Stunning Red, Black and White Ballroom Reception at Prestonwood Country Club

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re excited to share Raven and Cozell’s stunning red, black and white ballroom reception at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, NC, captured by skillful photographer Dajuan Jones of In His Image Photography.

Raven and Cozell grew up together; they attended the same church and knew each other’s friends and family. Little did they know, years later, they would end up getting hitched! It wasn’t until they were in college, after a chance encounter in downtown Raleigh, that they began to communicate more often and eventually started dating.

Cozell “put a ring on it” before taking Raven to see her favorite performer, Beyoncé, in concert. He had surprised Raven with tickets to the Charlotte show on her birthday, then, on the morning of the concert, he surprised her even more with a beautiful engagement ring!

Raven and Cozell chose their favorite colors—red, black and white—as their wedding colors, perfect for an early autumn wedding at the grand and elegant Prestonwood Country Club. Fresh Affairs created show-stopping bouquets and large centerpieces using bright red roses. The bride and groom personalized the event with a hashtag that combined both of their nicknames.

Raven’s advice to brides-to-be is try to relax. “The smallest details may not go perfect, but it’s about the new union with your spouse, and for that, the day will be nothing short of amazing!” she says. With the help of Adams & Events, this Raleigh couple enjoyed being able to sit back and enjoy all the little moments of their special day.

Raven’s favorite moment was when they first opened the doors of the church as her father walked her down the aisle and she set eyes on her soon-to-be husband surrounded by their family and closest friends. The love and togetherness of this couple and their guests is evident in the photos below, captured by In His Image Photography.Monogrammed wedding programsMakeup and hair for Raleigh brideGold wedding bands and ringsNorth Carolina bridesmaids pray before weddingIn His Image Raleigh wedding photographyWedding selfiesChurch wedding in Raleigh, NCRaleigh Church of Christ wedding ceremonyMonogrammed projection at ballroom receptionCustomized bride and groom wedding cake topperRed, white and black wedding colorsFall wedding at Prestonwood Country ClubWhite wedding cake with red rosesReception at Prestonwood Country Club in CaryRaleigh wedding photographerFirst dance at the Prestonwood Country Club


“Tracy Adams of Adams & Events was superb! She knew all the right people and venues. We couldn’t have asked for a more professional, yet personable planner,” Raven remarks.

“Prestonwood made my dream reception come true!” says Raven. “From the cocktail hour to the grand staircase, this was a celebration we’ll never forget!”North Carolina wedding venuePhotographer
“In His Image Photography was recommended by our wedding planner. Dajuan definitely has the magic touch – he made all our pictures ones to remember and we were so impressed by his keen eye for detail,” Raven shares.

Raleigh North Carolina Bride and GroomFlorist
“Fresh Affairs created the most beautiful flowers we have ever seen!” says Raven. “The flowers definitely made the reception feel complete! Truly the perfect blend of beauty and class.”

Prestonwood Country Club in Cary NCCEREMONY LOCATION Raleigh Church of Christ | RECEPTION & CATERING Prestonwood Country Club | PLANNER Adams & Events | PHOTOGRAPHER In His Image Photography | MINISTER Pastor John J. Wilkins, Jr. | BRIDAL GOWN Monique Lhuillier from Alexia’s Bridal | BRIDAL SHOES Jimmy Choo | BRIDAL JEWELRY Nordstrom | BRIDESMAID JEWELRY Kate Spade | BRIDESMAID DRESSES Savvi Formalwear | MOB DRESS Neiman Marcus | GROOMSMEN GIFTS Robert Jamison Collection bow ties | HAIR Shawana Thorne, Master Stylist | MAKEUP Jamie Surgeon | FLORIST Fresh Affairs | VIDEOGRAPHER Island Sound | INVITATIONS Cute Buttons | CEREMONY MUSIC Phillip Langston, Sam Harmonix | RECEPTION MUSIC 360 Elite

Bargain Photo Booths May be a Bad Deal

Photo booths are more than just fun and entertainment at weddings – they are also a great way to capture unforgettable moments from your guests and provide them with a personalized keepsake from your special day!

Just like every other element of your wedding, renting a photo booth is something that needs to be budgeted. With so many rental companies out there, it’s hard to know what’s best, but it’s important to remember, you get what you pay for. Bargain photo booths may be a bad deal; here are some reasons you shouldn’t compromise on cost when it comes to photo booths for your wedding.

