Charmaine & Steve- Intimate Wedding at Duke Gardens and The Piedmont

There is something very special about a small wedding. Charmaine and Steve waited a long time to find each other and when it was time to celebrate they wanted it to be an incredibly meaningful moment with their closest friends and family. Although they live in Boston, they thought Durham was the perfect location for their nuptials. They chose the lovely Duke Gardens for the ceremony followed by a reception at the Piedmont where guests enjoyed an amazing  five course meal and wine pairing menu.

Nesting birds were a recurring theme throughout the wedding. Both Charmaine and Steve are avid bird watchers, often taking trips to explore their passion. But, they were also expecting a baby so the nesting bird theme tied in perfectly to their wedding day!

We hope you enjoy these images from F8 Photo Studios and get inspired!

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Wedding Planner- A Swanky Affair– Amanda Scott

Ceremony Venue- Duke Gardens

Reception Venue- The Piedmont

Officiant- Kayelily Middleton

Flowers- Watered Garden Florist

Ceremony Music- Arioso Strings

Reception Music- Joe Bunn DJ Company

Photography- F8 Photography Studio

Videography- Cinema Couture

Cake- Edible Art

Make Up- Sharon Davis Make up Artistry 

Hair- Perfection by Patricia

Wedding Dress- Luke Aaron

Bridesmaids Dresses- J Crew

Zana & Chris- Intimate Duke Chapel and Parizade Wedding

I am so excited to share a very special wedding! It was such a pleasure to work with a bride and groom that really understood what a wedding is all about. It’s about sharing a beautiful day with the family and friends that you love the most.

Zana first move to the US from her native Kosovo during high school. She decided to continue her education in the states at Averitt University. That is where Zana and Chris met through mutual friends. Over the years their love grew, they graduated, and started careers. Chris, a US Army Engineer, found himself being deployed to Afghanistan. Zana and Chris both agreed that they wanted to be married before his departure. Like so many couples that sacrifice for this country, they skipped the traditional wedding and had a simple civil ceremony. But, they still dreamed of having  a more traditional wedding at some point and five years later they made that dream happen. Family and friends came from near and far to share in their special day .

The festivities started with Zana and Chris sharing an intimate horse and carriage ride to Duke Chapel. The wedding was just before Christmas and the chapel was beautifully decorated with poinsettia and greenery. One unique touch was Zana’s European style bouquet. Rather than flowers that are held  upright, they lay  across the bride’s arm. After a lovely Catholic ceremony, everyone gathered at Parizade for the reception. There guests listened to the live music, enjoyed great food, and had delicious cake from Sweet Memories Bakery.

I am so honored to have been  a part of such a special wedding. Please enjoy the images from the fabulous Brian Mullin’s Photography.

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Wedding Planner- Amanda Scott- A Swanky Affair

Ceremony Venue- Duke Chapel

Reception- Parizade

Photography- Brian Mullins

Cake- Sweet Memories 

Transportation- Gold Leaf Carriage

Hair and Makeup- Makeupforyourday

Flowers- Floral Dimensions

Rentals- Party Reflections

Music- Save The Date Music

Rebekah & Ben-Fun and Colorful Durham Wedding at Parizade

 Rebekah and Ben were not only amazing to work with but, it was such a joy to see a couple so madly in love! From the first day I met them  through a full year of planning it was clear in every email, phone call, and meeting just how much they adore each other.

Rebekah and Ben first met in 7th grade English class and knew each other through high school. But, it was years later after college when they both moved back to Durham that they reconnected and realized they were meant to be. When it was time to get married they thought about a destination wedding, maybe something at the beach. But, they quickly realized they wanted to celebrate with all of their friends and family in the town where they grew up. Parizade was the perfect fit. As one of Durham’s most established  restaurants, it was a place where Rebekah and Ben shared many memories of  special dinners and celebrations over the years.

The evening started in the courtyard with a traditional Jewish ceremony under a chuppah made by Rebekah’s mother. Afterwards guests moved inside where they enjoyed something old (mint Juleps), something new (Sparkling rose with St. Germain Elderflower liquor and pineapple ), something borrowed (a special cocktail from one of their favorite restaurants, Vin Rouge), and something blue (blueberry vodka lemonade). For the decor, Rebekah wanted eclectic and colorful. Farm and Filigree provided a variety of seasonal flowers in vintage glasses and gorgeous taper candles in brass holders. It was a beautiful look that complimented the colorful walls and artwork of Parizade. For dinner the guests enjoyed an incredible feast followed by delicious cake from Sugarland bakery. But, the evening was just beginning as everyone moved back under the tent for dancing. No Regret Productions kept everyone moving! One of the highlights of the evening was the almost 10 minute  Horah where Rebekah, Ben, and both of their parents were carried around by the crowd.

I am so honored to have been a part of this wonderful celebration and wish Rebekah and Ben an amazing future and lifetime of happiness.

