Camilla Calnan Photography | Blog

Mountaintop destination wedding – Aubrey and Mark’s Grand Highlands at Bearwallow wedding

February 06, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Aubrey and Mark are such a sweet young couple we loved getting to capture during such a special time in their lives.  I had the pleasure of capturing their awesome engagement photos as well as Aubrey’s stunning bridal photos.  They had the most gorgeous wedding day in one of the most beautiful locations we have gotten to shoot.  The Grand Highlands at Bearwallow was the awesome backdrop and ideal venue for their big day, and we were excited to work our first wedding there with Occasions by Emily coordinating and as the florist.   The bride’s dress was a stunning complement to Aubrey’s beauty and her glittery gold shoes were a gift from one of her bridesmaids as was the dahlia she wore in her hair.   The ladies were dressed in striking dark purple dresses and silver shoes, and the men were in classic-ly handsome light brown suits.  Unique but timeless in every way!

The Bearwallow clubhouse offers amazing views all around, with a great room inside, dining/event room, several gaming rooms, lots of really nice restrooms, and it is broken up over two levels of rooms that serve well  as ‘getting ready’ areas for the men as well as the women.  It was great being able to have everyone so close but not chancing the couple seeing each other before the ceremony (unless they want to!).  They wrote sweet notes and sent them with their pre-wedding gifts that made for lots of tears of joy and laughter before the ceremony.  Aubrey and Mark chose to have a ‘not seeing each other’ moment before the wedding that gave us an opportunity to capture them together and they could hold hands and pray around a wall.  It was a sweet, quiet moment of the two of them alone – other than Chris and I capturing it from a distance.  They were so excited to get married!!  We really love moments like that!!

The ceremony on the mountaintop vista with a huge wide view was breathtaking.  The bride and her father’s entrance, walking across the field, in between lanterns as a winding path to their waiting friends and family as music played had tears and smiles on so many faces!  The sweet moment of her father’s giving her away and her mother reading a letter Aubrey wrote to her future husband when she was a girl at summer camp kept the emotions and loving humor flowing.  The couple tied knots symbolically on a cross, shared bread and wine, had a friend sing a beautiful dedication of a song, family members read scripture passages, and they read each other the most heart-felt vows.  The minister was absolutely overjoyed to pronounce them as man and wife - especially since he had known the bride since she was a little girl.  The lighting for family and wedding party photos before and after the ceremony was stunning, dramatic and constantly changing giving us so many gorgeous images.  The chill in the air could not dampen the energy as the wedding party and couple were announced to the reception and dance floor.  The bride and grooms first dance had everyone dancing side to side and the whole deck was engaged for that moment.  Her father requested a dance before dinner was served and he made the sweetest speech for his only daughter.  Dinner was so good (typical Colorful Palate!) that I did not get many photos of the food this time…but between the BBQ and salads and the FRENCH FRY bar you’ll have to take my work for it – those Colorful Palate chefs make everything quite delectable and beautiful!!  YUM! The Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream bar was a special request from the bride who is a master ice cream mixer – living the dream smashing cookies and candies into her mega scoop of ice cream to have with her cupcakes!!  Cake and ice cream – no better combination!

The couple were toasted by so many close friends and siblings – reinforcing the love and deep connection this couple has with their friends and family.  There was a lovely slideshow played after the toasts, then they cut their cake, thanked their guests and headed outside to dance with their friends!  The bride had to kick off her shoes to get down with the wedding party and guests rocking the dance floor.  After a few songs, the couple was ready for their exit.  Their friends and family made a tunnel of sparklers for them to run through then they drove off into the night…  I hope you love the photos as much as I do!  So many more I want to share, but here are my favorites:

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Chris is my husband and owner of WNC Video Productions, and we adore getting to work together, capturing and hearing so much talk of love and vows most weekends (and a few weekdays!) during the year.  I am proud to share the link to the video sample from their perfect wedding day.  You can see the awe inspiring video sample HERE.  We are truly blessed and lucky to get to work together, doing something we both love, and get to capture such special times for our clients.  Get in touch if you have a special event, moment to capture with everyone together, or just to have photos or video of your favorite people.  We would love to help capture what will soon just be a memory.  :)

Emily and her team with Occasions by Emily coordinated, decorated and prepared the most gorgeous floral for the big day.  Nathan and his assistant with Parkway DJ did a wonderful job making sure the ceremony on the mountaintop vista could be heard and the music, speeches and evening’s events rolling.  Catering by the Colorful Palate.  Ice cream bar by Cold Stone Creamery.  Truly a great day made better by awesome vendors!

Huge congrats to Mark and Aubrey!  Thank you for having us there to capture your big day!  Best wishes on all your adventures!!