Raleigh bride sharing photo booth pictures on social mediaPhoto courtesy of TapSnap

Quality matters
If you have been to multiple weddings with photo booths, chances are you’ve noticed there is a drastic difference in the quality of pictures from different photo booth vendors. Some are bright and clear, and others go right in the trash. The whole point is to have photos that you and your guests want to keep for years, so finding a photo booth that uses top-of-the-line capture and print equipment is essential. If possible, you may want to request to see actual sample photos so you can really see the difference before you commit.

Level of service
Make sure the photo booth company you plan to use is legitimate. Technically, anyone can buy the equipment necessary to run a photo booth, but do they have a license for business? Do they have backup equipment? How do they save/backup the files? Were you given a contract? Do they have reviews online? Make sure that you hire a reputable company.

Neal Zipser, who manages Shutterbooth in NC, shared that he recently received a call from a bride who said to him, ‘you were right,’ referring to a conversation they had about getting what you pay for. This bride had decided to go with a photo booth company that was a couple hundred dollars less than ShutterBooth. “I simply couldn’t match the price she was given by this other company. When her wedding day came, she was told that the photo booth would not be at her wedding reception because this other company overbooked the date,” said Neal. Unfortunately, this story is all too common from brides who opt for special deals or an unofficial photo booth company.

Bride and groom use Shutterbooth at weddingPhoto courtesy of Shutterbooth

You get what you pay for
Starting cost for a rental for weddings with Shutterbooth start at $595 for weekdays and $795 for Saturdays. Online sources indicate many brides spend an average of about $1,000 on a complete photo booth package.

Regardless of who you choose, you will want to ask what is included in your package, such as the entire time for which the booth will be up and running, what props or screen options are available (such as personalization), and make sure you get a copy of the photos as your own souvenir.

Photo booths have almost become a standard at weddings. If you’re going to invest in a photo booth, make sure it’s one that you can really rely on.

SB&G Preferred Photo Booth Vendors
Companies like Shutterbooth and TapSnap are part of SB&G’s preferred list of vendors because they have a trusted reputation and a quality product.Shutterbooth photo booth with propsPhoto of Shutterbooth by Amanda Olson Photography

Shutterbooth offers private and open-air options that comfortably accommodate up to 15 people. It also gives couples the option to add a video component to their traditional booth for guest to record customized messages. There is even the option to create a music video. With creative green screen options and backdrops, there are plenty of possibilities. Green screens superimpose images behind guests, so they can “appear” anywhere from a tropical island to a famous historical site. After the event, keepsake options range from anything from traditional photo strips to magnet sleeves to oversized canvas wraps.

Open air photo booth from TapSnapPhoto courtesy of TapSnap

TapSnap is an open-air photo booth, which can accommodate up to 35 people. It uses a high quality Canon DSLR camera and a high quality dye sublimation printer to provide high quality photos (no cheap web cams or ink jet printers). It uses green screen technology to allow the backgrounds of the photos to be customized to any theme imaginable, with an interactive 42″ touchscreen where people can add customized digital props to fit the theme of the wedding. Photos can instantly be emailed or shared on Facebook or Twitter using two hashtags. High quality, unlimited 4×6, 5×7, or 6×9 prints are provided, along with a flash drive with all the photos for the bride and groom at the end of the event.

Sweet Southern Summer Wedding at the Carolina Country Club

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today, we’re thrilled to share high school sweethearts’, Colin and Elizabeth’s, Southern summer wedding at the Carolina Country Club in Raleigh, captured by Renee Sprink Photography.

Colin and Elizabeth’s story began at age 15, when the two met as summer camp counselors in Oxford, NC. They shared an instant connection, and even though they wouldn’t admit it for years, they were crushing on each other big time!

During high school, they became close friends and the two left Raleigh for college in 2007, both heading to the University of South Carolina in Columbia. While in college, their friendship continued to grow and they (finally) starting dating.

During a trip to Atlantic Beach, Colin took Elizabeth to their favorite dinner spot in Beaufort. While taking a stroll on the river walk, he stopped, got on one knee, and asked Elizabeth if she would be his wife.

As you can see by the intimate and adorable photographs captured by talented NC photographer, Renee Sprink, their wedding had a classic yet modern Southern summer feel, from the soft pastel colors of the dresses and the flowers to the lush green backdrop and elegant ballroom at the Carolina Country Club.

