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While I know spring tends to get most of the love from brides thanks to the blooms and the weather, as a December bride myself, I might be a tad bit partial to winter weddings, especially ones that take advantage of already-in-place Christmas decor. From the big red bow-accented garlands to the twinkle lights, there is something so magical about classic holiday decor that makes everything feel extra special! I love than Anne and Nick chose the beautiful Carolina Inn for their December celebration because of its rich history and central location to their families. This sweet couple then took full advantage of the Inn’s gorgeous holiday decor and added just the right amount of their personalities and meaningful details. And y’all, how classic and lovely is Anne’s all-white bouquet, accented with magnolia greenery? So dreamy!

I’m so glad our friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor Robyn Van Dyke was on hand to capture this joyful day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I am a really decisive person when it comes to clothes, and my wedding dress was no exception! I had an amazing time looking at dresses with my mom, thinking about Nick and my special day, and playing dress up! We looked at Diva’s Bridal Boutique in Greensboro and almost immediately decided on a gown. I had actually put on the gown and wasn’t crazy about it, but when they made it “fit me” (i.e. pulled it back so that I had a waist, etc.), I just knew. I loved it, my mother loved it, and I knew it was right.

Describe your wedding flowers. I knew from the start that I wanted to use whites and greens. Kathy at The Purple Puddle turned that desire into something beautiful. I loved the use of magnolia greenery, white hydrangeas, roses, and gardenias. They were so beautiful and fragrant!

The first look was the best decision Nick and I made about our wedding! We were guided by our amazing photographer, Robyn Van Dyke, to consider a first look because the light level was low on our wedding day. We fully trusted the Van Dykes and realized very quickly that this was a special opportunity to be together on our wedding day in the midst of the chaos. The moment was just what we had hoped for–better even! We saw each other for the first time that day surrounded by our friends, we had time together to pray, talk, and process what that day meant, and it was the most special and memorable moment of all of the wedding festivities!

Our wedding music was special from the start. Music is such a beautiful part of worship, and we wanted to glorify the Lord through the music we chose. Not all of it was Christian, but most was, and all was classic. A dear friend from dental school played the violin and the organist for CUMC played the organ and the piano. Nick and I each met multiple times with the organist to discuss our musical selections, hear his input and interpretation, and decide on the final selections. Our favorite hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” was selected as a special song. It was a time of transition in our service and meant so much to both Nick and me. We do not take for granted our many blessings–family, education, calling to service, friends–and the musical interpretation by Gentry (our violinist) and the pianist brought us to tears. We both pray our marriage brings us closer to the Lord and gives us the opportunity (and the challenge!) to glorify Him. It was just so special.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We love Chapel Hill! Both of our families have a history in this area, we met and fell in love here, and it was a central location for our loved ones. Christ United Methodist Church has a kind wedding ministry, and everything about the church began to line up with our values. The music was lovely, the services were classic, and the structure of the wedding ceremony was everything we could have hoped for. It was perfect! The Carolina Inn has everything perfected–it was so easy to coordinate with our vendors because just about everyone had worked at the historic inn before. We quickly realized that December 20 was the perfect weekend to have a wedding there–the inn is decorated beautifully for Christmas, and it is a relatively calm time for them. The Carolina Inn is a gorgeous, well-oiled machine, a classic Chapel Hill landmark, and extremely reliable. It was a dream come true!

At our reception, Nick and I danced to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.” We first heard this when we were apart over the summer of 2014–I was in Utah and Nick was in Africa. We heard it, both teared up, and knew it was the right song for our first dance. In particular, the line, “Honey, your soul can never grown old, it’s evergreen,” spoke to us. We couldn’t help but see how special our parents’ and grandparents’ marriages were and hope for a lifetime of devotion to one another.

