Laura & Adam’s Vibrant Fall Wedding at The Barn at Valhalla

Lauren and Adam walk out for their preceremony portraits to their wedding location on a deck surrounded by the woods at the Barn at Valhalla.

Fall weddings are my absolute favorite! If you have been following my blog you probably already know this by now. You probably also know that I was married in the Fall, so of course I am just a little bit biased.

My Fall of 2017 was packed full of fabulous weddings. During the Fall wedding season I had the opportunity to work at many different venues, each of them very unique. I have worked at the Barn At Valhalla out in Chapel Hill once before, and I love every opportunity I can get to back to this gorgeous place.

The Venue

The Barn at Valhalla is unlike any other event venue I have ever worked at. It is an adorable location for a small ceremony and reception, and the land has so many perfect spots for beautiful pictures. It is truly a serene setting for an Autumn affair. The property boasts an adorable barn with great big wooden doors, lots of lush land surrounded by the beauty of nature, and a large lodge with multiple rooms for getting ready, a kitchen and dining area, a bridal suite, and plenty of space for housing friends and family for the weekend.

The Couple

Laura and Adam were such an adorable and laid back couple. They wanted a beautiful wedding, without all the hustle and bustle of most weddings, or so that is what they kept telling me. Instead, we hosted a less than orthodox outdoor wedding on a beautiful Fall day surrounded by family and friends, but also with lots of fun activities and food to eat. Rather than go with a long sit down dinner, Durham Catering provided heavy passed hors d’oeuvres and stations of appetizers. They didn’t want the night to feel overly formal, but also didn’t want a shortage of food, so Adam and Laura provided hours of mostly finger foods followed by a table overflowing with pies, donuts, and coffee accompanied by an ice cream truck!

In addition to all the delicious food options available to the guests, Adam and Laura provided a fun and beautiful backdrop along with some talented and truly fitting entertainment. It was important to them that their friends and family have a good time, and to them that meant having great background music to sing and dance along to. They found that their taste in music was rather eclectic, so they were very pleased when they found live musicians who could play their first dance and other off the wall music preferences.

The Experience

Hearing the band, The Local Boys, play Harvest Moon by Neil Young and watching Adam & Laura perform their choreographed first dance was the perfect beginning to my Fall wedding season. As I listened to the band and watched them dance, I couldn’t help but reflect on how grateful I was to be working with a few of my favorite local event vendors, including my husband.

Every so often I am lucky enough to meet couples as a referral from another vendor friend of mine. Adam and Laura came to me as a referral couple from a close friend of mine in the industry, Randy Taylor of Randy Taylor Weddings. In addition to working with one of my favorite officiants in the area, Randy’s daughter Erica Taylor, I also had the pleasure of working with my husband, now Steffes Event Services as the photographer, and another great friend in the industry a Photo Booth owner, Bianca Taylor of Triple T Entertainment.

Cary & North Raleigh Florist – Vendor Spotlight

Beautiful Bridal Party Bouquets

While I’m waiting for images from the Fall weddings I’ve worked since the beginning of September, I thought I’d add a little more fresh reading to the blog!
This post is about one of my newest preferred vendors; Cary Florist and North Raleigh Florist. Both Cary Florist and Raleigh Florist are owned by the same person, Janice Cutler. Learning about how Janice became a florist, and reading her tips, has been very helpful to me and especially to my wedding coordination clients.

 

 

The Initial Meeting

I met a rep from The North Raleigh Florist back in April at a networking event. I decided to stop by an ILEA educational meeting, formerly ISES, to see speaker Dan Berger from Social Tables. The event proved to be not only educational, but also very beneficial to me. There was socializing and networking for the first hour of the meeting, as well as some drinking and snacking of course, and during that time is when I was lucky enough to meet the girl from North Raleigh Florist. We chatted a bit, learned of each others occupations, and exchanged cards. What I didn’t know then was how handy it would be to me later, to have that business card in my possession.

