Posts Tagged: southern bride and groom magazine

Brides & Grooms Camp Out for Chance at a Duke Chapel Wedding

Dedication and commitment are fundamental elements of any good marriage. Couples who desire a Duke Chapel wedding in Durham, NC must test these very principles long before getting married as they camp out in tents for days in hopes of holding their ceremony at the historic Duke Chapel.

Duke is no stranger to this sort of fanaticism, after all, this is the school where many students choose to camp out for days, even weeks, at a time to land tickets to the Blue Devils’ basketball games. While there is a different end goal in mind during the Chapel camp-outs, the reasons for coming are the same— these are die-hard fans, not of basketball per se, but of weddings at Duke Chapel. They can’t imagine getting married anywhere else.

Everyone at the camp-out has a different story, background, and reason for being there — ranging from local couples who have always dreamt of having a Duke Chapel wedding, to Duke alum who traveled from out of state, to a father who was filling in for his daughter, to a Duke student who was getting paid $100 a day to hold someone’s spot.

Southern Bride & Groom stopped by the camp on the final evening before sign-ups to meet these eager couples and to learn more about the process and their stories. Talented Durham wedding photographer Riley MacLean took some great shots of this fun and dynamic group, who were all smiles…even through the rain!Duke Chapel weddingsGoing to the Chapel

Of course, not just anyone can get married at this highly sought-after location. In order to schedule a wedding, blessing ceremony, or reaffirmation of wedding vows, the bride, the groom, or one of their parents or grandparents must be a current full-time Duke student, graduate, or a current full-time Duke employee. In 2013, the Chapel also extended wedding eligibility to current members of the Board of Trustees and to faculty and staff emeriti with 15 or more years’ continuous service to the University, and to their children and grandchildren.

On the first of every month, the Chapel accepts wedding reservations for that month the following year. Those who want to be married in July 2016, for instance, must be there to register on July 1, 2015.

Sara Clark is the event and wedding coordinator at Duke University Chapel. Although tenting is not organized by the Chapel itself, for couples with a very specific date in mind, she recommends camping out as the best way to secure a spot. According to one of the campers, three couples showed up Wednesday morning (the day of sign-ups), some with very specific dates and times that they needed and didn’t get because they didn’t camp out. For those who did tent, making arrangements to do so and making it a priority paid off as the majority got their first or second choice for a date.

First Come, First Serve

Reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis and, on the first day of sign-ups, the Chapel accepts in-person reservations first, hence the tradition of camping out: the couple who arrives at the Chapel first and camps out the longest gets to choose their date/time first and it goes in order of arrival. After in-person sign-ups, the Chapel accepts reservations by phone and email based on the order the messages are received and based on the remaining slots.

“We never give priority based on the status of the bride or groom, or their parents or grandparents, within the University. The whole process is very egalitarian,” Sara notes.

The first wedding in the Chapel was in April 1933 for Marion Noell Lyon, the grand niece of James Buchanan Duke. Now it hosts between 70 and 85 weddings annually: up to three on Saturdays and up to one on Sundays during the summer. (It no longer hosts weddings on Sundays during the academic year due to the addition of a new choral evensong service). “We have hosted many weddings for couples whose parents and even grandparents were married here,” Sara adds.

The number of campers in a given month varies. Obviously, there are more people during the more in-demand months, such as May and June. Even though summer isn’t necessarily a busy time for Southern weddings, this particular July was unique in that it was the first time in a year that the sign-up was back on due to renovations the Chapel was undergoing in 2015. This July, a total of 10 couples camped out, with two more couples arriving very early to sign up on the morning of July 1.

Emma & MattTenting at Duke ChapelEmma and Matt were the first couple to arrive at the Chapel with a tent in tow, almost a full week ahead of the sign-up date. For Emma, there was no settling for anything less than a Duke Chapel wedding and there was only one date in July they could get married, so being first in line was more than an advantage…it was a must!

The first bride- and groom-to-be get to set the “rules” for the camp-out. Emma’s list was civil and fair, with the main rule being that you had to camp out overnight or risk being moved to the back of the line.Camp out to get married at Duke ChapelEmma grew up in Columbus, OH with a dad and grandfather who were heavily involved in basketball; she grew up watching Duke games. With grandparents living in Raleigh, taking her on regular visits to Duke, her infatuation with all things Duke grew stronger. Ever since she was a little girl, she wanted to be married here. Emma and her fiancé, Matt, were set up by friends to be prom dates in high school; it seems serendipitous now that Matt plays football for Duke and will be playing out this 2015 season.

While they did have to wait a bit to get married while the Chapel was being renovated, all that waiting finally paid off. As first in line, they got dibs on their preferred July wedding date: July 9, 2016 at 6 pm. They already have their reception booked at Bay 7 and will be in the trusted hands of one of SB&G’s Preferred wedding planning companies, A Southern Soiree.

While Emma was somewhat reluctant at first about the idea of camping out because of the time commitment, she admits it turned out to be a really fun experience. Even with crazy summer storms passing through, complete with downpours and thunder, and snide remarks made by some passerby’s, bonding with other tenters and socializing with other Duke visitors made the experience less of a chore and more like a little party.

Every Couple has a Story

Chandler & TomDurham bride and groomSouthern Bride and Groom has a direct connection to Durham natives Chandler and Tom who went to high school with our co-publisher, Jenna! Chandler and Tom met in middle school and started dating after college.

