Our engagement in August 2018 took place in the middle of Times Square. It really felt like something straight out of a movie! Kai and I took a road trip from Nashville up to Boston and then drove down to visit friends in New Jersey. One evening we decided to take a trip into Manhattan for some sightseeing. Our friends are both photographers so when they asked if I minded if they snapped some photos of us, I never thought twice about it (they’re rarely seen without a camera). However, in retrospect, it may have seemed a little odd that they were literally packing ALL the equipment. As Kai and I were walking down Broadway, with our friends taking photos from behind, I remember he seemed a bit off. I figured he was just taking in all the sights and chaotic sounds of Times Square. Our friends finally stopped us because they wanted to snap some photos of us with the iconic illuminated signs in the background. We took a few together and then they said they wanted some of us individually. I went first. and was instructed to turn away from the camera and do a few poses looking up at the lights. For the final pose, I was told to turn around on the count of 3 and then jump in the air. They counted…1…2…3…and as soon as I turned around, I saw Kai down on one knee in front of me. I was in total shock and my face in our pictures says it all! I felt like I was in a dream! Visitors walking by stopped, clapped, cheered, and snapped photos. I think the most memorable aspect of our engagement is in looking back at these photos. Complete strangers are in the background smiling and crying. Millions of people from all over the world travel to Times Square each year to see this City of Dreams. We may not know each other, speak the same language, or share many of the same life experiences. But we do share the understanding and feeling of love. This was captured so perfectly in this moment with my fiancé and all of the people we were surrounded by.
For the Groom: Walk us through the behind the scenes of creating this special day:
We were going on a road trip to visit some friends who are photographers in New Jersey. I called them and told them that I had got the ring and wanted them to photograph the engagement in Times Square. They made up a story of wanting us to model for them so that they could test out their new cameras. We went to Times Square and I just kind of found a window where I could get the ring from my friends and behind my back without Courtney seeing it.
Our wedding aesthetic is a bit of industrial chic meets soft elegance. Our venue has exposed wood and brick for a unique look but also has large beautiful windows for lots of natural lighting (which we’re obsessed with).
Just having it! Our original date in May was postponed due to the COVID19 pandemic. While our love for each other certainly was not canceled, we can’t wait to finally be able to celebrate our marriage with family and friends.
We really are best friends. and we compliment each other extremely well. We cover each other’s weaknesses and amplify each other’s strengths.
Our engagement shoot couldn’t have gone any better! The weather was absolutely beautiful and we were able to do it just before COVID19 put us all on lockdown. Donnell was wonderful to work with. He really allowed us to have some creative license over the photoshoot including poses, which helped things to feel more relaxed and natural. We appreciated this so much. His artistic eye was perfect for spotting beautiful places to take photos around the arboretum. He was also just really cool to chat with during the shoot. Our engagement photos look beautiful and we can’t wait to work with him for our big day!
We didn’t really have one, but we did wear royal blue and college t-shirts to pay a little homage to our alma mater, Hampton University.
We met in 2012 and will have been together 8 years in September “Are you Courtney with a 2040 on the SAT?” – This is perhaps one of the greatest pickup lines of all time…or at least the one that started everything for Courtney and Kai’s relationship. This story began in the summer of 2012. Courtney was an incoming freshman at Hampton University and was participating in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Pre-College Program. Kai was a rising junior at Hampton and was spending his summer conducting research and volunteering as a student mentor for the HHMI program. Even before meeting Courtney in person, Kai knew that he had to meet her! He had reviewed her application for the HHMI program and was very impressed. They both even had the same score on the SAT! Little did they know that SAT scores weren’t the only reason they were perfect for each other. A few days after the start of the program, Kai was chatting with some of the other students when Courtney walked up to join in the conversation. They hadn’t met before this moment. “Hey, I’m Courtney! I don’t think we’ve met yet” she said. “Are you Courtney…with a 2040 on the SAT?” he said. Courtney definitely was confused by this initial interaction, but intrigued by this new guy. They chatted more about where they were from, life at Hampton, being in the same organic chemistry class during the fall, and more. By the end of the conversation, Kai gave Courtney his number in case she needed help during the summer or wanted someone to study with during the academic year. They then went their separate ways. A couple of weeks passed, but Courtney and Kai didn’t see or speak with each other anymore. One afternoon, they ran into each other again while at the mall. He mentioned that she never texted him after meeting that first time. Courtney smiled…and the rest was history.
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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