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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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We’re just smitten with our new Blue Ribbon Vendors and we can’t wait for y’all to meet them! Each one of these vendors was hand-picked, and I’m confident working with whichever one you choose would be a joy. Get to know these ladies and gents through some of our favorite interview questions, then click through to their listings to find out more!

Name: Kristen Kilpatrick
Category: Photography
Where you call home: Austin, TX
Favorite part of a wedding day? This changes with each wedding I shoot, because over time, I’ve found that my favorite part of a wedding day is the emotional moments that are special to that particular couple. For some, this could mean the first dance or when the bride first puts on her dress.

Name: Ashli Hernández, Brookside Barn
Category: Venue
Where you call home: Ellisville, MS
Best piece of advice you can give to brides and grooms? Trust your industry professionals. This is our job, and we do it every weekend! We see really great ideas go off without a hitch and we also see really great ideas fail. So ask us questions, ask our advice, and let us help you. It’s what we’re here for and we’re delighted to do it!

Name: Caroline Lima
Category: Photography
Where you call home: Newport News, VA
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? The value placed on family.

Name: Amanda Robinson, Sweet Fix
Category: Cakes and Sweets
Where you call home: Richmond, VA
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? We have mountains, beaches, farmland, country, and beautiful cityscapes, all in the South. We truly have something for everyone.

Name: Amy Clarke, The Halcyon Agency
Category: Beauty
Where you call home: Los Angeles, CA
Best piece of advice you can give to brides and grooms? Surround yourself with calm people who love you, not family/lifelong friends who stress you out.

Name: Rasberry Greene
Category: Venue
Where you call home: Soso, MS
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? There are very few events in the South that are more celebrated than a wedding–a grand event that celebrates two families joining together, love on its brightest day, and a couple’s very first moments of forever. In the South, there is a sensitivity that creates a sense of open-armed welcome.

Name: Rachael McIntosh
Category: Photography
Where you call home: Asheville, NC
Favorite part of a wedding day? I love when the bride and groom turn around, grab a hold of each other, and walk through their guests for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. All of their nerves have dissipated and they’re overflowing with joy! This is my favorite photograph I take of the day.

Name: Tina Rodosta, Verde Beauty
Category: Beauty
Where you call home: Baton Rouge and New Orleans, LA
Favorite part of a wedding day? The moment that a bride gets butterflies in her stomach while sitting with me to do hair and makeup. You can feel the room change with the emotions; everything gets loud with excitement and then quiet with anticipation.

Name: Proximity Hotel
Category: Venue
Where you call home: Greensboro, NC
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? Southern hospitality, beautiful landscapes, and lots of sugar!

Name: Meredith Teasley
Category: Photography
Where you call home: Brentwood, TN…but I’ll always be an Alabama girl at heart!
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? The warm smiles, the big hugs, and of course, the people! I love that people in the South have a way of preserving family heirlooms and carrying on traditions that make weddings so much more unique and meaningful!

Check out all of our favorite vendors in the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory! I also wanted to mention that we’re working particularly hard to expand some of our areas of slim pickings–namely Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. If you would like to recommend someone (or nominate yourself!) for any of these states, please email kristin at!

kristin Written with love by Kristin

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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Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, our Cozy Fall theme is about encouraging you to do what makes the most sense for you and your life as it is right now. And hopefully, over the few months we’re spending together, we’ll all move a few steps from wherever we’re starting toward the lives and relationships we hope to have.

Photo by Blue Ribbon Vendor Carolina Lima

We’re tackling this cozy-ifying and focusing-on-what-matters mission from all angles, including tips from our team, easy fall recipes (coming soon!), and today, a date night challenge. The twist? YOU get to decide the “rules” of the challenge. For some of us, date nights are creative, purposeful, and always on the calendar. For others (ahem, the Thomas household), “date nights,” in the sense that creative things get planned and enjoyed, do not really exist. So, start from where you are and challenge yourself to take one small step this season! A few suggestions…

— block out one night a week that’s TV free (that’s what I’ll be doing!)
— on the other hand, choose a new series to watch together
— prepare and eat dinner together at home one night a week
— try a new cuisine every time you eat dinner out this fall
— only eat out at new-to-you restaurants
— get outside and do something active together once a week

Whatever challenge you choose shouldn’t be complicated or expensive. Instead, make it one that will bring you and your significant other closer together, something that will help you quiet the distractions and focus on each other.

Are you with us? I’d love to hear what sorts of challenges y’all are dreaming up! Comment below with your ideas–we could all use the inspiration! :)

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Rachel Nordgren reply

    Oh, I love the idea of trying new cuisine every time you eat out! What a great way to explore your town and broaden your culinary horizons!

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!

Reply to: