January 11, 2023

Emily & John | Modern Fall Wedding at The Cotton Room


Erin & Jimmy
Market Hall Raleigh NC Wedding


Jules & Spencer
Emerald Isle Engagement session


megan & Danny
birkby VA wedding
Now Trending




follow @arikashelest

Get a taste of wedding days with sneak peeks of my favorite images, tips from local vendors, updates about your favorite photographer, and as always lots of pretty pictures!

 The blog

Emily & John

The Cotton Room & Duke Gardens | Durham, North Carolina

November 5, 2022

Emily and John celebrated their big day at The Cotton Room with photos taken at the beautiful Duke Gardens. The two first met Summer of 2013. John was Emily’s waiter at an on-campus restaurant at Duke. While talking they quickly learned they were coincidently attending the same trip to Nicaragua. While on that trip together, they experienced their first kiss. Soon after, they became best friends, which led to John planning an over-the-top proposal in Prospect park in Brooklyn. The day began with a picnic, followed by a rooftop brewery party with local and out-of-town friends, to a romantic dinner. Although Emily was suspicious, she loved every moment of that day.

Radiating love and a fall color palette

When choosing a location for their modern wedding, the couple chose The Cotton Room. Emily and John wanted a venue space that was eye-catching and provided plenty of space for their guests to dance the night away. Their wedding was inspired by bringing all their loved ones together in one big room to experience love, joy, and positivity. These were qualities I loved about Emily and John’s personalities. Since their wedding day was in the fall, they chose classic fall colors ranging from deep green to orange, red, and ivory. Opting to capture their photos outdoors at Duke Garden, the colors complimented perfectly.

Wedding Day at The Cotton Room

Emily and John got ready inside the suites at The Cotton Room. Since they wanted to do an intimate first look, we headed to Duke Gardens, where I captured beautiful moments of them basking in the joy of their day. The weather was perfect that day, and the fall trees and leaves made their color palette pop even more. We headed back to the venue for the ceremony to begin. Emily and John recited their vows in front of their audience of loved ones who, all but one guest, traveled to North Carolina for their big day.

Finally, it was time for the reception. The couple surprised their guests with a choreographed first dance which everyone, including myself, absolutely loved. All night, live music kept guests out of their seats, and fun desserts for any energy boosts. Emily and John danced the night away, and their wedding was fun and energetic. It was a pleasure to be a part of it.

If you are a to-be-wed still searching for a wedding photographer, I would love hear from you! If so, you can reach me here, and I will be happy to chat about capturing your most special day!


Planner / Coordination: Premiere Party Planners

Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Cotton Room

First Look Photos Location: Duke Gardens

Hair and Makeup: Wink Hair and Makeup

Florist: Sweet Love Blossoms

Photographer: Arika Jordan Photography

Videographer: Arika Jordan Photography

Dress Designer: Alexandra Grecco from Lovely Bride NYC

Live Band: Night Years

Cake/Desserts: Edible Art NC

Catering: The Cotton Room

Invitations: Minted

bride and groom first look at the cotton room
bride and groom first look at the cotton room
family photo at the cotton room
bridesmaids' photo at duke garden
groomsmen photo at duke garden
bride photo at duke garden holding wedding bouqet
exterior photo of the cotton room
inside ceremony at the cotton room
inside ceremony at the cotton room
reception decor tables and chairs at the cotton room
bride and groom choreographed first dance at the cotton room
bride and groom celebration at the cotton room

The comments +


Love fun emails? Want education & wedding help directly to your inbox? Sign up for my newsletter list!

Get on

the list

* indicates required