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Y’all, you’re not always going to agree with your beau when it comes to wedding planning (or in your marriage!)….and that’s okay! Communication and compromise are incredible tools to combat these little tangles. For today’s darling couple, choosing a venue might not have been a disagreement, but it did take a bit of time for Evan to fully understand Hannah’s venue preference. Hannah had always dreamed of getting married in the historic chapel on her boarding school campus, and while Evan may not have shared her vision at the beginning, it only took one visit to Saint Mary’s before he was on board, telling Hannah “I totally get how special this chapel is to you now, and I’m excited to share a memory with you here.” And share they did! These two lived out one of my very favorite pieces of wedding day advice: stick together! Hannah and Evan vowed their lives to each other on their wedding day, but also promised not leave one another’s sides the whole day after the ceremony, helping them to experience their special day together and share the same memories. BDK and I also used this simple technique, and I cannot support it more!

Thank you to Almond Leaf Studios for being on hand to capture this beautiful day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I’m a decisive girl, but would much rather have five things to pick from than twenty. I went wedding dress shopping with my mom, my sister, and my maternal grandmother in Charlotte, where I grew up and these ladies live. We went to a great boutique downtown called Hayden Olivia and I ended up finding my dress that day! I walked in and told the Hayden Olivia girls that I was not a fan of lace…and then, lo and behold, I walked out with a full lace dress. The way that I knew I had “the dress” was that when I put it on, I felt completely confident and like myself.

I went to an all-girls high school in Raleigh, North Carolina for boarding school and have always dreamed of getting married in the historic chapel on campus. My sweet groom was so patient through the whole planning process, and when I described how special Saint Mary’s is to me, he was on board with being married there. When Evan finally visited the chapel on one of our planning trips to Raleigh, he hugged me and whispered “I totally get how special this chapel is to you now, and I’m excited to share a memory with you here.” Saint Mary’s agreed to let us have our reception on campus too, since the girls were out for summer break. It ended up being perfect and so convenient for us, our bridal party, and our guests!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Unbeknownst to us, our officiant asked our parents and grandparents to write a short piece of marriage advice for us, which she read during her homily. It was so special and completely a surprise!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? It’s hard to pinpoint what was specifically “Southern” about our wedding because Southern is just who we are, but there are a few things that stand out. We served ham biscuit and chicken and waffles passed hors d’oeuvres with mojitos and sangria during cocktail hour. Our cocktail hour entertainment was a bluegrass trio, which is pretty darn Southern. We served Jack Daniels and craft beers from Tennessee and North Carolina, each of our home states, during the evening. The grandmothers and mothers wore corsages. Our reception entertainment was a movin’ and shakin’ soul band out of Atlanta called Evolution Party Band.

Evan and I vowed not to leave one another’s sides the whole day after the ceremony, and that was the best decision we made that day. It meant that all of the memories that we made on our wedding day were made together and in the same moment. A wise man gave me the advice that when it’s all said and done, this day is about your newly declared obligations to your spouse and your spouse’s to you. Greet your guests, have fun with them, but don’t forget to make all of the memories together with your new spouse. That’s the most important person on your wedding day and for the rest of your life.

We wanted our whole day to be reflective of us, so I chose wedding flowers that felt very natural and organic. We used lots of greens, whites, and some blush colors in loose arrangements. Gregg of Brides & Bouquets even incorporated some fresh herbs and blueberries into the arrangements, which was way cool!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I think the most important thing to think about is that you’re not planning a wedding–you’re planning a marriage. The dress and frills are great and all, but at the end of the wedding day, you should really be thinking about the fact that you entered the ceremony as individuals and left the ceremony a new family. That happens in a mere matter of minutes and that’s pretty darn amazing. It’s really important not to lose sight of that. Also, if you have room in your budget, hire a wedding planner! Even if just for the day, it’s nice to have someone be “in charge” so you, your mama, and your bridal party can just enjoy the wedding.

Evan gave me my (now our) dog, Honeybee, in college. My parents weren’t totally on board with me having a dog in college, but my dad is a beekeeper and I decided that naming the dog “Bee” would surely win my parents over. Cha-ching, it worked! The honeybee kind of became a theme at our wedding, thanks to our dog being named Bee, the outdoorsy feel of the wedding, and my dad’s honey from his latest harvest being our favors. We decided that having a cake that looked like a beehive would be a neat way to tie everything together. It looked amazing and tasted even better! We had one tier of lemon, one tier of almond, and one tier of confetti cake. We cut into the confetti cake tier–so fun!