Elizabeth carefully selected each piece of wedding jewelry she wore on her wedding day, including a pearl necklace her husband gave her while they were dating, a sapphire ring that belonged to her grandmother as her “something blue,” and a pearl bracelet her other grandmother gave her, which was made from a pearl necklace she had growing up. Elizabeth’s pearl earrings were the “something new,” and underneath her gown, over her heart, she had her sorority badge/pin from Phi Mu. Many years worth of moments and memories culminated in a beautiful wedding day for Colin and Elizabeth!
Kate Spade pearl bridal jewelryLilly Pultizer gold wedding shoesLight pink wedding dressGrooms watchBrooks Brothers Cuff LinksRenee Sprink wedding photographyPink wedding bouquetGreen and pink wedding colorsSouthern wedding bowtie and boutonniereRaleigh bride and groom first lookSummer wedding at the Carolina Country ClubDiamond wedding ringRaleigh NC Bride and GroomGold wedding shoesCarolina Country Club weddingpink and white wedding flowersChapel ceremony at church in North CarolinaSouthern bridesmaids and groomsmenPastel wedding paletteRaleigh NC groomsmenSummer wedding at Carolina Country Club RaleighMr. and Mrs. DIY chair signsPink floral centerpieces at Raleigh weddingRaleigh indoor ballroom receptionWedding reception at the Carolina Country ClubReception at Carolina Country ClubPersonalized wedding kooziesIndoor Southern wedding in North CarolinaRaleigh bride and groom cut the cakeRaleigh wedding venue Carolina Country ClubFlower petal exitFlower petal exit for southern weddingSB&G PREFERRED VENDOR TESTIMONIALS

“Renee Sprink was AMAZING!” Elizabeth remarks. “She didn’t just take our photos; she was with me through any part of the wedding I asked her to be. I felt like she really got to know Colin and I as a couple. I can’t wait to use her in the future!”Wedding photography by Renee SprnkInvitations
“Everyone at Paperbuzz was great! They did everything from the thank you notes to the save the dates to the wedding invitation and made everything similar, but different enough to stand out. I use them for everything!” Elizabeth shares.

“Second Empire was especially special for me as a luncheon location; it is one of the oldest houses in Raleigh and was built by my great-great grandfather,” shares Elizabeth. “The food was fantastic; there was something for everyone and the staff was very helpful.”

Wedding Cake
“Our cake was so good! We had a mimosa layer and a strawberry layer. It was light and perfect for an afternoon summer wedding,” says Elizabeth. “We had a personalized ‘dougram’ done instead of using our monogram. It was on the cake, ceremony program, and koozies. I love monograms, but the ‘dougram’ made our wedding different and personal. We plan on using it in our home!”White wedding caake and pink flowersCEREMONY VENUE Hayes Barton United Methodist Church | RECEPTION & CATERING Carolina Country Club | MINISTER Rick Clatyon | REHEARSAL DINNER Caffe Luna | WEDDING PLANNER Brenda Whitley | PHOTOGRAPHER Renee Sprink Photography | BRIDESMAID LUNCHEON Second Empire | BRIDAL GOWN Traditions by Anna | SHOES Lilly Pultizer | BRIDESMAID JEWELRY Pearl & diamond earrings from Kate Spade | BRIDESMAID DRESSES J. Crew | MOB DRESS Nordstrom | GROOMSMEN GIFTS Bow Tie and Cummerbund from High Cotton | FLORIST Kelly Odom Flowers | CAKE Sugarland | INVITATIONS Paperbuzz | CEREMONEY MUSIC David Witt | RECEPTION MUSIC Joe Bunn DJ Company | WEDDING FAVORS Personalized koozies.

Amsale Bridesmaids Dresses from Bella Bridesmaids

SB&G’s 2015 editorial fashion shoot was photographed by Dara Blakeley Photography at the beautifully restored Merrimon-Wynne House in downtown Raleigh. Stunning looks from our bridal boutiques paired perfectly with the building’s historic charm. Today, we’re showcasing Amsale bridesmaids dresses available at Bella Bridesmaids Raleigh.

Bella Bridesmaids has the largest collection of bridesmaid dresses from the world’s leading designers in its showrooms. With hundreds of dresses to choose from, your personal Bella stylist is ready for anything. Bella Bridesmaids recognizes that every bride has her own vision and each bridesmaid is unique. Bella Bridesmaids Raleigh offers personal attention to help you find the right dress for your girls and your day. The shop also hosts regular trunk shows!Amsale mint chiffon bridesmaid dresses at Merrimon WynneAmsale bridesmaids dresses in crinkle chiffon are available in dreamy colors like mint from Bella Bridesmaids. This elegant look is complete with simple gold necklaces and pearl earrings from Anfesa’s Jewelers. Simple, yet stunning makeup and hair design from Makeup for Your Day (strapless dress) and Bella Trio Day Spa (halter dress) complete the look.Amsale blush bridesmaid dressesAmsale bridesmaid dresses at The Merrimon Wynne HouseThe beautiful blush bridesmaid dresses from Bella Bridesmaids (pictured above) are also available in sorbet and jewel colors. The blonde bridesmaid is wearing Amsale and the redhead is fitted with a flowing dress by Joanna August. Their romantic look was created by Bella Trio Day Spa and Makeup for Your Day, with complimentary jewelry provided by Wade Designs Jewelry.

BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES Amsale from Bella Bridesmaids | VENUE The Merrimon-Wynne House | PHOTOGRAPHY Dara Blakeley Photography | HAIR & MAKEUP Bella Trio Day Spa and Makeup for Your Day | JEWELRY Anfesa’s Jewelers and Wade Designs Jewelry

How to have a Safe Sparkler Exit at Your Wedding

Everyone wants a grand and gorgeous exit to their wedding, and sparklers are becoming increasingly popular. We all adore the magical glow sparkler exits create in wedding photos! There are, however, some very important lessons to keep in mind, as one of SB&G’s preferred photographers found out the hard way. Below, we share NC photographer Brian Mullins‘ tale of caution, and provide useful tips about how to have a safe sparkler exit at your wedding.

In April 2014, Brian Mullins was severely burned by sparklers while shooting a wedding and it almost cost him his career as a photographer.

Raleigh wedding sparkler exit

At this particular wedding there wasn’t an event planner, so at the close of the reception, the DJ ushered guests outside for a sparkler exit and Brian took a handful of sparklers to help hand them out to guests.

As he was in the process of making sure the lines were far enough apart and handing out sparklers, the bride and groom appeared in the doorway ready to walk and sparklers started to be lit. Brian can’t recall if someone else lit the sparklers or if he did, but he does remember a bright hot flash and searing pain in his hand. The sparklers had been lit and burned down all the way through to where he held them.

In a state of shock, but with his adrenaline flowing, he moved forward with shooting the exit, but his fingers wouldn’t bend. He shot a quick 30 frames with his pinky finger before running to the closest bathroom to put his charred hand under cold water.Brian Mullins Raleigh wedding photography

In the pictures, the sparklers are burning with a blue/purple color and put off a ton of smoke—like a blowtorch. They aren’t the pretty yellow “wedding sparklers” you often see in photographs. Different kinds of sparklers burn in a different ways.

Brian’s business partner Jenn had already sworn off sparklers when a drunk guest touched her braid with a sparkler a few months and burned off about 10 inches of her hair.

Brian was shuffled to multiple emergency rooms while in shock from the pain then sent via ambulance to the UNC burn center because his hand had suffered second and third degree burns and had severe skin and tendon damage. Treating his injury required a complicated litany of bandages, creams and wrapping that took about 20 minutes each day and evening, not to mention occupational therapy. It was five weeks before Brian could actually use his hand for typing, eating or writing. After about six weeks, he could hold a camera for about two hours a day before his hand was too weak. Regardless, he knows he is lucky not to have permanent damage from the accident.

After the incident, Brian researched sparklers and their chemical makeup. “Honestly, I was shocked with what I found…magnesium can burn at temperatures of 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit or more (although the sparklers we had are said to burn around 2,000f) and sparklers comprise the largest segment of fireworks-related accidents in the U.S.” he shares.

No one wants people to get hurt at their wedding – it’s supposed to be a joyous day with nothing but happy memories. To make sure that’s the case, be responsible and plan ahead. Here are some tips.Sparkler exit in NC

Five Tips for a Smooth Sparkler Exit

1. Ensure you have the right kind of wedding sparklers, not the shorter “4th of July” sticks. Wedding sparklers are typically 20 or 36 inches long. Even if you can find less expensive sparklers elsewhere, or think you want a different color glow, stick to what is safest and recommended by the venue, planner or photographer.

2. Have a wedding planner or a responsible team in charge of handing out and lighting the sparklers so no one is stuck with too many in hand at once or with a dangerous lighter.

3. Be sure you have enough space. If sparklers are allowed at your venue, check to see where the most spacious exit path is. Even if you’re getting married in a backyard, make sure there will be enough room so guests are not crammed together and the bride and groom’s path is wide enough.

4. It never hurts to have an emergency kit on hand. A small kit with Neosporin, Band-Aids, gauze, etc. could be given to your planner or venue coordinator just in case. Another safety tip is to have a couple buckets or containers with sand in the bottom for guests to bury their burned sparkler in or to put one out.

