Chapel Hill native Lauren Joyner met New York native Stephen Cook in Florida at the wedding of John and Kelly Waterman in 2014. Lauren was a distant cousin of the bride, while John was the groom’s best man. They instantly connected over their love of history and travel and soon started dating. The couple remained long distance as Stephen worked in California and Lauren completed a second master’s degree at UNC. Six months after a trip to Wales and Southern England, Stephen proposed on Valentine’s Day at Crossroads Chapel Hill with his mother’s engagement ring.
The ceremony took place on June 3, 2017 at the Chapel Hill Carriage House. Parents David and Bonnie Joyner and Nicholas and Mary Cook, along with matron of honor Sarah Creech, watched as the couple said, “I do” in the new chapel by the pond – the first to do so in this spot. The day came full circle as John served as best man and Kelly officiated for the couple that met at their wedding three years ago. The decor was full of local North Carolina flavor including June blooms of coral and blue by Blossom Artistry along with vintage accents curated by Lauren’s mother – perfect for the garden picnic theme.
After the ceremony, venue owner Brenda Leeper entertained guests by dressing her goat and llama up as bride and groom. The animal duo posed for photos with the actual bride and groom to much amusement. Dinner was catered by Hillsborough BBQ Company. Lauren and Stephen showed off their Carolina Shag dance moves after six months of lessons from DJ Don Evers and his wife, Susan. The evening concluded with a sparkler send-off.
The couple resides in Raleigh where Steven works as an investor and Lauren works in the real estate department at North Carolina State University.