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Getting our past Southern Brides of the Month organized lit a fire under us to make sure we continued this lovely monthly tradition! I’m so happy to welcome this series (one of my favorites!) back with Amy. As soon as I saw that she is engaged to her high school sweetheart, I knew we’d get along, but it was her answer to what she’s most looking forward to about marriage that made me fall in love with her. I know you’ll agree, so please help me welcome our February Bride!

Hi! What’s your name?
Amy Leigh Bell

What’s your fiancé’s name?
Daniel Clark Salo

Cameron Faye Photography

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
Daniel and I met when we were juniors in high school in our hometown of Charlotte, NC. I was in another relationship at the time, but there were always things about Daniel that I admired, even as we were just becoming friends. As we started our senior year (and I was single again), our relationship began to develop with a little help from our friends! Daniel was not allowed by his parents to officially date while in high school, so he began “courting” me, inviting me to spend time with his family or just in groups with our mutual friends. As a smitten 17-year-old girl, this was certainly frustrating, but little did I know, he had big hopes for the future! His protection and caution through those beginning stages has made all the difference over the past four years in college, and I am so thankful!

Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
After attending a friend’s wedding earlier in the day, I was quite excited to spend an evening with my beau on September 14th. The night started with dinner at P.F. Chang’s (one of my absolute favorites) where my fortune cookie read, “Good news of a long awaited event will arrive soon.” This was a complete coincidence, and it was all Daniel could do to not show a reaction all over his face.

After dinner, he drove me to the outdoor North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. I have never seen the boy so nervous. As we walked quite briskly toward a gazebo, I began to catch glimpses of white curtains draped throughout it, with hundreds of small tea lights glowing inside. As we entered the gazebo, Daniel stopped walking and grabbed my hands. He said a lot of beautiful things (which he later had to email to me since I couldn’t remember a bit of it), and proposed with a stunning ring made from the diamond my grandmother and my mother wore during their marriages.

After I said yes (of course!), he led me to a chair and washed my feet, representing the way Jesus served his disciples during his time on earth. Daniel grabbed his Bible and read Scripture to me, promising to lay down his life daily for me, his bride. It was the most romantic, joyful moment of my life!

When’s the big day?
May 24, 2014

Where might you two be tying the knot?
We are getting married at the Aqueduct Conference Center in Chapel Hill.

How did you pick your ceremony and reception venues? What do you love most about each space?
I chose our wedding venue based off of pictures from a friend’s wedding that took place at Aqueduct. When I first mentioned it to Daniel, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he had already been there for a few weekend retreats, and thought it was just as beautiful as I do.

Our ceremony and reception will all be at the same place, which is one of my favorite aspects of the venue. Evening receptions in gigantic, white tents with beautiful lighting make me swoon, and I am thrilled to be planning one of my own! Although Aqueduct is just moments away from the heart of Chapel Hill, the winding, gravel driveway and rolling fields make it feel hours away.

Because Aqueduct functions as an overnight conference center as well as an event venue, there are two large cottages on the premises, which allow Daniel and I and our wedding party to spend the night at the venue after the rehearsal dinner. I love knowing that after we arrive on Friday afternoon, we don’t have to leave until after the wedding on Saturday! The cottages also double as a place for my vendors and guests to stay after the wedding, since the entire facility is ours for the weekend.

A sweet first look at Aqueduct from this wedding by Caroline Joy!

Tell us a little bit about the wedding you’re planning: style, theme, feel, colors?
Above all, my goal is for our wedding day to point forward to a beautiful marriage. I want the aura of the day to reflect us as a couple, but my intention is not to “wow” my 250 guests with every detail. I am focused on using my budget wisely to create simple elegance.

Our wedding will be made up of soft shades of green, with yellow accents and lots of white. Because it will be outdoors in May (hopefully with beautiful weather!), I want the colors, the flowers, and the décor to feel fresh and romantic, and of course, Southern!

