I think that all weddings are filled with joy (as they should be!), but sometimes, we feature weddings of couples so bubbling over with joy, one can’t help but smile while looking through the photos! That’s how I feel about Caroline and Will. I swear, Caroline has the biggest, most contagious smile in almost every photo Robyn Van Dyke captured! After years of long distance dating, deployments, and many moves, it’s no wonder these two are all smiles on their wedding day. Throw in perfectly classic details and boys in their military uniforms, and you’ve got the recipe for one sweet Southern soirée!
With Memorial Day right around the corner, we’re so honored to share this wedding made up of just a few of the brave men and women who protect and serve our great country. Big hugs to our friend Robyn for sharing it with us!
Girls after my own heart! I spy a few pairs of Jack Rogers to go with their monogrammed robes!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? One of our dearest friends and groomsmen read Revelation 19:5-9 right before they opened the doors and I walked down the aisle with my dad. Our other sweet friend read Ephesians 4:32-5:2 later in the service. Both the scriptures and the readers made our ceremony very special, and we couldn’t have loved it more. Our pastor, Russ Andrews, did an amazing job of keeping our ceremony focused on Jesus Christ. Russ gave a small sermon to make sure our families and friends knew Will and I weren’t taking any credit for finding each other, and that our marriage was going to be based on our faith in the Lord.
Describe your wedding flowers. Our florist was Kelly Odom, and his work is absolutely flawless. I told him my colors and asked for white and very pale pink flowers. I told him as long as the bouquets were round and full with those colors, he could choose the rest. The flowers were breathtaking and exactly what I wanted.
Since Will is in the military as a Navy pilot, we had all military attendees wear their military uniforms, and we had a sword arch out of the church, announcing Will and I as husband and wife for the first time. We had a pretty large wedding party with eight bridesmaids, seven groomsmen, and eight flower girls/ring bearers. We served lots of Southern food at our reception, including shrimp and grits, chicken tenders, and BBQ sandwich sliders. The most important thing to both Will and I are our families and friends, which I like to think comes from us being from the South. We could not have been happier having all the people we love the most under one roof, dancing the night away.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Will and I decided that we wanted that moment of seeing each other for the first time to be when I was walking down the aisle to him to become his wife. There is something so special and amazing about seeing each other in that moment after a long day of preparation and chaos, and knowing that your future starts right there.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Will and I knew we wanted to get married in a church, but my parents’ church was in transition and was meeting at my old high school auditorium at the time. I knew there was absolutely no way Will would get married at his rival high school, so that was out. Will’s family are members at Edenton Street United Methodist church in downtown Raleigh, and once I walked into the empty sanctuary with the gorgeous chandeliers, tall ceilings, and stained glass everywhere, I knew that was it. I had been to a service there before, but seeing it empty and imagining our wedding there was perfect. The reception venue was the Carolina Country Club, where I grew up going with my family. We had made so many memories there in the past that it seemed fitting to make one of our biggest memories there as well.
LOVE Caroline’s face in this shot!!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge during our ten months of engagement was planning our wedding while I was in North Carolina and Will was in Texas. We were both in school, and trying to find time to plan was a little harder then we had expected.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The church where we got married has an amazing organ with the most talented organist. He helped me choose the music for the seating of the guests, grandmothers and mothers. I didn’t really have a preference on those songs as long as it was played by him. I walked down the aisle to “Love Never Fails.” When I first listened to the words of this song, I got chills everywhere. It seemed so appropriate for a bride walking to her groom to be bound in love through Jesus Christ. Our first dance song wasn’t really up for discussion because we both knew what it would be. Coming from oldies-loving families, we decided on “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green. It was perfect.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It’s hard to choose a most memorable moment, but Will and I think it was the dancing and gathering of our friends. Being a part of the military, most of our friends are spread out all over the country or deployed overseas. Getting to see everyone at the same time is very rare, and even though we still had some dear friends missing, sharing our wedding with those who could make it was so special. Our military friends have no problem starting the dance party!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Will and I met our senior year in high school in 2007. My best friend was dating his best friend, and after being introduced by them one night, I decided he wasn’t going to get away. Will played soccer for his school, and for the last few games of the season, I made sure I was at every one. I don’t think it took Will too long to notice, so he asked me if we could hang out after school one day so I could give him a haircut…very smooth of him. That afternoon led to more after-school get-togethers, movie nights with our friends, and both of our senior proms. After high school, Will was going to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland while I was staying at Meredith College in our hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina. We knew this was going to mean a lot of long distance and an unknown future, but being without each other would be harder then any of that. We decided to give it a chance. From June-August while he was at boot camp, all we could do was write letters to stay in contact, and that’s exactly what we did. It was a hard summer for both of us but we know it made us so much stronger in the end.
