Category: Unique Ceremonies

Lake Johnson Woodland Center { Siarra + Aaron } Raleigh, NC

Siarra and Aaron were married at the brand new Thomas G. Crowder Woodland Center at Lake Johnson in Raleigh on the first day of October. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful celebration!

Vendor Team

Venue: Thomas G. Crowder Woodland Center
Photographer: Three Region
Catering: Belgian Waffle Crafters, Event Espresso Catering, Flying Biscuit Cafe
Music: Linville Creek Bluegrass
Photos in this post are my own unless captioned otherwise

The Details

Siarra and Aaron need to write a book on how to throw the perfect brunch wedding! Not a single detail was missed…

Lovely set up in the largest room of the woodland center, complete with big windows looking out into the forest.

Yes, that is a donut wall, coffee bar, juice station, biscuit bar, and there was a waffle station too! What else could you want for brunch?!

They also had this lovely set up outside with games on the tables for guests to play, as well as rocking chairs with blankets for relaxing.

And nothing says Autumn woodland wedding like having a bluegrass band for entertainment!

The ceremony

Siarra and Aaron wanted to keep their Woodland Center ceremony simple, since they knew we would be outdoors and guests would be standing. Simple, however, does not mean boring or cookie cutter! These two wrote their own vows to each other, which were heartfelt, sweet, and funny.

Image of couple in the woods at the Lake Johnson Woodland Center in Raleigh, NC
Photo by Three Region Photography

Siarra comes from a Quaker background and had all of their guests sign a beautiful symbolic Quaker Marriage Certificate.

“Aaron and Siarra ask that you join them in signing their Quaker marriage certificate as witnesses of their love and friendship through life, and their vows taken today.”

Image of couple recessing from their ceremony at the Thomas G Crowder Woodland Center in Raleigh, NC
Image by Three Region Photography

And perhaps my favorite part, as Siarra and Aaron recessed into the woods, their guests threw colorful little paper airplanes!

Wedding Wire Review

Big thank you to Siarra & Aaron for leaving a review on Wedding Wire!

“Katherine was amazing at our wedding and not only did she create a beautiful ceremony for us, but she really helped us along the way as well. She knew we were clueless! From guiding us through the process of applying for our wedding certificate (and reminding us to apply), to a great guide in changing my name. Katherine was even a source of support when I ran into issues with my venue. We were instantly comfortable with her from the moment we met with her. Very responsive to our questions, professional, and I would highly recommend!!”

The Bradford Wedding { Sarah + Chad } New Hill, NC

Sarah and Chad were married at The Bradford in New Hill, NC on Labor Day weekend. It was a beautiful, warm day filled with love and many thoughtful details.

The Vendor Team

Venue: The Bradford
Photographer: Rose Trail Images
Coordination: Carolina Fete
Florals: Bushel & Peck Weddings
DJ: Island Sound
Catering: Rocky Top
Cake: Ashley Cakes
Video: Martin Photography & Video
Hair & Makeup: The Makeup Culture

Image of outdoor ceremony set up at The Bradford wedding venue in New Hill, NC
Photo by Rose Trail Images

 

The Details

Oh goodness, it is hard to pick which pictures to share here without going into overload! There were so many thoughtful, beautiful details at this wedding.

Photo by Rose Trail Images
Photo by Rose Trail Images
Photos by Rose Trail Images

Can you tell I really enjoyed the florals by Bushel & Peck Designs?

The Ceremony

Photo by Rose Trail Images

This photo of Chad as he sees Sarah for the first time is priceless!

Photo by Rose Trail Images

And then he can’t take his eyes off of her!

Photo by Rose Trail Images

Sarah and Chad chose to include a handwashing ceremony, which was quite meaningful.

Sarah and Chad, today you start your life together anew as a married couple. And as with any new endeavor, it is best to start with a clean slate. You come acknowledging that neither you nor the person you are marrying is perfect, but yet you two are perfect for each other. As you wash your hands together, you are washing away your past failures and mistakes, putting problems big and small behind you. May this cleanse more importantly represent a complete and utter forgiveness of yourselves and of each other. Recognize that all you have gone through up to this moment has been necessary for you to stand here with the depth and capacity to love one another as deeply as you do. Thus, from here forward, you are beginning your marriage and lives together anew.

