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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 […]

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Anyone who has been in a long-distance relationship can attest to how challenging it is. I’m in that boat myself, and sometimes, it is just plain hard. That is one of the many reasons I’m so encouraged by Emily and Tripper’s love story. After years of distance, they were engaged in the city where they first met and planned a gorgeous wedding in Emily’s hometown. Now that they’re happily married, they’re thrilled that they finally get to see each other every day. I can’t help but feel overjoyed for them–what a testament to “love never fails!”

Many thanks to Melissa Schollaert for sharing Emily and Tripper’s wedding with us!

Tell us all about the proposal! We planned a trip to Nashville in September 2011 to visit Tripper’s sister and brother-in-law and to go to a Vandy football game. Coincidentally (or so I thought), the Dores were playing Ole Miss that weekend, which marked the four-year anniversary of our first date. On Saturday evening after the game, Tripper and I had dinner at our favorite restaurant, Virago, and planned to meet his sister and brother-in-law at the Hutton Hotel bar for post-dinner drinks. When we got to the hotel, Tripper led me up to the penthouse suite, which was filled with candles, flowers and mementos from throughout our relationship. Getting engaged with the backdrop of the Nashville skyline was the perfect way to bring our relationship full circle!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Although I was initially hesitant about a first look, our photographer convinced me that it was necessary in order to get portraits and bridal party photos with natural light. We did our first look in a small park in Atlanta with no one else around. It was a perfect, intimate setting. Looking back, I am so happy we made that decision, because were both much more relaxed going into the ceremony.

Like many brides, I wanted romantic, lush flowers in soft colors and dreamed of peonies. Since peonies weren’t available in September, we used lots of hydrangeas, ranunculus, garden roses and spray roses to deliver the same full effect. My favorite flower is the gardenia, so we included those in my bouquet, in my hair and in the floral garland runner on the head table.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our Old Testament reading was Tobit 8:4b-8, and our New Testament reading was Colossians 3:12-17.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We were married in a cathedral and felt the music needed to match the formality of the venue, so we chose traditional songs played on the church organ. My dad walked me down the aisle to Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary” and we recessed to “Hornpipe” by Handel. For our first dance, the band played “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” by Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons. It was the perfect song for us because it started off slow, but the tempo picked up so we could have a little fun! The band’s last song of the night was Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”

I just loved the overall effect when walking into the reception space. Atmosphere was extremely important to me and creating the right mood was at the top of my mind throughout the planning process. As I told our vendors, I wanted the reception space to feel warm and “glowy” and I felt strongly about choosing a venue where all our guests could be in one space together. I was thrilled with how our vendors executed my vision.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The food at our wedding was Southern-influenced and included shrimp and grits and fried green tomatoes. Tripper grew up in Louisiana and has a passion for Gulf oysters, so to bring a little Louisiana flair to our Atlanta wedding, we brought in over 1,000 Gulf oysters and an award-winning shucker straight from New Orleans!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our cake was delicious! Since Tripper doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, we skipped a groom’s cake and instead offered two tiers of flavors in the wedding cake–red velvet with cream cheese frosting and vanilla genoise with lemon and raspberry mousse.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Tripper and I met in college at Vanderbilt University. We had many mutual friends, but somehow, we didn’t connect until our senior year. Our first date was to the Vanderbilt vs. Ole Miss football game, followed by dinner at Rotier’s–a perfect Nashville evening! After college, I moved to Atlanta and Tripper moved to Charlotte. Two years later, he started business school in Charlottesville, VA and I moved to DC. Needless to say, our love story contains many tanks of gas and hours on the phone.
When did y’all get married? September 22, 2012
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 250
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I lived in DC during our engagement and went wedding dress shopping both there and in my hometown of Atlanta. Although I didn’t know what style dress I wanted when I got engaged, I quickly realized that a lace gown with a fit-and-flare silhouette felt the most “me.” At every appointment, I kept going back to the same lace Marissa dress, so I knew it was the one.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old was a religious medal that has belonged to my grandmother since she was a child. My something borrowed was a garter that my best friends and I each wear on our wedding day, embroidered with our monogram and the date. My something blue was a Bonnie Blue flag pin given to me by Tripper’s aunt. My something(s) new were the dress, shoes and diamond earrings that were a wedding day gift from Tripper. And I had a sixpence in my shoe!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I lived in DC for the majority of our engagement and Tripper was in business school in Charlottesville, so it was a challenge to work with all of our vendors in Atlanta while being long-distance from both them and from each other.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? That’s tough! We were lucky to have a fabulous group of vendors who worked wonderfully together and made things easy on us. I am so happy we chose Melissa Schollaert as our photographer because she captured every moment and detail of the day beautifully. We love reliving the memories through her images.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Seeing each other for the first time! That, and the amazing party on the dance floor.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? This sounds obvious, but when your wedding day finally comes after many months of planning, make sure you enjoy it together! Tripper and I made a deal beforehand that we would stay within an arm’s length at our reception. We knew from attending other weddings that the bride and groom often get pulled in different directions and get caught up talking with friends and family. It was important to us to have shared memories of the night.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are settled down in Louisiana and enjoying married life! After four years of dating long-distance, it is a thrill to wake up in the same place and be together every day.