Tell us all about the proposal! Will was in flight school to become an F-18 pilot in Kingsville, Texas at the time. We had been doing long distance for about five years at this point. During my fall break from school in October 2012, I flew to Texas. There isn’t a whole lot to do in the small town of Kingsville, so we drove to Fredericksburg, a little German town with vineyards everywhere. Neither Will nor I had ever been to a vineyard, so that Saturday, we had the best time doing tours and wine tastings. After we were ready to go to dinner, Will started driving up a hill, the opposite direction from town. He kept telling me he just wanted to see if we could see the sunset from the top, and of course, I was fine with that. As we drove to the top, all we could see were construction signs and tape and we couldn’t drive any further. Thinking about it now, I know Will’s stomach must have dropped because he didn’t really have a plan B. He had also taken the ring out of the box and placed it by itself in his pocket, so we drove on to dinner and Will spent the whole night clenching his right jean pocket! That night, we got back to our place, and as we stood on the porch about to walk inside, Will pulled me close and began to tell me how much he loved me and some other things I can’t remember, because he got down on one knee and I’m pretty sure I blacked out. Once I caught my breath, I had to ask him if I had even told him yes–I was so shocked and so overwhelmed with joy and love! I had been waiting for this moment for five long years and it couldn’t have been more perfect.
When did y’all get married? August 24, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 350
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my dress was probably the thing I was looking forward to the most during wedding planning. My mom and my aunt drove with me to Nitsa’s in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I am in love with any kind of shopping, so we prepared ourselves for what we thought was going to be a full day of me trying on every dress in the store. As I was looking through the racks, one dress in particular caught my eye. I had to try it on and I wanted it to be the first one. I had never understood why girls cry when they try on wedding dresses or find the dress of their dreams, but I became that girl that day. I saw myself in the mirror and it was so surreal. It was the exact dress I had pictured myself in and I knew Will was going to love it too. I tried on a few more dresses to see if any compared, but none did.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Will and I were very excited about the wedding cake! Cinda’s Creative Cakes gave us amazing cake design and flavor options. Our cake was four tiers high and round. Cinda copied the look of the beaded band around my wedding dress on each tier on the cake, and used all white frosting and flowers on the top tier. The end result was beautiful and absolutely delicious. The flavors we chose were strawberry, funfetti (with pink sprinkles), chocolate, and cinnamon swirl. We can’t wait until our anniversary so we can eat it all over again!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Having the sword arch as a part of our wedding was probably my favorite detail. I have seen it done at many other military weddings, but seeing it from the bride’s view walking out with her new husband is indescribable.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We couldn’t have been happier with our pictures taken by Robyn Van Dyke and her husband Jordan. Because of their amazing talent, we will never forget one detail of our special day. The other vendor that played a huge part in our wedding day was our band, Black & Blue. My parents had heard them for the first time at a friend’s wedding a year before, and she knew right away that we would love them too. To say we had a dance party is an understatement. Will and I still talk about how much fun we had and how we wish we could have our reception all over again!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Always remember the real reason you are having the wedding. Planning a wedding can be stressful, even when you think it’s going to be a breeze, so don’t let the little things cause issues in your relationships. Enjoy every second because it goes by so fast, including the planning!!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are stationed in Virginia Beach for now. It is going to be a huge change for me because I have never left Raleigh or my family, but after six years of distance, I would have gone anywhere to finally start our lives together. We have waited so long for this and could not feel more blessed to be close to home and finally have each other in the same time zone!
Photographer: Robyn Van Dyke / Ceremony Venue: Edenton Street United Methodist Church / Reception Venue: Carolina Country Club / Florist: Kelly Odom / Cake Baker: Cinda’s Creative Cakes / Band: Black & Blue / Bride’s Gown: “Mackenzie” by Amsale / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale / Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Images by Denise / Bride’s Shoes: Toms / Groomsmen’s Suits: and Suits by Mantoni from Ticknors
Robyn Van Dyke is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!