Amber & James at Athletic Lab

Amber and James are a very sweet couple, with a sweet story! They first met at the Athletic Lab gym in Cary and had their first date at Brio. They chose to walk down memory lane by having their ceremony at Athletic Lab (yes, in a gym!) and their reception at Brio. I love it!

I also loved how they had this chalkboard sign when guests entered, showing their love story and giving guests insight as to why they chose these locations.

Photos by Maya Anna Photography

As we began the ceremony, Amber had a very special surprise waiting for her. She did not think her mom was able to make it from New York for the ceremony, but at the last minute she was able to fly in the night before. Friends kept her hidden away until Amber started her walk down the aisle with her daughter. Even the groom did not know! We were at the front already and he said incredulously, “Is that Amber’s MOM?” It was great! So then Amber walked with her sweet baby girl and her mom. It was beautiful.

Amber and James chose to include a sand ceremony. Their last names are White and Gold, so they chose white and gold sand. Perfect! Also, in a very cool twist on the traditional sand ceremony, they gave each guest one of these tiny bottles of sand. During the ceremony I passed the main vessel through the guests with the help of Gabe (pictured left) and each person was able to add their sand, as a show of support for this new union.

Photos (1st and 3rd) by Maya Anna Photography

After that, the couple added their own sand to make this beautiful blend.

Photo (right) by Maya Anna Photography

Following the ceremony, two close friends signed their license while the couple took pictures around the gym.

Some more fun shots by Maya Anna Photography

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Congratulations Amber and James! Best Wishes!

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Adam & Marina’s Interfaith Backyard Ceremony

Adam and Marina were married at a private residence in North Raleigh on March 26th. The home was of a family friend, and the owner told me it wasn’t the first wedding to take place there! The couple they bought the home from had actually held their daughter’s wedding on the same deck. As you can see, it is the perfect set up for an intimate ceremony overlooking the pond.

When I arrived for a short rehearsal on the Thursday before the wedding, the home owner and Adam’s mother were busy planting pots of white flowers for occasion. I thought that was a lovely touch!

Photos by Maya Anna Photography

The weather had been calling for rain all day, and the sky was looking a little iffy just before ceremony start time. We hurried and got everyone in the seats as it was just starting to drizzle when we walked out onto the deck! Fortunately, the drizzle stopped and held off for the rest of the ceremony just as our radiant bride arrived.

Photo (right) by Maya Anna Photography

Adam’s family is Jewish and Marina’s is Christian, so this was an Interfaith ceremony. We included a wine ceremony and used the goblet from Adam’s Barmitzvah. That was a very sweet addition thought of by Adam’s mother, Carol.

Photos by Maya Anna Photography

And of course a breaking of the glass was also included! This is one of my most favorite wedding traditions. There are many explanations out there as to the symbolism of the breaking of the glass. The one I use most often in ceremonies is that just as the glass has been fundamentally changed and cannot go back to how it was, so have the lives of the couple.

Photos by Maya Anna Photography

Thank you, Marina and Adam, for letting me share in your special day! Best wishes!

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Kristina & Adam’s Avengers Wedding!

Kristina and Adam were married all the way back on Leap Day!

Adam’s mother Jody first contacted me about marrying he and Kristina. One of her first questions in our initial phone call was, “Will you wear a black eye patch?” They were planning to have an Avengers themed wedding and I would be playing the part of Nick Fury. How fun!

 

Their event took place at Brick & Mortar events in CLAYTON. Not to be confused with Brick & Mortar Grill in ANGIER. I found this out the hard way on the day of their rehearsal and for the first time in three years I was late to a wedding-related event! Ack! Thankfully Kristina was sweet as could be on the phone when we figured out why I wasn’t seeing anyone… I believe her exact quote was, “It’s fine, I’m not a bridezilla!”

The venue is really beautiful with one wall of windows, the others of exposed brick, and all this pre-lit tule hanging and draped means you don’t really have to do much decorating. Adam’s dad built this cross as the backdrop for the ceremony!

