Oct 29-14

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It could not have been a more beautiful September day! The sunlight was beautiful, the air perfect. I never remember being too warm or too cold, but I do remember smiling at lot at how lovely everything looked. The florals were vibrant with texture and color, the details were so sweet and meaningful. Lauren was so calm and happy to be getting ready with her girls; Mark was full of anticipation.

Lauren and Mark are two of my favorite people. Lauren is calm but intentional. She is always concerned with the well-being of others around her. She is selfless and beautiful, and she adores Mark. I love the way that she looks at him, with such admiration and care. Mark is a gentleman in every sense of the word. He cares for Lauren and always puts her needs before his own, he has class, he has a great sense of humor, and he is quite romantic with his love for Lauren. There's this one picture I took when Mark looked over at me just before Lauren walked down the aisle (with his back to her, as they do in England), and his smile was just beaming!

This wedding was not only special because of their love for one another but because of the sacrifice they've made to keep and protect this love. Lauren met Mark in England when she worked there for a season after college. Mark fell head over heels in love with Lauren, and instead of letting her move back to the states alone, he secured a job in the US, packed up his entire life, and moved to the US for Lauren. I recently heard someone say "true love never comes without sacrifice," and that is certainly true. But what a reward for their sacrifice! To see them both so full of joy, committing their lives to one another with their friends and family surrounding them, made it all worth it. I loved hearing the British accents and jargon throughout the day - the carpark (parking lot), braces (suspenders), and my personal favorite - "be upstanding!" (stand up!). Their wedding represented a true marriage of cultures and traditions, and it was the perfect celebration for Lauren and Mark.

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Whyman! So happy for you both!

Venue: The Matthews House
Officiant: Candy Snively
Cake Artist & Caterer: The Matthews House
Florist: Brides and Bouquets
Event Coordinator: The Matthews House
Reception DJ: Touch of Class DJ's
Hair & Makeup Artist: MakeUp For Your Day
Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
Save the Dates: Minted 
Wedding Dress: Melissa Sweet at David's Bridal
Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew
Bridesmaids' Shoes: Badgley Mischka 

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Comments: 1

  1. Em October 30, 2014 1:24 am

    That is a perfect sparkler photo!

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Oct 27-14

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Today and tomorrow I will be at one of my favorite conferences with some of my favorite people. I look forward to Making Things Happen with such great anticipation, because I know wonderful, life changing moments are going to happen. Yes, I've been through this several times. Yes, it changes me for the better every single time.

My phone will be completely off, stored in a box with lots of other phones for two days. I will not look at a screen or answer an email or edit any photos. I will take my favorite pen, a blank notebook, and fill it to the brim with my hopes and dreams. This time, my husband is joining us as an official speaker, and I am so excited to have him there as we journey towards what matters most.

With that said, thank you for your patience! Emails, voicemails, and photos are going to have to wait while I take some time out to dig deep. If you need to reach the studio, please contact Callie@nancyrayphotography.com.

Here's to doing what matters most this week!

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Images by Robyn Van Dyke

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Oct 24-14

2014:10:14 - Cottage Hill Blog - 60 Year Annivesary

 

This might be one of my favorite features, ever. Will's sweet grandparents have a long-lasting love that we aspire to emulate. When Cottage Hill reached out to me, asking if they could feature their love story, I knew it was a perfect opportunity to share a small piece of their great love with others, too. I encourage you to read the words we wrote, and read the words of advice that Will's grandparents wrote themselves. It is a true picture of what a lasting marriage looks like.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the ladies at Cottage Hill for featuring the love of these two amazing people!

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Oct 22-14

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The Oaks at Salem was the perfect wedding venue for Maegan and Nate. They were married underneath a gorgeous tree with their loved ones close. They celebrated under a lovely tent, decorated with all of their favorite garden foliage. Nate is a landscape architect, so when I saw the potted grass place cards, wildflower seed favors and table floral arrangements, I knew they must have been meaningfully chosen by him. Maegan looked stunning in her opaque polka dotted wedding gown and pearls, which also paired perfectly with Nate's leather suspenders and polka dot tie.

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Hewett!

Venue: The Oaks at Salem
Cake Artist: Sweet Memories Bakery
Caterer: Rocky Top Catering
Florist: Teacup Floral
Event Coordinator: The Oaks at Salem
Reception DJ: Simpsound Productions
Hair & Makeup Stylist: The Makeup Team

A very special thank you to Rachel Linder for shooting alongside me for the day!

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Comments: 1

  1. Sofia October 28, 2014 2:41 pm

    Very nice photos! Was placing the chairs under the tree your idea?

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Oct 21-14

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This is Juliette. She is the first little love for Stacie and Lou, and they are completely smitten!

I met them for Juliette's newborn session at their home out in Zebulon... not too, too far from the city, but just far enough to get out of the hustle and bustle and into their sweet quiet country home.

When I arrived, Stacie had laid out probably over a dozen outfits, headbands and accessories for Juliette and was so excited! Lou made a cute new dad comment when he saw it all laying out and said, "Well... I guess I better get used to this!" Stacie just held Juliette in her arms and said, "Well yeah!" It was awesome.

Juliette was awake for most of the session, but seemed content as long as her mama and daddy were holding her. We had some pretty sweet moments in between with just a couple of tears, but such a precious time with genuine moments full of joy with their new baby girl.

