Real Wedding: Melani and Matt at The Arbors + Events

Top: The field of pink wildflowers at The Arbors seemed made for this quirky couple’s fanciful, pink wedding. At David’s Bridal, the bride’s jaw dropped over the ombre rosewood gown. Her mother remade the bodice with the single rose strap, matched with a David’s Bridal edged with gold beading, and tiny Antonio Valentino lace flats. Bottom: Melani Wooten and Matt McCulloch work for the same composites manufacturer, where she does order processing and he is a technician. The pair wrote their own vows for their sun-kissed, outdoor ceremony.

SEPTEMBER 27, 2014
The Arbors + Events
Photographs by Isil Dohnke

Melani Wooten and Matt McCulloch’s marriage is going to be… How shall we put this? Colorful. No, really. Their engagement happened at the finish line of the Raleigh Color Run, with a blue, green and orange bride-to-be. “We crossed the finish line, and he got down on one knee with everyone cheering,” says Melani. “I cried. There were colors running everywhere!”

The bride preferred a small wedding; the groom, huge. So she gave him free rein to plan, designing the theme on her David’s Bridal ombre rosewood gown by Vera Wang. With a single swatch, he pulled together grey Alta Moda suits for his groomsmen, with bridesmaids in mismatched beige and pink gowns from ModCloth—plus rosewood napkins, and maroon table linens. With the bride’s mother as a professional florist, the ceremony and reception looked like a garden with more than 200 different varieties of flowers. “It rained for seven days before and three days after the wedding, but that day was sunny and breezy and warm. With the sun setting behind us, it was so bright, all I could see was him,” remembers the bride.

After a buffet feast and dancing, and a surprise serenade by the groom, guests shook colored wands and noisemakers to send the couples off…to the emergency room. Fortunately, their adventure honeymoon was planned for the spring, where they spent almost three flawless weeks in New Zealand with mud baths and hot springs, spelunking, and Zorbs and alpine slides.


Vera Wang, David’s Bridal

Off Broadway, Valentino

Mod Cloth, various mix and match

Alta Moda by Mens Wearhouse

Nothing Bundt Cakes

Ann Wooten, Four Seasons


Self + Brandy Childs

MC/DJ – Jerry Donahue

Kenneth Horne

LKN Catering

Guests waved tiny wands with maroon, pink, and beige ribbons.

Tall displays of hydrangea, pink roses, fragrant lilies, pink luck bouvardia and trailing fronds of eucalyptus by Four Seasons’ Ann Wooten (the bride’s mother).

The bride’s niece, Eva, traipses up the handmade burlap and lace aisle runner.

The frothy pink ombre rosewood gown by David’s Bridal.

Nothing Bundt Cake displayed 18 assorted cakes, including the lemon, raspberry, and white chocolate Bundt cake with cream cheese frosting topped with maroon roses.

Isil Dohnke captured this two-level wedding party shot, saving the big reveal for the ceremony.

Melani’s bridesmaids looked eclectically lovely in rose and russet gowns by ModCloth.

Categories: Real Weddings