Don’t miss their wedding film by Heart Stone Films below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Evan and I met during our freshman year of college at the University of Tennessee. Mutual friends organized a backpacking trip in the Smoky Mountains and invited both of us along. After a weekend of camping, hiking, no showering, and sleeping on the ground, Evan still wanted to take me on a date! We returned from our backpacking trip on Sunday and Evan took me on our first date on Monday evening. Seven years together passed before our wedding day! To this day, being outside together is still our favorite pastime.
Tell us all about the proposal! After college, Evan and I both decided to pursue our dreams together, but apart. He worked on a boat in the Bahamas and I worked in an art gallery in London. To make things even more convenient, we were accepted to graduate schools in different states. When he started dental school in Memphis Tennessee, I started graduate school for art education in the mountains of North Carolina…a fun eight-hour drive apart! Evan asked my dad (and siblings) for their blessing over Christmas break of 2013, knowing that being all the way in Memphis meant that he might not see my family again for a long time! Nine months later (the secret nearly killed my sister), Evan flew out to Western North Carolina to visit me for a weekend in October 2014. We decided to go for a hike with my dog to enjoy the perfect fall weather and take in the changing leaves. We got to our summit spot on the hike and sat for a little picnic. After we ate lunch, Evan popped the question. I did not see it coming and was totally surprised! The best things about the proposal were that it was reminiscent of the way that we met, and we got to enjoy the moment all to ourselves for a few hours as we hiked back down the mountain!
When did y’all get married? June 20, 2015, nine months after the proposal
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 200
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No first looks. We decided to keep it traditional, and the tears in our eyes when we saw each other made the wait totally worth it.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a guitarist and a violinist as our ceremony musicians. They played “What a Wonderful World” during the seating of the mothers and grandmothers, “Here Comes the Sun” during the bridesmaid processional, “Water is Wide” when my dad and I walked down the aisle, and “Oh Happy Day” when we left the chapel. We had a bluegrass trio to entertain during the cocktail hour and an larger band during our reception.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Sure did. I borrowed my mom’s veil, had my new monogram stitched into my dress in blue thread (and my bridesmaids wore blue!), the diamond in my ring was Evan’s grandmother’s, and my dress was new. I also wore a handmade lace garter that has been worn by women on my mother’s side of the family for several generations. We even remembered to rub a sixpence in my shoe before the ceremony, another family tradition, for good luck!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We will be in Memphis until Evan finishes up dental school, so I’ll be painting and teaching, and then who knows. To infinity and beyond!

Photographer: Almond Leaf Studios | Videographer: Heart Stone Films | Planner: Orangerie Events | Ceremony Venue: The Chapel at Saint Mary’s School | Reception Venue: Saint Mary’s School | Florist: Brides & Bouquets | Wedding Cake: Sugar Euphoria | Dessert Baker: Sweet Water Ices | Caterer: Belle’s Catering | Rentals: Party Reflections and Paisley and Jade | Lighting: Get Lit | Band: Evolution Party Band of East Coast Entertainment | Special Details: One and Only Paper | Paper Products: Little House Shoppe | Bride’s Gown: Modern Trousseau | Bridal Salon: Hayden Olivia | Hair Stylist: Studio Etica | Makeup Artist: Makeup for Your Day | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank | On-site Painting: Ben Keys of Wed on Canvas

Heart Stone Films, Orangerie Events, and Sugar Euphoria are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Paisley & Jade reply

    We absolutely love this wedding! The Orangerie styling of our chalkboard bar is gorgeous and our London Doors as a popcorn bar?! Just awesome. Thanks so much for featuring Hannah and Evan’s beautiful day!

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I’m convinced that deciding where to get married is either one of the easiest or one of the hardest wedding planning decisions. I relate so much to Erin and Sean’s decision to marry in Raleigh, where they would be starting their newlywed life, because Dave and I did the exact same thing! For their classic Southern celebration, Erin and Sean brought a little bit of their hometowns to Raleigh by filling their downtown venues with nautical touches that nodded to their childhoods spent on the coast. My favorite detail of Erin and Sean’s big day? While they were introducing loved ones to their new hometown, they were also giving family and friends mementos for their own homes: “We have our oyster shell place cards displayed on our coffee table, and we’ve visited with friends who kept their place cards and have them displayed in their homes, too!”

