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Francesca and Justin have a Heartfelt Family Wedding at The Arrowhead Inn in Durham

Small family weddings are always special and this wedding was very sweet. Not only are Francesca and Justin a joy to know, but Fran’s children - the Ring Bearer and Flower Girl - were just too cute for words.

The wedding was held at one of my all-time favorite locations for a small, intimate wedding - The Arrowhead Inn in Durham. This little oasis of beauty is perfect for private weddings and the innkeepers, Gloria and Phil, have created a labor of love here, which you can see everywhere you turn. This year they added a new wedding coordinator to their staff - Jill Sheets - and it was great working with her. Upbeat, fun, caring and a skilled organizer, she is a real asset to the Inn and I will be looking forward to working with her again. 

This path leads to the back patio behind the manor house… 

while the other path leads past the cottage on the left, heading out to the immense back yard toward the wedding pergola.

The private setting, the lush, green landscaping, the colorful flowers, and the interesting artwork placed around the grounds make for an incredibly beautiful and serene atmosphere.

Justin waited a long time to find the right woman to marry so when he met Fran and her children and it became obvious this was something special, they planned to take it slow so everyone could gradually grow into a family. That didn’t take too long, though, because Justin is so good with the children and they fell in love with him immediately. Justin says Fran is his favorite person and it feels like “home” with her. They are creating a sweet life together and you can see that this family is one very happy group!

I love this photo of them as they were performing the Family Sand Ceremony during the wedding.

This is the finished sand jar - what a nice wedding keepsake for the family.  Everyone had their own color and you know the little ones will always remember which color they are!


Because Justin’s father had passed on and his mother was too ill to travel to the wedding, Justin and Fran wanted to honor them during the ceremony. We included a moment when Justin lit a candle placed next to photographs of his parents and beautiful magnolia blossoms were placed on the chairs where they would have been seated. Such touching ways to honor those you love.

Fran’s parents were able to be with us and they escorted the beaming Bride down the aisle. (Thanks to their photographer, Olivia Lynn Photography, for this lovely photo and another further down in the post.)

photo by Olivia Lynn Photography

The children, although very young, were determined to play their parts properly. They entered down the aisle together and, with the 4 year old Flower Girl staying close to her brother and carrying a miniature hydrangea bouquet like her mother’s, while proudly sporting a pearl necklace that she had converted to a headpiece, the rings were delivered by the Ring Bearer with all the sincerity of heart that a young boy of 5 could possibly manage. It was very sweet.

I love Justin’s expression here as he watches the rings being delivered.

And here is Justin putting the ring on Fran’s finger. Their faces say it all.

photo by Olivia Lynn Photography

Fran’s bouquet was a mix of about 12 white and blue full hydrangea blossoms (see the top photo). She also designed the pretty invitations, with a blue hydrangea blossom on the bottom corner. Even the wedding cake had a cascade of hydrangea petals running down one side. 

The ceremony music was provided by Bettina Lynne Yost of Golden Fiddles. She is a local violin teacher who also performs at weddings and she is an excellent musician. I can recommend her highly!

After the ceremony, it was time for photos. Here are a couple cute ones -  this one of the men in the family.

And this one of Bride-Mom and Flower Girl’s “matching” silver sandals. Flower Girl’s Hello Kitty sandals added a cute touch.

Fran and Justin, it was such a pleasure to get to know you and to play a part in this celebration of love between yourselves, your children and your family. The bright, sunny day of your wedding was the perfect backdrop to showcase the special love you share. I hope all your dreams for you and your children come true beyond measure!


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What a sweet wedding, Barbara! At first I thought it was at the White Garden in JC Raulston Arboretum because the gazebos are so similar. Beautiful garden and such a touching love story! I am sure everyone there was really touched.
Thanks, Kayelily. Yes the gazebos look very similar and it was a sweet wedding, with so much love pouring out of everyone. Isn’t it wonderful being a part of all our wedding couples’ love stories. We have the best professions in the world!
Francesca Ayre said…
Thanks for creating such a beautiful ceremony for us, Barbara! We'll always cherish the memories from our wedding day!
So very happy for Fran and Justin - beautiful writeup of their amazing day :)
Thank you, Christine. They are creating a beautiful life for themselves and the children and I was honored to get to be a part of their wedding.
You are most welcome, Francesca. It was a true joy for me to help you create such a special ceremony to celebrate your special love. You have all touched my heart and I will be watching your happy smiles and the children grow up through your Facebook posts.