“Katherine was AMAZING throughout the entire process! She was so willing to be flexible in our plans and patient with us as we decided on a date that worked with our family. She has such a kind spirit and felt as if she was a part of our family on our wedding day. We are so happy to have had her there for us. She explained every step so thoroughly, maintained great speed in her messages back and forth with us, and was overall the most thoughtful person for our day.”
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
Jason and Sarah were married in a sweet, intimate, elopement ceremony at Jason’s parents’ home in Raleigh in early May.
The original plan had been to have the ceremony out on the back deck. I admit that would have been pretty amazing, as it was a large, beautiful deck hidden among a thick grove of trees. However, mother nature had other plans that day as it was absolutely pouring when I arrived!
The back up plan was this charming set up in the living room. I loved how everything coordinated with the purple and white. The monogrammed cake and matching napkins were some of those little details that show how special a wedding is, no matter how small the guest count!
The couple chose a short, non-religious ceremony that they felt represented their relationship well. I know their parents were a little concerned that there would be no mention of God, but Jason’s mother came to me with tears in her eyes after the ceremony. She told me she didn’t know a non-religious ceremony could be so beautiful!
Because there was no bridal party, the couple just had two close friends in attendance to sign the marriage license following the ceremony. This is almost always seen as an honor by those who are asked, so consider that when choosing!
Jennifer & Michael were married on a cool May morning at the Raleigh Rose Garden. If you aren’t familiar, the garden is located behind Raleigh Little Theatre’s stage and amphitheatre. It is a beautiful spot and the roses were in full bloom!
There are a few pretty spots in the Garden for a ceremony, but Jennifer and Michael chose right in front of the fountain with the pergola in back.
Jennifer’s dad built these benches and brought them in for the ceremony!
This couple was low key and easy to work with and wanted just a short and simple ceremony. They did add a really unique reading that I loved. “Description of an arch” from Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks:
“The arch is nothing else than a force originated by two weaknesses, for the arch in buildings is composed of two segments of a circle, each of which being very weak in itself tends to fall; but as each opposes this tendency in the other, the two weaknesses combine to form one strength.
As the arch is a composite force it remains in equilibrium because the thrust is equal from both sides; and if one of the segments weighs more than the other the stability is lost, because the greater pressure will outweigh the lesser.”
Following the ceremony they had their moms sign the license. Love that!
Whenever the guest count is on the smaller side for a wedding, I recommend getting one big group shot with everyone. I was happy to take this one for Jennifer & Michael!
The couple and their guests headed to a reception lunch at The Pit in downtown Raleigh, then they took off for their honeymoon!
Victoria and Jacob were married on April 16th at Jacob’s parents’ home in Henderson. The home was beautiful and the yard would be envied by a golf course… perfect grass! When I mentioned how great everything looked to Jacob’s father, he said he was disappointed by the recent hard freezes we had, because it meant not as many blooms as they’d hoped for the wedding. I think God made up for the freeze by providing the perfect day for them! Blue skies, not a cloud in sight, temperature in the 70s, and a light breeze. Couldn’t ask for more!
This wedding was a DIYers dream! So many lovely details. I took a ridiculous amount of pictures! I should have expected it though, since both Victoria and Jacob are creatives with jobs in the arts. These wooden hand-lettered signs were perfect for the country atmosphere and then there’s no need for programs.
I told Victoria her wedding cake was the most beautiful I had ever seen and I still stand by it! The flowers were beautiful and echoed the arrangements on wreaths hanging overhead. I also love when the icing actually looks edible! Because, it is a cake after all!
Speaking of those wreaths, there was one hung at the ceremony site as well. My pictures of it don’t do it justice!
Victoria and Jacob had been dating for 5 years and neither one seemed a bit nervous about the ceremony! They decided to include a wine box ceremony and chose to include letters from their parents and Victoria’s Maid of Honor, Gabrielle. I love the idea of adding letters from other special people, at least for the wedding day and then the tradition can be continued on anniversaries with just letters from the couple.
One funny moment was about 2 minutes before the ceremony was to begin I realized there was no hammer for the couple to nail the box closed! I ran to the back of the house where the rest of the bridal party was lined up to find out where it was, then took off running across the house to get it, then ran back to the front where Jacob and I were waiting to walk out. I was happy to have a minute to catch my breath before the ceremony began!
I loved the wood plank runners for the tables at the reception, and the eclectic mix of china found at thrift stores!
While guests made their way to the party, Victoria and Jacob’s witnesses signed the license. They chose to have their MOH and Best Man sign the license. Jacob’s father was also his best man.
Victoria and Jacob, you were wonderful to work with and I truly enjoyed getting to know you. Your wedding day was beautiful and I hope it was everything you hoped for! Wishing you all the best!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!
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!