Monthly Archives:: September 2015
Food plays a major role in your wedding day, which is why we feature some of the area’s top caterers in our magazine each year. We invite you to get to know a little more about SB&G’s preferred caterers in our special blog spotlight series.
This week, we’re dishing out posh ingredients and casual concepts from Rocky Top Catering, headed up by Executive Chef Adam Reid.
Rocky Top is the exclusive caterer for their own wedding venue, 1705 Prime, a restored Southern home with an inviting contemporary interior in North Raleigh, as well as the caterer at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences Downtown Raleigh and the Blue Zone at UNC’s Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill.
Get a sample of some of their classic entrees, appetizers and drinks below from our 2015 catering shoot captured by Neil Boyd Photography.Lobster sliders with lobster salad on house-made brioche slider buns.
Grilled filet mignon with smoked blue cheese cream, roasted tomatoes and asparagus.Garlic-herb chicken breast presented on a hoop cheddar grit cake, local succotash and bacon-wrapped shrimp with tomato jus and corn bread.
Nacho-sesame seared tuna on a crispy wonton with wakame salad and avocado wasabi crema.
Even some of the best wedding venues in the area need a little TLC and an upgrade here and there.
Over the summer, there have been some beautiful and exciting changes to venues in the area and we’d like to take a moment to share a couple of the latest reveals with our brides-to-be!
The Stockroom at 230 adds a touch of modern luxuryOver on Fayetteville Street in Raleigh, The Stockroom at 230 created a stunning bridal suite and gathering space on the 5th floor of this historic venue. The Glass Box is truly a stunning space – a bright and chic suite bathed in natural light from floor to ceiling windows. Enjoy a touch of modern luxury and views from the private outdoor balcony overlooking the city. There’s even a butler’s pantry so you can celebrate with your friends or bridesmaids in style without ever having to leave the suite. Impress your guests with the incredible atmosphere that The Glass Box holds. This venue is perfect for a small event of up to 45 guests, such as a bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, or for use as a bridal suite for The Stockroom at 230 weddings.Photos courtesy of Mikkel Paige Photography and florals from Simply Elegant Floral Designs
From the bright open feel to the warm wood floors to the sparkling gold details, we know you’ll swoon the moment you step inside!
What’s Cooking at The Carolina InnOver the summer, The Carolina Inn closed its four-star rated restaurant for major renovations. The new look features a more comfortable and open design, additional seating, expanded bar and an outdoor patio with a fire pit! It’s the first major renovation of the restaurant in more than 20 years and it’s a welcomed transformation.
SB&G’s Publisher, Donna, attended a media lunch-in and had this to say about the new space: “The Crossroads Restaurant renovation evokes a mixture of the traditional Carolina Inn comfort with a new airy, modern chic look. The Crossroads now has light, bright walls, marble tabletops and open windows without drapery set over the warm wide-planked floors. The seating styles vary around the entire restaurant from small tables with stylish taupe textured cushion to middle of the room booths for larger groups.”
The restaurant now has a welcoming larger bar area that gives an open look to the entire entry room. There are also perfect areas for luncheons and rehearsal dinners or other group events.
A new look calls for a new menu as well. Everyone at the event enjoyed the appetizers, especially the fried green tomatoes with bleu cheese and horseradish dressing (a Southern favorite), and the corn chowder and meatloaf sandwich-of-the-day was delicious and satisfying. Other patrons raved about the pressed mushroom and goat cheese turnover with roasted pepper. We’re ready to go back and try it for ourselves or order another classic, like the NC Sunburst Trout.Photos courtesy of The Carolina Inn
We know the new space and new menu will be a hit with Carolina brides!
It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re excited to share India and Jabreel’s wedding at the Embassy Suites in Raleigh, captured by talented wedding photographer F8 Photo Studios.
Jabreel and India met in high school in Greensboro, NC in 2003 where they started out as friends. After finishing their high school requirements within three years, they both enrolled at North Carolina A&T State University and their friendship grew into a more serious relationship. After graduating from college, the pair received job offers at engineering companies and led them to make a move to Maryland, where they currently reside.
In 2013, India planned a very special birthday dinner for Jabreel and their friends. As they rushed to get ready for the party, Jabreel kept asking India where her keys were. Without actually looking down at them she replied, “Right here; now let’s go or else we will be late!” He asked her to look again and she answered him again but with more frustration. Finally, she looked down to make sure her keys were, in fact, there and was completely caught off guard by a shiny, beautiful round-cut diamond ring sitting there! Overwhelmed with joy and excitement, India admits she feels like she “blanked out” for a few seconds while Jabreel was actually saying his proposal! She had been so busy planning the dinner that this major life-changing event came as a true surprise!
