Wonderland Wedding - Raleigh, NC
“You can learn a lot of things from the flowers
For especially in the month of June
There's a wealth of happiness and romance
All in the golden afternoon” – Golden Afternoon, Alice in Wonderland
When Ariel Kaitlin Photography brought the idea of a tea-inspired styled shoot to Stephanie of Beauty & the Budget Events, Stephanie immediately said yes, with a caveat – could the tea take place in Wonderland? But alas, they couldn’t find the right rabbit hole, so a beautiful new venue in Raleigh, NC would have to suffice. With its magical gardens, ponds, and farm house, Walnut Hill shined on a perfect June weekend for the shoot, and it easily transported us to Wonderland.
The plan for the shoot centered around two key principles – Weddings can be colorful, and Your inspiration doesn’t have to be on the nose. We find that so many couples get stuck on the Pinterest-expectation of a wedding instead of being true to who they are and what they love, so personal weddings that break the norm are #goals. If you like bold colors, use bold colors. If you have something you love that you want to include to your wedding décor, do it. But remember that if your design is cohesive, you don’t need every single detail to obviously show off your inspiration.
Rather than picking a specific color for our Tea in Wonderland shoot, we chose to incorporate delicate, pastel colors in the table designs and create a fun contrast by using a bold variety of flowers, reminiscent of the “Golden Afternoon” song performed by the garden flowers in the 1951 Disney film. In every area of the design, we played on this contrast, including with the couple’s attire. Our groom wore a light grey suit paired with a bold boutonniere and custom tie and pocket square, while our bride wore a white top with light blue tulle skirt and carried a big, bold bouquet.
For our intimate ceremony set up, a floating fabric arbor provided the focal point with a bold floral and greenery garland. To tie into our theme, officiant Liz Grimes wrote a custom ceremony that began with, “The journey of marriage can be compared to the journey Alice took to Wonderland. It is a unique and special adventure. Their love is so deep and abiding that they may even ask, ‘Have I gone mad?’ And Alice would likely respond, ‘But I will tell you a secret – all the best people are.” The ceremony was rounded out with a tea ceremony, where the couple shared a sip of tea and a sweet treat to remind the couple of warmth, the sweetness of life, and to enjoy each moment together.
In our effort to marry a southern tea wedding and the magic and whimsy of Wonderland, we knew that food and drink would be a focal point. Our sweets table and bar provided a fun place for us to welcome guests more directly to Wonderland, with a brunchy crepe cake decorated with black and red flowers to reflect the colors in a deck of cards, matcha green tea flavored cupcakes, and multi-colored French macarons. Our bartender whipped up three custom, whimsical drinks called The Mad Hatter, Chamomile Cocktail, and The Red Queen.
Finally, from lounge setups featuring a vintage vibe to the carefully decorated tables, each detail added to the whimsical vintage feeling. Table centerpieces incorporated bold flowers, books, clocks, candlesticks, tea pots, and even floating tea lights in teacups. Our invitations created a true sense of excitement and wonder, as guests have to look though the looking glass to read the invitation details. And to take the magic of the day one step further, a magician entertained the couple with fun tricks.
“I want to remind you as we near the end of this ceremony, that just as Alice said. At least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since. Marriage will change each of you; make sure it brings out the very best in you.”
Other: The Amazing Magic of Wayne Anderson//Calligrapher:Yellow House Calligraphy//Invitation Designer: Revelry Heart//Beauty: Heather Hall HMUA//Other: Celebration Sidekicks//Groomsman Attire: Knotty Tie Co//Dress Designer: Mr. Pretty Skirt//Cinema and Video: Jared Cook Films//Design and Decor: Southern Vintage Table//Equipment Rentals: Moon & Oak//Equipment Rentals: Party Reflections//Bakery: Main Street Cake//Bakery: Cupcakes d'Amour//Floral Designer: Springwell Design//Bakery: The Crepe Cakerie//Officiant: All Faiths Wedding Officiants of the Triad//Event Planner: Beauty & The Budget Events//Event Venue: Walnut Hill//Photographer: Ariel Kaitlin Photography, LLC