Sealed with a kiss!

Sealed with a kiss!
Laura & Chris' Wedding at JCRaulston Arboretum

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The North Carolina Wedding Ring Goes on a Field Trip to Wedding Venues!

The NORTH CAROLINA WEDDING RING is a collective of Wedding Vendors, one from each category, who own their own businesses and meet each month to share our business practices, our expertise, to mentor each other and to promote each other. Our "ring" which is by invitation only  started over 3 years ago when Kimberly Williams with WEDDINGS BY THE VINE, a wedding planner, sought advice from SCORE and the result was forming our roundtable of wedding professionals. 
On March 20th 2017, we embarked on our field trip to visit a few wedding venues in the Chapel Hill area. Heidi Beaudoin who owns LIFESTYLE LIMOUSINES furnished our transportation--a luxurious Mercedes Sprinter Limo so we rode in style and comfort! Kevin Seifert, KEVIN SEIFERT PHOTOGRAPHY, did a wonderful job capturing our experience. From the left are members: Eric Hogdgen--ALL AROUND RALEIGH DJ, Sherry Lattin--FLORIAN MUSIC, me-- the wedding officiant, Kimberly Williams, Ed Carpp--WATKINS FLOWERS OF DISTINCTION, and Brie Marrow--CAKE COUTURE AND CATERING. Heidi is in the corner and you can't see her face and TIWA LAWRENCE, make-up stylist, and Kristal Cloer, FARM & FILIGREE, are behind Kevin's camera. You will see them in other photos of the trip.
Our first stop was THE BARN AT CHAPEL HILL which you can see is still under construction and due to open later this year. It is amazing and will be a stunning venue. Leading the group is Kara, the owner as we make our way through the concrete forms to the ceremony area at the front of the barn.
This old barn was in upstate NY and was deconstructed and shipped to the site and has now been reconstructed. It is simply amazing. The sheet rock is up and the chandeliers hung. This will be the reception area and can be used for indoor ceremonies as well.
 The peg joists. It is treasured historic wood that is so beautiful.
We are standing behind the loft area in what will be the bridal suite. Very spacious and well accommodated. Kara is answering our million question. They plan to not only host weddings but to also have a flower farm on the 22 acres and be able to supply the flowers for the weddings. That is Tiwa to the left. Kristal is on the right looking at the camera. Ed is asking a question about the flowers, I think!
 Eric wanted a close up of the pegged joists. 
The front of the barn that will have the sliding barn doors across it. The brick terrace in front is for the ceremonies. I can just see the bride and her father emerging from the barn doors!
On the other side of the barn is a large covered porch that could also be used for outdoor ceremonies but under cover. Across from there is a wooded area that will have a trail through it leading to a beautiful meadow--perfect for first look photos and the wedding party after the wedding. They thought of everything!
And the NC Wedding Ring is off to the next venue!
This is the AQUEDUCT--front entrance. It is up on a hill. 
The view from the deck outside the living/dining area. What a panoramic view! In the field, on the right side, is a flat spot where a large tent can go for large wedding. They can accommodate up to 500 guests. Over the top of the hill and down is a very small chapel.
 The ring admiring the view! 
The Aqueduct has two lodges for guests to stay. They do weddings and also many events for the local colleges and local corporations. There are many bedrooms to accommodate quite a few people. This is the view of the living room of one lodge looking down from the loft area.
 The view of the center from the field it overlooks. 
Eric, Kimberly, Sherry and Kevin trekked down to see the chapel. The rest of us passed because of the steep climb back up!
 I would say this is a "tiny chapel" for very small weddings! 
 Kimberly, Eric, and Kevin. Sherry must be taking the picture!
 It was a slow climb back up! 
This is inside the main lodge--dining room to the left, living room center, then another multipurpose room on the right. 
Main lodge on left, two other lodges on right. 
Our next stop was RIGMOR HOUSE. It has been expanded since I did a wedding there in 2009. The Event Manager, Ben, gave us the tour. They not only do weddings but corporate meetings too. You see the pull down screen complete with projection.
 Across from the wall with the screen is the buffet counter and the lofts on each side. 
 The kitchen is just amazing. Everyone admired the island made of pipes. 
There are three bedrooms downstairs and six upstairs so they can accommodate quite a few guests and is a great retreat center.
This is the spot for outdoor ceremonies. The cypress laurels sure are full and tall. Nice backdrop for a wedding.
View of the lodge near the ceremony site. Some "yard art" of old farm equipment and barrels which will be spilling over with flowers come spring.
 This sweet gazebo is sitting out in another field. A great place for wedding photos. 
 The fire pit.
 On one side of the lodge is a huge wrap-around porch that is new since I was there. 
A group shot of the NC Wedding Ring and Ben! Our limo driver took this shot for Kevin so he could be in the picture. From the left: Kevin, Heidi, Ed, Kristal, Tiwa, Ben, Sherry, me, Eric, Kimberly and Brie. And we are off to our last destination. 
 We met Barbara (on the right), our guide to the BARN AT VALHALLA
There is quite a story behind this place. It was built by Duffy Gilligan, a well known and respected resident of Chapel Hill. On this 30 acres he built his home and the outdoor structures on the lake. And as if that was not big enough space, he built the Barn for his parties. From time to time, friends would have their weddings there until it got so popular it became a wedding venue. Duffy died in 2012 at age 60 and the property was sold to a young couple who own it today. They no longer live on the property but run it as a wedding venue and retreat center. Barbara is the event manager and a wonderful hostess and tour guide. I've done a few weddings here and they are always so much fun and every one of them different.
 Inside the barn.
 Upstairs are 3 bedrooms. This is the king suite. One bedroom is a bunk bed room like a dormitory. 
 The sitting room which could also be a bedroom too. 
 Upstairs is where the wedding party gets dressed for the wedding. 
There are many intersecting decks between the barn and the big lodge house where Duffy lived. This is the Fireplace where some wedding ceremonies are held.
 You can see the lake behind this deck.
 Duffy's home. It is huge. He was a very large man--6'9" tall and so he built everything BIG!
 The view from inside the house great room It can be part of the rental package. 
 See how high the counters and cabinets are? Eric can barely reach the knob of the cabinet. 
Back in the great room looking at the rear of the room. Master bedroom on left. Library, queen bedroom and dining room off to the right.
 The library which used to be Duffy's office.
 The Queen bedroom. 
 The kitchen was well equipped because Duffy loved to cook. 
 The master suite. A huge spa bathroom. Hot tub in the adjoining sun room.
 This piano in the sun room sits opposite the hot tub where Kevin is standing to take the photo.
In the back of the great room is another bath and closet and a hidden door that slides open. We are peeking through.
 The hidden recreational room! I think Barbara said it can sleep 12 with addition of some blow-up beds. 
 A great place for the groom and groomsmen to hang out before the wedding and for after parties too. 
 The round gazebo on the water. Another great place for photos. 
 The interior.
 The view of the lodge house from the gazebo deck.
 This side of the barn is where tents are erected for large wedding receptions. 
 The Barn at Valhalla! 
Panoramic shot capturing the 30 acre property. So beautiful! 
What a great tour. We had a blast and learned a lot and simply enjoyed being together having fun. 


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