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Monthly Archives: February 2013

This month, in honor of all things love, we’ll be sharing a valentine a week from an SW gal. Lara is up today, and this is her love letter to North Carolina.

Have you caught the love letter bug? Check out More Love Letters, an organization after our own hearts. Their goal? To turn your best love letter into a lamp to light the path of someone who needs to read it. Find out more here.

lara Written with love by Lara Casey
8 Comments
  1. avatar Laura reply

    When you started this series, I thought about who or what I would send my love letter to. It would have to be the place that holds my heart, my dear homeland, North Carolina. Thanks Lara for the words that all North Carolinians can utter to our beloved state.

  2. avatar Dee Shore reply

    Love this! Favorite line, “You are gooder than grits” lol

  3. avatar Kate Collison reply

    “Honey to my Heart” :) Love!

  4. avatar Emily reply

    Oh my stars, I love North Carolina. Born and raised here, I spent a short year in NYC, only to head back home to my cozy, perfect, home state. No matter where the future takes me, I’ll always feel a sense of comfort when I see our state flag and that lovely cardinal.

  5. avatar Rachelle Sauser reply

    What I love about the south is the general care people have for each other. I was born in NY, then moved to oklahoma (boomer!!!) then Louisiana, then California. My family currently lives in California but when choosing a college I picked the University of Oklahoma….and boy am I glad that I did! Oklahoma brought me awesome friends, sweet memories, and meeting my soon to be husband Beau (: Once I got engaged and graduated my fiance and I had to decide where we wanted to live, and we ended up choosing California. That being said, it has made me realize how truly special Oklahoma was to me. I think it says a lot when something is so tough to leave. My memories and friendships made are so special to me and who knows!…maybe I’ll end up there again someday. The south is a different pace of life that isn’t found everywhere.

    anyways, the south is a sweet place to me. California girl but Oklahoma has my heart.

  6. avatar Five on Friday | sevenlayercharlotte reply

    […] Southern Love Letter from Lara Casey to my state.  North Carolina is special, and I’m blessed to call it home.   […]

  7. avatar Mickey reply

    This letter is great! Do you sell this letter in the form of a print that can be framed? I didn’t see it in your shop. Please email me if you do! Thanks!!

  8. avatar A Love Letter to North Carolina – The Simply Southern reply

    […] Through your glistening winters, blossoming springs, colorful falls and hot southern summers full of…. Thus, moving away from you, my forever home, was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I often find myself impatiently counting down the days until I can return home to the place and people that I love. I crave to hug their necks, and tell them all my stories, to hold them one last time and never let go; never having to return back to my house 1,250 miles away. While some days are better than others, that feeling of being homesick never really goes away. People often argue with me that it is the people I miss and not the place, but I have to say that is the farthest from the truth. While I miss my family dearly, I often times long to be in the state of southern hospitality, front porches that stretch from the mountains to the sea in all of its beauty, and having the whole world at my fingertips. I’m just a North Carolina girl living in a Texas high school coaches world. […]

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Can y’all believe Whitney + Clarke’s wedding day boasted temperatures over 100 degrees?? Their French-meets-Southern countryside wedding looks as cool as a cucumber, though, thanks to some extra fans and the quick thinking of the Easton Events ladies, who handed out lavender-scented chilled cloths as the dance floor heated up. Whitney + Clarke spent the majority of their evening there, celebrating with loved ones, until it was time for their emotional getaway. W + C managed to steal a few moments to themselves just after Whitney changed into her getaway dress, and it ranks as one of her favorite moments. Just imagining the newlyweds standing upstairs overlooking their reception before they left gives me chills. “We finally got a chance to breath, to just be together in the moment, and to watch all those we love dancing, laughing, and enjoying the celebration,” said Whitney.

What was Southern about your wedding? For me, it was Southern because it was rooted in the traditional. The Southern fare, the station-style dinner, the Blue Ridge Mountain setting, the big band, the Motown and beach music, the warm hospitality, the pink gingham bow ties, the white dinner jackets, the stifling heat, the fireflies, and the sweet late-evening Virginia breeze.