Chandler always wanted to get married at Duke, though she admits, this was before finding out how complicated it would be. Nonetheless, she and Tom made the decision to camp out a few days prior to the sign-up when they saw other tents starting to pop up on the lawn.

Chandler is in a grad program at Duke until next May, so the timing of the Chapel renovations and her wedding date worked out perfectly. She’s even been able to work from her tent during the day before attending classes at night at which point her fiancé, Tom, takes over. “He has it better — he gets to hang out with the other tenters and drink beer at night. I just work all day,” she says jokingly.

Like Emma, Chandler was reluctant to camp out at first, but found the experience surprisingly pleasant. “The people are really nice. It’s also really funny to see the daily tours come through and the look of confusion on their faces. People start taking random pictures of the tents.”

Unlike some of the other campers, Chandler was waiting to get her ceremony date set before booking other wedding venues or vendors. It will be a relief to move forward with a clear date in mind.

Meghan & ZachGetting married at Duke ChapelMeghan and Zach met their freshman year at Duke. Meghan was a cheerleader and Zach a football player. As students, they remember occasionally seeing couples in tents outside of the Chapel. Since there is a huge camp-out culture at Duke, it never seemed that unusual to them. In fact, Meghan used to joke with Zach that it would be them one day…and she was right!

On Christmas Day, 2014, after dating for six years, Zach proposed in the Dominican Republic and the wedding planning began. “We met at Duke, and we fell in love at Duke; it seemed only fitting to start the next chapter of our lives at the Duke Chapel,” says Meghan.

The couple flew in all the way from Dallas, Texas, to stake out a camping spot and, luckily, even though they weren’t first in line, they ended up with their first choice! After their wedding at the Chapel, the couple will enjoy a reception at new downtown Durham venue, The Rickhouse.

Eliza & MattBride and Groom tent to get married at Duke ChapelMatt and Eliza met when he returned home from Duke after his freshman year and began a nursing research internship at UVA, where Eliza also worked that summer. After dating long-distance while attending different schools, the couple moved to Nashville together and Matt proposed to Eliza just one week prior to the camp-out! “We got engaged on Tuesday, took Wednesday to talk it over, drove from Nashville on Thursday, rented a tent from REI and secured our spot as tent #4,” says Matt, who goes on to say that even though he was feeling tired, the whole thing almost felt like a vacation.

As a third generation Duke graduate, getting married at the Chapel has extra special meaning for Matt and his family.

While camping-out and enduring several heavy downpours (resulting in one night sleeping in a half-inch of standing water) added an extra level of stress to the wedding planning process, Matt commends the school for rewarding people who exhibit the effort and commitment to getting married there, versus having to contend with people who have an inside connection.

Even though their engagement is still brand new, Matt and Eliza are off to a good start and have booked A Southern Soiree to assist with their wedding and reception at the Cotton Room in Durham.

Jenna & DrewCamping at DukeJenna and Drew, both from Colorado, are grad students at Duke. They met during their second week of classes at Duke while at a Graduate Christian Fellowship dinner in the Chapel basement, so it’s a place that holds extra special meaning for them both. “Along with taking our breath away with its stunning architecture, the Chapel was where our love story began and it will have extra significance being the place where our new lives together begin,” says Jenna.

Construction at the Chapel caused the couple to delay their plans by a few months, they are confident it will be worth the wait. And, even as sixth in line for the sign-up, they were able to snag their first choice for a wedding date – July 2, 2016, to coincide with a family reunion.

Jenna and Drew took turns sleeping in the tent each night since it was pretty small and they only had one sleeping bag. They also brought each other food and supplies as needed to make it more comfortable. “When the Duke Chapel wedding coordinator first told us about the camp-out, we felt pretty daunted about the idea of putting our lives on hold to ‘rough it’ it in a tent for a week, but fortunately, the rules established by the first campers, and the overall experience, was very relaxed. We really enjoyed meeting the other couples and sharing stories every night,” Jenna adds.

While the Jenna and Drew are still in the early stages of planning, they are almost finished with booking their reception at the acclaimed Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. They are also considering Riley MacLean as a photographer after meeting him during the campout photoshoot!

Ashley & RikkiDuke Chapel weddingsAshley and Rikki are high school sweethearts who met at The North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. Ashley attended for ballet and Rikki for music, and both discovered they were from Durham. Seven years later, Rikki proposed surrounded by a panorama of fireworks on Independence Day.

As Durham natives, Duke was always a part of their life, in fact, Rikki’s mom has worked at the University for over 20 years. He also enjoyed playing regular ensembles at the campus during high school. Ashley’s family, too, has an interesting connection—they have a hardwood flooring business and do the floors for Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Chapel’s 2015 renovations pushed their anticipated wedding date back about a year, but it’s really the only place they imagined getting married. “I think Ashley and most girls in Durham dream of getting married in such a beautiful location. Deep down, I think I always pictured getting married here, too. I grew up several blocks from campus and it just feels like home,” says Rikki. “It also feels good knowing it’s such a prestigious place and that not just anyone can get married here – it makes it that much more special.”

Having grown up around Duke, the couple was familiar with campus campouts and weren’t surprised to learn this may be what was required to secure a date at the Chapel. Rikki ended up setting up their tent in the middle of a hailstorm.

