The Legacy of Marriage Captured by NC Photographer In His Image

Southern Bride & Groom works with some of the best wedding photographers in the Raleigh-Durham area and all across North Carolina. We’re thrilled to feature a North Carolina wedding photographer spotlight series so that you can get to know each of them a little better!

In today’s post, the legacy of marriage is captured by NC photographer In His Image. The owner, Dajuan Jones, is a second generation wedding photographer, originally from Albany, NY. He moved to NC while serving in the U.S. Marine Corp and took to the southern hospitality. While enrolled in N.C. State University, he founded In His Image Photography in 1998.

After learning the ropes from his dad, Dajuan had the pleasure of training under some remarkable photographers, many ranked among the top wedding photographers in the world! In addition, he remains active in organizations such as the Professional Photographers of America, Wedding & Portrait Photographers International, and the Professional Photographers of North Carolina.

Get to know more about In His Image Photography below…
Downtown Raleigh weddingWhy do you love photography?

Wedding photography allows me to marry two things I’m very passionate about: marriage and legacy.  Although I really enjoy photography, it’s the wedding aspect that really kindles my fire. I’m genuinely excited for my couples as they follow God’s plan for their lives. Being able to document a part of their journey, filing the pages of their legacy with honest and beautiful imagery is why I love photography. If it weren’t for my zeal of marriage, I suspect photography would be no more than a hobby.

Where do you draw your artistic inspiration?

I’m inspired by the moment and what it represents. Imagery that conveys a genuine representation of the bride and groom is always what I’m after. This can be difficult to put into words, but when they see their images, it’s plain to see, which is a major part of my zeal for photography.
Raleigh City Club weddingHow would you describe your style of photography?

I’m very much a photojournalist, but I’ve been trained in lighting and posing. I’ve created comfortable and fun ways to help my clients during those portrait times of the day to create contemporary portrait images without the portrait look!
Raleigh wedding photographerDo you shoot digital or film, or are you a hybrid photographer? 

I learned the craft shooting Minolta film cameras and later moved to Nikon film cameras after I went digital in 2006. Today, I’m by and large a digital shooter, but I do keep a couple of F100’s + Portra film with me for the opportune time.

What do you think sets you apart from other photographers?

My approach to the wedding, my appreciation for the ceremony, and the legacy of the story is what set’s me apart. It’s what we as photographers bring to the table that will influence what we deliver to the client. Being technically proficient is a minimum bar. Reading into what Dad is thinking as he gives his daughter’s hand away in marriage is totally different. The wedding day has so many sub plots, and they are all important. I want my clients to see them all, in ways that may not have been as evident previously.Fall wedding at Prestonwood Country ClubWhat is your favorite thing or moment to shoot at a wedding?

The subplots! The discussion of the bridal party during the prep; the emotion of the parents during the processional; Dad’s face as he gives his daughter away in marriage; the couple as they look into each other’s eyes exchanging vows; the first dance; the toasts ranging from laughter to tears, and everything in between, and finally the grand exit, where they begin to live happily ever after. Yes, all of that!
In His Image Wedding PhotographyPhotos by In His Image Photography

Surf and Turf from Raleigh’s Rocky Top Catering

Food plays a major role in your wedding day, which is why we feature some of the area’s top caterers in our magazine each year. We invite you to get to know a little more about SB&G’s preferred caterers in our special blog spotlight series.

This week, we’re dishing out posh ingredients and casual concepts from Rocky Top Catering, headed up by  Executive Chef Adam Reid.

Rocky Top is the exclusive caterer for their own wedding venue, 1705 Prime, a restored Southern home with an inviting contemporary interior in North Raleigh, as well as the caterer at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences Downtown Raleigh and the Blue Zone at UNC’s Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill.

Get a sample of some of their classic entrees, appetizers and drinks below from our 2015 catering shoot captured by Neil Boyd Photography.Raleigh wedding caterersLobster sliders with lobster salad on house-made brioche slider buns.
Rocky Top CateringGrilled filet mignon with smoked blue cheese cream, roasted tomatoes and asparagus.Wedding caterersGarlic-herb chicken breast presented on a hoop cheddar grit cake, local succotash and bacon-wrapped shrimp with tomato jus and corn bread.
Signature cocktails at weddingNacho-sesame seared tuna on a crispy wonton with wakame salad and avocado wasabi crema.

