In the world of weddings, there is a lot to be thankful for…
We’re thankful for the dedicated and professional wedding vendors with whom we have the pleasure of working. We’re thankful for the industry associations and community events that showcase wedding services in fun and creative ways. We’re thankful to be close to the finish line for the gorgeous 2016 issue of Southern Bride & Groom (keep an eye out next month!). We’re thankful for the team here at SB&G who work tirelessly to put together a product that is as informative as it is inspiring, and, of course, we’re thankful for all of you – the readers – brides-to-be and family who pick up our magazine, read our blog, follow us on social media and give us a reason to put our best foot forward year after year!
We recently did a fall team photo shoot with Katherine Miles Jones Photography outside the Full Frame Theater at American Tobacco Campus. This urban setting in downtown Durham is the perfect place for engagement or wedding photos. It is located just outside the popular wedding venue, Bay 7. You can rent out the theater’s marquee sign and have it customized with your name or a wedding message! For our shoot, we opted to have it labeled with “Team SB&G.”
SB&G is a family business headed up by Founder, Donna Parks, and her daughter, Jenna Parks Olender. This year, they welcomed a new generation into their family. Cecelia Lee Olender was born in August- Jenna’s first child with husband, Shawn – and Donna’s first grandchild. Baby Cece has already spent a good deal of time training to be the next member of Team SB&G, as she was born right in time for our production season and has spent many-a-day at SB&G headquarters. Donna and Jenna are grateful for this precious new addition to the family, and thankful to Team SB&G for embracing her into our office life!
To get to know more about the team behind Southern Bride & Groom, visit our “About Us” page.
From all of us here, we wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you to Makeup for Your Day for styling our hair & makeup, and to Katherine Miles Jones Photography for the beautiful photos!
The following is Part 1 of a guest post by Melinda McKee, founder of Memento & Muse, a custom gifting studio specializing in artisan wedding welcome gifts. Be sure to catch Part 2,”18 Ways to Thank Your Bridesmaids & Groomsmen,” brought to you next week by our friends at The Merrimon-Wynne House!
Special thanks to Videri Chocolate Factory for hosting the photo shoot, and to Lauren Jolly Photography for capturing these marvelous NC treats.
Do you want to honor your out-of-town wedding guests for the time and effort they’ve made to celebrate with you, but find yourself a bit mystified as to how to graciously welcome them?
If you’re hoping to go beyond the basic “water and map” welcome bag territory, and instead move toward thoughtful, useful, and meaningful welcome gifts your guests will really enjoy, here’s a simple six-ingredient recipe for curating welcome gifts that are sure to make your loved ones smile with genuine delight:
- Something sweet
- Something savory
- Something to sip
- A meaningful memento
- Welcome information
- Helpful little essentials (such as single-use packs of aspirin, travel tissues, etc.)
Here in North Carolina, we’re fortunate to have an abundance of artisans who can help raise the bar when it comes to wedding welcome gifts – as you’ll see below. Read on to learn how six “made-in-NC” small businesses can give your welcome gift recipe an extra special local flavor.
(Note: Other than samples for taste-testing, no compensation was received from the businesses featured in this post. All the items and companies mentioned here were intentionally curated by Memento & Muse for their exceptional quality, welcome gift suitability, and North Carolina origin.)
Something Sweet (#1)
Videri Chocolate Factory | Raleigh
Next time you’re in downtown Raleigh, head to the Warehouse District to check out Videri Chocolate Factory’s airy sunlit space. Home to heavenly sweet treats wrapped in sophisticated packaging, Videri chocolates come in four main flavors, and in two sizes perfect for weddings: a full size box (containing two individually wrapped bars), and favor-sized tiles.
Gifting Tip: If you’re going for the broadest appeal flavor-wise, consider Videri’s “dark milk” chocolate. With a cocoa content of about 50%, this flavor can be enjoyed by wedding guests who prefer the sweetness of milk chocolate, but it also has just enough of that raw cocoa complexity to equally satisfy dark chocolate lovers.
Something Sweet (#2)
Southern Sugar Bakery | Raleigh
If you’re not sure what a cookie artist is, just check out Southern Sugar Bakery’s Instagram feed. Owners Angie Tucker & Christin Kubasko have styled up their sugar cookies to look like everything from Tiffany boxes and debutante gowns to pink piglets and Mason jars.
It’s evident that just about no design is beyond their artistic reach, so feel free to get creative! They even take custom orders. And be sure to plan ahead, as these ladies’ sugary skills are in demand.
Gifting Tip: In addition to standard matrimonial designs (wedding dresses, tuxes, rings, wedding cakes, etc.), consider highlighting your and your partner’s interests and hobbies, or locations and symbols that make up your love story.