Who or what has been most helpful and/or inspiring in the wedding planning process?
I have had tons of amazing support through this process, with 11 beautiful bridesmaids and incredible Southern belles (literally, Bell’s!) in my family that could not be more excited for May 24th to arrive. When your wedding party is the size of a small football team, opportunities to chat and dream about the big day are in no short supply!

Bridesmaid inspiration from Elizabeth Messina and Ron B. Wilson

What part of wedding planning, if any, has made you the most anxious?
All of the little details! There are literally hundreds of small things to remember, in addition to the big decisions. I have to make lists constantly, making sure I am spreading out all of these little tasks evenly throughout our engagement. My biggest fear is getting to the last few weeks before the wedding and being overwhelmed with a million things to do!

Which part of your wedding have you been most intentional about planning?
I have been the most intentional about picking vendors that I love. I was already booking our venue and photographer before we were actually engaged (whoops!) because I believe that those choices will make such a huge impact on the feel of the day, for us and for our guests. Beautiful wedding photography and videography are quite literally irreplaceable, and I know that’s what Daniel and I will have, thanks to Cameron Faye Photography and Needle + Thread videography!

Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go? What will you be wearing on the big day?
Yes! That process was very fun and easy. Like I said, I tend to know what I want! I only went to one store (New York Bride & Groom in Charlotte), and I came in with a picture of my dream dress. Although that specific dress was way out of my budget, I found one that had all of the potential to be exactly what I wanted, after some major alterations! Seamstresses are amazing, y’all. I will be wearing a Justin Alexander gown, and that’s about all I can say until May 24th!

Wedding gown inspiration from Ryan Bernal via Style Me Pretty and Virgil Bunao

What has been the best part of wedding planning? The worst part?
The best part about wedding planning has been spending at least part of every day thinking about and working towards what I hope will be the best day of my life! I love getting home from work and having packages to open full of wedding items that have arrived in the mail that day. Wedding planning has even allowed me to take up a new hobby, as I am learning calligraphy to hand address all of my invitations!

If I had to choose a “worst” part of planning my wedding, it would probably be the amount of time and communication required to coordinate between so many people and vendors. I chose to forgo a wedding planner for budgetary reasons, and I have definitely felt the need for one more than once! However, doing everything myself allows me the freedom to fully put things together the way I want, and I know the day is going to feel that much more beautiful after so much hard work!

Tell us about planning with your fiancé. Has it gone smoothly? Is he more involved, or hands-off?
Daniel is amazing. He is involved when I want him to be involved, and hands-off when I need to do things myself. As a musician himself, the music that will fill our wedding weekend from beginning to end is very important to him, and it has been so fun to talk about options and decide on playlists, while letting some of our musical friends and family members take the reins on special parts of the day. Daniel has done a great job making it clear that he cares about the details of our day, while also affirming that he trusts my decisions and is excited to finally see the day come together the way we have envisioned.

Centerpiece inspiration by Brittany Janelle Photography and Ian Riley via The Perfect Palette

What do you wish you would have known at the beginning of your engagement?
I wish I had known just how many decisions I would have to make over this 8-month period. I have learned that there are a million options for every little detail, but it is never going to be worth my time to peruse all of them on Pinterest. Sometimes, you just have to pick something you like and run with it, knowing there is a chance that there is something out there that is cuter, prettier, or more unique. When I began to realize that I was adding wedding planning on top of graduating from college and starting a full-time job, there were tons of options I just had to let go of.

What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
I am most looking forward to our first look. We debated a lot over whether or not to do one, but after advice from other brides and my photographer, we decided it would be a very special moment between the two of us. We are not writing our own vows, so this will be our opportunity to read letters to each other and spend plenty of time getting pictures of just the two of us.

Any plans for a honeymoon? Where do you want to go and what will you do?
Yes, of course! Daniel and I are going to Secrets St. James Montego Bay in Jamaica. We purposefully have no plans except to relax and enjoy our first vacation together as Mr. and Mrs. Salo!

Cameron Faye Photography

What are you most looking forward to about marriage?
I am most looking forward to starting and ending each day with Daniel. Throughout our relationship, every time I see him is marked with the knowledge that we will eventually have to say goodbye before the night is over. I can’t wait for his home to be my home, too.

