Wedding Planning

Christy and Mark’s Perfectly Small and Intimate Wedding by Nancy Ray Photography

Christy and Mark’s Perfectly Small and Intimate Wedding by Nancy Ray Photography


I love small weddings! Especially when they are as beautiful as this one! Christy and Mark were married with just their parents, Mark’s brother, and Christy’s best friend present. Thank you so much to Nancy Ray Photography for showing us this lovely day!





Mark and I knew from the moment we were first engaged that our one goal in planning our wedding was to focus entirely on our union and the joining together of our two families. While we love a high energy wedding reception as much as most, we didn’t want to use our marriage as an excuse to throw a party. We wanted it to be about just that – our marriage. We wanted the whole event to be centered around the joy of our two families becoming one. We decided very early on that we would stand together with one best man (Mark’s brother, Scott) and one maid of honor (my best friend, Anna) in the presence of only our parents. We chose to hold our ceremony in a small garden at the Chapel Hill Country Club where we first met, two years earlier.


Because we knew our wedding would be so tiny, we decided to choose an off day to avoid many of the fees and high prices associated with typical Saturday weddings. We chose to be married on a Thursday afternoon which ensured the availability of many of our vendors and our venue. Because we were married on a weekday, we were also able to secure a high end bridal suite for our wedding night at a great rate that may not have even been available on a weekend.


Since the only members of our ‘audience’ were going to be our parents, I was searching to find a special way to seat the four of them without using boring white, folding chairs. My florist came up with the perfect idea! I found two wrought iron park benches at my local hardware store that he placed on either side of the aisle and draped in flowers to create a gorgeous row of seating. It created the look of church pews but had the feel of garden seating that worked perfectly in our outdoor venue. The best part is that we now have the park benches to use at our home that will forever hold special meaning to us.


My very favorite small detail of our day was my ‘something blue’ a tiny UNC Tar Heel temporary tattoo on my left ankle. It was a small but meaningful token of The University of North Carolina that means so much to both of our families.



What was the most meaningful part of your day?


The most meaningful part of our day to me, was the journey down the aisle with my father. Since our wedding was in a small garden, I had one simple acoustic guitarist provide our music. As a surprise to everyone, for the processional song, I had the guitarist play ‘Hark the Sound’ the alma mater of the University of North Carolina, a place that is near and dear to both of our families. I will never forget the look on my dad’s face as he heard the first chords of the song being played and we both immediately started smiling and singing along to the music. As I descended the stairs in such a blissful moment with my dad, it became even more unreal to see my future husband and our parents smiling up at us all waiting for us to join hands and become one family.




How did you know your partner was ‘the one’?


Mark and I have both spent our entire lives in Chapel Hill but we did not meet until we were in our late twenties. We attended both high school and college in the same town and despite having mutual friends and growing up two miles from one another, we didn’t meet until well after we had both graduated from the University of North Carolina. (Our fathers even attended prep school together in the northeast and have known each other for over 30 years!) It was not until the summer of 2010 when Mark asked me to dance at the Member-Guest Golf Tournament at Chapel Hill Country Club that we first laid eyes on one another. It was that very night that I knew that he was ‘the one’. From our very first conversation I knew that I had found the man that would make me feel safe and loved forever and that I wanted to be the father of my children.




Any advice you’d give new brides who are just getting started?


Be honest with yourself from the very beginning about what you can and can’t handle on your own. Know your strengths and know your limits. In order to enjoy the whole process, you need to be sure that you never feel overwhelmed by your to-do list. If you choose not to hire a wedding planner, delegate tasks to friends and family EARLY in the planning so that those loved ones never feel rushed or put on the spot. And without a doubt, you MUST have a day-of person on hand to help you. Many planners offer day-of packages, or you can ask a friend of the family or a co-worker who you trust to be available as a point person to coordinate vendors, act as a gopher or even direct the wedding. Accept the help that you’re offered – you will need it!






Photographer: Nancy Ray Photography


Venue and Catering: Chapel Hill Country Club


Groom and Best Man’s Attire: O’Neill’s Menswear


Event Planning: We planned it all ourselves but had our dear friend, Jennifer Bowman on hand to direct the ceremony.


Flowers: Fleurtations Weddings and Events