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With our own long distance relationship experiences, Lisa, Kristin, and I can all relate to Sarah and Mike’s love story. We know too well the challenges being far away can cause, but also, the incredible growth it can produce in relationships! Distance absolutely can make the heart grow fonder, and these two are a wonderful example of that. Being apart from family can also be a tough, so I especially love how Sarah and Mike included their family members throughout their wedding day by including loved ones’ signature desserts on the sweets table, as well as tying the knot just around the corner from where Sarah grew up. Magnolia leaf details and hay rides around Summerfield Farm during cocktail hour round out this sweet Southern day!

Big hugs to our lovely Blue Ribbon Vendor, Robyn Van Dyke for sharing this beautiful day with us!

I wore my sister-in-law’s veil as my something borrowed. My mom’s handkerchief that she had used on her wedding day was my something blue, since it had a blue flower detail. My Maw Maw’s diamond earrings were my something old, and my something new were my shoes!

This prayer photo is so sweet, I smile every single time I scroll past it!

Y’all may not catch this “I spy,” but that adorable blonde third from the right is Mrs. Callie Pitts Davis, our friend Nancy Ray’s associate photographer!

Describe your wedding flowers. We used a wonderful florist, Stacy at The Farmer’s Wife. We were given her name by word of mouth–the only advertising they use! She was wonderful to work with and helped me make a lot of decisions along the way. Our colors were white and green, so we used hydrangeas and magnolia leaves. There were also some berries in the bouquets that added some grey/blue tones.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We both agree that our first look was the most memorable part of the day. Being able to see each other for the first time and being able to talk about how we were feeling was special. Plus, I loved being the only one who got to experience Mike’s reaction! The day goes by so fast and can be overwhelming, and those few quiet moments with the person who matters the most were the best.

After looking at several different venues all over North Carolina, my parents told me that if I got married in Greensboro, they would make sure I got a Maxie B’s cake! I started looking in my hometown, and by chance, found our venue. At the time, they were starting to do renovations, so I had no real idea what it would look like on our wedding day. I knew it was going to be special though, because it was a few miles away from everything I knew growing up–my parents’ house, the schools I attended, and lots of loved ones. Plus, my dad loved the idea of treating guests to a hay ride during cocktail hour!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose to say traditional wedding vows, keeping the ceremony simple for the two of us! I had our wedding vows written in calligraphy to display on a table in our reception area and now in our home.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We each chose a reading for our ceremony. I chose Jeremiah 17:8 and Mike chose Philippians 2:5-11. Both verses were meaningful to our relationship and what we hope for in our marriage.

Growing up in Greensboro, you have to love Maxie B’s. My high school friends and I spent our nights eating cake and talking about life in the little corner of Maxie B’s, so I knew my wedding cake would come from them. We did a pumpkin chocolate chip cake for the base and their fresh strawberry cake for the top layer. I also have some wonderful grandmas who make amazing cakes, so I asked them if they would each make their signature cakes for us and they agreed. My Maw Maw made a strawberry cake and a blackberry cake, and my grandma made a coconut cake and pound cake. More family members then offered to make their signature desserts, and it all added up to one of the most delicious dessert bars!

Don’t miss Sarah + Mike’s highlight film by Jeff Brewer!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met during our freshman year of college at NC State through Young Life. We were eventually placed on the same Young Life team and became great friends. At the end of our senior year, we admitted that there were some feelings there, but since we were going to continue to be leaders on the same team, we could not date until the end of the next school year. After we finished our time as Young Life leaders, we went on our first date, which was the rehearsal dinner of two of our close friends. We began dating that summer, and in September, Mike accepted a job and moved to Napa, California. We made trips to see each other about every other month. It was really hard being in different time zones and so far apart, but we made it work with lots of FaceTiming and emailing!
Tell us all about the proposal! Mike was back from Carolina for two weeks during Christmas, and before he got home, we talked about taking some day trips to spend time together. When he mentioned a trip to Washington D.C on New Years Eve, I thought nothing out of the ordinary. We left early and spent our day sightseeing, even though it was so cold that day. As we neared the end, Mike told me he really wanted to see the Jefferson Memorial and I disagreed–I was ready to sit in the warm car! I even said, “This had better be worth it!” as we began walking over! Once we got to the memorial, Mike sat me down to tell me he was ready to begin talking about getting married and making a plan for what our future might hold. After our conversation, he prayed for us and asked if I wanted to take some pictures. While I was turned around taking a picture, I heard Mike say my name, and when I looked over, he was down on one knee. He asked me to marry him and I said yes! We had a long car ride home full of calls to our family and friends to tell them we were engaged!
When did y’all get married? November 9, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: One of the most meaningful details was our guest book. William Mangum is a local artist who lives in Greensboro, and he paints beautiful watercolors of North Carolina. He had a book called “North Carolina Beautiful” full of images familiar to both Mike and I of the state we know and love. We made a table of contents so that our friends and family could find and sign pages that were significant to them as well. There were pictures from all over the state and it was such a wonderful piece to take with us to our new home in California. Plus, William Mangum wrote a message and signed it too!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We both have family in the wine industry, so we were able to save a lot of money stocking our bar. Our florist also made great strides to make sure we stayed within budget. I made all of our place cards and programs.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t compare. With social media, blogs, and Pinterest, there is so much out there that can help or harm the wedding planning process. Our story was so different and it was so easy to compare it to what others have. I am so grateful that I married a man who does not care about all the little details and reminds me of the real truth of what our marriage means!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are now living in Napa and are happy that we are finally living our lives together. It has been challenging, but also rewarding, to live a life where we are far away from everything we know, and it has been really fun to explore the West Coast together!

