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Engagement: Mattie and O’Neal

February 5, 2020

We are so excited to share this amazing engagement story and session with you! Mattie and O’Neal reached out to us this past September and from the moment we had our first conversation we knew this was going to be such a fun planning process! They have a lot of love for each other and their family and friends and want to make sure it’s a memorable weekend for all! We are looking forward to seeing their day come together this September in Durham!

We asked Mattie and O’Neal a few questions about them and the planning process so far; check out their responses below!

But first … check out these AMAZING images from their engagement session in Kiawah Island by the talented John Branch IV Photography!!

How did O’Neal propose? O’Neal planned a romantic weekend to Asheville, North Carolina, one of our favorite getaway spots. We went on the Craggy Pinnacle hike and at the top, O’Neal said he wanted to “love and cherish me” for the rest of his life and asked me to marry him. We were surrounded by other hikers and a beautiful view. I said “Yes, of course!” Everyone around us cheered, and we spent the afternoon sharing our happiness with our family and friends before a romantic dinner at the Omni Grove Park Inn.

How did you and O’Neal meet? O’Neal and I met during our freshman year at UNC-Chapel Hill. We were at a soccer game. I was with one of my best friends, and O’Neal was with one of his friends as well. Apparently, I was not very interested in O’Neal. But nevertheless, he persisted. Fast forward to the summer between sophomore and junior year. O’Neal would text me frequently throughout the summer, checking in to see how I was doing. We planned to get lunch together when we returned back to campus for the new school year. Little did we know, we would live in the same apartment building, Rams 4. We saw each other all of the time – in the hallways, on the bus, on the elevator – and we began to hang out more frequently. During the spring of 2014, O’Neal sweetly asked me to be his girlfriend. And of course, I said yes! 🙂 

So far, what aspect of planning the wedding has been the most enjoyable? I’ve so enjoyed working with our wedding planner, Gina! She has made the whole process feel very special and organized. My favorite parts of wedding planning has been dress shopping, our engagement shoot, and designing the save-the-date invitations. I loved trying on dresses for the ceremony and the reception and I can’t wait to see how they look on the big day! Our engagement shoot was so much fun. Our photographer, John Branch IV is AMAZING and made O’Neal and I feel comfortable. We spent the day on Kiawah Island, and it was so special. Designing the save-the-date invitations was also a lot of fun! Who knew it could be so easy? I feel like we were able to find a design that matched the theme of our wedding, so I’m super excited to see the final product and hope that our guests enjoy them as much as we do! 

Do you have any advice for recently engaged brides to help them stay stress-free throughout the planning process? My godmother gave me great advice that’s stuck with me. She said, “Remember, you are planning for your marriage, not just your wedding.” And that’s so true! Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the glitz and glam of weddings and forget the real love behind them. So, whenever I feel myself losing sight of the most important thing, I always go back to that quote. It really helps me to stay grounded, celebrate O’Neal and I’s love all the time, and truly enjoy the planning process. 

What are you most excited about for the day of the wedding?
There are so many things I am so excited about!  I can’t wait to see how our venues look when it all comes together. And…now that I think about it…I think I’m most excited for the reception at Bay 7. We love a good party!

What are three words to describe the feel of your upcoming wedding?
Hmm… elegant, fun, and timeless.

What made you decide to hire a planner? Honestly, this was the best decision we could have ever made. Seriously, Gina is a lifesaver! Ultimately, we knew that we didn’t have the time or the energy to do this alone. When we first got engaged, my mom and I were so excited to get started on planning different things and we wore ourselves out before we began! Gina has definitely helped us with understanding all of our options, being mindful of our budget, and communicating with the many different vendors. Also, O’Neal and I live in Atlanta, and the wedding will be in Durham, North Carolina. So, to not be local anymore makes things a bit more difficult! Having a planner like Gina has made this process so smooth for us and our families. I could not be more thankful for her and her expertise! 

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