It’s Wedding Feature Wednesday at Southern Bride & Groom! Today we’re excited to share Jennifer and Christiaan’s navy and coral garden-themed wedding at The Oaks at Salem in Apex, NC.
Jennifer and Christiaan met a few days before their first day at Carolina Law. Christiaan was a true gentleman from the start; as he passed by Jennifer, with her arms full of heavy law school books, he offered to carry them for her. Then, on the first day of class, he asked to sit next to her in two out of their three classes together and he hasn’t left her side since.
Christiaan knew how important Jennifer’s hometown of Chicago was to her, so he decided to propose on a rooftop overlooking the city skyline. Luckily, after a flight cancelation that almost screwed up the entire plan, he was able to catch another flight and get things back on track.
After heading up to the roof and ordering drinks, Jennifer was texting her friends who she thought were just meeting them for casual drinks, but when she looked up, Christiaan was down on one knee with a ring. They headed back to Jennifer’s family home for a surprise engagement party with Christiaan’s parents flying in from New Jersey.
Because Jennifer started off wedding planning long-distance, she relied heavily on Websites such as Southern Bride & Groom to choose her vendors. The first thing they decided was the venue. They knew they wanted an outdoor wedding, so they researched all outdoor venues in the Triangle. After falling in love with The Oaks at Salem, they decided the theme would be “garden party/secret garden.”
“We loved the idea of having something laid back and simple, focused on celebrating our love and the people who mean the most to us,” said Jennifer.
Vendors were chosen based mainly on reviews, websites, and phone calls. While it was a challenge to coordinate and choose people from afar, everything turned out perfectly.
Jennifer wanted to incorporate navy into the wedding colors, but since navy is a darker color for a spring wedding, they incorporated bright shades of coral to make it pop. The flowers, which played an important role in this garden party, were all bright corals, orange and peaches.
They wanted the wedding to be a true reflection of their lives so they incorporated personal touches from the groom’s mother’s ring to polar bear cake toppers to a local drink menu from states they’ve lived to the menu, which was a fusion of Southern and Greek fare. The ceremony included aspects of Jennifer’s catholic background and Christiaan Greek orthodox background.
“Both Christiaan and I are not originally from Raleigh, but we met and fell in love in North Carolina and wanted to set our roots here. We wanted our venue to showcase the beauty of the state, and The Oaks at Salem did just that. The grounds are breathtaking. April and Joslin (at the venue) were welcoming and helpful in making sure our wedding day was perfect – it was the best decision we made to get married there,” shares Jennifer.
“There was no other choice for us – we knew we wanted to have our rehearsal dinner at Sitti restaurant in Raleigh. We were going to have a large guest count and their courtyard was perfect…not to mention their food is delicious! Everyone I worked with that night was so helpful and accommodating,” Jennifer notes.
“Food was an incredibly important element of our wedding,” Jennifer explains. “We wanted guests to leave still talking about how delicious the food was! After searching forever, we decided on Catering Works. The amount of time they spent with us, perfecting our “Southern fusion” menu was impressive. They accommodated all of our requests and the food came out perfect! My guests even commented on how the people working our event worked tirelessly to make sure the plated meal looked perfect and that everyone was taken care of. Mission accomplished!”
“Christiaan’s favorite meal is dessert, so we opted for a dessert table and small cake,” the bride explains. “We wanted the table to showcase our favorite bakery in Chapel Hill, Sugarland, so we had their cupcakes mixed in with other desserts from Raleigh local Edible Art. The desserts went so quick I wasn’t able to try them all!”
VENUE The Oaks at Salem | CATERER Catering Works | MINISTER Rev. David James | REHEARSAL DINNER Sitti | WEDDING PLANNER Jessica Tilton | GOWN Alvina Valenta | BRIDAL SHOES Jimmy Choo | JEWELRY Macy’s | BRIDESMAIDS Bella Bridesmaids, J. Crew and Brideside | HAIR Wedding Hair by Liz | MAKEUP Julie Robbins Makeup | PHOTOGRAPHER Hartman Outdoor Photography | FLORIST Embellished Blooms | CAKE Edible Art and Sugarland | INVITATIONS Bella Joviality | CEREMONY MUSIC Elegant Ensembles | RECEPTION MUSIC The Perfect Beat | PARTY RENTALS Party Reflections | GUEST ACCOMMODATIONS Raleigh Marriott City Center | TRANSPORTATION Dave’s Classic Cars and S&H Transportation