Duke Gardens Engagement Photos are always special to us. It is such an iconic location and one can’t go wrong choosing this amazing space for their engagement photos. When Alicia and Andrew were looking for a spot for their engagement photos, we recommended Duke Gardens. No matter what time of the year it is, Duke Gardens looks amazing. There’s always enough greens and colors and a great variety of backgrounds to make your engagement photos romantic and vibrant at the same time.
Alicia and Andrew are one of our The Distillery wedding venue.
We spend a fun afternoon with them and now you have the opportunity to learn a little more about them and see a few more images of this amazing engagement session.
Tell us more about yourselves. How did you meet? How long have you been together?
Alicia and I met junior year of high school at Leesville Road High School. She had been living in Wilmington, NC then moved to Raleigh. We had a handful of classes together and we both had crushes on one another, but we were too afraid to ask the other out. We both went our separate ways after high school but met back up after graduating college when she slid into my DM’s on Instagram. Turned out she was walking her dog by my parents house almost everyday while walking 5K’s. We started walking together and our first date was to Cookout and dirt bike shopping since it was the beginning of COVID and almost everything was closed. After dating for a year and a half we took a trip to the Biltmore in Asheville, NC and that’s where I proposed to her. We have been for three years.
Describe your engagement. Was the proposal a big surprise?
It was a big surprise! When we first started dating, I had mentioned to Andrew that there were 2 things I really wanted to happen if we made it to the proposal stage. These two things were: my nails done and a photographer to capture the moment. Before we left for our vacation, Andrew had asked me if I was going to get my nails done before we left and I thought to myself “why is he asking” but it was just a moment and quickly forgotten.
I was wondering if he would propose during this vacation but I wasn’t sure and I had thought if he did it would be during the romantic candlelight tour. We got to Biltmore and we started our tour of the grounds.
We had gone up some stairs to an open field and Andrew indicated that he wanted to go to the top of this hill that was on the grounds. There was only a small statue at the very top so I didn’t want to go. He convinced me to go up the hill because he “wanted to get his money’s worth and see every square inch of the property” so I agreed and we headed up the hill.
Andrew and I have this trick where if we want a picture of us taken we always look for someone with a camera because they should know decent angles for the pictures. We pass a husband and wife playing with their dog on the hill. Andrew mentions we should ask them to take a quick picture as the husband has a camera around his neck. This is not out of the normal for us but it turns out this was the photographer and he was using his wife and dog for cover.
The photographer agrees to take our picture and Andrew hands him his phone. I was not thinking of anything in this moment as the photographer was so well camouflaged. The photographer started using Andrew’s phone to keep the charade going but then Andrew got down on one knee and the photographer threw Andrew’s phone to the ground and started using his own camera (they agreed to throwing the phone down beforehand).
I was so excited that I started to reach for the ring but I stopped myself and said to Andrew “Wait, I think you are supposed to put it on me” to which Andrew replied “I didn’t ask you yet!” We both had a good laugh at that but at this point I still thought the photographer was a stranger so after the moment,
Andrew introduced me to the photographer and then I finally understood the plot. I was freaking out because I thought the photographer was a stranger who just got put into the middle of a proposal! So absolutely a complete surprise!
Tell us a little about your wedding planning experience.
We decided to do a two year engagement. We had just bought a house and had some other big life changes so we didn’t want to rush into a wedding within a year. With all this time in mind, we were really good about confirming one vendor a month until we had most of everyone picked out. We were also very lucky as we knew some of our vendors beforehand. For example, we both knew our planner, Angela Antrilli, from high school and Alicia has a friend who owns a hair salon who will be doing her hair and makeup for the big day (Concept Salon in Greensboro).
How did you pick your wedding vendors?
Our planner, Angela helped a lot! All our vendors were either recommendations from Angela, we found them on Instagram, or we met them at a Open House for wedding Venues.
Any advice to brides who are planning their wedding right now?
Don’t stress yourself out with trying to get everything planned in under a year! We loved our process and two years was the perfect amount of time. We didn’t stress about time or costs as much as we would’ve if we had tried to plan for a year. We only had one vendor during the whole process who was already booked on our date so we didn’t stress at all about that aspect. We really got to enjoy the process, have our number one picks of vendors without worrying about whether they were already booked, and got to take our time when choosing the critical things.
Days Until Alicia & Andrew Wedding