Monthly Archives:: February 2014

Wedding Dress Silhouette Style Guide

As a bride, it’s natural to want to look your absolute best on your wedding day — aside from you and your soon-to-be husband, your wedding dress will be front and center on the big day. Finding the right gown is essential, but with with everyone having different body types and the abundance of dress styles on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed at the prospect of dress shopping.

Today, we’re breaking down the five most popular styles in a user-friendly wedding dress silhouette style guide so that you can get a grip on the industry’s terminology and figure out which look you like best before stepping into a bridal boutique to try on gowns! After all, the silhouette is the gown’s most prominent feature, and you want it to both flatter your shape and make you feel beautiful.

Check out the graphic below to determine what silhouette you believe suits you, and read further for an in-depth description of each style. Be sure to check out our previous post about wedding dress neckline styles, too!

Wedding Dress Silhouettes

An A-line, or princess gown, is fitted at the bodice and has vertical seams that flow out from the shoulder all the way to the ground in an unbroken line, creating a flared skirt that resembles an “A” shape. A modified A-line has a slightly more fitted skirt that a traditional A-line gown, giving you a more defined shape. A-line gowns are incredibly popular because they are almost universally flattering for every body type.

A ballgown is fitted at the bodice and features a (very!) full skirt that begins at the natural waist. It’s a very traditional wedding gown style — think Cinderella! Ballgowns are great for brides who are pear-shaped, as they highlight the waist and minimize the lower body.

A sheath dress is a sleek gown that fits very closely to the contours of the body. The narrow shape of the gown flows straight from the neckline to the hem with no defined waist, and is great for thin, silky fabrics and summery beach or destination weddings. Sheath gowns are for confident brides who want to show off their shape!

A mermaid gown fits closely to the body from the chest all the way to the knee and then flares out dramatically to the hem, resembling a fish tail. This silhouette is perfect for an elegant evening wedding or black tie affair. Mermaid gowns are a wonderful choice for brides with an hourglass figure who want to accentuate their curves.

Trumpet gowns fit closely to the body until mid-hip, where they then gradually widen to the hem, resembling the mouth of a trumpet. A trumpet gown features a tight bodice and a drop-waist, which highlights the bride’s every curve. The trumpet silhouette is often confused with the mermaid because each features a fitted bodice and flared skirt, but trumpet gowns flare from the hip while mermaid gowns flare from below the knee.

Source for photos used in mood board. 

The Merrimon-Wynne House Grand Opening in Raleigh

What’s Old Is New Again
The highly-anticipated opening of downtown Raleigh’s newest wedding and event venue, the Merrimon-Wynne House, took place this month, and we are excited to share some beautiful images of the completed project from their Grand Opening Celebration.

Merrimon-Wynne House

The Merrimon-Wynne House has served many prominent functions throughout Raleigh’s history – it was built across the street from Peace College in 1876, as a private home of a prominent NC politician, and centerpiece of the park-like setting on North Wilmington Street.  Its three stories were later used as a college dormitory, as the home for the president of Peace College, and as state-owned offices, before it was moved to its new location on the corner of Blount and Polk Streets. A little over a year ago, it was purchased by Jodi and John Strenkowski, who envisioned a new life for this special property. The stately house reminded them of the lovely venues that they found when planning their own wedding in Charleston, SC. They thought this would make a charming Southern, event space, and we couldn’t agree more! I was lucky to meet Jodi early on her journey with this house, and got to see it pre-construction. It was certainly a beauty to begin with, but Jodi’s vision has taken this property and the land on which it sits to new heights. It is truly a masterpiece and a dream venue!

The house is not only striking from the outside, but stunning on the inside as well. Its stark white walls and high ceilings are complemented by beautiful original wood floors, high windows, and detailed fireplaces in each room. The central feature of the home is a staircase which winds up all three floors, and you can peer from one end to the other. Ms. Strenkowski wisely built in a catering prep room that makes it much easier to have a private function onsite. Maybe the most special part of this property is that it now sits on a beautifully landscaped piece of property, with plenty of room for an outside ceremony or event full tented event. This is the only downtown venue that boasts such a feature.

“The Merrimon-Wynne House will be the new jewel of Blount Street,” said Lt. Governor Dan Forest, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that took place on January 31st, in front of an intimate crowd. Jodi, her husband John, and Lt. Forest then did the honors and invited the guests in for a beautiful celebration!

