Heart of NC Weddings 2023

Page 1

Your Triangle Wedding Guide

plus destinations from the mountains to the coast

NOW BOOKING 2023 WEDDINGS AND BEYOND 11000 Governors Drive, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27517 ∙ 919.933.7500 ∙ GovernorsClubNC.com/Wedding Governors Club
Kaitlyn Blake Photography
Every Woman Wants a Bailey Box Raleigh | Cary | Rocky Mount | Greenville | Los Angeles www.baileybox.com QE Follow us on social @BaileysFineJewelry Discover Your Dream Ring!
Tiffany L. Johnson Photography Tiffany L. Johnson Photography
“A Place Like No Other” with acres of picturesque gardens and unparalleled sunset views. Just 35 minutes from downtown Raleigh VisitRoseHill.com | 252-459-4058
Chelsea Renay Photography Maggie Mills Photography Becca Rizzo Photography Catie Spell Photography Cynthia Rose Photography


Fancy This Photography captured a dazzling golden hour scene at The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve in Raleigh. UC Models’ Grace Harrington wears a Misty wedding gown by Lazaro from White of Raleigh boutique with jewelry from Bailey’s Fine Jewelry, hair and makeup by Reign Beauty and floral design by Joneswell Flowers

To view the entire styled shoot, turn to page 132.

The reproduction of any photography, artwork, articles or copy prepared by Triangle Media Partners or Heart of NC Weddings and contained herein is strictly prohibited. Editorial material may not be reproduced without written permission. We have sought to ensure accuracy of the content herein, but Triangle Media Partners does not assume responsibility of any errors, inaccuracies or omissions. We reserve the right to refuse advertising.

2023 • VOL 36 heartofncweddings.com

Publisher and Editor Jenna Parks

Executive Managing Editor Amanda MacLaren

Managing Editor Renee Ambroso

Editorial Shoot Director Becca Taylor

Director of Creative Operations Ashlin Acheson

Digital Editor Kevin Delgado


Marie Muir, Jenn Nunn, Mollyann Russell, John Michael Simpson, Brooke Spach, Jessica Stringer and Anna-Rhesa Versola

Editorial Interns

Ellison Beaver, Valeria Cloës, Sam Edge, Teresa Fang, Sinclair Holian, Sarita Lokesh, Katie MacKinnon, Haley Pineles, Isabella Reilly and Caitlyn Yaede

Creative Director Kevin Brown

Graphic Designer/Production Coordinator Lindsay Scott

Graphic Designer Khadijah Weekes-Nolan


For information, contact info@heartofncweddings.com

Account Executives

Melissa Crane, Chris Elkins, Kem Johnson, Lauren Phillips, Lucinda Poole and Dana Statkun

President, Triangle Digital Partners Rory Kelly Gillis

Founder/Chairman Dan Shannon

President, Triangle Media Partners Ellen Shannon

Vice President of Finance & Administration Amy Bell

Creative Director, Triangle Digital Partners Sally Scruggs

Digital Operations Manager Lizzie Jones

Digital Customer Service Specialist Brian McIndoo

Office Administration and Accounting Assistant Cassady Orsini


Matt Bair, Tristan Cook, Matt Mansell and Tim Shaw

Heart of NC Weddings is published by Triangle Media Partners (formerly Shannon Media Inc.)

1777 Fordham Blvd., Ste. 105, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 tel 919.933.1551

plus destinations from the mountains to the coast
heartofncweddings.com 2023
211 Pittsboro St. Chapel Hill, NC 27516 • 919.918.2715 • carolinainnweddings.com
James Photography

from the Publisher

The Roaring ’20s

he roaring ’20s have arrived. Congrats to all of you who are newly engaged! There is something truly special about planning a wedding at this moment in time. The jolt of going from a total event shutdown to a full-fledged event bottleneck has couples completely reprioritizing what they want out of this age-old tradition.

The result? A totally reinvented weddings landscape. The rules have been tossed out – which is an empowering thing for you to know as you start to plan. For example, just because you’ve been part of a wedding party seven times does not mean you need a wedding party. Don’t feel pressure to book that peak season Saturday date … wedding season is officially year-round now. Thursday and Monday weddings are rising in popularity, too (and thanks to Zoom office hours, guests might not even have to take a day off). Couples are getting married in bars and music venues in addition to classic gardens, clubs and estates. Microweddings are here to stay, but the comeback of big, luxurious celebrations is impressive.

My advice: Define what luxury means to you and your partner, and start there. Maybe your priority is the perfect designer gown, maybe it’s lush flowers or perhaps it’s the experiential element, and nothing short of a weekend packed with live music will do. Regardless of the location or size, couples are designing their day to tell their own story – blending cultures, colors and cuisines.

The good news is that incredibly talented North Carolina vendors support these grand plans of personalization. But expect more competition and higher prices than you may remember from, say, your big sister’s wedding four years ago. You may also be surprised to find that not only your dream venue, but also your photographer or florist may require you to hire a professional planner. We are big fans of that evolution – check out our recommendations beginning on page 176. From wedding locales to thank-you notes, we’re certain you will find an incredible vendor team among the variety of styles and price points presented within these pages.

So get cozy, and dig in. This book is for you!

Warmest wishes, Jenna Parks  @JennaLovesLocal  jenna@heartofncweddings.com

6 heartofncweddings.com

1 Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary owner and CEO Diane Joyal and lead designer Amanda Davila construct a hydrangea arch at the McAlisterLeftwich House in Greensboro during a styled photo shoot planned by C&D Events West.

Photo by Fancy This Photography

2 Anna White of Ella Ink helps photographer Magdalena Stefanek arrange the perfect shot of invitations and place cards during a photo shoot at Walnut Hill.


Behind the Scenes

The Heart of NC Weddings team knows it’s a treat to be part of the most joyful world of weddings. Each year as we send this magazine to press, we reflect on the passion that brought it to life. These real weddings, photo shoots and words are the expression of dozens of loving couples and hundreds of talented professionals.

As you read this magazine, we hope you find achievable inspiration and helpful planning tips. But most of all, we hope you take note of the fantastic local vendors who help us bring this content to you and consider working with some of them for your big day.

There are lots of national blogs and websites out there that tout the claim of having “vetted vendors.” Well, “vetted” is often a meaningless word that equates to the price tag of said vendor’s services. And sure, we do some of that, too.


Embrace the fun side of engagement. As a local wedding guide, we share the scoop on the plethora of area events, open houses, trunk shows and special offers our vendors are running. Scan the code to register for our e-newsletter to stay in the loop of engagement season events!

While you’re there, take a peek at our brand-new website, which is here to make your planning journey easier. Everything you see in this magazine and more is on our blog – it’s the stuff Pinterest board dreams are made of. Best of all, our online vendor directory is easier than ever to use. Peruse by category of service and reach out directly to your favorite vendors.

8 heartofncweddings.com
3 Virtue Events’ Joye Speight, photographer Heba Salama, Heart of NC Weddings’ Jenna Parks, University Club’s Jessica Lee, Fancy This Photography’s Nikki Whitt Belch and Heart of NC Weddings’ Dana Statkun at The Carolina Inn during Triangle Media Partners’ annual Women of Achievement luncheon. 3 2

But the difference in seeking recommendations from a local guide like ours is that we have meaningful relationships with the businesses you see in these pages. We collaborate with them on our editorials. We tour new venue constructions in a hard hat and then attend their opening soiree in stilettos. We visit their gift shops for our own loved ones. We see them around town at open houses and networking events –catching up on one another’s successes and woes. We watch them evolve as creatives and see their families grow. We share values of diversity and inclusivity.

In other words, these vendors are our personal recommendations.

We believe that shopping locally for your wedding begins with using a local guide. So, thank you for supporting that cause by using this magazine to plan your wedding day.


Are you having a little FOMO as you browse these fun behind-thescenes shots? We love nothing more than to feature community members and real couples as our editorial models. Stay tuned for model calls throughout the year. And we’re always accepting engagement or wedding submissions. For your best chance to get featured, shop our vendors!

Scan the code to submit your engagement or wedding:

4 Photographer Ariel Mason captures a proposal scene between models (and real-life couple) Troy Jones and Moira Zipperer at Walnut Hill in front of an elaborate setup by Posh Picnic NC and Alpha-Lit Marquee Letters. Moira wears a BeEverthine dress with hair and makeup by Pinup Studio.

5 Heart of NC Weddings’ editorial shoot director Becca Taylor adjusts the sleeve of model Pashara Black’s Thornbury Brides gown during our fashion editorial shoot at The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve. Pashara wears jewelry from Diamonds Direct and hair and makeup by Reign Beauty.

6 Heart of NC Weddings’ Amanda MacLaren, Jenna Parks, Renee Ambroso and Dana Statkun try out ZimZoom Photo Booth’s 360-degree video booth at Belt Line Station. Photo by The Axtells: Wedding Photography + Films

7 The Distillery owner Chad Biggs perfects the reception setup for the vow renewal of wedding planners Addie Thompson and Michael Thompson. Linens and tabletop rentals from American Party Rentals. Photo by Krista Stevens Photography

heartofncweddings.com 9
6 7
5 4

To plan the wedding you’ve always imagined call one of our wedding specialists 919-467-2566 www.prestonwoodcc.com 300 Prestonwood Parkway, Cary, NC

Vesic Photography
Learn more and request information at ncartmuseum.org/weddings
unparalleled elegance. exquisite cuisine. artful ambiance.
photo, top: kivus & camera | photos, left to right: aj dunlap photography, kivus & camera, briana brough photography
12 heartofncweddings.com DEPARTMENTS 6 Letter from the Publisher 8 Behind the Scenes 314 Venue Guide 318 Directory of Resources CHAPTERS 22 Venues 26 Piedmont Planning Tips 32 Plan Small, Think Big 40 Something Blue 52 The Wedding Weekend 60 What’s New with Venues 74 All Aboard 88 Tradition with a Twist 100 Tools of the Trade 112 Eastern Planning Tips 123 International Love 128 Western Planning Tips 132 Fashion & Beauty 134 The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve Fashion Editorial 156 Best Dressed 161 Gown Goals 162 Dressed to Impress 168 Fashionable Flair 170 For the Parents 172 Pretty in Pink 174 Time to Shine 176 Wedding Planners 178 Smooth Sailing 180 Real Weddings 88 100 74 Table of Contents
Make a statement. Say
Express your
in our contemporary
> To learn more or book your date, contact dur events@21cHotels com 21cMuseumHotels.com/weddings 919.956.6700 | 111 Corcoran Street, Durham, NC 27701
more than "I do" on
wedding day
unique style
feature touches of historic charm
rehearsal dinners and grand ceremonies, to receptions and farewell brunches, make it memorable with 21c


180 Cherie Chiu & Leo Lu 184 Joey Erdie & Garcelle Vierra 186 James Ryan & Sarah Sullivan 190 Mark Barrasso & Madison Prescott 192 DaRon Blackwell & Imani Cunningham 196 Bennett Gibson & Sarah Hansen 198 Catherine Green & Chad Linville 202 Terry Flowers & Alicia Marks 204 Arthur Manning III & Bobbielynn Patillo 208 Colbjorn Erlandson & Erica Ramaker 222 Ellie Preyer & Robby Templeton 223 Jessica Austin & Van Williams 226 Shannon Burns & Spencer Welch 228 Abby Larus & Liam Miranda 232 Nicholas Tomaine & Julian Tucker 234 John Aaron Murray & Uma Tadepalli 238 Alex Budrys & Kaley Smith

14 heartofncweddings.com 212 Magic Moments 216 Full Frame 222 Real Weddings 240 Paper & Gifts 242 Meet Your Local Stationers 250 Gift Guide 252 Flowers & Decor 254 Floral Design Inspiration 270 Rentals Checklist 272 Give Me a Sign 274 Reception 276 Meet Your Local Caterers 297 Cakes & Desserts 298 Meet Your Local Bakers 305 Entertainment 306 Let the Music Play 309 Picture Perfect 310 In Good Spirits 312 Ticket to Ride
180 (Clockwise from top) Page 12: The
photo by Ariel Kaitlin Photography;
+ Films; Page 14:
310 242 232 254
tabletop photo by Lindley Battle; couple at Belt Line Station, photo by The Axtells: Wedding Photography
Stationery by Ashley Triggiano, photo by Jillian Knight;
Apothecary at McAlister-Leftwich House, photo by Fancy This Photography; couple photo by Ariel Kaitlin Photography; cocktail by
Mobile, photo by
at The Bradford, photo by JP Pratt Photography
Wedding Bands As Unique As Your Love Diamonds | Custom Engagement Rings | Jewelry Made On Site www.RaleighDiamond.com | 919.725.3444 | 5925 Glenwood Avenue One mile west of the beltline, across from Rooms To Go. North Carolina’s largest, locally owned fine jewelry showroom. Specializing in engagement rings, loose diamonds, and custom jewelry design.
Inside AC Hotel Raleigh Downtown thewillardraleigh.com
UNMATCHED DOWNTOWN views Celebrate your love in our rooftop ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows and bespoke catering. Keep guests close with accommodations just an elevator away.
A timeless setting for luxury weddings and events TOP LEFT AND RIGHT TWO PHOTOS: ARIKA JORDAN PHOTOGRAPHY 3833 Millard Whitley Road Chapel Hill, NC | info@lavenderoaks.farm | 919-909-7417 | www.lavenderoaks.farm
BRIDAL LUNCHEONS / REHEARSAL DINNERS / WEDDING CEREMONIES & RECEPTIONS 3100 Tower Blvd., 17th Floor Durham, NC 919.493.8099 www.universityclubnc.com Sponsorships available.
Nancy Ray Photography
Halftone Studios
Walters & Walters In His Image Walters & Walters UNIVERSITY CLUB in the Penthouse Suite of University Tower in Durham

Spring Lake, North Carolina Visit THECarolinaBARN.com and book your tour, today.

Matthew Wonderly Photography Left: Kaitlyn Blake Photography, Middle & Right: Morgan Caddell Photography
CERentalisnow CuratedEvents.com | @curatedeventsraleigh | (919) 833-9743 Your Premier Event Rental Company We are excited to share our new name & new inventory with you!


22 heartofncweddings.com


The cost of venues in the Triangle and throughout North Carolina vary based on popularity, in-house inclusions, location and time of year. Venue rentals cost an average of about $7,500, however, cost can vary between $3,000 and $12,000.


Venues are one of the first vendors you’ll book after deciding the basics like your budget and guest count. Decide if you want to hold the ceremony and reception at the same venue. Couples who get engaged in 2023 will face extra competition when booking prime dates (Saturdays in the spring or fall). Also remember that what’s included with your rental can vary from venue to venue: Tables, chairs, flatware, catering, bar packages, overnight accommodations and more may or may not be included in your package or available as add-on services.


Finalize your budget before touring venues to avoid visiting locations that are outside your price range. Guest count and date will be the two largest determinants of cost. Ask about vendorspecific policies, payment schedule, cancellation protocol, overtime fees, insurance, liquor policies and other add-on costs.


“Your venue is the backdrop of your ‘I do,’ so we believe in splurging on a dream location. But we don’t recommend breaking the bank on it and regretting it later. Decide what elements are most essential to you – maybe you need a downtown venue that’s easily accessible for out-of-town guests, or you’re not willing to part with the fairy-tale ballroom reception you’ve always wanted – and consider where you might save money if your venue offers all-inclusive packages. Remember, too, that non-Saturday and non-peak dates can be booked at lower rates.”

heartofncweddings.com 23
A reception inside Durham’s 21c Museum Hotel. Photo by Fancy This Photography

Downtown Raleigh’s largest historic wedding venue surrounded by the charming cobblestone streets and lights of City Market. Providing a full service menu for weddings of 100 to 400 guests. Featuring two separate ceremony & reception rooms, an outdoor covered patio and two onsite dressing suites. All within walking distance of hotels & nightlife!


The Grove at City Market is downtown Raleigh’s newest Wedding & Rehearsal Dinner Venue! This historic, speakeasy inspired venue is nestled among romantic cobblestone streets featuring separate indoor ceremony and reception rooms plus an expansive outdoor ceremony & cocktail hour patio. It is an ideal venue for 50-100 guests! Exclusive onsite catering served by Executive Chef Chris Hill who dishes up fresh, elevated Southern favorites for a full service experience!



Piedmont Planning Tips

Looking to plan a wedding in central North Carolina? Numerous attractions, fair weather and great cuisine make this part of the state a perfect place to tie the knot. Whether you’re a local or new to the area, you’ll find an incredible number of options when it comes to wedding venues and vendors. It can easily become overwhelming – so here are our top tips to guide the planning and execution of your special day:

Local Forecast North Carolina has four distinct, beautiful seasons. While each time of the year has its own characteristics, the Old North State is nothing if not unpredictable when it comes to weather. Many couples target spring and fall for ideal temperatures, but be prepared for inclement weather regardless of the season, and always have a backup indoor space for an outdoor event. Don’t stress if your dream venue is booked up during May or September – you may pay lower rates and still enjoy moderate weather outside of peak months.

Pick the Date Keep in mind that the Piedmont is home to several universities. Choosing a wedding date that does not coincide with a major sporting event or graduation will help minimize hotel and travel costs for you and your guests.

There are four regions of central North Carolina: the Charlotte Metro area, the Sandhills, the Triad and the Triangle. We’ve chosen to focus on the two latter regions – this insider knowledge will assist you in planning an event in either area.

The Triad, in the north-central part of North Carolina, is composed of three cities: Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point.

Venues The Triad’s historical buildings, banquet halls and gardens are all lovely options for your wedding day. You can find modern hotels and gathering spaces that will accommodate all of your guests in Greensboro. Winston-Salem offers elegant estates and manors, plus farm and barn venues with a rustic feel.

Major Attractions Consider providing guests with a list of activities to fill time between festivities. Here are some ideas of what visitors might like to do in the Triad: • Greensboro is home to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, the Greensboro Science Center and the Greensboro History Museum, as well as the Weatherspoon Art Museum on UNC Greensboro’s campus. 

26 heartofncweddings.com
Summerfield Farms Photo by Off Beet Productions
1053 East Whitaker Mill Road Raleigh, NC | whitakerandatlantic.com | sales@whitakerandatlantic.com A MODERN SPACE FOR ALL OCCASIONS


• Families may enjoy Wet ’n Wild Emerald Pointe water park during the summer, while adults can choose to spend an afternoon at one of the region’s many breweries and cideries, such as Pig Pounder Brewery or Oden Brewing Company, located in a historical soda bottling plant.

• Winston-Salem is home to Wake Forest University. Trade Street is sprinkled with boutiques, cafes and vintage shopping. Encourage guests to walk the Art Trail downtown or explore the historical Old Salem, which offers museums, a Moravian gift shop, bookstore and bakery, and art galleries. Guests may enjoy taking a guided tour of historical Graylyn Estate’s Manor House with a wine tasting.

• In High Point, explore the Piedmont Environmental Center, with its wildlife areas and walking trails, and visit All-AFlutter Farms butterfly habitat, golf courses and furniture stores – the region is known for high-quality craftsmanship –or attend a show at High Point Theatre.

Travel Piedmont Triad International Airport is located west of Greensboro, but still in Guilford County. While Piedmont Triad may be closer to your wedding destination, Raleigh-Durham International Airport, more centrally located in the Piedmont, may offer easier access to ride-share services and more frequent flights. Guests traveling from other parts of North Carolina can utilize Amtrak routes and stations in High Point, Greensboro, Raleigh and Durham.

The Triangle is a common, shortened nickname for the Research Triangle, a metropolitan area in the Piedmont that’s anchored by three major research universities: N.C. State University, Duke University and UNC, located in the cities of Raleigh and Durham and the town of Chapel Hill, respectively.

Venues The Triangle offers a wide range of wedding venues, from whimsical outdoor settings to vibrant urban spaces. In Durham, you’ll find industrial-chic restored tobacco warehouses with brick architecture, plus varied locations near the city center. Raleigh offers rolling golf courses and country clubs, and downtown venues where you can easily continue post-ceremony celebrations and access modern hotels. Chapel Hill and rural parts of Durham and Wake counties are dotted with historical houses and barn and farm venues perfect for saying “I do” among serene, wide-open spaces.

Major Attractions Here are some ideas of what visitors might like to do in the Triangle:

• In Chapel Hill, explore UNC’s campus and charming downtown, visit the North Carolina Botanical Garden,

the Ackland Art Museum and Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, and dine at longtime Southern restaurants such as Mama Dip’s Kitchen and Sutton’s Drug Store. Head to The Carolina Inn for free Friday night concerts on the lawn, holiday-themed events or dining at Crossroads restaurant.

• Duke University’s gothic-style architecture is a stunning sight in Durham. Friends and family may also want to explore the American Tobacco Campus, go to a ball game at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, stroll through Sarah P. Duke Gardens, attend a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center, explore the Museum of Life and Science or 21c Museum Hotel and dine downtown. The Durham Hotel’s rooftop bar is a scenic spot to enjoy a cocktail, as is University Club on the penthouse floor of University Tower.

• In Raleigh, guests might enjoy the North Carolina Museum of Art, a Carolina Hurricanes game or concert at PNC Arena, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the daily farmers market that runs year-round or walking through N.C. State’s campus.