Lake Lure Destination Wedding Photography – Kathryn and Joe’s Lake Lure Wedding

January 24, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Kathryn and Joe are a FUN couple that I absolutely loved working with to capture their engagement and wedding photos.  I will have to share some of their engagement photos on the blog soon, but will share their wedding first since I have the photos ready.  (If you are on Facebook, check out a few from the esession in downtown Asheville HERE.)  They have such a playful, sweet nature about them, it was easy to capture the joy they were feeling about getting married!  They live in Charlotte but decided to marry in Lake Lure to make it a destination wedding that was not too far from their home.  Charlotte is about 1-1.5 hours from Lake Lure.  Asheville is about an hour from Lake Lure, but it is only about 30 miles away (windy mountain roads for part of the journey).  Tucked into a mountain cove, Lake Lure is a awe inspiring place.  The couple held their wedding reception and stayed with family and friends at the Lake Lure Inn and held the ceremony at the gazebo overlooking the lake.  It is truly one of our favorite places to shoot with so many diverse and gorgeous locations.

The bride’s classic beauty was complemented perfectly by her gorgeous gown, a sweet and unique hairpiece and fun hot pink shoes (with a red heart decal on the soles)!  The bridesmaids were dressed in black with the maid of honor in hot pink shoes just like the bride.  The pops of color continued into the bouquets of orange, bright greens and pinks and the boutineers of orange flowers.  The men were dressed in classic black – the groom with an orange tie  - and all the guys were wearing black converse.  They added just the right touches of fun, color and timelessness to their day!

In Kathryn’s words: “It was SO wonderful to work with you for both our engagement shoot and wedding and can’t wait to find any excuse in the future to work with you again! Joe and I were together 7 years before we got married so I definitely had enough time to think about how I wanted my day to be, but I couldn’t have imagine we’d find someone to capture it so perfectly! It was so wonderful to have all our friends and family travel to Lake Lure; most of them hadn’t even been to NC, let alone the mountains. So many have been talking about a return trip they loved it so much – I think the one who deserves another trip to the mountains most is my sister Tami who spent the whole weekend making cupcakes and favors, and didn’t get to see much other than her rental house & the Inn!”

Here are some of our favorite photos from their big day:

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Venue and delicious catering by the Lake Lure Inn.  Cake and cupcakes by the bride’s sister (YUM!!).  Nathan White with Parkway DJ did a wonderful job as always.

Thank you Kathryn and Joe for having me there to capture your fun day!  I especially love my job when I have awesome clients like you two!!!!


Lake Lure Destination Wedding Photography – Liz and Matt’s Lake Lure Wedding

January 16, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

We adored getting to capture Liz and Matt’s wedding day along with WNC Video Productions at the historic Lake Lure Inn with the ceremony at the gazebo nestled by the lake, surrounded by the mountains.  I had the pleasure of getting to capture the two lovebirds for their engagement session in uptown Charlotte a few months prior and was extra excited about working with them on the big day.  To see their inspired engagement session photos, click HERE.

These two brave souls are both high school English/Literature teachers and are living out their own epic love story.  They are both such smart, thoughtful and eloquent writers that wrote each other THE most beautiful vows!!  So glad they have their wedding video to relive and treasure that moment that was so important, to see and hear themselves on their big day.  We look forward to sharing WNC Video’s sample of their stunningly beautiful wedding video soon.  Matt shared an early part of their story in his vows, recalling when Liz sighed that she wanted an epic love story of her own – and he said she should make it happen.  Little did she know he was head over heels for her at this point!!  Soon after they were starting to write the beginning of their own story.  They have two of the sweetest dogs that were huge catalysts in their relationship, so naturally they were a big part of the ceremony.  Liz’s father was their minister and everyone choked up at least a few times during one of the most heartfelt ceremonies we have ever captured.

Canary yellow and grey accents appeared throughout the day – from the bride’s yellow shoes and bouquet to the silvery grey icing on the cupcakes!  Liz did her own floral (brave, creative bride!!).  The DJ was a talented friend of the groom.  The gorgeous cupcakes and couple’s mini cake by Icing on the Cake.

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We feel so lucky to be there to capture such important moments for our clients!  We are excited to share that Liz and Matt are expecting their first child and I will be heading to Charlotte in March to capture Liz’s maternity photos!!  Soon after I will be heading back to meet their little bundle, Emerson (LOVE the name!!).  Congrats Matt and Liz!  Looking forward to seeing you soon!!!!

With more and more clients based in Charlotte (and it being such a great place to play/photograph!), Camilla Calnan Photography is happy to announce that we will be offering sessions in Charlotte periodically.  Contact the studio for more information on Asheville, Lake Lure, Charlotte or destination weddings or sessions.  I’d love to capture special moments in your life, too.  :)


Asheville Wedding Photography – Sarahjean and Dajie’s Biltmore wedding photography

August 22, 2011  •  Leave a Comment


Last August 21st, I was second shooting at a Biltmore wedding.  We were heading onto the lawn of the Biltmore house as the light was fading, a limo pulls up and out jumps a beautiful bride and handsome groom in full wedding regalia.  We watched wondering where their photographer was as they handed their camera to the driver. We wrapped up our shots waiting on the shuttle to pull around, our bride and the other photographer suggested I go over and take a few moments to capture the photographer-less couple.  I am so glad I did.  Sarahjean and Dajie are an amazing couple that I feel blessed to have met!  They had just married in her mother’s hospital chapel after getting news two days earlier, while at home in Seattle that the doctor were saying ‘this is it’ for her mom.  They were planning to marry the next month in Italy as part of her mother’s dying wish to visit and wanted to see her daughter marry there.

