3rd Anniversary Photoshoot + Vow Renewal in Charlotte, NC

3rd Anniversary Photoshoot + Vow Renewal in Charlotte, NC

The Tradition

Every year for our anniversary, Sean and I have a tradition where we travel and explore a new city, book a photoshoot, and renew our vows (perhaps this was inspired by our Paris Honeymoon Photoshoot?!). We read our original wedding vows and write new vows every year. It’s a great way to consistently remind each other of the promises that we have made to each other in our marriage. This also ensures that we have updated photos each year!

Charlotte, NC

This year for our 3rd anniversary, we decided to enjoy a staycation in Charlotte, NC. Since we had just moved to CLT and finished unpacking, the thought of packing up a suitcase and traveling again so soon didn’t sound very appealing. Plus this was a great opportunity for us to document this next (and quite unexpected) chapter in our lives. Since we are new to town we are practically exploring the city every day already!

The Pros

I searched for Charlotte photographers on the ‘gram and saw that @kevyndixonphoto was already following me. Her style was exactly what I was looking for! Fortunately she had the date available and it was an easy choice. After booking Kevyn Dixon Photography, I wanted to get a hair and makeup artist who could make me feel my very best and photo ready so Kevyn recommended Cali Stott Artistry. Once Cali and Kevyn were both booked, it was game on!

I had envisioned the photoshoot and vow renewal taking place in an area with a field and water nearby. Since Sean and I are new to the area, Kevyn suggested Clarks Creek Nature Preserve which turned out to be the perfect spot!

photo of couple by the water
photo of couple walking by the water
photo of couple standing by the water

It was a hot, summer day with temperatures over 90 degrees and PLENTY of sunshine!

photo of Mollyann twirling her dress
photo of Mollyann twirling her dress
photo of Mollyann twirling her dress

Even during a couple’s photoshoot, it is important to get some individual shots too! I loved twisting and twirling around in my Anthropologie dress.

photo of Sean walking
photo of Sean walking
photo of Sean walking

Sean’s stroll was definitely photo worthy! Choosing complimentary colors is important for photoshoots, so his heathered olive green J Crew Factory shirt was the perfect choice paired with my white and fuschia embroidered dress. Bonus: He looked very handsome in it!

photo of vow renewal at Clarks Creek Nature Preserve

After we finished shooting by the water, Kevyn scouted out the perfect spot for our vow renewal.

In our vows, we cursed and joked that, “if we can survive 2020, we can survive anything.” Isn’t that the truth?!

photo of couple with hat
photo of couple kissing with hat

Once we finished the actual vow renewal, we got back to shooting some more fun shots. These are some of my favorites!

The hat ended up being an awesome prop! I once heard that if a lady wants to stand out for her fashion, it is not about showing a bunch of skin, just wear a hat that compliments your outfit. It’s legit advice.

photo of Mollyann wearing hat
photo of couple walking
close up photo of couple walking

Consider that tidbit of knowledge your magic hat trick for the day!

couple in prom pose
close up of couple in prom pose
photo of couple facing forward

Prom pose! I always think of these as the photos for your parents and family. Specifically, I’m referring to the photos where both individuals are posed and facing the camera. They are definitely must haves.

photo sitting at Clarks Creek Nature Preserve

Since we did so many standing photos, I wanted to get some seated shots. Kevyn was so kind and got her rain jacket out of her car for me to sit on so that the dewey ground did not ruin my white dress. The great part is that you can’t see that I was sitting on a jacket at all!

photo of couple
photo of couple
photo of couple kissing
photo of Mollyann and Sean

Also one of my favorite shots!

photo of Sean spinning Mollyann
photo of Sean spinning Mollyann
photo of Sean spinning Mollyann

To finish, Sean spun me around for our final shots.


Sean and I are both so delighted with our photos and our experience! Kevyn Dixon Photography was amazing to work with. She made us feel relaxed, posed us with ease, and did an excellent job editing the photos and getting them back to us in a timely manner.

Photo by Tricia Michael Photography

It was so much fun having my hair and makeup done by Cali with Cali Stott Artistry! She was so personable and truly a joy to be around. I was really worried that the heat would mess up my hair and makeup but she did a great job and both stayed put.

Photo by Lindley Battle Photography

These ladies were both professional and true pleasures to work with. If you need a hair and makeup artist or a photographer in the Charlotte area, I would highly recommend both of them! They also both do weddings.

Looking for some more anniversary and vow renewal inspiration? Check out my 1st Anniversary Photoshoot + Vow Renewal in Seattle, WA and my 2nd Anniversary Photoshoot + Vow Renewal in Austin, TX.

