Image via Cultivate What Matters

Lies….tricky little things they are. They sneak into your thoughts like whispers and make themselves barely audible enough to notice. But whether we realize it or not, they stick with us. And before we know it, we start telling ourselves these lies and actually living them out. You name it, we’ve thought it: I’m not smart enough, tall enough, skinny enough. I’m not lovable, I’ll never be anything, no one cares about me, I’m not cool enough, I’m not….enough.

No matter if someone is telling you these lies or you start to tell them to yourself (maybe by looking through social media), it’s important to start recognizing when these lies occur and how to squash them. The only way to combat lies is to spend more time focusing on the truth and then you’ll see your thoughts begin to shift. I am living proof of that! My thought life used to be so negative but slowly but surely it’s getting better.

All my clients come in with the same insecurities. Somewhere along the way we learned this language and it’s even worse if we believe it! Hopefully I can help squash some of those lies when they come in for a session but it’s an everyday battle that we need to be better at fighting! I know as a business owner it’s hard not to compare yourself to others when you see them having successes in their business. And as business owners we start to tell ourselves things like “They’re going to realize I’m a fake” or “I wont’ ever be successful as XYZ” or “What if my work isn’t good enough” blah blah blah. And an even bigger lie is that we feel like we’re the only ones who feel like this and that we’re alone, but we’re NOT!

You may need to create little cards with these reminders below written on them and place them throughout your house or car. It’s like leaving yourself little love notes. I know I need to be reminded as much as possible and I even have stacks of cards in some places! God’s Word is truth and will squash any lie we tell ourelves so I’m choosing to focus on it more and more everyday. Will you join me?

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalms 139:14

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. Jeremiah 17:7

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. Psalms 27:3

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

What are you struggling with? What battles are you fighting? What lies do you find being played over and over again in your head? You’re not alone! I want to help you so I’m going to give one lucky winner this week a set of Cultivating Faith Desk Cards from Cultivate What Matters! Just leave a comment on this blog post and you’ll be entered to win! I’ll announce the winner on Friday!

My love for shooting maternity sessions continues to grow and grow and I can’t get enough of them! Women are just so gorgeous to me during this time in their life! And I love the idea of getting to spoil them when I’m sure they don’t feel like they’re at their prettiest. I had the pleasure of photographing fellow photographer, Kate Supa, a few weeks ago and this mama made my job super easy during her boho maternity session! You’ve never seen a more glowing, beautiful lady! Thanks to Danielle Forte Makeup for making her feel special and giving her the utmost pampering treatment. We fought the wind a little bit but a session without a little wind would just be boring! This white boho dress from Filly Boo Maternity was absolutely perfect. And not to mention the blue and white kaftan from Lilies and Lace! These are perfect dresses you can wear well after you’ve had the baby! If you know someone who needs to document this time in their life, make sure you send them my way! I don’t want them to regret not documenting this moment in their life.

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

boho maternity session wilmington nc

take fear away boudoir sessions wilmington nc 1

Boudoir sessions are so intimidating to think about, aren’t they?? Even for me to do one, as a photographer, is an intimidating thought. But I’m hear to help take that fear away. You know you’re going to be put in a vulnerable space, and as women, a million thoughts run through our head when we start to ponder doing something like this. Will I look good enough? Will I like my body? Will he like my body? Will I like the pictures? Will these outfits work on me? Will the session be awkward? Can I trust the photographer? How will I know what to do? How to pose? And so on…..

take fear away boudoir sessions wilmington nc 2

I think I make my clients feel so comfortable and at east because I know all too well how they feel, if not more. You may not believe me, but I’m probably the most self-conscious, insecure person around. It’s true! These sessions are like therapy for me because I feel like I walk through these emotions with you and when I’m coaching and encouraging you, on some level I’m talking to myself.

