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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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Y’all! This might have been the hardest post for me to work on… ever! As many of you know, I am already married (to the love of my life) and had my own Southern wedding. When I planned my own wedding (almost three years ago) I knew exactly what I wanted: classic Southern style, light pink accents and, for BDK’s contribution, men in tails + bow ties! Needless to say, I nixed the top hats and white batting gloves.

My taste hasn’t changed much since then. I still love classic Southern style and light pink, however, looking at gorgeous Southern weddings everyday doesn’t help my decision making skills! Poor Emily took a billion inspiration images (fifteen of which were dresses) and turned them into the great boards you’ll see below – thanks, Em!

Image credit from left to right and top to bottom: Emily Ley Paper, Studio Cabrelli via SMP, Christine Farah, Corbin Gurkin, A Bryan Photo, Tec Petaja, via Style Me Pretty and Yan Photography.

Tell us the basics. Where do you want to get married and when? How many people would you invite? Well, let’s just start by saying this is my dream vow renewal (I wouldn’t want to give BDK the wrong signal, now would I?)! I would love to renew my vows at the amazing Cathedral in Downtown Mobile where I grew up, however I am IN LOVE with the amazing outdoor cathedral from this Tec Petaja wedding. Since I need to plan around baseball season, I’d go with a lovely winter wedding with a small group of our closest family and friends.

What’s your design inspiration and color palette? I am completely obsessed with the image of the Bible and pearls from A Bryan Photo. It’s actually the background on my computer! I love the soft, feminine feel and the meaning behind it. I’m also inspired by classic Southern style with a bit of ballet shoe-colored accents. Think Grace Kelly/Audrey Hepburn with a slow Southern drawl.

What details and traditions would you include in your ceremony? Since this would be my vow renewal, I’ve always loved when the bride and groom meet half way down the aisle and walk to the altar together. Such a powerful message in just a few short steps. I would also be sure that the Bible verses that were read at our wedding were read at our renewal.

What dress would you wear? Um, herein lies quite a problem! I love SO many dresses that I absolutely cannot pick just one! Since this is my dream wedding, and in my dream I can wear as many dresses as I want, I would wear (in no particular order!): Amsale Coco, Amsale Dahlia, Justin Alexander 8483, Watters Escalante and then a gorgeous custom Chaviano Couture mini-dress for the getaway. I do have to add that IF I had to choose just one, I would say the Justin Alexander would win!

Image credit from left to right and top to bottom: First two images and last two images A Bryan Photo, plate with cameo and monogram napkin images Martha Stewart Weddings, cake by Amy Cakes and photo by Amy Rae (see more from this shoot here!), Kristin Vining and The Nichols.

What would your flowers look like? Like Nicole, I love giant, fully bloomed peonies. For my vow renewal, I’m leaning toward a fluffy all white bouquet, even though I do also adore that light pink color palette! I do know that I die for long and clean estate tables with low and fluffy arrangements with LOADS of tea light candles. Who doesn’t look stunning in candlelight?!

What details and traditions would you include in your reception? I absolutely love the idea of displaying generations of family bridal portraits, it’s just so sweet and personal. I would have large estate tables below bands of string lights enveloping family and friends while they dined on mixed vintage china (preferably heirloom!). Dancing and more dancing! Have you ever sung at the top of your lungs along to Journey at a wedding? It’s pretty fab, I’m not going to lie! Oh, and I’d monogram everything!

What food would you serve? I’m a big fan of good Southern comfort food. I’d love to serve macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, mini pot pies, grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken & biscuits. My reception would say we’re formal, but like to have fun!

Where would you honeymoon? In a private bungalow in Bora Bora! They have see-through glass floors, y’all!

What’s most important to you about weddings? God and love. Weddings, as gorgeous as they may be, are truly about two people being joined together as one to share, grow and love for the rest of their lives. Weddings are just the beginning of a crazy wonderful adventure!

What do you think, ladies? Should we begin planning a vow renewal for Miss Marissa? :)

P.S. In case you missed a post…
Nicole’s Dream Southern Wedding

marissa Written with love by Marissa
10 Comments
  1. avatar Kristyn reply

    This is EXACTLY, and I mean word for word exactly, what I am planning for my wedding. My colors are blush and champange, ivory and black. Thank you for making some inspiration boards that so perfectly describe what I am going for. And good luck planning your vow renewal!

  2. avatar Brit @ Landlocked Bride reply

    Love the romantic feel of this! Beautiful!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    So pretty, Marissa! I love that white Bible photo, too, as well as the one of the spinning dress in the first board!

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  5. avatar My Southern Wedding :: Sierra « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] celebrate well, you! What do you think, ladies? P.S. Want to check out our past dream weddings? Marissa Nicole xo Sierra November 4, 2011 | view Sierra's blog 2 viewcomments hidecomments What […]

  6. avatar Southern Wedding Tradition: White Bible « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] love each tradition I work on, and the truth is, I do! You might recognize the first image from my Dream Southern Wedding, and you might remember that I am completely obsessed with it! SO, without further ado, let’s […]

  7. avatar Anndria reply

    Can you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me (if you know) the designer of the dress in the top middle is? The one with the lace sleeves? I just fell in love and I have to see it!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Anndria! That dress is by Sassi Holford (http://www.sassiholford.com/). Hope that helps!

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