Chini and Varun: A Festive Indian Wedding at the Washington Duke Inn

Over the years I have been fortunate to have so many incredible clients. But, sometimes, you have  couples that you just LOVE. And for me Chini and Varun were one of those couples. From  the very start we had so much fun putting together their big Indian wedding!

Chini and Varun’s love story began at Duke and it was only natural to come back to where it all started. So they selected the Washington Duke Inn to host the days and days of festivities!

The highlight of it all was Saturday. The afternoon started with a traditional Baraat (procession of the groom and his family and friends). The baraat was filled with lively Indian music provided by DJ Rang‘s team and Varun rode in a the traditional white horse. At the end of the baraat Varun was  ceremoniously greeted by Chini’s family and then guests moved inside for the Hindu ceremony. One thing I have learned over the years is that no Hindu wedding is the same. There are so many symbolic acts  and traditions that vary from region to region. Chini was my first Indian bride to be brought in on a palanquin. A little scary for her but, so fun for the rest of us to see! The Hindu ceremony involved two priests, representing each side’s faith from different regions in India. So, it was a long but, beautiful ceremony!

After the ceremony guests had some down time to relax, make outfit changes (another thing I love about Indian weddings, the multitude of outfit changes), and came back to the ballroom for the reception. This is where Chini and Varun let the colors really pop! There were stunning gold sequin linens from CE Rentals and flowers from Tre Bella in bold colors of orange, pink, purple, and even red. At each place setting guests received a small small wooden elephant as a favor. The guests feasted on amazing food by Raaga Catering and then danced to both Indian and American music for hours until it was time for the flower petal send off!

We hope you enjoy these fabulous images from Crystal Stokes Photography and get inspired for your own big day!

Wedding Planner-  A Swanky Affair

Venue and Bar- Washington Duke Inn

Caterer- Raaga

Horse- Southern Breezes Carriages

DJ and Lighting- DJ Rang

Rentals- CE  Rentals

Decor Rentals- Sharpe Pursuits

Photographer- Crystal Stokes Photography

Videographer- Wrinkled Blanket

Hair and make- Perfection by Patricia

Cake- Mad Hatter Cafe and Bake Shoppe

Flowers- Tre Bella Florals

Caroline and Logan: A Sophisticated and Elegant Ballroom Wedding at Duke Chapel and the Washington Duke Inn

Caroline and Logan are a super sweet couple with a very special bond! Caroline entered Duke as a member of the ROTC program. It’s an intense program where the recruits go through rigorous military training while attending college. Caroline’s freshman year was tough since she was the only freshman in the program. At the start of her sophomore year Caroline was told to bring all of her gear (a huge ruck and 3 big duffel bags) for inspection. Standing outside of the door was a handsome young man that offered to help her and introduced himself as Logan, an ROTC recruit starting as a sophomore. Caroline was so happy to have someone in her class to share her experience with! After lots of struggles and laughs through training they both realized there was something more and began dating on Valentines day! Needless to say the rest was history.

For the wedding Caroline loved the idea of a bright pop of pink to liven things up! The bridesmaids hot pink dresses were fun yet sophisticated and coordinated perfectly with the men in bright blue. After a beautiful ceremony at Duke Chapel guests gathered at the Washington Duke Inn for hors d’oeuvres on the patio and then moved inside to the stunning ballroom.  Just check out the all white dance floor with their names! For dessert they had a small cutting cake but, allowed the guests to enjoy multiple flavors of mini-cupcakes from Gigi’s. And after all of the fabulous food and sweets Ryan from SPIN kept the guests on that beautiful dance floor all night!

We hope you enjoy these images from the fabulous Bronwyn Duffield Photography and get inspired for your own big day!

Wedding Planner- A Swanky Affair

Ceremony- Duke Chapel

Organist- Jacob Montgomery

Trumpeter- Don Eagle

Officiant- Meghan Benson

Transportation- Ecostyle

Reception- Washington Duke Inn

Photography- Bronwyn Duffield Photography

Dessert- Gigi’s Cupcakes

Hair and make up- Parlor Blow Dry Bar

DJ- Spin

Flowers- Tre Bella Floral

Lounge Furniture- Themeworks

Rentals- CE Rentals

Floor Wrap-Triangle Sign Company

Shelley and Nishant: A Multicultural American and Indian Wedding in Durham

It’s s so exciting to do a wedding that blends two cultures together! Shelley and Nishant’s American and Indian wedding day was long but wonderful. The festivities began with a  traditional American service at Duke Chapel, followed by an Indian luncheon at the JB Duke Hotel, followed by the Barat (parade) at the hotel entrance, followed by a Hindu ceremony inside, and then to top it off a traditional American evening reception at the Washington Duke Inn!

