Monthly Archives:: June 2015

Inspirational Raleigh Wedding Industry Events

From awards galas to open houses, SB&G has been busy attending all kinds of inspirational Raleigh wedding industry events this June. A lot of hard work goes into planning and executing these events, so we wanted to share a glimpse of just how amazing the final product is. We hope you enjoy seeing some of our favorite June highlights; they may just get your ideas flowing you for your own wedding planning!

The 5th Annual Trinity Awards Gala & ISES-GT Board Installation
It was a sparkling and elegant evening at the ISES 2015 Trinity Awards Gala held at the magnificent Grand Marquise Ballroom in Garner, North Carolina. With 21 categories honoring every discipline of event planning, management and production, all members of ISES are welcome and encouraged to enter; the annual awards gala is a highly anticipated celebration for the nominees and winners.

The theme of the night, “All that Glitters,” was portrayed in everything from golden flatware to an ice sculpture in the lobby  to shimmering attire worn by ISES members and special guests. Photos below from B. Jarvah Imagery show the event space decked out with hundreds of red roses – an unforgettable display created by one of the Triangle’s most talented florists, Fresh Affairs. Paired with gold chairs and black linen, it was glitz and glamour at its finest!

Rocky Top Catering made sure the crowd was well fed with several tasty courses, and Island Sound and Video filled the space with music and entertainment throughout the evening.

Many vendors who are a part of the Southern Bride and Groom family walked away with prestigious awards and honors, such as Shutterbooth for Best Event Support Services; Island Sound & Video for Best Event Videography; Expressions of Love Florist and Fresh Affairs for Best Event Design Decor; Shawn Schindler Events for Best Social Event, and American Tobacco for Best Team Effort.  Congratulations to all!Event at the Grand Marquise Ballroom RaleighGold tablescapesIce SculptureSouthern Bride and Groom at ISESSouthern Bride and Groom at Trinity Awards GalaRed gold and black color paletteISES Trinity Awards at The Grand Marquise BallroomMembers of ISES at Awards GalaISES 2015 meeting and award showThe Grand Marquise Ballroom event spaceThe Grand Marquise Ballroom Raleigh

Rocky Top Open House
The next event we attended, Rocky Top Catering’s Open House event at 1705 Prime in Raleigh, was as pleasing to the eyes as it was to the appetite! It was a chance for Triangle brides-to-be to enjoy displays by local wedding vendors like Paperbuzz, Expressions of Love florist and Themeworks, all while sampling delicious bites like pan-seared crab cakes and an impressive dessert table. One of SB&G’s preferred photographers and friends at f8 Photo Studios captured the mouth-watering photographs below.

Rocky Top Catering at 1705 Prime RaleighRocky Top Catering open housePaperbuzz wedding stationeryRaleigh wedding venueWhite and green wedding colorsRocky Top Catering AppetizersSignature cocktail for bridesWhite and green tall centerpiecesRocky Top Catering event foodRaleigh wedding caterersMason Jar SaladDessert Table

Triangle NACE Meeting at the North Carolina Executive Mansion
NACE is the oldest and largest professional society that addresses all aspects of the catering industry. The Triangle chapter’s June meeting was one to remember – held at the North Carolina Executive Mansion in Raleigh.

The theme of the evening “Let’s Get Political” featured guest speaker Jeff Tippett with Targeted Persuasion. And, there was even a special appearance by NC Governor McCrory himself.

Joe Payne Photography, a member of the SB&G family, captured the charm and elegance of the mansion, along with all the details of the event, down to the cookies, cleverly decorated by Edible Art for both political parties. American Party Rentals linens and decor tastefully added to the ambience of the historic mansion.North Carolina Executive Mansion in RaleighNetworking at NACE meetingDemocrat and Republican CookiesNACE meeting in North CarolinaNorth Carolina Executive MansionGovernor McCrorys Mansion RaleighGovernor Pat McCroryRaleigh Governors Home

A Creative Approach to NC Wedding Photography with Neil Boyd

Southern Bride & Groom works with some of the best wedding photographers in the Raleigh-Durham area and all across North Carolina. We’re thrilled to feature a North Carolina wedding photographer spotlight series so that you can get to know each of them a little better! Today, we’re sharing Neil Boyd’s creative approach to NC wedding photography.

Neil Boyd was born in Liverpool England and has been working in the U.S. for 12 years, forming his full-time photography studio and business in Raleigh upon moving here in 2002.

Neil’s education in the field began in London where he studied photography for three years at Kensington and Chelsea College. He became a member of The British Institute of photography in 2000 and is progressing to become a Fellow of the Institute. Neil now lives in Raleigh with his wife and two kids.

Learn more about what inspires Neil and what makes him stand out as a wedding photographer in our interview below.Pink and white wedding bouquetWhy do you love photography?

I love creating images that make other people happy – that can be anything from a candid moment caught at a wedding to a father seeing how beautiful his daughter looks in her bridal portrait. I also enjoy the freedom of creativity that I have as a photographer and the technical aspect and problem-solving that goes into many projects.

From where do you draw your artistic inspiration?

I draw much of my inspiration from other photographers – some I studied in college and others who are at the top of their trade today. I think my list would be quite extensive, but for different reasons, I would include Cartier-Bresson, O. Winston Link, Richard Avedon, August Bradley, Joey Lawrence, Yervant, Jerry Ghionas, my good friend, David Williams and many more!
Raleigh wedding photographyHow would you describe your style?

