Monthly Archives:: August 2015

Wedding Tabletop and Floral Inspiration from Fresh Affairs

Earlier this summer, Fresh Affairs, a Raleigh florist and wedding design company, held their annual Tabletop Extravaganza to showcase what they can do and to give brides plenty of inspiration for their big day!

As you can see from the images captured by Walters & Walters Photography below, every inch of space was covered in beautiful tabletop displays – everything from pretty in pink to tropical arrangements to glitter and gold and dramatic looks sure to wow at your wedding. Each display was complete with linens and rentals by Party Reflections. Equally as enticing was the food provided by Rocky Top Catering and the gorgeous gowns on display from Alexia’s Bridal.

If you’re still envisioning what type of centerpieces you want at your wedding, or wondering if you should go with creative chair back covers, or if you’re just looking for decor ideas, take a moment to scroll through the images below.Pink and white wedding flowersPink wedding flowersPink wedding inspirationBlush wedding colorsWedding flower inspirationTropical wedding flowersGreen and white wedding flowersSilver wedding decorRaleigh weddingsWedding lightingFresh Affairs Raleigh FloristWedding decor inspirationGold wedding detailsMettalic wedding decorAlexias Bridal wedding gownsWedding tablescapesCrystal wedding chandelierNorth Carolina cateringWedding foodRaleigh wedding catererRaleigh wedding DJRocky Top Catering Raleigh NCBlack and white weddingRaleigh floristsFLOWERS & VENUE Fresh Affairs | PHOTOGRAPHY Walters & Walters | CATERING Rocky Top Catering | RENTALS Party Reflections | GOWNS Alexia’s Bridal | CAKE Ashley Cakes | LIGHTING  Total Productions | DJ Bunn DJ Company | VIDEOGRAPHY Heartstone Films

Gluten-Free Catering Options for Your Wedding

Everyone is eyeing your gorgeous wedding cake and they can’t wait to dig into dinner before hitting the dance floor at your reception – surely you want all of them to be able to enjoy what’s on the menu. Accommodating food restrictions and allergies, such as gluten intolerance, is something to consider when planning your wedding cuisine.

As more people are diagnosed with Celiac Disease (a reaction to gluten: a type of protein found in grains, wheat, barley and rye), and become aware of gluten sensitivity, the trend for gluten-free options at weddings has significantly increased in recent years (along with many other dietary requests), and caterers have taken note.

One of SB&G’s preferred caterers, Catering Works, estimates that prior to 2010, gluten-free options were rarely requested (perhaps 2% of weddings); now, gluten-free demands are on the rise and closer to 10% for their business.

Luckily, a good caterer is highly capable and willing to create custom menus for each couple, tailored to their theme, style, guest needs, as well as the couple’s individual personalities. Every couple is different, therefore, a custom approach is best when planning for a gluten-free affair.Gluten free wedding food“When planning a menu that caters to gluten-free needs, yet also meets the overall objective and pleases several palates, we ensure that many items are free of gluten by nature, such as vegetables, fruits, and protein items that are free of wheat (modified food starch is often a hidden culprit),” explains Lorin Laxton, VP and Marketing Director at Catering Works.

In some cases, the couple may want a special meal just for them. “This works especially well in a plated dinner situation, as in a sense, everyone’s plate is customized to their preference by way of pre-selecting their dinner via the RSVP,” shares Laxton. “In other cases, couples want to incorporate a broad range of flavors that appeal to their gluten-free as well as non-gluten free guests. Other times, the couple may have a smaller wedding planned, such as an intimate family affair, where their close relatives and friends are already accustomed to all gluten-free meals, which also works well.”

Some of Catering Works most popular gluten-free items include cranberry almond stuffed chicken; tilapia tacos; corn cakes with duck confit; dates wrapped in bacon; melon prosciutto champagne shooters; thai chicken skewers; and savory meatloaf “cupcake” with mashed potato.Gluten free cateringEvery recipe has a specific cost associated with it based on the ingredients. Keep in mind that in some cases, additional costs apply for gluten-free items; these typically relate to recipes that substitute more expensive flour substitutes, such as almond flour. Still, many gluten-free items have no additional cost. “We always do our best to guide the bride and groom to choices that meet their budget, whether or not they request gluten free items,” Laxton remarks.

