Monthly Archives:: February 2015

A Wedding Plan for Any Season

When I was engaged, an unexpected snow day (or two or three) provided me with productive planning time for my upcoming summer wedding. It was the perfect time to leisurely browse through wedding blogs, pin to inspirational boards, and even to sketch out some of my ideas for the reception layout and begin to search for deals on some of the decorations I wanted to buy.

One thing these Southern storms remind us is that Mother Nature can throw a wrench in your plans, and that’s something to always think about when you are planning your wedding—no matter what time of year it is. Here are some tips for making sure you have a safe and weather-proof wedding plan for any season.

Winter wedding
If you’re getting married in the winter, you have no doubt chosen an indoor venue. Even with a fluke 65-degree day here and there, it’s just too risky to assume you or your guests can spend any time comfortably outdoors. What you can do, however, is plan to take some photographs outdoors as long as it isn’t in the middle of a storm. Snowy photographs are so beautiful and elegant! Purchase a warm coat or shawl that compliments your gown in case you do venture outdoors. Also, consider buying your bridesmaids, mother, etc. matching shawls so they don’t freeze if they join you outside for group photos.

Also, consider guests who are traveling long distances. They may not be tracking your wedding day weather as diligently as you are. Give them a heads up about what to expect. They may need to leave a day early if they are driving, or should be aware there could be flight delays.

Winter wedding at the Washington Duke

Photo: Riley MacLean Photography

Spring wedding
Spring is an absolutely beautiful time to get married in the South—with flowers blooming and mild temperatures, but it can also be a little risky. If your dream is outdoor nuptials, it’s best to go into a spring wedding with two plans.

The first can be your ideal plan: It’s 70 degrees, it hasn’t rained in weeks and there is no rain in sight; you can have your ceremony outdoors, take photographs outdoors, possibly even the reception, and know that your guests will be comfortable the whole time.

The backup plan, however, should account for factors like an unseasonably cold day or rain before or during the wedding, which can make for muddy grounds and slippery walkways. Have an indoor location planned as backup in case. It could even be under a pavilion, but make sure you order a few space heaters if you are getting married any time before May. Nights can be especially chilly. If it rains, have ushers or friends on hand to walk people with umbrellas and to help steady elderly guests (and women wearing heels!) over the slippery spots.

Umbrellas at a rainy wedding by Cyn Kain

Photo: Cyn Kain

Summer wedding
There is one thing to remember for this season: summers in the South can be hot! If you are getting married outside, be sure to choose a ceremony location that is shaded…for you and for your guests. It’s easy to overheat in direct sunlight.

Arrange to have bottles of water on ice (or sweet tea!) at your ceremony site for guests. You can also put out a selection of paper fans. Not only is this a good way for guests to cool down, but it also makes for a cute photo prop and you can buy them in bulk. Choose colored fans that match your wedding palette. This could be a cute idea for a spring wedding as well.

Also, consider your location and how buggy it gets. Is it near a pond where mosquitoes thrive? Does the venue treat the grounds for mosquitoes and flies? Do you need to consider having the food indoors to keep the flies from wrecking your meal, or the heat from melting your cake? Speak to your caterer and baker about these topics.

A pop-up thundershower cannot be ruled out in the summer. Have an “escape plan” in mind. Even if it looks completely clear a couple hours before the ceremony, know where to tell your wedding party and guests to go to get out of a quick downpour, and have some umbrellas on hand.

Summer outdoor wedding drinks by Brian Mullens

Photo: Brian Mullens

Fall wedding
Fall in the South is a lot like spring. It can be a gorgeous time to get married—with colorful foliage and mild temperatures, but again, planning to be outdoors the entire time is a risk. Similar to spring, have a backup plan for your outdoor elements. If your venue doesn’t have an indoor space available for the reception, a tent with closing sides will be necessary. Consider adding heaters to your package. The temperature at night in the fall can drop significantly compared to the daytime and presumably not everyone will be working up a sweat on the dance floor.

Be sure to take advantage of the scenes around you for unique photo opportunities. It might be a good idea to purchase matching shawls for your bridal party too in case it’s a chilly fall day.

Fall wedding at Oaks at Salem by Neil Boyd

Photo: Neil Boyd

Remember, a prepared bride is a relaxed bride. Be ready for anything, but mostly, be ready to enjoy every moment no matter what kind of weather arrives on your wedding day.North Carolina Spring wedding by Anna Kirby

Fun and Elegant New Year’s Eve Wedding

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re sharing Melody and Mike’s fun and elegant New Year’s Eve wedding at Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel captured by In His Image Photography.

