Posts tagged eastern nc wedding
Eastern, NC Wedding | Deana and Bobby's Wedding in Williamston, NC

“Nikki made me feel beautiful in all my photos on my special day and events around the day. When I received my photos It felt like I was reliving the day all over again. “ — Deana

I have to admit, Deana and Bobby’s wedding was one of those that I felt myself crying behind the camera. Long story short, I have known Deana since high school. She has been a dear friend, and I’ve enjoyed her happiness and general funniness for quite some time now. Bobby, her now husband, suits her so well with his natural humbleness and kindness. I am happy for the both of them, and so happy to have been able to photograph such a happy celebration between the two of them.

Deana and Bobby married in Williamston, NC. The ceremony and reception took place at the Bob Martin Ag Center—wait until you see the reception! With the help of their families, they completely transformed the space into something magical!

The entire day started with so many laughs. It felt so good to be in the presence of some of the most kindest of people. Deana and Bobby opted to have a first touch in the hotel right before their wedding. It was such a sweet moment to witness. If you are on the fence about doing a first look, a first touch may be the way to go. Instead of seeing each other before the wedding, you can choose to touch hands and even exchange cards during that time. I always feel like this helps with the wedding day jitters, and the emotions that come to surface are just so genuine. I am pro first touch/first look!

The ceremony was packed. I swear, I think every seat was taken. With so many friends and family there, you could feel the lovable energy in the room. Deana’s childhood Pastor married the two of them, which I thought was a nice touch. When the newlywed couple walked hand in hand down the aisle, that is when I felt the tears. It was something spectacular to see everything happen for my good friend. So happy for you, Deana!

Special thanks to all of the vendors who made this possible!

Venue // Bob Martin Agriculture Center
Hotel and Accommodations // Holiday Inn Express
Invitations // Downtown Diva Boutique
DJ // Kevin Howard
Gown Designer // Oleg Cassini
Bridesmaids Dresses // Davids Bridal
Catering // Heritage House
Getaway Car // Mr. Ed Lipscomb
Hair // Strands by Sam
Makeup // Dollface by Melissa
Cake // Precious Memories by Sue Foley

Belhaven Wedding Venue | An Interview with Kate Brown of River Forest Manor

An interview with Kate Brown of River Forest Manor

Photo taken by Sara Coffin Photography

As most of you know, I am from Eastern North Carolina. Now, I know some of you may think that eastern NC is like the rest of the state—but, it is not. There’s a harder southern drawl, things are typically slower, and honestly—the people are more tan. I miss living in this part of the state, there’s some sort of magic to it. That’s why when Kate agreed to chat with me about her venue in Belhaven, I was just so happy!

Kate is a wonderful point of reference for business, but also for brides in general. Kate is one of the owners of River Forest Manor located in Belhaven. Now, if you have never been to River Forest Manor (which just opened up only a few years prior), you should really take a trip to go see her in its glory. Imagine a white house with the tallest of columns belting loud and proud on the patio porch right in front of the water. I mean, it is something spectacular to see even if you are a local. It is such a sight that it will immediately put you at ease—this is a place for celebration in the happiest of ways. I am excited to share with you more from Kate on how River Forest Manor came to be what it is today.

The images that you will see in this blog post are not my images. Please see the verbiage written under each image to see which wonderful photographers shot which image.

Photo taken by Renee Sprink Photography

Photo taken by Renee Sprink Photography

N: Tell me how you came to be part of this wild and wonderful wedding industry. What is the history behind your venue?
: My family is from Belhaven and I grew up on its waters, so the River Forest Manor & Marina has always been in my life.

When I was little, the River Forest Manor operated as a restaurant and hotel with a fully operating marina. It was a true landmark in the community and our town. The River Forest was a place that people gathered for a special meal or came to buy boat gas. Sadly, it fell into disrepair and eventually closed.

Together with a handful of investors all with local ties to Belhaven, I bought the historic mansion a few years ago in 2014. We were not quite sure what to do with the property at that time, but similarly timed marriages among our investment partners and some of our investors’ children led us to realize the grand place was meant to host life’s most important events.

More than a century-old, the River Forest had set the stage for great celebrations, large and small. We knew that its first owner built it for that purpose in mind and we were ready to restore it to do just the same.

 We officially re-opened the doors in 2016 and the River Forest Manor & Marina again has become a place where the local community and people from all over can celebrate. It is again a place that will bring economic opportunities to our charming waterside town.

N: What sort of couples do you typically have at the venue, etc.?
The majority of our couples come to us seeking a memorable destination for their wedding. We’ve proudly hosted local couples as well as welcomed couples from throughout the state and many parts of the country.  

 N: What are some key things about The River Forest Manor that separates it from the other wedding venues? Is your venue considered a destination wedding venue?
We affectionately call the River Forest Manor & Marina our Grand Lady because she is a true historic gem and definitely a destination. When we purchased the property and started to do renovations, we had to search for key contractors who specialized in ornate ceilings and antique woodwork to ensure we restored her properly. Because of this, we now have the most gorgeous renovated details throughout the house and property.

 We have 13 bedrooms on the property all perfectly suited to host bridal party members and guests. We’ve also created a network with the Bed & Breakfast owners and AirBnBs within the Belhaven community for guests to stay within walking distance of the Manor. We’ve even had guests dock their sailboats at our Marina for accommodations.

 Our events team will also set up fun activities for the bridal party and guests including massages and facials, boat rides off our docks and even hunting excursions.

