An elopement to remember with Donminique and Chaz is an understatement. I was so thrilled with these two reached out and allowed me to capture their elopement. I love elopements. I can’t get enough of them. They’re intimate, romantic, and emotional and this was all of those and a bit more than we expected!
We started early in the morning where Donminique and Chaz got ready and the 21C Musem and Hotel in Durham. They both got ready in their own rooms but the evening before, Chaz actually surprised Donminique by decorating her room for her. That morning when she went to get ready it was decked out with confetti and balloons that spelled out bride!
We took pictures while they were getting ready and they got dressed in a really comfy casual dress for their ceremony. Donminique was wearing a cute little white dress and Chaz had on a casual, and very stylish, pink suit. Before heading to the courthouse, we did a first look shot. She tapped on his shoulder and he turned around to such a stunning bride! I love first looks and these two were perfect.
The day was going so well and we were all smiles when we went into the downtown Durham courthouse. We went upstairs as the signs directed to where the ceremonies are held at the Justice of the Peace and when we got there, it was empty. Completely empty!
We were a little confused at first, but not concerned and waited for a few minutes together. Then another 30 minutes passed and we were very confused. What was going on here?!
We went back downstairs to ask some questions from the other departments and they said we were in the right place but it turns out, we needed to go somewhere else today. We’re not sure if this a regular thing but we were instructed, after waiting over 30 minutes in the courthouse, that we needed to go over to the building next door to have the ceremony.
This wouldn’t have been anything out of the ordinary except for the fact that the building next door was THE PRISON! Yep, we all looked at each other and thought, “Are we going to get married in a prison?”
We followed the directions and went into the main entryway of the prison. Then Donminique and Chaz were married right then and there by a woman behind a huge glass window in the downtown prison. Trust us, we know how crazy this sounds but we have pictures to prove it!
After the *very romantic* ceremony, we were leaving the prison and came across this surprisingly beautiful breezeway area of the prison and got some really nice pictures there! We made our way outside and walked back over to the courthouse for some pictures there as well.
Soon after, we all went back to the 21C Museum and Hotel and the newlyweds changed into something more formal. Donminique got her hair and makeup done and came out in this absolutely stunning gown and Chaz was cleaned up and wearing a very nice tuxedo.
We found an empty ballroom and magic happened. We did another first look with their new outfit changes and it was just as special as the first. They stood in the middle of this gorgeous ballroom they had all to themselves and said their vows to each other and then shared their first dance together as husband and wife. It was an emotional, private, and powerful moment they shared and I was so happy to have the chance to capture it.
We went around and got a few more shots of Donminique and Chaz and for a day with so many ups and downs, these two were amazing to work with. Elopements are one of my favorite things to shoot and if you’re looking for a more intimate and nontraditional wedding ceremony, get in touch! And a huge congratulations to the bride and groom from this shoot – getting married in a prison will be one of the best stories from this day and these images will keep a lasting memory alive for so many years!