It was about two years later when India and Jabreel finally tied the knot, but in the end, it was a perfect evening and well worth the wait!
After finding out that they had lost their original church location due to a change in policy that prohibited non-members from using it for weddings, their wedding planner presented them with the Embassy Suites hotel in Raleigh as a viable alternative for their venue. A major draw was that they could have everything (ceremony, reception, and guest accommodations – especially with alcohol beverages) in one place. While doing a walkthrough during the initial visit, they realized they loved everything the Embassy Suites had to offer!
The wedding colors were bold and beautiful: Red (India’s favorite color) and silver/gray – a color scheme that screamed “romantic elegance,” complete with roses and candlelight adorning the reception. The gray canopy along with big statement flower pieces from Fresh Affairs was breathtaking. Red uplighting warmed the walls, a monogram with the bride and groom’s initials lit up the dance floor, and a spotlight shone on their gorgeous red rose wedding cake (which Cake Couture Boutique created based on a rough sketch India had shared).
Seven bridesmaids and groomsmen, one for each year the couple was together pre-engagement, was a special number for them. One of their favorite moments was the best man’s (Jabreel’s big brother’s) heartfelt and touching speech.
India has some wise advice for brides throughout the planning process: “Remember, while yes, the wedding day is important, the marriage and enhancing your lifelong partnership skills are even more important. The challenge should not be to have a wedding day, it should be to focus more on how to have and keep a resilient marriage.”
Cara of F8 Photo Studios highlights all the best moments of India and Jabreel’s wedding day – from the beautiful canopied outdoor ceremony to the magical ballroom reception, this hotel wedding is one to remember!
SB&G PREFERRED VENDOR TESTIMONIALS
“I really liked the professionalism and how The Embassy Suites contact, Ashley Cook, paid close attention to what we wanted,” shares India. “The buffet dinner was provided by the hotel’s catering service and they also took great care of our needs.”
“We LOVE our pictures! A big ‘thank you’ to Cara of F8 Photo Studios for capturing our wedding moments and everything in between!” India exclaims.
“Lyn of Fresh Affairs is so creative and talented as a florist and décor designer! I love the combination that he created with my red roses and ivory hydrangeas – it was so beautiful – big kudos to him and his staff!” says India.
VENUE & CATERER Embassy Suites by Hilton Raleigh Durham Airport Brier Creek | PHOTOGRAPHER F8 Photo Studios | WEDDING PLANNER Sabrina Seymore Events | REHERSAL DINNER Carolina Ale House Restaurant | MINISTER Bishop Clarence Humphrey | BRIDAL GOWN Adorae by Maggie Sottero at Bridal Boutique in Columbia, MD | SHOES Qupid | JEWELRY David’s Bridal | BRIDESMAIDS David’s Bridal | BRIDESMAID GIFTS Personalized diamond bracelets | MEN’S FORMALWEAR Vera Wang Slim Fit Tuxedo | GROOMSMEN GIFTS Personalize bracelets and cuff links | FLORIST Fresh Affairs | CAKE Cake Couture Boutique | VIDEOGRAPHER F8 in Motion Studios | STATIONER MagnetStreet.com | CEREMONY MUSIC Trevon McIntyre (Soloist – Groom’s Cousin) | DJ Trevor Bethel | CE Rentals | LIGHTING Scott Brown Studios | ACCOMODATIONS Embassy Suites and Hampton Inn Suites | WEDDING FAVORS Assorted fresh cookies
Food plays a major role in your wedding day. In fact, food usually makes an entrance during the cocktail hour long before the newlyweds make their appearance!
Over the next few weeks, we will be dishing out some of the most appetizing and most requested wedding bites created by SB&G caterers who were featured in our 2015 magazine.
This week, we’re warming up with savory small plates and Southern-style passed palters from Catering Works – a well-known and sought-after catering company that was started in Raleigh by owner Jill Santa Lucia 25 years ago. The business is known for serving delicious food and designing show-stopping weddings. Its location off Capital Boulevard houses their catering, pastry, and flower departments. Keep an eye out for their frequent wedding tasting events and fun cooking classes!
Below are samples of some of Executive Chef Rich Carter’s mouth-watering small plates and family-style platters captured by Neil Boyd Photography. Pass the platter, please!
