As an Outer Banks photographer I have been honored to photograph many wonderful couples on their wedding day and beautiful families on the beach.
This year I got to be a part of Stephanie and Laith's wedding.
While all weddings are special to me, this one was extra special because Stephanie's dad is my all-time favorite Sunday school teacher. Also, Stephanie's mom worked in our church when I was growing up and happens to be one of the sweetest, bubbliest people in existence. In short, I love these guys!
So when they told me that Stephanie was planning to get married in the OBX and they wanted me to be their photographer I was over-the-moon-level excited.
I met Stephanie, her mom, and soon-to-be mother-in-law at the Front Porch Cafe in Kill Devil Hills to start planning their photography. They told me they wanted the wedding to be at the First Colony Inn in Nags Head, NC. The ceremony would be on the beach with tented reception on the lawn of the First Colony Inn. When Stephanie shared their love story with me I thought it sounded like something straight out of the movies. Stephanie's a writer in New York City and she tells their love story beautifully on their wedding website:
"Like a wave crashing on the shore, neither one of them saw it coming—rather, only what was left behind. A fresh, sandy canvas on which to start brand new…together… In 2016, she was a writer, just doing her job, hired by a marketing firm to tell his story. And he had a story to tell. A little reluctant at first, he soon found himself comfortably relaying details of his life that, perhaps, had hardly ever been shared. For two days in Boston, Stephanie’s job was to get to know Laith—to help him reveal the events that made his life a success story, a story that might inspire others. It seems the more he shared, the deeper she fell. She had interviewed many before him. She knew the rules. Mixing business with pleasure was impossible. Laith, however, had not been made aware of these stipulations. And little did Stephanie know, he was falling just as hard. He wondered if perhaps maybe, after they finished working together, he might acquire this clever and charming writer’s personal phone number—should he play his cards right.
Fast forward about a month. Quippy emails were exchanged. The story was finalized, and Laith’s chapter with Stephanie the Writer came to a close. Well, you know what they say about closed doors. Another one always opens. Stephanie and Laith began to text. The roles reversed. Laith asked the questions. Stephanie shared her story—all the while growing more and more intrigued by this boy from Cleveland, Ohio. Countless hours were spent discussing topics as close as family and as far as spiritual beliefs. They connected over their love of literature and coffee. They talked about their future and falling in love. But the timing just wasn’t right. As tides do, Stephanie and Laith’s relationship ebbed and flowed. And it wasn’t until September 2017 that they saw each other again—for two days in the same city in which they’d met a year before. By now, Laith had moved to NYC and Stephanie was dreaming of making a big transition herself. Coincidentally (or not so), to live in New York City had always been one of her dreams. It’s fair to say the rest is history. Before long, the pair was riding subway trains, learning the joys of subletting, and sipping coffee on the streets of Queens. Free from the distance and rules preventing them from being together, they fell in love—so in love that, on May 4, 2018, the Elkurd and Alexander families came together in Chicago to commit themselves to one another under God. One year later, we are celebrating that commitment—a brand new chapter in a story that’s only just beginning. Bring on the tide!"
Since Stephanie is a writer, she had to get ready in the Library Room of the First Colony Inn. Surrounded by books and the people she loves, she put on her wedding dress.
Her dress is very special because it has been worn by 3 other women in her family: her mother, aunt and grandmother! I cannot believe they kept the dress so nice after so much time and use. It is a stunning dress!
Here's the story of "The Dress", as told by the family:
"In 1957 The Dress was born and worn for the first time - created especially for Marcia out of Peau de Soie silk and Alencon lace. The Dress enjoyed a festive wedding day and suffered, yet survived, the fierce winds and pounding rain of a June hurricane. And then…for twenty-three years…The Dress waited.
In 1980, Marcia’s daughter, Kathy, strode down the aisle on the arm of her dad wearing the dress her mother had worn. It had taken some nipping and tucking here and there, but The Dress withstood the test of time and wear.
The Dress only had to wait eight years for Marcia’s youngest daughter, Suzi, to clean it up and show it off again. On a chilly November day in 1987, Suzi danced through the snow-covered streets of Shockoe Slip on the arm of the man of her dreams.
The Dress of Peau de Soie silk and Alencon lace had fun that day, but took a beating. Certainly never to be worn again, The Dress was stuffed into an oversized storage bag, thrown into the attic…and waited…thirty-two years…
…for another June wedding day.
62 years from its first."
*Chills...I have them*
While Stephanie was getting ready, Laith was also getting dressed at the Inn. The First Colony Inn is a great venue for getting ready. There is plenty of room and everything looks so quaint!
Laith spent some quiet moments with his mom, dad and brother before heading down to the beach ceremony. This wedding was all about the closeness of family!
Then it was time to go down to the ceremony! Coastyle Weddings and events were their wedding planners and day-of coordinators. Taylor and Samantha always do a great job and it really makes a difference having someone tell you when it's time to head to the next thing. They are very organized and make weddings run smoothly!
I love Tim's face when he looks at me after he gets his girl! Such a proud dad!
The First Colony Inn is also a great venue because the beach is just across the street! It took us (maybe) five minutes to walk.
After the ceremony we did family/wedding party portraits.
Then everyone left for the inn and Stephanie, Laith and I stayed behind on the beach to do some more shots. This is always one of my favorite parts. It's a great opportunity for the couple to get some "alone" time to enjoy the fact that they are now married!
Then we headed back to the First Colony Inn. Stephany and Laith had requested a shot of everyone in front of the inn, so the girls at Coastyle Weddings and Events had everyone set up by the time we arrived!
Here are some details from their wedding. Including their coffee favors from the Front Porch Cafe!
The story of the wedding dress:
Camp Cocktail made some custom signature mocktails for their wedding. These guys are seriously awesome! Their cocktails are so tasty and the camper is so cute! I love how they create custom cocktails. I've been lucky to have a couple weddings with them this year and their creations were completely unique to each wedding.
Basnight's Lone Cedar was the caterer. The chimichurri on top of the steak was soooo good! At the time, I was 5 months pregnant so I really appreciated how yummy everything was!
After dinner we snuck away for a couple pre-sunset shots.
The rest of the night was a continuation of their celebration of love. I loved watching everyone dance the Dabkeh, a celebratory folk dance that combines line and circle dancing. Laith's family is originally from Jordan and it was great seeing the ways they payed homage to his culture.
Stephanie and Laith's wedding was perfect for them. They spent the day celebrating what they cared about, their love for each other and their families!
Outer Banks Wedding Vendors:
Ceremony Venue: The Beach in front of First Colony Inn in Nags Head, NC
Reception Venue: The First Colony Inn in Nags Head, NC
Officiant: Trey the youth pastor from our church when we were growing up
Planner: Coastyle Weddings & Events
Hair & Makeup: Lovie's Salon
Floral & Decor: Sugar Snap Events
I Do OBX Chairs did the ceremony decor chairs, arch, table
Ocean Atlantic Rentals for tent and other reception items
Catering: Basnights Lone Cedar
Bar & Spirits: Camp Cocktail
Cake: Patty Bakes
DJ: Andrew at Coastal DJ
More about weddings at the First Colony Inn in Nags Head N.C.:
You can reserve the entire 26-room inn for your wedding! Everything about this place is charming. The rooms are each special and unique. The lawn is the perfect place for a tented wedding. AND they have a private access walkway to the beach, making dreams of a sandy-toed ceremony an easy reality. The First Colony Inn is also very easy to work with. They offer customized packages so you can get exactly what you're looking for! They charge an event fee to rent the grounds for two evenings and block off all 26 rooms for two nights, so your guests can all be in the same place! It's the best way to party!