Jonah Freedman and Sierra Shell’s Haw River Ballroom Wedding
Jonah Freedman and Sierra Shell’s love story could be a musical. A couple years after their first date at C-Grace jazz speakeasy in Raleigh, Jonah popped the question at Rue Cler in Durham. When three horn players and a sax player entered the restaurant and performed “Going to the Chapel” by the Dixie cups, Jonah asked Sierra to dance, whispering his proposal in her ear. Afterward, Jonah whisked his fiancé off to The Roof at The Durham Hotel for another surprise – celebratory drinks with Sierra’s closest friends! Soon it was time to have a Haw River Ballroom wedding!
Haw River Ballroom Wedding
Magnolia Collective helped the couple plan a New Orleans French Quarter-themed ceremony and reception at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, North Carolina. The Haw River Ballroom is a riverside spacious industrial venue, that perfectly combined Sierra and Jonah’s personalities.
“The Haw River Ballroom is my favorite music venue east of Red Rocks, and Jonah himself had played the venue with one of his bands before we met. It was a special place for both of us. Plus, as musicians, we knew we would want to have live music at our wedding, and wanted to make sure they would have access to a stage, good sound equipment, and fun lighting.”
Music-Inspired Ceremony & Reception
Jonah and Sierra had a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony that was officiated by Sierra’s best friend, Abe Sterling. After sharing vows, they led their guests in a Second Line parade around the venue. The wedding’s musical jamboree included a song written and performed by Jonah’s mother, and performances be Jonah’s band, Hank, Pattie & the Current, and John Brown and his Groove Shop Band.
“Our theme was so incredibly easy- we decided to go for a New Orleans French Quarter vibe. About three months into dating, Jonah and I visited New Orleans for French Quarter Fest. It was there that we said “I love you” for the first time. We’ll always think of New Orleans as the place we fell in love.”
Meet the Planner
Magnolia Collective incorporated a green, pink and gold color palette into the New Orlean’s-inspired design. Sierra wanted to keep the lush rich tones of New Orleans without eliciting Mardi Gras. She used magnolia flowers from her own yard, which is her great-grandmother’s favorite flower. Street signs for Bourbon and Jackson Square led guests to their tables, but Sierra and Jonah kept the tables empty and the dance floor packed for most of the night.
Magnolia Collective is a fearless team of six planners led by owner, Megan Culkin. Megan and her team have a passion for creating unforgettable experiences. If you are struggling with your wedding vision, Magnolia Collective can help you bring your ideas to life! Whether you want to be completely involved in the wedding decisions, or relinquish all control, this team will deliver!
Magnolia Collective offers many packages that suit any couple’s needs. From full service coordination, partial service coordination, wedding management services, and intimate wedding and elopement packages, this team is able to assist you at every step of the way!
Sierra has some words of advice for brides-to-be: “Select a wedding planner and a photographer who you’d want to get coffee with. Your vendors will be with you on one of the most joyous and stressful days of your life. You want to make sure you feel like they’re on your side!”
Check out more of Magnolia Collective’s amazing work here!