One of the biggest challenges in a gluten-free wedding menu is the cake. While there are many gluten-free cake recipes, they don’t always appeal to every guest. In some instances, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between one made with or without gluten, so brides may choose to just order a gluten-free cake to be on the safe side. Another more customized option would be to make a gluten free tier or some gluten-free cupcakes or other small desserts to accommodate gluten-free guests.

During Catering Works menu consultation process, they make a point to address dietary requests. “That way, in case the couple has not already identified this, they will at least be thinking about it, and perhaps put some feelers out to ensure everyone is covered,” Laxton suggests. They also provide menu cards for each event, detailing basic ingredients and flavors in the recipes and clearly identifying if the item is gluten-free or contains common food allergens.Toast as weddingThe best thing about customizing a catering menu today is that you don’t have to sacrifice taste or quality to please everyone. Just about any recipe can be modified for gluten-free needs, as well as be presented in its regular form. Just be sure to request this in advance as it does require more preparation on the part of your caterer.

Photos: Neil Boyd Photography

Beautiful Brier Creek Country Club Wedding in Raleigh, NC

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re excited to share Emily and Kennan’s beautiful Brier Creek Country Club Wedding in Raleigh, NC, captured by the ever so talented Renee Sprink Photography.

Kennan and Emily met as undergrads at UNC Chapel Hill. He did Army ROTC and was scheduled to move to Germany for four years shortly after they met. With this inevitable separation looming over them, they vowed not to get into a serious relationship. But, before they knew it, and against their best efforts, they talked every day on the phone and booked multiple transatlantic trips to see each other! Clearly, there was something special between them that was much stronger than the miles keeping them apart. They stayed together through Kennan’s deployment to Afghanistan. After he finished his active duty military service, he moved to northern Virginia where Emily was finishing up PA school, and they moved in together.

After about a year of living together, they began talking about the natural next step of getting engaged, but Emily was convinced Kennan could never surprise her – their shared lives were so regimented that she thought anything out of the ordinary would raise suspicion. Kennan took the challenge to heart, showing up out of the blue the day before Valentine’s Day at her office wearing a suit, carrying two-dozen roses and an engagement ring! He also surprised her with a trip to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor at Four Seasons. It turned out to be more perfect and surprising than Emily had ever imagined.

Kennan and Emily decided to get married in Raleigh, since that’s where both sets of parent’s live and is close to where they met. The biggest challenge was planning the wedding long-distance from Virginia. Emily admits that it had its benefits…helping to prevent them from getting too immersed and stressed out by the planning process, but it was also very difficult logistically to book vendors. They planned one weekend in the spring to go to Raleigh and visit multiple venues with her parents. They looked at about six different sites and, at the end of the day, unanimously agreed that Brier Creek Country Club would be the best place for their wedding. Emily felt very comfortable with Shelly, the event coordinator at BCCC, and comforted knowing that she would do the best job of getting them exactly what they wanted.

Emily and Kennan made sure there were personal touches during the ceremony and reception so that it felt like it was truly their wedding, not just another cookie-cutter wedding. They made personalized thank you cards for each place setting, ordered cocktail napkins with their names and wedding date, and even made home-made take-out boxes of Emily’s favorite sweets and Kennan’s favorite snacks for guests to take with them. It was important for them to let guests know how much they were appreciated – especially after some  had traveled very far, including Emily’s brother and family who came all the way from Australia.