I would describe my style as a hybrid of photojournalistic and commercial. Photojournalism is the ability to tell a story with images, which is what we do when we present our clients with the story of their wedding day, usually in the form of a wedding album. My background is in advertising; it was through working at ad agencies that I really developed an interest in becoming a full-time photographer. I like to also bring that edginess to my work.
Raleigh wedding photographer Neil BoydWhat do you think sets you apart from other photographers?

Everyone is unique, and I think I have adapted my own personal style; this has evolved from my photography education and experience over the years.
Wedding at The Hudson ManorWhat is your favorite moment to shoot at a wedding?

I never go into a wedding with a set plan – it’s all about what I see at any given time. I love shooting bridal, couple, and wedding party images, and trying to push the boundaries and be creative. At the same time, I love capturing those special candid moments which might be a mother crying as her daughter walks down the aisle or a groom seeing his beautiful wife-to-be for the first time on their wedding day.Sparkler exit at weddingPhotos above by Neil Boyd Photography

Charming Spring Wedding at The Sutherland

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re excited to share Gina and Zach’s charming spring wedding at The Sutherland.

Gina and Zach met at East Carolina University while studying hospitality management. After being paired in a group together for a class assignment, they started to realize their connection went beyond the classroom. However, they did not begin dating until nearly a year after graduation. All Zach asked for was one date, but Gina kept turning him down. After much banter, she finally obliged…and the rest is history!

Gina and Zach were engaged in July 2013 in the mountains of North Carolina. Zach had rented a cabin with pretty views. The couple went for a scenic hike, but ended up on the wrong path and their “romantic” hike took them on a horse trail, which was a lot smellier than the pedestrian trail! After hours of searching for a scenic overlook away from the horse path, Zach finally found a good location to pop the question and Gina, after displaying a sense of utter disbelief, of course, said “yes!” Twenty-One Films shares more of their story in the video at the bottom of the post.

Gina spends her days planning other people’s weddings, working as a wedding consultant for the highly-regarded Raleigh-based wedding planning company, A Southern Soiree. Creating wedding timelines and tasks comes second nature to Gina, so she was able to truly enjoy every moment she and Zach had together to pick out the details; their favorite part was the tastings!

Gina & Zach’s wedding played off many jewel tones that enhanced the natural beauty of their venue and the attire they selected for their day.

As a planner in the North Carolina wedding industry, Gina’s had the opportunity to work with many vendors throughout her experience, including those who are a part of the SB&G family! She loved being able to use these resources for her very own wedding.

See how the entire day came together perfectly in the images below by Christobal from Azul Photography, who, according to Gina, went above and beyond to capture the most special moments of Gina and Zach’s wedding day.The Sutherland wedding venueRaleigh bride at The SutherlandPink and green bridal bouquetMother of the Bride giftRaleigh bride with pink bouquetLace wedding gownDads first lookFather's first lookPirate cufflinksNavy blue groomsmen suitsGreen groomsmen tieLavender bridesmaid dressesBridal bouquet with pictures of grandparentsPretty seating chartRaleigh Groom at The SutherlandOutdoor wedding in North CarolinaBella Bridesmaids dressesRaleigh NC floristOutdoor wedding ceremony in NCNorth Carolina guestbookMac and cheese bar at weddingHanging flower decor at weddingWedding venue in Raleigh NCTwo tone layered wedding cakeRaleigh bride and groomThe Sutherland reception with dancingToast to the bride and groomRaleigh wedding venueConfetti send off at wedding


The Venues
“I wouldn’t have wanted to host my wedding anywhere else, but The Sutherland,” shares Gina. “It’s an absolutely beautiful property with everything you need in one location! We loved having both the wedding and reception in such a beautiful, secluded area. It felt like we were in a world of our own and it made the day so much more special.”

“I also loved hosting my bridal luncheon at The Carolina Inn and having this venue be a part of my big day. They always make every bride feel so special no matter what the reason for coming in is,” Gina adds.
Hanging flowers and chalkboard signCatering
“Everyone at Rocky Top Catering is amazing to work with,” says Gina. “I received so many compliments on the food from the wedding. Rocky Top knows how to help couples customize their menu into something that truly reflects their style and taste. We even had a bacon bar!”

Flowers and Dresses
The English Garden rocks!” Gina exclaims. “Cydney and her team come up with fresh, new ideas and truly make your event unique. Likewise, Tre Bella does amazing floral design, and dresses too! They made me feel beautiful with each gown I tried on until I found the PERFECT one! We got our bridesmaids dresses from Bella Bridesmaids, which is run by a wonderful group of ladies and has such a beautiful selection of colors and styles from which to choose.”Pink white and green bouquetMakeup and Hair
“Both Jennifers’ who run Makeup for Your Day are just wonderful to work with! They’ve built a great team of artists whose goal is to make you look and feel beautiful on one of the most important days of your life,” says Gina.

“Getting to work with such a fun company is exactly what’s needed on a very emotional and intense day,” shares Gina. “Twenty-One Films captured every moment of the day and allowed me see the parts of my wedding I didn’t get to see.”

Check out the adorable couple’s story below that Twenty-One Films created for Gina and Zach.

Gina + Zach, The Engagement Story from Twenty-One Films on Vimeo.

