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I felt like cheering at my desk while reading Stephanie and Ray’s interview! From the way they carefully wrote their vows to the reason they chose their romantic garden venue, it’s so clear that they approached their wedding with so much thoughtfulness and attentiveness to what truly matters. Our talented Blue Ribbon Vendor, Stefanie Miles, helped them pull together so many beautiful details that reflected their personal styles and love story, but most importantly, her presence let them stay focused on what they really cared about: their marriage and loved ones. I’m sure I’m not the only one wishing I could’ve been a guest at this lovely celebration!

We’re so grateful to Sara & Rocky for sharing Stephanie and Ray’s wedding with us!

Our floral design was one of my favorite surprises on our wedding day. We gave our florist, Maxine of The Southern Table, a lot of creative freedom with the floral arrangements–her only directions were that we wanted a soft, elegant, vintage-inspired feel and pops of crimson, blush, and antique gold to coordinate with our color scheme. She created beautiful bouquets that included astilbe, dahlia, amaranthus, brunia, dusty miller, and hydrangea flowers. We absolutely loved them!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Ray and I decided to do a first look because we wanted to have a few moments to ourselves before the day began. Another factor that helped us decide to have a first a look was the fact that we wanted our wedding party (who had been with us all day) to be able to go immediately to the reception following the ceremony and be with their significant others.

Ray and I decided to write our own vows, because we wanted to spend time considering the promises that we were making to one another on our wedding day. Vows contain such lofty promises, so it was important to us that we acknowledged to one another and the witnesses to our covenant that we would not be able to perfectly fulfill these promises by our own strength. We would need the grace of God and the support of others to make it on this journey. We added a phrase encompassing that, but also kept some wording from traditional wedding vows that I had always cherished.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Ray and I spend a lot of time gardening, so I think we initially appreciated the beautiful greenery of Weston Gardens because we understood the work and toil that goes into a garden. Upon our site visit, we fell in love with the beautiful stones that gave the garden an old-world, European feel. I also loved the idea of our guests being spread out in little nooks and corners throughout the gardens. The white lights strewn through the trees gave the venue a warmth that we were hoping for at our evening wedding.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding planner. I wasn’t originally planning to hire one, but I can’t imagine having gone through that season without ours. Leading up to our wedding, Stefanie provided a lot of creative direction and helped us create a cohesive event. Her input was so valuable to us. It also helped take a lot of pressure off of my fiancé and I, because we had someone else with experience that helped us walk through vendor contracts, event design, reception layout, guest list, and all of the big (and small) decisions that you will need to make at some point. I remember feeling so relaxed on our wedding day because I knew that Stefanie was making sure all of our details were being carried out.

