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Last weekend, Lisa and I had a conversation about wedding photographs. BDK and I will be celebrating seven years of marriage this year, and I remember remarking to Lisa that when I look at the photos from my wedding day, they instantly give me a rush of those sweet feelings and memories. I’m sure Kalie and Bradford will feel the same way when they look back at these beautiful images, especially since their photographer, Annamarie Akins, is also a dear friend of the groom! Kalie said Annamarie “perfectly captured all the details and happiness of the day.” And what beautiful details there were–Stephanie at Viva L’Event turned the already lovely Merrimon-Wynne into the sweet celebration of Southern hospitality that Kalie and Bradford dreamed of.

Big hugs to Annamarie Akins for sharing this lovely day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My blue was my shoes, old was the diamonds in my wedding band (they were my great-grandmother’s), borrowed was a ring I wore during the ceremony from my matron of honor, and new was pretty much everything else!

I wanted the experience of finding my wedding dress to be a special one shared between just me and my mom. I had just under six months to get a dress ordered, so we drove down to Bridals by Lori in Atlanta the weekend after I got engaged. I knew I wanted my dress to be unique, but still very much feel like a wedding gown. Most importantly, I wanted the dress to have texture. It only took three dresses before I found the right one. I knew almost immediately, and by the time they added the veil and belt, I was certain.

One of the great things about having Stephanie as a wedding planner was that she was also my florist. She knew how to incorporate the flowers seamlessly into the overall design. I knew that I wanted the flowers to look soft and romantic, with a pop of color. We decided to go with lots of white and blush in my bouquet, and Stephanie added unique touches likes gold ferns, anemones, and ribbons. I couldn’t have been more thrilled!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. We are both pretty traditional, and one of the things I had always looked forward to most on my wedding day was the moment when we both saw each other for the first time. As it turned out, the look on his face as I walked down the aisle was absolutely priceless, and I am so glad we decided to wait.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Bradford surprised me during our ceremony by playing and singing a song called “Dancing in the Minefields.” He looked into my eyes, and I know I will never forget the sincerity with which he sang those lyrics. There may have been a lot of guests there, but in that moment, it was just the two of us.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I knew that I wanted the venue to have some Southern charm and a plantation feel, but I didn’t want to ask our guests to drive a long way from the city. The Merrimon-Wynne had everything I was looking for, and was perfectly located right in the heart of Raleigh. An added perk was that they had a space for the ceremony and reception, so I was thankful our guests wouldn’t have to get back into their cars and drive to another location.

Our venue was very Southern, and that charm was one of the things that immediately drew me in. Our food was delicious and Southern-inspired–during cocktail hour, guests enjoyed country ham biscuits, crab cakes, and a few other yummy choices. We did stations for dinner, which gave everyone so many options. We had a macaroni and cheese bar, shrimp and grits, pecan-crusted chicken, and beef tenderloin.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Annamarie was not only our amazing wedding photographer, she has also been one of Bradford’s good friends since high school, and her husband was a groomsman. Having her there photographing our wedding day was extra special. I loved that she was there to both take photos and to genuinely partake in all the joy that day held. The photographs she took are incredible and so perfectly capture all the details and happiness of the day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were introduced by a mutual friend. She was a co-worker of mine and attended the church where Bradford led worship. Bradford and I had only talked briefly when he asked me to dinner. Our first date was full of laughter and great conversation, and by the time we finished our frozen yogurt, we both knew that this was something special.
Tell us all about the proposal! Bradford surprised me one Saturday with a trip to the aquarium. I had a wonderful time, but looking back, I realize how nervous Bradford was–I’m sure he wasn’t enjoying it nearly as much as I was! Later in the afternoon, we walked down to a pond a little ways from the aquarium. After some walking, we sat down at a picnic table nestled in some trees. It only took a few words before I knew what was happening. After I said yes, I was surprised to find out that my future sister-in-law and good friend had been there all along, taking pictures. We headed back toward home, where Bradford had gathered all our family members and friends to celebrate with us. It meant the world to me to get to share that special time with so many of our favorite people!
When did y’all get married? November 15, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 165
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Bradford is a musician, so the music was extremely important to both of us. He actually wrote the music that I walked down the aisle to, which was one of my favorite details of the wedding and something I will always cherish. He titled it “Mentre Aspetto,” which means “As I Wait” in Italian. We walked back up the aisle to “White Dress” by Ben Rector, which felt very appropriate for the moment. Our first dance was also to a Ben Rector song, “Forever Like That.” Bradford recorded a version for our first Valentine’s Day together, and it just made sense that it would be the first song we danced to as husband and wife.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We are extremely blessed to have incredibly supportive family and friends and to be a part of a wonderful church community. We looked to them for advice and guidance, and we worked through a premarital book together. We also made sure that we took time to step away from all the wedding planning and events to focus on us, as that would be what mattered long after the wedding was over.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? For now, we have settled down in Durham, North Carolina with our sweet pup, Harper, and have been loving the first few months of married life. We are eager to see what is next for us, and there’s comfort and excitement in knowing that whatever is next, we’re in it together.

