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Raise your hand if,  like me, you politely stalk your favorite shutterbugs peeping in on all the gorgeous eye candy that they capture!  One such Storyboard favorite is North Carolina wedding photographer Carolyn Scott Photography.  Not terribly long ago they posted a sneak peek photo of Eleanor Cook & Geoff Franks’s amazing wedding at Griffis Sculpture Park.  One pic, thats all it took, and I knew!  I immediately reached out to Carolyn Scott proclaiming my desire to feature the wedding and in just a few short moments, you’ll easily know why!  Believe it or not, the one photograph that I saw was simply a couple portrait, I had no idea the type of wedding that they had or any of the details and let me tell, I am beyond thrilled to share this gem with you!  Ellie & Geoff, under the guise of putting together an eclectic picnic, crafted one of the more eloquent & certainly unique weddings I have seen in sometime.  Using their own likes, loves and interests as their inspiration source, bouquets & centerpieces were not made of flowers but balls of yarn, paper flowers & buttons, all relating back to Ellie’s love of knitting!  Colors for the wedding were inspired by those available in the BMW M series, thereby creating a vibrant world of mixed powerful hues in red, purple, and light blue!  The ceremony was located on a gently rolling hill within the sculpture park, surrounded by gorgeous art, were guests sat on hay bales covered in Mexican blankets while pom-pom garlands & strung roses swayed in the summer breeze!  Ellie & Geoff themselves were gorgeous on the day, Ellie wearing a truly captivating free flowing Sue Wong gown {which her mother altered down 3-6 inches! Looks amazing mom!!} while Geoff kept things hipster fresh in a smart mix matched ensemble.  Ellie & Geoff’s uniqueness is their attraction and I can not get enough of how wonderfully they crafted their wedding, truly making it their own and how perfectly creative that they were in achieving it!

Novella of the Bride….

Geoff and Ellie met while working at a non-profit medical research facility. Geoff was in the IT department and Ellie in a high-throughput robotics lab. They are both introverted so it was two years before their first date consisting of brunch and a hike in the mountains. After many brunches and hikes later Geoff proposed at the same picnic table they sat at for their first date.  They enjoy cooking together, drinking homemade beer and wine, and cuddling up on the couch. Geoff likes to go take his car out on race tracks while Ellie likes to knit and read while he’s on track. Their birthdays are swapped with the days they were supposed to be born and they spent their 30th birthdays at Harry Potter World. They also have two pretty cool dogs.

Eclectic Picnic.  We wanted a comfortable summer picnic in the park, with good food and close family/friends.  One of the first things we knew was that we wanted the wedding to be outdoors.  When we first visited Griffis Sculpture Park, we knew we found the spot.  It was different and unique and we knew we wouldn’t have to do much for decorating.  It was a little daunting to find a level and flat space for the reception.  The people at the park, the caterers and the rental were all very accommodating and helpful with the planning as well. All we had to worry about was mud and bugs. Since there was not much I could do about either of those we just prepared the best we could and crossed our fingers.

Our siblings and parents comprised our processional while Ellie’s sister and Geoff’s best friend stood by their sides.  A friend of ours became ordained online to wed us (and he nailed it!).  We squeezed in as many odes to movies, knitting, cars, science, computers, horses, video games and Seuss as we could find room for. Our colors were the BMW M series colors (which are red, purple and light blue, also very good firework colors). We asked our parties to wear whatever they would be comfortable in one (or many) of those colors.  We bought ties for the men and everyone got a bottle-cap pin (from the movie Up).  I was worried about how muddy the park might be that day so I wore blue hiking shoes.  Geoff didn’t want to overheat in a suit in July but looked quite dapper in his vest.

From the very beginning it was a group effort.  Both sets of parents helped out big time financially, but the best thing was there was absolutely no strings attached and we had complete freedom to have the wedding we envisioned.  What we envisioned also required a lot of help.  Ellie’s sister designed and printed the paper airplane programs. She also designed the Menu window which Ellie then painted with a little help from her husband-to-be.  The moms and Ellie’s best friend came in early and helped finish up pom-pom garlands, flowers for the centerpieces, boutonnieres, seating charts tags and lots more.  If that weren’t already enough, Ellie’s mom did an amazing job altering the dress by about 3-6 inches, and Ellie’s sister did the bridal hair and makeup (Ellie may have forgot to plan for that too!).  Ellie’s best friend became our day-of coordinator and she rocked it!  The day went off without a hitch.  Geoff’s sister was amazing, neither of us are big on making phone calls so she did all the arrangements for the rehearsal dinner, the port-a-potty, the doughnuts and more.    Geoff relied on his friends for help making the centerpieces, and a lot of the logistics. On the day of the wedding, we had a lot of help from all of our friends and family for set-up and tear-down.

This was the Cook-Franks wedding and it seemed essential that we should be serving hot dogs.  We loved the idea of having a more “hands on” meal but decided that our guests deserved more than baseball park food.  A number of family members and friends are vegetarians, including me, so it was important to us that we serve a lot of veg-friendly food.  We had homemade veggie burgers (they are the best veggie burgers ever – meat eaters love them) corn on the cob, fresh marinated artichokes, mango coleslaw, salad with grilled watermelon and our chef surprised us with fried green tomatoes which were amazing. To appease the meat eaters, we served two meats: BBQ ribs and beef tenderloin. Aside from the buns for the veggie burgers, the entire meal was gluten free, just in case.  Nobody went home hungry.  There is a local doughnut shop that makes stellar doughnuts and we wanted to make sure we got everyone else hooked on them too. So, we served Paula’s Donuts instead of doing a traditional wedding cake.  To drink, we had sweet tea (Ellie is from the North Carolina), Moxie (Geoff is from New England), an assortment of and home-made beer and white wine sangria made with home-made wine.

The Couple’s Favorite Moment~

Ellie: We had a long processional walk from the house, down a path, around a sculpture of mushrooms, down the hill and through the hay bales, until we reached the altar. During rehearsal I would see Geoff as soon as I came out from the trail. Even though we had worked together to set up the wedding all morning we chose not to see each other in our “best dressed” until the “I do’s”. When my dad and I walked out of the trail I had a slight panic because all of our guests were standing (I had forgotten about them!). It wasn’t until rounding the mushrooms that I could see Geoff and I just felt complete. It was so great to see all of our family and friends from all over mixed up together and there just for us. Having to pass through all that love and support to reach the man I was going to be with for the rest of my life just felt so right.

Geoff: After the ceremony and family pictures, we went off for some alone time. Ellie started to feel sick from the heat and exhaustion. We sat down to rest and I came to her rescue (a favorite past time of mine) by holding a cold water bottle to her back. I realized that this was the first time as a married couple that I came to her aid, and cherished the moment. While we rested, I was able to look out at the ceremony site and reception in-progress, and see all the hard work that she and I put into the whole event, and watch it unfold into the most beautiful day in my life.


Vendor Love

Venue: Griffis Sculpture Park  | Wedding Dress: Sue Wong | Shoes: Ahnu – Janie in blue  | Hair & Makeup: Ruth Baratta {Bride’s Sister}  | Groom’s Attire: Macy’s, Mens Wearhouse, Zappos  | Ceremony Music: Libardo Lambrano {brother-in-law}  | LightingCayas Canopies  | Rentals: Cayas Canopies  | Florist: Mother Earth  | Caterer: Dina’s at the ‘Mont  | Baker: Paula’s Donuts Photographer: Carolyn Scott Photography