Monthly Archives:: April 2015

A Durham Wedding from Duke Gardens to Bay 7

It’s wedding feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today, we’re excited to share Amy and Dave’s contemporary wedding with plenty of old world charm in the Bull City (Durham, NC).

Amy and Dave met at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Durham, therefore, became a place that held very fond memories for the couple. Even though it was a challenge to plan their wedding remotely from across the county, Dave and Amy knew, after getting engaged on a ski trip to Whistler, Canada, that the Bull City would be the perfect backdrop for their special day. It was a very Durham wedding from Duke Gardens to Bay 7 at American Tobacco.

Getting married on Duke’s campus meant a lot to Amy and David since it was where they met in grad school. As soon as the couple saw Bay 7, they were sold. “It embodies the old world nostalgia of Durham in such a beautiful way,” Amy shares. Angus Barn catered the food and even created a special bride and groom gift basket. Sally Oakley, an SB&G preferred planner, worked with the couple from afar and brought together all the elements, creating a wedding that encapsulated their special connection to Durham.

The bride came across Dara Blakeley Photography when flipping through an issue of Southern Bride & Groom. Dara’s images below show off everything from the grand and beautiful backdrops to the small, personalized details.

Blue and grey wedding colors worked well in the garden setting as well as for the reception in the restored brick buildings at American Tobacco Campus where Bay 7 is located. Amy wanted to achieve a very simple and refined look so that the two different venues really stood out. “Duke Gardens are so lush and green, and Bay 7 is so old-world cool,” she says.

The couple made the event personal by adding lots of fun local twists, such as old Durham nostalgia displayed on the welcome table, candy cigarettes for the Lucky Strike Tower, and branded “Match made in Durham” matchbox wedding favors.

Amy now spends her days looking at wedding products, working for Minted, an e-commerce company focused on stationery. Even though the couple lives a long way from Durham, in San Francisco, CA, they will always have a special connection to the Bull City!Brides blue shoes and diamond earringsWhite green and ivory wedding bouquetBride and groom first look in the Duke GardensNorth Carolina Wedding PhotographyBlue bridesmaids dressesWhite and green wedding flowersGroom at American Tobacco Campus in Durham NCCeremony at the Duke Gardens in Durham NCDurham NC reception at Bay 7Wedding venue in Durham NCLemon yellow wedding cakeCity inspired wedding menuBeef sliders NC wedding cateringWedding dessert by Angus Barn CateringBride and Groom gift basketDurham NC wedding favorsSB&G PREFERRED VENDOR TESTIMONIALS

Rehearsal Dinner
“I think our guests enjoyed Friday night as much as the actual wedding! The Pit in downtown Durham was a blast! Other than our classmates, most folks were from New York or Boston and had never been to the South. They loved the Pit’s hearty BBQ, bluegrass music, and perfect fall patio weather,” shares Amy.

“Sally was incredible! We live in California, but getting married in Durham was so important to us because it’s where we met in grad school. We just could not have done it without Sally’s help!” says Amy emphatically.

Wedding reception at Bay 7 in Durham NCPhotographer
“Dara and Kathy were so comforting and seemed to instinctively know what we were looking for,” Amy shares. “They did such an incredible job.”Black and white wedding photographyCEREMONY VENUE Sarah P. Duke Gardens | RECEPTION Bay 7 | CATERING Angus Barn | PLANNER Sally Oakley | PHOTOGRAPHY Dara Blakeley | REHEARSAL DINNER The Pit | GOWN Watters Gown | JEWELRY Dannijo earrings | BRIDESMAIDS Style the Aisle | FLORIST Gold Finch Designs | INVITATIONS Minted | MUSIC Save the Date musicians and Michael Jons Band | ACCOMMODATIONS Durham Marriott | FAVORS candy cigarettes and personalized matches

Downton Abbey Inspired Brunch at The Carolina Inn

Southern Bride & Groom Magazine celebrated some of NC’s top wedding professionals this month at a “Downton Abbey” inspired brunch at The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill.

