Kelly & Forest at the Stockroom 230

Kelly & Forest’s original plan for their ceremony was to have it at Umstead Park in Raleigh and have their reception at the Stockroom 230 downtown after. The rain back up plan would be to hold everything at the Stockroom and a few weeks prior to the ceremony they decided to just go ahead and do that. That ended up being a really good decision, as it was raining most of the afternoon!

Secretly, I was kind of happy about that because I have done ceremonies at Umstead Park in the past, but the Stockroom was one of those venues I hadn’t seen yet and I really wanted to check it out! It is a really neat industrial-looking space with exposed brick, wood floors, and beam ceilings. There is plenty of room for both ceremony and reception, and a little landing area that’s perfect for cocktail hour.

Another neat feature at the Stockroom is the Glass Box on the top floor of the same building that can be rented as well. It can be used for smaller events, bridal luncheons, showers, or as a changing area for the bride and her ‘maids. That is what Kelly did!

There were lots of lovely details throughout their ceremony and reception spaces, but I particularly loved the chalk wall! The bridesmaids walked in to the Etta James version of, “I Want a Sunday Kind of Love,” so this was really perfect. Plus, it was a Sunday! The chalk wall was done by AB Chalk Designs.

Kelly and Forest included some really cool elements in their ceremony, including a presentation of roses to Kelly’s mother, a sand ceremony, and a shell wishing with a twist. Since we weren’t at the beach to toss the stones into the water, guests instead collected them in a large glass vessel that the couple could display in their home!

Kelly & Forest’s best man and maid of honor signed the license following the ceremony while guests mingled for cocktail hour.

Floral The Wedding Woman
Coordination Harmony Weddings and Events.
DJ Vox DJ Company
Photography Shaun King

The couple was kind enough to leave this review for me on Wedding Wire:

“Katherine did the best job for our wedding! She was so easy to work with and so helpful in planning and answering all our questions. I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a wedding officiant on their big day. She had the best attitude and all our guests commented how great of a job she did. Thanks again Katherine for everything!”

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Tracy & Robert at Pullen Park

I am so very lucky to work with some really great couples. I connect with so many of “my” couples on a personal level and their excitement for the wedding and love for each other are contagious!! Imagine being so lucky, getting to experience that kind of joy almost every single weekend! That being said, some weddings just hit me a little deeper. And Tracy and Robert’s ceremony at Pullen Park was one of them.

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When we met back in February, these two knew what they wanted… something sweet and simple, an intimate ceremony with mostly family, and something that would include their 5 children from previous marriages.

It was a beautiful April afternoon when we gathered at the gazebo in Pullen Park Lake for their ceremony. I arrived early and helped hang some decorations and set up the sand ceremony. If you are trying to count all the vials in that picture I will help you out – there are 8! One for the bride and groom, one for me to pour “foundation sand,” and one for each of the 5 kids. Sand ceremonies are an awesome choice for including kids in the ceremony. It is such a visual representation of the blending of the families, and I think most kids like getting their own color of sand!

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They chose a pretty coral color for their theme and Robert surprised Tracy by renting a tux with coordinating vest. She thought he would be wearing a suit (and he had actually joked he was going to wear shorts and a t-shirt… men!). They didn’t see each other before the ceremony, so after Tracy made her entrance over the bridge it was sweet to see her reaction to Robert!

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Shortly after the ceremony began I saw one of their 9 year-old twins start crying tears of happiness. Now, I tear up in ceremonies pretty often. I’m an emotional person and like I said, I get wrapped up in the all the happiness and joy! But this was more than that. I was fighting back tears as I could feel the love so strongly between not just the bride and groom, but from all of their children, and their family and friends that were there to share the moment. It was truly beautiful!

After the ceremony their two witnesses signed the license, while the couple and family did their formal photos. My favorite of the pictures I took that day was the moment below with the 4 youngest kids (Robert’s oldest is grown and married) watching the ducks in the lake. These kids have gone from great friends to brother and sisters, and that is a very special gift their parents have given them!

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Robert & Tracy I am wishing you all the love and joy this world has to offer as you begin your journey as a new family!
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Esther & Isaiah at the WRAL Azalea Gardens

Esther & Isaiah were married on a beautiful day at the end of April at the WRAL Azalea Gardens in Raleigh. The gardens are a beautiful spot for a spring wedding, as most of the flowers are in bloom and the tall pine trees provide enough shade to keep things cool. I was grateful for the especially cool afternoon they had!

