Carolina bride Sarah Ann shares her monogram-filled wedding at the Merrimon-Wynne House!
Today’s wedding holds a special place in my heart because the bride and groom are dear friends of mine! Earlier this year, Sarah Ann and Blake said their “I do’s” in front of their family and friends on the mildest North Carolina July day I can ever remember (a weather home run thanks to some savvy burying of the bourbon!). And while the images are breathtakingly gorgeous and details are both plentiful and personal (all that blue and white!), I strongly encourage you to not miss a word of Sarah Ann and Blake’s advice to those of y’all who are actively wedding planning. I know she speaks from the bottom of her heart when she says, “make your wedding your own. We thought of each decision as an opportunity to reflect what makes our relationship special.”
I couldn’t agree more with this sage encouragement, and love how SAT + WBS’s relationship shined through every last detail of their wedding celebration. Now, without further ado, dig into one of the sweetest celebrations I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing. And yes, the back of Sarah Ann’s dress is all the heart eyes — I audibly gasped when I saw her. She was the epitome of a classic Southern bride.
Biggest hugs to Graham Terhune of Anagram Photo for these beautiful images and kudos to Rebecca Rose Events for pulling together all of the details!
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? My favorite detail from the wedding was the use of blue and white. Our invitation suite, with its ode to beach music, monograms, and grosgrain ribbon was a preview for all of the blue and white we used throughout the wedding. Seeing Gigi’s chinoiserie collection on full display was absolutely breathtaking. I’ve grown up in a house full of blue and white ginger jars and porcelain pieces, and having her collection there made the Merrimon-Wynne feel like home. Blake’s favorite detail from the wedding was our late night snack, Frito Pie and Topo Chico. The guys from Long Leaf Swine did an amazing job of using this dish to reference our shared love for the Lone Star State. We discovered Frito Pie in Texas, and we loved being able to introduce this Southwestern staple to our North Carolina loved ones.
Tell us your love story in one sentence. Carolina girl returns home from Texas to start a new adventure and in reconnecting with her forever sweetheart, begins her greatest adventure yet.
When did y’all get married? July 29, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 155.
I wore something old (my pearls), something new (my dress), something borrowed (Blake’s grandmother’s brooch), something blue (a gingham, monogrammed label, stitched into my dress and a second one wrapped around my bouquet), and an extra special sixpence (marked with Gigi’s birth year) in my shoe.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Getting married in the city we’ve come to call home, Raleigh, was important to us. Our church and so much of our community is in the Oak City. We felt strongly that the Merrimon-Wynne mirrored our identity as a couple: understated, sweet, and deeply sentimental. In selecting a venue, it’s also worth noting that I gave tremendous consideration to my Mema. She is 93 years old and she is our only living grandparent who was able to attend the wedding. Having our ceremony and reception in one spot made transitions easier, and we have the fondest memories of her on the dance floor throughout the reception!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite part of wedding planning was identifying ways to pay tribute to the people we love and cherish the most. Blake and I are deeply sentimental and we looked at our wedding as a space for sharing our hearts for the people who continue to shape us. One of my favorite tributes was wearing my Mema’s wedding band. Her little band means the world to us. It means a Christ-centered marriage. It means making a daily commitment to my Papa Curtis’s patience and devotion and to my Mema’s grace and humility. It means honoring traditions, like green punch and homemade candy every Christmas. It means listening more than you talk. It means choosing love, faith, and joy.
Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. It took two rounds of dress shopping before finding “the one.” For the first round, we went to a beautiful bridal shop in Wilmington, North Carolina. Gigi (my mother), my sister-in-law, Mamma Jan (Blake’s mother), and my soon-to-be sister-in-law were all in town for our engagement party. We were excited about finding the perfect dress, and Mamma Jan even brought champagne! Though I tried on a dozen or so dresses, we left feeling somewhat defeated. For round two, Gigi and Mamma Jan met me at a boutique in Raleigh. I arrived before they did, walked a lap around the store as I was waiting, and found the dress within minutes. I met them in the parking lot to share that I had found the dress. I tried on several other dresses first… but when I slipped on “the one,” I didn’t want to take it off… a phenomenon a dear girlfriend had shared would happen. It was all that I had hoped for… simple, so very chic, and y’all, it had bows!
I told y’all! All the heart-eyes!!
I adore my Daddy, and he gave the most beautiful toast. His thoughtful words not only produced an abundance of joy and laughter, but also moved us to tears. He shared anecdotes from my childhood, describing the catalyst for my childhood nickname, “Scooter” and detailing far too many memories that involved my hands on my hips. He described the tender moments wherein Blake has become a part of our family. And in wishing us well, he shared out my favorite poetic verse, reading from Rudyard Kipling’s the “Mary Gloster.” I will forever treasure the memory of him raising a glass to toast our new marriage.