Southern Bride and Groom wedding magazineThe Carolina Inn Chapel Hill wedding venuePink and purple wedding flowers
Our annual customer appreciation event is one of our favorite days of the year. We at Southern Bride & Groom are priviledged to work with the most talented wedding vendors in the Greater Triangle Area of NC and beyond. These folks are creative souls who share our passion for weddings. We call them the SB&G Family for a reason – they represent an extension of our values and we have utmost trust and respect for each of them.

Earlier this month, we hosted a brunch at one of our region’s most quintessential wedding venues, The Carolina Inn.  A historic property built in the early 1900s, the Inn was the perfect setting for an event inspired by the iconic TV show “Downton Abbey,” which has made a splash in the world of weddings and events due to its fabulous fashion and classically elegant yet opulent flair.

As we planned a daytime brunch event, we thought it would be perfect to incorporate a British tea theme, as The Carolina Inn is well known for its tea-time and beautiful collection of vintage tea sets. Our devastatingly creative florist team, The English Garden, created a variety of floral tabletop arrangements using the Inn’s china and other props in a gorgeous array of spring pastels. Three main looks were paired with varying blush and ivory linens from local party supplier, Party Reflections. An original watercolor painting by the onsite artist at Paperbuzz in a palette of rosy pink, soft yellow and shades of green, which had debuted in our event invitations, was incorporated into the tabletop papers as well.

Vintage theme bridal shower or weddingNorth Carolina wedding vendorsSouthern Bride and Groom NC wedding vendorsVintage decor for Southern wedding or partyWedding and reception appetizersNatty Neckware wedding bowtiesPassed appetizers at the Carolina InnRachel Red NC Wedding PhotographerWe worked closely with Heidi Werner of The Carolina Inn to create a beautiful experience for our guests. Upon arrival, the SB&G Family mingled over mimosas and hors d’oeuvres in the Old Well Room, one of the most breathtaking event spaces and a favorite for weddings due to its intimate atmosphere, classic checkered floor and gorgeous chandeliers.

For lunch, we moved into the Hill Ballroom, a bright and beautiful elegant space fit for large events, which is what we needed for our 200 guests! A classic tea presentation of tiered sweet and savory bites was set at each table for guests to enjoy as they settled in and mingled with friends – new and old. After enjoying scones, mini sandwiches and delectable dessert bites, we indulged in a meal of quiche and a fresh side salad.

One of our wonderful wedding photographers, Robin Lin Photography, captured all of the event details on film. We are so excited to share the beauty of this event with our readers, and hope it might be reinterpreted in your own event from a bridesmaids tea to a Downton Abbey-inspired wedding!

Bridal shower and tea time at The Carolina InnSparkling champagneDownton Abbey bridesmaids brunchBridal shower or reception at The Carolina Inn in Chapel HillDowntown Abbey theme tea and scones at The Carolina InnNorth Carolina wedding magazineWe want to warmly thank the expert team who made this event possible, and the entire SB&G Family for inspiring us every day!

VENUE & FOOD The Carolina Inn | STATIONER Paperbuzz |  FLORALS The English Garden Florist | LINENS Party Reflections | COORDINATION A Swanky Affair | PHOTOGRAPHY Robin Lin Photography

Peonies in Shades of Pink Floral Inspiration

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. Today’s floral inspiration includes peonies in two shades of pink, a gorgeous arrangement designed by Floral Dimensions of Durham, NC. Along with the surprise accents of Echeveria and grass loops on the lower arrangements, these tree-shaped clouds of blossoms allow for easy table conversation in a beautiful setting overlooking The Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club Terrace on the Green.

Floral Dimensions at Academy Court has been serving Durham County and surrounding areas since the early 80s, and under the watchful eye of Bea Miller since 1986. Her attention to detail, along with an award-winning design team, has allowed Floral Dimensions to provide brides and their families with beautiful and memorable wedding florals and invitations. Floral Dimensions appreciates and enjoys the long term relationships established with former brides and their families. “It is a real pleasure to have a bride of twenty years ago come in to the studio and ask for assistance with her daughter or son’s prom corsage or boutonniere,” says Miller.

In addition to wedding and event designs, Floral Dimensions is a full service florist and provides the finest floral arrangements, gifts, and invitations for individuals and corporations. An array of green, blooming plants and orchids is a welcome sight upon entering the studio, followed by a walk to the display cooler filled with beautiful flowers grown locally as well as throughout the world. Floral Dimensions at Academy Court also designs and provides custom invitations, programs, announcements and stationery. In fact, the menu cards and coordinating place cards in this photo shoot were proudly designed and produced by Floral Dimensions. A layered collection of ivory linen stock over taupe complements the overall table design perfectly.Outdoor wedding at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf ClubPink and ivory wedding paletteIvory menus and placecards from Floral DimensionsPink wedding flowersDurham Bride at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf ClubPink peony wedding flowersTall pink wedding centerpiecesIvory colored table settingPink centerpieces for wedding tablesPink and white wedding bouquetFLORAL DESIGN Floral Dimensions | TABLE, TABLETOP, TABLE RUNNER & CHAIRS American Party Rentals | MENUS & NAME CARDS Floral Dimensions Stationery Studio | GOWN & JEWELRY Savvi Bridal | HAIR & MAKEUP Bella Trio Day Spa | VENUE The Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club | PHOTOGRAPHY f8 Photo Studios

Questions to Ask Before Ordering Wedding Invitations

Congratulations, you’re engaged! As you plan your special day, one of the many decisions you will be making is choosing your wedding invitations. One thing to keep in mind is that this is your guests’ first glimpse into the style, personality, and tone of your event. It’s your first opportunity to “wow” them!

With so many details to consider, paper and gift stores like Paperbuzz in Raleigh, NC, are here to help guide brides and grooms through the wedding invitation process and make recommendations to help them find the best invitation to reflect the style of their wedding day, whether formal, traditional, contemporary or fun!

A floral motif can be painted by the artist from Paperbuzz and replicated as printed invitations. Watercolors make beautiful  invitations and forever keepsakes.

Watercolor wedding invitations by Paperbuzz in RaleighIn the list below, the experienced wedding consultants and graphic designers at Paperbuzz share nine important questions to ask before ordering wedding invitations.

  1. How would you like your invitation to convey your personal style and taste and set the tone for your wedding day?
  2. Do you want to incorporate a color scheme or theme in the invitation?
  3. What are the options for color, paper type, ink and typestyles?
  4. What are the different printing processes offered? Which would be best for your wedding budget?
  5. How many invitations will you need to order? (Remember, this is the number of households you will be sending invitations to, not the number of guests!)
  6. Will you need other enclosures included with the wedding invitation, besides the response card?
  7. Once the order is placed, how long will it take to receive the completed invitations?
  8. What are your options for addressing the invitations?
  9. Can you also order save the dates, ceremony programs, table numbers, place cards, menus, etc. from your invitation store/artist?

Classic letterpress wedding invitations by PaperbuzzPhotos above by Anna Kirby Photography

As for the timing, wedding invitations should be ordered four to six months prior to your wedding (along with selecting and ordering rehearsal dinner, bridal luncheon, and shower invitations).

Put your wedding invitations in the mail six to eight weeks prior to your wedding date, followed two weeks later by rehearsal dinner and bridal luncheon invites.

With four weeks to go, consider all your other paper needs, such as ceremony programs, menu cards, and place cards. And don’t forget the thank you cards to follow up with family and friends who were there to celebrate and support you on your big day!

