Posts Categorized: Advice & Planning Tips

Inspiration For Your Spring Wedding Bouquet

Spring Florals

One of the best parts about getting married in the Springtime is the countless options that are available for your floral arrangements and bouquets for your special day. Between the soft airy color pallets, incredibly fresh blooms, and ample amount of green accent options, there is definitely no shortage of inspiration for you and your bridal party’s floral bouquets.

We rounded up some of our favorite floral trends for this season to give you some inspiration for your Spring bouquet!

Pretty in Pink

Adding different shades of pink has always been a favorite of Spring brides. Pastel pinks and blush color schemes are a classic that isn’t going away anytime soon. Try adding a hint of green in your bouquet for a variation of the traditional look.

Fresh Affairs Spring Bridemaid Bouquet photographed by Southern Love Studios

FLORIST: Fresh Affairs | PHOTOGRAPHER: Southern Love Studios

Add Some Rustic Accents

Adding rustic accents to a wedding is not something new, but adding them to your bouquet is definitely a unique take on the trend. Try adding darker colored vines like this bouquet for a rustic garden chic feel.

Bride holding spring blush bouquet from Floral Dimensions photography by Katherine Miles Jones Photography

FLORIST: Floral Dimensions | PHOTOGRAPHER: Katherine Miles Jones Photography

Simply Sophisticated

For the classically simple bride, try the small bouquet. A few beautiful blooms with some greenery will go a long way. Something so simple can really make quite the beautiful impact for a wedding.

Pink Joanna August dress from Bella Bridesmaid Raleigh with loose feminine bouquet Jamie Blow Photography

FLORIST: Flowers on Broad Street | PHOTOGRAPHER: Jamie Blow Photography

Throw in Eucalyptus

Not only is eucalyptus absolutely stunning, it smells divine too! Try a classic one color bouquet with accents of eucalyptus to add some variety. The sweet smell of the eucalyptus leaves is just an added bonus to it’s beauty.

White Flower and Eucalyptus Bridal Bouquet by Watered Garden Duke Gardens wedding by Gather Together Photography by Katherine Miles Jones (1)

FLORIST: Watered Garden | PHOTOGRAPHER:Katherine Miles Jones Photography

All About Variety

Can’t seem to decide between all your favorite colors and blooms? Good news- you don’t have to. Try a fun bouquet with all of your favorites for a very eye catching look! The amazing thing about flowers are there are few that don’t look absolutely beautiful when paired together.

Spring Bridesmaid Bouquet English Garden Casey Rose Photography

FLORIST: The English Garden | PHOTOGRAPHER: Casey Rose Photography

Dark Accents

Want to add just a touch of edge to your bouquet? You can keep your pastel color scheme and add dark accents like these anemone blooms. With just a touch of darker shades, your bouquet can keep the airy spring look while looking multidimensional.

Spring bridal bouquet by Tre Bella Florists photographed by Walters and Walters

FLORIST: Tre Bella Florists | PHOTOGRAPHER: Walters and Walters

Go Big or Go Home

With so many beautiful floral arrangements available this time of year, sometimes it’s hard to narrow down what you want in your bridal bouquet. With a larger than life bouquet, you can accommodate all of the blooms and accent leaves your heart desires. It’s also incredibly stunning in photographs. Just be careful when tossing this size of bouquet!

Bride in Lana Addison wedding dress holding southern spring bouquet from The English Garden photographed by Casey Rose Film

FLORIST: The English Garden | PHOTOGRAPHER: Casey Rose Photography

Shades of Colors

You don’t need to limit yourself to one shade of accent colors in your bouquet. Experiment with different shades of the color in your theme. For example, this bouquet below uses multiple different purples. While the colors stay in the same purple color family, it adds some variety to the arrangements.

Spring Bridal Bouquet with purple accents from Bloom Works in Raleigh photographed by Walters and Walters

FLORIST: Bloom Works | PHOTOGRAPHER:Walters and Walters

Have a beautiful bouquet you want to share with us? Tag us on Instagram @SouthernBrideAndGroom!