Photographer: Robyn Van Dyke / Videographer: Jeff Brewer / Day-Of Coordination: Melissa Lewkowicz / Venue: Summerfield Farms / Florist: The Farmer’s Wife / Wedding Cake: Maxie B’s / Caterer: Fresh. Local. Good. Food Group / Band: JAVA / Calligraphy: Rachel Velasquez / Bride’s Gown: “5802” by Liancarlo / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Accessories: Nitsa’s / Hair Stylist: Amy Gooch / Bride’s Shoes: Born / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Custom by Maura Stewart / Men’s Attire: Jos. A Bank

marissa Written with love by Marissa
22 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    I’m in love with those bridesmaid dresses–what a perfect color for a fall wedding, and so perfect with the magnolia leaf details!

  2. avatar featured: southern weddings » Robyn Van Dyke Photography Blog reply

    […] so honored to have Sarah & Mike‘s gorgeous wedding featured on Southern Weddings today!! Hooray!! Big hugs as always to all the lovely ladies at our favorite wedding blog and […]

  3. avatar Laura reply

    I love that guest book idea! What a treasure to keep for years to come! And as a Greensboro transplant, I definitely understand the need for Maxie B’s cake!

  4. avatar Chelsea reply

    Love love love the magnolia leaf accents! That rich green with the white hydrangea is just gorgeous!

  5. avatar Melody reply

    This is my beautiful niece and her handsome husband. The wedding was wonderful and a special day to us all. Sarah & Mike are such a sweet couple. What a surprise to see it posted and shared with others.

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  8. avatar Candice reply

    My sister is getting married on New Years Eve and we absolutely love the bridesmaid dresses! Can anyone tell me where to find these or if they were custom made? Thank you so much! This wedding was absolutely gorgeous! Love it!!!

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  12. avatar Sarah reply

    Where are the bridesmaids dresses from?

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Sarah! These lovely dresses were made custom by Maura Stewart. Have a great day! xx, Marissa

  13. avatar Ariel reply

    How do I get ahold of Maura Stewart, who made these bridesmaid gowns? I want the same ones for my wedding in June!

  14. avatar Jessica Thompson reply

    My soon to be sister in law is absolutely in love with these bridesmaids dresses!! Is there away to contact the lady that made them? Thank you in advance.

    • avatar Sarah Risk reply

      Hi all,

      Here is a link to the website of my Maura Stewart, together we picked out the pattern and I purchased the fabric and materials to make the dress.
      http://www.lillianstewart.com/

      I believe my dress was an ivory/ivory. I also have the white version if you are interested Sarah-email me!

      Best of luck to all planning and prepping!

  15. avatar Sarah reply

    Lovely wedding!! do you know what color the liancarlo dress was? ivory/ivory? or ivory/creme?

  16. avatar Kellie reply

    Your pictures are GORGEOUS. Where did you get the bridesmaid’s dresses? They’re perfect!

  17. avatar Holly Green reply

    I have to have these dresses!! How can I find them to buy?!? Help!! Please email me h.green07@live.com

  18. avatar Marisa reply

    I have been looking everywhere for those bridesmaids dresses! Where did you get those???

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi Marisa! Sarah’s bridesmaid dresses were custom made by Maura Stewart :)

  19. avatar 6 Reasons to Have a Winter Wedding reply

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Believe it or not, Emily and Chris met during an Animal House-themed frat party! These two never thought they’d meet their better halves while donning togas, but after chatting, their common interests proved to take this meet cute right to relationship! Now, these two spend their time making way too much jam (be sure to read their adorable interview!), and dating each other even after their wedding–love that! Emily’s best advice for brides? “Continue to date each other and set aside time together that does not involve wedding planning.” We couldn’t agree more!