VENUE The Sutherland | CATERING Rocky Top Catering | WEDDING PLANNER A Southern Soiree | MINISTER Jeff Streyle | BRIDESMAIDS LUNCHEON The Carolina Inn | BRIDAL GOWN Tre Bella | BRIDESMAIDS Bella Bridesmaids | MOB Nordstrom Rack | GROOMSMEN GIFTS Custom alcohol and gift box | HAIR & MAKEUP Makeup for Your Day | PHOTOGRAPHY Azul Photography | VIDEOGRAPHER Twenty-One Films | FLORIST The English Garden | CAKE Sweet Traditions | INVITATIONS Minted | MUSIC Bunn DJ Company | PARTY RENTALS CE Rental | TRANSPORTATION Carolina Livery, White Horse Transportation

Floral Lace Rivini Gowns and more from Nitsa’s Apparel

SB&G’s 2015 editorial fashion shoot was photographed by Dara Blakeley Photography at the beautifully restored Merrimon-Wynne House in downtown Raleigh. Stunning looks from our bridal boutiques paired perfectly with the building’s historic charm. Today, we’re showcasing stunning floral lace Rivini gowns and more from Nitsa’s Apparel. One of the gowns, by designer Monique Lhuillier, appears on the summer/fall cover of our 2015 magazine, on stands now.

Nitsa’s Apparel has locations in Charlotte and Winston-Salem, NC. The full-service bridal salon features classic and couture modern looks from many of the top designers, such as Amsale, Monique Lhuillier, Rivini, and Pronovias. In addition, the shop carries well-known bridesmaids lines and mother of the bride dresses. Brides and the entire wedding party can get everything they need at Nitsa’s, from alterations to cosmetics to accessories. The shop also hosts regular trunk shows!Rivini gown from Nitsa's ApparelRaleigh bride at the Merrimon Wynne HouseThe timeless Rivini gown from Nitsa’s Apparel (above) really makes an entrance, with silk organza layering on the skirt and French chantilly lace on the bodice. The look, with dangling pearl earrings from Anfesa’s Jewelers, standout makeup and hair by Makeup for Your Day, and a simple bouquet of green and white flowers by Fresh Affairs, is always in fashion.Floral lace champagne wedding dressA touch of subtle color always stands out. The bride pictured above is wearing an Anna Maier-Ulla Maija dress from Nitsa’s Apparel. The sweet and sensual French floral lace over champagne silk creates an unforgettable look and is paired with jewelry from Wade Designs Jewelry, hair and makeup from Bella Trio Day Spa, and an eye-catching bouquet of greens from Fresh Affairs.One shoulder Amsale bridal gownFashion shoot at Merrimon Wynne HouseThe gorgeous one-shoulder Amsale silk ballgown (above) from Nitsa’s Apparel drops low to a center half bow in the back. It can also be converted into a strapless gown. It is accented with diamond earrings and ring, pearl bracelet and a double strand pearl necklace with a diamond heart pendant from Wade Designs Jewelry. The asymmetrical side swept locks and makeup was done by Bella Trio Day Spa, while gorgeous greens in the background were arranged by Fresh Affairs on the mantle of one of the Merrimon-Wynne’s fancy fireplaces.Monique Lhuillier tulle gownLastly, we have a chantilly lace and feather-light tulle gown Monique Lhuillier from Nitsa’s Aparel (above) paired with classic pearls from Wade Designs Jewelry. The image (top right) with the eucalyptus garland from Fresh Affairs is currently on Southern Bride & Groom’s 2015 summer/fall cover!

WEDDING GOWNS Nitsa’s Apparel | VENUE Merrimon-Wynne House | PHOTOGRAPHY Dara Blakeley Photography | FLOWERS Fresh Affairs | JEWELRY Anfesa’s Jewelers and Wade Designs Jewelry | HAIR & MAKEUP Makeup for Your Day and Bella Trio Day Spa





Weddings “Unplugged”: Limit Your Wedding Photos on Social Media

In a world driven by technology, smart phones and instant sharing of information on social media, some couples may choose to celebrate their wedding in an “unplugged” fashion. Whether the purpose is to be more connected to the people around you, to have your first married photos be professional, or to keep the wedding more intimate, personal and between the people closest to you, it is a decision that requires some forethought.

Several of Southern Bride & Groom’s preferred wedding planners offer tips below to help limit your wedding photos on social media and ways to communicate with guests in polite, and even fun, ways that you are choosing to have an “unplugged” wedding.

Sally Oakley, owner of Sally Oakley Weddings & Events says, “Think about how you would like your event to be shared, if at all, ahead of time. Are you okay with guests sharing photos of themselves from the reception? Is it just the ceremony that feels to personal to see on Instagram? Determine what your boundaries are and go from there. Guests are there to celebrate the couple and should honor and respect their wishes.”Wedding selfiesPhoto by In His Image Photography

1. Use your Wedding Website
Your wedding Website is a great resource for guests and the perfect place to mention this type of information. You could put a personal note on it about why you’re choosing to keep this special occasion between your closest friends and family and that you want them to be “in the moment” with you!

2. Design a Sign
A Southern Soiree advises that if you choose to have an “unplugged” wedding, have a simple sign visible as guests enter the ceremony and the reception venue (if you don’t want photos at either).

“You could have a beautifully painted chalkboard either hung at the entrance or placed on an easel. Or, if you’re tired of the chalkboard trend, you can still have a calligrapher, artist, or graphic designer create something that politely makes the same request in a lovely way,” says Grace Beason, owner of Grace Leisure Events.