Melody and Mike knew each other for years, growing up near one another, but it wasn’t until Melody spent a year in Greensboro, NC after graduating from Meredith College that their friendship blossomed into something more. Mike proposed to Melody as a surprise on Thanksgiving in Orlando, FL, where both of families had traveled to enjoy the holidays.

The couple planned a special New Years Eve wedding. “We wanted it to be both festive, but still elegant,” says Melody. And they definitely achieved both.

Melody’s matron of honor was her sister and the rest of the bridal party were close friends she grew up with—including Mike’s sister.

Mike’s best man was his seven-year-old energetic son, whom before walking to the altar said, “I got your back daddy.” The other groomsmen were friends from different stages of Mike’s life: college, childhood, Washington D.C., and a brother.

What’s clear by the animated, lively and beautiful photos captured by In His Image Photography, is that this couple, their friends and families sure do know how to have a good time!Fun bridesmaids photograpsh by In His ImageBlack and white nbridal portraitBadgley Mischka wedding shoesBride preparation photographGroom before the weddingFamily tributes in weddingsFun socks for groomsmenFun bridesmaids photo by In His Image PhotographyBride walks down the isle in Mori Lee gownCeremony at Renaissance North Hills RaleighRaleigh Bride and groom say I doDancing during reception at Renaissance Raleigh North Hills HotelFun groomsmens photographsIn His Image photography of wedding partyNorth Carolina couple cuts the cake at Hotel in RaleighCreative bride and groom wedding photo at Renaissance Raleigh North HillsFun and Festive New Years Eve Raleigh WeddingSB&G PREFERRED VENDOR TESTIMONIALS

“Our photographer was Dajuan Jones of In His Image. We could not have asked for a better individual/business to assist in documenting our one and only moment. Dejuan’s service was above and beyond extraordinary!” Melody remarks. “His demeanor and attention to detail is immaculate. Mike and I will forever cherish his work. When looking at the vividness of the pictures it allows us to travel back in time as it if were happening again at that moment.”New Years Eve Bride and Groom at Raleigh wedding venueVenue
“We wanted a location that was convenient to our guests,” Melody explains. “Our ceremony and reception were both held at the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel because we did not want anyone to have to travel upon reaching the hotel for the evening. After the reception was over, they could head up stairs and stay the night!”Raleigh wedding venuePHOTOGRAPHER In His Image Photography | WEDDING PLANNER Creative Touch Designs | VENUE and CATERING Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel | DJ DJ Mass Appeal | CAKE/DESSERT BAR Sugar Fetish Cakery | MAKEUP Dollfaces by Lauretta | HAIR Essential Designs

Yellow and Navy Summer Wedding Floral Inspirations

It may be cool and overcast today, but we’re dreaming of summer here at Southern Bride & Groom! Check out this bright and beautiful yellow and navy summer wedding floral display by Flowers by Gary featured in our 2015 magazine, including a cheery collection of sunflowers, yellow roses and craspedia paired with complimentary blue linens all decked out at the President’s Terrace at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. This classic color palette is accented with mixed patterns in the linen, pillows and hand-made flags.

Blue and yellow wedding palette inspirationNavy blue wedding table settingYellow wedding flower inspirations by Flowers by GaryNavy blue and yellow place cardsYellow bride and groom monogramed pillow and yellow bouquetYellow and blue wedding inspirationGary & Michael Corsi-OConnor, co-owners of Flowers by Gary, had some extra romance in their own life this year! They were married on December 8, 2014, at Starbucks on the corner of Horton and Guess Road in Durham. They met at a Starbucks 12 years ago, and after learning the manager of the Starbucks at the Guess Road location was also a minister and was willing to marry them at his location, they felt that was the place for them to share their vows. Michael’s sister Tina and Gary’s sister Maureen were “Best Women.”

Originally, Gary and Michael were researching to get married in Washington DC, but after October 10, 2014, when it was legal for same-sex couples to marry in NC, there was no question they would get married in their own state and in their own town so family and friends could attend. It was a small intimate service followed by a reception at their new home in Durham.

