7 Amazing Military Wedding Photos

If you live in Eastern NC, you may have seen a military wedding or two.  The Army, Air Force and Coast Guard have installations in North Carolina, but it’s the strong presence of the United States Marine Corps in Jacksonville and Cherry Point that have given rise to many Onslow County military weddings.

Couples can be transferred to our area right in the middle of planning their wedding, or be stationed to USMCB Camp Lejeune right after completing training, a tour of duty or a deployment.  These changes often set relationships in motion toward the altar. Couples often want to demonstrate pride in the Marine and heritage of the Corps.  Here are 7 military wedding photos that are our favorites to celebrate marriage and the military.

First, we look to Rey Benasfre of Life & Love Creative. Rey is currently an active duty member and an avid photographer.

We’re in love with these photos from Madeline Jane Photography.  Passing a love note before the wedding is reminiscent of letters from boot camp and special messages during deployments.  And inclusion of the dress blues cover and dog tags with her bouquet of red, white and blue pay tribute to the significance of the military marriage commitment.

This photo from Elise Abigail Photography captures the traditional moment of welcoming a bride to the Marine Corps family with the Arch of Swords.

And one of our favorite playful photographs comes from KatelynMann (Pinterest)

The military, particularly the Marine Corps, is a large part of life in Eastern North Carolina, so military weddings are a favorite way to celebrate the love that supports our service men and women.  There are great photographers that take help incorporate the pride of military service into the day that starts a military life together… and it can be beautiful.


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I do, Round 1

Love is in the air and we can hear the wedding bells ringing; but this time, they are on the steps of the courthouse.  A courthouse wedding can be intimate and romantic without the lengthy planning and size of a traditional service.  And for many couples in Onslow County, a courthouse wedding is the perfect way to become husband and wife before – or between – military deployments.

Perhaps you’ll have a traditional ceremony later with your family, but for now, you want to make it official without hosting a big affair.  A courthouse wedding is a WEDDING!  So, with a little planning and a few special touches, your day can be just as celebratory and sharable as a church wedding.  Here are a few hints to help you pull off a simple celebration at the Justice of the Peace.

Love & License

In North Carolina, couples are required to obtain a marriage license before getting married.  Your marriage license can be from any county in North Carolina; it does not have to be from the county where you have your wedding.  In Onslow County, you can obtain your marriage license from the Register of Deeds Office at the Courthouse before your marriage date.  After you receive it, it’s valid for 60 days.  Both parties must be present, the license fee is $60 and you’ll need identification.  Don’t forget this one!  No license, no wedding.

A Dreamy Dress

Make your simple ceremony special by wearing a dress and having him wear a suit.  Just because you’ll be in the courthouse, doesn’t mean you have to skimp on the dress!  Encourage guests you bring to wear appropriate wedding attire as well.  A dreamy dress and wedding-worthy attire will make for better photographs and fun memories.

Go Pro Photography

We’re not talking about a camera strapped to your head! Schedule a professional photographer to capture photos of your day.  Having a courthouse wedding eliminates some of the traditional expenses of a church wedding, so budget in a talented photographer who can take amazing photos.  Onslow County’s courthouse is nestled in downtown near parks and historic buildings, so it’s only a short distance to a great photo shoot destination before or after your ceremony.

Tiny Guest List

When it comes to the actual ceremony in the judge’s or magistrate’s office, there may be a limit on the number of attendees.  Inquire with the office and verify limits.  You’ll want to have 2 witnesses to sign the marriage certificate.  If you wish, you can also invite close friends and family to witness your vows.  The guest list is much smaller, but this intimate group can celebrate with you.

Skip the Bridal Party

It’s not necessary to have bridal parties for a courthouse wedding.  Having a maid of honor and a best man as your witnesses are all you need.  Take advantage of the smaller setting and reduced company to save on expenses and formalities.  This day is about a commitment to love, so keep the focus on your marriage and each other.

Reception? or Not to Reception?

