Monthly Archives:: June 2016

4th of July Summer Wedding Inspiration

Downtown Raleigh is Ravishing in Red White & Blue

Independence Day is the official start to summer and what better way to celebrate than with plenty of 4th of July summer wedding inspiration? Today we’re sharing a red, white and blue wedding day that offers a modern city twist on a timeless, patriotic love story.
North Carolina wedding photo ideasWedding planner K-List Events & Decor designed this shoot to highlight our state’s capital in downtown Raleigh. Everything in the shoot fit with the color scheme of bold patriotic colors: cobalt blue, candy apple red and white with silver accents. From the bold gowns to the elaborate bouquets, to the modern pearl jewelry (provided by Moon & Lola), it was a perfect mix of timeless elegance with modern day pops.
Red and blue bridesmaids and groomsmenfourth of july brideColorful wedding shoesChunky pearl wedding jewelryHair looks were inspired by the oversized top bun look that is making waves on the red carpet today. And the choice for bright red lip color was an easy one for this theme!
Color coordinated bridal partyBridesmaid photo ideasBright colored bridesmaid dressesDogs in wedding partyDogs and kids in weddingFor the groomsmen blue suits, K-List Events went with a “new blue” look rather than traditional navy. The red, white and blue bow ties from High Cotton as well as the red pocket square complimented the look perfectly. Additional edginess came from two different shoe styles – a grey boot for the more daring groomsmen and a modern twist on the brown wingtip shoe worn by the groom and two of the groomsmen.
Wedding in downtown RaleighGroomsmen in blue suitsDapper groomsmen in blue suitsIncorporating kids into your wedding partyAs every wedding day should, the personality, style, and character of the bride and groom is articulated in the wedding day details. Although it was a styled shoot, the model bride and groom, Camellia & Charlie, are actually engaged, so it’s no wonder that their love shines through!
Raleigh wedding plannersRaleigh bridesmaids and groomsmenLocal Raleigh NC weddingKids in weddingDowntown Raleigh photoshootNieto Photography captured all the creative and different nuisances of a downtown city wedding. You never know what you might find when wandering downtown – around any corner can be a photo-opp. This crew happened upon the Artsplosure downtown festival on Fayetteville Street, strolled through the state capital and Moore Square, and even made a stop at the All American Food Truck.
Downtown Raleigh wedding photosdowntown Raleigh weddingBubble send off for weddingsummer wedding in the southFourth of July wedding party ideasCity wedding ideasRing bearer wedding outfitsFood truck at weddingWedding photos in Downtown RaleighThe interior of 214 Martin Street, located in the heart of downtown Raleigh’s City Market, was the perfect reception site for our modern city bride. The venue was beautifully adorned and featured up lighting to reflect the red, white and blue color scheme, which gave the space a real “wow” factor. One of the most breathtaking angles of the reception was the varying monotone arrangements on reversible trumpet vases. China, including red champagne flutes, and red and light blue lido glasses were from Classic Party Rentals. The cobalt blue water goblets which set atop some of the tables are from American Party Rentals.
Urban downtown Raleigh wedding venues Independence day weddingJuly 4th wedding theme ideasDowntown Raleigh wedding receptionColorful uplighting at weddingThe focal point of the dessert table was the six-tiered red white and blue wedding cake. We especially love the surprise colorful swirls on the inside!
Wedding dessert tableRed, white and blue wedding cake and decorRed white and blue wedding cakeCandy table at weddingMarble wedding cakeThe cobblestone streets and market lights in City Market make an unbeatable backdrop for an exit, especially when you add in sparklers!Raleigh wedding photographersFun ways to use sparklers in wedding4th of July weddingPLANNER & DESIGNER K-List Events & Decor | PHOTOGRAPHY Nieto Photography | VENUE 214 Martin Street | GOWN & BRIDESMAIDS Carolina Bridal World | GROOMSMEN Ticknor’s Mens Clothier | MENS SHOES The Art of Style Boutique | BOW TIES & POCKET SQUARES High Cotton | JEWELRY Moon & Lola | FLORALS Fallon’s Creative Flowers | LIGHTING Simpsound DJ & Lighting Services | HAIR Wedding Hair by Liz | MAKEUP Wink Hair + Makeup | CAKE & PASTRIES Confectionate Cakes | CHINA Classic Party Rentals | GOBLETS American Party Rentals | FOOD TRUCK All American Food Truck | DJ Ken Reid with Brooklyn Bouncer DJ | DOGS Petite Paws Maltese | VIDEOGRAPHER The Picture Station, Mastermind Productions

MODELS: Camellia Jade (bride); Sree Sarkar, Emma Zwahr; Kayla Smith, and Sarah Boonstra (bridesmaids); Charles Spivey (groom); Yamin Avitan, Eric Wilson, Michael Maley (groomsman); Justin Fernandez (ring bearer); Sophia Roden and Janelle Joness (flower girls)

Ultimate Wedding Inspiration – Engage! 2016 The Breakers

Working in the wedding industry is a joy – after all, weddings celebrate one of the most exhilarating and monumental occasions we know. But there is another side to the satisfaction that comes from working in weddings: the privilege to work with the talented creatives who bring these special unions to life again and again, and manage to create something new each time, unique to each couple.