Sarahjean shared their story with me and my heart ached for the bittersweet joy they were feeling.  Giddy for being newlyweds, sad to know that the end was so near for her mother.  They were married on Saturday.  Thursday they got the call and immediately she went to pick up her (not quite finished) gown as Dajie went to purchase plane tickets.  She just wanted her mom to see her gown – didn’t plan on a wedding in a day!  The couple flew out the following morning, with a text received during their flight change over, suggesting a wedding at the hospital chapel the next day.  Late Friday, they final got to her mother’s room.

They got the only hotel room still available that evening and stayed there the first night, but for the rates being charged (and the funky ‘wet dog smell’) they decided to call the Inn at Biltmore to stay for the next night.  The Inn went above and beyond to make their time as special as they could.  They upgraded them to a junior suite and coordinated a car to get them to the house.  A family friend got a bouquet and boutineer for the couple and the Biltmore found her a hairdresser (even though everyone was booked).  They all got ready and met in the hospital chapel as 9 family and friends gathered to witness the wedding.  The wedding party descended to the cafeteria where there were the perfect number of gluten free cupcakes to cut and celebrate with.  After the big excitement, her mom needed to rest so the couple decided to go get one photo in front of the Biltmore house.

Which is where we met…  :)   Their day fell into place, as things that are meant to be often do.  So honored to have met and captured these two on their wedding day – and now a year later (plus a day!) on their anniversary, I’m happy to share their story and photos.  Their fairytale Italian wedding took place as planned on September 16th.  Sadly, her mom wasn’t able to make it to Italy, but was able to see the photos and hear the stories afterwards.  She passed away on November 3 of that year.  Rest in peace Sananda.  You have an amazing daughter!!

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Congratulations and best wishes to Sarahjean and Dajie!  Happy to have been there at the right moment to capture such an important moment for you!!


Asheville Wedding Photography – DeLene and Matt’s Claxton Farm Wedding

July 19, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

DeLene and Matt are one of the nicest and sharpest couples I have had the pleasure of working with.  DeLene is a freelance nature writer with such a flair for language that I love visiting her blog and reading (and re-reading!) her ‘musings’ (as she calls them) about the 3 Es – ecology, evolution and the environment.  Her blog is called the Wild Muse – you should check it out!  She is working on a book along with other writings, and on top of her work, the couple just finished moving, getting married and are working to get Matt’s business going.  Matt is a dentist that is getting close to opening his new practice here in Asheville!  Laurelwood Dentistry will be opening its doors in the next few months.  Talk about go-getters!  I was flattered from their first inquiry by how much they really wanted to work with us – then I met them and knew I had to be their photographer!  They are such down to earth people that are so in love…I knew it would be a magical day at Claxton Farm when they exchanged vows.  The wildflowers were in bloom and the springy greens and a wide variety of colors were popping everywhere.  It was all a perfect backdrop for her soft rosey wine colored dress and the pewter/grey bridesmaids dresses.  Two of the three bridesmaids are expecting and were glowing gorgeously – all the ladies were stunning!  The men looked dapper in their classic tux suits – and the organic, non-traditional boutineers (by the Enchanted Florist) were a great fit for their style.

Claxton Farm is a venue that was perfect for this nature loving couple.  The venue is located on 50 acres of a conservation easement that is on a 500 acre working farm in the Appalachian foothills that raises Polled Herefords, chickens, goats, llamas and grows alfalfa hay.  The couple chose to use local and sustainable vendors at their wedding.  Your Vase or Mine sold them local wildflowers that they decorated the ceremony site and reception tables with (in mason jars with ribbons and candles!  LOVE this look for barn receptions!).  They also had the Enchanted Florist create stunning ‘kissing balls’ to hang in their wedding arbor and the beautiful bouquets.  Their guests were treated to the beautiful music of Orengo Music, a perfect duo of violin and classical guitar, during the ceremony and cocktail hour.  It is always a treat to listen to Ruben play!  The reception was full of fun conversation, dancing and guests enjoying the yummy food by M7 catering which allowed them to choose more sustainable local elements into the food as well.  Their guests were served Sunburst Trout which is locally farmed and they were also fed lots of great local vegetables.  The bride chose a beautiful cake by Icing by the Cake adorned with sugar calla lilies (thought they were real!!) and sweet detail work that was a soft pink, complementing her dress perfectly.  James Donaldson of Sound Illusions DJ kept the music going and the dance floor moving.  Fun evening all the way around!!  Here are some of my favorite photos of their day:

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If you want to see more photos from their day, visit HERE.

Thank you to all the amazing M7 team members that made the night perfect!  Huge thanks to DeLene and Matt for having me there to capture their wedding day!!  Such amazing people with equally amazing friends!!  Truly my honor to be there to capture such an important day for the couple and their families and friends.  :)

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