Carolina Bride

Loves takes aim

Wake Forest University alumni Barry Dunham and Amy Kudwa had an unconventional first meeting. During the couple’s sophomore year, Amy’s sorority and Barry’s fraternity hosted a “Rambo Commando” party. To prepare for the party, students played an assassin’s game the week before. Participants had to pick a name out of a hat, and whoever that player chose would be the person he or she had to "shoot." When it came to his turn to draw, fate led Barry to pick Amy. Equipped with a water gun and disguised as a pizza delivery man, he snuck into his target’s dorm. Although she made a quick attempt to hide, Barry still hit his mark.

Barry’s proposal showed he never lost his sneaky side. "We'd been talking about getting married so I had a sense it was coming, but he was throwing out a lot of red herrings,” recalls Amy. “I was getting my hair done that day, and I asked him if he could pick me up after I was finished. All he said was 'I don't know; I'm making big plans for tonight.'" However, Barry was actually making arrangements for that afternoon. While they were still just friends, Amy and Barry had visited the National Archives in Washington, D.C. On December 18, 2010, they would return to the same spot as a couple. Feeling sentimental as they passed by the National Archives, Amy asked to go inside. As they started climbing the building’s steps, she realized that Barry was up to something. Once they reached the top, he got down on one knee and asked Amy to marry him. Amid a wave of applause from onlookers, she said yes!Now it was Amy’s chance to plan a party of her own – this time, sans water guns. Only a few days after Barry’s proposal, she was back in Charlotte for Christmas. Since she lived out of state, Amy and her mother had only six days (minus the holidays) to research, visit and pick a venue. All Amy knew at that point was that she wanted a fall wedding and the convenience of one venue for the ceremony and reception. When someone suggested Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, they drove straight over. “I automatically fell in love and booked it right away,” she says. “I wanted everything to feel really organic and didn’t want to overpower the beauty of the venue.”Carey Roberts Design assisted Amy in the organic, natural look she was aiming for. “They were spectacular,” she adds. “I never would have come up with cabbages and artichokes for my flowers, but it felt really chic, fun and elegant. I loved it!” To complement the neutral colors of the wedding, Amy chose a cream-colored cake accented with green, orange and brown created by Cheesecake Etc. Guests enjoyed a spice cake layer with cream cheese and a marble layer with chocolate mousse filling. For their top tier, the couple picked a Kahlua cake with Bailey’s Irish Crème filling. When the dancing started, Chuck Eaton Photographers were there to catch every move. “My guests kept saying it was amazing. The photographers were out on the dance floor taking great pictures, but not getting in the way. They were like ninjas,” says Amy. She is particularly grateful to Chuck for catching one of her favorite moments at the wedding. "The father-daughter dance was one of my favorite moments,” she says. “My dad has a very unique dance style, and there are some great pictures of him striking some hilarious poses."Later in the evening, Chuck pulled Amy and Barry away to capture a few outside shots. That night, there was a circle surrounding the moon called a moonbow. “It was beautiful, and Chuck encouraged us to stay out and enjoy the moment,” remembers Amy. As the party raged on behind them, the couple was able to savor a few newlywed minutes alone and set their sights on the future.

Featured Vendors


Cheesecake Etc


Ceremony location

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden



Carey Roberts Design



Chuck Eaton Photographers


Rental provider

Creative Solutions Special Events


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