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Today’s couple, Cristina and Drew, created a wedding weekend that truly reflected them through celebrating what they love most in a place that had become “home” for them. And after going to weddings as a young couple, creating their own special day proved to be their favorite thing about wedding planning! Dress shopping, though, was a close runner-up for Cristina. She said, “I loved my experience with Betty Bridal Atelier – my fittings and visits to Charleston were always so fun and a great way to enjoy the planning process!” Of course, I’m smitten with her dress, but I also can’t help but love how they were able to honor both of their parents by hosting their ceremony and reception at the club where Drew’s family have been members for years on Cristina’s parent’s wedding anniversary weekend.

Get scrolling for more sweet moments and planning advice from today’s bride!

Thanks for sharing, Olivia Leigh Photographie!

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I started my search for my dress fairly early because I knew it would take me awhile. I ended up with a total of 12 separate appointments between boutiques in Charlotte, New York, and Charleston before I was finally ready to commit to my dress! I ended up getting it at Betty Bridal Atelier in Charleston. I learned from my visits to New York that I loved Oscar de la Renta – the classic yet modern and structured look was what I gravitated towards. However, I did not love the idea of going up to New York for fittings in the months right before our wedding. Betty Bridal was a new boutique at the time, and the three-hour drive from Charlotte was a lot more manageable. I went with my mom, and knew I had found the perfect dress when I tried on the Daphne. It’s classic yet modern, with a gorgeous obi in the back that bustles into a beautiful bow detail for a second look.

Did you decide to do a first look? We did – mostly to ensure we could fit adequate photo time into the day. We also had a logistical issue with the club (their golf course was undergoing a renovation), so we needed to be creative with the location of our photos! Our amazing photographer, Olivia, commandeered some golf carts to get us and our bridal party out to an area in the middle of the course for photos – it was beautiful and serene and would definitely have not been possible to fit that in if we were rushing during a cocktail hour.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? We chose to have our ceremony and reception at Myers Park Country Club in Charlotte where Drew’s family have been members for years. After I moved to Charlotte, we often joined them for brunch or dinners at the club, and I have always loved their gorgeous ballroom. It was especially meaningful to host all of our out-of-town family and friends at a venue that was “home” for us.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For the ceremony, I walked down the aisle to “Ave Maria,” which I have always loved as such a beautiful and romantic song. After traditional music throughout the ceremony, our recessional was “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles, which was so fun played by the string quartet and perfect as we left our ceremony hand-in-hand as husband and wife. Our first dance was Ellie Goulding’s “How Long Will I Love You” – we love her and loved the song as a testament to our love being forever.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We used Myers Park’s white lawn chairs for the ceremony and patio furniture for the cocktail hour instead of renting new pieces. We also forewent draping the ceiling of our ceremony tent, since guests would only be using the tent for a max of an hour and they would most likely be looking at us at the front and not up at the ceiling :)

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? Creating our welcome boxes for out of town guests that featured our favorite snacks set a great tone for the weekend. I also loved the beautiful pillows from Number Four Eleven that we had made for our lounge area that are now in our master bedroom (and luckily no one spilled wine on them :) In lieu of favors, we provided gold flats for the ladies to change into for dancing that I assembled with hair ties color-coordinated by size. They were a hit, since they provided both a reprieve from heels and the ability to put their hair up on the sweaty dance floor!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We were introduced by mutual friend when we were living in DC.
Tell us all about the proposal! We were engaged the third weekend in January in 2016 and Drew’s plans almost got sidelined by a very uncommon snow storm in Charlotte that caused the jeweler to be closed almost all week when he needed to pick up the ring! We both worked from home on Friday and I could tell something was up. Once the roads had cleared a bit, I went to an afternoon barre class and came home to my beloved cat, Penny, wearing a new collar that had the ring on it! We had champagne in our apartment and then went to his parents’ house who had family and friends over for cake and champagne to toast to our engagement.
When did y’all get married? June 3, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 195
What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? We chose to do traditional vows. We also asked a couple who is a dear family friend to do our two readings – they read 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 (which was also read at my parents’ wedding, the same weekend 32 years prior!) and 1 John 4: 7-12.
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? We served a cake with alternating tiers of almond and red velvet. I love almond and am pretty traditional, so that was “my flavor” and Drew’s favorite cake flavor of all time is red velvet (he loves any vehicle for cream cheese frosting).
What was Southern about your wedding? Most of our food was Southern – we had stations that featured shrimp and grits, fried chicken, a biscuit bar, and pimento cheese tarts. Our reception was soft seating and stations as opposed to a seated dinner which is more common in the South than the Northeast (where I am originally from!).
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? Getting to create a weekend and celebration that reflected me and my husband. After going to countless weddings as a young couple, it was fun to get to create our day! I also loved dress shopping and my experience with Betty Bridal – my fittings and visits to Charleston were always so fun and a great way to enjoy the planning process. Drew went with me on one trip (not to the actual fitting appointment!) and we had a great weekend together in Charleston to re-connect and enjoy time together out of town and away from all the focus on wedding planning.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Making decisions! I am someone who takes a long time to make a decision about anything, so with the amount of decisions needed when planning a wedding, I felt like I agonized over every little detail to ensure they all fit together perfectly.
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Our first dance – we did a choreographed dance and ended up needing to modify it about 10 minutes prior to our reception starting since it included a lift that Drew did not feel comfortable doing after seeing the bow detail on the back of my dress. We quickly modified and practiced while our guests were in cocktail hour, and then executed perfectly! Going to dance lessons in the months leading up to the day was such a fun time for us, so it was great getting to finally show off our work to our friends and family.