I hope you enjoy the images of this traditional and classic meets multicultural and fun wedding from Scobey Photography!


Wedding Planner-  A Swanky Affair

American Ceremony- Duke Chapel

Luncheon and Hindu Ceremony Location – JB Duke Hotel

Lunch Catering- Raaga

Evening Reception- Washington Duke Inn

Flowers- Tre Bella Floral

DJ and Barat Music- DJ Rang

Dholi- Jeetu

Wedding Cake- Milk Bar

Photography- Scobey Photography

Videography- Sky Point Productions

Transportation- Carolina Livery

Bride’s Hair- Megan Lane

Bride’s Make up- Ginger Mullins

Bridesmaids Hair and Makeup- 140 Salon

Cocktail Hour Music- Arioso Strings

Mandap and Stage- Sharpe Pursuits

Afternoon Dessert- Locopops

Stationary- Persnickety Invitation Studio

Melanie and Greg: An Elegant Durham Wedding

I’m so excited to share Melanie and Greg’s wedding! When I first chatted with Melanie it was clear that she wanted an elegant wedding but, didn’t want it to feel too stuffy or formal. She wanted her guests to have fun!

The day started off with a lovely ceremony at Duke Chapel. To  honor her alma mater Melanie chose to wear Duke blue shoes and bring in the same blue accent with the flower girl dresses. After the ceremony Melanie and Greg took some time to stroll through Duke Gardens for a little personal time before meeting everyone at the reception. Once they arrived the party was in full swing! Guests were enjoying cocktails on the Washington Duke Inn patio and then found their seat in the colorful ballroom. Melanie’s second accent color, coral, was brought out in the  gorgeous flowers from A Watered Garden. After dinner guests danced the night away and enjoyed a fun popcorn bar with a combination of both savory and sweet treats!

I hope you read this blog and get inspired for your own wedding day!
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Wedding Planner- A Swanky Affair

Ceremony- Duke Chapel

Officiant- Rev. Stephen Bolle

Transportation-Duke Transit

Hair and make up- Perfection by Patricia

Vintage car rental- Air Haven Limousine

Florist- Watered Garden

Videography- Wrinkled Blanket Media

Photographer- Robin Lin Photography

Reception DJ- No Regret Productions

Reception Venue- The Washington Duke Inn

Rentals- CE Rentals

Dessert- The Cupcake Shoppe

Stationary- Indigo Envelope









Katie and Josh- A Classic Summer Wedding

Katie and Josh’s beautiful summer wedding took place at the Washington Duke Inn. They chose the Inn because they wanted a venue that would be a retreat for their wedding weekend. With the Inn’s bar, restaurant, and golf course it was the perfect location!

Even though they chose a lot of classic wedding elements such as formal bridesmaids dresses and a white and soft pink wedding palette with gold accents, there were a lot of fun details! The men gave up formal dress shoes and opted for Jordans. There were custom koozies and an incredible dessert station with chocolate covered pretzels, mini cupcakes, and popcorn!

After a delicious dinner (which included BBQ with mac-n-cheese) and some hilarious toasts, it was time to rock it out with the always fabulous Joe Bunn of Joe Bunn DJ!

I hope you enjoy these images and get inspired for your own big day!

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Candy station

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Wedding Planner- A Swanky Affair– Amanda Scott

Ceremony and Reception Venue- The Washington Duke Inn

Linens- CE Rentals

Photography- White Box Photo

Cake- Jimgerbread

Hair- Salon 93

Makeup- Krys Artistry

Florist- Tre Bella Florist

Candy Bar- Pomp and Panache

Reception Music- Joe Bunn DJ

Ceremony Music- Arioso Strings

Ceremony Fabric Draping- Party Tables 

Men’s suits- Jos. A. Bank Clothiers

Reena & Shawn- Eclectic Indian wedding at the Washington Duke Inn

I am beyond excited to share Reena and Shawn’s Indian-American wedding! The day started off with the traditional baraat with lots of music, dancing, and of course, the groom riding in on a highly decorated horse. But, after that Reena and Shawn made the wedding their own. Reena wanted a dark romance theme (think Alice In Wonderland the Johnny Depp version). With the help of iron gates, trees, terrariums, and lots of eclectic touches we made it happen! It certainly was unlike any other wedding. But, most importantly is was very much a representation of Reena and Shawn. There so much to view in these amazing photos from Riley Maclean Photography . From the bohemian bridesmaids, to the fun photos downtown with their adorable dog Alfie, to the custom bangle tree, there are just so many details to enjoy!

