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Bride Cathleen shares a look at her classic, magnolia-leaf wedding at the Charlotte Country Club.

I’m excited to introduce y’all to today’s darling bride, Cathleen! Her classic wedding to Thomas at Charlotte Country Club is not only beautiful, but the way they honored their families is so very sweet.

Cathleen was the fifth person in her family to wear a dress that was originally purchased by her grandmother in 1953 (!) — the monogram of each bride who has worn the gown is stitched on the skirt. “My aunt wore the dress next in 1983, and then my mom in 1984. My cousin Catherine was the first in our generation to wear the dress, and lastly, I was able to walk down the aisle in the dress this past October,” she says. “My grandmother is no longer with us, which made the chance to wear her wedding dress even more special.” What a remarkable piece of family history!

Keep reading for Cathleen’s favorite wedding details, how she worked with her parents to stay on budget, and lots more about their big day! Thanks to Caroline Lima for sharing this North Carolina wedding wth us!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My cousin Catherine who also wore the same wedding dress that I did owns her own invitation company, Catherine Kraft Designs out of Atlanta, GA. She branded our entire weekend started with our hand painted save the dates, custom hand painted map used in the welcome packet, stunning welcome bags, and custom dinner menus to name a few!

On the skirt of my wedding dress every person in my family who had worn the dress had their maiden name monogram in a pale blue.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? People! We both come from large families and have lots of friends – if it was up to my husband we would have invited the world. My parents were beyond generous with the number we invited but having to narrow down our lists was probably the biggest challenge.

There were so many traditions and details but one that sticks out is my husband is from South Carolina and really wanted to tie in his heritage during our wedding day so one of his groomsmen gifts were navy blue socks with the South Carolina Palmetto tree on them.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My parents asked us to make a list of what was most important to us to least important. For instance the photographer and videographer we choose were very important to us but the cake not as much. By doing this we were able to allocate our budget based on importance… This made the process so much smoother and made it easier to cut costs and see the bigger pictures.

My husband honestly didn’t care about many things during the wedding process but a first look was one of them. From the day we got engaged he made it very known that he did not want to see me until I walked down the aisle. He felt that you could not take away the feeling when the church doors open for the first time and you see your bride walking down the aisle towards you.

While I grew up only 30 minutes away and attended the same church my whole life we really wanted to get married where we would grow as a family. It was very important to us that we get married where we saw our children being baptized and so on.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. So when I said my husband didn’t really have an opinion about much the only other thing he was dead set on was a bagpipe player playing Highland Cathedral as I walked down the aisle. Throughout the whole wedding process, he kept saying “I promise when those doors open and highland cathedral is being played by the bagpipe player there will not be a dry eye in the house.”

The country club has amazing hardwood floors throughout but I really wanted to define the dinner area and the dancing area so we did a large black and white dance floor.

Describe your wedding flowers. I wanted all white everything mixed in with greenery. Jay from InBloom has worked with my mother for years as well as our wedding planner so when they both heard that was my vision they both immediately said we need to call Jay. He used a mix of vintage silver pieces like champagne buckets, candelabras, and mint julep cups to mix in the white flowers and the greenery. One of my favorite things was the magnolia garland surrounding the entrance to the church which was very inviting for guests and served as a beautiful backdrop for photos.

As a surprise to my stepfather my husband and I hired a cigar roller to hand roll cigars in the bar of the Country Club – we also had custom cigar matches made with our initials and wedding date.

The table where the cake was displayed was very special to us – on the table the champagne bucket that was used was my husbands grandmothers that his father gave to us when we bought our first home, along with a cake knife my mother gave us in our silver pattern our first Christmas we were engaged, and champagne flutes in our crystal pattern. We will always look back on these items and have such special memories!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was the end of the summer of 2013 when all of my girlfriends went over to a friends house to watch Georgia play South Carolina in football. Quickly after we arrived Thomas, who I had never met, approached me. He asked me your typical “get to know you” questions like what is your name, where did you go to college, where are you from? When he learned I grew up in Gastonia, NC he quickly mentioned a fraternity brother of his was from Gastonia. The funny part about this was he was referring to my stepbrother. Once we made that connection we went our separate ways that night (if you ask him I really didn’t give him the time of day). I remember the next morning telling my roommate what do you know about that Thomas Hipp guy he was pretty cute. I ran into him again two weeks later on a Saturday night and he quickly approached me. He said “I have had a crush on you since I met you could I take you to dinner?” How do you say no to that? That Thursday we went on our first date and have been inseparable ever since
Tell us all about the proposal! I swear Thomas’ main goal was to made me as mad as possible before he popped the question! He tricked me into thinking we had his work Christmas party on our one Friday night we were home in December so it didn’t start off on the best note. He then said just come over to my apartment and we will head uptown to the party. Immediately I was upset we were going to HIS Christmas Party he could pick me up! He of course did not and told me to just “take an uber” and hung up on me. For some reason when I went to call an uber there was a 7x surcharge so I called a yellow cab. Upon arriving outside his building I called him 3 times for him to come down but he never answered. At this point I was really mad my poor cab driver probably thought I was a crazy person! I marched up his apartment stairs and whipped open his door and immediately started sobbing. He had covered his apartment with flowers, champagne, and the song we had always joked would be our first dance was playing. It could not have been more perfect! I of course wanted to call everyone but he would not let me because my mom and stepfather were “on a plane to California and he didn’t want her feelings hurt if she didn’t find out first.” Let me tell you my entire family as well as his was in on the surprise! Thomas told me we had dinner reservations at one of our favorite uptown restaurants and once we finished dinner my parents would have landed so we could call everyone. Once again he tricked me! I walked into the restaurant and our ENTIRE families were waiting to surprise us. Two of Thomas’ siblings flew in from Texas to surprise us – it truly could not have been more perfect. Come to find out his whole family had been in Charlotte all day, he had ditched worked and they had been celebrating early. We spent the rest of the weekend with family. It was one of the best!
When did y’all get married? October 15, 2016
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Our weekend was truly amazing but if I had to give one piece of advice it would did it would be to hire our wedding planners Sara and Elizabeth. I know full service wedding planners are not in everyone’s budget but I would look into planners that offer month of or even day of. We cannot even begin to describe how truly amazing they were – we both come from big blended families which gave us a bit of anxiety during the planning process but this team could not have made the entire planning and weekend of run any smoother! They helped us choose the best vendors who made it just as special and I cannot imagine our weekend without them. Having planners or coordinators will make sure that you enjoy your day and you are not worrying over the small stuff.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We have purchased our first home together and renovated it so we are excited to move in and get settled.

