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Author: Marissa

With Steel Magnolias at the tip top of my favorite movie list, you can imagine my excitement when Sarah and Nick’s “blush and bashful” wedding came through our doors! Sarah is one our delightful Blue Ribbon Vendors, so we were especially tickled to see her looking lovely with her handsome beau. Add in the absolutely adorable chapel at Northwest Forest and perfectly pink details created by fellow Blue Ribbon Vendor, Two Be Wed and I’m smitten! Best of all, Sarah and Nick’s wedding day was a reflection of their sweet relationship and exactly what they dreamed it to be. I’m sure Nicole would be tickled to see the gluten-free cookie favors!

Big hugs to Mustard Seed Photography for sharing this precious pink day with us!

I am a curvy girl, so I was super nervous to go dress shopping, but at Brickhouse Bridal, the consultant was so helpful and showed me what would look good on me. It ended up being the easiest day ever and I chose the fourth dress I tried on!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did decide on a first look. I am a wedding photographer, so I know it helps a wedding day flow better, and we are not superstitious, so that helped in the decision! Post-ceremony, we got to go right into our reception and have fun without making our guests wait an hour for us. I highly recommend first looks to anyone I can!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose our wedding venue because it was close to home and Nick’s grandmother used to work there–there is even an island on the lake there named after her!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We felt that a wedding ceremony with handwritten vows was perfect for us. The last year has been really hard for us, and writing our own vows was a way to tell each other and our guests how thankful we were to have each other to lean on.

Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers were one of the most important things to me. I looooove flowers! I had always wanted a spring wedding because I wanted peonies all over the place. Fawn was an amazing florist and we were lucky to have her!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We love cake, so of course, we had to have the best cake baker in Houston! Cakes by Gina was the one! Her cakes are just so tasty and her creations are amazing. The inside of my bridal cake was vanilla with raspberry cream filling and Nick’s cake was chocolate with chocolate filling.

For our favors, we made homemade cookies. My mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies were a must, as were my favorite cookie, macarons. Nick is half Hispanic, so his mom got Mexican wedding cookies as another option!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. After much thought and nudging from friends, we each gave online dating a try! I, Sarah, was on for about a year before we got “matched,” and Nick was only on for two weeks! I made the first move by telling him how cute his beard was. After a few weeks of emailing and texting, we met for our first date. We sat in the restaurant for about three hours before we realized how late it had gotten, and I remember thinking that I didn’t want to leave! When we hugged goodbye, he laughed and said, “Oh, I am definitely going to call you!” Well, he did, and now here we are!
Tell us all about the proposal! I had a wedding in Colorado over the 4th of July and flew back super early on Sunday morning. As I walked out of baggage claim, Nick was standing there holding my dog, Barkley, who wearing a plaid shirt, vest, and bow tie! I didn’t think anything of it, but about halfway to the car, I realized, THIS IS IT! He got down on one knee and popped the question with the ring around Barkley’s neck. It was truly the best surprise ever!
When did y’all get married? May 17, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 135
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge to overcome was the opinions. A lot of people have strong opinions about weddings, but it was important to us that we stayed true to ourselves. Our wedding was exactly what we wanted and we were glad we didn’t listen to anyone but each other.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding coordinator! They are the key to making wedding planning as stress-free as possible. Also, plan your wedding the way you want it. The day is about you and your spouse becoming one, not about anyone else.

Photographer: Mustard Seed Photography / Planner: Two Be Wed / Venue and Catering: Northwest Forest / Florist: F. Dellit Designs / Wedding Cake: Cakes by Gina / Rentals: Recollection Vintage Rentals and Rent Some Vintage / DJ: Jose of LG Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: Watters / Paper Products: Nib & Pixel / Hair and Makeup: Kara and Nastasia of Adorne Artistry / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Angelo / Groom’s Attire: Versione Houston / Groomsmen Attire: Al’s Formal Wear / Macarons: Macaron by Patisse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
8 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah McKenzie reply

    Ekkkkk thank you so much for featuring our wedding day!!! It was the best day ever and captured perfectly by Kat! xoxoxo

  2. avatar Kelly reply

    Hi! Would you mind sharing where those beautiful pink watercolor seating cards are from? Thank you!

  3. avatar liam smith reply

    beautifully shot, the dog bowtie is quality

  4. avatar Kat of Mustard Seed Photography reply

    Thank you so much for featuring this lovely wedding we had the honor of photographing this past May! Congrats to the happy couple!! XOXO!

    PS: Kelly, the pink watercolor cards were handmade by Nib & Pixel.