In the images below, Renee Sprink Photography captures the elegance of the setting along with the fun-loving nature of the wedding party.Wedding dress and silver wedding shoesRaleigh Bridesmaidsbridal hair stylesDiamond bridal jewelryRaleigh brideOutdoor wedding ceremony in north carolinaPink bridesmaids and gray groomsmenRenee Sprink wedding photographyPastel wedding colorsBrier Creek Country Club weddingRaleigh wedding photographerFun bride and groom photosFall wedding in NCWhite and gold flowersReception at Brier Creek Country Club in RaleighCountry club reception RaleighRaleigh bride and groomReception dancesCustom wedding favorsDIY wedding favorsSparkler exitVENUE, PLANNER & CATERER Brier Creek Country Club | PHOTOGRAPHER Renee Sprink Photography | REHERSAL DINNER City Club Raleigh | GOWN Bridals by Natalie | BRIDESMAIDS Weddington Way | HAIR & MAKEUP Makeup For Your Day | JEWELRY Nordstrom | BRIDESMAID JEWELRY Kate Spade and The Limited | MEN’S FORMALWEAR J. Crew | FLORIST The Blossom Shop | CAKE Cinda’s Creative Cakes | INVITATIONS The Green Kangaroo | CALLIGRAPHER Linda Rozet | CEREMONY MUSIC Amy Kortus (Harpist) | RECEPTION MUSIC Joe Bunn DJ Company | LIGHTING Island Sound and Video | FAVORS Homemade take-out boxes of snacks and treats | TRANSPORTATION EcoStyle | ACCOMODATIONS Embassy Suites, Raleigh

Creative Wedding Cakes by One Belle Bakery in Wilmington, NC

Some folks call the cake the centerpiece of their reception, which is why we reserve a special spotlight in our magazine each year to show off these edible masterpieces! Southern Bride & Groom’s 2015 cake shoot took place at American Tobacco Campus (ATC), a hub of happening in the heart of downtown Durham.
Sunflower cake by Wilmington bakeryToday, we’re showing off two creative wedding cakes by One Belle Bakery in Wilmington, NC. The first is a cheery standout daisy cake that starts off with a bottom tier of artsy “chalk” drawings, followed by hand-painted diamonds in complementary blue, topped off with bright yellow sugar-crafted daisies! This old-school look would pair perfectly with a blue and yellow sunflower theme, such as that in our floral display by Flowers by Gary.

The setting for this cake shoot, captured by Brian Mullins Photography, is a favorite lunch spot on central American Tobacco Campus and reveals one of the many preserved painted advertisements from its factory days.Chevron wedding cakeThe next cake, pictured above was featured in the 2014 edition of Southern Bride & Groom Magazine and also shows off the fun, playful side of One Belle Bakery. The adorable coral chevron pattern would look right at home for a beach wedding – complete with a coral starfish from Southern Season and coral pillows in the background from ThemeWorks!

CAKES One Belle Bakery | PHOTOGRAPHER Brian Mullins Photography | VENUE (first cake) Outdoor Classroom at American Tobacco Campus; (second cake) ThemeWorks | LINEN (first cake) American Party Rentals | FlOWERS (first cake) The English Garden

Classy Black and White Wedding at the University Club in Durham

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re excited to share Mark and Richard’s classy black and white wedding at the University Club in Durham, NC.

Mark and Richard met in 1994 in Buffalo, NY, and have been together for 21 years! In 2000, they went to Vermont to have a Civil Union after hearing news on the radio that same-sex marriage had been legalized there. They arranged an officiant, avenue, and rings in one day, then drove through the night to reach a courthouse in Vermont to get the license and have a Civil Union ceremony. Even though it was not recognized as legal outside of Vermont, it was something that was very meaningful to them. Still, they anxiously waited for the day to come when they could be legally married here in North Carolina.

Those who live in Durham, NC, are familiar with the University Tower building – a great beacon of shimmering glass that rises high above the other buildings in the area. When Mark and Richard started looking for an innovative venue with casual elegance and great food, it became clear right away that this would be the right place for their elegant black, white and sparkling wedding.

The wedding consultant and minister, James Strach, is a long-time friend of both grooms. Close friends and family joined the party high up in the tower where crystal and glass shined not only on the outside, but also inside the venue from the chandelier to the centerpieces to the cake table. Floral Dimensions added to the ambience with white flowers and stunning tall branch centerpieces.

