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Ever wish you could do a trial run of your wedding day? Where you could see how your lighting will look in your reception space, how your rentals will look at your ceremony, how your florist’s creations will size up, and how your band will look and sound? Well, we can’t line up your exact wedding day details, but if you’re a bride getting married in Wilmington, North Carolina, we’ve got the next best thing!

Courtyards & Cobblestones is a highly curated wedding planning and inspiration event designed to help you find your wedding day style and plan your Wilmington wedding, taking place January 14 and 15th, 2017!

Every January in Wilmington, North Carolina, a group of hand-picked creatives brings to life seven mock weddings and showcases them to brides through a downtown walking tour: Courtyards & Cobblestones, A Walk Through Wedding Row.

Your ticket gets you access to seven fully-styled venues in Wilmington, each one designed by a different crack team of the best wedding vendors in Southeastern North Carolina. Each team creates a fully styled wedding and reception at their chosen venue, allowing brides to experience their artistry firsthand.

On the C&C Tour, couples 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 & Power, and Courtyard by Marriott Downtown/Historic District.

For the past six years, this creative wedding event has provided a relaxed and inspirational atmosphere for couples to plan their wedding. Each bride also walks away with a swag bag full of goodies from the C&C creatives and sponsors as well as several bridal magazines (including Southern Weddings, of course!).

The photos in this post are from last year’s Courtyards & Cobblestones event, giving you an idea of what you’ll encounter on this year’s tour! Pretty incredible, right?! It really is a super fun time, and so helpful for all of our Wilmington brides, too! Be sure to check out the behind-the-scenes video from our Blue Ribbon Vendor Life Stage Films, below.

To purchase your ticket for this year’s tour or for the C&C Mix & Mingle Brunch on January 15th, head to the Courtyards & Cobblestones site!

And now, the giveaway! Enter via the widget below to win two tickets to the C&C venue tour on January 14th, two tickets to the C&C Mix & Mingle Brunch on January 15, and a one-night stay at the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown/Historic District in Wilmington, NC. Best of luck! :)

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Photography: Millie Holloman Photography | Videography: Life Stage Films | Design, paper, and florals: Salt Harbor Designs | Venue: Brooklyn Arts Center

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

emily Written with love by Emily
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We believe that preparing for your marriage is an incredibly important aspect of wedding planning, so I love how Karina and John used their time of engagement to do just that. Throughout the process, they practiced compromise, balanced priorities, and threw in a whole lot of fun along the way, all while keeping their focus on creating a strong marriage. With the help of their planner, Ashley Huffman Sanders of LFF Designs, Karina and John threw a wedding that felt like “a fun, Southern shindig,” inspired by their summers spent on the Carolina Coast!

Big SW hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Anna Routh for sharing this sweet day with us!

Wedding dress shopping was one of my favorite parts of wedding planning. My mom and I had scheduled an appointment at one of the larger wedding dress shops in town, but about a month before the appointment, I saw on Instagram that a new shop in town was having a trunk show that weekend. I called, and on a whim, my mom, two friends, and I went in for an appointment. I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted and picked my dress out right off the rack. It was the third wedding dress I tried on and I knew it was the one. We bought it that day.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We had our ceremony and reception at a private home along the Intracoastal Waterway. Some friends of ours were also married there and we knew it was a very special place. It meant a lot to us to get married and celebrate right along the water where we’ve made so many memories together over the years.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we used a traditional Episcopal wedding service. My uncle married us, which was extra special because he also married my parents.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We hired a ukulele player for our ceremony, which was so much fun. He played traditional wedding ceremony music with an island vibe. Our first dance was to “Magnolia Wind” by Guy Clark. That song seemed to capture our relationship perfectly and we both loved it.

We chose not to do a first look. My husband is pretty traditional and really wanted to see me for the first time when I was walking down the aisle. I’m so glad we made that decision because when our eyes met for the first time, it was such a magical moment!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We both grew up in North Carolina and wanted the wedding to feel like a fun, Southern shindig. We served all Southern foods: deviled eggs, fried chicken, bourbon-glazed pork, mac and cheese, shrimp and grits, collards, hoppin john, and cornbread. We also had boiled peanuts, mini Moon Pies, and Pepsi for a late night snack. John and his groomsmen wore seersucker suits with bow ties, and part of the groomsmen gift included an NC flag Freeker (knit koozies made here in Wilmington).

