I first met McKenzie & Taylor while I was still working at the Beaufort Hotel in Beaufort, NC. From the minute they walked in, we had a connection. They were two of the sweetest (and most adorable) human beings I had ever met, in addition to McKenzie’s parents who accompanied them on their venue tour.
After lots of talking and getting to know each other, McKenzie & Taylor were told that I was soon moving to California and leaving the Hotel – in which they very promptly asked. “does that mean you can be our wedding planner?”. Without the skip of a beat, I said yes, and we held their initial consultation not two weeks later.
McKenzie & Taylor wanted their entire wedding weekend to be an incredible experience for their guests. Everything from the food they ate, to the transportation provided, decor, flowers, music, and of course, one great party.
Their wedding weekend was kicked off with McKenzie’s bridal brunch, also held at the Beaufort Hotel.
Later that afternoon we held their ceremony rehearsal at the Hotel’s Wedding Pavilion, which sat right on Taylor’s Creek with an unobstructed view of Carrot Island, home to over 30 wild horses. After their rehearsal, guests boarded buses with Diamond Limousine that brought them to Southern Salt Seafood Company in downtown Morehead City, for their rehearsal dinner.
With a little help from Designs by Durant, Sandy’s Flower Shoppe, and BBJ LaTavola, a very casual event space was elevated into an upscale coastal setting. As guests arrived they enjoyed the calming sounds and views of the Morehead City Waterfront for cocktail hour. Once seated for diner, the meal was blessed by (NAME), and then an assortment of seafood and homestyle sides were served by the Southern Salt banquet team. Following dinner, The Axtell’s Photo & Film were sure to capture the very spirited toasts by the matron of honor and two best men. As guests left dinner and made their way to Jacks Waterfront for a little additional pre-wedding day fun, they were given a custom cake pop by The Topiary.
McKenzie and her wedding party began the day with the always fabulous Reign Beauty team in a suite at the Beaufort Hotel, while Taylor and his wedding party explored downtown Beaufort. The Just Team soon arrived to begin the setup of their ceremony and reception spaces. The Axtell’s Photo & Film followed suit and began shooting all of the couples custom details; items such as their custom invitation suite and wedding weekend stationary by Shop Surcie, McKenzie’s dress, her jewelry, and Taylor’s custom tailored tuxedo from Glenwood South Tailors.
During such, the Beaufort Hotel’s Rachel Carson Ballroom was in the midst of transformation with the help of Design Perfect (florals, candles, boxwood walls, champagne walls, easels), Curated Events Raleigh (chairs, tables, chargers, flatware), and BBJ LaTavola (table linen and napkins), along with the help of the Beaufort Hotel event manager and banquet team.
Something that I also love about McKenzie & Taylor, is their obsession with their dog Shelby. Sadly, Shelby has since crossed the rainbow bridge, but she was certainly a highlight that cannot be forgotten. The first few minutes of each planning call would start with “How are you both doing? And how is my favorite Miss Shelby?”. She was truly the most adorable blue pit with so much love and compassion for anyone who crossed her path, let alone a minor star over this wedding weekend. Miss Shelby spent the morning getting ready with her dad and his wedding party, and even got some bling of her own with a beautiful floral collar that coordinated with her moms bouquet.
As guests arrived for the ceremony, they were greeted with a glass of champagne and the musical stylings of DJ Ben Felton of East Coast Entertainment. One of the things I love about the Beaufort Hotel is the lawn space that leads up to the Wedding Pavilion; as it creates this long and dramatic aisle for its couples. And when you have a bride as stunning as McKenzie, there wasn’t a dry eye in sight as she made her way down the aisle to Taylor.
The couple was officiated by a close friend, Patrick Giggey, with a ceremony including readings by McKenzie’s Aunt Carroll Lynn Ritchie and Chris Durant.
Once these two love birds were married, they recessed to Forever by Chris Brown and went right into the start of the celebration. I’ve seen and been around a lot of wedding parties in my day, and this might just be the most happy and hyped group I have had the pleasure to work with. McKenzie & Taylor took all of their formal family portraits, followed by pictures with their wedding party, and lastly the most stunning portraits with just the two of them, and of course, Miss Shelby too.
While McKenzie & Taylor were busy taking pictures, guests made their way up the stairs of the Hotel to the Rachel Carson Ballroom, pre-function space, and Veranda which overlooked Taylor’s Creek and Carrot Island. Between the couples signature drinks and fabulous design, we of course had to work Miss Shelby into the reception, since she wasn’t able to join us in the ballroom. With this, Trilogy Treats created each guests a custom sugar cookie – decorated as Miss Shelby herself, which were customized with the guests name and dinner seating assignment. Music on the Veranda was provided by Jorge on guitar of Crystal Coast Musicians.
When I said these two had a pretty hype wedding party, I wasn’t kidding… These duos absolutely cranked up the party with their planned entrance intros to Walk It Out by DJ Unk.
McKenzie & Taylor entered their reception with so much love and energy with smiles from ear to ear as they made their way to the dance floor for their first dance. Following such, McKenzie’s Dad Marty gave a beautiful welcome then dinner was served by the Beaufort Hotel’s banquet team.
Once dinner had started to die down, McKenzie & Taylor cut their cut supplied by The Topiary, and went right into their parent dances. After this, that “one great party’ really got started. Taylor is a BIG music guy, like its a big part of his personality, in which he worked hand and hand with DJ Ben Felton on creating the perfect reception mixes and playlist to keep the party and energy up all night long. Given these two are big college football fans, this of course included the NC State fight song.
McKenzie & Taylor truly partied the night away, and ended the night with a sparkler exit down the Hotel’s main driveway.
McKenzie & Taylor are truly perfect match, and we can’t wait to watch them grow. Thank y’all for letting Us play such a big role in your wedding weekend, it was an absolutely pleasure.
Love the Just Us Weddings Team