Hitched: Jessie + Brad // Chapel Hill, NC

This story takes place long, long ago…in a far off place where elves and thieves band together to take over kingdoms beyond our wildest fantasies. There once was an elf named Lilywhite, and a human thief known as Autolycus. They met in a band of fellow voyagers deep in the Yuhtunga Jungle. As their adventure unfolded, they grew closer and closer, learning more about the other’s species and each other in particular. After nearly 6 months journeying through this far-off land together, they began plotting something big…something that would shake the very foundations of their worlds.

In all seriousness, Jessie & Brad met back in 2004 playing their favorite game (at the time), Final Fantasy. After 6 months of playing together, and a number of IGD’s (In Game Dates), they finally decided to meet IRL (In Real Life). Brad was going to fly to Pittsburgh to meet her for the first time! You’d think after such a long time getting to know someone, that Jessie’s nerves would be too high to sleep the night before. However alas, for their first introduction, she slept in, forcing Brad to take a cab to the hotel instead of her picking him up at the airport!!!!! When she told Ashley and I that, we almost fell off our chairs laughing. But despite being totally surprised by the change of plans, Brad and Jessie ending up hitting it off without question. And after nearly 7 years of trials, patience, and pursuit of one anothers’ hearts, their lives collided with mine and Ashley’s.

It was a crisp December day during a photoshoot for another client in a disclosed location on UNC’s campus when the Lord very clearly intertwined Jessie & Brad’s story and ours’. You see, this “top secret” location happens to be the very same location that Jessie works on campus, and on that particular day, she was in charge of making sure Ashley and I didn’t trash the place. Well, while we were out and about, photographing our client in the Arboretum, Brad snuck in the one door that was unlocked, went up the wrong staircase to her office (the same staircase she just-so-happend to be descending), and BAM, dropped down on one knee and popped the question. By the time Ashley and I got back, Jessie’s face was flushed and she was waving her incredible new piece of jewelry in our faces saying, “YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT! YOU JUST WON’T BELIEVE IT!” At that very moment, we knew it was destiny.

Jessie & Brad were amazing in the prep for their day. They had their own unique style that they wanted captured. No stress, no drama, no white, no church, no overwhelming party and a whole lotta sass. That’s exactly what they had, too…a day that was all their own! A day surrounded by intimate friends, a day that they could look back and remember the importance of the commitments they made to one another. We absolutely loved it. Jessie certainly challenged us both with the preferred photographic stylings, but holy cow were we excited to give it a whirl. We both had a blast being challenged by something we hadn’t done before, and we are stoked by the outcome. As a disclaimer, Ashley and I were so in sync on their wedding day, we literally have no clue who took which picture, so let it be known that she could very well have taken credit for all of these photos, or at least half!

Yup, that’s right…we have proof of their virtual avatars IN GAME! Meet the original Lilywhite and Autolycus!

Jessie’s creativity was on display for all to see on her day starting with the handmade bouquets. Jessie tried her best to describe them to us in our pre-wedding meeting, but no words can describe the amount of detail and intricacy of these breathtaking bouquets. She took buttons, any buttons she could find, and wired them together. Some charms, like the motorcycle, the floral black and yellow button and finally the red flower were to represent her father, a dear friend, and her late mother. The tags draping over the handle of the bouquet were even custom details made by another dear friend; pages from the Twilight books cut out into circles, with book pages on the back representing the date of their wedding (3.9). How freakin’ cool!?Where did she get the hairpiece? Yup! You guessed it…handmade, again! These two shots are my absolute favorite. On the left, Ashley’s view of Jessie RIGHT before she walked into the ceremony, and on the right was my perspective of Brad anxiously awaiting his bride. Jessie & Brad had such a cool, edgy, and dark style that we had a lot of fun experimenting how best to capture it.A dear friend of Jessie & Brad’s snagged the cake topper (normally bride in white dress) and repainted it to look more, appropriate, shall we say? Such a cool touch. And what better way to end the evening than at 411 West in Chapel Hill. Ash and I left happy campers…fat campers, but happy campers:) 

Ashley RalstonMarch 18, 2012 - 10:41 AM

The pictures are amazing! Cole and Ashley, you did and an incredible job capturing the true essence of them both! I’m so sad I wasn’t able to make the trip, but the pictures captured it all!

JessieMarch 17, 2012 - 4:32 PM

Thank you Cole and Ashley – we love them, and we love you.

Thank you for putting up with my… quirks! You two are truly the best. And an absolute dream to work with. Xoxoxoxo~


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