Pink & Gold Hand-Painted Wedding Cake from Edible Art Bakery

Some folks call the cake the centerpiece of their reception, which is why we reserve a special spotlight in our magazine each year to show off these edible masterpieces! Southern Bride & Groom’s 2015 cake shoot took place at American Tobacco Campus (ATC), a hub of happening in the heart of downtown Durham.Raleigh Wedding Cake BakeryEdible Art Bakery captured our hearts with its ornate lock and key cake combined with lovely stencil and ruffled artwork (pictured in the in the photo top left). Brides may choose one layer of spice and Kahlua pecan to match the cake’s golden details from Edible Art’s extensive menu of fresh, scratch-made cake flavors.Pink and white wedding cakeThe second cake is a matching hand-painted watercolor wedding cake with gorgeous gold details. The frilly pink wash mixed with the glitter of a Moroccan interlocking pattern is an eclectic and joyous color combination, finished with a gold-brushed sugar flower topper. The real roses placed in the center are from The English Garden, and perfectly compliment the pink and blush color tones of the two cakes.Gold flower cake topperBrian Mullins Photography captured these decadent shots in the boiler room of American Tobacco’s power plant, of all places! The contrast of the concrete industrial backdrop and these soft and feminine cakes makes for a stunning display. The area is actually one of the most popular cocktail and rehearsal party venues at ATC. The building also houses the Full Frame Theater and the Gallery, each available for private events.

CAKES Edible Art Bakery | VENUE The Boiler Room at ATC | FLOWERS The English Garden | LINENS American Party Rentals | Photographer Brian Mullins Photography

Trendy Lighting Shines in Modern Day Weddings

The right lighting has the ability to completely transform and improve a space; it helps set the mood and tone of your wedding ceremony and reception. It’s important to choose lighting the suites your taste and your style, but that also works well within the venue you’ve chosen.

Lighting specialists, such as Get Lit Special Event Lighting, work with area brides and grooms to rent the lighting they require, or in many cases, create handmade custom works that are inspired by their vision.

We asked Get Lit about the latest trends in lighting and chandeliers and about the most important factors to consider when planning your lighting needs. Get Lit handmade and designed the beautiful chandeliers pictured below.

Trendy Industrial Lighting
You’ve already likely noticed industrial design esthetic finding its way into wedding design. Get Lit fulfills many requests for barn shroud lighting, and the Edison bulb trend continues to be strong. “These items are not readily available in the event rental business, so brides and wedding planners come to specialty lighting businesses like us with an inspiration photo or general description and we create custom fixtures,” shares Terri Watson, co-owner of Get Lit. In addition to fitting traditional chandeliers with Edison bulbs, there is also interest in fixtures that are a combination of wood and metal and Edison bulbs, as brides pull inspiration from popular retailers like Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn.

Get Lit also finds the use of traditional chandeliers in combination with other styles of lighting, such as a twinkle light ceiling lights or draping market lights, a popular trend at the moment.
Bay 7 Wedding ReceptionEdison Bulb lightingPhotos by Robin Lin Photography

An outdoor garden, a modern museum or a church reception hall can all serve as a wonderful background for specialty light fixtures. Some settings truly benefit, dare we say need, the addition of beautiful hanging chandeliers. “Tents, for example, are often not appealing on their own and some brides see them as a necessary evil. The addition of decor elements help soften the look of all the hardware, and a chandelier can be a big part of the transformation in both creating a visual centerpiece for the space, as well as casting a soft romantic light on everything around it,” Watson shares.Custom designed lightingPhoto by Get Lit

Customize to Fit Your Style
Chandeliers are easily customized to a bride’s/groom’s design preference. Begin by choosing the design of the chandelier itself, such as traditional, rustic or modern, which can be further defined by lighting elements.

Get Lit carries traditional crystal chandeliers with white, black and crystal bodies or European brass and black velvet. Traditional style with a whimsical flare can be achieved with its gold leaf and crystal chandelier, which looks right at home in a garden setting or a country club.

A “rustic” look may mean Get Lit creates handmade votive chandeliers with metal wrought oak leaves and rustic beam chandeliers in impressively sized 5-foot octagons topped with pillar candles, or it may be fisherman’s globe pendants.

The “modern” look can be achieved with hundreds of glass balls suspended with invisible filament or cube chandeliers handmade from extruded box steel, which can be painted in gold or other colors. Get Lit also has custom-painted barn shrouds in turquoise to create a modern industrial pendant hanging light. Art deco is modern again – a simple graduated rectangular design fits well in a variety of settings. Fabric and flowers can also be added to customize a look.
Art Deco and Industrial LightingRustic reception lightingPhotos by Get Lit

Consider This
When planning for your lighting needs, there are a few important factors to take into consideration.