Above: Lobster mango crisps
Above: Small plate trio of corn cakes with duck confit, sweet pea with crab and creme fraiche pancake, and sweet potato cake with green apple salsa
Above: Catfish with butter bean succotash
Above: This family-style dinner includes roasted chicken with maple thyme reduction served with side dishes including edamame salad, mixed greens and peaches and southwest cornbread panzanella.
Once you become engaged, you quickly learn how much work goes into planning a wedding! Even if you’re having a smaller, intimate ceremony or reception, a wedding planner will provide great peace of mind. After all, you want to be able to enjoy your wedding, not serve as the middleman between your vendors if they have questions during your reception or worrying about sticking to a timeline.
In the post below, several of SB&G’s preferred planners share the differences and benefits of day-of coordinators vs. full event planners and when it’s best to hire each for your wedding.Photo: In His Image Photography
Day-of coordinator vs. full event planner
Full-service wedding coordination is perfect for the busy, modern day bride who needs the guidance of a wedding professional from start to finish. “One of the biggest benefits of a full-service planner is budget development and tracking,” shares Sally Oakley, owner of Sally Oakley Weddings & Events. “The second biggest benefit from a full-service planner is vendor referrals and management.”
Amanda Scott, owner of A Swanky Affair, agrees, “A good wedding planner can save the couple valuable time and money by helping them find vendors that best fit their personality and style both quickly and efficiently.”
A day-of planner often coordinates and directs the rehearsal and ceremony as well as the reception. They make sure the day runs smoothly and keep everyone on track, but they are not generally involved in the process leading up to the day. “A day-of planner is perfect for the bride who has done all the leg-work and is now looking for a wedding professional to take over so she can enjoy her day to the fullest!” says Oakley.
At A Southern Soiree, day-of coordination typically includes three face-to-face meetings to discuss timeline details, vendor coordination, an a walk through at the venue. Full-service brides receive unlimited phone, email, and face-to-face communication, so that is something to consider if you want the peace-of-mind to contact the pros whenever you need.
With wedding day coordination, Gather Together begins by working with the bride around 2-3 months out from the wedding date. Everything they handle is related to logistics for the wedding day: developing the timeline, confirming vendor contracts, and full execution of the rehearsal, ceremony, and reception. With full-service planning, they work with brides from the beginning of the planning process and help keep everything organized, manage the budget, help with event design, and provide expert advice the whole way.Photos: F8 Photo Studios
Even if your venue has a team of people to help facilitate your wedding, it may still be wise or necessary to hire an extra hand. In an ideal situation, an outside planner and venue coordinator work together as a team to make sure all details of the day are executed seamlessly.
When you hire a wedding professional, you are gaining their knowledge of the industry and their relationships with the top vendors, but perhaps the biggest benefit of all is being able to sit back and relax knowing that a professional has everything under control.
For more Wedding Planning 101, be sure to read our blog on the Most Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Wedding Planner.
After sessions are becoming a popular trend in wedding photography. A post-wedding shoot is when the bride and groom get decked out in their wedding outfits once again for a fun, no-pressure photo session. Wedding day nerves are over, there’s no strict timeline to adhere to, and no need to worry about keeping that dress in perfect condition – it’s a great opportunity for the bride and groom to be playful and enjoy their first photo session as husband and wife.
We just adore this stunning and romantic after wedding shoot at Wrightsville Beach from J&J Photography. The couple, Andrea and David, were married this spring on Mt. Pleasant, SC. Andrea is entrenched in the wedding industry already, working as a fashions & event coordinator for Forever Bridal Productions.
Doing one last wedding shoot is a decision Andrea and David are glad they made. “We felt like the day just flew past us far too quickly. No matter how many times people warned us and we tried to soak it all in, we never felt we had a chance to be with each other even though we had a first look and a private dinner,” Andrea shares. “We decided that before we got my dressed cleaned we would have one more photo shoot and I’m so happy we did! It gave us a chance to see and hold each other with the emotions of being newlyweds all over again. We were much more relaxed and able to get as many pictures as we wanted! Jamie was absolutely amazing and helped to make sure we didn’t look awkward. The pictures were stunning – I can’t decide which ones to print. I wish we could do it again and again and again!”
The happy couple met with Jamie from J&J Photography on Wrighstville Beach in NC for this special after shoot. We hope it gives brides some ideas for their own after wedding photos.PHOTOS: J&J Photography
While summer in the South isn’t the busiest season for weddings, it’s still a busy time of year for planning and preparing for them!