I almost revel in the chance to help someone overcome these fears. Because I know at the end of a session they’ll know longer have them and that’s a great feeling. In a matter of 90 or so minutes, I’m able to help those fears disappear. That’s one of the empowering parts of doing a session. You begin by having all of these fears, then you face them, you push through them (I make it sound like it’s so difficult even though it’s not!), and then you feel amazed at yourself at the end for having gone through with it, and realizing that none of those fears are even a thought anymore. It’s a little symbolic of life isn’t it?

take fear away boudoir sessions wilmington nc 3

I’m here to make this process as easy and fun as possible. I work at diminishing those fears right from the beginning and here’s how:

  1. Initial Email: Once you inquire with me, I send you an email chalk full of information to give you more insight about myself and my sessions. You’re able to see a full boudoir gallery with examples of sessions I’ve done and how the process works. You should feel comfortable about the person who will be photographing you, their work, and trust that they will make it easy and enjoyable. Hopefully you’ve gained some trust with me through looking at my website but if you need a little boost, this email will hopefully do that!
  2. Consultative Phone Call: Once you book a session with me, I setup a consultative phone call, or Skype call, with you to answer any and all questions you might have. We talk about what you want to get out of the session, what outfits you should bring, what hair and makeup you like, how to setup a secret Pinterest board, etc. This phone call will really help put you at ease. Fear usually comes from a fear of the unknown, so I try to give you as many answers as possible! This helps put you in the right frame of mind for your session, as well as set you up for success because you’ll now know how to prep for your session and feel good about what to bring.
  3. Secret Pinterest Board: I encourage you to create a secret Pinterest board and to invite me to view it. This way I can see the kinds of images you’re drawn to and what outfits you might be bringing. I will also pin some of my favorite outfits that I think you would like and that I recommend for your session. You can read all about creating secret Pinterest boards for your session and how to get the most out of them here!
  4. At the Session: I’m here for you! Just think of me as your personal encouragement coach today! We put your favorite music on, you get to start with 90 minutes of pampering from the hair and makeup artist, and even have a few snacks too 😉 Think of it as 90 minutes or relaxation and girl time. Then I help you decide on what outfits we’ll use and make sure you look your absolute best. And the hard work is up to me! I tell you how to pose right down to your fingertips through the whole session. Then it’s up to me and my camera to capture it perfectly! As long as you trust me and can follow directions, then you’re job is done!

confident boudoir session wilmington nc

I hope this helps if you’re thinking about doing a session. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your photographer. Your chemistry with them, their style, their professionalism…This isn’t something you want to settle on because it should be a great experience and something you’ll remember forever.

Here’s a fun infographic from Adore Me, an intimates designer, to help make sure you’ve got all your bases covered!

take fear away boudoir sessions wilmington nc 4

Hair + Makeup//Meraki Beauty

You are going to LOVE this session! And maybe even cry….You may remember Walker and Josh since I did their wedding last year. Well Walker texted me a couple months ago and asked if I would be willing to setup a secret photo shoot to surprise Josh with the news that she’s pregnant. Of course I was on board! I always love hearing from clients and hearing how they’re doing and watching their lives unfold. And I’m always so flattered when they ask me to participate in moments like these. So after chatting, Walker and I decided to plan an anniversary shoot, since their anniversary was around the corner, and find a way to tell Josh about the news during the shoot. These pictures are absolutely priceless! Just watch Josh’s expression as he figures out the news. I also have to give a big thank you to my sister who helped (got rangled in) with this shoot too. Now they have something precious they’ll always be able to share with their kids.

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc
baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

baby reveal idea wilmington nc

wilmington nc boudoir photographer

I’m sure you’ve all noticed a change around here. Things are looking a little different and my focus has shifted a bit. I’m really excited for what’s been happening and I realized I never formally shared about here on the blog. I recently rebranded my photography business to focus more on portraits, and mainly boudoir. For those of you who don’t know, I also own and run a business called Wilmington Weddings and Events. And while it has demanded more of my time, and that’s great, I’ve had to decide to pull back on other aspects of work. Mostly in order to save my sanity 🙂 Since becoming a full-time entrepreneur (and turning 30), I’m really trying to hone in on what I truly want to do long term and how I can better serve those around me. While I love weddings and my wedding clients, I just love doing boudoir more. My personality thrives on 1:1 meaningful interactions. Because of the time that WWAE is demanding of me, it’s much easier for me to schedule smaller sessions, like boudoir, when I have the time. PLUS I feel like I’m able to serve my boudoir clients better. Not only do I want to just run a business and make a living at it, I want to be able to serve those I come in contact with to the best of my ability. I know there are some people that don’t mind punching the clock and feel that as long as they’re bringing enough home to provide then that works for them, but I’m just not one of those people.