5. You know your guests best. If you have an open bar and a lot of “party people,” maybe a sparkler exit isn’t the best idea…consider alternatives like flower petals, bubbles, or pom poms!

To read Brian’s full article, click here.

Photos by Brian Mullins Photography

Valentine’s Day Wedding at The Grand Marquise Ballroom

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today, we’re excited to share Rebecca and John’s glamourous Valentine’s Day wedding at the Grand Marquise Ballroom, in Garner, NC, captured by one of Raleigh’s top wedding photographers, Neil Boyd Photography.

Rebecca and John met through an online dating Website six years ago. Their first phone conversation lasted three hours, after which they knew they had to meet in person! Their first date was at the North Hills Shopping Center where they enjoyed a casual meal at Fox and Hound Bar and Grill followed by a date at the movies.

Fast forward five years; John and Rebecca were celebrating their anniversary in Washington, D.C. and John knew it would be the perfect time to propose! He wanted to find a spot Rebecca hadn’t been to before and knew Hillwood Estate, Museum & Garden would make the perfect proposal location. After touring the gardens for a little more than half an hour, they arrived at the spot where John planned to pop the question – a little curved Japanese bridge, crossing over a small stream. There were lots of tears of joy when John asked Rebecca to marry him that day! They enjoyed a beautiful post-proposal picnic in the gardens with a glass of wine as they called each family to share the good news!

When it came time for the wedding planning, Mike Morse, owner of Morse Entertainment, and Lindsay Morse, owner Made-Up Special Events by Lindsay Morse and coordinator for Forever Bridal, recommended the Grand Marquise Ballroom. John had originally seen pictures of the Grand Marquise on SB&G. When he went to look at the venue in person, he knew instantly that it would be perfect for their Valentine’s Day wedding!

The theme was modern glam with a winter feel. Flowers from Fresh Affairs and rentals from Party Reflections helped create the look. Photographer Neil Boyd captured every stunning detail of the evening and was one of the bride and groom’s top rated vendors.

The newlyweds now both reside in the Triangle. Rebecca, who has a real passion for helping others and making a positive impact in the community, works as a senior community engagement officer for Coastal Federal Credit Union and is involved in various Triangle non-profits as she works to finish her MBA in finance at Devry University. John works for Cary Reconstruction Company, LLC and enjoys traveling, going to shows, and catching up on favorite television series with Rebecca.

Take a look at their stunning winter wedding in the photos below!

Glamourous winter wedding flowers and table settingPersonalized wedding favorsWhite hydrangea bridal bouquetTriangle wedding at the Grand Marquise BallroomSimple white hydrangea bouquetsValentines Day wedding at the Grand Marquise in North CarolinaWinter wedding candles and decorNorth Carolina bride at the Grand Marquise BallroomElegant wedding cakeItalian Ice at North Carolina weddingMonogrammed wedding details at The Grand Marquis BallroomWedding reception venue near Raleigh, NCWine bottle wedding favorsSB&G PREFERRED VENDOR TESTIMONIALS

“Meredith at The Grand Marquise Ballroom was absolutely amazing and helpful every step of the way!” says John. “I have now gained a good friend in Meredith from choosing such an amazing venue.”

“Lyn Grave from Fresh Affairs really helped transform the room and captured exactly what I had imagined a modern glam wedding with a wintery feel would look like,” shares John.Winter wedding near Raleigh NCWEDDING CONSULTANT Sarah Shumay, Sweet Sarabell | REHERSAL DINNER Caffe Luna | CEREMONY & RECEPTION The Grand Marquise Ballroom | CATERER Unforgettable Food Affairs | PHOTOGRAPHER Neil Boyd Photography | VIDEOGRAPHER Twenty-One Films | RENTALS Party Reflections | BRIDAL GOWN & BRIDESMAIDS Maggi Bridal | FORMALWEAR Men’s Wearhouse | FLORIST Fresh Affairs | CAKE Cinda’s Creative Cakes | INVITATIONS The Green Kangaroo | CEREMONY MUSIC Udeshi Hargett | RECEPTION MUSIC Morse Entertainment and DJ Rang | TRANSPORTATION Raleigh Dream Events & Limousines | HAIR & MAKEUP Lindsey Morse | JEWELRY Anfesa’s Jewelers and Swarovski | WEDDING FAVORS Event Espresso, SweetWater Ices (Italian Ice), Cherished Creations (Koozies), and Total Wine