I think that the folks who serve in this field are often overlooked or taken for granted, but we at Southern Bride & Groom believe that the wedding pros who are at the top of their game truly are artists, and we strive to give them credit where credit is due! We draw inspiration from our talented NC wedding specialists on a daily basis. All of the beautiful photography, real weddings and styled shoots you see in our magazine and on this blog are pulled from and designed hand-in-hand with our SB&G Preferred Vendors, a collection of local pros we know not only to deliver high quality service but who are also constantly pushing the envelope, bringing the latest trends to the Raleigh area, and creating personalized events for their brides and grooms.

Beyond surrounding ourselves with the best of the best, SB&G regularly invests in continuing education on the latest and greatest happenings in our field, so we can bring these things to our local readers. And so this summer, I was honored to attend the premiere luxury wedding summit, Engage! In addition to helping attendees broaden their personal goals as individuals and leaders, this 3-day seminar is a non-stop flow of wedding inspiration. Engage! 16 was held at The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL (what a venue, as you will see below). The photos of this event, captured by some of the top wedding photographers in the US, speak for themselves, so we’re thrilled to share them today (individual photo credits are in each photo, scroll over to view).

The wedding “inspo” started before we even arrived at Engage! Each attendee was mailed pop-out fashion guides and even a countdown box full of travel and beach-themed gifts to build anticipation for our getaway to the sunshine state.Wedding Show Swag Jeremie_Barlow_PhotographyAs guests checked into the event, we were led into a pop-up shop full of swag, from perfume and scented candles for the gals to matches and cuff links for the fellas. Below, candy bar by Sugarfina. Luckily I had attended an Engage! (at the Biltmore Estate a few years back), so I knew to leave some room in my suitcase for all the take-home items.
Party at The Breakers Jeremie_Barlow_PhotographyPopup candy shop Love Life ImagesDay 1 kicked off with a welcome session in the exquisite Mediterranean Ballroom of The Breakers and an introduction by the team who makes Engage! happen, Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce (pictured below). As you can see, this Italian Renaissance inspired 5-star resort made for a memorable experience.
Speakers at Engage Conference_CARLA-TEN-EYCKBallroom at The Breakers Florida_CARLA-TEN-EYCKA great deal of our time at the conference was spent hearing presentations by some of the industry greats, like planner extraordinaire Marcy Blum, and up-and-coming leaders such as social media guru Samantha Roberts of the XO Group (each pictured below). Every detail was considered, from the coral-themed florals to the themed coffee and champagne fueled breaks.Pink white and red party colors, Jeremie_Barlow_PhotographyWedding industry speakers Joel CallawayRed decor ideasFood at Engage 2016Wedding industry conferenceOur first evening was spent at a lavish pool party. The Breakers showed off its culinary delights with food stations ranging from seafood stations to an avocado bar. Dramatically uplit palm trees framed the pool, which was the centerpiece of the party with its fire pits and a giant “Make Waves” message in the water. A surprise salsa performance make it a festive occasion, and the night wrapped up with a DJ-band combo.Florida wedding eventsPalm Beach wedding eventsIncredible ice sculpturesPool party at Palm BeachDay Two started off with a bang as our 7am wake up call turned into a New Orleans themed breakfast party, complete with a brass band.
Beautiful wedding industry eventsLive entertainment Palm Beach FLNew Orleans Theme PartyFueled up for a day of learning, we spent most of the day watching presentations in the Venetian Ballroom (below, Preston Bailey and Lynn Easton).Events at The Breakers, Palm BeachEngage Wedding ShowBest events for wedding professionalsOf course we were not expected to remain in our seats all day… Breaks were planned and each one had meaning, such as this “Happy” themed one to follow up Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. A gospel choir and smiley face food were charming touches. (below, Carly Roney and Colin Cowie)Engage 2016Wedding industry eventsThe coral theme continued at a seated luncheon, and our afternoon breaktime called for something sweet. (did I forget to mention that I packed on a couple of pounds over the course of my three days at this event?)Beach themed party decorCoral themed partyWedding dessert tableAfter eating dinner in small groups around the resort, everyone was invited to a “Cake by the Ocean” themed dessert party. We downed tequila and espresso drinks and an array of desserts from extravagant candy coated milkshakes to quaint freshly baked (still warm) chocolate chip cookies. The fantastic entertainment by Elan Artists made me feel like I’d stepped into a Katy Perry music video. How amazing is the chocolate and sprinkles lipsticks worn by the candy gals?
Candy themed partyEngage 2016 Entertainment,Palm Beach FloridaEngage 2016 partieswedding industry professionalsAbove, our NC crew: Kathryn & Chelsey of Gather Together, Amanda of A Swanky Affair, Jill of Donovan’s Dish, me, and Jodi of Merrimon Wynne.

The final day we enjoyed a courtyard breakfast, breakout sessions, and a white-themed picnic lunch on the front lawn of The Breakers. The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging poolside, or getting dolled up for the gala.
The Breakers ResortBest Resorts in Palm Beachbelow, the NC gals ready for the big night!
Raleigh wedding professionalsThe spectacle of the event is showcased beautifully in the photos. The Venetian Ballroom was transformed into a glitzy sparkly wonderland of chandeliers and candlelit glam. A five course meal was broken up with entertainment ranging from an opera singer to a band and orchestra performing in tandem (Vali Entertainment). The night was capped off with an after party with a fantastic DJ and Band rocking out under a disco ball- highlight being a Prince tribute series.Beautiful ballroom venuesRed centerpiecesEngage Wedding GalaNational Wedding Industry Event EngageThe video by Ray Roman Films gives another perspective of this amazing experience! Enjoy the eye candy!

Engage16 Film – The Breakers Hotel – Palm Beach, Florida from Ray Roman on Vimeo.

Venue, Food and A/V: The Breakers |  Graphic Design & On-Site Director: Trisha Hay Design | Event Branding & Gifting: Gifts for the Good Life |  Custom Event Linen: Nuage Designs | Nametags and Programs: Two Paper Dolls | Custom Printing: Checkerboard LTD | Photographers: Carla Ten EyckC10 StudiosLove Life ImagesCameron ClarkJohn Cain SargentJeremie Barlow Photography | Highlight Film: Ray Roman FilmsSouthern Bride and Groom familySB&G founder Donna (aka Mama Parks) attended Engage! as well, but was on nanny duty for my little light, Cecelia. I did have chance to spend some time enjoying The Breakers with my best gals between events. Big thanks to my Moms for making this trip possible!

Wedding Dresses from Durham’s Best Bridal Boutique: Tre Bella

Today we’re sharing a selection of darling wedding dresses from Durham’s best bridal boutique, Tre Bella, as part of our 2016 Fashion Shoot series.

Tre Bella is a family business that’s quickly grown from a small boutique florist run out of one of the founder’s homes to having two locations and three stores! Now, Tre Bella offers florals, wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, accessories like jewelry and gifts and more from their studio and shop locations in Durham.

Take a look at some of the gowns featured in SB&G’s 2016 Fashion Shoot, captured by Dara Blakeley Photography, taken in the historic bank vault turned mod lounge at the 21c Museum Hotel, Durham.
2016 Wedding Dress Fashion TrendsTre Bella is the boutique to shop for Modern Trousseau gowns! The one above features beautiful ivory guipure lace over silk charmeuse and a low V-back for a graceful silhouette. The bride is outfitted with pearls from Jewelsmith and done up by Makeup for Your Day.
The Vault at 21c Durham HotelThe sensual satin-silk, fit-and-flair Eugenia Couture gown above has a sheer V cutout bodice and is enhanced with a Hushed Commotion belt and Modern Trousseau veil – both from Tre Bella Bridal. The bride’s pendant necklace and earrings are from Jewelsmith and 140 Salon created her captivating look.
Tre Bella Bridal Boutique Durham NCThe bride above wears a lovely San Patrick gown and poses in front of the mobile spoon art fountain inside Counting House, the onsite restaurant of 21c Hotel. The belt, also from Tre Bella, adds a touch of gold. She shines with diamonds from Jewelsmith and hair and makeup from Makeup for Your Day.
Jenny Packham wedding gownThe vintage look is also trending and we were inspired to showcase some “Downton Abbey” inspiration, like this romantic Jenny Packham gown and rhinestone studded hair comb from Tre Bella Bridal.

GOWNS Tre Bella Bridal | VENUE 21c Museum Hotel | PHOTOGRAPHER Dara Blakeley Photography | JEWELRY Jewelsmith | HAIR & MAKEUP Makeup for Your Day and 140 Salon and Dry Bar

St. Mary’s Chapel Winter Wedding

It’s wedding feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom and we’re excited to share Rob and Jackie’s elegant art deco-inspired Southern winter wedding at St. Mary’s Chapel and Mandolin restaurant in Raleigh.
Southern chapel wedding RaleighRob and Jackie met working as after school care counselors at a local elementary school during college, and they began dating a couple years later.

During a random “shopping” trip to New York City, Rob unveiled a big surprise. They had been walking all day in the hot summer city heat, but Jackie was determined to hit one last store…a French store that made handbags and trunks she’d been looking at every time they traveled to the city. She’d held off getting one since she wanted it monogrammed but knew that some day her initials would change. As they browsed the second floor of the store, Rob got down on one knee and proposed, completely catching her by surprise! Right after Jackie said “yes,” she realized everyone in the store had been in on it. Rob had coordinated with the store to shut down the second floor and they made her a special bag…with her new initials on it.

A seamstress at Lana Addison enhanced Jackie’s Martina Liana gown by adding lace to the top of the dress and customizing it to her liking. “She perfectly executed my vision for the gown and even added lace to the end of the veil to match the lace bodice,” Jackie said.

St. Mary’s Chapel, right on the school’s campus, is a perfect intimate ceremony location and is conveniently located in Raleigh.

