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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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Caroline knew her beautiful lace gown was the one for her as soon as she saw it in the window of Maddison Row while she passed the store on her way home from work. She also knew right away that since one of her favorite things about weddings is how couples incorporate special touches throughout their day (us too!), it was important to her that on her own wedding day, meaningful details were woven in. One of her favorites was the ranunculus halo worn by their flower girl–it had seven individual blooms on it in memory of their seven late grandparents who weren’t physically present at their wedding. We also love the sweet favors that Caroline and her mama canned themselves, using a family friend’s pickle relish recipe. I’m sure guests loved being able to witness a new chapter in Caroline and Luke’s life, and then take home a piece of their family history!

Big hugs to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Courtney Dox for sharing this sweet day with us!

During our engagement, I was working in downtown Charleston. Every day, I would take the same route home from work, and luckily for me, Maddison Row was on that route. I loved getting stuck at the Maddison Row intersection and inching my car up as close to the storefront as possible to see the three beautifully dressed mannequins in the window. On my way home one day, I spotted my beautiful dress, pulled out my iPhone, and snapped a picture! I called and set up an appointment with my photo in hand! I tried on several dresses during my appointment, but the beautiful Monique Lhuillier I had spotted was the one!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: One of my favorite things about weddings is seeing all of the special touches incorporated throughout, so I knew that was important to me for my own wedding. One of our favorite details was the ranunculus halo worn by our flower girl in lieu of a traditional flower basket. The halo had seven individual ranunculus flowers on it in memory of our seven late grandparents who weren’t physically present for our special day.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I grew up in a United Methodist Church, but my home church was too small for the wedding size we were planning, so we chose a beautiful United Methodist Church downtown for our ceremony. We chose Lowndes Grove Plantation for our reception because it is a gorgeous Charleston venue that encompassed all of the Southern charm we were looking for to make our wedding incredible!

The biggest challenge we had to overcome while planning our wedding was trying to figure out ways to maximize our budget. We had a large guest list and wanted to be able to include everyone without having to compromise on too many of the personalized touches we knew would make our wedding day so special. We quickly realized the big difference between want and need, and we were able to find a perfect balance to create an amazing day!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? The entire wedding planning process helped us plan for our marriage. We learned so much about how to talk to each other during stressful times and how to peacefully resolve differences. In the end, all we wanted was for the other to be happy on that day, and we learned early on to remember that point for the duration of our marriage.

Our flowers were absolutely incredible! We really wanted vibrant pinks and corals and romantic, trailing greenery. The bouquets and arrangements included beautiful peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, and other seasonal blooms, accented with succulents, maidenhair fern, and trailing jasmine vine. The groom, groomsmen, and ring bearer boutonnieres were made of succulents, and our flower girl wore a beautiful ranunculus and greenery crown.

We couldn’t agree on a song for our first dance until one day when “Oh Girl” by The Chi-Lites came on my Pandora station, and I immediately knew it was the one! We thought it would be a perfect fit for our band and we loved the idea of a classic song that everyone in the crowd would know and could sway along to.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had a beautiful, traditional Southern wedding with the most picturesque setting and traditional Southern foods. One of my favorite Southern traditions we included was the guest favor passed at the reception–my mom and I made pear relish using a family friend’s recipe, packaged it in four ounce quilted Mason jars, and tied a tiny butcher’s twine bow around each lid. I loved the days spent in the kitchen canning with my mom to create such a heartfelt thank you to everyone who came to help us celebrate!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Luke began his pediatric residency in July 2011 at the Medical University of South Carolina, and my twin sister was working as nurse on the general pediatrics floor at the time. During his second year of residency, they were on an overnight shift and several people were chatting about significant others. Luke was asked if he was dating anyone, and when he said no, they immediately began brainstorming who they could set him up with. My sister mentioned she had a single twin sister and set us up on a blind date. We went out a few weeks later and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! On October 30th, 2013, I got off work early and arranged for afternoon manicures and pedicures with my sister. We went to our usual salon and had a fairly uneventful afternoon. When we got back to my house, my sister went home, and Luke was home from work, but acting suspiciously abnormal. He said he had made dinner reservations for us at one of our favorite restaurants for our weekly date night, so I went to my room to search for the perfect outfit for our night out. He came into the room and told me he’d surprised me and gone and picked up some new makeup I’d been wanting, and set it down on the dresser. He walked out of the room and I kept searching for clothes, only looking at the makeup several minutes later. When I opened the bag, there was a ring box inside and I yelled, “WHAT IS THIS?!” I quickly ran down the hallway to the living room, where Luke was waiting for me on one knee! I was so shocked, I threw the ring box at him, which he immediately opened and asked me to marry him! Of course, I said “YES!” to a man who not only knows what kind of makeup I wear, but also picks up hints that I’d been wanting new products and successfully surprised me with them!
When did y’all get married? May 23, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175-200
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? I absolutely love first look photos in wedding albums. The expressions and emotions are so genuine, and the excitement of the big day is captured forever! It was so hard for me not to want that moment captured for us, but we both strongly felt that we wanted our first reveal to be when I came down the aisle. I wanted the moment to be so pure that I even decided against bridal portraits, so my first time in my gown was on our wedding day.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we wanted to preserve the tradition of a United Methodist wedding and recited vows from the United Methodist Book of Worship.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Of course! My twin sister lent me her monogrammed handkerchief from her wedding two years prior. My paternal grandmother was the donor of something old, giving me her antique gold bangle bracelet to wear. My maternal grandmother passed 10 years prior to my wedding, but was there in spirit for my something blue, which was pale blue fabric from her wedding attire wrapped in lace from my wedding dress and wrapped around my bouquet. I considered my beautiful dress my something new!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We made decisions to select less expensive furniture options in some places, selectively place linens around the venue to provide optimal effect, and made other similar choices that would allow us to save small amounts across varying aspects of our wedding, adding up to bigger savings.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right now, we are just loving married life and building our life together! We want to see the seven wonders of the modern world and are looking forward to a little traveling before starting a family. We saw Chichen-Itza on our honeymoon and can’t wait for our next adventure!

Photographer: Courtney Dox / Planner: Ashley Wez of Boutique Planning / Ceremony Venue: Bethel United Methodist Church / Reception Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation / Florist: SYG Designs / Cake Baker: Jim Smeal Cakes / Rentals: Snyder Event Rentals and EventHaus / Lighting: Technical Event Company / Band: Heart to Heart / Paper Products: Studio R Design / Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Bride’s Accessories: Vera Wang / Hair Stylist: Christine Pointek of Allure Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Lula Kate / Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Event Design: JLV Creative / Transportation: ACW Limo and Absolutely Charleston / Linens: Nuage Designs

Courtney Dox and LulaKate are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    SO beautiful!! They are such a gorgeous couple, and that is a reception after my own heart–biggest heart eyes for that gray and white checkered dance floor and striped cake!

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