Short answer, yes… or no.  This one is completely up to what you and your fiancé desire. There is no big expectation for a traditional reception or party. Some couples want to celebrate privately – and that’s perfectly fine.  Some couples host a small cake-cutting only. Others skip the big wedding expense and invest in a party with friends with a few more traditional touches.

If you want to host a celebration after your ceremony, be creative in how you celebrate with your friends and family.  You can rent a beach house and have your friends and family join you there to celebrate.  Cut the cake, have some fun and the two of you can slip away to your own accommodations when you’re ready.  You are free to create your own style and size of celebration.  From picnic to beach party to fine dining… it’s completely up to you.

Enjoy the one you love and the day you are married.  You’ve got a lifetime to build more memories.  For this day, plan the little details that will make it special for the two of you and your courthouse wedding will be perfectly suited to you.

Wedding Cake Style Forecast

Your wedding date is approaching, the dress is being fitted, the rings have been ordered, and the floral arrangements are planned to perfection.  It is cake time.  While a traditional, white, 3-tiered cake with tiny columns holding every ounce will forever be a timeless tribute to romance, we have spotted gorgeous cake trends emerging in 2018!  We love to think outside the proverbial cake pan and bring to each bride and groom a delicious and awe-inspiring cake.  We’ve collected our favorite styles to hopefully excite your imagination.

Marbled Cake

The natural stone of marble has moved from the counter top to the cake!  A marble design can be dressed up for an elegant, formal feel or dressed down for an earthy, bohemian wedding.  You can trickle your main colors into the design.

In this cake, marbled finish is combined with the geode cake trend, that has been popular in recent seasons.

Naked Cake

 Naked cakes are divine.  This style of wedding cake really shows off the craftsmanship of the cake, filling, and has a very natural, “back-to-basics” feel.

Naked cakes feature the colors of the cake itself and are usually adorned with natural elements like fruit or flowers.  This trend is staying strong in 2018 and 2019.




Gold Foils and Metallic Finishes

Gold foil and metallic finishes add a sophisticated aspect to a wedding cake.  Metallic foils come in gold, silver, platinum and copper.  In this cake, metallic sequins cover the second tier and gold ribbons adorn the top and middle layers. Gold foil can be added in clean sections or streaked into a cake’s design with a modern, edgy flair.



Painted Cakes

 We are simply in love with hand painted cakes.  From painted textures like this watercolor tier to full panoramic landscapes and painted flowers, this custom-painted wedding cake trend is wildly popular for its originality.  White icing is your blank canvas, and your cake becomes your very own work of art.



No matter what trend or tradition you’re eyeing for your wedding cake, contact our cake design team for help with planning for size, servings, and style.  We’re here to help.

I Do 2: Planning Your Second Wedding

Getting married for a second time is a beautiful thing.  No one is too old, or too late to find their happily ever after.  We all love second chances, and in romance… sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered.  Planning a second wedding can be as simple or extravagant as your tastes desire, but you’ve done this once before.  Here are a few tips and tricks to help you say “I do” this time.

Wear White
Today is not the olden days.  If your heart so desires, wear a white dress.  White is symbolic of purity for many, but it’s also synonymous with weddings and the commitment you’re making today.  So, feel free to look like a snow princess.

Or Don’t Wear White
Who cares if it’s a white dress!?  This is your [second] wedding, do what you want.  Wear off white, hot pink or neon green.  Show up in a denim dress…well maybe not that one, but, this time, make it more about you and less about tradition alone.

Creative Registry
At this point in your life, you probably have enough dinner ware to last forever, but your guest will probably still want to get you something.  Keep your registry creative and maybe add all the things you’ve wanted.  A luggage set, an espresso machine, tube amp turntable, or skiing equipment.  Be creative.  Use your imagination.

Don’t Count on Mom and Dad

We’re not saying your parents don’t love you, but if they footed the bill for the first wedding, they might not chip in this time.  You’re older, wiser and more independent.  That applies to financing the wedding, too.

