CARY — Michelle McMurray de Luces has thought about weddings since she was 6 years old.
Her mother, Patricia Wixson, remembers little Michelle was fascinated by her wedding dress.
And the little girl did more than daydream.
“She was a bride several Halloweens,” Wixson said.
Forty-something years later, McMurray de Luces has found a way to make a living off the magic of matrimony.
Through her business, Wedding Story Writer, the Cary woman writes and publishes hand-bound books about couples’ courtship.
“The way she writes is not like a journalism piece. She writes it into a love story like you’d read in a romantic novel,” said Katherine Taylor, who hired McMurray to write about her wedding in 2012.
McMurray de Luces talks to couples about the events leading up to their wedding.
Taylor’s wedding story opens with her engagement tale.
Kevin Taylor proposed to Katherine at Haywood Hall in downtown Raleigh. He covered the gazebo with five dozen roses and wrote lines of a poem on a card in front of each dozen.
“When I turned around, he was already down on one knee, and he recited that poem to me by heart,” Taylor said.
McMurray de Luces attends couples’ wedding ceremonies, jotting down the details of the decorations and comments from family members.
“While I was reading it, I teared up a couple times because there were some memories that I had forgotten,” said Cody Renegar, who married his husband Thomas Staed in Arkansas in 2012.
Renegar and Taylor said they were surprised at the amount of detail McMurray de Luces captures while sitting quietly out of the way.
“She was able to get down to the tiniest details of my wedding dress,” Taylor said.
McMurray de Luces still has an obsession with wedding dresses. She’s collected more than 50 of them, some dating back to the 1920s.
She finds them interesting from a fashion and psychological standpoint.
“It’s the one time you can be glamorous from head to toe,” McMurray de Luces said. “Other times, you might have people talking behind your back. But your wedding is the one time you can be over the top and people won’t say anything about it.”
As for her writing, she’s kept a journal her entire life. She honed that skill while writing papers for her master’s degree in business.
She learned which wedding moments to capture from her time as a wedding planner and “being romantic by nature.”
McMurray de Luces won’t take full credit, though. She has writers and even hires artists to cover the ceremony, if couples are willing to pay for it.
“They made us some phenomenal paintings and sketches,” Renegar said. “We might have a wedding shrine before too long.”
McMurray de Luces was a stay-at-home mother until October 2011, when she started Wedding Story Writer. She’s now settled on a business model she likes, and has a stable of writers and artists she depends on.
“We’re ready to go,” she said.
Legacy books start at about $10,000, and scrolls start at $4,500.
It’s not cheap, but Taylor and Renegar say it’s worth it.
“We love it,” Renegar said.
Specht: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @AndySpecht