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As a December bride myself, I’ll admit that I find winter weddings extra magical. Churches always seem to have the most charming décor that just needs the tiniest extra touch of festive, and the grandeur of a Christmas tree incorporated into wedding day design is just about enough to make me cry. So obviously, Morgan and Ryan’s “glitter trees’ are giving me all the feels! But along with their beautiful platinum and white winter wonderland, I can’t help my eyes getting a little misty when I read about the poem Morgan’s honorary grandmother gave her. A portion of it reads, “A wedding is the result of a series of decisions made in love, a marriage is a daily decision to love.” For this sweet couple, their wedding day was filled not only with their love for each other, but how important it was for their guests to see how much they value the love and support of family and friends. A sentiment that I’m sure was felt abundantly.

Big SW hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Robyn Van Dyke for sharing this sweet day with us.

My something borrowed was a heart-shaped brooch that I pinned on my bouquet. It belongs to my honorary grandmother and next-door neighbor. She also gave me a laminated, heart-shaped piece of paper that had a bible verse handwritten by her husband on it. He was a big part of my life and tragically passed away from brain cancer just three months before the wedding. It had always been my dream to have him read scripture for us. I kept the bible verse in my shoe the entire night, knowing he was there with me. For something blue, I added a pop of color by wearing Tiffany blue shoes and sporting bridal Uggs paired with a blue mink purse with my getaway dress after the reception. Something old was an important piece for me–my grandmother passed away before my parents even met, but my great-aunt gave me her mink stole, which was monogrammed with her initials. Before the wedding, my mom had my new initials added in on the other side; I felt like I was able to honor her by wearing it that night. The new piece for my wedding was a beautiful diamond bracelet that Ryan gave me the Thursday before our wedding–it was the most elegant piece of jewelry I have ever seen.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not. Although it would have been helpful for pictures since we got married at 6:00 P.M. on a winter evening and it was pitch black outside after our ceremony (more on that later), we had waited over five years to get married, so I thought we should wait a few more hours to see one another. I am very old-fashioned and wanted us both to have that immediate and genuine reaction when he saw me walking down the aisle. I had always dreamed of that moment and it was so important to me to preserve the authenticity of it and share it with those we love. We did do a behind-the-door letter exchange, but my heart was beating so fast because I was petrified he could see me through the window! It was the right choice for us and totally worth it!
Did you write your own vows? We did not–we kept things very traditional, but just repeating those words we had heard recited at weddings before was very emotional. I don’t know if I would have been able to keep an inkling of composure if we had written our own. However, the letters that we wrote to one another served that purpose for us. It was remarkable how similar our letters were–at the end of the day, we were thrilled to begin our lives as husband and wife, to tackle the hard days and find ways to laugh together always. We knew we would arrive at this moment together and were so grateful that we were able to find a love like ours.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went with my mom, sister, and soon-to-be mother-in-law to Nitsa’s in Winston-Salem. As soon as we went upstairs where they kept the dresses, I saw it. We pulled a few more dresses with different shapes and styles and I went into the dressing room. The one I had spotted was the first dress I tried on, and it was magical. I thought for sure that a ball gown would be way too overwhelming on my small frame (I’m only five feet tall), but it was perfect. I tried the others on for good measure, but none of them compared. I wanted a dress fit for a winter wonderland, and that is exactly what I got–a giant princess dress with intricate beading on the bodice and layer upon layer for the skirt. As soon as they put a tiara on my head with a custom veil, I knew there was no more looking to be done!

For as long as I can remember, I have always known what I wanted my wedding flowers to look like: all white, big, stunning hydrangeas and roses with no greenery. Everything was full and white with some platinum accents tucked into the bouquets and on the tables at the reception. The entryway for our reception venue was draped in platinum curtains and accented by platinum “glitter trees,” as I called them. I kept most of the centerpieces lower so that people could see one another across the round tables. The centerpieces were accented with mirrors and candles to give everything a wintery feel.

