Monthly Archives:: February 2017

Planning a Chapel Wedding in the Raleigh Area

Wedding planners in the Triangle warn that saying “I Do” in a local chapel takes advanced planning. Barring another couple’s misfortunes, the months of April, May and June are pretty much off the table a year in advance, as is October. Some savvy brides have already snapped up prime dates for fall 2018 and spring 2019.

“This is such a growing area and the increase we’re seeing in weddings is just crazy,” says Raleigh wedding planner Sally Oakley. “Churches and chapels book well in advance of a year, especially for Saturdays. And it’s not just local couples. We hear from a lot of people who live elsewhere but maybe grew up here or went to school here and really want to have their wedding here. It’s become a very competitive market.”
All Saints Chapel weddingThat doesn’t mean it’s impossible to score the perfect place to exchange vows, but you might have to adjust your game plan. If a specific date is essential, be willing to shop around for the right church or wedding chapel much in the way a bride hunts for the right shoes: Accept a bit of a pinch if the overall match is a great fit.

Private, unaffiliated chapels offer the most flexibility. Most churches have rules that might not appeal to all couples, ranging from expectations of a faith-based life to prohibitions on photos during the ceremony or alcohol at the reception. You also might not be allowed to feature your favorite song or decorate with flowers that remind you of grandma.

Additionally, many churches and synagogues reserve the privilege of a chapel wedding for members and require couples to participate in pre-marital counseling. Permission is sometimes necessary if a person has been divorced. “A lot of people want to get married in a church because it’s pretty, or because their parents got married there,” says Amanda Scott of A Swanky Affair in Durham. Reasonably, she adds, churches with strict rules – such as Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh or The Catholic Community of St. Thomas More in Chapel Hill – “want you to believe in God and not think of their chapel as a pretty backdrop.”

Thankfully, for couples that value such aesthetics or are not actively observant, common ground can be found at many welcoming churches and chapels.

Kayelily Middleton of Raleigh, an ordained wedding minister and wedding planner, is a particular fan of Unity of the Triangle, a nondenominational community where she is a member. The church, which opened in Raleigh this year,has a contemporary sanctuary with stained glass and a reception hall with catering kitchen.
Raleigh NC wedding officiantsUnitarian and United Church of Christ congregations, such as Raleigh’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Durham, tend to be among the most open to couples that are not members, including same-sex partners and those of different faiths. Be sure to review each church’s wedding policy, usually posted on its website, to confirm whether it allows outside officiants and other factors that may be important to you, such as support of social justice causes.

Don’t assume that all churches in a given denomination will have the same rules. For example, some Episcopal churches require that at least one person be a member and Christian, including Chapel Hill’s handsome Church of the Cross, while the small, carpenter gothic Episcopal Church of the Advocate nearby welcomes all committed couples.

“We find that there are couples in the community who desire to be married in a church, but for a variety of reasons are not part of a faith community in our region,” says Rev. Lisa Fishbeck, Advocate vicar. “We are glad to honor their inclination to exchange their vows in a sacred space.”
Rent a chapel in NCJewish centers in the Triangle, such as Durham’s Judea Reform Congregation, only allow couples that intend to build a Jewish home together to be married in their sanctuaries. Rabbi Andrew Ettin of Salisbury’s Temple Israel often travels to the Triangle to perform weddings in alternate settings for couples who want a traditional Jewish ceremony but are not actively observant.

Making their chapel more available for weddings has become a smart business move for some non-church venues. Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh, an Episcopal boarding school for girls in grades 9-12, has found that its chapel and reception areas have become reliable revenue drivers. Open to all faiths, they book just one wedding a week, with a few weeks blocked out for school functions and summer residence of the Carolina Ballet. While grads get a discount on the rental fee, Kristen Monroe, director of auxiliary programs and services, says the historic chapel and outdoor rose garden attracts as many outsiders as alumni.

If the grandeur of Duke University Chapel is your dream, hopefully you, your beloved or a member of your immediate family has a direct university connection. The iconic chapel allows no exceptions but welcomes same-sex weddings and couples of all faiths, and even can make arrangements to live stream the ceremony for those unable to attend.

Know that demand for this spectacular setting is such that, as with Blue Devil basketball games, it’s not unusual for hopeful couples to camp out in order to be first in line when bookings open 12 months in advance of the desired wedding month.

There are unaffiliated chapels to consider as well, including two located in Raleigh’s historic Oakwood/Mordecai corridor. Built in 1875 as a church and restored in 2008 by Empire Properties as an elegant event space, All Saint’s Chapel welcomes all denominations. A few blocks north, Saint Mark’s Chapel offers a smaller, budget-friendly option managed by the City of Raleigh.
Raleigh NC Chapel weddings“It’s the best deal in town,” says Kayelily Middleton, referring to Saint Mark’s hourly rent of just $100 for city residents (or $150 for non-residents). “If you want a beautiful ceremony that won’t break the bank, it can’t be beat.”

Click here to view SB&G’s recommended chapels and officiants.