The couple can be found daily at their florist business, Flowers by Gary at 4914 N Roxboro Street, Durham, which they started together nine years ago.Flower by Gary marriage at StarbucksFLORAL DESIGN Flowers by Gary | TABLETOP, STANDS, LINEN & CHAIRS American Party Rentals | BRIDE & GROOM PILLOWS The Go Girl Shoppe  |  MENUS & NAME CARDS Cute Buttons | GOWN Blue Willow by Anne Barge from Tre Bella Bridal | JEWELRY Bailey’s Fine Jewelry | HAIR & MAKEUP Bella Trio Day Spa | VENUE President’s Terrace at The Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club | PHOTOGRAPHY Walters & Walters

A Clockwork Wedding: Destination Annapolis

The US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD is known for its age-old traditions. It’s also known for military precision, which even applies to the weddings that take place at the famed Naval Academy Chapel on the Academy grounds.

On any given Saturday during the nicer months of the year, as many as eight back-to-back weddings take place over the course of a day. Like clockwork, the ceremonies are held every hour, on the hour, from as early as 10 a.m. until early evening. Some are small; others have hundreds of guests, but each is expected to begin and end precisely on time.

Every wedding at the Naval Academy Chapel (whether the groom is a graduating Cadet or a retired Admiral on his second or third marriage) is given precisely 40 minutes from beginning to end, and this is how its goes on a typical Saturday until the day’s string of weddings has run its course. This includes the moment the first guests walk through the front door to their pews to that special moment the new couple steps outside through the ceremonial Arch of Swords.
Bride and Groom Naval Academy wedding Pulling this off takes the sort of rigorous discipline for which the Naval Academy is famous, and it usually works because at least one in the couple has to be a Naval Academy grad, which means they have been drilled to be on time, at all times, without exception.

Of course, explains Jane Richman, a former US Navy Protocol Officer, if one wedding runs late, “It’s like a domino effect.” The rest will all be late as well. “But most days the weddings go smoothly,” says Richman, who specializes in planning and managing Naval Academy weddings down to the finest detail.

Arch of SwordsOn a recent Saturday, Southern Bride and Groom visited a wedding that took place at the Naval Academy Chapel and witnessed firsthand the tight precision that goes into this process.

Richman was in charge, and literally every minute, from the time the bride and groom woke up to the departure of the last guest from the chapel, was planned and scheduled.

On this particular day, seven weddings were planned at the Chapel – one every hour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The wedding we visited was scheduled for noon. This was the wedding of Timothy, a Naval Academy grad and Marine helicopter pilot, to his long-time love, Elizabeth.

With the precision of a military parade, guests began arriving at 11:40 a.m. on the busses set up by Richman who was there waiting for them, having spent the last hour training the officers who would conduct the wedding’s grand finale Arch of Swords ceremony. By 11:45 guests began entering the chapel. There were well over one-hundred, but somehow, they were all in their pews by 11:52, just in time for the seating of the grandparents. At 11:54 Purcell’s iconic Trumpet Voluntary began. At 11:55 ushers seated the mother of the bride. Right about this time, guests began getting teary-eyed as light streamed though the chapel dome onto the altar.Naval wedding in cathedral in Annapolis
By 12 sharp, the bride was walking the aisle. There was an opening prayer, a first reading, and the exchange of vows and rings, which took place at 12:20 with the Navy Hymn playing in the background. This was followed by a prayer and a final blessing and by 12:26 the newlyweds were trailing back up the aisle to Vivaldi’s Spring Four Seasons. A mere 10 minutes later, they walked through the Arch of Swords to the applause of guests, who then began boarding buses back to the reception just as the 1 p.m. wedding party began to arrive.

Although executed with military precision, it was still the sweetest of ceremonies. Despite the tight compression of time, it all seemed to unfold at a leisurely pace. Weddings here are as beautiful and moving as any wedding anywhere, and perhaps even more so because the chapel itself is actually a magnificent cathedral. At the same time, it is a unique experience, shaped and honed by the traditions of the Academy and the officers trained to protect, honor and serve.Destination wedding in Annapolis

Destination Annapolis
The Naval Academy and its “Cathedral of the Navy” are both breathtakingly beautiful. Adding to the romance of any wedding here is the fact that these weddings are held against the backdrop of Annapolis, MD, an enchanting port town with a history as old as the 13 original colonies. In addition to being home to the US Naval Academy, Annapolis is the sailing capital of the U.S. and is a destination worthy of a honeymoon. The city is known for its Georgian architecture, docks perched on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay and a weekend nightlife that could rival any big city. It’s also an easy walking town with intriguing alleys, a fun downtown, historic hotels, including the Governor Calvert House and Maryland Inn, and has an easy nautical ambiance.

