share the love // maggie & jake

some of you may remember when i held a contest called, “share the love” – where me and two of my amazing friends (bunch collective, go check them out) teamed up to offer an awesome couple a free video session alongside a free mini-session! all said couple had to do was share their love story and a picture of themselves and then we’d pick a winner (or so we thought – you may have seen on instagram but we ended up picking out of a hat)!

enter maggie and jake. 

maggie is actually best friends with one of my bridefriends (this is a new term i’ve coined.. because i’ve become close friends with so many of my brides, i don’t like calling them just “bride” or “friend”.. so there you go!) – so when erica mentioned maggie may enter, i was so excited.

maggie is gorgeous, spunky but so gentle-hearted, and has this incredibly beautiful red hair. her fiancee jake is just as adorable as she is, really genuine and honestly just an all around awesome guy. they were both totally willing to climb onto a log over a lake within the first 10 minutes of our shoot, just because i asked them to… even though jake must have thought i was crazy. i knew they were recently engaged and had been together awhile. when i heard their really sweet and simple story, i felt something click into place. i knew whether we picked them as our couple or not, i wanted to make some pictures with them one day. and it worked out that we were able to do so!

from maggie: “our story isn’t very interesting but it’s certainly special to us. we first met when I went with a friend of mine to volunteer for Crisis Assistance Ministry to sort through clothing and then feed the homeless at the men’s shelter. We got there and a gal in our small group at church had driven two of her friends and introduced us, one of her friends was Jake.  I kid you not my first comment to him was that he looked like a cartoon (I meant it in the sense of a disney character, but that’s not the way he took it, ha!) His hair was so long it went down to his shoulders and he was this tall teenager with a killer smile. Lord only knows what my first impression to him was…my guess was that I was an odd redheaded girl, ha! Anyways not much happened after that, I remember working with him to scoop out ice-cream for the men’s shelter and thinking how funny he was and man oh man, I still couldn’t get over that smile. The one Ironic thing we both think is hilarious, is that we were volunteering for what our church liked to call “LOVE WEEK” so we actually met during love week. After that point, Jake facebooked me, yep totally still make fun of him for that to this day….but nonetheless we started chatting and really hit it off. He had just moved to Charlotte from Connecticut and then before that from Canada and here I am a small town country girl (never lived anywhere else in my life) who was just learning how to drive in Charlotte and then I fall in love with a Canadian? Seriously? Now that was something I never could have predicted. but that’s just us in a nut shell, we love our story because it’s ours and we love to represent an example of a young couple who proves that a healthy and Christ-like relationship can last through the early years and that it is possible to set the example in love at such a young age for our peers.”

now, hopefully you’re still with me after reading that because i have some awesome links that you 100% need to check out!
+bunch collective’s website (if you’re in charlotte or the surrounding areas and need a kick-ass videographer team, check these guys out. not only are they good friends of mine but they’re down to earth and incredibly talented. love these two and love working with them!): http://bunch-collective.com/
+maggie’s blog: http://belivelyblog.com/ 
+jakes vimeo (he is *ALSO* a fantastic videographer!): http://vimeo.com/jakecolletta
+maggie’s family’s venue (so beautiful and local!): http://www.morninggloryfarmnc.com/

instagram (because i’m a creeper and would totally go find this crew to follow)!
bunch: @bunchcollective  //  nicci: @iccidesign  //  sol: @solhorner  //
maggie: @maggiebranson  //  jake: @jakecolletta // me: @emilychidester

i love you with every piece of me. i will love and love and love until i have nothing left and
then i will make more out of the nothing that lives where everything once did.
i would dismantle me to put you back together again.”

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March 21, 2014 - 6:31 pm

Dawn Parker - these are A M A Z I N G

March 21, 2014 - 7:16 pm

Kerri Green - They are adorable beyond words…your images and the video collaboration…just lovely Em! Beautiful as always. xo

March 21, 2014 - 8:09 pm

Lois Bath Colletta - I am a sappy mess. Just riveting. Pics and video. Wow.

March 22, 2014 - 3:07 am

Fern Bath - Wow! Indescribably beauty personified. These photos are absolutely amazing1.

March 22, 2014 - 3:56 am

| Be Lively - […] Jake & I were so incredibly blessed to have our photos taken by the super incredibly talented Emily Chidester. She has a way of making people feel truly special and for that, I am thankful. Emily & Bunch […]

March 22, 2014 - 4:01 am

Davide Colletta - So stinkin’ awesome – love the video too and love you both.

March 22, 2014 - 4:06 am

Brie Greene - That’s literally the cutest thing I’ve ever seen

March 22, 2014 - 7:45 pm

Autumn Kern - I love the split-face photo. These are all gorgeous!

