I’m certainly not the first wedding planner to go into this business after planning her own wedding, and I remember pulling my hair out during the early stages of the process, fully recognizing that I was only stressed out because it was my wedding. After the first few months of planning and getting all the major vendors booked, I was able to take a deep breath and a good hard look at all my checklists and spreadsheets. In doing so, I was able to remove the stress and focus on the fact that I could truly enjoy organizing and problem solving.

Matthew and I were engaged on February 22, 2017, after 6 months of dating and 2 years of friendship. When we made the relationship official, we already knew that we wanted to marry each other, and we were pleasantly surprised that my parents weren’t surprised when Matt asked my dad for his blessing after only a few months. The engagement itself was a short 6 month whirlwind – a likely cause for my added stress in planning – and we were married just a week after our one-year dating anniversary.

We were married on August 19, 2017, on one of the first truly beautiful days after more than a week of rainstorms; my now brother-in-law was a hero as he calmed my panic about the weather – my rain plan wouldn’t have been nearly as pretty, and I checked the weather report daily. Our 40 wedding guests traveled from 14 different states, as far away as New York, California and Hawaii, and we had great joy welcoming them to a gorgeous, southern summer day.

As a couple, our greatest priorities are faith and family, and we were sure to include aspects of both in our special day. Our wedding took place in a field behind our home church, with our pastor officiating, surrounded by family and close friends. My sister and one of Matthew’s brothers were our bridal party, two girls from the church’s youth group were our ceremony musicians, and the catering company was owned by a family in our church. For our commitment ceremony, we chose to humble ourselves before each other and wash our new spouse’s feet as Christ did for his disciples.

For our reception, we aimed to make our wedding feel like a family backyard barbeque, complete with corn hole and table tennis as entertainment during hors d’oeuvres and a full spread of pulled pork and barbecue chicken for dinner. The décor mostly consisted of greenery, candles, and an assortment of colored flowers, and we let the rustic covered pavilion, green field and surround trees take care of the rest. Twinkle lights hung over a grassy dancefloor as the stars came out, and we strolled down an aisle of loved ones holding sparklers as the night drew to a close.

Our wedding was simple, family-oriented and, biased as I may be, absolutely beautiful. When my mother first saw the field and rusted picnic pavilion, she didn’t share my vision and was admittedly amazed by the way I transformed the space. My day of coordinator was impressed by my organization during the final month leading up to the wedding, and about how little she needed to do. But my most cherished moment of the night was when Matthew, who had expressed that he wanted a courthouse wedding without the fuss, leaned over during dinner and told me that he couldn’t have imagined a more beautiful or perfect day.

Our Vendors:

Venue: NorthPark Church, Raleigh NC
Officiant: Ben Warrick
Day of Coordinator: Emily Warrick Weddings & Events
Caterer: Two State BBQ
Cupcake Baker: Amy Bakes and Co.
Flowers: Michael’s and hand-arranged
Rental Company: Grand Rental Station
DJ Equipment: Island Sound & Video
Ceremony Musicians: Briza Cruz & Kayla Reeves
Photographer: Jeff Allen Studios
Dress: David’s Bridal
Alterations: Lee’s Tailor
Hair: Markie Cauthen
Makeup: Ryan Marie Hyde
Groom’s Vest: Men’s Wearhouse