Instead of a traditional wedding cake, our friend Amy made 14 single-tiered wedding cakes that were each topped with an individual letter that spelled out the phrase “This Day Forward,” which we took from our wedding vows. Our cakes were all decorated with buttercream icing, but there were a variety of flavors including chocolate, red velvet, and almond. We used vintage cake stands in silver, white, and lucite. Our florist added the finishing touch with some beautiful greenery on the table. We loved this non-traditional approach to wedding cake, and our guests loved it too.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ray and I met about seven years ago. Ray saw a picture of me at my friend’s house, and then had her to invite me to a baseball game so he could meet me. We were in a big group, and according to Ray, I didn’t talk very much at the game, so he didn’t think I was interested in him. We remained acquaintances, and five years later, I moved to Dallas and temporarily lived with our mutual friend, Mary Kathryn, and her husband, Tim. Tim and Mary Kathryn happened to need some new flooring, so they called Ray, since he works at a flooring store. Ray came out to measure their home, and noticed that someone was living in their guest room. He asked who it was, and when she told him that it was me, he decided to ask me to dinner. We went on our first date on November 9, 2011, and we ended up talking at the restaurant until it closed. We dated for a year and a half before Ray proposed in April 2013.
Tell us all about the proposal! In order to catch me off guard, Ray decided that he needed to convince me that I was planning the day. He asked Mary Kathryn to invite me to her house for lunch on Sunday, and she nonchalantly told me that I could invite Ray too. Ray had planned to propose to me at the park near their house, where we frequently visited to sit on our favorite bench, but before he could figure out a way to convince me to go, I announced, “It’s beautiful out today. We should go to the park.” I played right into his plans, and Ray couldn’t have been more thrilled. After eating lunch, we grabbed a blanket and some tiramisu and went to the park with our friends. Mary Kathryn happens to be a photographer, and she brought along her camera to “take pictures of [their] daughter.” After awhile, Ray asked me if I would like to go sit on “our bench.” I noticed he had gotten really quiet and Mary Kathryn kept looking over at us. I then asked Ray if “something was going on” and even patted him on the leg to see if I could feel a ring in the pocket of his jeans! Ray realized that time was running out before I figured out what was going on, so he got up from our bench, got down on one knee, pulled out the ring, and asked me if I would marry him. I said yes! Ray told me later that he proposed at the park and on our bench because he wanted to have a physical place that we could go back to and visit after we got married. It’s been really sweet to go back and sit on “our bench” and I hope we will continue to be able to sit there together through the various seasons that we will go through as husband and wife.
When did y’all get married? October 20, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my wedding dress at a small boutique in Dallas on my first visit, although I returned a few times “just to make sure.” I had hoped to find a lace gown without much beading, and found a beautiful Mori Lee design that fit that description. My mom and two sisters came to see the dress and affirmed the decision. We added a veil with lace trim and a satin belt with a small touch of beading to complete the look.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We chose the song, “The One You’ll Find” by the musicians Shane & Shane for the processional because it has a beautiful crescendo that we timed to reach the peak when I walked down the aisle with my dad. We chose the song “Always Been About You” by Fellowship Creative for our recessional because it is folky and up-beat. Our first dance was to “You and Me” by the Dave Matthews Band.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our wedding party’s attire! I thought everyone looked great, and it was fun to see how the look we had been striving for came together. We gave the girls a color scheme, but allowed them to pick out their own dresses. The guys’ attire was purchased from Banana Republic. They were able to keep their clothing after the wedding, and several of the girls were able to borrow dresses as well, which was wonderful.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? When I think about Southern traditions, I think about the saying “a family affair.” One of my favorite things about our wedding was that our family was very involved. My sister and aunt are both cosmetologists, so my aunt did my hair the morning of our wedding and my sister worked on my makeup. I loved involving them in the process and being surrounded by people that I love. It’s something I’ll never forget.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? One of my favorite details from our wedding was serving communion to our wedding party. Ray and I wanted to begin our new life as a married couple by serving those around us. After praying and taking communion ourselves, we turned and served those in our wedding party. It was a beautiful moment, and I cherished getting to share that with those who were dearest to us.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Right now, we are enjoying life at a slower pace. Ray is thinking about possibly changing careers, and I am just trying not to burn our dinner every night. We are hoping to buy and fix up a house at some point to make it our own. We’ve found one nearby that we would love to purchase and hopefully raise a family in someday. I have loved living life every day with my best friend. Our wedding day was an incredible day and one I’ll never forget, but I’m looking forward to life with my husband and all of the memories and stories that are yet to come.

Photographer: Sara and Rocky Garza / Planner: Stefanie Miles / Venue: Weston Gardens / Florist: The Southern Table /  Cake Baker: Amy Kolkman / Caterer: City Kitchen / Rentals: Kennique Linens / Bride’s Gown: “1901” by Mori Lee / Men’s Attire: Banana Republic

Stefanie Miles is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Dana reply

    oh the flowers! swoon.

  2. avatar Sara Garza reply

    Thanks SO Much for the feature!!! You guys always make us look so good!!

