The Cotton Room Wedding | Durham Wedding Photographer | Krystal + Stephen

Krystal and Stephen’s elegant and rustic Cotton Room wedding was memorable and wonderful to be a part of. From the blush and gray color scheme to every carefully chosen rose, a great deal of thought went into making this wedding gorgeous and unforgettable. The choice of The Cotton Room for a wedding venue fit this couple’s style perfectly. We hope you enjoy these snapshots from their special day.

Krystal & Stephen’s Cotton Room Wedding Quick Facts

Favorite item on the wedding menu:  Pork puppies
Bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts:

  • Groomsmen gifts: Monte Cristo Classic Series Cigars
  • Bridesmaids gifts: Mugs with initials, grey scarves, pocket mirrors

First dance song: Ed Sheeran – Thinking out loud

Venue: The Cotton Room, Durham

Photography: Donnell Perry Photography

Entertainment: DJ Harlem Entertainment

Wedding Cake: Ashley Cakes

Second Shooter: Niki Wilbanks

The Bride’s Account: How He Proposed

Stephen and I met by chance in Boston, MA in 2014. As a Captain in the Army, he had recently relocated from Fayetteville, NC to Massachusetts. I had been living in Boston since 2005 and stayed to work in Education.

 We were engaged on December 8th 2015 on our second anniversary. The North End in Boston, MA is known for its authentic Italian food and culture and there was a restaurant called Tresca that Stephen knew I wanted to try. On the day of our engagement, I knew that we were going to Tresca. However I did not know that he arranged with the restaurant owner for their private room to be decorated and the table set with a vase of flowers and a bottle of wine.

When we arrived, the staff told me that they were hosting a party and had limited seating so we would need to be seated in another room, and they brought me to the private room. Once we were seated and ordered appetizers our waiter asked us if we wanted a picture. When I got up to stand where the waiter had suggested, Stephen grabbed the ring out of his pocket and proposed. The great thing was that our waiter hit record on Stephen’s phone so we have the proposal on video.

I later found out that months prior Stephen called my parents to ask permission while he was out running errands and got paranoid because he thought that he had been gone too long. He then bought my ring on a day he had off and hid it in one of his many shoe boxes (he is an avid shoe collector) for two months.

The First Date

Our first date was over brunch at a restaurant called Church in Boston. We were originally supposed to go to a restaurant called Estelle’s however I admittedly forgot that Stephen and I had made plans since he was traveling a lot for work at the time. When he called me the morning of to tell me that he was on his way, I changed the location to Church since it was near my apartment (he didn’t know that)  to give me time to get ready.

When I arrived, Stephen had cupcakes for me from Crumbs Bakery. He knew that cupcakes were a favorite dessert of mine. Early into our date, we were able to break the ice because I spilled coffee on the table, and we joked about our clumsiness. Church later became a favorite brunch location for us and we always requested the same table.

The Cotton Room Wedding

The Wedding Dress

Lace and tulle fit and flare. When choosing a wedding dress, I wanted something that was fun to wear and partially fitted. I liked the subtle beading and lace detail without being overly dramatic or too mature.

The Cotton Room Wedding

The Cotton Room Wedding

Wedding Shoes & Jewelry

Wedding Shoes – Jimmy Choo (style: Francie)

Reception Shoes – Jordan Champagne 8

Jewelry – Pearl Necklace and earrings (borrowed from my sister)

Rosary – I wrapped it around my bouquet. It was a gift brought back by my dad from a trip tp Jerusalem.

Bracelet – Gift from Krystal

Watch – Invicta

Reception Shoes – Jordan 8 Confetti

The Cotton Room Wedding

About the Flowers

My flowers were one of my favorite details at our wedding. Since the groomsmen were wearing grey and the venue itself was wood and exposed brick, I wanted the flowers to add a pop of color.

My bouquet was a combination of Sophie and Sahara roses with dusty miller wrapped in blush ribbon, and the boutonnieres were made of pink roses as well.

For the centerpieces I wanted the flowers to serve as a base for white lanterns to add to the ambience of the venue. They were made up of a silver dollar rings with pink Majelica roses & white Polar Star roses.

Wedding Day Theme

Since we were in between and Fall and Spring, we wanted colors that were a good transition between the two seasons. We chose blush and grey as the main colors and incorporated it in the linens, groomsmen/bridesmaids dresses and flowers. As our accent color, we added gold and used it for our cake table, drink straws, cupcakes and my wedding sneakers.

The Cotton Room Wedding

The Cotton Room Wedding

The Cotton Room Wedding

bridesmaids in blush

bridesmaids and bride

The Cotton Room Wedding

The Cotton Room Wedding

The Cotton Room Wedding

Who Were the Groomsmen?

Stephen’s groomsmen were my brothers (Timothy and Sean), his brother (Brandon), and three of his childhood friends. Stephen, Chad, Spencer, and Anthony all grew up together and played sports as kids in Asheboro. They are all extremely sweet and were genuinely excited to be part of the wedding. I love hearing stories about the mischief they caused as kids and love that they have all kept in touch throughout the years.


Bridal Reveal at The Cotton Room Wedding

The excitement of the first look!

Durham Wedding Photographer

Durham Wedding Photographer

Durham Wedding Photographer

Durham Wedding Photographer

The Cotton Room Wedding


gorgeous Cotton Room Wedding venue

Why The Cotton Room Venue

I have always liked rustic venues and love the ambiance that candles and up lighting create against exposed brick and wood. When I toured The Cotton Room, I loved how open the space was and how seamless the transitions were between the ceremony and reception space without feeling messy or distracting. In addition, they were so accommodating. The space lent itself to endless possibilities.

elegant cotton room wedding

bridesmaids in blush

cotton room wedding ceremony

The Cotton Room Wedding

rustic Cotton Room Wedding

Tell us about your bridesmaids?