For more tips and information, contact Paperbuzz at (919) 781-0351 to set up a consultation.Wedding Paper and gift store in Raleigh, NC

Elegant Urban Wedding at Renaissance Raleigh Hotel

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today, we’re excited to share Elizabeth and Daniel’s elegant and urban wedding at The Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel.

Elizabeth and Danny met at a local bar in Astoria, NY, the night of SuperBowl XLVII and very quickly realized that they shared the same sharp wit, interests, and as Elizabeth jokes, “strong eyebrows.” It’s clear by their wedding pictures this couple knows how to make people laugh!

Danny used his birthday as a decoy to lure Elizabeth out to dinner the night he proposed. He popped the question at the Marriott Midtown East in New York City then they went out to the birthday party Elizabeth had originally planned, which quickly turned into an engagement party. Both sets of parents flew in—Elizabeth’s from Raleigh and Danny’s from St. Louis—to celebrate.

Elizabeth always dreamed of a very elegant wedding. When her Dad came across The Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel, Elizabeth and her mom agreed it was the perfect venue—a modern, urban setting with stately staircases and luxurious ballrooms.

She also knew from that she wanted her bridesmaids to not only choose their own dresses, but to be able to have some say in the color as well. It was important to her that the girls feel beautiful and comfortable in their gowns, and so, she based a lot of the design decisions off of what the girls chose. The skin-tone inspired palette they went with (brown, gold, rose, champagne) was classic and beautiful.

To keep things personal and as worry-free as possible, the couple stayed true to the three things that were most important to them: the music, the food, and the drinks!

Elizabeth’s youngest brother is currently serving in the U.S. Navy and was unable to obtain leave and attend the wedding in person, so he attended via FaceTime. Photographer Ginny Corbett documented his entrance to the reception on the phone with Elizabeth’s other brother!

It’s clear from the animated images captured by Ginny Corbett Photography that Elizabeth and Danny’s smiles and excitement were contagious on their wedding day!Raleigh bride Jimmy Choo wedding shoes and jewelry

Neutral skin toned bridesmaidsHydrangea wedding bouquetsRaleigh wedding photography by Ginny Corbettaleigh NC wedding photography by Ginny CorbetPersonalized coozies and cigar wedding favorsGroomsmen at the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills HotelRaleigh groom at the Renaissance RaleighWedding ceremony at the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills HotelRaleigh North Carolina weddingElegant winter wedding in Raleigh North CarolinaElegant winter wedding at the Renaissance Raleigh North HillsRaleigh, NC wedding venue and hotelCustom Bride and Groom cocktailsClassic white wedding cakeWinter wedding and calla lily floral inspirationReception at Raleigh wedding venueUrban wedding at the Renaissance Raleigh North HillsUrban wedding overlooking Raleigh North CarolinaSB&G PREFERRED VENDOR TESTIMONIAL

“We wanted a venue that would house both the ceremony and reception to take out the travel time in-between the two. The Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel was just what we were looking for. Our goal was to make the weekend stress-free and enjoyable for our guests because 80 percent of them flew in from NY, MO, CA and even Iran,” says Elizabeth.

Wedding reception at the Renaissance North Hills HotelVENUE & ACCOMODATIONS: The Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel | PHOTOGRAPHER Ginny Corbett Photography | PLANNER Brooke Roberson | REVEREND Linda Johnson | RENTALS CE Rental | MAKEUP Makeup for Your Day | HAIR Mark Christopher Salon | INVITATIONS Paperbuzz | FLORIST Teacup Floral | CAKE Divine Parties and Desserts | SHOES Jimmy Choo | FORMALWEAR Men’s Warehouse & Vera Wang | RECEPTION MUSIC Arioso Strings and The Knocks | FAVORS Buffalo Trace cigars and whiskey with highball glass, 6-pack initialed coozie and bride DIY ceramic snowflake ornaments

Bold and Colorful Summer Floral Inspiration

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.