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

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

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

Skip Saturday Weddings to Save Money

NC Brides on a Budget can opt for Friday and Sunday Night Events at Local Wedding Venues

Big Saturday weddings are not likely to lose their luster anytime soon, but more couples are considering alternate days or months outside of spring or fall as a way to save money or make travel more attractive to visiting guests.

Such flexibility is essential if  you are determined to have your wedding at the Carolina Club during football season. Event planner Elizabeth Rubio will pencil in a bride for a hoped-for fall Saturday with the option to switch to another date if it proves to be a UNC game day.
UNC theme weddingPhoto: Neil Boyd Photography

“The rest of the year is easy, but we’re right next to Kenan Stadium so we can’t book private events until the football schedule comes out,” Rubio says, citing a practice used by other venues affiliated with college campuses. “Honestly, a lot of brides would rather be anywhere but Chapel Hill on a football Saturday. Traffic is terrible and it makes everything more expensive, including room rates – if you can even get rooms.”

Many venues offer a price break on Fridays and Sundays to make the choice more enticing. Prestonwood Country Club in Cary has lower food and beverage minimums those days, making a dreamy ballroom reception available to some brides who assumed it was a budget buster.

Sondra Johnstone, Prestonwood’s director of catering and sales, says Friday nights are increasingly popular with couples who want to be married in a Catholic church.and have their party immediately after. “Catholic churches usually do Saturday weddings only in the morning or early afternoon, but many will do a Friday ceremony in late afternoon, making it perfect for a Friday night reception,” Johnstone says.Prestonwood Country Club in Cary NCPhoto: In His Image Photography

Choosing off months, including the heat of summer or chill of winter, typically helps if a couple is set on a Saturday wedding. But if your preferred venue is open-air, there are only so many temperate Saturdays. If you simply have to have one, planners say you need to inquire about that hoped-for date right away.

“A lot of our brides like getting married down by the lake, surrounded by the woods. It’s best when it’s not too hot or cold,” says Sarah Leach, coordinator for Angus Barn’s Pavilion event space. The rustic Raleigh banquet hall, built with  the original stones from Fayetteville Street and timbers salvaged from Sherman’s March through the capitol during the Civil War, already was booked for several in-demand 2018 wedding dates by fall 2016.

“The majority of our brides are flexible about the day because they want to get married with us,” Leach adds, saying that Fridays can be an easy sell when a desired Saturday is already claimed. “Maybe they’ve been to a wedding here before or another event. It becomes the standard they want.”

Some couples opt to forego any semblance of traditional wedding standards by “flipping” their celebration. They’ll have a large rehearsal dinner with friends and family anight or more before the wedding, then opt for a more intimate reception following the ceremony.
Angus Barn wedding receptionsPhoto: Graham Terhune Photography

“We’re seeing a lot of Thursday rehearsal dinners for folks getting married elsewhere on Fridays,” says Jessie Koppenhaver of Bridge Club, Chef Ashley Christensen’s event space in downtown Raleigh. “On a Thursday, you can have your pick of bands, flowers, you name it.”

Dashi, Durham’s exceptional ramen house, typically does not make the restaurant available for private parties. However, its stylish upstairs bar, a Japanese gastropub setting known as an izakaya, is favored by food savvy couples who want to treat guests to an umami-rich, small-plate feast. If you want it on a Friday or Saturday, however, you’ll pay much more than what it costs earlier in the week.

“I think that renting Dashi’s izakaya is a steal and a wonderful experience for private celebrations,” says partner Rochelle Johnson, noting the bargain rental of $500 Monday-through-Wednesday compared to $900 for Thursdays or $1,200 on Fridays and Saturdays. The tempting bar menu features an exotic array of fried and grilled nibbles and snacks complemented by sake, sochu and especially creative cocktails. Distinctive settings like the izakaya also are hot  for wedding after parties.
Mandolin restaurant Raleigh Photo: Joe Payne Photography

Carolina Club’s Elizabeth Rubio says she’s seeing an uptick in non-Saturday after parties for local couples who get married elsewhere; in the bride’s hometown, for example, or at a destination wedding.

“A lot of times, parents will throw them a second party so more friends can attend, or the couple might even do it themselves,” Rubio says. “Some are as elaborate as weddings while others are much more low key. Either way,” she adds, “the stress is off and everyone enjoys it more.”