Article contributed by Jill Warren Lucas

1 & 4 Sarah Morrel Photography
2 & 3 Riley MacLean Photography

Durham Wedding with Mardi Gras Flair

Happy Wedding Wednesday! With Mardi Gras a couple weeks away, we wanted to share a Durham wedding that captures some of that fun Louisiana style! Take a look at Jasmine and Joel’s colorful and raoucus wedding – complete with a brass band. This wedding was also featured in the 2017 edition of Southern Bride & Groom Magazine.
The Kings Daughters InnEven though Joel Guerrero’s blind date at a friend’s birthday party was a bust, it was a blessing in disguise because he met the love of his life there, Jasmine Stringer. Joel proposed in the ballroom at the Carolina Theater in Durham, one of the couple’s favorite date-night spots. He rented the tiny theater for a private screening of Jasmine’s favorite movie, Breakfast  at Tiffany’s.
African American bridewedding fashion DurhamBridal updo with flowersColorful wedding bouquet by Eclectic Sagecolorful corsages for wedding guestsblue sapphire engagement ringGroomsmen feather bowtiesDurham hotel weddingKing's Daughters Inn DurhamFor their wedding celebration, the couple wanted a raucous and joyful “mid-summer night’s Bull City  garden party” – a mashup of all things they love about their families, their city, and the life they have  built here together.
Feather bowtie for groomThe Kings Daughers Inn DurhamNorth Carolina bride and groomWedding at Duke Gardens“Heather and her team at Eclectic Sage are masters at their art! Together, we came up with some really fun and creative ways to make florals a highlight in our design and the arrangements they created were truly one of a kind,” shared the bride.
wedding favor fansDuke Garden weddingsRaleigh NC floristsJasmine and Joel (honoring his Louisiana roots) led their family and friends in a second line strut out the door and into the street to the sounds of Marvin Gaye from the brass band.
Get Lit Special Event LightingThe RIckhouse decorated by Get Lit Lighting Durham NC live bandsReception entertainment ideasReceptions at The Rickhouse DurhamLive bands at weddingLive music at weddingDurham NC wedding photosThe Rickhouse was a perfect fit for the couple, and they loved the connection to Joel’s childhood – the terrace overlooks the original Durham Bulls Stadium which was where he watched local ball games in his youth.

“Amanda Scott of A Swanky Affair was the brains behind the whole operation,” Jasmine said. “We never could have pulled off such a complex and creative affair without her! She had everything you want in a great coordinator, plus an excellent eye for style!”
Weddings at The Rickhouse DurhamWedding chalk art in DurhamModern wedding centerpieceDurham Rickhouse weddingGeo candle holdersWedding DecorGold wedding decorModern wedding decorBull City cakeChocolate wedding cakeCake cutting photosSB&G Preferred Vendors
WEDDING CONSULTANT A Swanky Affair | RECEPTION The Rickhouse | CATERER Donovan’s Dish | FLORIST Eclectic Sage | PARTY RENTALS Party Reflections | LIGHTING Get Lit Special Events | WEDDING PARTY ACCOMMODATIONS AND PORTRAITS The King’s Daughters Inn | GUEST ACCOMMODATIONS Aloft Hotel at American Tobacco Campus | REHEARSAL DINNER The Pit rooftop | RECEPTION MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT SPIN
Durham bride and groomOther Wedding Contributors
PHOTOGRAPHY Carolyn Scott Photography | BRIDAL LUNCHEON 
Watt’s Grocery | CEREMONY Sarah P. Duke Gardens | OFFICIANT  Daniel P. Stringer (brother of the bride) | BRIDAL GOWN Maggie Sotero from Elegant Bridal | BRIDAL SHOES Badgely Mischka | HAIR Qi Essentials | MAKE UP Tiwa Lawrence | JEWELRY Bauble Bar | MEN’S FORMALWEAR J. Crew; custom bow ties made by artist/designer Tracey Telford at | CAKE Once in A Blue Moon Bakery | STATIONER Wedding Paper Divas | REHEARSAL DINNER MUSIC Makin’ Ends Meet | CEREMONY MUSIC Alex Gorodezky | BAND Second Line Band: Boom Unit Brass Band | TRANSPORTATION EcoStyle

Traditions to Honor Family on Your Wedding Day

It’s natural that many couples want to take extra steps to honor special family members and even the whole clan during their wedding. Sometimes it may be an acknowledgement made to parents or other influential people during the ceremony such as having parents light an altar candle or handing a flower to each mother. Honor can also bestowed on those who are not present because of distance, illness or death, with a mention in the service or program. Here are a few ways we’ve seen special recognition offered.

Family Tradition

This could mean exchanging your vows in the same church where your parents or grandparents were wed, including the family crest on wedding invitations, or honoring the Southern tradition of having the father of the groom serve as best man.
Wedding at Duke Chapel in DurhamPhoto: Renee Sprink Photography

Physical Memento

Repurpose your mother’s wedding dress into a new gown or veil, or wear a generational jewelry heirloom. Carry your father’s handkerchief or don his cufflinks or watch. For your bouquet or arrangements, choose the flower your lost loved one tended in their own flower garden as your tribute. Wearing something from a loved one is a private way to remember them during your wedding day.
Grandparents photos in wedding

Photo: Azul Photography

Sounds of our Heart

Incorporate meaningful words or music into the wedding. Include a letter your loved one wrote with her advice on marriage, or read her favorite scripture passage. A special song that you learned as a child can play as you walk down the aisle. Dedicate a dance to someone who cannot be there with one of his or her favorite songs.

Taste of Family History

Have the caterer prepare a meal that is meaningful to your family. If you have two ethnic backgrounds, have samplings from each at food stations, or have the rehearsal dinner be themed to one family’s heritage and the wedding reception to the other’s. Perhaps there is a passed down recipe that could be shared with guests in the form of take home favors.
chicken and waffles at wedding

Photo: Riley MacLean Photography

A Walk Through Time

A presentation of old family photos is a great way to symbolize the union of your two families. Display in frames on a table or mantle and surround with florals. If you are able to secure wedding portraits of these family members, even better. This is something all of your guests will enjoy taking in.
Ways to incorporate family in your weddingPhoto: Casey Rose Photography

Foodie Focused Weddings

In North Carolina, we are lucky to be surrounded by some of the top culinary talent in the county, and luckily for brides, many of those chefs are also linked to the wedding and catering industry.