3. Put it in the Program
Brides and grooms can also have a message typed into the ceremony program requesting that cell phones and other photo/recording devices be put away for the evening. “The officiant could even incorporate a word about it into the ceremony,” says Amanda Scott, owner of A Swanky Affair.

“If you’re having attendees pass out ceremony programs, he or she could politely remind guests of this request,” says A Southern Soiree. “An example of wordage you could use is: The bride and groom have chosen to have an ‘unplugged’ wedding this evening. Please refrain from the use of cellphones, cameras, and from sharing these images on social media.”

“Most guests adhere to the rule, but your planner could politely and discreetly say something to any guests that are not obeying the request,” adds Amanda Scott.

4. Have a “phone check”
What about this fun idea that A Southern Soiree and Sally Oakley brought up…A fun way to encourage embracing an “unplugged” wedding is to have a phone check (like a coat check) or “valet” of sorts for your guests. Guests trade their phone for fun props, their escort cards, or other unique items that they can return at the end of the night! This could obviously get difficult if not well organized or if you have a very large crowd, so keep limitations in mind.

5. Set Yourself Up for Success
A Southern Soiree reminds brides to change their personal settings on social media so that nobody is able to “tag” photos of them.

Grace Beason shares another great alternative: “If you don’t want your photos shared on social media, but you do want to receive and share the photos between and amongst your family and friends, consider asking them to email their photos to you and tell them you will put them on a site like Picasa and share it with all your wedding guests after the wedding.”

WedPics is also a free wedding app and Website for storing and sharing wedding photos among guests.
Wedding selfiesPhoto by Ginny Corbett Photography

Like it or not, social media is an unavoidable part of our every day lives and there isn’t much you can do to completely prevent guests from sharing your wedding on social media. However, if you take the time to get the message to your guests politely in multiple ways, they will hopefully respect your wishes. Whatever happens, remember, this is your day – don’t let your guests control your happiness; just focus on enjoying the celebration!

Lake View Ceremony at Old North State Club in North Carolina

Lindsay and Justin met after both relocating from other parts of the country to Raleigh for their careers. After dating for a year and a half, Justin popped the question while they were vacationing with family in the ski town where Lindsay grew up – he proposed at 8,000 feet elevation with their puppy, Palmer, in tow.

With guests traveling from both coasts, the couple chose to get married at the Old North State County Club to give their non-southern friends a chance to experience a really beautiful southern location and see their new “home.”

The Old North State Club, located in New London, NC, was built in 1995 and is a part of the McConnell Golf family of country clubs. The club hosts one of the top-ranked golf courses in NC, and the incomparable views are not restricted to the golf course alone. Badin Lake and the Uwharrie Forrest provide an exquisite backdrop for a lake view ceremony at Old North State Club in North Carolina.

Lindsay and Justin knew guests would be blown away by the views, the golf course, and overall beauty of the property. The quintessential southern lodge on the property hosted some of their guests and their Friday night “Welcome Party” (in place of a traditional rehearsal dinner). There was country music, corn hole, southern BBQ and local sweet tea vodka drinks, so guest really got the full NC experience!

Lindsay is a designer for the golf clothing company, Peter Millar. She designed all of the bridesmaids dresses made of a navy and white seersucker, which feature an oversized bow on the shoulder and bring out the southern feel of the wedding. She also worked with the custom suit factory at Peter Millar to have the men measured and custom made suits with their names embroidered on each, as well as navy liners to match the colors of the wedding. The shirts and pocket squares were picked from the Spring 2015 line to complement the suits. That same navy color also appeared in the pashmina wraps Lindsay designed for the bridal party and out-of-town guests as gifts to keep them warm in the evening.

The sunset ceremony overlooking Badin Lake was spectacular. Heavy layers of white hydrangea petals lined the aisle. At the reception, the ceilings were draped with grape vines and custom-made green garlands along with market string bulbs for softer lighting.

Lindsay’s mom, an accomplished artist, did a beautiful watercolor painting of the 18th hole at the Old North State Club used in their save-the-date cards. Welcome guides for each guest also had a hand drawn map of the property featuring all of the private homes they rented out for family and friends and all the great amenities on the property that guest could access by golf cart.

As you can see by the stunning photographs captured by Griffin Hart Davis, LLC, it was the kind of day every bride dreams of – sunny skies, gorgeous views, and all the details coming together to create the wedding of her dreams.Engraved wedding ringOld North State ClubhouseNorth Carolina Golf CourseWedding at the Old North State ClubOld North State Club in NCWedding party on lake boatPink pedicure bridesmaidsBridal suite at Old North State ClubWedding ring and bandPicture frame for brideNorth Carolina wedding photographyNorth Carolina Bride and GroomLavender bridesmaid dressesHydrangea Bridal BouquetPastel wedding colorsSeersucker bridesmaids with bowsGray and navy groomsmenBadin Lake at Old North StateOutdoor ceremony in NCWedding overlooking lakeFlower petals down the aisleRaleigh bride and groomPastel and gray wedding colorsWedding cake with green and white flowersWedding reception decorCatering by Old North State ClubReception appetizers at Old North State ClubGazebo reception decorationsEvening reception at Old North State ClubSparkler sendoffGolf club wedding in NCVENUE, CATERER & ACCOMODATIONS Old North State Club | MINISTER Rev. David L. James | PHOTOGRAPHER Griffin Hart Davis, LLC | FLORIST Carrie Poole Floral Design | CAKE Ketchy Creek Bakery | CEREOMONY MUSIC Jimmy Hayes | RECEPTION MUSIC Empty Pocket Band

Favorite Wedding Gowns from 2015 Charleston Fashion Week Spring Bridal Show

Charleston, the most popular wedding destination in the US, is also home to a magnificent fashion week, produced by Charleston Magazine. Each fashion week features a Bridal Fashion Show presented by Charleston Weddings Magazine, which features gorgeous current wedding fashion trends as showcased by Charleston bridal boutiques, and a handful of leading designers who are based in the area.