Like Jenna and Drew, this couple will have their reception at The Washington Duke & Golf Club and feel confident in all the services provided there.Tenting at Duke Tenting at Duke University in Durham, NCWhile every marriage is sure to encounter scenarios that are a test of patience and commitment, these couples are already off to an impressive start. We wish them all the best and look forward to hearing all about their weddings at Duke Chapel next July!

Photos by Riley MacLean Photography

Inspirational Raleigh Wedding Industry Events

From awards galas to open houses, SB&G has been busy attending all kinds of inspirational Raleigh wedding industry events this June. A lot of hard work goes into planning and executing these events, so we wanted to share a glimpse of just how amazing the final product is. We hope you enjoy seeing some of our favorite June highlights; they may just get your ideas flowing you for your own wedding planning!

The 5th Annual Trinity Awards Gala & ISES-GT Board Installation
It was a sparkling and elegant evening at the ISES 2015 Trinity Awards Gala held at the magnificent Grand Marquise Ballroom in Garner, North Carolina. With 21 categories honoring every discipline of event planning, management and production, all members of ISES are welcome and encouraged to enter; the annual awards gala is a highly anticipated celebration for the nominees and winners.

The theme of the night, “All that Glitters,” was portrayed in everything from golden flatware to an ice sculpture in the lobby  to shimmering attire worn by ISES members and special guests. Photos below from B. Jarvah Imagery show the event space decked out with hundreds of red roses – an unforgettable display created by one of the Triangle’s most talented florists, Fresh Affairs. Paired with gold chairs and black linen, it was glitz and glamour at its finest!

Rocky Top Catering made sure the crowd was well fed with several tasty courses, and Island Sound and Video filled the space with music and entertainment throughout the evening.

Many vendors who are a part of the Southern Bride and Groom family walked away with prestigious awards and honors, such as Shutterbooth for Best Event Support Services; Island Sound & Video for Best Event Videography; Expressions of Love Florist and Fresh Affairs for Best Event Design Decor; Shawn Schindler Events for Best Social Event, and American Tobacco for Best Team Effort.  Congratulations to all!Event at the Grand Marquise Ballroom RaleighGold tablescapesIce SculptureSouthern Bride and Groom at ISESSouthern Bride and Groom at Trinity Awards GalaRed gold and black color paletteISES Trinity Awards at The Grand Marquise BallroomMembers of ISES at Awards GalaISES 2015 meeting and award showThe Grand Marquise Ballroom event spaceThe Grand Marquise Ballroom Raleigh

Rocky Top Open House
The next event we attended, Rocky Top Catering’s Open House event at 1705 Prime in Raleigh, was as pleasing to the eyes as it was to the appetite! It was a chance for Triangle brides-to-be to enjoy displays by local wedding vendors like Paperbuzz, Expressions of Love florist and Themeworks, all while sampling delicious bites like pan-seared crab cakes and an impressive dessert table. One of SB&G’s preferred photographers and friends at f8 Photo Studios captured the mouth-watering photographs below.

Rocky Top Catering at 1705 Prime RaleighRocky Top Catering open housePaperbuzz wedding stationeryRaleigh wedding venueWhite and green wedding colorsRocky Top Catering AppetizersSignature cocktail for bridesWhite and green tall centerpiecesRocky Top Catering event foodRaleigh wedding caterersMason Jar SaladDessert Table

Triangle NACE Meeting at the North Carolina Executive Mansion
NACE is the oldest and largest professional society that addresses all aspects of the catering industry. The Triangle chapter’s June meeting was one to remember – held at the North Carolina Executive Mansion in Raleigh.

The theme of the evening “Let’s Get Political” featured guest speaker Jeff Tippett with Targeted Persuasion. And, there was even a special appearance by NC Governor McCrory himself.

Joe Payne Photography, a member of the SB&G family, captured the charm and elegance of the mansion, along with all the details of the event, down to the cookies, cleverly decorated by Edible Art for both political parties. American Party Rentals linens and decor tastefully added to the ambience of the historic mansion.North Carolina Executive Mansion in RaleighNetworking at NACE meetingDemocrat and Republican CookiesNACE meeting in North CarolinaNorth Carolina Executive MansionGovernor McCrorys Mansion RaleighGovernor Pat McCroryRaleigh Governors Home

Charming Spring Wedding at The Sutherland

It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re excited to share Gina and Zach’s charming spring wedding at The Sutherland.

Gina and Zach met at East Carolina University while studying hospitality management. After being paired in a group together for a class assignment, they started to realize their connection went beyond the classroom. However, they did not begin dating until nearly a year after graduation. All Zach asked for was one date, but Gina kept turning him down. After much banter, she finally obliged…and the rest is history!

Gina and Zach were engaged in July 2013 in the mountains of North Carolina. Zach had rented a cabin with pretty views. The couple went for a scenic hike, but ended up on the wrong path and their “romantic” hike took them on a horse trail, which was a lot smellier than the pedestrian trail! After hours of searching for a scenic overlook away from the horse path, Zach finally found a good location to pop the question and Gina, after displaying a sense of utter disbelief, of course, said “yes!” Twenty-One Films shares more of their story in the video at the bottom of the post.

Gina spends her days planning other people’s weddings, working as a wedding consultant for the highly-regarded Raleigh-based wedding planning company, A Southern Soiree. Creating wedding timelines and tasks comes second nature to Gina, so she was able to truly enjoy every moment she and Zach had together to pick out the details; their favorite part was the tastings!

