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I’m sure that none of our love stories happened exactly the way we may have grown up expecting them to, and in Elisa and Craig’s cases, Instagram certainly wasn’t where they imagined they’d someday meet their future spouse! When they finally met face to face, however, their connection was undeniable–Craig knew as soon as he asked Elisa to be his girlfriend that he’d someday ask her to be his wife. While these two are no stranger to the challenges of a long distance relationship, it made their Gatsby-inspired Chapel Hill wedding day all the more special and sweet…though their chocolate wedding cake, passed cupcakes, and milkshake shooters certainly contributed to the sweetness factor, too!

P.S. If Elisa and Craig look familiar, it may be because they’re gracing the back cover of V8! So fun!

Thank you so much to Grain & Compass for sharing this gorgeous day with us!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I don’t think either one of us expected to meet in such a unique way. In 2013, my husband, Craig, and I met on Instagram, as crazy as that sounds. He was living in Los Angeles at the time and I was interning in New York City. We had one mutual acquaintance on Instagram, and from the follow, to likes, to comments, our interest grew. In fact, we still have the screenshot of our first exchange. After texting turned into phone calls and phone calls turned into “FaceTime dates”, Craig flew from Los Angeles to NYC to meet me in person and take me on our first real date. That weekend was its own fairy tale. Without a dull moment, we spent our days exploring museums, going to a Mets baseball game, kayaking on the Hudson River, and eating our way through the Big Apple. Craig asked me that weekend to be his girlfriend. I would later find out that in that moment, he knew he was going to marry me. After a year of dating 3000 miles apart, I finished school and moved to Los Angeles to be with him. Our long distance journey to marriage has given us such beautiful perspective, because we now know that simply being in each other’s company is a blessing to treasure each day we are together.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my wedding dress was something I had always imagined doing with my mom. However, my living across the country from her in Los Angeles did not make this easy, as traveling back and forth was not very ideal or cost-effective. Since we got engaged right before Thanksgiving, Craig and I spent the holiday in North Carolina and my mom was able to reserve just one bridal appointment at Tre Bella in Durham, an hour before our engagement session was to begin. At one point, I tried on the dress I had not pulled and was weary about, stepped out, and saw my mom’s face. This dress was so classic, elegant, and simple in comparison to what I has walked in thinking I would want. But from the classic silhouette, to the soft, flowing fabric, to the Gatsby-esque beading up the back and on the shoulders, I realized this was it. I never expected to find my wedding dress after only 45 minutes of looking!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We chose to do a first look and we wouldn’t have had it any other way! To be able to share an intimate moment before the wedding just talking, laughing, and treasuring the time leading up to becoming husband and wife allowed us to share the whole day together. It also allowed us to take most of our formal pictures before the ceremony, which gave us more time to sneak away after and share a quiet moment eating some small appetizers and sharing our first drink as a married couple together. It was perfect.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My mom handmade two amazing wreaths for the doors we stood in front of for the ceremony out of gold-painted magnolia leaves she collected from the yard. She put so much love and time into them and they were stunning!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I knew that I wanted to walk down the aisle to a song that pointed to the reason for our marriage and the importance of the covenant we were about to make. Craig’s talented groomsmen, Justin Gaston and Ben Schofield, performed the song “I am Set Free” by All Sons and Daughters. After the unity candle lighting, we had both families, as well as the bridal party, surround us in prayer. During this moment, Craig’s brother and sister-in-law performed Craig’s favorite hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” reminding us and everyone that our faithfulness to each other is based on how ever faithful God is to us. We were so thankful to have so many friends share their amazing musical talents with us to make our day so special.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Using my parents’ vows as a guide, we wrote our own version of their wedding vows. We really value those vows because we admire both sets of our parents’ commitment and love for each other, and also how their marriage points to their individual relationships with God. A line from our vows that I love is, “to give my life to you by listening and empathizing with you, encouraging and enabling you, believing in you and in what Christ is doing through you.”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We were both raised in the South–Craig in New Orleans and me in North Carolina. We really wanted a venue with rich Southern history and beautiful grounds for our guests to enjoy! With guests traveling from all over, many from LA, we also wanted to minimize any travel between hotels and venues. We decided on the most amazing place that has it all: The Carolina Inn. As soon as we stepped into the Old Well Room (after we booked it from LA, I might add–another win for pictures and my amazing mom!), we knew it really was perfect for our elegant, Gatsby affair!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Craig has an amazing friend and pastor from college who really walked us through the goal and meaning of marriage leading up to our wedding. We were challenged to identify how our parents influenced us, as well as our own experiences, habits, and expectations. The greatest thing we focused on was preparing to become a unified team founded on love and respect–when a wife is loved, she feels respected, and when a husband is respected, he feels loved.

