Clair + JJ's Arboretum Engagement

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I've photographed weddings for colleagues and classmates but never before have I gotten to capture the love story of one of my good friends - until now, that is. When Clair first called me to ask if I would be her wedding photographer (Duh! I would love to!), I don't think I quite realized the enormity of getting to document the wedding experience of someone I know so well. After all, I had been there from the very start of the relationship, had talked with Clair about the two of them on countless runs (for those of you who don't know, Clair and I were teammates on the UNCA cross country and track teams) and had cheered from afar as they moved out west together for school. But as we started the engagement session and I got to witness their love, commitment and pure enjoyment of each other, I knew that this one would be extra special. 

The most challenging aspect of working with out of town couples is obviously just that, that's they're out of town. Luckily, Clair and JJ had planned to swing through Asheville during the holidays in order to meet with all of their vendors, so we planned their engagement session for a very cold December afternoon at the North Carolina Arboretum. And by "very cold" I mean that there were quite a few times between photos that I just told them to hug each other as hard as they could so that they could stop shivering (though, of course, this was also a ploy to grab some candid shots.)