  3. avatar Meagan reply

    Love the guest book! Any idea of the source? Would love to do a custom one like that for my wedding :)

  4. avatar Maxine Owens reply

    Thank you so very much for featuring, Southern Weddings!!! And to such a great team of vendors!!

  5. avatar Wedding Rental Supplies reply

    Gorgeous wedding! Loved the details specially the reception area decor. The table details in white and magenta looks so pretty.

  6. avatar Le sedute degli sposi: qualche piccola idea per decorarle – Anna Rosso Eventi reply

    […] Stoffa 1, 2, 3, 4 e 5 | #2 Legno 1 | #3 Sagome 1, 2 e 3 | #4 Fiori 1, 2, 3 e 4 | #5 Nastri filanti 1, 2 e 3 | #6 Anni ’20 1, 2 e 3 | #7 Tronco 1 | #8 Baule […]

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As if I wasn’t already anxious enough for warm weather, Lara-Anne and Chad’s wedding encompasses so many of the sweetest things about the great outdoors. Their love for nature and adventure is evident in so many of their big moments–from their meeting in one of the world’s most scenic places, New Zealand, to Chad’s camping trip proposal–so it was only fitting that they brought their love for all things outdoors-y into their North Carolina wedding. I can practically feel the crisp mountain air while scrolling though their beautiful pictures!

Thank you so much to Jim Trice for sharing Lara-Anne and Chad’s wedding with us!

Chad proposed June 30, 2012 while we were camping in the middle of nowhere in New Hampshire. Upon returning to our campsite after a hike, we walked down to a lily pad pond, where I told him how much the whole setting reminded me of my beloved summer camp in western North Carolina. As I turned around, I found Chad on one knee. Tears and laughter followed, and we spent the rest of the night drinking champagne and enjoying baked stuffed lobsters over a campfire.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew I wouldn’t be one of those brides who started crying at the bridal boutique, so I was open-minded from the beginning about the process of finding a dress. I knew I wanted something that I would feel comfortable in throughout the night, and that had a touch of bohemian. I ended up ordering the Luella Gown by Catherine Deane from BHLDN. I wish I could wear it again and again, but I absolutely destroyed it.

The church had white hydrangea blooms tied with ribbon on each pew, and the altar flowers were large white hydrangea arrangements. We really wanted to keep the flowers inside All Saints simple, so as not to distract from the church’s natural beauty. My bouquet was a mix of white ranunculus, white garden roses, green hydrangea, green celosia, ferns, and succulents. The bridesmaid bouquets were a mix of red celosia, orange ranunculus, green hydrangea, lamb’s ear, and ferns. All of the bouquets were wrapped with burlap ribbon.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Even though I knew a first look could alleviate some anxiety, I felt very strongly about not doing one. Whether I cried hysterically or laughed uncontrollably from nerves, so be it! I wanted our photographer to capture the raw emotion of us first seeing each other when that church door opened.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? One of the hors d’oeuvres was whole fried okra and the dinner menu included shrimp & grits and fried green tomatoes. We did a tribute to my hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina by displaying a R.J. Reynolds tobacco selection and mini Texas Pete hot sauces. We also served late-night Krispy Kreme donuts. Chad was a Kappa Alpha at Elon, and it’s tradition for the groom and his fraternity brothers to sing the KA rose song to the bride and each hand her a red rose at the end of the song. This was slightly embarrassing, but more hilarious than anything.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was modeled after the Aspen tree; it looked so real. It was a three-tiered white butter cake with lemon curd buttercream. The cake had “C & LA” carved in a heart on the side and a moss “B” monogram topper for Bradley, and was displayed on top of moss and a wooden cake stand.

Chad and I danced to “Little Baby” by the Rolling Stones and my dad and I danced to “She’s A Rainbow” by the Rolling Stones. Notice the trend? The Stokes family is a gang of diehard Rolling Stones fans who love and appreciate good ‘ole rock ‘n’ roll. Our band brought down the house and had wedding guests limboing under trumpets and saxophones on the dance floor. The last song of the night had me crying the happiest tears ever.