Do Get a Cake
This is one tradition it’s hard to skip.  People want cake.  Guests want to admire it.  They want to see you cut it.  Cake is expected.  There are new trends in wedding cakes, though. Mini-cakes, cupcakes, naked cakes, and even tarts and pies.  Explore styles in our gallery and online to see what works for you and your groom.

Don’t Invite the Ex
Enough said.

Blend the Family In

This is important and fun.  Often in second weddings, families are blending.  Each family has its own set of traditions, expectations, and experiences.  Have fun involving family members in little ways, but don’t lose sight of the fact that this is your wedding.

If minor children are involved in the blending of two households, involving them can create a memory for the rest of their lives.  Give each child a small role they are capable of playing successfully.  Don’t stress them out on the big day, but include them in a sincere way.  They may be a flower girl, ring bearer, read a scripture or a poem at the reception, or even a member of the wedding party.  Help them be part of establishing a new home together.


Throw a party!  Your reception can be formal, casual, intimate or a little on the wild side. This is a renewal, a second chance, a fresh start, — so celebrate it!  Get a band or a DJ to help you celebrate this new chapter of your life with your new family and new spouse.

Bridal Show Kickoff!

Tis the season to plan a wedding!  It’s a new year, proposals have been happening from Christmas through New Years Eve.  Valentine’s Day will be here soon and wedding planning season is in full swing.  Late winter and early spring are characterized by “Bridal Show Season.”

Local bridal shows and expos are coming up, and American Dream Cakes will be participating in several.  These events can make life easier for a bride, providing a one-stop-shop experience for venues, limos, caterers and yes… Cakes!

Here are a few we will be attending in this upcoming season:

  1. Crystal Coast Bridal Fair – Each and every bride is invited to the gorgeous Crystal Coast Civic Center that over looks Bogue Sound and converse with over 50 wedding professionals to help you plan your wedding.

Fashion Shows can peak your interest for future bridal and bridesmaid gowns.  They will be happening intermittently during the fair and they make a great chance to take a break from all the wedding hustle.

Bridal Contests have made a full comeback this year. The bridal bouquet bucket toss is going to test your skills.  The Wedding Cake Treasure hunt will be a delicious treat for all those who participate.  Of course, the grand prize giveaway of a $250 dollar credit to one lucky bride will happen at 2:30.  Each contestant must register online!

Cake Sampling is arguably the best part of the day! Local bakers will be there to feature their most delicious cakes for sampling.  Come on, it doesn’t get much better.

Come find us at the Crystal Coast Bridal Fair!

January 13th, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Crystal Coast Civic Center

3505 Arendell St., Morehead City NC

  1. New Bern Bridal Expo – Here is another chance for all brides to be to get planning early in the game. We will join 70 other vendors and wedding experts to help anyone navigate their way to the big day. New Bern is home to beautiful venues that have rich historic character, and places like this will sure inspire you and your wedding party. This expo is located at the heart of New Bern at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center.  Highlights of the convention are Caterers, Photographers, Venues, Event Planners, DJs, Entertainment, Travel, Florists, Health and Beauty, Event Attire,  Party Rentals, Fashion Shows, Entertainment, plus thousands of dollars in prizes and giveaways!

New Bern Bridal Expo

21 Jan. 2017, 12pm – 4pm

New Bern Riverfront Convention Center;

203 South Front Street, New Bern NC

Event Website

  1. Engaged Onslow Bridal Expo – We are proud to be a vendor in our own hometown hosted expo! Engaged onslow strives to provide a magnificent experience for each of its attendees.

Taste Test Rehearsals Tour-  A limousine will pick you up and escort you to local venues to enjoy a 5 course meal, and each course being featured at that location.  This gives you a great experience not only tasting potential caterers, but also seeing the venues themselves!  You have to reserve your tickets soon!

Venue Tour on February 2017- This is a free tour to all who want to participate!  A chance to have a one on one tour from each venue coordinator and talk about your wants and need from a wedding venue, you cannot give this opportunity.