After a long winter, we love to see the return of vibrant colors and rich toned flowers! This shoot, on the Terrace overlooking the green of The Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club in Durham, NC, makes us think of the hot summer nights ahead. Embrace the heat for your outdoor reception with vibrant pinks and fiery lava orange that mimic a gorgeous sunset. Late night calls for candles and lanterns, setting a romantic mood this fun Sangria table.

This bold and colorful summer floral inspiration created by Expressions of Love Florist features a beautiful mix of roses, peonies and orchids. The team at this Fuquay Varina floral shop brings a combined total of 52 years of experience to the business. Along with contemporary and traditional arrangements, the shop specializes in tropicals, high-style floral arrangements, dried floral arrangements, and more. Their large inventory of fresh flowers means they can create beautiful floral designs for weddings in all seasons.
Patio reception at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club in DurhamPink and orange flowers by NC floristSummer wedding bouquet with roses and peoniesGold wedding table with orchidsDurham, NC wedding reception venue at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf ClubSangria table at outdoor wedding receptionPink peony bridal bouquet by Expressions of Love FloristLanterns and outdoor wedding decorFLORAL DESIGN Expressions of Love Florist | CHAIRS & TABLETOP RENTALS Classic Party Rentals | PLACE CARDS & CHALKBOARD CALLIGRAPHY Calligraphy by Carrie | GOWN Lisa from Tulle New York | JEWELRY Bailey’s Fine Jewelry | HAIR & MAKEUP Bella Trio Day Spa | VENUE The Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club | PHOTOGRAPHY Walters & Walters

Triangle NC Wedding News – Wedding Shows and Bridal Inspiration

Spring is an exciting and busy time for brides in the Triangle and for all of us at Southern Bride & Groom! From informative and inspiring wedding shows and art exhibits to food festivals and bridal events, there are so many fun events to enjoy! Below, are some events we’ve attended recently, including wedding shows and events with plenty of bridal inspiration.
Ninth Stree Flowers at the Nasher Museum in Durham
Nasher Wedding Studio
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University hosted its 2nd Annual Nasher Wedding Studio in March. SB&G co-publisher, Jenna Park Olender, was part of a panel of wedding experts that included Rachael Price from Tre Bella Flowers, Morgan Montgomery from Paisley & Jade vintage rentals, and Terri Watson of Get Lit Special Event Lighting. The topic of wedding design was a hit with attendees! Following the panel was a meet and greet with each of the Nasher’s preferred caterers: Parizade, Durham Catering, Mitchell’s, the Catering Company of Chapel Hill, and Posh Nosh.
Panel of wedding experts in North Carolina discuss wedding design
Kathy Wright, event director of Nasher, led the panel and organized the event. After the presentation, while enjoying treats and drinks, guests had a chance to mingle in the grand lobby at Nasher, which featured a stunning table display from American Party Rentals and Ninth Street Flowers. Filled with beautiful natural light during the daytime and turning into a magical sleek event venue by night, this space exudes modern elegance. Photos were taken by Jennifer Kidd, who also presented on photography at the show.


Art in Bloom at NCMA
Talk about floral inspiration!…The North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) in Raleigh just concluded its Art in Bloom showcase – a weekend long event that fused flowers and art to create a colorful and lively exhibit which drew an impressive crowd of 10,000 visitors!
Flower displays at Raleigh Art MuseumFlowers and Art at NC MuseumLocal florists, including many of SB&G’s talented family members like Tre Bella Flowers, Fresh Affairs, Ninth Street Flowers, Blossom Artistry, Catering Works, and The English Garden, crafted floral arrangements inspired by the art of the West Building of NCMA – the arrangements were be based on the colors, textures, and patterns of these art pieces. If you didn’t get to go for yourself, check out the beautiful images captured by NCMA photographers Karen Malinofski and Christopher Ciccone.
Art in Bloom Exhibit at the NCMA
Floral inspiration at Raleigh NCMAFloral Exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of ArtMarch of the Brides
Brides-to-be who competed in Diamonds Direct Crabtree’s 2nd Annual March of the Brides competition walked away with sweet prizes, and based on the photographs captured by Three Little Birds Studio, they had a lot of fun doing it!
Diamonds Direct March of the Brides ContestOver 300 brides registered for the contest via Diamond Direct’s Facebook page, but only 40 lucky brides were selected to compete. Adorned with diamond ring veils and competition t-shirts, the brides put on their game faces and fought hard for their chance to win amazing prizes.