  5. avatar Mikkel reply

    Such great details! I love all the soft pink…and the bride and groom look so happy! Congrats to Sara and Nick and Mustard Seed Photography for capturing it so beautifully!

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With our own long distance relationship experiences, Lisa, Kristin, and I can all relate to Sarah and Mike’s love story. We know too well the challenges being far away can cause, but also, the incredible growth it can produce in relationships! Distance absolutely can make the heart grow fonder, and these two are a wonderful example of that. Being apart from family can also be a tough, so I especially love how Sarah and Mike included their family members throughout their wedding day by including loved ones’ signature desserts on the sweets table, as well as tying the knot just around the corner from where Sarah grew up. Magnolia leaf details and hay rides around Summerfield Farm during cocktail hour round out this sweet Southern day!

Big hugs to our lovely Blue Ribbon Vendor, Robyn Van Dyke for sharing this beautiful day with us!

I wore my sister-in-law’s veil as my something borrowed. My mom’s handkerchief that she had used on her wedding day was my something blue, since it had a blue flower detail. My Maw Maw’s diamond earrings were my something old, and my something new were my shoes!

This prayer photo is so sweet, I smile every single time I scroll past it!

Y’all may not catch this “I spy,” but that adorable blonde third from the right is Mrs. Callie Pitts Davis, our friend Nancy Ray’s associate photographer!

Describe your wedding flowers. We used a wonderful florist, Stacy at The Farmer’s Wife. We were given her name by word of mouth–the only advertising they use! She was wonderful to work with and helped me make a lot of decisions along the way. Our colors were white and green, so we used hydrangeas and magnolia leaves. There were also some berries in the bouquets that added some grey/blue tones.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We both agree that our first look was the most memorable part of the day. Being able to see each other for the first time and being able to talk about how we were feeling was special. Plus, I loved being the only one who got to experience Mike’s reaction! The day goes by so fast and can be overwhelming, and those few quiet moments with the person who matters the most were the best.

After looking at several different venues all over North Carolina, my parents told me that if I got married in Greensboro, they would make sure I got a Maxie B’s cake! I started looking in my hometown, and by chance, found our venue. At the time, they were starting to do renovations, so I had no real idea what it would look like on our wedding day. I knew it was going to be special though, because it was a few miles away from everything I knew growing up–my parents’ house, the schools I attended, and lots of loved ones. Plus, my dad loved the idea of treating guests to a hay ride during cocktail hour!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose to say traditional wedding vows, keeping the ceremony simple for the two of us! I had our wedding vows written in calligraphy to display on a table in our reception area and now in our home.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We each chose a reading for our ceremony. I chose Jeremiah 17:8 and Mike chose Philippians 2:5-11. Both verses were meaningful to our relationship and what we hope for in our marriage.

Growing up in Greensboro, you have to love Maxie B’s. My high school friends and I spent our nights eating cake and talking about life in the little corner of Maxie B’s, so I knew my wedding cake would come from them. We did a pumpkin chocolate chip cake for the base and their fresh strawberry cake for the top layer. I also have some wonderful grandmas who make amazing cakes, so I asked them if they would each make their signature cakes for us and they agreed. My Maw Maw made a strawberry cake and a blackberry cake, and my grandma made a coconut cake and pound cake. More family members then offered to make their signature desserts, and it all added up to one of the most delicious dessert bars!

Don’t miss Sarah + Mike’s highlight film by Jeff Brewer!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met during our freshman year of college at NC State through Young Life. We were eventually placed on the same Young Life team and became great friends. At the end of our senior year, we admitted that there were some feelings there, but since we were going to continue to be leaders on the same team, we could not date until the end of the next school year. After we finished our time as Young Life leaders, we went on our first date, which was the rehearsal dinner of two of our close friends. We began dating that summer, and in September, Mike accepted a job and moved to Napa, California. We made trips to see each other about every other month. It was really hard being in different time zones and so far apart, but we made it work with lots of FaceTiming and emailing!
Tell us all about the proposal! Mike was back from Carolina for two weeks during Christmas, and before he got home, we talked about taking some day trips to spend time together. When he mentioned a trip to Washington D.C on New Years Eve, I thought nothing out of the ordinary. We left early and spent our day sightseeing, even though it was so cold that day. As we neared the end, Mike told me he really wanted to see the Jefferson Memorial and I disagreed–I was ready to sit in the warm car! I even said, “This had better be worth it!” as we began walking over! Once we got to the memorial, Mike sat me down to tell me he was ready to begin talking about getting married and making a plan for what our future might hold. After our conversation, he prayed for us and asked if I wanted to take some pictures. While I was turned around taking a picture, I heard Mike say my name, and when I looked over, he was down on one knee. He asked me to marry him and I said yes! We had a long car ride home full of calls to our family and friends to tell them we were engaged!
When did y’all get married? November 9, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: One of the most meaningful details was our guest book. William Mangum is a local artist who lives in Greensboro, and he paints beautiful watercolors of North Carolina. He had a book called “North Carolina Beautiful” full of images familiar to both Mike and I of the state we know and love. We made a table of contents so that our friends and family could find and sign pages that were significant to them as well. There were pictures from all over the state and it was such a wonderful piece to take with us to our new home in California. Plus, William Mangum wrote a message and signed it too!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We both have family in the wine industry, so we were able to save a lot of money stocking our bar. Our florist also made great strides to make sure we stayed within budget. I made all of our place cards and programs.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t compare. With social media, blogs, and Pinterest, there is so much out there that can help or harm the wedding planning process. Our story was so different and it was so easy to compare it to what others have. I am so grateful that I married a man who does not care about all the little details and reminds me of the real truth of what our marriage means!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are now living in Napa and are happy that we are finally living our lives together. It has been challenging, but also rewarding, to live a life where we are far away from everything we know, and it has been really fun to explore the West Coast together!

