
After the ceremony, we of course did family pics, then I stole Rachel & Andrew for photos around the gorgeous Independence Park.
R&A had asked ahead of time about getting a picture with the Charlotte skyline in the background. We decided to go to Elizabeth Street and get a few pictures there.
Our bride and groom planned a super unique reception party and asked me to come take pictures there as well. They rented the bottom floor of Dillworth Grill, which is a great spot! They had a DOUGHNUT TABLE which will forever be one of my favorite things. The details here were fire, with tiny gold dinosaurs decorating all the tables, vintage vases collected at thrift stores by the bride’s dad, and a sign-in book that was actually a huge dictionary. The idea was that guests found a word in the dictionary that meant something or was advice for the couple. They would highlight and write a message. I mean, c’mon - it does not get sweeter than that.
I'm so honored to have been a part in Rachel & Andrew's day, and I hope you found something to take away from their super cool elopement. What are your ideas for your elopement? I wanna hear about them!
Hi friends! It's been awhile since I've posted (as usual). As you know, I don't like to frivolously post and share. I like to make sure the info I'm sharing is worth your time and attention. In an effort to share helpful knowledge with you, I recently reached out to several realtors in the area. See, I usually ask my clients why they have chosen to elope. Almost every one of my clients has told me that they want to make smarter decisions with their money, and for many, that meant buying their first home. So that got me thinking - Huh! I bet a lot of these clients could use some advice from a realtor!
One of the realtors I met was a super cool person named Costner Merrifield. Costner (which is an awesome name, BTW) is super passionate about many of the same things I am - creating happy clients and being a resource to make your lives easier. So I asked her to write a blog post with some helpful tips on buying your first home. Costner graciously agreed, and I'm sharing that blog post with you today!
You can find more about Costner and her services at http://newmelproperties.com. Her contact info is also at the end of this article. I hope you find this helpful!
A very old pic from my husband and my very first home back in 2013.
The Elopement Co. is going to give you the most fabulous elopement you could possibly imagine, but what about that next step in your newlywed life? Buying your first home! Not sure what to expect? That’s where I, The REALTOR, come in! I know it’s a HUGE step in your life, but believe me you've got this! Contrary to popular belief, real estate agents are not there just to collect commission! The RIGHT agent is there to make your home buying process as simple and enjoyable as possible, all while educating you along the way!
Here are 5 quick tips to help get you started:
DO IT! Seriously. Nothing is worse than falling in love with "the perfect home" and then finding out you can’t afford it. Start by finding a Lender. If you don’t know how to find one, I can put you in touch with some of our preferred Lenders that have shown proven success with previous clients. From there, the Lender will take you through the pre-qualifying process step by step. (Typically, it’s as easy as filling out a form online!)
2. CREATE YOUR CHECKLIST
What is important to you? Write out your wish list. Maybe you want a nice neighborhood with all the amenities, maybe you're a foodie that wants to be near all the hot new restaurants. Whatever is on your list, create it and set those standards! It’s nice to let me as your REALTOR know exactly what you're looking for, so I can help guide you in the right direction. **A bit of advice, it is smart to keep resale in mind while searching for your new home. You want to make sure this could be a good investment for you down the road.**
3. BE REALISTIC
We all watch HGTV right? SO addicting, Fixer Upper is my jam y'all! Just know you may need to see more than 3 homes to decide which one is best for you and that is ok! Compare it to finally finding your soulmate, finding a home is just as precious. That being said, the wish list you made...be ready to compromise (like relationships, am I right?!). Just because it doesn’t check all the boxes, doesn’t mean it isn’t "the one". Also, be realistic with your budget. Work closely with your Lender to decide a comfortable payment for you. There are many types of loans and your Lender will help you decide what is best for you. (You can visit www.newmelproperties.com and click the "Buyers" tab to learn more on this subject.) Save, Save, Save! You'll thank yourself later!
Be ready to be an open book not only with me, but your Lender as well. Communication is KEY because in this market, time is of the essence! Houses can literally be under contract in a matter of hours, so get ready to get friendly! That’s why it is SO important that you enjoy everyone you are working with! YOU get to choose those people, pretty cool right?
5. ENJOY THE PROCESS
Just remember, this is an exciting time for you and whatever home you pick out, it will be YOURS! So, take a deep breath and have a blast! The best thing as your REALTOR, is the pure joy I see once the closing is done, those keys in your hands and us celebrating together!
Congrats on this monumental time in your life! I wish you the absolute best on your big day and hope this blog helped even a tiny bit. If you have any further questions, reach out any time! Once you get to know me, you'll learn I love to chat!
