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Bride Kara shares her Virginia Wine Country wedding.

Kara and Ryan’s Virginia winery wedding has such a storybook, romantic ambiance that it didn’t surprise me at all that Ryan proposed using a copy of Pride and Prejudice. (Much like my favorite editorial!) It only seems fitting that a warm, countryside celebration would result!

This beautiful day, full of thoughtful touches and efforts to incorporate family history, was a labor of love that ultimately served as a vehicle for quality time. Kara shared that, “Wedding planning really brought our families together. It’s extremely time-consuming, and being able to spend that time with Ryan and both of our families was the best part.” If you’re in the midst of a similarly time-consuming wedding planning process, may this serve as a sweet reminder that while your wedding is only one day, this engagement season is full of opportunities to celebrate and grow closer to your fiance and his family along the way.

Thank you to Erika Brown for these gorgeous images!

When did y’all get married? April 29, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140.

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I had thought about this day since I was a little girl. I went with my mom, and I knew the second she zipped up the fifth dress of the day that I had found the dress of my dreams. I instantly fell in love with the beautiful lace, the full train, and the plunging sweetheart neckline. I couldn’t wait for Ryan to see me in it.
Did you decide to do a first look? Yes, and Looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. Ryan calms me; he always has. I knew I would be emotional enough that day, and we wanted to share a moment together before the ceremony to just be with each other.

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Seeing Ryan, as I was walking down the aisle with my dad. The emotions were everything I ever dreamed they would be. There is truly nothing like it.

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? The florals! Our wedding coordinator, Cody, went above and beyond to bring my whimsical romantic wedding vision to life!
What was Southern about your wedding? We had wedding portraits displayed from our parents and grandparents’ wedding days, honoring their love and traditions.

Early Mountain Vineyards was the first venue we visited, and we both knew the second we entered the tasting room that it was perfect for us. Ryan and I share a love of wine, and the romantic elegance of the venue was perfect!

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? We chose to have assorted cupcakes from a local Charlottesville bakery, Sweethaus. We wanted the Charlottesville charm to show through on our special day, so we chose to keep all the vendors local.

Tell us all about the proposal! It was January 21, 2016. I was getting ready for what I thought was a birthday dinner to celebrate my parents’ January birthdays. I walked down the stairs of our Baltimore row home and saw a bottle of champagne and a Pride and Prejudice book with a single rose laying next to it. Ryan stood up, opened the book, and I saw that he had carved out a heart with a black velvet ring box laid inside. He took the box out, and beneath it, he had highlighted the word “engagement” from the text of the book. He then got down on one knee and proposed. We enjoyed a glass of champagne while we called our parents and told them the good news. We ended the night with a romantic dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, McCormick and Schmick. It was the perfect night.
What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Ryan is a beautiful writer, so he wrote the entire ceremony himself. It meant so much to me that he wanted to make our day so personal. We chose the Irish Wedding Blessing as our reading, to honor my family’s Irish heritage. (I wanted bagpipes, but marriage is all about compromise right?)
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to Landon Austin’s “Once in a Lifetime.” I first heard it in a wedding video Ryan and I watched the night we got engaged. It brought a tear to my eye, and I knew I had to incorporate it somehow. Ryan chose our first dance song, William Michael Morgan’s, “I Met a Girl.” He wanted it to be a song about me through his eyes. I loved it!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? How much time and energy it demands, while working full-time. It truly is exhausting, and I couldn’t be more grateful for everyone that helped us out throughout that year.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We made a list of things that were important to us and things that we didn’t care too much about, then we budgeted more for the important things. It helped keep us from getting carried away and going over budget by too much.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding planner! Even if you think you’re the best planner in the world, they are professionals for a reason, and they are lifesavers!

Photographer: Erika Brown | Planner and Florist: Amore Events by Cody | Ceremony and Reception Venue: Early Mountain Vineyards | Wedding Cake Baker: Sweethaus | Caterer: The Local | Rentals: MS Events | DJ: King Studios | Paper Products: Paperwhites Press | Bride’s Gown: Allure Romance | Hair Stylist: Something Blu (Jayme Eipperle) | Makeup Artist: Emily Marcellino | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale | Menswear: Jos A Bank

Written with love by Catherine
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It’s a new year, and if you have “plan our wedding” on your list of goals for 2018, it’s time to get started! Lucky for you, I have a great opportunity if you are considering getting married in Wilmington, NC!

Every January in Wilmington, a group of hand-picked creatives gather together to fully style and create seven mock weddings that are then showcased to brides through a downtown walking tour called, Courtyards & Cobblestones, A Walk Through Wedding Row. This wedding planning and inspiration event allows you to see your potential venues all dolled up as if for a real wedding and experience your potential vendors’ work in person (and all on one afternoon)! Wedding planning doesn’t get much more fun or productive than that.

