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Based on details alone, it’s clear that Olivia and Scott threw a Southern soirée, but amidst the bow ties, pearls, and bourbon lemonade lies much more. Olivia imagined a day that felt like an effortlessly elegant Southern dinner party, so with the help of their planner, Blue Ribbon Vendor Leigh Pearce, they planned a wedding day that focused on serving their guests well as gracious hosts and honoring the traditions of their families. While lots of newlyweds struggle to fill their new homes with thoughtful pieces, I love the way Leigh encouraged Olivia and Scott to look for decor that could be easily reused after their wedding in their home. I bet those same pieces will go on to become heirlooms for future generations to cherish!

Big hugs to Anna Paschal Photography for sharing this dreamy day with us!

My experience finding a dress was one of epic fairy tale proportion. Along with my mom and sister, I traveled to Hayden Olivia in uptown Charlotte. The consultant encouraged me to pick at least one or two gowns that I had not pictured myself in–something outside my comfort zone. I began making my selection and was lured in by the youthful, uber feminine designs of Hayley Paige. I especially loved the cascading striped silk organza of the Guindon gown, and knew it had to be my wild card pick. After a few gowns, the consultant decided it was time I tried on my “just for fun” pick. The feeling I felt as I wore the gown was transformative–I felt more myself than I had ever been. Needless to say, Guindon became a pivotal inspiration piece for the entire wedding!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, Scott and I did decide to do a first look. At first, we were a little unsure if a first look would be right for us, but after talking with Leigh Pearce, Anna Paschal, and our rabbi, we decided it would be perfect fit. We wanted to spend as much time as possible with our friends, family, and loved ones after the ceremony. The first look also gave Scott and I an opportunity to create and share a special moment alone together prior to the ceremony.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I had always dreamed of an outdoor wedding. As we began looking for wedding venues, Scott and I wanted to find a place that felt refined, yet organic. We immediately fell in love with the expansive and stately oak trees found at one of the ceremony sites at Summerfield Farm.

I looked through various issues of Southern Weddings and selected a few of my favorite phrases to create my vows. My favorite lines were: “I, Olivia, take you, Scott, as you are this day, loving who you are now and who you are yet to become. I promise to listen to you and learn from you, to support you and accept your support. I will celebrate your triumphs and mourn your losses as though they are my own. I will love you and have faith in your love for me through all that life may bring. May my heart be your shelter and my arms be your home. With these words, and all the words of my heart, I marry you and bind my life to yours.”

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Do bow ties, pearls, and bourbon lemonade count? The whole design of our wedding was Southern. Southern design, to me, is understated elegance and effortless tradition. It is as if you went out into the backyard, gathered some flowers from your garden, went into the dining room and brought out the pressed linens and the Sunday china, grabbed the heirloom silver, whipped up a deliciously fresh meal, and lit a few candles, all while say to your guests, “Really, it was nothing. Glad you could make it”. The focus on our guests and our efforts to be gracious hosts were the most Southern parts of our wedding.

