dressPrepare for an immersive love experience with Love in the Oval Ballroom on Feb. 17. It is hosted by Beespoke Vintage and Heritage Historical Society. The event features a recreation of the 1830s wedding and reception of Margaret Halliday and John Sanford.

“I am a historical clothier and own Beespoke Vintage, a business that focuses on creating clothing from the 1770s through the 1970s, recreating vintage patterns, and curating historical events,” said Rebecca A. Russell.

“While working with Mary Erwin Olive, member of the Colonial Dames, on a written project for the Oval Room’s inclusion in the Great American Treasures book, I learned about the interesting history of the buildings and the women who inhabited them. I decided to recreate the 1830s wedding of one of the Halliday daughters for whose reception oral traditions state the Oval Ballroom was originally constructed,” said Russell.

“I applied and was awarded a mini-grant from the Arts Council for support of this event. The idea to recreate the 1830s wedding and reception at the actual site was placed in active mode. Oral tradition holds that the Oval Ballroom was intended for the wedding receptions of two Halliday daughters, Mary, and Margaret Halliday. Mary Halliday married Dr. Daniel Theodore Coxe in St John’s Episcopal Church on the evening of March 4, 1830. Margaret Halliday married John. W Sanford, also at St John’s Episcopal Church on July 7, 1830.

"I chose Valentine’s Day as the perfect day to recreate Margaret Halliday and John. W Sanford’s nuptials and receptions. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, marriage, and engagements,” said Russell.


Marriage has existed for over 4350 years. Early marriages were based on economics, political alliances, and male heirs, according to The Week Magazine

Marriage for love was considered a radical practice. “Too much love was thought to be a real threat to the establishment of marriage. Early proponents were horrified by the idea of love. The idea of love as a prime reason for marriage began to spread in the late 18th century and 19th century partially due to the French and American Revolutions,” said Stephanie Coontz.

Love in the Oval Ballroom is a two part event: the historically recreated wedding of Halliday and Sanford, and mini ceremonies for attendees.

“Cassandra McMillion, Heritage Square Historical President, introduced the idea of hosting a mini wedding as a fun addition [to the recreation of the nuptials of Margaret and John Sanford],” said Russell.

The mini-wedding ceremony symbolizes the elements of marriage, love, mutual respect and sacrifice. It is commitment. When a person says, “I Do,” it is a beautiful, memorable, and life-defining moment. The wedding ceremony is a public acknowledgment of love and commitment.

Love in the Oval Ballroom will feature the proposal, wedding vows or renewal experience. Enjoy an official wedding, and make sure to bring the marriage license, IDs, and other required documents prior to the ceremony. Here is the website for information about documentation https://www.nccourts.gov/help-topics/divorce-and-marriage/marriage .

The ceremonies are limited to 30 minutes in the Oval Ballroom. The photography package includes professional editing, 6 digital images, and a 12 x 16 print. There is the option to invite 30 guests. Please register for the proposal, wedding, renewals experience by Feb. 9. The fee is $750 per couple. The hours are 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on February 17.

The second part of the Love in the Oval Ballroom event is the 1830 Wedding Presentation. This aspect will feature the immersive experience of attending Margaret and John Sanford’s 1830 wedding ceremony and reception.

Prior to attending the reenactment of the wedding and reception, there will be a presentation of the wedding tradition, fashion, architecture, history of the Oval Ballroom, and family history of the residents.

The public is encouraged to wear costumes of the early Regency and Victorian eras. Costumes are not required to attend the wedding and reception. The historical presentation begins at 3 p.m. on Feb. 17.

The Oval Ballroom is located at Heritage Square, 225 Dick Street. The ticket link is https://allevents.in/fayetteville/love-in-oval- ballroom/80003146032347. The ticket cost is $25.00. Ticket information is available on the website, Bespoke Vintage, https://wwwbeespokevintage.com. The event is limited to 30 people.

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