By Laura Upchurch
Spring has sprung and wedding season has just begun and the bride holds her breath until the final bells have rung. The date was saved, the dress was paid and all the table arrangements had been made; yet no signs of stress seemed to fade. It was a whirlwind year of planning, budgeting, fitting, tasting, inviting, bustling and anticipating the most important day of her life. The day is here and as the people appear, in my heart I began to fear: Will the rain stop? Will the cake drop? Is her dress going to be too hot? But then I could see her smiling face; her arm crossed in her father’s embrace. She walked the isle with such angelic grace as the chapel’s organs sang to her pace. I knew then, this was a moment I could never replace. They said I do as I sat on the edge of the pew, reminiscing on how much she grew. She went from buck teeth to swept off her feet by a boy she never knew she would meet. It was just yesterday she was Annie in the middle school play, how she got here today is at a mother’s dismay; but one thing is for sure, for her, this kind of happiness, I did pray.
My eldest daughter Jennifer married her now husband Brendan on Saturday, May 5 at 6 o’clock p.m. As she returns 10 days later from her honey moon, I can’t help but to wonder how it is already over. So many emotions and hours were put into planning that day that it seemed like it would never come. Sure enough the wedding came and went but the memories will last us a lifetime. Best of all every night we look back to the wedding and we really cannot think of one thing we would have changed. There were no wardrobe malfunctions, no lost orders and no lost drivers. The night went so smoothly you would have hardly noticed it was pouring outside.
For families who have a wedding in waiting and plan to share this magical moment here in Durham I have decided to put together a blog of all the wonderful places that made my daughter’s wedding everything she dreamed all while supporting our local Durham companies.
“Say, ‘Yes!’ to the dress.” A-line, mermaid, ruching, bustling, sweet-heart, ivory, lace, satin, beading, train and the list goes on of dress possibilities. Finding the ‘one’ that will be remembered in pictures for generations to come, for some, take 10 stores and 100 dresses. It only took one dress in a small bridal boutique, Trés Bella, in the American Tobacco Buildings in downtown Durham, to bring the tears to Jennifer’s eyes to know she had found the ‘one’. Trés Bella is owned by three sisters who have created a beautiful, yet selective collection of dresses with every one being unique from the next. Kate, one of the sisters, was there for every teary eyed moment with Jennifer. She was so helpful, very knowledgeable, and worked with my daughter to schedule fittings, alterations, bustling and even helped in selecting the veil. She was patient and understanding of the importance and care of the dress. Kate schedules private appointments for her brides that always made Jennifer feel like she was getting Kate’s full bridal attention, and she was. I highly recommend Trés Bella and encourage you to make a visit at their location or on their website, Tres Bella .
The venue means everything to bride and for Jennifer it was no question where she wanted to be married. Durham was home to her and all of her friends and memories. My sister and I were both married in the Duke Chapel and the tradition was carried on to Jennifer. The chapel was beautiful and the perfect scene for the perfect bride. We chose the reception to be at Hope Valley Country Club where we have been members since I was a young girl. It was where she learned to swim, made best friends, and celebrated her 18th birthday. Chad at the club was on point with all of our planning and decisions. The day of, he was there making sure everything went as smoothly as possible. It was clear choosing venues with sentimental value and great staff was the best choice for us!
When it came to flower arrangements we went to all of Durham’s finest to collect the most beautiful arrangements and bouquets. Sanders Florist is owned by a long time Durham family and friends of my own. The selection of flowers and artistry of the arrangement proved to be just as much of a reason to hire them as the friendship was. The colors perfectly coordinated with the dresses and the vision my daughter had described to them. The bouquets showed up right on time with every bunch as beautiful as the next. At the reception the bouquets became the perfect flower arrangement in vases that accented the wedding cake for everyone to admire. The flowers on the tables were provided by florist, Daniel Vogel. A year out from the wedding Daniel specifically planted the flowers for Jennifer’s wedding and was wonderful with updating us on the flower colors and checking and rechecking the date of their delivery. It would have all meant nothing without some of my dearest and artistic girlfriends who helped in the final arrangements for the tables. Not only did every table have individual flair, but each one was made with the loving touch of friends.
As for desserts we had a lot of help! Dulce Cafe created the wedding cake that was absolutely stunning and made for a gorgeous focal point in the dining room. Besides the stunning craftsmanship, the flavor of the carrot cake was mouth watering. We couldn’t have asked for better. In addition we also had a pie table. We hired Scratch to make 8 outstanding pies and then had another 8 of our friends make 2 pies each to contribute to the table. There was not a crumb left on the pie table. It not only was a unique and delicious addition, but an extra way we involved our friends in the celebration!
The evening before the wedding we went to the Arrowhead Inn for the rehearsal dinner. With Cinco de Mayo in mind the chefs prepared authentic home-made Mexican food, drinks and dessert. The staff there was incredible and the venue was out of novel. The quaint rooms and country quarters was a delightful getaway before the big day.
I may have conquered one wedding but by no means am I changing careers! By following our hearts, our friends and our help we were able to pull off an amazing evening. I encourage everyone to share some of their favorite spots in Durham or wedding tips that have played a part in a special wedding for you. It is truly amazing what our city has to offer if you know where to look! We thank all of the mentioned people and companies for their input for Jennifer’s wedding and I wish everyone a beautiful wedding season.