Photos by Bowtie Collaborative

We are overjoyed to share with you the beautiful and intimate wedding of Greer + Molotov at Highgrove Estate. They were married on a perfect Spring day in April in a traditional Russian Orthodox ceremony fit for a King!

Flowers on Broadstreet created a classic floral design for their wedding day with an abundance of white roses and hydrangeas, greenery, and babies breath. Adding gold chairs to the ballroom and other gold accents in combination with the white florals created a deliriously romantic atmosphere for the beautiful couple to celebrate their wedding day.

The couple chose to do something a little different for their ceremony, at least a little different here in America. They chose the more British tradition of having small children make up the majority of their bridal party instead of bridesmaids and groomsmen. Eight little boys and girls, dressed in white and gold, looked absolutely regal proceeding down the aisle ahead of the bride. They were the sweetest touch to such a gorgeous wedding.

Molotov’s Father officiated their Russian Orthodox Ceremony, which included an elaborate crowning between the Groom and the bride and Molotov’s daughter, Ivy. Traditionally, during the crowning service, the groom and bride are crowned as king and queen of their own small kingdom, their home. The crowns refer to the “crowns of martyrdom,” recognising that every true marriage will involve self-sacrifice from each person in the relationship. [].

As a surprise to Molotov, his daughter Ivy sang and read from Song of Solomon. It was such an emotional moment for everyone in attendance.

Their ceremony was beautiful and their reception equally as wonderful. Greer + Molotov were an absolute pleasure to serve. Please enjoy these gorgeous photos by the talented Bowtie Collaborative and scroll through to see their Cocktail Hour and Dinner selections.


Grilled Gouda on Rosemary Bread Grilled smoked gouda and apple on rosemary bread.

Sesame Crusted Chicken with spicy apricot glaze

Carolina Crab Cake with Old Bay aioli sauce


Baby Greens with seasonal fruit, spiced candied almonds, and sherry Dijon

Pecan Crusted Bourbon Chicken with bourbon sauce

Smoked Beef Brisket with Texas barbecue sauce

Roasted New Potatoes with rosemary olive oil

Green Beans Almandine


Photos by Natalie E. Photography

Kelsey and Dan were married on a beautiful day in March at Highgrove Estate. The couple was relaxed and dialed in to each other and their guests throughout the entire day. So refreshingly confident in their love for one another, they never seemed to miss a moment. Every detail was so thoughtful and on purpose.

One of the most awe inspiring details of their wedding day was Kelsey’s dress. Amanda, their Highgrove Estate Event Coordinator, had an inkling when she saw Kelsey at their rehearsal, hair in a bun, holding Dan’s hands and standing on the tips of her Birkenstocks, that Kelsey was a ballerina. When she saw her incredible Chantel Lauren wedding dress, it all came together.

Her mother, Mary, confirmed Amanda’s suspicions. “[Kelsey] started dancing when she was three. She danced competitively in high school and belonged to a dance club during her undergraduate time at NC State.” Her dress had all the makings of a ballerina’s dream. She found her long-sleeved overlay on Etsy, designed and created by Jurgita Bridal. But it was a little detail layered underneath her gown that really had us going ga-ga.

Kelsey wore a crinoline under her dress that was something of an heirloom. It first belonged to her Grandmother, who then passed it down to her Mother who wore it underneath her wedding dress. It was also worn by her Aunt as well and then finally passed down to Kelsey to wear on her wedding day. To add a little more magic, Kelsey’s Mom embroidered each of their wedding dates in blue onto a piece of material from her own wedding dress and then sewed that piece to the bottom of the crinoline. And the result was unforgettable. This makes for one of our favorite choices for something old AND something blue.

As if the crinoline wasn’t special enough, there is one more subtle yet incredibly meaningful detail about her dress. The second layer of her dress was hand painted by the designer. “When she tried the dress on [the paint] was actually blue…she loved it. They told us that it came in ivory with a silver paint and so we ordered an ivory [dress]. I was a nervous wreck for six months while we waited for the dress to come in because I had no idea what it was going to look like!” We think it is safe to say it was perfect! Her mother later shared why this detail was so meaningful. “One of [Kelsey’s] talents, besides dancing, was always painting…So the dress was just unbelievably her!”

Kelsey, Dan and their family were so incredibly kind and generous to the staff at Highgrove Estate and to their fantastic vendors. They were a joy to create with and serve. Enjoy these beautiful images by the talented NATALIE E. PHOTOGRAPHY. She captured them so perfectly. Scroll to see some of these sweet details and other amazing moments in Kelsey and Dan’s wedding day along with their selected menu for cocktail hour, dinner and dessert.

Another sweet personal detail, Kelsey + Dan  designed their own engagement and wedding rings through QUERCUS STUDIO.