Big thanks to Graham Terhune for sharing this gorgeous day that had Lisa and I swooning all last week! We could barely wait to share it!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed was my mom’s sixpence that she wore in her shoe on her wedding day. For my something blue, I honored both of my sweet grandmothers by wrapping a piece of my Grandmama’s blue wedding dress and my Granny’s blue handkerchief around my bouquet. My something old was my Papa’s fraternity ring that he wore every day. My something new was my sparkly Jimmy Choos!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes and we’re so glad that we did! Our “first look” pictures are some of our favorites. Although we were initially hesitant to stray from tradition, we agreed to give it a shot for the sake of getting to spend more time with our guests at the reception and being able to enjoy a quiet moment together. Walking down the aisle to my groom was equally as exciting and emotional!

I walked down the aisle to a bagpipe and organ duet of “Highland Cathedral.” Bagpipes have a special significance in Western North Carolina and I had always dreamed of walking down the aisle to this song. One of our favorite wedding planning moments was a private concert with our amazingly talented organist to select our music. We chose “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” for our Gospel hymn and my all-time favorite, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” for our communion hymn. We walked back up the aisle to “Hornpipe” by G.F. Handel. Our bagpiper was playing out on the lawn as guests exited the cathedral to board trolleys to the reception. Selecting our first dance song was perhaps the most difficult decision we made! We decided on “That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding. My dad and I danced to “Tupelo Honey” by our favorite artist, Van Morrison. Chris and his mother danced the Carolina shag to “I Love Beach Music” by The Embers in honor of Chris’ late father, who played in a beach music band.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We incorporated several pieces of custom artwork. We worked with an incredibly talented family friend and artist to create a Quaker marriage certificate for guests to sign and a bar menu with our signature drinks and beer and wine selections. We also purchased a watercolor wedding map to include in our welcome bags and a custom painted monogram to use as a label for our strawberry jam wedding favors. Each of these are now hanging on the wall in our home and serve as a lovely reminder of our wedding day.

Describe your wedding flowers. Since most of our guests were from out of town, we wanted our reception to feel casual and welcoming, like a dinner party among friends. Stacey from the Bloom Room gave our venue the romantic, homey vibe that we envisioned with low arrangements of flowers that were lush, but not over the top. We used anemones, garden roses, peonies, hydrangea, and delicate greenery in an eclectic mix of antique silver, crystal, and mercury glass vases.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. It was divine! Our cake was funfetti with vanilla buttercream filling and frosting. The icing had a subtle, soft texture with our new married monogram on the top layer. Each layer had a piped beaded border and touches of fresh flowers.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I think one of the biggest things that sets Southern weddings apart is the value placed on honoring family traditions. For us, the most special of those was that we were married on my parents’ anniversary! One of my favorite details was a handkerchief I gave my mom with both of our monograms and wedding dates. We included the cake pull tradition at the bridal luncheon the day before, and then each bridesmaid tied their charm around their bouquet. We also served several classic Southern comfort foods at our reception. We had mini trout cakes and pimento cheese crackers for cocktail hour and buttermilk fried chicken (tossed in NC’s Texas Pete hot sauce!), green beans, and macaroni and cheese for dinner.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chris at I met during the fall semester of our senior year at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. We knew of each other through friends; however, we officially met at an “Animal House”-themed mixer for his fraternity and my sorority. I never would have guessed that I would meet my husband at a toga party! We exchanged phone numbers and quickly found that we had a lot in common. We had our first date later that week with dinner at our favorite Greek restaurant and a walk through the arboretum.
Tell us all about the proposal! We planned a trip to the mountains to visit my parents for the weekend. On that Saturday, December 15, the four of us decided to head to Asheville to see the annual gingerbread house competition at the Grove Park Inn. After we spent time looking at the exhibit, Chris suggested that we walk around the resort a bit and get a picture together. We stopped to pose for a picture on a terrace overlooking a beautiful sunset over the Blue Ridge mountains. Just as my mom was getting ready to snap the picture, Chris got down on one knee and proposed! Then, as the icing on the cake, Chris’ mom and sister came running out to congratulate us. Little did I know, they had followed us from a distance throughout the gingerbread exhibit and around the resort. After that, we celebrated with dinner and champagne with our families.
When did y’all get married? April 26, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 170
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Before we were engaged, I fell in love with a dreamy tulle cap sleeve gown that I saw on Pinterest. When I started shopping for my wedding dress, I realized that the chances of finding that gown were slim to none, as it was an older design. I hoped to find something similar from the same designer, so I scheduled an appointment at Nitsa’s in Charlotte and invited my mom, sister, both grandmothers, and my best friend. As we began pulling dresses to try on, I was so excited to find that my dream dress was still available! The dress was everything that I hoped it would be: soft, feminine, and perfect for twirling!
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My family is from a very small town near Asheville. We knew that our church would be too small to accommodate our guests, and reception venue options in my hometown would be limited. We decided to get married in Asheville, the city where Chris proposed and a place we love to visit together. We had our ceremony at the historic All Souls Cathedral. All Souls was commissioned in 1896 by George Washington Vanderbilt III, developer of the Biltmore Estate. For our reception, we loved the intimate atmosphere of the Century Room, with its exposed brick walls and views of downtown Asheville.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We recited traditional Episcopalian vows and wrote our own personal vows to each other that were read on the morning of our wedding.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My granddaddy read Philippians 4:4-9. This reading comforted us during the chaos of the final months of wedding planning and kept us focused on the meaning of marriage. Our other readings were Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, read by Chris’ sister, and Matthew 5:1-10 for our Gospel reading.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our biggest challenge was definitely the guest list. We made the unfortunate mistake of booking a reception venue before we created our guest list. We spent so much time analyzing room diagrams and sending desperate emails to the event coordinator at the Century Room. In the end, I think we were able to maximize the space as best we could.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Chris and I love to cook together, so we decided to make strawberry jam for our wedding favors. We slightly underestimated the amount of time that it would take to make 170 jars of jam and ended up spending an entire weekend in the kitchen, but it was well worth it. We also took on a few other DIY projects, including our escort card display and a sidewalk sign.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We are so grateful to have had Graham Terhune Photography! Graham and his wife, Samantha, are the sweetest, most genuine people that we had the pleasure of working with. They made us feel so comfortable on our wedding day and they didn’t miss one second of action. One of the best moments for my mom was watching Graham chase after our getaway car to ensure he got a great shot!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We will never forget when our priest asked us to turn around and glance around the church during the homily. Seeing so many of our favorite people from all different parts of our lives gathered together to celebrate with us was such an overwhelming feeling!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It can be so easy to lose sight of the purpose of your wedding, especially when you get wrapped up in all of the details you “have to have.” Continue to date each other and set aside time together that does not involve wedding planning.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We’re enjoying life as husband and wife and spending time with our dog, Betsey. On our wedding day, Chris surprised me with 12 dates to celebrate each month in our first year of marriage. Next month, we’re headed to the U.S. Open!