What advice would you give to someone planning his or her wedding? I don’t even know where to begin. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It goes so quickly, take a moment to soak it all in. Don’t forget to eat. A wedding planner/coordinator is a must have, especially on the day-of. Hire a videographer. Enjoy every minute. All of my initial advices seems so cliché, and at the same time each is so true. And yet, it takes walking in bridal shoes to really appreciate most of this advice. Not stressing beforehand, and enjoying the day is easier said in hindsight than done at the time. Although this is not novel advice, I think the following words of wisdom are most helpful: hire vendors you trust, and trust them do their job; you can never show enough pictures – even ones of things you don’t like, are helpful – because something in your head that you describe could be very different in someone else’s head; lighting is invaluable; you spend all of this time thinking about, fretting over, planning and preparing for one day, and it does go by more quickly than you can ever imagine. You cannot re-live it, so live it the first time; at the end of the day, all that remains are the marriage, the memories, and the photographs – so hire a good photographer!

For the reception, we envisioned a European Provincial cocktail hour with French countryside elements such as wooden Bistro chairs around low tables dressed in Duck Egg blue linens, and centerpiece bowls filled with fresh blackberries and cherries; Russian sage-filled urns on the linen square bar and topiaries flanked the tent entrance. In the Tasting Room, long tables were dressed in white linens with bistro chairs and blue and white Chinoiserie bud vases filled with Sahara roses. The main event space was more formal, and meant to feel like a Parisian pied-å-terre with white-washed Chiavari chairs around dinner tables dressed in grey and white damask linens, and several seating groups of lounge furniture around the dance floor. Floating gardenias in small bowls were placed on the side tables and in the ladies room.

What kind of food did you serve during the cocktail hour, dinner and dessert? The locally inspired cuisine included traditional Southern favorites, with a European-style vineyard twist. We had canapés such as fried goat cheese balls with honey, sweet potato biscuits with Virginia ham and piquillo pepper spread, fried Chesapeake Bay oysters, local strawberries with robiolo cheese and a balsamic drizzle, lobster Salad on a Yucca chip, and deviled quail eggs with caviar. Guests dined at dinner stations with various themes such as a Vineyard inspired station featuring a wide selection of local and imported cheeses, charcuterie, fresh breads and homemade condiments; a Farmer’s Market station filled with fresh heirloom tomatoes, watermelon and feta salad, and local strawberry and arugula salad; a French fare station complete with beef tenderloin, lavender-glazed lamb chops, haricot verts, and roasted potatoes; and the popular Southern Comfort station with jumbo lump crab cakes (a nod to Clarke’s VA Beach hometown), truffle mac n’cheese, skillet cornbread, and pulled pork sliders.

Tell us a bit about your first dance. We were both nervous about the first dance, Clarke especially, so we took one lesson a few weeks before the wedding – that probably made us more nervous! But it went really well, and once we got out there, it was easy to forget about everyone watching and nice to just talk and laugh with one another. Clarke picked the song, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s classic “You’re All I Need to Get By”, which he said reminded him of me… and it has enough of a beat for him to keep pace!

Our cake was five round tiers of alternating layers – vanilla with blackberry filling, and poppy-seed almond – with pale pink, buttercream icing and scattered fresh blackberries. Kathy’s cakes are wonderfully moist and taste deliciously homemade (which they are!), yet better, and still are beautiful. I wanted a traditional-style cake, yet the rough, swirled buttercream exterior in barely blush pink was a contemporary twist. It was impressionistic, and the pink hue was dead on – I wanted people to say, is that pink? Or are my eyes playing tricks? The wedding cake was complemented by silver-tiered servers filled with homemade macarons – in lavender and raspberry flavors.

