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Hi belles! Our friend Stephanie Scholl is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Stephanie will be blogging for us every two weeks or so until her wedding in April. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

The final countdown is here, friends! Our wedding is less than a month away, Rob and I just returned from our bachelor and bachelorette weekends, and all of the RSVPs for our wedding are in! I seriously can’t believe we’re in the homestretch of our engagement. It’s been such a sweet season for both of us, and we’ve grown so much as a couple, too. (PS: I can’t say enough good things about investing your time and hearts into pre-marital counseling!) I love knowing that Rob and I will get to be joined together as husband and wife on April 1st and that so many of our loved ones will be in Raleigh to celebrate with us! We’re so grateful for it all, and, of course, I love finding creative and thoughtful ways to express our thanks.

One of my favorite Southern traditions is the bridesmaid luncheon, and I cannot wait to partake in this sweet and celebratory tradition! Generally the day before her wedding, the bride hosts a luncheon to honor her bridesmaids and the beloved ladies in her life. I am ecstatic that I get to celebrate how incredible, encouraging, generous, and thoughtful my bridesmaids and our moms (and a few other special ladies!) have been throughout the years. I am having this luncheon at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, NC, a place very near and dear to my heart. Not only do I plan weddings there regularly, but during college I lived in a cute house just across the street – and my sister got married at the Carolina Inn almost four years ago!

For many months now, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect gifts for my bridesmaids, and I wanted to share some of my finds with you all, as you very well might be on the hunt, too! Most any bride-to-be has heard of the dreamy floral robes from Plum Pretty Sugar, and their robes (so many styles and patterns!) are the perfect accessory to get ready in the morning of your wedding.

Speaking of the morning of your wedding morning and getting ready with your best girls… you can’t forget the mimosas to properly toast to your wedding day! Champagne from Le Grand Courtage (I always love rosé!) or white wine from Speak Wines are two favorites: not only are their labels and packaging both beautiful and occasion-appropriate, but most any bridesmaid would love to be gifted a bottle or mini-bottle of champagne or wine. And with mimosas, you can’t forget the toasting flutes! Naturally Chic Gifts, based out of Raleigh, creates personalized champagne flutes (I’m a fan of the stemless ones!) and wine glasses in an array of metallic colors for your best girls.

I also have long loved the adorable Minimergency Bridesmaid Kits from Pinch Provisions, which hold everything you’d ever need for a wedding-day snafu. And, of course, one of the most popular bridesmaid gifts is jewelry for the wedding day, like matching earrings or a necklace that complements her bridesmaid dress perfectly. I love finding local stores to get jewelry from, and Moon & Lola is a Raleigh favorite! The best way to beautifully hold your bridesmaid gifts is in a pretty bag, like this Hello Lovely tote from PCB Home, all tied up with a pretty ribbon. And, above all else, a card with a written note expressing your thanks and love is the most important part. Taking the time to write a thoughtful note (to your soon-to-be spouse, your parents, your wedding party, and even vendors) is paramount!

We are hosting some fun wedding weekend events to love on our guests well and to welcome everyone to Raleigh, especially since most everyone will be traveling into town for the festivities. Welcome bags are always a marvelous way to show your guests some local flavor and your personalities, and they can also provide information on the wedding weekend timeline.

We are having an informal, everyone-is-invited welcome party on Friday night immediately following our rehearsal dinner, as it was important to us to spend as much time with our guests as possible! It’s a great way for everyone to get to know each other better, for us to meet those extended family members that we haven’t been able to meet yet, and to extend the celebrations even more. Most of all, we want to make sure our family and friends feel welcomed and celebrated when they arrive in Raleigh, especially since quality time are both mine and Rob’s love languages!

I’d love to hear how you celebrated your wedding weekend: did you have a bridesmaid luncheon or a welcome party? Are there any fun traditions or celebrations that you incorporated into your wedding weekend, or want to when you do get married?! And I’m cutting it close here with our rapidly approaching wedding date, but I have to ask: do you have a great idea for a meaningful, thoughtful gift for grooms? I have one gift for sure (so excited!), but I’m still searching for the perfect accompanying gift for Rob. I’m all ears if you have any suggestions!