Photo by Rose Trail Images
Photo by Rose Trail Images

The hand washing ceremony symbolizes a clean beginning for the couple as they enter this new union, free of past failures or mistakes. For that reason, it took place early, and was followed by the couple’s personal vows and then the ring exchange.

Photo by Rose Trail Images

These two were excited to be pronounced as Mr. & Mrs. for the first time!

Photo by Rose Trail Images

Everyone should try to get a group photo of all of their guests, and The Bradford is one of the best places to do this, since there is a balcony off the second floor where the photography can go to capture it!

Review

Thank you Sarah and Chad for leaving this kind review on Wedding Wire!

Image of Katherine Edwards, Interfaith Wedding Officiant and the bride and groom
Photo by Rose Trail Images

“Katherine did an exceptional job! She was well organized and detailed (e.g., contacted us via email regularly, provided a detailed script for our review, provided directions on name change as well as obtaining official marriage licenses). She was very receptive to our changes and was always accommodating to our needs.”

You can check out the feature on this week (to see even more gorgeous pics!) over at Bustld. 

Also, the highlight reel from Martin Photography & Video is available here. 

Museum of Life & Science Wedding { Veronica + Daniel } Durham, NC

The Details!

Venue: Museum of Life & Science
Catering: Q Shack
Coordination: Southern Harvest
Photography: Morgan Henderson
Florist: Fern Rock Farm
DJ: All Events DJ
Cake: Sugarland Treats
Photos in this post are my own unless captioned otherwise.

Veronica and Daniel were married on July 8th at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC. While “wedding venue” may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the museum, let me assure you that this is one of the coolest places in the triangle to have your wedding. I have seen couples get so creative with the indoor and outdoor spaces at this location. The SUPER cool thing about this particular ceremony is that Veronica and Daniel wanted to say their “I dos” in the tree houses!

Thunder in the distance threatened their plans, followed by torrential downpours. Guests gathered inside the museum as we waited for a decision on the ceremony location. These brave souls made the decision to go for it in the rain, and the couple and wedding party with bright yellow umbrellas to make it happen!

Photo by Morgan Henderson Photography

The Ceremony!

As you can imagine, there were some pretty creative elements in the ceremony for a tree house wedding.

Photo by Morgan Henderson Photography

Guests gathered on the ground among the trees, looking up at the couple.

Photo by Morgan Henderson Photography

The wedding party made their entrance via spiral staircase.

Photo by Morgan Henderson Photography

How does the ring bearer get the ring up there, you ask? Why, bucket and pulley system, of course!

Unity Ritual

Veronica and Daniel chose to include a handfasting in their ceremony.

Photo by Morgan Henderson Photography

You can see above the colors they chose were red, white, and teal, to coordinate with their wedding colors.

Photos by Morgan Henderson Photography

It is difficult to see from this angle, but here I am saying, “They have tied the knot!”

Photo by Morgan Henderson Photography

At last, the kiss and the pronouncement! These two are Mr. & Mrs.!

Photo by Morgan Henderson Photography

And perhaps my favorite part, the wedding party recessed through the bride green tube slide!

Lastly, I am so appreciative of these two taking the time to leave a review on Wedding Wire!

Photo by Morgan Henderson Photography

“Fantastic! Best wedding officiant either of us has ever used ever. We’d give her a 6 if it were possible. Katherine is such a trooper. We had the pleasure of being her first couple to get married in a tree house during a thunder storm. She gave us the option to abbreviate the ceremony but stuck it out when we chose to do the whole thing (she was only partially covered by an umbrella even). Choosing vows was a fun and simple process. Katherine made the business part of it easy as well. We give her our highest recommendation and encourage others to reach out to her.”

Cross + Main Wedding { Joelle + Matthew } Youngsville, NC

The details!

Venue: Cross + Main
Photographer: Bethany Joy
Catering: Rocky Top
Flowers: Eco Flower
DJ: Complete Weddings + Events
Cake: Cakes by Chelsea
Photos in this post are my own unless captioned otherwise. 