Gina & Zach’s wedding played off many jewel tones that enhanced the natural beauty of their venue and the attire they selected for their day.

As a planner in the North Carolina wedding industry, Gina’s had the opportunity to work with many vendors throughout her experience, including those who are a part of the SB&G family! She loved being able to use these resources for her very own wedding.

See how the entire day came together perfectly in the images below by Christobal from Azul Photography, who, according to Gina, went above and beyond to capture the most special moments of Gina and Zach’s wedding day.The Sutherland wedding venueRaleigh bride at The SutherlandPink and green bridal bouquetMother of the Bride giftRaleigh bride with pink bouquetLace wedding gownDads first lookFather's first lookPirate cufflinksNavy blue groomsmen suitsGreen groomsmen tieLavender bridesmaid dressesBridal bouquet with pictures of grandparentsPretty seating chartRaleigh Groom at The SutherlandOutdoor wedding in North CarolinaBella Bridesmaids dressesRaleigh NC floristOutdoor wedding ceremony in NCNorth Carolina guestbookMac and cheese bar at weddingHanging flower decor at weddingWedding venue in Raleigh NCTwo tone layered wedding cakeRaleigh bride and groomThe Sutherland reception with dancingToast to the bride and groomRaleigh wedding venueConfetti send off at wedding


The Venues
“I wouldn’t have wanted to host my wedding anywhere else, but The Sutherland,” shares Gina. “It’s an absolutely beautiful property with everything you need in one location! We loved having both the wedding and reception in such a beautiful, secluded area. It felt like we were in a world of our own and it made the day so much more special.”

“I also loved hosting my bridal luncheon at The Carolina Inn and having this venue be a part of my big day. They always make every bride feel so special no matter what the reason for coming in is,” Gina adds.
Hanging flowers and chalkboard signCatering
“Everyone at Rocky Top Catering is amazing to work with,” says Gina. “I received so many compliments on the food from the wedding. Rocky Top knows how to help couples customize their menu into something that truly reflects their style and taste. We even had a bacon bar!”

Flowers and Dresses
The English Garden rocks!” Gina exclaims. “Cydney and her team come up with fresh, new ideas and truly make your event unique. Likewise, Tre Bella does amazing floral design, and dresses too! They made me feel beautiful with each gown I tried on until I found the PERFECT one! We got our bridesmaids dresses from Bella Bridesmaids, which is run by a wonderful group of ladies and has such a beautiful selection of colors and styles from which to choose.”Pink white and green bouquetMakeup and Hair
“Both Jennifers’ who run Makeup for Your Day are just wonderful to work with! They’ve built a great team of artists whose goal is to make you look and feel beautiful on one of the most important days of your life,” says Gina.

“Getting to work with such a fun company is exactly what’s needed on a very emotional and intense day,” shares Gina. “Twenty-One Films captured every moment of the day and allowed me see the parts of my wedding I didn’t get to see.”

Check out the adorable couple’s story below that Twenty-One Films created for Gina and Zach.

Gina + Zach, The Engagement Story from Twenty-One Films on Vimeo.

VENUE The Sutherland | CATERING Rocky Top Catering | WEDDING PLANNER A Southern Soiree | MINISTER Jeff Streyle | BRIDESMAIDS LUNCHEON The Carolina Inn | BRIDAL GOWN Tre Bella | BRIDESMAIDS Bella Bridesmaids | MOB Nordstrom Rack | GROOMSMEN GIFTS Custom alcohol and gift box | HAIR & MAKEUP Makeup for Your Day | PHOTOGRAPHY Azul Photography | VIDEOGRAPHER Twenty-One Films | FLORIST The English Garden | CAKE Sweet Traditions | INVITATIONS Minted | MUSIC Bunn DJ Company | PARTY RENTALS CE Rental | TRANSPORTATION Carolina Livery, White Horse Transportation

Floral Lace Rivini Gowns and more from Nitsa’s Apparel

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 stunning floral lace Rivini gowns and more from Nitsa’s Apparel. One of the gowns, by designer Monique Lhuillier, appears on the summer/fall cover of our 2015 magazine, on stands now.

Nitsa’s Apparel has locations in Charlotte and Winston-Salem, NC. The full-service bridal salon features classic and couture modern looks from many of the top designers, such as Amsale, Monique Lhuillier, Rivini, and Pronovias. In addition, the shop carries well-known bridesmaids lines and mother of the bride dresses. Brides and the entire wedding party can get everything they need at Nitsa’s, from alterations to cosmetics to accessories. The shop also hosts regular trunk shows!Rivini gown from Nitsa's ApparelRaleigh bride at the Merrimon Wynne HouseThe timeless Rivini gown from Nitsa’s Apparel (above) really makes an entrance, with silk organza layering on the skirt and French chantilly lace on the bodice. The look, with dangling pearl earrings from Anfesa’s Jewelers, standout makeup and hair by Makeup for Your Day, and a simple bouquet of green and white flowers by Fresh Affairs, is always in fashion.Floral lace champagne wedding dressA touch of subtle color always stands out. The bride pictured above is wearing an Anna Maier-Ulla Maija dress from Nitsa’s Apparel. The sweet and sensual French floral lace over champagne silk creates an unforgettable look and is paired with jewelry from Wade Designs Jewelry, hair and makeup from Bella Trio Day Spa, and an eye-catching bouquet of greens from Fresh Affairs.One shoulder Amsale bridal gownFashion shoot at Merrimon Wynne HouseThe gorgeous one-shoulder Amsale silk ballgown (above) from Nitsa’s Apparel drops low to a center half bow in the back. It can also be converted into a strapless gown. It is accented with diamond earrings and ring, pearl bracelet and a double strand pearl necklace with a diamond heart pendant from Wade Designs Jewelry. The asymmetrical side swept locks and makeup was done by Bella Trio Day Spa, while gorgeous greens in the background were arranged by Fresh Affairs on the mantle of one of the Merrimon-Wynne’s fancy fireplaces.Monique Lhuillier tulle gownLastly, we have a chantilly lace and feather-light tulle gown Monique Lhuillier from Nitsa’s Aparel (above) paired with classic pearls from Wade Designs Jewelry. The image (top right) with the eucalyptus garland from Fresh Affairs is currently on Southern Bride & Groom’s 2015 summer/fall cover!

WEDDING GOWNS Nitsa’s Apparel | VENUE Merrimon-Wynne House | PHOTOGRAPHY Dara Blakeley Photography | FLOWERS Fresh Affairs | JEWELRY Anfesa’s Jewelers and Wade Designs Jewelry | HAIR & MAKEUP Makeup for Your Day and Bella Trio Day Spa





Charleston Fashion Week: Bridal Fashion, Fun and High Theater

Charleston Fashion Week is turning into a phenomenon with sponsors like JVT (Jewelry Television, on cable stations everywhere) and major designers in attendance. As further proof that this event has become more than just a local runway show, this year (March, 2015), the lead fashion editor for InStyle Magazine visited for the day, taking in Charleston Fashion week’s iconic Saturday Spring Bridal Show finale.

Charleston’s annual weeklong homage to style attracts large crowds. This year, there were more than 7,500 attendees, with the five-day event boosting the local economy by an estimated $3.5 million. In addition to nightly runway shows, the event has added a party scene that takes full advantage of the many new restaurants and clubs that have opened recently along upper King Street, within walking distance of downtown Charleston’s Marion Square, where the show takes place.

Even the rain earlier in the week didn’t dampen fashion sprits as designers, retailers (like Belk, which has a big presence at the show), and visitors enjoyed runway events that, in addition to fashion, began with light shows that could have rivaled a Broadway production!

Although the early part of the week is dedicated to showcasing emerging young designers or trunk shows for many of the local bridal shops, the Saturday Spring Bridal Show featured designers such as Rachel Gordon & Birdsong, Katherine McDonald (the designer and owner of Kate McDonald and LulaKate), Callie Tein (owner and designer of Modern Trousseau), Liancarlo, Pronovias Atelier, Amsale, and many more.

f8 Photo Studio attended the show with Southern Bride & Groom to capture all the fabulous trends on camera.Charleston Fashion Week Birdsong and Modern Trousseau

Designers (above left to right): One Love by Rachel Gordon & Birdsong and Modern Trousseau

The styles on display at Saturday morning’s bridal show ranged from mini dress and jumpsuit to ballgowns and long trains like the Hayley Paige tulle dress with beaded top. So many different styles were on view it might have been hard to spot a theme, but there were a few worth noting.

Charleston Fashion Week Hailey Paige and Modern TrousseauDesigners (above left to right): Hayley Paige and Modern Trousseau

First, although most of the gowns featured white and ivory, several veered far from traditional bridal gown colors. Gold metallic, for example, showed up in several collections. One of the more beautiful and romantic was the retro gold halter gown from Kate McDonald & LulaKate.Charleston Fashion Week Kate McDonald gold gownKate McDonald gold halter

Designer (above): Kate McDonald & LulaKate

There was also a moonstone metallic lace jumpsuit from Kate McDonald & LulaKate, and a gown from Modern Trousseau called “Storm” that featured gray satin under French alencon lace with an asymmetrical tulle skirt. The collection from Southern Protocol included a blush and gold silk chiffon Grecian gown with hand beading from Nicole Miller. With some of the gowns, gold beads or lace replaced pearls as an embellishment. For example, a Lazaro gown paired gold embroidery over blush tulle, and a gown from designer Matthew Christopher featured gold Venetian threaded lace. The Liancarlo black tulle bride’s ballgown with gold embroidery was especially memorable.Charleston Fashion Week Kate McDonald LulaKate jumpsuit

Designer (above): Kate McDonald & LulaKate

Charleston Fashion Week Modern Trousseau and Nicole Miller gownsDesigners/boutique (above left to right): Modern Trousseau and Nicole Miller from Southern ProtocolCharleston Fashion Week Matthew Christopher and Liancarlo gown

Designers/boutiques (above left to right): Matthew Christopher from Southern Protocol and Liancarlo from Gown Boutique of Charleston

Very low backs were also popular, as were unusual fabric mixes, such as a ballgown with a rhinestone embellished chambray top and long silk tulle skirt. An absolute showstopper was a gown from Pronovias Atelier that paired a sheer top and feathered ballgown skirt!Charleston Fashion Week Pronovias Atelier gown

Designer/boutique (above): Pronovias Atelier from Gown Boutique of Charleston

The event was packed with beautiful gowns, but one collection that stood out as especially romantic and unique was the One Love By Rachel Gordon & Birdsong, which featured one-of-a-kind custom gowns made from vintage wedding gowns. Several of the gowns from that collection featured figure draping satins and silk.Bridal Fashion Show CharlestonBridal fashion show Charleston

