Welcome to my blog! I'm thrilled to be able to share with you my favorite images from weddings, engagements, maternity, and more! Grab a cup of coffee and get snuggly cuz this blog will give you all the feels!
There is no joy like finding a kindred spirit. When you connect on multiple levels, when your conversations go deeper, when you find friends for life. I’ve been blessed with so many amazing clients who have broken through the client/vendor barrier. I know a lot of business owners and even a lot of other photographers warn against this or try not to befriend their clients. But for me, that’s what its all about. I can’t help it, I’m one of those touchy feely types! 😉 Money is great, being an artist is wonderful, but making connections is POWERFUL and when I meet a couple like Lesley & Russell I can’t help but immediately be friends with them. I’m not talking surface friends where you say really nice things to each other and talk about how much you should get together for coffee & never do. I’m talking about the we’ll stick by you through thick n thin kind of friends. That is what I’ve found in this incredible couple.
When you hear the term “match made in heaven,” Lesley & Russell’s picture should pop into your mind. They are both Christians who’ve never been married. They prayed and waited a long time for God to bring the right person in their lives and after many years of patience and listening, it finally happened! Lesley & Russell could not be more perfect for each other! God worked in his perfect timing in their lives, so what better way to celebrate than by creating a fantastic theme around that very concept!?
As you might have seen from their You + Me session & Lesley’s bridal session, they went with a 1920s vibe. Totally a MLP wedding if there ever was one! When you walked into the Temple Theatre you were immediately transported to the 20s. A live band played 1920s love ballads, the lighting was low and deep like a 20s night club, the backdrop on the stage had art deco elements, & even the guests looked like they had just stepped out of The Great Gatsby to attend. Don’t forget to pick up your program…er I mean Playbill on your way in so you can watch the most wonderful wedding play “Perfect Timing!” Their Love Story had all of the elements you need in a play, a fantastic cast, good romantic plot line, and a the perfect amount of humor & fun! I don’t think I’ll ever experience another wedding quite like it.
Thank you so much to Lesley & Russell for taking a chance on a newbie to the south! It was an honor & a privilege to document your beautiful day and I can’t wait to get together again and continue our wonderful friendship!
See more from Lesley’s Bridal session at Simply Beautiful Couture!
How did your fiancé propose? RusselI and I had discussed marriage before he asked me and I had actually gone with him to pick out an engagement ring in December of 2012 at Joint Venture Jewelry in Cary. They have beautiful estate and vintage jewelry there; and, I was looking for a vintage Art Deco engagement ring with my love of vintage things and being in the 1920s’ theme. We found one that caught my eye. Russell put it on layaway; and, we did not tell anyone. I had my grandmother’s wedding band from the same time period, which I later had the engraving reworked and the ring cleaned. It matched perfectly with the engagement ring. However, I did not have a proposal. We had been dating a year at that point. Russell dropped little hints here and there but it was not “pop the question” until July 13th. We had been to downtown Apex that day and it had poured rain all day. We had a lovely lunch at a local pizza joint. When we got back to my apartment, I got on my computer and he stood on the balcony by himself for a little while which was strange. He called me outside to show me a booklet he picked up for me at the Hallmark store that was about historical facts that happened during the year of my birthday – 1965. He read the book to me going over all the facts and then skipped over that next to last page. He then asked me to read that page. He had written on it, “Will you make history with me for the rest of our lives?” It dawned on me that he was proposing and I said “yes”. However I followed my answer by asking him to ask the question again in a different way-Will you marry me? Which are those four famous words that I always wanted to hear him say. He asked if he needed to get down on one knee again and I said, “Yes!” He proposed again with those four words and I again said, “Yes” and began kissing him.
Tell me a bit about the planning process for your wedding: We love vintage things so I knew that I wanted a vintage wedding. I chose a 1920s’ theme because I thought that it would be different. The Great Gatsby movie had come out last year causing a big wave of 20s’ fashion, all things peacock, and Art Deco; so, I thought that time period would be great to pull elements from and pick colors. We eventually decided to use the peacock feather colors of blue, green and purple for our wedding and white and black for our reception with ostrich feathers. During the planning of each detail, I made sure that it was true to who we were as a couple and unique to us as far as our faith, background, favorite things, and personalities. I searched the internet for vintage photos of 1920s’ wedding and 20s’ brides for bridal and bridesmaids’ gowns, flowers, and decoration inspiration. I also read bridal blogs such as Style Me Pretty and Sweet Violet Bride. I did not have a wedding planner nor could I afford one. Planning this wedding was the hardest thing I have done since getting my transitional doctorate in physical therapy! That’s because I have never planned an event, not even a surprise birthday party or dinner party. LOL. What can I say? I jump into the deep end with both feet. I picked Temple Theatre for my venue because it is a local vintage theatre build in 1925. We wanted to showcase this beautiful vintage theatre and the Sanford downtown area through our wedding. Our reception space, the ArtStudio, is on the top floor of the Lee Building, which is another 1920s’ building a block from the Temple. It was perfect for our reception with its artwork, brick walls, and hardwood floors with windows overlooking the Temple Theatre.
What was the most memorable moment(s) of your day? Actually, the most memorable moment was the moment I took my first walk down the aisle during the rehearsal the night before at the Temple. I began to cry, followed by Russell, our bridal party, friends and family as well as the Pastor. Everyone felt the emotion of this private moment without all the glamour of the wedding day as I had a sheet tied to my waist for a train, ribbons for a bouquet, and tissue paper for a veil. Reading our personal letters to each other was a memorable moment. Riding to the Temple Theatre in the Model T with my father, Ralph Harrington, and choosing my father’s song, “Summer Love” that he sang with the Blue Notes in 1960, for our father-daughter dance was very special. He is 82 now; and, as the song played it was wonderful to watch his face light up and see him relive that time in his mind as he sang to the crowd. Lastly, my cathedral veil came off three times: Coming down the aisle and on stage twice. That was very memorable for me as it was unexpected.