So, if you’re looking to pinch some pennies, or perhaps redirect dollars for unimagined splurges, flexible scheduling could make your budget sufficient to realize the reception of your dreams.

Article contributed by Jill Warren Lucas

2017 Winter Wedding Shows in Raleigh, NC

The holiday season is a popular time for engagements – with family all in one place and festivities already planned, it’s a great time to throw in an extra celebration! And not soon after, the fun of planning beings! It can be overwhelming at first, but luckily, there are a ton of qualified professionals here to help, and you can meet and interact with many of them at the wedding shows taking place this winter throughout the Triangle. (For an ongoing list of wedding-related events, be sure to check our Wedding Shows & Events page, which is updated regularly).

Forever Bridal’s The Wedding Show

Date: Saturday and Sunday January 7 and 8, 2017 – 11am-4pm
Location: The NC State Fairgrounds, Raleigh

Forever Bridal hosts several wedding shows per year, but their two-day January event is their biggest – filled with the best wedding vendors, on stage entertainment, and the latest bridal fashions – a must attend event for brides! Exhibits include wedding cakes and a caterers (many with samples), venues, fashion, and other wedding services all under one roof. Don’t miss your chance to win exciting door prizes and give-a-ways. All the products, services, ideas and information you’ll need to make your dream wedding come to life are waiting for you, so bring a friend, your fiancé or family member and make this an exciting weekend event!
Forever Bridal Fashion Show

The Cloth Mill’s Winter Bridal Showcase

Date: Saturday, January 14, 2017 – 1-4pm
Location: The Cloth Mill, Hillsborough

Save the date for a perfectly planned afternoon at Freshly Pressed: The Cloth Mill’s Winter Bridal Showcase. We’ve covered every detail, and designed an interactive planning experience for newly engaged couples. You’ll nosh, toast, and mingle with some of our preferred wedding professionals, and get exclusive tours of this industrial chic venue.
Wedding venue in downtown Hillsborough NC

The Carolina Inn’s 22nd Annual Bridal Showcase

Date: Sunday, January 29, 2017 – 1-4pm
Location: The Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill

Join The Carolina Inn starting for an elegant and information-packed afternoon with the most talented and experienced wedding vendors in Chapel Hill, the Triangle and beyond. Enjoy this creative gathering where you will be able to delight in a feast of sample wedding cakes, view the most exquisite wedding gowns from top couture designers, and experience an interactive approach to choosing your most valued wedding vendors.
The Carolina Inn Chapel Hill

Around the World in an Afternoon with A Way to Go Travel

Date: Sunday, February 12, 2017 – 1pm – 4pm
Location: The Proximity Hotel, Greensboro

A Way To Go Travel will have representatives from various resorts, hotels, and cruise lines perfect for honeymooners! Brides, grooms and all couples are able to meet and speak with representatives with each of these hotels, resorts and cruise lines to help them explore options for their honeymoon and to help them decide the best fit for them! It’s a free event and some lucky attendees will even win trips!

Wedding Beauty Tips: Eyelash Extensions

You’re knee deep in planning your perfect day. Venue: check! Wedding planner: check! Catering and photographer: check! Now, you’re on to the personal stuff: gown, veil, hair, makeup and…eyelashes? Yes, eyelashes. Who knew there were so many options for that bright-eyed, bushy-tailed bridal look? Jennifer Buenviaje, co-owner and lash stylist at Makeup for Your Day, is here to give you the lowdown on the hottest trend in bridal beauty – semi-permanent eyelash extensions.eyelash-extensionsPhoto: Renee Sprink Photography

What are they exactly?
Lash extensions are natural or artificial “hairs” applied one-by-one to each one of your natural eyelashes. The adhesive used for semi-permanent lash extensions is an FDA-approved medical-grade adhesive that is designed to bond smooth non-porous surfaces (the lash extension) to porous ones (your natural eyelash). With proper application, the adhesive nor the lash extension never touch your actual skin on the eyelid.