Photographer: Olivia Leigh Photographie | Videographer: Seaglass Studios | Planner: Favor Me Events | Venue and Caterer: Myers Park Country Club | Florist: New Creations Flower Company | Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Wow Factor Cakes | Tent, draping, chair, and linen rentals: Party Reflections | Furniture and tent chandelier rentals: Old South Vintage Rentals | Lighting: Wink Lighting | Band or DJ:
Sol Fusion (ECE) | Favors: Rescue Flats | Pillows: Number Four Eleven | Paper Products: Elisabeth Rose Social Stationery | Bride’s Gown and Veil: “Daphne” by Oscar de la Renta | Bridal Salon: Betty Bridal Atelier | Bride’s Earrings: J.Crew | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Lindsay Regan Thorne of Be Pretty | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Attire: Ralph Lauren | Groomsmen Accessories: High Cotton | Getting Ready Attire: Plum Pretty Sugar | First Dance Choreography: First Dance Charlotte

ECE is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    Y’all are in for a real treat! While we Southern Weddings ladies pick the confetti out of our hair and revel in the amazingness that we were able to celebrate with so many of y’all last night at the launch party, you get to enjoy this super fun wedding! Before I gush over all the goodness, I have to say that Kristin Vining, the photographer of this gorgeous soirée, and I share a common bond. Both of our darling husbands actually played on the same baseball team in Charlotte, though sadly, at different times! I’m tickled to know her!

    Now to gush over Rachel + Zack’s day. Lisa and I kept looking at the photos and saying how fun this wedding looked! Maybe it’s R + Z’s outlook on life: “We want to live like the world is our playground, even though the farm will always be home.” Or maybe its’s that Rachel’s outlook on flowers: “go big, or go home” (my personal theory on hair and eyelashes). Either way, we can’t help but smile when we scroll through this wedding!

    Big hugs to Kristin for sharing it with us!

    We were so honored to have LulaKate outfit us for the Launch Party–we didn’t want to take our fun frocks off! I imagine these gals felt the same way!

    For flowers, we used the concept “go big, or go home.” My bouquet was a monster, but an insanely gorgeous monster. I wanted peonies, and a whole lot of them. Our florist spared no expense at making each table feel lush, with the most beautiful flowers. My mother and my grandmother have always loved flowers, and we managed to knock even their socks off. I will never regret our flower budget.

    Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Absolutely. We wanted to have some time together prior to all the craziness, and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. Also, we wanted to have the majority of the pictures out of the way prior to the ceremony, so were free to party with our guests after we became husband and wife.
    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We decided to do traditional vows, and we were very happy with that choice.

    Gah, they look like they are having so much fun!

    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We walked down the aisle to “Marry Me.” I have loved this song since the day it came out and found it fitting to walk down the aisle too. We walked back up the aisle to “Signed, Sealed, and Delivered.” We wanted it to be fun and peppy (plus, we wanted to lighten the mood and start the party!).

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? My groom is Southern to the core. He was raised in tobacco fields and hog farms. While our venue was modern and I fancy myself a lover of all things city, the food was a nod to the South, with good ole shrimp and grits, chicken tenders, ham biscuits, etc.

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I would probably say the overall design. I know that encompasses a ton of details, but a good design was what made all the “itty bitty” details happen. I think having a design board to work from (courtesy of Katrina, our planner) and to provide to all the vendors was one thing that made our wedding unique. Every detail fell into our overall design. There was an “image” or “look” we were going for, and I think it was achieved in the end.

