Melanie + Darrell | Grand Marquise Ballroom

It’s been such a fun journey working with Melanie and Darrell. From their engagement session in Chapel Hill to Melanie’s bridal portrait session, we have enjoyed documenting so many special moments. They moved to Charleston South Carolina and are now in the process of settling down in Orlando Florida. Melanie recently graduated from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and we are so happy for them and the bright future that is ahead. Melanie and Darrell celebrated their elegant wedding at the Grand Marquise Ballroom. It was a perfect day! Please enjoy a few of our favorite images and few fun facts from the bride and groom.

Quick Facts

Favorite item on the wedding menu: We had a traditional homestyle meal comprised of baked chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans—some of our favorite foods.

Bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts: Brides- necklace and earrings; Grooms- ties and socks

First dance song: Thinking Out Loud

Venue: Grand Marquise Ballroom

Please share your engagement story and how you met?

Early in the fall, we decided to go ring shopping after discussing an engagement in the near future.  I insistently dropped hints about the type of engagement ring I wanted. When Christmas came around, I anxiously awaited the proposal, but the timing just wasn’t right and I began to believe Darrell just wasn’t ready yet.  After being apart for New Year’s Eve, Darrell decided to take me out for a nice private dinner on New Year’s Day at McCormick and Schmick’s. After reflecting on the previous year we spent together, we were preparing to wrap up dinner for the night and patiently waited for the waitress to return.  After waiting about ten minutes, I asked “Is she every coming back?”  Darrell then got up from the table and approached the hostess booth.  Thinking Darrell went to complain about the waitress, I quickly motioned him back to the table to avoid trouble.  Little did I know, Darrell approached the hostess to ask her to take pictures of the proposal. Darrell returned to the table, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.  I began laughing not because of the proposal, but because I thought Darrell and the hostess returned to discuss the waitress’ poor service. After I realized what had happened, I quickly said “Yes, of course!”  When the waitress finally returned to the table, I realized what occurred and gifted Melanie and Darrell with a delicious desert to end the night.

 Where was your first date? What did you do?

Our first date was our 8th Grade Prom. Before the event, our parents gawked over pictures, and drove us to the middle school. We were nervous, and barely dance with each other. It was less pressure for the both of us, as we gathered with friends at Pizza Hut after the 8th grade prom – truly priceless memories.

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How about your wedding shoes and jewelry?

Melanie- shoes from Badgley Mischka, pearls

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Describe your wedding dress style?

Simply elegant A-line with Swarovski Crystal Belt

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Tell us about your flowers by Fresh Affairs?

Simple, but elegant white and off-white seasonal flowers with accents of green; brides bouquet contained hydrangeas, peonies/garden roses, ranunculus, and sweet peas.

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And your beautiful cake by Ashley Cakes?

Traditional yellow butter cake with vanilla buttercream icing with plum purple ribbon, flowers, and peacock feathers.





Tell us about your wedding photography?

Donnell Perry Photography captured special moments throughout the day and until the very end of our special night. They capture special moments of us, our family and friends.

Muddy Trails Videography compiled a video of the most special moments from our big day so we could relive those moments whenever we wanted.

Tell us about your wedding planner?

Elana Walker Events provided me with wedding advise from the very beginning and was always available for consultation when I needed her. I hired her as a day-of-coordination and she went above and beyond to make our day was perfect. She definitely helped save me time, money, and stress! 




What’s your favorite image from your wedding day, and why?

Not sure we have a favorite image—there are so many special moments that were captured of us, our family and friends. One of our favorite images is us laughing during the toasts from our friends and family. This definitely personifies the love, happiness, and support we felt on our special day.








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How / why did you choose your ceremony venue?

Learned about the venue at a wedding show… I would definitely suggest going to a wedding show before you start planning for the wedding to get a chance to meet vendors, compare services and prices.

 Any advice for future brides?

Hire a wedding planner early! Make a timeline and commit to sticking to it. Find your vendors early and then work on the details later. Always remember everything comes together perfectly in the end!

 Any funny stories about yourselves?

During our high school years, we ate lunch together every day in the cafeteria at Southern Vance High School. On one particular day, it was time for us to return to class.  As Darrell proceeded to get up from the lunch table, he grabbed his backpack off the floor by its strap; however, the other strap was caught under Melanie’s chair.  Darrell yanked the backpack, flipping me out of my chair creating a big commotion in front of everyone in the cafeteria.  I was extremely embarrassed and left the cafeteria in tears.  Darrell ran after me to apologize and console me.  While I felt humiliated at the time, this was the first time I experienced the comfort of Darrell’s embrace. When we reflect back on this day, we think about the growing love we had for each other even as young teenagers and laugh about the many embarrassing moments we shared together, but persevered through.


Photography: Donnell Perry Photography

Wedding Planner: Elana Walker Events

Florals: Fresh Affairs

Cake: Ashley Cakes

Venue: Grand Marquis Ballroom

DJ: DJ Harlem

Videography: Muddy Trails


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