Sweet Memories made the most delicious cake! We had two flavors: sweet potato spiced cake with caramel and white chocolate filling, and lemon cake with white chocolate mouse and raspberry puree. Both were incredible!!!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in dental school! Nick was a first year and I was a second year. We went to medical school prom with friends and became inseparable. We spent about two weeks together before I called my mom and dad and told them I was in love (so crazy!)! Nick and I began officially dating on Easter Sunday 2013 and were engaged less than a year later!
Tell us all about the proposal! Nick and I love time when we can be alone together, laughing and talking. We had planned a spring break trip to camp in Death Valley and Joshua Tree and spend a night in Vegas. On the way to the airport, Nick pulled off the road and said, “Let’s go on a walk; it’s a beautiful day!” I suspected what was about to happen and noticed that both of us were shaking! It was hilarious and awesome and absolutely perfect. We arrived to a quad on UNC’s campus where we had enjoyed many picnic dinners during our courtship. I had no makeup on, and we were just completely relaxed at the beginning of an amazing week together. It was more perfect than I had ever imagined!
When did y’all get married? December 20, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 175
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We said classic vows, which was a very intentional decision. We wanted everything to be traditional.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I loved wearing my mother’s earrings and the same veil that both of my sisters wore in their weddings. I also wore the bracelet that Nick’s grandmother, mother, and sisters wore in their weddings and the pearl bobby pins that once belonged to my grandmother. It all made me feel like these women were with me throughout the day, which meant so much!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? I think the reason that wedding planning was so fun was because we were focusing on preparing for our marriage! We read several books, including “The Five Love Languages,” “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts,” and “Things I Wish I’d Known Before I got Married.” We also met for premarital counseling several times with the pastor at CUMC. We had conversations over dinner about our hopes, dreams, short-term and long-term goals, and aspirations, and made sure we let each other know why we loved one another. We prayed quite a bit and sought wise counsel from family and friends who are married. All of these things really added to the depth and meaning of our engagement.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We decided on the things that really mattered (venue, great food) vs. the things that didn’t (buffet vs. plated dinner, monogrammed vs. non-monogrammed napkins) and allocated funds according to those decisions. We also knew that for our crew, beer and wine were sufficient. We did all of the toasts at the rehearsal dinner, so there was not champagne at our reception; instead, we served spiked cider during our cocktail hour.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Robyn Van Dyke!!! We LOVE our photos and were thrilled to have our day documented by friends. They did an amazing job, and I still can’t believe we were so blessed to have them as such a major part of our wedding day. They really were perfect.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are so looking forward to having control over our time so that we can travel together! We are excited for Nick to graduate from dental school and for me to hopefully match at the pediatric dental residency of my choice. We are on the brink of major changes and professional growth, which is thrilling! We are also excited to have children one day, although that will have to wait a few years. :)

Photographer: Robyn Van Dyke Photography | Planner: Carly of Events by La Fete | Ceremony Venue: Christ United Methodist Church | Reception Venue and Catering: The Carolina Inn | Florist: The Purple Puddle | Cake Baker: Sweet Memories Bakery | DJ: McSound Productions | Paper Products: Reaves Engraving Inc. | Bride’s Gown: Martina Liana | Bridal Salon: Diva’s Bridal and Boutique | Hair Stylist: Becca of Salon 135 | Makeup Artist: Stephanie Sevilla | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Sung | Menswear: Tom Dixon at The Executive’s Cutting Edge

Robyn Van Dyke is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Erica reply

    Beautiful tray! I would love to feature this in my kitchen!

  2. avatar featured: southern weddings » Robyn Van Dyke Photography Blog reply

    […] to share that Anne & Nick’s gorgeous winter wedding at The Carolina Inn was featured on Southern Weddings during the week of Christmas! The joy from this wedding day will always make it one of my all-time […]

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I’ve always thought there was something so magical about winter weddings–the rich colors, the crispness in the air that makes the bride and groom cuddle a little closer during their portraits, and the coziness of the guests enjoying a meal together at the reception. With Christmas just a few short days away, we are delighted to share Allison and Blake’s Memphis wedding, which epitomizes each of these qualities so beautifully! After a memorable first look, this sweet couple was married by Blake’s father in the church Allison grew up attending–the sweetest blending of their families and histories.

We’re so glad the talented Annabella Charles was on hand to capture this lovely day, and then share it with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew I wanted to get my wedding dress at Ivory and White in Birmingham before Blake and I were even dating. It is the most gorgeous wedding boutique in town, and my best friend had recently gotten her dress there. I knew I wanted something all lace, but was not sure of the fit I was looking for. The dress I chose was the first one I tried on. The sweet girls at the shop knew what would work for me and they nailed it on the first try. I fell in love with my Liancarlo gown and felt so beautiful in it!

We did a first look because of the time that the sun sets this time of year. We wanted outdoor pictures, but with our evening ceremony, there was no way we could have gotten pictures outside afterwards. Blake and I loved seeing each other before the ceremony and having a moment to ourselves to really soak in the day together before it got crazy. It also took away some of our nerves and made it easier to really be present and take in every moment throughout the rest of the day.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We loved having so many of our close friends as a part of the wedding. There are so many important people in our lives and we loved being able to incorporate everyone. It is unforgettable to have people you love surrounding you on a day like this!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our ceremony was held at First Evangelical Church, which is where I grew up going to church with my family. It is the kind of church you drive up to each Sunday and just imagine getting married there. I love its beautiful white columns and red brick, and the way the sun sets over it as evening approaches. The reception was held at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens because of their gorgeous grounds. We wanted to an outdoor feel for the reception, but knew that it would be chilly on a late November night. The Dixon was perfect, thanks to its indoor pavilion and outdoor terrace that we tented.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We fell in love with a version of “All Creatures of Our God and King” by the Chetta Strings, but we couldn’t find the sheet music anywhere. Blake went out on a limb and tried to contact the group, and he found out that it was an old family strings ensemble that doesn’t play together anymore. However, one of the daughters who wrote the original music (and could no longer find it) was kind enough to recompose it for our string quartet. Walking down the aisle with my dad and towards Blake with this song playing was such a vivid moment–this song will always be our “wedding song.” We also had some friends lead the congregation in singing my favorite hymn, “Come Thou Fount,” during the ceremony.

We used magnolia leaves as a garland on the entryway at the reception and as a runner on the head table. Magnolia trees are my favorite, and Steel Magnolias is my all-time favorite movie–my mom, maid of honor, and I made sure to watch it the week of the wedding! We also used Blake’s family’s traditional bride and groom cake topper on our cake table. This has been in their family weddings since the 60s’s! Memphis is a soulful, Southern city, so we had a band that represented that in the music they played. They were a blast, and ended the night with a bang, playing “Rolling on the River.” They had everyone singing and dancing along. There was no better way to end the night!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. The wedding cake was a simple, four-tiered cake with creamy white buttercream frosting whipped on in a free-flowing, natural design. Our baker called the look “wave after wave.” The groom’s cakes were a variety of bundt cakes. We chose a seasonal pumpkin spice flavor, along with classic favorites, including red velvet and white chocolate raspberry. They were a definite crowd pleaser!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Blake and I are both from Memphis, went to the same high school, and then both went to Samford for college. However, since we are five years apart, we didn’t meet until about two years ago in Birmingham, Alabama, when we were both in grad school. The first time I saw him was at a Super Bowl party with a bunch of church friends. We met and talked a little that night, and not long after that, Blake asked me out. We instantly hit it off and he totally spoiled me at the best Birmingham restaurants and lots of time outside, hiking, running and biking together. We were long distance for eight months when I moved to Dallas for work, and became professionals at letter writing and Facetime.
Tell us all about the proposal! Blake sneakily asked my dad to fly me home for Easter to have “family time,” all the while plotting his big surprise. The day before Easter, Blake took me to my favorite park, where I had grown up running cross country, so we could throw a frisbee and hang out. As we were walking toward a familiar running trail, I noticed a dock decked out in flowers. I remarked, “Blake, look at that!” and by his expression, I realized that it was for me. He proposed on the dock, I excitedly said yes (!!), he took me to Paulette’s for supper, and then, he led me to a big surprise party at his parents’ house, where all my best friends and family were waiting for us! It was the perfect day, full of beautiful surprises.
When did y’all get married? November 22, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we did not write our own vows. Blake’s dad was a pastor in Memphis and he actually married us, which was incredibly special. We used his traditional vows. Blake and I both loved saying those words to each other and committing ourselves in the covenant of marriage.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Colossians 1:15-23 and Ephesians 5:22-33 were read during the ceremony by two of our good friends. These verses mean a lot to us concerning marriage and what that is supposed to look like.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my mom’s garter she had worn in her wedding. My maid of honor gave me a vintage handkerchief with blue flowers embroidered on it, which I carried around my bouquet, and an antique gold pearl pin that I wore pinned inside my dress My something new was my dress, earrings, and shoes.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy as much of the planning process as you can! It goes by too fast and you want to look back and remember the excitement and fun you had planning, not being overcome with stress. Also, when people offer to help, let them! It will be a blessing to both you and them. You will be surprised by the number of people who would love to help in any way for your special day.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are loving living married like in Dallas!