Cara Galati of f8 Photo Studios and I made the road trip down to SC this spring, and met up with travel writer, Glenna Musante, who authored the recap piece we posted last Monday. Cara grew up in Charleston so acted as my tour guide of sorts, and also spent her time in the photo pit during the fashion show, capturing amazing images of the runway presentation and all the gorgeous styles that we got to preview!

Glenna’s Charleston Fashion Week Bridal Show recap on Monday took us on a tour of some of the top trends we’re seeing this year. We saw SO much gorgeousness that I wanted to follow up with a selection of my favorite wedding gowns from 2015 Charleston Fashion Week Spring Bridal Show. I’d like to give a huge thanks to f8 Photo Studios for these captures.

Enjoy, Southern fashionistas!

Southern Bride & Groom Editor Picks – Favorite Wedding Fashion Styles from 2015 Charleston Fashion Week


Amsale was the featured designer at Charleston Fashion Week’s Spring Bridal Show this year. This was a perfect choice for a fashion show in Charleston – a city that is a leader in the fashion world, but tends to gravitate to a classic Southern style.  Amsale is a great choice for the elegant Southern bride, and can be found locally in NC at Nitsa’s in Winston-Salem and Charlotte. These looks cater to brides who embrace a modern look, but sticks to a feminine, clean look that emulates her core principle of “timeless beauty.” See, for example, the Kylie gown (pictured below) – a strapless, hand-beaded natural waist ball gown with a crystal belt.
Amsale at Charleston Fashion WeekThe Nicole gown (below) is also a perfect example of classic meets modern – her slim, corded lace gown is complemented with a daring twist – a stunning plunging back lace appliqué. Amsale’s fine craftsmanship and use of feminine textures and the finest netting ensures that the low back remains beautifully sophisticated.
Amsale lace wedding dressOther gowns are more subtle, mixing classic shapes with interesting textures. The Jules gown (below left) is hand-beaded bodice gown with silk textured organza and a soft tulle layers skirt. Or the Ryan (below right) a silk taffeta natural waist ball gown with a corded lace bodice. Both have classic, ball gown look and A-line, but with the added element of netting over the décolletage.Amsale dresses in CharlestonThe Aileen (below left) gown is a strapless metallic Chantilly lace ball gown layered with blush tule and textured silk organza. The Aida gown (below right) has a notch neck corset bodice on a fit to flare gown in floral jacquard.
Amsale white and blush bridal gownsJust because a gown is classic doesn’t mean it can’t have bold, rich color. This tulle bridesmaid gown (below) has a touched halter bodice is a show-stopper in luscious Crimson. Mention that Amsale bridesmaids are carried by Bella Bridesmaids, Raleigh and Nitsa’s in Winston-Salem.
Amsale red bridesmaid dressSheer fabrics are a trend, as seen in the Lilly gown from the Christos line, which is a strapless corded lace gown layered with mint tulle and decorated with lace appliqué (below right). A touch of color is also trending, such as the tulle gown with a lace bodice (below left) in Fawn.Amsale silk and organza bridal gowns

Kate McDonald

You may be familiar with LulaKate as these vibrant and preppy dresses are carried by Bella Bridesmaids here in the Triangle Area. This fashion show was our first time seeing their sister bridal gown line on the runway, and we loved the charming and feminine style of their collection. Below is the Alston gown with a floral embroidered bodice over a Spanish Silk tulle ball gown skirt.

Lulakate white bridal dress in CharlestonLulakate pink floral dressThe painted floral dress above is truly a work of art! This McLeod gown by Kate McDonald has an absolutely gorgeous and hand-painted organza ball gown skirt in romantic pink hues.Kate McDonald dress with layered laceKate McDonald’s collection played with many different lace patterns. Anna Little White Dress (above left) is an adorable Italian Guipure mini-dress and the Rhett gown (above right) is a gorgeous long-sleeved lace gown with a trumpet skirt – it’s amazing the myriad that is offered and the different moods they can evoke. The Waring gown (below) is a beautiful corded lace ensemble with cutaway skirt and tulle under-layers.Kate McDonald bridal dress with lace and belt

Gown Boutique of Charleston

The Gown Boutique of Charleston presented a collection of fashion-forward modern bridal gown looks.
Wedding Gown Boutique of CharlestonThe Audrey gown by Isabelle Armstrong, pictured above, showcases a bold pattern in subtle silver-blue tones on a classic mermaid ivory shape helps pull off this edgy look. Below, a pant bridal suit pleases us so! The Merlina silk chiffon pant suit by Pronovias has a belt detail and a bow at the neck. What a fabulous option for a casual destination wedding or the bride who doesn’t want a dress!Bridal fashion trendsFull gowns with amazing texture are perfect for whimsical brides. The Lazaro gown (below left) in baby blue tulle with a hi-lo skirt and lace bodice is fit for Cinderella. The captivating gown (below right) by Jim Hjelm stands out with its rose embroidered nude tulle ball gown shirt and long sleeves.
Kate and LulaKate_McLeod_Hand painted pink