What’s New Wedding Venues: Carolina Inn Reopens Restaurant and The Stockroom at 230 Debuts The Glass Box

Even some of the best wedding venues in the area need a little TLC and an upgrade here and there.

Over the summer, there have been some beautiful and exciting changes to venues in the area and we’d like to take a moment to share a couple of the latest reveals with our brides-to-be!

See below for more information about the renovation of Crossroads restaurant at The Carolina Inn and the introduction of the a new modern suite at The Stockroom at 230The Glass Box.

The Stockroom at 230 adds a touch of modern luxuryThe Glass Box in RaleighWeddings at The StockroomOver on Fayetteville Street in Raleigh, The Stockroom at 230 created a stunning bridal suite and gathering space on the 5th floor of this historic venue. The Glass Box is truly a stunning space – a bright and chic suite bathed in natural light from floor to ceiling windows. Enjoy a touch of modern luxury and views from the private outdoor balcony overlooking the city. There’s even a butler’s pantry so you can celebrate with your friends or bridesmaids in style without ever having to leave the suite. Raleigh bridesdowntown Raleigh weddingImpress your guests with the incredible atmosphere that The Glass Box holds. This venue is perfect for a small event of up to 45 guests, such as a bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, or for use as a bridal suite for The Stockroom at 230 weddings.Raleigh bridal suitePink and white weddingGold wedding detailsSouthern Bride and Groom MagazinePhotos courtesy of Mikkel Paige Photography and florals from Simply Elegant Floral Designs

From the bright open feel to the warm wood floors to the sparkling gold details, we know you’ll swoon the moment you step inside!

What’s Cooking at The Carolina InnCarolina Inn RestaurantOver the summer, The Carolina Inn closed its four-star rated restaurant for major renovations. The new look features a more comfortable and open design, additional seating, expanded bar and an outdoor patio with a fire pit! It’s the first major renovation of the restaurant in more than 20 years and it’s a welcomed transformation.

SB&G’s Publisher, Donna, attended a media lunch-in and had this to say about the new space: “The Crossroads Restaurant renovation evokes a mixture of the traditional Carolina Inn comfort with a new airy, modern chic look. The Crossroads now has light, bright walls, marble tabletops and open windows without drapery set over the warm wide-planked floors. The seating styles vary around the entire restaurant from small tables with stylish taupe textured cushion to middle of the room booths for larger groups.”
Outdoor dining in Chapel HillCarolina Inn patioThe restaurant now has a welcoming larger bar area that gives an open look to the entire entry room. There are also perfect areas for luncheons and rehearsal dinners or other group events.

A new look calls for a new menu as well. Everyone at the event enjoyed the appetizers, especially the fried green tomatoes with bleu cheese and horseradish dressing (a Southern favorite), and the corn chowder and meatloaf sandwich-of-the-day was delicious and satisfying. Other patrons raved about the pressed mushroom and goat cheese turnover with roasted pepper. We’re ready to go back and try it for ourselves or order another classic, like the NC Sunburst Trout.Chapel Hill restaurantsPhotos courtesy of The Carolina Inn

We know the new space and new menu will be a hit with Carolina brides!

Red Roses and Romance at Embassy Suites Raleigh Wedding

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re excited to share India and Jabreel’s wedding at the Embassy Suites in Raleigh, captured by talented wedding photographer F8 Photo Studios.

Jabreel and India met in high school in Greensboro, NC in 2003 where they started out as friends. After finishing their high school requirements within three years, they both enrolled at North Carolina A&T State University and their friendship grew into a more serious relationship. After graduating from college, the pair received job offers at engineering companies and led them to make a move to Maryland, where they currently reside.

In 2013, India planned a very special birthday dinner for Jabreel and their friends. As they rushed to get ready for the party, Jabreel kept asking India where her keys were. Without actually looking down at them she replied, “Right here; now let’s go or else we will be late!” He asked her to look again and she answered him again but with more frustration. Finally, she looked down to make sure her keys were, in fact, there and was completely caught off guard by a shiny, beautiful round-cut diamond ring sitting there! Overwhelmed with joy and excitement, India admits she feels like she “blanked out” for a few seconds while Jabreel was actually saying his proposal! She had been so busy planning the dinner that this major life-changing event came as a true surprise!