We chose a selection of small round layer cakes to accompany our main three-tiered round layer cake. The cakes ranged in flavors from strawberry buttercream, to raspberry lady cake, to chocolate mocha cake. The cakes’ decorations were very simple–we used white frosting with a beaded border around the bottom, adorned with real blooms.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Scott and I met in college in August 2008. We both remember the very first moment we laid eyes on each other, standing in the hallway of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house. Scott was a sophomore and I was a freshman. We instantly connected over whatever music was playing at the time and continued to connect over various topics in the weeks to come. However, it took Scott almost three years and a sort of happenstance meeting to officially ask me out on our first date. Our first date will forever be one of best memories, besides our wedding, of course. On both occasions, we danced and sang the entire night away.
Tell us all about the proposal! I can honestly say the proposal was a COMPLETE surprise and that it happened months before I thought it might! I grew up on a farm and have ridden and owned horses since the tender age of five. In third grade, as I started to grow not only in size, but in skill, as an equestrian, my parents gifted me with an American Quarter Horse named Sundance. I loved him from the moment I met him! In late fall 2013, as Sundance began to age and reach “old man” status (30 years old), I mentioned to Scott and my family how very much I would love to have my picture taken with Sundance as a sort of memento. On December 1 of that year, while Scott and I were visiting my parents for Thanksgiving, they surprised me with a professional photography session with Sundance. As Sundance and I neared the end of our photo shoot, the photographer suggested I turn the horse around and position Scott into one of the last frames. I turned Sundance around and came to spot Scott kneeling on the ground. I immediately asked him what he was doing, reminding him it was not safe to be on the ground around horses. Well…he pulled out a little box and a gorgeous diamond ring! He nervously uttered lots of sweet and meaningful words and I said “Yes!” The whole proposal was caught on camera.
When did y’all get married? May 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Scott and I planned for our marriage by meeting with our rabbi once a month during a large portion of our engagement. We have really come to cherish those monthly meetings, and they are one of the reasons we were able to create such a deeply meaningful ceremony.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Having a custom invitation suite and calligraphed envelopes was really important to me. The invitation is the first tangible piece of the big day guests will encounter. I always look at invitations as a suggestion of all the beauty yet to come. In order to stay within my budget for invitations and paper, I decided to forgo paper items like individual menus and programs. I also decided learn the art of modern calligraphy so I could address the invitations, create the place cards, and hand-paint the table numbers and signage myself. I walked away from my wedding day with the man of my dreams and a new skill to boot!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Leigh Pearce, my planner, and Anna Paschal, my photographer, obviously! Those ladies were such a blessing and I felt so fortunate to have found them. I am really glad that I listened to every piece of their advice, especially, when Leigh advised me to look for decor items that I could also use in my home after the wedding. Many of the pieces we used during our wedding have now become heirloom-quality decor in our home.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Beyond working to build a life together, I would have to say travel and adventure. On our honeymoon, Scott and I decided that each year for our anniversary, we would plan a special trip for the two of us. We are very excited to celebrate our first anniversary in St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands–we have made arrangements to stay in an eco-tent resort for the first leg of our trip. For the first time ever, we will be traveling with just a backpack filled with the bare necessities, and we simply can’t wait to see what exciting revelations come when traveling ultralight!

Photographer: Anna Pachal Photography | Planner: Leigh Pearce Weddings | Venue: Summerfield Farm | Florist: The Farmers Wife | Cake Baker: Maxie B’s | Caterer: Fresh. Local. Good. Food Group | Rentals: Party Makers Event Rentals | Lighting and DJ: K2 Productions | Paper Products: Four Things Paper | Bride’s Gown: “Guindon” by Hayley Paige | Bride’s Earrings: Haute Bride | Bride’s Custom Sash: Davie & Chiyo | Bride’s English Net Veil: Tessa Kim | Hair and Makeup: Carla White | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “D468” by Alfred Sung | Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers and Canali | Bow Ties: The Tie Bar | Groomsmen Attire: Brooks Brothers and Michael Kors

marissa Written with love by Marissa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Laura reply

    Love her description of the reception as a Southern dinner party. Now it makes me want to throw a dinner party of my own!

  2. avatar Brooke Paris reply

    This story is SO similar to my own; it is my own Hayley Paige dress is serving as inspiration for the general look and intimate details of the reception we are planning- my groom just doesn’t know that everything comes together so well quite yet ;)!

    I have been searching for swiss dot details EVERYWHERE- do you know where those fabrics are from?

  3. avatar Leigh Pearce reply

    Thanks for the feature SW!! I just loved working with Olivia and Scott. A pair of true sweethearts!

    Brooke, email me at leigh@leighpearceweddings.come and I will see if I can hunt down that fabric source for you. Olivia’s mom sourced and created the chuppah draping. It was one of my favorite details!! xoxo

  4. avatar Greg Coltman reply

    Lovely detail! Great shots

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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!

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  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 :)

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