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Planner- A Swanky Affair

Venue- The Washington Duke Inn

Rentals- CE Rentals

Ceremony Decor- The Catering Company of Chapel Hill, Get Lit Special Event Lighting, Party Tables

Flowers- Watered Garden

Photography- Riley Maclean Photography

Videography- Wrinkled Blanket Media

Transportation- Academy Bus

Officiant- Ms. Manu Dongre

Music- Bunn DJ Company

Dessert- The Cheesecake Factory

Hair- Meredith Flamion

Make up- Thuy Lawler

Stephanie & Adam-Valentines Wedding in the Bull City at St. Luke’s and the Washington Duke Inn

I’m thrilled to share this very special Valentines wedding in the Bull City!

Stephanie and Adam both grew up in Durham and met at Northern High School. But, it wasn’t until several years later with a chance meeting at a local restaurant that the sparks started to fly. After a few years of courtship and a romantic beach proposal it was time to plan the big blowout in the Bull City!

Stephanie (a true ECU graduate) loves the color purple and combined it with reds to create a romantic and passionate palette for the Valentine nuptuals. The ceremony took place at her church, St Luke’s Episcopal, followed by  a reception at the Washington Duke Inn. The couple  played up their Bull City love story by incorporating the Durham Bull in everything from the invitations to the dance floor lighting.  While details were important, Stephanie and Adam love to party. So, they chose the  always incredible Fantasy Band to keep guests on the dance floor all night long!

We hope you enjoy these amazing images from Riley Maclean Photography.

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Wedding Planner- A Swanky Affair – Amanda Scott

Ceremony Venue- St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

Reception Venue –The Washington Duke Inn

Linens and chairs: CE Rental

Cakes- Yellowbird Baking

Flowers- Tre Bella Flowers

Cocktail Hour Music- Musicia Musicians

Band- Fantasy Band

Photography- Riley Maclean Photography

Transportation- Duke Transit

Hair and Make Up- Blushed Artistry

Stationary- Indigo Envelope

Ellie & Wes- Understated Elegance at Duke Chapel and The Washington Duke Inn

I had the pleasure of working with Ellie and Wes for a full year before their October wedding. My favorite thing about Ellie was her understated elegance. Everything was so gorgeous yet, not over the top. Everything was simply lovely.

The day started with a Catholic ceremony at Duke Chapel. Afterwards, guests headed to the Washington Duke Inn where they enjoyed a cocktail hour on the patio and the sounds of live music from Musica Musicians. When it was time for dinner the ballroom doors opened to show farm tables, lace runners, and beautiful flowers from Tre Bella. In addition to a traditional wedding cake, they had small cakes, including a brown sugar Bourbon pound cake that was a huge hit with the guys! There were lot of special touches. Each table had  a little trivia about Duke  that corresponded with the table number and each guest received a bottle of Dr. John’s BBQ sauce. It was made by Ellie’s dad using his famous family recipe. What a treat!

We had so much fun working with Ellie and Wes and hope you enjoy the beauty of their wedding day and let it inspire you!

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Wedding Planner- A Swanky Affair- Amanda Scott

Ceremony Venue- Duke Chapel

Reception Venue- The Washington Duke Inn

Photographer- J and J Photography

Wedding Cakes- Yellowbird Baking

Flowers- Tre Bella Flowers

Cocktail Hour Music- Musica Musicians

Band- Hot Sauce

Hair and Make Up- Posh the Salon

Transportation- Harrison Global

Linens- CE Rentals

Tonya & Jerel-Duke Chapel and Washington Duke Inn Wedding

Tonya and Jerel were married last July at the beautiful Duke Chapel followed by a reception at the Washington Duke Inn. I knew from the moment I met Tonya and her mother,  that this was going to be a wedding to remember! Tonya has great style and knew that she wanted to create a classic wedding but, with contemporary and modern touches.

It all started with fabulous invitations from Paper Cafe. The custom calligraphy and gold gilded edges set the tone for the wedding day. So much in fact, that even though this was a destination wedding, almost every invited guest attended!