All photos by Sarah Morrel Photography

P.S. In case you missed a post:
The proposal
Venue and photography
The dress
Bridesmaid style
Engagement photos
The details

emily Written with love by Emily
4 Comments
  1. avatar Christian reply

    Stephanie,
    Great ideas! Your bridesmaids are going to love everything! I had a hard time with a groom’s gift too. I spent so many hours searching, until I had a lightbulb moment. I have designed a valet box for him that my dad is building and staining out of wood that was harvested off of some family land I own. I ordered two engraved plaques for it – one for the top of the lid with his initials and one for the inside with a special message. Inside, I’m going to be putting a few trinkets including a book of notes I’m writing to him. Also, if you haven’t checked out UncommonGoods online, do so – they have some really awesome unique gifts. Good luck!!!

    • avatar Stephanie Scholl reply

      Christian, these are AMAZING ideas!! Thank you so very much for sharing! I love, love, love the sentiment + meaning behind your gifts for him, and goodness is he going to love it all!!!

  2. avatar Joy – Leicester Wedding Photographer reply

    I love these gift ideas!! Great touch :)

  3. avatar Amy reply

    Who wouldn’t want these gifts! So generous and loving! Looks like everything is coming together!

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If you follow our friend Emily Ley, you may might have seen work from today’s bride, Whitney. She’s a senior designer for Emily, and I have been eyeing her wedding plans and Instagram sneak peeks since she got engaged. Whitney has incredible taste, and I knew her wedding day would be fabulous! With Blue Ribbon Vendor the Mims House as the beautiful backdrop, Whitney and David celebrated their wedding day with a classic, Southern-meets-modern aesthetic. They intentionally chose a few well-placed statement pieces that added a peek into their personalities–I especially love the way they had their vows calligraphed and framed to be used as part of the reception decor! With a graphic designer bride, there surely wasn’t a bit of slack in the pretty details department. It’s so fun seeing all the little graphic touches around every corner!

Big hugs to Sara Logan for sharing Whitney and David’s wedding with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I sure did! My something blue was my Toms shoes (comfy enough to wear all night!). My something old was the buttons on my dress; they were the buttons from my mom’s wedding gown that we had sewn onto my gown. I loved having that little detail with me all day! My something new was my dress and jewelry.

The Mims House was the only venue we toured, and I fell in love from the moment we stepped under the magnolia trees outside. It perfectly combined my love for Southern history and the charm of a backyard wedding.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mom, sister, and I went to the BHLDN shop in DC. I asked to try on almost every dress they carried (when in lace-filled Rome, right?) and started with the ball gowns. Surprisingly, I didn’t have much of a reaction to any of the gowns with a full skirt, so my stylist asked if I wanted to try something entirely opposite: a solid matte silk mermaid gown. I will never forget the moment I turned around and saw myself in the mirror. All my life, I had tried to hide and downplay my curves, and this dress did completely the opposite of that. It made me feel beautiful, and when I walked out, my mom and sister had tears in their eyes. My gown was not the Southern ball gown that I had imagined, but it made me feel more confident and beautiful than I have ever felt before!

Our first look was one of my favorite moments of the wedding day! It was so wonderful to have time for just the two of us to calm some of those pre-wedding nerves. Bonus: we were able to check a lot of the photos off our list early, so we could enjoy our signature drinks at cocktail hour!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our wedding party walked down the aisle to “A Thousand Years” by The Piano Guys and I walked down the aisle with my dad to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” by Grace Churchill. I still get tears thinking about that moment before the doors opened up when I was holding onto my dad’s arm. For some reason, all of the emotions hit me in one huge wave, and he looked at me with that knowing and loving smile only a dad can give you and said, “Don’t worry, Whit, I know he’s the one.” Feeling how much my dad loved David combined with my love for all the people waiting outside made my heart pretty much burst with happy tears. At the end of the ceremony, David and I walked back up the aisle to “Halo” by Beyoncé. Partially because it’s beautiful, partially because it perfectly captures the joy we felt, and partially because wearing a fitted mermaid gown calls for a little Beyoncé. For our first dance, we chose “Angel” by Jack Johnson. Our first summer dating, David gave me the Jack Johnson live in concert CD, and we listened to it together on the way to the beach. When that song first played, I had to hold back tears as I thought, “This is the song I want us to dance to.” Five years later, in my fancy white dress surrounded by our favorite people, I had tears in my eyes again listening to that song.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows! We also had our vows beautifully hand-lettered by Lauren Heim Studio (and framed by Framebridge!) to bring our ceremony into the reception. My favorite line is “I vow to never stop pursuing my passions, and always support you in following yours.”