We are proud of all of the NC Chefs who were recognized in this year’s James Beard Foundation nominations! Special shout out to the SB&G Family Members who made the list: Andrea Reusing of Lantern Restaurant & The Durham Hotel and Ashley Christensen of Poole’s DinerDeath & Taxes and more who were nominated for “Outstanding Chef,” and to Steven Devereaux Greene of Herons at The Umstead Hotel and Spa who was nominated for Best Chef: Southeast.
Herons five star restaurant at Umstead Hotel and Spa
Event planners in the Triangle say more couples are willing to ditch entertainment or cut back on flowers or frills to ensure that they can savor a memorable meal with their wedding guests.

“A lot of our couples are restaurant regulars who want low-key receptions with cocktail time, a great sit-down meal and little programming,” says Lydia Campbell, who manages Lantern Table, the adjoining event space Chef Andrea Reusing added in fall 2013 to Lantern in Chapel Hill. “We often see wedding parties walk down the street to come here from Coker Arboretum or the Carolina Inn. It’s really lovely when people enjoy a little parade to our door.
Lantern restaurant Chapel HillPhoto: F8 Photo Studios

More couples started lining up at Lantern’s door after Reusing earned the prestigious Best Chef Southeast award from the James Beard Foundation in 2011. Raleigh Chef Ashley Christensen experienced a similar boost for her modern Southern comfort food after receiving the same award three years later. She opened Bridge Club in summer 2015 to accommodate growing demand for private functions.
The Bridge Club RaleighWe hear from a lot of brides who say, ‘We want Ashley’s food, so tell me a date we can have it,’” says Jessie Koppenhaver, director of events. Couples can choose favorite menu items from any of her operations, ranging from legendary mac and cheese from Poole’s Diner to juicy fried chicken from Beasley’s.

With the release of her new cookbook (Poole’s: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner), people are asking for recipes from it, too,” Koppenhaver says. “If we can make it work, we’re happy to oblige.”

While most restaurants typically finalize a wedding menu a few weeks before the event, tweaking options with the freshest seasonal ingredients, the menu is never fully settled until the day of the party at Second Empire in Raleigh.

Couples understand that Chef Daniel Schurr is very talented and they give him carte blanche,” says Nicolle Roberts, restaurant manager and special events coordinator. “This allows them to choose some things on the regular menu without it being the ‘regular menu’ item.”

It also makes it possible for Schurr to create satisfying alternate dishes for those with special requests or dietary restrictions. “We’re always able to present something delicious to meet the expectations of all our guests,” Roberts says.

Chef Teddy Diggs of Il Palio at the Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill is gratified that couples count on him to prepare a sumptuous Italian supper for their big day. It’s not unusual for clients to ask him to go off-menu, however, to include a dish from their first date or to recreate a family recipe in tribute to a beloved gonna.
Upscale Italian at Il Palio in Chapel HillWe don’t allow our sales team to even show a couple a menu until we’ve had a meeting,” says Diggs, who personally consults with brides and grooms before suggesting courses. “A marriage is a bond of relationships and cultures, and often they start with or are forged around food and drink. I want to deliver some significance in every dish served.”

The challenge of creating personalized menus sometimes takes Diggs well beyond the scope of Il Palio’s traditional Tuscan fare. The marriage of a Southern gal and a Persian guy “very engaged with his food culture” let Diggs leverage his Mediterranean expertise to create an elegant Halal meal using humanely processed proteins. “They really loved it,” he says, “because it connected to them as individuals.”

Of course, not everyone has perfectly plated meals and white linen tablecloths in mind when they think about sharing great food with friends and family. With locations inRaleigh and Durham, The Pit offers whole-hog, pit-cooked barbecue, ribs and a tempting array of starters and sides in a decidedly casual setting.
Empire eats barbecue at wedding“There are a lot of Southern families marrying Northern families, and they want to introduce the less fortunate to the joys of real barbecue,” quips Liz Henderson, who manages events at the Durham site, a former 7UP bottling plant. “And when you’re paying just $25 a head for an upscale buffet with two appetizers, two meats, three sides and a dessert, you can afford to invite all of your friends and loved ones.”

Indeed, The Pit has played host to big rehearsal dinners that rival traditional weddings. “There’s a lot to be said for going casual,” says Henderson, who used to manage formal events for a top Triangle steakhouse. “It’s not for everyone, but our guests like having a chill wedding party with really great food.”

Regardless if you choose an informal blowout with paper napkins or a formal affair with fine linen, consider the wisdom of Julia Child, who said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” Sharing a celebration feast with those who love you will make your wedding meal deliciously memorable.

