An art deco style with jewel tone colors set the stage for Sarah & Waton’s winter wedding in February 2022. Both partners love modern, geometric designs and lighting, so together we selected a venue and designed a day that was perfectly crafted to reflect their style at 21C Museum Hotel in Downtown Durham NC with 73 guests in attendance.
Venue: 21C Museum Hotel
Planner: Beauty & the Budget Events
Photographer: MKM Photography
Caterer: Counting House
Lounge Rentals: Petal & Oak
Lighting and Drapes: Get Lit Event Lighting
DJ: DJ Ryan the DJ
HMUA: Wedded Kiss
Florist: FauxReal Flowers
Baker: Sugar Buzz Bakery
Favors: Mon Macaron
Officiant: Kelly-lyn Logue
About the couple
Sarah is a Risk Manager and Watson is an Electrical Engineer. As Type B introverts, they wanted a wedding that was fun and family-focused without having all the attention on themselves. They chose February 25th as their wedding date because it was the anniversary of their first date at a bowling alley, which they also commemorated by taking engagement photos at a bowling alley! Watson says he fell in love with Sarah because she goes along with off-the-wall jokes and is always supportive and considerate. Sarah similarly loves Watson’s goofy nature and how he is steady, supportive, and never judges when she isn’t as steady.
Arriving at the venue
As guests entered the hotel ballroom on Sarah & Watson’s special day, they passed a welcome table that featured art deco-inspired wedding programs and a welcome sign. A vintage gold suitcase was set up to collect cards, and small gold geodes decorated the empty space. Next to the table was a large easel featuring a world map – guests were encouraged to take a note tag and pushpin to mark where they recommend visiting! This was such a fun guest book alternative.
Black ceremony chairs were set up stadium style in the long ballroom with dark wood paneling, and the ceiling was donned with added lighting. The backdrop of the ceremony was a large white draped fabric installation with uplighting, which created a dramatic and romantic effect.
The wedding ceremony
Watson and Officiant Kelly-lyn made their way to the front of the ballroom to begin the ceremony, and “Here Comes the Sun” by Midnite String Quartet played as the couple’s moms were escorted down the aisle by their brothers. The wedding party followed in pairs, and we closed the curtains at the back of the room until the bridal processional “Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawio’ole began. Sarah was escorted down the aisle by her dad.
Their officiant, who was the pastor of Watson’s church growing up, said, “Watson – I’ve known you for 18 years now. You can over-think the simplest of tasks, but you do it with your quiet, ever-so-cool flare. It’s been an honor to watch you grow into the man you are and are still becoming as you have found a partner who loves and respects you. Sarah – I can’t imagine I’d ever approve of anyone else being more worthy of Watson, as he has truly met his match in you. You are wicked smart, generous, thoughtful, and responsible. And, I love how much you bring out the best in him and he in you. It’s such a gift to have shared this journey with you both.”
The ceremony included a reading of “All I Know About Love” by Neil Gaiman before the couple was announced as “Sarah & Watson, for the first time as a married couple”. “Love You Madly” by CAKE played out as they strolled back down the aisle hand in hand.
Guests moved upstairs to the 2nd-floor art gallery for cocktail hour. Cocktail tables with white linens were placed through the space for guests to place drinks while enjoying conversations, and the tables had votive candles and wine bottles with custom labels featuring photos of the couple. To create a relaxing, casual experience, and to make sure older guests would stay comfortable, a beautiful royal blue lounge was added to one of the small gallery rooms.
Another gallery room had a long whiteboard that the couple didn’t love, so we decided to add a custom whiteboard decal to bring intentionality to that space. A cocktail table was set next to the whiteboard with markers and instructions encouraging guests to leave a note or doodle on the board to create a living art installation for the couple.
Downstairs in the ballroom, the couple had 10 minutes of photos in front of the altar before moving to the ballroom lounge for wedding party photos while the vendors flipped the ballroom. In the back corner of the room nearest the bar, we set up a gorgeous emerald and gold lounge. We decorated the lounge tables with bridesmaid bouquets after the ceremony, and the candlelight on the mirrored table created an impressive effect that was perfect for their magical art-deco vibe.
The wedding reception
While caterers moved ceremony chairs and added tables to the ballroom, we flipped the Welcome Table to hold escort cards for guests to find their seats, as well as macaron favors. The sweetheart table was placed where the ceremony had been, centered on the beautiful white drapes. Fancy black and gold chairs elevated their table, and the centerpiece included special flowers along with a vase for Sarah’s bouquet. A cocktail table was placed against a wall near the sweetheart table for a simple dessert table with a cutting cake on a stand, alongside the cake-cutting set.
Each guest table had around 10 seats and was covered with white linens. The centerpieces were a mix of geodes decorated with faux flowers, along with tea lights, wine bottles filled with fairy lights, and table numbers. Place settings consisted of gold placemats topped with a black napkin and art-deco menu, flatware, and pre-set water.
When the flip was complete, guests were escorted back downstairs to take their seats, and the wedding party was introduced to the reception with the song, “How You Like Me Now” by The Heavy. Newlyweds Sarah & Watson started the evening with a thank you speech, and then the buffet was opened. Because Sarah has celiac disease, they opted for a fully gluten-free menu so she could confidently enjoy any food at her wedding.
After dinner, their parents collectively gave a champagne toast, and then Sarah & Watson cut the cake to “Cut the Cake” by Average White Band. Their first dance to “Sunday Kind of Love” by Etta James was followed by an Anniversary Dance and then the dance floor was open for the evening. The last song was “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston, and the couple ended the evening with gorgeous nighttime photos outside the hotel in light rain.
“Stephanie was fantastic to work with. We used her full service option and it was worth every penny. Stephanie was kind, personable, had great attention to detail, and generally made sure our day went incredibly smoothly. She has great relationships with awesome vendors and we were really happy with everyone she recommended. Stephanie paid attention to our budget and never once pressured us to do something we couldn’t afford or that wasn’t “us.” She got our style and she was super ready for our ideas even if they weren’t traditional. If you’ve been looking at wedding planners and getting stuck because everyone seems like they’ll plan an airbrushed, generic event that doesn’t fit your vibe, stop looking and contact Stephanie.” – Sarah & Watson, Full Service