Well it has been quite a year and my fall & winter has been full of Duke Chapel Wedding photos with great clients. The week before Christmas I had my last Duke Chapel wedding of the year with Alise & Nate. This is the 2nd time I have been at Duke Chapel with Alise as I shot her Duke Chapel Bridal portrait here a few months ago (I should add, that session was one of my favorites from the year). With the threat of snow on the horizon, I was pretty excited at the stellar photography opportunities snow offers (we don’t get much here) but slightly concerned with the road condition (again, we don’t get much snow here – we close the schools based on forecasts…).
Anyway, when I arrived Alise has her hair & makeup done and was practicing her Father & Daughter dance with, yes – you guessed it, her father. They spun around the room a few times with her bridesmaids looking on and, after the dance was over, they tweaked it a bit to insure their guests got a great view. This was no “box” dance mind you, it was a tightly choreographed piece with a couple of spins and even a lift. I headed up to the guys room after Alise and her bridesmaids shared a toast and a few heartfelt words. They guys room always has a different energy and I love the dichotomy between the two even though the end goal is the same. The guys were already dressed and, really, ready to go. So after a few quick shots with everyone, we all headed over to Duke Chapel.
Alise chose to put on her wedding dress in the Duke Chapel. The room is gorgeous but can be a little busy all the bridesmaids & mothers in an enclosed space. It make for great wedding photos though with all of the activity and really adds to the feeling of the wedding preparations. We went outside after this and photographed the guys. Now, usually it’s really difficult to do this at night but, to be honest, I’ve photographed more duke chapel wedding photos at night then I have during the day, so it’s pretty much second nature. After the guys were inside (and warm), the girls came up to get their portraits done.
We all headed inside for the wedding ceremony and after they said the “I do’s”, they went over to sign the duke chapel register. The reason I am tell you this is to setup the next part because, honestly, it’s one of the most special moments I’ve ever experienced at weddings. As everyone was finishing signing, I heard singing… Christmas carols to be exact. I walked (ok, trotted) to the back of Duke Chapel (no short trot I can assure you) and when I peeked my head out of the doors, I saw every guest lined up with candles in hand, singing. Now I knew they were doing a candlelight exit from the church but the sheer vision of this really got to me. The couple walked out shortly after, under a light snow/rain mix, to about 150 people all holding candles. Pretty powerful stuff.
We headed back to the Durham Hilton where Frank with the Bunn DJ Company was getting ready to get everyone dancing. The wonderful folks at Hearthstone Films were gearing up to grab great video of the festivities (as they had been doing all day). Both Alise & Nate and Alise & her father had choreographed dances and, to my surprise, Alise donned a set of light up blue devil horns for her father/daughter dance. We went into some great toasts, cake cutting then everyone got on the dance floor and partied the night away. After the reception was over, Alise & Nate left the hotel with a sparkler exit and got into their newly re-decorated car. You know its a good wedding when after the couple leaves, people are sitting around looking at the photos they took.
Congratulations to both Alise & Nate! Thank you both for having me capture your wedding day memories and providing me with some of my own! Yes, of course, there are photos below. 🙂