Year after year, our sweet real wedding brides have proclaimed that their most memorable wedding day moments occur during their ceremonies. This year is no exception: from exchanging of specially written vows to walking back up the aisle as husband and wife, wedding ceremonies tend to hold treasured moments that are made even more special with sweet details. Everything from jaw-dropping ceremony backdrops to very special reserved seating for the parents of the bride. Our 2016 real weddings were overflowing with incredibly meaningful details and moments, and we’re excited to share ten favorites with you!
Based on details alone, it’s clear that Olivia and Scott threw a Southern soirée, but amidst the bow ties, pearls, and bourbon lemonade lies much more. Olivia imagined a day that felt like an effortlessly elegant Southern dinner party, so with the help of their planner, Blue Ribbon Vendor Leigh Pearce, they planned a wedding day that focused on serving their guests well as gracious hosts and honoring the traditions of their families. While lots of newlyweds struggle to fill their new homes with thoughtful pieces, I love the way Leigh encouraged Olivia and Scott to look for decor that could be easily reused after their wedding in their home. I bet those same pieces will go on to become heirlooms for future generations to cherish!
Big hugs to Anna Paschal Photography for sharing this dreamy day with us!
My experience finding a dress was one of epic fairy tale proportion. Along with my mom and sister, I traveled to Hayden Olivia in uptown Charlotte. The consultant encouraged me to pick at least one or two gowns that I had not pictured myself in–something outside my comfort zone. I began making my selection and was lured in by the youthful, uber feminine designs of Hayley Paige. I especially loved the cascading striped silk organza of the Guindon gown, and knew it had to be my wild card pick. After a few gowns, the consultant decided it was time I tried on my “just for fun” pick. The feeling I felt as I wore the gown was transformative–I felt more myself than I had ever been. Needless to say, Guindon became a pivotal inspiration piece for the entire wedding!
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, Scott and I did decide to do a first look. At first, we were a little unsure if a first look would be right for us, but after talking with Leigh Pearce, Anna Paschal, and our rabbi, we decided it would be perfect fit. We wanted to spend as much time as possible with our friends, family, and loved ones after the ceremony. The first look also gave Scott and I an opportunity to create and share a special moment alone together prior to the ceremony.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I had always dreamed of an outdoor wedding. As we began looking for wedding venues, Scott and I wanted to find a place that felt refined, yet organic. We immediately fell in love with the expansive and stately oak trees found at one of the ceremony sites at Summerfield Farm.
I looked through various issues of Southern Weddings and selected a few of my favorite phrases to create my vows. My favorite lines were: “I, Olivia, take you, Scott, as you are this day, loving who you are now and who you are yet to become. I promise to listen to you and learn from you, to support you and accept your support. I will celebrate your triumphs and mourn your losses as though they are my own. I will love you and have faith in your love for me through all that life may bring. May my heart be your shelter and my arms be your home. With these words, and all the words of my heart, I marry you and bind my life to yours.”
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Do bow ties, pearls, and bourbon lemonade count? The whole design of our wedding was Southern. Southern design, to me, is understated elegance and effortless tradition. It is as if you went out into the backyard, gathered some flowers from your garden, went into the dining room and brought out the pressed linens and the Sunday china, grabbed the heirloom silver, whipped up a deliciously fresh meal, and lit a few candles, all while say to your guests, “Really, it was nothing. Glad you could make it”. The focus on our guests and our efforts to be gracious hosts were the most Southern parts of our wedding.
We chose a selection of small round layer cakes to accompany our main three-tiered round layer cake. The cakes ranged in flavors from strawberry buttercream, to raspberry lady cake, to chocolate mocha cake. The cakes’ decorations were very simple–we used white frosting with a beaded border around the bottom, adorned with real blooms.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Scott and I met in college in August 2008. We both remember the very first moment we laid eyes on each other, standing in the hallway of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house. Scott was a sophomore and I was a freshman. We instantly connected over whatever music was playing at the time and continued to connect over various topics in the weeks to come. However, it took Scott almost three years and a sort of happenstance meeting to officially ask me out on our first date. Our first date will forever be one of best memories, besides our wedding, of course. On both occasions, we danced and sang the entire night away.
Tell us all about the proposal! I can honestly say the proposal was a COMPLETE surprise and that it happened months before I thought it might! I grew up on a farm and have ridden and owned horses since the tender age of five. In third grade, as I started to grow not only in size, but in skill, as an equestrian, my parents gifted me with an American Quarter Horse named Sundance. I loved him from the moment I met him! In late fall 2013, as Sundance began to age and reach “old man” status (30 years old), I mentioned to Scott and my family how very much I would love to have my picture taken with Sundance as a sort of memento. On December 1 of that year, while Scott and I were visiting my parents for Thanksgiving, they surprised me with a professional photography session with Sundance. As Sundance and I neared the end of our photo shoot, the photographer suggested I turn the horse around and position Scott into one of the last frames. I turned Sundance around and came to spot Scott kneeling on the ground. I immediately asked him what he was doing, reminding him it was not safe to be on the ground around horses. Well…he pulled out a little box and a gorgeous diamond ring! He nervously uttered lots of sweet and meaningful words and I said “Yes!” The whole proposal was caught on camera.