Designer (4 above): One Love by Rachel Gordon & Birdsong

Fashion may be the highlight of this bridal event, but the vendors also put on a fabulous show. Caterers brought out samples of wedding cake and hors d’oeuvres, including candied bacon, which was delicious.Charleston Fashion Week 2015Raleigh’s Zass Design also had a booth, manned by jewelry designer Stephanie Smith Zuky and her mom. Zass Design is known for colorful unique jewelry, all locally made from recycled materials. Their bracelets, earrings and other jewels can be custom ordered as gifts for bridesmaids, and the colors can be coordinated with wedding themes.Zass Designs RaleighOne last fashion note: While most of the people attending were there to see the fashions on display by the featured designers, the street fashion side of this event was just as interesting. Charleston is all about style! Street fashion featured everything from the classic little black dress with pumps and pearls to individualistic styles that defy description. In Charleston, fashion isn’t just functional or beautiful; during fashion week, it’s also high theater and a ton of fun!

Glenna Musante is an award-winning writer who specializes in bridal, fashion, travel and the textile industry. She is a former writer for the Raleigh News & Observer.

Photos by f8 Photo Studios

Classic Pronovias Bridal Gowns from The Wedding Dress Shoppe

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 classic lace and beaded Pronovias bridal gowns from The Wedding Dress Shoppe in Wilmington, NC.

The Wedding Dress Shoppe is a full-service bridal salon featuring quality, unique, and distinct gowns for the trendy, stylish and fashionable bride. The shop was inspired to fill a niche in the Wilmington area by offering unique lines exclusive to this market. The result is an extraordinary and distinct collection of gowns from acclaimed designers, exclusive to the Wilmington area. It provides a one-stop shop for all things bridal, including wedding gowns, veils, decorative headpieces, undergarments, jewelry, shoes, bridesmaid dresses, mother of the bride dresses, flower girl dresses, invitations and wedding planning packages. The shop also hosts regular trunk shows!Pronovias beaded wedding gown from Wedding Dress ShoppeLots of sparkle makes this fit and flare Pronovias bridal gown from The Wedding Dress Shoppe a standout, worn with a matching diamond encrusted bracelet and earrings from Anfesa’s Jewelers. A charming feminine hair accessory was provided by Hushed Commotion and hair and makeup completed by Bella Trio Day Spa.

Pronovias beaded white wedding gownThis elaborately beaded Pronovias gown from The Wedding Dress Shoppe has the classic illusion neckline with a natural figure skimming style. With simple, yet elegant bracelets and earrings from Wade Designs Jewelry and a gold headpiece from Hushed Commotion, the classic look is complete with hair and makeup design by Bella Trio Day Spa and a white and green bouquet by Fresh Affairs.

Pronovias Bitan lace white wedding gownLace illusion sleeves and bodice make a V cut over this Pronovias Bitan sweetheart lace-embroidered column gown from The Wedding Dress Shoppe. Pearl and diamond jewelry from Wade Designs Jewelry pairs perfectly with the soft romantic look created by Makeup for Your Day.Pronovias Bitan lace sleeve wedding dressWEDDING GOWNS Pronovias from The Wedding Dress Shoppe | VENUE The Merrimon-Wynne House | PHOTOGRAPHY Dara Blakeley Photography| FLOWERS Fresh Affairs | JEWELRY Anfesa’s Jewelers and Wade Designs Jewelry | HAIR & MAKEUP Makeup for Your Day and Bella Trio Day Spa | HAIR ACCESSORY Hushed Commotion

Timeless Wedding Photography by Raleigh Native Renee Sprink

Southern Bride & Groom works with some of the best wedding photographers in the Raleigh-Durham area and all across North Carolina. We’re thrilled to feature a North Carolina wedding photographer spotlight series so that you can get to know each of them a little better! Today, we’re sharing timeless wedding photography by Raleigh native Renee Sprink Photography.

Renee Sprink was born and raised in Raleigh and exudes sweet and stylish Southern charm! Renee possesses a natural passion for photography as well as a knack for making her clients feel completely at ease. She is more than just a photographer; she becomes her clients’ friend.

Renee loves to travel, but she also likes spending time at home with her husband of six years and their two rescue dogs; she loves monogramming anything she can get her hands on, and you’ll always find her sporting a fabulous pair of shoes! She enjoys entertaining family and friends, watching college football, working out, and giving back to the community through volunteer programs.

With a keen eye for beauty, style, and fashion, Renee captures classic yet modern images that are cherished by couples, friends, and families for years to come!

Renee’s had a camera in her hand as long as she can remember. Her passion for this form of expression really took hold when she was photographer and editor of her high school yearbook. As a student at NC State, she photographed most of her sorority (ZTA) events and some for the N.C. State Yearbook (Agromeck). Photography became part of her professional career when she worked in public relations and studied photography at NY Institute of Photography.

Renee strongly believes in continuing education, which is why she’s a proud member of Professional Photographers of America and Professional Photographers of NC and is currently working on her Certified Professional Photographer designation.

Learn more about Renee’s photographic style and her favorite moments to shoot in her Q&A below.Wedding at Duke Chapel in DurhamWhy do you love photography?

Photography is my passion! It’s about preserving life, love and history. Photographs make time stand still and are proof that our loves and lives existed in the first place. Besides that, I love making my brides feel confident and beautiful!