Tell us all about the proposal! From Craig: I knew I wanted to create a really special moment for the proposal. We had been planning on going to a Christmas tree lighting at the Grove here in LA with a few friends when one of them mentioned that they do an epic fireworks show there, too. If anyone knows my wife, they know she LOVES fireworks. Since there was a group of us going, I told a few of our friends my plan: distract her for long enough to get in position, pull out the ring, and drop on one knee in front of everyone as soon as the fireworks started to go off. I knew this was going to be really tough because we would be hanging out for a while and I didn’t want anyone to break down and give it away–not to mention, being a wreck trying to keep the secret myself. The night came and went like a flash. Before I knew it, the tree was lit and it was time for the fireworks show. There I was, in the center of a sea of thousands with booming lights all around, asking the girl of my dreams to marry me. Several stutters later and not without plenty of iPhone photos and videos from both strangers and friends, I was an engaged man.
When did y’all get married? April 17, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Just under 200
Describe your wedding flowers. My vision for the day was a classic, elegant, Gatsby affair. We chose black, gold, and white as our colors–this made my husband and in-laws, who are from New Orleans, very happy, because they just so happen to match the New Orleans Saints colors. It was a win-win for everyone in my book! I knew I wanted to keep the florals elegant and simple, with light yellow and white bouquets and a touch of greenery.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I wanted our wedding cake to be classic and match our aesthetic, but most importantly, I wanted the inside to be chocolate! We designed a two-tiered cake with a hand-painted gold base and a white top, joined by a fondant black stripe and white geometric piping. In addition, we passed out plates and plates of chocolate and yellow cake cupcakes with white frosting and gold dust sprinkled on top, letting everyone know it was party time! Our love of desserts did not stop there–milkshake shooters and hot cookies were enjoyed by all to keep the sugar rush high and the feet on the dance floor!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my sister-in-law’s veil, as well as my bridesmaid’s earrings. I also had my grandmother’s diamonds with me. We had always talked about my wedding when I was growing up, and she passed away the day after my wedding.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Our greatest advice would be to trust the experience of the vendors you have chosen and give them freedom to shine in their skills. Our vision was clear for each selection that was made, but the results of our planning, decoration, hair, makeup, photography, florals, stationery, etc. was because we let our vendors run with our ideas instead of keeping them bound by only are ideas or concepts.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? For us right now, it’s building our life together in Los Angeles. We are both pursuing our passions and there’s no telling what the future holds. I’m sure there will be many trips back to our Southern roots in Louisiana and North Carolina, as well as abroad–we are excited for our 2016 trip to Europe!

Photographer and Videographer: Grain and Compass / Planner: Erin McLean Events / Venue and Caterer: The Carolina Inn / Florist: Barbara Long / Cake Baker: Once in a Blue Moon / Rentals: CE Rental / DJ: The Local DJ / Paper Products: Alissa Bell Press / Bride’s Gown: “Selia” by St. Patrick / Bride’s Hair Accessories: Yes Dear & Co. / Hair and Makeup: Lula Hair and Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: Nina / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Sleeveless Lace Cocktail Dress” by Aidan Mattox / Menswear: “Slim Fit Tuxedo” in Black by Calvin Klein

Erin McLean Events and Lula Hair and Makeup are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Dana reply

    The Carolina Inn looks like the perfect venue for a Gatsby inspired wedding!

