Monthly Archives:: April 2013

Claire Pettibone 2014 Collection Preview — New York Bridal Market

For me, one of the most exciting moments of New York Bridal Market was meeting designer Claire Pettibone and previewing her 2014 wedding gown collection. Claire Pettibone is one of my all-time favorite bridal gown designers, and to all you fans (I know there are a LOT of you out there!), it should be no surprise that her new line is absolutely exquisite.

New York Bridal Market
The following photos are all by Cyn Kain Photography, and are each of the gowns from the Claire Pettibone Spring 2014 Collection, featuring her Decoupage designs.

New York Bridal MarketThis is Claire Pettibone’s Antoinette gown, a stunning ivory Leaver’s lace dress with a striped cameo motif and floral silk ribbon lace-up back, all lined in platinum silk. The deep v-neck is off-set by sweet, wide-set straps. Pettibone’s entire collection did not have a single strapless dress — such a change from trends of year’s past.

New York Bridal MarketThe Abigail gown is a platinum silk, a-line dress with floral lace and applique flowers. Cameo insets and sweet lace cap sleeves make this gown a perfect mix of trendy and timeless while tying in the art deco feel that is becoming so popular.

New York Bridal MarketOn the left, Claire Pettibone’s Charlotte gown features ivory Chantilly lace, sheer long sleeves and an a-line silhouette. The dress is lined in pearl silk and finished with a demure vintage floral belt. On the right, Pettibone’s Gladys gown is a sheath style with a Chantilly lace peplum detail. The cameo sheer back is embellished with delicate organza flowers.

New York Bridal Market
New York Bridal MarketClaire Pettibone’s Estelle gown is so, so chic. Its long, linen sleeves top off a fitted bodice and platinum silk charmeuse skirt with a Leaver’s lace waist and back. The high neckline is balanced out by the open, detailed back for a look that’s all-around stunning.

New York Bridal MarketThis gown, dubbed Florentine, is a beautiful mashup of ivory Leaver’s lace and platinum silk charmeuse. Guipure lace insets and a tulle train finished with a silk flower complete the ethereal look.

New York Bridal MarketPettibone’s Wren gown features one of the most stunning and intricate necklines. Pearl Chantilly lace and silk charmeuse make up the body of the dress, while guipure lace cap sleeves and a detailed open back finish the design.

New York Bridal MarketThis gown, Delaney, is made of beautiful ivory linen. Vintage lace insets, a guipure lace neckline and the barely-there sleeves make this dress perfectly whimsical and romantic.

New York Bridal MarketClaire Pettibone’s Primrose gown features vintage French embroidery with a guipure lace neckline and a stunning velvet waist. The detachable tulle train and platinum and rose color combination are the perfect details to round out her Decoupage collection.

New York Bridal MarketCyn and I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Pettibone, who is just so sweet and genuine. We also got to snap a shot of Alexia Joyce alongside Claire. Alexia and her husband, Michael, own Alexia’s Bridal Boutique in Raleigh and Lana Addison Bridal in Cary, which carries Claire Pettibone. Look for some of these stunning new wedding gowns at Lana Addison Bridal later this summer and early this fall!

SB&G’s New York Bridal Week Recap

As promised last week, today marks the beginning of SB&G’s New York Bridal Week blog series. I attended Bridal Market in New York City last weekend with Cynthia of Cyn Kain Photography, who wonderfully documented our every move for the viewing pleasure of our readers!

Today, we’re kicking things off with a general recap of my first time attending NY Bridal Week, and of course, some of the new wedding gowns trends that we noticed.

After Cyn and I connected on Saturday morning, we warmed up by visiting The Knot and Wedding Channel’s Couture Show at the Hilton New York, right in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Some designers names you may be familiar with had displays here, like Maggie Sottero and Sottero and Midgley, as well as newer names on the rise, like Rosa Clará.

Cyn Kain Photography
Cyn Kain Photography
Walking the show, we noticed some consistent fashion trends that will be very popular next season, including lots of texture, an increase in the use of sleeves, intricate backs, and a continuation of the art deco, roaring 20’s Gatsby-inspired look.

Cyn Kain Photography
Cyn Kain Photography
After cabbing it back to our hotel to drop off about 20 pounds of bridal magazines we’d collected, we made our way to Pier 92 for the larger market — the New York International Bridal Week Show.

Cyn Kain Photography
Cyn Kain Photography
The main goal at the Piers was to get a look at some of the upcoming trends for next year, so that we could bring our readers an in-depth look at some of the newest bridal fashion! We made sure to visit the designers carried by our local Triangle NC bridal salons, so you can get an idea of what’s coming to stores near you!