How are they applied?
The process of applying semi-permanent eyelash extensions is both a tedious as well as luxurious experience. Usually, your lash stylist will need at least an hour and a half on your first visit for a full set of lashes.  During this time, you lie back on a massage table or in our studio, a super comfy oversized recliner, and most likely will fall asleep while the lash stylist applies your new set of fluffy, wispy lashes. The process is not painful (if you experience pain or discomfort please speak up to your lash stylist because this is NOT a time for “no pain, no gain” mentality) and the lashes will last you up to 3-4 weeks –sometimes more—with proper care and maintenance.

When should you get them done?
In our studio, we recommend coming in 3-4 weeks prior to your wedding to have your first set applied. This allows us the flexibility to adjust the length, fullness and curl of your eyelash extensions the week before or the week of your big day in order to make sure they are absolutely perfect for your professional photos. We also recommend having them done 3-4 weeks in advance so that any irritation or allergy to the adhesive or the lashes can be resolved should a client have a negative reaction. While it is rare, some people are allergic to the adhesive/glue or simply have allergies flare up with the manipulation of the lash line during certain times of the year. We wouldn’t want a puffy, red-eyed bride on her wedding day so we highly suggest at least getting a trial with 5-10 lashes applied before the week of your wedding if you can’t spring for the full set and a fill in on the week of the wedding due to budget constraints.Raleigh-wedding-makeupPhoto: Fancy This Photography

What is the typical cost?
For a full set of eyelash extensions, you will find pricing ranging from $79 up to $300 in some areas.  Why the big difference? Well, this is where we have to lean back on the old adage, “you get what you pay for”. Just like we’d hope you wouldn’t use a Groupon for your first experience with an injectable (needles, filler, Botox, oh my!) the same goes for eyelash extensions. This is medical-grade adhesive that most doctors and surgeons use to close wounds…being used around your EYES. Make sure you do your research on the lash stylist and company you choose to hire and make certain they are both certified and that they really will take their TIME to make sure your lash set is done in a pristine manner. No rush jobs here; these are the windows to your soul, after all! And that, my dears (pun totally intended), is what you’re paying for. The time it takes to make sure a lash stylist only applies one lash per your natural lash is worth spending a little extra in the budget for. It can make the difference between haphazard placement of glue that can cause premature fallout of your natural lash fibers and a meticulously gorgeous set of Bambi-inspired flutterers.

Contributed by Jennifer Buenviaje, co-owner and lash stylist at Makeup for Your Day. Makeup for Your Day offers by-appointment-only sessions week days and some appointments on weekends for our out-of-state brides.

For Perfect Wedding Weather, Bury the Bourbon

In the South, we have all sorts of unique sayings, superstitions, and traditions. Many brides choose to honor their southern heritage by including one or a handful of quirky or fun Southern traditions during their wedding planning and big day.

The ominous possibility of rain on your wedding day (or even a hurricane wedding!) is enough to cause any bride to take a few extra measures in hopes that the sun will shine brightly when it is time to walk down the aisle. Burying the bourbon is a tradition that, if done correctly, is supposed to ward off rain the day of the wedding.
bury-the-bourbonThose who swear by this Southern myth state that the bride and groom-to-be must visit their venue exactly a month before the wedding date and bury a full bottle of bourbon upside down. Yes, it has to be full and it has to be upside down. The size or origin of the bourbon doesn’t seem to matter, but if you feel Mother Nature might be a bourbon lover, certainly opt for the next size up.

If you choose to participate in burying the bourbon, make sure you get the permission of your venue first. If digging up the landscape doesn’t sit too well, ask if you can bring your bourbon pre-buried in a pot you can hide in shrubbery or place inconspicuously onsite. Ask your photographer or a friend to tag along to capture the unique moment.

Lastly, don’t forget where you buried your bottle. Rain or shine, dig up your bourbon post-ceremony and share it with your wedding party and guests in celebration!
southern-wedding-traditionsPhoto: Katherine Miles Jones Photography

Article contributed by Kirsten Barber

Green Wedding Ideas

Eco-friendly options have come a long way in recent years as brides continue to look for different ways to incorporate green elements into their wedding. Today, there are many earth-friendly options for the eco-conscious couple.

