Melissa and Culen met when they were fourteen and remained friends for more than ten years before leaping into a long-distance relationship that resulted in this beautiful celebration of their love. The couple wed on the outskirts of Raleigh at The Bradford. With the help of Cheryl-Anne Kast and Allison Morgan, the day was a vision of pinks, reds, dusty blues and hints of vintage charm–the multi-hued taper candles are a must see! Meristem Floral brings the beauty at every turn including the ceremony arbor, centerpieces and STUNNING bouquets. Stationery is by Kettle Pot Paper, calligraphy by Laced in Letters and cake by Guglhupf Bakery. A.J. Dunlap Photography was on hand to capture all the moments and we’re thrilled to share the images with you.
What made the wedding special and unique?
This day wasn’t just about the two of us – it was about bringing together the most important people in our lives and celebrating not only our relationship but all those who have had an impact on us. I wanted this day to truly be a celebration of love in all forms.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
THE dress was the second one I tried on! I knew exactly the designer and type of dress I wanted. It had to be something feminine and romantic, but still sexy and curve-hugging. Lana Addison, a beautiful bridal boutique in Cary, NC had just what I was looking for.
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
I’ve always been very involved in music and I knew I wanted my many musically-talented friends to have a part in the wedding. My close college friend, Colin, sang and played guitar during our ceremony, and my two best friends (and bridesmaids) sang as I walked down the aisle.
What was the most memorable part of the day?
The most perfect moment of the day was walking down the aisle. I felt so overwhelmed with the love and happiness expressed in the smiling faces of our friends and family. On top of this, hearing my incredibly talented best friends sing a cherished song while looking towards my amazing partner with tears in his eyes. WHAT A MOMENT!
Tied for most memorable part of the day: In his vows, Culen included a story about how on every birthday growing up, he would make the same wish when blowing out the candles – to find true love. He then said that after all those years of wishing, his dream had finally come true. Cue ALL the tears!
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
Culen was one of the first people I met when I moved from Ohio to North Carolina at age 14 (my maid of honor, Kiersten, was another!). I knew right away that there was something special about him. We were friends throughout high school and stayed in touch through college, but didn’t start dating until a few years after graduating. I was living in DC and he was living in NC, but I ended up asking him out while I was back in town for a long weekend. After spending the entire long weekend together (extra long due to a snow storm!), Culen insisted that I couldn’t go back to DC without agreeing to be his girlfriend. I decided to give it a shot and am so glad I did. We dated long distance for a year and then I moved back to NC to be closer to him and family. After another year and a half of dating, Culen proposed in Duke Gardens, one of my favorite spots in Durham, NC.
Photographer: A.J. Dunlap Photography // Coordinator: Cheryl-Anne Kast and Allison Morgan // Florist: Meristem Floral // Wedding Stationery Designer: Kettle Pot Paper // Venue: The Bradford // Calligrapher: Laced in Letters // Bridal Gown Shop: Lana Addison // Bridal Gown Designer: Pronovias // Hair & Makeup: Makeup Culture // Cake Artist: Guglhupf Bakery // Bridal Shoes: Ted Baker // Bridal Jewelry: Family Heirloom Jewelry // Bridesmaids Gown Shop: Jenny Yoo // Suits: Generation Tux // Transportation: Greenway Transit // DJ: Dj Rang // Caterer: Posh Nosh // Rentals: CE Rental / Greenhouse Picker Sisters / Cottage Luxe