Sarah and Catherine planned all the details of their wedding, combining the simple, contemporary nature of the hotel with elegant embellishments and personal touches. The couple explained, “We wanted our wedding to look beautiful in 40 years.” From beginning to end, the wedding was a sensory feast, with a special emphasis on music: Because both are chorus teachers, they knew music had to be a big part of their special day. With friends including singer-songwriter Lyn Koonce and dance fitness studio owners, plus dance party fanatics in their families, they envisioned their reception as an “awesome party full of songs that had meaning and were great to dance to.”
Catherine wore her grandmother’s 1954 gown, which is the dress her mom, aunt, and sister also wore for their weddings. (Elizabeth’s Alterations in Greensboro reworked the vintage dress, updating the style.) Sarah found her dress at Poffie Girls in Gastonia on a shopping day with the couple’s mothers.
As Sarah and Catherine walked down the Social Lobby’s two staircases at the same time, a choir of 16 of their former students sang an a cappella choral arrangement of The Beach Boys song “God Only Knows.”
WHAT MADE IT SO SPECIAL
Catherine and Sarah are both high school chorus teachers who feel that teaching music is their way of changing the world, however small. The couple say that they “try to impress upon our students the importance of living your truth and your passion, and using the talents you possess to make a positive difference in the world.”
They don’t recall who first floated the idea for a choir of their former students, but Sarah says, “It was incredibly special that so many of our former students were willing and able to do that for us. Having them there to witness our wedding and sing for the ceremony was absolutely perfect. It was just such a symbol of what we try to accomplish in our classrooms.”
Instead of a “first look” for one another or their dads, Sarah and Catherine decided to have a first look with those students. As Sarah described it, “We needed them to get all of their squealing out before they had to pull themselves together and sing during our entrance. Those girls would NOT have been able to contain themselves if they saw us for the first time while they were singing!”
A string quartet played for the ceremony, which was officiated by Sarah’s cousin Rev. Dr. Jeff Paschal, then led a “flash mob” along with the student choir singing “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles as the recessional.
THE COLOR PALETTE
Sarah and Catherine wanted to ensure that everything was visually light, pretty, and classic. After looking for ideas and pinning a lot of looks they liked on Pinterest, the pair settled on classic white and light pink with hints of green and gold. Bridal bouquets created by Brenda McLamb, floral designer, featured white and blush peonies—both brides’ favorite flower. Florals, including tall arrangements in tulip vases and low arrangements in dull gold mercury glasses, consisted of blush and white peonies and white majolica spray roses along with small accents of greenery. Gold also appeared in mercury glass votive candle holders, brushed gold chargers, and gold Chiavari chairs.
White and blush tones, accented with touches of gold and green, added to the timeless atmosphere of Catherine and Sarah’s wedding.
HOW THEY MET
In the late 1990s, Sarah and Catherine—both talented high school singers—met when they each were chosen to participate in the Choral Music program at NC Governor’s School, a six-week summer enrichment program for academically gifted high school students. Sarah was from Gastonia, and Catherine was from Raleigh, but the pair re-kindled their friendship when both ended up at UNCG as Music Education majors.
THE PROPOSAL STORY
When the US District Court decision of October 2014 legalized same-sex marriage in North Carolina, the couple felt what Sarah describes as “an urgent desire to get married. It was like a switch was flipped. I never thought I would get married, and didn’t feel like I cared about being married. But when it all the sudden was a possibility, I REALLY wanted to marry Catherine as soon as possible.”
So, over dinner at Print Works Bistro, the couple talked it over, initially considering just going to the courthouse. However, they quickly realized that both wanted their wedding to be a celebration with friends and family taking part. Having it at the Proximity was a natural conclusion, one that Sarah says was, “the first, quickest, and best decision we made.”
Chef Designed menu from Print Works Bistro
During the cocktail hour, guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres, including a duck confit-stuffed mushroom with Prima Donna cheese, mini croque monsieurs, and short rib beignets with truffle bacon aioli.
Guests then were treated to dinner in the White Oak Room, beginning with a salad of mixed seasonal greens with a their choice of house vinaigrette or creamy herb dressing, and continuing with entrees including:
- Chicken Paillard with Shallots and Preserved Lemon
- Pan-Seared Salmon with Honey-Lime Butter Sauce
- Crispy Quinoa, Sweet Potato, and Spinach Cakes Mueniere over Brussels Sprout-Fennel Slaw with Toasted Coconut, Cashews, and Vadouvan Sauce.
The wedding cake, provided by Maxie B’s Bakery, was a four-tier combination of brown stone, buttermilk pound cake with fresh raspberries, and devil’s food cakes.
For a fun touch at the end of the evening, Sarah and Catherine requested passed Chocolate Chip Cookies and Milk “Shooters.”
Ash with her first cousins, “Hearing no evil, speaking no evil, seeing no evil.” The three were born few months apart and were close growing up, but had not been together for 20+ years until this wedding (left). Ash with her nephews, her sister’s children (right).
Sarah and her dad, Bob, danced to “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole. Catherine and her dad, Butch, danced to “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. Catherine’s sister Paige, in coral above, served as the couple’s attendant.
THE WEDDING MAGIC MAKERS
- Venue: Proximity Hotel, Social Lobby (Ceremony), White Oak (Cocktail Reception) and Weaver Room (Reception)
- Getting Ready Suite: Proximity Loft Studio Suite
- Chef Design Menus: Print Works Bistro
- Officiant: Rev. Dr. Jeff Paschal
- Photographer: Liz Grogan
- Videographer: HoneyDew Films
- String Quartet: Elegant Ensembles
- Choir: The brides’ former students
- Cocktail Hour Musician: Lyn Koonce & Friends
- DJ: Chris Fletcher with Triad DJ
- Bakery: Maxie B’s Bakery
- Florist: Brenda McLamb
For more information about planning your wedding or event Greensboro, North Carolina, please email our wedding and event specialists or give us a call at Proximity Hotel: 336-478-9111 or O.Henry Hotel: 336-854-2000 . .