Rachel + Wesley - Sweet, DIY Backyard Wedding on the Ocean!

Rachel & Wesley's wedding was to die for. 

The best part? 100% handmade, DIY goodness. The happy couple opted for a backyard, family-oriented affair with sweet, intimate details that expressed their truly unique relationship and personalities. The whole family pitched in to create, craft and collect items to decorate and light up the ceremony and reception space. The groom's ( Wesley ) dad owns a beautiful home right on the ocean in Elizabeth City, NC, so that served beautifully as the ceremony and reception venue for the big day. Rachel's brother brewed several different varieties of speciality beer just for the occasion! Family members built signs, cooked up some AMAZING meals, baked the delish wedding cake, kept the party going with fun music and yes, even the bride's wedding dress was handmade! How's THAT for DIY? 

Rachel & Wesley themselves are so photogenic naturally, but their genuine love and adoration for each other just begs emotion and warm fuzzies from everyone they come in contact with. It's so obvious how smitten they are about one another, and that kind of crazy love is so refreshing and precious to witness! Throughtout their entire celebration, the couple had games of all kinds and entertaining events to keep things lively. Their "guestbook" was actually a giant Jenga set that a family member had built! It was so much fun watching the guests cautiously try to slip a wood block out to write their congratulations to the happy couple on it, and hilariously tragic when an unfortunate soul happened to send the whole thing tumbling down! They had cornhole, swimming at the beach, dancing, beer-tasting and so many other awesome touches that made their day just wonderful and so exciting to be a part of. 

To the new Mr. & Mrs. Thomas: thank you for letting Justin and I capture the happiest day of your life. We are SO thrilled for you and had the best time with your sweet selves and your awesome friends and family!

I started the happy day off with the pretty ladies and the gorgeous bride-to-be!

Justin hung out with the men as they got ready for showtime!

Rachel & Wesley decided to do a first-look session before the ceremony. I always recommend a first look shoot to all of my brides. Sure, it might be seen as grossly un-traditional, but it really relieves so much of the stress you can feel the day of. Plus, it's such a sweet moment to have captured, and even better if it's just the 2 of you alone!

I just love how genuinely blessed and excited he is to see his bride standing there in front of him in her wedding dress...  :)

Time to get MARRIED!!

And now, on to the party!

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