I wanted a spread of desserts! We went to a cake tasting at Sweet Memories and Ryan choose the flavors: red velvet and Southern aristocrat (a sweet potato cake that has a cinnamon flavor). I sent some pictures to Donna Ford at Sweet Memories and told her that I wanted the cake to look like snow had fallen on it. It was amazing! Our cake was covered in white buttercream with crystallized sugar sprinkled all over it, plus platinum snowflakes (she even made me a three-tiered, gluten-free side cake). Because neither one of us are big cake eaters, in addition to the wedding cake, we had Goodberry’s Frozen Custard cater with our favorite flavors: jamocha, chocolate, vanilla, and coconut. During the last hour of the reception, we had hot Krispy Kreme donuts (Ryan’s favorite dessert) delivered and passed around to guests.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Aside from the very traditional ceremony, I think the biggest thing overall was the Southern hospitality and the intimacy of the wedding and reception. We provided gift baskets full of our favorite Southern treats to our guests from out of town. Since we had several friends from NYC coming down, we needed them to feel a part of the NC group! Our reception was a seated buffet with Southern comfort foods like fried chicken, mashed potatoes, famous Ida burgers, macaroni and cheese, and tomato bisque soup. The tight-knit family values that we carry with us were prevalent in every wedding event, from my dad’s welcome speech to the toasts from our friends and family; we loved that everyone truly knew how grateful we were to have them as a part of our day. Ryan quite literally married the girl next door and it was so important for our guests to see how much we value the love and support of our family and friends.

PS: Y’all won’t want to miss Morgan + Ryan’s sweet wedding film from Twenty One Films!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our paths crossed several times while we were growing up, spanning nearly a decade of chance meetings! We first “met” a long time ago at my church, in passing. Fast forward several years to 2006, when my family moved into the house behind his. Ryan was off at UNC, while I was a rising sophomore in high school. Our parents met and chatted and Ryan remembers hearing us in the backyard, but the two of us did not reconnect until a few years later. As I was starting my freshman year of college, Ryan had just graduated and moved up to NYC. I sent him a message asking for his mom’s email address when my parents needed it for something. He responded and asked how I was doing, hoping everything was great in Chapel Hill. Nearly a year later, our parents were chatting and a light bulb went off–their kids were single, and they thought it was a great idea to set the two of us up! They plotted so that when Ryan came home for his sister’s wedding, they would take us both to the high school football game (Ryan’s cousin played and my sister was the student athletic trainer). On that October night, we reconnected yet again, and have been together ever since. We had a whirlwind, long distance love story. As I finished school, he worked as an investment banker in NYC. My long nights of studying fell perfectly in line with his grueling work hours. I would travel up there to see him, wandering around the city and exploring a new place while he worked. After two and a half years of long distance dating, right before I graduated from college, Ryan moved back to Raleigh for work. We fell into a new pattern and got to spend even more time together, cherishing every moment. After dating for more than four and a half years, we got engaged! To this day, everyone in our family lives in the same neighborhood–if that isn’t Southern for you, I don’t know what is!
Tell us all about the proposal! It was a pretty standard Friday night for us. After work and dinner, we headed to a small shopping center nearby and had some gelato before going to Ryan’s house. Once we got to the house, I walked into the kitchen and started reading People Magazine. Ryan asked me what I wanted to do, and I told him it didn’t matter to me–I was fine just hanging out. He said “Okay, wait right there.” He was gone for two seconds, and when he came back into the kitchen, he immediately hopped to one knee in front of the refrigerator. I started jumping up and down, eyes watering, and just hugged him. Of course, I said yes! My parents had been planning on going out of town that night, but had decided to leave Saturday morning instead because of rain. We immediately jumped in the car and went over there, then we all loaded up and went around the corner to Ryan’s sister’s house to tell his family!
When did y’all get married? January 9, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 325
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Both Ryan’s and my moms are wonderful pianists, and the musical director at Edenton Street, Josh Dumbleton, is amazing. I wanted our day to be celebratory and I did not want to seem too cookie-cutter in the choices for my songs. In addition to the church organ, we had my dad’s cousin play the harp alongside my childhood babysitter, who is a talented violinist. We also used the same trumpeter who had played at my parents’ wedding 29 years ago. I thought the bridal processional needed to be a slower tempo (because I walk on-beat) and a powerful piece of music. I chose “Rigaudon” by Campra to guide me down the aisle. After the benediction, my hope was for the whole room to be as thrilled and excited as we were! We chose “Vivace” by Handel for the recessional. The songs we used at our reception were so important to us. For our first dance, we chose “Thank You” by Led Zeppelin, arranged a little differently to highlight the verses that spoke the most to us. The lyrics “I give you my all” are engraved in Ryan’s wedding band. My dad really likes country music, so we took “Southern Style” by Darius Rucker and made it more classic rock for our father-daughter dance–Ryan played and sang a bit of it, which was really special. Ryan and his mom danced to Stevie Wonder’s “You are the Sunshine of my Life,” a true testament to her love for her son.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? My honorary grandmother gave me a poem called “A Wedding…A Marriage” and it is something I hold dear to my heart. One portion of it reads, “A wedding is the result of a series of decisions made in love, a marriage is a daily decision to love.” We met with our pastor a few times before the wedding and read the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. This book was fantastic! It showed us that while we may have different love languages, understanding each other’s differences helps us grow in our love, display our love, and stay in love throughout our marriage (we now have the daily devotional, too)! Having dated for so long, we have always talked about our plans for our lives together, from how to handle our finances to how to raise our future children. We have learned by example, coming from parents with very strong marriages, and by learning about the hardships that can come with a life partnership. While the wedding was an amazing time, our marriage is what we were looking forward to most. We talked about how to argue, how to communicate, and how to love from now until eternity, and are ready to tackle any challenges life may throw our way.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I was my own wedding planner! I am a very organized person and immediately bought the Southern Weddings Wedding Planner. We set up Google docs and a private Pinterest board that were all shared between my mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law. Our engagement was just over six months, so I had a lot to juggle in a short amount of time. I could not have done it without the support of my mom and mother-in-law!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? If you want to save some time and get to your reception faster (without doing a first look), here’s what we did: we skipped a lot of the portraits the night of the wedding and scheduled a separate portrait session after our honeymoon with our photographer. We had just returned from our tropical getaway (so nice and bronzed) and it snowed in Raleigh! We had a full set of portraits as husband and wife, in the SNOW! It was amazing. We found that we looked so much more relaxed in those photos and they ended up being our favorites. Plus, needless to say, I was more than thrilled to put my dress back on!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are looking forward to sending out our first Christmas card and traveling for our one-year anniversary trip. We love being able to live under the same roof and to laugh together daily, and we are excited about starting our family in the future.

Photographer: Robyn Van Dyke | Videographer: Twenty One Films | Ceremony Venue: Edenton Street United Methodist Church | Reception Venue and Caterer: Carolina Country Club | Florist: Kelly Odom | Wedding Cake: Sweet Memories Bakery | Dessert: Goodberry’s Frozen Custard and Krispy Kreme | Rentals: CE Rental | Band: J. Scott Thompson | Gift Baskets and Favors: Gingham & Posh | Paper Products: Charlotte’s | Bride’s Gown: “Angelique” by Rivini | Bride’s Veil and Tiara: Nitsa’s | Bride’s Earrings and Shoes: Kate Spade | Bride’s Bracelet: Bailey’s Fine Jewelry | Hair and Makeup: Dawn Carrington and Debra Goodyear of Glam Lounge | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Gwenyth” in Black Lace by Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Tuxedo: Brooks Brothers | Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Calligraphy: Yellow House Calligraphy | Bride’s Getaway Dress: “Hattie” Feather-Hem Dress by Cynthia Steffe | Bride’s Getaway Shoes: “Bailey Bridal Boot” by Ugg