Modern Trousseau Charleston

We have visited Modern Trousseau’s location in New York during bridal market the past couple of years with our local NC carrier of this line, Tre Bella Bridal (located in Durham NC). Modern Trousseau is one of Tre Bella’s most popular designers due to their clean, classic style, versatility in designs and allowance for mix and matching of features and patterns. We were excited to visit the second Modern Trousseau flagship location in downtown Charleston while we were in town for Fashion Week, and to see their lovely gowns on the runway!
Modern Trousseau silk and tulle dressThe Mina gown (above) shows off a Thai silk wrapped bodice with a full skirt that opens to reveal layers of tulle.
Modern Trousseau short mini dressLook closely above at this taffeta, V-neck short mini dress (called Dixie) and you’ll see it isn’t just adorable because of its shape – it has a preppy pinstriped pattern! Modern Trousseau at Charleston Fashion Week
And more twists on classic shapes and fun textures for added interest – Above left, the Honor gown with a French lace bodice has a dramatic pleased skirt with a hi-lo hemline. Above right, Rain has a sequined lace bodice with layers of blush tulle. Below at left, the Raven gown has tiered layers of soft tulle edged in French chantilly lace. The Kasey gown (below right) is textured with floral patterned Italian Guipure lace with French tulle and lace detail.
Modern Trousseau bridal gowns with texture

Southern Protocol

Southern Protocol’s presentation was fit for their name – they showed a range of wedding gown styles that encapsulated what is chic in today’s Southern bridal fashion. The two beautiful dresses below, both by designer Heidi Elnora, demonstrate the trend of sleeves which is so en vogue right now. On the bottom left is the Coco Marie gown – a silk fit and flare piece with a flattering sweetheart neckline and off-the-shoulder lace sleeves. The gown to its right is a an attractive conservative look. This Lala Phillips A-line silk gown has a scoop neckline under a detachable pretty lace top, perfect for a church ceremony.  Both dresses have a chapel-length train.Lace top wedding gownWedding gowns with sleevesThe first dress below, by designer Heidi Elnora, is a fit-to-flare gown with a scoop neck, low back, adorable bow, and chapel-length train. The second dress below is by designer Carol Hannah. The lace bustier is draped with a Kensington linen ball gown skirt in blush and champagne. Aren’t these gowns just perfect for a Southern Belle?Wedding dress with bowWedding gown with light pink skirtTea-length dresses are back, in a nod to the Audrey Hepburn era. Below left is the Ollie gown by Heidi Elnora – made of silk with a sweetheart neckline and a full gathered skirt with pockets. The Nadia gown by Nicole Miller, below to the right, is a nod to Charleston with its beads and tassels – a  crystal and ostrich feather embellished sheath.Short wedding dressesThe metallic gold look is still in high style, and we cannot get enough of it! The A-line Pyrite gown by Carol Hannah (below left) shimmers with gold foiled silk organza and metallic lace. It also has illusion straps and beading at the waist. Next to it (at right), is the Candace gown by Lea-Ann Belter, a classic mermaid gown with a bit of blush color and an add-on mini-sleeve jacket.Gold and shimmer wedding gowns


The bridal boutique White brought us some edgier wedding fashion looks. We love the look of the Anne Barge dress below – a silk shantung two-piece ensemble.White on Daniel Island bridal gownsJenny Packham bridal gownsJenny Packham is adored by fashionistas in the ready-to-wear and bridal worlds alike. Our local Durham salon Tre Bella Bridal is the sole NC carrier of these lines. Check out the unique shape of the sheer sleeves on the Bardot gown (above left) with all its beautiful beading. The Kelly gown (above right) is another lovely shape with unique ruffled shoulder detail made from silk crepe.
Bridal fashion trends from CharlestonOther romantic shapes were seen in the Alencon lace and blush ball gown by Alvina Valenta (above left) and the Londyn gown by Hayley Paige, a silk tulle strapless ball gown (above right). Flowing sheath styles are in for the relaxed bridal look, and are perfected by Jenny Packham: The silk chiffon and beaded Billie gown (below left) has a Grecian vibe, while the beaded tank Kathleen dress is a more glamorous feel (below right).Grecian style wedding gownsThe Kennedy gown (below) by Hayley Paige has shows off shimmery embellishments in a textile pattern halter top with a bridal skirt that moves beautifully.Haley Paige crop top gown

One Love by Rachel Gordon & Birdsong

Rachel Love with One Love Design is an emerging Charleston designer. We loved her organic boho style and the pairings with local jewelry designer Birdsong. Sweet Siren (below) is an open-back gown made with vintage lace and lightly draped with silk over the skirt to create a flowing ethereal train.Rachel Gordon vintage wedding dressThe Venus gown (below) showcases a beautiful vintage wedding shawl bodice with lace detail at the center and a scalloped lace skirt. The back is embellished with wire-wrapped pearls.Charleston Fashion Week vintage lace wedding gownsThe delicate Flora gown (below left) was crafted with pale lavender silk and vintage lace. It also features a stunning open keyhole back (seen in the second photo). The Tallulah gown (below right) features a full four-ply silk skirt with draping sleeves and gorgeous lace detail around the neckline.Vintage brial gowns in CharlestonThe Grace gown (below left) was made with a large print vintage lace. It has a modest train and boat neckline, while the Eden gown (below right) offers a stunning dusty rose draped bodice paired with a high-waisted silk and tulle skirt with vintage lace along the waistline.Rachel Gordon sheer bridal gownsPhotos by f8 Photo Studios