Brides rotated in groups and competed in all kinds of wedding-themed games. Starting with the bouquet toss, sponsored by The English Garden of Raleigh, brides had to throw flower bouquets as far as they could and were scored on the distance thrown. Brides next moved to the seating scramble sponsored by Eschelon Experiences and the photo hunt sponsored by Three Little Birds Studio. During the wedding planner dash, sponsored by A Southern Soiree, brides competed in a relay-style activity, that conclude with stacking presents and running to the finish line!


In the end, there were nine big winners who left with prizes including a $1,000 gift certificate to Diamonds Direct, $500 towards catering by Eschelon, a photography package by Three Little Birds Studio, a $500 gift certificate for wedding cake by Edible Art, $250 for flowers from The English Garden, and more!

Diamonds Direct Crabtree of Raleigh

Taste the Event Launch Party
Last night was the official kick off and launch party for Taste 2015 – a series of delicious events that celebrates food & drink in North Carolina, from the budding craft hard cider industry to a good old-fashioned burger cook-off competition to a Grand Taste Experience. Dan Shannon, publisher of Durham Magazine and Chapel Hill Magazine, spoke while guests enjoys bites from the students at the Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham at American Tobacco Campus. We can’t wait for the delightful treats that are in store for us during Taste! If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, don’t miss out on this exciting foodie festival.

Taste the Event food and drink festival in DurhamDan Shannon publisher of Durham Magazine and Chapel Hill MagazineTaste magazine Triangle food guide

TASTE the Event 2015 in Durham: Q&A with The Carolina Inn

In one short week, Triangle foodies and talented local chefs will gather for a four-day food festival hosted by our friends at Durham Magazine and Chapel Hill Magazine.

The Triangle’s nationally ascendant food culture will be on display during Taste 2015. Beginning with the Grand Taste Experience on Thursday, April 23, food lovers from across the region will experience a weekend of indulgence unsurpassed in the South. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy anything and everything important in local North Carolina cuisine, from the budding craft hard cider industry to a good old-fashioned burger cook-off competition. Every event focuses on local chefs, restaurants and producers, ensuring that all guests will enjoy a strong representation of the food culture offered in North Carolina.

Leading up to the event, Southern Bride & Groom has shared a series of Q&A’s from some restaurants and caterers that are part of the SB&G family and who will be taking part in TASTE 2015, including Il Palio, Herons at the Umstead Hotel and Spa, Basan, and today, The Carolina Inn and Crossroads restaurant.

Chef James Clark, who spearheads the kitchen and catering at the Inn, specializes in sustainable dining serving locally grown “farm-to-table” seafood, meats and vegetables. His individual style is inspired by local, Southern influences infused with modern techniques.

We spoke with the team at The Carolina Inn to get a sense of their upcoming renovations, their most popular dishes, and, of course, what they will be serving guests at the Grand Taste Experience next week.

Executive Chef James Clark of the Carolina InnSB&G: Tell us about your plans for the Crossroad’s renovation and new concept. In what ways will the new restaurant cater to private events?

The Carolina Inn: The Carolina Inn’s restaurant and bar will be completely renovated this summer. The entire footprint will change so that we can be more flexible with the space and have the chance to utilize it for catering events. We will still have the Piedmont Room, which will now include doors out to the patio. The North Parlor will become part of the restaurant as well, and will have the ability to be a private dining room, too. The new concept will be regional new American, meaning that we will be utilizing Southern growers, catchers, raisers and makers cooking their passions into approachable contemporary dishes.

