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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

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After their first meeting played out more like a classic teen movie than a romantic comedy, Danielle and Chris’ relationship matured and grew into something special over nine years of dating, and their wedding was a true reflection of just that. With the help of their wedding planner, Amy Kristina Weddings, and their family and friends, these two created a wedding that was filled with meaningful details for their guests, as well as for each other. Y’all, the photos that Sam Stroud captured of them opening their wedding day gifts makes my heart skip a beat–be sure to read the story behind Danielle’s gift to Chris–and bring a tissue!

Such happy smiles!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I searched for dresses throughout Virginia and North Carolina, but I was having trouble finding a dress with the unique look I was craving. A friend told me about a non-profit shop called Church Street Bridal in Lynchburg, Virginia that sells donated designer gowns from bridal boutiques in NYC. I decided to check it out on a whim one day while my sister was in town. As soon as we arrived, we were shocked at the selection of beautiful gowns! We immediately called my mom, and within an hour or so, I said “YES” to the dress!! All of the proceeds earned at Church Street Bridal go to the local YWCA of Central Virginia, whose mission is to eliminate racism and empower women.

Our favorite detail of the day was the gift that I surprised Chris with before the ceremony. Sadly, Chris’ grandfather passed away eight months before our wedding. After that, Chris casually began searching for a vintage, Belgian-made Browning shotgun, like the one that his grandfather had willed to his father. With a little help from a couple of Chris’ friends and a few of our family members, I was able to track one down in Tennessee two weeks before the wedding. It was in perfect condition and I was so excited that I could barely keep the secret! When Chris opened his gift before the ceremony, he immediately knew the gun’s significance and was overcome with emotion. Luckily for me, I got to re-live this special moment when watching our wedding video!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Of course! I borrowed my grandmother’s engagement ring to wear for the day and my something blue was a monogrammed patch that my mother-in-law made, which was sewn into my dress. An old cameo that belonged to my great-grandmother was pinned to my bouquet, and my Kate Spade shoes were brand new!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose phrases we wanted to recite in our vows to each other. My favorite was “to value your opinions and grow with you.” Relationships inevitably evolve over time, and your willingness to grow with each other is crucial to the success of any marriage.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was one of the most meaningful moments of the night. We danced to “Hungry for Your Love,” originally by Van Morrison, but Chris and I love the mandolin-filled Sam Bush version. We had a local bluegrass band play for our ceremony and cocktail hour, and they also agreed to learn and play our first dance song. One of my favorite verses from the song states “You’re part of me now,” which I had engraved in Chris’ wedding band along with our wedding date.

During cocktail hour, our guests sipped moonshine out of monogrammed mason jars, sampled mini chicken n’ waffle hors d’oeuvres, and enjoyed a live bluegrass band, all while sitting on grandma’s antique furniture. Does it get any more Southern than that?

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was your classic teen movie plot: I was a freshman in high school and he was the senior I had a major crush on. On my way to class one day, I tripped and dropped my books in the stairwell. Luckily (or unfortunately), my handsome knight in shining armor was there to help me up and retrieve my books. I was mortified! He didn’t even know my name. A few years later, we were formally introduced by mutual friends and sparks flew immediately. Funny how things work out! After nine years of dating, we finally decided to tie the knot.
Tell us all about the proposal! Last June, we planned an adventurous road trip tour of California. We visited San Francisco, Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, destinations along Route 1, and Napa Valley. Four days into our vacation, after a long day of hiking and a beautiful sunset, Chris dropped down to one knee at the Tunnel View overlook in Yosemite and asked me to marry him. The next night, we celebrated in Carmel with delicious cocktails and an amazing dinner, while watching the the sun set over the Pacific. It was most definitely a trip we will never forget!
When did y’all get married? May 16, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I have been in love with our venue for years! Chris and I are both from the Roanoke, Virginia area and wanted our wedding to be close to home. Sundara had unbeatable mountain views and the perfect amount of Southern charm.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Homemade cakes and other delicious desserts are key to the conclusion of any great Southern meal. Many of our family members are known for their baking skills, so we saw this as the perfect opportunity to save money and add a bit of Southern swag to the dessert table. We served an assortment of homemade cakes, including strawberry, coconut, lemon pound cake, and cheesecake. We also had my personal favorite, pink cake pops dusted with edible gold glitter! All of the desserts were arranged on top of a vintage buffet that Chris and I painted mint and gold to match our wedding colors.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? One of my bridesmaids is a whiz at marketing and design. Luckily for me, she offered to design all of our wedding stationery! She created a custom monogram logo that we used to brand every single detail of our wedding–it was featured on everything from our programs to cornhole boards Chris made.

