I am so excited to share this bridal session and this story, and now that Harper and Ben's wedding was this past weekend, I finally can do so!
If I recall correctly, the way I told Harper about where we would do her bridal portraits went something like: "Hey! I know of this beautiful chapel, the Chapel Between Cotton and Gin, about an hour and a half away. I think you'd love it. It's surrounded by cotton fields, which should be in bloom and there is a dusky, but charming abandoned house down the road with some amazing light that I think we could make some photos in too. What do you think?" To which she responded with: "I LOVE the idea of doing photos at the chapel in Greenville and am more than up for getting in the cotton field. My mom's parents farmed in Eastern North Carolina, and her brother continues to operate a large farming operation. Bridal portraits amidst cotton blossoms would be an awesome homage to my mom's parents and family. Solid idea!" And like that we were all in.
The photos at the Chapel went well. Harper came with her maid of honor, her mom and her mom's friend. We enjoyed some snacks and some wine (well...I had some beer because that's just who I am), we shared some laughs and we made some photos. As we were getting close to sunset, I wanted to get us over to the abandoned house for just a few photos before heading to the cotton field for our final part of the bridal session.
We pulled into the old driveway and I walked Harper around the back along with Mary (the maid of honor) and we carefully climbed into the old house. As soon as we were in, Harper said "This is amazing" and my heart melted because I wasn't sure if this was going to be something she was comfortable with even though she said she was game for anything as along we kept the dress clean. But she loved it and I was ready to get started. Then it happened.
I heard someone yelling "hey you!". I looked around and didn't see anything. I looked out the old doorway and just saw Mary looking around too. Then even louder, I heard "Hey you!" And just then I see this guy in camouflage, a day-glo orange beanie and a rifle slung over his shoulder running out of the woods and across the dead fields that surround the old home. Now I have been with brides for their wedding days and bridal portraits in situations where people may have wanted to be crass but were respectful because there was a bride and then even gave a "congratulations" and a "you look beautiful" and maybe even an "I'm sorry", but not this guy, not even a little bit. He screamed at us and told us that we were disturbing the field he was trying to hunt deer in (though he used much more colorful language). After which I had told him I would be out of his hair and on my way in less than 10 minutes as I was just making some photos for the lovely bride here. To which he crudely let us know that he'd prefer us to leave that instant and since I'm not arguing with a guy with a rifle, we went on our way. However, my new best friend Mary, let him know how rude he was and drove off the property with her car horn blazing. I've never laughed so hard, and when we got to the cotton fields a few minutes later we all continued laughing. You just can't make this stuff up.
The rest of our time was wonderful and Harper put up with some aggressive mosquitoes in the cotton fields before we finished up and ran back to our cars for cover and relief. And as I drove back out of Lewiston-Woodville, the hunter's truck was still there, sitting in the dark with mud covering his wheel wells and I am pretty sure his yelling at us did enough to keep any deer from coming into the field for the rest of that night. But now we have this great story and of course these photos to share with everyone.