Ultimate Giveaway- Engaged Onslow is giving away a grand prize of $2500 for a very lucky bride to goes towards their wedding and to be used amongst the vendors present.  That is a big chunk-o-change that could benefit any bride for their planning.  You must register before the event though!  P.S. they are giving away other great prizes as well, so don’t be discouraged!

Engaged Onslow Bridal Show

FEb. 16-17

Jacksonville Commons Rec Center

100 Recreation Lane, Jacksonville, NC

Stop by and tell us about your Dream Day!  We’ll help you plan a Dream Cake to go with it!



Trending Wedding Cake Styles for 2018

If you’re like Meghan Markle, you’re already in full planning mode for 2018 nuptials – minus that royal family budget. Wedding planners are already sharing the go-to trends for next year’s events, leaving plenty of options for traditional or modern tastes, or a mixture of both. Let your personal style shine through with a confectionary message that captures your unique love story.

Something old.

Destination weddings are a timeless option when choosing a venue, making beach-themed cakes a sweet pairing for 2018. From broad interpretations with colors like deep ocean blues and sandy nudes, to adding textures like sugar sand and fondant seashells, couples are choosing cakes that are an extension of the event’s location.  Whether your proposal was sea-side or you are saying your ‘I do’s’ in the summer months, you can incorporate timeless elements that are personal to your own romance through colors, shape, or flavor profiles.

Something new.

Metallic is all the rage as couples from the digital era are adding luster and shine to every detail from invitations to decor to the dessert table. The Knot’s Lauren Kay says this trend is adaptable to almost any style, allowing for different interpretations.  You’l be seeing metallic making appearances in formal, bohemian, and many other wedding styles.  Metallic touches are easily combined with lace, tone-on-tone and other trending style elements.  This 2018 style trend allows creativity in areas from graphic design to modern décor touches to details with a glittery twist.

 Something borrowed.

Nothing says I love you like sweet treats. The wedding cake still reigns supreme, but couples are showing off their creativity with different types of desserts that are an extension of that sugary centerpiece. Our Sweet Treats Trailer lets you personalize your menu with everything from cupcakes to a variety of bite-sized desserts. Did you propose to her with an Italian piazza? Cue cannoli.  Did you meet your groom in the cool fall months? Enter pumpkin spiced-cupcakes. This trend of borrowing a personal note from your own relationship milestones is perfect for brides and grooms that have a special story to tell in a unique, but oh-so-delicious way.

Something blue.

Color is back in 2018 – and in more than just flowers or dresses. The Wedding Wire states navy is the new black for formal affairs. Couples are forgoing strict blacks and whites in elegant venues, and instead are opting for deep blue hues. This fashionable trend can help connect the dots for your wedding day vision by dropping hints of color across the cake design, stationery, and accessories for the wedding party. Even better, it knocks one of the famous four wedding traditions off your to-do list. Something blue: check.

The wedding cake has a longstanding history of being the focal point of the most important day of your life. The moment of that traditional cutting ceremony will grace your wedding album for decades to come. A cake artist can help you navigate details that matter to you to make your vision a sweet reality.  And, in the middle of all that 2018 wedding planning, who doesn’t want a break to journey through a sampling of different flavors and options? (For research purposes, of course!Contact us to schedule a stress-free flavor sampling.

Wedding Cake Alternatives

Planning a wedding is huge.  It’s an incredibly important day with many, many details.   You’ve got to find the best gown and the ideal venue, the right caterer and decorations….  But let’s be honest, cake tasting is one of the best do’s on the “to do” list!

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Fall Weddings are Warming Up

Fall: A Growing Season for Weddings
Summer’s heat has passed.  Days are shortening, but fall presents us with a second “new year” as school years, harvests and other cycles start anew in fall.  One thing is certain, this traditional season of harvest is producing a bumper crop of weddings.

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Beautiful Woodland Cakes

If you’re a lover of nature and the great outdoors, the concept of a woodland cake is what you need to take your special occasion to the next level. Read more