Mandolin restaurant was a good size for the number of guests they were planning to invite and it already had interesting décor. They had an overall art deco theme with black, ivory, gold and accents of blush/pink. Wedding planner, Chad Biggs, “was fantastic and took the time to get to know us and executed flawlessly on details,” shares the bride. “I wish we had decided to hire him earlier in the process! He thought of everything and was like part of the family.” Chad and his team even had champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting for them in the room at the end of the night.

There were some special guests who played a big part in the wedding as well. The wedding officiant works at the school where they met. The band, Peter Lamb and the Wolves, is Rob’s cousin. They actually wrote and arranged the music for the couple’s first dance, father/bride, and mother/groom so it was truly special and unique.

Talented NC wedding photographer, Joe Payne, did a great job making the couple feel comfortable during all their sessions: engagement, bridal, and day of photos. He has a natural way of capturing everything form the biggest moments to the seemingly small ones filled with genuine emotions. Take a look at this gorgeous wedding below.
Pink bridal robeBridal jewelryUmstead wedding room blocksBridal diamond jewelryMonogrammed bridesmaids robesWedding stationery by If It's Paper and PaperbuzzEmbroidered mother of the bride giftBridal suites in RaleighSuites at The Umstead Hotel and SpaStudded wedding shoesClassic black bridesmaid dressesMartina Liana gown from Lana AddisonBlack and white wedding photographyWedding stationery from Paperbuzz and If It's PaperModern Raleigh groomsmen styleRaleigh NC groomChad Biggs wedding and event planningWinter weddings in RaleighBlue groomsmen outfitChapel weddings in North CarolinaRaleigh weddingsRaleigh NC bride and groomPink and white wedding bouquetsNorth Carolina Chapel WeddingsWedding snacksWeddings at St. Mary's Chapel in RaleighCatholic wedding in NCRaleigh NC Chapel WeddingGet married at St. Mary's school chapelRaleigh floristsGold weddings decorPorcelain monogrammed cake topperTable for ancestors photos at weddingBouquet tied with lace from wedding gownArt deco wedding decorReception at Raleigh restaurantMandolin restaurant Raleigh weddingRomantic wedding flowersModern industrial wedding decorFamily band playing at weddingWinter wedding photo ideasDowntwon Raleigh NC wedding venuesWEDDING CONSULTANT Chad Biggs Event Planning and Design | PHOTOGRAPHER Joe Payne Photography | CEREMONY St. Mary’s School Chapel | MINISTER Father Jay James | RECEPTION Mandolin Restaurant | BRIDAL GOWN Martina Liana with custom alterations at Lana Addison Bridal | BRIDAL SHOES Christian Louboutin | BRIDESMAID DRESSES Alfred Sung from Savvi Formalwear | BRIDESMAID GIFTS Monogrammed satin robes, Alexis Bittar earrings, faux fur muffs | MEN’S FORMALWEAR Paul Stuart NY & Joseph A Bank | GROOMSMEN GIFTS Engraved Decanters | FLORIST Kelly Odom | CAKE I do Cakes by Megan Campbell | STATIONER If It’s Paper and Paperbuzz | CALLIGRAPHER Jessica Yee of The Oblique Pen | RECEPTION MUSIC Peter Lamb and the Wolves | LIGHTING DJ Joe Bunn | TRANSPORTATION White Horse | GUEST ACCOMODATIONS The Umstead Hotel & Spa | HAIR Matthew Melino | MAKEUP Manuel Eason  | BRIDAL JEWELRY Haydon and Company | BRIDESMAID JEWELRY Alexis Bittar | BRIDAL REGISTRY Belk and Bailey’s Fine Jewelry

Shop Wedding Dresses in Cary at Lana Addison Bridal

Last week, we shared a selection of high-end wedding dresses carried by Raleigh’s top bridal salon, Alexia’s Bridal from our 2016 fashion shoot at the 21c Museum Hotel in Durham. Today, we’re showing a select group of gorgeous gowns from Lana Addison Bridal, owned and operated by the same family: Alexia and Michael Joyce (and daughter, Lana).

The Joyce Family has been in the bridal business since 2003 with the opening of their Alexia’s Bridal Boutique. Offering a different selection of designers and styles, Lana Addison’s provides discerning brides the same high-service environment and individually tailored shopping experience for which Alexia’s has become well-known.

Located in Historic Downtown Cary and on the National Registry of Historic Homes, Lana Addison Bridal has a charming Southern appeal with a modern flair. Relax on the front porch with a signature drink and enjoy your one-of-a-kind experience at the salon!

Take a look at some of the gowns featured in SB&G’s 2016 Fashion Shoot, captured by Dara Blakeley Photography.Lana Addison Bridal BoutiqueCary bridal boutique Lana AddisonPictured above, in the elegant, modern and artsy bar at the 21c Museum Hotel’s onsite restaurant, Counting House, our bride shows off an equally modern and elegant dress by Amy Kuschel that’s chic in silk. Her long pearl necklace, drop earrings, bracelet and ring are from Jewelsmith and her light pink and peach makeup and wispy up-do was done by Makeup for Your Day. She carries a soft blush bouquet from Fresh Affairs.
Wedding dress Lana Addison BridalThe Martina Liana beaded beauty above has a sheer lace strap across and open back and skims the figure with elegance in the art gallery at 21c. Jewelsmith amplifed the look with silver jewelry and 140 Salon & Dry Bar gave a classic look with hair and makeup that could pass for celebrity status.
Lace wedding gown from Lana AddisonRaleigh NC bridal boutiquesSheer lace sleeves and a plunging back make a statement with this Martina Liana dress. The demure and daring look is accented with a gold beaded necklace from Jewelsmith and hair and makeup from Makeup for Your Day.