28 heartofncweddings.com
Kirsten Spencer and Frank Berman tied the knot at The Carolina Inn in June 2022 with help from planner Anthem House. Photo by Jillian Knight Photography
900 Hillsborough Street | Raleigh, N.C. | www.sms.edu/wedding
MAXWELL the t h e m a x w e l l r a l e i g h c o m 9 1 9 - 2 1 3 - 0 0 5 9 3 3 0 g i d e o n c r e e k w a y r a l e i g h , n c 2 7 6 0 3 m o d e r n e l e g a n c e c l a s s i c l u x u r y f o u r m i l e s f r o m t h e h e a r t o f d o w n t o w n R a l e i g h meets M
Richard Barlow Photography
Ca r r ie Co le m a n P ho t og r a p hy
Morgan Caddell Photography F8 Photo Studios Alaina Ronquillo Photography

Plan Small, Think Big

From the coastline to the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina has picturesque destinations for weddings of any size. The popularity of tiny gatherings and elopements grew tremendously during the pandemic, and as a result, the culture of weddings has shifted for good. Many couples are avoiding the stress and hassle of a large ceremony in favor of a microwedding or elopement.

Microweddings typically involve fewer than 50 people and allow for a more personalized experience when compared to a large-scale event with hundreds of guests. Elopements generally have a guest list of no more than 15.

This kind of event allows the focus to be on impactful elements and a truly personal ceremony. Couples can spend more time, attention and money on

32 heartofncweddings.com
Ashley Morganstern and Jonathan Hernandez tied the knot at The Parlour at Manns Chapel.
Photos by Franzi Annika Photography

luxurious details. Microweddings lend themselves to varied seating arrangements, venue options and, overall, open the door for a more meaningful experience with loved ones. “[Couples] have more intimate time they get to spend with family, versus a larger guest count where they can’t have quality time with everyone,” says Empire Events Director of Private Dining and Events Amy Amerson


Remember that, while there are pros to smaller events, and cutting down your guest list can be a cost-saving measure, microweddings aren’t inherently less expensive than larger events. “Some couples are surprised when they learn that [microweddings and elopements] don’t save them quite as much money as they think,” Amy says. Certain vendors like high-end florists have a cost minimum, and others, such as photographers, you’ll have to pay an hourly rate regardless of the size of your event.

“For most venues, the rental [cost] for your date is based on day of the week and sometimes season, so [what you’ll pay] for a prime date is still going to be the same no matter the size of your guest list,” Amy adds. “This is typically the same for booking your wedding coordinator, photographer, officiant, DJ and hair and makeup artists. The guest count does not usually change their rates.”


Small weddings have maintained popularity even while large-scale, lavish celebrations have returned fully. Maybe you want the perks of each –Amy says that Empire’s All Saints Chapel, The Stockroom at 230 and Jiddi Space & Courtyard have hosted uber-intimate ceremonies followed by receptions with a longer guest list. “We have seen couples who have exchanged vows elsewhere or during small backyard affairs but want to continue the big celebration to follow. The bigger shift has been that the elopement is the precursor to more fullscale receptions.” 

heartofncweddings.com 33

Aimee Flynn, co-founder and venue director of The Parlour at Manns Chapel, advises couples to “make the ceremony and your dinner really, really intimate, then if there are folks who want to be part of [your celebration], throw a next-day picnic that’s super casual and almost cost-free, but [allows] everybody to celebrate with you.”

Aimee says that while The Parlour is capable of hosting events for 50 or even 100 people, they’ve focused on building customizable elopement and microwedding packages for gatherings of two to 25. These events are “super couple-centric. They’re not about the audience, and they’re not about what everybody else wants. It’s really such a focus on [the couple’s] love story,” Aimee says.

If you know you want the intimacy and intentionality of a small wedding but are struggling to trim your guest list, Aimee suggests thinking of who you’ll still be close with in 10 years’ time. Don’t feel obligated to include everybody, she says, because your guests will feel all the more honored to be by your side during the reverent moments of a small ceremony.


“Hire vendors that specialize in microweddings and elopements because it’s such a unique day compared to the traditional wedding,” says Mark Maya, a Durham-based photographer and videographer. “Vendors that understand this will alleviate so much stress and anxiety around getting married outside the box. … Focus on the venue, photography, videography, officiant and florist as they tend to have larger roles.”

Aimee agrees with the sentiment when it comes to choosing a venue. Largecapacity country clubs, hotels, estates and warehouses will feel too roomy for a handful of guests. Book a venue that’s designed and sized to host intimate gatherings and the result will be all the more impactful.

It’s your day. Be you!

Get married in a treehouse, dine with the butterflies, or dance among the astronauts. Let us make your hideaway fantasies and your rocket science dreams come true. lifeandscience.org/weddings

It’s your day. Be you. Get married in a treehouse, dine with the butterflies or dance among the dinosaurs. Let us make your fairytale wonders and your rocket science fantasies come true: lifeandscience.org/weddings

34 heartofncweddings.com
@museumoflifeandscienceevents rentals@lifeandscience.org
@lifeandscienceweddings Durham, NC
Halifax Hill Studios Morgan Henderson Photography Rebecca Ames Photography Linens and tabletop rentals from American Party Rentals complement The Parlour’s unique renovated chapel.


where you’ll
Make memories
in our
in our
and suites
mid-century design in downtown Durham • seasonal food & drink highlighting local ingredients • 53 guest rooms • thedurham.com ART BY COURT WINTER SHOOT WITH BLISS HER HUES
always feel welcome...
of a lifetime on
Terrace, dance the night away
private event space,
with family and friends
44 guest rooms
located in the heart of historic downtown Cary.
An outdoor/indoor Downtown Raleigh venue Bright, open space Flexible and customizable venue for a group of 50-200 622 Maywood Avenue, Raleigh, NC, 27603 | maywoodhallandgarden.com | events@trophybrewing.com Right Column: Kelley Murphy Left Column: Samantha Bechtold
Charming, historic Downtown Raleigh venue Covered rooftop patio with a city view All-inclusive rental packages including onsite catering and bar programs Suitable for a group of 50-150 225 South Wilmington Street, Raleigh, NC, 27601 | youngheartsdistilling.com | events@trophybrewing.com
Row: Stephanie
Rose Photography
MKM Photography
Historic Barn Weddings | Stunning Floral Design Now booking weddings and events for 2024! barnofchapelhill.com | hello@barnofchapelhill.com | wildfloraflowers.com The Barn of Chapel Hill atWild Flora Farm 7316 Morrow Mill Road Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Center and Bottom Right: Kaitlyn Blake Photography
Alaina Ronquillo Photography

Chandelier is a luxurious North Carolina Wedding & Event Venue located in Cary, NC!

When planning your next Wedding, Special Event, Corporate Event, or Cocktail Party, choose an event venue that will create everlasting memories with virtually no stress - because we include so many amenities!

Our Award-winning sister North Carolina Wedding & Special Event catering company makes your food desires a reality!

With our state-of-the-art commercial kitchen and built-in bar – we customize every part of the venue to ensure your experience is unforgettable!

PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN ANTHONY PHOTOGRAPHY 919-533-8398 chandeliereventvenue.com chandeliereventvenue 1077 Darrington Dr. | Cary, NC 27513
bright like a Diamond at the beautiful Chandelier!


Joy and excitement fill The White Room at The Distillery, Garner’s luxury wedding and event space. Blooms of dusty blue and peach catch the light pouring from oversized windows and modern gold chandeliers against the room’s eggshell backdrop. Under the artful lens of photographer Danielle Flake, a refined ceremony and reception comes to life with European-inspired details. The Distillery is the brainchild of owner Chad Biggs – a seasoned event planner himself – who dreamed up an industrial-yet-contemporary space where couples can celebrate surrounded by their most cherished guests. The Distillery’s minimal backdrop bends to many color palettes and themes, whether you prefer neutral with subtle pops of color or a bolder look that thoroughly transforms the space. 

40 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Planner ACE Weddings & Events | Venue The Distillery | Photographer Danielle Flake Photography Rentals American Party Rentals | Florals Bloom Works | Dress White of Raleigh | Formalwear Bernard’s Formalwear | Jewelry Diamonds Direct Hair & Makeup Pinup Studio | Caterer Catering Works | Stationery Hailey Rodriguez of ACE Weddings & Events
heartofncweddings.com 41
Kalabria Gilbert Lemire wears a pair of cabochon aquamarine and diamond earrings and a yellow gold Tacori engagement ring with matching wedding band from Diamonds Direct. She poses with her husband, Joshua Lemire, under a veil from White of Raleigh.

In addition to The White Room, the venue offers The Modern Cottage, a 700-square-foot area with a seated lounge where wedding parties can get ready on the big day, and The Gathering Space, an ethereal outdoor patio with an urban garden (perfect for cocktail hours). Together, these spaces offer a beautifully composed backdrop for the color scheme of this styled wedding.

Hailey Rodriguez, the director of operations and marketing and a lead planner with ACE Weddings & Events, says that muted blue tones are one of her favorite choices for a wedding. “It can work for almost any season and with almost any accent color.” Hailey incorporates a hint of blue into the details of model Kalabria Gilbert Lemire’s look in the form of aquamarine earrings from Diamonds Direct. “For the bride, we decided to keep her very elegant, simple and modern,” Hailey says.

Peach, lavender, beige, blue and white ceremony arches and arrangements by Bloom Works pop against the flowing skirt and detachable balloon sleeves of a Dany Tabet dress from luxury dress shop White of Raleigh. The gown’s plunging V-neck is embellished with a leafy lace pattern along the bodice.

“We were going for an effortlessly chic look,” says White of Raleigh Store Manager Molly Rebenski. “Something that felt very European, without any heavy fabrics or overwhelming details.”

42 heartofncweddings.com

Kalabria’s delicate makeup and soft waves by Pinup Studio gracefully accentuate her natural beauty.

The groom – and Kalabria’s real-life husband – Joshua Lemire, wears a gray suit from Bernard’s Formalwear

“I went relatively simple because I wanted his outfit to really complement the bride, not overpower her,” Hailey says. “With the gray suit, I was able to do just that.”

Tabletop decor and chairs from American Party Rentals

fulfill the vision of an understated-yet-sophisticated affair. Inspired by the European countryside, Hailey says she tied in a mix of textures and jewel tones to give the modern space a sense of vintage flair.

Catering Works executive chef Rich Carter prepared a four-course meal for the reception. “We wanted to focus on European-inspired dishes that fit our design theme,” says Nicole Flynn, the marketing representative for Catering Works. 

heartofncweddings.com 43

“[Our goal was to] fit the time period while sourcing locally and creating dishes with a contemporary technique.”

Chef Rich crafted a charcuterie board with pairings of chorizo, smoked gouda, cornichons, and local and international cheeses, including North Carolina-made hoop cheddar and Irish porter cheese, plus both dried and fresh fruit, salami and a warmed baguette.

The plated meal begins with a citrus salad with marinated beets, orange segments, shaved

44 heartofncweddings.com
An 18-karat yellow gold Tacori engagement ring from Diamonds Direct is displayed with two wedding bands and stationery designed by planner Hailey Rodriguez of ACE Weddings & Events.

fennel and figs, followed by an entree of monkfish beurre monté – slow poached in butter and snipped herbs. Finally, mini blueberry lavender cakes with marbled cream cheese icing elevated with edible gold paint and foil are served for dessert.

In addition to planning catering and decor, Hailey designed dusty blue stationery that features illustrative vines and flowers. “With all the greenery and florals that were incorporated into the shoot, it seemed like a good fit to do a greenery design on the stationery,” she says.

Hailey’s conceptualization was realized thanks to the talents of the entire vendor team. “While a planner may plan and coordinate the event,” she says, “it really does take a collaborative effort to bring the vision to life.”

heartofncweddings.com 45
LEFT Blush and cream flowers plus greenery balance pops of bright blue in this bouquet by Bloom Works.
RIGHT Catering Works elevates the trendy charcuterie board with gourmet cheeses and neat plating.
COUPLE Photography by Alaina Ronquillo Photography Managed by Chad Biggs Event Planning & Design TheDistilleryNC.com  |  919-391-8350  |  Info@TheDistilleryNC.com
ChrismanStudios JakeKiserPhotography PeepsakePhotography PeepsakePhotography WEDDING • RECEPTION • REHEARSAL DINNER ENGAGEMENT PARTY • LUNCHEON POST WEDDING BRUNCH laresidencedining.com downtown chapel hill’s LUSH GARDEN PATIO FOR WEDDINGS 919.967.2506

estled on 60 acres of rolling hills, Board & Batten is a wedding and event venue near High Rock Lake, NC.

From the moment you book an event you will be treated like family. Hospitality is at our heartbeat, so we take care of every detail in order for you to enjoy an enchanting evening that you and your guests will remember for years to come.

964 Marvin Hedrick Road Lexington, NC 27292 boardandbattenevents.com 336.793.1155

Jessi Caparella Photography Natalea Kelly Photography Cheyenne Kidd Photography
Julie Sears Photography Julie Sears Photography Stephanie Smith Photography Stephanie Smith Photography Bo Baines Photography

Dreamy mountain views, twinkling lights, and farmhouse tables; a setting that is both enchanted, and enchanting. The perfect blend of refined, welcoming, and fun.

Beast Trail, Mt Airy, NC 27030

50 heartofncweddings.com
Perfect for your wedding. 364
Where your DAY turns into your WEEKEND and your Memories last a lifetime IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN RALEIGH
Kate Pope Photography
Industrial-Chic, Warehouse Event Venue along the Tar River 252-801-6528 | thepowerhousenc.com | @thepowerhousenc
Once Like a Spark Photography
Carrington Visuals Meghan
Erica Oakley Britt Photography

The Wedding Weekend

Think of your wedding as the main event, but don’t forget to plan for all the gatherings that surround the big day

From your engagement party to post-wedding brunch, the events that take place before and after your wedding day allow you and your loved ones to spend quality time together and mark the beginning of your life as a married couple.


A number of gatherings traditionally take place in the months and weeks before the weekend of your wedding. This may include an engagement party, wedding showers – typically hosted by friends and family, not the couple – bachelor or bachelorette parties and the pre-wedding luncheon (traditionally referred to as a bridesmaids’ luncheon, although we encourage you to include guests of any gender). All of these events foster a sense of connection and celebratory atmosphere, and make space for your day ones to celebrate the upcoming nuptials with you. Remember that anyone who takes part in these events will expect an invitation to the wedding. 

52 heartofncweddings.com
Ellie Preyer and Robby Templeton hosted their rehearsal dinner at The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill. See their wedding day on page 222. Photo by Heba Salama Photography
EFFORTLESSLY BEAUTIFUL Nestled in a cozy corner of Downtown Cary, this historic events venue offers a Greek Revival mansion, manicured grounds, and a grand ballroom for gatherings large and small. Let us host your unforgettable and unique event experience. 317 West Chatham Street, Cary, NC 27511 (919) 467-1944 matthewshousecary.com @thematthewshouse @TheMatthewsHouseCary PARTNER PHOTOS MORGAN CADDELL PHOTOGRAPHY / CAT NGUYEN PHOTOGRAPHY / HAYLEY GASTIGER PHOTOGRAPHY / AZUL PHOTOGRAPHY



You may devote all your energy – and late-night Pinterest sessions – to plotting the details of every floral arrangement, linen choice or invitation color, and seeking out the vendors who will bring the magic on your special day – and there’s nothing wrong with that! But remember that your guests have likely traveled from near and far to witness your union and set aside a significant amount of their time and money to do so. From the time you build your wedding website or send save the dates, be sure to include information about the town or city of your event and provide hotel recommendations. If you’re asking guests to buy a plane ticket, make sure you’ve taken the time to create a plan and provide resources for them. Consider the weekendlong schedule of events and what guests would like to do outside of the wedding itself.

Don’t just take our word for it. Garcelle Vierra married her longtime love, Joey Erdie, in Wilmington, North Carolina, and, with the help of Anthem House creative director Amanda Honeycutt, hosted several pre-wedding hangs to make the most of time with friends and family. “One of, if not the best thing, we did during our wedding week was spread out our events. We hosted welcome drinks on Wednesday, our rehearsal dinner on Thursday evening (which we cannot recommend enough, if it’s possible), a boat ride on the Cape Fear River with our extended family on Friday afternoon, and our church rehearsal followed by cocktail hour [and] dinner with just our families, wedding parties and their dates on Friday evening,” Garcelle says. “All of these events enabled us to have such quality time with our guests and allowed them to mingle and get to know each other. By the time our wedding rolled around, it was so much fun and everyone was at ease!” Turn to page 184 to read more about Joey and Garcelle’s wedding day.


Hosting a rehearsal dinner “will put a lot of people at ease to have that interaction and fellowship with one anther,” says Lauren O’Brien, owner and creative director of event planning business Lauren O & Co. “It’s also a good time to set the tone for the weekend.”

Tradition dictates that a groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner. In modern times, couples are more likely to discuss with their families who is going to host – one or both families or the couple may pay for the rehearsal dinner. Overseeing the dinner might be a perfect opportunity for parents or other family members to have a hand in planning and can save you additional stress and time. “Communicate what you want, and then leave it to someone else to [organize] for you,” advises Frances Gualtieri, owner of Chapel Hill restaurant La Résidence, which hosts rehearsal dinners

and intimate weddings throughout the year. Lauren adds that many parents enjoy the feeling of being included and the sense of purpose they get from planning the rehearsal meal.


While rehearsal dinners are generally a time for the couple to connect with their wedding party and closest circle, consider a welcome dinner the day before, a welcome cocktail party before the rehearsal, or an extended after-party following the dinner as a time to include more or all of your guests, especially anyone who is arriving from out of town. This gives guests time to meet, mingle or give informal toasts that you may not have time to include during your wedding reception.

Present your guests with welcome bags upon arrival that include a weekend itinerary, maps, info about local attractions and a few snacks, local treats or personalized items as a welcoming gesture. (See page 250 in our gift guide for welcome bag and gift ideas.)


If you’re tying the knot at a place of worship, hotel, a private home or a venue that hosts multiple weddings per weekend, you may need to book a separate rehearsal dinner venue. Intimate restaurant venues like Raleigh’s Jiddi Space & Courtyard, Vidrio or The Willard Rooftop Lounge at AC Hotel Raleigh

Downtown are ideal for rehearsal dinners. For a large welcome dinner, booking a dedicated wedding venue that’s adept at hosting large events is a good choice.

Parizade event director Jennifer Kessing says that planning rehearsal dinners at the Durham restaurant is streamlined because its “spaces are already beautifully designed and decorated,” and booking includes linens, china, chairs, tables, candles and more. Additional AV equipment makes it easy to add a personal touch to the event with a slideshow. Jennifer advises couples not to worry too much about planning a formal seating chart for the rehearsal dinner – “try not to stress about the little details too much,” she says.

There are pros to hosting your rehearsal dinner at the same venue as your ceremony and/or reception, if possible. You’ll be able to work with the same team of vendors, and if you book a location that has accommodations on-site, you’ll enjoy the convenience of not having to organize transportation to a different venue.


A post-wedding brunch is an ideal time for you to unwind with your guests and socialize before it’s time to part ways.

54 heartofncweddings.com
Vicki Tong, Quann Bradley, Leslie Tyson, Richard Barlow, Chermere Carr and TJ Ali cheers to the weekend at The Willard Rooftop Lounge atop the AC Hotel Raleigh Downtown. Photo by John Michael Simpson
heartofncweddings.com 55 Discover a stylish, upscale setting for your Raleigh wedding.
Your forever starts here.
Located on the 28th floor of the Wells Fargo building and offering stunning downtown views, City Club is Raleigh’s most celebrated and stylish wedding venue. We offer vibrant spaces, world-class cuisine, expert planning and a collection of customizable spaces.
150 Fayetteville Street, Suite
NC 27601
Janzen, Event Sales Director Laurie.Janzen@invitedclubs.com
2800 Raleigh,
Photography by VMA Studios Brett & Jessica Photography
Raleigh allsaints1875.com
Downtown Raleigh 919.459.3212 thestockroomat230.com glassboxraleigh.com
Cirque91 Photography Samantha Floyd Photography Jillian Knight Photography Kevyn Dixon Photography
theoaksatsalem.com 919.387.4158
JP Pratt Photography
Anchor & Veil Photography
Becca Rizzo Photography JP Pratt Photography A
Maggie Mills Photography
Year Round Wedding Show

What’s New with Venues

Discover new event spaces and recent updates to established venues across our state


The Upchurch hosted a grand opening in June 2022. The 7-acre property in Apex is owned by Cara Powell, who began her wedding photography business, f8 Photo Studios, in 2004. Extensive renovations were made to the 118-yearold house – which was transported from its original location to its new home on the same road – including the addition of a tiered patio that extends behind the building. A parking lot and 2,000-square-foot, circular Magnolia Lawn was constructed next to The Conservatory, a new 4,200-square-foot modern event space with high ceilings, concrete floors and timber trusses with a covered patio and attached prep kitchen that overlooks a pond.

60 heartofncweddings.com
The Upchurch. Photo by Magdalena Stefanek Photography

Raleigh’s Market Hall opened a sister venue called The Grove at City Market in fall 2022. This intimate speak-easy-inspired space has a 3,400-square-foot private patio that can accommodate up to 150 people, plus indoor spaces including The Oak Room, a modernindustrial reception area, and The Willow Room, ideal for cocktail hour. The venue offers in-house catering and bar service from executive chef Chris Hill.

