Duke University Wedding from A Swanky Affair
March 4, 2013
Classic WeddingsAcademic Venue SettingsGarden Weddings
Good morning SMPers. If bowties and billy balls make you smile and if pretty prints and a fresh pink palette are your cup of tea... ok let's face it, if charm is your thing you're going to heart this preppy garden wedding in a big way. From planner extraordinaire, A Swanky Affair this darling Durham soirée is as cute as they come. It's North Carolina chic and you can see the rest of the beautiful images by Kristin Byrum Photography in the gallery.
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From the Bride... Daniel and I met at Duke University as we were both about to embark on a 6-week study abroad program in Australia. Fast forward seven years later, I was living in DC and Daniel in Philadelphia. Daniel suggested that we go to Duke one fall weekend in 2011 to visit the Lemur Center (world renowned!) and catch a football game. Much to my surprise, while there, in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, he got down on one knee and proposed to me. We knew almost immediately that we wanted to have a fall wedding in the place where we met. We set our wedding date -- November 3, 2012. Our wedding ceremony would be outdoors in the same spot in the Duke Gardens where he proposed in November 2011.

Daniel and I spent almost a year planning our wedding -- as a team. He was such a trooper and I’m lucky to have had him be such an integral part of planning our day. We wanted our wedding day to reflect us and give a nod to our favorite things, including fall and the wonderful seasonal fare that comes along with it. We decided on a color palette of warm coral and gray. After scouring Pinterest and wedding blogs for inspiration, I was able to incorporate all of my current obsessions -- stripes, chevron, and succulents. Etsy put us in touch with a number of amazing vendors (artists really!) that made our gray and white striped runners, the chevron flags, provided our individual potted succulent plants for each place setting, chevron pillows, and the calligraphy for our menu, place card flags, and table signs. Daniel selected craft beer from five different breweries representing each state between North Carolina (where I grew up and where we were getting married) and Pennsylvania (his current home state) to serve at the reception. We gave a nod to fall with the persimmon fruits that Tre Bella included in our floral arrangements along with succulents, billy balls, dusty miller, garden roses, and fiddlehead ferns. In the early fall when figs started showing up in our local grocery store, we knew we wanted to have a signature cocktail around them: fig bourbon fizz. Our caterer, Durham Catering Company, put together a delicious fall menu using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients that included french onion soup, braised short ribs, and stuffed acorn squash.

Daniel worked his magic on the computer and put together the various signs used at the reception -- for the bar, the guest book table, the gift table, the entry way area, and our chairs. I got in touch with my crafty side and love of geography by making our escort board -- painting the map of the United States and using twine and washi tape to connect each guest to their current location -- so everyone would know where each other came from! About a week before the wedding we spent an afternoon together repotting 125 succulent plants that had been shipped to DC from an Etsy vendor in California. Our family helped us with many of the last-minute details leading up to the big day -- including assembling our wedding programs and wrapping each plant with a particular colored ribbon (for meal choice) and flag with each guest’s name. It was fun to get them involved and we were thankful for their assistance, distributing some of the final tasks.

We were especially glad that we hired an event coordinator to handle month-of to day-of final details. Amanda Scott of A Swanky Affair was invaluable in the assistance she provided -- confirming and finalizing the details that we set in place. We loved working with Kristin Byrum Photography and were incredibly happy with their beautiful images that perfectly captured our day. It made a world of difference to have Kristin and Aaron as our photographers -- their sweet and warm personalities show in their images. Kristin was especially incredible -- shooting our wedding 8-months pregnant!

After pouring ourselves into the planning, Daniel and I were both extremely happy with how everything came together so perfectly, even the weather. Hurricane Sandy skirted North Carolina just a few days before our wedding so we were incredibly grateful for a beautiful sunny and warm fall day on November 3rd. Surrounded by our close friends and family, with great weather, in such a beautiful garden setting -- our wedding day was more special than either of us could ever imagine it would be.


Wedding Photography: Kristin Byrum Photography  / Venue: Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina / Wedding Coordinator: Amanda Scott of A Swanky Affair  / Floral Design: Tre Bella Flowers / Officiant: Reverend Mel Baars / Invitations: Bella Figura / Catering: Durham Catering Company / Cake: Cinda’s Creative Cakes / Rentals: American Party / Chargers: Party Reflections / Calligraphy (Invitations + Menus + Place Cards + Table Number Cards): Angelique Ink / Cocktail Napkins: Fine Stationery / Striped Runners: chiquiita / Chevron Flag Place Cards: rosepetalpaper  / Chevron State Tote Bag: The Wedding Chicks Shop / Wedding Dress: Wtoo by Watters via Love Couture Bridal / Programs: Hello Tenfold / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Sung via Joielle / Bride’s Shoes: Lavender by Vera Wang / Bridesmaids’ Shoes: Nina / Bridesmaids’ Earrings: JCarterHandmade / Flower Girl Dress: J.Crew / Ties: Ties.com / Socks: Bold Socks / Musicians: Arioso Strings / DJ: Frank Meldau of Bunn DJ Company / Hair + Makeup: Posh the Salon / Suits: Brooks Brothers / Bus: Duke Transportation / Getaway Car: Loni’s Antique Cars / Succulents: TheSucculentGarden / Ribbon: M&J Trimming / Hanger: noce / Chevron Pillows: bedbuggs / Bracket Table Number Cards: Paper Presentation / Straws: Isakay Boutique / Sparklers: I Love Sparklers / Paper Lanterns: Paper Lantern Store / Rings: Mervis Diamond / Guest Book: My Publisher