Even intimate weddings like Maggie & Eric’s call for sweeping, dramatic veils! – Union Grove Farm, Chapel Hill, NC
Hey! I’m Kate! With my husband, Mike, I comprise MKM Photography—a duo of enthusiastic and nerdy wedding photographers based in Durham, North Carolina. We have a deep love for the weird and authentic in everyone: from tattoos and fandoms to every honest expression of emotion you can muster. We want to share in your excitement, quiet or loud as it may be, about all the love, joy, intimacy, colors, details, and everyday bits of magic that make up your life and your wedding day. With a focus on moments and emotions over poses and “perfect” backdrops or expressions, our primary goal is always to create beautiful, authentic images that capture who you are: as individuals, as a couple, as a family. Our favorite people love hard and laugh deeply, own all the quirks and weirdness that make them real, value photography and its ability to tell a story that lasts.
Serving The Triangle & The Triad
Meet Kate & Mike, the Enthusiastic Weirdos Behind MKM Photography
Hello, dear elopement planners and friends! I’m Kate Marchetto, one half of husband-and-wife wedding and portrait photography duo MKM Photography—the grammatical, down-to-the-minute-planning, always laughing, tattooed and swearing half, to be exact. My husband, Mike, is the bearded, joke-cracking, candid-sniping, gamer and tech enthusiast half. (We also have two dogs and a rambunctious, red-headed four-year-old son, and are expecting a baby girl in March 2021, but none of them are very involved in our work except as distractions…)
Though most of our (pre-COVID…) business centers on more conventionally sized and structured weddings, we have always loved intimate celebrations of love and have frankly relished the focus on smaller events that 2020 has allowed (or, you know, forced). One huge difference in how we approach elopements and intimate weddings compared to bigger celebrations is that I photograph them alone—as much as I adore working wedding days with my husband, flying solo without Mike’s creativity and calm collectedness as a safety net requires me to contort my brain in ways I’m not used to, and it’s always a delightful challenge.
Christina & Katelyn share their first dance in the driveway of their Durham home at their intimate, at-home wedding
By way of further introduction to us and the more intimate side of our business—and I don’t mean boudoir photography, but I love that, too, so if you’re interested, get at me!—I’d like to talk a little about how elopements and intimate weddings highlight what have always been my favorite aspects of photographing weddings: the details, the connection, and, ultimately, the marriage!
The small scale of elopements and intimate weddings allows you to zero in on the details and visual elements that mean the most to you, parts that might get lost in the somewhat necessary noise of planning a larger event. Fashion gurus can curate epic outfits, fewer florals allow botany stans to showcase the blooms they truly love, smaller overall budgets leave room for higher quality wedding rings. I love how the details on which our couples spend time and money showcase their personalities and what they value: a Darth Vader bracelet, heirloom pearl earrings, personalized groundhog cake toppers, book plate save-the-dates, custom rhinestone-encrusted Converse All-Stars, a bespoke suit. In addition to the pure fact of the existence of these personal elements, I love photographing them, both the active creativity involved in crafting detail-related photographs, and having the time to do so, something for which elopement days and intimate weddings allow much more freedom!
Even more than fun, striking, and personal visual details, my favorite thing to photograph are couple’s portraits—engagement sessions, portrait time on a wedding day, even the few “just parents” shots I finagle within a family session. Why? Connection, connection, connection! Every relationship has its unique strength: life skill balance between the partners for some, ambition and drive for others, a sense of the ultimate humor of life for others. Even if you think you are awkward or unphotogenic, let me learn these points of connectivity for you and your partner, let me trick you into being comfortable wherever we’re working, let me step back a bit (while, yes, still giving you direction on what to do with your hands), and watch your warmth, your playfulness, your deep and abiding love for each other shine. Elopements and intimate weddings are optimal grounds to create space for this kind of connection: without the worry of a big event timeline, you have the freedom to Take It All In together, spend the entire duration absorbed in your partner, and allow yourself to live inside the connection that makes your relationship thrive. Which brings me to my last favorite element of elopements, and the most important…
Nothing matters as much as this: your wedding—however you choose to create it—is about your marriage. Weddings are fun, beautiful, entertaining, joyous excuses to celebrate, yes; but your relationship with your partner and the strength of your marriage are the underpinning, the jumping off point, the baseline from which you approach the rest of your life. Elopements are limned with this clarity at every turn: all the trappings pared away, the commitment that you and your partner are making shines in sharp relief, and, as you will for many future moments both difficult and blissful, all you have is each other. Mike and I love our marriage—not just each other, but the fact of our marriage itself—and wish the deep and abiding joy it brings us for all of our couples. Participating in the start of so many marriages is one of the most fulfilling parts of my job; elopements and intimate weddings center on the commitment aspect so closely that I can’t help but keep them in a cherished little spot in my heart!
Sharing a glass of champagne while cuddled in your wedding clothes is probably the best way to end your elopement. The Durham Hotel
Want to talk more about what I love about elopements, your why behind planning an intimate celebration, fantasy book series, third wave ska (yes, really!), or my favorite things about being 10 years into marriage? Give me a shout at any time (email’s best)! Until then, thanks for taking the time to get to know us a little bit, and happy planning!
A sweet group hug following emotional toasts at Lindsey & John’s intimate spring wedding
Timberlake Earth Sanctuary
A: Kate Marchetto – Owner / Photographer
Q: Is there a wedding detail on your bucket list?
A: Not really; I pretty much take ’em as they come! I will admit to a soft spot for colorful wedding attire, colorful wedding hair, and rad tattoos, though, and will always take more of those!
Q: What’s a fun fact about yourself?
A: I have my Master’s in Creative Writing! Need something spelled, or a grammar check, or to know the difference between assonance and true rhyme? I’m your woman.
Q: Where was your favorite elopement?
A: Buck Spring Gap Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Q: What are your favorite styles of elopements?
A: Modern, colorful, urban, industrial, intimately personal.
A sweet, intimate wedding ceremony officiated by the groom’s aunt
Old Well Ballroom at the Carolina Inn
“Kate is simply the best! She took our photos for our intimate, COVID-friendly ceremony this year and will also be taking our photos for our larger wedding/reception next year. Both my husband and I aren’t big picture-people so we were nervous, but Kate made the process so fun and easy! We’ve never looked so photogenic in our lives! In the lead up to the event, she thought of everything and was always responsive, professional, and organized. On the ceremony day itself (which had its share of challenges and last minute changes due to a combination of COVID and a hurricane), Kate rolled with all the punches and had a great attitude. From snapping terrific staged and candid shots to getting my The Office references when no one else did, she was a friend, support system, and expert photographer all in one. I would recommend her to anyone and everyone and we are so excited to use MKM Photography again next year!”
—Alice & Walker, 11 October 2020
Nothing beats dramatic Blue Ridge Mountain views for an intimate elopement ceremony!
Buck Spring Gap Overlook, Asheville, NC