Article contributed by Jill Warren Lucas @JWLucasNC

Romantic Rainy Day Wedding at The Merrimon Wynne House

Happy Wedding Wednesday! Just because it’s raining outside doesn’t mean your wedding can’t be romantic, in fact, sometimes a little gray makes the day even more cozy! Take a look at Danielle and Philip’s romantic rainy day wedding at The Merrimon-Wynne House in downtown Raleigh. This wedding was also featured in the 2017 edition of Southern Bride & Groom Magazine.
rainy day wedding photo www.southernbrideandgroom.comRomantic wedding venues in Raleigh
Heart rates were probably reading high when Danielle Ward, an anesthesiologist, and Philip Butler, a CRNA, first struck up a conversation while working together at Duke University Hospital. They realized they lived only a few blocks away from each other in Raleigh, and talked for hours about their love for downtown, sports and traveling. After going to Uganda on a mission trip together, their passions for a meaningful and full life together were validated. When Danielle graduated from medical school, Philip planned a celebratory European trip for the two of them. They spent two weeks in Italy and finished the trip in Paris, where Philip proposed in the park across from the Eiffel Tower.
Eucalyptus bouquet www.southernbrideandgroom.comFloral bridal robe - Merrimon Wynne HouseWedding gown from Savvi Bridal www.southernbrideandgroom.comraleigh nc wedding photographyfilm photographyMerrimon Wynne weddings www.southernbrideandgroom.comwhite and green bridal bouquet www.southernbrideandgroom.comEucalyptus bountineer www.southernrbridenandgroom.comClassic groomsmenRaleigh groomwrite a letter to you wife or husband before wedding www.southernbrideandgroom.comPrayer circle for bride www.southernbrideandgroom.comBill Levkoff pink bridesmaid dresses www.southernbrideandgroom.comBeautiful bridal photographs“We fell in love with the historic charm of The Merrimon-Wynne House. Months after our wedding, our guests still talked about how great the venue was, as well as the exceptional staff and their attention to detail,” said the bride.
ceremony florals www.southernbrideandgroom.comflower arbor for wedding ceremony www.southernbrideandgroom.comRaleigh NC weddingjust married photographs www.southernbrideandgroom.comRaleigh NC wedding trolleybella bridesmaids Raleigh www.southernbrideandgroom.comMerrimon Wynne House Raleigh www.southernbrideandgroom.comDesserts were displayed on a beautiful hanging table and represented some of the couple’s favorite countries they have visited together. A favorite was the Bocca Negra, an almost flourless Italian chocolate cake.
hanging dessert display www.southernbrideandgroom.comdisplay favorite desserts at wedding www.southernbrideandgroom.comhanging dessert table display www.southernbrideandgroom.comwedding dessert www.southernbrideandgroom.comsimple white wedding cake www.southernbrideandgroom.comTre Bella Flowers created romantic and subdued table arrangements in a classic white, green and blush palette, befitting the spring soiree.
gold pink and green wedding colorsthe carriage house merrimon wynne www.southernbrideandgroom.comgold pink and green table setting“We couldn’t have imagined a better day, thanks to Dana and her team at C & D Events! They worked tirelessly to move our ceremony when the weather decided not to cooperate with us. They created our beautiful bouquets and arranged the most perfect flowered arch for our ceremony. She made our every wish into a reality and it was just perfect,” said Danielle.Rent lounge furniture for wedding reception www.southernbrideandgroom.comwedding reception decor

SB&G Preferred Vendors
WEDDING CONSULTANT C & D Events | VENUE Merrimon-Wynne House | CATERING Durham Catering Company | BRIDAL GOWN Casablanca from Savvi Bridal | BRIDESMAID DRESSES Bill Levkoff from Bella Bridesmaids Raleigh | RECEPTION FLOWERS Tre Bella Flowers | BOUQUET & CEREMONY FLOWERS Bushel and Peck Designs division of C and D Events | MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT SPIN
Raleigh NC weddings www.southernrbrideandgroom.comDisplay board for guests photographs www.southernbrideandgroom.comOther Wedding Contributors
PHOTOGRAPHY Michael and Carina Photography | MEN’S FORMALWEAR Jos. A. Bank | DESSERT DISPLAY Details Cake Design | LINENS CE Rentals | HAIR & MAKEUP Perfection by Patricia | BRIDAL JEWELRY Kash Love Designs | BRIDESMAID JEWELRY Versona Accessories

2017 Bridal Fashion Inspiration from the top NC Wedding Boutiques

SB&G’s bridal fashion shoot captures modern trends in wedding dresses. Two piece gowns, loads of layers, and elegant long-sleeved lace are just some of the looks that are popular for Southern brides in 2017. These looks – which are also showcased in our 2017 magazine – are available from the SB&G preferred bridal boutiques here in NC, so be sure to take note of the designers you like best, and where the gowns can be found.

In addition to the fantastic Raleigh and Wilmington area bridal salons who contributed their stunning gowns, many other vendors came together to make this shoot happen! The beautiful Park Alumni Center hosted the shoot. This is a stately event destination located on Centennial Campus at NC State University in Raleigh (you may recognize it or remember its former name – The State Club). SB&G wanted to build on the look of the white marble floors and walls and all of the natural light that pours in through their three-story ballroom windows. Erin McLean Events helped us add style with white props and draping from Themeworks. All bouquets and arrangements were created by Floral DimensionsFinally, teams of hair and makeup artists and local jewelers added to the stark “vogue” vibe with 60s inspired looks.

We hope to whet your excitement for your upcoming day with our fabulous bridal and bridesmaids attire. The best of fashion design always stays timeless.Raleigh ballroom weddings: Park Alumni CenterPark Alumni Center at NC StateAbove, our model wears beautiful gowns from Lana Addison Bridal, and The Wedding Dress Shoppe while showcasing the Park Alumni Center’s impressive grand entrance.

Alexia’s Bridal

Alexia’s Bridal Boutique has been the destination for NC bridal salon for couture designer wedding dresses for over a decade. The beautiful salon is located in downtown Raleigh’s Glenwood South. It is owned by a husband and wife team who are dedicated to giving brides a luxurious experience.