They did such an awesome job with the details… from the invitation asking guests to wear all black, to the favors and the cupcakes!

The subject of unplugged ceremonies comes up in all of my meetings now, as often couples would like me to make the statement asking guests to put away their camera and phones. Kristina and Adam went a step farther than I had seen before, asking guests to please refrain from posting pictures to social media until they had a chance to first. I think this will eventually become common wedding etiquette!

Each member of the bridal party wore black (except the bride!) and accessorized according to their Avenger’s color. The bridesmaid bouquets were then used to supplement the table centerpieces. Smart!

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Photo by Marcia Wakelyn

This is a better picture of the whole bridal party. You can see the bride carried Thor’s hammer instead of a bouquet. One of my favorite moments in the ceremony was when Kristina effortlessly handed the hammer off to her maid of honor, who promptly dropped it to the ground as if it was SO heavy!

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Photo by Marcia Wakelyn

When I was brainstorming with Kristina and Adam about which ceremony ritual they would like to include, Kristina suggested a unity candle ceremony, but that included all of their guests. I LOVED the idea and added this wording:

“A strong marriage needs the support of a community. As the flame symbolizing Kristina and Adam’s love spreads throughout the room, please take a moment to say a silent wish, prayer, or blessing for the couple. The warm glow from these combined flames represents your promise, as friends and family of the bride and groom, to support them in their marriage, loving them, and encouraging their love for each other.”

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Photos by Marcia Wakelyn

After we paused and waited for everyone’s candle to be lit, I said the closing prayer with the ending line, “Lord, help them to keep lit the torch of love that they now share, so that they may pass on that love to all of their family and friends. Now and forevermore, Amen.” Then I blew out my candle and bridal party and guests followed. This quickly became one of my most favorite ceremony rituals.

Photos by Marcia Wakelyn

Kristina and Adam left this lovely review for me on Wedding Wire:

“Katherine is so professional, knowledgeable, and so easy to talk to. I was so nervous trying to find the right officiant, but she eased my mind so well. She was able to work with my crazy schedule before the wedding. She thinks of great ideas, and didn’t think any of mine were odd. I had an avengers themed wedding, and she thought of great ideas to go with it. I don’t know of any other officiant that would wear an eye patch to your wedding. 🙂 Thanks Katherine!!”

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Photo by Marcia Wakelyn

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Henginey & Cesar Backyard Ceremony

I’m blogging a little out of order today! Let’s skip ahead from Kristy & Dylan’s backyard ceremony in March to Henginey & Cesar’s backyard ceremony in April! Both couples were blessed with gorgeous weather for their day.

IMG_0427The sky was blue, sun was shining, and there was a cool spring breeze! The patch of bloomed azaleas in the back yard was the perfect back drop for this intimate at-home ceremony.

Henginey’s sister did much of the planning and decorating and found much of her inspiration on Pinterest. I loved the details!

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The couple chose the Elegant Elopement package because the ceremony was short notice… about two weeks. And they had just a handful of family there. This is the perfect scenario for the elopement package. They chose one of the Christian non-denominational ceremony options that is about 5-6 minutes long. It includes all of the traditional ceremony elements like exchanging rings, saying vows, and of course the “I dos!”

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If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, you know that I love when moms sign the license! And they love it too! Cesar and Henginey let their moms do the honors.

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Then it was time to celebrate and eat cake! Mmmmm look at that cake!

Congratulations Henginey & Cesar! The bride’s sister was kind enough to leave this comment for me on facebook: “Thank you to all to all the ladies who recommended Katherine Edwards. She was absolutely wonderful. We were all so pleased with her patience and beautiful words… My sister and brother in law were so happy with how comfortable she made them feel during the ceremony… Thanks a million!”

Congratulations you two!

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Kristy & Dylan Backyard Ceremony

Last week’s elopement ceremony took place at a private residence in Raleigh. I did find it very appropriate though, that the road name was White Chapel Way!