The Westin Raleigh-Durham Airport is slated to open in early 2023 in Brier Creek. The hotel, which is adjacent to the shopping, dining and unique attractions of Brier Creek Commons, features an “indoor-outdoor” rooftop concept with an expansive view of the area and a relaxing saltwater pool. Raleigh-Durham International Airport is 3 miles away – a comfortable distance for guests who are arriving or departing. A total of 14,000 square feet of dynamic event space is available for rehearsal dinners, welcome receptions and brunches. The 6,461-square-foot Grand Ballroom has a maximum capacity of 320. An outdoor terrace on the third floor is an intimate spot for ceremonies or for guests to mingle during cocktail hour.

Trophy Brewing Co.’s Maywood Hall & Garden opened in October 2022. Resting on the edge of downtown Raleigh, just a few doors down from the brewery’s production facility and taproom, the venue offers a bright and open indoor and outdoor space with the versatility to accommodate 50-200 people. Among its notable features are a 3,000-square-foot private landscaped garden, a private suite and bathrooms for wedding parties, and sufficient space for both catering teams and event staff to maneuver in. Maywood, naturally, also offers specialty beverage packages featuring Trophy’s lineup of brews.

heartofncweddings.com 61
Hill House Durham officially began booking weddings in fall 2022 after a soft launch the previous year. The 1911 Spanish Colonial Revival mansion features original hardwood floors and millwork, detailed fireplaces and a sweeping main staircase. The interior is perfect for intimate gatherings of up to 56, while ample outdoor The Grove at City Market. Photo by Chris Nieto Photography The Westin Raleigh-Durham Airport.
The celebration you've been dreaming of. NOW BOOKING EARLY SPRING 2024 5733 Hilltop Road, Fuquay Varina, NC | www.DonovanManor.com 15 ACRE ESTATE LOCATED JUST 12 MILES FROM DOWNTOWN RALEIGH
2805 East River Road Louisburg, NC | 919-495-5048 | grazeevents@gmail.com | #sowmorelove
Amazing Graze is a 70 year old renovated dairy barn that will provide a modern twist to your rustic but elegant one-of-a-kind wedding! Set amid the natural beauty of lush green meadows and breathtaking views on a 1000 acre private farm, Amazing Graze is a dream location and a hidden gem of North Carolina, centrally located near Raleigh, Rocky Mount and Durham. We provide the esthetic you crave, the expert team to need and all the perks you desire. Love and service is at the heart of who we are and we are proud to partner with our farm’s mission to help alleviate hunger in the community.
Sarah Hinckley Photography Images by Jamie
thehibiscusraleigh.com �: @thehibiscusraleigh � @thehibiscusraleigh 3209 Gresham Lake Rd, #146 Raleigh, NC 27615 919.727.9354 The Perfect Venue for Every Event Host Up to 550 guests Photos by Elegant Invites heartofncweddings.com 63
Brittany Cruse Photography

spaces and a covered porch, pergola and lush grounds host larger events of up to 150. Hill House underwent extensive restoration projects, including a refresh of the catering kitchens, a multi-stall restroom for guests and several second-floor bedrooms that now serve as getting-ready spaces.

Oxford Oaks Farms’ 14 acres were once home to a working farm in the early 1800s. Former oncologist Jill Duffy purchased the property in 2021 and, after subsequent renovations, reopened for events in January 2022. The venue sits on rural fields outside of Oxford, North Carolina, and features three distinct gardens and a cozy fire pit. The 3,600-square-foot, four-bedroom farmhouse was built in 1800 and has undergone partial renovations in order to host overnight stays and wedding parties while they get ready. Two adjacent buildings were also converted for event use, and Jill also offers custom and a la carte in-house floral design utilizing organic flowers grown in the one of the three gardens. Construction of a new pavilion is slated for completion by late February 2023. The new 60-by-68-foot covered pavilion will provide hosts with a space to celebrate cocktail hours and hold receptions without having to procure a tent.

Set on 15 lush acres in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, Donovan Manor is slated to open for events in 2024. The handsome Manor House is classic yet contemporary and seats up to 250 guests. The full-service venue will offer in-house catering from awardwinning caterer Donovan’s Dish, a company that’s served local

couples since 2011. The venue will include picturesque outdoor spaces including a stone terrace, towering oaks and a bubbling creek. Other amenities offered are a parking area, two gettingready suites inside the Manor House, tables and chairs for 200, and full-day access to the property.


Overlook Barn in Banner Elk, North Carolina, added a 1,200-square-foot pavilion in 2020. In summer 2022, Overlook completed the addition of permanent glass windows that enclose the space, which can be fully or partially opened or closed to adapt swiftly and easily to any weather conditions. The windows allow natural light to flood the space, and the addition of market lights and an elegant gas fireplace creates a welcoming atmosphere for cocktail hours, dance parties and additional dining space, as well as for ceremonies in case of inclement weather.

The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary began renovations to its spa and pool in August and October 2022, respectively. The spa’s relaxation spaces, wet therapy areas, treatment rooms and nail salon, led by interior design firm ForrestPerkins, underwent full updates. The pool area will be enhanced with additional features and, as of press time, both are expected to reopen in early 2023.

Walnut Hill’s new open-air chapel was completed in March 2022. The space can hold up to 200 guests. Decorative arched windows and views of the venue’s pond make for a unique outdoor

64 heartofncweddings.com
Overlook Barn. Photo by Morgan Long Photography
3679 Oak Lawn Farm Rd Oxford, NC 27565 | oxfordoaksfarms.com | info@oxfordoaksfarms.com | @oxfordoaksfarms Our picturesque farm and warm, welcoming atmosphere will make your day one to remember. Bottom Left + Top Right: Blooming Dreams Photo Bottom Right Column: Fifty Two Hundred Photography
Two Hundred Photography
66 heartofncweddings.com

ceremony site. The interior of Walnut Hill’s 5,000-square-foot barn also received a fresh coat of white paint, giving the space a modern vibe. An existing structure on the property was converted into a second getting-ready space, called Hill House, for use in 2023.

The Bradford, a European-inspired manor tucked in the woods of New Hill, North Carolina, added a wood-burning white brick fireplace, artificial turf and additional landscaping to its side garden, which lends itself to alfresco cocktail hours, lawn games, lounge seating and ceremonies. The updated garden space was completed in February 2022.

Cary’s Chandelier Wedding & Event Venue completed significant updates throughout the course of 2022. In January, owners Natasha Ford and John Ford added graceful white draping to the more than

10,000-square-foot space. In March, they painted the bar white, and in April, polished up the venue’s outdoor courtyard area by completing a fence and adding pergolas. A bathroom was added to one of the two dressing suites in July. And in November, they upgraded the seating that’s included in Chandelier’s all-inclusive rental package to white Chiavari chairs.


The Matthews House in downtown Cary partnered with Southern Harvest Hospitality Group to open a bar and restaurant inside the Chatham Street wedding venue in September. Prohibitive offers small, shareable plates and craft cocktails – inspired by owner Sarah Chung’s favorite way to unwind on the porch of the 1905 estate – during the evenings on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The Grand Ballroom, grounds and house will continue to host private events and weddings throughout the year.

Raleigh-based restaurant and catering company Empire Eats announced in May 2022 that its Durham barbecue restaurant, The Pit Authentic BBQ, would transition from serving diners to operating as a full-time venue for private events and catering. The Pit Durham Event Venue offers several spaces across two floors of a renovated soda bottling warehouse, which was built in 1939. A rooftop with expansive views of the DIY District in downtown Durham hosts gatherings of up to 120 guests.

68 heartofncweddings.com
Hill House Durham. Photo by Pamela Jahnke Photography The Bradford. Photo by Richard Barlow Photography
heartofncweddings.com 69
Photography thepit-durham.com SIX FOOT PHOTOGRAPHY TIFFANY JOHNSON PHOTOGRAPHY TIFFANY JOHNSON PHOTOGRAPHY oaklandfarmvenue.com events@oaklandfarmvenue.com 919.352.8247
Samantha Everette
2200 W. MAIN ST. DURHAM | 919.286.9712 WWW.PARIZADEDURHAM.COM rehearsal dinners | ceremonies | receptions Mediterranean Flavors at Play Megan Morales Photography Weddings | Corporate Events Catering Venue devin raines Photography 2609 N. Duke St. Suite #700 | Durham, NC | ariaeventsdurham.com -Coming 2023Megan Morales Photography devin raines Photography
Blending History with “Suthern” Charm 13371 Wake Union Church Road, Wake Forest NC 27587 | info@thesutherland.com | 919-556-0140 | @thesutherland
Fabiana Skubic Photography
Dunlap Photography
Stephanie Axtell Photography Megan Kerns Photography Fabiana Skubic Photography
Classy Southern Elegance in Every Way 1851 Avents Ferry Rd Sanford, North Carolina 27330 | danielsridge.com | 919.770.3041
Jennifer B Photography Whitney Duggins Photography
Lavendar and Light Photography
Kate Overton Photography Brynn Gross Photography Lavendar and Light Photography
Your Day Your Way One Europa Drive, Chapel Hill, NC | sheratonchapelhill.com 168 Guest Rooms & Suites | 20,000 sq ft of Outdoor and Indoor event space
Kathleen Nolis Photography Kathleen Nolis Photography VMA Studios VMA Studios
Plan your wedding with the new Sheraton Chapel Hill
First Impression NC


hat was once a bustling train depot in downtown Durham has been transformed into one of the Bull City’s most unique wedding and event venues. Belt Line Station sets a rustic-yet-stylish scene in the heart of Golden Belt Campus, a mixed-use warehouse district, thanks to exposed brick walls and a spacious getting-ready suite it shares with sister venue

The Cotton Room, located in an adjacent building. Both are managed by Raleigh’s TC Hospitality Group. The open-air former train platform is a versatile space that can host gatherings of up to 200. 

74 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Venue & Caterer Belt Line Station | Photographer & Videographer The Axtells: Wedding Photography + Films Florals, Rentals & Lighting Petal & Oak | Tabletop Rentals Curated Events Raleigh | Menus, Signage & Rentals Revel NC | Dress Gilded Bridal Formalwear Bernard’s Formalwear | Hair & Makeup Pinup Studio | Jewelry Jewelsmith | Cake S. Richardson Cakes Photo Booth ZimZoom Photo Booth | Entertainment Stylus S.E.
heartofncweddings.com 75


An intimate ceremony at open-air venue Belt Line Station, a former train platform complete with fans, heating and retractable walls ideal for hosting events year-round.





The 327,000-square-foot Golden Belt Campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and sprang forth during the heyday of the brightleaf tobacco industry, which sustained the cotton and textile mill that produced the packaging for cigarettes until 1996. Most of the buildings were creatively renovated into residential, office, gallery and retail space in 2008, with Mill No. 2 – adjacent to Belt Line – following in 2018. This rich history is ever-present in the venue’s character, with many original details –like aged, weighty wooden beams and railroad tracks – remaining.

Heart of NC Weddings editorial shoot director Becca Taylor took full advantage of the venue’s adaptability to design a Prohibition-inspired styled wedding that meshes contemporary tones with 1920s refinement. The earthy palette of Belt Line’s brick backdrop pairs perfectly with blush, gold, white, cream and green shades – echoing features of its indoor getting-ready suite – while tabletop details evoke the glitz and glamour of a Havana speak-easy. Stephanie Axtell and Charles Axtell of The Axtells: Wedding Photography + Films captured every angle of the venue’s historical beauty through drone footage, videography and photography.

Models and real-life newlyweds Leigh-Kathryn Bonner and Jeremy Wall’s tasteful attire brought a fresh take to the rustic outdoor space. A polished Aesling dress from Raleigh’s Gilded Bridal with a high neckline, flowing train and sheer sleeves captures current trends while adding a hint of drama. 

76 heartofncweddings.com
Line Station served a charcuterie spread with fruit, nuts and cheeses during Heart of NC Weddings' annual vendor blender. florals by Petal & Oak and gold tableware from Curated Events Raleigh.
heartofncweddings.com 77

SCAN THE CODE ABOVE to see The Axtells' videography coverage, the full styled shoot and footage from our annual vendor blender on our blog!

This modern glam style is completed with a unique Tahitian pearl ring and earrings from Jewelsmith, and Leigh-Kathryn's own engagement ring. The dress and jewels are paired with neutral makeup and a slicked-back updo by Pinup Studio. The groom’s outfit – a navy suit and blush tie from Bernard’s Formalwear – adds a casual element to the couple’s look.

Tableware and linens from Curated Events Raleigh in muted blush, gold and ivory tones maintain a cohesive look among the decor and Petal & Oak’s white floral designs with ample greenery. Finished with matte black metal chairs, this table illustrates how modern styling enhances the reimagined train platform.

Custom menus and acrylic place settings created by Revel NC carry over to an intimate indoor reception at TC Hospitality’s speak-easy-inspired bar, Cock & Bull, which is directly adjacent to Belt Line Station. The tabletop is brought to life with luxurious ivory and gold salad and dinner plates to match bold floral chargers. Petal & Oak’s white rose centerpieces sit in detailed vases, adding to the glamour of geometric light fixtures that illuminate the space. Gold silverware and ribbed glassware reflect trends of the Roaring ’20s. Heart of NC Weddings vendors gathered in the space for a lively mixer following the photo shoot and enjoyed a variety of small bites and a sprawling charcuterie spread prepared by Belt Line Station, plus a DIY aromatherapy bar.

A decadent two-tiered cake by S. Richardson Cakes, accompanied by an array of bite-sized treats, stole the show. The dessert is adorned with arches that echo the bar’s design, and is complemented by a modern acrylic backdrop from Revel NC. Stylus S.E. supplied the tunes while guests

78 heartofncweddings.com

posed for ZimZoom Photo Booth’s 360-degree video booth and openair photo booth – outfitted with a pastel backdrop to fit the Havana theme – which provides not only entertainment, but also mementos for each guest to bring home.

This intimate venue proved to be the perfect canvas for a vintage theme, recalling the enchanting glitz of a speak-easy soiree with a dash of chic modernism. Golden Belt Campus’ rich history surrounds Belt Line Station, making the venue an ideal backdrop for an unforgettable wedding and reception.


ZimZoom Photo Booth captures a sweet moment between the couple; an abundant bouquet of roses, hydrangeas and greenery from Petal & Oak complements the billowy dress from Gilded Bridal; vendors enjoyed expertly crafted cocktails, like the Eighth Knotch, at our vendor blender.


Blush place settings and menus from Revel NC add color to neutral tableware from Curated Events Raleigh; Gilded arches and tropical fresh florals decorate a cake by S. Richardson Cakes; Belt Line Station's open-air platform.

heartofncweddings.com 79
WWW.TCHOSPITALITYGROUP.COM Delicious Food, Incredible drinks & celebration! The Cotton Room Belt Line Station
4100 Main at North Hills Street, Raleigh, NC 27609 (919) 571-8773 renaissanceraleigh.com TRULY MIDTOWN. TRULY RALEIGH. TRULY RENAISSANCE. In His Image Photography Megan Kerns Photography f8 Photo Studios
Joe Payne
4500 Marriott Drive Raleigh, NC 27612 raleighmarriott.com | 919-571-5345 | @raleighmarriottcrabtree Contemporary hotel•Finely appointed guest rooms•Elegant event space•One-of-a kind experiences
Photography, Bottom row: Peter Nguyen Studio

A family run wedding venue nestled in the beautiful countryside of Chapel Hill. events@uniongrovefarm.com uniongrovefarm.com / uniongrovefarm


The NC Museum of Natural Sciences doubles as one of the most striking event spaces in downtown Raleigh. With indoor spaces that are able to accomodate up to 2,200 people between both wings and on-site, custom, chef-prepared dining options by Rocky Top Catering, this venue suits your needs for a wow-factor wedding. naturalsciences.org/events/rentals 919.707.9891

- TOP:
PHOTOGRAPHY A WORLD of memory making on your wedding day…
George Watts Hill Alumni Center | Stadium Drive at Ridge Road 919.962.1101 | carolina-club.com THE CAROLINA CLUB - A Chapel Hill Tradition -
1993, The Carolina Club
been a home for our members, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of The University of North Carolina.
Dittmer Photography
Photographs by Caroline Lima except otherwise
Samuel Holt Photography



• Glowing natural light

• Panoramic views of downtown Raleigh







Beautiful ballroom space
Versatile ceremony & reception options
Cannon Room
• Classic ceremonies & receptions
• Bride & groom dressing rooms
Restored elegance & beauty
Vintage decor amenities RESTORING SOUTHERN CHARM
MODERN CHARM EXCLUSIVELY CATERED BY: PHOTOS: TIERNEY RIGGS PHOTOGRAPHY, DONNELL PERRY PHOTOGRAPHY, MAGNOLIA PHOTOGRAPHY 984.212.4651 1705EAST.COM 1705 E. MILLBROOK RD RALEIGH, NC NEW 200-SEAT, BEAUTIFULLY LANDSCAPED OUTDOOR SPACE • On-site ceremonies & receptions • Separate cocktail & bar area • In-house tables & chairs • Gorgeous bride & groom suites

Adelicate 1940s Ercole Barovier glass chandelier and art nouveau-inspired decor greet visitors inside the UpchurchWilliams House. The registered Apex historic landmark has undergone a transformation inside and out since it was moved from its original location on Roberts Road to a new plot of land a few miles down that road. Now, wedding parties gather and prep in two second-floor suites, and a new terraced patio abuts the house. 

88 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Venue The Upchurch | Planner Bustled Events | Photographer Ariel Kaitlin Photography | Florals Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary Dress White of Raleigh | Formalwear Bernard’s Formalwear | Hair & Makeup Reign Beauty | Rentals Curated Events Raleigh Stationery Claire Mansfield of Bustled Events
heartofncweddings.com 89
Additional Vendors Greenhouse Picker Sisters, Love Cake


The restored home – also called The Main House – is just one element of The Upchurch, Cary’s elegant event venue owned by Cara Powell. Cara spent nearly two decades working as a wedding photographer in the Triangle before starting construction on the venue in 2021. The Upchurch opened for events in summer 2022. The Main House is joined with The Magnolia Lawn and The Conservatory, a 4,200-square-foot building inspired by the style of vintage conservatories yet finished with modern light fixtures and a polished look.

Claire Mansfield, a lead planner at Bustled Events, orchestrated this styled black-tie ceremony and reception to take advantage of each space at The Upchurch.


90 heartofncweddings.com
Bustled Events' Claire Mansfield designed simple, elegant stationery to align with the tone of this black-tie affair, pictured with earrings owned by White of Raleigh's Molly Rebenski. OPPOSITE PAGE Lounge furniture from Greenhouse Picker Sisters creates a space to mingle on The Conservatory's wide porch, which overlooks a pond and fountain.

“The Upchurch was the perfect backdrop,” Claire says. “The historic yet timeless Main House was an absolute vision for [the couple’s] first look, and the vaulted Conservatory was the beautiful setting where I created the ceremony and reception I had dreamt of.”

The addition of rusty orange makes for an updated take on a traditional black and white color scheme. The Main House’s Queen Anne architecture paired with modern styling and decor sets the scene for vintage romance to meet the modern day.

Ariel Mason of Ariel Kaitlin Photography captured moments big and small between the couple.

“Ariel’s direction was detailed and helped both our models and the team know exactly what to do in order to get the perfect shot,” Claire says. “That, coupled with her encouragement and funny remarks, kept us all smiling and laughing throughout the day.”

Model Jemima Liteli wears a Lazaro ballgown from boutique White of Raleigh, and her real-life partner, Shalom Kiruba, looks polished in a classic tuxedo from Bernard’s Formalwear. 

heartofncweddings.com 91 Venues
92 heartofncweddings.com




Alpine gold glass chargers from Curated Events Raleigh create a bold effect when paired with black and white details.

Jemima’s natural makeup and effortless updo executed by Reign Beauty accentuate the gown's strapless silhouette.

Diane Joyal and Lily Joyal, the mother-daughter duo behind Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary, created floral arrangements and an asymmetrical arch in monochromatic white blooms with black and blush accents to suit the minimalist tone of The Conservatory. Rather than placing one large centerpiece on each table, several small vases share the spotlight with fine china and linens from Curated Events Raleigh. 

heartofncweddings.com 93
A classic Champagne tower finishes off the reception scene. Claire constructed this circular, wooden ceremony platform herself.

Black ribbon tied around menus that Claire designed adds a dramatic flair. “The tablescape was a beautiful marriage of the colors and design elements chosen to carry out our theme,” she says.

Additional rentals from Greenhouse Picker Sisters, including sleek black candleholders and a vintage typewriter holding the bar menu, carry on the theme of traditional mixed with modern. A polished three-tiered cake from Love Cake is adorned with a cascading orange branch.

A Champagne tower topped off this resplendent reception scene. “As the sun began to touch the top of the trees, I was able to sit back and watch with joy as the final moments of the shoot were captured and the glasses began to fill,” Claire says.

94 heartofncweddings.com
Just a short drive from Raleigh, The Machaven is the perfect setting for your dream wedding day. We are a historic and southern yet modern venue that can be customized for the event of your dreams. We will make every effort to immerse you and your loved ones in an experience which will never be forgotten. It would be our honor to serve you at The Machaven.
Emily Saunders Photography
S. Grace Street, Rocky Mount, NC
Arika Jordan Photography Emily Saunders Photography
Black ribbon circling this cake by Love Cake matches tabletop details.