Stacie and Lou, congratulations on your beautiful Juliette!

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Oct 17-14

As we recently launched Elizabeth as our family photographer, we wanted to take a moment and allow her share a little bit more about herself!  We are also giving away a full-priced family session absolutely free, just in time for the holidays! So be sure to scroll down - details are at the bottom of the post.

We sat down and discussed some of the reasons Elizabeth loves family photography, and what her family life was like growing up...

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Tell us about your family growing up.

I grew up with parents who showed me that, outside of a relationship with the Lord, family is the greatest gift.  My parents were pros at taking ordinary things and making them into something exciting... in fact I feel like a huge part of my childhood was spent anticipating in excitement the simplest things - going on a "special" work trip with mom, our weekly trip to the dump with dad, or just our bedtime routine.

I remember lots of chaos, lots of laughter and – let's be real – lots of tears.  My brothers were my best playmates and my worst enemies all at the same time, which is just baffling to me.  We had so much fun together, but we fought ridiculously hard sometimes... ok, many times.  My family was just very interactive: my parents were the kind of parents who built forts with us, coached our rec sports teams, and made sure that they spent significant time with us together and individually.  All this just means that we invested time, effort, and energy into each other growing up, because that's what was important.

What is it about photographing families that you enjoy so much?

Each family has it's own personality, and I think that's so cool!  I like the laid-back nature of family sessions, and that it's really just about getting to know the family and getting them comfortable in their own skin, so I can capture them as they are.  In other words, my agenda for each session is to get families comfortable being themselves in front of me.  Sometimes it's an instant thing; sometimes it takes a few minutes.  It's always fun.  The best feeling is walking away feeling like it wasn't a photo session as much as just an hour hanging out with some cool people and watching how they live life while I take some pictures.

What's your favorite picture of your family? How old was everyone, and where was it taken?

Ok. I have 3, which is actually really good considering I'm working with thousands of pictures here. I will tell you why each one is awesome.

1. The picture below is actually on Valentine's Day, not Halloween.  It's my brothers and I (Parks- 6, Bryant- 2, me- 4) and my dad, dressed up like zombie-Frankenstein monsters.  We had a baby sitter a few nights before this and she watched Night of the Living Dead with us (just like any good babysitter would).  Naturally, my brothers and I didn't sleep after that.  My parents decided that they would help us understand that it was all "pretend" by showing us how scary movies are made.  They made an event of it, and we had fun dressing up, putting makeup on, and pretending to be scary in front of a video camera.  When they played it back to us, it helped us to understand that we didn't need to be afraid.

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2. When I think about my childhood, I remember our bedtime routine. Dinner, baths, books, bed. Something so simple that was so full of life because my parents cared to make it important.  This is my mom and my brothers and I (Parks-5, me- 3, Bryant- 1), after baths, before bed, reading our books.

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3. A lot of our time growing up was spent on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, where the picture [at the top of the post] was taken. We spent several weeks a year (and most of the summer) there.  When I think about about summertime during my childhood years, this picture comes to mind.  Sandwiches and Sunkist on the beach, after a morning of clamming and swimming with my family (Parks 8, me 6, Bryant 4).

What were some of your favorite moments and/or traditions as you were growing up with your family?

Saturday trips to the dump:
My brothers and I always looked forward to our weekly trip to the dump with dad.  Every Saturday morning we'd pile in dad's old pickup, stop at the store for Yoohoo's, and ride along with dad while he did his favorite weekly chore.  We just saw it as our special time with dad.  To this day he still talks about how he wishes he could have those mornings back, when he'd look over and see us piled in the truck beside him with chocolate milk dripping all down our chins and shirts.

Family night:
Every Friday night, as a family, we would go to the movie store and pick a movie.  Then we'd come home and help mom make homemade pizza for our movie night.  All 5 of us would pile on the couch, eat our pizza, and watch our movie.  This quickly became known as "Family night", and was something that my brothers and I tried never to miss.

Christmas morning:
Every single Christmas morning, without fail, Dad would make us wait at the top of the steps while he taunted us, saying things like, "Oh I don't think Santa came this year," and, "Your mom and I want to drink our coffee before you guys come down. Oh, and I'm going to go ahead and get a shower first."  We all three sat on the top step, giddy and irritated at the same time, just laughing at dad and waiting for him to say, "OK guys come on down now!"  Years later I don't really remember the toys I got but I can remember the anticipation in vivid detail.

Do you plan to continue those with your family? Will you start some new ones?

Absolutely!  My husband Robert and I are really excited to implement some of the same traditions that we grew up with and definitely  start our own.  Even now, pre-kids, we both have fun with the little things and have our own traditions.  For example, every third Saturday of the month, we wake up early, get bagels, and go to Cars n' Coffee, our favorite date morning.  We collect coins in mason jars and every couple months we count and roll them in the floor of our living room and talk about how we'll spend them one day.  We love playing cards, and we have a little notebook with our running "Pitch" score.  When we get sick, we fix each other 7up and chicken and stars, and put Sgt. Bilko on, because these things fix everything.  Whenever kids come along, there's no question that our lives will be filled with tradition.

Do you have a favorite memory of growing up with your family?

