Category: Weddings

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!

Outdoor Ceremony at The Page-Walker Arts & History Center

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On Sunday, May 18th I had the pleasure of marrying Tasnim and Melida at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center located in Cary. Originally built as a railroad hotel in 1868, it is now owned by the Town of Cary Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources. It currently contains a heritage museum, art exhibits, meeting rooms, and of course, rental space for weddings and special events!

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In this shot you can see the Page-Walker Center on the left and the beautiful green lawn with patio and pergola that is perfect for outdoor weddings.

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Here is a better look at the ceremony space. It is beautiful on its own, but also provides a nice base for couples wishing to add their own decorations. This was my first wedding working with Violinist, David Binanay (if you look closely you can spot him in this pic!). David is super talented and I’ve been lucky enough to work with him again since this first meeting. Make sure you check out his website here.

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This is the view from the couple’s perspective! I loved that Melida and Tasnim added just a few pots of gerbera daisies to bring a spring-y feeling to the patio. What had been a very warm weekend cooled down a bit with the cloud cover and I think everyone appreciated it!

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Following the ceremony, the witnesses headed over to the reception area to sign the marriage license. This is such a beautiful and intimate little outdoor space for a reception!

The couple sent this nice note following the wedding day:

“Thank you so very much for such a nicely done wedding ceremony. Many mentioned that how nicely you performed the ceremony. We highly appreciate you help in this regard. All the best, Melida and Tasnim.”

And funny enough, I was at a wedding the following weekend when one of the servers yelled, “Hey! You married my mom last weekend!” Small world! It was Melida’s daughter 🙂

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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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Backyards & Burlap!

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One of the fun parts of this job is getting to see wedding trends as they are unfolding. I start to see more and and more of something until it is obvious that it is becoming “the thing!” to have or do at your wedding. Two trends that were very apparent in the spring of 2014 were backyards and burlap! I saw so many backyard ceremonies that were just so beautifully done! And Megan & Wade’s ceremony was no exception!

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The couple chose the backyard of Wade’s parents in Raleigh for their big day. A small grassy patch was the perfect spot for the ceremony, while a spacious deck and pool area left plenty of room for the reception. It was evident that Wade’s parents had put a lot of work into making their home and yard “wedding ready!” Everything was beautiful.

There are a lot of benefits to having a backyard wedding. The most obvious is, of course, the savings! Wedding venues usually aren’t cheap, even if they are specific to just the ceremony or just the reception. One major benefit most couples don’t even think about is TIME. Sweet, precious time. When you have the ceremony and/or reception at your home or that of a loved one, there are no timelines to stick to or deadlines to get out by. This is a dream-come-true for a DIYer who has lots of projects to complete or needs lots of time to setup. This one thing can lead to a lower-stress wedding day.

And of course, we can’t forget the burlap! I’m seeing burlap all over the place and I love it! It can be used in so many ways, from a warm autumn-y rustic feel like Lindsay & Evan’s October wedding to a fun spring-y feel like Crystal & Brad’s April ceremony. Megan and Wade incorporated it with lace and lots of ivory and white accents that gave a very nice “summer rustic” feel.

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The ceremony itself was very short and sweet! Neither Megan or Wade were thrilled about standing up in front of a crowd or having to speak, so we kept it to the basics and did not include any readings or additional rituals. When it was all over and the witnesses were signing the license, I asked Megan if it felt like it was over in the blink of an eye. She laughed and said yes, but that it was a good thing!

I could tell this was going to be a fun reception from all the conversations I overheard. LOTS of old friends seeing each other again for the first time in years. I loved all the hugging and shrieks of surprise and excitement when people saw each other.

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Megan was kind enough to leave this review for me on Wedding Wire:

“I had Katherine officiate my wedding on 5/17/14. She was amazing.
I live in a different state than my wedding and it was no problem for Katherine to help me over emails and video chats! She responded quickly to everything I needed. She has great guidelines but lets you have the exact ceremony you dreamed of. She was very professional.