Boudoir to me is so much more than just a photo shoot. It’s being able to encourage other women, help build their self-esteem, and help them do something great for their marriage. I think their comes a time in your business where you’ve been in it long enough and you’re ready to follow your heart and not necessarily the money. I truly believe that if you work really hard at something you love, then the money will follow. Although I will still shoot weddings from time to time, I will only be taking a select few each year to be able to better balance my time. To hear a client send you a note after their session to say that they left finally feeling self-confident and beautiful for the first time in a long time after having struggled with an eating disorder….you can’t put a price on that. I want to serve the Lord and others through and in my business as much as I know how. Hopefully these changes will reflect that.

I have absolutely loved serving all of my past wedding clients and look forward to serving my future ones. And I look forward to seeing the wedding community grow through WWAE and seeing what the Lord has for me there. I also look forward to meeting many more women this year and helping them however I can. They actually help me probably more and they don’t even know it! I’ve truly appreciated all of your support over the years and could not do what I do without you! I’ll be sure to share more of the journey here on the blog and through my newsletter. So here’s to a beautiful weekend and finding more of that work/life balance!

Pinterest has become a great tool for inspiration for all kinds of things! I encourage my clients to create secret Pinterest boards for their session for a few reasons. Because it’s completely secret and can only be seen between the people it’s shared with, it’s a great tool for us to use to communicate about the visual part of your session. I encourage you to pin hair and makeup looks that you like, the outfits you plan on bringing, and poses or mood you’re going for in your session.

Makeup is an important part of your session, but it’s also one of the hardest things to communicate about clearly. But if you can show the hair and makeup artist an image of the makeup you want to replicate, then you have a much better chance of getting the look you want! A fresh face with pink tones may look like one thing to you and another to the makeup artist. So this helps make sure we’re all on the same page!

I love having my clients look at Pinterest boudoir images…and I don’t at the same time. They’re great because it gets you in the frame of mind of looking at the poses and start to see yourself in them. It sort of preps you mentally for what you’re about to do 🙂 But I also don’t want you to think that we should replicate those images completely. Your session will be completely your own and I base everything off of the outfits you brought, your body type, your style, your personality, what you want to showcase about yourself, and so much more! But I like telling you to look at the images you’ve chosen to pin and to think about why you’re drawn to those images. Is it the lighting, the pose, or just the outfit itself? It helps me to know why you like that image. And it will help you too!

And I love that I can pin to your board too! If you want my input on what outfits I think would work for you, especially if we’ve met in person, I’m happy to pin things to your board that I think would work for session. And the best part is, the pin will tell you where to but it!

So here’s the step-by-step process on how to make a secret board and then share it with someone!

Note: Once you make a board public, you can’t change it to secret. You need to make sure your board is set to Secret when you create it. Your Secret boards show up at the very bottom of your profile or list of boards. The pins that you save to a Secret board will not show up in any pin feeds, nor will the creator or person you pinned from, get a notification that you’ve saved their pin.

1. Click to Create a Board under your profile. Name the board and flip the switch to make it Secret. And remember to put your name on your board or else I end up with 50 secret boards called “Boudoir Session” and I don’t know which one is yours 🙂


2.  To invite someone to your board, open up the Secret board. The click on the icon to invite someone to your board. Type in the person’s name you wish to invite and click “Invite”.

 

Here are some of my favorite Pinterest boards that I’ve created: Lingerie, Girl Next Door, Glamour Shoots, Faces, Maternity Boudoir and Boudoir Makeup.

Hopefully, looking around on Pinterest will give you some inspiration for your shoot! Try to think outside of the box! Search for women that inspire you and see what kinds of images come up that you might be drawn to. I love Jennifer Aniston and some of the editorial shoots she’s done for magazines. Sometimes she chooses great outfits that would be good for a shoot, or the poses she used are beautiful, and always the hair and makeup!! Remember to focus on the poses, the expressions, the outfits that were chosen, and the hair and makeup. And just let me guide you when you get here and it will be great!! I encourage you to shed that fear when you get here, leave it all here in the studio, give me everything you’ve got, and you won’t regret a thing!

I often get asked where to go to buy lingerie for their session. Usually they have a general idea on where to get basic pieces but they don’t realize there are a lot of shops around that have great pieces that can be used for a session. In my boho session I posted last week, I tried to show that you can bring anything to your session that you feel sexy in and it will look great! So try to think outside of the box. I recommend giving yourself time to shop around before your session so you can make the right choices and use pieces you feel good in.

