Sand + Surf = Beautiful Wedding

Published 8:37 am Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I’ve known Ashley Gore since she was no bigger than a squirrel.

Come to think of it, she’s not much bigger than that today.

I’m guessing it was the mid 1990’s when Kevin and Theressa Joyner moved a couple of doors down from the Bryant’s on Jernigan Airport Road. I knew them both before they got hitched…as a matter of fact, I photographed their wedding.

Our families became close after that; lots of cookouts, Super Bowl parties, birthday get-togethers, holiday gatherings and the like. We watched Ashley grow (not so much in height, mind you) into a beautiful young woman; the same can now be said for their youngest daughter, Heather.

It’s for the simple reason of the strong bond of friendship that exists between the Bryant and Joyner households that I jumped at the chance to photograph Ashley’s wedding. My photography was our family’s wedding gift to the couple. Plus, the way I see things in life since reaching and exceeding the age of 50, you do things for love, not money. To that end, my wife helped with the design of the wedding program. She then printed 100 color copies, which my daughter, Danielle, helped to distribute on the wedding day.

And what a wedding day it was!

I’ve had the opportunity to photograph countless weddings over the years. With the exception of a handful (I could count them on one hand), all have been within the confines of a church.

Ashley’s wedding was an outdoor setting, one that I’ve never before had an opportunity to experience. She was married against the backdrop of the crashing surf on the beach in Nags Head.

With the blue water, bright blue skies, a sandy beach and the wide array of clothing worn by the wedding party, my camera’s viewfinder was full of nearly every color known to mankind. Without a doubt, it was the most colorful wedding I’ve ever photographed.

To top it all off, it was a fun wedding to “shoot.” It takes the edge off a photographer when knowing the bride and groom personally, their families and the majority of the wedding party and guests.

Plus, how many weddings have you attended where the bride and groom are chased into and sent sprawling into the Atlantic Ocean after tying the knot? Even a few of the bridesmaids, in full dress, found themselves dripping wet during the post-wedding photo session.

This entire wedding wasn’t your atypical affair…a hot dog cookout following Saturday evening’s rehearsal; a traditional pig picking for Sunday afternoon’s reception, complete with a Key Lime cake.

But best of all is that a young couple opted to seal their love and admiration for one another by entering into the sacred vows of marriage.

With that, congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Bruce Harmon. May the rest of your days be filled with love and happiness. And, by the way, if you see this couple upon their return to Ahoskie, wish them the same.

Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached at or 252-332-7207.