A little background story to begin….
Shortly before Andrew and I started dating, I was involved in a production of a show called Once on this Island with a theater group I was a part of (TechMoja) when I lived in Wilmington. The show was being performed at the local Community Arts Center (CAC). The CAC is also referred to in our town as the Hannah Block Historic USO Building. It’s known as the CAC to locals and the USO Building to tourists because it was actually a traditional USO building in the 1940’s. Service members would come there for fun events, it was like a town dance hall, but they also did other things there. Today, it’s used for summer camps for kids, art shows and theatrical productions among many other things.
So, I invited him (along with some mutual friends as to not seem too eager) to come see the show. I didn’t think he would come but when he text me a few hours before saying that he was coming, I about lost my shit backstage.
I don’t typically get nervous before shows, I just get super hype and excited. Not this day. I was SO nervous my cast mates were asking me what my deal was because my behavior was so out of character. No pun intended, I swear. That’s when I started telling my friends about a guy named Andrew.
I may not have given his name away right then, it was still a little early (Spolier alert: We got married at the courthouse 3 months later..), but all my friends could tell there was something special about him and so I had to admit it to myself as well.
I saw my friends outside after the show and I was so happy to see him there. Little did I know, he hadn’t even come with the others. He came on his own. He wasn’t sure there would be anyone else there that he knew, but he wanted to come see me anyway.
Fast forward to after our courthouse wedding, discussing where to hold our public ceremony. I was having a hard time because we didn’t belong to a church and all the beautiful churches we had in our town, we couldn’t marry in because we didn’t belong to that church. Ugh. ANYWAY– I was really discouraged because I had always envisioned a beautiful old style church wedding.
One night in stressing over this dilemma, Andrew had the idea to have it at the CAC. When I ask him why, he told me that was where he was the first time he realized he loved me. Talk about the Walk to Remember moment I always dreamed of! I cried of course and that was where our the decision on a venue for our public wedding ceremony was made official.
And amazingly enough, we could hold both the ceremony and reception there! We decided on a classic wedding theme as we knew we wanted our colors to be black and white and pulling inspiration from the 1940’s memorabilia that decorates the CAC. Our “theme” became just “black and white 1940’s dance hall affair”. Although we didn’t do much decorating because I loved the memorabilia that already decorates the space, we had all black and white decorations, black bridesmaid dresses, and black and white suits for the guys, complete with a full jazz band at our reception (but we’ll get into that later!)
It could have been a more perfect location and I love that it was him who decided on such a key element in the planning process!
The E.O.A was a club Andrew and his friends had in high school where they collected change from various other students after everyone had bought their lunch. Hence, this inside joke. And yes, I made that sign myself ;)
The rest of the space will be shown through the ceremony photos! How did you choose your wedding venue? Or have you always envisioned something specific for your big day?!
*All photos: Amy Leigh Photography
Catch up on the wedding series here: