When Claire left home to attend her dream university, little did she know she’d also meet then man of her dreams after one month (!!) at said institution. For once these college cuties found commonalities they were inseparable and after a decade long romance they set a date. Yes, THE date with Events By La Fete at the helm. From the decadent Ashley Cakes to their first dance, Graham Terhune Photography captured it all to share and can we just say, #weddinggoals. See it all in The Vault!
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From The Bride…When I left the mountains of NC at the ripe old age of 18 to attend my dream school, UNC-Chapel Hill, the thought never crossed my mind that within my first month of college I’d have met the man I was going to marry. (Thank goodness that meant I’d end up with a fellow Tar Heel!) What’s more incredible is that I wouldn’t come to that realization for another 10 years. But, once my “lightbulb went off,” as Bill and I like to joke, and I realized Bill was more than just a friend, there was no turning back. It only took 10 months to go from first date to proposal; I had made that poor boy wait long enough.
Once Bill and I started dating, we quickly realized just how much we have in common: we are both North Carolina natives, devoted Tar Heels, and extremely close with our families; we put hot sauce on everything; we could live off hot dogs and ice cream alone and we love the Lord…just to name a few. In coming up with a vision for our big day, we wanted to capture many, if not all, of these similarities and we wanted it to look and feel authentic. We didn’t need a lot of glitz or glamor or over the top “stuff.” Rather, the focus was in the details, in keeping things traditional and in staying true to our Southern roots, all while wanting our guests to feel and sense our love for each other, for Christ and for each of them.
We wanted to keep things classic black tie with neutral hues, soft florals, a lace gown, ivory dinner jackets, engraved invitations and a string quartet. The ceremony was traditional and Christ-centered with scripture readings, familiar hymns and a lot of prayer. But we also added in a few surprise elements in the way of customized wedding maps and gift boxes, a life map serving as our welcome sign, “Jack Frost Diary Bar” ice cream from my hometown of Marion and a Trolley Stop Hot Dog Cart for guests to enjoy as they exited our reception.
In going about tying everything together and bringing our vision to life, the real objective was to keep things meaningful and to incorporate as many family-related elements as possible. This was accomplished with the help of a number of family members: my aunt crafted the ring bearer pillow out of lace from my mother’s wedding gown and adorned it with the lovely broach Bill inherited by way of his paternal grandmother (the very broach from which the diamond in my engagement ring came); additional lace from her gown was wrapped around my exquisite bouquet; my mother-in-law loaned me her beautiful mantilla and the silver coupes Bill and I used during our first toast were wedding gifts my parents received 45 years ago. These details might have been small, and they quite possibly went unnoticed, but they were significant nonetheless.
Given all the conversations that take place and decisions to be made over the course of the wedding planning process, there was one decision that required little to no discussion on our part. In lieu of traditional wedding favors, Bill and I decided to make a donation to the Lung Cancer Initiative of NC in honor Bill’s father and best man, who had been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer a month before we were engaged. When we made the decision to forego favors and honor Bill’s dad in this special way, we had no way of knowing that Bill’s dad would never make it to our wedding. He was hospitalized the week leading up to our wedding, watched bits and pieces of the weekend from his hospital bed with the help of technology and passed away two days later. Despite our sadness over his absence from our wedding festivities, his presence was immensely felt and his excitement for us readily apparent.
The strength and courage displayed by family that weekend and the manner in which we were all able to celebrate in the midst of sorrow was a true testament of faith. To God be the glory.
When I reflect back on our wedding and scroll through gorgeous photo after gorgeous, each so sweetly and genuinely capturing all the various emotions of the day, I’m reminded that this vision of mine, of ours – which was carried out by so many gifted and talented wedding vendors who are the very best of the best at what they do – far exceeded all expectations. It is a day Bill and I will forever cherish and hold dear. It is a day Bill’s dad hated to miss but one he hung on just long enough to know took place. And that’s the greatest gift and blessing we could have ever received.
Photography: Graham Terhune Photography | Event Planning: Events by La Fete | Floral Design: Kelly Odom | Wedding Dress: Romona Keveza | Cake: Ashley Cakes | Ceremony Venue: St. David's | Reception Venue: Carolina Country Club | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Joanna August | Catering: Carolina Country Club | Makeup: Onloktion Makeup Artistry | Hair: Studio Hair | Calligraphy: Calligraphy by Carrie | Lighting: Total Production Services | Band: The Winn Jazz All Stars | Groomsmen Attire: VIP Formal Wear | Rentals: CE Rentals | Suspenders: High Cotton Ties | Wedding Map + Life Map: Emily Brooks Designs | Welcome Boxes: A Signature Welcome