Several of the SB&G bridal boutique owners visit bridal market at the Piers each spring and fall. Those who visited this April were selecting gowns for their spring 2014 collections. These new collections will appear in stores this summer and fall — and get excited y’all, because there are some real beauties that we spotted!

Our first stop was Nicole Miller, which is carried by Lana Addison Bridal, a lovely shop in downtown Cary owned by husband-and-wife team Alexia and Michael Joyce. Nicole Miller is known for her simple, flattering designs, all made in New York City. As you can see, the back detail is the defining feature carried throughout this gorgeous, form-fitting collection. Here are are couple of our favorite looks that we had the chance to preview.

Cyn Kain Photography
Cyn Kain Photography
We noticed that the color trend is continuing into the 2014 wedding fashion season. Take a peek at this delicate soft pink gown from Watters (below at left). And again, the Gatsby trend is seen below, along with the lace sleeve look inspired by the Royal Wedding, in this gown also by Watters (below at right.)

Cyn Kain Photography
Another trend is the elegant look of lace decoupage , like these two beauties from the Watters collection.

Cyn Kain Photography
Fit and flair dresses will still be going strong in 2014! These bold, form-fitting styles are ideal for the bride who wants to show off her figure, and dispose of some of the princess-feel of a typical a-line wedding gown.

Cyn Kain Photography
Another trend that won’t be disappearing any time soon is beautiful texture — check out this elegant, sequenced beauty from Amanda Garrett.

Cyn Kain Photography
At Ivy & Aster, we fell in love with a couple of sweet, romantic looks. These are some of our favorites — a backless, lace beauty; an ivory gown with sparkling cap sleeves; and a sweet gown with a criss-crossed detailed back. More shots of Ivy & Aster gowns to come later this week in our post all about bridesmaids, as this designer is carried at Bella Bridesmaid, one of our local boutiques!

Cyn Kain Photography
Cyn Kain Photography
Here is a little peek into Claire Pettibone’s booth display (below at left), a full preview of her new collection will be posted later this week! Also, please enjoy these shots of some of the gowns on display at Martina Liana — including a pink mermaid gown (below at right)! Both of these designers are carried by Lana Addison Bridal.

Cyn Kain Photography
Overall, it was a fun-filled weekend complete with stunning bridal gowns, exciting new fashion trends, and a little taste of New York City! Stay tuned all week for continued coverage of the April 2013 New York International Bridal Week!

The Umstead Hotel and Spa is Growing – and Going Green

We at Southern Bride & Groom magazine know The Umstead Hotel and Spa best for its elegant weddings and receptions. We’ve featured several Umstead wedding events over the last few years and you can view a stunning reception in our current edition! The award-winning Umstead is praised for so much more than exemplary events, including its acclaimed Herons restaurant, stellar spa facilities, impeccable service and luxurious guest accommodations. This month I discovered that great things are in the works at The Umstead when I was invited to a wonderful lunch and tour for a small group of area business professionals, hosted by founder and owner Ann Goodnight, General Manager John Beley, and marketing manager Darah Whyte.

Dara Blakeley Photography

We all informally discussed the direction of the Triangle business growth and learned much about the ecological vision of The Umstead Hotel and Spa. Manager, John Beley, is highly concerned and involved with employee workplace satisfaction, and was recognized when the hotel was named one of the “Best Places to Work” by the Triangle Business Journal in 2011. This assures their goal of an elevated guest experience in all aspects of service. The company mindset, the food, the additions and the renovations at The Umstead Hotel & Spa all reflect a renewed and dedicated purpose towards worker and guest happiness, along with conservation of the environment.



The Umstead Hotel and Spaas a whole is moving towards a state-of-the-art eco-friendly system – and I’ll elaborate on that below. But allow me a diversion so I can share our outstanding lunch. I know we are all foodies here in our Triangle area. Seriously, the diners at our lunch were taking pictures of their dishes as they were served before the first bite!

