Category: Unique Ceremonies

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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Lavender Affair at the Preston Woodall House

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I just loved this couple! Amy and Rod were so fun from the first time we met. I usually ask couples a few questions to help me get to know them… how did you meet, how long have you been engaged, etc… When Amy told me they had been dating for 9 years, I understood why she was getting a little impatient for a ring. When I asked her if the proposal was a surprise or if she saw it coming, she said it was a total surprise. Rod laughed and said… “See, that’s how you do it. Wait until they’ve given up, then it’s a surprise!” LOL!

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The fun continued as we met on May 16th for their rehearsal at the Preston Woodall House, an historic Bed & Breakfast located in downtown Benson. It was my first time at this venue and I was so impressed. It is laid out perfectly for weddings, with a small dining room available for luncheons, rehearsal dinners, or showers. There is a beautiful enclosed lawn for the ceremony and a large ballroom for the wedding reception. Just perfect!

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I had such a great time at this wedding getting to know Amy and Rod’s families. Rod’s aunt served as the wedding director and did a fabulous job. At the rehearsal I said, “You’ve done this before, haven’t you?” And she admitted that she had, for many friends and family members! Amy’s mom was very sweet as well and just gushed about how amazing the Preston Woodall House is, especially that the rental includes the entire weekend so there is no feeling rushed!

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Here I am with Rod and his best man just before the ceremony was set to start. Rod got a lot of ribbing from the groomsmen about his freedom being taken away and the “old ball and chain.” I loved Rod’s response… he said, “YOU may feel that way about marriage, but I can’t wait!” Before the wedding Amy had gotten a mani/pedi and got the letter “H” (her new last name) painted on her toes. That little gesture meant a lot of Rod. It was very sweet.

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The couple chose to include a sand ceremony with “foundation sand.” The officiant pours the foundation sand as a symbol of the journey that the couple has taken to get where they are today.

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This was also my first time working with Hilary at H.A. Pearce Photography. She was a pleasure to work with and little did we know we would run into each other at another wedding the very next weekend!

Thank you Amy & Rod for allowing me to be a part of your special day! Amy was kind enough to leave this review for me on Wedding Wire:

“Katherine was simply amazing! My husband and I wanted a ceremony that would work for both of us. He wanted religious and I wanted something nondenominational. Katherine worked with us to help develop a ceremony that would allow us to have a little bit of both. She stayed in touch with us throughout the planning and was always incredibly quick to respond to emails and phone calls. Katherine is also reasonably priced. Everyone who attended my wedding kept asking me where I found Katherine because they were so impressed with her. She not only spent time with my husband and I but also spent time speaking with family members as well. The ceremony was beautiful and Katherine was 100% helpful throughout! I couldn’t imagine my ceremony being any more perfect. She was quick to send in out marriage license, we were married on a Saturday and I had my official marriage license in my hand by Wednesday! I HIGHLY recommend Katherine! She is sweet, patient, and genuinely cares about the people she is working with. ”

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“Backyard” Wedding Ceremony in Selma

Now that things are slowing down a little bit (April and May have been NUTS) I figure it is time to catch up on the blog. I have been so fortunate to be a part of some really unique, special, and just plain NEAT wedding ceremonies over the last 6 weeks – and I can’t wait to share them with you!

Matt & Kim contacted me only 10 days prior to their April 6th ceremony. There was a miscommunication with the officiant they had previously hired and they found themselves scrambling for someone at the last minute. I am so glad they found me! In our initial meeting they explained the significance of their wedding date…

Kim’s birthday is 5 / 7

Matt’s birthday is 8 / 9

Their wedding date was 4 / 6

And you guessed it… the ceremony start time was 1:23!

That kind of fun, personalization, and creativity was evident throughout their wedding day! They held the ceremony on Kim’s parents’ property in Selma, NC. I say “Backyard” in quotes, because really it was all over the property! The ceremony was held on a beautifully green patch of grass next to the pond that is along the drive that leads up to the house.

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When I met with Matt and Kim, they had already written their ceremony. They did a lovely job making it very personal, including a reading (“The Art of Marriage”) from Kim’s Aunt Cindy and writing their own vows.

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This was the first time I got to be part of a “Wine Box Ceremony” and I LOVED IT! The couple wrote letters to each other that were sealed. They also had their parents write letters that were sealed. All of the letters, along with a bottle of their favorite wine, are put in a beautiful wooden box and nailed shut during the ceremony. The couple is supposed to display the box in their home as a reminder of their wedding day. The box gets opened, letters read, and wine drunk on their 5th wedding anniversary. Then repeat!

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Wine box ceremony

It was a 3-4 minute walk down the drive to the reception area, but Kim and Matt kept their guests entertained with beautiful arrangements along the way that shared some important dates in their journey!

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And directions in case anyone needed them! 🙂

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The reception was tented in the backyard, but also spread out into the grass with fun games like cornhole!

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Remember those personal touches I mentioned? They were EVERYWHERE!

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In front of the garage were Kim and Matt’s bikes that they love riding together.

