I'm Hannah Bryerton, wedding & portrait photographer based in New York State. I am a lover of details and story telling- both visually & through writing. Here you will find glimpses of my life as a photographer, wife, dog-lover & Chick fil-A obsessed creative!
Charleston, SC, has always been my absolute favorite city. Its sunny weather, waterfront views, beautiful historic buildings and never-ending southern charm always keep me coming back for more. (Not to mention the amazing food; that plays a pretty big role in my return, too.) After April 30, 2017… I think it is safe to say that this place will forever hold a huge piece of my heart.
We need to rewind a bit. This story begins just over two years ago, when I had visited Charleston for the very first time. I fell in love with its irresistible charm and had my heart dead set on moving, just after my 2015 wedding season was over. The last event I needed to shoot was September 26, so I figured October would be a great time to escape the increasingly cold weather up north and then begin experiencing a much milder climate in the south. It’d all work out perfectly.
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” -Proverbs 16:9
On September 26, 2015, I shot the wedding of Brad and Adrienne Barmore. And at this wedding… I met my future husband for the very first time.
Jesse was shy. Not an awkward type of shy… more of a nervous, listening quietly and intently, smiling and laughing at anything I said, type of shy. It was completely unwarranted laughter, too, because honestly I’m not that funny, guys. But that’s the thing I remember most about him from the very first day: he had this genuinely happy demeanor, one in which I never saw leave his face. So happy-go-lucky, carefree and downright handsome. I remember glancing at him on a few occasions and thinking to myself, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen dimples so adorable in my whole life.”
The night ended with me slowly packing up my things, discretely looking around for Adrienne’s cute brother, secretly hoping he’d say something to me before I left. Of course he was no where to be found. After saying goodbye to A+B, I left without a single word.
I woke up the next morning to a few new friend requests on Facebook. This is pretty typical after shooting a wedding, as you make tons of new friends every single weekend. One of the requests, just so happened to be Mr. Bryerton himself.
What would we do without social media, y’all? I like to believe that Jesse and I would have found each other again without it, but honestly that is one question we will never know the answer to. Less than 24 hours after shooting the wedding, I had messages in my inbox from the cute groomsman with huge dimples, questioning why I left without even saying goodbye. (Disclaimer- He was no where to be found, remember? So the quiet departure was definitely not my fault!)
A few months later, Jesse and I began dating. I remember being SO nervous about how Adrienne would feel. Thankfully, the two of us had become wonderful friends and she gave her approval. (Thank GOODNESS, because I don’t know what I would have done without it!) As you can imagine, my plans of moving south were discretely moved on to the back burner, and I stuck around Western New York, rather than moving to my favorite place: Charleston.
Being with Jesse has been one big adventure since the day our story began. Despite me telling him that I didn’t think things would ever work out well between us, he never stopped pursuing me. This guy is relentless and passionate in the pursuit of things that set his soul on fire. He is loyal and committed and loving and caring, more so than anyone I’ve ever encountered in my lifetime. I’m so glad I finally let him talk some sense into me, because our first date was one of my favorite days ever! I knew the moment I got into my car to drive home, that he was right all along; we really were good for each other after all.
So here we are… a year and a half later. Below you will find a play by play of our trip to Charleston last weekend. I can’t wait to share this recap with you all! Here is just a small glimpse of what my favorite Charleston trip to date looks like!:)
Day One: Mount Pleasant
We arrived to our Air BnB and headed out for dinner to Sesame Burgers & Beer. Your girl LOVES a good cheeseburger, so this place was heaven for me. On a whim, we decided to rush to Patriot’s Point to watch the sunset. Upon our arrival, we ran into Taylor & Lexi— two high school sweethearts heading off to Prom. They asked if we’d mind taking a couple photos for them. I literally JUMPED in excitement saying “YES!” before they even finished asking. They were so stinkin’ sweet and I was SO happy fate brought us together. I even had my Nikon camera with me… so they scored some seriously legit Prom portraits, on top of some pretty nice iPhone shots, too 😉
Seriously, are these two not the cutest?!