Thank you so much to Julie Livingston for sharing this lovely day with us!

My mom, grandmother, and mother-in-law were all with me when I found my dress. I had two appointments in Raleigh and ultimately found my dress at the last place we went, Maggi Bridal. I had no clue what I wanted, so I tried on quite a few dresses, but it ended up being so easy for me to pick the dress. My dress was just so elegant, timeless, and Southern, which is what I wanted our entire wedding day to exude! My favorite part of the whole day was seeing the reactions every time I came out of the dressing room. Of course, they loved every dress I tried on!

Describe your wedding flowers. We started out with the idea of using driftwood and oyster shells as part of our arrangements and decor, as both Sean and I grew up near the coast. Our florist was so on board with our ideas, and had so many ideas of her own. It was so much fun to collaborate with her and watch her bring our vision to life in ways we couldn’t have imagined! Our flowers had a coastal theme and were all shades of creams, ivories, and whites with lots of greenery. Anna, our florist, was also able to source snowball viburnum, which was used in our bouquets and floral arrangements. This was especially important to me, as my late grandmother had a snowball bush that she was so proud of, so including the snowball viburnum was such a special way to honor her. There was even a huge vase filled with it near the entrance to the Merrimon-Wynne House–it was one of my favorite pieces!

Everything from our venue, to the food we served, to some of the traditions we kept was Southern! We buried a bottle of bourbon, which Sean and his groomsmen dug up the morning of our wedding while getting ready. To keep Sean and I from seeing each other, my brother brought me a glass of the bourbon! In addition to the tradition, the food we served was very Southern: mini chicken and waffles, fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, and shrimp and grits!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Sean and I decided we wanted to get married in Raleigh. We loved Raleigh and it was where we would be starting our lives together as husband and wife, so we wanted to choose a venue that would show all of our guests just how great Raleigh and North Carolina are. We started going to Edenton Street United Methodist Church in downtown Raleigh during the summer we were engaged and we loved it. We instantly felt like we were part of a family at EUMC, so there was no question that we wanted to get married there. Our reception was at the Merrimon-Wynne House in downtown Raleigh. My mother and I went to visit the venue and as soon we we walked through the front door, we knew this was where we wanted the reception to be. The Merrimon-Wynne House was everything I could have dreamed of for our wedding–Southern, classic, gorgeous light…and the icing on the cake was that it was only a few blocks from our church and had plenty of room for all of our guests. We were able to get ready there too, and it was so fun to hang out at the house all day with some of my favorite women!

