Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Weddings at The Oaks at Salem are so wonderful! A truly gracious Southern setting with spacious facility and well-groomed grounds conveniently located in Apex. April Maness, the owner, knew what was the perfect venue for weddings when she purchased the property and built the beautiful manor. Jessica and Brent fell in love with it and had their wedding there on Sunday May 18, 2014.
Valet parking service is routine for weddings at The Oaks
A view of the back of the manor house from the side of the lake. The tent on the terrace serves as protection for both rain and intense heat of the sun. April even has lighting and speakers installed within the tent.
Plenty of room for seating of guests for the reception and the ceremony. 
Jessica and Brent had large cookies as wedding favors for the guests and they are all laid out for the taking! 
Just inside the terrace is the bar, food bar and the wedding cupcakes! This lovely configuration is by Bitty Cakes. Thrills from the Grill was catering. Yummy! A Ming Rose was the florist.
DJ Mel Manning was in charge of the music for both the ceremony and reception. Jessica and Brent chose to have their wedding under the tent from the very beginning to avoid everyone sitting out in the sun. Turns out it was seasonably cooler that day with a cloud cover and forecast of scattered showers--which did not happen!
Okay! It is time to begin. Joslin, the wedding director for the venue, cued the music and the processional. You can see her in the background. The seating of Brent's grandmother was first, then his aunt, then the parents of the groom and mother of the bride.
Greg and Justin, the groomsmen entered after Brent and me. 
Here comes the bride and her father!
Jessica bids farewell to her father and joins Brent. 
The tree in the background is the popular spot for some weddings but serves as a nice backdrop for weddings under the tent.
Our lovely bridesmaids witness the ceremony. The maid of honor is Jessica's sister, Lillian. I did not get the other two girls' names but I know the middle one is engaged to Justin, one of the groomsmen. 
It is unusual to get a photo of the guests but it is so telling of the feelings they have for Jessica and Brent. That is Brent's aunt wiping away some tears of happiness. Note up just above Brent's parents' head are a couple--he with glasses and she a blonde with an aqua top. That is Jay and Alyssa whom I married last July at The Cotton Room. I had no idea that Alyssa and Jessica were college roommates. It was so good to see them again. You can view their wedding here.
The blessing of the parents.......
The telling of their story: Jessica and Brent met at work where a lot of love stories begin. Jessica had just been hired and her cube was right next to Brent's so he was the go-to person for all her questions. She said he had immeasurable patience with her. He said he relished in the opportunity to be with her the questions afforded! They never tired of each other and decided to go out to a basketball game after work. Even though Jessica's alma mater UNC beat their opponent, Brent's alma mater NCSU, they had so much fun that the die was cast and there was no looking back.
Brent proposed to Jessica three years later and since then he has earned a graduate degree, they moved to a new city and bought their first house together, all while planning this wedding!
This is where I reveal to each of them what their partner told me in confidence they love about each other. "Brent, along with always letting her try a small bite of your food, killing spiders for her, and many other things, Jessica knew you were a keeper. She loves the way you cackle when you laugh and the way you make her smile...."
They read the vows they had written for each other from my book where the words were printed facing them as they exchanged their rings. 
I pronounced them husband and wife and told Brent he could kiss his beautiful wife! 
Off into the world, they go! 
Photos after the ceremony were on the front lawn. Their photographer, Francis Wong, was getting the family photos so we waited our turn. The couple with Brent's parents, Jane and David.
Aunt Gayle and the groomsmen. 
Jessica's parents, Jinn and liHsia. 
Brent's grandmother, Nancy, is pleased to pose with the couple.
My turn! Jessica and Brent, what a great couple you are. Loved your story and I know you will be happily married ever after! My best for you always.
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