Merrimon Wynne Ribbon Cutting

The house was decorated to the nines. Many preferred SB&G vendors were part of this gorgeous event. Katie Dunn, and her team, La Fete, planned the opening party. The gorgeous floral designs were created by Fresh Affairs. Furniture and decor items throughout the house were from our local vintage rental company, Simply Put Vintage, and decorative chalkboard art was by Calligraphy by Carrie. An amazing spread of food was provided by Donovan’s Dish. The tent was provided by Party Reflections.

Colorful Floral and Food

Merrimon Wynne Interior Details

Donna and Jenna enjoying the party

Social Sidecar Club Band

Vintage Furniture

Signature Cocktail

Vintage White Chairs

Cupcake Party Favors

Tented Event Raleigh

Joe Bunn DJ

La Fete Event Team

Jodi and John Strenkowski, Owners of Merrimon Wynne

La Fete drew from lots of other local professionals to make this event spectacular. Live music inside the house was provided by the Side Car Social Club Band, while in the tent, DJ Joe Bunn rocked the house! Event Espresso, a mobile coffee cart, served drinks in the tent, and sweet favors were provided by the Cupcake Shoppe. Extra lighting for the tent and house was provided by Total Production Services. You couldn’t miss the beautifully-lit house that night!

This project, led by Jodi as part of the Blount Street Commons urban renewal project, is another a huge step for the continuing revitalization of Downtown Raleigh. Congratulations to the team! We cannot wait to see some lucky brides’ and grooms’ weddings that take place in this beautiful home!

All photos in this blog are by Tim Willoughby Photography.

Real Romantic Fall Wedding at Prestonwood Country Club

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re thrilled to share Lindsay and Shawn’s romantic fall wedding at Prestonwood Country Club, with gorgeous photos from Dara Blakeley Photography

Lindsay and Shawn met at a pizza parlor in Raleigh – he was working there and caught Lindsay’s eye when she came in with her mom and younger sister. She went back the next day to say hello, and the two exchanged numbers and went on their first date shortly thereafter.

Shawn planned a romantic proposal at one of the couple’s favorite locations, Lake Johnson. Before dinner, Shawn told Lindsay her dad wanted to take some photos of them – which wasn’t out of the ordinary since her father is a professional photographer. He took her to the lake and, after distracting her for a while, proposed while Lindsay’s dad photographed it! Of course, she said yes, and the couple began planning their November wedding.

Lindsay had been looking into wedding venues prior to getting engaged, and Prestonwood Country Club was at the top of her list. The couple booked the venue, and began assembling their “Wedding Dream Team” – which included Sally Oakley and Dara Blakeley Photography – to help them achieve their vision. Sally helped Lindsay and Shawn nail down a color palette of pale pinks, champagne, and creams to complement the venue and their desire of a classic, elegant and timeless wedding. The bride said “Sally really helped make the whole planning process fun and relaxed. She also helped us choose our vendors, and each and every vendor we had was amazing to work with!”

The duo included a unique unity ceremony in their wedding ceremony. They exchanged a white rose with one another as their first gift as a married couple and to symbolize the gift of true love and devotion. At the reception, guests were able to dance the night away to songs they’d requested on the couple’s RSVP cards!

Lindsay and Shawn used the SB&G magazine and website to get inspiration for their wedding day. The bride said “The magazine was very helpful in looking at other weddings and their vendor selections, color palettes, flowers, cakes and dresses! It was a great guide, and the website was a great tool as well.” They ended up selecting several members of the SB&G Family to make their wedding day spectactular, including: Prestonwood Country Club, Dara Blakeley Photography, Robin Renteria, Sally Oakley Personalized Wedding Planning, Tre Bella Bridal, CE Rental and Shutterbooth.

Custom Golf Balls with Wedding Rings

Bridal Gown with Bow

Bride in Window

Bride and Blush Bridesmaids

Groom and Groomsmen

Bridal Party

Bride and Groom Under Veil

Blush and Ivory Bridal Bouquet

Wedding Rings

Bride and Groom on Golf Course

Grand Ballroom Ceremony

White Wedding Cake

Blush Wedding Reception

First Dance

Wedding Photobooth

Petal Toss Grand Exit

Wedding Location: The Grand Ballroom at Prestonwood Country Club
Minister: Robin Renteria
Wedding Planner: Sally Oakley Personalized Wedding Planning
Bridal Gown: Tre Bella Bridal
Bridesmaids Dresses: J Crew
Men’s Formalwear: Jos. A. Bank
Hair and Makeup: Makeup by Ashley Mooney
Photographer: Dara Blakeley Photography
Florist: Watered Garden
Cake: Prestonwood Country Club
Invitations: The Green Kangaroo
Music: Joe Bunn DJ Company
Rentals: CE Rental
Favors: Shutterbooth and personalized golf balls

Made from Scratch Wedding Cakes from Edible Art Bakery

We’re back today to feature another one of our fantastic local bakeries and their gorgeous confectionary designs from our 2014 Cake Shoot! Today’s post highlights made from scratch wedding cakes from Edible Art Bakery.

