21 C Museum Hotel Engagement | Natalie + Anthony

Location: 21 C Museum Hotel Durham

Photography: Donnell Perry Photography

MUA: Natural Beauties By Vee

Wedding Planner: Elana Walker Events

After dating for a few years, just like any other couple, we started talking about marriage more and more. One morning I was deep in my sleep and heard a voice saying “Bae… Bae… Wake up” … I was kinda halfway woke and halfway sleep and in the room, I could see Ant on his knees. I didn’t know where he was going with what he had to say but knew I wasn’t ready for whatever it was… right then he said: “Natalie I love you with all my heart and I want you to marry me.” So thinking I’m still dreaming a bit I was like I know he did not just say what I think he said, so I kind of turned over and thought about it for a second. By the time I realized I was not dreaming he had walked out of the room. So, I got up ran into the kitchen and said: “What did you say?” He says “I said will you marry me?” I looked at him and realized this was the proposal and at that moment I said “Yes”

Our wedding is a little different than some because we aren’t having a church wedding. The venue we’ve chosen creates the magical vision we’ve always wanted. It gives off the impression of Cinderella meeting her Prince and riding off before the clock strikes 12:)

We are looking forward to seeing each other at the altar and looking over our shoulder to see our family and friends as we began our journey as husband and wife!

Over the twenty-plus years that we’ve known each other we’ve watched each other grow and flourish into the couple we are today! Our patience for each other, the way we communicate and have learned each other makes us very unique. Our relationship has been a beautiful work in progress. We are still growing and we looking forward to our future.

Our engagement photography experience with Donnell Perry Photography was everything we thought it would be and more! He is a very talented individual! He was extremely patient with us and made sure we were comfortable during the entire experience. We don’t do photoshoots often so we weren’t exactly sure how to pose for the perfect shot. Donnell gave us all the pointers we needed to capture us in the best light. We were very happy with the final selection of photos that we received and will never forget the experience we had that day:)

Creating this special day was quite a challenge! My work schedule is super demanding. We managed to capture all the memorable moments that would lead up to our special day! From seeking out the venue to going to various tastings and checking out different designs, this has truly been a year to remember!

We really didn’t have a theme but if we had to go for one it would have been a day in the life of us! As a spontaneous couple, you can catch us doing anything! From art exhibits to playing scrabble while sipping champagne, that’s just how we get down! We love spending time together. We love us!

It was about 19 years ago, the year 2000 when we first met. It was around the Fall of 2000. We were both in an introduction class at Durham Technical Community College. It was a small class of about 12 people. The Teacher made everyone introduce themselves self and I remember Natalie saying “My Name is Natalie Mials. I was raised in Raleigh, but I was born in Jacksonville, N.C.”. At the time I wondered where Jacksonville N.C. location is on a map. And of course, I introduced myself with “My name is Anthony Brooks and I am from Durham”. Later the teacher had us do an in-class assignment where we had to go around to everyone and write a personal trait about that individual. When I and Natalie were paired up she wrote that she thought I was a quite nice guy. I wrote that she seemed to be a very caring and outgoing person. We chatted a little about how we both got to that moment in time and after our time was up with the assignment we wished each other luck for the future to come. Time later Natalie and I ended up in the same math class. She used to come into class a few minutes late sometimes and the instructor told the class “If any of you see Ms. Mials walking down the hill to class late. Please give her a ride so she wants to be late.” About a week later I was running a little late and I remember seeing Natalie walking down the hill. Amazing how I can still remember seeing her like it was yesterday, she was wearing black slacks, a red dress shirt, and low cut black heels. She had a blue raincoat folded over her arm and a black umbrella in her hand. She had a sense of urgency while walking down the hill. So thinking about what the instructor said, I slow down and rolled the window down. I said to her “Hey Natalie if you want I can take you to class today”. She thought about it and said ok. After class that day, I asked her if she would like a ride home? She said sure. Trying my luck, I asked her would she like to go out for lunch also and she said yes, but I need to be home on time to pick up my son from the daycare van. So, I was like “how old is your son?” and she said “one.”, and I told her I look forward to the day I meet him. After a few months, we became very close friends. Around March of 2001 I Enlisted in the Marines. Natalie now being my close friend, I told her first before anyone else of my decision. She was happy for me, and I told her before I leave, I would like her to meet my family at my Family Reunion. She was shy about it stating she didn’t have anything to wear for such a meeting. We went to the mall and found a nice summer dress, which she still has, and went to the reunion. At the reunion, I introduced her to my mom and she said “Anthony she looks like a baby doll” and that’s when I said to myself she really breathes taking. About a month later I was preparing to leave for boot camp and wanted to say my goodbyes to Nat and her son Rick. I showed up at her doorstep with a teddy bear for her son, but most of all I wanted to show my good friend Natalie that even though I was leaving, I did care about her more than she knows. Knocking at her door I lost my thoughts and when she opened the door I could only say to her that I was leaving and didn’t know when I was going to return. She told me she was happy that I stopped by. I saw she had her hand wrapped with a rag and asked what had happened. She said she had cut her hand while washing dishes. I said can I see it, as we sat down on the couch. She Showed me the cut on her hand. I told her “my mother use to tell me when I was a child with a cut or scrape, just kiss it and it will go away.” So, I asked her could I kiss it. She slowly put her hand out, I leaned forward and kissed her hand. As I kissed her hand I looked up at her and noticed she closed her eyes. I thought to myself before I leave, this may be my only chance to kiss her. So slowly I kissed up her arm then I kissed her lips. It felt like fireworks. Before I knew it we were sitting on her steps telling each other how we really felt about one another. Now here we are many years later preparing to walk down the aisle.
Donnell Perry Photography is an Award-Winning Raleigh Wedding Photography company based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. Please view our portfolio to see more of our work. We are available to travel for wedding and portrait photography, please contact us through the contact form on our website for more information.

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