Carolina Inn ScallopsSB&G: What are some of the ways the hotel works with Carolina Crossroads to provide a unique experience for weddings and events? 

The Carolina Inn: We are all one team! The new space will definitely allow us to be able to offer creative experiences for wedding or rehearsal parties. The Piedmont Room, for instance, will allow a wedding group to use the outside patio for their cocktail hour and then easily move inside for dinner.

SB&G: What are the most popular menu items at Carolina Inn weddings?

The Carolina Inn: Some of the most popular items for a wedding are the classics, such as shrimp and grits stations, carved beef tenderloin and plated filet and crab cake combo. We have seen a rise in popularity for our Biscuit Bar for receptions, which is buttermilk biscuits and sweet potato biscuits with toppings such as pimento cheese, braised short rib, hot honey chicken or pulled pork BBQ.

Carolina Inn Fried Green TomatoesSB&G: What about any unique presentations or menus you’ve prepared for Carolina Inn weddings?

The Carolina Inn: Our brides love customized menus, which we are happy to provide. Everything from an exquisite wine tasting progressive menu to interactive chef stations. We always seek to find a way for couples to use out talents to “wow” their guests. Lately, we have been offering a do-it-yourself s’mores bar, and people seem to love it!

SB&G: What menu item are you most excited to feature at TASTE this year?

The Carolina Inn: At the 2015 Grand Taste Experience, we are excited to showcase our chilled sweet corn soup with tomato relish and smoked shrimp.

Fun Engagement Session at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park

Southern Bride & Groom is excited to kick off baseball season and Opening Day at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park with Robin and John’s fun sports-themed engagement session! This year marks the 20th anniversary of the well-known Minor League ballpark in Durham, NC, which, along with the American Tobacco Campus, served as the backdrop for this adorable baseball inspired photo shoot captured by Red Boat Photography.

Robin and John met on and met in person for the first time at Poole’s diner in Raleigh, NC – which is also where John proposed to Robin. John planned a date to Poole’s, and ahead of time, he arranged for the restaurant staff to write on the chalkboard menu, “Robin will you marry me?” The couple was seated right in front of the menu that night. After a few minutes deliberating what she wanted to order, Robin realized what was really on the menu that night and John got down on one knee.

The couple chose the Durham Bulls stadium and the American Tobacco Campus for their engagement session photographs because sports was something they quickly bonded over. Their second date after meeting at Poole’s Diner was at Tobacco Road, which overlooks the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Both families are avid baseball watchers, so they knew the ballpark was a perfect fit for their backgrounds and their relationship. Plus, it made for a fun location with many unique photo opportunities!

Robin and John are getting married on April 25, 2015 at the Chapel Hill Carriage House in Chapel Hill, NC.Durham, NC engagement sessionRed Boat Photography engagement session in Durham Bull's BallparkBaseball themed engagement sessionSports themed engagement session in North CarolinaPhoto shoot in the Durham Bulls Athletic ParkBaseball park engagement sessionCouple's engagement session in baseball parkFun engagement photo session in the Durham Bulls StadiumEngagement photos by NC photographerBallpark stadium engagement sessionEngagement Photos by Red Boat PhotographyBallpark themed engagement session in NCBallpark engagement session in Durham, NCBaseball park photo sessionPhoto shoot in Durham BallparkEngagement session at American Tobacco CampusWedding photography by Red Boat PhotographyPhotos: Red Boat Photography

TASTE the Event 2015 in Durham: Q&A with Basan

Basan is the newest restaurant in the Eschelon Experiences group, bringing modern Japanese cuisine and fresh sushi to the Bull City. Its convenient downtown location at the American Tobacco Campus makes it the perfect place to catch a bite before a show at DPAC or a Bull’s game.