I think my favorite memories growing up are definitely from our times at our tiny cabin on the Eastern Shore.  Days spent on the beach, flounder fishing in the bay, pulling crab pots up with dad, playing flashlight tag with my brothers and the other kids in our little beach community at night.  We still have that little beach place, and we continue to make some pretty great memories there.

How would you define your style of family photography?  What's your favorite setting to shoot in?

I have a very photojournalistic style.  I want to capture things as they are, genuine and true to form.  I don't like to manipulate or force things... I'd rather just get to know each family and let them sink into their rhythm of just being together in front of me.  This happens easiest at home, I think, and that's my favorite place for sessions.  Kids are comfortable and at ease with plenty of their favorite toys nearby; mom and dad are in their element.

Session Giveaway

 - Family Session Giveaway - 

It's the perfect time of year for a family session as you're getting ready to send out Christmas cards!  What a great gift for your family, your parents, or your extended family to have updated pictures of everyone!  See what it includes and how to enter below.  Enter to win:

One Session of your choosing (family, extended family, newborn, maternity or a couple), a $500 value!

What's Included :

One hour session at the location of your choice
Digital Negatives USB with rights to print
Full Online Gallery for viewing, downloading, and ordering prints

How to Enter
(you must do all three!)

1) Follow Elizabeth Tate on Instagram

2) Instagram your favorite picture of your family, and use the hashtag #nrpsessiongiveaway

3) Comment on this post, telling us, what's your favorite family memory or tradition?

 Winner will be announced on October 31st! 
*Session must take place within 45 minutes of our North Raleigh Studio
*If you've already booked a mini-session, you are still eligible. If you win, we will refund your mini-session!

Comments: 50

  1. Erin Snyder October 17, 2014 11:55 am

    My favorite memory/tradition is any Christmas morning. We would always start Christmas morning out at home, just the four of us (mom, dad, me, and sister). We would spend the morning calling the entire family one by one retelling our morning while mom made breakfast. After making a huge mess in the living room, packing, and a little cleaning, we would load up the car and head to Grandma’s. We would spend the rest of the week there with the entire family. We still do this today…we cram 11 people in a three bedroom house with one shower. It’s a blast! Pa, my grandfather, is worse than any of the kids. We have to watch him like a hawk to make sure he doesn’t sneak and open a present out of turn. We talk, laugh, cuddle, sleep, and eat a lot. It’s a time when everyone is together with no distractions…grandma and pa don’t have wifi and have terrible cell service; it’s great!

  2. Megan Ligon October 17, 2014 1:10 pm

    I love you dearly, sissy! I loved reading this post – you and B share many of the same favorites! So thankful to be a “Ligon.”

    xo

  3. Em October 17, 2014 3:30 pm

    Love these sweet memories, Elizabeth! It sounds like your parents did a great job making your childhood full of everyday magic :)

  4. megan ayers October 17, 2014 8:12 pm

    My favorite family tradition is getting up on Saturday morning, taking our pup to the park and laugh hysterically together while he plays. We then go to La Farm for breakfast and coffee to catch up about our week and to talk about future plans. Sometimes thinking about those Saturday mornings is what keeps me motivated and happy during the week!

  5. Heather Wilson October 17, 2014 8:28 pm

    My favorite tradition (can you call it a tradition if you do it everyday?) is singing lullaby to Destry every night before bed. Brian’s dad used to do that with him and his brother and sisters so I’m so glad we’re keeping the memory alive!

  6. Kara October 17, 2014 8:36 pm

    My favorite family memory growing up was living the next street over from my grandparents and always taking shopping trips with my nana! She just recently found out she has cancer and when I got the news, those memories came flooding back and right now at this moment in our lives, that’s my favorite family memory I wanted to share! God has been good to our family and has given her 82 wonderful years and God is able to heal her!

  7. Ashley Winstead October 17, 2014 8:58 pm

    Every Christmas Eve morning, Santa Clause comes and pays a “surprise” visit to our family. Our kids look so forward to this every single year (and mommy and daddy too) even as they get older. Then, on Christmas Day, we get together with my family and exchange stockings. We draw names and who’s name you pick is the person you fill a stocking for instead of buying everyone (now 20 ppl) a gift. My brother-in-law reads the story of the birth of Jesus before we dig in! I have six brothers and sisters and my husband is an only child so he eats this up!!! Jesus is the reason for it all and I am so thankful He has blessed us the way He has to have such a wonderful family to spend it with!

  8. Christie Lewis October 17, 2014 9:13 pm

    I grew up as one of five children. We were poor, but so incredibly rich in love & fun & tradition so I never knew it. By far, my favorite memories revolve around our (almost) nightly walks to get slurpees at 7-11. The neighborhood kids would often tag along. We were a happy, ragtag parade of bikes, wagons & walkers. To this day, I like to enjoy a slurpee whenever I return home to Northern Virginia. They taste like those cool summer night walks & unadulterated childhood bliss.

    Now I am a wife & a brand new mama to a sweet Olive June & can’t wait to share my beloved, sweet memories & new traditions with my new little family.

  9. Elizabeth October 17, 2014 9:17 pm

    Our new favorite family tradition is to cuddle up with our two-year-old before he goes down for the night to watch some of the 1979 Muppet movie.