Dara Blakeley Photography

Herons, the (5-diamond AAA, Forbes Five Star, and a dozen more awards) restaurant located in The Umstead Hotel, is the perfect pick for an impressive occasion, but really should be experienced for any special lunch or dinner outing with friends. The restaurant was very busy on our Thursday lunch day in April, but never felt crowded. After enjoying a salad of lovely baby spring lettuces, hoop cheddar and pickled strawberries with white balsamic, some of Chef John Childer’s entrée choices included a Lobster Roll with hand-cut vinegar potato chips, a Hot Smoked Salmon with butter beans, sugar snap peas and arugula, and Grass Fed Beef Sirloin with roasted marble potatoes, crispy broccoli and bacon sauce. I enjoyed a succulent natural chicken breast over Carolina rice that was melt-in-your-mouth tender! For dessert, we chose between a lemony chocolate napoleon in puff pastry or an original Pavlova with strawberries and mascarpone over coconut angel food cake created by pastry chef Daniel Benjamen. With the yummmmm-murmerings of everyone at the table, it was tough not to ask for one of everything on the menu that day, but I vow to return to enjoy more selections.



We learned that The Umstead has it’s own mini-farm called Maggie’s Farm, named after its manager guru. This organic enterprise freshly supplies nearly all of Herons vegetables, fruits and herbs during the full growing seasons. Herons menu also serves natural and locally-sourced meats plus organic coffee from local purveyor, Larry’s Beans. Even the coffee grounds are being used within their mushroom farming project. Hooray for herb scones and melt in your mouth cornbread and rolls. All breads and pastries are homemade by chef Daniel. Herons is an impressive dining experience to share with your business group, associates, friends or special partner. I hope I didn’t leave anyone out.  Herons also hosts Uncorked Wine Dinners every last Thursday of the month to enjoy perfect wine and food pairings along with new taste experiences!

Umstead Pastries


The Umstead Hotel is on their final phase to complete the 150 guestrooms of their original plan when opened in 2007. Guestrooms have been redecorated in a soothing aqua shade and have luxurious new drapery, curtains, carpet, bedding and interactively built-in bedframes. The balconies allow guests to also enjoy the natural outdoor surroundings.


The guest rooms are incorporating an evolve system – a environmentally conscious controlled lighting and energy-savings installation that is personalized for guests. The Umstead Hotel as a whole is moving towards a state-of-the-art eco-friendly system for energy conservation.


Even the captivating artwork that is exhibited throughout the hotel, as well as in each beautiful guestroom, reflects this love of nature. The pieces are mainly by accomplished regional and national artists whose work evokes our area of the country, and reflects the hotel’s wooded North Carolina setting that borders the William B. Umstead State Park.



My experiences at The Umstead Spa have always been memorable. It’s the ideal place to relax and bond with a friend, or enjoy with the “girls” to celebrate an occasion. I personally love the hot-tub time between massage treatments to unwind. The Spa is currently closed for expansion and design refurb, so stay tuned for the newly enlarged spa news and the slated re-opening in July. We hear (from top sources!) there will be a new coed “current” pool, in addition to the separate men’s and women’s sauna and whirlpool areas, plus  a sophisticated new nail salon with more pedicure chairs,  which I think may be the most comfortable spa chairs on the planet!

Umstead Hotel Spa Renovations


To the brides who are looking for that perfect wedding weekend location, you’ll be happy to know that The Umstead  brides can enjoy the gorgeous wedding garden that overlooks the pine-surrounded lake for their ceremony, then choose between a smaller intimate banquet room or elegant larger ballroom, both with an extensive outdoor patio terrace to use for the wedding of her dreams. Brides will love the spa and its services, and may enjoy a bridal event such as a bridesmaids’ luncheon in the spa or by the pool. The guest rooms have been updated and the service is unsurpassed so this is a hotel that has it all.


We love the greening of The Umstead!

~ Donna Parks, Publisher, SB&G

2013 Wedding Trends — Blush Inspiration

If you’re looking for a trendy and beautiful color scheme for your upcoming spring or summer wedding, look no further than blush! Blush is one of 2013’s hottest wedding trends, and for a reason!

Blush is the perfect soft and romantic pink hue that can be paired with almost any color on the spectrum, which is ideal for weddings, where everyone’s taste is vastly different. I love blush tones paired with a glittery gold metallic, soft peaches or champagnes, classic ivories, and even darker hues like charcoal or violet. This hot hue has been popping up in weddings all over the country — some brides are even going bold and donning pink dresses for their big day!

This color palette is so feminine and romantic, which makes it absolutely gorgeous for an outdoor warm weather ceremony and reception! Take a look at the inspiration board below to see how blush can be incorporated into everything from your wedding day stationary to your florals, and even your decor!

2013 Wedding Trends
So, embrace blush y’all! It’s such a soft shade of pink that I bet you can even get your groom-to-be on board!

SB&G Does New York Bridal Fashion Week

New York Bridal Fashion Week just wrapped up, and Southern Bride & Groom was there to visit the shows by designers carried by our local bridal boutiques.

I attended with the fabulous photographer (and awesome roomie!), Cynthia of Cyn Kain Photography. There is no place like New York City in the springtime (although it got a little cold there by the end of the week, at least by NC standards), and we took the town — and the bridal market — by storm!

Although I lived in NYC for many years, it was quite the experience to get acquainted with this major event I had never had the chance to attend. It was such a treat to get a peek into the behind-the-scenes world of the wedding fashion industry! Bridal Market happens each spring and fall in NYC, when wedding gown designers from around the world converge upon the city to reveal their new lines for the upcoming season. There are a couple of large trade shows, and many private appointment showings for buyers. We were lucky that a couple of our local bridal boutiques were attending the market, so we got a chance to experience both the trade shows and private bookings.

We have such amazing bridal boutiques here in the Triangle Area of NC, and I now have a whole new appreciation for their business. Next week, we will release a bridal market blog series, sharing our experiences at the show, including some of the new trends and looks of next season! To tide you over, here’s a fun mix of photos that Cyn and I posted to Instagram over the weekend! Enjoy, and check the blog next week for more detailed behind-the-scenes bridal fashion week coverage!

New York Bridal Week
Remember to check the SB&G blog each day next week for our New York Bridal Fashion Week blog series! Let’s get inspired, y’all!

Southern Bride & Groom Floral Inspiration — Flowers by Gary

This is the first installment in our Floral Series from the 2013 magazine! Today, we’re featuring the table and bouquet by Flowers by Gary, a Durham shop owned by Gary Corsi-OConnor. Gary is an award winning, North Carolina Certified Professional Florist through the North Carolina State Florist Association with over 25 years of experience. He is also a member of the Society of American Florists and President of the local Northern Piedmont Florist Association. 

For the 2013 Floral Shoot, Flowers by Gary put together a sweet, quintessential Southern tabletop and bouquet, complete with blue seersucker (swoon!), magnolia leaves, and hydrangeas — it doesn’t get more Southern than that, y’all! We set up in Rose Hill Plantation‘s Blue Room, and took to the stunning front lawn of the historic estate house for some model shots (including our beautiful Summer/Fall cover!) If you’re seeking floral inspiration that’s soulfully Southern, look no further than this shoot!

Enjoy these beautiful photos — some never-before-seen! — all shot by the talented husband and wife duo, Photography by Walters & Walters.

Floral Shoot -- Flowers by Gary
Floral Shoot -- Flowers by Gary
Floral Shoot -- Flowers by Gary
Floral Shoot -- Flowers by Gary
Floral Shoot -- Flowers by Gary
Thanks to everyone who made this segment of the shoot so wonderful, including: American Party Rentals, Cute Buttons, Lana Addison Bridal, Bailey’s Fine Jewelry and Bella Trio Day Spa.

SB&G Is At Bridal Market in New York

This weekend, the 2013 New York International Bridal Week (also known as Bridal Market) will be held at Piers 92 and 94 in Manhattan. The weekend is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for retailers and manufacturers to experience a professional bridal trade show in New York City. All of the best names from the American and European bridal industry — from shocking couture to gorgeously modern —  will be in attendance, debuting exciting new looks and trends.

New York Bridal Market
Our very own Jenna from Team SB&G will be in attendance for all of the weekend’s festivities, from perusing designer booths to sitting in on couture fashion shows, and she’ll be reporting all of the important details! Jenna will be paying extra close attention to designers lines that are carried by our local Triangle NC bridal boutiques.

Cyn Kain Photography is accompanying Jenna to NYC to help cover all of the exciting events of the weekend, and when they return, we’ll let you in on the scoop.

For those of you who can’t wait for the recap (like me!), follow Southern Bride & Groom on Instagram and Twitter!

Southern Bride & Groom “Shades of Blue” Customer Appreciation Luncheon 2013

All of us at Southern Bride & Groom would like say a huge thank you to all of you who came out for the Customer Appreciation Luncheon at The Washington Duke Inn on Wednesday, April 2nd. It is our pleasure to give back to all of our clients by throwing an annual networking event! It’s always a wonderful time, where the fantastic wedding professionals who advertise with SB&G can make new connections while kicking back with some food and drink! It also gives us the opportunity to showcase a beautiful venue and several of the professionals that are a part of the SB&G family.

A special thanks to the following vendors…
The Washington Duke Inn was the perfect location for our midday luncheon! The combination of indoor and outdoor space allowed our guests to enjoy the beautiful North Carolina spring weather and be comfortably seated for a delicious lunch, provided by the Washington Duke‘s catering team. The team worked closely with us to create a menu that reflected our theme — Shades of Blue — and produced beautifully plated delicacies!

Floral Dimensions went above and beyond to create a stunning floral look for the afternoon. The arrangements varied in height, size and type of flower, but were all wonderfully cohesive, and of course, blue!

FlowerThyme, one of the newer members of the SB&G family, custom-made all of the ombre blue paper flowers displayed on the terrace during the cocktail hour, where guests enjoyed a John Brown Entertainment jazz trio.

Party Reflections provided the stunning array of blue linens — from textured to patterned and sky blue to royal, these linens really pulled the whole look of our theme together.

Paper Cafe created truly stunning invitations and menu cards, complete with several of this year’s hottest trends — chevron, foiled lettering, and ombre color!

Kristen Peters provided aromatherapy favors packaged in adorable individual-sized blue spray bottles. We’ve been using ours around the SB&G office and love the way it makes our space smell!

Paper Mojo created sweet blue SB&G tags that donned all of the favors.

Renee Sprink Photography helped us out by taking some photos to document the afternoon event. Please enjoy some of the detail shots below, all by Renee Sprink, and stay tuned to SB&G‘s Facebook page for an album full of our customers having a great time!


Real NC Engagement Session — Duke Chapel and Downtown Durham

In honor of Wedding Wednesday, we’ve got a fabulous Real NC engagement session feature for y’all today! Sarah and Dane got engaged last year, and plan to marry at Duke Chapel on March 1, 2014. Enjoy these beautiful photos from their e-session with Kristie of Neil Boyd Photography!

Sarah met Dane at her summer job in 2010. Since he was technically her superior, they had to stay “off the radar” until she returned to Appalachian State University for her senior year, but less than an hour after she worked her last shift, she and Dane made it “Facebook official!”

Neil Boyd Photography
Last year, Dane signed up to run the City of Oaks Marathon in Raleigh, NC. Before the day of the race, he asked Sarah’s parents’ permission to marry their daughter, and arranged for family and friends to be at the finish line.

After a long day of racing (26.2 miles is a LONG way, y’all, especially with a proposal on the horizon!), Dane stopped about 20 yards shy of the finish line and went over to the sideline, where Sarah was standing and cheering him on. He dropped to one knee, and told her that the effort he put into training for the marathon would be nothing compared to what he would give to be with her forever, and popped the question! Of course, Sarah said “yes,” and the duo finished the race together, hand in hand.

The couple plans to marry March 1, 2014 at the Duke Chapel, after camping out for 16 hours to secure their venue! Congrats, Sarah and Dane, we can’t wait to see photos of your big day!

The last three photos were taken during the proposal, and after the couple camped out at Duke Chapel in March…swoon-worthy!

Neil Boyd Photography
Neil Boyd Photography
Neil Boyd Photography
Neil Boyd Photography
Neil Boyd Photography
Neil Boyd Photography
Neil Boyd Photography
Neil Boyd Photography
Neil Boyd Photography
Neil Boyd Photography
Neil Boyd Photography
Personal Photos
Personal Photos

Southern Bride & Groom Summer/Fall 2013 Cover Reveal

All of the gals at Southern Bride & Groom are thrilled to reveal our second cover for 2013, and the 26th edition of our Triangle-based wedding planning magazine!

Our stunning Summer/Fall cover was captured by the amazing husband and wife photography team, Meridith and James of Photography by Walters & Walters, on a pleasantly-cool summer day during our floral shoot for this year’s magazine.

The shoot took place at the picturesque Rose Hill Plantation in Nashville, NC. Rose Hill is a quintessential Southern wedding venue complete with beautiful, well-manicured grounds, a stunning historic plantation home, and a lofty reception hall. Though the plantation lies only minutes outside of Raleigh, you feel as if you are entering another world as you make your way up the Crepe Myrtle-lined country lane leading up to the historic estate house.

The cover photo features a sweet bouquet designed by Flowers by Gary. This bouquet oozes Southern charm with its seersucker wrap, blue hydrangeas and magnolia leaves. Our lovely model is wearing a stunning gown from Lana Addison Bridal, a boutique located in Cary, NC, and is adorned with a David Yurman necklace and pair of earrings from Bailey’s Fine Jewelry. Her hair and makeup were done by the talented ladies at Bella Trio Day Spa.

Want more of the floral shoot? Grab a copy of this year’s Southern Bride & Groom, and check out our behind-the-scenes blog post, complete with never-before-seen photos of the shoot!