 Our full-service Marina also makes the River Forest a unique setting that guest really enjoy. We always have boaters on our docks and they especially love to see the wedding festivities on our property. Many boaters will camp out on their vessels to watch the bride and groom depart—some will even sound their horns to send them off. It’s just amazing to hear and see so much celebration right here on the property. The guests love it, too. It truly is special.

Photo taken by Debra Ash Martin

Photo taken by Debra Ash Martin

 N: Do you work off a preferred vendor list? If so, why? If not, are there any vendors that are absolutely necessary from a venues standpoint--like catering, etc.?
We do have a preferred partner list and it includes the companies we have previously partnered with to envision and create spectacular events. We appreciate professional, honest, and fun companies. However, we also appreciate it when a couple has their heart set on a specific vendor or partner—that allows us to broaden our network. We do ask that our caterers be licensed and bonded accordingly, but other than that we welcome all vendors.

 N: How often do you receive images from photographers who have photographed weddings at The River Forest Manor? Which images stand out more from a venues perspective? Which ones are you more likely to share or showcase on your website?
We do receive images from the majority of our wedding photographers. We often receive our couple’s engagement photos, sneak peeks during and after the events and eventually the full wedding gallery. We love to share those photos with our community, on social media and our website. Of course, we always ask permission to share the images and are very courteous to every photographer to ensure credits are included.

 N: What are some things that you wish more photographers did on a wedding day shooting wise? Anything dealing with communication you wish photographers did in advance?
We are firm believers in allowing the photographer to be his or her true artistic self. There is no limit to the images that could be created here, and every eye is different. Our Grand Lady photographs well—ha! Truthfully, we very much appreciate the opportunity to see the special moments each photographer captures.

N: If you've never worked with a photographer before--do you suggest having them reach out to you? Do you ever suggest them to come by to take a look at the property?
We know our brides, grooms and their families want the very best photos to remember their special celebrations and, therefore, I do recommend that photographers visit our venue prior to the events. If a photographer doesn’t have the knowledge of light or hasn’t seen the full property in advance, the photos may not work out as well as they could.

We’ve found that many photographers will scout the property during bridal portrait sessions and speak with the bride about ideas.

N: What makes for a good vendor relationship?
Our job is to make sure the event logistics are seamless. We ask planners to pass along timelines a few weeks before the wedding to notify us when vendors will start delivering materials, like tents and décor, to the venue and offer a schedule for the various activities.

With proper planning and communication between all vendors, we are able to better support our couples and their family to make sure the celebration they’ve dreamed about comes to life.

Photo taken by Dana Jo Photography

Photo taken by Dana Jo Photography

Kelsi | Outer Banks, NC | Somerset Place Bride

I have to admit, Kelsi's bridal session is one of my favs! We started off the day in Belhaven, and literally ended it in the northern part of the Outer Banks. As most of you know, I am originally from northeastern North Carolina, so when Kelsi gave me free range to photograph her wherever--I took her to some of the most gorgeous places in North Carolina (they just so happen to be in OBX, ha!).

I love these images of Kelsi. She has such a kind soul--not like the old lady kind of soul, but the soul that inspires you, pokes at you to create and invigorate. It's like a breath of fresh air around her and its unbelievably infectious. I am so thankful for this young lady. I can not wait to hear your thoughts on her bridal session!


Gown // Gilded Bridal -- Check this bridal company out! They are new to Raleigh and are already changing the game in the bridal wear industry. Love what they stand for, and have a gorgeous selection.

Florals // Green Thumb Florist -- Elva is phenomenal! She made this bouquet while suffering from vertigo. *Note* we did not make her do that, she did that on her own behalf! Ha! When you look at this gorgeous bouquet you will realize how much talent she has even when not feeling her best. Love her so so much! A good friend for years!

Beauty // Makeup For Your Day -- Love and adore this company! They really do make each and every bride feel their very best come wedding day. Luxury service, wonderful employees, and an eye for beauty.

Venue // Somerset Place -- If you are ever is Creswell, NC please take a look at this gorgeous plantation home. It has a beautiful scenery that faces the water with loads of farm land surrounding it. It is definitely one of my favorite venues on the east coast.

Accessories // Hushed Commotion -- You have to check out Hushed Commotion. They make custom jewelry for their brides. If you can draw what you want for your wedding, they can make it exactly how you want it.

Gown Designer // Truvelle -- All I have to say is just wait until you see these images of their dress. Just wait.

Courtney and Danuel | Williamston, NC Wedding

Oh my sweet goodness! I am so so happy to have Courtney and Danuels wedding images ready for you guys to view! I met Courtney a few years ago at our Alma Mater, NC State. We became instant friends from the beginning, and I have been so thrilled to share with her many memories on her wedding day.

The day started out at Courtney's sisters house near Bear Grass, NC. If you have never been to northeastern North Carolina, it is a part of the country that has one of the best steakhouses in America--Deadwood. Seriously, it's amazing and you should definitely check it out if you are in the area! Afterwards, Courtney met her parents for their very own first look. Courtney and Danuel wanted to keep with the tradition of only seeing one another at the altar, however her parents were another story! I loved this little detail. It gave the parents that first look of their baby girl in her wedding dress--it was precious to watch.

The venue set upon the Roanoke river in Williamston, NC and had the best views imaginable. The venue, Moratoc Park, was a sacred place to Courtney as her grandfather use to take her there to go fishing. Danuel wanted her to have there wedding day at this very special venue to incorporate her Grandfather since his passing. He was definitely there in spirit!

All in all, the wedding was beautiful and in every way Courtney and Danuel! This couple has grown so much to my heart--its been a dream collaborating with this sweet couple from beginning to end. I, sincerely, wish the two of you a lifetime of love and happiness.