Edible Art is the Triangle’s oldest dessert bakery, and is conveniently located on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh.

Edible Art uses high quality, all natural ingredients and bakes every cupcake, cake, pie, and cookie completely from scratch. The Edible Art team is composed of experienced bakers and top-notch designers who are able to work with you to create a one-of-a-kind confection to match the theme of your event.

For our 2014 Cake Shoot, Edible Art created three gorgeous cakes. This is a romantic Moulin Rouge-inspired design with pink, black and gold metallic. We love the icing-designed version of a 1940s brooch! The cake is set on a lacquered tray with champagne, an elegant ice bucket, and a wrought iron birdcage from ThemeWorks.

Pink and Gold Wedding Cake

This cake is a classic! The ivory fondant is adorned with retro handmade cameos, lace, and pearl teardrops in a European style. It is set with Italian garden-themed props and a romantic bouquet from ThemeWorks.

Classic Ivory Wedding Cake

This pearlized, blush-colored cake from Edible Art features an Indian-inspired paisley design and handcrafted sugar orchids in bright hues of pink, yellow and orange. We paired this exotic cake with a copper table and a natural bamboo backdrop from ThemeWorks.

Indian Inspired Wedding Cake

Thanks to Brian Mullins Photography for all of the gorgeous Cake Shoot photos!

Upcoming NC Wedding Shows and Events

We’re excited to announce several upcoming NC wedding shows and events. Be sure to attend bridal shows and wedding events throughout the year for an opportunity to meet local wedding experts and get a jumpstart on planning your big day. Here’s what’s going on in the next few weeks…

Bride and Groom RecessionalBrian Mullins Photography

Triangle Bridal Association’s 5th Annual “A Happy Affair” Wedding Show
Thursday, February 27th, 5:30 – 8:30pm
Join the TBA and TBA members for an evening of informative mingling. Meet with wonderful local wedding professionals and enjoy hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, music, swag bags, wedding gifts, and more!
Admission is $7 at the door. Advanced registration is requested to attend.

The Nasher Museum’s Wedding Open House
Thursday, February 27th, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Envision a wedding as unique as you are at The Nasher while you enjoy delicious food and presentations in the dramatic event space. RSVP online or at 919-684-3321.

Cary Magazine Elegant Weddings Gala
Thursday, March 6th, 4:30 – 8:00pm
It’s almost time for the annual Cary Magazine Elegant Weddings Gala! Join the team Thursday, March 6 for an evening of celebration, including the Triangle’s top wedding vendors and a fashion show from Traditions by Anna! Tickets are on sale now, and can be purchased hereBrides, use the code “SBGBRIDE” at checkout for a FREE TICKET!

The Sanderling Resort’s Wedding Showcase
Saturday, March 15th, 11:00am – 4:00pm
Brides and grooms can sample cakes from local bakeries and meet with photographers, officiants, videographers, event designers, florists and more! You’ll find everything you need to plan your destination wedding to the Outer Banks while enjoying the bright sun, sea breeze, and beautiful NC coastline. Tickets can be purchased hereBrides, write on our Facebook wall telling us why you want an Outer Banks wedding for the chance to win 2 tickets to the show and an overnight stay at The Sanderling!

Asian-Inspired Succulent Tabletop from Catering Works

We’re back with the fourth installment in our series highlighting our local florists’ designs from the SB&G 2014 Floral Shoot! Today’s post features an Asian-Inspired Succulent Tabletop from Catering Works.

Bloom Works is a division of Catering Works that offers custom floral designs by in-house designer Joseph Barnes. Catering Works has beautiful blooms — sourced from local and global vendors — to fit your creative vision for events of any type.

For the 2014 Floral Shoot, Catering Works designed an Asian-inspired succulent tabletop and bouquet that was the perfect blend of contemporary and classic. The design featured a modern concrete table, pops of purple, ivory, and yellow along with sculptural succulents that exuded a gorgeous fusion of Eastern art and Southern style.

The lush floral display paired beautifully with the lawn of the Page-Rollins White Garden adjacent to the Angle Amphitheater and Doris Duke Center of Duke Gardens. This color palette and contemporary design are perfect for an edgy or modern wedding in any season! Enjoy these photos (some never-before-seen) of Catering Works’ stunning floral designs, courtesy of Photography by Walters & Walters.

Contemporary Asian Wedding Tabletop

Asian Inspired Wedding Centerpiece

Succulent Flowers

Succulent Wedding Centerpiece

Black and White Placesetting


Purple Flowers

Purple and Green Wedding Tablescape

Bride with Purple Wedding Flowers

Bride with Purple Bouquet

A huge thanks to the rest of the 2014 Floral Shoot Team, including: Belk (china and stemware), ThemeWorks (ghost chairs and bench), Cute Buttons (papers), Lana Addison Bridal (Tulle New York bridal gown), Bailey’s Fine Jewelry (jewelry), and Bella Trio Day Spa (hair and makeup).

Professional Wedding DJ versus iPod Wedding

We sometimes hear of engaged couples questioning the expense of a wedding DJ. In an age of abundant music streaming services, MP3 players, and extensive music libraries, some couples decide to cut wedding costs by hiring an amateur DJ, a friend, or even plugging in their own music source into the venue’s sound system. However, with 27 years in the event business, SB&G is here to warn you that going for an “iPod wedding” comes with its own a price tag – one that we think is far more costly than making an investment in a true professional DJ.

Your Wedding Emcee (MC or Master of Ceremonies)

People often forget that professional DJs are not only there to play music, but equally important, they act as the wedding’s official emcee. They will help direct the flow of events and orchestrate important moments – like the newlyweds’ and wedding party’s entrance, the first dance, the Best Man’s toast, the cake cutting and even the garter toss if you choose to do that tradition.  Many wedding DJs are so experienced, they are great at directing the event timeline.

For the record, if you are considering hiring a DJ who tells you he or she does not act as emcee, then he is NOT a professional! Furthermore, even if you book your event at a venue that comes with an onsite coordinator, please remember that they will be busy executing the behind-the-scenes activities, and it is not appropriate to ask them to serve as the emcee.

From Soiree to Party

Professionals are also experienced at reading and pleasing the crowd. They’ll know the right songs to play at the right time – and in the right order – to keep everyone on the dance floor throughout the evening! Professional DJs are experts at mixing songs to transition smoothly from one to the next to avoid lapses in energy and awkward silences. As you may have experienced first-hand, the DJ can truly make or break the dance party, so if that is important to you, a pro is a must!

Wedding Guests Dancing

Photo by Brian Mullins Photography

Quality Equipment

Sound quality is one of the most important aspects of wedding reception entertainment. Professional DJs have top-of-the-line equipment – like elevated speaker stands, subwoofers, and mixing tables – to create great, clear sound no matter the venue. Keep in mind that a DJ who charges less most likely has invested less into their equipment, giving you inferior sound. Professionals will also have back-up equipment on-site in case something goes wrong, like a blown speaker.

Some professional DJ companies also offer lighting services that bring an unmatched level of ambiance to your event and really wow the audience.

Etiquette and Reliability

Professional DJs are well versed in wedding etiquette. They’ll show up on time, set up their equipment efficiently, dress well, and adhere to your “do not play” and “must play” song lists. A professional will meet with you before the big day to get a feel for your tastes so he is able to anticipate your needs at your wedding reception. A professional will also know how to handle song requests from your guests.

Over 80% of wedding guests say the thing they remember most from a reception is the entertainment, so it’s certainly worth investing in!

Pricing: What to Expect

The going rate for four hours of service by a quality, professional DJs in our Triangle Area starts around $900, and ranges to nearly $2,000 (for DJ service only, not specialty lighting add-ons). Overage hours would cost anywhere from $100 – $200 per hour.  Even with the standard four hour package, your DJ will have to arrive hours early to set up and test the sound system, so do remember to have a meal set aside for them (no need to include alcohol, no professional will ever booze on the job!)

If you are getting married in the Triangle Area or nearby, please visit SB&G’s Music & Entertainment page for a list of true local professionals!