On our wedding day, a massive tropical storm decided to come through. It was torrentially pouring on and off all day and I was so grateful that we had rented a tent for our outdoor ceremony and reception. After my dad walked me down the aisle, there was a MASSIVE tent-shaking clap of thunder right as I looked up to see David smiling at me. The rain and rumbling thunder continued through our ceremony and it felt as though we had God right there with us!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I absolutely loved all of our wedding food! Brooke and the team at Belle’s Catering created the most wonderful, Southern, locally sourced menu for the evening. For dinner, we even had a gourmet pizza bar because our first date was going out for pizza!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We tried to make sure that all of our decor was intentional and that we weren’t adding things just for the sake of adding them. We cut costs by incorporating well-placed statement pieces and renting vintage items. We also used a ticket system for our bar, where every guest was given three drinks and after that, they could purchase more (or use a friend’s ticket)! This was great because it allowed us to serve our guests while also having a budget and no surprises.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? One of the funniest parts of the day was the adventure that unburying the bourbon became. We thought we had a map to exactly where the bottle was… turns out that either we were awful map readers or the map was off. Oh, and it was monsooning while we were digging, so the guys got completely soaked and covered in mud! David and I followed in my family’s tradition and cut our wedding cake with my family’s heirloom Civil War sword. It is this gigantic, heavy, probably not food-safe sword, and we could not stop cracking up while trying to slice this darling, delicate, little cake. Boxwoods are my very favorite Southern greenery, so our ceremony backdrop and bar were entirely boxwood, and I had some sprigs of it in my bouquet.

We had a simple one-tier coconut cake for David and me, and a variety of cupcakes for our guests. Growing up, David’s mom made her famous coconut cake for him and his siblings’ birthdays, and we wanted that family favorite at our wedding.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. David and I met in 2005 at summer swim team practice. Through the years, I became close friends with his sisters, but he and I sort of just passed each other. I was the loud and spirited girl that quiet people like him tend to avoid. In 2010, we both got summer jobs coaching and lifeguarding at the same pool, and while we were forced to spend time together, we totally hit it off!
Tell us all about the proposal! One evening in early May 2015, David and I decided to go test my new camera at our favorite park. We walked down to an old bridge that cuts across the lake so I could practice different settings and we could admire the sunset. I was awkwardly crouched down, trying to get an “artsy” shot of the chain link fence in the sunset (in retrospect: why…), and when I turned around, there he was on one knee, with a humongous grin and a gorgeous ring. I was so surprised that to my embarrassment, my first response was, “Is this real?!?!” (immediately followed by a YES and a kiss and lots of selfies with the ring).
When did y’all get married? May 29, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Just over 100
Describe your wedding flowers. Alana, my florist, brought all of my floral dreams to life in one gorgeous, soft, and Southern bouquet! It combined peonies, garden roses, boxwood leaves, local blueberries, and tons of greenery.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? David and I attended premarital counseling with our ceremony officiant while we were engaged–something I highly recommend! It was really fun and helpful to prepare for things like combining finances.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Without a doubt, our biggest challenge was that about four months into wedding planning, I moved from North Carolina (where the wedding would be) to Florida. So everything that used to be just down the road became 12 hours away. It was quite a logistical challenge to balance DIY-ing things from another state!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Stop worrying so darn much and let your vendors do what they do best! Handing over the reins to my vendors was the single most freeing (and stress-relieving) part of planning.

Photographer: Sara Logan Photography | Videographer: Carly Rae Film | Day-Of Coordinator: Orangerie Events | Venue: Leslie Alford Mims House | Florist: Serendipity Designs | Wedding Cake: Sugar Euphoria | Caterer: Belle’s Catering | Rentals: Greenhouse Picker Sisters | Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas | Bride’s Gown: BHLDN | Bride’s Veil: BHLDN | Bride and Bridesmaids’ Jewelry: Kendra Scott | Hair and Makeup: LULA Hair + Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: TOMS | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN and David’s Bridal | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse | Engraved Hangers and Wood Cutouts: Delovely Details | Vows Print: Lauren Heim Studio | Custom Framing: Framebridge | Pizza Bar Sign Holders: Esselle | Wedding Maps: Fresh Cut Prints | Welcome Bags: Olive Paper Co. | North Carolina BBQ Map: EDIA Maps

The Mims House, Orangerie Events, Serendipity Designs, Sugar Euphoria, and LULA Hair and Makeup are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar All Of Our Wedding Photos! | Whitney Blake reply

    […] photos! Our photos (and a fun interview with me about planning and details!) are featured over on Southern Weddings today and I wanted to share my favorites here with […]

  2. avatar Allison reply

    I adore the fact that they walked back up the aisle to “Halo”! What a sweet but unexpected song. I’ve been listening to it on repeat since I read that!