I have the best job in the world; a successful business; a career I’m passionate about, and clients who I just adore! Most people have a job, but the lucky ones have a calling; there is no doubt that this is what I was meant to do.Winter wedding photographyWhere do you draw your artistic inspiration?

Everywhere – inspiration is all around us in our daily lives. If I had to name a person, it would be Mario Testino and/or Annie Liebowitz.

How would you describe your style?

Clean, classic wedding photography with a bit of a modern twist – timeless, yet still current. My approach is to blend contemporary portraiture with candid photojournalism, which allows me to capture natural interactions, real emotion and authentic moments in an artistic way. My goal is to create beautiful and lasting images that tell the story of my couples’ love, their lives, and their day, and to provide them with photos they will love as much in twenty years as they do today. I photograph for the couple but also for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren who will one day look at these photos.Pink bridal bouquet and flowersPink bridesmaid dressesWhat sets you apart from other photographers?

I’m totally vested in each of my clients, their families, and their day. It’s important that I get to know them on a personal level so that they are relaxed and totally real around me; that is how I get raw emotions and authentic images on their wedding day. I always say, “you’ll come to me a stranger, but you’ll leave a friend.” Because of this, I’m also a dress bustler, emergency rip sewer, bow-tie tier, great listener, hug giver, nerve calmer, tear drier, and laugh maker!Blue bridal shoes and military weddingWhat is your favorite moment to shoot at a wedding?

I have several, but my top two are the time I spend photographing the bride and groom alone, especially if they have a first look. That’s the time when they can put everyone and everything else aside and truly just focus on themselves and live in the moment. That’s really important to me. I also really enjoy shooting the early part of the reception because the stress of the day disappears and is replaced by elation, joy, happiness and celebration! That’s when the couple can cut loose and really enjoy the company of the people who love them most.

Photos above by Renee Sprink Photography

Jenny Packham and other Wedding Gowns from Tre Bella Bridal

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 sharing our favorite looks in bridal fashion from Tre Bella Bridal, a full-service bridal salon and florist in Downtown Durham owned and operated by three sisters.

Tre Bella Bridal quickly grew from a small boutique florist run out of one of the founder’s homes to two locations and three stores. Tre Bella Bridal has a variety of bridal gowns from the collections of popular designers like Carol Hannah, Modern Trousseau, Jenny Packham, San Patrick, Badgley Mischka, and Winnie Couture. The shop also has several lines of bridesmaids dresses and hosts regular trunk shows!

In the boutique, brides will find everything from trendy clothing to jewelry and gifts as well as a design studio to create the perfect floral arrangements for their wedding.Blue Willow wedding gown from Tre Bella BridalTrendy bridal fashionAnne Barge bridal gown from Tre Bella BridalThe bride above makes a fetching silhouette in a lace slip dress with lingerie straps by Blue Willow by Anne Barge. Elegant drop earrings from Tre Bella’s boutique and a soft updo by Makeup for Your Day complete this fetching look.San Patrick Pronovias bridal gown from Tre Bella BridalThe flowing lace ballgown above from San Patrick has the flattering sweetheart neckline beneath its sheer bodice. Diamond earrings and sparkling belt from Tre Bella Bridal match perfectly with the bride’s bracelet and ring from Anfesa’s Jewelry and a gorgeous hairpiece by Hushed Commotion. Bella Trio Day Spa created a glamorous and flirty look with her makeup and hair.Jenny Packham wedding dressJenny Packham wedding gown from Tre Bella BridalRaleigh bride at the Merrimon WynneSoft and always romantic, the Jenny Packham gown pictured above has a most feminine sheer beaded overlay. Paired with classic pearls from Wade Designs Jewelry, the bride’s elegant look matches the tone of this historic setting. Dara Blakeley developed these black & white photographs with a slightly grainy texture, creating a stunning film noir look.

BRIDAL GOWNS Tre Bella Bridal | VENUE Merrimon-Wynne House | PHOTOGRAPHY Dara Blakeley Photography | HAIR & MAKEUP Makeup for Your Day and Bella Trio Day Spa | HAIR ACCESSORY Hushed Commotion | JEWELRY Anfesa’s Jewelers and Wade Designs Jewelry

Southern Bride & Groom Releases Whimsical Summer-Fall Cover!

With the change in seasons comes a new look for SB&G magazine! It’s out with the old and in with a new whimsical and elegant summer-fall cover! Dara Blakeley Photography captured this playful moment from SB&G’s 2015 fashion shoot at the Merrimon-Wynne House in Raleigh, NC.Southern wedding magazineWhen deciding on covers, we absolutely fell in love with this striking image of our bride with floral garland in classic white and green; it seemed to us it would make a perfect cover to usher in the summer months. We love that it’s dramatic, yet still soft, elegant and modern.

Raleigh bride at Merrimon Wynne HouseThe cover bride is wearing a gorgeous Monique Lhuillier bridal gown from Nitsa’s Apparel, which has locations in Winston Salem and Charlotte. On this gown, a Chantilly lace corset bodice with drop waist flows to an embroidered layer over feather-light tulle. Makeup for Your Day enhanced the bride’s look with subtle tones in blush and mauve, and created both a relaxed up-do/bun as well as a soft look with flowing waves as appears on the cover. Wade Designs Jewelry provided the pretty pearls to complete the look.

The ensemble pairs perfectly with a classic combination of white roses and leafy greens, such as eucalyptus, shown in the garland draped over our bride. These whimsical floral touches were created by Fresh Affairs in Raleigh, NC.