The Forever Bridal Show and Expo at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in August was filled with excited brides making plans for their fall and spring weddings and we loved meeting many of them at our booth!Brides walking the aisles enjoyed elaborate displays, tasty food samples from caterers, and received plenty of helpful planning tips and ideas, including many from SB&G preferred vendors.The Fashion Show put on by Savvi Formalwear was a huge hit with the audience! Models for Charity walked the runway every few hours adorned in gorgeous gowns, while the men looked dapper in their classic tuxedos and suits.Photos: Southern Love Studios
Speaking of looking our best in our dress, we had a blast (and worked our butts off!) attending a Bridal Bootcamp class hosted by Two Fit Girls at Melrose Knitting Mill in Raleigh.Located above Babylon Restaurant, this new urban chic event space is filled with warm and charming character like exposed brick walls and crystal chandeliers. Tall ceilings, arched windows and an open floor-plan not only allowed for a beautiful workout space, but would clearly be perfect for an elegant and unique wedding venue!Photos: Noir Photo
Another new event space in downtown Raleigh made it’s grand debut last month: Sally Oakley Weddings & Events was honored to be a part of the grand opening of Market Hall, a new venue in the heart of downtown Raleigh.Several SB&G’s preferred vendors were at this mini “bridal show” to showcase their talents to brides-to-be. Catering Works, Rocky Top Hospitality, and 214 Martin Street provided delicious bites, while Gigi’s Cupcakes satisfied our sweet tooth. Stunning floral displays were created by local florist Eclectic Sage and party rentals from Themeworks and Classic Party Rentals brought the space to life. Shutterbooth always provides a good laugh for guests and entertainment with their photo booths. Reverend Kayelily Middleton chatted with happy couples while Dara Blakeley Photography and F8 Photo Studios captured every gorgeous element on camera.
Photos: F8 Photo Studios
It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today, we’re excited to share Aprille and Joseph’s sweet Southern outdoor wedding at The Burke Manor Inn and Pavilion in Gibsonville, NC.
Joseph went looking for an apartment one day, and along with finding a place to rent, he found his soulmate. Aprille was working as a leasing consultant at the complex. She and Joseph soon became close friends and chatted while they were both there, but when Aprille left the job, she thought that would be the end of it. Luckily, they reconnected on Facebook have been together as a couple ever since.
Because they both have children from previous relationships, Wednesday nights were set aside as their official date nights when they were both free. Joe had his heart set on proposing to Aprille on April Fool’s Day 2015 which fell on a Wednesday night. He planned to take her out to a nice restaurant and have an evening to celebrate, but on that night, Aprille’s son was sick so they stayed home. They ended up watching a movie after putting her son to bed and Joe proposed right there on the couch. Sometimes the best things come out of the worst situations!
The Burke Manor Inn had everything Aprille and Joe wanted in a wedding venue: A beautiful ceremony garden, a covered reception pavilion in case of a late summer afternoon thunderstorm, and the Inn had enough room for both families to stay for the whole wedding weekend!
During the planning process, Aprille swore by Pinterest. “The best thing that we did was write everything down in detail with what we wanted at the wedding and I provided pictures for the vendors. It allowed each vendor to know exactly what we wanted,” she shares.
All the kids were a part of the wedding, of course, including Joe’s two sons as the “best men” and Aprille’s son, the ring bearer. In the photos below, Spotlight Photography captures the close bond they all share and the jovial mood of all the wedding guests. The smiles on everyone’s faces tell it all!
With the help of the staff and team at Burke Manor Inn, which provided an experience their wedding guests are still talking about, along with the mother of the bride’s handy work (she altered Aprille’s wedding gown and made all the tablecloths for the ceremony and reception), Aprille and Joe enjoyed a beautiful Southern summer wedding.VENUE & CATERER Burke Manor Inn & Pavilion | PHOTOGRAPHY Spotlight Photography | REHERSAL DINNER Buffalo Lanes bowling’| MINISTER Ken Tilley | GOWN Romona Keveza from Bridals by Lori | SHOES Boston Proper | BRIDESMAIDS David’s Bridal, Greensboro | MOB Dillard’s | HAIR Stephanie Beaver | MAKE UP Brooke Miles | JEWELRY Jason’s the Art of Jewelry, Reeds Jewelers, and Perry’s Gold Mine | BRIDESMAID GIFTS Cross necklaces with personalized charm | FORMALWEAR Men’s Wearhouse, Burlington | GROOMSMEN GIFT Golf Outing at Shamrock Golf Club | FLORIST Sedgefield Florist | CAKE Sugarland | STATIONER Juliepatoolie’s | FAVORS Mini fans from Quality Logo Products | DJ & LIGHTING K2 Productions | ACCOMODATIONS Burke Manor Inn
It’s fun to plan a wedding, have a party, and go on a honeymoon, but don’t forget, just as much thought and planning should go into your marriage…after all, that’s the part that’s meant to last.
