Melody & Dylan had a simple and beautiful wedding ceremony in the WRAL Azalea Gardens, followed by a cake reception. They hired professional vendors to make sure everything went smoothly. During the ceremony, they included a ring warming ceremony where each guest blessed the marriage by holding the rings. After the ceremony, they cut the cake, thanked their guests for coming and gave them the chance to give toasts and share stories about the couple. Although their daytime elopement ceremony and cake reception was different from current wedding expectations, their day followed vintage wedding traditions that were common before the 1960s. This simplified the wedding planning process, greatly reduced their wedding budget, and gave them the opportunity to connect with their closest people.

Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens

Vendor team

 

Venue: WRAL-TV Azalea Gardens

Coordinator: Beauty & the Budget Events

Photographer: Live View Studios

Florist: Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary

Stylist: Wedded Kiss

Ceremony Musicians: Duo Licht

Officiant: Dupree Weddings, Gatherings & Rituals

Cake + Grazing Board: Pineapple Sol

Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens

A beautifully and simply designed elopement

Melody & Dylan were engaged for three years before they officially tied the knot, and they were so excited to finally share this moment with their close family. The day was beautifully and simply designed, with a focus on their wedding ceremony in a gorgeous natural setting. The WRAL-TV Azalea Gardens was stunning and lush for their July 3rd wedding in Raleigh, and they decided to bring in a team of professional vendors to enhance and make their intimate day run smoothly.

Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens

The day before the wedding, Melody & Dylan took a look at the weather forecast and realized that it was likely to rain during their fully-outdoors wedding. Because their elopement only included 9 guests and a short vendor list, they were able to shift the ceremony by an hour to ensure a perfect ceremony.

 

Melody’s day started with Wedded Kiss for hair and makeup styling before she and Dylan traveled to the venue together. While I set up decor and finalized details before the ceremony, Melody slipped into her dress and cape veil, Dylan donned his jacket and tie, Live View Studios started to capture detail photos, and Duo Licht began serenading their family. A special, intimate detail was included in Dylan’s attire – he wore locket cufflinks with photos of loved ones who had passed away.

Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens

A garden elopement ceremony

The elopement ceremony took place on a semi-circle patio at the WRAL Azalea Gardens, with rich greenery and pops of pink flowers as the backdrop. To frame the ceremony, the couple rented two white columns from Bowerbirds Flowers & Apothecary, which were topped with stunning floral arrangements. Although the original plan was for the chairs to be set on either side of the patio to create an aisle, the sun was bright and hot on one side, and our small guest count allowed us to shift all chairs into the shade for maximum guest comfort.

 

Once the couple were ready to start the garden elopement ceremony, the groom took his place next to Rev Katherine Dupree, and they turned their backs to the aisle so they couldn’t see the bride. Melody’s dad stood at the back of the aisle, waiting to see his daughter in her dress for the first time. We made sure Melody was dressed and ready to go, with a flower crown and bouquet to complete her look, and she stepped outside for a first look with her dad. From there, the ceremony musicians began playing the bridal processional, and they immediately walked down the aisle (Dylan was able to turn around and watch Melody approach after her first look with dad).

Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens

The ceremony proceeded with words from the officiant and vows between the couple. With such an intimate guest count, Melody & Dylan decided to include a ring warming ceremony, where each guest had the opportunity to hold the ring and bless the marriage. Rev Kath shared, “Usually when we do a ring warming, I feel like folks just pass the rings along quickly, but this group really took it seriously. I remember looking at Melody’s dad and he was bowing his head and mouthing this little prayer. It was so sweet.” The officiant also shared that there were bumblebees buzzing around during the ceremony, and because the couple loves bumblebees, she was able to go off-script to acknowledge the magic of the moment.

 

When the ceremony was complete, guests stayed seated so the couple could immediately take photos with each special person in attendance. Duo Licht continued to play through the photo time, and Melody & Dylan then proceeded to take a stroll through the gardens while guests went upstairs to a balcony deck to begin snacking on the grazing table.

Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens

A vintage cake reception

The patio where the cake reception was held included a few outdoor tables with umbrellas for shade and minimal decor. We set up a single table to include the food and decor, with a white tablecloth and blue runner. The 8″ single-tier lemon cake was the star of the table, sitting atop a wooden cake stand, with thick buttercream icing and two fruit custard layers. A grazing board was placed beside the cake, along with plates, flatware, and beverages. The couple included a guest book on the table – a clear record and paint markers – and the rest of the space was filled with framed photos of the couple.

 

Melody & Dylan decided to include two wedding traditions during their short and sweet reception. After they cut their cake, the couple thanked their guests for traveling from out of state to witness their union. Each guest then had the opportunity to give a toast share share stories about the couple. Although their cake reception wasn’t the standard party that’s become a regular part of wedding culture, their special day was actually in line with vintage wedding traditions. Up ’til the 1960s, couples often kept things simple with a cake and punch reception. How sweet!

Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Stephanie is the missing piece to your elopement! My husband and I were engaged for three years, so it only made sense that we threw all caution to the wind and planned our elopement (micro wedding) in under ten weeks. I was definitely of the mindset that I wouldn’t need a coordinator because ‘we’re eloping after all’ … y’all. Stephanie was the missing piece. I was having a hard time keeping up with vendor emails and the logistics of setting up our ceremony. She does it all. She rocks it all. Our ceremony and cake reception were set up beautifully. Her communication was fast, and we loved our wedding info packet. We couldn’t have done it without her. – Melody & Dylan
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens
Elopement Ceremony and Cake Reception at WRAL Azalea Gardens

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