Any advice you’d like to pass along to fellow brides?
For every time someone asks you, “How’s wedding planning?” remember to ask yourself, “How’s marriage planning?” The purpose of your wedding is to celebrate the beginning of your marriage, and it is infinitely more important that you are planning well for that. Don’t let a perfect wedding become the end goal, because that is simply a brand new beginning to something even more beautiful!

Thank you so much, Amy! We can’t wait to see that gorgeous gown! Readers, interested in being featured as a future Southern Bride of the Month? Take a peek at this page for all of the details!

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Love, love, love her perspective on planning for her marriage!

  2. avatar Erin Jamesson reply

    Aww! Adorable couple and proposal story too! Her, bling is similar to mine http://bit.ly/1bR9Ltm

  3. avatar Jillian Boland reply

    Love this!!! Such a sweet couple. Thrilled for you both, Amy!! Thankful to know and work with you! :)

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Good gracious, y’all, where do I even start? Lynae + Brenton’s reception is truly a feast for your sparkle-lovin’ eyes. Though the details are amazing and numerous, one skim through their interview will tell you that each one was a purposeful representation of their personalities and fun-loving spirits. If the gold glitter linens don’t make you want to hop through your computer screen, maybe their sweets bar will do the trick, or their rock candy-covered cake. If sweets aren’t your thing, L + B made sure the night was one to remember from the dance floor. Balloons filled the space so guests could volley them as they partied, and Lynae + all 14 of her bridesmaids made sure to close the night with a choreographed dance to a Beyonce hit. Now don’t all of you want to be friends with this couple?

Our reception felt like a grand party. The outpouring of love and celebration was overwhelming. It set the tone for a fun and exciting time. There was an ample supply of food, dancing, and merriment to go around. Our reception was an ode to all our favorite things. We really tried to incorporate personal touches with the entire vibe of the room. We had balloons, candy, and lots of sequins and sparkle.

What is the one thing that made your wedding different from anyone else’s wedding? I think our love story is what made it unique. We both have very strong personalities and idiosyncrasies that separate us not only as individuals, but as a couple. I think being able to highlight and celebrate those eccentricities is what will set our wedding apart. People can always duplicate the design, but no one will quite have our personal panache.

Our centerpieces were each assorted and distinctive. Some featured single blossoms and others featured full floral arrangements in vases decorated in fruit slices or birdcages. My favorite centerpieces were floral paper poms adorned atop pedestals. I thought it was a fun, non-traditional twist. It looked like giant tiers of cotton-candy!

Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used: Brenton loves Izze sodas so it was essential to include them in décor in some way. I love the Denver Broncos so we had glitter Broncos as center pieces for the head table. Our engagement pictures featured 36” balloons, so we incorporated our love for balloons into our reception for some continuity. We had our guests leave thumb prints inside a poster board with a hot air balloon outline as our guest book. Guests could leave their ink thumb prints and then write us love notes and words of encouragement beside it. We also had balloons sprinkled around the dance floor for people to volley around while they were grooving the night away.

Tell us a bit about your first dance. Even though Brenton and I have been together for seven years, it truly feels like a lifetime — but in a meaningful way. I don’t remember many milestones without him by my side so we chose a song with lyrics that celebrated that sentiment. We won dance classes from a bridal show in January so we had been practicing in the early part of the year. It’s too bad we didn’t attend a refresher course or brush up on our moves prior to hitting the floor because we completely free-styled the entire dance. We sang, laughed, and harmonized the melodies of Brian McKnight’s “Love of My Life” in front of an entire ballroom of people. And that’s when it hit us — we chose the longest first dance song ever! It was so long that we actually started laughing to ourselves on the floor and making up our own moves. It was a priceless moment!

Describe your wedding cake: After months of wedding prep and classifying cake and all it’s derivatives as a “no-no food,” I was really excited about our cake confection. We decided to go with a square, four-tiered cake that had flavored layers for everyone. We decorated the cake in rock candy arranged in ombre hues and topped it with a sequin cake topper.