 

Pink and white flowers circle around lantern centerpiece Business Transaction

In the planning of my Bridal Pamper Party this Summer, I knew I wanted to have an educational workshop to offer my brides in attendance. Having recently coordinated plenty of DIY weddings, I knew that one of the many things brides all over are trying to do on their own is flowers. Knowing this, I decided to reach out to that contact I met in April from The North Raleigh Florist. By doing a quick online search, I learned that their sister store, Cary Florist frequently hosted floral educational classes. Luckily, I was able to get in touch with the owner of both stores who said she’d be happy to send someone to my place after hours to host a floral workshop.

The party ended up being a real hit with my brides, I even ended up booking a wedding from hosting the event so I’d say that it was definitely a success. Since that has come and gone, I have been referring a lot of my brides to this florist because Janice made it clear during her workshop that she knows what she’s doing. I asked her to answer a few questions for my blog audience and below you’ll see her responses.

Vendor Spotlight – Janice Cutler

Business Name: North Raleigh Florist/ Cary Florist

Your Name: Janice Cutler

Web Address: www.northraleighflorist.com & www.caryflorist.com

Business Category: Florist

How long have you been in business?: 9 years as North Raleigh Florist; 6 years as Montgomery’s Florist in the 1990’s

What got you started in this business?: Career change to Horticulture in 1995. Found my passion when I moved to NC from NY in 1991 and learned all I could about plants and flowers until I returned to school in 1994 at NC State. I worked at a local nursery and then the florist. I never looked back.

What’s the best tip you have for a couple planning a wedding?: Do your research about knowing when you MUST hire a professional. Be careful not to overbook your time the last 2 weeks before with DIY projects for the wedding.

Simple Sunflower and Summer Centerpiece What don’t couples know about your business category that they should know?: Flowers do not have to cost a fortune. A professional florist can guide you on the best items for your budget—even the best DIY floral projects to take on, as well as the ones to stay away from. Having a budget range for florals will actually help you pinpoint with your florist what is best for your event. Don’t be afraid to throw out a number. Florists shooting in the dark will often overestimate what you may be looking for if there is a lack of information, thereby wasting your time and theirs. Be upfront and you will get the info you are needing to make an educated decision. A good florist will be honest and work with the money you actually have to spend. A good florist knows how to make the most of your budget and make it look beautiful and professionally-done.

Are there any questions your non-wedding clients should be asking that they don’t know to ask?: Can I rent the containers? Can I save money by purchasing my own containers?

What’s the most unique/different wedding or event you ever did and why?: A backyard wedding where we were asked to hang swags of flowers in the porta potties

What was the most memorable wedding you ever worked, and why?: The wedding I delivered 2 days after Hurricane Fran in 1996. The Raleigh area was in a shambles, streets were closed, trees were on houses and no one had power and bottled water was scarce. It was incredibly hot and humid—even for Raleigh. It was September. We worked on the wedding by candlelightIron Handrail Floral Decoration all night the day after the hurricane came through. We had to chain-saw our way out of our house in Youngsville and finally made it in to Raleigh some time that afternoon to get started on the wedding. We worked through the night to get it done, using a generator hooked up to our small display cooler to keep the flowers cool. My husband walked at least ¼ mile with some of the flowers to the house where they were getting ready, since there were so many trees down, his car couldn’t drive up to the house. We made it to the church about 30 minutes before the bride walked down the aisle and handed her bouquet to her and placed the flowers on the altar. Streets were closed and we couldn
’t seem to figure out the best route to go. We made it there, but she was less than pleased about the timing. We did the best we could. She received everything she ordered, but I will never forget how stressful it was and how many obstacles there were, not even mentioned here. I hope we never have to endure that again.

 

Thank You, Janice

I just wanted to say Thank You again to Janice for participating in my Bridal Pamper Party! I am so glad I went to that networking event in the Spring and to have had the opportunity to hire Cary Florist. My brides loved getting to see Janice create beautiful bridal bouquets. Janice was so helpful in answering their questions following her demonstration and I look forward to hiring Janice and her team to come lead more hands on floral demos in the future!

Janice Cutler, the owner of North Raleigh Florist, ran a DIY Floral bouquet workshop for the brides and other ladies who attended the Bridal Pamper Party. She also led a Q&A session with the ladies after she finished her demo.

Janice Cutler, the owner of North Raleigh Florist, ran a DIY Floral bouquet workshop for the brides and other ladies who attended the Bridal Pamper Party. She also led a Q&A session with the ladies after she finished her demo.