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Tradition and romance in this wedding to remember


You might say that Mary Kate Morgan didn’t really get a “kick” out of her early impression of the man she would one day marry.

They were preschoolers on the soccer field when she tentatively tried out for a pint-size recreation league team. She booted the ball and 5-year-old Joseph Riddle chuckled.

“Is that all you got?” he said. “You kick like a girl.”

Mary Kate burst into tears, and that was pretty much that until they reconnected over ice cream at the beach years later in middle school.

“We’ve been together ever since,” she said.

They’ve stayed together, in fact, even as life often kept a bit of distance between them. She graduated from Fayetteville Academy and then Meredith College in 2018, then earned a master’s at East Carolina University. Joseph, a Terry Sanford High School graduate, went on to earn an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019. He’s a third-year student at Campbell University School of Law, and she is a child life specialist at Wake Med Children’s Hospital, where she helps make hospital stays and medical procedures less stressful for children.

It was just the two of them when he proposed at the beach on Labor Day in 2020, though a passel of family members and friends were waiting back home anticipating the news.

And then all the planning began.

Mary Kate Covington Morgan and Joseph Palmer Riddle IV were married Dec. 31, 2021, in a tradition-filled ceremony officiated by the Rev. Robert Alves at St. John’s Episcopal Church, where Mary Kate and her family are longtime members. She wore a simple dress that included a custom bolero sewn with lace from the dress worn by both her mother, Marian, and aunt, Mary Holmes. She carried a Bible that belonged to her late uncle, Jack Morgan; a cross charm that her grandfather, the late Walter Moorman, was given through his affiliation with the Young Christian Men’s Association at Clemson; and a lucky six-pence from her sister-in-law, Lauren Morgan.

“Tradition was the most important thing for me,” Mary Kate said. “That and the fact that so many of our family members were there.”

The black-tie reception at Cape Fear Botanical Garden featured a first dance to “You’re All I Need to Get By,” more dancing to the music of the Black and Blue Experience Band and a sendoff for the couple just after midnight with plenty of sparklers.

It was the happy culmination of a union between two young people whose families are deeply rooted in Fayetteville. The pre-wedding festivities also included a bridesmaids’ luncheon at the Kyle House given by Mary Kate’s aunt and godmother, Sarah Moorman; aunt Mary Holmes, Nancy Norwood, and Maureen Huguley. Joseph’s family hosted a rehearsal dinner at Highland Country Club, and Mary Kate’s uncle, Walter Moorman, hosted a New Year’s Day brunch for the wedding party and families.

For now, it’s back to work helping children and their families for Mary Kate and that all-important upcoming N.C. Bar exam for Joseph. But they have a proven track record of togetherness and a wedding to remember as they set off on life’s way.