What were some of the highlights? The biggest highlight was that my entourage of bridesmaids and I performed a choreographed dance to Beyonce’s “Love On Top.” It was imperative for me that our reception feel like us and there’s nothing more true to form for me than dancing to Beyonce with my girlfriends. It was special to me that all my bridesmaids came together to support a personal interest of mine — even though a lot of my bridesmaids were apprehensive about dancing in public. That performance was epic and the expression on my husband’s face was priceless.

Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: Our candy bar will always stand-out to me. It was purely amazing.
Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? We were grateful that 6 of our grandparents attended our wedding. At our age, it really meant a lot that our grandparents were in good health and good spirits to witness our moment. Having them in their late 70s and 80s is something we don’t take for granted.
What kind of food did you serve during the cocktail hour, dinner and dessert? During cocktail hour we had a cheese display and passed hors d’oeuvres. Dinner was a buffet featuring a custom menu that we designed with inspirations from all our favorite foods. We wanted all of our guests to have options so we had a variety of sides and proteins to choose from including chicken, salmon and vegetarian protein. Brenton adores breakfast food so we also included French toast, vegetarian strada, and breakfast blintzes. The breakfast bar was a huge hit!
Did you toss the garter or bouquet? We love professional football so the bride surprised the groom with a Denver Broncos garter. Considering we had an oversized Tennessee Titans helmet in the room, it only felt natural to throw a dash of home in as well.
Did you take a honeymoon?  We enjoyed adventures in Maui for a week following our nuptials.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Our biggest aspiration is to get back into life as we know it. Also, we both have blogs that we’re inspired by and passionate about that have been neglected while planning the wedding and our new life together. They are in much need of a refresh.
What advice would you give to someone planning his or her wedding? Your wedding is just a day. Your marriage is for a lifetime. Many people view the wedding as the end of a planning process rather than the beginning of a new life chapter. Whenever you encounter wedding stress, acknowledge that at the end of the day what matters most is your marriage and the eternal commitment you are making to your spouse. It helps to put wedding planning stress in perspective because you appreciate that ultimately no matter what happens that day, you have the rest of your life to celebrate your love together.
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration. During the homily, our officiant cautioned, “Don’t get caught up in gender roles in your marriage. Get caught up in serving your spouse any way you can with all your energy.” That really stuck out to us because we’re pretty non-traditional couple. We never had to stress over who was going to fit into what role and why when planning our marriage because we both committed to just doing the best we can and loving each other unconditionally. That’s all you can ever really ask for.

Amber Housley and Brocade Designs are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
11 Comments
  1. avatar Kelly reply

    Ahhh!!! The rock candy cake decor, the citrus-lined centerpieces, the hot balloon guest “book” — every last detail just makes me want to live in this wedding!!!! Can I have a modified version to use as my home office?!

  2. avatar Kristyn Hogan reply

    Loved every single details :)

  3. avatar Kat reply

    Everything about this wedding just makes me smile!!! It’s so FUN!!! Love the hot pink, gold glitter and all the sweet personal touches :)

  4. avatar Emily reply

    This is by far one of my favorite weddings you guys have ever shared! The pure joy that radiates from the bride and groom, the wedding party, and the guests is contagious!!

  5. avatar Style Sweets Magazine reply

    Love this wedding…So much color, I tell ya,I wish I was there to see those dance moves. lol.

  6. avatar Amanda reply

    This wedding is absolutely amazing!!!! What are the chances of finding out where she scored those glitter linens??

  7. avatar Dee Shore reply

    What a beautiful and vibrant wedding. Congratulations to the adorable couple!

  8. avatar Fabulous Pink and Gold Wedding | Wedding Resource reply

    […] is one wedding we wish we could have attended: this hot pink and gold Nashville wedding featured on Southern Weddings. This celebration pretty much had it all: sparkly gold tablecloths, a […]

    • avatar Wendy Jackson reply

      Where can I buy the broncos to glitter ???? I need them for a high school dance

  9. avatar 8 Easy Equestrian Centerpieces | Horses & Heels reply

    […] 1. Glittery gold horse: Southern Weddings […]

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