Category Archives: Under the Oaks

The Proposal

August 11, 2016

nancyray-caljamproposal-1167 Photography: Nancy Ray Photography

After a year of praying, conversations and growth, I was finally ready to tell Jamie that I was ready to get married. Jamie on the other hand had been patiently waiting for me for over a year. On July 4th, 2013, Jamie and I sat on a bench at the beach and I gave him a prayer that I wrote explaining how and why I felt called to marriage with him. From that moment that I shared my feelings with him, I was ready to be engaged. I was so anxious and ready for it to happen but I knew that trusting in the Lord’s plan was the only way that I was going to get through this period of trusting and waiting on Jamie and his timing. What a sweet time of life that was when I was totally not in control.

When Jamie proposed on August 11th, 2013 after an amazing weekend with my best friends, I was completely surprised. I had anticipated that it would not happen until November or December of that year, but he was ready and couldn’t wait a day longer. Blair, Mary Courtney, Rachael and I spent the weekend at Lake Gaston. We ate a lot, laughed even more and baked in the sun until we were forced inside because of the sunset. It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year and I am thankful that the weekend that I got engaged was spent with them. They know me so well – how to distract me, confuse me and keep my mind off of getting engaged but on it enough so that I don’t think something is wrong. What sneaky and amazing friends they are. You see, the whole weekend they knew what would be happening Sunday night and they keep it a perfect secret. I still don’t understand how I didn’t catch on to their sneaky plans of painting my nails, making sure that I was wearing something cute on Sunday and keeping sunscreen on me so that I wouldn’t be sunburned for the pictures (later to find out these were all of Jamie’s requests).


I left the lake refreshed and full. I got back to Raleigh just in time to get to work. Honestly, it was the last place that I wanted to be. Jamie texted me halfway through work asking about our plans to hang out that night, since I hadn’t seen him all weekend. I told him all I wanted to do was relax and hang out at my house but he had different plans for us. He told me that he had a “surprise” and being the brat I can be sometimes, I told him I really didn’t want to go. He then told me “I wouldn’t drag you to do something if it wasn’t worth it. Just trust me.” So I did. I still didn’t think anything of it. He told me he would pick me up from my house after work. We got in the car and started driving towards NC State campus. He was speeding and I remember asking him if we were in a hurry. He casually said “oh sorry, I didn’t even realize I was doing that” (yeah right) As we got closer to the NC State Arboretum, I guessed that we were going there because for the past month or two we had been talking about going and walking around. We had done it a couple time in the past and I loved it so I just thought, “oh that’s sweet, he’s probably just taking me there before the flowers die for the winter.”

We parked on the street and got out of the car and started walking. I noticed that he was walking fast and seemed in a hurry. I said “Jamie, why are you walking so fast? This isn’t fun, you’re not even holding my hand or letting me look at the flowers.” So with his sweaty, clammy hand, he took mine and we continued to walk all the way to the back rose garden, the spot where he had chosen earlier to ask me to be his wife. He was walking in front of me holding my hand and he all of a sudden, he stopped walking and pulled me around so that I was facing him. With both of my hands in his hands he said, “Callie.” It was in that very moment, I knew exactly what was happening and I began backing up, cupping my mouth and crying. I honestly couldn’t believe that it was happening. When I started crying, he got teary-eyed which made me cry even more. My first thought was, “This is it, take it all in Callie. You will remember this moment for the rest of your life.” And that is exactly what I did. I listened carefully to all of his sweet words, even though now I don’t remember most of them but what I do remember is that he told me the sweetest words that he will ever tell me for the first time.

I love you Callie.


He then reached in his pocket for the ring and my heart stopped beating. I was so excited to see the ring that he had picked out for me. But it wasn’t a TV moment. It wasn’t in a glamorous box that opened smoothly, where the ring is glowing inside. Instead he pulled out a small white drawstring bag that was carrying the ring. Bless his heart, he had tied the strings so tight so it wouldn’t fall out and he couldn’t get it untied. So I waited and we laughed. He finally got it out, dropped the bag on the ground and with both of his hands held the most beautiful ring I had ever laid my eyes on. He dropped to one knee and said “Callie, will you marry me?” I sobbed and said yes as he put that ring on my finger. Jamie later told me that because I was crying so hard, my makeup was just running down my face and it looked like a murder scene. Not what I would have planned.


As we hugged, kissed and took in those special moments he pulled back and told me there was another surprise. I turned around to see Will and Nancy pop out of the bushes with their cameras. He had them capture the whole thing on camera. I continued to cry as they came over to us and congratulated us. Nancy told us that she wanted to take some pictures of us around the arboretum. Meanwhile, it was a hundred degrees outside and all of us were so sweaty but I wasn’t going to turn down pictures that I knew I would look at for the rest of my life.



We couldn’t stop telling each other “I love you.” The words that I had waited so long to tell my future husband. The words I had held back from Jamie for over a year. The wait was so worth it and each time made it more real. It was a promise that I will continue to relive each day, for the rest of my life.