From the 2017 Lela Rose collection, this charmer from Alexia’s Bridal is utterly romantic with a fully lace bodice, illusion back and chapel length train.
Lela Rose lace wedding gownWedding gown from Alexias BridalLela Rose wedding gownIn silk fabric with a trumpet shape skirt and retro boat neck, this chic gown by Austin Scarlett has no embellishments except for the sensuous cut-outs and the bride who wears it. Local brides can find more designs from this well known NY designer at Alexia’s Bridal. Extra shimmer is added with pieces from Bailey’s Fine Jewelry.
Austin Scarlett modern wedding gown resizedAustin Scarlett Top wedding dress designers in NCSoft and flowing distinct styles pair well in two shades of romantic pale pink. The one on the left is Amsale Nouvelle and the right is Monique Lhuiller, both from Alexia’s Bridal.
Alexias Bridal bridesmaid dresses

Lana Addison Bridal

Sister store to Alexia’s Bridal, Lana Addison is located in lovely historic home in downtown Cary. This salon carries high end designers but does offer a more modest starting price point. At either salon, the expert wedding specialists will assist in finding the look that perfectly suites each bride.

A pearled corset strapless top is part of Martina Liana’s “separates” collection available at Lana Addison Bridal. It can be mixed and matched to your dream combination, shown here in barely blush with layers of soft ruffles in the skirt.
Wedding dress from Lana Addison BridalThis Pronovias gown at Lana Addison with a silk-soft skirt is topped with a partially sheer lace bodice. The look is both sweet and sexy paired with Bailey’s Fine Jewelry.
Pronovias gown from Lana Addison Bridal

Bella Bridesmaids Raleigh

Bella Bridesmaids has a concept that makes so much sense. This is the specialty boutique that focuses on the bridesmaids. They have an extensive selection of sought-after designers and styles. Our local Bella Bridesmaids is located in Cary at Lochmere Pavilion.

Whether wearing chiffon or glitter, let your best friends enjoy their best look. Jenny Yoo at right and Amsale at right are both from Bella Bridesmaids Raleigh.Hair Salons Raleigh NCBella Bridesmaids RaleighRaleigh NC makeup artistsBridesmaid grace your wedding day with flowing Amsale mint and white tulle dresses available at Bella Bridesmaids Raleigh – they are also available in many jewel-toned colors. Moon & Lola has a wide selection of jewelry perfect for bridesmaids in all colors.
Amsale from Tre Bella Bridal

The Wedding Dress Shoppe

Located in the lovely upscale Barclay Commons shopping center in Wilmington, NC, The Wedding Dress Shoppe is a must-visit for brides who love a mix of classic with sparkle!

Make a grand entrance in this breathtaking Eve of Milady glamour gown with a fitted jeweled bodice and shimmering full skirt. This well known designer can be found at The Wedding Dress Shoppe. The bride’s elegant drop earrings are from Diamond’s Direct Crabtree.
The Wedding Dress ShoppeEvoke your inner Cinderella and head to the ball in a traditional  gown, like this one from The Wedding Dress Shoppe, adorned with beaded cap sleeves for a modern twist, and jewelry from Anfesa’s Jewelers.
Bride at The Park Alumni Center Raleighwedding gown with cap sleevesNorth Carolina State University Wedding

(Photos above by Fancy This Photography)

Tre Bella Bridal

Owned by two sisters, Tre Bella Bridal is the only full service wedding salon in Durham. Located downtown, their clothing and gift boutique of the same name is on Main Street ground level, and upstairs you will find the bridal salon. These ladies have a true penchant for weddings – they also run Tre Bella Flowers – a wedding florist.

This charming all-over lace Eugenia Couture ball gown from Tre Bella Bridal has a forever-flattering sweetheart strapless neckline adorned with a pearl necklace from Bailey’s Fine Jewelry.
Eugenia Couture from Tre Bella BridalThis Blue Willow by Anne Barge A-line classic gown from Tre Bella Bridal needs no embellishments with its Audrey Hepburn aura, except for a few pretty items from Anfesa’s Jewelers.
Wedding gown from Tre Bella Bridal

Coastal Knot Bridal

An impressive line up of modern wedding dress designers was brought to the NC Coast by Coastal Knot Bridal’s Wilmington and Shallotte bridal boutiques. Now, they have opened a new location in Cameron Village of Raleigh.

A pretty lace scallop trims the sweetheart neckline of this graceful Augusta Jones wedding gown from Coastal Knot Bridal paired with beautiful earrings from Diamonds Direct Crabtree.
Augusta Jones at Coastal Knot BridalCoastal Knot Bridal wedding gownsThis look is romantic and fetching in an Augusta Jones gown from Coastal Knot Bridal, with matching lace on sleeve, bodice, hips, and a wide band at the hem. The bride is wearing jewelry from Anfesa’s.

Augusta Jones wedding gown

 SB&G preferred photographer Fancy This Photography took the remaining beautiful images from our fashion shoot pictured below (as well as the set of three images noted above)

Gilded Bridal

Another new wedding dress salon in Raleigh, Gilded Bridal focuses on upscale independent designers. You’ll find some cutting-edge looks at this gorgeous boutique in Glenwood South.

