Hallie (who is an actual cowgirl, y’all!) always knew she wanted to get married at her family’s farm, but after saying “yes” to Griffin’s heartfelt proposal came all of the logistics! They quickly realized that their goal of having the whole wedding at this meaningful property was not in the cards. As a compromise, they gathered their closest loved ones there for the ceremony and a cake and champagne toast, then headed to The Haw River Ballroom for their reception. Hallie’s parents have been regulars at the Saxapahaw General Store restaurant since they opened, so even though it wasn’t home, the ballroom already held plenty of family memories. This self-proclaimed sentimental couple loved celebrating in both locations with all their loved ones, at a wedding that not only nodded to their own love story, but also their families and their Southern heritage.
We’re so happy our friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor Graham Terhune was on hand to capture this beautiful day!
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we did a first look, primarily to knock out as many photos as possible before our reception. After talking over our thoughts with our photographer, Graham, he created an amazing moment for our first look at the ceremony site. Griff stood with his back to me among the antique pews, and I came out of my grandmother’s front door and walked up behind him. It was an incredibly powerful moment and we were both so thrilled to finally see each other. Immediately following our first look, our groomsmen walked from my parents’ home on the opposite end of the farm through the field to my grandmother’s house, on the same path that I used to take between the houses as a little girl. Griff and I stood by the fence and watched them traipse through the field, sunglasses on, in their tuxedos. It was such a fun moment!
I can’t say enough good things about our wedding flowers and our experience with the Flower Patch of Hillsborough. It’s a family-run business that our family has loved for almost three decades. I was a bit of an atypical bride and wanted pumpkins, gourds and other earthy details to be a major element in all of our decor. Dionne from the Flower Patch took my wild ideas and brought them to life in the most incredible ways. From the garlands decorating our ceremony, to our bouquets, to the breathtaking arrangements at our reception, she truly captured and executed my vision flawlessly.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows–we borrowed traditional vows from the Presbyterian church. That said, since we were getting married in a nontraditional environment, we had the opportunity to write the rest of our ceremony with input from our officiant. Writing our ceremony together was one of the most fun and meaningful things we did together while wedding planning.
I borrowed the antique cameo necklace that my mother wore on her wedding day in 1980, as well as her antique diamond earrings from the 1920’s. My something old was the lace wrapped around my bouquet, which was taken from my mother’s wedding gown. My dress from Traditions by Anna in downtown Raleigh was new and my garter was Carolina blue–a nod to Griff’s alma mater.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Griffin and I are incredibly sentimental people. Our wedding celebrated us, but it also truly embraced both the autumn season and our Southern ancestry. Wherever we could, we sourced elements of the day from our families and their traditions. Speaking of small details, one of Griff’s and my father’s favorite moments was the burying of the bourbon to ensure fabulous weather. In late September, we buried a bottle of Jefferson’s bourbon upside down on the spot of our ceremony, and it worked! Our day was a perfectly cloudless, 72 degree fall day. Griff dug up the bourbon immediately after the ceremony to celebrate. It was a wonderfully impromptu moment.
I have known that I wanted to get married on my family’s farm since I was a little girl. As soon as Griffin and I got engaged, we talked with my family about how to make it work logistically and quickly realized that we likely needed an unconventional plan to pull it off. We ultimately decided to have a small gathering for the ceremony in my grandmother’s front yard, in front of a 200-year-old oak tree, followed by a reception at our beloved Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw. My parents have been regulars at the Saxapahaw General Store restaurant since they opened, so working with their team felt almost like we were having the reception at home. It’s funny–as soon as we made this plan, everything else simply fell into place without issue, and it truly felt meant to be.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Beyond the incredible weather of that day, we both agree that our favorite detail was the very quick supper we enjoyed by ourselves at the Saxapahaw General Store while waiting to make our entrance. The buses dropped us off at the restaurant door adjacent to the Haw River Ballroom, and we got to sit down in one of the booths with all of the other diners, see our favorite folks on staff, and enjoy a few wonderful bites of our reception food. It was incredible to come in wearing our wedding attire and sit down just like any other Saturday date night!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Griffin and I met in 2008 while working at one of Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s most beloved watering holes. He was finishing up his degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and I had just returned home from Montana, where I had been working as a cowgirl. Griff was a lead server at Top of the Hill, and trained me on my very first day. We immediately became friends and, though we had both sworn that we’d never be in a relationship with another redhead, we started dating a little less than a year later.