Our pastor, Justin, did a beautiful job of leading our ceremony, and we are eternally grateful that he was a part of our special day. We loved that he threaded our story into the traditional Methodist service, speaking to our struggles and our commitments. We loved that he spoke directly to our guests, reminding them of the vows they were taking to stand by us in our marriage. We exchanged traditional vows and chose to include Colossians 3:12-19 and Romans 12:10-13. Our sister-in-law, Stephanie, and Blake’s step-sister, Brooke, read these verses, reminding us to daily choose to love one another and to thoughtfully serve others.
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? After the ceremony, Blake and I snuck away to the bridal suite at the Merrimon-Wynne House. There were plates of food waiting for us and we relished in that sweet, stolen opportunity to share a meal on our wedding day. We talked about getting ready with our dearest friends and our favorite parts of the ceremony. We peeked out of a second story window, catching a glimpse of our guests, all settling into the reception. Blake played our song and we danced. We couldn’t stop smiling.
My parents spoiled us and our guests with our favorite Southern fare, including pork BBQ and beef brisket, mac and cheese, potato salad, and chicken and waffles. Blake and I hope to continue in that tradition of welcoming and loving people well throughout our marriage.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? The most significant way we cut costs was by using Gigi’s blue and white porcelain throughout the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. Providing these vessels helped us to make the most of our floral budget. Many of Gigi’s pieces didn’t require flowers at all and when combined with candles and clustered together, they made for the sweetest centerpieces. Additionally, I opted to address each invitation. My handwriting is a small part of my identity and there was something really special about writing each guest’s name, requesting that they come and be a part of the celebration and blessing of our marriage. It was an opportunity for me to reflect on the impact that each person had made on our lives.
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? Here’s a hard truth. I don’t care for cake. In lieu of a wedding cake, we served Blake’s favorite dessert, blackberry cobbler. Blake is an N.C. State graduate and we surprised him with Howling Cow ice-cream. Though we didn’t serve cake at our wedding, there were the most special cakes served at the Bridal Luncheon and the Rehearsal Dinner. For the Luncheon, my Aunt Tammy included a cake pull. I had no idea that she had planned to incorporate this fun, Southern tradition, but I am so very thankful that she did. I loved seeing the charms that each of the bridesmaids pulled! For the Rehearsal Dinner, Mamma Jan and my sister-in-law worked together to design a three layer cake with some of Blake’s favorites, including Snickers, Coconut Key Lime, and Oreo. The cake celebrated his love for golf, Mario, and our beloved Texas Longhorns, along with a topper, “WBS + SAT – Hooked for Life.”
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For the seating of the mothers and the wedding party processional, we used my late grandmother’s favorite hymn, “In the Garden” and Gigi’s longtime favorite, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” These selections were a surprise to Gigi and she still talks about how much having them played meant to her. I walked down the aisle to “Short Trip Home.” During the ceremony, we included a congregational hymn, “Come Thou Fount.” We printed song cards with a watercolor blackberry print for every guest. I am having one framed to hang in our bedroom. Our recessional was Blake’s favorite song, “This Must Be the Place.” I will never forget the look of joy on his face when he registered that the string quartet was playing his personal anthem. For our first dance, we shagged to an old Temptations song, “Lady Soul.” I danced with my Dad to the Dells’ “My Life is So Wonderful.” Blake danced with Mamma Jan to the Tams’ “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy.” Also, in planning the wedding, my Daddy made very few requests. Among them, he asked that he get a solo dance with Gigi. They danced to Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You.” It was one of the most special and romantic moments of the wedding.
Tell us all about the proposal! Blake and I met as two small-town teenagers, what feels like forever ago. Since we first met, we’ve chased after college dreams, pursued careers and degrees, and conquered new cities. When I moved back to North Carolina from Texas, we prioritized our relationship. One quiet weekend, Blake asked if I’d like to go “look at jewelry,” inviting me to try on engagement rings. Shortly after, he made a special trip home to Mount Airy to ask my Dad for my hand in marriage, and my precious Daddy (without hesitation) told me on the very same day that Blake had sat down with him. Still, I had no clue that Blake was planning to ask when he did. Not more than a week after sitting down with my Dad, that rascal, Blake, used a date night out with friends as a diversion and ultimately took me to one of my favorite places in all of Raleigh- the North Carolina Museum of Art. A mentor of mine serves as a docent at the museum, and I’ve made several big decisions in that very space. Blake knew as much. We walked through the park at the museum and when we came upon Thomas Sayre’s “Gyre,” Blake dropped down to one knee, pulled out the prettiest piece of “jewelry,” and asked me to marry him. A dear friend was there capturing each moment with a camera. Blake’s sweet smile was my favorite part.