Chad’s Carolina Corn | Greensboro
A word to the wise: Chad’s Carolina Corn is utterly addictive. Never before have I [Melinda] been a fan of pre-popped popcorn, but Chad has turned me into a believer. This Greensboro-based family business boasts a wide variety of flavors sure to accommodate most every palette, and their treats come in two sizes of resealable bags perfect for wedding guests traveling away from home. (Though this scrumptious popcorn may not stick around long enough to need resealing!)
Gifting Tip: When including gourmet items in hotel welcome gifts, it’s generally best to choose flavors that aren’t too “out there,” so that the majority of your guests can enjoy them. At Memento & Muse, we especially love Chad’s Carolina Corn in White Cheddar, Kettle, Dark Chocolate, and the aptly named Carolina Mix (a deliciously sweet-and-savory blend of their White Cheddar and Caramel Corn).
Something to Sip
Buck O’Hairen’s Legendary Sunshine | Winston-Salem
Bottled water is, of course, a standard item in wedding welcome gifts. But if you want to intrigue your guests with an extra special pick-me-up, try Buck O’Hairen’s Legendary Sunshine, a bubbly beverage full of electrolytes and vitamin B12.
Ideal for guests wanting an energy boost for the after party (or perhaps to help them get out of bed the next morning), think of Sunshine as a less-intense, better-tasting Red Bull without all the scary additives: this non-jittery energy drink has no trace of high fructose corn syrup, gluten, or artificial colors/flavors.
Gifting Tip: Unless you believe that two out-of-town guests are simply sharing a hotel room and are not together as a couple (in which case etiquette dictates that they each receive their own welcome gift), the common practice is to include one gift per hotel room. However, if your hotel allows you to distribute different-version gifts to different rooms, help out your couples and families by adding extra consumables (food and drink items) to the welcome gifts assigned to their rooms. (Can’t do different versions? At the very least, don’t skimp on the drinks. Including two beverages in every welcome gift is a good rule of thumb.)
A Meaningful Memento + Welcome Information
“Mountains to Sea” Print by This Paper Ship | Saxapahaw
Welcome Booklet by One & Only Paper | Cary
Since your out-of-town wedding guests are in travel mode, it’s best not to burden them down with heavy or large items that they’re expected to somehow bring home with them, which is why consumable gourmet items and beverages should make up the majority of your welcome gift collection.
Still, your wedding is an intensely personal, joyous occasion, and including a small memento connected to you, your love story, and/or the wedding location can spark a fond smile of remembrance among your guests long after you’ve walked down the aisle. Keepsake paper goods like these North Carolina map prints from This Paper Ship can even offer an extra personal touch, if you’d like to leave a sweet handwritten note to your guests on the back.
And as anyone who’s attended (much less planned!) a wedding surely knows, there are usually a lot of moving parts. Make your guests’ stay as uncomplicated as possible by providing all the event information they need in one document, from times and locations to transportation and parking details.
Want to go the extra mile? Take a page (or several) out of the above welcome booklet by North Carolina stationers One & Only, by including recommendations for your favorite local restaurants and watering holes, shopping destinations, and notable sights to see.
Gifting Tip: When choosing a memento, thoughtfully consider what will make a heartfelt connection or memory between your guests and your story. (Those plastic sunglasses for a beach wedding might seem cute at the time, but how meaningful will they be to your guests even just a few days later?) Also, be mindful of your guests’ traveling limitations, and try to ensure your welcome memento has at least one of the following characteristics (if not more): lightweight, flat, flexible, and/or compact.
Sound like a lot to consider? As with most aspects of event planning, the sooner you start curating your welcome gift designs, the less you’ll find yourself settling or scrambling down the road. Plus, don’t forget that there are professionals like Memento & Muse who can help turn the gift-giving process into a breeze, freeing you to enjoy the rest of your wedding journey with confidence.
Don’t forget to stay tuned next week for Part 2, “18 Ways to Thank Your Bridesmaids & Groomsmen,” brought to you by our friends at The Merrimon-Wynne House!
It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re excited to share Jason and Brooke’s rustic beach-themed wedding at Ocean Isle shot by talented Raleigh wedding photographer, Jamie Blow, whom the bride found in SB&G!
Jason and Brooke met while attending the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. They clicked first as friends and didn’t start dating until seven months later…after they had already met each others families. At least the pressure of family introductions was taken care of!
On an early morning after a boisterous UNC-USC game, Jason and Brooke made the drive to Ocean Isle beach and arrived at 4 a.m. Jason had already prepared for this day, asking her family for permission, making sure Brooke’s nails were painted, and having someone there to capture the special moment, but still, he was nervous the entire time because he wanted everything to be perfect.