Robyn Van Dyke Photography and Twenty One Films are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar featured: southern weddings » Robyn Van Dyke Photography Blog reply

    […] were so honored to have Morgan & Ryan’s gorgeous winter wedding featured on Southern Weddings earlier this week! We’ll never forget all the magical wintry details that Morgan so […]

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While I know spring tends to get most of the love from brides thanks to the blooms and the weather, as a December bride myself, I might be a tad bit partial to winter weddings, especially ones that take advantage of already-in-place Christmas decor. From the big red bow-accented garlands to the twinkle lights, there is something so magical about classic holiday decor that makes everything feel extra special! I love than Anne and Nick chose the beautiful Carolina Inn for their December celebration because of its rich history and central location to their families. This sweet couple then took full advantage of the Inn’s gorgeous holiday decor and added just the right amount of their personalities and meaningful details. And y’all, how classic and lovely is Anne’s all-white bouquet, accented with magnolia greenery? So dreamy!

I’m so glad our friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor Robyn Van Dyke was on hand to capture this joyful day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I am a really decisive person when it comes to clothes, and my wedding dress was no exception! I had an amazing time looking at dresses with my mom, thinking about Nick and my special day, and playing dress up! We looked at Diva’s Bridal Boutique in Greensboro and almost immediately decided on a gown. I had actually put on the gown and wasn’t crazy about it, but when they made it “fit me” (i.e. pulled it back so that I had a waist, etc.), I just knew. I loved it, my mother loved it, and I knew it was right.

Describe your wedding flowers. I knew from the start that I wanted to use whites and greens. Kathy at The Purple Puddle turned that desire into something beautiful. I loved the use of magnolia greenery, white hydrangeas, roses, and gardenias. They were so beautiful and fragrant!

The first look was the best decision Nick and I made about our wedding! We were guided by our amazing photographer, Robyn Van Dyke, to consider a first look because the light level was low on our wedding day. We fully trusted the Van Dykes and realized very quickly that this was a special opportunity to be together on our wedding day in the midst of the chaos. The moment was just what we had hoped for–better even! We saw each other for the first time that day surrounded by our friends, we had time together to pray, talk, and process what that day meant, and it was the most special and memorable moment of all of the wedding festivities!

Our wedding music was special from the start. Music is such a beautiful part of worship, and we wanted to glorify the Lord through the music we chose. Not all of it was Christian, but most was, and all was classic. A dear friend from dental school played the violin and the organist for CUMC played the organ and the piano. Nick and I each met multiple times with the organist to discuss our musical selections, hear his input and interpretation, and decide on the final selections. Our favorite hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” was selected as a special song. It was a time of transition in our service and meant so much to both Nick and me. We do not take for granted our many blessings–family, education, calling to service, friends–and the musical interpretation by Gentry (our violinist) and the pianist brought us to tears. We both pray our marriage brings us closer to the Lord and gives us the opportunity (and the challenge!) to glorify Him. It was just so special.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We love Chapel Hill! Both of our families have a history in this area, we met and fell in love here, and it was a central location for our loved ones. Christ United Methodist Church has a kind wedding ministry, and everything about the church began to line up with our values. The music was lovely, the services were classic, and the structure of the wedding ceremony was everything we could have hoped for. It was perfect! The Carolina Inn has everything perfected–it was so easy to coordinate with our vendors because just about everyone had worked at the historic inn before. We quickly realized that December 20 was the perfect weekend to have a wedding there–the inn is decorated beautifully for Christmas, and it is a relatively calm time for them. The Carolina Inn is a gorgeous, well-oiled machine, a classic Chapel Hill landmark, and extremely reliable. It was a dream come true!

At our reception, Nick and I danced to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.” We first heard this when we were apart over the summer of 2014–I was in Utah and Nick was in Africa. We heard it, both teared up, and knew it was the right song for our first dance. In particular, the line, “Honey, your soul can never grown old, it’s evergreen,” spoke to us. We couldn’t help but see how special our parents’ and grandparents’ marriages were and hope for a lifetime of devotion to one another.

Sweet Memories made the most delicious cake! We had two flavors: sweet potato spiced cake with caramel and white chocolate filling, and lemon cake with white chocolate mouse and raspberry puree. Both were incredible!!!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in dental school! Nick was a first year and I was a second year. We went to medical school prom with friends and became inseparable. We spent about two weeks together before I called my mom and dad and told them I was in love (so crazy!)! Nick and I began officially dating on Easter Sunday 2013 and were engaged less than a year later!
Tell us all about the proposal! Nick and I love time when we can be alone together, laughing and talking. We had planned a spring break trip to camp in Death Valley and Joshua Tree and spend a night in Vegas. On the way to the airport, Nick pulled off the road and said, “Let’s go on a walk; it’s a beautiful day!” I suspected what was about to happen and noticed that both of us were shaking! It was hilarious and awesome and absolutely perfect. We arrived to a quad on UNC’s campus where we had enjoyed many picnic dinners during our courtship. I had no makeup on, and we were just completely relaxed at the beginning of an amazing week together. It was more perfect than I had ever imagined!
When did y’all get married? December 20, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 175
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We said classic vows, which was a very intentional decision. We wanted everything to be traditional.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I loved wearing my mother’s earrings and the same veil that both of my sisters wore in their weddings. I also wore the bracelet that Nick’s grandmother, mother, and sisters wore in their weddings and the pearl bobby pins that once belonged to my grandmother. It all made me feel like these women were with me throughout the day, which meant so much!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? I think the reason that wedding planning was so fun was because we were focusing on preparing for our marriage! We read several books, including “The Five Love Languages,” “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts,” and “Things I Wish I’d Known Before I got Married.” We also met for premarital counseling several times with the pastor at CUMC. We had conversations over dinner about our hopes, dreams, short-term and long-term goals, and aspirations, and made sure we let each other know why we loved one another. We prayed quite a bit and sought wise counsel from family and friends who are married. All of these things really added to the depth and meaning of our engagement.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We decided on the things that really mattered (venue, great food) vs. the things that didn’t (buffet vs. plated dinner, monogrammed vs. non-monogrammed napkins) and allocated funds according to those decisions. We also knew that for our crew, beer and wine were sufficient. We did all of the toasts at the rehearsal dinner, so there was not champagne at our reception; instead, we served spiked cider during our cocktail hour.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Robyn Van Dyke!!! We LOVE our photos and were thrilled to have our day documented by friends. They did an amazing job, and I still can’t believe we were so blessed to have them as such a major part of our wedding day. They really were perfect.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are so looking forward to having control over our time so that we can travel together! We are excited for Nick to graduate from dental school and for me to hopefully match at the pediatric dental residency of my choice. We are on the brink of major changes and professional growth, which is thrilling! We are also excited to have children one day, although that will have to wait a few years. :)

Photographer: Robyn Van Dyke Photography | Planner: Carly of Events by La Fete | Ceremony Venue: Christ United Methodist Church | Reception Venue and Catering: The Carolina Inn | Florist: The Purple Puddle | Cake Baker: Sweet Memories Bakery | DJ: McSound Productions | Paper Products: Reaves Engraving Inc. | Bride’s Gown: Martina Liana | Bridal Salon: Diva’s Bridal and Boutique | Hair Stylist: Becca of Salon 135 | Makeup Artist: Stephanie Sevilla | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Sung | Menswear: Tom Dixon at The Executive’s Cutting Edge

Robyn Van Dyke is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Erica reply

    Beautiful tray! I would love to feature this in my kitchen!

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

    […] to share that Anne & Nick’s gorgeous winter wedding at The Carolina Inn was featured on Southern Weddings during the week of Christmas! The joy from this wedding day will always make it one of my all-time […]

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Growing up, it was Ashton’s dream to get married on Cape Cod, but as she got older, she realized that North Carolina had truly became her home. There’s just something about the South, I tell ya! She and Brent chose to become husband and wife in the same state where they met and their relationship bloomed. With the help of their florist, Flowers on Broad Street, Ashton and Brent mixed old Southern charm with inspiration from their New England childhood memories, including white hydrangea, stunning greenery, and peach accents. While Ashton and Brent may not have done a first look themselves, how precious is it that Ashton not only did a first look with her dad, but with her brother as well? What a wonderful way to make the first men in her life feel so special (and make us tear up!).

Gracious, we’re delighted Blue Ribbon Vendor Robyn Van Dyke was on hand to preserve all these memories with photos!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! While growing up, my grandmother gave me a sapphire ring, which was the first piece of jewelry she had received from my grandfather after their wedding. It is a special reminder of their love and faithful commitment to each other after fifty-five years of marriage and was an extra special “blue” and “old.” In addition, I wore diamond earnings that were passed down to my mother as my “borrowed” memento. Finally, my “new” veil was made my by maid of honor, who is an incredible designer.

I was so excited when the time finally came to go wedding dress shopping. Being a pretty decisive person, I was expecting to fall in love with one of the first dresses I found. Oh, was I wrong! I was surprisingly overwhelmed and indecisive; they were all so stunning in different ways. After three stores and a little imagination, my mom had the big moment, not me. I knew the dress was all I had ever wanted: simple, lace and classic. Each time I went back for a fitting, it transformed, and I fell more in love with it.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Brent was very insistent from the beginning about waiting to see me until I walked down the aisle. He wanted to share our first look in front of everyone during the ceremony. While I was reluctant at first, this is one traditional aspect I was so happy we kept. Sharing this moment, and our reactions, with all of our friends and family was one of our favorite moments of the entire day.

While I was growing up, it was my dream to get married on Cape Cod, where we spent many summers during my childhood, but as I got older, North Carolina has truly become home. I took a lot of inspiration from the New England charm of my childhood, especially when it came to the flowers. We chose white hydrangeas, which were accompanied by stunning greenery and peach accents.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our day was filled with tears of joy. These tearful and emotional moments turned out to be our most favorite moments of our wedding day. During my mom’s matron of honor speech, my first look with my dad, and when I saw my brother for the first time, we all broke down. These people have constantly shown Brent and I strength and guidance, and these moments perfectly captured our overflowing love for each other. These are the moments that will be perfectly engraved in my memory forever. The ultimate moment, though, was when the doors opened from the back of the house and I walked down the aisle. Taking it all in, Brent punched his fists together and was swaying from side to side, attempting to hold back his tears. His reaction was priceless–as I arrived to the top of the stairs, Brent let out all of his excitement with a huge “whoo!” I could not have imagined a better reaction.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? This was another aspect of our wedding that we wanted to ensure was very personal to us. We want a God-focused marriage and wanted our vows to be an outward expression of the covenant we were making. Hands down, our favorite line was “I will love you as Christ loved the church, laying my life down for yours.”

Both of our families are from the New England area, but Brent and I have grown up in North Carolina and it has become our home. We wanted our wedding venue to have old Southern charm that reminded us of New England, but with a touch of rustic elegance. One of our favorite parts of Highgrove was the ability to have both indoor and outdoor elements to our wedding.

Brent is a huge cake lover–more specifically, he loves cupcakes! While planning a wedding has its stressors, no one can disagree that cake tasting is a welcomed event. This was one of our favorite things to do in preparing for the wedding. In addition to cake, one of our favorite mountain-inspired details was a fire pit that featured a s’mores bar. It even included Brent’s favorite peanut butter marshmallows! They were quite a hit!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Brent and I met at College Life during our sophomore year at Appalachian State University. The introductory ice breaker was “speed dating.” Brent noticed me from across the room and cut a direct path through the groups, moving the other guys out of the way! After a bunch of wacky ice breaker questions, we hit it off so well that we didn’t even notice others rotating around us. Thanks to some charming persistence and many long nights of chatting, Brent took me on our first date to Beacon Heights lookout off the Blue Ridge Parkway to go star gazing. The rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! During Memorial Day weekend in 2014, we took a trip up to Boone to visit our favorite old stomping grounds. We had planned out the whole weekend to make sure we hit all of our favorite shops, restaurants, and hiking spots. Brent suggested we hike the Grandfather Ladder Trail–and I quickly discovered a fear of heights as we climbed up eight wooden ladders hanging off the side of the mountain. Brent took my camera and documented every last part of the hike, which was very unlike him. As we made our way over the tree line, we met an older couple hiking the same trail. They were such a great reminder that I could overcome this new fear–if they were doing it, I sure could! Finally, we reached the top of the mountain and were in completely in awe of the beautiful view. We took tons of photos, and decided to soak in the view before heading down. Brent finally gave me the camera, and while I was taking photos of the view, he said “Hey, take a picture of this!” I turned around and saw that he was down on one knee, on top of the most beautiful mountain in our favorite place, and he asked me to marry him. I shrieked in excitement and slight shock! He then insisted we practically run down the mountain, where some of our closest friends were waiting to surprise us in Boone to celebrate. It was the most beautiful day and so worth overcoming my newfound fear of heights!
When did y’all get married? May 22, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 120
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We included a version of Numbers 6:24-26 in the conclusion of our ceremony that has been passed down through generations in my family as a nighttime prayer.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We participated in a premarital class through our church and then met with our pastor and his wife regularly, discussing a few books and reviewing a list of questions that we had answered independently. This has made a huge impact on our marriage from the start; there were many topics and expectations that we were able to discuss and receive advice about before the big day, and it quickly opened up our communication channels.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My best advice would be to relax and enjoy the process. I tried planning out tasks and to-dos day by day, because I was determined to enjoy the sweet season right before the wedding and to soak in all the moments. There will always be endless ideas online, but don’t overdo it–pick a few ideas that are the most impactful and meaningful to you and your groom.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Brent and I first bonded when we found out that we both wanted a yellow lab and to name her Riley. On our first date, Brent bought me an Appalachian State puppy collar, and soon, we will be bringing our sweet little Riley home! We are so overwhelmed by the Lord’s plan in our lives and how He has completed this chapter over the past five years. We can’t wait to see what is next.

Photographer: Robyn Van Dyke Photography / Venue and Caterer: Highgrove on Laurel Lake / Florist: Flowers on Broad Street / Cake Baker: Sweet Memories Bakery / Rentals: CE Rentals / Lighting and DJ: Stylus SE / Bride’s Gown: “Dakota” by Rosa Clara / Hair and Makeup: Haute Concepts / Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Ann Taylor / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse / Car: Classy Transportation / Bridesmaid Robes: Wedding Prep Gals / Bridal Robe: In Bloom By Jonquil / Invitations: Fine Stationery / Groomsmen Socks: Happy Socks / Ties and Bow Ties: Ralph Lauren

Robyn Van Dyke is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Ashton Dreyer reply

    I am loving all these brides named Ashton!!

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

    […] hooray! It’s always a dream come true to be on Southern Weddings, and we are overjoyed to have Ashton & Brent‘s joyful, love-filled wedding day featured […]

  3. avatar Maureen reply

    I love the roasting marshmallows shot! You can tell this couple really enjoys spending time together and enjoying the simple things in life. :)

  4. avatar Lisa reply

    Cannot get over how sweet all of these men’s reactions were to her! What a precious family!

  5. avatar Elle reply

    Love the subtle differences in the blue bridesmaids dresses!

  6. avatar Meg Gravley reply

    Bringing New England charm to the south was a perfect idea! I mean – c’mon – who wouldn’t want to get married in NC?!

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