Featured: Hope and Faith

I've been an admirer of Inspire Weddings & Marriage magazine for a while. I'm a huge fan of any publication that showcases marriage and real couples rather than just pretty things without substance and meaning. So when they reached out to ask me to design a shoot based on a real couple's love story, I didn't hesitate to accept! Once I heard Emily and Scott's incredible story, my heart immediately sank - how could you hold back tears after hearing about this couple's journey?! Their inspiring and unwavering devotion aside, I felt such a personal connection to this couple and their story.


On May 3, one of my dear friends was in a tragic car accident while serving in the U.S. Army in Venice, Italy. She's been in a coma ever since and has been fighting for her life every single day since that terrible night to regain consciousness and return to her husband, 3 year old daughter, family, and friends. So, when I heard that Scott had a terrible accident that left him unconscious and the doctors had told Emily to give up hope - so eerily similar to my friend, Captain Kimmy Fix - I just had to be a part of this project! Emily never gave up. The words she shares inside the pages of Inspire are absolutely beautiful. Scott is the definition of a fighter and his future is still so bright, with sweet Emily by his side.


I love to share background details on inspiration shoots because I feel like everyone has this perception that it's all glamour. Hate to burst your bubble friends, but styled shoots are really anything but glamorous. I mean, everything always turns out amazing - just look at the incredible images Julie Staley with Old South Studios captured! But, it took a lot of hard work to get there. Oh and always bear in mind that life is not perfect and things don't always go as planned. (I think Emily and Scott can attest to this!) Even though we had this date set for weeks to do a styled shoot, naturally Mother Nature stepped in with a different plan. She decided to let it monsoon - I'm not being dramatic here, y'all. Picture this: Outdoor shoot in a sunflower field. All the furniture and rentals are delivered. Hair and makeup has arrived to get our lovely models ready. Outfits have been coordinated. Cakes were en-route. Flowers were arranged. The photographer and I had just arrived when the sky opens up and it begins to pour. Absolutely pour. Don't even get me started on the lighting! I hadn't been that scared in so long. So, it took some scrambling. What do you do next?! With Emily looking so gorgeous and Scott so handsome, we couldn't afford to postpone until the next day. Thankfully our lucky started to turn around and the rain gave us a little reprieve. We rushed back out to the sunflower field and started snapping away. In all honesty, I think this is exactly what God had intended - everything happens for a reason, right? The sky that appeared as we started shooting was pure magic! We made the decision to break up the shoot into two parts - the couple was shoot that evening and then we did the details at 7:00am the following morning. You better believe I'm still cleaning mud off my shoes from this shoot. But, you probably couldn't tell any of that from these gorgeous photos. That's the amazing part of styled shoots. All the chaos and things that didn't go quite as planned are completely masked by the stunning images that are the result of a hardworking team.


My inspiration for this shoot was this incredible couple. These photos have captured this couple to the letter. Scott is so handsome, he's funny and sharp as a tack. He had us laughing so hard during this shoot! Emily is beautiful inside and out, so loving and attentive, and just the most kind-hearted person. Together they are so sweet. I used a color palette of yellow (a symbol of hope), dusty blue, blush, and green. For me, this color palette is sweet, romantic, and a bit playful. Just like Emily and Scott's story. I had this vision of Americana in my head - moving from industrial error to the modern 21st century. I loved the idea of mixing elements. Industrial metal and rustic wood with modern china and gold flatware for the table top. Soft, bohemian style lace Claire Pettibone gown (from J Majors Bridal Boutique) next to a preppy, modern Brooks Brothers navy suit.


The way this vision came together was really beautiful. I'm so proud to be a part of this team of talented vendors, who poured their love into this shoot. The magazine hits news stands this week! You can pick up a copy at your local Barnes & Nobel, or you can order a copy online. You have to read Emily and Scott's beautiful love story. Here are a few of my favorite images from our inspiration shoot.


Lindsey Regan Thorne of Be Pretty made this beautiful wife feel like a glamorous model. And I'm pretty sure Scott agreed with the rest of us that Emily's the most gorgeous woman in the world!


I created the vow runner backdrop using words of hope, faith, love, devotion, honor, and respect - all words that describe the commitment that is marriage. Creating this was so cathartic for me, personally. I felt like I was renewing my own vows by just writing the words and creating each statement! Couldn't be more excited with how this turned out!


I love the textures of this arrangement by Karisa of Nectar Floral Designs!


Carrie of Pink Toast Ink absolutely nailed the paper goods. How stunning is this suite she designed?


These cakes exceeded my every expectation. Ines of Sky's The Limit! Custom Cakes & More is such an artist!


So, if you know me then you know that I have to incorporate a signature drink into my designs! They're so fun - so why not! I opted for a fun champagne cocktail. Huge thanks to King of Pops for supplying us with these delicious popsicles. A fun and easy drink to make... how can you resist?!


I cannot thank Inspire Weddings & Marriage enough for allowing me to be a part of this shoot and to tell this sweet couple's story. And I have to brag on this amazing team of vendors that helped me create something really remarkable. I love working with creatives who are just as passionate about telling stories as I am. I'm so grateful for all your flexibility and team work!

Photography: Julie and Andrew Staley of Old South Studios
Styling and Design: Ashley Culicchia Cash of The Graceful Host
Floral Design: Karisa Pennell of Nectar Floral Designs
Cake Design: Ines Aranguren of Sky's The Limit! Custom Cakes & More
Paper Goods: Carrie Barker of Pink Toast Ink
Rentals: Party Reflections and AFR Events Furnishings
Hair and Makeup: Lindsey Regan Thorne of Be Pretty
Popsicles: King of Pops
Wedding Dress: Claire Pettibone from J. Majors Bridal Boutique
Bride's earrings: Scout and Molly's of Charlotte
Groom's attire: Brooks Brothers and Mens Warehouse

And a big thanks to our sweet models, Emily and Scott Agnew, for being so fabulous! We loved working with you! Cheers to your beautiful love!