Photographer: Robyn Van Dyke / Videographer: Jeff Brewer / Day-Of Coordination: Melissa Lewkowicz / Venue: Summerfield Farms / Florist: The Farmer’s Wife / Wedding Cake: Maxie B’s / Caterer: Fresh. Local. Good. Food Group / Band: JAVA / Calligraphy: Rachel Velasquez / Bride’s Gown: “5802″ by Liancarlo / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Accessories: Nitsa’s / Hair Stylist: Amy Gooch / Bride’s Shoes: Born / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Custom by Maura Stewart / Men’s Attire: Jos. A Bank

marissa Written with love by Marissa
21 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    I’m in love with those bridesmaid dresses–what a perfect color for a fall wedding, and so perfect with the magnolia leaf details!

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    […] so honored to have Sarah & Mike‘s gorgeous wedding featured on Southern Weddings today!! Hooray!! Big hugs as always to all the lovely ladies at our favorite wedding blog and […]

  3. avatar Laura reply

    I love that guest book idea! What a treasure to keep for years to come! And as a Greensboro transplant, I definitely understand the need for Maxie B’s cake!

  4. avatar Chelsea reply

    Love love love the magnolia leaf accents! That rich green with the white hydrangea is just gorgeous!

  5. avatar Melody reply

    This is my beautiful niece and her handsome husband. The wedding was wonderful and a special day to us all. Sarah & Mike are such a sweet couple. What a surprise to see it posted and shared with others.

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  8. avatar Candice reply

    My sister is getting married on New Years Eve and we absolutely love the bridesmaid dresses! Can anyone tell me where to find these or if they were custom made? Thank you so much! This wedding was absolutely gorgeous! Love it!!!

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  12. avatar Sarah reply

    Where are the bridesmaids dresses from?

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Sarah! These lovely dresses were made custom by Maura Stewart. Have a great day! xx, Marissa

  13. avatar Ariel reply

    How do I get ahold of Maura Stewart, who made these bridesmaid gowns? I want the same ones for my wedding in June!

  14. avatar Jessica Thompson reply

    My soon to be sister in law is absolutely in love with these bridesmaids dresses!! Is there away to contact the lady that made them? Thank you in advance.

    • avatar Sarah Risk reply

      Hi all,

      Here is a link to the website of my Maura Stewart, together we picked out the pattern and I purchased the fabric and materials to make the dress.
      http://www.lillianstewart.com/

      I believe my dress was an ivory/ivory. I also have the white version if you are interested Sarah-email me!

      Best of luck to all planning and prepping!

  15. avatar Sarah reply

    Lovely wedding!! do you know what color the liancarlo dress was? ivory/ivory? or ivory/creme?

  16. avatar Kellie reply

    Your pictures are GORGEOUS. Where did you get the bridesmaid’s dresses? They’re perfect!

  17. avatar Holly Green reply

    I have to have these dresses!! How can I find them to buy?!? Help!! Please email me h.green07@live.com

  18. avatar Marisa reply

    I have been looking everywhere for those bridesmaids dresses! Where did you get those???

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi Marisa! Sarah’s bridesmaid dresses were custom made by Maura Stewart :)

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When your girlfriend describes y’all’s first date as a “fairy tale,” figuring out how to propose must be quite a tall order! After reading Chelsea and Will’s sweet story, I am positive that Will couldn’t have planned it better (be sure to read their interview below!). After the proposal, it was Chelsea’s turn to plan, and they created a wedding that they both loved. It included amazing pink blooms, a very emotional first look, and meeting in the middle of their respective home states for an outdoor wedding at the gorgeous Castleton Farms!

