Katie + John: Sittin’ in a Tree

My byline may still read “Katie Graf,” but it should actually be “Katie Hunt.” On October first, I tied the knot with my sweetie, John! The following is the first (and probably only) self-authored Uniquely You. I will try not to go overboard!

John and I met five and a half years ago at N.C. State University. We both worked in the Student Media office; I was the design editor for the newspaper and he was an ad designer in the business office. Through a mutual friend and good ol’ reliable Facebook, we met and instantly hit it off. We agreed it felt like we’d known each other forever! After four and a half lovely years together, John proposed in front of our Christmas tree and got an enthusiastic ‘YES.’

We decided on a fall wedding since I needed some time to plan everything AND it’s our favorite season. Figuring out the “theme” was a bit tricky. It was important that the vibe be fun, playful, casual and ultimately reflect “us.” The typical warm autumn palette just wouldn’t cut it. Teal is my favorite color, so we went with a teal, light aqua and red scheme. Seasonal schmeasonal — everyone kept telling me there were no rules, so I ran with it!

You might think someone who designs wedding invitations for a living would have no problems whatsoever designing her own. And there you’d be wrong! Designing my invitations was the most difficult part of the entire wedding-planning process.

I tried a dozen different approaches. Once we found our reception location, Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh, I finally settled on the original graphic I created, since it was the most unique and most “us.” John and I share a love of the outdoors; a vacation isn’t a vacation unless we’re outside exploring! Plus, trees have all sorts of nice connotations: stability, strength, life, growth, etc. The leaves of the tree say “lurve,” which is what we use in place of “love” (originating from the Woody Allen movie Annie Hall) meaning “a feeling stronger than love.” The pattern on the inside is heart woodgrain.

Nearly all of my accents coordinated with the invitations in one way or another. The bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen shirts & ties were teal and their bouquets and boutonnieres were red Gerberas. The ladies all wore red shoes of their choice… including me (my mother eventually got over it!) With the help of my sister (the maid of honor) and my mom, I made all of the centerpieces — red paper flowers in vases with aqua marbles.

Our afternoon ceremony took place at my parish, Saint Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church. I wasn’t the least bit nervous until right before I had to walk up the aisle. It’s just a TAD bit overwhelming to see everyone you know staring at you!! We might not have known the right moment to kiss, and the Lord’s Prayer might have gotten left out somehow, but we walked out of there a wedded couple!

Afterward, we spent the rest of the gorgeous afternoon in downtown Raleigh with our wedding party and phenomenal photographer, Sarah Der Photography. As the reception drew nearer, we ducked inside the museum to escape the dropping temperature. There is no shortage of fun things to play with at Marbles, regardless of your age! The wedding party played with giant building blocks and mini hockey while we waited for the guests to finish arriving.

With the incredible help of our vendors — the Marbles staff, our caterer, Rocky Top Hospitality, and our cake artists, Ashley & Josh Lattier of Ashley Cakes — my concept for the reception came together perfectly! It was such a relief walking into the venue to find everything impeccably arranged just how I’d pictured: simple, classy, colorful and fun! And what fun it was. No party can ever top it, in our opinion. Many kind words were spoken, many dance moves were flaunted, and there were nothing but beaming smiles all around us.

And I have to give a special shout-out to my brother, Bobby, for making the party possible! He was our pro-bono DJ and ours was his first wedding gig. Not that you’d know it!

As the evening’s festivities wound down, our guests lined up outside with sparklers. I teared up as we walked through a brilliant tunnel of family and friends cheering at the top of their lungs. John was too excited about getting to our grand exit vehicle — a Tesla Roadster — to get too emotional!

Seventy-five days in, the two of us are still loving married life and couldn’t be more excited for all the adventures it will bring. Lurve will keep us together!

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