Did you decide to do a first look? We did not do a first look. I wanted Blake to see me for the first time walking down the aisle, and Blake is mildly superstitious. We did, however, exchange notes and gifts. He gave me a stunning bracelet, and I gave him an N.C. State needlepoint wallet with a note in the postscript, “You’ve earned this gift… for wearing Carolina blue today. Thank you from the bottom of my Tar Heel-loving heart.”
What was Southern about your wedding? It made our hearts swell when one of our family friends commented that our wedding was the “the epitome of Southern charm.” I hope our guests found Southern charm in our commitment to traditions. We buried the bourbon and were blessed with the most mild July day. And we all had one big, shag dancing party with our favorite beach music band, Jim Quick and Coastline. I especially loved that our reception cards included lyrics from one of my favorite beach music songs, “Now it’s a drag if you can’t shag, you better learn how to move your feet.” There was also charm in the aesthetic and the look of our wedding. Bows and monograms abounded, our family photos and heirloom collections peppered the house, and our linens were a fun blend of buffalo checks, ginghams, and ticking stripes in pinks and blues. I loved seeing my bridesmaids’ in seersucker and I was thrilled that Blake’s mom had saved his navy, linen Eton suit from when he was little and that our nephew Holden, was able to wear it as a ring bearer. Beyond the tradition and the aesthetic, the hospitality of our loved ones was the most Southern part of our wedding. We put together the most darling surcees for our out-of-town guests, including my sister-in-law’s delicious homemade cheese straws and artwork created by our incredibly talented family friend, Sidney Hunter.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? The first most difficult part of wedding planning was building our guest list. We developed a few ground rules for building the list, including an agreement that neither Blake nor I would be meeting someone for the first time on our wedding day. Identifying our shared values around who would be present helped tremendously. The next most difficult part was carving out time for wedding planning amidst the whirlwind of life. I travel a great deal for my job, Blake was wrapping up graduate school work, and together we were transitioning from temporary housing to home ownership. Throughout all the busyness, Blake reminded me to take deep breaths and to savor in the season. He grounded me in the best possible way.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? In reflecting on our wedding, Blake and I would offer these five pieces of advice. 1. Make your wedding your own. We thought of each decision as an opportunity to reflect what makes our relationship special. 2. Set aside time for just you and your partner on your wedding day. Sneaking away, just the two of us, after the ceremony proved to be one of our most beloved parts of the day. 3. Give as much thoughtfulness to preparing for marriage, as you to do preparing for wedding. Our time with our minister helped us to learn about replacing judgment and pride with understanding and humility, about serving and celebrating one another at every opportunity, and about continually modeling grace. 4. Graciously accept the contributions others are eager to make. Our family and friends were excited to pour into us throughout our engagement season and especially during our wedding weekend. They found creative ways to love us well, preparing wedding day snacks, transporting luggage, and staying late to do a sweep of the venue. We had one set of family friends that had to go plates and a basket full of our favorite goodies waiting for us in our hotel room at the end of the night. 5. Give strong consideration to partnering with a planning and design firm. Working with the women of Rebecca Rose Events allowed both Blake and I, as well as our families, to be fully present in the celebration of our marriage. We are deeply grateful for their commitment and their contributions to the most meaningful and joyous day of our lives.
Photographer: Graham Terhune Photography (now Anagram Photo) | Videographer: Heart Stone Films | Planner and Florist: Rebecca Rose Events | Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Merrimon-Wynne House | Caterer and Dessert Baker: Longleaf Swine | Rentals and Lighting: Party Reflections | Band: Jim Quick & Coastline | Paper Products: Rebecca Rose Creative | Bride’s Gown: “Nazar” by Rosa Clara | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Lula Hair & Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Coren Moore | Linens: La Tavola | Vintage Furniture: Greenhouse Picker Sisters | Watercolor Illustration: Sidney Hunter | Ceremony Musicians: Arioso Strings
Graham Terhune from Anagram Photo, Heart Stone Films, Rebecca Rose Events, Rebecca Rose Creative, and LULA Hair and Makeup are all lovely members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor directory!
It was such an awesome celebration and we were SO honored that you asked us to film the launch party! Congratulations on 10 amazing years, and here’s to many more!