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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

Photo by Jose Villa via Once Wed

Hello, hello! I’m excited to share another installment from our wedding planning journey, especially since we’re right at 100 days til we say “I do”! Our engagement has flown by in the best of ways, and it’s exhilarating (and only a little anxiety-inducing) to think we are three months away from our wedding day.

I’m so pleased to report that I finally made a decision and pulled the trigger on bridesmaid dresses! Choosing the perfect bridesmaid dresses has felt like one of the biggest tasks on my priority list, so I’m especially excited to have come to a decision after much browsing and searching.

Photo by Justine Milton via Style Me Pretty

I feel so unbelievably blessed to have eleven of my closest friends standing by my side on our wedding day. My amazing sister and best friend, Bridgette, is my matron of honor, and then ten of my best friends from college and my time in D.C. round out the group. These incredible, beautiful friends mean so very much to me, and I am honored and grateful that they are in my bridal party! (Rob has eleven groomsmen, and yes, we know we have a very large wedding party – but this is the South, after all!)

Given that I have a large number of bridesmaids, you can imagine that they live all over. Only one of my bridesmaids lives near me in the Triangle, and the rest are spread all over the East Coast and South. I knew that going bridesmaid dress shopping in person wasn’t really an option, and I also knew that I needed to make a decision fairly quickly, given our six month engagement. I wanted to be especially mindful of budgets (especially since I knew I’d be going with a long gown) and body shapes/fit. (I have bridesmaids ranging from 5’2 to 5’11 and one who will be seven months pregnant!)

Photo by Julie Cate via Style Me Pretty

Today, I’m sharing several gorgeous inspiration images I’ve collected that reflect the look I’m envisioning for our wedding. I knew I wanted long gowns for my ladies, and I knew the general color palette. The hunt was on for the perfect shade(s) of dresses in the most flattering, beautiful styles… all at a reasonable price.

As you can tell from the photos I’ve collected, I love long gowns (perfect for a spring garden wedding); mismatched but complementary styles; soft, flowing, romantic gowns; a particular color palette (any guesses on the final color(s)?); and, of course, bouquets with contrasting flowing ribbons!

Photo by Nancy Ray via Southern Weddings

It took a long time and much searching, but I am so thrilled that I finally found exactly what I was looking for! Styles and color have been decided, dresses have been ordered, and now I cannot wait to see my lovely, wonderful bridesmaids looking oh-so-gorgeous on our wedding day! It’ll be the first time I see it all together — eek!

I’d love to hear how the bridesmaid dress journey/decision was for you! Did you run into any obstacles or shift ideas completely? I didn’t expect it to be so hard to find dresses in the exact style and color I was envisioning, but I’m glad we persevered. By the way, when I was younger, I always thought my bridesmaids would wear yellow! :)

P.S. In case you missed a post…
The proposal
Venue and photography
The dress

Nancy Ray is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
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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

First of all, I can hardly believe that my and Rob’s wedding day is just over four months away! The last few weeks have flown by, and I know the holiday season is going to make the next several weeks especially exciting and bustling. It’s really sinking in that in just a couple months, Rob is going to be my husband… and that makes me happier than anything! We have researched, talked with, and booked most all of our vendors already, and the big picture items are really coming together. Knowing and envisioning exactly who we’ll be working with on our wedding day, seeing the design of it all come together, and talking through and dreaming up the details to make our day meaningful and so perfectly “us” makes our wedding feel more and more real.

Photo on left by Jose Villa

Since we have a shorter engagement, at the very top of my priority list was finding a wedding dress. I’d say that this task was one of the only things that made me question a six-month engagement, as it can often take six months or longer to receive your wedding dress from the designer, not including alterations and fittings. As soon as we got engaged and settled on our venue and date, I knew I didn’t have any time to delay in going dress shopping. And goodness was I excited!! I have to admit that I have dreamed of going wedding dress shopping almost my entire life, and it was surreal to think that it was finally my turn to be the bride! I’ve been in the wedding industry for years, have helped countless friends and clients select a wedding gown, and have browsed many shops and boutiques for editorial shoots, but it was a total “pinch-me” moment knowing that I got to be the one trying on gorgeous gowns – and for our wedding!

I’ve known for many, many years that I didn’t want a large group at my wedding gown appointment. I have eleven fabulous bridesmaids whom I love dearly, but I’ve always wanted to go dress shopping with just my darling mom and my sister (also my matron of honor!). The three of us are incredibly close. But, since I needed to get dress shopping right away, and since my sister lives in New York City, we decided to make-do with Facetiming her during my first bridal appointment. She was certainly with us in spirit! My mom, however, drove into town the week after our engagement to take me dress shopping; I was ecstatic to finally see her in person, show her my ring, and get shopping.

Monique Lhuillier dress photo by Ryan Ray via Southern Weddings

We ended up going to only one boutique in Raleigh, but we went there twice over the course of two weeks. I thought I found “the dress” at our first appointment (the second dress I ever tried on), and was about to place the order when I decided that I wanted to sleep on it. It turns out that I “slept on it” for over a week without giving the dress much thought, other than that it didn’t feel very “me.”

Two weeks after my first appointment, all of our parents were in town to meet and to celebrate our engagement. My dad was especially insistent that I needed to go try on dresses again that weekend, as I know he knew the pressure of finding a dress and getting it in time for our wedding. This time, I brought my mom and Rob’s mom with me to our appointment. I am so glad I had both moms with me, and it was an incredibly sweet morning with the two of them! The night before our appointment, I couldn’t stop thinking about the very first dress I had tried on two weeks prior. It turns out, that dress was the only dress I tried on at our second appointment, and it was THE dress!!

Vera Wang gown photo by Tim Will from Rachel and Daniel’s wedding

As soon as I tried it on again, I literally could not stop beaming! And I mean, beaming. Seeing it and feeling it on me felt so perfect. When we Facetimed my sister to show her again, all four of us were in tears (all happy tears!). It was the perfect bridal moment, something I wasn’t sure I’d ever actually experience, and it was so, so sweet and surreal. We were all so certain that this was the one, and I loved the excitement and happiness felt by three of the most important women in my life! And I felt utterly like a bride and beautiful.

Photo by Katie Stoops from our Generations Past editorial

I don’t want to divulge too much about my dress, as I want Rob to be completely and totally surprised on our wedding day! I have also decided, as my sister did for her wedding, not to show anyone my dress or bridal look until our wedding day. I think this is going to be one of the hardest parts about wedding planning (ha!), as I tend to share everything with all of my friends, but I’m determined to keep my dress and its details a complete secret. I can’t wait for that sweet moment when my bridesmaids, and then my dad, and then my groom (eee!) see me for the first time!!

Monique Lhuillier dress photo by Ryan Ray from Lisa’s wedding!

Though I’m not revealing anything about the exact gown I settled on, I’ve sprinkled a few of the stunning gowns that I brought along with me for inspiration to our appointment! You can see that I love romantic, feminine gowns with a pop of something unexpected. I’m not generally drawn to strapless gowns, nor do I particularly think mermaid or curve-hugging dresses look great on me. I love beautiful details, am naturally drawn to particular fabrics, and think the dress that I chose is better than I ever imagined. My dress is being custom built (!!!), so it’ll be especially unique, which I adore!

How was the process of trying on dresses for you, or what are you most looking forward to? I honestly never thought I’d find a dress I was absolutely smitten with and that would fit me perfectly, but the entire process was even more fun and special that I thought it could ever be! I loved feeling like a bride, and I have a feeling I’m going to love it even more come April 1st!

Past posts:
The proposal
Venue + photography

emily Written with love by Emily
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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

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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