  10. Ashley October 17, 2014 11:46 pm

    Going to church with Carter(5) and Emma(2 going on 20) to church on Sunday is our family tradition. We know that leading the kids in a Godly household and Christian lifestyle is not only our biggest blessing, but also our greatest responsibility. We have made it our tradition to have pancakes for breakfast before church (a tradition I have carried over from my childhood of Sunday mornings) and after church, we take the kiddos to McDonalds and they play in the play area. Carter, at the magical age of five, thinks McDonalds is the coolest place on earth! The excitement he portrays when he receives his happy meal and toy is hilarious! I have yet to become as good at multitasking as my mother when it comes to cooking. I would love to eventually alter the tradition to a home cooked meal on Sundays after church, but for the time being, everyone seems to love this tradition!

    I am so excited about this giveaway! Our family has yet to have pictures taken! I know….that is terrible. I have been following everyone from the Nancy Ray team for a while and I admire the work yall do!

  11. Jessica Todd October 18, 2014 12:29 am

    Our favorite family tradition involves buying/decorating our Christmas tree. We purchase our tree from the Henderson Optimist Club at their annual tree lot. When we bring it home, we set it up for a day to let the limbs fall. Then we make a big production of decorating the tree with Christmas music playing and egg nog on hand to drink.
    We start with our special ornaments that were wedding gifts and some others from mine and my husband’s childhood.
    We are so looking forward to involving our daughter Harper this year for her first Christmas.

  12. Stacy October 18, 2014 1:10 am

    One of my favorite family memories from my childhood was choosing our Christmas tree each year. Growing up in the Northeast, we were able to go to Christmas tree farms, choose and then cut down our own tree. Then, we’d load it up, take it home and decorate it as a family.

  13. Jenny Mullins October 18, 2014 1:47 am

    A new tradition we’ve started with our own kids has been having a dance party after dinner at night. So much fun to watch little ones bust a move :) .

  14. Charles Ligon October 18, 2014 10:48 am

    Elizabeth, I loved reading this blog!! Thanks for taking me back on memory lane…brought a tear to my eye. I’m so proud of you and the young lady you’ve become. God has gifted you with tremendous creativity, inward and outward beauty. It’s no surprise, family photography is a passion and no doubt, you will bless many families with your gift. You’ll always be my Daddy’s Girl Baby Love!!

  15. Ashlie Hill October 18, 2014 3:09 pm

    My all time favorite memories of with my family are those little little things. Watching my kids discover new things and taking walks and trips to the park with my family.

  16. Amie Babo October 19, 2014 12:17 am

    In the spirit of Halloween, one of our favorite family traditions is our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. This time of year is the best! The weather is breaking, the leaves are changing, and fall has finally arrived. From the giant corn maze to the petting zoo and the hayride to pick out pumpkins, our family loves the pumpkin patch.

  17. Lyndsey Lowe October 19, 2014 2:21 pm

    I look forward to two weeks out of every summer, probably more than any others during the entire year! These are the weeks that I spend soaking up the sun and sweet family time with my aunts, uncles, parents, cousins, and grandparents at the coast. 29 years and counting, we all pile into one house, making lots of noise, eating tons of good food, and enjoying sweet time making memories that truly last a lifetime. It has been so sweet as I’ve grown older, gotten married and now started a family of my own, to experience these weeks with my husband and kiddos too! These weeks are true blessings from the Lord!

  18. Olivia a October 19, 2014 10:25 pm

    I love traditions especially Christmas ones but I think since we have started a family my favorite is our weekly family breakfast, sometimes we try a new place and sometimes it’s one of our fav spots, with a two year old it’s not usually long but it’s always worth it!

  19. Jessica Hancock October 20, 2014 7:21 pm

    My favorite family tradition I’ve continued in our family is lighting advent candles and reading the Christmas story. We light one candle each night beginning on the first day of December, and continue until Christmas Eve. Each night, my husband, our three little boys, and I all sit down together around a small log my husband drilled holes into to hold the tealight candles. Next, we open an egg carton and each child takes turns opening one egg that holds a figurine representing a part of Jesus’ story. One of the boys holds up the figurine (example: a small nail) and my husband reads the Scripture that goes along with that part of the story. As a child, I loved everyone sitting down and reading the Bible. With the “busyness” of the holidays, this tradition always centers our attention around God and the true meaning of Christmas.

  20. Allyson Hemric October 20, 2014 11:21 pm

    My favorite memory and tradition growing up was spending time at my grandma’s house. During every holiday, our entire family (11 in all) would travel up to grandmas’s in the little town of Elkin, NC. While I absolutely LOVED every second of every minute of those trips (which we still do each holiday!), my favorite memory is the school breaks/weeks just my sister and I would spend with Grandma & Pa. Any time we had a break, mom and dad would drive us up to spend time with them. We’d work on the farm helping bring in the new baby chickens, picking vegetables, going on tractor rides, stringing’ green beans, shucking corn, and so much more! We’d always finish the evening with a bath in the kitchen sink while Pa had us giggling with his silly stories. I can honestly say that Grandma & Pa are the reason I am who I am today. They taught me to love always, forgive graciously, laugh daily, to get a little dirty occasionally, but above all to cherish family and put God first in my life. I love them so much.