Charming Charleston Engagement Session

Southern Bride & Groom is continuing its Charleston, SC-themed week with a charming engagement session along the cobblestone streets of this historic and colorful city, captured by Rachel Red Photography! Rachel is a Charleston and Raleigh-based wedding photographer. A true talent, she was our Winter/Spring Cover Photographer for SB&G this year, with one of our favorite photos from our Kentucky Derby Wedding Styled Shoot! More on Rachel Red Photography HERE.

With a little match-matching help from a mutual friend, Lindsay and Mike discovered they were a perfect fit. They had both spent time with this friend on separate mission trips to Haiti through their church in Charlotte, Forest Hill. Their friend wisely encouraged Mike to ask Lindsay out for a cup of coffee, at which point they spent hours talking, extended the time into church, and ended with a sushi dinner – all in the first day! Lindsay fell in love with Mike’s gentle spirit, shared faith, his blue eyes and amazing smile. They were pleasantly surprised by how much they had in common; it truly was a perfect match!

Mike, a romantic at heart, knew it would be a challenge to surprise Lindsay with an engagement. The couple had a trip planned to St. Petersburg in the spring and Mike had the ring three weeks beforehand. Lindsay had a feeling a proposal would be part of the trip and even started to plan her picture-perfect outfits! However, the ring was burning a hole in Mike’s pocket and he just couldn’t wait. After nine months of dating, Mike asked Lindsay to take a lunch time walk in Freedom Park (her favorite place in Charlotte). Lindsay didn’t expect what happened next – Mike stopped and asked a stranger to take their picture and when she turned around, he was down on his knee with a gorgeous ring in his hand. It turned out to be the perfect surprise proposal!

Before the couple got engaged they knew they wanted an intimate beachside ceremony, and within hours of their engagement, they had almost the entire wedding planned! Isle of Palm, Charleston was an easy choice. Mike is a beach bum at heart and Lindsay loves the casual elegance of Charleston. They have rented a beach house on Ocean Blvd. on Isle of Palm that will host the ceremony and 16 family members. Friends and family will rent nearby houses so the whole week will be a reunion of sorts with a southern backyard party feel. The Smoking Pot is catering a Lowcountry boil with oysters and key lime pie. They will have lawn games and a guitar duo, patio lights and dancing under the stars. Living in Charlotte allows them to frequently visit and plan their Charleston wedding, set for this October. They will have a follow up reception in Charlotte a week after the wedding.

The historic charm and beauty of Charleston is what attracts many brides to the area. During their charming Charleston engagement session with Rachel Red Photography, Lindsay and Mike took a stroll down the cobblestone streets of downtown, posing in front of many beautiful backdrops and landmarks, such as Rainbow Row and nearby parks.

Lindsay expresses her happiness working with their photographer, Rachel, of Rachel Red Photography. “I was so impressed with her work on prior weddings; I knew she was clearly talented, but it wasn’t until I started communicating with her that I understood what a jewel she really is. She is so helpful, flexible and comfortable through the planning process! She made Mike and I feel relaxed and beautiful during our engagement shots in Charleston. She is such a professional from start to finish. Her sweet, thoughtful touches are found in every detail! I feel confident that she will not only make our wedding look beautiful in the images, but capture our love and story as well.”

Charleston South Carolina Engagement SessionCharleston-SC-Engagement-PhotographyCharleston weddingCharleston Wedding PhotographerCharleston-Engagement-Photography-Rainbow-RowCharleston wedding photographyCharleston SC Park Engagement SessionPhotos by Rachel Red Photography

Charleston Fashion Week: Bridal Fashion, Fun and High Theater

Charleston Fashion Week is turning into a phenomenon with sponsors like JVT (Jewelry Television, on cable stations everywhere) and major designers in attendance. As further proof that this event has become more than just a local runway show, this year (March, 2015), the lead fashion editor for InStyle Magazine visited for the day, taking in Charleston Fashion week’s iconic Saturday Spring Bridal Show finale.

Charleston’s annual weeklong homage to style attracts large crowds. This year, there were more than 7,500 attendees, with the five-day event boosting the local economy by an estimated $3.5 million. In addition to nightly runway shows, the event has added a party scene that takes full advantage of the many new restaurants and clubs that have opened recently along upper King Street, within walking distance of downtown Charleston’s Marion Square, where the show takes place.

Even the rain earlier in the week didn’t dampen fashion sprits as designers, retailers (like Belk, which has a big presence at the show), and visitors enjoyed runway events that, in addition to fashion, began with light shows that could have rivaled a Broadway production!

Although the early part of the week is dedicated to showcasing emerging young designers or trunk shows for many of the local bridal shops, the Saturday Spring Bridal Show featured designers such as Rachel Gordon & Birdsong, Katherine McDonald (the designer and owner of Kate McDonald and LulaKate), Callie Tein (owner and designer of Modern Trousseau), Liancarlo, Pronovias Atelier, Amsale, and many more.

f8 Photo Studio attended the show with Southern Bride & Groom to capture all the fabulous trends on camera.Charleston Fashion Week Birdsong and Modern Trousseau

Designers (above left to right): One Love by Rachel Gordon & Birdsong and Modern Trousseau

The styles on display at Saturday morning’s bridal show ranged from mini dress and jumpsuit to ballgowns and long trains like the Hayley Paige tulle dress with beaded top. So many different styles were on view it might have been hard to spot a theme, but there were a few worth noting.