As the day progressed, all of Brooke’s family and friends were relaxing on the beach. It was a little after lunch when Jason asked Brooke to join him on a walk to the pier, but he had to stall her to get the timing perfect. When they finally started walking back, he turned to Brooke, gave her a hug, grabbed her hands and told her to look up. In the sky was a plane with the words “Brooke, I love you, Will you marry me? -Jason.” When Brooke looked back down, Jason was on one knee. When she said “Yes!” she looked up to all of her family and friends on the pier shouting and cheering.
Jason and Brooke spent a lot of time at Ocean Isle Beach, and with it being the place of their engagement, it seemed the perfect place to say their vows. They choose their venue by picking a beach house with access to the ocean that could accommodate a lot of people.
The wedding colors were classic and neutral, focusing on browns, tans, creams, and whites and the decor had a rustic beach feel. The bridesmaids dresses were all different shades and chosen from paint swabs shared by the bride. The flowers were simple bouquets from the Farmers Market.
Brooke’s favorite wedding moment, other than walking down the aisle, was when her cousin played an audio tape of her grandparents who were not able to make it to the beach. The audio was unexpected and a very touching and personal moment for her since they played such a major role in Brooke’s life.
Jamie Blow captured the beauty of the beach and closeness of the couple and their friends and family as they celebrated a beautiful early fall wedding on the coast of North Carolina.
CEREMONY & RECEPTION Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina | PHOTOGRAPHY Jaime Blow Photography | CATERER Art Catering | MINISTER Scott Newton | BRIDAL GOWN Allure, Lasting Impressions | HAIR Backstage Salon | CAKE Seaside Bakery | INVITATIONS Go Print Cards | MUSIC Shoresound Productions LLC | RENTALS Event Works Rental and Art Catering | WEDDING FAVORS Personalized koozies from Etsy
It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re excited to share Beth and George’s vintage chic wedding at The Sutherland in Wake Forest, captured by one of Raleigh’s top wedding photographers, Dara Blakeley Photography.
Beth had been living in NC with her aunt and uncle and working as a school teacher while George was working from home. Since neither had ample opportunity to get out and meet people, they joined Match.com and it wasn’t long before Beth noticed his profile and chose to have their first date at the Milltown in Carrboro.
One evening, George took Beth to one of her favorite restaurants and the place where they first fell in love – Acme restaurant in Carrboro. He hired a photographer to capture the special moment and even secretly packed Beth’s makeup bag knowing she would die if her makeup was running in public! They shared a celebratory bottle of champagne and then went to see the Broadway show Beauty and the Beast. It was an all-around magical evening.
With help from SB&G’s venue guide, Beth and George found The Sutherland – the perfect place for a vintage chic Southern wedding! Beth is from NJ and George from PA, but the met and fell in love in NC. They wanted to share some of that Southern charm with their guests who flew in from many different states.
Beth spent a lot of hours perusing Pinterest boards to get the exact look she was trying to capture: an outdoor wedding with a vintage feel. She rented vintage items from Themeworks and bought other items from Etsy, local antique shops and Pottery Barn. Blush and white flowers and a classic buttercream cake with roses added to the elegant look.
Beth’s dad is her best friend and she knew there were two things she wanted to remember forever: his reaction to seeing her in my dress and their choreographed fast dance. They had a blast breaking it down on the patio!
At the end of the night, the couple was whisked away in an old-fashioned Excalibur and treated like royalty at The Umstead Hotel and Spa, enjoying a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. After the party, it was a nice treat to walk the trails and enjoy the calming atmosphere as husband and wife.
Not only did Dara Blakeley Photography capture stunning images of the bride and groom, but she also portrayed every vintage-inspired detail of this gorgeous wedding in the images below.
SB&G PREFERRED VENDOR TESTIMONIALS
“The Sutherland exceeded our expectations. Getting ready in the bride and groom quarters was breathtaking,” says the bride. “We had both the ceremony and reception outside at The Sutherland and Ashlee covered it all! She ensured our guests were comfortable and that I was calm. She took care of everything.”
“Dara is the most soothing person you want at your wedding,” shares Beth. “She was able to make me laugh when I was nervous; she just has a special charm about her. I didn’t meet her prior to the wedding, but when I did, it was like I had known her for years. She was so fun! Kathy works with Dara and she is the perfect partner to this dynamic duo.”Caterer
“Of course, we did our homework before picking a caterer. Donovan’s Dish bends over backwards for their clients. Most caterers have group tastings, but they decided to do a private tasting. Everything was delicious. They also set themselves apart at the unveiling of the pavilion at The Sutherland, serving some of their famous shrimp and grits and guests loved the pasta station. While we didn’t get to eat much of our dinner at our wedding, Donavan’s ensured that we had a meal to enjoy in our getaway bag. They also heard that I was donating my flowers to the Ronald McDonald House and helped pack our leftovers for us to donate,” Beth noted.