lisa Written with love by Lisa
10 Comments
  1. avatar Amanda {Amanda Jayne Events} reply

    Beautiful venue and decor!

  2. avatar Caitlyn | The Aerialist Press reply

    What a beautiful story! Love it.

  3. avatar diana elizabeth – lifestyle + photography reply

    Huge fan of Melissa Schollaert’s work, she’s amazing! Great wedding, such a beautiful couple!

  4. avatar Stephen reply

    Nice, but where’s that handsome uncle?

  5. avatar Wedding Table Garlands | SouthBound Bride reply

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  6. avatar Dana reply

    love the reception venue!

  7. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up | Southern Weddings reply

    […] Yay for real weddings! There are few things that make my heart sing like a long distance love that turns into a beautiful marriage! Emily and Tripper’s wedding was so classic and lovely. See it here. […]

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  10. avatar 10 Ways to Use Babys Breath – Wholesale Wedding Flowers Blog | BloomsByTheBox.com reply

    […] Photo (left) by Pat Furey Photography seen on Wedding Chicks, photo (right) by Melissa Schollaert seen on Southern Weddings […]

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For Gabrielle + Paul, their favorite detail of their wedding was the gorgeous venue, the historic Case Feliz. For the bride, the space created a truly Southern atmosphere, surrounding the party with live oaks and warm sunshine. Not needing to make any additions to the Spanish-style house, G + P relied on the bride’s favorite peonies and flowing gray linens to dress up the outdoor space. We think it did just the trick! Big thanks to Vitalic Photo who shared this with us!

When I went wedding dress shopping, I started at The Collection in Winter Park; they have the most beautiful gowns. I tried on several designers, but I was in love with White by Vera. I felt it was the best fit for my personality and taste. I wanted it to be an intimate experience, so only my mother and my sister went with me to search for the perfect dress. I accessorized with a White by Vera jeweled belt for the ceremony and decided to do something fun for our extravaganza, changing to a big black bow. It was so much fun being able to change my look for the reception.

I decided not to do a “first look” and I’m so glad I didn’t! I wanted Paul to see me for the first time coming down the aisle.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The date was challenging since the wedding was on a Friday and we had family and friends traveling from out of town. But, we loved the idea of a Friday the Thirteenth Wedding!
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000.
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Photography! I chose the best, and we are so happy we did!