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The bouquets were made of broaches given by family and friends. Kim’s dress (pictured above) was worn by her grandmother at her wedding.

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I loved their unique guestbook as well… guests wrote their happy wishes and advice on little wooden hearts that would eventually take their place in the shadow box frame around the wooden tree.

After the wedding the happy couple was off on a cross-country road trip on Historic Route 66! What an awesome honeymoon for a wonderful couple! Thank you guys for letting me share your day!

Kim wrote a wonderful review for me on Wedding Wire: “Katherine is the most wonderful officiant a bride and groom could ask for!! With 10 days until our wedding and our previous officiant bailing we found Katherine here and lucky for us she was available! We quickly met with her and she won us over immediately. She is so personable and genuine. She is totally open to doing the ceremony however you want but will give options and feedback if you need/want it. She is punctual both in person and via email and is always professional. She answered any question we had prior to, the day of, and even after the wedding. Our wedding day would not have been the same without Katherine as our officiant. We are both so happy that things worked out as they did and she was the one to share our day. Book Katherine today!! 🙂 ”

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A Pink and Blue Wedding by the Sea

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I love weddings and I love the beach, so I was in heaven on October 26th when I had the honor of marrying Ginny and Robbie on Carolina Beach. The happy couple couldn’t have asked for better weather… 65 degrees, sunny, and a light breeze. They had the help of Beachside Occasions to transform the beach in front of the Marriott into a wedding oasis. It was absolutely beautiful!

beachside setup

The start to the weekend was quite a bit chillier… 50 degrees and SUPER windy on Friday for the rehearsal. We got through the ceremony one time when the maid of honor asked, “Can we run through it again?” This caused some moaning and groaning among the rest of the bridal party (I don’t think any of us were prepared for that chilly weather), but she took the words right out of my mouth! I always like to run through twice. The first time there is a lot of pausing, instructing, and explaining. The second time through should be quick and smooth, like the wedding day!

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The ceremony itself was wonderful! Ginny and Robbie chose the “completely custom” package, so every word was chosen with them in mind. They played a very big role in the crafting of the ceremony over the course of several weeks until it was perfect. They also chose to write their own vows, which made it even more personal. My favorite part of the day was the shell casting ceremony, which is a relatively new and VERY cool addition to a beach wedding.

As with all wedding rituals, there are different ways to handle it for your specific setup. Ginny and Robbie chose to place programs on each seat, with a seashell on top holding it down. They had walked the beach and hand picked the shells themselves earlier in the week. (How sweet!) As the officiant, my role was to explain the tradition at the start of the ceremony, and to give instruction at the end.

On your seat when you arrived was a seashell. Ginny and Robbie ask that you hold the seashell in your hands during their ceremony and make a silent wish, prayer, or blessing for their marriage. At the end of their ceremony today, we will participate in a shell casting together.

The rest of the ceremony continued as usual, and at the end I said, “Ginny and Robbie ask that you join them at the water’s edge so that we may cast our shells into the sea together. When the bridal party recesses, please follow them and wait for the cue to cast your shell.”

Down by the water, the photographer took over with lining up guests and giving the cue at the perfect moment for that perfect shot. Another option for this ceremony is to have the guests pick out the shells themselves. This would work better with a smaller guest list.

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The happy couple took off the next morning for a honeymoon adventure, traveling from the sea to the mountains of North Carolina. Asheville and the Biltmore Estate were on their list of must-visit places. There is no better time of year! Congratulations Ginny and Robbie!

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I am an ordained minister available for spiritual, Christian, non-denominational, interfaith, and civil or non-religious wedding ceremonies. I am based in Garner, North Carolina and serve the surrounding area, including Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Morrisville, Wendell, and Knightdale.

An Autumn Backyard Wedding + Ring Warming Ceremony

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I love an autumn wedding! I was married in October and took the seasonal theme as far as I could with oranges, browns, and yellows… pumpkins, hay bails, and burlap… caramel apples, barbeque pork, and s’mores around a campfire. You get the idea!

On Saturday, October 5th, 2013 I was fortunate enough to officiate a beautiful autumn wedding in the high country of North Carolina. There is no better place to be in the fall, is there? Lindsay and Evan chose to have their ceremony and reception in Evan’s parent’s beautifully landscaped backyard. A covered deck was finished just for the event, and Evan’s mother, Porsha, used reclaimed objects from an old family barn, as well as accents of wicker, burlap, and mason jars to completely transform the area.

Lindsay wedding collage

The couple chose to incorporate a beautiful, intimate tradition into their wedding called a ring warming ceremony (or, “warming of the rings”). In a ring warming ceremony, the officiant lets guests know at the beginning of the ceremony that the rings are making their way through the assembled guests. Guests are asked to hold the rings for a moment, say a silent wish, prayer, or blessing for the couple, and pass the rings to the next guest. The rings make their way to the front and are brought forward when the officiant asks for them. It is a beautiful way to involve all of your guests in your ceremony!

Ring Warming

A few options for ring warming wording:

Option 1 from The Wedding Gurus

Option 2 includes logistics

Option 3 with a family twist + video link

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