  21. Connie Hemric October 21, 2014 12:09 am

    When I was growing up, I remember our summer vacations. Our family of 5 would stay in a one room motel room. When the pull out couch was pulled out, you’d better not need to go to the bathroom because you’d have to walk across the beds! We would spend all day long on the beach, only to come in for lunch an my little sisters to take a nap. Mama and I would play scrabble on the porch while they slept. I loved those times, though with children of my own, I cannot imagine how my parents handled all of us in that little room!!! As a child, I never knew it was small.

  22. Bristol October 21, 2014 1:25 am

    My favorite family memory is of the summers when I was younger and my parents and I would just set off driving for vacation. We had a vague idea of the direction we were headed, but no real agenda. We would just look at the map as we went and see where we wanted to go next. One year we made it all the way from NC to Northern California, Washington and Oregon. We even went up in to canada and hit all the big national parks along the way. It was incredible just to explore and be spontaneous as we went. Those are definitely some of my best memories.

  23. Stephanie Riesland October 21, 2014 1:55 am

    We just had our fourth baby. There are so many moments and memories I have from when I was a little girl, but for our family it’s the new traditions that mean so much. I love our dance parties on Saturdays. We all get up after breakfast and just dance around the living room. There’s so many to choose from.

  24. Courtney Shelton October 21, 2014 2:01 am

    A favorite growing up family tradition would have to be my brothers and I sleeping in the same room on Christmas eve. Then we would get up early and sneak out to see what presents were laid out before we were allowed to get up and report to one another what we saw as we “went to get a drink”.
    A favorite tradition now would be hard to narrow down. We love our lazy Sunday’s together. We do cake and streamers for birthday breakfast. We read the bible and tell that we love each other “a million billion _______” every night. I love building all these new traditions for our growing family.

  25. Catherine Tutor October 21, 2014 3:13 pm

    I love creating special memories for my kids on their birthdays. I always celebrate mine for at least a week and I want them to have fun with theirs too! So my favorite tradition is to make the morning of their birthday as special as possible, complete with balloons, streamers, donuts, etc as we celebrate life and the blessing that each of them are to our family!

  26. Brittany Liggitt October 21, 2014 9:28 pm

    I love going to the candle light service in our Christmas best, then going to IHOP, followed by the opening of one gift when we get home!

  27. Bronwyn Drummond October 22, 2014 12:11 am

    My favorite family memory is taking our son, Samuel back to my motherland, to meet my family and experience the wild open spaces of South Africa. Max, Samuel and I went on many adventures including: safaris, visited the exquisite city of Cape Town, Max went shark cage diving, we rafted the Zambezi river and ate tons of delicious local cuisine. It was an unforgettable holiday, that will now become a tradition.

  28. Kim smith October 22, 2014 1:24 am

    My favorite family tradition is our annual beach trip to the outer banks! I was 9 months old the first time I went, and it is an annual tradition with the entire family. We get 2 houses side by side and its just the best thing ever. Every year we get to share and laugh at memories of the members of our family who are no longer with us. This year, I got to take my own son with me on his first family beach trip. I was 37 weeks pregnant last year, and this year he was nearly one. It gave me a whole new meaning to family vacation. I watched him play in the sand, and told my self that I will do whatever possible to make sure that he grows to feel the way I do about our family and the fun we share together. One of my favorite pictures of when I was a little girl is my dad holding me on top of jockeys ridge, and we got to do the same with Mason this year :) so special!

    Thank you for this opportunity!!!!

  29. Molly Grace October 22, 2014 3:20 am

    My family always took the best family vacations every summer. One of the most memorable was our trip to Ireland when I was 11. We were there for four weeks and spent one week living as gypsie travelers on a horse drawn caravan! We’d store our milk in the river at night and all took turns “driving.” It’s a trip I’ll never forget!

  30. Whitney Bauer October 22, 2014 1:30 pm

    My little family grew by one adorable person in March of 2014 when we welcomed our firstborn, Graeme, into our life. He is turning seven months old tomorrow (despite my attempts to slow down time!).
    My husband, Aaron, and I have already begun a few traditions in his short time with us so far. We are, of course, looking forward to the upcoming holidays and the traditions those will surely bring.
    For now, my favorite tradition is actually a nightly tradition that we began with Graeme the day he came home from the hospital. Every night that we are all at home for bedtime, we settle in his bedroom. Our little dog, Penny, sits at our feet. I hold Graeme in his warm pajamas and feed him. Aaron sits next to us and reads to us. And not just any book…he reads us the greatest book ever written: the Bible.
    We’ve read through our favorite children’s Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible, twice already. We just started reading The Message a couple of months ago.
    I love that the last thing our son hears before he drifts off to sleep for the night is the amazing story that God began writing so many years ago and is still writing to this very day. Even though Graeme is so young, we want him to already hear about the great, unending love God has for him.
    We will make this tradition part of our family for years and years to come, and we pray that Graeme will one day carry on with it when he doesn’t need us to read to him anymore.

    Thank you so much for this opportunity! God bless you guys!