1. What does the event space already provide and how can this be complemented? Or, if you are not in love with the look it has, can it be changed or removed? “Some clients wish to accentuate the existing style of the space, or bring the style of nearby architecture into their reception space,” says Watson. “For example, we were recently asked to add art deco elements to a tent at The Biltmore Estate. In other cases, you can bring elegance into a barn.” 

Keep in mind that lighting can completely change a space. If the venue is right for you in terms of location, budget, and availability, but is somewhat lacking in design, the right lighting elements have the ability to transform the space into your dream venue!

2. Size matters. “A fixture should be proportional to a space so it does not become lost or overwhelm the area,” Watson advises. For this reason, Get Lit has made a number of their chandeliers themselves so that they have fixtures large enough for large spaces. “We’ve taken traditional size and style elements and upsized them to be appropriate for different event venues,” she adds. Combining elements can also help visually enhance a venue in proportion appropriate to the space. Lighting elements should also be considered in context with the other decor elements being use.  

3. Keep cost in mind. According to Get Lit, pricing for chandelier lighting fixtures ranges from $100 – $300, with additional installation/administration fees that vary based on the location of the venue and venue infrastructure. These fees can add anywhere from $200-$500 for a local job (this is not a per fixture rate as it’s rare they are hired to install only one or two chandeliers). “We typically provide additional lighting elements as well,” says Watson.Glass bubble wedding decorPhoto by Get Lit

A North Carolina Wedding that Marries Duke and UNC

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re excited to share Joanna and Shenduo’s stunning North Carolina wedding that marries Duke and UNC – the couple’s alma maters. Joe Payne Photography captured the lovely couple in these two iconic settings.

Shenduo and Joanna met while he was studying at Duke University and she was studying at UNC-Chapel Hill. Their relationship officially began on a starry night in the forest of the Great Smoky Mountains, surrounded by thousands of fireflies – a romantic night Joanna says she will cherish in her memory forever. As two young students in love, they spent a lot of time studying together in almost every library of the two schools.

A year later, Joanna graduated from UNC and moved to New York and their long-distance relationship began. It was on Joanna’s birthday, soon after the move, that Shenduo flew to visit her and showered her with gifts, including two best-seat tickets to one of the most popular Broadway musicals, a lavish dinner at a three-star Michelin restaurant, but the best gift of all was still to come!

After dinner, Shenduo suggested going to Brooklyn Bridge Park to enjoy the night view of the Manhattan skyline. When they arrived at the riverside, he said he had another gift for Joanna – a handmade photo card, on the front of which was a picture taken by him showing the tennis court near his apartment where they used to play tennis together. In the center of the court in the photograph, there were hundreds of tennis balls, which were placed in the shape of “I [heart] Jo.” On the inside of the card was a handwritten love note and some letters in bold red that spelled out, “Marry Me.” It wasn’t until that moment that Joanna realized this night of surprises had all been part of an elaborate proposal! It was the most picturesque scene as Shenduo got down on his knee in front of the sparkling Manhattan skyline.

It’s no surprise these Duke and UNC alumns chose the iconic Duke Chapel in Durham and The Great Room at Top of the Hill restaurant in Chapel Hill as ceremony and reception venues – a tribute to their relationship that bloomed on both campuses. They knew they would be leaving North Carolina after Shenduo graduated, so they wanted to make their last romantic memories there.

Joanna chose pretty pastel colors in shades of pink, worn by her bridesmaids and in the elegant bouquets by Tre Bella Flowers, for her late April wedding. As a nod to Duke and UNC, they chose Duke blue for the groomsmens’ ties and Carolina blue for the reception table linen. Other personal details included a backdrop wall decorated with with gold alphabet letter balloons spelling their names and vintage heart-shape marquee lights. They also ordered a customized cake topper from Etsy and Chinese favor boxes that represented “double happiness,” along with customized M&Ms.

Even though it turned out to be a rainy spring day, photographer Joe Payne captured stunning images, showcasing the tranquility of the day, the closeness of the couple, and the breathtaking beauty of the setting.Durham brideJoe Payne Wedding PhotographyBridal tierraChinese wedding in AmericaDiamond wedding bandsRed wedding shoesRaleigh wedding photographersWhite boutonniereDurham bride at the Duke ChapelRainy day weddingBride and groom at Duke ChapelPink and white bouquetsDurham bride at Duke ChapelRainy day wedding picturesBlack and white wedding photographyMarried at the historic Duke ChapelDuke Chapel CeremonyDuke Chapel wedding photographyDuke and UNC weddingDurham NC wedding venuesCustomized cake topperChapel Hill receptionWhite wedding cakeChinese wedding favorsTop of the Hill reception venueChinese wedding traditionsSparkler exit after receptionSB&G PREFERRED VENDOR TESTIMONIALS

Photography
“We were very impressed by Joy Payne’s professionalism, efficiency, humor, and most of all, amazing photos! He has the great ability to capture the important moments without letting you realize he exists. On the wedding day, Joe really devoted the whole day to us. He even came earlier than the time we had asked him to, in order to catch every tiny moment. Joe gave all the photos to us in a very timely manner. You can tell he really put a lot of effort into digital editing – editing each photo individually based on the subject, light, atmosphere, etc., while many other photographers only use one or two pre-settings for all the photos. We really had a great time with Joe, and we felt very lucky to have him as our wedding photographer,” says Joanna.