We've all seen those people who are just really talented at having their photo taken. They always know how to stand, how to have enough of a smile without looking deranged, and the perfect place to put their hands. All of these talents combine to make this super-human look like a freaking angel in every photo.
For the rest of us, however, as soon as a camera is turned our way, we forget how to human. We have no idea how/where to stand, our smiles look like a bad performance of the Joker, and what ARE those weird things at the ends of our arms?!?
I'll be honest- I'm part of that second group. I love being behind the camera, but when it gets turned on me, I just freeze up!
When I met with Christina (pictured), she was really concerned about this. She told me she had never had professional pictures taken before, and she had no idea what to do.
So here's the big secret to getting that perfect, relaxed look in all your professional photos... Ready?... Don't worry about it.
And by that I don’t mean, “Oh stop worrying; just relax… you’ll be fine!” (I kind of want to punch people when they say that to me). What I mean is - YOU don’t have to worry about it, because that’s MY job! I’m the one who should be worrying about whether or not you are comfortable.
I’m the one who will tell you where to stand, where to put your hands, which way to look, etc., etc.
I will make you play games, make you tell me stories, make you laugh. We’ll joke, we’ll hang out, and we’ll have fun.
And in the end, you’ll have beautiful pictures to remember this amazing day you just spent with your love.
So if you’ve been worrying about getting your picture taken, just start blaming me instead. “Oh, that’s Charity’s problem.” I’ve got you. ;-)
Hi friends! As seems to be my habit, it’s been awhile since I’ve written. The last few months have been an amazing whirlwind! I hope to use the next few blog posts to clue you all in on what’s been going on with The Elopement Co. It’s been a really fun journey, and I can’t wait to share with you!
Back in July, I talked about some upcoming ideas with The Elopement Co. partnering with my friend Maliquea of Starnes and Co. Events. That idea is in full blast, and we are currently working on our first ever Tiny Wedding. I can’t wait to share more once that unfolds!
But the craziest thing by far to happen to me this year was the Good Morning America piece about TEC! Oh my goodness, I can’t even begin to tell you how shocked I was when this all happened. Let me back up and start at the beginning.
I’ll start by explaining that, for the past few months, I’ve been working at a horse barn two days a week. I had decided that for my own mental health, I needed to make myself get out of the house a couple days a week. It is a way for me to work physically and rest mentally. I get to be out in nature, using my hands, and around sweet animals. It is really hard work, and I love it!
When Suzanne of Good Morning America called me, I was literally holding a shovel full of horse crap.
I don’t even usually answer calls from out of state. The only reason I answered her call was because it was the third time I’d gotten a call that day from New York. I assumed it was a telemarketer of some sort. I hit the “answer” button on my wireless headphones for the sole purpose of asking them to stop calling me. After I answered with “Hello, this is Charity,” however, I heard “Hi, this is Suzanne from Good Morning America calling, and …………” There were other words after that. I know she kept talking. But my mind froze. So I stood there, holding a shovel full of horse crap, and tried to mentally process what I had just heard.
I heard her ask “Is this a good time to talk?” I stammered… “Uh… yeah….” But she could tell it wasn’t (wise woman), so she rescheduled a time to talk later. She called me the next day, and we chatted. Apparently, the New York Times had recently done a piece about eloping (which is a great piece - read it here), and Good Morning America (GMA) wanted to cover the topic as well. Suzanne had started Googling elopements, and she came across The Elopement Co.! (That in and of itself is a small miracle.)
She asked me lots of questions about how TEC works and what I thought the was the current definition of elopements. I explained all about my vision for the company and about the amazing clients I have had the privilege to work with. She said they wanted to cover a live elopement and asked if I thought I could do one the following week.
Mentally, I screamed “NEXT WEEK??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? How am I supposed to find a couple willing to get married NEXT WEEK?!?” Out loud I said something like “Yeah I think I can do that. Let me see what I can do.”
I threw out a plea on Facebook. I’m fairly new to North Carolina, and I don’t even know that many people here. I called every client who was either booked with me already or had recently inquired. No one was available! A few people re-posted my Facebook message, including my amazing lawyer (also a client), and someone responded to her message and was willing.
The plans were put into motion. I reached out to Erin Foley of RCB Fashion, easily one of my favorite people in Charlotte, to see if she wanted to be involved and supply a dress for the bride. She was immediately on board! I started researching locations and figuring out details.
A few days into this process, the bride called me and told me they were dropping out. For reasons of their own, they couldn’t go through with the elopement. My heart plummeted. The day before getting this call, I had worked a 10 hour wedding (through my other brand, Whimsicle Photography), and my dog of 12 years had passed away. I was exhausted, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I decided I couldn’t make the GMA shoot happen.