Love…Set The Scene

Featuring the historic Upchurch-Williams House, stunning wedding lawns and conservatory-inspired pavilion

heartofncweddings.com 95 theupchurchvenue.com | info@theupchurchvenue.com | 919.205.3036 | @theupchurchvenue
Ariel Kaitlin Photography
Molliner Photography Molliner Photography
Molliner Photography
Chad Winstead Photography
Morgan Cadell Photography
A TOAST TO YOUR LOVE STORY • Private Rentals • Custom Cocktails • Wedding Showers • Bachelorette & Bachelor Parties HOST YOUR EVENTS AT DRAM & DRAUGHT: Cary • Charlotte • Durham • Greensboro • Raleigh Wilmington • Winton-Salem www.dramanddraught.com • @dramanddraught
Photos by Sidney Ashton Photography
Photography by MorningWild Photography

Tools of the Trade

Two vendors who’ve each spent nearly a decade helping couples to create meaningful memories on their wedding days hosted their own spectacular vow renewals in 2022. Both drew upon what they’ve learned from planning and hosting weddings to bring together their loved ones for unique, celebratory events. They’ve graciously shared their planning tips – so keep their expert insight in mind as you begin your own planning journey.

100 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Venue Walnut Hill | Dress White of Raleigh | Caterer Catering Works | Stationery & Signage Ashley Triggiano Additional Vendors Photos by Lindley Battle Photography. Chad Biggs Event Planning, Sugar Euphoria, Arika Jordan Photography (videographer), The Styling Source, Once Gathered, Mena Garcia Beauty, The Black Tux, Becoming Bridal Alterations, SweetWater Ices, DJ 360, Party Reflections, Cottage Luxe Event Rentals


Addie Thompson and Michael Thompson, co-owners of Dogwood Gatherings and Events, celebrated their vow renewal in August 2022. Addie has worked as an event planner since 2014, and Michael joined her at Dogwood two years later, although he still works part time for the Town of Cary. The couple was married by the magistrate at a Wake County jail after showing up too late to the Wake County Courthouse – a story Addie loves to tell – in 2017. For their fifth anniversary, the pair decided to host the party they didn’t have for their first vow exchange at The Distillery in Garner.

Amanda Peoples and Scott Peoples marked a decade of marriage at their Raleigh event venue, Walnut Hill, also in August 2022. The pair turned the property (Amanda’s family estate) into an event venue in 2019, and hosted 75 weddings in 2022. Amanda leveraged her previous experience working for rental company Party Reflections, as well as inspiration from facilitating so many Walnut Hill weddings, to dream up unique details for the vow renewal. This time around, Amanda says, she and Scott left out many of the traditional elements they had felt obligated to include in their wedding at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Raleigh.


“We’ve been seeing so many beautiful things trending recently that we wanted to be able to share in that experience with some of the best vendors in the area,” Addie says. “We wanted people to feel like they were coming to a very elegant dinner party that had some awesome dancing afterward.”

The Thompsons served their loved ones a custom menu of traditional Irish dishes (like soda bread and shepherd’s pie) from Catering Works, honoring their shared cultural heritage. Treats from SweetWater Ices paid tribute to Michael’s native New York in lieu of a cake.

“[Michael’s] family was thrilled to death that we had [SweetWater]. It was very personal and felt welcoming

heartofncweddings.com 101
Addie & Michael Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Venue The Distillery | Dress White of Raleigh | Caterer Catering Works | Rentals Petal & Oak Linens & Tabletop American Party Rentals Additional Vendors Photos by Krista Stevens Photography. Blair Timberlake Photography (second shooter), Lionfish Films, Once Gathered, Wedded Kiss, Artful Libations, SweetWater Ices, 336 DJs, Love Line Memories, Gary Goodman, EcoStyle Transportation, CC Bridal Atelier, Minted, Basic Invite, Perry Hardison

Nestled on 12 acres in quaint town of New Hill, The Bradford was intentionally designed to embrace the countryside of Europe while embodying the serenity of home. It is a place where effortless elegance meets approachable luxury. An event at The Bradford is not just a day or a single moment, it is a uniquely tailored experience.


523 Pea Ridge Road, New Hill, NC info@thebradfordnc.com (919) 542-2467

Amanda Lane Photography
All Photography by Amanda Castle Photography A boutique wedding and event venue nestled in historic downtown Greensboro. Refined Southern Hospitality 507 N. Church Street, Greensboro, North Carolina 27401 | mcalisterleftwich.com | 336-740-9503 Weddings | All-Inclusive Packages | Private Events All Photography by Amanda Castle Photography


and homemade,” Addie says. “The whole event in general was homey and comfortable, and that was exactly what I wanted.” She and Michael skipped toasts and cake cutting in favor of getting right to the party. Their loved ones left heartfelt messages via Love Line Memories’ voicemail guest book.

Amanda and Scott’s 2012 reception at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Nature Research Center was decorated with 1,000 origami cranes hanging from the ceiling – a motif they carried throughout invitations and acrylic place settings crafted by stationer Ashley Triggiano (turn to page 242 to see more of Ashley’s work) for their vow renewal. The Peoples dressed up their barn venue with a dramatic color palette of black with burgundy, mauve and pink tones.

Amanda and Scott opted for first looks with each of their two children, and Audrey, 2, was the flower girl while Phillip, 5, walked Amanda down the aisle of Walnut Hill’s new open-air chapel. After the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktail hour with alfresco appetizers from Catering Works.

For the reception, Amanda added a dramatic black Robert Bullock Bride overskirt to her beaded Dany Tabet gown, both from White of Raleigh. The couple topped off the evening by pouring Champagne over a tower of glasses and sharing a toast.


Addie says she was caught off guard by how challenging it was to arrange a seating chart that would please all her guests.

“I am encouraging my clients moving forward to begin

[creating a seating chart] as soon as they start putting their guest list together. Go ahead and start grouping people with [folks] you know they’ll get along with,” she advises.

The Peoples reduced their guest list – from 220 at their wedding down to 50 vow renewal guests – allowing more space at the venue and in the budget for specialty decor and unique elements. Mainly, Amanda says, they had the opportunity to mingle with each guest and thank them for attending. More room in their budget allowed for a custom moss topper and dessert display sitting on Walnut Hill’s vintage piano created by florist Once Gathered, plus an escort wall design by Ashley Triggiano in which guests picked their seat placements like flowers.

Addie and Michael had 100 guests at their elegant ceremony. “Most of the events that I feel go really well are at that 120 [guests] mark,” Addie says.

Addie adds that the biggest shift that she’s noticed while wedding planning over the years is that events have trended toward personal details unique to each couple.

“COVID-19 made us completely reassess how we do everything,” she says. “It was very humbling and made me realize that weddings are not necessarily trendy – they’re meant to be … a representation of the couple.”

Amanda says she had a blast planning a nontraditional event without the pressure she felt a decade ago to include a garter or bouquet toss, or cake cutting.

104 heartofncweddings.com
ABOVE Ashley Triggiano created a custom escort wall immersed in fresh flowers from Once Gathered for Amanda and Scott’s vow renewal. BELOW Origami cranes – a nod to the decor at Amanda and Scott’s 2012 wedding reception – grace invitation suites also created by Ashley.




Narrowing down the single element of the wedding that’s most important to the couple is a fundamental task in Addie’s planning process. For her own event, floral design took the cake. She says the Once Gathered team did an incredible job of making guests feel as though they were immersed in flowers. She also recommends that couples choose their photographer carefully since the day will largely be remembered through photographs, so finding a style and vendor you love is well worth the cost.

heartofncweddings.com 105
Dark linens and acrylic chairs make a dramatic statement inside Walnut Hill’s white-walled barn. Catering Works provided alfresco appetizers for Amanda and Scott’s guests to enjoy during cocktail hour on the lawn.

“What I ask our couples when we sit down for our initial meeting, which is also our budget meeting, is, ‘What is the most important aspect of this wedding? Are you guys foodies? Do you guys love music?’ People tell me that thing, and we base the entire event off of [that],” Addie says.


“Honestly, hire a wedding planner,” Addie says. “I thank God for [Distillery owner] Chad Biggs because … he stepped up the day of our vow renewal and was unfreaking-believable. My biggest mistake was not hiring somebody to come in and actually do planning with me and thinking that I could handle everything on my own.”

Amanda emphasizes two things: don’t stress too much about the date, and be sure to have a well-organized backup plan in case of inclement weather.

“Remember, the most important thing on that day is who you’re marrying,” Amanda says. “You’ve picked a great vendor team – trust them. Embrace every part of it because that’s what you’re really there for: to get married to the person you love.”



“The day we had our vow renewal, I thought I was gonna be sick the entire time,” Addie says.

“It’s changed my tune on how I talk to our couples and make [them] feel more comfortable on their day.”

106 heartofncweddings.com
ABOVE and china in blush and neutral shades from American Party Rentals completed a romantic dinner inside The Distillery.
heartofncweddings.com 107 - Ceremonies - Receptions - Rehearsals - Bridal Showers - Special Events and More graylynweddings.com 1-800-472-9596 1900 Reynolda Road, Winston~Salem, NC 27106 Celebrate new beginnings at The Graylyn Estate. The historic estate and enchanting gardens will provide the perfect backdrop to create lifelong memories. Raleigh, NC walnuthillnc.com walnuthillnc Raleigh's most unique wedding venue nestled on a 20 acre estate located less than 15 minutes from downtown A bespoke family estate
Lindley Battle Photography

Love Big, Celebrate Small.


For the couple who prefers a more thoughtful guest list over an audience. Celebrate Small with us at The Parlour, where “small” means well-curated, discerning, and the mark of meaningfulness. Featuring In-House Planning Services with The Gathering Co.

108 heartofncweddings.com


Located on four acres in the heart of Durham, this historic home, built in 1911, features original details with modern amenities. A perfect location for intimate gatherings or larger ones using the lush grounds.

900 S. Duke St. Durham, NC 27707 | 919.682.0449 | hillhousedurham.org | @hillhousedurham
Melissa Maureen Photography Top photo and bottom left and middle photos: Pamela Jahnke Photography
A unique VENUE FOR YOUR unique LOVE STORY Raleigh’s premier awardwinning Mediterranean restaurant, offering stunning event spaces and chef-inspired dishes. Situated under Raleigh’s iconic oak trees, our Mediterranean Rooftop has received many accolades for it’s romantic, relaxing, and inviting atmosphere. Keep our other downtown Raleigh event space in mind for your special events: TavernaAgora.com Email RaleighEvents@LMRest.com for private event inquiries. VidrioRaleigh.com | 919.803.6033 | 500 Glenwood Ave. Suite 100, Raleigh, NC

Cozy upscale pub vibe

local culinaryinspired food, cocktails, & warm hospitality. A Wrightsville beach historic landmark on the ocean offering coastal-inspired dishes with indoor and outdoor oceanfront event spaces.

Fresh seafood and traditional American fare. Situated on the Intracoastal waterway, we offer breathtaking views of the marina and sunsets, and flexible event spaces for celebrations.
Award Winning Venues


Eastern North Carolina Planning Tips

Real couples and local experts share advice for coastal ceremonies

The coastal plains of North Carolina offer pristine natural scenery – think expansive beaches and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean – set among charming historic towns and stunning waterfront locales rife with myriad event venue options. Imagining a coastal wedding of your own? Follow these expert tips and advice from couples who said “I do” on our state’s sandy shores.

• First, consider the size of your event, Visit New Bern’s Executive Director Melissa Riggle suggests. “This will enable you to dial in on ideal eastern North Carolina venues that can accommodate your guest count.” Public beaches don’t have a maximum guest count, but most beach access points on the Outer Banks aren’t available for private rental, and you may need to contend with beachgoers. Booking a private venue with beach access is the only surefire way to guarantee privacy. If you’re considering a microwedding or small event of fewer than 50 guests, ask venues and vendors about special elopement packages and pricing.

• Just to be clear, eastern North Carolina is home to much more than beach venues! Juliana Gorena and Mitch Hall tied the knot at The Cornealius Properties in Goldsboro, North Carolina, on July 29, 2022. A little over 50 miles southeast of Raleigh, this venue’s open-air chapel and intimate setting proved idyllic for their big day. “The reception hall and the entire property was beautiful – the perfect medium between modern and hometown,” Juliana says.

• Jessica Adele Mitsch and Joshua Reid Homes married at River Dunes, a community and event facility that boasts 14 miles of coastline in the town of Oriental, North Carolina. The couple dreamed of an intimate celebration with their closest family and friends, “and wanted everyone to feel like they were on vacation,” Jessica says. “We wanted to structure our wedding weekend in a way that maximized the quality time we could spend with our loved ones and make sure it was an all-around relaxing and fun-packed weekend. We heard about River Dunes through Josh’s aunt, who lives in New Bern, and we knew it was the perfect place for the experience we wanted to create.” River Dunes provided guest accommodations; the spaces for their rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception; and the catering, creating a seamless event.

• Nikkita Briones and Wyatt Scriever were married on June 12, 2022, at the Inner Banks Inn in the coastal town of Edenton, North Carolina, the picturesque and historical Colonial capital of the state. “We loved the small town and ... the quaint downtown mall right on the water,” Nikkita says. “We could not have asked for a better environment for a cozy and one-of-a-kind wedding weekend!”

112 heartofncweddings.com
Jessica Adele Mitsch and Joshua Reid Homes married at River Dunes in March 2022. Her earrings are from Bailey’s Fine Jewelry, and his suit is from Liles Clothing Studio. Photo by Preston and Heather Smith

• Many of these venues help to turn the wedding day into a long-lasting celebration. Michaela Amanda Pulley and Jamison Storm Gray booked their rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception spaces, and accommodations through the Inner Banks Inn. They couple says they chose the venue because it allowed the wedding party and immediate family to spend the entire weekend together. Juliana and Mitch did the same during their Goldsboro wedding, making use of the three on-site buildings that The Cornealius Properties offers for overnight guests. Jessica and Joshua prioritized recreational activities and downtime with their closest circle. “We were able to spend the weekend having quality time with guests [while] enjoying the pool, river, yard games and relaxation at River Dunes’ beautiful property,” Jessica says. “It felt like a fancy but laid-back summer camp for adults.”

• Be prepared for weather. Coastal North Carolina summers can be hot and humid. Winters are short but do get chilly. Be sure to

have a backup indoor space in case of inclement weather or during hurricane season, which lasts from June through November. Don’t let this deter you from planning a coastal wedding, but let guests know what to expect of the climate.

• Book your venue and vendors as soon as possible. In-state and out-of-state couples alike seek out destination weddings on the Outer Banks, so anticipate the high demand of some beach vendors.

• “You don’t have to choose a wedding venue on the beach to have beautiful waterfront scenery,” Melissa says. “New Bern offers stunning coastal views at half the cost of venues at the beach, allowing couples to make the most of their budgets. Some examples include Amelia

Grove, Copper Ridge on the Neuse, North Carolina History Center and the Riverfront Convention Center of Craven County, among others. Tryon Palace’s immaculate gardens and Commission House, circa 1880, and The Gardens at Isaac Taylor are just a few notable examples for those dreaming of an intimate celebration.”

Located on the confluence of the Trent and Neuse Rivers in historic New Bern, the Riverfront Convention Center is the ideal setting for both large and intimate weddings and receptions. Enjoy full service amenities and small town charm for the wedding of your dreams.


heartofncweddings.com 113
Center Welcome to Call
Contact Us Today to B k Your Consultation!
at Riverfront Convention
to schedule a site visit and start planning the wedding of your dreams!
Savannah Barwick and Allen Lambert celebrated their April wedding at the North Lawn at Tryon Palace in New Bern. Photo by Jaclyn Nolin Photography
Where Southern Hospitality and History Intersect 252-482-0300 • info@visitedenton.com • visitedenton.com
Echard Wheeler Photography
Mulberry Hill on the Sound - event venue of the Inner Banks Inn 103 East Albemarle Street Edenton, NC • 252-482-3641 • hello@innerbanksinn.com • innerbanksinn.com
Sharon Elizabeth Photography Sharon Elizabeth Photography Echard Wheeler Photography Victoria Hartell Photography
You Deserve The Luxury Affordable Dream Weddings 8 Venue Spaces - 60,000 Square Foot Clubhouse - Two Top 40 Golf Courses - Luxury Suites & Cottages Riverfront Amenities - On-Site Catering Prepared By Award Winning Chef - & So Much More! www.RIVERLANDING.com | 910-285-1487 ASTER BLOOM PHOTOGRAPHY HARRY MCLAUGHLIN PHOTOGRAPHY LORALEAH MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY KATE SUPA PHOTOGRAPHY
Your hopes, your dreams, and your happily
after, begin at Tryon Palace. 529
St. New
| 800-767-1560 ALL PHOTOS BY MELISSA
South Front
Bern, NC

Home of Birdsong Chapel

Goldsboro, NC | thecornealiusproperties.com | @thecornealiusproperties
The Cornealius Properties
Coy Rigdon Photography Allison Keen Photography Allison Keen Photography Corey Christian Photography Coy Rigdon Photography Ludwig Photo and Film Corey Christian Photography Coy Rigdon Photography Ludwig Photo and Film

THE ENDLESS WELCOME unforge a e hospitality

Charleston, South Carolina’s award-winning accommodations exemplify a timeless devotion to service, delivering on romance, nostalgia, and the delights that often only come with age and experience. Discover unforgettable hospitality in Charleston.

CHARLESTON HARBOR RESORT & MARINA charlestonharborresort.com

FRANCIS MARION HOTEL francismarionhotel.com




STAY DUVET stayduvet.com

Start Your Story Here

In Charleston, hospitality is part of our culture, part of our heritage. It’s who we are, as reliable as the rhythm of the changing tides. We invite you to join us. From full-service resorts to inviting bed & breakfasts, Charleston offers something for every wedding style.


Celebrate Forever on the Coast

The harborside setting, quaint chapel and luxurious accommodations are only the beginning.


Photography: Cynthia Rose Photography

International Love

Tips for planning an event far from home

If planning spontaneous vacations together, taking weekend trips to new cities and a shared adventurous spirit is a foundational part of your relationship with your future spouse, a destination wedding might be the right fit for you. To help make organizing your event as stress-free as possible, Vision Events owner Nicole Smith shares her best tips for planning an outof-state or international celebration. Vision Events specializes in both North Carolina and destination event planning.


Of course, we at Heart of NC Weddings believe that our state has myriad venues and locations to suit any style. However, there’s something magical about declaring your love in a place you’ve always wanted to visit or a tropical getaway. If you’ve already got a dream country or city in mind, consider a venue in close proximity to an airport since most, if not all, of your guests will need to fly in. This will simplify travel plans and cut down on transit time. Knowing if children are welcome at your desired location is also essential in making sure all of your guests are accommodated for.


Nicole recommends couples choose all-inclusive resorts for their big day. “Think of it as a one-stop-shop with skilled professionals who cater to couples wishing to take the legwork out of a destination wedding while still enjoying the perks and allure that comes with exotic locations,” Nicole says. She adds that an all-inclusive package can help cut down on costs, making a destination wedding more accessible for couples.


Remember that destination events require planning further in advance than local weddings. Guests will require more time to RSVP, make travel arrangements and plan for time off work, if necessary. “In an effort to assist guests with their own personal planning processes, we can often offer payment plans which help take the stress off of their journeys to becoming your wedding guests,” Nicole says.

More time must also be allotted to communicate with vendors who may be located in different time zones. While it’s possible to source vendors by internet searches or scrolling social media, but working with a well-established professional who has connections with vendors in various destinations and can vouch for their reliability is extremely valuable and will save time and stress.


Nicole’s top destination pick? Sandals Montego Bay, Jamaica. She recommends the resort for its convenient location – just a few minutes from the airport – and the on-site events team that Vision Events has worked with several times.

“This gorgeous resort offers several wedding locations to choose from, all spectacular and memorable,” Nicole says. “Options include a popular over-the-water chapel, a church chapel, gardens, beaches, gazebos and a conference center.”

heartofncweddings.com 123
Camilo Sanchez and Candace Kelley tied the knot at Sandals Montego Bay, Jamaica, with help of planner Vision Events. Photo by James Damgar

We are experts in destination wedding planning, and our tried and tested process ensures that you will experience the adventure of a lifetime without any logistical headaches. From selecting the destination of your dreams to curating unforgettable experiences with your guests, our expansive knowledge of destination weddings makes us your go-to team. With our passports always at the ready, we’re here every step of the way.

Magical Mountain Weddings

Highlands, NC

124 heartofncweddings.com
Photos by Amy Allen Photography visioneventsnc.com/destinations | @visioneventsnc

awaits OBXtraordinary

Find local Outer Banks vendors and plan to attend annual wedding planning events:

Wedding Weekend and Expo March 4-5, 2023

OBX Wedding Fest Early August 2023

Visit OBXWA.com to order your copy of Outer Banks Weddings magazine

Sarah D’Ambra Photography Left to Right: Sarah D’Ambra Photography | Matt Lusk Photography | Ryan & Rach Photography | Kasey Powell Weddings



The Carolina Estate is a new venue with the perfect combination of modern elegance and southern charm.