To learn more about Annapolis, MD, visit


Glenna Musante is an award-winning writer who specializes in bridal, fashion, travel and the textile industry. She is a former writer for the Raleigh News & Observer.

Photo credit: Formica Studios

Win Tickets to the Outer Banks Wedding Showcase at Sanderling Resort

Brides-to-be, here’s your chance to WIN tickets to the popular Outer Banks Wedding Showcase at Sanderling Resort in picturesque Duck, NC, next month.

Southern Bride and Groom is giving away two sets of two tickets with an overnight stay at Sanderling Resort to engaged couples to attend the Wedding Showcase on March 14, 2015.

Sanderling Resort is nestled on 13 acres of North Carolina’s Outer Banks offering beach and sound front paradise and offers the true destination beach wedding experience.

To enter, comment on our Instagram post with the following, and we’ll pick a winner on Monday (2/22) by tagging the winners in a comment:

– Tag your fiancé, and, your wedding date (or time frame), AND,

– Tell us why you want to get married in OBX!

Wedding Showcase at Sanderling ResortHere is a look at what the Outer Banks Wedding Showcase has to offer (it’s a lot!):

Guests will find premiere OBX wedding professionals eager to answer questions and provide expertise. Lighting specialists will be on hand to offer design expertise; ceremony officiants will be available to answer questions; videographers and photo booth vendors will showcase their talents, and the most talented Outer Banks wedding photographers will be onsite showcasing their work and style. And, don’t forget the music! This year, the OBX Wedding Showcase will feature a fabulous live band. Six Stylez is a professional wedding band that hails from the Greensboro-Winston Salem area, and will have you jamming as you mix and mingle with the wedding pros and take in the scenery of the Sanderling Resort!

Outdoor Beach Wedding OBXIn the Pavilion, rental companies, transportation services and florists will be gathered, and out on the lawn, brides will enjoy plenty of visual inspiration, including a spectacular display by a floral and event designer, live music, and refreshing gourmet Italian Ice.

Beach Wedding CeremonyJust across the street, the Spa at Sanderling is the perfect place to explore your bridal look, with quality products and advice from experts in the field—ladies, take advantage of this!

Beach Wedding DecorFinally, meet the expert wedding planners of Sanderling Resort in the Beach House Lobby while enjoying decadent handcrafted chocolates. Planners will be available to answer questions about the resort, venues, and the options offered at Sanderling.

Dove ReleaseNo matter what venue you might be considering to host your special day on the Outer Banks, attending this one-of-a-kind experience with the first-rate wedding professionals of the Outer Banks is an essential on your wedding checklist! Don’t miss the Outer Banks Wedding Showcase on Saturday, March 14 from 11- 4pm at Sanderling Resort. Enter now for a chance to win!

Photos: Brooke Mayo and Beach Productions

Intimate Outdoor Wedding at Duke Gardens

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re excited to share Olivia and Yanbin’s beautiful intimate outdoor wedding at Duke Gardens in Durham, NC, followed by a charming reception at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill.

Olivia and Yanbin are both from China, but they met in America where they attend school in Chapel Hill, NC.

When it came time to make wedding plans, Olivia and Yanbin wanted both their Chinese family and American friends to be a part of it, so they planned two! One was a large wedding in China with family, and the other was a smaller intimate wedding at Duke Gardens in Durham for 45 of their closest friends. Olivia discovered Duke Gardens from the SB&G NC Bride-to-Be blog.

Olivia chose and planned every detail of her wedding and reception from matching the wedding colors to the room in The Carolina Inn to decorating the cake to match the crown moulding.

Olivia looked beautiful in a layered tiered Monique Lhuillier gown paired with shining Jimmy Choo shoes in metallic silver. The men’s formalwear is from Dries Van Noten.

Rachel Red Photography, who was SB&G’s featured photographer this month, captured the true essence of Olivia and Yanbin’s special day and the adoration they have for one another.

Rachel was a Boston-based photographer, but is a Southern girl at heart. She missed everything from the sweet tea to the hospitality, so as soon as she was able, she to moved back to her roots and now operates from Charleston, SC, which happens to be the number one wedding destination city in the US. Rachel focuses on weddings in Raleigh, Charleston, Wilmington and Charlotte and is available for travel worldwide.

As a special thanks to SB&G readers, anyone who mentions “Southern Bride and Groom” as their referral when contacting Rachel Red Photography will receive $400 discounted off any wedding photography package if they book before March 1, 2015!
Classic weddding photography by Rachel Red PhotographyBridal portrait at the Carolina InnSilver Jimmy Choo Bridal ShoesChapel Hill Bride wearing Monique Lullier GownBridal portrait by Rachel Red PhotographyBride and grooms first look at the Duke Gardens in Durham NCBride and Groom at Duke Gardens in Durham NCNatural outdoor wedding photography at the Duke GardensOutdoor wedding photo shoot in the Duke Gardens Durham NCWedding in the Japanese Gardens in Duke Gardens DurhamBride and Groom among the flowers at Duke GardensBride walking downt the aisleOutdoor wedding ceremony in the Duke Gardens by Rachel Red PhotographyOutdoor ceremony at the Duke GardensChapel Hill coupel get married in the Duke GardensBridesmaids and groomsmen at the Duke GardensWedding party at the Duke Gardens in Durham North CarolinaBeautiful nature photography for weddings at Durham's Duke GardensGuests take Polaroid for bride and groom during wedding receptionPhoto board for guests at wedding receptionLight blue and white Carolina wedding paletteCute wedding placecards for guestsShrimp cocktail wedding reception appetizersLight blue wedding cake and signature cocktailsWedding reception dancing at the Carolina InnBeautiful ballroom at the Carolina Inn in Chapel HillSparkler exit for bride and groom at the Carolina Inn

VENUE Duke Gardens | RECEPTION Carolina Inn | PHOTOGRAPHER Rachel Red Photography | FLORIST Tre Bella Flowers | CAKE Sugarland | CEREMONY MUSICIANS Amy Kortus | PARTY RENTALS CE Rentals | OFFICIANT Rev Perry Hardison

Romantic Floral Inspiration by Tre Bella Flowers

Southern Bride & Groom is excited to share some of our favorite photos, including many not seen in print, from our floral designers featured in the 2015 magazine. This shoot, featuring soft and romantic floral inspiration by Tre Bella Flowers, is fitting for just after Valentine’s Day – it’s filled with romantic light pink, coral and white roses, accented with hydrangeas, orchids, and queen anne’s lace. The table is set with subtle touches of gold, including gold mercury votives and light grey lanterns. Small bunches of flowers tied to the backs of chairs with ribbon add a touch of whimsy.

Tre Bella Inc. of Durham, N.C. is unique in that it provides gorgeous flower arrangements as well as bridal gowns and accessories. Tre Bella grew quickly from a small boutique florist run out of one of the founder’s homes to two locations and three stores! The design studio on Broad Street in Durham helps brides create the wedding or event flowers of their dreams. The headquarters on Main Street assists with finding the perfect dress, bridesmaids gowns or mother-of-the-bride dress, and the boutique offers salon services and trendy clothing, jewelry and gifts.

The bride in this shoot is wearing a romantic flowing gown with lace cap sleeves by Jenny Packham from Tre Bella Bridal. The gown goes well with the soft pastel shades in her bouquet.

The Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club is the perfect setting for a romantic wedding affair. With lush outdoor landscapes and elegant grand ballrooms, such as the President’s Ballroom pictured here.Soft touches of coral and white flowers by Tre BellaJenny Packham wedding gown from Tre BellaTable setting with lanterns and gold accentsCoral and gold accents for wedding tableElegant wedding tablescape with coral white and goldSoft romantic wedding bouquet by Tre Bella FlowersRomantic table setting at the Washington Duke InnFLORAL DESIGN Tre Bella Flowers | TABLETOP, LINEN & CHAIRS CE Rental | PLACE CARDS Calligraphy by Carrie | GOWN Dentelle by Jenny Packham from Tre Bella Bridal | JEWELRY Bailey’s Fine Jewelry | HAIR & MAKEUP Bella Trio Day Spa | VENUE President’s Ballroom at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club | PHOTOGRAPHY Walters & Walters

SB&G’s New Wedding Blogger!

Amber HeadshotHello brides-to-be! I’m thrilled to be joining the team here at Southern Bride & Groom as lead blogger! In the coming months, you’ll be hearing more from me as I begin to post plenty of real weddings, style shoots, and inspiration to help you plan and prepare for your big day.

I’m a northern transplant from the Boston area embracing everything the South has to offer—including beautiful outdoor places from the mountains to the coast, delicious local cuisine, an energetic creative culture and a much warmer climate! I come to Southern Bride and Groom with a degree in English from Wheaton College in Massachusetts, a background in magazines and publishing, and experience running my own local food blog.

A few years ago, I married my high school sweetheart and planned everything from the outdoor garden ceremony to the reception and decorations to the food from one of our favorite local restaurants. I find weddings today to be a beautiful mix of traditional aspects incorporated with modern, unique personal touches and I’m excited to be a part of a team that helps brides bring their ideal wedding vision to life!


Amber Watson, new blogger

Triangle NACE Awards Gala at Prestonwood Country Club

One of our favorite event industry occasions of the year, this week Team SB&G attended The Triangle NACE Awards Gala at Prestonwood Country Club, one of the most popular and prestigious wedding and event venues in Cary, NC. At this annual event, the area’s top event professionals, members of our local Triangle Chapter of National Association of Catering & Events (NACE), are honored for their hard work and accomplishments over the previous year.

The Magic of NACE 2014 Awards Gala

The gorgeous Prestonwood Country Club was a beautiful setting for this year’s “Magic of NACE” themed Awards Gala. As always, the food and service were a treat to experience. The event began with a cocktail hour in the ballroom, where we enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres, networking, and party tricks from local magician Joshua Lozoff.  Mr. Lozoff hosted the Awards Gala with his “Life of Magic” act, and I think it’s fair to say he blew all of our minds! A winter color palate of red, silver and black was lovely in the majestic ballroom, where we enjoyed a three course dinner during the awards ceremony. Take a walk through our evening with these images from Brian Mullins Photography and Halftone Studios.

Triangle NACE Awards GalaCocktail Hour with Event FurnitureAppetizers from PrestonwoodMagician Wows the Cocktail CrowdRed Winter Color Palate for a Private EventPrestonwood Country Club Ballroom and Grand StaircaseWatered Garden Flowers RaleighMagic of NACESalmon Salad Course OneJoshua Lozoff Life is Magic Raleigh NCEvent Magician NCDessert at Prestonwood Country Club

And the Award Goes to…

It was a great night for Southern Bride & Groom. We were honored to receive recognition for Best Published Editorial piece for the Floral & Design feature in our current magazine. Of course the amazing talent of James Walters of Walters & Walters Photography, our fantastic wedding florists, stationers, fashion and beauty vendors, rental companies, and the beautiful Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club are to be credited for making us shine. Pictured below is Team SB&G accepting the award (Left to Right: Leslie Tyson – SB&G Sales & PR Associate, me, Lyn Graves of Fresh Affairs – one of our talented florists- Donna Parks – Publisher, and Angie Wright, of Chic Details Weddings & Events – another wonderful wedding planner who actually helped us coordinate one of our table displays for this spread).

Southern Bride & Groom Best Printed Editorial

We were thrilled to see several other SB&G Preferred Vendors take home some of the big awards of the night! Mama Parks & I were stoked to present the “Best Weddings of the Year” awards. Two very talented wedding planners took home the prizes – Sally Oakley Weddings & Events received the award for the “Under $30,000” category, and Chelsey Morrison & Katherine Hollander of Gather Together took home the prize for the “Above $30,000” category.

Best Weddings Raleigh NC

Prestonwood Country Club, our host for the evening, received a special award for one of the favorite Educational Meetings from last year’s NACE chapter programming. Sondra Johnstone is pictured at right with Ryan Pflumm of SPIN and Alli Powers of Eschelon Hospitality. At left, Valerie Ward isn’t on stage as President this time – she is accepting the award for Best Non-Profit Fundraiser for an event at American Tobacco Campus.

