Monica + Andy: Blossoming Love

At last, I get to share the sweet story of our very own ‘Roo (and resident green thumb), Monica, and her husband, Andy!

Originally from Ohio, Monica made the trek down to North Carolina for grad school at North Carolina State University in 2008. Single and new to the area, she decided to join eHarmony. Right before Andy, NC-born-and-bred, closed his eHarmony account, the website matched him to Monica, who just so happened to be Mrs. Right!

After a few emails and phone conversations, the two decided to meet up. A viewing of Tropic Thunder might not sound like a super romantic first date, but it definitely brought out their shared sense of humor! Instantly comfortable in each other’s company, they wasted no time getting to the second date. The very next night Andy took Monica out to dinner. A few weeks later Monica met Andy’s young daughter, Erica. From that point on, their love simply blossomed!

Andy proposed to Monica on Christmas morning of 2011, to her surprise and delight! He even set up a collection picture frame filled with photos of them, one spot with only a piece of paper reading “Wedding Photo!” They soon began planning their wedding, slated for November 10, 2012.

Both nature-lovers, they would have liked an outdoor wedding, but as every North Carolinian knows, you can’t count on the weather in this state! They compromised by holding their ceremony in an indoor facility at the gorgeous J.C. Raulston Arboretum, where Monica previously worked, and including lots of outdoorsy elements in the reception decor.

Monica and Andy's oak tree wedding invitations

With an original color scheme of browns and greens, Monica came to me with the idea of a simple oak tree graphic for her Save the Dates and Wedding Invitations. Natural and classy-without-all-the-fuss (because that’s Monica, y’all!)

M + A's ceremony; Monica goofs off with her siblings.

The wedding took place on about the most beautiful morning November could offer — blue skies and a temperature around 70 degrees smiled upon M + A’s big day! Family and friends gathered at the Arboretum to witness a sweet and genuine exchange of vows. Monica presented her new step-daughter, Erica, with a necklace (made by ‘Roo Kristin!) to recognize her part in the union. As the newlywed couple exited the building, the guests waved ribbon wands over their heads!

Later on, the lunch reception commenced at the shiny new Hilton Garden Inn RDU/RTP. The nature theme really had a presence; the decor was delightful. And it was entirely DIY!

“I took limbs and branches from some shrubs in our backyard and hot glued some scrapbook paper leaves to them…  I made the centerpieces for the tables at our reception from rough lumber that I stained and nailed bottoms onto them.  I grew wheatgrass for each centerpiece, and by placing a vase in the center of each centerpiece before I planted the wheatgrass, I left a space to put fresh flowers on the day of our wedding…  I made birdseed hearts as favors, my sister made mine and Erica’s bouquets and the boutonnieres and corsages the night before, my mother made the beautiful cake with Cattleya and Phalaenopsis orchids, and my sister-in-law made several decorations.”

Wedding cake decorations made by Monica's mother.

Monica and her father kicked off the reception with a polka and managed to get quite a few guests on the floor polkaing along with them! Her brother, Jim, gave a touching toast, welcoming Andy and Erica to their large, jovial family. In fact, spending time with their families was the very best part of the weekend for M + A. The evening of their wedding day, they went out to eat with both families and had an absolute blast!

M + A enjoying their reception with guests.

Everything went off without a hitch; the day went along exactly as they’d hoped!

“I guess, all in all, our wedding was a very good reflection of who we are… not too flashy, not too fancy, easy-going, fun and sometimes funny.”

To highlight Monica’s phenomenal flair for efficiency, I’d like to point out that she and Andy moved from their apartment into a house late in their engagement and still managed to pull off this mostly DIY wedding! They’ve also added a new member to their family, a tiny black Morkie (Maltese-Yorkie) they named Mishu!

M + A share a moment at the beautiful JC Raulston Arboretum.

Photographs courtesy of RGB Insight Photography.

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