April 6, 2014 - 1:36 pm

Sara - This is beautiful! I love the video. Don’t even know the couple and feel like I do. That is talent. You should do more videos too!

WEDDING // KRISTEN & TYLER, PART I // BOONE, NORTH CAROLINA

Okay. You know when you’re a little kid, and you get a new toy… and it’s so awesome that you don’t even want to play with it because you’re afraid it’ll get dirty? That’s how I felt about this wedding. I have coveted it, and nurtured it and poured over this wedding because I adore Kristen and her fiance Tyler so incredibly much.

You may have gotten to know these two through their engagement session, posted back on my blog in June (click here!) – but I hope that you can truly see how much love there is between them and all parties involved.

Kristen (seriously, go follow her on tumblr) is a super creative person. She literally put so much heart into their wedding, hand-melding each decoration together to completely represent their personalities. I can honestly say I have never had such a detailed filled wedding. They’re my favorite! I love feeling overwhelmed by all of the details that you don’t even know where to start photographing them. I literally just started crying when I walked into the reception hall, partially because of my relationship with Kristen and how happy I was for them.. but seriously, look at this place!

I will forever remember the moments of this wedding that have set it apart and made it completely different than any wedding I’ve shot before, both aesthetically and because of the mood that was set by Camp Sky Ranch. The wooden cabins where the separate parties were getting ready, the Bon Iver playlist (which was coming from my phone! Whoo!) that softly played in the background of the ceremony while the rain was POURING down outside, lightly misting everyone in the chapel (and thankfully cooling all of us off).. the beams of sunlight coming over the umbrellas and backlighting our portraits. Baby Jude (Kristen and Tyler’s sweet boy) running around, making everyone laugh, the absolutely delicious southern dinner & family style seating.. I could literally go on and on with how special this wedding was.

never do posts this big, and this is a part one of two because I had so many images that I couldn’t pick and choose. Between a first look with bridesmaids, then with Kristen’s father.. a gorgeous little chapel with open windows, a surprise Katy Perry performance (just wait for the video).. I just had to split this up!

{From the bride…}

“This wedding had been a long time coming.  After we had Jude, it was only a matter of time as to ‘when’ we would tie the knot. Even through all the craziness of an unplanned pregnancy, there was never an ‘if’ we would get married…. it was just when. So this left me a lot of time for planning while I waited for the “when” part.

During that time, so many ideas bounced around in my brain of what I wanted. The most important thing was having The Blue Ridge Mountains incorporated. Of course, this is where we met so it made the most sense. This idea eventually led me to find Camp Sky Ranch, which was very much under the radar in the wedding world and even better, was in Blowing Rock which also held sentimental value in our relationship .It was a stellar find for us because it captured everything I could have ever wanted in a venue: rustic comfort full of love and originality. The owners were beyond sweet and accommodating, which really helped me because I was planning everything 3 hours away. The food was from one of the best restaurants in the High Country, which specializes, in unique tasting of game like duck, trout, pheasant, ostrich etc. After the food and venue were decided everything else just came along naturally. I spent months researching color palettes, themes and wedding blogs like every other future bride. And just like others, it just seemed overwhelming and confusing. That’s when I decided to go ahead and ditch the normalcy of what I was supposed to do…This was the fun part.

I guess if I had to describe my wedding, I would want it to be portrayed as a fun bohemian family cookout. Maybe this is why I avoided going over themes. I wanted my wedding to convey a feeling and a mood, rather than a matching color scheme attached to a generic wedding tradition. I would ask myself the same questions over and over… Is this all going to go together? Are people going to understand what I’m doing?  And fortunately it did.  I couldn’t help but cry tears of joy after I saw the final product of all of my hard work…and let me tell you, wrapping over 30 bottles of yarn by yourself is worth it. Don’t let anyone steer you away of those precious details you hold dearly. My wedding was beautiful beyond words and went so smoothly I couldn’t believe nothing went wrong. I even squeezed in enough time to perform “Firework” by Katy Perry for Tyler (he’s her biggest fan) who also cried tears of joy during my performance! It was the best thing I’ve ever done and I would suggest for other brides to surprise their guy with something special too.

Overall, everything was perfect… the music, mood, food and decorations came together. Even the weather was beautiful because you know they say its good luck to rain on your wedding day!”

 

September 20, 2012 - 2:27 pm

Meagan - Uhm… this wedding was kind of incredible. Can she decorate mine?? Gorgeous shots, girl!!!

ENGAGED // KENDELL & JAMES // DAVIDSON, NORTH CAROLINA

I knew as soon as I got the answers to Kendell and James’ questionnaire, I wanted to be a part of their story.
These two are so in love with each other. A quiet, powerful and steady love that’s unbelievably evident both in words and in person.