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The gardens were hopping that day, full of family portrait photographers and lots of prom-going teens getting their pictures made! Fortunately, WRAL puts out these signs at every possible entrance to the ceremony space to make sure people are respectful.

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I loved their turquoise and coral beach theme! Everything was coordinated so well, no doubt with thanks to her planner, Katina Lucas of Visions of Elegance! The sand ceremony they chose to include in the ceremony was the perfect ritual to go with the beach theme.

Another sweet detail that was too cute not to mention… Isaiah and his groomsmen wore their shades until the moment Esther got to the top of the aisle. Then they whipped them off in unison to admire her beauty! I love it!

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The following photos from the ceremony were taken by Annette at Martha Smith Tillery Photography.

You’ve gotta love that dip at the end! LOL… my face says it all!

The couple was kind enough to leave this review for me on Wedding Wire:

“Katherine was great!!! She made the wedding ceremony process easy. She was helpful in answering all of our questions and terrific including all of our ceremony choices. I would definitely recommend her to anyone needing officiant services.”

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Andy & Julie at the Page-Walker House

Andy and Julie were married last month at the Page-Walker House in Cary. Also known as the Page-Walker Hotel or the Page-Walker Arts and History Center. It was built in 1868 as a railroad hotel and it sits right next to the tracks near downtown Cary. It has an interesting history and now many interesting uses – including weddings!

I met with Andy, Julie, and Julie’s daughter Lauren after a wedding on Easter afternoon to do a quick rehearsal. It was a little rainy and cold, but it gave us a chance to talk through the logistics of the day.

These big beautiful trees were in bloom around the garden. They looked kind of like Cherry Blossoms, but I’m not sure what they were.

The day of their wedding started out rainy as well, but fortunately by the time the ceremony started we had nothing but blue skies and big pretty white clouds!

Andy and Julie chose to include a sand ceremony ritual, so that Lauren could be part of the wedding. She was also the flower girl!

I often get asked by couples doing a sand ceremony what kind of table they need. This is a perfect example of using something simple that you already have. This little white folding table is just right and adding a bow on each side made it wedding-ready. Definitely look around your house or ask a friend or family member if you can borrow something before you buy a new table.

After the ceremony guests were off to celebrate with a reception in the gallery! I thought this was a great set up with the buffet line and bar in the hallway leading into the gallery. I have also seen the reception set up in the courtyard outside (very first pic in the post).

And I had to share a picture of their cute favors: “Mint to Be!” and beautiful wedding cake.

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On the previous Sunday when we rehearsed we talked about the possibility of moving the ceremony inside, just in case of rain. This large room is on the third floor of the Page-Walker House and with a nice fireplace at the front of the room, it would convert nicely into a back-up ceremony space. The capacity is only 60 though, so really just an option for smaller weddings.

Congratulations Andy & Julie! Your wedding day was beautiful and I’m wishing you all the best!

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Cory & Robert at Montague Lake

I get excited for pretty much every inquiry I get, but I get EXTRA excited when the wedding will be held at a venue I haven’t been to before. That is really such a fun part of this job, getting to see all these really unique, beautiful places all over NC! So when Cory and Robert contacted me about their ceremony and told me their wedding would be held at Montague Lake, I was intrigued! Only a short 15-minute drive from me and I hadn’t even heard of it!

Now that I have seen the venue, I can tell you they found a real hidden gem. Located on Penny Road, just minutes from Raleigh, Cary, Garner, or Fuquay-Varina, it couldn’t be more convenient.

The property is sitting right on the lake and boasts a dreamy bridge (perfect for pictures!), a dock over the water with lots of benches, a play ground for kids, a covered shelter with electricity, bathrooms, and a small kitchen. The area around the shelter has a deck and is well-shaded.

You can see there was more than enough space for Cory and Robert’s 70ish guests to be seated, and really I think you could comfortably fit 120 or so.

There were lots of lovely, simple decorations. And look at that spread! Catering was done by Neomonde!

I’m not sure if this was built specifically with weddings in mind, but it sure does seem that way with this little deck that juts out right in the center of the shelter. It was perfect for Cory, Robert, and I to stand flanked by 5 bridesmaids and 5 groomsmen. We did a quick run-through with the bridal party about an hour before the ceremony, since we didn’t have a formal rehearsal. I joked with Cory and Robert’s photographer that she should take up wedding coordinating as well. She was very helpful getting everyone where they needed to be at the right time!