When did y’all get married? May 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Scott and I planned for our marriage by meeting with our rabbi once a month during a large portion of our engagement. We have really come to cherish those monthly meetings, and they are one of the reasons we were able to create such a deeply meaningful ceremony.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Having a custom invitation suite and calligraphed envelopes was really important to me. The invitation is the first tangible piece of the big day guests will encounter. I always look at invitations as a suggestion of all the beauty yet to come. In order to stay within my budget for invitations and paper, I decided to forgo paper items like individual menus and programs. I also decided learn the art of modern calligraphy so I could address the invitations, create the place cards, and hand-paint the table numbers and signage myself. I walked away from my wedding day with the man of my dreams and a new skill to boot!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Leigh Pearce, my planner, and Anna Paschal, my photographer, obviously! Those ladies were such a blessing and I felt so fortunate to have found them. I am really glad that I listened to every piece of their advice, especially, when Leigh advised me to look for decor items that I could also use in my home after the wedding. Many of the pieces we used during our wedding have now become heirloom-quality decor in our home.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Beyond working to build a life together, I would have to say travel and adventure. On our honeymoon, Scott and I decided that each year for our anniversary, we would plan a special trip for the two of us. We are very excited to celebrate our first anniversary in St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands–we have made arrangements to stay in an eco-tent resort for the first leg of our trip. For the first time ever, we will be traveling with just a backpack filled with the bare necessities, and we simply can’t wait to see what exciting revelations come when traveling ultralight!
Photographer: Anna Pachal Photography | Planner: Leigh Pearce Weddings | Venue: Summerfield Farm | Florist: The Farmers Wife | Cake Baker: Maxie B’s | Caterer: Fresh. Local. Good. Food Group | Rentals: Party Makers Event Rentals | Lighting and DJ: K2 Productions | Paper Products: Four Things Paper | Bride’s Gown: “Guindon” by Hayley Paige | Bride’s Earrings: Haute Bride | Bride’s Custom Sash: Davie & Chiyo | Bride’s English Net Veil: Tessa Kim | Hair and Makeup: Carla White | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “D468” by Alfred Sung | Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers and Canali | Bow Ties: The Tie Bar | Groomsmen Attire: Brooks Brothers and Michael Kors
One of our best pieces of advice for planning the design of your wedding is to work with your venue, not against it–if you try to throw a rustic celebration in a ritzy ballroom, chances are, it’s not going to look quite right. With the help of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Leigh Pearce, Katie and Doug followed this advice to a tee–every detail, color, and even flower at their Adaumont Farm wedding fit their surroundings perfectly. Nothing distracted from the true purpose of the day: Katie and Doug saying their vows and becoming husband and wife. As you can read in their love story that Doug shared below (so sweet, y’all!), these two have approached their entire relationship with prayer and intentionality, and their wedding day was no different!
Thank you so much to Alisandra Photography for sharing this lovely day with us!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. From Doug: We met at Elon University. It was Katie’s first year at Elon, and I had just started working with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at the university. As a campus minister, dating a student was not exactly encouraged, but it was hard not to notice a special woman like Katie. I remember the first time I really “noticed” her–it was at a retreat to the beach the fall of her junior year. She had coordinated the entire weekend for the 150 students in attendance. Once everyone arrived, Katie got up front to welcome folks and set the tone for the weekend. I don’t even remember the specifics of what she shared, but it was tender and heartfelt and so sincere. I remember thinking to myself that she was a really special woman, and began to notice how attractive she is as well. The rest of that weekend, I tried to subtly end up around Katie so I could spend as much time with her as possible. Over the next year and a half, we had many more opportunities to spend time together and develop a friendship. My attraction to her and feelings for her deepened consistently through that period of waiting. It wasn’t until January of her senior year (at this point, she had finished her leadership role in the ministry) that I was finally able to share my feelings with her. Her response was one of complete shock and surprise. After a week of praying and seeking advice from older women, she decided to spend some time going on dates with me to get to know me outside of our staff and student roles. And, as they say, the rest is history.
My mom, my sister, my now mother-in-law, and I spent a day in Raleigh at two different stores. I had pinned a few dresses on Pinterest to give people an idea of what I liked. At the first place, I tried on four dresses and loved the fourth one. I decided to go with that one, but we still had another appointment. While I was unsure about going, my mom made the point that we only had one opportunity in my life to go wedding dress shopping, so we decided to go. The woman who helped us at the second store was so nice and let me pick out a dress or two that I thought I would like. Since, in my mind, I already had the dress I wanted, I picked a dress that I thought I would never wear, just for fun. Sure enough, I tried that dress on and my mom cried. I totally fell in love with it!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The song I walked down the aisle to was a mix of Trumpet Voluntary and “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. Doug liked the classical-style music more than I did, so we ended up compromising. We were googling “songs for brides to walk down the aisle to” when this mix came up, and we loved it! We had a guitar and violin play at our ceremony, and we asked them to do something along those lines. It turned out great!