GOWNS Lana Addison Bridal | PHOTOGRAPHY Dara Blakeley Photography | VENUE 21c Museum Hotel  Durham| HAIR & MAKEUP Makeup for Your Day and 140 Salon and Dry Bar | JEWELRY Jewelsmith | FLOWERS Fresh Affairs

Rehearsal Dinner Hot Spots in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill

The Best Restaurants for Rehearsal Dinner & Intimate Weddings in the NC Triangle

Your wedding reception checklist is underway – caterer, cake, rentals, favors… Time to relax, right? Not quite – you have another event entirely to think about: The Rehearsal Dinner! But don’t fret; the rehearsal dinner is not nearly as intense to plan as the wedding itself (plus, if you don’t have a wedding planner to plan this bash, you can always task your groom with the heavy lifting here). In fact, dare we say it, for many couples, the rehearsal dinner can be even more FUN than the wedding itself. It’s a chance to relax with your family and closest friends and to get all the wedding jitters (and tears) out ahead of the big day!

When planning your rehearsal dinner in the Triangle, you’ll want to keep your guests in mind: Will they enjoy the food? Is the atmosphere warm and welcoming? Does it showcase something you love about the local culinary scene? While most of the SB&G Preferred Venues are happy to host rehearsal dinners, it is often the most convenient for size and scale to choose a restaurant. While the Triangle area has a plethora of outstanding eateries and fine dining establishments, it is important to consider privacy capacity, as well as experience. Today we’re highlighting several restaurants that are perfect for the occasion. Below, SB&G shares our top picks for restaurant rehearsal dinners in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.


The elegant Moroccan ambiance of Babylon is amplified by its vibrant downtown location. Sections and rooms within the restaurant can accommodate up to 90 (indoors) and up to 350 (outdoors) with the use of their extensive patio which features an incredible tile-lined pool. Melrose Knitting Mill  is a newly renovated space with large windows and exposed bricks located above Babylon that gives brides the option to wed or host the reception and have it catered by the restaurant.
Babylon Raleigh weddingPhoto by Langhoff Creative

Jimmy V’s Osteria & Bar
Located within Sheraton Raleigh Hotel, Jimmy V’s Osteria + Bar is an Italian-American eatery that features traditional comfort foods made with locally grown ingredients. The menu emphasizes sharing, so guests can bond. This fun yet beautiful atmosphere makes Jimmy V’s an ideal place to host a party – our favorite option is outside on the patio.
Jimmy V's Steakhouse Raleigh

Managed by Eschelon Experiences, and located in North Hills, Mura features traditional Japanese cuisine and tasty sushi. With traditions and motifs of Japan, Mura offers a warm, refined atmosphere for your special occasion. It has a tatami room that can seat 4-24 people and is great for events. They occasionally allow the whole restaurant to be rented for private events.
Mura in North Hills RaleighMura sushi restaurant Raleigh

Empire Eats Catering manages two downtown Raleigh restaurants with delicious food and enticing atmospheres. Sitti, a Lebanese restaurant, is warm and inviting, with its communal dining table and antique Art Deco bar featuring Lebanese liquors, wines and beers. Sitti has a downstairs area with private dining. Next door, at Gravy, an Italian-American eatery, there is a  charming wine cellar that accommodates groups up to 40 people. In the back lot of these two restaurants is Jiddi Space, consisting of an exposed brick and an outdoor patio, as well as a large indoor event room. Either restaurant can cater events in this space, and it is available for rehearsal dinner use, or full scale weddings.
Gravy downtown Raleigh Sitti downtown Raleigh restaurant

Second Empire
This four diamond AAA-rated restaurant and venue in downtown Raleigh is listed as one of the Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America. Second Empire brings their famed dining experience to your special wedding and rehearsal dinner with customized menus. Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern (circa 1879) combines an atmosphere of classical history and elegance with delicious cuisine and world-class wines. They have several areas to entertain and host an elegant reception or rehearsal dinner.
Wedding at Second Empire in RaleighPhoto by Anna Kirby Photography

Sullivan’s Steakhouse
Impress your guests with a mouthwatering steak at a downtown Raleigh steakhouse set right on the bustling area of Glenwood Avenue. They also specialize in seafood fare. Sullivan’s has several warm and welcoming rooms that are available for private dining. Whether you’re going on a date or hosting a  group of 30 or 75 people, you will be well fed and cared for at Sullivan’s by their event coordinators.
Sullivans Steakhouse Raleigh