FOREVER 21
Forever 21 is always my go-to spot for unique items. Their clothes are always very well priced and covered in lace! Look for anything lace or see through when you shop here. You may need to look online for actual lingerie pieces, unless you’re in a larger Forever 21 store, because not all of them carry lingerie. They also tend to have better sales online. And if the pieces don’t fit when you get them, it’s easy to return them in the store.

Look for:

  • crop tops
  • bralettes
  • jean shorts/jean jackets
  • flannel shirts
  • sweaters
  • tulle skirts
  • see through tops
  • kimonos
  • thigh high socks or stockings
  • bodysuits

where to buy lingerie wilmington nc

VICTORIA’S SECRET
Victoria’s Secret is probably most people’s go-to place to shop for lingerie. Here I would look for cute rompers, bodysuits and bra and underwear sets that have great detail. The key to shopping here is to go for the unique pieces and not your everyday pieces.

Look for:

  • stockings
  • bra and underwear with a garter belt
  • special pieces with a lot of detail!

where to buy lingerie wilmington nc

LILIES & LACE
Lilies and Lace, located in Lumina Station, is my favorite local shop! Talk about beautiful pieces! If you’re looking for a special piece that you plan on having for a while, this is the place to go! They carry amazing brands like Cosabella and La Perla. They also have great bridal lingerie and robes that I adore! Not to mention swimwear, resort wear and accessories! This is my happy place and I love checking out what they bring in each season 🙂

Look for:

  • lace robe
  • beautifully detailed bra and underwear set
  • bridal lingerie (anything in white!)
  • bodysuit

where to buy lingerie wilmington nc

MARSHALL’S and TJ MAXX
Marshall’s and TJ Maxx can be hit or miss but when they have great pieces- it’s a great buy! They have things like Calvin Klein underwear (which I love!), beautiful robes, and great lace underwear. It can be hard to find a matching set of underwear sometimes but it’s great if you don’t mind buying individual pieces. They will also have silk chemise tops and bottoms too which can be cute and great for a honeymoon! The trick here is to visit multiple times and catch the good stuff when it comes in!

Look for:

  • Calvin Klein underwear
  • silk or lace robes
  • faux leather jacket (could be cute!)
  • romper

where to buy lingerie wilmington nc

H&M
I love H&M because their pieces are so versatile. I’m extra excited because Wilmington just got it’s first H&M and it’s fun to have another source for my sessions. H&M is great for bodysuits and clothes that can also act as lingerie. Similar to Forever 21, keep your eye out for everyday pieces that could possibly work for your session, like a lace top. They also carry more lingerie online so you may want to check for there for more of those pieces.

Look for:

  • chunky sweaters
  • Women’s dress shirts
  • anything with lace
  • bodysuits
  • accessories

where to buy lingerie wilmington nc

AERIE
Oh how I wish we had an Aerie here! This is another one of my happy places. So much prettiness in one place. While Aerie carries mostly basics, they have a few unique pieces that would work well for a boudoir session. Anything from a bodysuit to a cut-off tee to a special lacey top or bralette, like the ones below. And I love Aerie’s focus on the every day girl and using real girls in their campaigns. I love supporting companies like this.

Look for:

  • anything that makes you feel good!
  • pieces with special details
  • items in colors that work well with your skin
  • items from their leisurewear section

where to buy lingerie wilmington nc

The most important thing to remember is to try each thing on and see how you feel in it. If you’re not sure, then it’s not for you! You need to feel super confident and love the way you look in what you wear so try not to settle! Everyone is going to bring different items to their session and it all depends on your body type and personality. And if you get frustrated, just give me a call 😉 It’s not worth stressing over and if you want to bring jeans and a t-shirt to your session because that’s what you love them I’ll all for it! I’ll You can find all of these lingerie options and links on where to get them on my Pinterest board! I hope this helps and feel free to let me know if you’re looking for anything specific. There are so many options out there and the internet makes it so easy to get awesome pieces at affordable prices these days. I can’t wait to see what you bring to your session!

