As if I wasn’t already anxious enough for warm weather, Lara-Anne and Chad’s wedding encompasses so many of the sweetest things about the great outdoors. Their love for nature and adventure is evident in so many of their big moments–from their meeting in one of the world’s most scenic places, New Zealand, to Chad’s camping trip proposal–so it was only fitting that they brought their love for all things outdoors-y into their North Carolina wedding. I can practically feel the crisp mountain air while scrolling though their beautiful pictures!
Thank you so much to Jim Trice for sharing Lara-Anne and Chad’s wedding with us!
Chad proposed June 30, 2012 while we were camping in the middle of nowhere in New Hampshire. Upon returning to our campsite after a hike, we walked down to a lily pad pond, where I told him how much the whole setting reminded me of my beloved summer camp in western North Carolina. As I turned around, I found Chad on one knee. Tears and laughter followed, and we spent the rest of the night drinking champagne and enjoying baked stuffed lobsters over a campfire.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew I wouldn’t be one of those brides who started crying at the bridal boutique, so I was open-minded from the beginning about the process of finding a dress. I knew I wanted something that I would feel comfortable in throughout the night, and that had a touch of bohemian. I ended up ordering the Luella Gown by Catherine Deane from BHLDN. I wish I could wear it again and again, but I absolutely destroyed it.
The church had white hydrangea blooms tied with ribbon on each pew, and the altar flowers were large white hydrangea arrangements. We really wanted to keep the flowers inside All Saints simple, so as not to distract from the church’s natural beauty. My bouquet was a mix of white ranunculus, white garden roses, green hydrangea, green celosia, ferns, and succulents. The bridesmaid bouquets were a mix of red celosia, orange ranunculus, green hydrangea, lamb’s ear, and ferns. All of the bouquets were wrapped with burlap ribbon.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Even though I knew a first look could alleviate some anxiety, I felt very strongly about not doing one. Whether I cried hysterically or laughed uncontrollably from nerves, so be it! I wanted our photographer to capture the raw emotion of us first seeing each other when that church door opened.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? One of the hors d’oeuvres was whole fried okra and the dinner menu included shrimp & grits and fried green tomatoes. We did a tribute to my hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina by displaying a R.J. Reynolds tobacco selection and mini Texas Pete hot sauces. We also served late-night Krispy Kreme donuts. Chad was a Kappa Alpha at Elon, and it’s tradition for the groom and his fraternity brothers to sing the KA rose song to the bride and each hand her a red rose at the end of the song. This was slightly embarrassing, but more hilarious than anything.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was modeled after the Aspen tree; it looked so real. It was a three-tiered white butter cake with lemon curd buttercream. The cake had “C & LA” carved in a heart on the side and a moss “B” monogram topper for Bradley, and was displayed on top of moss and a wooden cake stand.
Chad and I danced to “Little Baby” by the Rolling Stones and my dad and I danced to “She’s A Rainbow” by the Rolling Stones. Notice the trend? The Stokes family is a gang of diehard Rolling Stones fans who love and appreciate good ‘ole rock ‘n’ roll. Our band brought down the house and had wedding guests limboing under trumpets and saxophones on the dance floor. The last song of the night had me crying the happiest tears ever.
We loved our send-off at the end of the night. Our guests lined the path leading down to the water with sparklers. Once Chad and I arrived at the boat house, we got into a canoe and paddled off across the pond into the night. It gave us a few minutes to talk about how special the evening had been and how lucky we felt…and to prepare for the after-party!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chad and I met during our junior year of college at Elon University while studying abroad in New Zealand. At the risk of sounding hokey, we spent the remainder of the program attached at the hip. Once we returned to the States, we were inseparable. After graduating, we moved west to Aspen, Colorado to follow our dreams of being ski bums. It was a life-changing move that quickly reassured us of not only the love we have for each other but also our shared love for all that the Rocky Mountains had to offer.
When did y’all get married? September 14, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 170
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had my cousin, Allison Elsee, read an excerpt from “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For the ceremony, we had a trio of students from the Winston-Salem School of the Arts join the church organist, which created a powerful sound in our quaint little mountain church. My dad and I walked down the aisle to “Prince of Denmark’s March,” and Chad and I walked out to “The Wedding March” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My borrowed and blue was my mom’s diamond and sapphire anniversary band that my dad had given her, my something old was a thin gold chain that had been my grandmother’s, and my new was my wedding dress.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? While we were engaged, we were living in Boston, so planning from afar wasn’t always the most convenient thing. Luckily, both my mom and our wedding planners were in the Carolinas, so they made the process as easy as it could have been. I am so thankful for their time, patience, and help throughout the process.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our wedding planners from Sweetgrass Social absolutely made our wedding what it was. From day one, they were available anytime we needed them, whether it was for a two-minute call or a two-hour call. They were honest about our design ideas, very thorough, insanely organized, and super communicative to us and to our vendors. This alleviated so much stress, especially since I was planning from New England. Walking into our reception was overwhelming; every detail we had discussed over the past fifteen months was right before us and I couldn’t have imagined it looking any better than it did. Having them be a part of wedding weekend from the start was one of the smartest moves we made.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Do I have to choose? Our band pulled Chad and I onto the stage for the last song of the night, and looking out at all of our guests was just awesome. We were surrounded by our supportive families and our closest friends, and you could literally feel the love and happiness in the room. It brought me to tears. I also have to mention my other most memorable moment: seeing my sweet dad’s face when he rounded the corner after I was dressed and ready to head to the church. I will never forget it for as long as I live. It’s one of those moments you dream of when you’re a little girl and I wish I could re-live it over and over.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? R-E-L-A-X. Seriously. Take a deep breath. Don’t get so caught up in the details and the planning that you forget why you’re even having a wedding. It all works out, so enjoy it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? After returning from our honeymoon, we moved back out west to Aspen. We love being back in our favorite mountain town and skiing together every weekend. Next up for us is a road trip to the Pacific Northwest in our Volkswagen Westfalia, Bernie!
Photographer: Jim Trice Photography / Videographer: Whit Haynes Films & Photography / Planner: Sweetgrass Social / Ceremony Venue: All Saints Episcopal Church / Reception Venue: Camp Yonahnoka at the Eseeola Lodge / Florist: Callista Designs / Cake Baker: Christina Banner Cakes / Caterer: The Eseeola Lodge / Band: Sol Fusion / Bride’s Gown: “Luella” by BHLDN Paper Products: Invitations Only / Bride’s Flower Crown: Callista Designs / Bride’s Earrings and Pearl Bracelet: BHLDN / Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Beautiful Bride on Location / Bride’s Shoes: Tom’s / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Heidi in Graphite by J.Crew / Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Men’s Shoes: Converse