Funniest memory from your wedding day? When Russell and I came downstairs to make our grand exit, our car was not there. Keep in mind, January 4, 2014 was a very cold day in Sanford, NC Russell ran across the street to find the car and drove it back to where I was standing. Instead of helping his new bride into the passenger seat first as it was freezing outside, he chose to leave me standing by the car as he loaded up the trunk shivering. His sister saw him doing this and yelled, “Russell! Take care of your bride”. .
If you had to do it all over again would you change anything? I would have made sure that I had taken the time to secure the comb of my veil into my hair with bobby pins so that it would not have fallen out. We were in a rush to get to the church and I did not take time to do so. We struggled with doing a First Look (bride and groom see each other before the wedding and do a photo shoot together and with their bridal party and families) vs. having Russell see me as I came down the aisle for the first time. Doing the First Look and taking all of our pictures before the wedding would have given us plenty of time to spend with our guests at our reception before they left. Many had to leave about 2 ½ hours after the wedding due to young children or other commitments. However, because we had both waited until our mid to late forties to get married for the first time, waiting to see each other at the altar seemed like the right choice for us at the time. When you plan your wedding, you will find that you compromise when making decisions about what is best for you as a couple vs. your guests. At the end of the day, as long as you are happy, that is the most important thing.
Any advice for future brides & grooms? Our first piece of advice for a future bride and groom is to make the wedding unique to you as a couple so that your guests can say, “That wedding was totally that couple.” What makes a wedding special is not the amount of special effects or perfect dress or amount of money you spend, but that you are entering a covenant with another you love before God. All the other is icing on the cake. Don’t get caught up in what ingredients to use to make the best icing. Just make sure you have a solid foundation for a cake. Our cake was a strong faith in God and a commitment to love each other for the rest of our lives no matter what! Love is a choice!
What was your favorite part about working with Mabyn Ludke Photography? From the first time I saw Mabyn’s website, I knew there was something very special about her photos because of their creativity and artistry. After email exchanges and phone calls, I finally met her at a coffee shop in Greensboro and I felt completely at ease and that I could trust her. Russell and I were her first North Carolina wedding that she booked after moving down here from NY; and, we feel blessed to have discovered her before she becomes famous in NC. We love Mabyn because she treats her clients like her friends and we know that we have a friend for life in her. She cares for each person she photographs. Photography is more than a job; it is her passion and her ministry. Mabyn has a quirky-geeky sense of humor and an exuberant personality. We all laughed so hard at our 1920s’ engagement shoot. How good is she at getting people to relax in front of the camera? Russell is a private person and not one to show public displays of affection. Mabyn got him to relax while taking photos of him kissing me. That is high praise in my book! Mabyn was totally up for doing a vintage 1920s’ inspired theme for my engagement and wedding shoots and for our wedding. She was also up for traveling to unique and different places for those photos. Why do things like others when you can be different we always say? Mabyn gets that too. The photographs from the engagement shoot were beautiful! The several photos I have seen from the bridal shoot and wedding are amazing. I highly recommend her!
Hair: One of my bridesmaids and a family member, Lindsey Yow of Head to Toe Salon and Spa // Makeup Artist: Janice Coleman, Merle Norman Cosmetics // Dress Designer & Store Location: Melissa Sweet, David’s Bridal, Durham // Jewelry: Two small strands of pearls belonging to Russell’s paternal grandmother, one large vintage strand from “A Few Nice Things” in Sanford. A sterling silver seagull pin that has been passed down from Russell’s great-grandmother to his grandmother who lived in Germany and it has been passed down to his mother Ingrid who is from Germany. Art Deco earrings consisting of carved oxen bone roses with green enamel leaves from Germany (Ebay) // Veil or Hair accessories: Diana Zahlava made my 1920s’ inspired Juliet cap with cathedral veil attached by a comb. Accessories that adorned the cap (a German fabric flower garland, lace and satin flowers and Alecon lace) were purchased from Etsy. // Shoes: Light in the Box // Bridesmaids Dresses: Lord and Taylor, Macys; Flower Girl: Etsy // Grooms Attire: Avent & Thomas Clothing // Ceremony Venue: Temple Theatre //Reception Venue: ArtStudio // Florist: Ted’s Flower Basket // Transportation: Model T rented from Kirk Tours and Limousine, Pinehurst // DJ: Steve Harrington // Caterer: Fat Juniors Grill Catering // Cake: Tracy Melby, Enchanted Moments Sweet Shop, Broadway, NC // Wedding Coordinator: Tracy Melby // Lighting: Steve Harrington // Invitations & Playbill: Sonja Moore, sister of the groom, put together the peacock feather invitations and the wedding theatre playbill program, both of which were purchased on Etsy.
Other: Our guests were a huge element to our wedding as we asked them to dress up in 1920s’ fashion and they looked fabulous! Our music was amazing. Vocalist Allysha Lilley, Bassist Daryl Perry, Cellist Nathan Martin, Guitarist and Vocalist Jeff Alverson, Drummer Kevin Griffin and Pianist Leah Everett are friends of ours and several of them go to our church and sing on the worship team. They did a wonderful job with the 1920s’ musical prelude of five songs and with the wedding music.