Big SW hugs to Katherine Birkbeck for sharing this wedding with us!

My something borrowed was my sister’s hair barrette from her wedding! My something old was my grandmother’s hand-knit hankie–my aunt gave it to me with a letter that she wrote and signed “Aunt Sherry and Grandma Wanda.” It was like a little gift from heaven. My something blue was my garter and my something new was my jewelry.

My flowers were gorgeous. I wish I could have kept them forever! My groom vetoed pink for wedding colors, so I had to have my pink flowers instead! The bouquets were filled with pin roses, calla lilies, and hydrangeas. We had two enormous flower pots filled with gorgeous, fresh hydrangeas on either side of the altar, and flowers hanging from chairs down the center aisle.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we did! I loved all the first look pictures that I had seen and really wanted to capture this reaction. Since we had our ceremony and reception at the same venue, we also wanted to get all of our pictures done ahead of time so our guests wouldn’t have to wait. Lastly, our first look definitely helped with the nerves. I was nervous before I walked down the aisle (in the best of excited ways), and I can’t imagine how much more nervous I would have been without the first look. It helped a lot, and I am so glad that we did it.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I wanted to get married in Saint Louis, and Will wanted to get married in South Carolina. We couldn’t choose, so we decided to meet in the middle–Tennessee! I love the outdoors and flowers, so I knew I wanted to get married surrounded by nature’s beauty. When I found Castleton Farms, I knew that it was the perfect place. Everything was Southern, sweet, and elegant. It was perfect for us.

Our first dance was to “Forever Like That” by Ben Rector, who is one of our favorite singers. We saw him in concert twice while we were dating. Will actually picked this song out for us, which made it that much more special.

I am a four-year alumni of the Carolina Girls Dance team at USC. As part of a wedding gift to me, my coach choreographed a dance with all of my teammates and Will. The dance started with the girls dancing to some of our favorite songs, and then they formed two straight lines. All of a sudden, Will starting dancing down the aisle and it became a whole production. It was absolutely amazing.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. My friend, Taylor, lived in the same hall as me during out freshman year at the University of South Carolina. Taylor and Will were old family friends, and she introduced us at church. Will asked me out, and on our first date, he took me to a cute restaurant in an old train station. Then he took me to the Horseshoe on campus, which is a huge lawn (in a U shape, of course) with giant old oak trees. When we got there, there was a blanket with candles on each corner, where we sat and talked. It was the sweetest first date ever, like a fairy tale!
Tell us all about the proposal! It was March 15, just two days after my 21st birthday. We were supposedly going out for my birthday when Will took me back to the Horseshoe (where we had had our first date). We walked up the brick pathway, and I saw candles and rose petals on the ground. He stood me in the middle of them, got down on one knee, and asked for my hand in marriage. I said yes, of course, and he gave me a gorgeous diamond ring. I called my parents (who were supposed to be in Saint Louis, where I’m from) to tell them the news. All of the sudden, I saw both them and Will’s parents come out from behind one of the buildings. I was so surprised to see my family there. It was all just so wonderful!
When did y’all get married? June 14, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we did! My favorite phrase was, “We will strive to put God first in or marriage, before all else.” God is the most important part of our lives, and we really wanted to show that through our wedding.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? One thing that I thought was particularly sweet was that Will’s dad was his best man. In Missouri, I hadn’t seen anyone do that, but I found out that it is quite a Southern tradition. I loved having my father-in-law standing on the altar with us to celebrate our special day!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We didn’t serve alcohol. We decided to cut it because: 1. It saved a ton of money. 2. We wanted everyone to remember this special day. 3. To get to the venue, you have to take very windy backroads that are dangerous even without the slightest bit of alcohol. 4. My husband is studying to be a pastor, so it seemed appropriate. Those who wanted to drink just went out after the wedding because our reception ended at 11.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We lived in different states for a year, so we are just enjoying being together right now. We love cooking together, going to the beach, and dancing!

Photographer: Katherine Birkbeck / Videographer: Orange Leaf / Planner: Darla Walker / Venue: Castleton Farms / Florist: Sam Franklin / Cake Baker: Mag Pies / Ice Cream: Buttermilk Sky / Caterer: All Occasions Catering / Rentals: All Occasions Party Rentals / Bridal Salon: Simply Elegant Bridal / Paper Products: Pickle Prints / Bride’s Jewelry: MEG Jewelry / Hair and Makeup: Bang and Blush / Bride’s Shoes and Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal / Men’s Attire: Jos. A Bank

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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