    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Why have one cake when you can have three? We had three wedding cakes, all with different flavors. The cakes were absolutely amazing and one of the focal points of the wedding.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met during our first year of college at North Carolina State University. One of my sorority sisters was having a party at her house and she was hoping to introduce me to one of her male friends from her hometown. Upon arriving to the party, I immediately knew that there was no connection between myself and the gentleman that she had “picked out” for me. Instead, a dark-haired, tall fellow wearing a pink polo shirt had caught my eye. We spent the night getting to know one another and exchanged numbers at the end of the evening. Zack called the next day to invite me to a movie, but I was too studious to ditch class, so I turned down his offer. Luckily, he didn’t get scared off too easily and invited me to lunch at a little Italian restaurant the next week. After a wonderful lunch and a kiss on the cheek goodbye, I called my mom and told her that he was the one. The rest is history.
    Tell us all about the proposal! Zack proposed Christmas Day of 2010. After spending the day with family and friends, we were purportedly headed back to my uptown Charlotte apartment that I was living in at the time, but instead, we made a wrong turn. Before I knew what was happening, we were turning into the Ritz Carlton. Zack said we were stopping just to have a few drinks, which I didn’t think to be unusual, so I got out of the car and proceeded inside without any suspicions of what was coming. From there, I learned we were not only going to have a couple of drinks, but we were also spending the night. After checking into our room and coming back down to grab drinks, I noticed the staff to be more than attentive than usual and very chatty. I just assumed everyone was in the Christmas spirit! What I didn’t know at the time was that our suite upstairs was being turned into a candle-filled space that would become the scene of our engagement. At one point, I was so tired that I begged Zack to take me back to the room, but he kept stalling. I think he walked me around every inch of the hotel. Finally, when he allowed me to go back to the room, I opened the door to find more candles than I had ever seen in one place in my life, and out of my peripheral vision, I saw a little box on the corner of the bed. Before I had time to process what was happening, my love was down on one knee popping the question. Of course, I said a resounding YES. I should add to this story that throughout all of this, it was snowing. Yes, snowing in the South on Christmas. It was a breathtaking view looking over the candles in our room to the window of one of the top floors of the Ritz Carlton to see the snow falling outside.
    When did y’all get married? April 13, 2013
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 200
    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my wedding dress was easy, as I found it on the very first day we went dress shopping. I had seen a picture of the dress in a magazine and found a place in Charlotte, North Carolina that carried it. Upon trying it on, I knew it was the one, but allowed myself to try on a few others and go to one other bridal boutique. By the end of the same day, my mom and I were back at the first store buying my dress and the beautiful sash to go with it.
    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? During the wedding planning, I transitioned from law student to new lawyer. My time was so consumed with my career that I felt like the wedding was going to be put on the back burner. By hiring a wedding planner, I was able to let someone else make sure all the details were accounted for and all the i’s were dotted and t’s crossed.
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
    What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? There are actually three people that I could not have done without: my planner, my photographer, and my hair/make-up artist (who also did the fashion styling). They were the perfect trifecta. Together, they made my day absolute perfection (at least in my eyes).
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The one thing I will never forget is rounding the corner of the aisle and seeing Zack standing at the end with tears running down his face. It was at that moment that everyone and everything else slipped to the back of my mind and I was focused on getting to Zack and becoming his wife.
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I believe going at it alone is a HUGE mistake. I think hiring a good team is essential to having your day go seamlessly and having peace of mind that all hands are on deck to take care of the details. It is worth the extra money to have less stress in the long run.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? As a married couple, we want to live like the world is our playground, even though the farm will always be home. We want to sneak in as many vacations as possible prior to starting a family. We also look forward to building our very first home in Eastern North Carolina.

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    8 Comments
    1. avatar Kristin Vining reply

      Eeeeekkk!! This lights up my heart and tickles me pink!!! My sweet, Marissa…love you and that little family beyond words. Thank you for sharing this amazing wedding…start to finish it was designed beautifully by Come + Together Events (Katrina Hutchins) and little Rach and Zach have imprinted on my heart forever. THANK YOU to you…AND the entire SW Team for putting together the most perfect story of this day! HUGS!!! ~ K

    2. avatar Rachel Sholar reply

      Thank you for the absolutely beautiful feature. It will forever be one of the very best days of our lives. We couldn’t be more thankful to all those that made it happen. R + Z

    3. avatar Featured: Southern Weddings » come+together events reply

      […] so much to Southern Weddings for featuring Rachel+Zacks’ big day. I can’t do it with out the amazing vendors that I am […]

    4. avatar Katrina Hutchins (Come+Together Events) reply

      Thank you ladies so much for featuring this sweet wedding! You are the best! xo

    5. avatar Emily reply

      Love their rooftop ceremony, and of course love their mini food! :)

    6. avatar Corinna Hoffman reply

      Love how they paired gray with pink & orange.

    7. avatar Southern Weddings Feature | Lindsey Regan Thorne | wardrobe stylist + makeup artist + hair reply

      […] What an honor it is to have work featured on Southern Weddings! […]

    8. avatar Hexagon Geometric Wedding Details reply

      […] Josh Gull Wedding Photography/Mr. & Mrs. Weddings and Events via Ruffled; 6- Kristin Vining via Southern Weddings; 7- Morgan Trinker Photography/Koli Nichols Photography/Spindle Photography/The NotWedding via […]

    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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