PERSON COUNTY VISITOR AND INFORMATION CENTER 705 DURHAM RD, ROXBORO, NC 27573 itsbetterinperson.com @visitpersoncounty •
the region’s only vineyard with an onsite wine tasting room, barn venue and stunning view Sunset Ridge Buffalo Farm offers a rustic but elegant setting for weddings and celebrations at their scenic lakeside venue.
336 597 2689
you to explore
expansive fields, vineyards, lakefront locations
historic estates.
please contact the Person County Visitor and Information Center


Ellen and Carolyn say that Overlook’s views and versatility –especially that of the 1,000-square-foot Cliffside Barn, which provides a convenient indoor space plus a 750-square-foot covered patio – impressed. The pair tied the knot on Oct. 2, 2022. Meredith Arnold and Joey Ambrose also got married at the Banner Elk venue on Sept. 26, 2021. Meredith was always drawn to the mountains, but it took the venue’s unique charm to convince her partner. “Joey loves the beach, but once he got to see the breathtaking views Overlook Barn has to offer, he agreed it was our wedding venue.”

Western North Carolina Planning Tips

Couples share their dreamy mountain wedding experiences

Look no further for the perfect picturesque location for your big day. North Carolina is home to gorgeous mountain views, thrilling excursions for outdoor lovers and a vibrant food and drink scene – all west of I-77. Whether you’re searching for a destination venue or a backdrop of natural beauty, we encourage you to explore vendors in Western North Carolina. But don’t just take it from us – hear below from couples who ventured west for their own celebrations.

• The biggest perk of a mountain wedding is, well, the mountains! This part of the state is home to the Blue Ridge Mountains, named for the mountain range’s telltale blue haze that appears on the horizon, as well as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that marks the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. The region’s beauty worked its magic on Ellen Thomas and Carolyn Huddy, who visited Overlook Barn – in the town of Banner Elk, just west of Boone, North Carolina – the day after they got engaged. They booked the venue on the spot.

• The High Country has always felt like home to Robert Kleinmaier. So when it came time to tie the knot with his fiancee, Sunni Goodson, she says that finding a venue immersed in the mountains was essential. The two married on Aug. 27, 2022, at The Barn on New River. This charming, family owned barn sits on 100 acres bordered by the South Fork New River and surrounded by the rolling hills of West Jefferson, North Carolina. “The setting is so secluded and private, yet less than 30 minutes to Boone, with plenty of amazing vendors and guest amenities in West Jefferson and the surrounding area,” Sunni says. “Even when we first drove up in the dead of winter, it had soul. It was the only venue that brought me to tears when I walked in.” The pair were the first couple to use The Barn on New River’s colorful dahlia garden as their ceremony site.

• If a barn wedding isn’t your style, don’t stress – Western North Carolina is also home to historic inns, chapels, mountain lodges, urban warehouses and sweeping vineyards. “Visit several different types to see how you feel; you might be surprised at what strikes a chord,” Sunni says. For Sunni and Robert, their Ashe County venue checked every box. “The Barn had everything we were looking for – the tactility of a historic building (in the Old Hay Barn) and a rural setting that would put guests at ease, coupled with the polish and charm of the new barn with its crystal chandeliers and stone patio.”


Guests may enjoy a scenic drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway for expansive mountain views. See if you can spot the Brown Mountain Lights in Pisgah National Park, go for a hike or trek down one of the region’s countless trails with access points on the Appalachian Trail, or Grandfather Mountain, Mount Mitchell, or Chimney Rock parks. Asheville is an urban hub for arts, dining and shopping, while destinations like Black Mountain and Blowing Rock have that unique small-town allure.

• You can’t miss Western North Carolina’s bustling craft beer and wine scene. Sierra Nevada’s Mills River facility is one of the area’s largest breweries. Green Man Brewery has been an Asheville favorite since it opened in 1997. Direct your guests to Banner Elk

128 heartofncweddings.com
Robert Kleinmaier and Sunni Goodson tied the knot in front of The Barn on New River’s dahlia garden. Photo by Traci Arney Photography

Overlook Barn is a unique wedding venue nestled atop Beech Mountain, North Carolina that boasts breathtaking long-range views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With the stunning 7000+ square-foot Overlook Barn, elegant 1000 square-foot Cliffside Barn, and multi-acre Mary’s Meadow, there are endless possibilities for indoor/outdoor celebrations ranging from elopements and microweddings to 250-person seated events. Complete with luxury getting-ready areas, on-site accommodations, and more, Overlook Barn is a sought after destination venue in our own state, that feels in a world of its own!

Ashley Olson Photography The Family Films Richard Barlow Photography Perry Vaile Photography The Stewarts Roam
Morgan Long Photography


Winery or Grandfather Winery to enjoy a glass.

• Cole Ellis and Travis James wanted to take advantage of peak season in the mountains, when autumn’s beauty is at its most vibrant. Their October 2022 reception at The Mill at Rock Creek in Boone brought gorgeous views. “Everywhere you look you can see mountains. Even in the distance you can see a Christmas tree farm (the location where we had our ceremony),” Cole says. “The back patio is perfect for cocktail hour and dreamy pictures. The inside was able to be decorated and coordinated to have our large wedding feel even more intimate. The wooden tables, beams and bar plus the rock fireplace are perfect for a fall/winter wedding.”


This region brings beautiful weather three seasons out of the year. Beat the heat by heading west in the summer, where temperatures in the mid-’80s only at their highest. “We were right to head to

higher elevations – it was a perfect day even in August,” Sunni says. Fall brings gorgeous scenery as the leaves change color and cooler temperatures roll in. Winter may be the one season to avoid when it comes to weddings in the westernmost parts of the state. Finally, spring brings gorgeous greenery and mild temps. “If you choose the spring or summer, you can enjoy low humidity, cooler temperatures and gorgeous landscapes with the wildflowers,” Cole says. “If you choose the fall/winter, you can still enjoy the cooler temperatures and then go inside to warm up by a roaring fire.”


Be aware that transportation may take extra planning if you’re hosting a mountaintop celebration. Guests may not be used to navigating winding mountain roads with occasionally unreliable GPS access. Meredith recommends investing in a transportation service, especially if you will be serving alcohol.

The Mill at Rock Creek is Boone's most exciting Wedding Venue and Event Center. Located less than 5 miles from downtown Boone, The Mill at Rock Creek offers over 6000 indoor square feet of exquisite space set in the Blue Ridge mountains. Complete with water features, stunning vistas, spacious bridal party suites, and a beautiful indoor hall, our venue is the perfect backdrop to your event.

130 heartofncweddings.com
3306 Highway 194N, Boone, NC | 828-829-5800 | therockcreekmill@gmail.com
Birchfields Photos: Michelle Lyerly Photography Travis James and Cole Ellis married at The Mill at Rock Creek in Boone, North Carolina. Photo by Micah Cook Photography

�he �arn on �ew �iver has �uickly become one of the most sought after venues in the �igh �ountry �t sits on �0 �rivate acres, bordered by the Southfork of the �ew �iver and surrounded by our belov ed �lue �idge �ountains

When you walk into our �ost and b eam style barn, your eyes are immediately drawn to the soaring 30’ ceilings, beautiful Swarovski chandeliers as well as the string lighting

When you walk outside the e normous 14’ barn doors, you enter the stone cocktail area with lighting and a built in bar �ust beyond the cocktail area is our ceremony site as well as our beautiful �ahlia �arden�

�eside the garden is our �ld �ay �arn that has outdoor lighting, a large fire �it area, and a covered �orch that can serve as an additional cocktail area� www�thebarnonnewriver�com � �thebarnonnewriver

�ebekah �orres �hotogra�hy �elli �arrico �hotogra�hy �atural �raft �hotogra�hy �egan She��ard �hotogra�hy �egan �ravis �hotogra�hy


Wedding dresses, on average, cost about $3,000, but can range from $800 to $20,000. Tuxedo and suit rentals start at around $170 and include a coat, pants, vest, shirt, tie and shoes. Purchasing formalwear starts at about $250 for a suit and $325 for a tux, and goes up from there. Custom suits start around $1,500.

Bridal hair and makeup can cost anywhere from $150 to $600 with a trial run. Hair and makeup for wedding party members typically runs $95 to $250 per person.


Purchase your wedding gown 10 months to one year in advance of the big day. Allow a minimum of two months for alterations. Purchase or rent your tuxedo or suit three to four months out. We recommend that wedding party members follow the same time frame due to high demand.


Don’t forget to leave room in your budget for shoes, accessories – including socks, ties, bow ties, pocket squares, headwear, veils, belts, suspenders and more – jewelry and additional services such as nails, skin care treatments and spa services.

132 heartofncweddings.com
UC Models’ Grace Harrington and Eion Dockery wear a jacquard Truvelle gown with a side slit from Gilded Bridal and navy suit from Bernard’s Formalwear, respectively, at The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve. Grace’s jewelry is from Bailey’s Fine Jewelry, and her hair and makeup is by Reign Beauty. Photo by Fancy This Photography

fashion & beauty

heartofncweddings.com 133

Agentle breeze winds its way through tall grasses and past a grove of trees that enclose a ceremony site at The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve. It’s welcome relief, as temperatures push 90 degrees on the mid-September day while vendors, models and our Heart of NC Weddings team members hustle back-and-forth from Aerie House to Heron Hall and among the venue’s other spaces on its 115 acres of pasture and forest south of downtown Raleigh.

Heart of NC Weddings editorial shoot director Becca Taylor’s vision board this year was a carefully curated collection of rusty orange, cream and blue shades, and romantically flowing gowns that embody a certain effortless bohemian style. 



134 heartofncweddings.com Fashion & Beauty
Venue The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve Photographer Fancy This Photography Florals Joneswell Flowers Hair & Makeup Reign Beauty PAGE Dress Rish from Gilded Bridal Jewelry ABOVE LEFT Scattered tworow diamond band from Diamonds Direct LEFT Bailey’s Fine Jewelry Model Linda Nguyen RIGHT Dress Ellen by Pronovias from Thornbury Brides Jewelry Diamonds Direct Model Adrienne Duterte
heartofncweddings.com 135
136 heartofncweddings.com


Venue The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve

Photographer Fancy This Photography Florals Joneswell Flowers

Hair & Makeup Reign Beauty

LEFT Dress

One Styled Bride’s Josephine V-neck dress and Victoria Feather Shrug by Fleury, both from Thornbury Brides Jewelry Diamonds Direct

Model Pashara Black



Jimme Huang from Thornbury Brides, with detachable sleeves

Formalwear Bernard’s Formalwear


Pashara wears yellow gold pearl drop earrings that evoke old Hollywood glamour and a bezel-set diamond engagement ring, both from Diamonds Direct. Bracelets are model’s own.


Pashara Black and her partner, Chantin Collins

Several of the models in this editorial are often on the other side of the lens or the makeup chair, working as stylists or event organizers to help local couples turn their wildest visions into reality on their wedding days. These pros know better than anyone how it takes a village to create a day that’s more meaningful than any other, and we are elated to represent these local vendors as well as real couples on these pages.

While the Reign Beauty team prepped, blow-dried, styled and perfected each of our models’ hair and makeup – all while keeping spirits high by rocking out to an energetic playlist –Nikki Whitt Belch and second shooter Sarah Gillie of Fancy This Photography scoped out photo locations across the property. We embarked on a busy day of shooting under a beaming sun that did, thankfully, succumb to the cover of clouds as the afternoon tipped into golden hour. 

heartofncweddings.com 137 Fashion & Beauty


Venue The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve Photographer Fancy This Photography Florals Joneswell Flowers

Hair & Makeup Reign Beauty

THIS PAGE Dress Clementine from Vow’d Weddings

Jewelry Bailey’s Fine Jewelry Model Brendetta Huffman

RIGHT Dress Comet with glitter dot tulle and intricate floral lace overlay from Vow’d Weddings

Jewelry Diamonds Direct Model Adrienne Duterte

138 heartofncweddings.com
heartofncweddings.com 139

The White of Raleigh gown with detachable sleeves made me feel like a garden fairy princess! I love that you can wear the sleeves for photos and the ceremony and detach them for the reception and dancing without taking away from the beauty of the dress.



The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve Photographer Fancy This Photography Florals Joneswell Flowers

Hair & Makeup Reign Beauty


Adrienne (pictured left) wears a Fiore ballgown by Lazaro with a V-neck, natural waist and circular skirt from White of Raleigh. Linda (pictured right) wears an Ava dress by Dany Tabet with a straight neckline and sheer back from White of Raleigh.

Jewelry Adrienne wears a multi-row diamond band in 14-karat white gold, an 18-karat white gold pearshaped diamond engagement ring with a halo, plus a white gold pear-shaped bezel tennis necklace and diamond studs from Bailey’s Fine Jewelry. Linda models a round diamond set in platinum with a hidden halo, earrings and a white gold tennis bracelet from Bailey’s Fine Jewelry.

140 heartofncweddings.com Fashion & Beauty
Models Adrienne Duterte and Linda Nguyen Linda Nguyen
heartofncweddings.com 141

Model Brendetta Huffman wears a pair of ethereal 14-karat rose gold earrings featuring 2.40 carats of pear-shaped opals surrounded by a double halo of brilliant diamonds, paired with an 18-karat rose gold engagement ring that showcases “Tacori craftsmanship at its finest,” says Diamonds Direct Marketing and Merchandising Manager Tessa Kitko. The ring “features round brilliant-cut diamonds channel set in Tacori’s iconic crescent shape and accented by delicate metalwork and milgrain,” Tessa says.

These jewels complement a delicate A-line gown from Thornbury Brides with floral beaded embroidery and a subtle scoop neckline. 


Venue The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve Photographer Fancy This Photography Florals Joneswell Flowers

Hair & Makeup Reign Beauty

THIS PAGE Dress Nyssa tulle gown by Kelly Faetanini from Thornbury Brides

Jewelry Diamonds Direct Model Brendetta Huffman RIGHT Dress Badgley Mischka strapless cocktail dress in shade Iris from Kannon’s Clothing Formalwear Bernard’s Formalwear

Models Dominick DiGirolamo and Laura DiGirolamo

142 heartofncweddings.com Fashion & Beauty Fashion
heartofncweddings.com 143



RIGHT Florals Joneswell Flowers Dress Misty ballgown by Lazaro with a corset bodice, silk skirt with pockets and chapel train from White of Raleigh Jewelry Bailey’s Fine Jewelry Models Eion Dockery and Grace Harrington, UC Models

144 heartofncweddings.com
Venue The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve Photographer Fancy This Photography Hair & Makeup Reign Beauty
PAGE Dress Comet from Vow’d Weddings Jewelry Diamonds Direct Model Adrienne Duterte
heartofncweddings.com 145
146 heartofncweddings.com


Venue The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve

Photographer Fancy This Photography

Hair & Makeup Reign Beauty


Stillwater gown by Tara LaTour with detachable bishop sleeves, plunging sweetheart bodice, pockets and full A-line skirt from Gilded Bridal


8.64-carat oval sapphire and diamond ring with a sapphire, diamond and white gold bracelet from Bailey’s Fine Jewelry

Model Nathan Wellman

My favorite look was the dress from Gilded Bridal. The bold blue pattern and sleeves were absolutely gorgeous!

heartofncweddings.com 147
Nathan Wellman


Venue The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve Photographer Fancy This Photography Florals Joneswell Flowers

Hair & Makeup Reign Beauty


Primrose ballgown from Vow’d Weddings

Bridesmaid Dresses

Linda (pictured left) wears Sydney in shade Auburn Moon from Vow’d Weddings. Grace (pictured right) wears Athens in shade Desert Rose from Vow’d Weddings.

Jewelry Bailey’s Fine Jewelry

Models Linda Nguyen, Brendetta Huffman and UC Models’ Grace Harrington

Linda Nguyen models an emerald-cut bezel set crystal ring and Phillips House white gold infinity tassel necklace from Bailey’s Fine Jewelry with a halter-neck rust bridesmaid dress from Vow’d Weddings. Grace’s dress, also from Vow’d Weddings, illustrates a trending mismatched style in a complementary mauve tone paired beautifully with a gold Marco Bicego Lunaria cocktail ring from Bailey’s Fine Jewelry. Vow’d offers a range of mix-and-match bridesmaid dresses ranging from $118 to $190 in addition to wedding gowns.


Crepe ruffle oneshoulder gown in Kelly green by Teri Jon from Kannon’s Clothing Formalwear Bernard’s Formalwear

Models Dominick DiGirolamo and Laura DiGirolamo

148 heartofncweddings.com Fashion & Beauty
heartofncweddings.com 149

I really liked the darker navy suit with red tie combination [from Bernard’s Formalwear]. It was comfortable, and the colors accented each other quite well. The red tie gave the whole ensemble some pop.”


Venue The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve Photographer Fancy This Photography Florals Joneswell Flowers

Hair & Makeup Reign Beauty

THIS PAGE Dress Gabrielle by Dany Tabet from White of Raleigh. This ballgown is from Dany Tabet’s Zou Bisou collection, inspired by Brigitte Bardot.

Formalwear Bernard’s Formalwear

Jewelry Bailey’s Fine Jewelry

150 heartofncweddings.com Fashion & Beauty Fashion
Models Brendetta Huffman and her husband, Robert Rowe
RIGHT Formalwear Bernard’s Formalwear
Model Nathan Wellman Robert Rowe
heartofncweddings.com 151 Fashion & Beauty

1 2 3 4


Venue The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve

Photographer Fancy This Photography Hair & Makeup Reign Beauty

Dresses/ Formalwear

1 Georgia by Truvelle from Gilded Bridal

2 Thornbury Brides

3 Bernard’s Formalwear

4 White of Raleigh


1 Pearl necklace, white gold diamond hoops, a mixed-cut pear and round diamond ring, a 7.63-carat platinum pave cathedral princess-cut diamond ring and white gold pave bangle from Bailey’s Fine Jewelry

2 Smoky topaz earrings surrounded by a halo of white and champagne diamonds and a 14-karat rose gold two-row band from Diamonds Direct

3 Satin-finished 14-karat yellow gold band with three flushset baguette diamonds from Diamonds Direct

4 A round diamond engagement ring set in platinum with a hidden halo and 18-karat white gold marquise line tennis bracelet from Bailey’s Fine Jewelry

Models (clockwise from top left)

UC Models’ Grace Harrington, Pashara Black, Linda Nguyen and Nathan Wellman

152 heartofncweddings.com Fashion & Beauty Fashion
Comfortable, personal and all about you... whiteofraleigh.com 919.977.6008 311 Blake St., Raleigh @whitebridalboutiques
Fashion & Beauty
Cirque91 Photography Jillian Knight Photography
3708 Benson Drive Raleigh, NC | www.ReignBeautyNC.com | info@reignbeautync.com
Cirque91 Photography Alaina Ronquillo Photography Meagan Forbes Click Away Photography
FabianaSkubicPhotography bernard’s FORMALWEAR 734 ninth street | 919-286-3633 | bernardsformalwear.com Tuxedos & Suits “...itissimply necessary tolove.” ~Monet

Fashion & Beauty

Best Dressed

A local stylist uses color analysis to help clients find their perfect fit

Finding your personal style can be a lifelong process, but if there’s one time when your attire matters most, it’s your wedding day.

Luckily, there are local experts to help curate a look that embodies you. Claire Roberts, founder of Claire Roberts Style, specializes in personal styling and color analysis that enables her clients to “dress with intention.” Her style philosophy is all about creating a cohesive look that boosts confidence.

“[It’s] really thinking about who you are and what you want to present to the world,” Claire says. “What silhouettes look good on you? What colors look the best on you? Dressing with intention takes those things into account to pull together a wardrobe that reflects all of that.”

Claire recommends that anyone who is engaged consider utilizing styling services early in the planning process, as the ideal time to order a wedding dress is about nine months before the big day. The first step is a color analysis appointment, during which Claire and certified color analyst Kristin Findley drape the client in fabric swatches to determine the most complimentary shades for wedding day attire. The styling team works to select flattering silhouettes – whether you’re looking for a wedding dress or other style of clothing – which results in a look that’s unique and authentic to you. Claire and her team also help streamline the shopping

process by accompanying clients at appointments and selecting pieces to try on, so you don’t have to waste time combing through racks.

Claire and her team will further consult with clients on the theme and color palette of the wedding to create a cohesive look for all the events that might surround the big day.

“We have conversations and look at pictures to help clients think through [their vision] and develop it,” Claire says. “[Then we ask,] ‘How do we craft this style and this vision and make it come to life through what they’re wearing?’”

These services aren’t just for the betrothed – the style team can help anyone curate a wedding weekend wardrobe. Clients often bring along their parents or future in-laws to have their colors analyzed and to help them choose day-of outfits.

Bridget Chirico, a restaurant owner who lives in Chapel Hill, was caught in a time crunch to find a dress for her daughter’s wedding after the gowns she’d ordered online weren’t a good fit. She reached out to Claire in April and utilized her expertise to find a gown and two other outfits for the rehearsal dinner and July wedding. Claire helped Bridget choose a bold Jovani gown at Kannon’s Clothing, a formalwear boutique just a few miles from Claire’s Raleigh studio. Claire also helped Bridget’s husband, Jim Chirico, choose a suit from Kannon’s that complemented the colorful dress.

156 heartofncweddings.com
Bridget Chirico wears a patterned Jovani gown while her husband, Jim Chirico, complements the colorful dress in a dark suit. Both were purchased at Kannon’s Clothing. Photography by Bonnie Sen Photography

“It was exactly what I needed,” Bridget says. “I [worried], ‘How am I going to pull this off myself?’ They did a great job. It was something I would never expect from a typical mother-of-the-bride dress, but this dress pulled it all together. It was a really great choice.”

Kannon’s Assistant Manager and Buyer Mary-Kannon Jefferson can attest to the power of styling services when it comes to weddings. “Claire is very calm around her clients, which is a great quality, because this is a stressful time for them. Her color analysis training also adds another level to the process in putting her clients in their best colors.”

