Rustic Southern Wedding at The Oaks at Salem :: Amanda & Zachary

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Photography by Callie Davis for Nancy Ray.

Interfaith ceremonies are so inspiring – it’s great to see how couples (and often their families) work together to build a day that has meaning for everyone! For their ceremony, Amanda & Zac blended the bride’s Christian background with the groom’s Judaism: they signed the ketubah and married under a floral-covered chuppah – built by hand by the groom’s dad! – and also included bible readings and some of the bride’s favorite hymns. What else made this day special? For a start, botanical-inspired stationery, romantic, bold florals in ivory, peach, berry and chocolate, and of course the darling couple themselves! The reception ended on a total high when the bride, groom and both sets of parents danced the Hora, which the bride loved so much she didn’t want to leave… even for her own after party!

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Do you have any advice for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? At the end of the day, all that matters is that you two are there together and that you get to marry the love of your life. It is easy to get swept up in the planning and the details – when that happened, I always tried to take a step back to keep that in perspective.

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Did you include any traditions in your wedding? We signed the ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) in the presence of our families before our Jewish-Christian ceremony began. I also followed the ‘something old’ tradition. Old: Handmade handkerchief from the groom’s greatgrandmother / New: Dress and shoes / Borrowed: Beaded clutch and garter from bride’s eldest sister / Blue: Blue swatch of fabric sewn on the inside of the garter. This was originally sewn in by Amanda into her sister Julie’s garter for her wedding when Amanda was just 17… and things came full circle when Amanda wore this garter for her own wedding!

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The Ceremony

Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? North Carolina holds a special place in our hearts, as it is where our relationship began, and grew. We met in Madrid while studying abroad during college (we went to different colleges, but the same study abroad program) and became close friends. We went our separate ways after college, but both ended up back in North Carolina for graduate school, where we reconnected and quickly realized we wanted to be together!

North Carolina is also is where Zac’s family lives. We stumbled upon the ceremony location while visiting them and driving out in the country outside Durham, and fell in love with the country vista. We wanted to get married outdoors, and it felt immediately comfortable and perfect.

Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? The groom’s father built the chuppah (traditional canopy for Jewish marriage ceremonies) out of birch, and used his own tallit as the covering.

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What was your ceremony music? We had a string quartet provide the music for the ceremony. Seating of grandparents by Ushers: Air from Suite No. 3, Bach / Procession of groomsmen, Best Man, groom, bridesmaids, Maid of Honor: Te Deum, Charpentier / Procession of flower girls & ring bearers, escorted by Casey (bride’s brother-in-law): Sheep May Safely Graze, Bach / Procession of the bride escorted by her father: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, Bach / Recessional (Bridal Party): La Rejoissance, Handel / Recessional (Guests): Four Seasons, Autumn, Vivaldi

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Your ceremony in three words. Spiritual, celebrating family.

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How did you go about planning your ceremony? We crafted our ceremony together, with some input from our officiant. Amanda grew up Christian and Zac is Jewish, so we wanted to create a ceremony that celebrated both traditions. We included elements of a traditional Jewish ceremony with the Christian marriage ceremony to create something individual. It was important to us to celebrate both families as we joined our lives together.

Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? Our close family friend, Jimmy, from Zac’s side of the family officiated our ceremony. He has been a long time friend of Zac’s parents and our family. He is Catholic, but more importantly a deeply spiritual and open individual. He had officiated two ceremonies before, for close family, and we asked if he would officiate ours. He helped us combine our love, spirituality, and different religious backgrounds into a wonderful ceremony.

What were your ceremony readings? The groom’s uncle and aunt read from the traditional Jewish Seven Blessings, and the bride’s brother read from First Corinthians.

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? The elements of family that permeated our ceremony, including the chuppah built by my father-in-law, our family friend marrying us, my brother and Zac’s aunt and uncle performing the readings, and the love we could feel all around us during the ceremony.

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The Reception

Why did you choose this location for your reception? We loved the feel and mood of the outdoor tent with market lighting overlooking the lake and countryside. It felt comfortable, low key, but elegant and picturesque, which we loved.