Bride and Groom Choreographed Dance

Photo by Neil Boyd Photography

Bridal Fashion from Tre Bella Bridal

This year, SB&G hosted our fashion editorial shoot at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh, where we paired stunning looks form our bridal boutiques with the museum’s interesting and artful backdrops. Today, we’re sharing our favorite looks in bridal fashion from Tre Bella Bridal, a full-service bridal salon and florist in Downtown Durham owned and operated by three sisters.

Tre Bella Bridal has a variety of bridal gowns from the collections of popular designers like Carol Hannah, Modern Trousseau, Jenny Packham, San Patrick, Badgley Mischka, and Winnie Couture. The shop also has several lines of bridesmaids dresses and hosts regular trunk shows!

Badgley Mischka Bridal Gown


This gorgeous, drop-waist strapless gown is from the Badgley Mischka line at Tre Bella Bridal. The beaded bodice and pickups add the perfect amount of sparkle, especially when paired with jewelry from Bel Canto Designs.

San Patrick Bridal Gown


We love the illusion neckline (one of the year’s biggest bridal gown trends!) on this San Patrick stunner from Tre Bella Bridal. The cap sleeves are oh so romantic, and paired with an elegant updo and jewelry from Charlotte’s, our model is ready for a classic evening wedding!

Jenny Packham Bridal Gown

This Jenny Packham gown from Tre Bella Bridal is dramatic with a plunging neckline, lace detail, and lace sleeves. Our model is wearing jewelry and a headpiece from Bel Canto Designs to complete the romantic, airy look.

Modern Trousseau Bridal Gown

This Modern Trousseau strapless gown from Tre Bella Bridal features a prominent overlay and elegant train. It simple lines are perfect for all styles of brides and weddings. Our model is wearing jewelry form Anfesa’s Jewelers to complete the classic look.

All photos by Dara Blakeley Photography at the NC Museum of Art. The brunette model’s hair and makeup was done by Makeup for Your Day; the blonde model’s hair and makeup was done by Lather.

Wedding Open House at Nasher Museum of Art

Join the prestigious Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University for their first ever Wedding Open House next Thursday, February 27th from 6:00 to 8:00pm!

Attendees will enjoy an evening envisioning a wedding celebration as unique as you are, hear presentations by the museum’s exclusive caterers and event planners on wedding food trends and creative planning tools, and have the chance to explore the museum’s dramatic event space.

Nasher Museum of Art

Refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP for the Wedding Open House at Nasher Museum of Art online here or by phone at 919-684-3321.

Photo by Azul Photography

Real NC Wedding at The Umstead Hotel and Spa

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today, we’re excited to share Alyssa and Keith’s Real NC Wedding at The Umstead Hotel and Spa. The couple’s gorgeous big day was shot by Cara of f8 Photo Studios.

Alyssa and Keith met at work a few years ago and bonded over both being from New York. The more they talked, the more they realized they had in common, and a few short months later, they officially became a couple.

On a Saturday morning in 2012, Keith was on the floor playing with the couple’s kitten, Piper. He said the kitten had brought something for Alyssa, handed her a jewelry box, and asked her to marry him!

They easily selected The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary for their June 2013 wedding after meeting with the event staff. Alyssa and Keith decided on a color palette of yellow, turquoise and purple.

Alyssa and Keith used Southern Bride & Groom to select their venue (The Umstead) and photographer (f8 Photo Studios), who they said “were two of the best parts of the wedding!” They also used Fresh Affairs – owner Lyn Graves created a gorgeous custom chuppah for their wedding ceremony – f8 in Motion, and Bella Bridesmaids.

Enjoy these beautiful photos from Alyssa and Keith’s wedding day, courtesy of Cara of f8 Photo Studios, and video from f8 in Motion.

Bridal Bouquet at Umstead Hotel

Teal High Heels

Bride and Groom Kiss

Wedding Ceremony at Umstead Hotel

Wedding Chuppah

Bride and Groom Outside

Bride and Groomsmen

Wedding Rings

Umstead Wedding Reception

Wedding Tablescape

First Dance

Bride and Groom First Dance

Alyssa + Keith Trailer from f8 in motion on Vimeo.

Wedding Location: The Umstead Hotel and Spa
Bridal Gown: David’s Bridal
Bridesmaids Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
Men’s Formalwear: Men’s Wearhouse
Hair and Makeup: Samuel Cole Salon
Photographer: f8 Photo Studios
Videographer: f8 in Motion
Florist: Fresh Affairs
Cake: Sweet Memories
Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
Reception Music: Joe Bunn DJ Company