Claire advises clients to start a Pinterest board or clip magazine photos that embody the vision they have for their personal style or wedding day look. “Take some time and think about how you want to portray yourself to the world in an authentic way,” Claire says.

She emphasizes that what you’re wearing –whether it’s a wedding gown in the most flattering ivory shade or a stylish, well-tailored suit – should feel authentic and true to you. You have the last word when it comes to your own personal style!

If ever there is ever a time to look and feel your best... it is on your wedding day.

The c/r Style team is dedicated to crafting the most flattering looks for you and your wedding party through personal color analysis and customized wardrobe styling experiences.

heartofncweddings.com 157
Claire Roberts helped Bridget choose a bold red look for her daughter’s rehearsal dinner.
919.601.6299 | clairerobertsstyle.com | @clairerobertsstyle
Patrick Shanahan

Fashion & Beauty


Molly Rebenski, store manager of White of Raleigh, suggests booking your first shopping appointment 10-12 months in advance of your wedding date. Gowns can take six to eight months to be made, which leaves a few months for alterations to ensure that your gown is the perfect fit. Schedule your first fitting two months out from the wedding date, and final fitting one week prior.


Be prepared to tell your consultant your budget at the beginning of your appointment. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a gown that’s not within your price range.


Susan Langford, owner of Raleigh’s Gilded Bridal, says customers typically spend about an hour and a half shopping with the help of a knowledgeable stylist. “We start with a chat about your wedding, your style, whether you’ve tried on dresses before, as well as touching base on your budget,” Susan says.


Molly encourages shoppers not to switch up hair or makeup while trying on dresses. “Choosing a wedding gown is all about what makes the celebrant feel the most like themselves on the day they marry the love of their life,” Molly says. “So, if you don’t look like yourself [during your appointment] due to overor under-doing your hair and makeup, that can make the process of choosing your gown more difficult.”

WEAR THIS, NOT THAT Molly says it’s important that guests arrive in neutral, seamless undergarments. “It’s hard to have your moment in the gown when you can see your hot pink underwear through the fabric,” she says. Susan also suggests bringing along accessories you plan to wear on the day.

Gown Goals


few tips to help guide your dress shopping experience

Picking a wedding dress from innumerable different styles and trends can be a daunting task. It’s important to remember that, no matter what you wear, this is a day to be true to yourself and choose what makes you feel best. If you’re on the hunt for your perfect wedding gown, follow this advice from our vendors:


We recommend bringing only the people who you can’t say yes to a dress without to your shopping appointment. Thornbury Brides owner Nell Todd warns against large groups, saying, “I think it adds stress to [someone who] wants to please the group. All it takes is one naysayer, and they hesitate on a gown they obviously love.”


“Despite what certain TV shows want to make you think, you will typically find your dress in the first two bridal appointments,” Molly explains. “It doesn’t have to be a super drawn-out, stressful time for you; in fact, it should be stress-free and fun.”

heartofncweddings.com 161
Model Jackie Canavarro wears a gown and veil from White of Raleigh at Walnut Hill with floral design by Bloom Works. Photo by Arika Jordan Photography

Fashion & Beauty

being what they are, the perfect outfit, or even accessory, can take longer than previously,” advises Bruce Liles, owner and president of custom clothier Liles Clothing Studio in Raleigh’s North Hills. Plan ahead and have a good idea of the styles you’re looking for before going shopping in person.

Consider the value of renting compared to buying your formalwear. Custom suits will vary in price depending on the fabric, style and details you choose, but allow for a one-of-a-kind design that you can personalize with details specific to your love story. Whether you go the custom route or buy off-the-rack, owning a sharp suit can be a realistic option and will come in handy for future formal events. If you go with a cost-effective rental tuxedo or suit, you can still make the look your own by adding accessories like pocket squares, ties, suspenders, bow ties and boutonnieres.

George Hanna, president of Bernard’s Formalwear in Durham, recommends having the measurements of all members of the wedding party at least one month before the wedding date, if renting. It’s important to give your vendor time to reserve and prepare styles and sizes, and allow time for deliveries. 

Dressed to Impress

Shopping tips for suits,


and wedding party fashion

Making fashion choices for the family and friends in your wedding party might feel overwhelming. It can be a challenge to balance your wedding vision with a look and style that pleases everyone. From dresses to suits and tuxedos, there are endless cuts, colors and styles to choose from when it comes to fashion and formalwear for yourself and your besties.


Whether you’re selecting a suit or tuxedo for yourself or members of the wedding party, make sense of all the options with these shopping and styling tips from experienced vendors.


We recommend that suits and tuxedos are purchased or rented three to four months before the big day. “With supply chains

162 heartofncweddings.com
Nathan Wellman wears a blue three-piece suit from Bernard’s Formalwear at The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve. His hair and makeup are done by Reign Beauty. Photo by Fancy This Photography Joshua Homes wears a suit from Liles Clothing Studio at River Dunes. Photo by Heather Smith and Preston Smith
We can outfit you and your groomsmen for your special day! Our exceptional staff can find your style, customize your fit and co-ordinate your accessories to your wedding colors all within your budget . lilesclothingstudio.com | 919-510-5556 ELLEN LE ROY PHOTOGRAPHY FOXTAIL CO. 4350 LASSITER AT NORTH HILLS AVE., STE. 106, RALEIGH, NC 27609


When choosing a suit or tuxedo, consider the level of formality you want your event to have. Bruce says he’s noticed a resurgence of black-tie events following pandemic shutdowns. “Certainly a return to formality has been evident,” he says. A velvet suit jacket and black pants is a snazzy option to set the tone for a formal affair, or a classic tux. George says blue and gray suits are trending for those looking for a more laid-back vibe. “These are great colors because different shades and accessories can help capture the look you want no matter what season it is,” George adds.


“Accessorizing is where the fun can begin,” Bruce says. He suggests colorful bow ties or feather bow options, as well as patterned socks and pocket squares.

“Adding a vest to a suit to make it a three-piece suit can help make it more formal, while using suspenders


with tuxedos can make it a little less traditional,” George says. Remember that, if you’re getting married, your suit should stand out from the rest!

Above all, George encourages clients to stay true to their personal style on their big day. “The most important thing is for you to look and feel great when you’re wearing it, so pick something that compliments you and shows your style,” he says.

“The event is serious, but the day is fun,” Bruce adds. “The properly dressed party takes one more worry out of the picture to help the whole day be one big celebration.”


When it comes to choosing attire for your bridesmaids, there’s plenty of options to consider. Maybe you favor the mismatched look or want to go with a bright shade to accentuate your wedding gown. Keep in mind that increased shipping times may require wedding party members to purchase clothing several months out.


Let the experts at A Cleaner World clean and preserve your wedding gown. It's a gift your family can share from generation to generation.

Right the first time, or it's free.


164 heartofncweddings.com
Fashion &
Garcelle Vierra toasts with her wedding party and a glass of bubbly at Airlie Gardens in Wilmington during her wedding planned by Anthem House. Photo by Jillian Knight Photography
& Films 233 Middle St., New Bern, NC 28560 • info@thornburybrides.com • 252.631.5140 • @thornburybrides Book an Appointment Online at ThornburyBrides.com
Greenes Photo

We believe every bride deserves a one-of-a-kind shopping experience as unique as her love story.

eat cake. sing loudly. kiss lots. dress fancy. FIND US IN


Eileen says there are innumerable ways to add accessories to your wedding outfit. She says these details “put a unique touch to your look and showcase your personality.” Incorporating jewelry is a classic approach, Eileen says, but adds that many BeEverthine shoppers opt for major statement pieces – think fun fedoras and sequin fringe jackets. “Statement pieces are 100% worth it,” she says. “They will end up being a major highlight in everyone’s memory.”

Speaking of statement pieces, Thea suggests adding a bridal sash to diversify the look and feel of any dress. “It defines the waist and adds your own twist,” she says.


Adding earrings is a great way to frame the face while providing a little extra detail, Thea says, especially at a relatively low price point. The best part? “Earrings can be worn again,” she says. “We often work with clients who are excited to wear a few different earring styles throughout their wedding day and weekend. It can be such an easy and fun way to switch up your look.”

Eileen suggests choosing one main accessory that can be utilized beyond the big day. “One of our recent brides used our oversized pearl sunglasses in photos with her bridesmaids and had everyone wear them during their reception entrance,” Eileen says. “Both times they made such a statement. I can almost guarantee those sunglasses will be making a honeymoon appearance as well!”


Fashionable Flair

Finding the perfect wedding day attire is an accomplishment in and of itself, but your shopping shouldn’t end there –personalize and polish your look with accessories! Wedding fashion experts Thea Bloch-Neal, the founder and artist behind the Durham-based small-batch bridal accessory retailer Hushed Commotion, and Eileen Schilly, owner of online gift, accessories and apparel retailer BeEverthine, provide their insight on ways to incorporate accessories on your special day.

Thea says she hopes that more brides will explore textured veils. Beaded, netted and embellished veils add visual interest and an extra pop of personality.


Both Thea and Eileen are excited for one ongoing trend to carry into 2023 and beyond – pearls! “We’ve seen so much pearl these past few years, and we are excited to be seeing more,” Thea says. Eileen assures that the look – beloved by celebrants and royalty alike – “isn’t going anywhere” and will continue to grow more popular.


Remember that your footwear is another opportunity to make an impact on your big day. Featuring your shoes in getting-ready shots or detail photos allows your special kicks to shine, even if your attire covers them during other moments. Hushed Commotion offers a unique hand-beaded embellishment service for wedding shoes. “It’s such a wonderful way to create something striking, unique and one-of-a-kind for your wedding day,” Thea says. “We can even design [the shoes] to match all your other accessories!”

168 heartofncweddings.com
Accessories from BeEverthine Photo by Magdalena Stefanek Photography
Fashion & Beauty
You’ve hired a stellar hair and makeup artist and found your dream look –now it’s time to tie it all together

For the Parents

Awedding is a landmark event, and not only for the happy couple. Being proud parents of the betrothed, you want your overall appearance to shine as you guide your child down the aisle, deliver speeches and share joyous emotions. The wedding theme, season and location will heavily influence your attire. Read on for tips on choosing a dress or formalwear for your child’s celebration.


We suggest that mothers of the couple begin the shopping as early as six months in advance of the wedding. According to Mary-Kannon Jefferson of Kannon’s Clothing, garment production takes longer than ever before, sometimes up to five months, while inventory is at an unprecedented low. If you find a dress you love, don’t hesitate. “Many times, if a customer takes a week or even a few days to think about the gown they want, it gets sold and we cannot get another,” Mary-Kannon says. As for the fitting process, she says, allow about one month to make any necessary alterations.

The wedding venue and climate impacts the style of the dress you’ll want to wear immensely. For instance, a black-tie affair calls for a gown that aligns with the formality of the wedding

party. If the wedding takes place somewhere tropical or coastal, a floral or patterned dress is a great choice. Remember to complete the look with a matching bag and comfortable dancing shoes!

Traditionally, the mother of the bride chooses attire before the mother of the groom, but in modern times we recommend communicating with the parent of your child’s partner on color, length and formality of your clothing – and use this as a chance to get to know one another better! You could coordinate complimentary tones like silver and blue, or different shades of the same color. Most importantly, make sure to have an understanding of what your child’s wishes are and what the wedding party will wear before shopping. You want to avoid clashing or matching bridesmaids. Select something that complements the tones of the wedding and wedding party.


For fathers of the couple, it’s always helpful to know if the wedding party will be wearing suits or tuxedos. The golden rule that typically applies is that the father’s attire should match the formality of the groomsmen. Pick a different color tie or bow tie to stand out from the wedding party.

170 heartofncweddings.com
Dominick DiGirolamo and Laura DiGirolamo wear a suit from Bernard’s Formalwear and Kelly green crepe one-shoulder Teri Jon dress from Kannon’s Clothing, respectively, at The Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve. Hair and makeup by Reign Beauty. Laura wears her own jewelry. Photo by Fancy This Photography
Fashion & Beauty


Pinup Bridal is comprised of hair and makeup professionals who are passionate about the wedding industry. We provide top notch services for your big day or special event! Our team’s talents range from all different styles so no matter what look your envisioning, we’ve got you covered. Offering packages with your trial run, engagement session or bridal portaits included, our team will be with you throughout the whole process! Our full service salon is located in North Raleigh, but you’ll find us all over Raleigh and surrounding areas making beauty dreams come true.

A Century of Excellence

A Century of Excellence

Enjoy a warm, friendly atmosphere from one of the oldest family-owned businesses in NC, and discover carefully selected designer styles for every special and social occasion.

Enjoy a warm, friendly atmosphere from one of the oldest family-owned businesses in NC, and discover carefully selected designer styles for every special and social occasion.


Cameron Village 2015 Cameron Street • Raleigh 919-365-7074


Village District Village District


Cameron Village 435 Daniels Street • Raleigh 919-366-6902

heartofncweddings.com 171

Fashion & Beauty

Pretty in Pink

Meet a retro-inspired wedding hair and makeup team

Christina Kirkey branded her Raleigh-based beauty business in Barbiecore well before actress Margot Robbie ignited the bubblegum-pink fashion trend with her role as Barbie in the 2023 film. Christina has helped celebrants feel like the leading star of their wedding day for more than a decade as founder and owner of Pinup Studio. Anything but plastic, Christina and the “Pinup Girls” embody authenticity and kindness (with a dash of sass). They brought their beauty boxes to an Airbnb in Wilmington, North Carolina, to showcase their talent during a light and airy beach bachelorette party photo shoot.

172 heartofncweddings.com
Photos by Cherie Lynne Photography Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Hair & Makeup Pinup Studio | Gifts, Apparel, Accessories BeEverthine

Vintage-boho beauty trends and The Beverly Hills Hotel inspired the set of this shoot. Playful props such as a surfboard and disco balls added to the free-spirited style. Think pink – pinstripe pajamas, tumblers inscribed with “press for Champagne,” tinted sunglasses outlined in pearls – all from BeEverthine’s online bridal and bachelorette apparel and gift boutique. Getting ready together is one of the best wedding moments for memorymaking. Consider your bachelorette party or day-of prep as an opportunity to kick up your heels with your day ones and raise a monogrammed glass to the gals.

Feathered pajamas and textured white outfits embellished with beaded overlays from BeEverthine reinforced the retro vibes. Each model received a soft-glam makeover customized expertly to match their skin tone and hair texture. Pinup’s artists created soft waves and intricately braided updos showcasing face-framing curls – a romantic look that’s trending this season. From the groovy Volkswagen bus to a beach picnic, Pinup Studio shows off a look and setting that feels fabulous. These beauty professionals love to be on-site for weddings even though Pinup Studio is locally headquartered off Six Forks Road in Raleigh.

Everybody deserves to be pampered with their favorite people on their wedding day, even if pink isn’t in your color palette. Pinup Studio guarantees top-tier service by participating in wedding showcases, hosting educational classes and staying up-to-date on the latest beauty trends. Clients receive thorough consultations and trial runs to ensure that Pinup’s hair and makeup artists understand exactly what clients desire and that the result is a perfected wedding-day look.

SCAN THE CODE BELOW to see the full photo shoot on the Heart of NC Weddings blog!

heartofncweddings.com 173
Additional Vendors Airbnb Midtown Tudor, Simply Blush Bridal, Dare to Dream Gypsy, Brushed by Bec, Carolina Picnic Co., LainSnow

Time to Shine

Jane Rose Events owner and lead planner Amanda Lampuri says couples often forget to consider beauty services for the wedding party and parents of the couple. “It’s one of the first things we catch when going through [the] budget!” Amanda says.

Your wedding is a day you want to look and feel your best, so it’s important not to overlook options that you might want to utilize in advance to ensure amazing results when you walk down the aisle. Read on for a few tips on how to prep and pamper your skin and hair for amazing results on your big day.


• One year out – Create a custom treatment plan with your dermatologist or plastic surgery provider. “If you’re considering resurfacing lasers or light therapy to address texture or tone, we recommend starting these treatments a year in advance so you can allow sufficient time to see their results,” says licensed aesthetician Amy Costa of Finn Plastic Surgery

• Three to six months out – Begin facial rejuvenation treatments like dermaplaning, Amy advises, if you’re considering them.

• Six to eight weeks out – If you’re considering lash extensions, book your first appointment with enough time to get a fill before your wedding, advises The Bardot’s Britnye Shore. “Start with natural and work your way up to volume,” Britnye says. “This will give you time to get used to them and see if you want them full and dramatic!” Carolyn Doe, spa director at The Umstead Hotel and Spa, advises starting facials around this time as well, to avoid skin irritation cropping up on the big day.

• Five weeks out – If you plan to use spray tan, test your shade. “Start with a lighter shade and see if you want to go darker for the big day,” Britnye says. When the wedding gets closer, “time your spray tan to get it done after your pedicure so the exfoliation doesn’t rub it off. We suggest three days before any big event.”

• Two weeks out – Schedule your hair cut or color. “If you already did your hair trial, only do a trim if needed,” Britnye says. “Two weeks is the most natural look for hair growth so you have just a tiny bit of regrowth.” Make sure you take a moment to relax ahead of the big event – a couple’s spa day at The Umstead paired with a massage should do the trick. In addition to these services, we highly recommend a trial run with your beauty team. “During this time, we like to go over hair and skin type, allergies and concerns, and then execute the style,” says Pinup Studio owner Christina Kirkey.

Now Booking

174 heartofncweddings.com
Get that wedding-day glow
On-site bridal beauty teams Large parties Bridal + bridal party hair styling Bridal + bridal party makeup BARDOT BEAUTY BUS COMING SOON! thebardot.com @thebardot Fashion & Beauty

Finn Plastic Surgery is a comprehensive aesthetic practice serving patients seeking a variety of services, from minimally invasive treatments and physician-prescribed skincare to surgical procedures. In their fully accredited, on-site, surgical suite, Dr. Finn and Dr. Elkins-Williams perform a full complement of facial, breast, and body plastic surgery procedures.

At Finn Plastic Surgery, only fully trained plastic surgeons perform injectable treatments like Botox® and fillers. Drs. Finn and Elkins-Williams offer unparalleled artistry, extensive experience, and innovative technology.

Voted “Best of Chapel Hill” 11 years in a row, Finn Plastic Surgery will help you look and feel your best on your big day!

COSMETIC SURGERY | INJECTABLE TREATMENTS | SKINCARE | LASERS 1390 ENVIRON WAY, CHAPEL HILL, NC | 919.933.9522 | finnface.com | @finnplasticsurgery


176 heartofncweddings.com


Wedding planners vary in price based on their level of experience. Full-service planning and design costs typically range from $7,500 to $12,000. Some fullservice planners charge a base fee plus a percentage of the overall budget. Partial planning services range from $4,000 to $6,000, depending on the size and scale of your event. Month-of planning or coordination services costs range from $2,500 to $3,500.


Hire a professional planner as early as possible in order to work through the potential costs of the rest of the wedding. An experienced planner will help you navigate the wedding industry boom, find the best vendor matches for your budget and style, and save you time and money in the long run. At the very least, you’ll need a month-of planner to step in to coordinate vendors, create a timeline and oversee the big day. Many planners offer similar services on paper, but each has a different perspective and experience level – for instance, some are more design-oriented, while others are more organizational. Make sure your planner is a personality match.


It’s important to know your wedding month, total budget, guest count, priority vendors and desired style before inquiring with a planner. The planner will help you stick to the budget, thereby saving money. Remember to ask about any taxes or administrative, service or travel fees that might be included.


“Think about what you value more – time or money. If you try to save money by planning the details yourself, you will still spend on a valuable commodity: time. Many venues require a wedding coordinator, so you’ll need to enlist month-of help to run the event day, at the very least. Before you start to DIY the planning, it’s worth it to price out the difference between full- and partial-service, since you’re likely going to have to invest at some level.”

– Jenna Parks, Heart of NC Weddings publisher

heartofncweddings.com 177
A tabletop designed by the C&D Events team at The Bradford. Photo by JP Pratt Photography

Smooth Sailing

Wedding planners share how their services save couples stress, and the mantras they live (and plan) by

You’re finally engaged and looking forward to making a lifelong commitment to your partner with your most cherished people at your side. There’s just one hurdle in the way – planning the whole thing!

Hiring a professional wedding or event planner will ensure that your time, budget and sanity are protected, and safeguard you from planning pitfalls while tempering expectations. Your planner will connect you with local vendors who fit your needs and budget, manage communication, attend meetings, create mock-ups of ceremony and reception layouts, and build a day-of timeline. They’ll also keep the stress of planning from falling on your shoulders, or that of your family members.

178 heartofncweddings.com
Anthem House Associate Design Planner Sterling Lucas adjusts tabletop rentals from Curated Events Raleigh during a styled shoot at The Bradford. Photos by Richard Barlow Photography Wedding Planners

In the event that, unfortunately, extreme weather or unforeseen circumstances throw a wrench into your best-laid plans, the value of having a professional planner on your side who can step in to efficiently problem-solve is immeasurable.

Anthem House creative director Amanda Honeycutt has been in the occupation for seven years and recalls when a hurricane hit on the day of a wedding that her team had planned. “The venue lost power and the main access road was closed,” she says. “We were able … to provide the same amazing wedding this couple had been planning. From generators to battery lighting to wiping chairs to give them their dream outdoor ceremony, we pulled off the event while only minimally involving the couple.”

