Dec 05-13

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Ceremony Venue: First United Methodist Church of Cary
Reception Venue: Cobblestone Hall
Caterer: Triangle Catering Company
Florist: Tre Bella Florist
Event Coordinator: Orangerie Events
Reception Band: The Shakedown Band
Reception Pies: Triangle Catering Company
Wedding Dress: Romona Kaveza

I know it sounds silly... but I was counting down days until this wedding. I just knew it was going to be a ton of fun and full of unforgettable moments for Adam and Arden, and it definitely lived up to my expectation! From the moment I met these two, they have demonstrated such a sincere love for each other that is so evidently rooted in friendship – and I think that’s what makes me so excited for them: there’s really nothing sweeter than making a lifelong commitment to your best friend.

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The entire day was so sweet and full of life – there were moments both large and small that won’t be forgotten: from the moment Adam saw his bride for the first time, to the moment their best friends circled around them singing “Wagon Wheel” to close the night.

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Shoutout to the Shakedown Band who helped keep the party alive with some amazing covers for some timeless songs! We absolutely had a blast with these guys!

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I so enjoyed working with these two! Arden and Adam – Congratulations, I wish you guys the best in your new life together!

Comments: 1

  1. Arden December 5, 2013 6:38 pm

    This is beautiful!! Elizabeth, you are such an amazing photographer and one of the sweetest individuals that Adam and I have ever met. You captured our day perfectly and we will have these pictures for the rest of our lives to look back on and remember this special day.
    We can never say thank you enough!!

    -Arden and Adam

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Dec 04-13

BVI Trip

The Rays ~ by Nancy Ray ~ 8 comments

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"Live like no one else, so that later, you can live like no one else." - Dave Ramsey

If you have followed me for a while, you know that Will and I have waited a long time for this trip. When we got married in 2008, we lived on one income while I was still a student in college. We lived on a very tight budget, because we were committed to never go into debt. Instead, we wanted to save and set ourselves up for living in financial freedom.  After a five years of marriage and of growing my photography business, we decided to continue to live on less than his income alone. Everything above that, we put towards our house, and we ended up paying off our house in 32 months. (Read our full story: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.)

We paid off our house in December of 2012, and decided that 2013 was the year to celebrate! We had lived like no one else for 5 years - a lot of our friends and family thought we were a little too "intense." We rarely went out to eat. We rarely shopped for clothing or household things. I sold old clothes at a consignment store. Our refrigerator was empty at the end of every month, because we ate everything we purchased. (Hello, leftovers!) We pinched pennies and did everything we could think of to live on less than 1 income!

When 2013 began, a year without any payments (!), we knew we wanted to go on an amazing vacation! It was time to really live like no one else! Not only to celebrate paying off our house, but to celebrate our 5th year of marriage. What an incredible trip we had!

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And yes - for those of you who are wondering, we were all alone on this boat for a week! Will was the Skipper, I was his first mate. We hired a Skipper for 24 hours to teach us the ropes, then we were on our own in the deep blue sea. Will did an amazing job. He is particularly proud of the first photo in this post because that was the first time he docked the boat on his own. (With the help of his first mate, duh.)

We cooked, ate, relaxed, and slept on the boat. It was our home away from home for a week! Cozy, tiny, and it had everything we needed. It really showed me that we don't NEED half the stuff we think we do. It was awesome.

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We experienced a different island every day, and we moored in a different cove every night. Our schedule for the week looked like this:

Day 1: The Bight, Norman Island (aka Treasure island)
Day 2: The Bitter End &  Saba Rock
Day 3: Loblolly Bay, Anegada 
Day 4:Peter Island (where we honeymooned)
Day 5: Monkey Bay, Marina Cay
Day 6:The Baths at Virgin Gorda, Manchioneel Bay
Day 7: Cruise to the Marina and travel home

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I'm so grateful to have experienced this crazy adventure with my very best friend. I love you William Ray. We would have never reached these goals without your amazing leadership, and I'm so grateful for that. Here's to many more adventures, explorations, and anniversary celebrations!