Rye Bar and Southern Kitchen
The handsome private dining room at Rye Bar & Southern Kitchen in the Raleigh Marriott is a newer hotspot in the heart of downtown Raleigh, and is perfect for rehearsal dinners. The warm and welcoming 60-seat space and seasonal menu with a sophisticated twist on traditional Southern cuisine is a certain crowd-pleaser.
Raleigh Rye Bar MarriottPhoto by Alex Boerner Photography / Indyweek

Chapel Hill

Il Palio
Rustic Italian food meets modern technique for a meal that’s perfect for a date night, a celebration, or if you want to feel like escaping for a night—the food will make you feel like you’re somewhere far beyond the main road in Chapel Hill. Earlier this year, the Four Diamond AAA-rated restaurant was newly renovated inside the sophisticated Siena Hotel. The modern yet welcoming new look comes with an impressive new menu, carefully created by Chef Teddy Diggs.
Il Palio Chapel Hill Italian restaurantPhoto by Bites of Bull City

Along with its striking design and warm interior glow, Lantern’s farm-to-table menu is sure to impress foodies. This downtown Chapel Hill restaurant is run by James Beard Award-winning chef and owner Andrea Reusing, who creates delightful dishes that are a marriage of Asian flavors and and locally sourced North Carolina ingredients. A private dining room connected to the restaurant (Lantern Table) gives groups the opportunity to gather over a great meal, celebrate and create wonderful shared memories.
Lantern restaurant Chapel Hill

Southern Season in University Mall in Chapel Hill has a hidden gem inside – Weathervane restaurant, which serves sophisticated Southern fare for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. The menus focus on local food producers and daily offerings highlight ingredients from the local farmers’ markets or artisans featured on Southern Season’s shelves. Private dining options are available in private indoor areas or the expansive vine-covered outdoor patio amidst an airy breeze.
Weathervane restaurant patio


Another Eschelon Experiences sushi and Japanese restaurant is centrally located in downtown Durham. The restaurant is vibrant, yet comfortable with booths and semi private seating. Like Mura, Basan has a tatami room that can seat 4-24 people and is great for events. Or check your event date to see if the whole restaurant is available for your larger wedding experience.
Basan downtown durham sushi

Counting House
Counting House is the restaurant located inside the downtown 21c Museum Hotel Durham. For a dinner that’s truly unique, consider booking a private or semi-private space. The modern and visually stunning onsite restaurant creates North Carolina fare. Afterwards, treat your guests to after dinner drinks in an old bank vault that’s been converted to a lounge.
weddings at 21c hotel durhamPhoto at left Bites of Bull City and photo at right by Dara Blakeley Photography from SB&G 2016 editorial fashion shoot (featuring Lana Addison Bridal, Makeup for Your Day, and Jewelsmith)

Dashi, is one of downtown Durham’s newest restaurants with a unique global experience. Their upstairs bar area, or izakaya, is available for private parties up to 55 guests. This space has oodles of character and serves both innovative small Japanese plates and ramen dishes. Shelf the champagne and have your wedding party make toasts with saki!
Photo of Dashi courtesy of TripAdvisor

Rustic Chic Wedding with Southern Charm at Portofino

It’s wedding feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom and we’re excited to share Hillary and Landon’s rustic chic wedding with plenty of Southern charm at Portofino – a luxury home complex and equestrian center in Clayton, NC.

Landon and Hillary met at WakeMed in 2011 when Landon was on duty as Hillary’s Meme’s nurse in the Surgical Trauma Center. After a few days, Hillary realized there was something really special about him, and a few weeks later they contacted each other via Facebook and set up a first date in Cameron Village.

Landon proposed on the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway at one of their favorite overlooks. Hillary expected them to park the car and enjoy the breathtaking views and wasn’t sure why they stayed in the car for three hours trying to get cell phone service – unbeknownst to her, Landon was trying to get in touch with her parents so they would have the opportunity to film their special moment (cell service in the mountains isn’t the best). Needless to say, she was very surprised and delighted when she figured out what the master plan had been about all along!

While researching wedding venues throughout North Carolina, Hillary searched for something that felt “like home” – a place with true natural beauty. She came across an issue of Southern Bride & Groom Magazine which featured a Kentucky Derby styled shoot at Portofino. Hillary grew up with horses and Landon had surprised her with Derby tickets for Christmas years before, so the images really resonated with her and promoted her to make an appointment to see Portofino in person.

The Thompson House is charming with a red roof and two giant oaks overlooking horse stables and beautiful pond and The Equestrian Center is gorgeous with exposed wood beams and magnificent apartment overhead (used as the bridal suite). For the reception, The Piazza has the right amount of space both inside and out and features two real fireplaces made of stone.

Landon’s cousin, Jessica Loflin, sang a special song during the ceremony: A Thousand Years by Christina Perri and the couple enjoyed a private dinner before heading over to the reception, which allowed them to have time to eat and enjoy time together as newlyweds before the party.