“We had the couple’s welcome sign fall and break the night before the wedding,” recalls Bustled Events owner Diane Wolk. “With the help of my amazing team, we were able to get new acrylic and vinyl to create a nearly identical sign. The font was slightly different, but the couple never noticed. I didn’t tell them until after the wedding when I returned the broken one and the new one.”

When it comes to choosing a planner, “find someone that you’ll want to talk to for at least a year,” says Socialite Events founder April Pyatt. April works hard to communicate frequently with her clients as planning tasks are completed to keep couples in the loop and involved in choices.

Vision Events owner Nicole Smith tells a similar tale of jumping into action to avoid near disaster when a thunderstorm threatened a meticulously planned garden reception in Pinehurst, North Carolina. “I make sure my couples have access to a solid contingency plan should the weather try to work against us,” Nicole says. “Just as my team was placing the final touches on a gorgeous cocktail hour … a violent thunderstorm dropped down. The couple had just said their wedding vows at The Village Chapel, and they and their guests were eager to head out to celebrate a few blocks over. I [had made sure] to have an indoor space available should the weather become an issue; I just wasn’t expecting the issue to sneak up so suddenly. Therein lies the importance not only of having a backup space, but also having a capable and willing team ... I was able to hold back the guests from leaving on their trolley ride to the resort [briefly] while my awesome team became track stars, running from one end of the property and back repeatedly until they had successfully transformed the interior space to reflect the same grace and charm as the outside look my couple had dreamed of.”


“Trust the proces S!” – Angela B. Cameron, An Event Lady Production

“When form and function are woven together seamlessly, you leave space for authentic moments.”

– Amanda Honeycutt, Anthem House

“Efficiency makes me happy!” – Diane Wolk, Bustled Events

We hope you’ll find inspiration in the following photos and stories of real events planned by Heart of NC Weddings pros. SCAN THE CODE to view more real wedding and engagement stories on our blog!

Even if the weather is perfect when your day finally dawns, let’s face it – something will go wrong. In those moments, it’s crucial to have someone in your corner who is there to help put out fires, and the manpower to do so.

Diane agrees with the sentiment. “When I have consultations with couples, I highly recommend them to interview other planners,” she says. “I think it is very important for them to connect with the person they’ll be working with for the next six to 12 months.” Diane also says that hiring a well-seasoned planner who brings extensive industry knowledge and strong vendor relationships to the table will result in a flawlessly planned wedding day.

Once you choose a planner, expect to sit down with them to discuss the elements of the wedding that matter most to you. Dogwood Gatherings and Events owner Addie Thompson says that she makes a point to ask couples during their first planning meeting to hone in on the one element they want their day to revolve around – whether it’s exceptional catering to deliver an elevated dinner party experience or a live band that brings the energy of a concert to the reception – to ensure that the wedding day reflects that.

Investing in a wedding planner may seem like a daunting step, but there’s really no limit to the value of the guidance one of these pros will provide and the consistent support you’ll feel from your first consultation through the final moments of your big day. Plus, hiring a planner will help you save money in the long run, because they’ll ensure that you stay within the overall wedding budget you set forth.

Throughout the next few pages, you’ll find real love stories and North Carolina weddings that our recommended wedding planners have designed and executed, and we hope you’ll glean inspiration and ideas for your own event.

heartofncweddings.com 179


Chiu + Leo Lu

Cherie Chiu and Leo Lu met on a dating app while Leo was stationed in Augusta, Georgia, where Cherie’s family lives. The couple, who now live in California, got engaged and decided to tie the knot on the East Coast to be nearer to family.

The pair held their ceremony and reception at The Bradford in New Hill, North Carolina, on Feb. 21, 2022. They discovered the European-inspired venue while scrolling on Instagram and fell in love with its charm, deciding to book it, sight unseen. “The venue turned out to far exceed our expectations,” Cherie says. “All of our guests were blown away by everything The Bradford has to offer.” Cherie and Leo learned that the venue is operated by C&D Events, so they matched with C&D’s Whitney Davis, who helped them plan their day from out of state.

Leo and Cherie held a traditional Chinese tea ceremony on their wedding day. The couple served tea to their family members, including parents, aunts and uncles, as a symbol of welcoming one another into their respective families.

Whitney helped the couple design a colorful reception with personal touches like an origami photo booth backdrop and napkins embellished with images of the couple’s pets: cats Mister and Nala, and their dog, Mellie. Guests sipped the couple’s favorite espresso drinks –Cherie’s iced rose lavender latte and Leo’s iced mocha – during the reception to make the occasion all the more special.

180 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Planner Whitney Davis with C&D Events | Venue The Bradford Caterer HL Catering Company | Entertainment ZimZoom Photo Booth Cherie
Real Weddings
Photography by JP Pratt Photography

“[Whitney Davis] was an invaluable resource for us while planning from California. She’s great with details and style,” Cherie says.

heartofncweddings.com 181
Additional Vendors Sugar Euphoria, Magical Weddings by Carly, Indochino, Made to Measure, Bella Bridesmaids, Kelly Zhang Studio, Whiteflash, Charis Wedding, Lilac Floral, Laura Byrne Harpist, DJ Harlem, Party Reflections, Cottage Luxe, Event Espresso Catering
C & D E V E N T S D e t a i l e d l o g i s t i c s a n d e l e v a t e d d e s i g n s s i n c e 2 0 0 6 ( 7 2 0 ) 2 8 0 - 8 0 8 5 i n f o @ c a n d d e v e n t s c o m 5 2 3 P e a R i d g e R o a d , N e w H i l l , N C
Amanda Castle Photography


We are presenting clients with a new approach to planning multi-day celebrations. Our clients understand that a wedding is not only one moment, but rather multiple curated moments that leave their guests with unparalleled stories to tell.

We believe all love should be celebrated and our clients seek an event that is a reflection of their unique soundtrack.

Jillian Knight


Joey Erdie + Garcelle Vierra

Joey Erdie and Garcelle Vierra grew up in California and met as teenagers. The pair began dating after high school, while Garcelle attended Chapman University and Joey entered the Air Force. Their love carried them through a long-distance relationship, moves across the country and Joey’s overseas deployments for nearly a decade until the couple settled in Goldsboro, North Carolina. After spending a day together in Duck, a town in the Outer Banks, Joey popped the question on the beach across from the Bodie Island Lighthouse.

The couple celebrated their coast-to-coast love story on April 23, 2022, at Airlie Gardens in Wilmington. Planner Amanda Honeycutt of Anthem House coordinated the special day, which almost didn’t take place, as Joey was deployed seven months prior to the wedding date. Luckily, he returned home just 17 days before the big day. “Amanda was wonderful at keeping us together and our vendors informed when we had potential hiccups with our planning,” Garcelle says.

The couple chose rentals and decor in olive green, terra cotta and merlot shades paired with neutrals, and incorporated their own furniture to make the reception feel like an extension of their home. The natural beauty of Airlie Gardens was accentuated with Californian elements like olive branches. After the ceremony at the Basilica of Saint Mary, guests mingled under the massive Airlie Oak that’s draped in Spanish moss and lit by market lights. “Cocktail hour was gorgeous – the lighting, the weather and the venue was perfect,” Joey says. A family-style alfresco dinner under a white sailcloth tent followed. Jillian Knight Photography and Serrano Film Co. captured the intimate day.

184 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Planner Anthem House
Real Weddings
Photography by Jillian Knight Photography

“[Amanda] and her assistant, Maggie Hendrickson , set up the most beautiful tablescape for us and really brought our goal for our wedding to life,” Garcelle says. “Looking around on our wedding day and seeing everyone so relaxed and enjoying themselves was the best gift, but it didn’t hurt to be in such a beautiful setting!”

heartofncweddings.com 185
Additional Vendors Serrano Film Co., Basilica of Saint Mary, Airlie Gardens, Spoonfed Kitchen & Bake Shop, Miledy Bridal Boutique, Glamour Closet, The Black Tux, JoS. A. Bank, Mother of Wild Flower House, Alice Lawson Salon + Spa, One Belle Bakery, Pink Baking Co., Pink Piggy Sweets, Farmer & the Dail, Barcelona Wine Bar, Accu Copy Downtown, Active DJ Entertainment, Party Suppliers & Rentals, Martha My Dear Rentals, White Birch Rentals, L&L Tent and Party Rentals, Perfect Touch Rental, FeteFone, Azalea Limousine


Sarah Sullivan met James Ryan in 2015 when her cousin brought him as a guest to their family beach house during Fourth of July weekend. Two weeks later they went on their first date, and after five years together, Sarah says, she started dropping hints that she was ready to get married. Knowing that Sarah didn’t want a public proposal, James popped the question while they were at home, in the kitchen with only their dogs as witnesses.

Having recently relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, Sarah says she was at a loss with planning before meeting Amanda Caputo of ACE Weddings & Events, a “perfect fit” who was able to recommend stellar vendors and guide Sarah and James through the process leading up to the big day on April 30, 2022.

“I cannot say enough good things about ACE [Weddings & Events] and Amanda,” Sarah says. “We clicked right away!”

James and Sarah wanted to find a “blank slate” venue that could host both their ceremony and reception. The Barn at Reynolda Village in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was the backdrop to the simple, intimate affair they wanted. The couple decorated in muted sage and light pink shades and brought personal touches by serving their favorite foods, like soft pretzels and pulled pork, from Holly Tate Fine Catering, and specialty bourbon and margarita cocktails topped with drink stirrers featuring illustrations of their two dogs.

Above all, the pair created their day to suit them and give that same advice to other engaged couples: “Do what you want!” Sarah says. “Plan your day for you and only care about the things that matter to the both of you.”

186 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendor Planner ACE Weddings & Events James
Real Weddings
Photography by Dawn Marie Photography

“[Amanda and her team] were always there to help and answer my million questions,” Sarah says. “The day was a whole lot less stressful thanks to them!”

heartofncweddings.com 187
Additional Vendors The Barn at Reynolda Village, Holly Tate Fine Catering, Rev on Call, Bluebird Bridal, Nadine Merabi, Generation Tux, BHLND by Anthropology, Kaitlyn Elizabeth Styling, Green Bee Floral Designs, Publix, Minted, LoSo Sound, Party Reflections, The Cardinal Hotel
@aceweddingplanning @raleigh_aceweddingplanning Follow us! Hispanic woman-owned • Bilingual planners available • Now booking through 2024 • Offering planning packages for all occasions info@aceweddingsplanning.com Charlotte Office 980.288.4468 Raleigh Office 919.812.3680 www.aceweddingplanning.com Let's Make It HAPPEN We combine your ideas with our innovation to give you ACED planning solutions. We offer luxury full-service planning and wedding management services as well as corporate and special occasion planning in the Carolinas and beyond. We love to travel!
Dawn Marie Photography Dawn Marie Photography Lindley Battle Photography Lindley Battle Photography


Madison Prescott and Mark Barrasso were raised on opposite coasts – Mark in Melville, New York, and Madison in Fresno, California. Tinder brought them together on the West Coast after Mark moved there for work. They dated for a few years, then moved to Raleigh together – Mark’s job at the time had a second headquarters in the city, which put it on their radar. “When we came to check it out, we fell in love with the city and decided to move,” Madison says. The couple got engaged on a November day during a walk at Falls Lake.

The couple said “I do” at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary – which happened to be the first venue they toured – on April 9, 2022. With guidance from expert planner Sally Oakley of Sally Oakley Weddings & Events, the couple incorporated North Carolina-made products like Dr. Monkey’s Ridiculously Good Caramels in welcome bags for their guests. “Our family and friends are not from North Carolina, and most had never even been prior to our wedding,” Madison says. “It was very sweet to be able to show everyone this state that we love so much and now call home.”

Officiant Kayelily Middleton personalized the couple’s ceremony, which featured Mark and Madison’s labradoodle, Remy. The Umstead’s manicured grounds and on-site catering provided an ideal setting for an elegant event while also hosting the couple’s out-of-town guests. Stationer and watercolor artist Ashley Triggiano created a live painting during the ceremony and designed all day-of signage and paper products. “Ashley was amazing to work with,” Madison says. “She is so talented and takes a dive into your vision and brings it to life from start to finish.

190 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Planner Sally Oakley Weddings & Events | Rentals Curated Events Raleigh Venue The Umstead Hotel and Spa | Live Painter & Day-Of Paper Products Ashley Triggiano Mark Barrasso + Madison Prescott
Real Weddings
Photography by Kelsey Nelson Photography

“Working with a planner from the beginning will help to put all the pieces together and make your event come together,” Madison adds. “And if you ever feel like there are so many different parts and wondering if it will in fact come together – it will, your day will be beautiful!”

heartofncweddings.com 191
Additional Vendors Kayelily Middleton, Coastal Knot, Hugo Boss, Wedded Kiss, Oak City Films, The Watered Garden, Ashley Cakes, Cute Buttons Gift and Paper Boutique, Laura Byrne Harpist, East Coast Entertainment, Greenhouse Picker Sisters, Party Tables.


Learning the story of this happy couple’s journey is like setting foot in a modern fairy tale. Imani Cunningham first met DaRon Blackwell, a native of Hurdle Mills, North Carolina, through a dating app. Imani admits to falling asleep during their first date. “[I] worked as a night shift nurse and was a very sleepy lady back then,” she jokes. Still, Imani says, she felt an instant connection with DaRon from their first phone call, and he confided in her that he’d been diagnosed with leukemia. A little more than nine months later, they got engaged on Imani’s 26th birthday.

“It’s not a typical timeline, but it was perfect for us,” Imani says. The couple turned to Lauren O & Co., led by experienced event planner Lauren O’Brien, to organize a romantic, moody soiree. “We also wanted to support as many Black-owned wedding vendors as possible,” Imani says. “We believe that Black-owned businesses don’t get enough appreciation in this industry, so we made that a priority.”

The couple were married on May 29, 2022, at The Cloth Mill at Eno River, a refurbished cotton mill and warehouse in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Right after the wedding ceremony, they took part in a private communion with only their pastor and his wife accompanying them. Lauren refers to the experience as taking a moment to “thank God for His blessing of bringing us together.”

Additionally, the couple hired Rocky Top Catering for their reception. “The food and service was amazing during [the] wedding,” Imani says. She says the emotional day turned out beautifully. “We wanted our wedding to be a reflection of us … we wanted a space for our fairy tale to come true.”

192 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Planner Lauren O & Co. | Caterer Rocky Top Catering DaRon Blackwell + Imani Cunningham
Real Weddings
Photography by Emely Williams Photography

[Lauren] was so attentive and worked above and beyond for us,” Imani says.

heartofncweddings.com 193
Additional Vendors The Cloth Mill at Eno River, Chaz Reid Films, The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery, Cool Receptions, Teah Chinn Beauty, Élan House, Revelry, New York Bride & Groom of Raleigh, The Black Tux

Efficient, empowering wedding planning for modern couples seeking a celebration that leaves a lasting impact.

With over ten years of industry expertise and a knack for bringing even the most ambitious events to life effortlessly— there’s nothing our team loves more than helping modern couples curate a celebration that stems from their story and style.

We’re here to ensure your celebration is as radiant and lasting as that love of yours.

919-307-5707 | hello@laurenoandco.com | www.laurenoandco.com | @laurenoandco All photos by One Vision Photography
Serving love stories of all shapes, sizes, and styles in Raleigh, North Carolina & beyond.


Bennett Gibson and Sarah Hansen matched with each other on Hinge when they both settled in Raleigh after college, yet their initial conversation wasn’t actually between the two. “I have to shout out one of my best friends and roommate at the time, Sydney,” Sarah says. “She made my profile and talked to him for me first.”

Bennett proposed nearly five years later in the home he and Sarah had just purchased together. They set their wedding date for March 26, 2022. “Heights House Hotel was our first-choice venue,” Sarah says. “We would drive by periodically when it was still under construction and booked it before [it was] even completed.” The couple relied on Addie Thompson and Michael Thompson, the husbandand-wife team who operate Dogwood Gatherings and Events, to manage planning their elegant outdoor ceremony on the mansion steps and tented reception on the lawn. The wedding party wore champagne dresses and navy suits, while table settings and decor kept to neutral white and gold tones.

Stephanie Axtell and Charles Axtell of The Axtells: Wedding Photography + Films helped the two feel comfortable in front of the camera while capturing portraits and video. The couple posed with a view of Raleigh’s skyline from a bridge near the Boylan Heights venue.

Sarah says one of her favorite memories from the day remains watching guests arrive from the bridal suite window. “It was so special to see the moment where all of our friends and family were in one place to celebrate us before walking down the aisle!”

196 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Planner Dogwood Gatherings and Events Venue Heights House Hotel | Photographer & Videographer The Axtells: Wedding Photography + Films Bennett Gibson + Sarah Hansen
Real Weddings
heartofncweddings.com 197
Additional Vendors Donovan’s Dish, Once Gathered, Manhattan Dress, Forever Soles, Mejuri, Elizabeth Richards Collection, Tease + Blush, Deans’ Duets, Lynx DJ’s, Party Reflections, Grand Rentals


Catherine Green + Chad Linville

Catherine Green and Chad Linville met as coworkers at a tech company in Research Triangle Park. After four years of dating, Chad surprised Catherine by popping the question on a rainy evening in Paris – a city close to Catherine’s heart as it was the backdrop for many family memories.

Jane Rose Events owner and lead planner Amanda Lampuri helped Chad and Catherine plan their dream garden-themed, blacktie ceremony and reception at Raleigh’s Merrimon-Wynne House on April 23, 2022.

“Amanda was incredible,” Catherine says of their planner – who also happened to be her maid of honor. “She has the best attention to detail, professionalism and truly makes an effort to make each client feel like they are her only priority. I can’t say enough about her design ideas, multitasking and ability to bring together the best special night that was two years in the making.”

Jane Rose Events and Meristem Floral decorated the all-white interior of the Carriage House event space with elaborate floral displays along the ceremony aisle and altar. A floating floral installation suspended from ceiling beams and an asymmetrical arch elevated the wedding’s garden party theme. Gold accents tied a bright, springinspired color palette together. Guests were wowed by the attention to detail and tickled by personal touches such as custom koozies and signature “His & Hers” cocktails.

Catherine and Chad share many amazing memories of their big day, from celebrating on the dance floor with the Sleeping Booty Band to hearing their loved ones’ toasts over the delicious meal catered by Donovan’s Dish.

198 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Planner Jane Rose Events | Rentals Curated Events Raleigh Jewelry Diamonds Direct | Signage Revel NC
Real Weddings
Photographer Bow Tie Collaborative
heartofncweddings.com 199
Additional Vendors The Merrimon-Wynne House, La Fête, Yours Always Films, Meristem Floral, Donovan’s Dish, Weddings by Heidi, Coastal Knot Bridal, Ashworth’s Clothing, Bella Bridesmaids, The Beauty Tribe, Empress Stationery, Jenny’s Music Studio, Sleeping Booty Band, AC Hotel, Hampton Inn & Suites, Origin Hotel, Greenhouse Picker Sisters, Dana Olga Designs, Shop Surcie

serving couples throughout North Carolina + beyond

planning + designing weddings for the kindred spirit
Seamless event planning services for carefully curated experiences 919.576.9592 | YourSocialiteEvent.com | @SocialiteEventsNC
Top right and
row by Shannon Kelly Photo
Elizabeth Ashley &


Alicia Marks first saw Terry Flowers in the parking lot of their local Target in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Alicia’s mom boldly introduced the two between the aisles, and they exchanged numbers. Terry called a few weeks later, and the pair “hit it off like we had known each other forever,” Alicia says.

On May 7, 2022, the couple hosted a lavish celebration at the ornate Grand Marquise Ballroom in Garner, North Carolina. Candlelight and a mix of black, white, maroon and pink tones brought together the luxurious wedding day. Silk blooms from FauxReal Flowers carried on the color scheme with white and blush florals, lush pampas grass and greenery. “All of the florals were breathtaking,” Alicia says. “FauxReal Flowers exceeded our expectations.”

The couple rented tableware and blush linens from Curated Events Raleigh April Pyatt, owner of Durham-based wedding planning company Socialite Events, helped the couple bring this elaborate design to life. “April and her staff were the ultimate professionals,” Alicia says. “She was able to execute my vision of ‘bohemian romance’ perfectly!”

In what became Alicia’s favorite moment of the wedding, all of the guests were called to the dance floor for a group photo while music started to play. Everyone danced the electric slide, re-creating a scene from the movie “The Best Man.” Terry and Alicia later used the group photo to decorate thank-you cards.

Reflecting on the day, Alicia offers this advice for engaged readers: “Have a moment with your partner to look around the reception and bask in the love in the room from all your family and friends. Everyone is there to celebrate you, so live in the moment.”

202 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Planner Socialite Events Florals FauxReal Flowers | Rentals Curated Events Raleigh
Real Weddings
Photography by Story & Rhythm
heartofncweddings.com 203
Additional Vendors Grand Marquise Ballroom, Cake Couture Boutique, Rev. Otis T. McMillan, Anjolique Bridal & Formal, Keo Bridal, Movado, An Affair to Remember, Jos. A. Bank, Eveblacc Hair, About Face Makeup Artistry, Story & Rhythm (DJ and photographer)


Bobbielynn Patillo and Arthur Manning III met in 2008 as students at Fayetteville State University. Arthur, who was born in Rochester, New York, and raised in Greensboro, approached Fayetteville native Bobbielynn on a bridge outside the library and asked for her number. The pair began dating, and on one special Christmas morning, Arthur presented Bobbielynn with a present he had “forgotten” to put under the tree: an engagement ring. The special, emotional moment was shared in the presence of their daughter, Natalia, and Bobbielynn’s mother and father.

