Megan and Grant’s Wedding at Belk Chapel in Charlotte, North Carolina
Megan and Grant’s wedding at Belk Chapel in Charlotte, North Carolina, was an absolute dream to photograph and the entire wedding party was a delight. There were many moving parts to this event, so Megan and I worked together to create a detailed timeline to make their day seamless.
Since there were three different shooting locations for the day, I brought along an assistant to gather details, keep the timeline in check, direct the bridal party, and keep track of the portrait shot list so that nothing was missed. Because of the hard work put into the fine details, prior to the wedding, all of the events flowed perfectly.
I’ll tell you more about the shooting of this wedding later, first let’s hear from the Bride.
A short intro about the couple
Grant and I both attended Ardrey Kell High School in Charlotte, NC but we were 2 grades apart. Grant and I also attended the same church, which is how we officially met in 2017. We were volunteering at a Women’s shelter in Charlotte and that afternoon he messaged me on Facebook. I was attending Auburn University at the time and Grant, having just graduated from
the University of South Carolina, was planning on moving to Dallas, TX.
We texted or talked on the phone almost every day for 3 years, building a friendship, with both of us knowing we wanted more but the timing never seemed to be right. Then, in 2020 we were both home due to COVID and finally went on our first date. We talked for four hours and both immediately knew we would spend the rest of our life together.
I was finishing Pharmacy School at Auburn University and Grant moved to California, so for 2.5 years we were long-distance. In September 2021, Grant asked me to marry him and it was definitely the easiest answer!! Finally, in June 2022, I finished Pharmacy School and moved to join Grant in San Francisco, CA. I work as a pharmacist for the San Francisco VA Medical Center and Grant is nearing 6 years working for Toyota Corporate. We are having the best time as newlyweds exploring the west coast.
How & why did you choose your venue?
A family member got married at the Belk Chapel and after attending her wedding, I was set on having my wedding there. I took Grant to look at the chapel, and he also loved it. The church is beautiful and really speaks for itself, especially when the afternoon light shines in from the left across the pews.
Truly nothing like it! With the church being so stunning, we knew our reception venue had to match its beauty. The Terrace at Cedarhill is absolutely breathtaking. Because Charlotte is so important to both of us, the second we saw the city view from the veranda, we knew the Terrace was where we wanted our reception to be held.
What was the theme/ vibe? Why?
Fall modern. I enjoy all the bright colors of fall, while still having a clean/modern look. Our florist, Not Your Granny’s Florist did an amazing job with all the florals. She truly made all my wedding dreams come true. Our event planner, Crystal, with Best Impressions, ensured all the reception tables were clean, yet colorful.
How did you choose your suppliers?
I read many reviews on “The Knot” and Instagram to find out about vendors. Our wedding planner, Jane Daniel, also provided us with some vendors that we ultimately decided to go with.
Did you DIY? If so, where did you go for inspiration and tutorials?
Our food/cocktail signs were DIY. I used Instagram for inspiration and had the best time designing them for the wedding.
How did the planning work? Who helped? How long did it take to plan?
I am a huge organizational person. I created numerous spreadsheets, itineraries, packing lists, and even a wedding binder. We started planning the wedding immediately after we got engaged because of how hectic post-COVID weddings were. Jane Daniel was a huge help in planning and organizing, especially because I was planning the wedding from the West Coast. My mom, Anne Cullip, and Grant’s mom, Barbara Jorgensen, were also huge help during the planning process.
Any fears or worries about the day?
My only fear about the wedding day was the weather, which it turned out to be the most gorgeous October day in Charlotte.
Any things you wish you did or didn’t do?
I have no regrets about our wedding day, other than we wish it could have lasted all night!! From start to finish of our wedding day, everything ran smoothly, our vendors were so professional and ensured everything was perfect.
Advice for future couples?
Hire a wedding planner. There are so many things to think about throughout the process and they have done it so many times. It also gives peace of mind on the wedding day that there is someone there who knows your vision and will do everything to make it come true without having to bother you on the biggest day. Also, walk through the day with your planner so they have an accurate depiction of the timeline you are hoping for. Lastly, there will be something small that doesn’t go how you thought it would, but no one else will know it, so just let it go and enjoy the night!
Words by the Photographer
I had never been to the Belk Chapel or the Terrace at Cedar Hill, so two weeks before the wedding, I drove the entire route and clocked the time between all three locations (the townhouse where the girls were getting ready, to the Belk Chapel, and lastly to the Terrace). This not only helped me hone in the timeline and factor in equipment setup/breakdown but also helped me to better navigate on the day of the wedding.
Since we technically had five first looks (bridesmaids, dad, brother, groom’s parents, and the groom), we had to be very strategic in our timing and locations. The Belk Chapel is located within Queens University, so there was certainly no lack of beautiful settings – and all within a short walking distance.
When I visited the chapel two weeks prior, I did some scouting and created a plan for the various setting options. It was a beautiful sunny day for the wedding, but the structures around the campus created lovely open shade for midday portraits. We wanted to make sure we used all of the available settings so I began with the groomsmen and used the front chapel dome for a more masculine backdrop. I chose to photograph the bride and bridesmaids on an adjacent side, where there were gorgeous white columns.
The bride and groom’s first look took place outside, just behind the chapel so that we would have a more natural and quiet setting – it was also more private. After the first look and gift exchange, we headed inside to do the family portraits which it would be a more formal setting. After the ceremony, we roamed around the campus for a few bridal parties and husband & wife portraits. My assistant began to break down and load up the equipment to get us ready to follow the trolley over to the Terrace.
Here was the trickiest part of the day. We arrived at the reception venue and rushed up to the third floor to set up lighting equipment and photograph the reception decor before the bridal party could come in. We instructed the bridal party to stay on the trolley until we had finished photographing the reception decor and could get into place for the grand entrances. What I thought would be the most challenging part of the day, ended up going very smoothly and we encountered zero problems!
Solid communication with the bride, the planner, and the assistant (and having the proper resources) is what made this wedding flow so perfectly! And the icing on the cake was the couple – Megan and Grant are the sweetest couple I know and they were such a joy to work with!
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