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Some of the prettiest wedding spaces I see are backyard ceremonies. Some people hear “backyard” and cringe at the thought of lawn chairs and picnic blankets (although that in itself could be quite lovely if you’re going for a “summer casual” atmosphere!). But I’m telling you, with the right vision a backyard can be utterly transformed into a beautiful wedding space.

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Take for example, the scene that greeted me when I walked onto the back deck at Kristy & Dylan’s wedding. What an elegant, intimate set up for a post-ceremony dinner.

I arrived just in time to see their “first look” from the deck. The stepping stones made such a sweet backdrop for the pictures.

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The sunroom was the perfect size for a small ceremony and the floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides afforded a fantastic view of the woods and the pond behind the house. You can see the guitar on the left there on the bench. Kristy’s brother played for her entrance, which was so sweet!

Kristy & Dylan included a “rock wishing” ceremony, which consists of guests taking a stone as they enter the ceremony area, and then making a silent wish, prayer, or blessing for the couple while holding the stone. At the conclusion of the ceremony, guests followed the happy couple down to the water to throw (or skip! I saw some impressive ones!) their stones into the pond. This is one of my favorite ceremony rituals that can be done at any body of water. Use shells at the beach, or pennies in a fountain!

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Their moms signed the license, which is always a special job for them to do!

Professional photos were taken by Alycat Photo & Video Services for photography. I look forward to seeing those!

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All Saint’s Chapel Wedding { Maggie + Matt } Raleigh, NC

I am going to make a much more concerted effort to keep up with blogging this wedding season. And what better couple to start with than Maggie and Matt who were married at All Saint’s Chapel on March 5th!

All Saint’s Chapel is a truly beautiful venue in downtown Raleigh on East Street. They hold open houses regularly, so check out their website to find out when the next one is.

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I’m a new instagram user (@Ceremoniesbykatherine) so this was my first time actually using a couple’s hashtag on social media. I know, I know…. get with the times! It was fun searching by the hashtag a few days after the wedding to see guest’s pictures.

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Matt and Maggie had an unplugged ceremony, which I am always on board with! In addition to this sign (right by the programs, so no one could miss it!) I made a statement before the ceremony started asking guests to please put their phones and cameras away.

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How adorable is the bridal suite downstairs inside All Saint’s? I couldn’t help but snap this springy pic!

Flowers were done by Brides and Bouquets and they were stunning. The colors were mint, peach, and gold, which was a really lovely combination.

The altar was especially lovely with the floating candles in the hurricane vases. Matt and Maggie chose to include the wine box ceremony, so I made sure the letters, box, and wine were up front and ready to go for us.

Matt and Maggie chose the “Completely Custom” ceremony package, which includes telling their love story. Here is one of my favorite snippets describing when they first started to have feelings for each other:

Everything changed the summer following freshman year, when that same mutual friend who initially introduced them invited them to his beach house for the weekend. Both MAGGIE and MATT recognized a new connection between them on that trip. MAGGIE told me she truly can’t describe what happened or why her feelings changed so quickly, but the next thing she knew she was sitting on the beach holding MATT’s hand, wondering why she suddenly felt like she’d known him forever. MATT told me that for him it was a warm, comforting feeling that grew as he spent the day on the beach with her, and that feeling never went away.

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I always like to snap a picture of their witnesses signing the licenses and send it to the couple later. Many times the photographer is already busy with group shots and can’t get a picture of this moment. Matt and Maggie had their Maid of Honor and Best Man sign for them.

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I had to get a shot of the ladies following the ceremony to show off their beautiful color scheme. I hope I see more of this mint, peach, and gold combo this spring!

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I will leave you with this view of the chapel from the balcony at All Saint’s Chapel. Thanks for Orangerie Events for their coordination, Forage + Film for photography, and Anything Music for the music and mic!

And big thank you to Maggie & Matt for leaving a review on Wedding Wire!