We had a four-tiered cake with textured white buttercream frosting. Each layer was a different flavor and so delicious! The cake was decorated with flowers and greenery.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I knew when we started planning an outdoor wedding that the weather would be a huge factor. The forecast looked pretty promising for our big day–just a slight chance of storms. All throughout the ceremony and cocktail hour, the weather was perfect. Just as we sat down to eat dinner though, the sky turned black and the wind really picked up. A few cocktail tables blew over and a tablecloth caught on fire! The cake almost blew over, but was saved by my quick thinking cousins! The radar showed a crazy storm headed our way. We rushed to cut the cake and prepare for the rain to come when suddenly, the sky cleared. It never rained. The light coming through the clouds as the storm passed was absolutely beautiful. Our photographer captured a picture of that sky over our tent, and it is my absolute favorite photo of the night. Once the threat of pouring rain was over, the band cranked up and we danced the night away!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. John and I met through mutual friends on July 4, 2009 at Wrightsville Beach. We spent such a fun day boating with friends, and we really hit it off. We exchanged numbers that night and spent the next day together. He cooked me dinner the following week and I was sold! We dated for close to seven years before getting married–part of that time was long distance while I attended graduate school. John was so supportive and drove to Durham nearly every weekend so we could be together. We both knew if we could survive that separation, we could survive anything together. After school, I moved home to Wilmington and we got engaged the following year.
Tell us all about the proposal! We got engaged in November 2014 at Wrightsville Beach–where we met and where we spend most weekends in the summer. It was the day after my 30th birthday, and John woke up extra early to suggest we go to breakfast and then for a walk on the beach. I could tell he was a little nervous while we were walking along the water and thought something was up. A few minutes later, he was down on one knee. Later that night, we surprised all of our friends with the news at a party. It was a perfect day.
When did y’all get married? April 23, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 175
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed a pearl bracelet from my mother-in-law, which served as my something borrowed and old. I wore Duke blue nail polish on my toes for my something blue. My dress, veil, shoes, and earrings were all new.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Wedding planning, in many ways, was good practice for married life. There was lots of compromising, budget discussing, and balancing of priorities. We managed to have a lot of fun throughout the process, and constantly reminded ourselves that our marriage was much more important than the wedding.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right now, we’re enjoying a low-key summer with family and friends and saving for our first home.

Photographer: Anna Routh Photography | Planner: Ashley Huffman Sanders of LFF Designs | Venue: Private residence | Florist: Fiore Fine Flowers | Wedding Cake: One Belle Bakery | Caterer: Gibbs Catering | Rentals: L&L Tent and Party Rentals | Lighting: High Performance Lighting and Power | Band: Mr. Potato Head Band | Ukulele: Kent Knorr of North Carolina Ukulele Academy | Paper Products: Reeves Engraving | Bride’s Gown: “MJ101” by Madison James | Bridal Salon and Veil: Coastal Knot Bridal | Hair Stylist: Kelli Kuperus and Megan Gregory from Sea Grass Salon and Day Spa | Makeup Artist: Amy Kennison | Bride’s Shoes: “Danya” by Naturalizer | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Joanna August | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank | Trolley: Azalea Limo

Anna Routh, Fiore Fine Flowers, One Belle Bakery, and Coastal Knot Bridal are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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  1. avatar Karina + John » Anna Routh Photography reply

    […] Thanks also to Southern Weddings for featuring this sweet wedding recently. Check it out here. […]

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I’ve never been a big fan of flowers (crazy, right?). I’ve always thought they were beautiful, mind you, but after reading about the incredibly sweet and personal blooms in Taylor + Chris’ wedding, I think I might be having a change of heart. Taylor and her sister/maid of honor’s bouquets were wrapped with trim from their mother’s wedding gown; the centerpieces were held by family heirlooms; and Chris’ boutonniere including a calla lilly, the same flower his late grandmother carried down the aisle on her wedding day. Unsurprisingly, the flowers weren’t the only thing that had special family ties in this wedding: all the linens were vintage and borrowed from family members, and even Taylor’s going away dress was constructed from her mama’s own wedding gown! Heavens, I love weddings in the South!

We’re tickled pink that three Blue Ribbon Vendors contributed to this wedding — special thanks to Theo Milo, Social Butterfly Events, and Heirloom Vintage China!

I went shopping for my dress with my mom and sister, and the moment I put on my dress, I knew it was the right one for me. There were no tears or drama, I just felt very much like myself when I was wearing it. I never expected to select a lace dress, but the unique, crochet-like quality to the lace appealed to me instantly, and I love that I was able to customize it with a low back and buttons.

I must admit, I LOVE the bows on Taylor’s shoes! So cute!

Our flowers were completely perfect. I didn’t give much direction besides “lush, romantic, and peonies,” but my mom and our floral designer worked together to create stunning arrangements and bouquets that were more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. I also love that our florals incorporated personal touches: my bouquet and my sister/maid of honor’s bouquet were wrapped with trim from the dress my mother wore for my parents’ wedding in 1972, and Chris’s boutonniere included a calla lily, which is the flower his late grandmother carried in her own wedding in 1944. The reception floral centerpieces were arranged in antique silver serving pieces belonging to my parents and their friends, including a large punch bowl, dessert trays, and even a cocktail shaker!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look. It was important to both of us that our first glimpses of each other on our wedding day occurred as I was walking down the aisle. As a wedding guest, I’ve always found the moment when the groom sees his bride for the first time so romantic, and I’m glad we experienced it for ourselves surrounded by our friends and family.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our wedding could not have been the beautiful and special day it was without special touches contributed by our friends and family, and the very, very hard work that my mom put in to bringing them all together with our wedding planner. All of the linens (napkins, tablecloths, etc.) were vintage pieces that belonged to my grandparents, Chris’ grandparents, and my godparents’ family. My mom also constructed a beautiful going away dress for me out of the wedding dress that she wore when she married my dad in 1972.