Talented wedding photographer, Jamie Blow, rallied the large groups of guys and gals together in different locations for incredible shots that capture the bond between friends and family as well as the charming natural beauty of the setting.
Monogrammed weddingMatching floral robes for bridesmaidsDiamond studded wedding braceletPink peony wedding flowersSomething borrowed something blueBlush wedding gownBeaded wedding gownPink peony wedding bouquetRaleigh NC GroomJamie Blow PhotographyRustic wedding ideasGroomsmen in bowtiesRaleigh NC bridal portraitsOutdoor wedding in North CarolinaWeddings at PortofinoPallet boards used in weddingNorth Carolina wedding on a farmPortofino wedding venueReal barn weddingsBarn weddings in NCGroomsmen with pink tiesPink wedding colorsMason jar decorating tipsBarbecue for Southern weddingWedding cake with couples initialsOreo cupcakes at weddingShabby chic dessert tableOutdoor reception at PortofinoMonogrammed wedding favorsOutdoor wedding venues in NCRustic wedding decorWedding on a horse farmVENUE The Piazza and The Thompson House at Portofino | WEDDING CONSULTANTS Sandra Thompson with Portofino and Lynn Scott with Happily Ever After | PHOTOGRAPHER Jamie Blow Photography | REHEARSAL DINNER Mia Francesca in North Hills | MINISTER David Guinn | CATERER The Q Shack | VIDEOGRAPHER Honeydew Films | GOWN Allure Bridal from The Bridal Boutique in Cary | BRIDESMAIDS Donna Morgan from Bella Bridesmaids, Raleigh | FORMALWEAR Men’s Warehouse | FLORIST Vance Street Market | CAKE Cakes by Chloe | INVITATIONS VistaPrint and Zazzle | CALLIGRAPHY Jessica King with Happily Ever After | MUSIC Stylus S.E. (DJ) and Soloist, Jessica Loflin | PARTY RENTALS Ram Rentals | HAIR Natalie Soto (friend) | MAKEUP Natalie Soto and Rose Marie Soto (friends) | FAVORS Monogrammed koozies

Romantic Wedding Inspiration at The Cotton Room in Durham

Jake and Sai met freshman year in college. During a hike in one of their favorite state parks Jake proposed on a bridge, where “if he dropped the ring, he could jump in after it.” Luckily, it all went smoothly!

The couple chose Jake’s granddad’s beautiful farm as their ceremony site. Holding the ceremony on his land meant their 93-year-old grandfather could be involved and was a special way to honor him. Since moving to NC, some of Sai’s most cherished memories were at the farm and are what made her feel like she was truly part of Jake’s family.
Flower arbor by lake weddingPretty outdoor ceremony locations in NCOutdoor wedding ceremony in NCRose petals used in wedding ceremonyPastel bridesmaid colorsSpring weddings in NCBeautiful outdoor wedding chuppahOutdoor wedding in NCFor the reception, they knew they wanted a classic Durham look and feel and the huge bay windows in The Cotton Room were a selling point. The urban look was softened with romantic pink, ivory and pastel hues.
Weddings at The Cotton Room in Durhamurban chic wedding settings in Durham NCIndustrial chic wedding inspirationSai says she had so much fun shopping for her dress at Alexia’s Bridal Boutique, “They chose the perfect amount of classic options while also picking out dresses I wouldn’t have picked out for myself – one which ended up being the dress I ultimately ended up choosing!”

The team from Makeup for Your Day created a beautiful and natural look that all the bridesmaids and flower girls loved!
Backyard wedding at NC farmRaleigh NC bridesmaidsBest NC wedding photographersWhite and pink wedding bouquetThe bride’s family friends from Kenya supplied all the roses for the wedding (shipping around 180 dozen from their Kenyan farm!) and they flew all the way from Nairobi to be a part of the wedding. Since there were so many international guests in attendance, they held a Friday night get together, bridesmaid and groomsmen activities on the wedding day, and a farewell brunch on Sunday at The King’s Daughter’s Inn in Durham, where many of the wedding party stayed.
Pink rose wedding flowersMismatched bridesmaid dressesTall rose centerpiecesOne of the bride’s favorite moments was at the reception when her parents took everyone by surprise and performed a song they had composed. Her mom had written the lyrics to the song and they had taken voice lessons to practice singing it! The lyrics were all about watching Sai grow up and being with Jake and their wishes for the future. Everyone’s jaws dropped.

Robin Lin was the first photographer the couple met with and they immediately knew they wanted to work with her. Her trained eye for composition and timing produced amazing photos that captured all the special moments.
Durham NC wedding photos Nature themed wedding programsClassic white and pink wedding cakeDurham NC wedding venuesModern wedding decor ideasThe Cotton Room WeddingsWarehouse wedding venue Durham NCCEREMONY VENUE Family farm | RECEPTION VENUE The Cotton Room | PHOTOGRAPHER Robin Lin| REHEARSAL DINNER Parizade | MINISTER David Pender (friend) | GOWN Liancarlo from Alexia’s Bridal Boutique | BRIDESMAID DRESSES Amsale, Nordstroms, and J.Crew | HAIR & MAKEUP Makeup for Your Day | VIDEOGRAPHER Ted Denton | FLORIST Victoria Park Florist | CAKE Cinda’s Creative Cakes | CEREMONY MUSIC Quartet from Musica | RECEPTION MUSIC Hipshack | PARTY RENTALS American Party Rentals | PHOTOBOOTH Classic Carolina Photobooths | LIGHTING The Cotton Room | TRANSPORTATION Carolina Livery and Sterling Carriages | GUEST ACCOMMODATIONS The King’s Daughters Inn | FAVORS Groom brewed two different beers (the Ever After ESB and Rye Do) and bride’s mom brought beaded doilies from South Africa to package different snacks from around the world

