Amber + Chris's Elopement at the St. Jude's Chapel of Hope in Asheville, NC

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Although Amber and Chris got married in August, the beautiful garden where we took their portraits reminds me so much of spring. So, in honor of the beautiful weather we’re finally getting to enjoy, I wanted to share a look into their sweet day.

The St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope is nestled in a tree grove just off the highway into Hot Springs, NC. As soon as I stepped out of the car, I was surprised that all I could hear was the rustle of leaves, the babbling of a brook behind the chapel and the happy melody of a cello. They were so excited to be wed that as soon as I arrived, the ceremony began (perk of eloping!) with Amber gliding across the lawn while their Airbnb owner played her down the aisle.

Susan Marlan of Beloved Ceremony officiated the simple ceremony, and because this was a “true elopement” I also got to serve as a witness. Just after the bride and groom exchanged rings, and just before their first kiss, Chris leaned forward and rested his forehead against Amber’s, where they simply stood breathing each other in for a few moments. It’s these moments, the quiet and intimate scenes, that impact me the most - both as a photographer capturing the emotions before me and a human who feels everything deeply.

But the outpouring of emotion wasn’t finished as they excitedly exited the chapel, not even close! As they stepped out onto the lawn, our multitalented Airbnb owner immediately launched into Amber and Chris’s chosen dance song, “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur. They swayed together for a few bars, then Chris wrapped Amber in his arms and they simply stood there holding each other as tight as they could.

After we made a few more portraits along the creek, we jumped in our cars and headed into Leicester to their Airbnb. Rachael, the co-owner, was outside in the garden with their dog, both of them as friendly as could be. We spent the next hour traipsing through the garden. I didn’t talk much, rather let the newlyweds enjoy each other’s company while I captured their excitement.

I could go on and on about why I love elopements: the intimacy that allows each couple to truly express their emotions, the simplicity that allows for more spontaneity and less stress, and my ability to spend the entire time with each couple. Amber and Chris’s day not only checked off all of these boxes, but gave me hope. It was an honor to not only get to photograph, but to serve as a witness for their union!