Highgrove Estate Wedding

Cookies + Cork Station

Chocolate Espresso Peanut Butter Chip paired with Red wine

Rosemary Butter Shortbread paired with White wine

Lemon Thyme Petal paired with Prosecco

Cocktail Hour Selections


Pomegranate Mojito

Honey Bourbon Ginger Sour


Caprese Panini with fresh mozzarella, Capri tomato, and fresh basil

Shrimp + Grits

Charcuterie Station local and international artisan cheeses with an assortment of cured meats and sausages along with freshly pickled vegetables and accompaniments


Garden Salad mixed greens with tomato, carrots, red cabbage, farm bread croutons, and buttermilk ranch

Pecan Crusted Bourbon Chicken

Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish and Garlic Truffle Aioli

Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese

Green Beans Almandine

Creamy Mashed Potatoes


Krispy Kreme Flambé

Krispy Kreme donuts set aflame with liquor and served with homemade cinnamon ice cream and chopped pecans


Faith + Bobby were married on a rainy Friday in October at Highgrove Estate and their photos are proof that rainy day weddings can still be magical AND stress free.

As their guests arrived, they were greeted with hot apple cider and warm fireplaces–the perfect setting for a cozy fall wedding. Faith + Bobby exchanged their vows in front of our beautifully lit and decorated fireplace that anchors the Grand ballroom.  All of these warm elements paired with Faith’s thoughtful details created a  cozy, intimate wedding experience for all their friends and family.

FLOWERS ON BROADSTREET’S dramatic magnolia leaf designs incorporated peach peonies, white ranunculus and gorgeous natural greenery, perfectly highlighting Faith’s choice in the deep navy, beaded bridesmaids dresses and her gorgeous wedding gown. It was a  classic design, fit for a Southern Estate wedding.

We asked MEGAN KERNS, Faith + Bobby’s photographer about her experience at Highgrove Estate and how she worked with and around the rain to shoot Faith + Bobby’s beautiful photos.

“I loved this experience! The rain wasn’t ideal, but we made it work. The staff at Highgrove was understanding and supportive throughout the entire experience. They helped me plan alternative locations for photos inside and on the front porch. Faith and Bobby were SUPER CALM. From my perspective, the rain wasn’t even an issue for them! I didn’t hear Faith or Bobby complain about the weather once.”

“Despite the forecast, this couple RADIATED JOY their entire wedding day.” 

KEEP SCROLLING for beautiful photos and to find out more about how we prepare for rainy day weddings.

Place Setting Highgrove Estate
Highgrove Estate Ballroom
Farm Table Highgrove Estate
Cake Cutting Highgrove Estate

Every couple that chooses Highgrove Estate to host their wedding day does so with the vision of their ceremony taking place outside, overlooking Laurel Lake. We always aim to make that vision a reality, but when the weather refuses to cooperate, we have an amazing alternative in our gorgeous Grand Ballroom. As you can see in the photos from Faith + Bobby’s wedding, our indoor option is so classically beautiful and cozy that your guests won’t believe you ever planned to do it outside.

Our team is trained to work with and around the rain. We follow the forecast and the radar closely on the days leading up to your wedding, and if rain looks eminent, we will help prepare you and your vendors to move the ceremony indoors. If it looks like a close call, our experienced staff is able to quickly turn the ceremony indoors with little to no effect on your timeline. Your event coordinator has more than likely seen it all–hurricanes included! They can help you make the best call based off of real-time radars and her expert opinion. Each wedding is unique, and we have unique options on how to make it work whatever your choice.

When we say we have everything covered, in-climate weather is included! For your convenience, we are equipped with large, black umbrellas that we station at each door for your guests. We also have clear umbrellas specifically for the Bride and Groom.

In addition, we have several easily accessible covered locations on site such as our new pergola on the side of the ballroom, the covered cocktail area and multiple porches throughout the property for your guests to enjoy and you newlyweds to sneak that perfect sweet photo. Rain can never dampen true love, excellent service, thoughtful design, and incredible food.

Fill out the form below to receive more information about available dates and our full-service venue.

Venue: Highgrove Estate | Photographer: Megan Kerns | Florist: Flowers on Broadstreet  |  DJ: All Events DJ | Ceremony Music: Arioso Strings | Makeup + Hair: Wedded Kiss | Cake: Ambrosia Cake Creations | Wedding Gown: Wtoo Watters from New York Bride and Groom | Bridesmaids Dresses: Adriana Papell from Bella Bridesmaids Raleigh | Groom + Groomsmen’s Suits: The Black Tux | Calligraphy: Kelly Sizemore | Invitation: Minted

Welcome to the all new Highgrove Estate Blog! We are excited for you to join us on this journey. In this space, we will be featuring real Highgrove Estate weddings, sharing our wedding planning expertise, highlighting our fantastic vendors, and keeping you up to date on seasonal design and menu ideas. We have a library of topics and features we are excited to share that we believe will help simplify your wedding planning process and hopefully remind you of the joy you felt when it all began.

For those of you new to Highgrove Estate, we are an all-inclusive, Southern-style wedding venue set on seven acres overlooking Lake Laurel, tucked away in Fuquay-Varina, NC. A full-service venue where every detail is covered and wedding planning is made simple.