The End of our Nomadic Lifestyle

The End of our Nomadic Lifestyle

This morning, Sean and I picked up the keys (or rather, “key fobs”) which will end our current nomadic lifestyle and give us a place to call home.

photo of keys and key ring
Here they are sitting pretty on my well-loved Oventure Key Ring!

For the past 6 months, we have had the majority of our belongings in storage anticipating an international move to Melbourne, Australia. We have been bouncing back and forth between our parents houses and let me tell you, it has not been easy. A nomadic lifestyle during uncertain times is certainly not ideal. I wrote about it in one of my previous posts, The Announcement | Raleigh to Melbourne when we were 2 months in, and now I have decided to write this post with an update of where we have currently found ourselves in this process.


The Australian borders are still closed and Melbourne recently went back into a 6 week COVID-19 related lockdown. Major Australian airlines are continuing to cut back on international flights and we have heard that it could be March 2021 or even as late as July 2021 before they open the borders back up. Even when the borders open back up, we still need to wait for our visas, find a place to live in Melbourne, and go through the logistics of the move itself.

Bouncing back and forth between our parents houses was supposed to be a temporary solution, lasting a month or two at most until we could make our international move. We had already started the process of lightening our loads which included getting out of a lease, selling one of our cars, and me leaving my job for a big move, a big move that never happened. Fortunately Sean has been working the whole time, however, I have been out of work and have been feeling anxious and restless.

Decision Time

Determined to not make 2020 feel like a total waste and with the news that our international move will likely not happen until 2021 at the earliest, it was time to re-evaluate our situation.

We have asked ourselves time and time again if it is even worth holding out hope for Australia any longer or if we should just a buy a house and settle. The thought of settling brought up many more questions. If we did settle, where would we settle? Here we are, big explorers and planners in a time where it is difficult to explore and plan anything!

In addition, my work experience lies heavily in events, venue management, and marketing in the hospitality industry which is currently struggling to recover from the fall out of COVID-19. The majority of contacts in my network are currently trying to keep themselves afloat and do what they can to prevent their companies from going out of business. What does that mean for me and my career moving forward?

The Decision

Even with many uncertainties still ahead, we have decided that it is time to get our own place again to ease the strain of our nomadic lifestyle on both ourselves and our families. With Australia likely not being an option until mid 2021, we feel comfortable committing to a lease again.

We toyed with the idea of finding a furnished apartment and keeping our belongings in storage. However, spending these past 6 months without the majority of our belongings and only seeing our cats part-time has convinced us that we would like to reunite all of our items and our little cat family in one place for the foreseeable future.

photo of Charlotte skyline and light rail

Charlotte, NC

You heard it here first! We are making the move to Charlotte, NC! We had the opportunity to spend some time in the Queen City this spring and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Charlotte. There are several charming neighborhoods right outside of Uptown, fantastic greenways and bike lanes, and many restaurants, breweries, and places to explore.

I do have some mixed emotions about making this move. In a big way, it feels like a failure. Moving to Charlotte was never a part of our life plan. It is not as grand of a move as I had been dreaming of and had gotten my hopes up for. However, I do believe that we are still in the middle of our story and it will all make sense in the end. We are fortunate to have family and friends who live nearby in Charlotte and are excited to see what this chapter has in store for us! I’m hoping that I will feel more at ease once we are finally settled into our own place again.

Once our lease ends in the middle of next year, hopefully we will know more about where the move to Australia stands and we can make a better decision on how to proceed from here. In the meantime, I am looking for any Charlotte recommendations you can throw at me! Word of mouth is always the best but so far I have loved using Charlotte Agenda and Charlotte’s Got A Lot as resources for exploring the new city that I am about to call home.

Here are some of my personal Charlotte favorites so far:

Favorite Brewery = Sycamore Brewing

photo of Sycamore Brewing beers
The happy designs on these cans and their beer flavors brought this brewery to the top of my list!

Honorable mentions: Bird Song Brewing Co. and Wooden Robot Brewery

Favorite Outdoor Area = Little Sugar Creek Greenway

photo of me biking on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway
I love biking, walking, or running over these little bridges that cross over the water and I love that this greenway leads right to the Midtown shops as well as to Freedom Park.

Another outdoor area that I am dying to explore is the U.S. National Whitewater Center!

Favorite Restaurant = Hello, Sailor

photo of Hello, Sailor
The Instagrammable vibes and delicious menu make this an easy favorite so far! I recommend sitting on the patio which overlooks Lake Norman.

Honorable mentions: Soul Gastrolounge – you MUST order the pork belly and watermelon tacos!

Also, I wanted to mention that I now have two Instagram accounts for you to follow along. I am working on building up my new account, @mollyannexploresitall but still have my personal account @mollyannrussell as well.

Let me know if there is anything that you would like to see me cover during my time in Charlotte!