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Elegantly Neutral With a Twist — Durham NC Wedding at Duke Chapel

Kristen and Dak’s Elegant Wedding Ceremony at Duke Chapel and Reception at 21c Museum Hotel

There are few places that a couple can get married that are quite as historically rich and breathtakingly beautiful as Duke University Chapel in Durham, NC. For those who are able to have their wedding ceremony at the famous chapel, it’s a once in a lifetime experience. With its sky high cathedral ceilings,  grand architecture, and stained glass windows that are works of art, there is not much else you need to add to the scene to make it an elegant and special day. Kristen and Dak knew they wanted to celebrate their union in Duke Chapel but wanted to have a more unique wedding reception, while still keeping an elegant and formal vibe. The couple chose the 21c Museum Hotel, also in Durham, and could not have been more thrilled with their celebration. Their elegant wedding ceremony at Duke Chapel and reception at 21c Museum Hotel led to one of the most stunning and memorable days of their lives.

Southern Bride and Groom pose outside of Duke Chapel Wedding in Durham, Brian Mullins

Kristen and Dak met in college and formed a beautiful relationship from their friendship. They spent many summer afternoons over the years having picnics in the Duke Gardens and it was only fitting that Dak thought of this special place to pop the question. Dak walked Kristen to the same bridge in the gardens that he had given her a promise ring years before, this time it was decorated in white flower petals and balloons, and got down on one knee to ask her to marry him!

Formal Ceremony at Duke Chapel in Durham, NC

Kristen and Dak knew they wanted to get married at Duke University Chapel. The bride said it was the obvious choice and added, “it is rare that people get to experience such a grandiose yet elegant and breathtaking space.” 

Duke Chapel is arguable one of the most well known chapels in the country and the most certainly the most well known in the state of NC. It recently went under renovations; therefore weddings were unable to take place in the historic landmark for an entire year. It reopened last May to a flood of hopeful couples eager to celebrate their sacred union within the walls of Duke University Chapel. The chapel has a neo-Gothic architectural style that is evident in the large stone piers, pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and scaling columns.

Bride and Groom say I do in historic Duke Chapel Wedding in Durham, Brian Mullins

The couple wanted to keep their wedding colors as neutral as possible with ivory and champagne shades with a hint of rose gold in the bridesmaids dresses. Though Kristen shared that they didn’t have an official theme, “the overall feel was formal and elegant with a twist.”


Inside of Duke Chapel for Classic Wedding Duke Chapel Wedding in Durham, Brian Mullins


Unique Wedding Reception at 21c Museum Hotel

After the Duke Chapel wedding, Kristen and Dak continued their formal elegance with a twist theme over into their Durham wedding reception. 21c Museum Hotel was the perfect place for this. With the modern museum setting of the hotel, 21c is one of the more non-traditional wedding venues in downtown Durham. However, their ballroom is handsome and formal. 21c was once a bank building, and the ballroom has high ceilings, wood panel walls and majestic columns. Modern lighting installations gives the ballroom an edgy flair. The best part about it is that it can accommodate any style of wedding. This couple added over-the-top floral decor and multi-colored uplighting. Their restaurant, The Counting House, provided upscale food service for the wedding reception. If you are looking for a unique wedding reception venue, look no further than 21c Museum Hotel in Durham, NC.

VENUE 21c Museum Hotel | CATERING The Counting House | PHOTOGRAPHY Brian Mullins Photography | FLORIST Fresh Affairs | RENTALS CE Rentals

Raleigh wedding Florist, Fresh Affairs, created iconic tall ivory floral arrangements to create picture perfect reception tables for the couple’s wedding at 21c Museum Hotel. The table tops were beautifully finished with floating candle votives to add warmth to the celebration.

In lieu of wedding favors, the couple decided to donate to the two rescue agencies where they rescued their two dogs, Bill and Rogue from. They also made a donation to the Wounded Warriors Project and during the chaplains prayer at the wedding reception, recognized all the military members in attendance.


Choosing a photographer for your wedding day is one of the hardest decisions a couple has to make. Kristen and Dak do not regret their decision of having Brian Mullins of Brian Mullins Photography one bit. Kristen shared, “Not only did he take amazing photos that we will cherish forever, he was fun to work with, accommodating, creative, and trustworthy. I was so much more relaxed during the day because I felt confident that he would capture everything we wanted and I could trust his expertise. Now that the wedding is over, we will have to find another excuse to work with him!”

Brian Mullins is known in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area for his breathtaking and unique wedding photography. He is able to create a distinctly one-of-a-kind composition in photos by playing with light and location unlike any other photographer. His ability to create light in dark rooms is a true talent and one reason he is an easy win for wedding photos. This shines through in his wedding portraits shown here at both Duke Chapel and the 21c Durham hotel vault.


White tiered cake by Ashley Cakes under sparkling lights at 21c The Counting House in Durham, Brian Mullins

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