If this session doesn’t prove that all you need to bring to your boudoir shoot is a chunky sweater than I just need to start over! I love that these sessions can be about the person that you are and your style, and not focused around lingerie, and feeling uncomfortable. It should be fun, it should be relaxing, and it should make you feel good. If lingerie is intimidating to you, then who says you have to wear it? As long as you feel good in a certain item of clothing, then that is going to make all the difference! Part of my job is to bring out that sexy, feminine side of you, no matter what you decide to wear. Just one option, that we used in this shoot, is a body suit. I love body suits because they feel more like a swimsuit and who likes to show off their middle section anyways? And they look just as good as any piece of lingerie! There are so many more images from this shoot that I wish I could show you. I don’t believe in putting images of my clients out into the universe for just anyone who comes along to look at. Therefore, you’ll never see the images you’re probably dying to see out on my website. And even if my clients don’t care about, I care enough about them not to share them. But I’d love to chat with you if you’re interested in booking a session and I’m happy to share what a full session looks like with you. I’m so grateful to all of the vendors that helped me with this shoot! Be sure to scroll to the bottom and check them out!

 

Model//Chelsey Bishoff
Hair + Makeup//Danielle Forte Makeup
Styling//Drewe Smith
Clothes//Tusc Boutique
Lingerie//Lilies + Lace
Furniture//Zartiques + Threve Interiors

The big awaited vacation is here and you don’t know exactly what to pack for your honeymoon (or how much)! This isn’t as hard you might think. My philosophy is pack your classic favorites, a few fun things, and forget the rest! Because most couples travel somewhere warm for their honeymoon, I’m basing my suggestions off of that assumption…and because that’s where I’d want to go too! We’ll be traveling to the Dominican Republic for a friend’s wedding this summer so I’ll be packing a lot of these items myself! And for more inspiration and ideas, check out my Honeymoon Pinterest board!

 

 The idea is to bring pieces that you can easily mix and match. You don’t want to have to think about picking out clothes on your vacation. It’s time to relax and have fun! Try sticking with the same color palette: all neutrals, pastels, or bright colors, for example.

 

  1. Comfortable Tops and T-shirts: You’re going to be in a warm place, most likely, so pack comfortable t-shirts, tanks and tops to keep you cool.
  2. Sunglasses: It’s important to protect your eyes, especially in the more Southern regions of the world.
  3. Simple Jewelry: Bring jewelry that will go with everything (and that you won’t mind getting lost or stolen!).
  4. Romper or Maxi Dress: Be sure to bring a nice and light weight romper or maxi dress that you can wear as a cover up or to dinner.
  5. Casual Pants and Shorts: think cool, cool, cool! But bring comfortable bottoms that you can hike or walk around in too.
  6. Sun hat: I love a hat that’s easy to pack like this one. I scored it on sale at CVS a few years back and it’s my favorite! You need to protect that pretty face while you’re spending so much time in the sun!
  7. Sexy Lingerie: It is your honeymoon after all!
  8. Comfortable Walking Shoes: In case you decide to be adventurous and explore the area. The last thing you want is for your feet to hurt or get blistered and not be able to enjoy the trip.
  9. Bathing Suit: Just bring a couple of your favorites! No one will notice if you wear the same one twice 😉
  10. A Good Book: If you’ll be sitting by the beach or the pool (or on an airplane!), bring a long a good book. I LOVE “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers. Such a great love story and perfect for a honeymoon read.
  11. Sandals: Because you’ll most likely be spending your time at the beach, duh. But bring ones that can also double as a dressier shoe for dinners out.
  12. Beach Bag: You can also make this your travel bag so you don’t have to pack it in your suitcase. It’s nice to have a versatile bag with you on your trip.
  13. Sunscreen: It’s a must! If you listen to me about anything, let it be this. Please wear lots of sunscreen! There’s nothing like a sunburn to ruin your trip….and make you look like a tourist! 😉 And try to bring your own since buying it at a resort or hotel will be twice the price.
  14. Cute Pajamas: Something practical, but pretty, that you can sleep in and also stay cool.
 I hope this helps! Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest board for more ideas or my collage to shop these items! What essential items will you be taking with you?

So it’s a Friday or Saturday night (or Valentine’s Day!) and you’re sitting on your couch watching the same television shows you always do with your significant other, wishing there was something better to do. Lucky for you, you live in Wilmington, North Carolina, where there are tons of great places to eat, drink, and see! And since it’s February, the month of love, I thought it would be fun to pull together the best date ideas in Wilmington, NC for you and your significant other to experience.

Even after you’re married, it’s important to not forget to date each other! It’s not unusual for couples to actually sit down and look at a calendar and schedule out their date nights. I’m a firm believe that if you don’t plan for the date and schedule the date, then you probably won’t have the date. Amen? It’s so easy to get into a boring routine and not make time for time together, so today is a great day to start!

 date night ideas in wilmington nc

Free!