Katherine was very helpful at one of the most stressful times in a persons life. I would recommend her to anyone!”

Thank you, Megan and Wade! I SO enjoyed being a part of your wedding day. Congratulations!

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“May the 4th Be With You!”

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When I first met with Allyson and Rob I asked them why they chose their wedding date… May 4th. Rob said, “Well, we were looking at May 3rd, but May 4th is Star Wars day, soooooo…” LOL! They were such a fun couple from the very start!

Allyson and Rob were newcomers to Raleigh and while they hadn’t been in the city long, they had already fallen in love with Pullen Park! The gazebo over the lake was the perfect spot for their springtime violet and white ceremony.

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Their wedding day was beautiful and sunny, so the park was packed! Here are some park goers enjoying the paddle boats around the lake.

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When I met the happy couple at the park earlier in the week for a run-through, we decided to make the best use of the beautiful bridges that were on either side of the gazebo. The groom and I came across one side, followed by the best man and maid of honor who met up in the middle, and finally the bride and her father made their grand entrance. It was beautiful!

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Rob and Allyson chose to include a sand ceremony… although there was a little mishap on their way to the park. The bag with the glass vials fell and the glass broke! EEeekk! Emergency trip to Michaels! Thankfully the personalized shadowbox was preserved. I just love this look for displaying the sand in your home later.

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Allyson and Rob also chose to write their own vows. While Rob was reading his vows he pulled a small stuffed alpaca from his pocket and handed it to Allyson. This was some kind of inside joke that left Allyson laughing with tears streaming down her face. It was so sweet!

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Many of the couples’ guests came from out of town, so there was a lot of talk about what a beautiful city Raleigh is and what a perfect setting the park was a wedding! Allyson and Rob were kind enough to leave this review for me on Wedding Wire:

“We recently had a wedding this past May with Katherine Edwards presiding as our officiant. From the very beginning the entire process was fun and exciting. We chose to have a non-religious ceremony in a park with about 30 people in attendance.
The initial meeting and discussing of ceremony with Katherine was comforting and informative, she helped us understand the scope of the event and the areas at which we could customize it to make it personal. She was able to offer us a number of ceremony templates she created to help direct the ceremony into the tone and sentiment we wanted.
We had a run through with the event the Tuesday before our wedding. Here Katherine really helped us to flesh out the structure of the event and coordinate the ceremony. She helped us figure out how to take advantage of the location, in our case use the local bridges to orchestrate a grand entrance for both parties. We discussed and finalized where people will stand and where we will have our sand ceremony so that all of our attendants would be able to see and hear us.
With all of her help the ceremony went perfectly and we had the exact wedding we wanted. Working with Katherine there were no compromises, she helped us create a ceremony we wanted and one that was enjoyed by all our families.”

Thank you, Allyson & Rob, for allowing me to be a part of your special day! Congratulations!

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Aqua & Burlap Wedding at the Lillington VFW

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Any wedding officiant will tell you that April and May can get pretty crazy. Saturday, April 19th of this year was my first day with three ceremonies! After Lisa & Rodney’s elopement in Selma and Stephanie & Andrew’s Second Empire ceremony, I headed to Lillington to marry Crystal and Brad!

When Crystal first got in touch with me, I told her I wasn’t available for her date because I had just gotten another request for the same date and time from anther couple. Well, come to find out that other request was for April 19th, 2015! Next year! (I’ve learned to look at my emails a little closer now…) So when I got back in touch with Crystal she was happy that it had worked out after all!

When I first met with Crystal and Brad (and Crystal’s son Michael!) she told me their colors were aqua and burlap. I couldn’t wait to see that combo! And Crystal certainly did not disappoint as she had so many wonderful details!