Tell us all about the proposal! We were living near the Chapel Hill Botanical Gardens when we first adopted our dog, Bear. There are multiple trails leaving the botanical gardens, and our favorite was the one to Merritt’s Pasture–a beautiful, pastoral spot in the middle of Chapel Hill. On the day of the proposal, which was also our four-year anniversary of dating, Griff talked me into taking Bear for a walk there again, even though it was misting outside. He had a backpack, which I assumed held a towel and water for the pup, but once we got to a bench at the top of Merritt’s Pasture, looking down over the creek and trees, he whipped out champagne and glasses. That was when I knew something was up! He proposed with his grandmother’s diamond, which was special in that it was from his father’s side of the family, and his father had passed away unexpectedly a few years before. Unfortunately, I never got to meet his father, so to have this connection meant the world to me. We had the diamond set by the incredible team at Wade’s Jewelers of Gibsonville to match my great-grandmother’s wedding band from 1913, which is now my wedding band.
When did y’all get married? October 25, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? We had 75 at the ceremony and 220 at the reception.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Immediately following our small ceremony, we held a cake and champagne cocktail hour with that intimate group at the farm before heading to the Haw River Ballroom for the larger reception. My incredibly talented sister made the wedding cake we enjoyed at that time from devil’s food cake and buttercream icing recipes that have been in our family since the 1800s. The recipes were my great-grandmother’s, and I am named for her husband, my great-grandfather Hallie, so it felt like a wonderful tribute. We opted to not have a second cake at our reception. Instead, I wanted to celebrate and embrace autumn with an array of seasonal pies and desserts so that everyone could find something to enjoy. The team at the Saxapahaw General Store pulled that vision off to perfection.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? In the year leading up to our wedding, we worked hard to understand one others’ communication styles better, especially as they applied to finances. We also made sure to take time away from planning to talk about our future beyond the big day–especially about our goals and dreams, both short and long term. Those times kept us grounded and focused on what was important, and I believe it started us off on the best foot possible once we were married.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge for us came early on–accepting that our initial vision for both a ceremony and reception on the farm wasn’t going to work. At first, it was frustrating for a time, because we wanted to share the place we loved with all of the people we love, but the logistics for our vision continued to be prohibitive in so many ways. When we realized how much stress holding both events at home would add, and therefore possibly detract from our families’ enjoyment of the day, we pivoted and got the best of both worlds. We were married on the farm, but enjoyed the reception in a place where every detail was handled for us.
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? We purchased a 1930’s bungalow in downtown Durham shortly after our wedding and we are so looking forward to putting some time and love into it in the coming months and years. We’re also tentatively planning a trip abroad sometime in 2016–likely to Ireland!
Photographer: Graham Terhune / Planner: Carly Abernathy of La Fête / Ceremony Venue: Private Residence / Reception Venue: Haw River Ballroom / Florist: The Flower Patch / Wedding Cake: Sarah Sessoms / Caterer and Dessert Baker: The Saxapahaw General Store / Rentals: American Party Rentals / Band: The Troupers / Paper Products: Ply / Veil: Bespoke by Olga’s Bridal & Formal Couture / Hair and Makeup: Lanee Brooks Salon / Bridesmaids’ Dresses and Bride’s Shoes: J. Crew / Bridesmaids Robes: Belles of Cotton / Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers / Groomsmen Attire: Julian’s of Chapel Hill / Jewelry: Wade’s Jewelers / Ceremony Strings: Elegant Ensembles / Officiant: Ed Sansbury / Quaker Wedding Certificate: Emily Brooks Designs
Graham Terhune and Ply are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!