As an engaged couple or newlyweds, it’s wise to learn from the sage wisdom of others – people who have years of experience guiding couples along their journey to happy and successful marriages.Raleigh-based Reverend Kayelily Middleton teaches an interactive two-hour Marriage 101 classes on the second Tuesday of the month at the Unity of the Triangle. In this class, participants get a helpful overview of the essential skills for successful relationships. Great emphasis is placed on communication and conflict resolution techniques. The first class begins tonight (September 8, 2015) at 7:00 p.m., followed by October 13th, November 10th, and December 8th.
Below, Rev. Kayelily Middleton shares a few of her most important tips. For more, be sure to attend one of her upcoming classes.1. There are two questions in life: The first is where are you going and the second, who is going with you? Never get them out of order! Why will be covered in the class.
2. Clear communication between a married couple is a skill that is the foundation for all other skills. The ability to communicate honestly without trying to manage your partner’s image of you is a must.
3. The ability to resolve conflict without blaming is also an essential skill. Conflicts will arise in a marriage, guaranteed! Learn about a wonderful non-confrontational 4 step formula for resolving issues that may arise in your relationship.
Everything good in life takes work – and marriage is no exception. Taking the time now to learn how to build a strong foundation for a loving and successful marriage will go a long way.
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 a Q&A with light-hearted, people-person and professional NC wedding photographer Cara of f8 Photo Studios.
Cara is a Charleston, SC native and the daughter of two doctors. “I basically grew up in a hospital,” Cara jokes, “This really fueled my creative fire with so much time on my hands!” She is very close with friends and family and loves to travel, eat good food, and enjoy an occasional dirty martini. Love and laughter radiate from Cara’s light-hearted spirit and it shows in her work as well.
Cara attended Clemson University for Graphic Communications, which led to an almost decade-long career in marketing and advertising up North. After moving to Raleigh in 2004 she decided it was time to follow her dreams – since she was a child she wanted to be a professional photographer. She enrolled in some refresher photography courses and took pictures of everything in sight! She shared her passion with everyone she met, and before too long, people began paying her to photograph them. Before getting into weddings, Cara shot commercial architecture and was the featured artist for many gallery shows. Then in 2004, a well-known photographer in the industry, asked her to shoot a wedding with her, after which she was completely hooked!
Learn more about Cara from f8 Photo Studios in her Q&A below!
Why do you love photography?
There are so many things I love about photography. The biggest one being the people I photograph. I love making people feel beautiful. I love making them laugh and capturing that. I love having the ability to sooth a super nervous bride with only the tone of my voice, and “snap” I’ve captured her. It is truly an indescribable feeling – someone trusting you with their most intimate moments.Where do you draw your artistic inspiration?
I am lucky because photographing people comes easy to me. I have always been good with people and a born nurturer so I have a knack for it. I gain my inspiration from capturing people how they really are. The more I photograph, the more I want to do it. It is really addictive that way because the whole rest of the world falls away when I am in that moment on that day with my client.
How would you describe your photographic style?
I have a mixture of styles, but I really like to think of it as emotive. I know when it is appropriate for me to be a part of the action and when it is better to sit back and capture the moments as they unfold. Sometimes I even need to be the creator of moments. You wouldn’t believe what I can get away with saying from behind the camera, but it generates a natural emotion and I snap away.Do you shoot digital or film, or are you a hybrid photographer?
I shoot digital all the way…when it comes to weddings, that is. I have several vintage film cameras that I shoot with for fun.
What do you think sets you apart from other photographers?
I truly think that what makes me different from other photographers is the relationships I build with my clients. I see myself as more than an artist or a trusted vendor they hired – I feel like an additional support system there to help their day go as smoothly as possible. I genuinely care about the people who I photograph, and I think that it shows in the images I create.What is your favorite thing or moment to shoot at a wedding?
There are so many things I love shooting on the wedding day! I get super excited about details – I love details! I also truly enjoy shooting the couple’s session after the ceremony. Capturing two people in love right after they have said, “I do” is beautiful.Photos by f8 Photo Studios