Venue
” We feel blessed to have found The Great Room at Top of the Hill as our reception venue. The staff there are very professional, thoughtful, and experienced. What I liked most about them on our wedding day was that they took care of every detail without us having to worry about anything. We were thrilled when we saw the wall decor they did for us – it was even more adorable than what we could imagine! We also got a lot of compliments about the food and drinks. Thanks to their great work, we were able to fully enjoy every moment of that beautiful night with our guests and it left such an unforgettable memory in everyone’s mind,” Joanna shares.

Flowers
“We chose Tre Bella Flowers because they were quite responsive and gave us a clear price breakdown quickly when we were doing inquiries. Everything about them is professional and efficient and the price is also very reasonable. I couldn’t have love my bridal bouquet more! I really appreciate their work,” Joanna states.

VENUE Duke Chapel | RECEPTION The Great Room at Top of the Hill Restaurant | PHOTOGRAPHER Joe Payne Photography | BRIDAL SHOES Badgley Mischka & Salvatore Ferragamo | FLORIST Tre Bella Flowers | CAKE Guglhupf | INVITATIONS Grapevine Print & Design | GUEST ACCOMODATIONS Arrowhead Inn Bed & Breakfast | TRANSPORTATION Classy Transportation & Smith Luxury Limousines

A Southern Style Shoot with Vintage Charm

Today’s wedding inspiration is a Southern style shoot with vintage charm. Alisha Rudd Photography was inspired by photographs of her grandmother’s wedding day, which are displayed in her office. “Looking at these photos made me wonder what my grandmother’s wedding might look like today,” she says. As you can see in the photos below, this elegant spring shoot was a perfect balance of classic-southern with a contemporary, romantic flair. In the South, there are so many special details that can be incorporated into a wedding, and many of them translate through generations.

The shoot took place at a Southern estate – Hutchison Estate at Arrowhead Dairy Farm – and the design incorporated many traditions of the South, including a Bible bouquet, vintage tins which served as flower vases, toile, homemade moon pies, bottled Coca-Cola, cake pulls, lace and silhouettes. Lush with vibrant flowers, this design is perfect for any bride who wants to have a charming southern wedding with a contemporary twist.
Pink bouquetLoose bun bridal hairBride and groom stationeryBrides Bible bookRose boutonniereEstate wedding in North CarolinaSouthern wedding photographyBarn wedding in NCPink and white wedding stationeryPink wedding colorsBride and groom table signsRoses and hydrangea wedding flowersVintage wedding decorClassic calligraphy for weddingBride and groom placecardsVintage table setting for receptionVintage wedding inspirationPatio lights for wedding receptionVintage drink and dessert tableSouthern weddings
PHOTOGRAPHY Alisha Rudd Photography | VENUE Hutchison Estate at Arrowhead Dairy Farm | PLANNING & DESIGN Magnolia Events | FLORIST What’s Up Buttercup | BRIDAL GOWN Pixton Bridal | TUXEDO The Tuxedo Shoppe | CAKE Cheesecake Etc. | DESSERTS Queen’s Sweets | HAIR & MAKEUP Madison Kennington with Mahalo Salon | RENTALS Ribald Farms Florist & Nursery | INVITATIONS Dry Ink Designs | CALLIGRAPHY Contemporary Calligraphy by Fabulous Fancy Pants | MODELS Courtney Spencer & Paul Schott

Most Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Wedding Planner

Hiring a wedding planner is a big decision. He or she will play a vital role in bringing to life the day you have been dreaming about for years! With that in mind, it’s important you feel comfortable and confident with your planner. To help you get started in the decision process, a few of our recommended wedding planners have offered some helpful suggestions.Raleigh WeddingPhoto: Jagg Photography

“Look through the wedding planners portfolio not only to get a sense of the quantity of weddings they do, but also the quality of weddings,” recommends Amanda Scott, owner of A Swanky Affair. “Most importantly, hire a planner you trust and feel you can easily communicate with. You will have a close working relationship with them for months and you want to make sure that you can work well together. Take some time to research their reviews online.”