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Comments: 8

  1. *holly December 4, 2013 3:59 pm

    Beautiful, Nancy! I love all of your photos from the trip. They’re transporting me to the sea of which I won’t be visiting anytime soon so thank you for that;) xoxo

  2. Elizabeth Burns December 4, 2013 4:25 pm

    These photos are stunning! Congrats on the anniversary and good for you guys for splurging on such a great trip that is sure to be cherished forever. :)

  3. Jasmine Marciniak December 4, 2013 5:17 pm

    Tears Nancy, nothing but tears. I can’t wait to have a story similar to yours and be deft free. I hope you guys had an AMAZING time. You are such an inspiration! Love you to pieces.

  4. MacKenzie December 4, 2013 6:28 pm

    Ahh! I couldn’t wait to see some of your photos and on this dreary day, it brings me much warmth. Lovely pictures and you two look so happy and SUPER relaxed!!

  5. Amber Housley December 4, 2013 7:32 pm

    SO, SO beautiful! What an amazing experience. Thanks for being such a wonderful couple to look up to!

  6. Megan December 4, 2013 7:41 pm

    This warms my heart! Y’all are so precious :) Miss you both!!! xo-Meg

  7. Em December 5, 2013 3:26 am

    Love this post! Such an amazing trip, and I’m so glad you have such beautiful photos to remember it by! The benefits of being a photographer :)

  8. Cathy June 12, 2014 5:00 am

    Hi Nancy!! I was writing a blog post about my husband and I and our financial journey and came across your blog.
    reading your story made me emotional! Thank you for sharing your story, it really encouraged and motivated me! Praying that in a few years we’ll be able to go on our own debt free trip :)

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Dec 03-13

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I met the Curle family at Carroll Joyner Park in Wake Forest on a beautiful fall afternoon. Immediately it was evident that family was most important thing to them - in the way they spoke and interacted with each other, in the way they laughed together, and in the way that they honor and love their parents. I can only imagine what it's like to be a grandparent - to look at your family and feel completely overjoyed, to see your children find their spouses, become parents, and to hold your sweet grandchildren. I know Sharon and Charles are amazing parents and grandparents. They have established a true foundation for their family and hold them together so sweetly.

One of my favorite moments of the day was when Sharon leaned over to her grandchildren and told them "You better smile beautifully because these pictures will be hanging in ours homes for many years to come." That's why I am a photographer. My greatest hope for each of my clients is that the images and moments I have the honor to capture would be a constant reminder of the people we love and hold dearly for many years to come.

Curle Family, you are one of a kind! Thank you for allowing me to step into your family and get to know you, even if it was only for an hour! I had so much fun with you and hope you love these pictures as much as I do!

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Comments: 3

  1. Liz December 3, 2013 5:52 pm

    These are nothing short of gorgeous!!! So incredibly natural and genuine!!!!

  2. Em December 4, 2013 4:08 am

    Beautiful, and so special for this family! I love the black and white at the top!

  3. Courtney December 4, 2013 4:12 pm

    Callie! These are wonderful. You are so talented, my friend.

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Dec 01-13

Poppytalk Gift Tags

aren't these gift tags adorable?

It's the last month of the year, which means it's the last time I'll write down my monthly goals for 2013. Hard to believe. Even so, I won't let this month fade away until 2014 arrives. Nope! I am going to stay strong with my goals, manage my time wisely, and keep my eyes straight ahead to accomplish my work and dive into rest.  December is probably my favorite month of the year, for many reasons. It's crossing the finish line, so to speak, with my business, as I send off all images back into the hands of my clients. It's the month I get to slow down, take a deep breath, and step away from the computer. It's the month we celebrate our Savior coming into this world, it's the month of my birthday, too, and it's the month where we put a bow on 2013 and say goodbye to a year full of challenges and successes. It's a month of remembering all that worked and all that didn't, the time to look ahead at a new year and welcome it with celebration. It's the close of a chapter, like the feeling you get when you finish the last page of your journal, and the excitement that comes with picking out a new one.