Photographer: Annabella Charles / Ceremony Venue: First Evangelical Church / Reception Venue: The Dixon Gallery and Gardens / Wedding Cake: Whole Foods / Bundt Cakes: Nothing Bundt Cakes / Caterer: Humdinger’s / Band: The Dantones / Paper Products: Marydeaton Heldman / Bride’s Gown: Liancarlo / Bridal Salon: Ivory and White

lisa Written with love by Lisa
9 Comments
  1. avatar Annabella Charles reply

    xoxox Thank you for the beautiful post

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    Where did you find those flower girl dresses! They are beautiful!

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Merry Christmas Eve, belles! From the bottom of our hearts, we want to wish you all the peace, joy, and love you can hold, and time to celebrate with the ones who matter most to you. Before we sign off, we wanted to share a few of our favorite Christmas traditions and plans…

North Carolina Christmas wedding by Meredith Perdue

Lara: My favorite family Christmas tradition is listening to the Alabama Christmas album. I have such great memories of singing each song as we decorated the tree or cooked a holiday meal. This Christmas, Ari, Grace and I will be here in Chapel Hill for our first Christmas with just our little family. Ari is on call on Christmas, so we are making the most of it! The following week, however, we are headed to Boca Raton to see Ari’s parents and then to my hometown of Pensacola, FL, to see my family. We are calling it the “Tour of Grandparents 2013.” Gracie is just excited to see all (13) of my mom’s kitties!

Nicole: My favorite Christmas tradition growing up was opening one gift on Christmas Eve. It was always holiday-themed pajamas for me and my sister. We’d wear them to bed that night, but not after choosing which cookies (we baked sooo many) we’d leave for Santa. This year, Taylor and I are trying to visit both of our families within his short vacation schedule. We’ll be spending Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my mom and step dad and plan to FaceTime with the Tennessee family (my sister, my new brother-in-law, their puggie and the new in-laws). Then, we’ll drive to Taylor’s family in Virginia for Christmas night and his big family dinner the day after.

Lisa: I’m spending a very non-snowy Christmas in the Lone Star State with my parents and siblings. It’s hard to believe that this will be my last Christmas without Dave there! We go to Mass on Christmas Eve and then head home to break opłatek (a Polish tradition), eat a fish dinner, and watch the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol. My parents have watched it every Christmas Eve since they were dating! The tradition I’m perhaps the most excited for is one we started a few years ago while living in Qatar: Christmas dinner gumbo. Some friends from Louisiana shared their recipe with us, and it’s become a delicious holiday highlight for my family. Most of all, I’m excited to hug my parents, spend lots of time laughing with my siblings, and show my sister, Dana, my engagement ring for the first time!

Kristin: This Christmas Kyle and I will be making a cross-state tour to visit all of our family! A lot of food, fun, a few traditions (and some naps) will be sprinkled in along the way, including the 11th Annual Grant Family Cookie Bake-off. Being in my grandmother’s kitchen with everyone, baking and laughing, is always a highlight of the holidays. And since we will be in western NC on Christmas Eve, I will get to attend midnight service at the church where I grew up — which makes my heart swell. There is something magical about the church lit just by candlelight (it inspired my reception departure). With the way the holiday fell this year, we will have Christmas night dinner with my parents AND Kyle’s parents all sitting around the same dining room table.

Marissa: BDK and I traditionally alternate holidays with our respective families, and this year we were supposed to be in New Orleans with BDK’s family. My growing baby bump has us grounded, however, so we’ll be spending this Christmas with my family. We’ll have a big family dinner made with love by my mama, and then wake up to watch A Christmas Story in a pajamas all day long! As for traditions, we have a boatload! Since we’ll be spending Christmas with my family, we’ll head to midnight mass. Now, while we have done this tradition for as long as I can remember, it has become one of my favorites thanks to BDK and my sister. I swear, those two can’t sit through the service without getting uncontrollable “church giggles!” We blame it on the late hour! While this might sound like a funny choice for my favorite tradition, the memories of their laughter is something I never want to forget!

Emily: I’ve actually already completed 1/3 of my Christmas this year — John and I traveled to Minnesota last weekend to see our new niece and celebrate with my parents and sisters! We’ll be on our own for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and then we’re back on the road this coming weekend for Christmas in Connecticut with John’s family. I have so many favorite Christmas traditions, but my favorite from my childhood in New England is probably tramping through the snow to select a tree, cutting it down, and then decorating it with my whole family. Of course, it wouldn’t seem like Christmas without a candlelight service on Christmas Eve, something that’s always been my favorite way to celebrate.

Merry, merry Christmas, friends!

P.S. We’ll be back on Thursday to finish out the year with our Best of 2013 series!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
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