A cutting-edge combination in this Tara LaTour mix and match line available at Gilded Bridal shows a corset style semi-sheer bodice with a flattering fit-and-flair skirt.Tara LaTour from Gilded BridalFancy This PhotographyIvy & Aster’s deep V-neck ball gown, also available at Gilded Bridal, has at the barest blush cherry blossom embroidery. Anfesa’s Jewelers’ pearl drop earrings compliment the look.
Weddings for NC State AlumIvy and Aster wedding dressWith vintage feminine lace and nostalgic Bohemian style, this free spirited bride fits into any setting with earrings that fit the look from Moon & Lola. The gown is Romantique by Claire Pettibone, from Gilded Bridal.
Romantique bridal gown from Gilded BridalRaleigh bridal boutiques

BRIDAL SALONS & DESIGNERS each noted above alongside the gowns VENUE The Park Alumni Center | STYLING AND COORDINATION Erin McLean Events | FLOWERS Floral Dimensions | PROPS Themeworks | HAIR & MAKEUP Makeup for Your Day and 140 Salon and Dry Bar | PHOTOGRAPHERS Dara Blakeley Photography and Fancy This Photography (designated above)

Hair & Makeup for the models…
short hair      redhead      brunette

Makeup for your Day              Makeup for your Day               140 Salon and Dry Bar

Southern Wedding Inspiration from The Carolina Inn Bridal Showcase

In our world, January means wedding show season! It might be cold outside with an early setting sun, but this is our favorite time of year. Our latest edition of Southern Bride & Groom magazine has just been published, and we get to spend a couple of days each week handing it out and chatting with newly-engaged couples who are just getting started on their wedding planning journey. This is what makes our work feel truly meaningful. But these events are fun for another reason, too – the local vendors pull out all the stops to showcase their talents, as well as the latest design trends. Some wedding shows are so pretty that couples could leave having planned every last detail of their wedding design. Today, we are sharing oodles of Southern wedding inspiration from The Carolina Inn Bridal Showcase.

SB&G magazine – and Mama Parks – has been part of this show for all 22 years it has been held! We adore our longstanding relationship with The Carolina Inn – a stunning Chapel Hill NC historic hotel and wedding venue known for its high class service and atmosphere. Southern Bride and Groom Magazine publishersOne of the most impressive offerings of The Carolina Inn Bridal Showcase is the vignettes that are scattered throughout the property. Tented receptions on the Carolina Inn lawns are very popular for weddings, especially during the spring and fall. This allows an outdoor vibe alongside the experience of amazing cuisine and upscale amenities. It doesn’t get much better than dining in style under a clear tent with a floral chandelier centerpiece!

Vignette team: Viva L’ Event, Tre Bella Flowers, Classic Party Rentals, Mason Dixon Calligraphy, Sugar Euphoria
Southern wedding inspiration from The Carolina Inn Bridal Showcase www.southernbrideandgroom.comGorgeous tall wedding centerpieces www.southernbrideandgroom.comPink watercolor place cards www.southernbrideandgroom.compink and white wedding flowers www.southernbrideandgroom.comFormal with flair: Tre Bella Flower‘s elegant floral arrangements, and fine china, is juxtaposed with gingham linengold foil wedding cake www.southernbrideandgroom.comPink white and gold wedding cake www.southernbrideandgroom.comBursts of color and gold foil on buttercream cake keep dessert classy yet delish – by Sugar Euphoriaceremony backdrop ideas www.southernbrideandgroom.comPink and white wedding at The Carolina Inn www.southernbrideandgroom.comBeyonce quote used in wedding backdrop www.southernbrideandgroom.comWho doesn’t love Queen Bey?? We adore this vibrant custom backdrop for the sweetheart table.Classic Southern wedding venues www.southernbrideandgroom.comwedding inspiration www.southerbrideandgroom.comromantic table settings www.southernbrideandgroom.comUNC Chapel Hill wedding inspiration www.southernbrideandgroom.comCarolina Blue wedding colors www.southerbrideandgroom.comThe pastel haven shown above in one of the Carolina Inn parlors was designed by La Cosa Bella Events.Pink champagne for wedding toast www.southernbrideandgroom.comwedding flower frame www.southernbrideandgroom.comErin McLean Events created rose frames in her booth – we adore this idea for a wedding!vintage wedding decor ideas www.southernbrideandgroom.comSouthern Bride and Groom MagazineSeveral issues of SB&G mag spotted on the table of Makeup for Your Day.Bumble and branch local honey wedding favorsLocal NC wedding favors www.southernbrideandgroom.comThese wedding favors from Bumble & Branch are too cute for words – and perfect for an eco-friendly wedding!Carolina Inn cateringFloral backdrop ideas www.southernbrideandgroom.comNorth carolina bridal salons www.southerbrideandgroom.comTre Bella creates amazing floral design (shown in vignette at top, as well as the beautiful display above), and is also Durham’s only full-service bridal salon. Visit their clothing boutique and gift shop on the ground floor of Main Street before your appointment at the wedding dress boutique upstairs!photo booths at weddingsChapel Hill wedding showsWe loved the artistic floral creation that University Florist made for our boothCarolina Inn bridal showcaseAll photos above are by the incredibly talented Fancy This Photography, who is also a Preferred SB&G Vendor!

The second section of photos, below, are contributed by Mikkel Paige Photography. soda wall at wedding or event www.southernbrideandgroom.comvintage flower vases wedding decor www.southernbrideandgroom.comVases on shelving is a great modern backdrops. We loved this little display by A Southern stationery www.southernbrideandgroom.comlocal ice cream passed as favors at wedding www.southernbrideandgroom.comhomemade ice cream with Mr. & Mrs. cookies www.southernbrideandgroom.comThere was no shortage of eats and treats at the Bridal Showcase! We can’t ever resist indulging on Andia’s Homemade Ice-Cream!Cascading flower centerpieces www.southernbrideandgroom.comwedding cake pops www.southernbrideandgroom.comconfetti wedding cake www.southernbrideandgroom.comThe whimsical theme that The Carolina Inn utilized this year for their event was captured perfectly in the above ballroom scene. In the brilliant tabletop display, ability to converse does not get lost with this extravagant design.