This year’s walking tour is on January 13, 2018 from 4:00-8:00pm. Then, the next morning, stick around for a Mix and Mingle Brunch on January 14th from 10:00am-noon to chat with the creatives! The weekend is a fun and relaxed opportunity to line up your vendors and gather beautiful inspiration for the design and details of your wedding.

Each of the seven venues you will tour was assigned a team of the best wedding professionals Southeastern North Carolina has to offer. These creatives then conceptualize, design, and produce fully-styled weddings and receptions for you to experience first-hand! The images you see in this post, by The Story Creative, are an example of the work you will see in person at the event (times seven!).

This event is a fabulous opportunity to bring your fiance, mom, future mother-in-law, grandmas, bridal party, and friends so that your loved ones can be a part of the planning process in a fun way! Everyone can enjoy experiencing the styled weddings and helping you dream up what your day will be like.

On the C&C Tour, you can take part in a wedding planning experience like none other with live music, table settings, flowers, lighting, cake tastings, savory samplings, beverages, photo booths and incredible giveaways from REEDS Jewelers, Pressed Cotton, Party Suppliers & Rentals, High Performance Lighting and Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Wilmington.

You’ll leave with some great goodies, and don’t forget to pick up a copy of our tenth-anniversary issue at the event!

This is one of our favorite wedding planning events of the year! And what wedding is complete without a montage video? Enjoy this styled wedding’s film from Blue Ribbon Vendor Life Stage Films!

Courtyards & Cobblestones 2018 from Life Stage Films on Vimeo.

To purchase your tickets for this year’s tour or for the C&C Mix & Mingle Brunch on January 14th, head to the Courtyards & Cobblestones site!

Last but not least, the giveaway! Enter via the widget below to win two tickets to the C&C venue tour on January 13th, two tickets to the C&C Mix & Mingle Brunch on January 14th, and a one-night stay at the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown/Historic District in Wilmington, NC. Best of luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Photography: The Story Creative | Design and Florals: Fiore Fine Flowers | Videography: Life Stage Films | Catering: Pine Valley Market | Cakes, Pies, and Sweets: Creative Cake Design | Bartending:Mister Bartender PC | Specialty Furniture: Pomp Event Furnishings | Rentals: Party Suppliers & Rentals | Specialty Decor: Pressed Cotton | Lighting: High Performance Lighting | Jewelry: REEDS Jewelers | Paper Products: Lyndsey’s Fine Paper | Makeup: Meraki Beauty | Hair: By Melissa Kinnamon | Dress: Coastal Knot Bridal Boutique | Styling: ADG Fashion & Wedding Stylist | Hotel & Lodging: Courtyard by Marriott | Wilmington Downtown | Historic District

This post is brought to you by Courtyards & Cobblestones. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

Written with love by Catherine
7 Comments
  1. avatar India reply

    Yay! This sounds so fun. If I were to go, I’d bring my mother!

  2. avatar Skylar reply

    Sounds great! I would love to bring my mom and my boyfriend! :)

  3. avatar Emily Els reply

    Oh, I would love to road trip with lynn Els to this!

  4. avatar Janna Toruno reply

    What a fun event! Since we are having a semi-destination wedding, my fiance and I planned a trip up to visit with our parents. It was fun getting to visit our venue and rehearsal dinner venue and got some time for everyone to spend together!

  5. avatar Melissa reply

    Can’t wait for the best wedding show of the year!

  6. avatar Amanda L reply

    I would bring my best friend. She’s looking for ideas and venues and I think this would be great for us to do together.

  7. avatar Brittany Landreth reply

    Would love to attend this show. I’ve heard that it is one of the best bridal shows in the South East and so helpful!

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Bride Amy shares the festive details of her New Year’s Eve wedding at Boone Hall Plantation!

It’s almost 2018, friends, and I hope some of you are headed to a wedding on Sunday night! I’ve always wanted to go to a wedding on New Year’s Eve. Everyone is already in a celebratory mood, other plans are usually overrated, and while my wedding-loving heart has a lot of favorites, nothing beats a dressy winter fete in my book! Bride Amy agrees: “New Year’s Eve was an unreal time to start our marriage. Not only is it already a party, but it’s also a time to reflect on your past friendships and look forward to the future.”

I’m so excited to introduce today’s bride, Amy, to tell you how she created a New Year’s Eve to remember for her guests (including Hoppin’ John!!) as she married her military man, Ryan, in Charleston!

Thank you to Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay and Fox Events for sharing this beautiful wedding!