“Edible Art Bakery let us come in for more than one tasting to ensure that we were set on the flavors of our cupcakes and cake. Their cupcakes are huge! We had ordered a little extra and ended up passing them out to family and friends, along with neighbors the next day. Our cake had one tier of almond and the other lemon and both flavors were to die for!” the bride says.
VENUE & PLANNING The Sutherland | PHOTOGRAPHY Dara Blakeley Photography | CATERER Donovan’s Dish | REHEARSAL DINNER Over The Falls in Wake Forest | BRIDESMAID LUNCHEON Sergio’s Pizza | GOWN Pronovias from I Do I Do in New Jersey | SHOES Blue by Betsey Johnson | JEWELRY Nadri from Nordstroms | WEDDING RINGS Diamonds Direct | BRIDESMAID DRESSES Jenny Yoo | GROOMSMEN GIFTS Oakley sunglasses | HAIR Manhattan Hair and Nail in NJ | PERFUME Versace Bright Crystal perfume | | MINISTER Michael Mullins | CEREMONY MUSIC Save The Date (cello and violin duo) | RECEPTION MUSIC Brian Pate Entertainment | CAKE Edible Art Bakery | FLORIST Embellished Blooms | VIDEOGRAPHER Wrinkled Blanket | PARTY RENTALS CE Rentals and Themeworks | VINTAGE DÉCOR Esty.com | INVITATIONS Winkflash & American Wedding | FAVORS Sweet Water Italian Ice | TRANSPORTATION Classy Transportation | BRIDE & GROOM ACCOMMODATIONS The Umstead Hotel & Spa
Food plays a major role in your wedding day, which is why we feature some of the area’s top caterers in our magazine each year. We invite you to get to know a little more about SB&G’s preferred caterers in our special blog spotlight series.
This week, we’re showcasing elegant dishes with homegrown fixings from Raleigh caterer The Garden on Millbrook. This caterer is home to a talented, experienced team providing fine catering services to venues throughout the region for over 25 years – they also have their own beautiful event space which they can cater onsite.
Wedding planners Marc Dabagian and Adelaide Stallings offer personalized service and Chef Gordon Gray brings his love of cooking to your table whenever you choose or at their own premier venue. This 5,000 square foot ballroom has the look of a large Southern manor with a chic, modern interior and beautiful garden grounds.
The dishes below were featured in our 2015 magazine and captured by Neil Boyd Photography.
Above: Seared salmon with black peppercorn crust over braised baby kale, fresh cut green beans and sautéed sweet red peppers, carrots and grilled corn.
Above: Fried green tomato with pimento cheese and roasted pepper topped with a chiffonade of red leaf lettuce.
Above: Stuffed flank pinwheel with grilled hominy cakes and red wine Burgundy beef demi-sauce topped with string fries and asparagus.
Photos: Neil Boyd Photography
Whether you’re looking to add some last-minute details to your fall wedding or planning for an event next year, consider incorporating these trendy fall ideas and details shared by The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, which hosts hundreds of beautiful weddings each season.
Feather Bouquets and Boutonnieres
Not only is this a hot fall trend for bouquets and boutonnieres, it’s also a great idea for centerpieces! Feathers are completely affordable, can be done months in advance, and add a certain flair to all fall wedding décor.
Naked Wedding Cakes
Love it or hate it, the naked look is in. These very simple cakes are considered to be the hot thing these days. If you love a lot of frosting, perhaps these minimal cakes aren’t the way to go, but for now, they’re here to stay.
Photo: Crystal Stokes Photography
Better Off Wed
This website and all of its gold and swirly goodness very popular with the modern day bride. Whether you’re looking for a unique cake topper or divine table numbers, these swirly gold letters look beautiful in any setting and in photos too!
Photos: Better Off Wed (left) Tina-Albin-Lax (right)
Vow to be Chic
Most of us have 10-15 bridesmaid dresses that we have had to purchase for weddings over the years…and no matter how many times the brides says that she picked the dress so that we could wear it again…we all know that’s not usually the case.
Vow to be Chic has gotten on the bandwagon of the already successful Rent the Runway corporation and offers bridemaids rental dresses: Rent it, wear it, and return it for a fraction of the cost of a full dress purchase.
Photo: Dara Blakeley Photography
The top fall wedding colors…marsala and champagne gold…and let’s not forget about the sequins! Sequins are all in this fall – not only do they glam up your wedding reception design, they also add tons of interesting texture and shine.
Photos: Elisa Bricker via 100 Layer Cake
Brides really want their friends and family to feel as though they are having a restaurant quality dining experience at their wedding (even if there is 200 guests). Individual cheese boards, duet plates, intermezzos, etc…these three- and four-course meals with carefully chosen wines and spirits are all the rage right now. Gone are the days of the invite card where you just pick beef or fish.
Courtesy of The Carolina Inn