Monique Lhuillier wedding gown Nitsas ApparelThe setting for this shoot was the stunning Merrimon-Wynne House, a restored historic property in downtown Raleigh. As you enter the Merrimon-Wynne House, you step into its distinguished past and its present glory. The elegant rooms are softly bathed in natural light from nearly floor-to-cieling windows, and carefully restored post-Cival War architectural details abound. Owner Jodi Strenkowski bought the vacant house in 2013 and renovated with weddings in mind. In keeping with the National Register of Historic Places, and as a Raleigh historic landmark, Jodi guided her architects in preserving the original home, and has added the perfect antique accent pieces.

Merrimon-Wynne House RaleighKeep an eye out for our new summer/fall cover in stores and boutiques across North Carolina. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

PHOTOGRAPHER Dara Blakeley Photography | VENUE Merrimon-Wynne House | FLOWERS Fresh Affairs | BRIDAL GOWN Monique Lhuillier from Nitsa’s Apparel | JEWELRY Wade Designs Jewelry | HAIR & MAKEUP Makeup for Your Day

Brides and Vendors Mingle at Triangle Events

Today, we’re highlighting a few recent events that showcased everything we love about weddings in the South, from charming wedding venues to creative caterers to bridal shows! We love that there are so many opportunities for brides and vendors to mingle at Triangle events. Whether you are searching for the perfect backdrop for your big day, getting a taste of an appetizer you want to have at your reception, or picking up a copy of Southern Bride & Groom at a bridal expo in Raleigh, we have you covered!

Open House at The Bradford
With renovations finally complete at The Bradford, a beautiful new venue located off the beaten path in New Hill, NC, it was ready to make its debut to vendors and brides during a special open house in April. Amanda Scott from A Swanky Affair helped coordinate and plan the event, which showcased all the new improvements made to The Bradford, including new rooftops and balconies. People were really “wowed” by the newly painted and updated ballroom as well!

Not only did brides get a chance to tour The Bradford and envision their wedding in this one-of-a-kind space, but they also got to mix and mingle with area vendors, who were there to show off their skills, including talented members of the SB&G Family! Brides-to-be received great tips and advice for their weddings in a stress-free environment, and entered fun giveaways. The champagne bar, provided by On the Rocks bartending, along with delicious bites, made for a relaxing afternoon. Tre Bella brought beautiful gowns to showcase and a wonderful selection of wedding day jewelry that were a big hit.

The Bradford’s next open house will be held in July. Thank you to Casey Rose Photography for the lovely photos!The Bradford wedding venueBride at NC wedding venue open houseOpen House at the Bradford wedding venue in NCWedding gown and jewelry from Tre Bella BridalVintage couch at The BradfordSouthern bridal wedding magazineWedding food served at The Bradford Open HouseGold white and purple wedding colorsPurple and white wedding paletteWhite and green wedding cake and cateringBride and Groom chalkboard signsPhotos: Casey Rose Photography

Taste the Event 2015
For the second year in a row, local chefs and foodies came together for a food and drink festival that centered around North Carolina cuisine. Taste the Event is a multi-day festival curated by our friends at Durham Magazine and Chapel Hill Magazine. The signature event, The Grand Taste Experience, was held at the Durham Armory on April 23, 2015.

After interviewing several SB&G preferred caterers on the blog, we were anxious to try their creations at Taste! Chef James Clark of Carolina Crossroads/The Carolina Inn fed us well with chilled sweet corn soup with tomato relish and flavorful smoked shrimp. Chef Teddy Diggs of Il Palio/The Siena cured fresh Alaskan salmon paired with warm homemade focaccia bread. We got our sushi fix from Chef Toshio Sakamaki of Basan (an Eschelon Experiences restaurant), who served a chili ginger garlic and soy marinated salmon hand roll. Chef Devereaux Greene at Herons/The Umstead Hotel & Spa showed off a creative technique by pouring warm violet potato soup over a white chocolate ball filled with caviar, which melted into a sweet and savory treat.

Guests mixed and mingled while listening to music from Mint Julep Jazz Band and tasting food from some of the very best chefs, caterers and restaurants in the area.

If you missed out on all the foodie fun this year, keep it on your calendar for next April.Taste the Event DurhamGreen and white rustic flowersDurham magazine and Southern Bride and Groom at Taste the eventDurham NC food festivalChef Teddy Diggs of Il PalioChef Clark catering from The Carolina InnTaste 2015 Durham NCPhotos: Emily Toth Photography and Kristin Prelipp of KPO Photography

Forever Bridal Show
Each season, Forever Bridal Productions hosts a Southern Bridal Show and Expo at the Raleigh State Fairgrounds. Southern Bride & Groom loves attending the showcases to meet brides in person and to connect with great local wedding vendors!

At the April show and expo, brides-to-be enjoyed fashion previews featuring the latest trends in bridal wear, bridesmaids gowns, and tuxedos. They also got to meet and connect with talented Triangle wedding caterers, florists and consultants, as well as Raleigh, Durham, and Cary wedding photographers and videographers. Venues from small local chapels to wineries to beach resorts were also there with useful information.

Thanks to American Party Rentals and University Florist for making our table pretty!

The next Southern Bridal Show and Expo will be held August 8-9, 2015.Southern Bridal ExpoTeal Wedding Colors