It was my first time at the Lillington VFW and I was very impressed with how easy it was to find, the ample parking, and the beautiful ceremony/reception space. The wood floors and long room make it the perfect space for a ceremony at one end and reception at the other. The chairs are simply cleared away following the ceremony and you have a dance floor. Perfect!

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The ceremony was held in front of the fire place, which you can see here behind the adorable couple!

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Crystal and Brad opted to have a sand ceremony  in order to include Crystal’s son, Michael. Brad has two daughters who couldn’t be in attendance, so when Michael poured his sand I said, “This vial of sand represents you, Kiersten, and Kendall.” That way all of the children were included, even if they were not at the ceremony.

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Don’t you just love the burlap and aqua combo?

Crystal and Brad, you guys were wonderful to work with and such a fun couple! Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of your special day!

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Interfaith Ceremony at NC Wesleyan College

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On Saturday, April 5th, I officiated my second Jewish-Christian interfaith wedding ceremony. It took place in the quaint Leon Russell Chapel on NC Wesleyan College’s campus on an absolutely perfect spring day! The couple chose lavender and a pastel green as their colors which was just lovely for the season.

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I love interfaith ceremonies, because they are so rich with tradition and culture from each of the couple’s backgrounds. Amber and Ari chose the “Completely Custom” package and I’m so glad they did! They had such an amazing story of how they met, and sharing it during their ceremony hardly left a dry eye in the chapel. The custom package also allowed them to include all of the traditions they wanted, including a chuppah, wine ceremony, unity candle, and breaking the glass. It also included a special remembrance for both the bride and groom’s father, both of whom passed away from lung cancer.

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The chuppah was lovingly made by Amber and her mother. They used PVC pipe to keep it lightweight and easy to move since it was relocated to the reception for pictures following the ceremony. I thought that was pretty smart! During the ceremony, I gave guests the following explanation of the chuppah:

“In front of us is a beautiful chuppah. The chuppah represents the home. Its four poles symbolize the four pillars upon which a strong marriage is built: family, friendship, love and respect. A shelter that is open on all sides we see as an invitation and a sign of welcome to those we love. The chuppah’s delicate structure reminds those beneath it, that the only thing real about a home is the people in it, who love and who choose to be together as a family.”

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During the ceremony, the couple participated in a unity candle ceremony, which is commonly included in Christian wedding ceremonies. There are several ways to do the unity candle, and Amber and Ari chose to leave the original taper flames burning after their unity candle in the middle was lit. For this, I gave the following explanation during the ceremony:

“Although you are now entering into a marriage relationship, you do not, however, lose your personal identity. Rather, you will use your special individuality to create and strengthen the relationship of marriage. Therefore all three candles remain glowing. The individual candles represent all that makes each of you the wonderful and unique person the other admires and respects. The Unity candle in the center symbolizes the union of your lives, families, and friends, as well as your shining commitment to each other, and to a lasting and loving marriage.”

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Following the unity candle was the ring exchange, then the wine ceremony. The wine ceremony is traditionally included in Jewish wedding ceremonies. There are also several ways the wine ceremony can be done – I like to give my couples lots of options! Amber and Ari chose the single goblet that they shared from. I love the closing wording for the wine ceremony done with the single goblet: “As you have shared the wine from this goblet, so may you share your lives. May you find life’s joys heightened, its bitterness sweetened, and all of life enriched by God’s blessings upon you.”

The ceremony was concluded with the traditional Jewish breaking of the glass, which I also explained for guests: “The traditional breaking of the glass which marks the end of the ceremony, is a reminder of both the strength and the fragility of the spiritual bond that is marriage. It is a reminder to appreciate all that we have now, to embrace change, and to always hold the important things in life above all else. As the glass is broken, I invite everyone to shout “Mazel Tov,” which means “congratulations and good luck.”

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There was one hiccup in the ceremony, and that was right before the vows when one of the groomsmen passed out. It was warm in the chapel and the bride suspected he was not well hydrated. After a brief pause to tend to him and call EMS, the ceremony continued. I have to say the bridal party took what could have been a stressful situation and turned it around when they gave bubbles to the paramedics so that they could participate in the fanfare when the couple left the chapel! I know the photographer got some great shots of that!

