CJ and Chelsea were married at the quaint and intimate Rand Bryan House wedding located just outside of Raleigh, in Garner, North Carolina. The venue consisted of a renovated southern home, rustic barn, pastures with roaming cows and horses and vast fields of Christmas trees. The home’s warm and intimate characteristics included a wrap-around porch (where the couple hosted their cocktail hour) and a reception space with French doors and large bay windows overlooking the property. Christmas trees in October, you ask? The venue’s owner collected the beautiful trees from the mountains of Asheville and planted them along the property during the venue’s inception. It was truly unique that on their wedding day, the couple was surrounded by such beautiful foliage from their honeymoon destination!
How they met
Both “Army Brats,” Chelsea and CJ met when they were high school freshman at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, where both of their families were stationed. They were each other’s first loves, and while they had to split when CJ’s family retired and moved to Virginia, they reconnected during college after 6 long years apart. It was truly love at first sight all over again. Chelsea and CJ dated for 4 more years until the couple wed in October of 2016.
The First Date
At only 16, CJ knew the definition of true gentleman. With a fresh driver’s license, he drove to Chelsea’s house and asked her father if he could take her out to dinner. Chelsea had the chicken parmesan and CJ had a burger and fries.
How he proposed
While vacationing in Alaska in the summer of 2015, Chelsea and CJ spent a day hiking in the mountains of Denali National Park. The couple hiked for 2.5 hours to reach the summit of Mt. Healy where they could see the park’s white mountain caps for miles and miles. After a quick lunch break of peanut butter and blueberry jam sandwiches, CJ set up the tripod and told Chelsea to pose with her back facing the camera. When the automatic timer went off Chelsea turned around to find her soon to be fiancé kneeling behind her with a princess cut diamond ring asking for her hand in marriage. The camera caught the moment perfectly and CJ even got the entire proposal on their Go-Pro. Nice job, CJ!
The Big Day.
While Chelsea and CJ added a lot of personal touches to their wedding day, the flow of their day followed a classic approach. Their wedding began with an outdoor ceremony on the venue property and cocktail hour on the porch with wine, beer, fruit and cheese and crackers. The couple also had custom UNC at Charlotte 49er’s and Missouri State Bears corn hole boards in the yard for their guests to play while the bridal party and family took photos. Next, everyone moved into the reception space where a buffet style dinner was served featuring North Carolina bar-b-que and sweet tea, followed by the cutting of the couple’s 3-tier pumpkin, spice and vanilla bean wedding cake. While guests enjoyed their desert, heart-felt toasts were given by the bride’s father, best man, and maid of honor – lots of happy tears were shed! Next they moved on to the garter and bouquet toss, where coincidentally enough, Chelsea’s maid of honor, Kate, caught the bouquet, and her long-time boyfriend caught the garter! The remainder of the evening was filled with dancing and came to a close with a sparkler filled exit from the beautiful the entrance of the venue.
Their wedding featured several special details meaningful for both the bride and groom. Chelsea’s jewelry featured her grandmother’s pearl bracelet, crystal hair clips and antique watch. The entrance of their wedding including 11×17 photos of their parents on their wedding days with a sign dedicating their wedding to their mothers and fathers. The reception tables were named after differing cities where the couple had visited/lived together and featured pictures Chelsea and CJ in those corresponding locations across the country. If that wasn’t enough, the groom’s father was their officiant!
Mother Nature absolutely sided with this couple on their special day. Clear Carolina blue skies provided the perfect backdrop and a cool slight breeze made for the perfect fall day! Considering the weekend just prior to their wedding day, Hurricane Matthew swept through the Carolina’s, this couple definitely lucked out!
CEREMONY & RECEPTION VENUE: The Rand-Bryan House
COORDINATOR: N/A (Chelsea planned her wedding and had assistance from family and friends on the day of the wedding to make sure the flow of the changing events went smoothly).
PHOTOGRAPHER: Sarah Joann Photography ☺
VIDEOGRAPHER: Cinema Films (Raleigh, NC)
FLORIST: Dan’s Florist (Cary, NC)
CAKE ARTIST: Cake Couture (Raleigh, NC)
BAND/DJ: Music and Dance Productions (Raleigh, NC)
MAKE-UP ARTIST: Wink Hair & Makeup (Raleigh, NC)
HAIR ARTIST: Whitney Page (Raleigh, NC)
BRIDESMAIDS DRESS: David’s Bridal (Chelsea chose the colors “Wisteria” for her bridesmaids, and “Portobello” for her maid of honor. Chelsea gave her bridal party the option of choosing their style of dress based on what dress style they each preferred).
TUXES: David’s Bridal (Chelsea and CJ chose classic black tuxes with black bow ties).
OFFICIANT: Don Young (Yes, he is related! Chelsea and CJ asked CJ’s father to become ordained and marry the couple on their special day. Personal touches were the most important features of the couple’s wedding and having CJ’s father marry them made their wedding day that much more intimate and personal. Don happily accepted and tried his best to choke back the tears as he spoke about their love and signed their marriage certificate as the newlywed’s officiant.
BRIDAL GOWN: “Babe” by Amy Kuschel. This dress is truly a timeless piece that radiates elegance and simplicity. This cotton floral lace features a dramatic hour glass silhouette with a sheer bateau neckline and open V backline. The dress was absolutely perfect for Chelsea, “every girl should feel that beautiful on her wedding day,” she exclaimed.
STATIONERY: www.minted.com. Chelsea and CJ chose an elegant and organic wedding invitation set from www.minted.com where they were able to customize the font to follow the deep greens and purple tones of their color pallet. The couple also used www.shutterfly.com for they save the date invitations where they were able to upload photos from their beautiful fall engagement session with Sarah Joann Photography.
CALLIGRAPHY: DIY – Chelsea Young. With the help of YouTube tutorials, Chelsea practiced for months before her wedding writing the names of her future guests over and over again. Chelsea purchased blank, white scalloped edge seating arrangement cards from www.etsy.com and hand-wrote all of her guests names.
TRANSPORTATION: CJ’s 2006 Red Jeep Commander