Day Two: Boone Hall Plantation
Just looking at these images makes me wish we could go back to Charleston right this instant. Boone Hall is an old southern plantation, that is still fully functional today! Jesse and I had so much fun exploring the gorgeous grounds. We even toured the same house the movie “The Notebook” was filmed in. (I was fan-girling so hard over this!) And as if my excitement level wasn’t high enough, we later learned that Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds were also married at this plantation back in 2012. Cross this major milestone off my bucket list!
For those of you who have seen the Notebook… this home was Allie’s parents’ summer home in the movie!
Below are the “slave quarters” for those who worked at the plantation. These buildings are built with bricks that were made directly on the premises. Another fun fact- the majority of bricks found within the city were produced by slaves at Boone Hall and date back into the mid 1800s!
Day Three: Historic Charleston
This is where my planning ended and, unbeknownst to me, Jesse’s began. I had tried my hardest to organize our trip so that we could see as many things as possible in our short time there! Jesse kept INSISTING that we visit Waterfront Park in the evening before dinner with his sister and her best friend, Krissie. Logistically, it made more sense to see Waterfront Park while we were right next to it earlier in the day. Nope. We had to see it that night. Situation #1 where Hannah is oblivious.
So, we walked around Historic Charleston in the morning, grabbed brunch at the sweetest little restaurant called “Poogan’s Porch,” then headed back to the hotel to rest!
Adrienne wrapped up her work day and met Krissie, Jesse and I at the hotel. There, they helped me pick out what dress I’d wear that night, along with Jesse’s outfit. Situation #2 where Hannah is completely oblivious.
As we left to head out the door, I begged to bring my camera so I could capture some images of the park. Adrienne said it’d be better if Krissie just brought hers and I left mine at the hotel. My bag “didn’t match my outfit” and it was “too much to carry.” Situation #3, Hannah is still oblivious.
On the walk to Waterfront Park, Krissie asks if her and Adrienne can “discuss something privately” and walk a different route. I very enthusiastically agree and say we should just meet them at the pineapple fountain! (A very iconic part of the park!) Jesse and I take off and beat them to the fountain by a long shot. I say to Jesse, “wow, they are definitely taking their time! They probably had something pretty serious to talk about.” Situation #4 where Hannah still has no idea what’s going on.
I spot Adrienne and Krissie in the distance and start walking towards them to wave them down! I see Krissie taking pictures. I think “Wow, that’s odd. What is she taking pictures of?!” Situation #5, y’all.
I turn around… There is Jesse on one knee. I ask him what he’s doing… thinking he’s tying his shoe or that he tripped and fell. Situation #6, people.
Finally I listen to the words coming from his mouth. Jesse’s asking me to marry him. I utter in disbelief, “IS THIS REAL LIFE?!” My mind cannot fathom what is going on in this moment, and we are quickly approaching situation #7, as I look around for Ashton Kutcher telling me that I’m being Punk’d.
Not trying to give away the ending or anything… but of course I said yes!:)
We followed up our proposal at the Waterfront with calling or texting all our family members and then dinner at a restaurant called Magnolia’s. I hardly touched my food because I was too excited to even think about eating! Regardless, the food was ah-maz-ing. We received so many congratulations from the staff and other people in the restaurant. (I think my permanent smile, paired with constantly looking at my ring, gave it away that we were newly engaged!)
Day Four: Fort Sumter & Historic Charleston Carriage Tour
I woke up the next morning in a state of shock. I couldn’t remember if the following day’s events really happened, or if I’d just dreamt it all. Jesse and I were ENGAGED. He was my fiancé. I began our trip walking around Charleston as his girlfriend, and then we were ending our last day as future husband and wife. WHAT?! I couldn’t stop staring at him, knowing that we were going to be living our lives from now and until forever, together.
The goal of this day was to take pictures of my ring as many times as possible. It was too beautiful not to!
On this tour, we learned so many amazing, fun facts about this historic city. I could tour it every day, I swear!
So there you have it, friends. That is the incredibly abridged version of our proposal story. I can’t wait to share all the exciting details of our wedding planning, while simultaneously planning/shooting the biggest days of SO many others’ lives as well! The next year is going to be such a wild ride, but I cannot wait to do it with this sweet guy by my side! There are so many surprises in store, and I hope you’ll continue to follow along with all of them! We seriously cannot wait to officially become “The Bryertons” and to head back to Charleston again, of course. It will forever be one of our favorite places, I’m sure! XOXO
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