Photographer: Graham Terhune Photography / Videographer: Good Earth Films / Ceremony Venue: The Cathedral of All Souls / Reception Venue: The Century Room / Florist: The Bloom Room / Cake Baker: City Bakery / Rentals and Lighting: Classic Event Rental / DJ: Mitch Fortune Productions / Bride’s Gown: “Julianna” by Christos / Paper Products: Reaves Engraving / Bridal Salon and Veil: Nitsa’s / Bride’s Earrings: The Bride’s Maids Shop / Bride’s Bracelet: Tiffany & Co. / Hair and Makeup: L.A. Beauty Bar /Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “G763C” by Amsale / Men’s Attire: Black by Vera Wang / Wedding Coordinator: Joseph W. Lane Events / Transportation: Gray Line Trolley / Reception Dress: Kate Spade / Getting Ready Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar / Cufflinks: Smathers & Branson / Calligraphy: Dottie McKesson and Brinkley McNeil / Wedding Map: Caligrafia Bella / Quaker Marriage Certificate and Bar Menu: Lauren Gray Weddings

Graham Terhune is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Oh my goodness, I love this wedding so much! Emily and Chris are absolutely beautiful together, and the details they chose are so lovely and thoughtful.

  2. avatar Graham reply

    We love seeing Emily and Chris’ gorgeous Asheville wedding featured on SW today! Thank y’all so much the feature!

  3. avatar Rachel Nordgren reply

    That dress is absolutely dreamy! Also…homemade strawberry jam? Fantastic idea for favors!

  4. avatar Nancy Ray reply

    Well done, friends! This is stunning!

  5. avatar Plum Pretty Sugar reply

    Oh goodness! What a stunning couple! It is such a treat to have our robes be a part of their wedding day! We send love and so many congratulations. So much!

    xo

  6. avatar North Carolina Wedding Film by Good Earth Films – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] and I had a bit of an e-mail swoon-fest over Emily and Chris’ Asheville wedding when we featured it earlier this year, so you can imagine my delight when Good Earth Films sent […]

  7. avatar Wedding Video Wednesday XXI » Borrowed and Blue Occasions reply

    […] Aren’t they just adorable?!? This gorgeous couple was also featured on the Southern Weddings Blog! […]

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