  31. Spenser Bailey October 22, 2014 4:22 pm

    My favorite family tradition would have to be Christmas Eve/Christmas day. I am the oldest of 5 so you can imagine the excitement on Christmas morning. We would go to Christmas Eve service and I remember looking forward to lighting candles and singing silent night. Then we would come home and get in our PJ’s and all of us kids would sleep in sleeping bags in our bonus room. For as long as i can remember we all slept in the same room on Christmas Eve. Then on Christmas morning we would wake my parents up and they would head downstairs to get there coffee while we all sat on the stairs waiting. This seem liked the longest wait ever. We all had to go down together. There is a 10 year difference in age between me and my youngest so it was always exciting for me when I was older to see there excitement. after presents we sat down and had a family breakfast which always included egg sausage casserole and spiral sausage biscuits. I will always cherish those mornings and the amount of joy they brought me. I look forward to having kids and carrying on those wonderful traditions.

  32. Crystal Harris October 22, 2014 4:37 pm

    I think my favorite tradition right now around Christmas time. Our family is still pretty new so the little ones don’t know about the holidays too much. But my husband and I decorate the tree and watch Elf. All while sipping on some sweet tea and munching on yummy popcorn. It a sweet moment we share together. No craziness just some good quality family time.

  33. Sarah H October 23, 2014 8:20 pm

    One of my favorite family memories is from when I was 15 and my family took a 6 week cross country camping trip together. My older brother had just graduated highschool and was about to head to college and my youngest brother was about 4 years old and all 7 people in my family trekked across the country in our conversion van pulling our pop-up trailer visiting various national parks, monuments, cities, and friends. Sometimes we would struggle with to much “togetherness”, but overall it was an amazing trip that was so much fun and something I’m glad I got to share and experience with my family.

  34. Ashley Price October 23, 2014 8:31 pm

    My favorite family tradition is waking up late on Saturdays and eating chocolate chip pancakes with my husband Will and our sweet son Eason!

  35. Jessica Hoke October 23, 2014 9:05 pm

    I love reading your sweet family traditions…and I love how traditions some times just come to be because of the love a family shares. One family tradition that our kids make sure to never let us forget is story time before bed. They all race to get ready with teeth brushed and pj’s on so that they can all lay on the floor with their daddy while he reads whatever book they are sharing together. When they were little is was goodnight moon or runaway bunny. They just finished the Action Bible and are loving discovering their Dad’s Calvin and Hobbes comic collection. I love to see how the books change over time. All 3 kids cherish the time with Daddy and I cherish watching them share this special time every evening.

    Story time is always followed by “the good night song” . A tune that my husband started humming to the kids when they were infants. When they were preschoolers, and he worked away from home 5 days a week away, they always remembered to call for the “night night song” over the phone. My sweet husband has whistled the tune in airports, sports bars, hotel rooms, restaurant bathrooms during company dinners, you name… And it is still requested every night by the 3 kids, even the older boys . and incase you are wondering…mom is not an adequate replacement…my version is not acceptable. And I don’t mind a bit.

  36. Jessica Boush October 23, 2014 9:27 pm

    Great post! One of our favorite family traditions is going to the fair. My husband and I first held hands at the fair. My kids love it and my son is just now old enough to ride a scary ride with me! I love to put on a sweatshirt and tennis shoes and stay until it closes! We eat all the things we normally wouldn’t touch, people watch, play games, ride rides, and always hit up the Village of Yesteryear. I chose the picture from the fair this year to post on Instagram. I don’t really have a favorite family photo of all 5 of us yet so I really hope I win! My husband has been pretty sick here lately so I hope to get some great family shots that show the love he is so full of! Every moment we can spend together is a gift! :)

  37. Katherine Lynn October 24, 2014 12:59 am

    Family movie night is a weekly tradition in our household and our girls love!! As a hygienist, I don’t give my girls a lot of candy. Therefore my husband LOVES to feed it to them. Every weekend we slip into our pjs, snuggle up together, pop in a movie with our laps full of candy and our hearts full of love.

  38. Amy Landis October 24, 2014 1:51 am

    My favorite family tradition is Saturday morning breakfasts. Pancakes, eggs, and delicious coffee!

  39. Anna Gwennap October 24, 2014 2:00 am

    one of my favorite traditions we have started is very simple sounding but very special to me… We get our 11 month old daughter out of her room on Saturday mornings and bring her in our bed for snuggles and mostly her crawling all over us. We watch the Pioneer Women on TV and just enjoy being together as a family.

  40. Laura Farrell October 24, 2014 2:48 am

    Our favorite family tradition is together praying our worries into God’s hands each night before we put our little guy down to sleep. Putting the body and soul to rest in peace is such sweetness!

  41. Averi October 24, 2014 2:51 am

    How do I decide? I grew up with many immediate and extended family members all in the same county. It has been a blessing to grow up on the Crystal Coast and with such a strong community of loves ones. One of the best memories of my childhood and adult life ironically does not include the coast! Each summer my grandparents, cousins, aunt and uncles, and my immediate family would travel to Linville for a week. That’s right. In the summer! This tradition started in 1991 when my paternal grandparents took my sister and me to the Grandfather Mountain Scottish Highland Games. Our Scottish heritage is very important to us and many of us have a kilt in our clan tartan. I do believe every time I hear a bagpipe play, I am covered in chill bumps! Going to the games and learning all about the Highland culture, eating a bridie, watching the caber toss…are all wonderful memories for my family and me. During the week, we would always stay in the same condo owned by a family friend, ride the Ferris wheel at Tweetsie Railroad, go to the outlets in Blowing Rock, and maybe even go whitewater rafting. You could bet money we would climb the peaks of Grandfather Mountain, visit Mildred the Bear at the zoo, and buy candies at the Mast General Store. I’ll never forget the first time underground at Linville Caverns! Over the years, our family has grown up and the summer trip has molded and shifted over time. Most of my cousins are now in high school and I even have a little girl of my own. Of course we chose to dedicate her middle name to my Scottish heritage. To me, it’s important that the tradition continue and for my daughter to always know how it feels to be surrounded by history, love, and memories of family.