Photographer: Sam Stroud Photography / Videographer: Michael’s Videography / Planner: Amy McArthur of Amy Kristina Weddings / Venue: Sundara / Florist: Gloriosa / Caterer: Blue Ridge Catering / Band: Blue Moonshine / DJ: RSP Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: Bliss by Monique Lhuillier / Paper Products: Richelle Holland / Bridal Salon and Veil: Church Street Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Les Cheveux Salon and Day Spa / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Newbury Long” by Joanna August / Men’s Attire: Black by Vera Wang

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Leann reply

    Yay Sam! Congrats on the feature.

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Among my plans this weekend are eating barbecue, watching a movie in the park with my boyfriend, and trying the very first berry from my strawberry plants! (I’ll admit, I had a few berries before, but they shriveled up before I could try them. Not the best example of my green thumb.) What are y’all doing this weekend?

This week we tackled an etiquette question that just might be our most-asked one! Read up on how to mix navy and black in your bridesmaids and groomsmen.

June’s Southern Bride of the Month, Jordan has a contagious excitement for her big day! Be sure to read all about her white and green Highlands wedding and answer her big question!

Real Weddings are the sugar in our tea!

Allison + Andrew’s simple Georgia wedding boasted sweet photos and hydrangeas galore! See it here.

Lauren + Aaron’s North Carolina wedding was classic and romantic. I love the timeless images that resulted! See it here.

Brittany + Ryan’s wedding had all the hallmarks of a traditional Southern fete. We adore everything from their traditional vows to their donut desserts! See it here.

Fun treats for the weekend!

Historic St. Augustine, Florida, is the location of a pop-up wedding! Created for couples who want the romantic wedding feel with the simplicity of a courthouse elopement, “Away We Go” brings together talented vendors to create your dream getaway wedding. Check out their site for more details.

Congratulations to the winners of our bow tie giveaway from our SWV6 sneak peek! Samantha and Katie, you’ll adore these bow ties!

We have another fun giveaway for y’all! We think these Speak Wedding flashcards by Daughter of Design are too beautiful and too handy not to share! Each card explains wedding lingo that’s ever-present during the planning stages and helpful hints for wedding planning. On top of being helpful, they’re gorgeous! Each card was designed by Ceci New York.To win a set, leave a comment below telling us what you’re most enjoying about wedding planning!

Before y’all head out for the weekend, make sure you stop by our Facebook Friday for a lovely session from Erin Lindsey.

Happy weekend, friends!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
13 Comments
  1. avatar Samantha reply

    I think I won a bowtie!!!!! :D But I haven’t received an e-mail yet.

  2. avatar Elizabeth @ HobbyLobbyist reply

    I am loving spending time with my future mother-in-law! I am lucky to be marrying a great man with a great family.

  3. avatar Cait T. reply

    I’m loving the fact that planning is bringing me closer to everyone I love – my fiance, my mother, my sister (it’s been a long time coming!), my future-mother-in-law/sister-in-law, and all of my bridesmaids. It’s been such a great excuse to be in much more constant, and special, contact with everyone!!

  4. avatar Heather K reply

    My fiance and I really enjoyed registering last night!

  5. avatar Lonna Schultz reply

    I love the fact, that through all of this, the ending result will be me married to the man of my dreams. I have dreamed of this moment for so long and it is so close! Most people get are scared of the end, I couldn’t be happier. This is an end that will have a new magical beginning!

  6. avatar Alexandria reply

    I’m having a small wedding, so my favorite part of wedding planning is considering all the small details and how those details will really ensure my guests feel loved and welcome at our wedding. We wanted to make sure everything we do lets our guests know how important they all are to us and how thankful we are that they could be a part of our wedding!

  7. avatar Marnay reply

    My favorite part about wedding planning is the strong bond we are forming with our families. My fiancé’s family is helping to create DIY invitations (they are very crafty!) and my family is growing flowers in their yard for our bouquets! It makes me melt to see how eager and helpful our families are with the many wedding details. It’s making the experience much more fun and much less stressful!
    PS – those Speak Wedding flashcards would be a perfect game for a bridal shower!

  8. avatar Christina C reply

    I’ve really enjoyed touring venues. It is fun seeing how beautiful all the spaces can become.

  9. avatar Alix reply

    Getting in contact with old friends!

  10. avatar Kelly H. reply

    I love the feeling when everything begins to take shape and fall into place!

  11. avatar Justyne M reply

    What I am enjoying most are all the DIY projects, making jam favors has been so much fun!

  12. avatar Jillian reply

    My favorite part about the wedding planning process is being able to get together with my family and my fiancé’s family and listening to all of there ideas, excitement and traditions about our families weddings. It such a blessing to come together this way

  13. avatar Roxanne reply

    Getting to know my fiance’s mum. She is SO amazing!

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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