A confetti cake is a perfectly fun way to celebrate the kickoff to happily ever after!

Vignette team: A Southern Soiree, English Garden florist, The Carolina Inn pastry team, Party Reflections & Sugarland.

Elegant Ballroom Wedding with Lots of Sparkle

Happy Wedding Wednesday! Today on the blog we’re sharing Jameeka and Chris’ elegant ballroom wedding with lots of sparkle at The Grand Marquise Ballroom in Garner, NC.

After a long day of sight seeing during Jameeka Carrington’s first visit to her future husband’s hometown of Chicago, she was awakened from a cap by her overly anxious love, Christopher Bridgeman, with a proposal. The moment felt like a dream, and indeed, it was a dream come true!
Baileys Fine Jewerlry wedding ring“Our wedding planner, Elana Walker, helped us design the entire event. We told her that we wanted an elegant wedding with lots of sparkle, and she pretty much took the reins from there,” said Jameeka. “All of her ideas were amazing and she stuck to a timeline that helped prevent us from becoming overwhelmed. I was entirely against hiring a wedding planner in the begin in, but it turned out to be the very best decision that was made.”
custom wedding hangers www.southernbrideandgroom.comClassic script on invitations www.southernbrideandgroom.comPurple bridesmaids robes www.southernbrideandgroom.comwhite orchid wedding bouquet www.southernbrideandgroom.comWedding dress with crystal embellishments www.southernbrideandgroom.comRoyal looking invitations www.southernbrideandgroom.comWedding decor ideascustom wedding card boxes www.southernbrideandgroom.comLilac bridesmaid colorsGrooms in Prada
Fabric groomsmen boutonnieres www.southernbrideandgroom.comGrooms converse sneakers www.southernbrideandgroom.comCute ring bearer outfits www.southernbrideandgroom.comRaleigh NC groomsmenThe Grand Marquise Ballroom was absolutely gorgeous, from the chandeliers to the immaculately decorated bride and groom suites, to the elegant stairway and the Roman columns and statues,” shared Jameeka. “Everything just took my breath away…it was like getting married in a place from a storybook.”Memory candle at wedding www.southernbrideandgroom.comLive music at Raleigh NC weddingIdeas for ring bearers www.southernbrideandgroom.comWeddings at Grand Marquise Ballroom www.southernbrideandgroom.comWedding reception outfits www.southernbrideandgroom.comThe Grand Marquise Ballroom www.southernbrideandgroom.comJameeka and Christopher changed to going-away outfits near the end for dancing and their exit.

The couple’s wedding date decorated the cake, and their new monogram appeared on the menu, in gobo lights on the dance floor, and shone through the backlit ice sculpture sculpture centerpiece www.southernbrideandgroom.comPurple and gold wedding colorsice sculpture for wedding www.southernbrideandgroom.comGold foil wedding cake www.southernbrideandgroom.commother and son danceThe Grand Marquise wedding receptionSports themed weddings www.southernbrideandgroom.comFootball toss instead of garter toss www.southernbrideandgroom.comAn intricate candle and glass display on each table shimmered when the lights were lowered during dinner and later were enhanced with colorful uprights in the ballroom for a magical effect.
Candles used as wedding decor www.southernbrideandgroom.comElana Walker wedding designer www.southernbrideandgroom.comelaborate wedding florals www.southernbrideandgroom.comElana Walker wedding eventsThe couple now resides in Raeford, where Jameeka is a pharmacist at Cape Fear Hospital and Christopher serves as the Director of Food & Nutrition at Scotland Memorial Hospital.

SB&G Preferred Vendors
WEDDING CONSULTANT Elana Walker Events | CEREMONY & RECEPTION Grand Marquise Ballroom | ENGAGEMENT RING & WEDDING BANDS Bailey’s Fine Jewelry

Other Wedding Contributors
CATERER Unforgettable Food Affairs | PHOTOGRAPHER & VIDEOGRAPHER Creative Silence | BRIDAL GOWN Oleg Cassini | BRIDESMAID DRESSES Vera Wang | MEN’S FORMALWEAR Calvin Klein | FLORIST Fresh Affairs | CAKE Ashley Cakes | INVITATIONS Suite Paper | CEREMONY MUSIC Blue Sands Music | RECEPTION MUSIC DJ Paradime | LINENS & PARTY RENTALS CE Rentals | TRANSPORTATION Royal Limousine | ACCOMMODATIONS Wingate by Wyndham and Hampton Inn | BRIDAL HAIR Valerie Selby | BRIDESMAID HAIR & MAKEUP Allyson Hill

Meet Raleigh Wedding DJ SPIN

SB&G’s preferred DJs are true talents who set the mood for your big event – whether you envision a small elegant evening, a large ruckus party into the morning, or just a mix of new music and the classics!

Ryan Pflumm and Allen Smith of SPIN are both established DJs in Raleigh with extensive club and wedding experience. They joined forces six years ago and founded SPIN. They are dedicated to further education through local event professional organizations, and Ryan has been a board member and speaker on behalf of this cause, both locally and nationally.
SPIN djs Raleigh featured on www.southernbrideandgroom.comPhoto: Brian Mullins Photography

SB&G: What is your company’s brand?

Ryan: SPIN’s mission is to make every event special by creating a fun inviting atmosphere to help make your occasion meaningful and memorable.

SB&G: What makes your company unique among the other NC wedding DJ companies?

Allen: We enjoy creating a custom and personalized music entertainment experience for each wedding. We feel that the biggest differentiation between most of the DJ’s in the market is their personality. To make sure each of our brides is matched with the right DJ, we actually use a digital personality matcher! Our couples love it.

