Real Bridal Portraits: Smiles and Sunshine in Rose Hill

It makes me incredibly joyful to see brides who are so happy to be marrying the love of their life, they can’t stop smiling. Today’s real bride is laughing and smiling through her entire bridal portrait session with John Crouch. And aren’t her cowboy boots, sunshine yellow shoes, and vibrant fabric flower bouquet just darling? Meet Cristina, a native of Wilmington, NC, who just married her beau, Scott, a few weeks ago!

Rose Hill Bridal Portraits - Wedding Belles Blog


Cristina, tell us a little about yourself. 
I’m a beach-loving native of Wilmington, NC, more recently transplanted in the Midwest in Indianapolis where my husband, Scott, is finishing up dental school. I’m a nurse and lover of coffee, reading, cooking, running, writing letters, and Jesus. Scott and I have dated long distance for almost 8 years and I’m finally enjoying not only living in the same city, but the same apartment as him!

Rose Hill Bridal Portraits - Wedding Belles Blog

How did you choose the location for your bridal portraits?
“The location for my portraits was actually the same place that Scott and I were married, at his grandmother’s house in Rose Hill, NC. It’s a beautiful country home with a winding driveway lined with live oaks and a small pond in the backyard. I decided to have my portraits there for the same reason that we chose it for our wedding– it was meaningful to us and portrayed the family-centered feel we wanted for our wedding and marriage. Mama C’s is a place that sometimes seems unreal with the amount of beauty you encounter. Being there allows me to indulge in all of the simplest and loveliest joys, from drinking her home-brewed sweet tea to sitting in amazement under the live oak trees in her front yard.”

Rose Hill Bridal Portraits - Wedding Belles Blog

Tell us about finding your dress.
“Oh, my dress. I wish I could find an occasion to wear this dress again, but there’s not many events you go to where a huge white dress qualifies as acceptable attire. My dress was everything I never knew I wanted. My Pinterest board for my dream wedding had TONS of lacy, cap-sleeve, vintage-looking dresses. When we got engaged and I started trying on dresses, I realized that the lace dresses were not for my body type. My dress came from The Wedding Dress Shoppe in Wilmington, NC, and my bridal consultant, Melanie, was simply amazing. She saw my frustration with the lace dresses in my price range, and as I was getting ready to give up on finding a dress, she brought one out from their clearance section. It had a big skirt, a sweetheart neckline, and lots of detailed fabric flowers on the skirt. I tried it on knowing I would dislike everything about it; I surprised myself by coming back for it later that day to purchase it, and I have loved it ever since. It fit my personality better than the lace dresses and it was so perfect for our outdoor wedding. The added bonus was that it was exactly my size and on sale, so I think it was truly meant to be.”

Rose Hill Bridal Portraits - Wedding Belles Blog

Tell us about your portrait photographer.
“My photographer for the bridal portraits was a family friend of ours who does great sports photography. He photographed my brother all throughout his high school sports career, and he was interested in diversifying his photography style to try out bridal portraits with us. We’re so thankful for John and his creativity and hard work in putting these portraits together!”

Rose Hill Bridal Portraits - Wedding Belles Blog

Any bridal portrait advice for other brides?
“I would say to just have fun with your portraits. It’s kind of a dry-run for your wedding day as far as hair, makeup, and accessorizing goes, and what girl doesn’t love to play dress up in a fancy white dress? I almost opted out of doing bridal portraits, but after some convincing from my mom, I decided to have them done. I’m SO glad I did; It’s one of the only times you’ll wear your dress, and your wedding day is so packed with things to do that there’s sometimes not time for the kinds of pictures you’d want of you in your dress that day. Doing portraits ahead of time helped because my mind wasn’t as frazzled as it was on our wedding day, and I was able to carefully plan out the specific photos I wanted. My photographer also came up with some creative shots of his own that day, and because I wasn’t rushed or stressed like I would have been on our wedding day, I felt more freedom in letting him use his creativity and skill to capture beautiful portraits.”

Rose Hill Bridal Portraits - Wedding Belles Blog

Photographer: John Crouch
Dress: Monique Lhuillier; purchased at The Wedding Dress Shoppe in Wilmington, NC
Shoes: Nina
Bouquet: Fabric Flower Designs (owned by bride’s best friend)
Veil: FascinateMeLLC
Makeup: Bride
Hair: Bride’s former roommate, Kirsten Harms



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