Prestonwood Country Club Favorite NACE Meeting

It’s all about the details! Lyn Graves and Michael Whaley of Fresh Affairs were recognized for Best Flowers at an Event (pictured at left with Carter and Sharon Riley, Mother-Son team of RSVP Events), and The Washington Duke Inn team received the prize for Best Plated Meal at an Event (at right, Diane Tighe and Chef Jason Cunningham pictured with wedding planners Megan Gillikin of A Southern Soiree and Erin of Erin McLean Events)

Best Flowers and Best Plated Meal

An especially fun category is the Team Effort. At left, representatives from several organizations including Catering Works, American Party Rentals, Party Tables, and RSVP Events accept this award for the 10th Anniversary Celebration at American Tobacco Campus. At right, Jessica Lee accepts the award for Best Themed Event for the Kentucky Derby party she hosted at the University Club.

Durham Venues University Club American Tobacco Campus

Some of the most special awards of the evening are the personal ones voted on by the chapter itself. Laura Petersen, of the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, has served on our board for many years and just completed a two year term as President. She received the “Spirit of NACE” award as voted on by our membership. She is pictured at left below with our current President, Valerie Ward of American Tobacco Campus, and Vice President Amy Greene of Going Greene Events. At right, Jill Donovan, co-owner of Donovan’s Dish, is recognized as Catering Professional of the Year, as well as the honor of President’s Award, a personal thank you for her service from our chapter President.

Catering Professional and Spirit of NACE

This year, the third annual Lifetime Achievement Award was renamed for Peter Daymont of American Party Rentals, and bestowed to Don Ball, the Food & Beverage Director of the Washington Duke Golf Club. Don Ball has been involved with NACE since it came to the Triangle, served as our Triangle Chapter President and on national committees. At left, he is pictured receiving the award from President Valerie Ward and Past President Kathy Wright, of Nasher Museum of Art at Duke. At left he is pictured with the Daymont family, Todd, Chad and Judy Daymont, owners of 25-year running Durham rental company, American Party Rentals.

Peter and Judy Daymont Lifetime NACE Achievment Award

A word on Triangle NACE

Southern Bride & Groom has been a part of NACE’s Triangle Chapter just about since its inception. It is a wonderful community of event professionals who challenge one another to raise industry standards and grow in our field. As a personal member for the past several years, in addition to attending monthly educational meetings, I have had the opportunity to travel to summits in New Orleans and Chicago, networking with wedding and event pros from across the country and learning about the ebbs and flow of the industry in various regions of the States, and experiencing over-the-top events showcasing the latest trends. I’m grateful for the lessons learned and relationships built, and couldn’t imagine not having this organization as part of my professional life! Below is an image of the 2015 Triangle NACE 2015 Board, which I have had the pleasure of serving on for the past four years. Here’s to a great 2015!

Triangle NACE 2015 Board of DirectorsBack Row, Left to Right: James Walters, Photography by Walters & Walters | Shawn Olender, American Tobacco Campus | Neal Zipser, Shutterbooth | Kate Jansen, Centerplate | Chelsey Morrison, Gather Together | Carter Riley, RSVP Events | Brian Mullins, Brian Mullins Photography

Middle Row, Left to Right: Jenna Parks Olender, Southern Bride & Groom | Amy Greene, Going Greene Events | Melissa Sayre, University Club | Allison Powers, Eschelon Experiences | Joe Bunn, Bunn DJ Co | Jenn Aan, Halftone Studios

Seated, Left to Right: Jessica Lee, University Club | Valerie Ward, American Tobacco Campus | Laura Petersen, Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club

Kudos to the Award Gala Sponsors for making this a beautiful and successful event!

Prestonwood Country Club | Joshua Lozoff | Brian Mullins Photography | Watered Garden Florist  AFR Furniture Rentals | CE Rentals | Atlas Production Group | Total Production Services | Twin Dog Designs | Going Greene Events | Joe Bunn DJ Company | Themeworks | Party Tables | University Club | Brian Mullins Photography | Halftone Studios


Charming Rustic Outdoor Wedding at Het Landhuis

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re excited to share Beth and Martin’s charming rustic outdoor wedding at Het Landuis in Pittsboro, NC, shot by one of Raleigh’s top wedding photographers, Neil Boyd Photography.

Martin, a gentle-natured Irishman, moved to Raleigh from England in 2005 and Beth, a Southern gal originally from Georgia, had recently relocated to Raleigh with her son when the two met in 2008 over a game of trivia. Despite Martin being overseas on numerous occasions for business, the couple shared a deep connection. When the opportunity came for Martin to return fulltime to the U.S. the prospect of a future together opened up and the two were engaged spontaneously after Thanksgiving in 2012. Just as Martin had asked Beth’s son, Walker, for permission to date Beth, it was only fitting that he would ask Walker’s permission to marry her. Walker agreed wholeheartedly on one condition…that he could walk his mom down the aisle and “loan” her to Martin because you could never “give” your mom away.