What was your reception like? We had an outdoor sunset cocktail hour with a stationed dinner event and band reception following.  The guests ate, drank, mingled, and danced until our midnight departure.
Describe your centerpieces:  Low mercury bowls of lush overflowing arrangements composed of pale blush and grey – antique hydrangea, Sahara rose, Café au Lait Dahlias, Patience Garden roses, Champagne Lisianthus, Dusty Miller, and vines
Did you have a cocktail hour?  If so, what was it like?  After the ceremony, guests were transported out to Pippin Hill Farm where they cocktailed underneath a Sperry tent on the lawn, and attempted to stay cool underneath the draped Veranda and inside the Tasting Room.  The Peter Richardson Jazz Trio played light tunes in the tent, where guests picked up flip-flops, dined on hors d’oeuvres, grabbed drinks from the big square bar, and enjoyed the panoramic views.
What were some of the highlights?  The whole night was a highlight.  We wanted a beautiful event, full of thoughtful details, yet we also wanted a good party and for everyone to have the best time.  The band was phenomenal and guests danced all night.   We were on the dance floor the entire time, which is exactly where we wanted to be.  For me, the father-daughter dance was particularly special.  We danced to “My Girl”, and as one of three daughters, it has been a song we have all danced to with my dad over the years.  Another standout, is the few minutes we took to ourselves, after I changed dresses, as we stood upstairs overlooking the main event space below.  We finally got a chance to breath, to just be together in the moment, and to watch all those we love dancing, laughing, and enjoying the celebration.
Tell us about your grand exit.  Our grand exit was to a sea of sparklers leading up the candle-lit pathway to our antique car, with a Bon Voyage sign on the back.  Unexpectedly, it was one of the more emotional moments for me, as we hugged our parents and laughed and cried as all our friends cheered us on.  Many guests continued the party back at the hotels, and we shared a nightcap with friends and snacked on Pippin Hill’s famous croque monsieurs.
What is the one thing that made your wedding different from anyone else’s wedding?  Our wedding was different than any other, for it was the perfect confluence of personal circumstance – for this fleeting, yet amazing, moment in time, everyone and everything comes together to create magic.  That day will forever be a part of us, and a part of our story.
Did you include any Southern traditions in your wedding?  We had a groom’s cake the night before, in the shape of UVA’s Rotunda; the groom’s father was the best man; my sisters gave me a bible with my new name embossed on the front as a gift on our wedding day; guests tossed lavender as we exited the church.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when planning your wedding?  Combating the heat that week!
Did you take a honeymoon? We honeymooned at the fabulous Curtain Bluff in Antigua – and loved it!  We relaxed, read, eat, drank, and soaked in the sun for ten days.  We didn’t want to come home!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future?  Immediately after the honeymoon, we packed up and moved to Houston.  We have settled in and are adjusting back to reality.
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration.  “We’re only doing this once, so enjoy it!”  And that we did.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
6 Comments
  1. avatar Sharon @ Red Poppy | Pink Peony reply

    I’m loving this post as well as part 1 of this couple’s beautiful wedding. Everything from the stationery to the dress, the classic look and feel and all of the neutral tones… so pretty and timeless!

  2. avatar Kat reply

    This wedding is a stunner for sure … and you wouln’t even know it was 100 degrees outside! I’m loving the damask linens and her fun short departure dress!

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    Truly, the bride and groom are one of the most classically beautiful couples I’ve ever seen. I can only imagine how much they’ll treasure these pictures for years and years to come!

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  5. avatar jennifer reply

    I was wondering if you know where the bride got her dress???

  6. avatar Charity reply

    I was hoping to find out where the bride got her dress!! I LOVE it!

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While Lara and I were completing layout on V5, we basically died every time we scrolled through Whitney + Clarke’s wedding. Not only are they a gorgeous couple, but their Charlottesville wedding is among one of the most elegant outdoor soirees we’ve seen. Though Whitney drew design inspiration from Degas’ ballerina paintings, the Pippin Hill setting gave their French-infused nuptials Southern roots. And although it was a destination for all the guests, Whitney + Clarke knew their wedding had to be in Charlottesville. It was, after all, where they met and fell in love.

We are so very grateful for Patricia Lyons who captured this day and shared it with us!

Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: My printed materials – from the letterpressed save the date to the stunning calligraphy and wax seals on the invitations to the Arturo blush paper we used for the welcome note! The custom suite set the tone for the rest of the design, and included really fun calligraphy details such as cocktail napkins with French phrases, the flip-flop “Check your ‘Choos” sign, dinner station signs, etc. The Napoleanic bee and garland motif was carried throughout the wedding and really branding the weekend as ours.

My Something Blue: My mom used antique lace she found in Italy on a recent trip, and had my monogram in blue sewn into a patch, that was then sewn into the back of my dress.
My Something New: On the day of the wedding, Clarke surprised me with a gift from our family jeweler – a pair of pale pink pearl and diamond earrings, which I wore that day, and matching pearl necklace. It was so special, and made me smile, since pearls have a particular significance to us.

My bouquet was composed of ivory patience garden roses, white peonies, white hydrangea, and Sahara roses tied with lace and satin ribbon. My grandmother’s handkerchief, edged in lace, was tucked inside. The bridemaids’ bouquets featured café au lait dahlias, antique green hydrangea, and Sahara roses tied with satin ribbon.

My literal inspiration was Degas’ ballerina paintings, the romantic quality, their balance of soft hues and saturated color. I wanted the wedding to reflect a similar elegance, grace, timelessness, and Parisian sophistication. Pippin Hill’s natural design has European countryside influences, and so it was a blend of Southern landscape and French Provincial aesthetic.

How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your big day? Friends of my parents hosted a lovely brunch at King Family Vineyards on the day of the wedding, which Clarke and all the guests attended. I slept in a bit and spent the day getting ready and sipping champagne with my sisters and friends.

My dress was everything I dreamed it would be – elegant and timeless, yet fashionable, unique, subtly dramatic and unforgettable. I simply loved it. It set the tone for the traditional and classic route we took. I had been scoping out dresses for years before we even got engaged and I always imagined myself as a fall or winter bride. I knew I did not want a strapless dress – I loved the look of long sleeves and a high neck, with skin showing on the back. After all, that is what everyone sees during the ceremony! After our summer engagement, I began scouring designer sites and fell in love with Monique Lhuillier’s couture “Catherine” gown from her spring/summer 2012 collection. I flew home and shopped with my mom and two sisters, and tried on tons of different styles, but knew I would not be satisfied until I could try that gown. A few weeks later, the sample came available and it was as I imagined: the layers of lace detailing are exquisite. We cut the sleeves to three-quarter length, since it was summertime, however wanted to keep the traditional dress lines with a bateau neckline and deep-V back. I felt like Grace Kelly in it!

What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? There are so many, it’s hard to decide on just one memorable moment – I wish I could go back and re-live the whole day over again, and again! Most vividly, I will never forget waiting in the tiny anteroom of the church with my Dad. Right before we walked down the aisle, he simply said, “Ready?” and smiled. Then the look on Clarke’s face once we processed, was amazing. I just thank my lucky stars that Patricia so beautifully captured those moments in photographs.