Katherine was hands down one of the best decisions we made for our wedding. She was so sweet, fast to respond to emails, and answered all my questions along the way. She made our ceremony so personalized – you can tell she put a lot of time and effort into it – and everyone complimented us on how great it was. I would absolutely recommend her to others! You would be crazy to not to pick her. – Maggie & Matt

New! Custom Vow Artwork

I am so excited to reveal that I have partnered with local watercolor artist Stephanie R Williams, Artist to gift each one of my “Completely Custom” couples with a beautiful piece of frame-able art featuring their wedding vows. Photos from the ceremony will be used as the inspiration, so each piece is completely custom and unique.

I used Samantha & Robert, my last “Completely Custom” couple of 2015 as my guinea pigs. Below you can see both the finished product and the beautiful images from A.J. Dunlap Photography that were used as inspiration. Samantha & Rob were married at The Oaks at Salem in Apex, NC.

Also arriving in the package with the art piece is a keepsake copy of the ceremony, printed on 67lb acid-free card stock so you can relive the words of your ceremony any time!

For any of my previous couples who are interested in ordering one of these beautiful pieces, contact Stephanie directly for a discounted rate: 919-772-7345 or Artsmarty47@gmail.com.

Creative Guest Books!

Gone are the days when the guestbook for every wedding you attend is a silky white book with a fancy silver pen, filled with blank pages with plain lines. No! There are so many awesome, creative ways to record the loved ones who witnessed your special day, and to capture their best wishes and advice!

Below are some favorites from weddings over the last few years. It should be quite obvious by the bad quality of most of these photos that I was the photographer. However, professional photos have been credited!

etsy fall tree guestbookI love any guestbook option that allows you to display it in your home later. These two autumn-themed love bird prints are perfect for fall weddings. These are from Natalie & Michael’s October 2014 wedding at 1705 Prime (left) and Jessica & David’s September 2014 wedding at the Rand Bryan House (right).

balloon guestbookAlong the same lines is the adorable VW bug with balloons art print from Molly & Daren’s “summer casual” wedding at Spruce Pine Lodge in August of 2014. The sky is the limit with these prints! This particular one is from miriamgarber on Etsy. Photography by Britney Kearns.

hanging leavesContinuing the autumn theme, Katie and Carl used individual die cut leaves for their guest book at the Het Landhuis in January of 2015. As guests completed their leaf, it was hung on the branches above. I wish I had a picture of the finished product!

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Samantha and Rob were married in October 2015 at The Oaks at Salem. They had guests sign these quilt squares. Samantha told me they had guests sign individual squares rather than an entire finished quilt so that it could be “edited” before putting it together. They could rearrange notes (or omit some, if needed!) So smart!

mad libsJessica & Matt were married at Extraordinary Ventures in September of 2014. Jessica made these hilarious mad lib cards for their guests to fill out!

paddle guestbookI wish I got to do more beach weddings! Robbie & Ginny were married in October 2013 on the beach in front of the Carolina Beach Marriot. Their guests signed an oar that they now display in their home. Photography by Holly Czuba.

ThumbprintsJenn and Ken were married on the shores of Lake Gaston at a waterfront home in September of 2014. I loved how they honored their best man and matron of honor with these photo collages. And I also loved their adorable tree canvas with an ink pad for guests to add their finger prints!

TraditionalKelly and Josh tied the knot at Solas in October of 2014. They did go the more traditional route with a guest book, but you can see how they had pictures from throughout their relationship printed right into the book. I love how they took tradition and personalized it!

Vintage postcard guest book This one is mine! My husband and I were married in October of 2011 and decided to have guests fill out a vintage postcard with their well wishes or advice. We then took our favorites and created this display to hang in our home.

Well wishesI love theme weddings! This Star Trek wedding from September 2014 was spectacular and I love how the couple had guests fill out individual cards with well wishes and drop them in this box to read later. How fun!

wooden heartsAnother option for display in your home… Kim & Matt were married on private property in Selma in April of 2014. The little white tray on the left in this picture is filled with wooden hearts for guests to sign. The couple then added them to the framed wooden tree you see in the picture. So creative!