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Reading through Bonnie and Quentin’s interview, I kept thinking, “It was meant to be!” So many pieces of their love story and their sweet Virginia wedding came together in such a way that neither of them could have planned better–the fact that they met in the bar Bonnie’s dad had helped build years before, or that Bonnie’s dress is called “Dahlia” and she carried a gorgeous bouquet of the same bloom, for example. That’s not to say that everything was perfect along the way–no wedding ever is–but with such a firm foundation in place, Bonnie and Quentin were able to make the best of every moment (including an unexpected tornado warning in the middle of their reception!).

Thanks so much to Katie Nesbitt for sharing this lovely day with us!

Finding and working with Carly Reed Designs on the invitations and other paper elements was my favorite part of planning the wedding. After a few months of searching many invitation websites and stores, I was at a loss on what I wanted. There were certainly invitations I liked, but nothing that really felt like us. When I found Carly and saw that she also lived in Richmond, I knew I had to work with her! Going through the custom invitation design process was so much fun! Carly was extremely patient with me while we went through the process and allowed me to be as nit-picky as I wanted to be. I heard from many guests that they often have a “meh” attitude when they receive invitations, but they loved ours!

Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers were somewhat of a surprise– intentionally! Our florist is a farmer florist, so they couldn’t guarantee that they’d be able to produce or sustainably procure specific flowers. I had requested peonies or dahlias, and we were lucky to get gorgeous, large dahlias. I was so pleased with how all the flowers turned out. The selection and the colors fit our wedding perfectly.

Our families had collectively visited 32 venues all across Virginia before we found Riverside on the Potomac! We were still living in New York City when we first got engaged, so we were reliant on reports from our parents. When my parents found Riverside on the Potomac and sent me the pictures, we knew it was perfect.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We opted to do a first look and we are so glad we did. This allowed us time to do formal pictures with our wedding party and each other that otherwise would have been stolen from the cocktail hour (or not taken at all!). The best part about doing a first look was that it totally calmed both of our nerves. I think this may have made the ceremony even more special, since rather than me being an emotional basket case, we were able to be calm and focus on soaking in the words we were saying and the moments.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! The week before the wedding, I lost the earrings I was planning to wear. Luckily, one of my bridesmaids owned the same pair, so I just borrowed hers! My underwear was blue. I wore my mother’s veil as my something old, which was so special I really loved the way it made my otherwise-simple attire much more formal and bridal for the ceremony. Initially, I didn’t think I was going to use it since it had yellowed over the years, but after a little TLC with OxyClean and bleach, it ended up looking much better than expected. My shoes and dress were new.

On the day of the wedding, there was a potential for thunderstorms leading up to the ceremony time. The weather held out for the first look, pictures, ceremony, and cocktail hour, but right as we were lining up for the introduction at the reception, it began to pour. Since everything was inside from there on out, we thought we were in the clear! A few minutes after we sat down to eat, we began to hear the lovely noise phones make when there is a weather alert in the area. There were hushed whispers of a tornado warning, but no one was quite sure what to do. This is northern Virginia–we don’t typically get tornadoes! After a few minutes, I noticed my dad fumbling trying to turn the music off to make an announcement. I got up to help and ended up making the announcement that we needed to evacuate to the basement! How many brides have had to do that? Everyone made their way downstairs, drinks in hand. Luckily the “basement” was really renovated horse stalls with nice chairs and tables set up (we had even had our rehearsal dinner in the space!). The guests thought it was so fun and exciting (particularly since we were safely in a basement). It ended up being perfect for mingling with everyone, and we got some great pictures. While we would have preferred if this hadn’t happened, we think we made the best of it. All our guests said this would be a wedding they would never forget!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both attended Virginia Tech and met during our last year in Blacksburg, even though we lived next door to each other for a year prior to meeting. We met one night in September at the famous TOTS (Top of the Stairs) bar in Blacksburg. My dad helped build the bar while working there back in the ’70s. Mutual friends began talking that night, and we locked eyes. The next July, Quentin followed me to New York City.
Tell us all about the proposal! We both love New Orleans, and Quentin considers it a far more romantic place than New York. We were there during Jazz Fest, and on our last day, we took a long walk to brunch. Quentin took us on a scenic detour to a nearby park that he had previously scouted. He asked me to sit on one of those amazing, swooping, curvy New Orleans oak trees so he could take my picture, and then instead of whipping out a camera from his backpack, he went for the ring. He grabbed the wrong hand, because even after dating someone for five and a half years, that moment can make your knees weak! Of course, I said, “Yes!”
When did y’all get married? June 20, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 158
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my dress was an intensive process. After the ninth store, I knew I needed to find someone who carried the Blush by Hayley Paige dress I had been eyeing online for months. I was lucky enough to get in touch with the lovely ladies at Pure English Bridal, and while they didn’t carry the exact dress, they were more than willing to have the sample shipped to their store. After some failed attempts with other stores to get the dress, I knew they were truly going above and beyond. As soon as I saw the dress, I knew I was going to get it. I hadn’t tried on anything similar anywhere else, and I loved the simple design with the light Swiss dot fabric. It proved to be the perfect dress for a hot and humid June day in Virginia.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Unfortunately, neither of us even saw the wedding cake or dessert table at the wedding! With the tornado warning and evacuation, there was just too much going on. We ended up cutting the cake the next evening at my parents’ house before we departed for the honeymoon.