  42. Elizabeth October 24, 2014 8:26 pm

    Our favorite family tradition is on Thanksgiving we sing Christmas carols and Santa comes for a visit! All the kids sit on Santas lap and read their lists so family knows what they want! Also everyone gets an early Christmas present!

  43. Jenn Hyatt October 25, 2014 2:52 am

    we’re a young family (2yr old and #2 due in January), so we’re still establishing our traditions. but one that my husband and I have been doing since we got married is to get new (or add to our) Christmas jammies every year that we wear starting black friday! I’ve done the same for our daughter. we spend the evenings playing or watching movies by the light of the Christmas tree… and we have more hot cocoa than I’d like to admit!

  44. Christie Smith October 25, 2014 11:07 am

    One of my favorite memories is with my husband and our daughter last winter. She was finally big enough to play and enjoy the snow (2yrs old) and the three if us on a whim went outside and had a snowball fight. We taught her now to make snow cream and we all just played like kids. It’s easy to let moments go by because it’s too much work to get ready or it’s too close to bedtime but I hope these are the moments she remembers! When I look back on my childhood, it’s the unplanned moments like these that I remember clearly.

  45. Jessica Nikiel October 25, 2014 12:03 pm

    My favorite memory with my family has always been celebrating thanksgiving together and not just the day but being thankful the whole month. Together we share each day what we’re thankful for and who which only keeps us grateful at heart. I also love the family receipes that have been passed down for generations and generations that we still make such as the stuffing that has never ended up in left overs it’s that good! Now this year my husband and I have our son to begin the tradition of thankfulness and to pass the recipes onto. I can’t wait for this holiday season and to make our own memories as a family of three in our new state of NC!

  46. Kimberly Barron October 25, 2014 3:13 pm

    My favorite family memory was when my husband and I recently took our kids to the this past summer. It was my daughters first time being able to play with my son in the water. Seeing their faces light up as the splashed around and played together for hours really warmed my heart. I pray that God will allow us to see many more trips together in the future!:)

  47. Lauren October 25, 2014 7:09 pm

    My favorite family tradition is one we’ve just started in the last year. Last Christmas my parents gave us a Belgian waffle maker and ever since then, we make waffles every Saturday morning that we can. I love mine with maple syrup, bananas, blueberries, and whipped cream. It’s so nice to have that relaxed time as a family at the end of the week!

  48. Amy Jones October 25, 2014 8:00 pm

    Today we begin one of my favorite traditions when I was growing up: carving a pumpkin together! Since Wilder’s too young to design it himself, I did that for him but he can help with the hoppy part! Then I’ll do what used to be my moms job: roast the seeds! So fun to do things with my little man that I did myself growing up. It brings a whole new meaning.

  49. Janine Willis October 25, 2014 11:01 pm

    Our family of 3 is pretty new with our son, Colin, having joined in July. So far my favorite tradition is our long walks on Saturday mornings with our dog, Abbey. We catch up after busy work weeks and dream about our future.

  50. Jess Donohue October 26, 2014 12:21 am

    My favorite recent family memory is from last Christmas when we all gathered in Raleigh, happy to be together and pretty much had a “staycation” at my parents house. We baked sugar cookies, watched Home Alone with hot chocolate in hand by the fire, sang Christmas carols and hymns, listened to my brother play his newest original songs on guitar, and played games. It was honestly the most precious time together and such a gift to realize how much your family means to you even as my brother and I are now grown and living on our own. The chance to be together in these seasons is so special and I am incredibly blessed with parents and a little brother who love me so well and are so much fun (plus, a husband who fits right in and joins in the silliness and sappy moments).

    Soon-to-be most favorite memory… The Jimmy Fallon style lip-sync competition my parents challenged us to over thanksgiving. Promises to be monumental and I can’t wait! After a few hard years for our family, it’s fun to still be able to laugh together and God is so good to provide that!!

    Thanks for the opportunity to think through fun family moments. It’s sweet to relive these memories

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Oct 16-14

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It brings my heart so much joy when I have the privilege to work with couples I've known for a long time. Will is the brother of one of Jamie's best friends, and I remember going to NC State soccer games in college to watch him play. I have never known Will and Melissa without each other, which is simply the best. While Will is quite laid back, Melissa is incredibly organized (something that we bond over!). Together, they are hard-working, they believe that family is the most important thing, and they believe that love never fails. I love that they enjoy the simple things in life, whether it is watching a movie together on the couch or spending a holiday in a new city. Will's job is quite demanding, and Melissa shared that they don't take for granted the time that they get to spend together.

