Category: Venue Spotlight

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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Jennifer & Michael at the Raleigh Rose Garden

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.

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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!

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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!

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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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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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Willow Pond Farmstead – Coats, NC

Is this your first time here? Start at the Welcome Page!

I interrupt your regularly scheduled ceremony recaps to bring you a visit to a (new-to-me!) wedding venue in Coats, NC. I just learned of the Willow Pond Farmstead last week and the owners, Nancy and Rick, were kind enough to invite me out for a visit!

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While Nancy and Rick have lived on the property since 1990, they didn’t host their first wedding until 2000. Even then, they were just doing it for a friend and had no intentions of becoming a wedding venue. One thing led to another and they now host weddings on weekends in May and October every year in order to support their work raising rare breeds of livestock and farm animals. Yes, you heard right… only May and October! That means opportunities are limited and there is only one weekend left for 2015… May 8-10th (Mother’s Day weekend). So if you are as in love with this little gem as I am, jump on this opportunity!

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This spot in front of the “Y Barn” is a popular one for ceremonies since the deck offers a kind of stage for the couple and bridal party while guests are seated on the lawn. Another great thing about Willow Pond Farmstead is that they provide chairs and tables for up to 150 people! (My little iphone picture does NOT do it justice… make sure you check out pictures on their site from previous ceremonies.)

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This is the serene view of “Lake Fran” and the geese from the deck of the Y Barn. The pond is affectionately named Lake Fran after the hurricane in 1996 that took down more than 350 trees on the property and allowed them to build the lake. Timber from the fallen trees was used to build many of the structures on the property, including the “W Barn” where reception dinners usually take place.

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This shot is of the side of the “W Barn” where guests often have cocktails before dinner and dancing. There are also two adorable apartments upstairs in the barn (one for the bride and one for the groom!) that each have balconies overlooking the pond.

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Brides getting married at Willow Pond Farmstead have the opportunity to arrive in style in one of the two Model T Ford’s on the property that have been restored by Rick! How neat!

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I just loved everything about this venue, but some highlights are:

  • Rentals are for the whole weekend, no being rushed out before the next wedding
  • Couples can bring in their own caterers, florists, bakers, music, etc…
  • Hay rides are offered during receptions – at no extra charge!
  • Chairs and tables are available on site – at no extra charge!
  • The Model T’s are available – at no extra charge!
  • (Are you seeing a trend?) One fee covers everything so there are no surprises!
  • Lots of twinkly white lights already hung in both barns… love that.

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I had such a lovely time meeting Nancy and Rick and was so impressed with this beautiful venue. I am honored to be on their preferred vendor list and hope I will be spending a lot of time there!

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