Incorporating personal family touches made our wedding feel very Southern and traditional, without feeling stuffy or cookie-cutter. We used heirloom linens loaned by family members, arranged the floral centerpieces in vintage silver serving pieces, and my mom made my going away dress out of her own wedding dress from 1972. Guests were served a family-style meal on mismatched vintage china at oversized wooden farm tables. Chris and I met in college at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, and it was so fun for our college friends to dance together to “Wagon Wheel” and other country songs that became anthems for our friends when we called the South our home.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chris and I met during freshmen orientation at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. We had both been assigned to Babcock residence hall, and he caught my eye while playing lacrosse on the lawn in front of the building. I mistook his shyness for disinterest, so I was stuck in the “friend zone,” but after getting to know each other for a few weeks, we had our first kiss on Babcock’s roof, with the campus and its iconic Wait Chapel in the distance. We’ve been together ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! In the spring of 2012, Chris and I were living in Charlotte, NC and preparing to move to New York City. During a trip to New York to look for an apartment in the city, Chris and I found the perfect place, signed a lease, and went off in search of a drink to celebrate. Chris suggested we visit the High Line, a linear park on the west side of Manhattan built on a section of what used to be an elevated railroad. While looking out over the Hudson River, Chris completely surprised me with a beautiful proposal and stunning engagement ring. It was the perfect beginning to our new life in our new city.
When did y’all get married? May 26, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My godmother read a passage from Louis de Bernieres’ novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and Chris’s father read Colossians 3:12-17.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The guitarist and saxophonist from our reception band, GrooveTown, performed acoustically for our ceremony and cocktail hour. Most of the ceremony music was traditional, but once we were pronounced husband and wife, we recessed down the aisle to an instrumental version of “You Are The Best Thing” by Ray Lamontagne, which set a celebratory tone the evening. GrooveTown absolutely brought down the house during the reception, and played excellent covers of “FM” by Steely Dan for the father/daughter dance, “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack for the mother/son dance, and “That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding for our first dance as husband as wife. GrooveTown played a great mix of our favorite oldies/Motown songs and more contemporary pop and country songs, and we had a blast dancing the night away with our closest friends and family.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our white cake with strawberry and lemon filling was simply decorated with white buttercream frosting and fresh flowers.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I can say with all honesty that we were incredibly impressed with all of our vendors, but we were so thrilled with the family-style meal that Christi and her team from Pine Valley Market prepared and executed. We also absolutely adored our stunning venue, Brooklyn Arts Center at St. Andrews. I also have to mention my photographer, Theo Milo. Obviously his photos speak for themselves, but Chris and I adored working with him during our wedding and our engagement session in NYC.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Dancing for hours on end with all of our very favorite people under one roof.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Chris and I are still living in Manhattan, in the East Village apartment we found the day we got engaged. We’re enjoying our city with our friends and our sweet, goofy black lab, and looking forward to facing together whatever life throws at us next!

Photographer: Theo Milo Photography / Videographer: 7 Season Films / Planner: Charyl Williams of Social Butterfly Events / Ceremony and Reception Venue: Brooklyn Arts Center At St. Andrews / Florist: Verzaal’s / Wedding Cake: Apple Annie’s Bake Shop / Caterer: Pine Valley Market / Rentals: Heirloom For Hire / Band: Groovetown / Bride’s Gown: “Quinn” by Modern Trousseau / Going-Away Dress: Handmade by Mother of the Bride / Paper Products: Heather Ivady / Bride and Bridesmaids’ Monogram Bracelets: Marinette Jewelry on Etsy / Hair Stylist: Nsalo / Makeup Artist: Maari Wohlhueter / Bride’s Shoes: Valentino / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Aiden” by Jenny Yoo / Groom’s Attire: Bespoke Tuxedo by Suit Supply SoHo / Groomsmen Attire: Their own

Theo Milo, Social Butterfly Events, and Heirloom are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    LOVE her style–her dress, shoes, bouquet, all of it!–and their romantic NYC proposal story!

  2. avatar Lasting Bridal Couture reply

    Loving the lace work on the brides gown. The flowers are beautiful and go perfectly with the decor. A very sweet wedding.

  3. avatar http://southernweddings.com/2013/10/04/simple-north-carolina-wedding-by-theo-milo/ | Heirloom Vintage China Hire reply

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  4. avatar msdressshop reply

    The dress is very beautiful. The fabric is very smooth and it is very shining.

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