Photographer: Caroline Lima Photography | Videographer: Reel Weddings | Planner: Hall & Webb Event Design | Ceremony Venue: Christ Church | Reception Venue, Caterer, and Wedding Cake: Charlotte Country Club | Florist: InBloom | Rentals: Party Reflections | Band: Sol Fusion via East Coast Entertainment | Paper Products: Catherine Kraft Designs | Bride’s Gown and Veil: Family heirlooms | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Who’s the Fairest | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Sung via Bella Bridesmaids Atlanta | Groom’s Attire: Vera Wang Black | Groomsmen Socks: Southern Socks | Calligrapher: Calligraphy by Kim P | Bagpiper: Dave McKenzie | Boxwood Wall: AFR | Draping: Party Tables | Escort Card Prints: Sealed Design Studio | Formal Wedding Invitations: Hive Design | Transportation: CLT Express | Trolley: Sunway Charters | Getaway Car: English Carriage Company | Cigar Roller: Salem Cigar Factory

East Coast Entertainment is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Erin McLean reply

    This is so gorgeous!! Her gown is phenomenal!! Makes me want to go make sure mine is preserved!

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the holidays are in full swing and we’re in full ‘reflect and celebrate’ mode in the SW office. It probably surprises no one that the Southern Weddings V9 Launch Party is near the tip-top of our grateful list for 2016. Gathering together with friends and family from near and far on an exceptionally enchanting evening in early November is nothing short of magical. Add in a few gorgeous Paper Crown dresses, some carnival-inspired fair food, and a wall full of love letters and you have something straight from a Southern Weddings (Notebook-inspired) fairytale.

Big hugs to A.J. Dunlap for these gorgeous images! We’re also tremendously grateful to ZimZoom Photobooth for helping guests capture their very own memories in our always-popular photobooth, and to the Carolina Inn for being the sweetest host in Dixie.

A little BTS secret: we always take a few quiet minutes before the party commences to soak in the room before we throw open the doors to start the celebration. For us, this party is more than just reveling in the launch of a magazine: it’s about honoring all of the MANY friends who play a role in helping make Southern Weddings happen, year after year. To guarantee everyone feels right at home, we make sure there is plenty of cozy seating (thanks Paisley & Jade) and fresh and fabulous floral arrangements (big hugs Serendipity Designs).

As has become tradition, the Southern Weddings gals gather together with our gents for one big group photo to commemorate the occasion; after all, the entire group together in one room (minus Amber’s sweet husband: we missed you Brandon!) is quite an accomplishment and it only happens once a year. Of course, all the gents were looking extra dapper in their High Cotton bow ties and the gals got some serious glam support from the ladies at Parlor Dry Bar and Lula Hair & Makeup. Our dear friends at Kendra Scott helped finish off our looks with some fabulous jewels (I don’t think I’ve taken my pearl bracelet off since the party).

I spy a sweet little June Thomas making her inaugural launch party debut and making sure her mama didn’t forget to sign our cover print and grab a party-favorite button from our sweet friends at Belle & Union. The gal behind that great teal desk is none other than the wonderful Jessica of Simply Jessica Marie, former SW Intern and master watercolor artist. She graciously hand-lettered everyone’s nametag (!!!) as they were checking in and added her artistic touch to many other party details, including the beautiful invitations and all the food signage.

The doors opened and the hugs started flowing!! It was an extra special treat to have Davy Whitener (our V9 cover photographer) and his darling wife Lydia travel up from Georgia to celebrate with us! So many friends traveled from so far and we were humbled and honored to be able to spend the evening with a collection of such talented and inspiring folks.