Tell me a bit about the wedding ceremony. We had a traditional Episcopalian ceremony. Music included an organist, a trumpeter and soloist. It was important to Clarke for one of our readings to be the Traditional Irish Blessing, as his mother’s family is Irish. After the readings, the soloist sang Amazing Grace a cappella, which is my favorite hymn.
Did you write your own vows? We used the traditional vows from the book of prayer. I think there is something romantic about using the same words that hundreds of thousands of people throughout history have said to one another on their wedding day. It made us feel connected to all those who came before us, and to our guests.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.  We met at the University of Virginia during my third, his fourth, year of college, and knew of each other through friends.  However, we officially met at a party in the basement of Clarke’s fraternity house – he donned a David Beckham costume and we ended up dancing all night.  Over Christmas break a few weeks later, we talked every day — and then every day for the next 6 years.
Describe the proposal: Clarke was working in D.C. for the summer, and I had planned to visit him that weekend.  On Friday, he called me and asked me to pick up an important package that had been delivered to his place, before I drove to D.C.  When I got to his room, nothing was there, so I called him to let him know I was getting on the road. I was still on the phone when he appeared around the corner.  I was in total shock and still confused as he led me to a garden near the Rotunda and proposed.  We spent the rest of the weekend at one of our favorite Charlottesville places, Keswick Hall.
Tell us about your beautiful engagement ring and how/why your husband (or the two of you!) chose it:  My engagement ring is a family heirloom – it was actually designed by Clarke’s father about 30 years ago, when his parents got engaged!  The ring features three oval diamonds in a classic setting, and we chose a round brilliant diamond eternity band to complement it.
Tell me all the basics of your wedding!  We were married on the evening of July 7, 2012 in Charlottesville, Virginia at St. Paul’s Memorial Church. Dinner and dancing immediately followed at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards.  As it was the backdrop to how we met, where we fell in love, what brought us back together after years of long distance dating, we naturally decided Charlottesville would be the best place to start our new life together.  We also wanted to share this special place with family and friends.  As a destination for everyone other than us, it was important that the celebration be about more than just that day – we wanted it to be a getaway for guests, and for them to have to chance to explore the city we know and love so much.  The weekend following July 4 seemed fitting for travelers.  We kicked off the celebration with a hosted party on Thursday night, and the party did not stop until Sunday.  As for the reception venue, I had a close personal connection to Pippin Hill: as the first employee, I had the privilege of being a part of its construction, development, growth and everything in between.  It was truly a labor of love, my home away from home, a house that I helped build, and we couldn’t have chosen a more meaningful place to bring our loved ones together, to start our new chapter, and say goodbye to Charlottesville.  It was an epic last hurrah!
What was the weather like on your big day? HOT!  Unfortunately, a heat wave hit Charlottesville that week and uncharacteristic temperatures ran over 100 degrees on our actual wedding day.  Luckily, our ceremony and reception sites had A/C and we brought in additional fans for the tent. Easton Events had the great idea of offering lavender-scented chilled cloths to guests later in the evening.  They were a huge hit as the dance floor literally heated up!
How many guests attended your wedding? 275
Were there any family traditions you included in the ceremony?  Instead of a traditional wedding band, we engraved a signet ring Clarke’s grandfather had given him, embossed with their family crest.  So he now wears that ring on his left hand, just like his father and grandfather.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
20 Comments
  1. avatar Kate Collison reply

    I’m so glad bride Miss Whitney felt like Grace Kelly in her gorgeous dress! She certainly looked like Grace Kelly – stunning! Congratulations to the Mr and Mrs! :)

  2. avatar Emily reply

    What a gorgeous, classic bridal look! And then men aren’t too shabby, either — I LOVE their white dinner jackets!

  3. avatar Marissa reply

    Oh heavens! This might actually be my very favorite wedding from V5! ; ) THAT dress is out of control!

  4. avatar Dee Shore reply

    What a truly beautiful couple, having a beautiful wedding. Congratulation ya’ll!

  5. avatar Ashleigh reply

    Oh my! I just went pin-happy over this post! LOVE everything about it (especially that it’s in my homestate of VA!).

  6. avatar Kat reply

    I’m LOVING those paper goodies!! Completely obsessed with this classic day… of course, her timeless updo and Grace-Kelly-inspired dress don’t hurt either! A favorite from the pages of V5 – and like Ashleigh, I’m loving that it’s from Virginia too :)

  7. avatar Darby reply

    That dress is absolutely stunning! I seriously can’t get over those dinner jackets, nor the paper goods! Congrats!

  8. avatar Ashleigh from MarryMeMetro.com reply

    WOW! just wow! Her dress is out of control stunning and the groom’s expression as she came down the aisle melted my heart! Such a gorgeous wedding!

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  13. avatar Wedding Flowers Charlottesville reply

    I love the color of her bridesmaid dresses and the color of the bouquets – it goes so beautifully together. The photography is also stunning!

  14. avatar Whimsical Floral Design reply

    Gorgeous bridesmaid dresses and color combos. very soft and romantic.

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  18. avatar aurelija reply

    very fantastic pictures. where you bought those stunning heels? they look amazing :) i also want them :)

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