After pictures, Nancy and Will told us goodbye. We continued to walk around the arborteum, enjoying each moment and step as an engaged couple. As we began walking back to the car, I started asking all the questions – the process, the ring, did you ask my dad, did you ask my brother, who knows this was happening? The flood of emotions just continued on as I heard each piece of the puzzle. The way Jamie had done everything was so thought through and perfect. When we got to the car, I began looking for my phone. Of course, I wanted to take a picture and it was no where to be found. Unplanned, I realized that I had left my phone at home. Jamie told me we had dinner reservations so we could stop by my house and pick up my phone on the way.


When we pulled onto my parent’s street and got closer to my house, I saw all the cars and I knew. When we pulled into the driveway, I saw a big heart that read “Here comes the Bride” and saw all of our immediate family. How sweet it was for them to be the first people that we saw and hugged. Of course, Nancy and Will were there to capture every sweet hug and interaction with the ones we love so dearly. She smiled a sneeky smile at me because earlier she had told me goodbye. We walked along the path towards the front door and when I opened the door, I was completely shocked. My family had organized everything so perfectly, with Mary Courtney, Blair and Rachael standing on the stairs to be the next people to see, the rest of my family to the left in the office and the rest of our friends in the family room. This could have been some disorganized, overwhelming commotion of people but my family and Jamie planned it so I could have intimate moments with each friend or family who we love so dearly.







In the midst of my mom training and preparing for her Ironman, she had created this beautiful party with so many fun details. Framed pictures of Jamie and I, absolutely beautiful flower arrangements filled with hydrangeas, cupcakes spelling out “like to love” and delicious food catered by Raleigh Country Club.



The night was so much fun and it ended with a sweet, tear-filled champagne toast from my dad. Believe it or not, I cried the whole night. I have never felt so loved and cared for.



After everyone had left, Jamie and I realized that we hadn’t even taken any time to eat. So we got in the car at 10:00pm to try and find something to eat. We found a McDonald’s and laughed so hard that we would eat fast food on the night we got engaged. We came back to my parent’s house and had some time alone where we talked about the night and all of its details, how we couldn’t wait to get married and start planning a wedding and told each other “I love you” over and over again.


It wasn’t until I woke up the next morning, with a ring still on my finger that I honestly knew that this whole day was real. I love you William James Davis. I can’t wait to become your wife on May 3rd!


Under the Oaks: Guestbook

March 4, 2016


Our wedding guestbook was one of my favorite details of our wedding, because it is something that Jamie and I still cherish, and will cherish for many years to come. Whether we are reading our bible together, or reading through the advice and wishes that our guests left for us, it’s such a fun way to look back on our wedding day. I’m so thankful for the team at River Oaks who came up with this perfect idea for our wedding! It’s extremely simple to put together, if you are trying to come up with a guestbook idea last minute, or if you want your guestbook to stay with you for years.

1. Purchase a new bible (optional: have your names engraved on the front)
2. Assemble ribbons of various colors and textures (we used our wedding colors) and stitch card stock rectangles at the tops of the ribbons. This is where you guests can write a short note, piece of advice, or their favorite bible verse.
3. Hang the ribbons above the table where your bible will be placed, and make it easy for your guests to pull off a ribbon to write on and add to your bible.
4. Leave clear directions such as “Please choose a ribbon from the oaks and sign it with a wish, advice, or verse for Callie and Jamie. Place it in their bible to be treasured for many anniversaries to come.”

Venue, Planning + Coordination: River Oaks Charleston
Photography: Nancy Ray Photography
Bible: LifeWay




Under the Oaks: Final Exit

May 17, 2015

nancyray-caljamwed-4265 As a wedding photographer, one of my favorite moments of a wedding is the Bride and Groom’s exit, so I knew that I wanted to ours mine extra special! Our exit started at the reception with the last song on the dance floor. We asked the band to play “Last Dance” by Donna Summer and had gold and white confetti shot over the dance floor. I then went and changed into a sparkly getaway dress and we walked through one very long and exciting line of sparklers onto the dock. Jamie and I climbed up in the tuna tower and exited on a beautiful sports fisherman boat. As we drove away, fireworks were shot in the sky!

This was one of the moments of our wedding that I was most looking forward to. Throughout our planning, it was important to me that we incorporate things that Jamie loves and that reflected him. He loves boats and fishing, and I was thrilled when my dad found an awesome boat for us to leave on.

Photography: Nancy Ray Photography
Exit Dress: French Connection
Confetti Cannons: Artistry in Motion
Getaway Boat: Full Circle
nancyray-caljamwed-4255 nancyray-caljamwed-4269 As much as I wanted everyone to believe that Jamie and I truly left on a boat, I’ll be honest and let you know that we didn’t. We had our boat driver, who’s name was also Jamie, take us on a little ride while we waited for our guests to leave. However, Jamie and I did stay up in the tuna tower for our ride, and that private moment was one of the best parts of our day. We laughed, drank champagne, soaked in the fact that we were married and enjoyed the gorgeous stars! Once we got the all clear, Jamie brought us back and we had a driver take us to our hotel downtown.
nancyray-caljamwed-4281 nancyray-caljamwed-4286

Under the Oaks: Reception

May 16, 2015


I can’t tell you how many times, I have dreamed about going back to our reception. It was so much fun! All the people I love in one spot, eating delicious food under romantic string lights, and dancing the night away.