Taking a nod from Ali and Noah’s carnival run-in, our friends at Ashton Events helped us create our very own fair booth: pick a duck and win a prize! It was a pretty fun way to claim your swag bag or win a custom canvas from our friends at CanvasHQ. Too bad we couldn’t figure out how to put a Ferris wheel in the parking lot ;)

The Carolina Inn spoiled us rotten with their menu, inspired by the delicacies found in the pages of V9 – we nibbled on everything from miniature hot dogs to hot chicken sliders. And it wouldn’t be an SW party without pimento cheese, ice cold Cheerwine, and a feast of miniature Southern-inspired sweets. Our friend Randi of Sugar Euphoria brought her famous homemade macaroons and miniature cupcakes. Everything was so delicious, it was gobbled up before I made it over to the table to snag a treat.

Noah & Allie’s love story is an SW office favorite and we could think of no better way to honor their legacy than to create a love letter wall with help from our friend Leigh of Leigh Pearce Events. Party guests spent the evening crafting notes to other party guests and pinning them to the wall. Popping by to pin a note or check for your name was a highlight of the evening!!

It’s such an honor to stand up on the stage, look out into the crowd, and see ALL the faces of the friends who have gathered together to celebrate. Our sweet Lara was a bit under the weather the night of the party, but she said she couldn’t miss the chance to share gratitude with all our friends who gathered both in person and virtually. Speaking of our virtual friends, our hostess-with-the-mostess, Maghon Taylor of All She Wrote Notes (and her precious “Baby Tay” bump) made sure everyone who couldn’t join in person got an extra special party experience via Facebook Live! We wrapped up our speeches with a celebratory dance, and our favorite local DJ, Joe Bunn, kept the music flowing all night via a compilation of 40’s and 50’s tunes as another nod to our friends Noah & Ally.

We couldn’t be more grateful for all y’all who traveled from far and near (and fought through the crazy traffic) to join us in Chapel Hill to celebrate. I feel like we’re a broken record, but your love and support of V9 and the Southern Weddings mission means so much to us. We love y’all more than all the sweet tea and biscuits in the world!

A.J. Dunlap Photography, Serendipity Designs, High Cotton Ties, ZimZoom Photogbooth, Paisley and Jade, Simply Jessica Marie, and Sugar Euphoria are all delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory.

kristin Written with love by Kristin
1 Comment
  1. avatar Bri Arey reply

    From the first picture I thought “that looks like the Carolina Inn!”. :) Looks like an amazing night full of celebration! Congrats on another year.

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Layers upon layers of fluffy tulle, the most stunning ballroom, piles of perfect white peonies…our With this Ring editorial is the stuff wedding dreams are made of, if I do say so myself! We went straight to the classics when gathering inspiration for this shoot, asking ourselves time and time again what our readers’ “fairytale wedding” looks like. We know that many of you, like us, have a soft spot for the timeless details that will never go out of style, a heart for traditions, and the desire to experience the moments on your own special day that you identify with your parents’ and grandparents’ wedding photos. We had so much fun working with one of our favorite gals, Blue Ribbon Vendor Jacin Fitzgerald, to dream up beautifully updated versions of classic wedding details for this shoot, and we hope you love it as much as we do!

Thank you so much to Sawyer Baird for capturing these dreamy photos! See the whole feature in Southern Weddings V9, on newsstands now and in the Southern Weddings Shop.

I mean, y’all. STOP. That bouquet + that dress = too good.

We couldn’t have dreamed up a more fitting exit than the traditional rice toss! Love this photo Sawyer captured!

I wish y’all could have smelled Jacin’s arrangement for the sweetheart table – it was absolutely heavenly!

Sometimes, though, an update is in order, and I’m smitten with Jacin’s new look at an old-school tulle chair bow. The feminine, floaty detail perfectly mirrors our bride’s gown!

And y’all – do NOT miss the dreamy behind-the-scenes film from Blue Ribbon Vendor The Reason! They put together the most beautiful film that perfectly captures this classic day!

Planner, stylist, and florals: Jacin Fitzgerald | Photographer: Sawyer Baird | Film processing: Richard Photo Lab | Venue: Biltmore Ballrooms | Hair and makeup: Raney O’Keefe | Cake: Lush Cakery | Catering: Sun in My Belly | Paper goods: Open Ink Stand | Linens: Nüage Designs | Rentals: Southern Vintage and Crush Events Rentals | Bride’s gown: Legends Romona Keveza | Menswear: Menguin | Maid of honor dress: Kate McDonald | Mother of the bride dress, bride’s bracelet, and ring pillow: BHLDN | Rings: Trumpet and Horn | Flower girl dress: Nordstrom

Jacin Fitzgerald and Sun in My Belly are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Meredith Sledge reply

    These took my breath away! Sawyer is AMAZING!! That second to last image is absolutely unreal!

  2. avatar Greg Coltman reply

    Great framing! Lovely images.

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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