Although they now live in Charlotte, it was important for Will and Melissa to come back to Raleigh for their engagement session since it is the place where they first met and fell in love. We met at the lovely Historic Yates Mill County Park, and our time together could not have been more perfect! The sun was shining, the leaves were slowly changing into those beautiful fall colors, and there was a slight cool breeze.

Will and Melissa, I am so excited for your upcoming summer wedding and am praying blessings over your engagement! Thank you for allowing me to capture this special time in your life!

Film Processing: Indie Film Lab

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Melissa is a lover of all-things-Southern so of course, she fell in love with this old mill house at the park!

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Comments: 1

  1. Melissa Cheek October 16, 2014 3:15 pm

    Be still my heart. You are amazing, Callie girl. You captured everything I was hoping for and MORE. Will and I will treasure these for our lifetime and can not wait for you to be there to capture our wedding day.

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Oct 15-14

Ice Family

Families ~ by Elizabeth Tate ~ no comments

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I met the Ice family in Downtown Wake Forest for their family session... their backyard as well as my own! I had such a great time getting to know them as we walked around our quaint little hometown. Sessions like this make me very thankful for what I do!  In one hour I met this family, got to know them, photographed them as they sank into feeling natural with each other, and walked away feeling like I'd known them for some time and that if I ran into them at our local Harris Teeter, we'd be stopping to catch up for a while!

Side note... about midway through the session I was attacked by fire ants! I had just finished telling everyone about how I had been attacked by fire ants the day before shooting a wedding, and literally 3 minutes later I had another swarm of fire ants on my foot. It was hilarious and terrifying all at the same time! And for the rest of the session, I had the entire family looking out for ant hills while I walked!

Ice family, it was such a privilege photographing your sweet family. I so enjoyed meeting you guys and getting to know you!

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Oct 14-14

Blog Survey

NRP Team ~ by Nancy Ray ~ 6 comments

Well friends, it's been a long journey for this little blog and myself. Through the years, I've accumulated quite the collection of blogposts! Now, I would simply love to hear from you. What have been your favorite posts or features? What do you look forward to most when you come visit? I would be so grateful if you took less than 2 minutes to fill out this survey, made just for you!

If you wish to take a trip down memory lane, feel free to scroll down click on a few of my favorite posts throughout the years. It's quite fun (and funny!) to see how my style & voice have changed through the years!

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Image by the lovely Callie

When the cops busted me during an engagement session (2009)
My triplet nephew's newborn session (2009)
My very first monthly goals post (2009)
My first ever blog feature (2009)
That time I blogged every single day for 100 days straight (2009)
My Life Goals (2010)
Musings after moving to Raleigh (2010)
That time my sweet husband hacked my blog (2011)
We're Debt Free : Paying off our house (2013)
My Contentment Story / The Contentment Challenge (2013)
Nicaragua Missions Trip (2013)
Our 5th Anniversary BVI Trip (2013)
5 Years of Marriage (2013)
5 Years of Business (2013)
My Morning Routine (2014)
Series on Organization (Work, Time, Home Finances, Personal Life, Spiritual Life) (2014)
End of a Season: Will's job change (2014)

BlogSurvey-NRP



Click here to fill out the Survey!


Please comment below and:

- Let me know if you have a favorite blogpost, mentioned above or not!
- Let me know if there is something you would like for me to blog about in the future

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for following. Blogging is a fun outlet and platform for me, and I am excited to hear from you!

Comments: 6

  1. Kelly October 15, 2014 2:04 pm

    I liked reading the “My Life Goals” from 2010. Wow – you are straight killin’ it! Thanks for taking the time and commitment to blog. I enjoy reading it each day. :)

    • Nancy Ray October 15, 2014 6:46 pm

      Thank you, Kelly! It was fun to find those life goals and re-read them. Many have changed, many have stayed the same, and many have come to pass! The power of writing down your goals :)

  2. Amber N October 15, 2014 7:00 pm

    I LOVE the “We’re Debt Free” post! I like when you all share about your finances, because it is SUCH an encouragement! I just started reading Dave Ramsey and I’m hooked, so to see people so young living a debt free life is a testimony and shows that hard work really does pay off!!

  3. Mackenzie October 16, 2014 12:35 am

    I love your “My Morning Routine” post! It inspires me and reminds me that I can be a morning person too, even if I’m sleepy! I also loved your Spiritual Life organizational posts. I am so thankful for the way you share your heart!

  4. Lorin Fairweather October 16, 2014 2:39 pm

    Goodness, it’s so difficult to pick a favorite! I’ve really enjoyed reading & have been so encouraged by how you got your start in your business, monthly goals, organization posts, missions recaps, financial success & marriage posts :)

  5. Amber October 17, 2014 1:47 pm

    I really enjoyed reading about your Contentment Challenge and Debt-free journey! As a fellow 20-something year old gal living debt free, I find both to be such an encouragement.

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Photographer, wife, and worshiper... I am a Southern girl who looks most forward to waking up each morning to drink my coffee, read my Bible, and soak in the beauty that surrounds me. These pages chronicle my work, my life, and the things that I love most. You'll also hear from Callie, Will, and Elizabeth - my amazing team who has so much to offer. Thanks for visiting, I do hope you stay a while!
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