Photographer: Annamarie Akins / Planner and Florist: Stephanie Cisko of Viva L’Event NC / Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Merrimon-Wynne House / Cake Baker: Edible Art Bakery / Caterer: Beau Catering / Rentals and Lighting: CE Rental and Party Reflections / DJ: Mitch Woodward of Joe Bunn DJ Company / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Gown: “Bijou” by Amsale / Bridal Salon and Bride’s Veil and Belt: Bridals by Lori / Bracelet: Kate Spade / Earrings: Nadri / Hair and Makeup Stylist: Makeup by Ashley Mooney / Bride’s Shoes: Tory Burch / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bill Levkoff / Menswear: Jos A. Bank

Joe Bunn DJ Company is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
11 Comments
  1. avatar Annamarie reply

    Thank you so much for the beautiful feature! This was such a perfect day!

  2. avatar Bradford Mitchell reply

    Thanks for featuring our wedding! You had typed that my wife’s name is Katie. That’s my sister’s naming funny enough. Also. I would not have agreed to a navy and pink wedding. Kalie told it was blush? She must have tricked me. She’s a devious one that Kalie.

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Thank you both so much for sharing your love story and your beautiful wedding with us!
      P.S. So sorry for the typo–it’s been fixed! :)

  3. avatar Viva L'Event NC reply

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I spent Christmas and New Year’s in my home state of Texas, and I must admit, I miss it already! Thankfully, I have Lauryl and Langdon’s lovely Pilot Point wedding to admire from afar and give me a little dose of the Lone Star State in North Carolina today. This sweet couple was inspired by the natural beauty of their venue (White Oaks Ranch, which you may recognize from this V7 editorial!), and with the help of their planner, After Yes Weddings, and florist, Coco Fleur, they celebrated their marriage with a wedding that struck the loveliest balance between rustic and elegant.

Thank you so much to Apryl Ann for sharing this beautiful wedding with us!

My something borrowed was the beautiful long veil I wore, loaned to me by my matron of honor. Putting the veil on for the first time was one of my most emotional moments of the day. My something old was my ring, which had belonged to Lang’s grandmother, who passed away before we met.

Describe your wedding flowers. White Oaks is so lush and green, so I really wanted to keep the flowers minimal and let the natural greenery be the star. Our invitations incorporated ferns, so I asked our florist to do the same, which she did beautifully.

I loved the altar covered with ferns. Our florist left empty vases on it for each of our mothers to put their bouquets in. We then combined their bouquets with mine during the ceremony to create a unity bouquet!

The ceremony featured acoustic guitar renditions of some favorite songs, including “Here Comes the Sun” by George Harrison for our parents, “Best Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes for the wedding party, “Rise” by Eddie Vedder for my walk down the aisle, and “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz for the recessional.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I’ve spent a lot of time in Pilot Point with my parents, riding their horses on the local trails, so I already loved the area. I wanted a casual outdoor ranch wedding, and Lang wanted a more traditional, formal wedding. The outdoor pavilion at White Oaks was the perfect mix of traditional elegance and a very natural, outdoor setting. I also loved the 100-year-old tree where we held the ceremony.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a toasted meringue-covered Quatros Leches Cake from La Duni. We love La Duni, and I loved the simplicity and color of the meringue.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We both wore our cowboy boots and encouraged our wedding party, family, and guests to do the same with their black tie attire. We also had the band play lots of classic George Jones and Don Williams!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at a karaoke dive bar in Dallas with a large group of mutual friends. A friend wanted to introduce us because we had the same last name. Lang sang several songs that night, the highlight being Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore,” which became the song he would always sing to me at karaoke bars.
Tell us all about the proposal! We were on vacation with my family at Lake Tahoe over Christmas. Lang had asked my dad for his blessing before the trip, so everyone knew his plans except for me. After a day on the slopes at Squaw Valley, Lang sat down next to me at the top of the mountain as I was putting on my snowboard and proposed. He’d bravely kept the ring in his pocket all day while skiing!
When did y’all get married? May 3, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was to our favorite slow song, Keith Whitley’s classic “When You Say Nothing at All.” We ended the night with all the guests swaying arm-in-arm in a big circle to Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore.”
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I have graphic resources through my work, so I opted to purchase artwork files from the invitation designer and then sourced a local letterpresser to do the printing, formatting, and assembling of everything. I also recruited the help of crafty friends and family for the frames, signs, and table numbers.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our band, The Revolvers. We received so many compliments on them from our guests, and they learned countless new songs for us. They really made the night special for us!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? If you can hire planners, even for just the day or month of, it’s well worth it. I could not have imagined a more stress-free wedding week or weekend. Amanda Connolly with After Yes was wonderful to work with through every step of the planning process.

