Confession time, y’all: I am totally smitten with today’s darling couple! Berkley and Jack met at summer camp, started their relationship over AOL Instant Messenger, and spent the next ten years growing up and growing in love. Their beautiful wedding was a testament to both the history that they drew inspiration from (they were married at the same church where Berkley’s parents were married, and by the same pastor!) and the life that they are creating for themselves–they love the town of Saxapahaw so much, they moved there after the wedding, and now get to see their reception venue every day!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Jack and I decided to see each other for the first time when the church doors opened and I walked down the aisle to him. However, we did have a “behind-the-door” moment before the ceremony. We held hands, prayed, and exchanged journals that we had written in throughout our engagement. I did have a first look with my dad though, and it was so special. It was one of the only times I’ve ever seen my dad cry. Let’s just say, emotions were high!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. At first, I thought I wanted to wear my mom’s wedding dress, so we brought the dress to a bridal salon to talk to them about remaking it. I was excited about that, but also had a little trouble envisioning how it would look once it was completed. On our way home, we had an appointment at another bridal shop in Salisbury. I tried on a few dresses, and then THE ONE. It was exactly what I had been hoping for, and my mom’s veil complemented it perfectly.
Our ceremony site (St. Mark’s Church in Burlington, North Carolina) was a no-brainer. My parents were married in that sanctuary by the same pastor 34 years before us, I was baptized and grew up in the church, and Jack’s family has also been members for over a decade.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? One of my former college roommates, Sarah Anne, read Philippians 2:1-11. Sarah Anne was the first of our friends to get married, so it was special to hear her speak words that she’s living out. One of our favorite snippets of the passage reads: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” This is actually one of the “camp verses” from the summer camp that Jack and I grew up going to (and where our dating story started), so it’s extra special to us.
Our reception site (The Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw) was a perfect fit for us. It’s a beautiful restored cotton mill with huge ceilings, exposed brick, and a riverside deck in an idyllic rural village. Jack and I had spent many summer Saturday nights at the village’s farmers’ market and concert series in Saxapahaw, and we love it there so much that we decided to move there after the wedding. Now, we get to see our reception venue every single day!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Although it turned out perfectly, the logistics of the reception venue were a bit of a challenge. The space is typically a concert venue, so there’s not a designated person to coordinate wedding details. The whole process was a labor of love, and we’re grateful for everyone who had a hand in making it happen.
Our first dance was to “If I Could Build My Whole World Around You” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. It has a girl part and a boy part, and Jack and I know all the words. He was a little nervous that I was going to sing the whole time instead of focusing on dancing with him!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our cake was from Maxie B’s Bakery in Greensboro. My maid of honor (and college roommate for all four years) worked there while she was in high school, so she spoiled us by making their recipes during college. Jack and I chose layers of lemon almond buttercream, fresh strawberry buttercream, and pink lemonade. Our cake was a bit of a splurge, but it was so delicious!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? At the end of it, you’ll be married! We tried to keep that as the focus amidst the craziness of wedding planning. Jack did such a great job in grounding us throughout the process–we did little things like going back to the spot of our first date, opening the car sunroof to see the stars while playing our favorite songs, etc. These things reminded us where we came from and why we were getting married in the first place.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. In 2002 (when we had just turned 14 and 15), a new method of communication and courtship was sweeping across teendom. After waving to me at summer camp, Jack decided that the next logical step was to communicate. After discovering my screen name, our AOL Instant Messenger dating was underway! We made it official on August 24, 2002, and Jack placed his first phone call to me later that afternoon. Our first “date” was that night at a neighbor’s birthday party. We held hands for the first time (while being showered by a golf course sprinkler) and even kissed for the first time (next to a holly bush as my mom arrived to pick me up). Over the next decade, we experienced many defining moments together: first cell phones, first cars, track meets, high school graduations, the UNC experience, and enduring long distance dating after college. The distance strengthened us and deepened our desire to make the biggest (and easiest) decision of our lives–moving from first loves to forever loves.
Tell us all about the proposal! After a friend’s wedding in Washington, DC, we headed east to the Outer Banks to check out Jockey’s Ridge State Park. After a stroll on the coast and a strategically-timed bathroom stop allowing Jack to get the ring, he led me out onto the dunes. We took in the view for a few minutes, and then Jack sat me down and gave me a homemade photo book chronicling our 10+ years as a couple. That day was our “love anniversary”–10 years from the day when he first told me he loved me. At the end of the book, Jack asked me to stand up for a hug, after which he got down on his knee and forgot everything he had practiced, only managing to say, “Berkley McRay Webster, will you marry me?” After hugging and kissing and jumping and basking in our newly-engaged glow, Jack hurried me to the car for a three-hour drive to Chapel Hill and another massive surprise at Spanky’s Restaurant. I had no idea that there would be 40+ family members and friends (from as far as California and Wisconsin) awaiting us when we walked up the stairs. So much joy!
When did y’all get married? June 7, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 230
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our day was steeped in tradition, from me wearing my mom’s veil and the groomsmen wearing traditional tuxes, to Jack’s dad and brother as the best men, to getting married in the same church and by the same pastor who married my parents. Our reception site itself, an old cotton mill, paid tribute to the South’s history, and we had Southern details like monogrammed bar runners and framed silhouettes. Our food, catered by the Saxapahaw General Store (recently featured in Garden and Gun), was local, farm-to-fork, and distinctly Southern.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My mom was our wedding planner extraordinaire, and she found a lot of the decorative elements (old chandeliers, menu board, mirrors, etc.) at consignment shops or yard sales. Also, to get an idea for our flowers, my mom and I went to Michaels to pull silk flowers that coordinated with the bridesmaids’ dresses and color scheme. A few of the flowers that matched the dresses (freesias and thistles) weren’t available in the right color and/or would have been very expensive to order fresh, so we bought the silk versions on sale at Michaels, and the florist mixed them in. You couldn’t even tell!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We love being married! Jack works in Elon and I work in Durham, so Saxapahaw is like our little oasis in the middle. It’s so much fun to come home to each other and do the most mundane things. We’re waiting a while for animals and kids, but we did just get a couple of house plants!
Photographer: Robyn Van Dyke Photography / Videographer: Steven Ebert / Ceremony Venue: St. Mark’s Church / Reception Venue: Haw River Ballroom / Florist: Custom Floral Creations / Wedding Cake: Maxie B’s Bakery & Dessert Cafe / Caterer: Saxapahaw General Store / Rentals: American Party Rentals / Band: Reality Show Band / Paper Products: Reaves Engraving / Bride’s Gown: “Emily” by Robert Bullock / Bridal Salon: Bellissima of Salisbury / Hair Stylist: Fire Salon and Spa / Makeup Artist: Makeup By B.B. / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Adrianna Papell / Men’s Attire: T.N. Boone Tuxedos / Wedding Party Transportation: A Formal Affair Limo / Guest Transportation: The Bridge Bus
Robyn Van Dyke is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!