We loved our send-off at the end of the night. Our guests lined the path leading down to the water with sparklers. Once Chad and I arrived at the boat house, we got into a canoe and paddled off across the pond into the night. It gave us a few minutes to talk about how special the evening had been and how lucky we felt…and to prepare for the after-party!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chad and I met during our junior year of college at Elon University while studying abroad in New Zealand. At the risk of sounding hokey, we spent the remainder of the program attached at the hip. Once we returned to the States, we were inseparable. After graduating, we moved west to Aspen, Colorado to follow our dreams of being ski bums. It was a life-changing move that quickly reassured us of not only the love we have for each other but also our shared love for all that the Rocky Mountains had to offer.
When did y’all get married? September 14, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 170
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had my cousin, Allison Elsee, read an excerpt from “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For the ceremony, we had a trio of students from the Winston-Salem School of the Arts join the church organist, which created a powerful sound in our quaint little mountain church. My dad and I walked down the aisle to “Prince of Denmark’s March,” and Chad and I walked out to “The Wedding March” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My borrowed and blue was my mom’s diamond and sapphire anniversary band that my dad had given her, my something old was a thin gold chain that had been my grandmother’s, and my new was my wedding dress.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? While we were engaged, we were living in Boston, so planning from afar wasn’t always the most convenient thing. Luckily, both my mom and our wedding planners were in the Carolinas, so they made the process as easy as it could have been. I am so thankful for their time, patience, and help throughout the process.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our wedding planners from Sweetgrass Social absolutely made our wedding what it was. From day one, they were available anytime we needed them, whether it was for a two-minute call or a two-hour call. They were honest about our design ideas, very thorough, insanely organized, and super communicative to us and to our vendors. This alleviated so much stress, especially since I was planning from New England. Walking into our reception was overwhelming; every detail we had discussed over the past fifteen months was right before us and I couldn’t have imagined it looking any better than it did. Having them be a part of wedding weekend from the start was one of the smartest moves we made.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Do I have to choose? Our band pulled Chad and I onto the stage for the last song of the night, and looking out at all of our guests was just awesome. We were surrounded by our supportive families and our closest friends, and you could literally feel the love and happiness in the room. It brought me to tears. I also have to mention my other most memorable moment: seeing my sweet dad’s face when he rounded the corner after I was dressed and ready to head to the church. I will never forget it for as long as I live. It’s one of those moments you dream of when you’re a little girl and I wish I could re-live it over and over.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? R-E-L-A-X. Seriously. Take a deep breath. Don’t get so caught up in the details and the planning that you forget why you’re even having a wedding. It all works out, so enjoy it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? After returning from our honeymoon, we moved back out west to Aspen. We love being back in our favorite mountain town and skiing together every weekend. Next up for us is a road trip to the Pacific Northwest in our Volkswagen Westfalia, Bernie!

Photographer: Jim Trice Photography / Videographer: Whit Haynes Films & Photography / Planner: Sweetgrass Social / Ceremony Venue: All Saints Episcopal Church / Reception Venue: Camp Yonahnoka at the Eseeola Lodge / Florist: Callista Designs / Cake Baker: Christina Banner Cakes / Caterer: The Eseeola Lodge / Band: Sol Fusion / Bride’s Gown: “Luella” by BHLDN Paper Products: Invitations Only / Bride’s Flower Crown: Callista Designs / Bride’s Earrings and Pearl Bracelet: BHLDN / Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Beautiful Bride on Location / Bride’s Shoes: Tom’s / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Heidi in Graphite by J.Crew / Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Men’s Shoes: Converse

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    This wedding is just beautiful and the theme is well played!

  2. avatar Amy reply

    I would LOVE to know the designer of the cake topper !!!!

  3. avatar Heather reply

    This wedding is so beautiful! The flowers are absolutely gorgeous!

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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