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  • Jennifer M. Outlaw

Leigh + BJ :: Married! :: The Oaks at Salem Wedding Photos

The Oaks at Salem Wedding Photography by Raleigh Wedding Photographer AO&JO Photography & Videography


Today I bring you this lovely wedding from The Oaks at Salem in Apex, NC. Leigh and BJ tied the knot here on a beautiful Fall afternoon in mid-November and I was so excited to be apart of their special day. Leigh wore a stunning lace gown from David's Bridal and her bridesmaids wore gorgeous navy gowns accented with lace as well. I loved her choice of bold fall colors in her flowers choices. They just popped with the navy dresses as a backdrop. With their ceremony starting a little late in the day and the sunset coming so early we ha talked about the possibility of doing a first look so that we could get some of their portraits done while the sun was still out, but it wasn't until right before we started shooting that Leigh decided that she wanted to do it. So last minute we made it happen and it was SO WORTH IT! Not only were we able to get some amazing portraits, but the emotion we saw during their first look from BJ was nothing short of amazing. I think just about every one had a tear in their eyes after seeing his reaction to his gorgeous bride. Their ceremony across the pond at The Oaks at Salem was simple but heartfelt. Their vows were custom made by their Officiant Justin Taylor of Randy Taylor Weddings and they did a Wine Box Unity ceremony which was also very special. They had a beautiful wooden box with a bottle of the champagne we had the night BJ proposed inside it and they placed letters to each other in it that they will open and read in 1 year.

After the ceremony we headed back to the tent where Belle's Catering had a GORGEOUS spread that was absolutely delicious. Rather than having a heavy meal, Leigh and BJ decided that they would like their dinner to consist of more hour dervy type foods where everyone could try a little bit of everything. Once we were finished eating Damien Maass kept everyone dancing and having a good time on the dance floor until the end of the night where Leigh had one last surprise for her new hubby. She had gotten them an old-timey British cab to take drive them back to the hotel in style since they are planning a honeymoon to Ireland, Scotland and London early next year.

Keep reading to hear a little bit more about Leigh and BJ's wedding day from the couple as well as a few of our favorite images of course!

Venue: THE OAKS AT SALEM // Officiant: RANDY TAYLOR WEDDINGS // Cake Designer: PUBLIX// Florist: WHOLE FOODS // Caterer: BELLE'S CATERING // Ceremony Music: LINDALE STRING QUARTET // DJ: DAMIEN MAAS // Hair & Make-up: RACHEL PALMER // Transportation: A FORMAL AFFAIR LIMO

Raleigh Wedding Photography by Raleigh Wedding Photographer AO&JO Photography & Videography

Describe the flowers used for floral arrangements

Our flowers were a surprise to a point. I saw what Lex at Whole Foods had put together in their floral department, liked his style and so gave him free range to create what he wanted, based on my request for roses, fall colors and white mixed in for BJ and me, and no white for anyone else. Our flowers were beautiful!

What was the inspiration behind your wedding theme/style?

Fall colors and romance/classical look

What is your favorite memory from your wedding?

First Dance and First look. The emotions were crazy!

Now that your wedding is done, tell us something that all those Brides-to-be out there should know.

First and foremost, get your groom involved! Our wedding party members were flung far and wide and/or had very busy lives, so up until the day and night before the wedding, it was just us doing the bulk of the planning and executing. Our wedding would not have been half as beautiful or enjoyable without BJ's involvement and ideas! Be open to each others wants, needs and visions. If someone does offer help, take it! Also, look outside the box for all ideas and cost savings if on a budget. Our cake was done at Publix Grocery for a fraction of the cost of an independent bakery and was delicious and beautiful. Our flowers were done by Whole Foods, which I never would have thought of on my own, but was suggested by a bride to be we met last Valentine's Day while visiting Williamsburg, VA. Amazing flowers! Ask your venue if they have decorations (candle holders, vases, etc.) Use them! By all means, make a schedule. We did not until the last 10 weeks or so, and had some very late nights getting some things done that we could have done earlier. After all of the planning and executing is done, enjoy the day, we did! Whether all things were as we wanted or not, I really don't know, since upon arrival at our venue I just let things go and enjoyed my day! That is how it should be for every bride and groom!

Why did you choose your wedding venue?

We wanted somewhere where we could do it all and The Oaks at Salem was the only place we visited. It was beautiful all on it's own and we were sold!

Describe the ceremony, what made it unique/special

The most special part for us was that we were married! Our vows were written specifically for us, by Randy Taylor Weddings. We were given the opportunity to edit them, making them exactly what we wanted. The Wine Box Unity ceremony was also very special, including a bottle of the champagne we had the night BJ proposed, as well as placing letters to each other in it, that we will open and read in 1 year.

Describe the reception, what made it unique/special

The Oaks at Salem provides an intimate venue for their reception, where all guests are close by, but not on top of each other. We were able to see and be seen easily, as well as mingle comfortably. Honestly, we were just so happy to be married, that the reception was just icing on the cake! Our music was exactly what we wanted it to be and the atmosphere was beautiful. Our exit was probably what was the most special part, after being able to see family and friends we don't see often. I surprised BJ with an exit car, a London Black Cab! This ties into BJ and I going to the UK for our honeymoon, which will end in London.

Favorite Menu Item

Chicken/Pear/Bacon Skewers. We loved everything we planned, but this was the only thing I had the chance to eat! (Leigh)

What was the inspiration of your wedding cake?

We wanted something fairly classic, but not super traditional. We finally agreed on the cake we chose, which was a traditional tiered cake (4 tiers!), rose florets for trim around each layer and the small polka dots all over each layer. We wanted the cake to not clash with our Cake Topper, a custom, made to order Batman and Bride holding hands. The cake topper was one of the most important pieces of the entire wedding for us!

First Dance Song: At Last, Etta James

Describe the favors for guests

Our favors, Love Soup jars, were probably one of the things we spent the most time on. I knew I wanted something our guests could take home and enjoy, and borrowed the idea and recipe from a friends daughter who married 2 years ago. BJ took the helm on this and found a local company to embroider our monogram and wedding date onto the cloth we chose to cover each jar, as well as ordering the ingredients needed to make each jar and making each one. We ordered our jars online too, and can laugh now, but every shipment had broken jars! We now have a surplus of mason jars, so can make more soups!

If you would like to learn how you can have a luxury wedding photography experience created by AO&JO Photography & Videography, we encourage you to send us a message today. If you're not sure about all of your weddings plans, it's never too early to check your date. We love to meet a bride-to-be who is excited about and cares deeply about having a gorgeous wedding photography!

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