Print on Green Paper

Going green starts with your save-the-dates and invitations. There are so many options from recycled paper made of hemp or cotton to tree-free choices. SB&G recently had invitations printed with the help of Jessica Yee from The Oblique Pen that were embedded with herb seeds, so once the event was over, people could plant the actual invite in their garden, then wait for surprise herbal blossoms!
plantable wedding invitationsThe ink that’s used also matters: Soy and other vegetable-based ink products are less harmful to the environment than their petroleum-based counterparts. Check out SB&G’s list of stationers and ask for a rundown of their eco-friendly, biodegradable options.

You can also cut back on paper by creating a wedding website that holds information like your location, gift registry, maps and accommodations. Instead of including all this information on printed pages, just direct people to the site from your save-the-date or formal invite.  This option can also be interactive so guests can respond or ask questions with everyone having the opportunity to see what your suggestions are, which may save you time by not having to handle the same question multiple times.

At the wedding, consider hiring a calligrapher and using table settings from natural objects like cute pieces of wood, shells, rocks, pinecones, or even pieces of fruit. And instead of individual menu cards or place settings, hire a calligrapher to write the information on a chalkboard or mirror displayed at the entrance and near the food stations.

Book a Green Venue

When searching for a wedding venue, it doesn’t hurt to ask the manager if they have any green practices in place, such as recycling or re-purposing disposal items used for one time events. Your wedding planner might also be able to recommend a list of venues that were either built with green technology or that incorporate sustainable lodging elements.

The King’s Daughters Inn in Durham and The Mayton Inn in Cary (under the same ownership) were created using the latest in green building technology, incorporating things like solar panels and water cisterns to keep the property running efficiently in an earth-friendly manner. Their commitment to both environmentally responsible building and living drove them to find creative ways to offer guests sustainable lodging without sacrificing the warmth and charm of a historic inn, or the conveniences of a modern, luxury hotel.
weddings and events at The Mayton Inn Cary NCPhotos above: Casey Rose Photography

The Rand-Bryan House has its own Christmas tree farm on site. In general, Christmas Tree Farms have a low impact on the environment because the type of crop spends years in the ground prior to harvest. Plus, it’s a perfect green photo opp for winter weddings!

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the importance of pollinators like bees and butterflies. Chatham Mills, with a renovated warehouse perfect for weddings, and also includes “Pollinator Paradise” demonstration garden on site. North Carolina plays an essential role in the protection of honey bees. Consider making a theme of it and giving your guests local honey from Bumble & Branch or seeds for flowers that attract these important creatures.

Buy an Eco-Friendly Ring

People are also more aware of the negative consequences of diamond mining in Africa, which cause wars, displace locals and pollute the land. “Conflict-free” diamonds, which are environmentally and socially conscious, are available at Bailey’s Fine Jewelry, Diamonds Direct Crabtree, and Anfesa’s Jewelers.
Beautiful diamond wedding ringsBut, the diamond isn’t every girl’s favorite stone and some brides dare to be different. A stunning sapphire, precious pearl, or sentimental moonstone can be designed into a unique one-of-a-kind engagement ring or band.

Also consider shopping used. Vintage rings are full of character and history! Take a look at the impressive estate sections in SB&G Preferred Jewelers’ stores.

Design with Seasonal/Local Flowers

Many florists have the option to source from seasonal local flower growers. Be sure to ask about this, and remember to keep an open mind—depending on what season you’ll be married, different types of flowers will be available. No matter what’s in season, your creative florist will be able to design beautiful arrangements.
Bridal bouquets by Catering Works Raleigh FloristPhoto above: Walters & Walters

Instead of cut flowers in your centerpieces, ask about potted plants. These can also serve as gifts to your wedding guests who can take them home to plant in their own backyards and will become a living memory of your wedding day! Biodegradable and natural items like fruits and vegetables, pumpkins, herbs, succulents, moss and branches can also be incorporated in creative ways.
Monogrammed rustic wedding decorAnother option to consider is instead of going all-out with your flowers, consider balancing out the look with non-floral decor and accents like lighting, chandeliers, sculptures, and even soft gorgeous drapery. Themeworks and and Get Lit Special Event Lighting can put together impressive, funky and memorable displays that work with or without floral components and dramatically improve the look of the space.
Get Lit Special Event LightingIf you do go with cut flowers, there are ways you can recycle them after the wedding, such as donating them to hospice, nursing home or hospital. There are local organizations like Random Acts of Flowers, Flower Shuttle and Heeling Flowers, which pick up and re-purpose flowers from events, delivering them to patients at UNC hospital, etc.