In the photos below, Dara Blakeley Photography showcases her artistic vision, telling the story of this classy wedding that celebrates the long-lasting love of an amazing couple.Durham Wedding at University TowerDurham floristsClassic tuxedoLGBT weddings in the SouthSame sex weddings in North CarolinaThe University Club in DurhamGay wedding in NCWedding at the University Club in DurhamGrooms black and white tuxedosNorth Carolina modern indoor weddingGay wedding favorsWedding traditionsCatered food at Durham event venueMonogrammed napkinsSignature cocktailsFloating canlde centerpieceWedding foodBlack and white weddingWedding catererWhite rose centerpiecesWhite and crystal wedding detailsGay wedding cake topperVENUE & CATERER University Club | WEDDING CONSULTANT & MINISTER James Strach | PHOTOGRAPHER Dara Blakeley Photography | CAKE Miel Bon Bons | MUSIC Save the Date Music (Brian Megilligan) | FLOWERS Floral Dimensions | LINENS American Party Rentals

Durham Bulls Themed Wedding Ideas from GiGi’s Cupcakes

Some folks call the cake the centerpiece of their reception, which is why we reserve a special spotlight in our magazine each year to show off these edible masterpieces! Southern Bride & Groom’s 2015 cake shoot took place at American Tobacco Campus (ATC), a hub of happening in the heart of downtown Durham.Raleigh bakery for wedding cake and cupcakesAt GiGi’s Cupcakes, you can have your cake and cupcakes too! In the top left, lavender and lace adds extra sweetness to a three-tiered cake topping above an assortment of delicious cupcakes. The Diamond View Skybox, where this shot was expertly taken by Brian Mullins Photography, provides a bird’s-eye view of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and can be rented out for a one-of-a-kind party in any season.

If you want to show off your love for the home team, GiGi’s can make custom treats that will have everyone talking…including the mascot! In the Capital Broadcasting Suite at ATC, GiGi’s Cupcakes scores big with Wool E. Bull, by creating Durham Bulls themed wedding cupcakes. Whether its an engagement party, rehearsal dinner, bachelor party, or girls’ night, this rentable private suite, complete with a table shuffleboard, classic pool table, hot dog roaster, popcorn machine and deck of outdoor seats above the baseball diamond, is sure to be a home run with all your guests.

Sports themed weddings with mascots

CUPCAKES & CAKE GiGi’s Cupcakes | VENUE Capital Broadcasting Suite and Diamond View Skybox at the Durham Bulls Ballpark | LINEN American Party Rentals | PHOTOGRAPHER Brian Mullins Photography

Unique Wedding Entertainment: Live Wedding Painting in Raleigh, NC

When booking entertainment for your wedding, you’ve no doubt considered hiring a live band or a DJ, renting a photo booth, and maybe even reserving a food truck for the night, but what about hiring an accomplished artist to capture the day on canvas?

Live Wedding Painting by Tesh Parekh is a unique service that results in a one-of-a-kind wedding keepsake for the bride and groom and, since he paints on-site at your wedding or reception, it has the added bonus of being live entertainment for guests who get to see the entire work of art come to life! A live painting offers a unique take on the occasion and is perfect for the artistic bride!

Tesh Parekh is a professional artist based in Raleigh, NC. Originally from India, he came to the US in 1996 and found a love for painting weddings after meeting his wife, Mica. He paints in both oil and watercolors, and is one of the very few artists to offer representational live paintings in watercolor. Learn more about him in our exclusive Q&A below.Live wedding painting

SB&G: How many years have you been an artist and what inspired you to start painting weddings?

I learned to draw and paint when I was a small child and have been painting professionally since 2007. I began painting en plein air (on location) in 2006. I always loved painting people and real life. Initially, I did landscape paintings, but then I became inspired to paint events and people in action. This led to painting live at weddings.Hiring a wedding artistSB&G: What makes LIVE wedding painting such a special/unique service?

My live painting service is unique in many ways: it is a special element of weddings in that I have one chance to create the painting and finish it before the end of the reception. Since my paintings are created live they are started, finished, and presented at the weddings. I use artist quality materials and paint from direct observation and my own sketches. I occasionally use photos for reference and to check details, but I never paint from a photo, so what you get in the end is a real live “snapshot” of your special day. I offer couples the choice of watercolor painting or oil painting and a variety of sizes starting at 16X20.Chapel wedding in NCWedding keepsakesSB&G: How does a typical wedding day go from start to finish?