Our cake was not only beautiful, but very romantic, and delicious. I wanted it to match my gown, so I requested that it look like a layer of tulle over the cake, accented with peonies made of sugar. Everyone thought they were real. It was a vanilla cake with strawberry filling and Bavarian cream. Fondant of course.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Classic love story! We met at a costume party and became friends. We started to see each other on a regular basis and then we really became best friends, fell in love as friends do and, after many years, Paul proposed!
Describe the proposal. I had anticipated a proposal for months, but as time went by, I stopped thinking about it. One day, after a long day at work, I met Paul for a quick dinner and he then insisted we go to the beach for a walk. It was moonlit and pleasant outside — very romantic! Paul let out a sigh and said, “Wow, I’m feeling like I missed an opportunity here.” I then said, “Oh I bet you are wishing you had a ring right now!” I turned away and glanced at the ocean, and as I was turning back, Paul knelt down on one knee. The whole time, I’m thinking, “He is really playing this out!” I was sure he did not have a ring. Well, suddenly he opened a ring box and the most brilliant, gorgeous ring shone. It took my breath away! I don’t remember if I screamed, but I did cry. I think we both had tears of love and excitement. Paul had not planned it this way, but when he received the ring he had been waiting for, spontaneity kicked in. He did not want to wait, and I was very happy he did not.
In what month did you get married? April
How many guests attended your wedding? 105
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We didn’t have a formal one, but my fabulous big sister and maid of honor Danielle, who I love so much, came to me while I was getting ready and completely surprised me by re-enacting Jennifer Lopez’s speech from the movie “The Wedding Planner.” It was priceless and I’m so glad our videographer was able to capture it. It was meant to be funny but we both ended up in tears.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. I really loved the ceremony music. We chose to have a trio of flute, cello and harp. I walked down the aisle to Canon in D, and walked back up with the wedding party to “Kissing in Rain” from the Great Expectations soundtrack. It was so romantic and climactic! For our first dance, Paul and I chose “I found a reason” by Cat Power. My father and I danced to “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks and it was definitely one of my favorite moments of the night. Paul and his mom chose “I will” by the Beatles.
Describe your wedding flowers: PEONIES, hundreds and hundreds of beautiful pink peonies. I loved my flowers!! They were displayed in fabulous Mercury glass vases.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The whole event! It really was the wedding of my dreams, but I loved the surprise Rolls Royce exit car! I was so involved in all the details, but I had no clue my mom had planned that. We loved cruising around Winter Park after the wedding, it was so much fun. It kept our party going! We were not leaving for our Honeymoon until Sunday, so we had a family and friend brunch on Saturday. It was wonderful to see everyone and delicious too.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take your time in making choices, and try to outline important details. As the day is drawing near, have a deadline where you draw a line and if it has not been done, let it go. Try to rest and enjoy family as much as possible, it will add to the relaxed feel at your wedding. Most importantly, be present in the moment, as it happens very quickly.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Furnishing our first home together!! We moved in the day we arrived home from our Hawaiian honeymoon. We’re looking forward to traveling!

Love this wedding? Maybe you’ll love these, too:
Caitlin + Charlie’s classic peony wedding here and here.
Cee Cee + Chad’s pink and gray Florida wedding here.
Whitney + Jeff’s modern and romantic wedding here and here.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
7 Comments
  1. avatar Nancy reply

    Gorgeous wedding and fantastic photography!

  2. avatar Chrissy reply

    Such a gorg wedding and lovely cake!

  3. avatar Kelli Taylor/Daniel Taylor Photography reply

    Love this wedding! The location, bride’s dress, and flowers are all absolutely gorgeous!

  4. avatar The Friday Fresh Squeeze | Floridian Weddings reply

    […] than bold design choices and modern typography. Yup, this is definitely my new wedding crush.What a gorgeous historic venue! Love how the romantic pink & gray palette contrasted with the architecture so perfectly.The […]

  5. avatar Tim Duncan reply

    Her jewelry and shoes are stunning!

  6. avatar 2012 Year in Review » vitalicphoto.com reply

    […] her mom planned. Let’s just say it… you can’t go wrong with pale pink peonies.  Southern Weddings must have thought the same thing because they decided to feature it on their amazingly adorable […]

  7. avatar Gabrielle + Paul | Casa Feliz Winter Park Wedding » Central and South Florida Wedding Photographer reply

    […] huge thank you to Southern Weddings for featuring their dreamy Casa Feliz […]

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