It was about two years later when India and Jabreel finally tied the knot, but in the end, it was a perfect evening and well worth the wait!

After finding out that they had lost their original church location due to a change in policy that prohibited non-members from using it for weddings, their wedding planner presented them with the Embassy Suites hotel in Raleigh as a viable alternative for their venue. A major draw was that they could have everything (ceremony, reception, and guest accommodations – especially with alcohol beverages) in one place. While doing a walkthrough during the initial visit, they realized they loved everything the Embassy Suites had to offer!

The wedding colors were bold and beautiful: Red (India’s favorite color) and silver/gray – a color scheme that screamed “romantic elegance,” complete with roses and candlelight adorning the reception. The gray canopy along with big statement flower pieces from Fresh Affairs was breathtaking. Red uplighting warmed the walls, a monogram with the bride and groom’s initials lit up the dance floor, and a spotlight shone on their gorgeous red rose wedding cake (which Cake Couture Boutique created based on a rough sketch India had shared).

Seven bridesmaids and groomsmen, one for each year the couple was together pre-engagement, was a special number for them. One of their favorite moments was the best man’s (Jabreel’s big brother’s) heartfelt and touching speech.

India has some wise advice for brides throughout the planning process: “Remember, while yes, the wedding day is important, the marriage and enhancing your lifelong partnership skills are even more important. The challenge should not be to have a wedding day, it should be to focus more on how to have and keep a resilient marriage.”

Cara of F8 Photo Studios highlights all the best moments of India and Jabreel’s wedding day – from the beautiful canopied outdoor ceremony to the magical ballroom reception, this hotel wedding is one to remember!
Red wedding shoesCrystal wedding dressRed roses wedding bouquetRaleigh groomsmenWedding ceremony at Embassy Suites RaleighWedding gift bagsRaleigh NC brideRaleigh wedding photographer F8 Photo StudiosOutdoor ceremony in NCEmbassy Suites weddingRaleigh bride and groomRed bridesmaid dressesGroomsmen in gray suitsHotel reception RaleighRaleigh florist Fresh AffairsF8 Photo StudiosUplighting at wedding receptionRed rose wedding cakeEmbassy Suites Raleigh weddingSB&G PREFERRED VENDOR TESTIMONIALS

“I really liked the professionalism and how The Embassy Suites contact, Ashley Cook, paid close attention to what we wanted,” shares India. “The buffet dinner was provided by the hotel’s catering service and they also took great care of our needs.”
Embassy Suites Raleigh DurhamPhotography
“We LOVE our pictures! A big ‘thank you’ to Cara of F8 Photo Studios for capturing our wedding moments and everything in between!” India exclaims.
Cute wedding shoesFlorist
“Lyn of Fresh Affairs is so creative and talented as a florist and décor designer! I love the combination that he created with my red roses and ivory hydrangeas – it was so beautiful – big kudos to him and his staff!” says India.
Hotel wedding in RaleighVENUE & CATERER Embassy Suites by Hilton Raleigh Durham Airport Brier Creek | PHOTOGRAPHER F8 Photo Studios | WEDDING PLANNER Sabrina Seymore Events | REHERSAL DINNER Carolina Ale House Restaurant | MINISTER Bishop Clarence Humphrey | BRIDAL GOWN Adorae by Maggie Sottero at Bridal Boutique in Columbia, MD | SHOES Qupid | JEWELRY David’s Bridal | BRIDESMAIDS David’s Bridal | BRIDESMAID GIFTS Personalized diamond bracelets | MEN’S FORMALWEAR Vera Wang Slim Fit Tuxedo | GROOMSMEN GIFTS Personalize bracelets and cuff links | FLORIST Fresh Affairs | CAKE Cake Couture Boutique | VIDEOGRAPHER F8 in Motion Studios | STATIONER | CEREMONY MUSIC Trevon McIntyre (Soloist – Groom’s Cousin) | DJ Trevor Bethel | CE Rentals | LIGHTING Scott Brown Studios | ACCOMODATIONS Embassy Suites and Hampton Inn Suites | WEDDING FAVORS Assorted fresh cookies

Small Plates & Platters from Raleigh Wedding Caterer: Catering Works

Food plays a major role in your wedding day. In fact, food usually makes an entrance during the cocktail hour long before the newlyweds make their appearance!