Photographer: Apryl Ann / Planner: After Yes Weddings / Venue: White Oaks Ranch / Florist: Coco Fleur / Wedding Cake: La Duni / Caterer: Gil’s Elegant Catering/ Rentals: Ducky Bobs / Lighting: Absolute Lighting / Band: The Revolvers / Invitation Design: Antiquaria / Invitation Letterpress Printing: Elefant Press / Bride’s Gown: Allure / Hair Stylist: Rachel Andonian / Makeup Artist: Rachel Andonian and Rebecca Longmire / Bride’s Shoes: Lucchese / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Photo Booth: Photobooth Love Notes

lisa Written with love by Lisa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Anastasia reply

    I adore her paper goods! The ferns in the envelope are gorgeous, as is her dress! Love!

  2. avatar Dana reply

    pretty cowgirl boots!!!

  3. avatar Caitlin Sullivan reply

    Every detail in this wedding is absolutely stunning! And it looks like it all starts with the venue and the lace dress!!

  4. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    Look at all the beautiful greenery and florals. The greens are so rich, it really compliments her the white flowers.

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The Atlanta skyline is an amazing one, so I was not surprised at all to hear that when Abby and Matt first saw Ventanas, they knew they had found the venue for their future wedding, even before they were engaged! With the help of Park Avenue Events, they planned a chic rooftop ceremony and reception, being sure to incorporate nods to both of their hometowns and their families. They weren’t afraid to break from tradition when it came to things like song choices and cake flavors, and as a result, every detail of their wedding rang true to their personalities and style!

Thanks to Our Labor of Love for sharing Abby and Matt’s wedding with us, and getting our week started on such a lovely note!

My bouquet was a mix of blush and black anemones, roses, and gardenias. I wanted to keep it simple and elegant, with a little touch of my Southern roots. My grandma and godmother also started collecting new and antique brooches (which they presented to me at different showers over the year we were engaged) to add to the bouquet later. It was gorgeous! I loved my bouquet, and most of all, I loved carrying a part of my family tradition down the aisle with me.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our venue had a helicopter pad overlooking the entire city, and it was the most amazingly clear spring day. We chose to do our first look and bridal party photos up there (brave party). Walking what seemed like into the sky to see my soon-to-be husband was something I’ll never forget!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? To be honest, it was the first and only place we visited. I have had a few girlfriends get married before me, so I found Ventanas a year before Matt proposed, while I was “researching” for a girlfriend. I showed it to Matt and we both knew that it was our venue, even before we were engaged. I am an interior designer, so the blank space and views were all I needed to see. It was just as perfect as we could have imagined!

My best friend’s dad, who has been married for over 30 years, got ordained just for us, which was an honor. We are hoping some of that marriage luck might rub off on us! We had him read our favorite Bible verse about love from Corinthians 13:4-13.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? To be honest, the guest list! We decided on our venue so quickly, we didn’t realize that the capacity restraints for the ceremony were much smaller than what we had in mind. In the end, we were able to accommodate all our family and most of our friends to make the day perfect! Our design team really found a way to comfortably pack in as many people as we could. We also made the executive decision to invite some guests to just the reception, which accommodated much more. Weddings are definitely give and take, and we were happy with our decision.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My husband would definitely say the candy bar (I am pretty sure he is still eating it). I would say our guest book. I bought a Vogue Weddings coffee table book and had people sign that. I loved being able to see where people decided to sign, and the clever comments they made next to some of the greatest wedding dresses in history. The best part is that it actually sits on our coffee table, so we really use it and are constantly reminded of our favorite day and all the people who love us!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I would say the most obvious was our split menu. We had gourmet chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, collard greens, and fried green tomatoes, as only A Legendary Event can do. The other half of the menu represented my Italian New Yorker husband, with hanger steak, fingerling potatoes, caprese salad, and a pasta bar. People are still talking about the food!

I found our wedding cake pretty much immediately. I knew exactly what I wanted: a simple white with a big cascading flower. I let Matt pick his favorite flavors (as crazy as they were). We had an apple cake with caramel filling, and I made sure one layer was red velvet with cream cheese icing, my Southern staple. My event designer, Christine, took the look to the next level with the acrylic stand filled with rose petals!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was Thanksgiving weekend, 10 years ago, at Dos Copas in my hometown of Alpharetta, Georgia. I was a girl in art school, and he was a boy in a band, playing in Canada. Many phone calls and a seven-year courtship later, we finally went on our first date. Fireworks went off between us, and three “short” years later, Matt made the best decision of his life…he proposed, and it was a done deal.
Tell us all about the proposal! After the most perfect out-of-town wedding weekend for our best friends, all I wanted was some Taco Bell (classy, I know). Little did I know that Matt had a big surprise up his sleeve. Since I am known to be just a little OCD, Matt had hidden a sparkly surprise in my weekender bag. Despite desperately wanting to eat my lunch and take a nap, I just couldn’t fight the urge to unpack as soon as we got home. With one falsie eyelash was still hanging on and I was rocking my favorite sweat pants, I unpacked my bag, found something that delayed my meal, made me cry, and changed our lives forever. Matt just loves when a good plan comes together!
When did y’all get married? April 12, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did do a first look! We decided to do it after much debate (we are pretty superstitious), but when it came down to it, we decided it was more important for us to have a less stressful wedding after the ceremony and a longer reception. We are now so happy we did it! It was probably the only part of the day that was just for us. I loved seeing his reaction before anyone else, and it all became so real. I totally recommend it!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our last seating song was “Moon River” by Audrey Hepburn. It’s my all time favorite, and it set the mood for the entire wedding. For walking down the aisle, my husband chose “Crazy Love” by Michael Bublé. We walked back up the aisle to “I’m The Man” by Aloe Blacc, which was also my husband’s choice–funny, and it got the point across. Our first dance was to “Feels Like Home” by Chantal Kreviazuk, an oldie but such a goodie from Dawson’s Creek. My husband is a DJ, and I sometimes think I should have been, so songs were probably the toughest decisions we had to make. We tried to go with music that reflected each of us, told our story, and wasn’t something you’ve heard 100 times at a wedding.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Of course! My something borrowed was my bracelet…well, part of it. I had a feathered cuff from BHLDN that I ordered and loved, but the clasp broke on the day of the wedding. My aunt/godmother used one of her antique brooches to clasp it–it was a diamond bow and actually looked better then the original! My something blue was for my mom. It was a handkerchief monogrammed with our wedding date and initials, for those happy cries. My something new was my day-of gift from my husband: a surprise second wedding band! One for our day and one for what was to come.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? The menu. In my experience, towards the end of planning is when you realize you may have gone a bit more above your budget than you thought. The easiest way for us to solve this problem was to cut down our menu. We realized we had overestimated numbers and had one too many options. Even with the cut, my husband and I had a more-than-generous late-night snack!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Try to enjoy it! Don’t let the little things take over your mind. Honestly, nobody will ever notice. Enjoy planning with your partner! Guys have ideas, and it’s a big day for him too. Plus, it’s much more fun to share the responsibility!

Photographer: Our Labor of Love / Planner: Park Avenue Events / Venue: Ventanas / Florist: Perfect Petals / Cake Baker: Perfect Wedding Cake / Catering: A Legendary Event / Lighting: Active / DJ: Marquee Events / Paper Products: Sandi Spells Designs / Bride’s Gown: Manuel Mota / Bride’s Hair Accessories: Cécile Boccara / Hair Stylist: Christine Lopez / Makeup Artist: Amanda Ford / Bride’s Shoes: BHLDN / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Splended Angel Dress” by Xenia / Men’s Attire: Savvi Formal Wear

lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Loverly reply

    What gorgeous pastels! A truly beautiful wedding.

  2. avatar Heidi Geldhauser reply

    thank you for sharing this fun wedding – I especially love how this venue shows off Atlanta!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Their Atlanta city skyline first look is perfection! :)

  4. avatar Alison Ulshoffer Events reply

    Gorgeous as always Heidi!

  5. avatar All You Need To Know About Grooms' Cakes reply

    […] Cake, Perfect Wedding Cake, Photo by Our Labor of Love via Southern Weddings […]

  6. avatar Abbey reply

    Is there any way of finding out where the monogrammed bridesmaid bags came from? I absolutely love them!

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