  1. Airlie GardensExplore the breathtaking gardens, as well as wildlife, historic structures, walking trails, and fresh-water lakes. And New Hanover County residents can get in free on the first Sunday of every month. Just bring a valid I.D. or piece of mail with name and address on it. During the rest of the week admission is just $5 for New Hanover County residents or $9 if you’re not a resident.
  2. The Arboretum: I love the Arboretum! It is free to get in and is such a gorgeous garden and beautiful place to tour and walk around with your loved one. They host a lot of great events throughout the year so check out their calendar of events!
  3. Fishing on Johnny Mercers PierExperience a relaxing, romantic sunset while tossing a line with your loved one beside you. It’s $1.50 to walk on the pier or $8 to fish. I kept this on the free list because it would be fun to just fish anywhere! Doesn’t have to be on a pier!
  4. Wave Watching: Wave watch at night in a life guard tower near Jonny Mercers Pier.
  5. Sunset Picnic: Rent a boat for the afternoon to watch the sunset. You can even make a trip to secluded Masonboro Island for a private picnic on the beach.
  6. Farmer’s MarketIndulge yourself into the Wilmington downtown farmers market every Saturday morning.
  7. Fort FisherTake a night walk and experience the water hitting the rocks on shore. You can tour the Fort and plan to have a nice picnic out by the beach.
  8. Bike or Walk around the Wrightsville Beach Loop: The loop at Wrightsville Beach is a local hot spot for people who just want to get out and enjoy nature as well as a little exercise. You can bike or walk around this 2.5 mile route located in the center of Wrightsville Beach.

Takes $$$

  1. Elijah’s RestaurantOn the River Walk in downtown Wilmington, enjoy coastal seafood alongside the Cape Fear River.
  2. Bluewater GrillExperience fresh and local seafood while dining right along the Intracoastal Waterway.
  3. Le Catalan French Café Wine Bar“Wine Down” on the River Walk looking over the Cape Fear river at one of Wilmington’s authentic French cafes and wine bars
  4. Ceviche’sExperience an inspired Panamanian Restaurant & Bar.
  5. Paddleboarding: Paddleboard in the Intracoastal Waterway of Wrightsville Beach. The couple that exercises together stays together! You can find many rental companies around Wrightsville Beach. Check out our fav, Carolina Paddleboard Co.!
  6. Thalian Hall Center for Performing ArtsExperience an abundance of shows and music at this historic theater.
  7. Battleship North Carolina TourTour the USS North Carolina and experience the history of Wilmington’s role in World War II. This one may be a sacrifice for the man in your life 😉
  8. Cape Fear River BoatsTake a boat tour and enjoy a dinner around downtown Wilmington during a gorgeous sunset.
  9. Circa 1922Experience fine dining in downtown Wilmington at one the town’s most romantic restaurants.
  10. Boca BayNear Wrightsville Beach, experience sushi, a raw bar, and steamers. They also host a great Sunday brunch!
  11. IndochineExperience an authentic Asian dining experience. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported somewhere else at this authentic Thai restaurant. They have great dining inside and a huge dining and patio area outside as well.
  12. The Cotton ExchangeEnjoy a shopping center in historic downtown filled with amazing shops and restaurants all while learning about the Cotton Exchange history.
  13. The Little DipperSatisfy your taste buds while dipping into luxurious chocolate and cheese.
  14. River Boat LandingLocated in Downtown Wilmington, experience an amazing dinner on a romantic balcony for two, looking right over the Cape Fear River. It’s an iconic restaurant in the heart of downtown and you can easily take a moonlit walk along the river afterwards.
  15. Brasserie du Soleil: Brasserie du Soleil is the perfect place to go for authentic French cuisine and a beautiful atmosphere that also has outdoor dining. Located in the quaint Lumina Station shopping center, you and your date can walk around and shop while you’re there.
  16. Downtown Carriage Ride: I’m a huge fan of the horse drawn carriage rides downtown! They are 30 minute narrated tours around downtown Wilmington. They have 6 different routes so you can do this more than once and get a different tour every time! And the best part, they rescue horses and take care of them with the ticket sales.

I hope you’ll put the effort forth to be more proactive about having quality time together, away from all the screens and distractions! I’d love to hear about anything you like to do around Wilmington together so I can add it to our list!