My bridesmaids were my sister (matron of honor), my college roommate, Cari and two of my former co-workers, Mariel and Lauren. They are the most outgoing, caring, and driven people I know. I can always count on them to make me laugh, give me their honest opinions, and have spontaneous dance parties

The Cotton Room Wedding

bridal party at The Cotton Room

The Cotton Room Wedding

The Cotton Room Wedding

rustic couple portraits at The Cotton Room

Mrs and Mr at The Cotton Room Wedding

The Cotton Room wedding receptionlantern wedding reception

tiered wedding cupcakes

unique dog cake topper

the cotton room wedding reception

The Moments that Have Made Us Laugh

The Dog

 When I first started dating Stephen, Zuri (his dog) was only eight months old. The first time I came to his house, Zuri did not approve of me and wedged herself between us. She would hold Stephen’s hand while giving me shifty looks and once chewed a hole in the sleeve of my shirt. Over time, I slowly won her love using chicken flavored treats and pup cake for her 1st birthday.

The 1800 Tequila

When Stephen first met my parents, he bought a bottle of 1800 tequila. My dad asked him if he knew that the top of 1800 bottles served as shot glasses that automatically fills when the bottle is turned upside down. After he was told this, Stephen flipped the bottle upside down but nothing happened. My dad suggested that he loosen the top some to help the tequila fill the glass. When he flipped it upside down again, the top came off and she spilled half a bottle of tequila on himself and my parents’ kitchen counter.

The Excruciatingly Slow Drive

After moving to NC, we went to the car dealership so that I could purchase my first car. At the time, I was only a licensed driver for a month and had never driven on a highway. After purchasing my car, I asked Stephen if we could take backroads home from Raleigh since I was not comfortable driving. Despite my request, Stephen put our address in google maps and we headed straight for I-40. I sweat profusely the entire car ride home and drove 35mph in a 70mph zone to the anger of many people.

Working with Donnell Perry Photography

We loved working with Donnell! He was extremely patient and made everyone feel comfortable. He interacted with our families and bridal party to put us at ease. During the ceremony and reception, he was very inconspicuous but managed to be everywhere and capture so many amazing shots.

The Cotton Room wedding

Favorite Things to Do Together

Stephen and I love food! We meal prep during the week but enjoy indulging on weekends. However, we are always open to trying new restaurants and are huge fans of weekend brunch and mimosas.

We are both active people and have run several races together. I began running after watching Stephen run the Army 10 miler in Washington DC. After experiencing the race environment, I was eager to train and complete a race as well. I began by training for a 5k and Stephen joined every practice run as my training buddy. From there, we completed several 10ks and ultimately the Boston half marathon.

Advice for Future Brides

When planning a wedding it is very easy to get overwhelmed by the number of books, suggested planning timelines and images you see online. Use the timelines as a guide but do not stress if everything doesn’t happen within the time frame that is suggested. If save the dates go out a week or two later or if you choose to not have a honeymoon right away, it’s ok!

Use the pictures you see as inspiration but make sure you do not lose your unique style and taste. It is easy to feel pulled in many directions but always ground yourself in the vision you and your soon-to-be husband want for the day – you want it to be authentically you!

Advice for Future Grooms

Don’t forget to be present! Take time to enjoy your wedding day and those around you. Do not get too preoccupied with the overall business of the day.

DJ Harlem kept the party going!

Favorite Part of the Wedding Day

Our favorite part of our wedding day was walking into our reception and seeing our closest friends and family smiling at us and genuinely happy to be part of such a significant day for us. We were overwhelmed by the love and support from every person and could not have asked for a better day.

Similarities & Differences

Overall, Stephen and I have a lot in common however there are things that we poke fun about. Being from the Northeast, I will never understand why Stephen says things like “caddy corner” rather than diagonally or why he walks in busy city streets and intersections with no sense of urgency. As for me, Stephen pokes fun at the fact that I am frugal when buying things for myself and try to justify wearing running pants and hoodies to as many places as possible.

Question for the GROOM: What things do you love the most about her?

The thing that I love most about Krystal is her genuine passion for life and prosperity. I have never met anyone that matches my obsession with success, while maintaining the values from where they were raised. She has a chip on her shoulder that rivals mine, yet we know how to support each other down in times of need. We naturally complement one another, and I could not dream of another person to navigate through my remaining days with.

Question for the BRIDE: What things do you love the most about him?

Stephen is without a doubt the most resilient, selfless and supportive person I know. He works extremely hard but always finds time to spend with me and Zuri. Whether it is training for a half marathon with me to help keep me motivated, sitting through the ballet so that I could enjoy the Nutcracker, or encouraging me to take the next steps in my career, Stephen always has words of encouragement and his gestures always show he cares. He has a calmness to him that helps balance me out and his sense of humor.

Favorite Image from Wedding Day

Black & White outdoor shot @ night (I shared it on my Instagram). We had so many pictures that we loved but this was a favorite because it was one of our first pictures as a married couple. We both love black and white photos and think that the night setting along with the backdrop made it perfect.

Donnell Perry Photography is an Award Winning Raleigh Wedding Photography company based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. Please view our portfolio to see more of our work. We are available to travel for wedding and portrait photography, please contact us through the contact form on our website for more information.

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