This month, I plan to work hard and rest well. I want to focus on the little things that usually pass me by - taking time to wrap pretty gifts, trying a new recipe, taking naps (which I never do!). In general, I have a hard time resting. But this December, I want that to change. Here's to a fulfilling month of focused work and lots of rest!

December Goals

15 in 12 : Read Margin & a novel for fun
Enjoying wrapping Christmas gifts beautifully (instead of in a rush!)
Complete gift wrapping by December 15th
Practice my Calligraphy on our Christmas Card envelopes
Complete all weddings and sessions by Christmas
Launch Mentor Sessions
Make and decorate Gingerbread Cookies (any recipe recommendations?)
Have a Christmas date night, complete with
• A fancy dinner while reminiscing all we did this year
• Our favorite Christmas Movie
• A drive around our neighborhood to see the lights
Spend Christmas in Nashville
Take more naps
Have a relaxed birthday at home

Comments: 3

  1. Danielle December 2, 2013 1:40 am

    Oohhh! I just wrote mine out, but might go back and add the “take more naps” one from your list! That sounds like a great goal!! Also, I wanted to say thanks for the work you did for the Influence class! It was encouraging and helpful, and I felt like I had some real practical takeaways! So thanks!

  2. Hannah December 3, 2013 2:16 am

    Excited to hear more about those mentor sessions :)

  3. Em December 3, 2013 3:16 am

    Beautifully wrapping gifts and driving around to see the lights are two of my favorite December must-dos!

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Nov 28-13

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Happy Thanksgiving! We are posting our "Gratefulgrams" a little early this month, since it just seemed appropriate for Thanksgiving Day. I'm currently in the mountains of North Carolina, eating apple cranberry crisp, playing football, making real fires, and beating Will and all of his cousins at Settlers of Catan. Hope your Thanksgiving is filled with memories and love as you step away from work and focus on what matters most.

Here are a few things that we are grateful for this season :

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Celebrating my best friend / My home studio space / Friends who are like family - there for you no matter what
The opportunity to capture couples on the most important day of their lives / Teaching finances alongside my husband / My sweet family - especially these triplet miracles.

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Our family home in Beaufort, NC / My little family
A great birthday celebration with my family / The chance to help people WIN with money

Gratefulgrams-Callie

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Sweet freshman girls at Broughton High School / Christmastime / That I get to be a photographer and capture beautiful moments
Wedding celebrations that bring sweet friends together / Scripture that speaks much needed truth / My incredibly funny fiancé who always makes me laugh

Gratefulgrams-Elizabeth

Elizabeth
My Kiwi baby / Family / a job I love / Little Tate Traditions

Comments: 0

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Nov 27-13

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I met Malini and Greg in downtown Wake Forest on a lovely autumn afternoon. It was so sweet to spend time with this couple, because they are so true to who they are. Malini is so sweet, she has wonderful taste (a fellow Anthro lover like myself!), and is not afraid of fun patterns and bright colors. Greg is her perfect compliment: simple, content, a quiet leader of their relationship. Both Malini and Greg are currently working in Chapel Hill as scientists, which is something I have much admiration for. They  spend their time in scientific research, so while I was taking their photos, I asked them to explain what exactly it was that they do. While I could try to explain it here, I am sure I would not do it justice! Just know that it was quite complicated, and that these two beautiful people are brilliant. I'm so grateful for people like them who spend their lives studying, researching, and testing ways to improve our health and our lives!

They celebrated their 5th anniversary this year, which was the perfect milestone to celebrate with photos. It was fun talking about marriage and life and change, because Will and I find ourselves in such a similar place - 5 years of marriage, working, no kids yet, simply enjoying life with one another. It's a beautiful season, worthy of documenting. I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to capture this season, and I'm sure they will look back on these images 5, 10, 20 years from now, and love them all the more.

Malini and Greg, thank you for being such kind and generous people who love life and love one another. I'm so grateful our paths have crossed!

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Comments: 1

  1. Malini December 3, 2013 4:28 pm

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!! These are beyond amazing!! They take my breath away! Thank you so much for taking our pictures. We had a great time with you!

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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!
Nancy Ray