Photographer: Katie Nesbitt Photography / Planner: Just a Little Ditty / Venue: Riverside on the Potomac / Florist: LynnVale Studios / Caterer and Cake: Main Event Caterers / Band: Adrian Duke Project / Paper Products: Carly Reed Designs / Bride’s Gown: “Dahlia” by Blush by Hayley Paige / Bride’s Shoes and Earrings: J.Crew / Hair and Makeup: Creative Images / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Elsa” in Leaver’s Lace by J.Crew / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank / Invitation Calligraphy: Calligraphy by Katie / Escort Cards and Signage: Letterally Crafts

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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    I can’t think of a better way to unofficially kick off fall than with the gorgeous colors, cozy details, and of course, the sweet love story behind today’s wedding! After a group dinner serendipitously turned into an impromptu first date, Pamela and Greg grew inseparable. When it came time to start planning their wedding two years later, they were committed to planning first and foremost for their marriage–they attended premarital counseling, poured their hearts into writing their own vows (be sure to read about them below!), and made sure that each detail of their wedding truly reflected their relationship. I loved reading Pamela’s answers to our interview questions just as much as I enjoyed admiring their gorgeous Texas celebration!

    Thank you so much to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Feather & Twine for sharing this gorgeous day with us!

    The first day I went wedding dress shopping was actually super stressful. I brought six people with me, and as much as I loved having everyone there, shopping with that many people was overwhelming, to say the least. We went to three dress shops, and by the end of the day, I couldn’t even remember what I had tried on. Needless to say, I went home empty-handed and a little disappointed. I thank my lucky stars that my sister was in town for the whole weekend and wanted to go antique shopping the next day…but neither of us had realized that our favorite antique shops were closed on Sundays. All dolled up and in the mood to shop, we decided we would stop by a local bridal salon we had not been to yet, just the two of us. This pit stop led to the dress of my dreams!

    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Knowing the pros and cons of both sides, Greg and I decided to go for it and do a first look so that we could get all of the pictures we were dreaming of! My biggest fear about not doing a first look was that we wouldn’t have time to get all of the photos that we had envisioned without keeping our guests waiting too long (every host and hostess knows to keep their sweet guests in mind). Looking back, I am so thankful that we chose to do our first look! It allowed us to get all of our cherished photos without having to rush, and both our first look and our ceremony were so sweet and romantic. Greg cried tears of joy during both, which made me so happy!

    Writing our own vows was something that was so special to us. In a day when so many people get married without considering that it is for life, and not just with the mindset that if it doesn’t work, they can get divorced, we wanted the beginning of our marriage and the words that we said to each other on our wedding day to be truly genuine. My favorite line of Greg’s vows was when he vowed to “be the best man he could be” for me, because I love that we help to make each other better people than who we were before we met.