Before asking anything related to the wedding planning process or the planner his/herself, A Southern Soiree suggests asking if they offer a free initial consultation. “While this may be more time-consuming, we think it’s important to sit down and see how well your personalities mesh. Having trust and compatibility is essential to creating a successful partnership.

A Southern Soiree and Sally Oakley, owner of Sally Oakley Weddings & Events, came up with a list of essential questions that every bride should ask…
The Grand Marquise Ballroom             Photo: Neil Boyd Photography

12 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Wedding Planner

1. How long have you been in the industry?

2. How many weddings of my size and budget have you planned? How many overall weddings have you planned?

3. What makes you the most passionate about your job?

4. What role will I play in the planning process?

5. How many weddings do you handle each month? How many weddings do you have for the weekend/day of my wedding?

6. Do you have any scheduled vacation time, or work absence already scheduled during my planning period?

7. How many employees do you have? And who will be on-site during my big day?

8. How would you handle a dicey situation? (Such as the wrong color linens?)

9. When are you available to meet or discuss planning details? (Weekdays, nights, weekends, schedule restrictions?)

10. Do you work only with preferred vendors? Does you company have preferred vendor discount connections?

11. Why should I hire you as opposed to other planners or planning alternatives?

12. May I call some of your client and vendor references?

“Remember, your wedding planner should be asking YOU a lot of questions when you first meet,” says Chelsey Morrison, owner of Gather Together. “It’s important that they understand the aesthetic and environment you want to create for your wedding or that they can help you pinpoint these things if you haven’t already.”North Carolina Wedding PlannersPhoto: Azul Photography

Southern Spring Wedding at The Merrimon Wynne House

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today, we’re excited to share Maria and Erik’s darling Southern spring wedding at The Merrimon-Wynne House in downtown Raleigh. 

Maria and Erik meet during sophomore year at Boston University when they were college “neighbors,” living on the same dorm floor. Maria thought Erik was cute, so she and her roommate took measures into their own hands and created a fake survey all about coffee (Erik worked at Starbucks all through high school). It was the perfect icebreaker- the pair hit it off right away!

While on a trip to Atlantic Beach with their new puppy, Erik proposed to Maria on the beach with a stellar sunset in the background.

Maria knew right away that she wanted a wedding venue conveniently located in downtown Raleigh. As soon as she walked into the beautiful Merrimon-Wynne House, she knew it would be the perfect spot! She was very involved in the wedding planning process and loved the entire experience. “The wedding felt very personal because it was what I always imagined – it felt like me,” says Maria. Viva L’ Event helped her create a beautiful ceremony and day that included all kinds of personal touches. “We received multiple compliments from our guests about how wonderful it was! Kristen from Viva L’ Event was super helpful and did an amazing job,” shares Maria. The bride’s favorite wedding moment was sitting down at the reception before dinner and looking out at all her guests, taking in all the happy and glowing expressions on her family and friends faces.

Light pastels set the tone for an elegant Southern affair with an English garden feel. Cara Galati of F8 Photo Studios captured all the charming details and the romantic feel of this early spring wedding. Old-fashioned elements, such as family jewelry, classic cars and trolleys, lemonade stands, and floral china, mixed perfectly with modern day touches.
Bride and bridesmaids at Merrimon Wynne HouseRaleigh bride at Merrimon WynneRaleigh bride at Merrimon Wynne House North CarolinaClassic white rose bouquetRaleigh NC wedding vendorsF8 Studios Raleigh wedding photographyClassic Southern Wedding at the Merrimon WynneSpring wedding in North CarolinaWedding welcome signPaperbuzz Raleigh wedding invitationsRent a trolley for Raleigh weddingLemonade stand at weddingWedding ceremony traditionsOutdoor spring ceremony at Merrimon Wynne in RaleighPlacecards in candy nestsGreen and white garland decorFloral china at wedding receptionMr. and Mrs. sweetheart tableFather daughter danceBride and groom at Merrimon Wynne HouseMonogramed wedding cakeGold wedding colorsMerrimon Wynne Raleigh wedding venueOld fashion car for wedding departureSparkler sendoffVENUE The Merrimon-Wynne House | WEDDING PLANNER Viva L’Event | PHOTOGRAPHER F8 Photo Studios | VIDEOGRAPHER F8 in Motion | FLOWERS Tre Bella Flowers | CATERER Beau Catering | CAKE Sugarland | MINISTER Reverend Randy Ivy | REHERSAL DINNER Café Luna | GOWN Liancarlo from Alexia’s Bridal | SHOES BHLDN | BRIDESMAIDS Amsale from Bella Bridesmaids | HAIR & MAKEUP Ashley Mooney | INVITATIONS Paperbuzz | CEREMONY MUSIC Arioso Strings | DJ Bunn DJ Company | RENTALS Party Reflections | TRANSPORTATION Raleigh Trolley, Classy Transportation, Hampton Inn