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Huntersville Wedding by Caroline Ghetes Photography

Hello Chrystl. You made a beautiful bride. Gorgeous actually. And your wedding…well, it’s enough to make me think (well, know) that we could be the best of friends. You see, as much as I have learned to really love color infused into wedding day style, there is just something about a perfect white wedding that gets me every time. It gets the wedding giddies going in full force and yours was total white perfection. With photographs by Caroline Ghetes this little fete is the epitome of all things SMP. And lucky for us, there is so much more goodness in the gallery!

Click here to see the entire gallery of images!

From the Bride…Nick and I met about five years ago working at the same restaurant in the suburbs of Chicago.  There was something different about each other and we became friends right away. Our friendship came easily we both were interested in the same things and loved spending time together. In the five years that we dated I graduated college becoming a photographer full time and he opened a restaurant. We always knew that we were going to do something different in our lives than an office job we are both creative and after he proposed and we were planning a wedding we knew that our creativity would easily translate into our wedding day.

We are both from the western suburbs of Chicago we actually went to the same high school just not at the same time (we are about 5 years apart in age). However, Nick wanted to have a destination wedding and I didn’t, I wanted to get married close to home. However, my mom’s friend, Rehnea Raines, opened a wedding venue called The Ranson House in Huntersville, NC and the previous year I had been to a wedding there and fell in love with it. There was something different about it and it had that southern charm that simply cannot be found up north in Chicago. I told Nick that we could get married out of state only if we could get married at the Ranson House and when he saw the venue for the first time it wasn’t difficult to decide. I work in the wedding industry and I wanted something different for my wedding day and that is exactly what we got.

After 3 or 4 trips to Charlotte we were able to plan a wedding from Chicago, I had a lot of help though. I had a friend or knew someone in almost all my vendor categories. The details meant a lot to me I knew that is what really makes a wedding beautiful and it definitely paid off. My mom’s friend is the top Floral designer in Florida and she came to do the flowers and decorations in the tent. Photography is my passion and so I put some hints of that in the day, in one room of the house I made a display of old family wedding photos and antique cameras. Caroline Ghetes took our engagement photos I had them displayed in different parts of the house. There were a lot of details and I had a lot of help my mom is creative just like I am and she did a lot of work.

What made my wedding so meaningful to me was that every detail meant something to either Nick or I. I think a wedding should reflect who you both are and we were able to do that in so many ways. We had 140 guests come from different all parts of the country it meant the world to both of us and we wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Venue: The Ranson House / Wedding Coordination: Rehnea Raines of The Ranson House / Wedding Photography: Caroline Ghetes Photography / Wedding Videography: A Family Friend / Wedding Dress: Amsale / Bridesmaid Dresses: Jasmine B2 / Groom + Groomsmen Attire: Jos A. Bank / Wedding Cake: Noona’s Sweets / Decor: Cheryl Swartzel / Makeup: Courtney Vose

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North Carolina Wedding by The Beautiful Mess Photography

Cracker Jacks are probably one of my favorite snacks and completely remind me of being a little munchkin. I mean caramel coated popcorn and peanuts, total genius in my book, which makes this couple extra endearing because they whipped out my most favorite of treats as favors at their cute as pie North Carolina wedding. Add to that a groom who wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty in the planning process (SCORE!) and tons of details that made this celebration full of personality and we have a clear favorite on our hands. See more of the cute details captured by The Beautiful Mess in the gallery.

see the FULL wedding here!

From the Bride…

When Paul used candles to spell out the words “Will you marry me?” in the valley behind his grandparents’ mountain home, I’m not sure he knew what he was getting into. I once had a friend who started “taking notes” while watching ‘A Wedding Story’ at the age of 12… I am not that girl. I had no clue. Colors…I should know that already? Trumpet? Ball gown? A-line? Are we talking dresses or musical instruments? On top of being clueless, I was teaching second grade while working on an extra certification. Enter long suffering, sweet, helpful fiance. Paul found the church and reception venue with little guidance from me besides that I wanted “simple but classic.” (I actually did not step foot into the reception hall until a month before the wedding and it was perfect. Praise the Lord, ’cause there was no turning back at that point!) I wanted places that didn’t need many decorations or flowers. The church reminded me a lot of the small New Hampshire churches I grew up in – small with stained glass windows – beautiful but simple. We added a few twinkle lights and paper lanterns to the reception hall and it was gorgeous.

The rest of the details kind of ‘found me’ or emerged from our interests. (I knew I wanted lots of green but didn’t decide on deep purple until one of my bridesmaids tried on a sample dress in that color. So pretty–decision made.) And while I wanted the day to be special and reflect our personalities, I also knew we couldn’t spend as much on one day as I did on my entire college education. So we got crafty and thrifty and did a lot of things ourselves. (No joke–this wedding would NOT have happened without my family… and Ikea.) We got married on a Friday (mostly because we got a late start for booking a June wedding…woops) which saved on the reception rental. (Many places have different pricing for Friday/Sunday as opposed to the ever-popular Saturday wedding.) The wedding photography was very important to me but flowers had never been my ‘thing.’ So I found a really great website that sold silk flowers and ordered all the bouquets, boutonnieres, and flowers for the pews, altar, and tables at the reception. After many trips to Ikea and every craft store within a 20 mile radius of my apartment, my mom, sister, aunt, and I assembled the bouquets, added ribbon to the boutonnieres, and arranged the flowers for the altar and the tables. It cost about an eighth of what a florist had quoted me for the same flowers. Score. We also opted for a smaller cake with a cupcake arrangement (because I love cupcakes) only to find out it cut the cost of our cake by half. Sweet. Another aunt helped my mom create the table numbers with the numbers and backgrounds made out of different shades/patterns of purple and green. We put different engagement pictures on the back of each. We bought all the vases and candles for the tables from Ikea and also set up a candy table with jars and dishes from Ikea. Paul searched the internet for the best deals on bulk candy and then found online promotion codes to cut costs even more. We added pictures of us as kids on the candy table and pictures of our grandparents’ weddings on the cake table.

Throughout the process, as I was thinking of ways to make our wedding somehow unique to us… I thought about things that we did together that we loved. Being raised in New England (the heart of Red Sox Nation), I had always loved baseball. Paul loved any sport. We spent a good portion of our dates at basketball and football games. So we decided to incorporate a bit of that. My mom added a basketball ribbon to my garter and for our ‘guest book,’ we had people sign baseballs, a bat, and a basketball. We used good ol’ Cracker Jacks (a timeless baseball staple) as our seating cards. (Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a box of Cracker Jacks–a snack and a prize?!? Bonus.)

Photographer: The Beautiful Mess Photography / Flowers: DIY by the Family / DJ: Grant Giesler / Cake: Sweet Life Cakes / Groom’s Suit: Express / Ceremony: First Baptist Church of Cornelius, NC /Reception: Birkdale Golf Club, Huntersville, NC