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Cory and Robert chose a “Sweet & Simple” ceremony and included the increasingly-popular wine box ceremony. They chose to open the box on their 5th anniversary.

The couple and bridal party took pictures while their witnesses signed the license. They chose to have their moms sign the license, which is always such a sweet touch!

This was the first ceremony I did with my new sound set up and I was SO happy with how it performed compared to my last system. Much less sensitive – I had NO feedback at all – and robust sound. I stuck around for a little while so that a friend could sing the bride and groom into the reception with a special song, and so that some younger guests to give a toast. The music for the ceremony was played through it via bluetooth and a guest’s cell phone and that worked great too.

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Cory & Robert left this sweet review for me on Wedding Wire: “Katherine is wonderful! My husband and I are an extremely busy couple who put together a wedding in just over 2 months. We went into planning the ceremony with very little knowledge of what to do/expect going into it. Katherine walked us through everything and helped with planning and organizing the ceremony. She brought up things I wouldn’t have even thought of on my own and helped us pull together a beautiful, elegant ceremony. Most of my guests have told me how great the ceremony was and how Katherine’s words were just perfect for our ceremony. I really don’t know what we would have done without her! I highly recommend Katherine to any couple looking for an officiant, whether you have an outline of what you want to say/do, or you have no idea how to put together a wedding ceremony.”

Congratulations you two!

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Intimate Ceremony at The Second Empire

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April 19th was a busy day for me this year! After Lisa & Rodney’s elopement in Selma, I headed to The Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern in on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh to marry Stephanie & Andrew. I’m sure with the weather that day they were pleased to have planned an indoor ceremony!

second empirePhoto Credit: Second Empire Facebook Page

The Second Empire is a fine dining establishment in the heart of downtown Raleigh. The beautiful historic home (Dodd-Hinsdale House), coupled with the picturesque downtown location make it perfect for wedding ceremonies and receptions! The venue offers a variety of wedding packages that include the use of different rooms in the home, as well as different dining options. The restaurant can also host your bridal shower or luncheon!

Stephanie and Andrew chose to have their ceremony in the beautiful bay window of the East Parlor. This area holds about 30 people, so it is perfect for small ceremonies. Their intimate reception with close friends and family was held immediately following in the adjoining room.

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The ceremony itself was very short, because that is exactly what the couple wanted and my goal is for them to have what they want! I think my favorite part was seeing Stephanie escorted down the aisle by her 16 year-old twin boys, Hayes and Trevor.

Stephanie was kind enough to leave a review for me on Wedding Wire following the ceremony: “Katherine was very easy to work with and gave us several suggestions that helped things run smoothly. I would highly recommend her for your wedding!!”

Stephanie and Andrew, it was my pleasure to marry you on your special day, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of it!

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New Wedding Venue in Clayton!

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If you guys were excited about the Photography Special for small weddings I shared last month from Maya Ana Photography, you’ll be thrilled to hear about a brand new wedding venue located in Clayton that is just perfect for ceremonies with 25 or fewer guests! You may have noticed the gorgeous, historic Finch-Lee house while driving by the corner of Cleveland Road and McLemore Road in Garner. That’s how I found it! My first thought was, “WOW! That should be a wedding venue!” And lucky for all you soon-to-be-brides, now it is! The historic home houses Brandi K. Autry Photography & Design. They also offer wedding planning and coordinating! This affordable package is perfect for the couple who wants a small, intimate wedding, but doesn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a venue, set up/clean up, chairs, etc…

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Jayme is their wedding coordinator and she was kind enough to give me a tour of the Finch-Lee house back in January. Even though it was a very yucky, cold, rainy day, the beauty and history of the house just shone through! I love any venue that offers brides several choices for their ceremony location. The Finch-Lee house does just that with both indoor and outdoor ceremony locations, including in front of a grand fireplace inside the house or under the massive gorgeous tree on the front lawn. With such a beautiful backdrop, minimal decorations are needed to personalize the space for your big day.

If you are interested in learning more about the Finch-Lee house and booking a wedding there, contact Jayme at info@brandiautry.com or give them a call at (919) 772-2040. More info about the package will be up on their website in the coming weeks.

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