Elizabeth Renee Connor and James William Ryan Pope created a fantastical wedding day experience in downtown Durham
By Cailey Cetani | Photography by Photos By Clay
Date Nov. 6, 2021
Occupations Ryan works as a project manager for Duke Energy at the Harris Nuclear Plant, and Renee, a hairstylist, owns Salon Elysian by Renee.
Crossed Paths Renee and Ryan met on a dating app and had their first date on June 28, 2018. The two immediately bonded over shared interests in travel, fine dining, music and art, plus their family and life goals. Renee says that they had so much in common it made her head spin. She was drawn to Ryan’s charm and says he was a “total gentleman.”
The Proposal After a few months of dating, Renee and Ryan visited Bailey’s Fine Jewelry to window-shop for engagement rings. Ryan proposed nine months later at a scenic overlook of the Blue Ridge Mountains on vacation in Asheville, their favorite mountain getaway.
The Big Day The couple hosted a rehearsal dinner at Mothers & Sons Trattoria before their eclectic ceremony and reception at 21c Museum Hotel, which embodied a moody theme inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” but reimagined in deep fall shades. Ryan wore a swanky all-black suit from Ticknors Men’s Clothier, while Renee’s elegant gown came from Lucy’s Bridal in Vass, North Carolina. Abundant candles decorated the museum and former bank vault. Guests enjoyed a catered meal from Counting House and cake from Cary’s Once in a Blue Moon Bakery & Cafe, while performers from Down to Earth Aerials poured Champagne as they hung from silk fabrics.
Favorite Moments Renee says that she felt emotional “seeing everything set up for the reception and knowing all my hard work and planning had paid off.” Ryan says that he cherishes memories of the first look they shared and posing with the wedding party in the bank vault.