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Rainy Blue & Gold Backyard Ceremony

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Have you guys noticed a theme from my blog posts recently? RAIN! That’s what you get with spring in North Carolina…

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Well, it struck again on March 29th for Jessica and Jeff’s backyard ceremony in Raleigh. With a few days to go before the wedding, they realized they were going to need a rain back up plan for what was supposed to be an outdoor ceremony. They ordered a tent for the reception and moved the ceremony inside. When I stepped out their back door and looked out onto a soggy, mud-covered field with a tent sitting in the middle of it…. I’m not gonna lie. I was a little worried! But they knew what they were doing…

Just that morning they spread a dozen hay bails all over the ground under the tent and laid vinyl tiles in a path on the ground leading out to the tent. It worked perfectly to keep guests feet dry and honestly, it added to the atmosphere! When I stepped into the tent my breath was taken away by what a beautiful job they had done. I wish I had snapped some pictures, but hopefully I will get some from their photographer. Their theme was blue & gold (West Virginia fans!) and they did such an awesome job turning the space under the tent into a wedding wonderland. They were married under a blue & gold decorated arch on the dance floor while family sat in chairs in rows up front and friends sat at the round tables meant for the reception later. It was perfect! And such a seamless transition from ceremony to reception.

Their ceremony was living proof that rain does not have to ruin your plans! But with that being said… let’s bring on the sunshine, please!

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Rainy Day Wedding at Lake Wheeler

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Lisa and Josh braved the elements on Sunday, March 23rd to get married at Lake Wheeler in Raleigh. The Saturday before was gorgeous, sunny and 75 degrees, but a cold front brought rain and cold temps overnight and into Sunday. The happy couple didn’t let that put a “damper” on their big day though, and everything went off without a hitch. Of course, a lot of that has to do with a good rain backup plan! The conference room, veranda, and deck at Lake Wheeler can all be rented through the City of Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department. One nice thing about this spot is there is a big shaded playground just behind the main building, which is GREAT for weddings with a lot of kids who will want to run wild during the reception.

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While the original plan was to have the ceremony on the deck, it was easy enough to move everything to inside the conference room. The couple and family were still able to use the covered veranda for their photos, so they had the tranquil lake in the background, which will turn out beautifully!

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There is one other spot at in Lake Wheeler Park I wanted to share… there is a little outdoor amphitheater in the middle of one of the parking areas on the left as soon as you enter the park. While this area can’t be formally rented through the city, it is “first come, first served” and would be a great option for the couple on a tight budget and with a small guest list. The only downside is that it is literally in the middle of the parking lot, so you would have cars all around you during the ceremony. On a quiet day like Sunday though, that wouldn’t be an issue. I am told this was an Eagle Scout project. Nicely done!

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Congratulations to Lisa and Josh!

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Honor Thy Mother and Father

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I performed a very sweet at-home elopement in Clayton this past weekend. With the elopement package I usually do not meet the couple in advance and don’t know a whole lot about their story. I always arrive early though and usually get a quick run down of how the day came to be. On this particular day I was seated at the dining room table completing the marriage license while waiting for the festivities to begin. With me were the two witnesses, the Groom’s mother and father. I commented on the beautiful wedding cake in the middle of the table and asked what the writing on it meant. On one side it had the year 1969 and on the other it had 2014. The groom’s mother told me that she and her husband had been married 45 years ago that day! When discussing possible wedding dates with her son she had joked, “You could get married the same day we did!” She wasn’t serious, but her son thought it was a great idea. The cake… well, the cake was just a very sweet surprise for the groom’s parents. The couple wanted to honor them and their anniversary, as well as their new marriage. What a wonderful gesture!

Of course, the men just thought it was great that they would have someone else to help them remember their anniversary!

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