Jamie and I fell in love with River Oaks because of the blank canvas that it offered. We were excited to plan our wedding the way that we saw best fit for our guests and celebration. And what excited me the most was knowing that we would be able to have an intimate outdoor dinner to maximize the gorgeous views that River Oaks has to offer. Because our wedding was a destination wedding, we wanted to make sure that our guests fully experienced the beautiful Low Country.

The main design inspiration for our wedding decor came from our prayer for our marriage – that The Lord would cultivate in us a marriage as strong as the oaks and as deep and wide as the sea. To this day, I still love our classic and clean wedding decor, and wouldn’t change anything that we did! We actually purchased the same reception chairs for our own dining room table!

Photography: Nancy Ray Photography
Tent: Sperry Tents
Reception Band: Atlanta Pleasure Band
Bar Service: Squeeze on Site
Vintage Tabletop Rentals: Polished
Standard Rentals: Eventworks
Lounge Seating: Out of Hand Rentals
Specialty Linens: La Tavola
Rock Candy Favors:

To allude to our love of candy, we gave out rock candy as our wedding favor. Guests found their name and table number attached to a piece of white rock candy on a table with a banner that read “The Lord is our rock.” Untitled-1













nancyray-caljamwed-4031 After dinner, cake cutting and toasts by Jamie’s best man (his brother Clay) and my maid of honor (my best friend Mary Courtney), all the guests were moved into the reception tent, where we did our first dances, and then danced the night away! nancyray-caljamwed-4018 Jamie and I danced our first dance to “My Dear” by Bethel. We had a good friend sing and play the piano to a slower version of the original song. This song is special to Jamie and I because we chose not to tell each other “I love you” until we were engaged, so when I felt myself coming close to telling him, I would listen to this song and sing the lyrics as loud as I could. Dancing to this song was so sweet because I get to tell him everyday for the rest of my life what my heart is singing. We got the inspiration to include the bible verse “Your love has ravished my heart.” (Song of Solomon 4:9) in our engagement session and wedding from this song. nancyray-caljamwed-4055

nancyray-caljamwed-4049 When my dad and I first talked about our dance, I told him that I wanted him to chose the song. My dad is incredibly thoughtful and I knew that he would chose something so perfect. We danced to “You Look Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. I’ll never forget, my dad telling me that he knew he needed to keep it together until after his toast at the wedding, but after that, he was going to let all the feelings happen, and they definitely did during our dance. nancyray-caljamwed-4062  Jamie gets all of his dance moves from his mother, so when he told me that they wanted to do an awesome medley for their mother/son dance, I knew it would be a crowd favorite! Jamie and his Mom danced to a medley of songs that they chose together. It was important to them to make sure they got to show off their moves during their dance. From “What a Wonderful World” to “Disco Inferno” they sure did have the crowd laughing and cheering the whole time! nancyray-caljamwed-4073

nancyray-caljamwed-4084 When Jamie and I got home from our honeymoon, we learned that my brother, Dillon ripped a huge hole in his brand new tuxedo pants from dancing during our reception, which is definitely something that our family won’t ever forget! nancyray-caljamwed-4121 Of course, we had to take a Broughton High School pictures! So many Capitals in one picture makes my heart so happy! nancyray-caljamwed-4130 One of my favorite memories from the night is the constant dancing. Jamie and I love to dance and so do most of our friends and family so we knew that with the help of Atlanta Pleasure Band, the dance floor would be packed and full of excitement! Because we decided to do a traditional greeting line between our cocktail hour and dinner, speaking and hugging each of our guests, it allowed us to truly enjoy the dance floor during our reception. nancyray-caljamwed-4151




Under the Oaks: Private Dinner

May 15, 2015


Jamie and I chose to do a private dinner on the dock so that we could enjoy our delicious dinner together and alone before the party began. This was THE BEST wedding planning decision that we made and one of our favorite parts of the whole day. It was quiet, the view was incredible and it was just the two of us. When planning our wedding, Jamie and I wanted to be intentional with planning specific times where we could be still with each other and take in all of the moments of our day. We did this at our private dinner as well as during the communion in our ceremony and at the end of the night when we rode away on the boat before driving to our hotel. After were we finished eating, we joined our family and bridal party at the head table for the remainder of the meal.

No matter where you are getting married, I want to encourage you to make this happen if it is important to you! Don’t worry about feeling the need to be with your guests. Remember, it’s your wedding. You can do whatever you want! If you decide to have your private table in your guest’s view like we did, they will be able to see you, instead of wondering where you are and why you aren’t with them. Be sure to coordinate this dinner with your caterer. We had our whole dinner ready for us when we arrived so we could eat faster than our guests, and join our guests while they were still eating.


nancyray-caljamwed-3299 Images by Nancy Ray Photography