Melissa and Chris got married at the beautiful Market Hall in Raleigh, NC. In fact being a wedding photographer in Raleigh NC is a dream. We have so many gorgeous venues around the entire state, but Raleigh is unique in so many senses. If you don’t haven’t visited, you’re missing it.

They met us at the Forever Bridal Show in January 2019 . We had a great conversation and connection. Actually, Melissa has left us this nice review on The Knot website:

Clay and Dani – where to begin!! We went to the Bridal Show January 2019. Our goal for the day was find a photographer and DJ. The bridal show was very hectic. When we stopped at Clay and Dani’s booth – we spoke with them for about 5-10 minutes. In those minutes we never once discussed their services or pricing –

Clay wanted to hear our story. How we met/engagement/ plans so far. That, in addition to their amazing personalities, made us choose Photos by Clay. With the welcoming feeling we had from them, not to mention their affordable pricing – they were our first choice. I feel like Clay and Dani were a part of our family. We got engagement photos, bridal portraits and wedding photos. The photos we have are truly a treasure to forever remember our amazing day. I would highly recommend this amazing team!! If we ever have a need for a photographer in the future they will be our first choice!


I could go on and on about our experience with Melissa and Chris. From their engagement session to her bridal portrait session to the wedding, but I’ll let Melissa tell us their story.


Tell us more about yourselves. How did you meet? How long have you been together?

Three years. Our first date was at Zada Jane’s in Charlotte, NC. We met for brunch after talking online/via text for a few weeks. Chris suggested meeting at 10:30 am. The morning of, I wanted to cancel, because anyone who knows me knows that meeting at 10:30 on a Saturday is my idea of torture .. and now that I know Chris I had no idea why he suggested 10:30 because he is even less of a morning person then I am :).

We had an entertaining brunch and when we were finished Chris asked if I wanted to walk around Plaza Midwood, since it was an unseasonably warm day in February. We wandered around to a few places, and even had some random lady take our picture because we were “such a cute couple” and the “lighting was just right” with Queen City skyline in the background. Neither of us had the heart to tell the lady we had just met a few hours earlier. Our “first date” lasted 11 hours in total… and the rest is history.


Describe your engagement. Was the proposal a big surprise?

We were on their second European trip together, this time in Ireland. We rented a car and were spending 10 days driving around the Emerald Isle. While in Galway Chris started being VERY pushy about getting me a Claddagh ring while in Galway (a claddagh ring is a traditional Irish ring representing love, loyalty and friendship). I was not keen on the idea, because she thought it would be weird to wear a ring that was not an engagement ring. After explaining why he wanted to get her a ring, I agreed to ring shop in the morning before leaving Galway.

While he was paying for the ring, the lady asked me if she wanted to wear it out, and I felt obligated to say yes, unknowingly putting a kink in Chris’ plan (to propose at Giant’s Causeway where we would be a few days later). The day we drove to Northern Ireland a hurricane was covering Ireland. For most of our drive we could barely see a few feet in front of our car. When we arrived to Giant’s Causeway it was clearly a bust. We decided to head to Old Bushmills Distillery to wait out the rain. We did the tour, tasting and some shopping. As we headed to the car the rain stopped and the sun was coming out. We headed back the Giant’s Causeway and began to walk down to the geometric rocks. Since it had been raining, there were not many people at the Causeway.

Meanwhile, Chris kept dragging me further and further out onto the rocks, and told me to sit on this rock for a picture. I hesitantly did and then hopped up to walk back towards land. As I was trying to walk away – in a traditional Chris move – he came up with a corny line and said “the only thing this rain ruined was that cheap ring I got you – it turned your finger green”. He then grabbed my hand and got down on one knee. I was surprised and shocked, and of course said Yes! (well, eventually, after asking if he was serious numerous times).


Tell us about your big day and the most memorable moments.

February 22, 2020.  We got ready at the Residence Inn Downtown Raleigh. Took a bus to the Marbles Color Wall for photos, then to Market Hall.  Everything about our day was perfect.  I think the most memorable moment was just how well that our friends/families got along with each other.  It was as if everyone knew each other for years, when many had just met.


Tell us a little about your wedding planning experience – how did you choose your venue/theme/vendors?

Our wedding planner, Becky Chapman, set up some appointments and also let us know of some open houses.  After looking at a few options, and pricing, we thought the best option for us was Market Hall.  As far as theme, I just wanted classy and simple.  I chose dark green and navy blue as our colors.  Vendors we chose – first based on budget, and second based on how well they fit our personalities.


Do you have any advice for our bride-to-be readers?

Keep to your budget.  There are a TON of options out there, at various price ranges.  And always go with your gut decision – I couldn’t be happier with our vendors and how things turned out.  Also, enjoy the day – it goes by so quickly.


Melisa and Chris’ wedding was a beautiful celebration and we ‘re very fortunate to have been a part of it. Can’t wait to hear what life has in store for them. Congratulations!!!!

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