I like to do my homework before the wedding, gathering as much information as possible about the location and the timeline. I arrive 1-2 hours before the schedule. Once I find a good spot to setup, I work on my composition and start working on the background.

I can do a live painting of the ceremony or the reception – and painting both is possible as well! If I am painting the ceremony, couples usually ask me to finish painting at the reception so guests can enjoy the painting process. Couples usually display the finished paintings on easels for everyone to enjoy! There are certainly challenges with painting on location (including painting on a schedule), but it’s part of what makes the service so different and interesting each time.Unique wedding servicesSB&G: Where’s the farthest you’ve traveled for a live painting? And what was the most interesting/unique wedding or venue you’ve painted?

I have traveled all over the Southeast and have been fortunate to paint many beautiful weddings and venues. One of my recent interesting commissions was at the Berry Hill Resort in South Boston, VA. I had painted the bride’s sister’s wedding at the same location two years before! It was very fun to paint the weddings of both sisters and I enjoyed the challenge of creating a beautiful painting that was similar, yet still different.Creative wedding entertainmentSB&G: What is one of your favorite wedding moments to capture on canvas?

I love painting both the ceremony and/or reception and each offers challenges that I enjoy as a live artist. Many couples have large wedding parties, so I have to paint a lot of people when painting ceremonies. I keep observing and sketching the ceremony as it happens then decide on the best moment to capture on canvas. When I paint the reception, it is typically the first dance that I like to paint. However, once the first dance is complete, I have limited time to finish the painting.

Once the painting is complete, you and your spouse will enjoy the anticpated unveiling of the finished piece, symbolizing the love you share and a day you will celebrate and look back on for many years.Wedding paintingsPhotos courtesy of Tesh Parekh

Rustic Beach-themed Outer Banks Wedding at The Sanderling Resort

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re excited to share Jessica and Douglas’ rustic beach-themed Outer Banks wedding at The Sanderling Resort in Duck, NC.

While Jessica and Douglas went to the same high school, they didn’t officially meet and becomes friends until both attending college at Montclair State University. Eventually, Jessica went to study abroad and Doug decided to attend a tech school, but when they both came back home, they realized how much they missed and cared about each other, and began dating.

On the anniversary of their first date, Doug took Jessica to a bed and breakfast in Cape May, NJ. On their first date they had seen the movie “ Stranger than Fiction,” so when they arrived at the bed and breakfast they settled in and Doug asked Jessica to stand by him at the television. He pulled out the movie and told her how special that day was to him, then he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him!

Doug and Jessica are from New Jersey but the Outer Banks is a very special place for them – it’s where they vacation every year and it feels like a home away from home, so they decided to invite their family and friends to OBX for the big day! As soon as they stepped foot at The Sanderling Resort in Duck, NC, they knew it was the perfect place for them to tie the knot.

The wedding had a rustic beach theme – simple, yet elegant with gray chevron and sunflowers. Tones of gray were accented by bright pops of yellow, red and orange flowers. Sunflower bouquets stood out against the dresses and the backdrop beautifully. Hurricane lanterns, paper lanterns, clear vases, and Edison lights created a soft, welcoming glow. As a personal touch, ceremony programs, menus, favors and invitations were created by one of Jessica’s bridesmaids with the help of all the bridesmaids.

Jessica’s advice to brides is to take in every moment: “Don’t try to control anything; just soak up what is happening around you. You’ve done all the hard work and it’s time to live in the moment and watch what you’ve planned unfold. Make sure you enjoy those intimate moments with your husband and make sure you take time away to just be with him, even if it’s just for a moment,” she says.