Charleston Fashion Week Hailey Paige and Modern TrousseauDesigners (above left to right): Hayley Paige and Modern Trousseau

First, although most of the gowns featured white and ivory, several veered far from traditional bridal gown colors. Gold metallic, for example, showed up in several collections. One of the more beautiful and romantic was the retro gold halter gown from Kate McDonald & LulaKate.Charleston Fashion Week Kate McDonald gold gownKate McDonald gold halter

Designer (above): Kate McDonald & LulaKate

There was also a moonstone metallic lace jumpsuit from Kate McDonald & LulaKate, and a gown from Modern Trousseau called “Storm” that featured gray satin under French alencon lace with an asymmetrical tulle skirt. The collection from Southern Protocol included a blush and gold silk chiffon Grecian gown with hand beading from Nicole Miller. With some of the gowns, gold beads or lace replaced pearls as an embellishment. For example, a Lazaro gown paired gold embroidery over blush tulle, and a gown from designer Matthew Christopher featured gold Venetian threaded lace. The Liancarlo black tulle bride’s ballgown with gold embroidery was especially memorable.Charleston Fashion Week Kate McDonald LulaKate jumpsuit

Designer (above): Kate McDonald & LulaKate

Charleston Fashion Week Modern Trousseau and Nicole Miller gownsDesigners/boutique (above left to right): Modern Trousseau and Nicole Miller from Southern ProtocolCharleston Fashion Week Matthew Christopher and Liancarlo gown

Designers/boutiques (above left to right): Matthew Christopher from Southern Protocol and Liancarlo from Gown Boutique of Charleston

Very low backs were also popular, as were unusual fabric mixes, such as a ballgown with a rhinestone embellished chambray top and long silk tulle skirt. An absolute showstopper was a gown from Pronovias Atelier that paired a sheer top and feathered ballgown skirt!Charleston Fashion Week Pronovias Atelier gown

Designer/boutique (above): Pronovias Atelier from Gown Boutique of Charleston

The event was packed with beautiful gowns, but one collection that stood out as especially romantic and unique was the One Love By Rachel Gordon & Birdsong, which featured one-of-a-kind custom gowns made from vintage wedding gowns. Several of the gowns from that collection featured figure draping satins and silk.Bridal Fashion Show CharlestonBridal fashion show Charleston

Designer (4 above): One Love by Rachel Gordon & Birdsong

Fashion may be the highlight of this bridal event, but the vendors also put on a fabulous show. Caterers brought out samples of wedding cake and hors d’oeuvres, including candied bacon, which was delicious.Charleston Fashion Week 2015Raleigh’s Zass Design also had a booth, manned by jewelry designer Stephanie Smith Zuky and her mom. Zass Design is known for colorful unique jewelry, all locally made from recycled materials. Their bracelets, earrings and other jewels can be custom ordered as gifts for bridesmaids, and the colors can be coordinated with wedding themes.Zass Designs RaleighOne last fashion note: While most of the people attending were there to see the fashions on display by the featured designers, the street fashion side of this event was just as interesting. Charleston is all about style! Street fashion featured everything from the classic little black dress with pumps and pearls to individualistic styles that defy description. In Charleston, fashion isn’t just functional or beautiful; during fashion week, it’s also high theater and a ton of fun!

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.

Photos by f8 Photo Studios

Wedding Stationery Timeline and Checklist

From save-the-dates to invites to place cards and thank you cards, weddings involve a lot of paper and it’s a lot to keep track of. This is why our friends at PaperBuzz created a handy wedding stationery timeline and checklist to help brides plan out all their paper needs.

Experienced wedding consultants and graphic designers at this Raleigh paper and gift shop help brides plan and create exciting and personalized elements every step of the way. With a little bit of planning and know-how, browsing all the beautiful invitations and stationery options will be a blast! Use this handy guide to plan out what type of paper or cards you need and when.

Raleigh NC paper storeBridal shower invitations


  • Plan the guest list
  • Order save-the-date cards
  • Order thank you notes/stationery
  • Mail save-the-date cards
  • Order engagement party invitations


  • Select and order wedding invitations
  • Hire a calligrapher, if using one
  • Order rehearsal dinner/party invitations
  • Order bridal luncheon invitations
  • Order shower invitations


  • Mail wedding invitationsBeach theme wedding invitations


  • Mail rehearsal dinner/party invitations
  • Mail bridal luncheon invitations


  • Order ceremony programs
  • Order weekend itinerary cards/booklets
  • Order menu cards
  • Order table cards and place cards
  • Order announcements
  • Order personalized napkins
  • Order favors
  • Order gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen
  • Order stationery with married name
  • Order personalized calling cards/gift enclosures


  • ENJOY every moment!
  • Remember to ask your photographer to capture detailed shots of all the beautiful paper items at your wedding, such as the place cards, menus, favors, and monogramed items.


  • Mail announcements
  • Thank you notes must be written for all those thoughtful presentsHaute Paper wedding stationery

Checklist and images provided by staff at PaperBuzz