For most couples on their wedding day, they look forward to spending the rest of their lives together, but when Rachael & Michael got married on October 13, 2018, they had already spent their whole lives together and were committing to the rest. This adorable, silly, loving couple has known each other since they were – wait for it – six years old! They met in first grade and grew up together, their moms were best friends, and they had many friends and classmates in common. The crazy beautiful thing about their love story is that it didn’t actually become a love story until the two were in college, and Rachael realized that this great guy who was always there for her could be more than just an amazing friend.
The two were married at The Barn at Woodlake Meadows, an incredible working farm in Bear Creak, NC that should be on the top of every couple’s list when touring barn venues. With acres of rolling hills and ponds, some precious livestock – including goats! – and a stunning barn reception space, this venue provides a beautiful backdrop for any rustic wedding. As guests arrived for the ceremony, the groom and groomsmen greeted everyone on the back porch of the barn. When it was time for the ceremony, everyone followed a winding path down to a pond-side wedding space with a beautiful arch decorated by the bridesmaids.
The ceremony was full of personal touches, particularly because of the people in attendance. As the couple had known each other their whole lives, it honestly didn’t feel like there was a bride side and a groom side – all were family and friends of both and had known them for what felt like forever. The DJ started playing “A Thousand Years” by the O’Neill Brothers Group as the groomsmen walked in one by one, followed by Michael escorted by his mom, and then the bridesmaids. As the maid of honor made her entrance, the doors at the back of the ceremony were closed before the bride made her way through. Two good friends of the couple sang and played “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley as Rachael walked down the aisle, escorted by her mother and grandfather. The ceremony was then officiated by Dell Cook, who had been in the couple’s lives as a school principal, coach and mentor since they had been young children.
Once the ceremony was over, guests meandered about the farm and enjoyed drinks on the back porch of the barn, which was decked out with string lights and whiskey barrel cocktail tables. After the Rachael & Michael finished taking photos, the reception started with a beautiful first dance before Rachael’s grandfather blessed the meal. Guests were treated to a barbecue dinner provided by the in-house catering team. With dinner complete, the best man and maid of honor gave their toasts, and then Rachael took a special moment to send well-wishes via a video call to a cousin/bridesmaid who had been unable to attend due to health issues. It was a touching moment for all, and it felt so special that the bride wanted to include her cousin despite her absence.
With dinner, toasts and cake cutting complete, the DJ began and the dance floor was packed. It was hard to tell if the young children or the couple’s adult siblings were having more fun during a dance-off while grandparents lined the dance floor watching the latest hit dance moves. All the single ladies were gathered around for a bouquet toss, which the bride’s sister caught (hey Amanda, we’re here if you’re next to be married!) and the garter toss ended up in the hands of an excited kid, while the guys who were marrying age stood back.
The party-goers definitely didn’t want to stop when it was time for the reception to end – after the last dance, the crowd cheered for an encore, which the DJ obliged, and at the request for a SECOND encore, we had to disappoint and sent them outside to line up for the sparkler sendoff. If this wedding wasn’t already a massive hit with all the guests and the couple, as Rachael & Michael made their way to the end of the tunnel of guests, the venue owner set off a surprise firework show for all to enjoy.
Venue: The Barn at Woodlake Meadows, Bear Creek, NC
Wedding Coordinator: Beauty & the Budget Events
Officiant: Dell Cook
Caterer: The Barn at Woodlake Meadows
Baker: Simply Cakes
DJ: Will Jackson with Oak City Entertainment
Ceremony Musician: Joy Perniciaro
Photographer: Laura Sydney Photography
Videographer: Katie Billheimer
Bartender: The Barn at Woodlake Meadows
Hair Artist: Nicole Findle
Makeup Artist: Makeup by Tiffany
Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal
“Stephanie was an absolute blessing for our wedding! She was always available when needed, made sure everything was in order and was so kind! Everything went so smoothly on our wedding day and we have Stephanie to thank for that.”
– Rachael & Michael
“We enjoyed having you here to help with Rachael and Michael’s wedding. You made the wedding day easier for us rather than adding more stress and bother. Some planners can complicate the day for us in the process of doing their job for the couple. So thank you for that. I will definitely recommend you when brides are looking for a planner!”
– Lynda Hall, The Barn at Woodlake Meadows
“Stephanie is the best and working with her as a DJ was one of the best experiences I’ve had in this business. I’d recommend her for any wedding or events.”
– Will Jackson, DJ WJ Events