An Intimate Elopement at the Butterfly House in Durham, North Carolina

Real Weddings

Kate Price, 31, and Will Senner, 30, didn't plan to elope. "We were talking about having a traditional wedding in my hometown," says Kate. "But right before we put down the deposits, we realized we'd much rather spend our wedding funds on buying a new home." So, the couple followed in Kate's parents' footsteps and planned an intimate family-only elopement. "It was stress-free and fun!" says Kate.

With only 12 guests, there were fewer details to wrangle, so the wedding came together quickly. Plus, the couple had some extra help, which also sped up the process. "My sisters are both wedding professionals," Kate explains. They tied the knot barely six months after their engagement. Non-traditional, sure, but Will and Kate ended up with the wedding celebration that was a perfect fit.

Will proposed to Kate on a Monday night while she was painting a wall in their apartment. "We'd been discussing how much we were looking forward to having our own home," she remembers. Will took the couple's dog, Percy, for a walk while Kate cleaned up her brushes. When they returned, Percy had something around his neck. "I bent down to see what it was, and he had a tag that said 'Say Yes' on his collar," Kate says. She looked up to see Will down on one knee.

The proposal was a surprise, but Kate's colorful engagement ring wasn't. "We'd seen it in a shop window during a trip to Nantucket," she says of her yellow sapphire, diamond, and pearl ring. "I loved that it was vintage, not a traditional diamond, and included pearls."

Kate used that same yellow hue from her ring for her wedding day. She carried a bouquet of succulents and cream-and-white garden roses.

The bride's mom, sisters, and nieces were all on-hand to help Kate pick out her gown. "At the time, I was working at my sister's bridal boutique, so it was hard to choose with so many gorgeous options," she says. She settled on a Modern Trousseau ball gown, a dress she kept returning to. They were able to rush the alterations, and luckily, it fit perfectly upon arrival. Kate's lace-trimmed veil belonged to her grandmother.

Kate's nieces served as the flower girls. They wore white dresses of their own choosing, and topped them off with white rose-and-billy-ball crowns.

Will wore a sleek gray suit with a blue tie, which perfectly accented the wedding's pops of yellow. His boutonniere featured a succulent and a billy ball, wrapped in burlap.

Kate's father escorted her down the aisle. Moments before the ceremony, the bride realized he was wearing a familiar-looking tie. "I'd made it for him when I was a child," says Kate. "It was hideous, but at the time I thought it was so great! He told me he was going to wear it on my wedding day, and surprised me when he put it on. It's one of my favorite memories."

During the ceremony, Kate's brother-in-law officiated, and the two flower girls each did a reading. One read a poem that she had written, while the other read her favorite poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken. "My mom filmed the ceremony, but missed my nieces' readings," says Kate. "When the ceremony was over and we figured out what happened, we did the whole thing over again so she could get it! It's a good thing it was short."

With such a small group, a private room at Mateo was an easy choice. "Will's priority was to have amazing food, and this fit the bill perfectly," says Kate.

The family sipped on champagne before sitting down at a single long dinner table. Kate's sisters put together the centerpieces with garden roses, freesia, succulents, stock flowers, hypernicum berries, billy balls, and orchids in white and yellow. The place card idea came from a styled shoot that Kate had worked on. "I bought plastic animals from a craft store and painted them with chalkboard paint," she says. A friend wrote guests' names with chalk pens. "They ended up being something fun for my nieces to play with at dinner, too."

Fresh white-and-yellow flowers brightened the room. Kate and Will's chairs were marked with vibrant wreaths tied with satin ribbon, while the dinner menu featured tapas, seafood paella, and a whole suckling pig.

"We didn't want a wedding cake, but my mom insisted" says Kate, "So, we got one at Whole Foods!" Kate's sisters decorated the cake with flowers. Her mom tracked down the vintage topper.

After the wedding, the couple honeymooned at Disney World and Vero Beach, Florida.

Ceremony Venue: Magic Wings Butterfly House at the Museum of Life and Science || Reception Venue: Mateo Bar de Tapas || Bride's Wedding Dress: Modern Trousseau, from Tre Bella Bridal || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair & Makeup: Sheer Bliss || Kate's Rings: Engagement Ring - Seaman Schepps, Wedding Band - Ross Simons || Florist: Tre Bella Flowers || Catering: Mateo Bar de Tapas || Cake: Whole Foods || Rentals: Party Reflections || Photography: Jessica Arden Photography

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