During the ceremony, a huge rain cloud was slowly making its way toward us. As we finished the ceremony, the cloud was practically sitting on top of us! Doug and I were rushed out of the ceremony so we didn’t get rained on, and since the ceremony site was a bit of a walk from the reception site, people starting running to get away from the rain that came in as a torrential downpour. All Doug and I could do was laugh from the safety of our car as we watched all of our wedding guests run away. Fortunately, everyone had a great attitude about it and it got everyone’s energy up for the reception!
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose our venue mainly based on location. We wanted it to be near where we lived, because that was where the bulk of the people coming to the wedding were coming from. We researched a few other places that allowed us to do the ceremony and the reception in the same place, and we were really blown away by the beauty of Adaumont Farms. Plus, the people there were so friendly!
My bouquet was a mix of peonies, garden roses, lisianthus, ranunculus, veronica, eucalyptus, and amaranthus, just to name a few! We went with a hand-tied look that felt natural but lush. The dinner tables showcased three different stories: low, lush compotes filled with florals and greens; towering urns overflowing with the same mix of florals and greens; and planted runners of greens, blooms, and over a hundred pillar candles.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had our friend Liz Marrota from Elizabeth Ann Pastry make our wedding cakes, and decided to go with three different cakes. The one we cut was pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting, which was styled as a naked cake. The other two were chocolate with buttercream filling and lemon with raspberry filling. They were all so amazing!
Tell us all about the proposal! From Doug: As I started thinking about the ideal proposal for Katie, I knew that what would mean most to her is for her friends and family to be involved. I had a conversation with Katie’s parents in mid-December to ask for their blessing (which they gladly gave!) and talk with them about my plans. I was able to arrange for Katie’s parents, her sister, and three of her best friends to all be a part of the night, along with my parents, too. The day finally arrived, and I suggested to Katie that we go out for a nice dinner. We both dressed up a bit, then as we were about to walk out the door, I told Katie that I had a little surprise for her and handed her the first clue to a scavenger hunt. The eight locations we visited were all significant places in our relationship, and then we arrived at Elon’s campus for the final three clues. It was here that I left Katie to wait for her at the final spot. But Katie wasn’t alone for long–she found her college friends waiting for her! Finally, Katie arrived to the final location, Irazu Coffee Shop. It was where we used to meet each week while she was a student leader in InterVarsity. I had the room decorated with about 60 luminaries, and was waiting for her with a single red rose. She had already cried more than a few tears that evening, but there was really no holding them back at that moment. I dropped down on one knee, told Katie how much I loved her, and asked her to marry me. She said yes! We had about 15 minutes for just the two of us to savor the moment, then I surprised Katie with our families and her friends, all joining us in Irazu. We took a bunch of pictures and Katie showed off her ring. It was such a sweet moment.
When did y’all get married? June 20, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We went with the traditional vows. We thought there was something deeply meaningful and poetic about using vows that have been used for centuries.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed was a silver bracelet of my grandmother’s that my mom often wears. For my something blue, I wore a sapphire ring of my mom’s, because sapphire is my birthstone. I tied lace from my mom’s and grandmother’s wedding dresses around my bouquet for my something old. And for my something new, I bought plain white canvas TOMS shoes and painted them with verses that were meaningful to me.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Because we were really fortunate to have a wedding planner, Leigh Pearce, we got to spend more time preparing for our marriage! We met with the pastor who married us multiple times for premarital counseling, and we also had a chance to read several books on marriage like The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller, The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason, and Intimate Allies by Allender and Longman.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We were really concerned about bridesmaids and groomsmen spending a lot on the wedding, so specifically for the bridesmaids, my family and I offered to pay for a portion of the bridesmaid dresses as a gift.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Our advice would be to have a talk right after you get engaged about what is important to you both during your engagement time, as well as for your wedding. Remember that you have limited time and resources. Hold each other accountable in pursuing the vision that you have for your time of engagement and your wedding, and don’t get caught up in things that are not the most important to you.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Doug and I recently began working together with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Elon University, where we met. Through InterVarsity, we mentor college students and connect them to a fun, vibrant community, where they form deep friendships and grow in their faith. While we both have different skills in our jobs, we are really looking forward to working together as a team and learning how we complement each other.
Photographer: Ali Williamson / Videographer and DJ: K2 Productions / Planning and Event Design: Leigh Pearce Weddings / Venue: Adaumont Farm / Florist: Just Priceless / Cake Baker: Elizabeth Ann Pastry / Caterer: Painted Plate / Rentals: Party Reflections, Partymakers, La Tavola / Lighting: Kenneth Eller / Ceremony Music: Rob Massengale Entertainment / DJ: Mario of DJ Complex NC / Vintage Car: Fantasy Limo / Bridal Salon: Traditions By Anna / Hair and Makeup: Carla White / Bride’s Shoes: TOMS / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: David’s Bridal / Menswear: J. Crew / Invitations: Smitten on Paper / Day-of Paper: Confetti Grey / Welcome Box Cookies: Details Cake Design
Leigh Pearce Weddings is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!