    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We did a very simple, ivory, four-tiered cake with a pearl trim on each tier and an “M” on the center tier. The cake was surrounded by greenery on the base and bright blooms as the topper. As an additional dessert, we put mini pies at each place setting as the place cards, alternating peach pie for Greg since he is from Georgia and pecan pie for me since I am from Texas. These pies were one of our favorite details!

    The moment we walked into the Milestone, we knew it was the perfect Southern venue for us! I have always dreamed of getting married at an old plantation, and the Milestone had all of the gorgeous details of a Southern plantation, combined with modern, new amenities. Before I even walked out of the building, I remember turning to Greg and saying, “This is the perfect place!”

    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Be patient and plan your marriage together while planning your wedding. After the celebration and party is over, you are committed to each other forever, and that should be the most joyous part of your wedding! Make sure to talk about your goals and expectations before your wedding so that you can make sure your ideals line up.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. After being friends for almost a year, we had plans to go out to dinner with a group of mutual friends. At the last minute, everyone canceled except for Greg and I, so we had an impromptu first date. From then on, we were inseparable! We dated for two years before getting engaged, and we got married a year and a half later.
    Tell us all about the proposal! After Greg took me back to the restaurant where we had our first date for a wonderful dinner, we took a stroll down the Woodlands Waterway. We were looking at the Christmas lights as they were going up and singing and dancing to the Waterway tunes. Greg twirled me, and when I turned around, he was down on one knee!
    When did y’all get married? March 15, 2015
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 95
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. One of my movies of all time is P.S. I Love You–I love the story line and the way their love almost makes time stop. The music is something that has always made me swoon, and when I thought of music for our ceremony, we could not think of anything better than music from that soundtrack. As for our first dance, we choose Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.” Even though it is a newer, trendy song, we actually changed the song we had already picked for it–we were so in love with the song and how perfectly it reflected how we felt, we had to use it!
    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail of our wedding would have to be the garden games we set up on the back lawn. Custom corn hole boards, croquet, and bocce ball were the perfect addition to our big day. Greg and I are not particularly big dancers, so we wanted to have a fun activity set up that was more us.
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? It was very important to us to have a marriage more beautiful than our wedding. We went through marriage counseling with our officiant and talked about our current and future goals for ourselves, both personally and as a couple. Learning patience and compromise, as well as learning that God would need to be the focal point of our marriage, we strengthened our love for each other.
    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Since our ceremony and reception were in the same place, we decided to save money on our floral budget by using our bridesmaid bouquets as half of our reception centerpieces. As soon as the bridesmaids walked out of the ceremony, our wedding coordinator seamlessly slipped five of their bouquets into empty vases before our guests ever entered the reception. We used the the sixth bouquet as my toss bouquet. This easy repurposing saved us over $500.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? The next step in our marriage is to continue merging our lives and families together while focusing on our careers and keeping God at the center of our marriage. In a few years, we would like to start our family and buy our first house together.

    Photographer and Videographer: Feather & Twine Photography / Venue and Caterer: The Milestone / Florals: The Southern Table / Wedding Cake: Candy Haven Cakes / Pie Baker: Mighty Sweet Mini Pies / Linens: House of Hough / DJ: Melodies & Memories / Paper Products: Love Vs. Design / Minted / Paper Source / Bridal Salon: Brickhouse Bridal / Jewelry: Sam Moon / Hair and Makeup: Natalia Issa / Bride’s Shoes: Anne Klein / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Blouson Dress” in Taupe Pink by Adrianna Papell / Menswear: “Black” by Vera Wang at Men’s Wearhouse / Officiant: David Williams

    Feather & Twine is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    3 Comments
    1. avatar Alexandra Gipson reply

      I feel so incredibly blessed to of had the opportunity to be apart of the most amazing day in one of my very, very best friends lives! I can’t wait to be there to make many more memories with both her and Greg!

    2. avatar Maxine reply

      Thank you for featuring, SW! Great couple and a great day!

    3. avatar Dana reply

      love the floral centerpieces!

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