Ashton Brent Wedding-Bride Groom-0051
House Before 2015 Renovations
RoseyShell Highgrove 1
House After 2015 Renovations – Rosey Shell Photography


We have dedicated over fifteen years to planning the celebrations of hundreds of new beginnings. So we think it only necessary to start our new blog celebrating the very first one: the beginning of Highgrove Estate. We can’t think of a better place to start than by introducing you to the President and heartbeat of our venue, Vicky Ismail. Vicky is an incredible chef with over thirty years experience in the restaurant and catering industry. She inherited her passion for entertaining and incredible food from her family of restaurateurs, known for their hospitality and lavish parties.

Vicky opened her first restaurant in South Florida at just twenty-two years old with her husband Abdul. After their restaurant had a great thirteen year run, even expanding into a franchise, Vicky and Abdul decided it was time for a change and moved their family to North Carolina, opening a little café in Cary. The Cary Café would eventually expand into catering, specializing in corporate and wedding catering, leading to the opening of Highgrove Estate.

Vicky Headshot
Vicky Ismail, President & Owner – Rachel Red Photography
Vicky & her daughter Angela Wright, Vice President Photo by Rachel Red Photography
Vicky's Mother at one of her lavish house parties.
Vicky’s Mother at one of her lavish house parties.

In the spring of 2003, after a few renovations, including the addition of our white trellis in the ceremony area, we officially began hosting weddings at Highgrove Estate. We served every dinner to wedding guests in a small, one hundred-person tent. Vicky and Troy, our Executive Chef, would create the food at their respective restaurants and bring it in like most off site caterers. After a few years, we purchased our own two tents with a max capacity of two hundred and fifty guests. Five years after our first wedding, we transformed the two-car garage into a commercial kitchen and expanded the area to include our own dishes and serving pieces. Everything from then on was prepared onsite with an expanded menu into broader fare. In addition to the kitchen, we decided to make our reception space more permanent and added our breathtaking window-wrapped Grand Ballroom. Its fabric draped ceilings covered in twinkling lights, six antique chandeliers and the grand fireplace make quite the dramatic statement every Bride dreams about on her wedding day.

“Serving the most delicious food possible at a catered event is at the root of who we are. We realized that in order to present the absolute best for the parties, celebrations and events we were catering, we would need our own kitchen space and equipment. It has become like a private restaurant that just happens to open up for our wedding guests on the weekends.”

Southern Inspired Menu – Rachel Red Photography
Grand Ballroom – Rosey Shell Photography
2010 Ballroom Addition with 2015 Renovation Photo: Bow Tie Collaborative
Bar Area Before Renovations
Bar Area and Kitchen renovation in 2010

“We were laser focused on weddings and put all our energy and resources into developing the best wedding venue we could; from the ceremony, great food and ambiance, to excellent service and a professional team to carry out a bride’s vision. Building trust was key and we thrived on doing just that.”

Trust is built through great attention to detail and communication. Three years ago, we teamed up with a Senior Software Engineer from the SAS Institute to help develop Releventful, a custom event planning software application. It has allowed us to keep the lines of communication with our couples at their fingertips. From menus to vendors, timelines and wedding day details –nothing is left to chance or overlooked.

“WEDDINGS MADE SIMPLE – that was our plan! A Highgrove Estate bride has her own personal, professional team from start to finish – from welcome champagne to wedding cake and all the food and drinks needed to pull off a signature wedding day that will indeed be a memory for all the right reasons.”

Original Bridal Suite in 2005
Renovated Bridal Suite
by Bow Tie Collaborative
View More:
Special Suite Renovation – Bow Tie Collaborative
View More:
Groom’s Suite Renovation – Bow Tie Collaborative


Our vision for the future is to continually enhance the building, property, and decor of the Estate, each year adding something new and surprising. Our latest feature added last year is our new outdoor pergola with a fourteen foot fireplace and chandeliers. We are currently in the process of enhancing our ceremony area with an updated pergola, walkways, and new seating as well as a front porch extension and manicured landscaping by our gardener.

Highgrove Estate Outdoor Fireplace
New Pergola & Outdoor Fireplace on the Side Patio –  Megan Kerns Photography
Updated Fireplace by Bow Tie Collaborative


“Creating memories that last a lifetime; one couple, one celebration, one story at a time.” This is our mission, our motto, our mantra. Our desire is for brides to have their own personal experience—to be able to express themselves just as they want for their wedding day. We want brides to take what is in their head and allow us to bring it to life. We want it to feel beautiful and relaxed from the moment they engage our services to the send off at the end of the evening. Even though it is the same house, grounds, and ballroom it gets transformed into their own story. We want them to have JOY IN EACH MOMENT with heart, mind, and soul and not be worrying about details being overlooked. They can confidently relax in the process knowing we’ve got this!

Rachel Red Photography
Original Ceremony Trellis by Hartman Outdoor Photography
New Cedar Ceremony Pergola Photo by Bow TIe Photography