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Hi belles! Our friend Stephanie Scholl is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Stephanie will be blogging for us every two weeks or so until her wedding in April. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

Portraits at the Merrimon-Wynne by Julie Livingston from Erin and Sean’s wedding

While Rob and I are still drinking celebratory champagne and have enjoyed every second of our engagement celebrations, we also moved fairly quickly into thinking about those looming big details pretty soon after his proposal: budget, guest count, venue, and wedding date!

Even before the proposal, we had a general timeline in mind for our wedding, and we also knew we didn’t want a long engagement. As a wedding planner in Raleigh, I have an excellent grasp on what it takes to plan a wedding, how long I think I need to do so, and a good read on the venues and vendors in the area. With the weddings already on my calendar for 2017, we were thinking a late summer wedding – or possibly late spring – would work well. All of this, of course, depended on when he proposed!

From Sarah and Cam’s wedding by Robyn Van Dyke

Rob asked me to be his wife on October 1, 2016, and it just so happens that we’ll be married exactly six months later on April 1, 2017! (Yes, April Fool’s Day – we’re two fools in love, as he says!) Once we were engaged, we discussed the location and potential venues for our wedding. We easily decided on Raleigh, North Carolina, as it’s both of our home now, and will be after the wedding, too. I went to college just down the road in Chapel Hill, and Rob has lived in Raleigh since graduating from NC State. We also met and fell in love here, so it’s only fitting that we tie the knot in our great city!

We inquired about pricing and availability at only a handful of venues, keeping in mind a few things: our large-ish guest count, the ambiance and aesthetic we wanted, the budget we had in mind, and a location central to Raleigh. The Merrimon-Wynne House in downtown was our first choice from the very beginning! We quickly heard back from them that they had one available Saturday in a seven-month window of time in 2017, which just so happened to be April 1. After mulling it over and talking with our parents, we decided to go for it! Our engagement might be a smidge shorter than anticipated, but we feel so great about our decision and the venue that we’ve chosen! We’ve gone together to a couple events at the Merrimon-Wynne, and I love that Rob loves this gorgeous venue just as much as I do. We cannot wait to transform it in April for our wedding and tie the knot as this special place in the heart of our city!!

Portraits just outside the Merrimon-Wynne by Julie Livingston from Erin and Sean’s wedding

One of the other biggest decisions we made early on was our photographer. This was one of the decisions that was really hard in some ways, and really easy in others. I am so fortunate that many of my closest friends in the area are wedding photographers. Rob and I regularly hang out with and are dear friends with some incredibly talented folks, and I looked with trepidation to the day when we’d have to choose just one. However, I know our friends completely understand and support us, and they often joked about who we would choose. (I, on the other hand, used to joke I’d hire each photographer for an hour of our wedding so we could use them all!)

Rob and I are thrilled to have Ally and Bobby Willix as our wedding photographers! We made the decision together, as I want Rob’s input and opinion on every major decision. We talked through a lot of options, looked at pricing, looked through portfolios of wedding work, and envisioned who we wanted there on our wedding day capturing all of those intimate, special, wonderful moments. Rob and I came to the same consensus that our amazing – and supremely talented – friends Ally and Bobby would be the perfect fit. We are so, so excited about this (and we know they are too, based off of their reactions when we called to tell them the good news!). We celebrated with them over champagne last week, and had so much fun talking all things wedding together!

If you’re a bride-to-be or have already planned your wedding, how long was your engagement? And what were the very first decisions you and your fiancé made for your wedding? I’d love to hear!

Robyn Van Dyke is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Shelby Vanhoy reply

    Love this Stephanie! You picked the most beautiful venue and Ally and Bobby will capture the most beautiful moments. So excited for you & Rob!!

    xo, Shelby

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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