Joelle and Matt were married on July 1st, 2017 at the premier indoor wedding venue in downtown Youngsville, NC: Cross + Main! I spent a lot of time at this venue in 2017 and really fell in love with it. It was originally built in the 1900s and restored beautifully in 2014. The location in downtown Youngsville is ideal! There are so many neat architectural details and the exposed brick walls make lovely a lovely backdrop for decor and photos. Check out Matt & Joelle’s memory wall below:


Cross + Main also has this super cool wooden cart that is perfect for desserts or favors! Their adorable desserts were from Cakes by Chelsea.

Have you guys heard of Eco Flowers? They are a company out of Utah who make eco-friendly bouquets and flower arrangements out of recycled and sustainable materials. It is pretty cool! I first heard about them from Joelle and Matt, so I was excited to check out their flowers in person:

The Ceremony!
Joelle and Matt chose the “Completely Custom” ceremony package, which means I shared their love story during the ceremony. This is always fun! Here is a snippet from their proposal:

“On their first night in Iceland they loaded up on a bus with a bunch of other couples and families and ventured out into the darkness to see the Northern Lights. At first the lights were faint… pretty, but not super exciting. They cuddled up together to watch them, but after a few minutes Matt seemed a little upset and wanted to go inside to get some hot chocolate. Little did Joelle know that some guy right behind her had just popped the question to his girlfriend and Matt thought his moment was ruined!

After a little time inside, one of the tour guides ran in to tell everyone the lights had gotten much brighter and more visible. So Matt took Joelle’s hand and they ran outside to look. The lights were brilliant… bright green and dancing in the sky. It was at that perfect, beautiful moment that Matt got down on one knee and proposed.”

And another fun fact about this wedding: They chose their colors (teal & purple) based on the ceiling lights on their Icelandic Air flight!

Photo by Bethany Joy Photography

Unity Ritual

Joelle and Matt wanted to include a Unity Canvas in their ceremony and I was so excited about this! I’ve seen it on Pinterest, but hadn’t done one in a ceremony yet. I took a few pictures of their set up:

You’ll notice a few really smart things they did… First, there is a tray available for catching the paint that drips off! Second, they had pour-friendly vessels for the paint, so no brushes were involved. And finally, they had aprons available so they wouldn’t get paint on their clothes! (In the moment they didn’t actually put them on… lol! But luckily there was no spillage.)

Photo by Bethany Joy Photography

Each color, contrast, shadow, blend as unique and beautiful as our happy couple!

Photo by Bethany Joy Photography

Doesn’t that uplighting look perfect with Cross + Main’s vertical beams? I love how that turned out.

Woo hoo! Finally, these two are Mr. & Mrs. Irish!

I appreciate these guys leaving a review for me on Wedding Wire!
“Katherine is absolutely amazing! I cannot say enough times what an amazing job she did with our custom ceremony… so many guests complimented her telling of our love story and the secret things we told her about each other! Our big day was so much more special because of her and we cannot thank her enough for everything you did!! I was so excited to see a typed copy of our ceremony along with our certificate of marriage. Thank you for an awesome day that we will remember forever!”

Meisha & Nathan at the Holiday Inn Crabtree

“We searched high and low for an officiant that my now husband and I both loved, half way though our meeting with Katherine I knew she was the person I wanted to share my big day with. From start to finish she was nothing less than professional, flexible, and willing to lend a hand as well as full of helpful suggestions from start to finish. You couldn’t ask for a sweeter personality, family friendly, well organized person than Katherine. I’m so thankful for all that Katherine did to make our wedding flow as smoothly and graceful as things did. She is amazing, the end! – Meisha” 

 

Ashlie & David at the NC State University Club

“We are so glad that we chose Katherine Edwards as our officiant. When we first met her we instantly knew she would be a perfect fit for our wedding. She had several selections and options for how the ceremony would flow. We loved that we could customize it to exactly what we wanted. She checked in with us all the way through to make sure we didn’t need anything. She was great at our rehearsal and helped us understand exactly what to expect and how it would flow. Our ceremony was wonderful! All of our guests asked us if Katherine Edwards was a close friend because she was so personal in the delivery and seemed to know us. They were all impressed by her and said it was one if the best wedding ceremonies they had ever attended. She made sure to make us feel extremely important and not just another ceremony she was performing. She also followed up with us after the wedding to let us know how to get copies of our marriage license and helpful tips on changing my name. If you are looking for a professional and friendly officiant then stop looking and book with Katherine. We can’t say enough good things about her!”

Victoria & Jacob in Henderson

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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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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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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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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