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Janet and Gideon Celebrate Love, Joy and African Traditions at Chapel Hill Carriage House

Janet and Gideon are the embodiment of love, joy and kindness. They met in New York through Gideon’s brother, who later kept trying to set them up, but Janet just wasn’t interested. Gideon was not to be deterred, though, and eventually he took the initiative and called Janet anyway. They hit it off immediately but by now distance had become an obstacle… Janet lived in North Carolina and Gideon in Nevada. Janet decided to visit Gideon in Nevada and he surprised her with a proposal of marriage, which she accepted. That was in February of 2013 and they have been together ever since.

With family and friends all over the place - Kenya and states around the USA - where would be the right place to marry and to celebrate their wedding with some African traditions? They chose Chapel Hill Carriage House and it was a perfect fit, with its outdoor setting, open-air barn, beautiful grounds, and tons and tons of southern charm. Congratulations to Brenda Leeper, the owner of this lovely venue that is also her home.

Brenda Leeper (visor) and her staff

 There are two small ponds on the grounds and Janet and Gideon held their ceremony on a floating dock on one of them.

In Kenya, the ceremony starts off with the Mother of the Groom meeting the Bride at her home and escorting her to the wedding. In this case, the “home” was the cute log cabin where the ladies dressed and waited for the wedding to begin.

Here, Gideon’s mother meets Janet while some of the other ladies gathered around.

The ladies have a prayer and then they all head to the aisle by the barn for the Bride to make her entrance.

As the Bride and her Uncle (escort) started the long beautiful walk around the pond toward the dock, the ladies followed a short distance behind, continuing to sing and dance the Bride into the ceremony.

At the end of the ceremony, the guests follow the Bride and Groom back out, singing and dancing all the way. It was one of the happiest recessionals I have ever witnessed at a wedding.

At the top of the lawn, Janet and Gideon turned around to await the arrival of the singing guests.

The photographers got some shots of the guests cheering the happy newlyweds.

Then it was time for the guests to sing the couple into the reception in the barn. They formed a line that led into the barn and around in a large circle, with Janet and Gideon in their midst.

The singing went on for a good while as everyone shared in the happiness of the moment. You could tell for sure that a special night of celebration was in store.

Before going any further, I want to give recognition to the photographers, Meredith and Scott Milke, of Meredith Macy Photography, whose photos are used here. Meredith and Scott were everywhere all over the grounds, taking these wonderful photos, and I thank them very much for the use of their work in my blog post.

And now for some details of the decorations! Janet and Gideon did an amazing job and everything was beautiful in its elegant, understated simplicity.

Their colors were yellow and teal, with accents of bronze.

The Junior Bridesmaids had yellow flowers in their hair.

And the Junior Groomsman had a teal pattern in his bowtie and vest.

The bridal bouquet was a stunner in yellow and white.

Love the beautiful wedding hairpiece in Janet’s hair.

Simple flowers adorned the buffet table.

Yellow and bronze accents were on the wedding cake and cupcakes.

A bird in a vine wreath greeted the guests as they arrived at the barn.

The guest book and card birdcage were on a table decorated with moss and yellow rose petals.

“Just Married” fluttered in the breeze.

One of the Bridesmaids had all the colors covered in her sparkling nail polish! 

Check out all the personality in these charming shots of the Junior Bridesmaids and Flower Girl... 

and Gideon in his shades and boutonniere.

 Paper pomanders and twinkle lights were hung from the ceiling and were sure to be even more beautiful once the sun went down.

And of course, who could resist the large hammock on the lawn!


Janet and Gideon, thank you for allowing me to play a part in your love story. It was a joy to get to meet you and to share in the love you have for each other. As long as I live I will hear your friends singing you into your marriage and I will always remember it with a smile.


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