Spring Haven Farm + American Tobacco Campus Engagement Session
romantic portraits set in forest, farm, and downtown Durham
I first met Jess and Jeff for coffee. Jess had reached out with an email days earlier, and included the most beautiful postscript with their love story in her own words. Her writing was beautiful - with the flowing pace of a natural storyteller, and the endearing mix of romance and humor that I’m beginning to enjoy as this couple’s signature style. I think it is impossible to read beautiful writing and not feel an immediate kinship with the writer, and a love for the human-ness of their experience. She described how they first met at an environmental law retreat; Jess first saw Jeff as he was dancing in the talent show (to “What a Feeling,” complete with leggings!), Jeff first saw Jess when they were put on the same cooking shift the next night. She wrote, “Our first conversation was me accusing him of cutting the garlic inefficiently; he instantly liked me anyway.” Since law school, they have been with another through the highs and lows, the beauty and the struggle.
“We supported one another through graduations, bar exams, and long-distance internships. We drove from Portland, Oregon to Washington, DC with a feuding cat and dog, and didn't even fight once (even though I'm a notoriously bad navigator). We've started a life together on the East Coast and have known for a while that we'd be one another's forever.”
When they began planning their wedding, they knew they wanted every element of their wedding day to be reflective of their individual and shared selves, and their engagement session was no exception. There were no defaults for these two - they dreamt up exactly what they wanted - what was true to them - and created it.
They have forests and farms and a deep love of animals in their history, and as we discussed locations, I was swept away by their visions of fields, chickens, goats, and possibilities. Jess emailed days later to say that she’d found and chosen Spring Haven Farm, a natural and sustainable family farm in Chapel Hill. From the start, Andrew and his son were so kind and welcoming, and went above and beyond to create the perfect experience for the two of them. We explored the woodlands behind the farm, walked by the river, and I delighted in capturing the moments as they hand fed the baby goats, chickens, and donkey. The forests, fields, and of course the sweet animals, were all a dream, and it is with sadness that I washed the adorable muddy goat hoof prints off my pants and boots when I returned home! Spring Haven is perfect - “Oh cute, so many animals!” quickly turned into a day so bursting with natural beauty and heart-aching adorableness that I worry I’ll never be sad again. Seriously, melancholic love songs and the blues have been ruined for me. (As a sidenote - did you know that beyond their adorable and charming personalities, goats are really practical pets? They naturally mow your lawn and apparently can be great buddies for dogs! Be right back, sending a few articles to my husband…)
Continue to Part Two, for their portraits at the American Tobacco Campus!
This little sweetheart is named Olive, and to know her is to love her.