Ryan: And beyond personality matching, we are both involved with event professional organizations locally and nationally, which has helps us approach events from a perspective of how to make the whole thing come together and run smoothly. We value entertainment, but also respect the event and understand that a wedding is all about the couple.

SB&G: How many DJs do you have?

Ryan: Locally, our wedding division includes myself, Allen, and one other DJ – Dave Cecil aka “DJ Spin.” We also have a fantastic DJ in Myrtle Beach who can do weddings in that area.

SB&G: How would you describe your style or ideal couple to work with?

Allen: I’m pretty easy-going so get along with lots of different people, but one common match for me is a couple that is chill to chat with, but appreciates the value of great professional help.

Ryan adds that Allen’s laid back nature makes him a great fit for more outgoing brides and couples looking for a rowdy dance party!

Ryan: My ideal bride knows exactly what she wants and her fiancé is involved and dedicated to the relationship. She is laid back – but only when people live up to her expectations and she has established trust. She has really eclectic yet refined taste. People often ask me if I get tired of all the typical wedding songs. And the answer is “No,” because most of my clients don’t ask me for those!

SB&G: Do you offer any other services?

Allen: We offer ceremony service, lighting, MC, video dj services, and our newest initiative is a band called “Infused,” that plays in conjunction with one of our DJs.
Raleigh wedding dj featured on www.southernbrideandgroom.comSB&G: Tell us more about the DJ-with-band!

Ryan: The way it works is the DJ is the front-man of the band and mixes like a normal DJ would. The band then creates a new style of mashup where the instruments can both compliment the song as well as go a different direction to make it new. All of this ties together by creating more energy for the DJ experience. We’re the first one to bring this trend to our area and it’s been a lot of fun. It’s a great solution if one person wants a band but the other wants less traditional wedding songs or an eclectic playlist that needs some extra effects.

SB&G: How far out do you book?

Ryan: In North Carolina, nine months out is safe, except in the peak wedding months. If wedding is in May, June, September, or October, for example, plan to book at least a year in advance.

Allen: We recommend contacting starting the conversation soon after you’ve got your date and venue set.

SB&G: What’s the best way to check out your style?

Allen: The best way is to meet with us! We can chat music while listening to some tracks together, and talking about versions of the songs. It’s also another opportunity for us to help customize your event if you have a vision of how you want the music presented.

SB&G: What’s the best compliment a past bride or groom has ever given you?

Allen: Without being prompted I have received a large number of “best day ever” compliments.

Ryan: I was really honored when one bride who had read my reviews say she would change her date if I wasn’t available.
Wedding music by SPINPhoto: Southern Love Studios

Bridal Beauty Tips from SB&G

Ladies, do not be ashamed to splurge on your wedding day looks. There will never be another day in your life in which you are more in the spotlight.

We’re sharing some of today’s most popular beauty treatments that will help you look your best on your wedding day.

Spray Tanning

Sunless tanning is healthy and quick. Avoid harmful UV rays and tacky tan lines by getting your sun-kissed hues hand-sprayed. It also makes sense for time management reasons.

“With spray tanning, in as little as 10 minutes busy brides are bronzed,” says Tiff Peck, owner of a mobile tanning operation called Tansformations. She offers single and monthly sessions, as well as bridal packages.

Lash Extensions

Semi-permanent eyelash extensions are one of the hottest trends in bridal beauty. They last several weeks and the look can range from subtle to dramatic.

Jennifer Buenviaje co-owns Makeup for Your Day, an on-site hair and makeup team with a local studio near Brier Creek. She notes that spending a little extra to have your expert stylist apply only one false or mink lash per individual natural lash “can make the difference between haphazard placement of glue that destroys your natural set, and a gorgeous set of Bambi-inspired flutterers.” For more info and advice, read Jen’s full blog post on the topic here.

Bella Trio Day Spa in South Durham offers a lash lift service, which curls your natural lashes for a period of 6-8 weeks, helping them look fuller and thicker.Wedding day makeup


The list of wedding events gets extensive and it’s often more time-consuming to style your own hair than to pop into a drybar for a shampoo and styling.

Mary Long, owner of 140 Salon & Blow Dry Bar near Duke East Campus in Durham, says that they can often even accommodate last minute appointments for rehearsal dinners and other events, “as we keep a large staff ready to assist with all bridal needs and every member of the party.” She adds they utilize reasonable flat-rate pricing for specialty blow-outs and up-dos.

Non-Surgical Face Refreshers

Enjoy facials and massage to relax leading up to the day, and to leave skin glowing. Look for our spa resources here. “Monthly facials or a series of peels for even just six months can really improve acne, fine lines, redness, dark spots and the overall quality of the skin,” shares Emily Richardson, general manager of Bella Trio Day Spa. “If brides wait until the last minute, a nice microderm facial can remove the top layer of dead skin and help achieve the bridal glow in just one treatment.”

For face wrinkles, particularly frown lines, Botox has become the most logical solution. Although long-term treatment does prevent wrinkle development, just one session will do the trick for relaxing existing lines and shadows.

“Botox begins to take effect within 48 hours, and results settle in over the course of ten days,” says Dr. Brian S. Coan of Care Plastic Surgery in Durham and Cary, NC. “Brides and mothers of brides all enjoy how Botox softens the fine lines and wrinkles for their big day. It’s a quick and virtually pain-free procedure that gives a rejuvenated, refreshed look – the biggest risk is that you’ll want to come back for another treatment!”
bridal beauty tips from www.southernbrideandgroom.comPhotos: Casey Rose Photography