I hope you will buckle up for quite a long story about these two because their day and time spent in Asheville, NC was truly one for the books.
January 2020 we spent two hours on our initial phone call with these two. We chatted about life, we chatted about wedding stuff, we chatted about who they were, all their favorite things and quickly became friends.
They hired us not long after.
Several months later we met these two at fort de Soto for their engagement session and we roamed the whole area as friends. They let us pretty much take control of the entire session and were willing to let us have total creative freedom. Dream clients shall I say.
They were suppose to get married December of 2020 but due to the pandemic and Marrina’s family all living in Poland, they decided to postpone for the following December on the same date, but would still make their marriage legal by going to the courthouse on the original date.
Time flies as it always does and we got a message late last year about how they were canceling everything all together after losing family members during covid and that we would find ways just to do small sessions here and there with what they owed for their remaining balance. If y’all know us, we had ideas that didn’t involve smaller sessions
In our initial meeting with them, Marrina and I had chatted about wedding dresses and how it was hard to find one and how she wasn’t sure about going dress shopping, so I sent her bridal store recommendations and y’all she found a stunning dress!!
We couldn’t stop there. We knew we had to get her in her dress and get photos of these two and make it special since the pandemic had changed everything for them.
So what did we do!??
We called our friends and asked if they wanted to elope in the North Carolina mountains with their full wedding attire and finally get their wedding pics. It was an instant yes as long as we planned it all.
We went to work.
We searched locations all through North Carolina. We searched florals. We searched suits. We searched Airbnb’s. We planned it all. We kept it simple. We kept it uniquely them. And it was perfect. Imperfectly. Perfect.
We spent Monday evening all hanging out. Catching up. Talking about life in Poland and what it was like for Marrina and talking about deep things that we connect with and understand each other on.
Tuesday, was elopement day! We started by picking up breakfast for these two and hanging out. By the time we had reached their little airbnb cottage that looked like it was some little tiny home from Europe, it was pouring rain. We ended up spending the morning relaxing, hanging out and moving slowly into what this day would hold for them.
They told stories about each other and what they loved most about each other and the things they were excited about.
It was a dreamy morning.
We spent the afternoon getting ready.
Nothing was rushed. We intentionally planned for the space to take in every single moment and to just be present for it all.
By the time we had to leave to hike the North Carolina mountains in Asheville, the rain has subsided. As we climbed higher in elevation, the colder it got and the more foggy it got. At one point, the fog was so thick it was hard to see in front of us.
We pulled into the parking lot of where we were going to hike on the Blue Ridge Parkway and due to the not so ideal weather, the only two cars that were left were leaving as we were parking. It literally was just us. Which made for the most serene and peaceful evening.
Upon hopping out of the car, the wind chill and the cold temps were quite stinging. Something we hadn’t prepared for. Grabbing every coat, jacket and blanket we had with us, we set off towards the top of the mountain with not a soul in sight.
The fog was swiftly moving in and out of every single nook and cranny of the forest. It was the most eery feeling that I can’t put into words. By the time we had made it to the little grassy area we had planned for them to read their vows, both Aaron and AJ’s beard were covered in a blanket of dew from the fog that has been swirling around us. No one had noticed how wet it was. We had spent so much time bundling up and trying to stay warm that we hadn’t paid any attention to how wet the fog was and all the raindrops dripping from all the branches.
As we decided to climb the last 200 feet to reach our destination, the more windy it became and the colder it got. We had reached the pinnacle and it truthfully looked like it was some sort of gray abyss that we would all easily just slip right into.
Due to the harsh winds and the fact that it was in spots getting lighter, we decided to climb back down a ways to hide under the brush of the trees to not only shield ourselves from the wind but also to try and get warm and pray for a weather miracle. After waiting it out for a good 20-30 minutes, the sky was growing lighter and we decided to hike back to the top to see if there were any changes.
Upon the second time of reaching the top, we had noticed the sun was starting to slightly become visible, but the wind was whipping even harder. So what do we do knowing we are on the cusp of potentially having our weather change!?? We found the lowest spot on the top of the mountain, got down and hid behind the stone wall, all huddled together. We waited for another good bit of time praying ever so hard for a break in the clouds and for the mountains to become visible and you know what!???
We got a miracle!!
We had gotten up and had started doing solo portraits of Marrina and in a matter of seconds, it went from a thick blanket of fog, to the sun trying to peak out of the clouds to full on blue sky. You can see where it breaks several times in the photos and the transition we walked through.
Aaron and I at one point had walked over the other side of the ledge and in one fell swoop, you see the clouds dissipate on one side and the mountains become visible.
We turn to the middle section, the clouds start to part to the right, the sun starts to shine an within in seconds, all the mountain peaks and ridges become visible.
It was the most breathtaking scene I have ever encountered in my life. It still makes me teary eyed to think about.
Small rainbows began forming in all of the clouds that were quickly clearing out and I knew in that moment, we had gotten our miracle!
We grabbed both AJ and Marrina and got them situated on the ledge that had 360 Mountain View’s and shot as fast as we could.
By this point, there was not one limb, toe or finger that was not completely numb. It made shooting really hard, but we had weathered (pun intended) so much to get to this point that despite it all, we were going for those epic views and man it didn’t disappoint.
We didn’t shoot long on top due to how cold we were and how horrendous the wind was, but Aaron and I had previously hiked the same area the day before planning out every spot and shot that there was one key shot that we had really wanted but with there being no visibility with the fog, we knew that in these last moments we had to go for it.
Marrina, AJ and I hiked back down where from the pinnacle you can see only part of the path before it gets steep, leaving Aaron to grab the shots from the top. When I say that we had literally just enough time for Aaron to grab both his video shot and my photo shot before the clouds rose from the bottom of the valley, we truly only had that break. You can see it in the photos. You see two tiny dots and the mass wall of fog coming back to swallow us up. We had maybe 15 minutes of clear visibility, sunshine and blue sky before it was over. It was all that we needed.
We hiked the rest of the way down, grabbed ramen all together and deliriously laughed about all that we had been through that day.
We could have asked for perfect weather. We could have prayed for those dreamy sunset photos. Sure. Those would have been absolutely stunning, but if it had been perfect, we wouldn’t have such an epic story to tell.
There wouldn’t have been history and character attached to what this day truly held. It all makes this one big story breathtaking. And without seemingly knowing some parts of their story, this day, these last 2.5 years were in ways woven and connected to who they are and their history.
It was uniquely them. I won’t forget this. We won’t forget this.