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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Willow Pond Farmstead – Coats, NC

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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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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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Intimate Ceremony at The Second Empire

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April 19th was a busy day for me this year! After Lisa & Rodney’s elopement in Selma, I headed to The Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern in on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh to marry Stephanie & Andrew. I’m sure with the weather that day they were pleased to have planned an indoor ceremony!

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The Second Empire is a fine dining establishment in the heart of downtown Raleigh. The beautiful historic home (Dodd-Hinsdale House), coupled with the picturesque downtown location make it perfect for wedding ceremonies and receptions! The venue offers a variety of wedding packages that include the use of different rooms in the home, as well as different dining options. The restaurant can also host your bridal shower or luncheon!

Stephanie and Andrew chose to have their ceremony in the beautiful bay window of the East Parlor. This area holds about 30 people, so it is perfect for small ceremonies. Their intimate reception with close friends and family was held immediately following in the adjoining room.

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The ceremony itself was very short, because that is exactly what the couple wanted and my goal is for them to have what they want! I think my favorite part was seeing Stephanie escorted down the aisle by her 16 year-old twin boys, Hayes and Trevor.

Stephanie was kind enough to leave a review for me on Wedding Wire following the ceremony: “Katherine was very easy to work with and gave us several suggestions that helped things run smoothly. I would highly recommend her for your wedding!!”

Stephanie and Andrew, it was my pleasure to marry you on your special day, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of it!

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Tear-filled “Elopement” at the Little White Chapel

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Lisa contacted me a few weeks prior to their April 19th wedding date and shared their plans of a quick elopement at Barbour’s Grove Park in the adorable town of Four Oaks. I was excited because pictures of the park online looked adorable… the grass and flowers were well-manicured and beautiful brick pathways led up to a white gazebo in the center of the park that would be perfect for a wedding ceremony.

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I was disappointed when the forecast was calling for rain and a change of plans was necessary. I shouldn’t have worried though! Lisa told me they lived across the street from a little white chapel. In all of their years living there, they had never been inside the chapel, but they knew that their neighbor went to weekly services there. They called the neighbor to see if it could be their rain back-up plan and Lee’s Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church was happy to help!

Understandably, Lisa and Rodney were a little nervous never having seen the inside of the chapel, but they had nothing to worry about! The plain white brick building hid a beautiful interior, perfect for their big day! And you really can’t get much more convenient than a wedding venue across the street from your house! I wish I had taken a picture of the outside of the chapel, but it was pouring rain when I arrived, so I ran in and took cover!

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The ceremony itself was very heartfelt. My portion of the ceremony was short and sweet because it was an elopement, but Lisa and Rodney chose to write their own vows which always makes the ceremony personal and unique. Now, if you know me… you know I’m a sucker for a groom that cries! I’m an emotional person by nature, so when Rodney was so choked up during his vows that he had a hard time getting through them, you better believe I was fighting back tears as well!

The couple’s children stood up for them during the ceremony and we got this lovely family photo afterwards:

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Now, if you are like me you’re looking at these pictures and thinking, “ELOPEMENT?” Everything was so pulled together and so well coordinated that you never would have guessed that they pulled this together in just a few weeks!

The happy couple, along with their family and friends, retreated back across the street to the couple’s home for a pig pickin’ reception! Thankfully, they had shelter from the rain because it just did not want to let up that day!

Congratulations Lisa and Rodney! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your very special day!

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Beautiful Springtime Ceremony at the Het Landhuis

The Het Landhuis is one of my very favorite venues, so I was super excited when Julie and Jon contacted me about performing their ceremony there on April 17th of this year. The last wedding I did at the Het Landhuis for Patrick and Beth was an evening wedding in the winter that took place inside the barn, so I was looking forward to my first outdoor ceremony at the venue. Julie and Jon chose to have their ceremony down the lovely stone path at the wooded chapel. What a grand entrance for a bride!

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photo 1(2)Julie did such a fantastic job with the aisle decorations. Each pew had a shepherd’s hook with a mason jar full of colorful flowers that just screamed SPRING IS HERE! (Finally, after such a long winter…) The days leading up to their wedding day had been rainy and cold, so we were all a little unsure of where the ceremony would end up. However, on the big day the skies were blue, the temperature was perfect, and there was just the right amount of breeze.

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Aren’t the white pews just lovely? This trend of pews rather than chairs for outdoor ceremonies is growing in popularity and fortunately the Het Landhuis can provide them for couples so they don’t have to go through an outside rental company.

Julie and Jon had a “Sweet and Simple” ceremony that included a sand ceremony. Julie has a (completely adorable and exceptionally polite) son named Joshua who they wanted to include in the ceremony. He had his own vial of sand to pour and did a perfect job! You could tell Joshua was very excited about his mom’s wedding. He wanted to help however he could!

Following the ceremony the couple took pictures while guests headed down to the water for hors d’oeuvres and champagne. What a gorgeous day!

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The couple insisted that I stay and try one of the amazing red velvet cupcakes… how could I say no? Pretty AND yummy. The perfect combo!

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Julie and Jon shared their first dance before departing with guests for a dinner reception at The Second Empire Restaurant in Raleigh.

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A beautiful day for a beautiful couple!

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