Head Chef Toshio Sakamaki is a master of preparing fish and vegetables. He was born in Tokyo Japan where his father worked as a sushi chef and owned a sushi restaurant. He brings years of culinary expertise to Eschelon Experiences and showcases his mastery at Basan.

We spoke with the team at Basan about the local food scene, their private dining and event space, and what people can expect from Chef Sakamaki at the Grand Taste Experience on April 23, 2015. Beginning with the Grand Taste Experience, food lovers from across the region will experience a weekend of indulgence unsurpassed in the South.

Organized by our friends at Durham Magazine and Chapel Hill MagazineTaste the Event is a charitable local food festival located in and around the Triangle area of North Carolina, which encompasses Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. The festival includes a variety of events, from intimate dinners for a few to large tastings for a crowd, with a portion of the proceeds donated to the Durham Branch of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Top culinary talent from the surrounding area, including chefs, restaurateurs, beverage purveyors and other local companies are featured in some of the region’s most stunning event settings.

Head Chef Toshi of Basan restaruantSB&G: What is your favorite thing about the local food scene in 2015?

Basan: Many locals are starting passion projects, paying homage to food they love and want to create every day for guests, for example, Ashley Christensen’s group, Van from Bida Manda, and the guys from Stanbury.

What is your cooking philosophy or favorite type of food to cook?

Basan: Our culinary director, John Anderson, loves to cook Mexican food and we really appreciate his view on cooking. He enjoys cooking with less expensive ingredients that take more time and care. Anyone can cook a steak and add truffles and it will be delicious, but he thinks it’s fun to celebrate inexpensive and make them delicious, such as field peas, pork cheek, collards, etc. We love this celebration of simple and tasty items.

Shrimp and Mushroom Ajillo from BasanSB&G: How do you keep it interesting or play off the latest food trends?

Basan: We definitely like to feature trends in our cocktails, infusing crazy ingredients and flavor profiles into our signature drinks. Our food menus typically stay true to the theme of the restaurant and we feature trends in seasonal exclusive dinners or weekly signature feature items. We encourage our chefs to get creative every day so there is always something “off menu” for our guests to try.

SB&G: How has Head Chef Toshio Sakamaki enjoyed the transition to Basan and the process of being onboard for a restaurant opening?

Basan: Chef Sakamaki really enjoyed getting to learn the Eschelon processes and culture at Mura before getting the new restaurant open. I think opening Basan was especially enjoyable because he was able to craft a whole new menu from scratch, just as he desired it to be.Head Chef Toshi of Basan restaurant in Durham

SB&G: How will the new private event space in Basan cater to special events like bridal/bachelorette parties or family/rehearsal dinners?

Basan: The new private dining room will seat up to 40 guests and can accommodate upwards of 80 guests for a cocktail-style function. It’s a fun, modern space with great light and huge windows. We think it will be a fun new choice for all events from rehearsal dinners to bridal parties because the furniture and layout are so flexible. Basan has a full-time event coordinator on staff to help make sure everything runs smoothly and makes the booking process a breeze for our guests.Basan Bull City Sushi restaurant

SB&G: What is your approach to planning menus for weddings and/or special events?

Basan: We have some great pre-set options, but we love tailoring things to the host’s tastes. It has been fun to create special sushi rolls named for the couple at wedding caterings, or custom cocktails with signature colors at special events.

SB&G: What are your plans and involvement in TASTE this year?

Basan: Basan is so new in town; we want to showcase some of our signature items and let everyone meet Head Chef Toshio Sakamaki. He comes from Japan and is carrying on the family tradition of being a sushi chef. Toshio has so much passion for what he does and it shows in his food. We’ll definitely showcase some sort of sushi to give everyone a taste of what we’re best at delivering every day. We can’t wait for everyone to meet our Head Chef and taste what Basan has to offer!Rainbow Roll from BasanPhotos: Terrence Jones