Genevieve Stewart Photography tells the beautiful story of Jessica and Douglas’ big day through the creative and colorful images shared below.
Sanderling Resort weddingsSunflower bouquetRustic beach themed weddingSanderling Resort weddings in Duck NCRuffled white wedding dressBride and Groom at the Sanderling ResortWedding photos on the beachSunflower bridal bouquetGray and yellow bridesmaidsColorful groomsmen socksGroomsmen giftsOuter Banks wedding photographersOutdoor weddings on the Outer BanksOutdoor beach wedding ceremonyOuter banks weddingsFunny wedding party photosReception at The Sanderling ResortCustomized wedding bookBride and Groom champagne flutesGroom chair signBrides chair signGray and yellow table decorCute cake toppersEngraved flatware for weddingPaper lanterns wedding decorDestination Weddings in NCWaterfront weddings in NCVENUE & CATERER The Sanderling Resort and Spa | PLANNER Alicia Tonione | PHOTOGRAPHER Genevieve Stewart Photography | MINISTER Jay Bowman | GOWN Casablanca from I Do I Do in NJ | BRIDAL SHOES Unisa Loula | JEWELRY Nadri | HAIR & MAKEUP Glimmer | BRIDESMAID DRESSES Jim Hjelm | GROOMSMEN GIFTS Personalized knives, sunglasses, colorful socks & boxers | VIDEOGRAPHER Nic McLean | FLORIST Sugar Snaps | CAKE Just Cakes | INVITATIONS Heather Lardier | MUSIC DJ Bruce | WEDDING FAVORS Hot Cocoa

Flowers and Lace Wedding Cake from Once in a Blue Moon Bakery in Cary

Some folks call the cake the centerpiece of their reception, which is why we reserve a special spotlight in our magazine each year to show off these edible masterpieces! Southern Bride & Groom’s 2015 cake shoot took place at American Tobacco Campus (ATC), a hub of happening in the heart of downtown Durham.Raleigh NC bakeryOnce in a Blue Moon Bakery delights with a hand-painted cake that mimics a stained glass window matched with a retro stained glass bride and groom topper. The venue is The American Tobacco Suite, a cozy private party space with a first-class view overlooking the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.Pink and white wedding cakeThe three-tiered cake above has bridal gown lace and pearl details, while the white petite cake shows one of the bakery’s signature swirl patterns embellished with gold pearls and blossom toppers. These dressy cakes were photographed by Brian Mullins Photography in the PNC Club, an ATC venue that can seat 200, has indoor stadium seating behind glass and premier covered balcony seating on the adjacent patio overlooking the Bulls stadium. It is available during baseball games or anytime with a fabulous view.

CAKE Once in a Blue Moon Bakery | VENUE American Tobacco Campus | CAKE RISER Paperbuzz | CAKE SERVER & KNIFE Bailey’s Fine Jewelry | LINEN American Party Rentals | PHOTOGRAPHER Brian Mullins Photography

SB&G Tips: All-inclusive Ceremony Language for LGBT Weddings

The language used in an LGBT wedding should be inclusive, not only welcoming to the couple, but also to the guests in attendance.

In the past, when same-sex marriages were not legal but were instead classified as “commitment ceremonies” or “holy unions,” there were differences in the scripts used in same-sex ceremonies, but all that changed in late June 2015 when gay marriage was legalized in all 50 states!Same sex wedding ceremonyWhile there is no longer a difference in the script itself, there are still decisions to be made about how the couple prefers to be addressed, and it is important that this language is inclusive. The standard, “We now pronounce you husband and wife,” needs respectful modification.

“In all my ceremonies, whether hetero couples or LGBT couples, I make sure that I don’t have any language that implies that marriage is only between a man and a woman,” says Reverend Kayelily Middleton. She uses the term “partner” when referring to the couple in a ceremony. “At the end of the ceremony when I make the pronouncement of marriage I say, “I pronounce you equal partners joined in marriage,’” she explains.Same sex weddingsSimilarly, the only way Reverend Robin Renteria changes the language for an LGBT wedding is asking how the couple prefers to describe their marriage. Alternatives include, ‘I pronounce you a married couple’ or ‘partners for life’ or ‘husbands together’ or ‘wife and wife.’ “Each couple knows what they want and it’s up to the officiant to honor that,” Rev. Renteria says. It’s important to discuss your preferences ahead of time with the officiant and make sure he or she is willing to respect your requests.

Other people involved in the wedding, such as DJs, announcers (wedding planners), or family members, may also need to be reminded about what kind of inclusive language is preferred prior to the reception, as they may be in the position to make introductions or address the couple during toasts.

Photos (top to bottom): Riley MacLean Photography and Rev. Kayelily Middleton