Over the next few weeks, we will be dishing out some of the most appetizing and most requested wedding bites created by SB&G caterers who were featured in our 2015 magazine.

This week, we’re warming up with savory small plates and Southern-style passed palters from Catering Works – a well-known and sought-after catering company that was started in Raleigh by owner Jill Santa Lucia 25 years ago. The business is known for serving delicious food and designing show-stopping weddings. Its location off Capital Boulevard houses their catering, pastry, and flower departments. Keep an eye out for their frequent wedding tasting events and fun cooking classes!

Below are samples of some of Executive Chef Rich Carter’s mouth-watering small plates and family-style platters captured by Neil Boyd Photography. Pass the platter, please!
Lobster appetizersAbove: Lobster mango crisps
Raleigh wedding caterers
Above: Small plate trio of corn cakes with duck confit, sweet pea with crab and creme fraiche pancake, and sweet potato cake with green apple salsa
Southern wedding foodAbove: Catfish with 
butter bean succotash
Catering Works Raleigh catering
Above: This family-style dinner includes roasted chicken with maple thyme reduction served with side dishes including edamame salad, mixed greens and peaches and southwest cornbread panzanella.

Wedding Planning 101: Hiring a Day-of Coordinator vs. Full Event Planner

Once you become engaged, you quickly learn how much work goes into planning a wedding! Even if you’re having a smaller, intimate ceremony or reception, a wedding planner will provide great peace of mind. After all, you want to be able to enjoy your wedding, not serve as the middleman between your vendors if they have questions during your reception or worrying about sticking to a timeline.

In the post below, several of SB&G’s preferred planners share the differences and benefits of day-of coordinators vs. full event planners and when it’s best to hire each for your wedding.First dance at Prestonwood Country ClubPhoto: In His Image Photography

Day-of coordinator vs. full event planner

Full-service wedding coordination is perfect for the busy, modern day bride who needs the guidance of a wedding professional from start to finish. “One of the biggest benefits of a full-service planner is budget development and tracking,” shares Sally Oakley, owner of Sally Oakley Weddings & Events. “The second biggest benefit from a full-service planner is vendor referrals and management.”

Amanda Scott, owner of A Swanky Affair, agrees, “A good wedding planner can save the couple valuable time and money by helping them find vendors that best fit their personality and style both quickly and efficiently.”

A day-of planner often coordinates and directs the rehearsal and ceremony as well as the reception. They make sure the day runs smoothly and keep everyone on track, but they are not generally involved in the process leading up to the day. “A day-of planner is perfect for the bride who has done all the leg-work and is now looking for a wedding professional to take over so she can enjoy her day to the fullest!” says Oakley. 

At A Southern Soiree, day-of coordination typically includes three face-to-face meetings to discuss timeline details, vendor coordination, an a walk through at the venue. Full-service brides receive unlimited phone, email, and face-to-face communication, so that is something to consider if you want the peace-of-mind to contact the pros whenever you need.

With wedding day coordination, Gather Together begins by working with the bride around 2-3 months out from the wedding date. Everything they handle is related to logistics for the wedding day: developing the timeline, confirming vendor contracts, and full execution of the rehearsal, ceremony, and reception. With full-service planning, they work with brides from the beginning of the planning process and help keep everything organized, manage the budget, help with event design, and provide expert advice the whole way.Bride and groom tableGold tabletop details at weddingPhotos: F8 Photo Studios

Even if your venue has a team of people to help facilitate your wedding, it may still be wise or necessary to hire an extra hand. In an ideal situation, an outside planner and venue coordinator work together as a team to make sure all details of the day are executed seamlessly.

When you hire a wedding professional, you are gaining their knowledge of the industry and their relationships with the top vendors, but perhaps the biggest benefit of all is being able to sit back and relax knowing that a professional has everything under control.

For more Wedding Planning 101, be sure to read our blog on the Most Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Wedding Planner.