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Wedding Planner- A Swanky Affair– Amanda Scott

Officiant- Rabbi Friedman

Stationary- Indigo Envelope

First Look Photos Location- The King’s Daughter’s Inn

Ceremony and Reception Venue- Cafe Parizade

Cake- Sugarland 

Florist and Vintage Rentals- Farm and Filigree

Tent- Party Reflections

Photographer- Rebecca Ames Photography

DJ- No Regret Productions

Hair and Make Up- Stage 1 Salon

Maddy & Joe: A Wedding That Rocked!

What more could you want in a wedding? Great food, perfect weather, beautiful flowers, a gorgeous bride and groom…..and a rock star!

Maddy and Joe were married in mid April at Cafe Parizade in Durham, the place where they first met. They wanted to create a wedding that was energetic, fun, and reflected their passion for good food and great music. For the ceremony they really rocked it out with “Nothing Else Matters, ” by Metallica for the processional and, “Thunderstuck, ” by AC/DC for the recessional. After the ceremony guests enjoyed a  cocktail hour with  fresh oysters, scallops, lamb pops, short rib sliders, crab cakes, and home-made pates. Yum!!! For dinner guests were invited to the dining room where Maddy chose a sleek, modern design of lilies, orchids, and hydrangea for the centerpieces. After dinner guests were invited back to the courtyard  where DJ Joe Bunn rocked the crowd for a while and then….the special surprise. Maddy and Joe hired Ed Kowalczyk of LIVE to perform for the guests. The crowd was mesmerized as they listened to him  perform  Maddy and Joe’s favorite songs. Definitely a unique treat to have a rock star perform at your wedding!

Congratulations to an amazing couple and thanks for allowing  A Swanky Affair to be a part of it all! 



Wedding Planner- A Swanky Affair– Amanda Scott

Venue- Cafe Parizade

Officiant- Terry-Michael Newell

Ceremony and Reception Music- Joe Bunn of Joe Bunn DJ

Special Perforamance- Ed Kowalczyk

Linen Rentals- CE Rental

Rentals- Party Reflections 

Flowers- A Watered Garden

Cake- Swank Cake

Photographer- Riley Maclean

Videography- Heart Stone Films

Lighting- No Regret Productions

Hair and Make Up- Posh Salon

Wedding Dress- Victorian Rose Bridals

Sound Equipment- Rock Quarry Productions

Seating chart and table numbers- Calligraphy by Carrie

Luke & Rachael- Duke Chapel and Parizade Wedding

Growing up in Durham I never thought there would be a day when our town became a site for destination weddings. But, thanks to the revitalized downtown, amazing food scene, and vibrant culture it has become the perfect place for a couple to celebrate their big day with friends and family.

Luke and Rachael met at engineering school in St. Louis where they shared a keen interest in historic building preservation. After school they relocated to Maryland where they currently live. Their only connection to Durham was Rachael’s mother, Jan, who attended university at Duke. When discussing wedding locations they knew that two things were important: architecture and food. They had to look no further than Durham. The couple loved the unique beauty and reverence Duke chapel offered for the ceremony.  And Cafe Parizade in Durham offered an incredible customized menu to reflect their love and passion for food.

As they did more research Luke and Rachael saw even more benefits of a Durham wedding. With guests flying in from all over the world, including Turkey and Singapore, RDU offered great flight connections. The town also offered a wonderful array of options for lodging, dining, and event venues for the wedding weekend. Durham  provided great amenities for a mid-size city and had none of the big city transportation issues. It was the perfect setting for their destination wedding!

The wedding took place in the early fall. Rachael worked hard to merge fall colors into every aspect. The bridesmaids wore burgundy red dresses and the bouquets and boutonnieres reflected the golden tones of the season.

For the reception the couple chose one of Durham’s oldest and finest restaurants, Cafe Parizade. They incorporated the fall colors with gold accents and  custom-made burgundy linens. Rather than a seated dinner, the couple opted for  stations showcasing their favorite foods. The menu ranged from sliced beef tenderloin au Poivre and rosemary gnocchi to  mini gyros and sips of tomato soup accented with grilled cheese bites.

Another highlight of the evening was the desert station. Not only was there a beautiful wedding cake, but also an amazing gelato station, Croquembouche, chocolate dipped lemon and orange peels, assorted tarts, French macaroons, and more!

After all that food it was time to have fun! The couple chose an amazing band to entertain their guests and even had a “love train” going all the way through the restaurant!

And the last treat for the guests were the gift bags filled with Herbs de Provence for the guests to use in their own cooking to remember Luke and Rachael’s love of food!

It was an honor to work with a couple that chose to spend their special day in my home town that I love so much. A BIG THANK YOU to Rachael and Luke!


Wedding Planner- A Swanky Affair-Amanda Scott

Ceremony- Duke Chapel

Reception Venue-Cafe Parizade

Desert- Sugarland Bakery

Photography- Logan Jarrard Photography

Flowers- Tre Bella Flowers