Kendell and I hit it off immediately, over our love for the same movies, candy, and general sass on both of our parts. She’s so hilarious, kind-hearted, and totally welcoming. Like I said, we hit it off immediately and that has made my entire role of being their photographer shift into an easy and growing friendship. And I can say the same for James – he’s one of the nicest guys I’ve been privileged to make pictures with. On our drive around the city, he asked me questions, made an effort to get to know me, and didn’t buck when I asked him to do things that other guys might deem “stupid” – these two worked so well together and listened to me and trusted me. I hope I was able to do their love justice through these pictures!

I can’t wait for their wedding in June.. you’d better believe I’m going to be stuffing some catered Chickfila sandwiches in my face and dancing alongsie you guys!

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April 22, 2014 - 1:58 pm

Brian Schindler - so good, friend!

PREGNANT // AMBER & JOE

I can’t thank my sister-in-law enough for referring her sweet friend, Amber, to me for her maternity pictures!

From the get-go, I knew I liked her. Even over email, she was kinda spunky. We planned our session around the time of year that these blooms grow for like, A WEEK down in Fort Mill. Luckily, they were still there when we met up. Unluckily for us, there were 5 other photographers (who had lights and scrims and all that unnecessary jazz) so it was interesting to have to shoot around them!

All that aside, Amber and Joe were so awesome to work with.. easy-going, fun, unafraid to snuggle and love on each other.. my ideal couple, really. I think that helped in capturing some of these beautiful shots – altogether, they trusted me.

Huge congratulations to you two, I hope that the birth of your little boy is easy and beautiful!

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April 11, 2014 - 4:09 pm

Megan Gielow - Get it girlllll. These are fab.

April 11, 2014 - 5:02 pm

Holeigh Abercrombie - The horizontal with him kissing her cheek..just lovee. xo

all killer, no filler.

i went on a grand adventure with a handful of my close friends early last month.

we went on a camping trip called “photo field trip”- which is basically just a get away in santa barbara at el capitan canyon for photographers to learn, create, and have community with other amazing people in the same craft. i got to meet and learn from so many people that i’ve studied and followed for so long. and it was beyond refreshing to see that they were normal people, who struggle with self-doubt and creativity issues just like i do.

sometimes, when you’re surrounded by such incredible talent it’s hard not to compare yourself and your work and say “well, how did they get to be where they are? am i not good enough? how do they book those kinds of weddings?” – and in reality, it’s all a matter of (yes, say it with me, that God-forsaken thing called) TIME. we are each on our own journey through this crazy industry and we learn what works for us through individual experiences and failures and awesome moments. honestly, i’ve only been doing this as a full time job for a year (shot many years before this, but only one as a legit LLC) and i’ve learned the most incredible stuff about myself and what works for me. how to get those incredible moments with my couples and have them trust me on their big days. that’s why i take such few weddings and do questionnaires (to learn if we’re a good fit, to foster a mutually beneficial relationship) and send goodies.. i like to make people feel loved! but having a gift-giving nature doesn’t come easy for everyone. anyway, i took classes with sean flanigan, benj haisch, ben sasso, dan o’day, jenny jimenez, braedon flynn, jessica peterson, and a handful of other really talented photographers. i took away a ton and left a lot at the campground, which you’ll hopefully see implemented this year in my work&business!

i don’t even know where i wanted to go with this post but to say that i’m unbelievably grateful to have gone on this trip. i got to hang out with so many old friends (including a handful of my loves from my don’t give up trip last july), meet so many internet-turned-new friends, and made so many new friends. it was nice to just enjoy being in a beautiful place full of gorgeous scenery. and as a bonus, after our trip ended, i headed to LA for a couple of days to stay at a fantastic air bnb with my friends alicia, megan and kaley (which is where the photoshoot you’ll see below came from!)

enjoy this picture heavy post

:)

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engaged // holli & cooper // charlotte, north carolina

where do i even start with holli & cooper?

they are two incredibly sweet,  kind and just awesome-natured individuals. meeting them just reinforced that i knew this! i could tell from reading their initial questionnaire, before they even booked me to shoot their wedding – they love their families and treasure each other and i couldn’t wait to meet them on the day of their engagement session (they live out of town and drove down from VA just to do it in charlotte!)

i just knew i loved these guys after spending an hour with them at coffee before our session.
thank you for letting me be your photographer, and thank you for letting me be the one who as holli said, is “capturing our adventure!” – can’t wait until your amazing big day in november!!

“in all the world, there is no heart for me like yours. in all the world, there is no love for you like mine.”

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s e a r c h