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I had found a designer I loved, Berta Bridal, and she was having a trunk show at L’Fay Bridal in NYC. we decided to round up all of the women in my family and Ryan’s and have a girls weekend to see some plays and go dress shopping. We pulled several to try on and to my surprise, we fell in love with the first dress I had pulled. It looked nothing like what I had pictured for myself, but it was perfect in every way.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I wanted to make sure our bridal parties didn’t spend a fortune to participate in our wedding, so we took care of the bridesmaid dresses and tuxes for both parties. I used Rent the Runway for the girls, and it was very cost-effective.

We chose Grace Church Cathedral after we went to visit one Sunday when they were having a special service called the Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan. Some of our best family friends live in Scotland, so we were excited to participate in a service honoring their heritage. The church was breathtakingly beautiful, and the bagpipers were unbelievable. We couldn’t wait to invite our Scottish friends to our wedding there. As for our reception venue, we had a lot of out of town guests and wanted to treat them to a quintessential Charleston wedding. There is something about the drive down the Avenue of Oaks there.

What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Weddings have so many elements that you don’t think about when you begin planning. I would suggest sitting down together and prioritizing two or three of the big details. This way, when you get together with your planner, they know that the band, bar, and flowers are most important and they can help you save on other details.

We had several brainstorming sessions with Lauren Fox of Fox Events. There are so many details in a wedding, I struggled to picture it all complete, but Lauren took all of my ideas and tied them together.

Our favorite Southern detail was serving “Hoppin’ John” on New Year’s Eve. Many of our guests were not familiar with this Southern recipe featuring black-eyed peas, bacon, and collards. The appetizer was delivered to each guest in a tiny mason jar, and the waiters shared the significance of Hoppin’ John, which is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our most memorable song was our first dance to “You Make my Dreams Come True” by Hall and Oates. It’s not a traditional first dance song since it’s quirky and upbeat. Ryan and I always loved this song and felt like it explains us, so we took some dance lessons and had a jazzy wedding dance choreographed for fun. This was a nice bonding experience leading up to the wedding.

We had Jim Smeal design our wedding cake to mimic the lace on my gown. It was one of my favorite details from the wedding: he nailed it. Not only was the cake stunning, but tasted amazing too.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Once blind dates to the 8th grade dance, serendipity brought us back together 10 years later.
Tell us all about the proposal! While we were dating, Ryan was going through the special forces qualification course in Fayetteville, NC while I worked in Charleston, SC. There was a phase in training when Ryan was completely out of contact for about 3 months, with only one or two weekends back in civilization. What I didn’t know is that during those few short days, Ryan was planning our engagement. When Ryan completed this long stretch of training, he drove to Columbia, SC to ask my dad for my hand in marriage, and my dad tearfully (happy tears!) said yes. Ryan came home Labor Day Weekend and took me on a date. I thought we were celebrating his halfway point in the army. After dinner, we stopped by our favorite spot, Zero George, to grab a drink and see our friend Justin. We were taken to the porch and at that moment, I knew it was about to happen. The porch was covered in candles, flowers, strawberries, and a bucket of champagne to celebrate. It was perfect: just the two of us, sitting on a swing, laughing and crying.
When did y’all get married? December 31, 2016.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150.
Did you decide to do a first look? We opted not to do a first look. I had dreamed about a traditional wedding and couldn’t wait to see the look on Ryan’s face as we saw each other for the first time as I walked down the aisle. It was a moment I will never forget.
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? My favorite detail was our invitations and all of the stationary from Studio R. I had no idea invitations could include the level of detail that they did. Since it was New Year’s Eve, we used gold foil press and lined the invitation in glitter. The envelopes were black with gold calligraphy. They were so ME!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? The logistics of having a holiday wedding were difficult at times but worth every bit of the trouble. Our reception venue, Boone Hall, closed at 10pm, so we decided to have an after party to ring in the new year on the rooftop of the grand bohemian hotel.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? More than $100,000
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? We chose to sit at a table with both of our families since it’s so rare to have everyone in one place. We will never forget the warm glow on everyone’s face from the candlelight or the laughs that we shared. In the crazy hustle of a wedding day, it was one of the few moments when time seemed to slow down and memories were made.

Photographer: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay | Planner and Florist: Lauren Fox, Fox Events | Videographer: Wedding Headline | Ceremony Venue: Grace Church Cathedral | Reception Venue: Boone Hall Plantation | Wedding Cake Baker: Jim Smeal | Caterer: Cru Catering | Band: Groovetown | Paper Products: Studio R | Bride’s Gown: Berta Bridal | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Charlotte Belk | Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Monique Lhuillier from Rent the Runway | Menswear: Berlins

Written with love by Catherine
0 Comments

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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