Classic Images with a Twist from Raleigh Wedding Photographer Dara Blakeley

This month’s featured photographer is Dara Blakeley. Dara’s work is artistic, often dramatic, yet still playful – she has the ability to shoot all your traditional wedding “classics,” but her talent shines most when she is able to put her own creative spin on it. She is also a hybrid photographer – using both digital and film to capture her subjects.

Dara’s love for photography began at ten years of age while living abroad in Germany. Traveling with her family, camera in hand, she was encouraged to photograph while exploring new cultures. She also has an innate appreciation for many other forms of fine art. Dara made her first pinhole camera at fifteen, and from there, realized her passion and pursued a degree in Photographic Art & Technology. Dara’s passion for photography comes so naturally to her that she has continued doing it for over 16 years!

Dara Blakeley Photography was the perfect choice for SB&G’s 2016 fashion shoot, which was held at the 21c Museum Hotel in Durham. High fashion paired with modern art made for some of the most stunning fashion images we’ve ever featured. Be sure to check the blog throughout the month for more of Dara’s featured images from the shoot.

Dara’s enthusiasm for life and people brings a fresh perspective to her work. Armed with an easygoing attitude, her energy is contagious and sets subjects at ease.
Black and white engagement photosOutdoor engagement sessions in RaleighBest Raeligh NC wedding photographersWedding photographers RaleighClassic wedding photosEngagement shoot sessions with Raleigh PhotographerCollege rivalry engagement photo ideasAngus Barn weddingsRaleigh fine art wedding photographersCute kid wedding photosDuke Chapel Wedding PhotographyRaleigh area wedding photographersDara Blakeley Raleigh wedding photographerPhotos: Dara Blakeley Photography

Alexia’s – The Most Beautiful Wedding Dresses in Raleigh

Alexia’s Bridal Boutique is the place for the most high fashion and exquisitely beautiful wedding dresses in Raleigh.

Born from her passion for couture bridal fashion, Alexia Joyce opened the salon in 2003 with her husband and business partner, Michael. The success of Alexia’s is due to their love and dedication to the industry, as well as a well-earned reputation for outstanding service. Their team offers the ultimate experience for brides, guiding them to the wedding dress of their dreams.

This beautiful Raleigh bridal boutique carries upscale designers like Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, Kenneth Pool, Liancarlo, Naeem Khan, and Austin Scarlett. Alexia and Michael also own Lana Addison Bridal located in downtown Cary.

Take a look at the three featured gowns, all carried by Alexia’s, from our SB&G 2016 fashion shoot. Because fashion and art go hand in hand, the 21c Museum Hotel in downtown Durham was the perfect location to showcase these gorgeous wedding looks. This new boutique hotel is in a restored bank building and the old lobby has been transformed into a magnificent ballroom. Wander through the first and second levels and you’ll be delighted to find a contemporary art museum free and open to the public 24 hours a day. Photographer Dara Blakeley captured our models against the museum hotel’s artsy and elegant backdrops.
Hand beaded wedding gown by Kenneth PoolWeddings at 21c hotel in DurhamIt takes a special gown to stand out in the grand ballroom of the 21c Museum Hotel and the shimmering hand-beaded gown above with a luxurious detachable train designed by Kenneth Pool is a real showstopper. The sheer button-down back is form-fitting and beautiful. Our bride’s romantic look was created by 140 Salon & Dry Bar and she is adorned with large pearls from Jewelsmith.
Liancarlo wedding dress with cap sleevesWedding gowns from Alexia's Bridal BoutiqueAlso featured in the grand ballroom, and making a grand entrance is the gown above designed by Liancarlo, featuring Italian embroidery on Chantilly and cap-sleeves. It also has a removable tulle skirt that makes for stunning photographs. The bride’s blush makeup and wispy bun was created by Makeup for Your Day.
Wedding dresses from Raleigh bridal boutiquesTrumpet wedding gown from Alexia's BridalClassic yet striking, this silk, off-the-shoulder trumpet gown with button-down back designed by Austin Scarlett. The bride is wearing a drop pearl necklace, earrings and bracelet from Jewelsmith and carries a calla lily bouquet from Fresh Affairs that mimics the structure of her trumpet gown. Her sleek classic look was created by 140 Salon & Dry Bar.

GOWNS Alexia’s Bridal Boutique | VENUE 21c Museum Hotel, Durham | PHOTOGRAPHY Dara Blakeley Photography | JEWELRY Jewelsmith | HAIR & MAKEUP 140 Salon & Dry Bar and Makeup for Your Day | Bouquet Fresh Affairs