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nancy ray; erin mclean events; southern wedding; north carolina wedding; durham wedding; outdoor ceremony; jewish christian ceremony; tented reception; fall wedding; botanical place cards;

nancy ray; erin mclean events; southern wedding; north carolina wedding; durham wedding; outdoor ceremony; jewish christian ceremony; tented reception; fall wedding; table florals; peach roses; chocolate cosmos;

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How would you describe your reception? Our theme was rustic elegance.

nancy ray; erin mclean events; southern wedding; north carolina wedding; durham wedding; outdoor ceremony; jewish christian ceremony; tented reception; fall wedding; wooden cross back bentwood chairs with white cushions; wooden tables; table runner of greenery and cream florals;

nancy ray; erin mclean events; southern wedding; north carolina wedding; durham wedding; outdoor ceremony; jewish christian ceremony; tented reception; fall wedding; wooden cross back bentwood chairs with white cushions; wooden tables; table runner of greenery and cream florals;

nancy ray; erin mclean events; southern wedding; north carolina wedding; durham wedding; outdoor ceremony; jewish christian ceremony; tented reception; fall wedding; table florals of cream roses and chocolate cosmos;

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? We wanted our reception to be joyful, lighthearted and elegant with good food, good music. Zac loves to do woodworking and carpentry, so we wanted to tie in accents of natural wood with touches of neutral ivory, blush tones, and metallic.

nancy ray; erin mclean events; southern wedding; north carolina wedding; durham wedding; outdoor ceremony; jewish christian ceremony; tented reception; fall wedding; wooden table numbers with white calligraphyl small floral arrangements; gold votives;

nancy ray; erin mclean events; southern wedding; north carolina wedding; durham wedding; outdoor ceremony; jewish christian ceremony; tented reception; fall wedding; wooden cross back bentwood chairs with white cushions; wooden tables; table runner of greenery and cream florals;

What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had a four tier cake with three flavors: Pumpkin Spice with cinnamon cream cheese filling / White wedding cake with strawberry filling / Nanny’s yellow butter cake with chocolage fudge fillingnancy ray; erin mclean events; southern wedding; north carolina wedding; durham wedding; outdoor ceremony; jewish christian ceremony; tented reception; fall wedding; white tiered cake; white cake decorated with peach roses;

What was the best advice you received as a bride? To stay together at each other’s side during the reception. Wherever you go, go together. Keeping that in mind, we actually were able to enjoy the reception together, as opposed to so many couples we know who got separated and didn’t see each other the whole night!

What was your first dance song? Introduction of the Couple: No Diggity by Blackstreet (Zac loves old school hip hop) / First Dance: My Whole Life Long by Delta Rae (local North Carolina and Duke band Amanda and Zac love)

nancy ray; erin mclean events; southern wedding; north carolina wedding; durham wedding; outdoor ceremony; jewish christian ceremony; tented reception; fall wedding; first dance; groom smiling during first dance;

nancy ray; erin mclean events; southern wedding; north carolina wedding; durham wedding; outdoor ceremony; jewish christian ceremony; tented reception; fall wedding; groom and friends hugging on dancefloor;

Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. The Hora was a huge hit! The bride and groom were up first, followed by the groom’s parents, and (despite their initial reservations) the bride’s parents – who had so much fun!

nancy ray; erin mclean events; southern wedding; north carolina wedding; durham wedding; outdoor ceremony; jewish christian ceremony; tented reception; fall wedding; bride and groom do horah;

nancy ray; erin mclean events; southern wedding; north carolina wedding; durham wedding; outdoor ceremony; jewish christian ceremony; tented reception; fall wedding; horah; brides dad does horah;

nancy ray; erin mclean events; southern wedding; north carolina wedding; durham wedding; outdoor ceremony; jewish christian ceremony; tented reception; fall wedding;

Colors

Style

Al Fresco

Season

Fall

Location

The South

Vendor Credits

Photography: Callie Davis for Nancy Ray / Venue: The Oaks at Salem in Apex, North Carolina / Event Planning & Design: Erin McLean Events / Floral Design: The English Garden / Dress: Hayley Paige / Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Veil: Custom by Kleinfeld Bridal / Accessories: Beaded clutch (family heirloom), garter (bride’s eldest sister), hand made handkerchief (groom’s great-grandmother) / Jewelry: Family heirloom diamond and teardrop pearl earrings / Bridesmaid Dresses: Hitherto for BHLDN / Groom & Groomsmen Suits: Joseph A Banks / Groom & Groomsmen Ties: J.Crew Factory / Groom Shirt: Banana Republic / Groom Shoes: Cole Haan / Stationery: Smitten on Paper / Calligraphy: Penned by Palmer / Hair, Makeup: The Makeup Culture / Rentals: Party Reflections / Rentals (Linens): CE Rental / Officiant: Jim Gudaitis (friend of the couple) / Ceremony Music: Arioso Strings / Reception Music: All Events DJs / Catering: The Garden on Millbrook / Cake, Dessert: Ashley Cakes

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