Welcome to my eco-friendly vintage vineyard picnic engagement shoot featuring newly-engaged couple Marissa DiMarco and Stephen Wingate. The inspiration for this engagement shoot began with the JOLO Winery & Vineyards in Pilot Mountain, NC and a lovely newly engaged couple.
My initial vision was rooted in the eco-friendly, vintage romantic, earthy feel of the vines. JOLO is a new winery in North Carolina, located just north of Winston-Salem.
Jenn Aan, the photographer, was instrumental in suggesting different areas around the vineyard based on the best lighting and setting for each of the scenes in the shoot. She also provided meaningful direction in the tasting room, which actually re-directed our celebration scene to the front of the wine cellar. Aan has great technique, and in line with our eco-friendly theme, is also in the process of finalizing a product line which features around 80 percent post-consumer product of which everything is renewable.
JOLO Winery & Vineyards is perfect for any event – engagement, wedding ceremony, reception, bridal showers and farewell brunches – you name it! This venue includes a beautiful quaint restaurant, a lovely tasting room with a long tasting bar, fireplace and temperature controlled wine storage, a separate barrel room behind the tasting room to accommodate rehearsal dinners, a charming honeymoon chateau, beautiful views of Pilot Mountain, a gazebo, fire pit and other amenities. Couples who enjoy delicious wines, exquisite food, and rolling hills covered in rows of lush grape vines will be pleasantly surprised at this new North Carolina hidden gem.
One of the main reasons we choose this vineyard for the shoot was based on the owners’ commitment to being as “green” as posible in several areas of the business. Their eco-friendly initiatives include using burnt vine clippings combined with compost for fertilizers, using baking soda and hot sauce in place of most insecticides, and using reclaimed creek and rain water for the vines, which tied in nicely with our styled shoot theme.
The styled shoot scenes
The styled “scenes” of the shoot unfolded like an old silent movie, beginning with a walk across the property.
The couple then proceeded to the gazebo where it was staged to look like Stephen had previously arranged the picnic setting for the engagement. In designing this area, we thought we would supplement the vineyard’s “green” choices with a few of our own and return to the simpler days of an old fashioned picnic. Antique wine boxes and vintage dishes added a dreamy touch to the gazebo picnic overlooking Pilot Mountain. The picnic basket included a long crusty baguette, an assortment of aged cheeses, olive oil, nuts, grapes, honey, jam and of course, JOLO wine provided by JOLO’s restaurant, End Posts. We used soft green, navy blue and grey color in the design to flow with the natural surrounding beauty of the grounds.
At the end of the day, the engagement was celebrated with a glass of champagne and old fashioned cupcakes in the tasting room of the lodge followed by a walk back to the fishing lodge for some quiet time.
Anna from Simply Elegant Floral Designs kept things simple yet playful, just like the fun couple. She chose organic flowers from the local farmer’s market which were styled in vintage milk jugs, old water bottles and vases to look like Stephen had made them for Marissa himself, loose and carefree!
Raleigh Vintage provided Marissa with a vintage green toile summer dress. This early 1960s slightly sheer white-crinkle dress with a minty green toile print was perfect for a summer picnic engagement! We swapped the matching belt for a thin navy belt and paired it with little navy blue flats to coordinate with the groom’s outfit.
Jenn with Jenny’s Cupcakery provided the cupcakes which were organic gluten free/vegan vanilla cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting. She also made the frosting look “old fashioned,” as if Stephen would have made them himself.
About the couple ~ Marissa and Stephen
Were you wondering if Marissa and Stephen are really engaged? They are indeed, and Stephen’s real proposal was one of the most romantic that has been shared with us.
One Saturday morning, Marissa awoke to find roses on her bedside table with a love note from Stephen telling her he was treating her to a day of relaxation because she worked so hard with her teaching and coaching job. Soon afterwards, her best friend, Courtney, came to the door and whisked the two of them away to lunch and a full spa day taken care of by Stephen. Afterwards, Courtney brought Marissa to Stephen’s apartment where she expected to find him, but instead found a beautiful new dress laid out on his bed for her with another note telling her to wear it to meet him. Courtney then took her to Duke Gardens where, at last, she saw Stephen. They walked through the gardens and he soon got down on his knee to propose! This proposal was professionally photographed, and to top off the day’s surprises, cheers erupted as Marissa turned to see three of her best friends. Stephen had flown in two of Marissa’s best friends from college to share the news. They all headed out to dinner and were joined by several more of their best pals to celebrate one of their most important days together.
Marissa and Stephen’s wedding is in the works for this coming July at the Penn Oaks Golf Club, owned by her father and uncle, in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Kimberly Williams is the heart and soul of Weddings by the Vine. She is an expert on vineyard wedding venues across North Carolina — marrying her passion for wedding planning with her passion for wine. For the past 15 years, Williams traveled the world, studying wine and exploring vineyards on both sides of the Atlantic, with a particular focus on the vineyards of North Carolina; she has been coordinating weddings across the state since 2004.
PLANNER Kimberly Williams, Weddings by the Vine | PHOTOGRAPHER Jenn Aan, Halftone Studios | Marissa DiMarco & Stephen Wingate | VENUE, WINE, FOOD JOLO Vineyard & Winery, Pilot Mountain, NC FLORALS & STYLING Simply Elegant Floral Designs | DRESS Raleigh Vintage | CUPCAKES Jenny’s Cupcakery | PLATES & NAPKINS Party Reflections | HAIR & MAKEUP Elaine Harrison Makeup Artistry