We used driftwood that my mother collected from the coasts of North Carolina and Virginia on the dinner tables, with larger pieces on the porch and the mantle. Anna did an amazing job in incorporating the driftwood into our floral arrangements. There was also a large piece of driftwood draped with greenery, flowers, oyster shells, and candles that hung over our sweetheart table–it was stunning, and now hangs over our couch in our home! We saved oyster shells from an engagement party that my aunt and uncle hosted for us, and from other oyster roasts we had as a family, and used those as place cards for our guests and throughout the decor. One and Only Stationers, who created our programs and other details, wrote each guest’s name on an oyster shell in navy ink. We have our oyster shell place cards displayed on our coffee table, and we’ve visited with friends who kept their place cards and have them displayed in their homes, too! I just loved how all of these pieces were gathered by my family and turned into special pieces that Sean and I have kept and incorporated into our home.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Time management! I work for a public accounting firm and my schedule at work is not light! Some days, I felt like I would never be able to plan a wedding because I just didn’t have time. Luckily, I was able to lean on my mom for a lot of help. I know she sacrificed a lot of time to help me plan the wedding of my dreams–but I don’t think either of us would have had it any other way!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t sweat the small stuff, because on the day of your wedding, you will forget all about the small stuff! Something will definitely happen or go wrong (like the electricity going out at church, in our case!), but at the end of the day, you will still be married and it will still be the best day ever!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. From Sean: Erin and I met at a JV football game in high school through mutual friends. I was playing for the varsity team at the time, but decided to stick around after practice to see some of the underclassmen play. I remember being introduced to Erin and immediately having this feeling that I knew she was the one. We started dating shortly after that memorable Thursday night some nine years ago. After enduring a few years in a somewhat-long distance relationship, with Erin at NC State and myself at East Carolina, I made the decision to move to Raleigh, where we call home today.
Tell us all about the proposal! I had just finished my Masters in Accounting at NC State University and was spending all summer studying for the CPA exam. I had just finished taking one of the exams and was meeting Sean for lunch at Player’s Retreat, near NC State’s campus. It was a gorgeous day, so after eating lunch, Sean suggested we go for a walk. We walked down Hillsborough Street towards NC State’s campus and ended up in the Court of Carolinas. As we walked out into the Court of Carolinas, I saw this little puppy next to the sidewalk sitting in a basket. I turned to Sean, a bit worried, and asked, “Is that a dog? Who would leave a puppy out here by itself in the middle of July?” Sean then proceeded to walk over to the puppy, picked him up, and said, “Erin, I’d like you to meet Murphy,” and put him in my arms. I was speechless! While I stood there wide-eyed over my new puppy, Sean turned around, grabbed the ring box out of the basket, got down on one knee, and proposed! We were both shaking and tearing up, we were so excited! It was one of the happiest days of my life–I got a fiancé and a puppy!
When did y’all get married? August 1, 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 did not write our own vows. Instead, we opted for the traditional vows, which still hold so much meaning to us and the commitment we made to each other.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My uncle Billy J read 1 Corinthians 13 and my Uncle Bill read Philippians 4:4-9. I love 1 Corinthians 13 because it not only tells how important love is in all aspects of our lives, but it also reminds us how to love one another. Philippians 4:4-9 is just a joyful passage and it was so wonderful to be reminded that the Lord was near, surrounding Sean and I, our families, and our friends with His love and grace. It was so special to have my uncles read these passages during our ceremony because I am so close to each of them, and Sean and I really look up to them!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I ended up with a multitude of borrowed, blue, old, and new items on my wedding day! I had a gold pin that my grandmother, her sister, my aunt, and my mother all wore when they were married. I also carried a handkerchief embroidered in blue given to me by a cousin on my mother’s side, who explained that all the women in our family had carried it, and I was to pass it on to the next cousin to get married. My mom and dad gave me a beautiful silver and diamond bracelet.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We attended a few marriage counseling sessions at Edenton St. United Methodist and with our pastor. Through these sessions, I realized more and more how ready and happy I was to be marrying this man.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are living and working in Raleigh with our dog, Murphy. So far, we have just enjoyed coming home to each other, running errands together, cooking dinner together, and enjoying all that Raleigh has to offer. Being big college football fans, we frequent the NC State and ECU football games, cheer for the Panthers, and can be found hanging out with each other or our dear friends and family every weekend. We are looking forward to sharing new experiences together–we’d love to travel around the US and abroad and have a few long weekend trips planned in the coming months!

Photographer: Julie Livingston Photography | Videographer: Jared Cook Films | Coordinator: Gather Together Events | Ceremony Venue: Edenton Street United Methodist Church | Reception Venue: The Merrimon-Wynne House | Florist: Simply Elegant Floral Designs | Dessert Baker: The Cupcake Shoppe | Caterer: Catering Works | Rentals: Party Reflections | Band: The Magic Pipers | Paper Products: One and Only Stationers | Bride’s Gown: Maggi Bridal | Hair Stylist: Parlor Blow Dry Bar | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Mary” Top and “Tulip” Skirt in Umber by LulaKate | Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids | Menswear: VIP Formal Wear | Koozies: Pink House Press | Transportation: Ecostyle and Classy Transportation

Gather Together Events is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Ashlee Little reply

    Thank you so much for sharing Erin + Sean’s wedding! We’re glad you loved the driftwood chandelier as much as we loved making it. :)

  2. avatar Brenda Parker reply

    This was one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever seen. I was not at the wedding but have seen all the photos. It is obvious a lot of attention was paid to every detail to achieve an elegant southern wedding with a very personal touch. I enjoyed reading the back story of all the details of their story.

  3. avatar Dana reply

    a puppy and a proposal! not bad!!!

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