The couple was looking for a beautiful and unique venue, which they discovered at the Het Landhuis Estate in Pittsboro, NC. From the rustic charm of the cottages and the barn on the property to the forest glade in which the ceremony would take place overlooking a lake to the fields that stretched out to the tree line, it was exactly what they envisioned.

The wedding took place on October 11, 2014. Flowers from Expressions of Love Florist accompanied accents of plum, copper and teal, which were chosen to compliment the backdrop of fall colors forming in the forest.

Close friends and family came from overseas to attend – some as far as Singapore, London and, of course, Ireland. Beautiful plum dresses from Bella Bridesmaids and matching ties for the men by Savvi Formalwear kept with the fall color palate.

Enjoy these photos of Beth and Martin’s gorgeous fall wedding captured artfully by Neil Boyd Photography!

Neil Boyd Photography Bridal PortraitBride at Het LandhuisFall Wedding Color InspirationOutdoor wedding flower girlOutdoor wedding ceremony at Het LandhuisOutdoor wedding at Het LandhuisFall Bridal BouquetHomemade soap party favorsRustic fall wedding cake and flowersNorth Carolina Wedding BandNEW Lanterns and boutonniere for fall weddingFall Wedding Centerpieces by Expressions of Love FloristFall wedding at Het LandhuisNeil Boyd Wedding Photography at Het Landhuis


“Kristie and Courtney from Neil Boyd Photography showed such imagination and attention to minute details, capturing the shapes, colors, expressions and moments of our special day and the outcome was breathtaking,” shares Beth. “When we viewed the pictures for the first time we simply sat there in a stunned and appreciative silence. They chronicled the essence and emotion of the day with such accuracy that we will be able to experience it for the rest of our lives.”

Neil Boyd Wedding Photography

“Our first visit to Het Landhuis allowed us to fast forward in our imagination and visualize friends and family wearing big smiles on the day of our marriage celebration,” says Beth. “What absolutely sealed it for us was the approach of the owners; they were so hospitable with lots of useful suggestions and without a list of restrictions or a narrow group of providers that we were compelled to use. Their flexibility and friendliness was a big selling point, and fortunately for us, we gained two new friends, owners Lisa and Chris, over the planning stages.”

Wedding ceremony at Het Landhuis

“Shelley Pearson, owner of Expressions of Love Florist, took our concept of complementing the fall colors and amazed us (as well as all of our guests) with her creativity. Beforehand, she asked us questions about our lives and our relationship, then embodied these into the floral designs in a manner way beyond anything that we could have come up with on our own! Her spirit and passion for what she does was evident from the first day and came to life in the dazzling displays that continue to delight us as we look back through photographs. The most touching detail was her incorporating of black walnuts into the bouquet as a remembrance of Beth’s grandmother. She even picked out seasonal fruits and vegetables to blend into the designs,” says Martin.

Fall wedding tabletop

Hair, Makeup, Jewelry, and Gowns
“A special kudos to the staff at Lana Addison, Bella Bridesmaids, Savvi Formalwear, Theresa Lyon Hair and Made-up by Lindsay who outfitted the wedding party and glammed up the girls. They paid attention to our description of the occasion and gave meticulous attention to detail,” shares Beth. “Also, Eric Clemente of Bailey’s Fine Jewelry took our vision for wedding rings and created true masterpieces for us to wear.”

Plum bridesmaids gownsCeremony and Reception: Het Landhuis  |  Caterer: Crave Catering  |  Photographer: Neil Boyd Photography  |  Videographer: Honey Dew Films  |  Bridal Gown: Martina Liana from Lana Addison  |  Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo from Bella Bridesmaids Raleigh  |  Men’s Formalwear: Savvi Formalwear  | Florist: Expressions of Love Florist  |  Cake: Sweet Memories Bakery  |  Invitations: Simply Paper Designs, Inc.  |  Reception Music: The Gravy Boys and The Jason Adamo Band  |  Guest Accommodations: Embassy Suites and Hampton Inn, Brier Creek  |  Hair: Theresa Lyon Hair  |  Make-Up: Made-up by Lindsay  |  Bridal Jewelry: Bailey’s Fine Jewelry