Caroline & Will’s elegant engagement session is both sophisticated and romantic. Choosing two outfits for their session they went with a complete back tie and an elevated casual look which was documented so beautifully in uptown Charlotte, NC. Bringing in their handsome dog Cooper made the celebration complete as they popped the bubbly and explored the city!
This is Caroline Francois & Will Culicerto of Charlotte NC. They wanted a black tie feel for the first part of their experience to flow with their black tie wedding planned for October 2023. A simple, classic walk in the park for the latter part of the experience. Caroline shared with me that she envisioned an elegant Uptown City Glam experience with a casual celebration at the park with their puppy Cooper to end the evening. I immediately knew the perfect uptown locations for them. She asked for sophisticated & chic! I directed them in such a way as to exude the romantic chic…and then a more casual feel! -Summer Brooke Photography
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another? We met 5 years ago at a James Madison University football tailgate. We were both attending JMU and met via mutual friends that thought we would hit it off. They turned out to be right! We went out on a first date that turned into a 4 hour dinner ending only because the restaurant was closing. After that first date we were head over heels for one another.
What was your favorite part about planning your wedding? We have turned a lot of responsibilities into fun date nights. For example, when looking up wedding bands we made cocktails and dinner and found the bands that we had the most fun dancing to in our kitchen. In search of our rehearsal dinner location we have each picked Friday night date night locations as a complete surprise to the other person to test out the food and ambiance of various restaurants throughout the city.
Tell us a funny story relating to your wedding day or relationship! I was totally surprised when we got engaged. The night before my girlfriends and I went to get our nails done and I told them that I thought I could get one more week out of my manicure and instead will just get a pedicure. My one friend went as far as to “accidentally” schedule me for a manicure to which I said no worries I’ll just call them to let them know I’ll be getting a pedicure instead. That night all of my friends texted Will “SHE HAS NO IDEA”… luckily my nails still turned out OK in the pictures but it was really funny just how clueless I was that everyone was planning this engagement.
Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship or during your wedding planning. We got to spend our first few months of dating together, but I was graduating college and Will still had three more years of school which meant we had to endure a long distance relationship. I will never forget the 5.5 hour drives on Friday nights after work just to spend 48 hours together before turning around and leaving again. We dreaded those Sunday drives. Despite the challenges that came along with long distance it gave us the ability to understand just how strong our love was for one another and the sacrifices we were willing to make to be together.
Any special ways you incorporated your family? Will truly surprised me with the proposal – I thought we were just getting dinner with friends and everyone happened to be late.. little did I know he set up a full proposal with a hidden photographer and everything! The part that really got me was after the proposal I still thought we were going to dinner with our friends but when we walked into the room Will surprised me with all of our closest friends and family. He arranged for everyone to surprise us and even flew in my family from Boston and Philadelphia. The happy tears were flooding and I t was one of the most unforgettable nights!! I will forever be grateful that he included the people we love the most in our special night.
What part of your wedding day was/is most important to you? Bringing family and friends together to celebrate. We have been together for 5 years and have such amazing relationships with each others family – having everyone together to share our love with means the world to us! We Are Family by Sister Sledge will be playing allll night!!
What is the best thing you’ve learned from one another? The best thing we have learned is communication is key in a relationship. Truly taking the time to set phones, work and other daily distractions aside to talk to one another is so important and rewarding. We all have differing opinions on certain matters but if we take the time to truly listen to one another, then arguments become conversations.
What is your favorite thing about each other? My favorite thing about Will is his ability to put others first. He is the kind of person to drop everything to go help out a friend or even a stranger and will give you the shirt off his back. We have been driving and he will pull over to the side of the road to help someone change a tire. He is the first to volunteer to help friends and family move, and goes above and beyond to make me feel loved and appreciated.
My favorite things about Caroline is how caring, loyal and hardworking she is. She will do whatever it takes to make sure those she cares about are taken care of. Her work ethic inspires me and I watch her drive and dedication everyday to build an amazing life for us and our future family. She has such a positive outlook on life that makes even the most mundane chores a fun time – she will turn folding laundry into a 70’s dance battle and has such an ability to just make life fun.
What is the most honest thing you can say about love? Love can be comfortable. After years of being together you may not have the same “head over heels” or fairytale feeling day after day. But finding peace in the comfort is truly what makes love beautiful. Slowing down to appreciate the simple day-to-day motions and tasks because it’s not always going to be wildly grand gestures is important. Even the way you greet each other after work can easily be overlooked but truly carries so much love and meaning to it.
If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be? Never stop dating! We make such an effort to have date night every week and feel like we should always prioritize our relationship giving it our best not just what we have left after a long day of work. Giving each other uninterrupted time every night to communicate and connect even at times when life is busy.
Photographer: Summer Brooke Photography
Venue: Uptown Charlotte NC, Midtown Park
Dress Designer: Nookie & Reformation
Accessories / Decor: Badgley Mischka
Film Lab: Photovison Prints