We had a big surprise on the Thursday before the wedding when I received a phone all from Duke Chapel. A portion of the ceiling had fallen, in the front, and in the middle of the aisle. For safety they quickly erected  large scaffolding that ran the width of the chapel and covered several of the front pews. While an unfortunate circumstnace, Tonya and Jerel  handled the situation with grace and understanding. And it is a now a perfect example to all of my clients that even a mistake can become something beautiful. In fact, their amazing wedding video by Inkspot Crow highlighted a touching homily by Father Mike that compared the scaffolding supporting the chapel to Jesus supporting their marriage in the years to come.

After the ceremony guests were greeted at the Washington Duke Inn with Wedding Cake Martinis and a live Jazz trio which set the energetic  tone for the evening. When it was time for dinner, the doors were opened to show the stunning ballroom. Tonya chose neutral linens which allowed the gorgeous flowers by Tre Bella to really stand out.The tall arrangements of white dendrobium orchids mixed with lower arrangement of fuchsias, greens, and purples gave the room a classic but, contemprorary flair. For dinner guests enjoyed a first course of shrimp cocktail, followed by spring greens with strawberries, feta, pecans, and a pink champagne vinaigrette, and then a main course of grilled filet and lump crab with whipped potatoes, haricot verts, and sauce bodelaise. After dinner it was time to get the party started! Big Blast and the Party Masters gave an incredible performance that kept guests on the dance floor all night. And as a late night surprise, Tonya and Jerel served chicken and waffles. A perfect way to finish an evening to remember!


Wedding Planner- A Swanky Affair-Amanda Scott

Accomidations- The Washington Duke Inn

Ceremony Venue- Duke Chapel

Reception Venue- The Washington Duke Inn

Photography- Robin Lin Photography

Videography- Inkspot Crow

Cocktail hour music- Brian E. Miller Entertainment

Reception music- Big Blast and the Party Masters

DJ- Ben Felton

Florist- Tre Bella Florist

Cake- The Art of Cake

Bus Transportation- Carolina Livery

Wedding party transportation- Olde South Trolley

Bride’s Make Up- Davis Make Up Artistry

Bride’s Hair- Lavish Hair Spa

Stationary- Paper Cafe

Johanna & Ben: A Fairytale Duke Chapel and Washington Duke Inn Wedding

Once upon a time on a gorgeous fall day a Princess married her Prince….and so begins the story of Johanna and Ben’s fairytale wedding. Johanna and her attendants arrived  to  Duke Chapel in royal style with a horse and carriage. The bride wore a stunning champagne ball gown and her attendants wore all white dresses. After the ceremony the couple invited guests to enjoy a long and unique day of festivities. They began with an early afternoon reception where guests enjoyed hors d’ oeurves and a wine tasting  while listening to live Classical music performed by Foscoe Philharmonic. The couple greeted guests in a traditional receiving line followed by champagne toasts and the cake cutting. Later in the afternoon guests had a special surprise with Elizabethan dance lessons so they could learn to dance in true royal form. After a brief afternoon break the guests were invited to the second portion of the festivities in the Presidential Ballroom. The couple chose warm shades amber,  golds, and reds to create a romantic feel for the evening. One of my favorite touches was the favors, mini sword letter openers for the men and Sleeping Beauty books for the women. After a delicious dinner Johanna and Ben had their first dance to, “The Sleeping Beauty, Ballet” by Tchiaikovsky. But, it was time to kick it up a notch and into modern times. Ryan with SPIN DJ led the way into finishing off the evening with a  dance party no one will forget.

We hope you enjoy this fairytale wedding and let it inspire you to make your dreams come true!


Wedding Planner-A Swanky Affair-Amanda Scott

Ceremony- Duke Chapel

Reception-  Washington Duke Inn

Transportation- Gold Leaf Carriage and Duke Transit

Hair and Make Up- Stacey Sipker

Officiants- Rvev. Meghan Feldmeyer and Rev. Eric Peoples

Cake- Lynn’s Traditions

Dance Lessons- English Sun Assembly Country Dancers

String Trio- Foscoe Philharmonic


Flowers- Floral Dimensions

Stationary- Paper Cafe

Photography- Walters and Walters

Videography- Heart Stone Films

Bride’s Dress- Amalia Carrara (Designer) from Celestial Bridal

Groom’s Suit- Men’s Wearhouse

Groomsmen’s Suits- Bernard’s Formal Wear

Accommodations- Washington Duke Inn