Give Eco-Friendly & Local Favors

Why not leave your guests with eco-friendly parting gifts? Oak City Candles creates customized candles for decorations or as party favors and they use soy wax, which comes from soybeans grown in the USA (you can even use the melted wax as lotion!). All their fragrance and essential scented oils are plant-derived and phthalate-free. Plant-based hemp wicks are hand wicked for every candle. Even the packaging is recycled and recyclable or up-cycled.

Bumble & Branch, a party favor speciality company which is operated from a family farm in North Carolina (Bodenhamer Farms) employs natural methods to produce Southern, eco-friendly, and bespoke wedding favors from the farm, including authentic North Carolina raw honey favors and burlap wrapped longleaf pine tree favors.
Bumble and Branch honey jarsPhoto above: Casey Rose Photography

Chocolate is sure to be a hit with your guests and Videri Chocolate Factory makes some of the sweetest treats around! This local Raleigh chocolate shop is a favorite among locals and makes a great parting gift.

Another way to support local shops and give your guests a sense of the city/state in which you’ve chosen to be married is by putting local products in a welcome package for them! This is especially fun when you have a lot of people coming in from other states and countries. Grab cans of your favorite local beer (like Ponysaurus in Durham) and include them for your guests to enjoy! Or shop at Southern Season in Chapel Hill, which carries a lot of local North Carolina products that are perfect for gift baskets!

In lieu of gifts, there’s always the option of making a charitable donation to an eco-friendly cause, like the protection of wildlife and endangered species or local non-profits that educate about sustainable growing practices and land conservation.

Eat and Drink Locally

Many caterers are catching on to the farm-to-fork trend and are happy to create a menu that focuses on fresh, local and seasonal food. Whether it’s humanely raised local beef, sustainably sourced fish, or produce from a nearby farm, you and your guests will taste the freshness.

Everything from Donovan’s Dish, for instance, is made fresh, from scratch and sourced locally as often as possible. Southern Harvest Catering also consistently sources food locally.
The Sutherland catered wedding foodCatering Works puts a high-end spin on traditional comfort dishes and regional NC-based cuisine—like coffee-braised short ribs with local Yates Mill polenta or NC Berkshire pork shanks.

The Chapel Hill Restaurant Group catering cooks out of a kitchen in The Page Road Grill in Morrisville (which is also perfect for rehearsal dinners). The group is also a leader in sustainably and was named “Sustainable Business of the Year” in 2007. It was the first Green Plus certified business in the United States, and MEZ (another one of their restaurants) was the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-designed restaurant in North Carolina.

Even many bakeries incorporate local ingredients into their desserts. The Cupcake Shoppe, for instance, loves to buy from the NC Farmers’ Market for seasonal items like strawberries in the summer and fresh zucchini for their popular chocolate chip zucchini bread. And The Freezing Pointe, which creates homemade ice cream, sorbet, and Italian ice, sources fresh local ingredients, like strawberries from local farms, for its popular strawberry ice cream, whenever it’s in season.
the-cupcake-shoppe-raleighPhoto: F8 Photo Studios

The local craft brew scene is strong in North Carolina. Work with your venue or caterer to provide your favorite local craft beverages during your wedding. Consider partnering up with a local brewery, like Raleigh Brewing Company, which has private room available for rent.

Even if you’re having a more casual welcome dinner or reception, avoid plastic and paperware and go in favor of recycled and compostable utensils and plates.

Of course, rental companies have everything you need for your event from fancy China to glassware and plate options. This way, you don’t have to waste anything! See SB&G’s full list of rental companies.

Reduce your Carbon Footprint with a Carpool

It’s easy to encourage guests to carpool with a reminder on your invite and wedding website. For larger weddings, rent a shuttle van or bus so that you use less fuel and carry more people. Remember having your wedding and your reception (and even, sometimes, accommodations) in the same location is also a big fuel saver!

Your plans for an eco-friendly event start right here by looking through Southern Bride & Groom. We take pride in working with the best local vendors in North Carolina, and by using local vendors you are helping sustain the local economy, bringing it all full circle.