I messaged Erin to let her know and apologize for wasting her time. Erin, being the amazing human being that she is, responded “Let me see what I can do.” I had a glimmer of hope, but I wasn’t expecting much.
Within two hours, Erin told me she had found a couple! I was dumbfounded. It was Sunday night, and the shoot was supposed to be that Wednesday. I had little hope of it all coming together, but IT DID. Erin also brought on Lindsay Pizzuti of Mirror Bomb Studio to do hair and makeup. My favorite officiant Kristy Yetman was available! Erin made a custom dress for Lorie (bride) in TWO DAYS. I found a local girl, Betty Cona of Bright & Lovely Blog, to make a custom elopement sign! There was a threat of rain, so I initially went through some contacts and found an awesome local coffee shop called Trade & Lore who was willing to let us use their space. On the day of the shoot, however, we saw that the rain wasn’t supposed to hit until the evening, so we went ahead with the original plan of using McGill Rose Garden.
I was a bundle of nerves on the day of the shoot. I am really good at imagining all of the bad things that could happen, and I just imagined making a fool of myself on national TV (with like, a booger hanging out of my nose or something). Or you know - somebody canceling, a car wreck, etc. However, everything went through exactly as planned. Lindsay did an amazing job on Lorie’s hair and makeup. Erin’s dress fit Lorie PERFECTLY. John looked incredibly sharp, and the boutonniere I had made matched everything exactly.
We met Suzanne at Erin’s shop where Lorie was getting ready. Suzanne was gracious and kind, and she was excited for Lorie and John. Then we all collected at McGill Rose Garden, and the ceremony was beautiful! There were some people in the garden having a book club meeting, and as the ceremony wrapped up, they all cheered for Lorie and John.
After we wrapped up their newlywed pictures, Suzanne interviewed first Lorie and John, and then me. I was SO nervous. I remember thinking “What do I do with my hands?!?” But I got through it, and I was pleased with the results!
Lorie and John were SUCH a sweet couple. There’s so much more I could say about the time I spent with them, but I figure I have to wrap this up at some point. I will say this - I am so thankful to everyone who participated in helping pull off this amazing adventure. If you haven’t had a chance to watch the piece yet, there’s a link here. Or it’s also out on the website!
To end this amazing story, I’m going to tell you what happened on the day the piece aired. I was at the barn. Doing chores, including shoveling horse crap. How fitting!
Hi!!!!! Surprise! I'm still here! It's been a little while since I've posted. I'm pretty bad at doing this regularly, and for that I apologize. I'm working on it! Let me give you a brief catch up on what I've been up to.
Many of you know I have two companies, one is The Elopement Co (my favorite!). The other is Whimsicle Photography. I do a lot of other types of photography under that company, including portraits, full weddings, maternity, headshots, family, and more. Well, in the past few weeks, I've been fairly slammed with weddings, including a wedding in Chicago, a bridal session, a family session which included the most adorable little boy in the world, and more. It's been a BLAST.
I've started working at a horse barn two days a week! Real talk: being an entrepreneur is tough. Many of my days are spent at home on my computer. And while I love the work I'm doing, I sometimes just need to get out of the house and out in nature. So I took a gig working two days a week at a horse barn. I grew up on a ranch in Texas, so the work is very familiar with me. And while it is HARD work, I love being around the animals. It's comforting in a way that few things are.
I'm moving! I'm actually writing this sitting in my new living room surrounded by boxes. My husband and I are moving closer to the heart of Charlotte. When we first moved here from Chicago last year, we had no clue what neighborhoods we would really like, so we ended up in the university area. And while we enjoyed our time there, we found ourselves in Plaza Midwood 3-4 nights a week. So we decided PM was where we wanted to be. We found an adorable house to rent, and I'm so excited to be here! There is MUCH unpacking and settling in to do, and we're still cleaning up at our old place. So right now, that's taking up the majority of my time. Soon though, I will be unpacked and will have my own office and studio space! I'm pretty excited about this.
QC Femme Fest - I had a vendor booth at Queen City Femme Fest on June 3! This festival was awesome. It was held in Plaza Midwood in front of The Dog Salon. The idea behind the fest was to highlight Charlotte companies with female owners. There were so many cool vendors there; it was truly an honor to work beside those incredible women. We had a pretty big turnout, especially since this is the first year for the fest. I'm looking forward to returning next year!
Ok so that's what I've been up to! Next week I'm going to tell you all about this really sweet elopement I did in April for two childhood sweethearts, then I can't wait to tell you about the winners of my giveaway from the ThenComesMarriage.LOVE wedding expo. THEN I have to tell you all about a brewery elopement! SO much to tell you! Talk soon!