The couple tied the knot on July 30, 2022, at the Marriott Greensboro Downtown. They opted for wedding decor and florals in shades of soft pink, lavender and silver. For an added touch of whimsy, ballerinas danced down the aisle during the ceremony and at their reception. Bobbielynn says that Angela B. Cameron, the founder, designer and planner behind An Event Lady Production, went above and beyond to create the glamorous fairytale day she wanted. “She is a true visionary,” Bobbielynn says. “Once you give her an idea of your decor aesthetic, she will execute your plan with fidelity.”

The duo incorporated spiritual elements into their ceremony, including a sermon by officiant Jason Scott of Focused Marriages and a unity candle lighting as a symbol of two becoming one. They also took part in the tradition of jumping over a broom to symbolize new beginnings. Bobbielynn advises those planning wedding days of their own to “remember that the overall purpose of your wedding is to bring two hearts and two souls together as one.”

204 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Planner An Event Lady Production | Rentals Curated Events Raleigh
Real Weddings
Photography by One Vision Photography
heartofncweddings.com 205
Additional Vendors Marriott Greensboro Downtown, Jared, Macy’s Fine Jewelry, Tiffany & Co., Mykiesha McClendon, Breanna Mobley, Chaz Reid Films, Cool Receptions, Party of 5 Eventz, Valencia Lipscomb, New York Bride & Groom of Raleigh, Génesis Eventos Florales, Cake Couture Boutique, Focused Marriages, Bridal Babes, Men’s Wearhouse
“[Angela] is professional, caring and extremely hardworking!” Bobbielynn says. “She worked diligently to ensure that I had the wedding of my dreams.”

The Full Journey Begins with An Event Lady Production,

A full-service wedding planning and design production firm based in North Carolina — creating extraordinary, unforgettable, luxury weddings for clients with exceptional taste in NC and beyond. More than just stunning visuals, An Event Lady Production event is painstakingly orchestrated from start to finish.

Romantic, Quintessential, Bespoke, and Sophistication detail, striking the right balance in all of these to create a tailor-made wedding with an incredible team. We will bring your vision to life and gather information from you regarding style and vision from our first meeting.

We at An Event Lady Production believe that for a wedding to be truly genuine and represent our couples, it must reflect the personality and taste of the team by telling your love story thru the planning and luxury design.

Our goal is to give your guest an experience a pearl-clutching moment that will make your wedding preparation a seamless, elegant, and enjoyable experience.

919-414-9772 | info@aneventladyproduction.com | aneventladyproduction.com | @aneventladyproduction
Donnell Perry Photography Middle and Bottom Photo: Sean True Photography
bustledevents.com We’re into your details | | 919.589.7244
Nguyen Photography @bustledevents


Colbjorn Erlandson proposed to Erica Ramaker while the couple rested after hiking at a Hanging Rock State Park mountain overlook in summer 2020. The couple married at the Klein-Pringle White Garden inside the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh on June 4, 2022, after hiring Bustled Events’ owner Diane Wolk to plan out the details for their big day. Diane worked together with Colbjorn and Erica to organize a celebration that honored their partnership.

“We were very intentional about wanting to avoid the common ‘man and wife’ connotation throughout the day,” Colbjorn says. “As such, we asked our officiant to speak about us as individuals and as partners.”

Diane helped hone in on a caterer, party rental supplier, florist and other vendors they needed. “We came into the wedding planning process with little vision and wanted to rely heavily on a planner,” Colbjorn says. “Diane was absolutely the person for the job. She helped us find our vision for the day and was even more instrumental in the execution. She was always immediately responsive and helpful, and was especially adept at guiding us to making decisions when we struggled.” Diane helped the pair book The Cannon Room in downtown Raleigh, a perfect fit for their reception of 51 guests.

Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary supplied bright arrangements to decorate the space. “Bowerbird was incredibly accommodating, flexible and helpful,” Colbjorn says. “… Erica loves wildflowers, so our wedding colors were eclectic.”

208 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Planner Bustled Events | Reception Venue The Cannon Room Florals Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary | Rehearsal Dinner Venue Trophy Brewing & Pizza Colbjorn Erlandson + Erica Ramaker
Real Weddings
Photography by Mash Photography
heartofncweddings.com 209
Additional Vendors Donovan’s Dish, Heimie’s Haberdashery, A Shear Perfection, Makeup by Meagan, Slice Pie Company, Udeshi Hargett, Great Raleigh Trolley, Birdy Grey, Nordgreen


Average wedding photography and videography packages range from $3,500 to $8,000 for full-day coverage. Rates for luxury photographers and videographers begin at $10,000. Elopement packages with shorter time frames cost less.


Book a photographer and/or videographer one year in advance or as soon as you’ve set the date. Peruse real wedding galleries and films on the vendor’s website or via gallery links so that you can see how they capture the entire day, from decor and details to dance party, as opposed to basing decisions solely by scrolling through social media feeds. Keep an eye out for how they’ve documented events at your venue or during the season in which you’re tying the knot. It’s important to understand how the photographer shoots both outdoors and indoors, when flash is often necessary.


Packages may or may not include engagement sessions, photo albums, bridal portraits, video trailers and more, so don’t forget to budget for these add-ons, if needed. Ask about contract policies, second-shooter packages and how quickly images or film will be turned around after the wedding day.


“Splurge on a wedding album. Couples sometimes think they will make one on their own, but then realize they’re so attached to their images that it’s hard to choose just a handful for their album. Splurge on it and have your photographer create a masterpiece.”

– Fancy This Photography’s Nikki Whitt Belch

“[One way to save would be to have] a staged exit during the ceremony [and] only keep your photographer at the reception through the formal events and one hour of dancing.” – Danielle Flake

210 heartofncweddings.com
Shalom Kiruba and Jemima Liteli embrace at The Upchurch. Jemima wears a veil and dress from White of Raleigh with hair and makeup by Reign Beauty, and Shalom wears a tux from Bernard’s Formalwear Photo by Ariel Kaitlin Photography

photo & motion

heartofncweddings.com 211

Magic Moments

While you’re soaking in every second of your wedding day, your photographer is preserving those special moments so that you can relive them time and time again. It’s crucial to choose a professional who fits your needs and whose style matches your vision. North Carolina photographers Elyssa Kivus, who started Kivus & Camera with her husband, John Kivus, Ariel Mason, founder of Ariel Kaitlin Photography, and Aline Botti of Aline Botti Photography share their insights on how to find the right match, plus answer a few FAQs.


First, it’s essential to find a vendor who meets your needs on paper – one who has availability for your date and location, and fits your budget – but it’s equally important that you, your partner and the photographer work well together on a personal level.

“Photographers really shine, as do couples, when they have a genuine connection and everyone is comfortable working together,” Ariel says. “We connect with our couples based on shared values.”

Feeling comfortable in front of the camera will allow your most authentic selves to shine through in your wedding photos, but it’s only one factor to consider when determining the right match. Ariel also emphasizes paying attention to the portfolios of potential candidates, especially their recent work. Spend some time considering the aesthetic you’re looking for.

“Make sure you love the editing of the photos, and be sure their work has been consistent over the past few years,” Ariel says. “If you love edits from three years ago, but their style has changed more recently, then you may not like the new look. Spend a lot of time researching what images really speak to you – light and bright, dark and moody, true to color, film emulation. … [Ariel Kaitlin Photography] specializes in joy, laughter and smiles.” Consider if you’re drawn to posed, editorial-inspired images, or those with candid movement.

We recommend taking a look through social media feeds, but remember that Instagram is a highlight reel. Request to view full galleries and pay attention to how the photographer covers the entire day to make sure their coverage aligns with what you want.


Aline, Elyssa and Ariel agree that the most common questions they get surround the schedule, both for the day-of and the editing process following. You’ll confer with your photographer to plan a timeline in advance to be sure they understand what your priorities are. The best way to set your photographer up for success is to devote some time to thinking about you want out of your wedding photos – curate examples to help determine the style and timeline of your day-of shots and make a list of your must-have images – so that when the big day comes, you can be fully present in those fleeting moments, knowing you’ll be able to look back on them through the incredible work of your photographer.

“It really helps to include your photographer in timeline conversations from the beginning,” Elyssa says. “Planners are incredible at this, of course, but your photographer will also have crucial insight about the best timing for things like family photos and couple’s portraits, and not every photographer has the same philosophy about those things.”

Aline notes that for couples who have many desired shots, planning a first look with your soon-to-be-spouse will create time to get formal pictures before the ceremony and allow more time for fun photo-ops afterward. 

212 heartofncweddings.com
Photo & Motion
How to choose a professional wedding photographer, what to expect when working with one and the power of capturing precious moments
Slone Dickson poses in a gown from Simply Blush Bridal at The Bradford. Photo by Aline Botti Photography

• How long do family photos take? It depends on the number of family members. Elyssa’s rule of thumb is to allocate two minutes per grouping.

• Should the photographer be present for the entire getting-ready process? Maybe not, depending on your priorities. If you want to capture your ‘I do’ crew in matching pajamas, popping a bottle of Champagne, by all means turn your primping process into a mini-shoot with your besties. If you’ve been planning a glamorous send-off in a getaway car, you may want to ensure your photographer is present later in the evening.

• How soon will you get the photos back? It can take anywhere from 4-10 weeks to receive your final wedding gallery. Discuss this with your photographer in advance if it’s important to you.

• Do you offer sneak peeks/previews from the wedding? Most photographers will offer this but some prefer to present the final gallery in full. Again, be sure to ask your photographer in advance!

• Do you offer albums and prints? Many photographers offer these add-on items. Aline’s advice is to order prints through your photographer to preserve photo quality.

• How many hours should the photographer be present for? Ariel suggests booking your photographer for a minimum of nine hours on the big day. “Most couples believe eight hours should be enough for photography, but so many things can unexpectedly impact your wedding day timeline, causing moments to be rushed,” she says. “If you want to make sure you can relax and have enough attention devoted to every aspect of your wedding day, then consider hiring your photographer for longer.”

Our recommended photographers are experienced pros who have several tips and tricks up their sleeves to assist couples when it comes to getting the best possible photos.

• Go unplugged! Ask guests not to have phones on during the ceremony. It can be tempting for guests to snap their own photos, but asking them to turn phones off allows everyone to be fully present.

• Make sure the wedding party removes bulky items from their pockets.

• “The number one tip for getting the best photos is to have fun on your wedding day,” Elyssa says. “If you are having fun, the amazing photos come naturally.”


Your photographer will keep an eye out for subtle instances throughout the day that will make for frame-worthy gems.

What are your favorite atypical or subtle wedding moments to capture?

Elyssa My favorite photos are always genuine moments like cute looks between the couple, tears rolling down cheeks, enthusiastic hugs, etc. Those genuine moments can’t be planned. As the photographer, I have to be fully present so I can anticipate those moments and be skilled enough to photograph in any room, any light, any weather – any situation that could crop up on the wedding day.

Aline I love to photograph candid moments of family and friends congratulating the newlywed couple right after the ceremony. There is so much joy, and it usually happens so quickly.

Ariel Everyone has heard of the [parent-child] first look, but I love when the other parent is watching this moment unfold as well … Usually the other spouse gets incredibly emotional [while watching]. It’s a beautiful moment capturing all the smiles and tears of joy.

Another favorite moment is capturing the hand holds and smiling faces of grandparents during the family formals. We all know that time with our older folks is precious, so capturing those hugs, kisses on cheeks and happy tears seems subtle, but is incredibly meaningful. Those moments remind us to slow down and remember that wedding photos are more than just a checklist, and there is more worth capturing than just faces smiling at the camera.

214 heartofncweddings.com
Photo & Motion
Liam Miranda and Abby Larus say their vows at Mystic Farm and Distillery. See more of their wedding on page 228. Photo by Kivus & Camera

Full Frame

Heights House Hotel’s delicate, arching windows and elaborate details make a graceful backdrop for scenes captured by Richard Barlow, the founder and photographer behind Barlow Boudoir These photographs are the result of Richard’s more than 10 years of boudoir photography experience (just one element of his broad wedding, editorial and commercial portfolio) and a vision he’d harbored since he saw the 1860 Boylan Heights mansion restored.

216 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Photographer Barlow Boudoir | Venue Heights House Hotel | Bridal Jacket White of Raleigh | Hair & Makeup Reign Beauty
“My favorite look was the lingerie set from Pretties by
[White of Raleigh’s] amazing Dany Tabet bridal
says model
Molly Rebenski.
“It felt so luxurious and high-end, and I definitely had a lot of fun playing with the insanely long tulle train from the jacket.”

“I fell in love with Heights House when I first read about what [owners Sarah Shepherd and Jeff Shepherd] were doing with the house, and I always wanted to do a dramatic shoot there. My background (and former day job) was in commercial architecture, and I specialized in sustainability, historic restoration and adaptive reuse, so [the project] caught my attention,” Richard says.

In 2021 Heights House reopened as a nine-room boutique hotel and event venue after renovations to preserve its original grandeur. Architectural details inspired by Italian villas, plus thoughtful interior furniture and styling nods to the home’s past and ties together this one-of-a-kind venue just minutes from downtown Raleigh. 

heartofncweddings.com 217
Additional Vendors Pretties by Laura, HEIR Raleigh
#RETHINKboudoir barlowboudoir.com | @barlowboudoir MODEL: Adrianna Kow Dress: White of Raleigh Boutique HMU: Reign Beauty Jewelry: HEIR Raleigh Venue: Heights House

This elegant backdrop set the tone for a luxe photo shoot emulating a dramatic style of boudoir.

“Heights House elevated the shoot to the highest level. Something about the energy of the house and the way it’s decorated makes you feel so comfortable, and at the same time, so opulent,” model Molly Rebenski says. “For this kind of fine art boudoir shoot, I don’t think I could have pictured a better setting.”

The Reign Beauty squad perfected Molly’s hair and makeup and that of Reign’s own Co-founder and Senior Artist Marissa Davis. Inside Height’s Honeymoon Suite, Library and Foyer, plush seating and decor in warm neutral shades complement the “throwback” photography style that’s trending according to Richard.

While some might that think boudoir photography is all about the male gaze, Barlow Boudoir is anything but. “This style of photography has a bad rap of being overtly sexual or tacky,” Richard says. “My style is more comfortable and empowering with a magazine polish. … Heights House matches that level of sophistication and drama.”

Traditionally, fiancees might have boudoir photos taken as a present for their future spouse, but we love the idea of hiring a boudoir photographer to capture fun photos of your ‘I do’ crew during your bachelorette party, or planning a flirty couples session – the level of intensity is entirely up to you.

These shots, while steamy, are all about giving the subject a stage to shine. Look at this style of photography as a chance to express your personality, confidence and style – in other words, it’s all about you! Richard works hard to create an atmosphere of ease on set, helping his clients to feel comfortable in front of the camera.

“I always ask my clients to bring at least one friend with them to their session. We talk about ideas and inspo prior to the session, so that we don’t go into [the photo shoot] blind,” Richard says. Molly recommends bringing a supportive friend who will be your hype person. “They will be there for you, helping you pose and making sure that you know just how amazing you look. Having a friend at this shoot made a huge difference for me with figuring out the best poses and angles.”

Richard always aims to foster a positive vibe at any photo shoot. “Most importantly, my approach and how I work during shoots [helps create a positive atmosphere]. … My job is to make the client feel 10 feet tall.”

“I felt very comfortable in the pieces chosen for me,” says model Marissa Davis. “Overall, I felt very empowered and sexy during the shoot.”

heartofncweddings.com 219 Photo & Motion
hebasalama.com | heba@hebasalama.com @ hebasalama | 919.265.9446


Although Ellie Preyer hardly recalls the first time she and Robby Templeton met, he remembers being “struck by her bright, friendly smile and engaging nature” when she sold him a shirt while fundraising for her Princeton University sorority. Despite growing up on separate coasts – Ellie in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and Robby in northern California – the pair crossed paths at Princeton again in 2013, a year after their first encounter, and have been together since.

Robby popped the question in summer 2019 during a hike in Asheville, North Carolina.

Growing up, Ellie was close to her grandmother and made weekly trips to visit her at Fearrington Village in Chatham County, North Carolina. Ellie’s precious memories, plus new ones made during subsequent visits with Robby, led the couple to choose Fearrington as the venue for their ceremony and reception, which took place on March 19, 2022. Their classic, garden-themed wedding was captured by Chapel Hill-based Heba Salama Photography.

“Heba was wonderful!” Ellie says. “She did our engagement photos in San Francisco as well as our wedding, and we loved working with her and how the photos turned out.”

Ellie and Robby filled their special day with many personal touches, such as a rendition of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” sung by Ellie’s cousins as she walked down the aisle.

222 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Photographer Heba Salama Photography Rentals American Party Rentals | Rehearsal Dinner Venue The Carolina Inn Ellie Preyer + Robby Templeton
Real Weddings
Additional Vendors Fearrington Village, La Fête, Alexia’s, Tease + Blush, Heart Stone Films, Watered Garden Florist, Mason Dixon Designs, Shop Surcie, Arioso Strings, Sam Hill Entertainment, Cottage Luxe Event Rentals, EcoStyle Chauffeured Transportation, The Great Raleigh Trolley, Dan Nelson Art


North Carolina natives, Van Williams of FuquayVarina and Jessica Austin of Shelby, met while attending cosmetology school in Raleigh six years before tying the knot.

Van proposed to Jessica at the top of a lighthouse while on vacation in Cape May, New Jersey. On April 23, 2022, the pair married among the flora and fauna at the WRAL Azalea Gardens, a setting that held sentimental meaning to Jessica. “My great-grandfather used to take me to an azalea park when I was growing up,” she says. Their garden ceremony was followed by a reception at the neoclassical revival style Tucker House in Raleigh’s Oakwood neighborhood. Jessica says she and Van booked local vendors for their spring wedding.

North Raleigh’s Sola Coffee Café catered the reception, and Two Roosters Ice Cream provided dessert from its mobile van. “It is both of our favorite ice cream, and the first time we tried it was together on one of our first dates,” Jessica says.

Leen Lorig, founder of Left Shot Photography, facilitated one of Jessica’s favorite moments when she and Van snuck away from their family and friends immediately following the ceremony to take photos and spend a few peaceful minutes with each other. “[Those] are some of my favorite photos from the day,” Jessica says. Left Shot Photography captured many delicate details, including the dusty blush and sage color scheme as well as Jessica’s rings from Bailey’s Fine Jewelry

heartofncweddings.com 223
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Photographer Left Shot Photography Jewelry Bailey’s Fine Jewelry Additional Vendors WRAL Azalea Gardens, Tucker House, Sola Coffee Café, Two Roosters Ice Cream, Savvi Formalwear & Bridal, Birdy Grey, Lux Salon
Fresh. Bespoke. Authentic. www.leftshotphoto.com | leftshotphoto@gmail.com | @leftshotphotography LEFT SHOT PHOTOGRAPHY
danielleflake.com | danielleflakephotography@gmail.com @danielleflake | 252.341.9634


Shannon Burns + Spencer Welch

Shannon Burns and Spencer Welch were introduced to each other through a mutual friend of Spencer’s brother. After their initial meeting in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, they went their separate ways.

“In that moment I thought ‘see ya later,’ but, little did we know, that story would end up being a favorite of ours to tell,” Shannon says. She later reconnected with Spencer, and the pair dated for four years before they married at Board & Batten on April 2, 2022, with Shannon’s uncle, Trey Burns, officiating. The elegant barn venue in Lexington, North Carolina, provided catering, getting-ready suites for the wedding party, an outdoor patio and lawn, and an indoor ceremony space with a grand stone fireplace. Board & Batten was “a dream come true” for the couple’s classic spring wedding, Shannon says.

Photographer Danielle Flake took Shannon and Spencer’s engagement photos and also documented their wedding day. “From [Danielle’s] organization during the months leading up to the wedding, the day of the wedding and after – she is outstanding,” Shannon says. “She captured every special moment of the day, plus so much more.” Danielle snapped family, wedding party and couple portraits while Point200 filmed the event to create a video for the couple to cherish forever.

After dancing the night away to music by Queen City Band and munching on a latenight order of Papa Johns pizza, Shannon and Spencer exited through a tunnel of sparklers.

226 heartofncweddings.com
Real Weddings
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Photographer Danielle Flake Photography Venue & Caterer Board & Batten
heartofncweddings.com 227
Additional Vendors Diamondback Grill, Carly Marie Events, Anne Barge, Bellissima, Jimmy Choo, MA Collective, Anna Beck, McKenzie McDonald, Alex Hall, Molly Cooke, Point200, Queen City Band, Triad Trolleys


Abby Larus + Liam Miranda

Abby Larus and Liam Miranda first connected during a marriage and family therapy seminar they attended as undergraduates at Duke University, and began dating the following year. The professor who taught that seminar, Janie Long, officiated their wedding on June 4, 2022, at Mystic Farm and Distillery in Durham.

Kaitlin Stammetti, owner of Rowan Lane Events, helped to bring together the wedding with details that reflected the couple and their loved ones. “She did a great job crafting an LGBTQ+ inclusive space, from updating bathroom signage to ensuring that there weren’t any gendered decorations or sentiments throughout the weekend,” Abby and Liam say.

The couple allowed their fondness for wildflowers to inform their bright color palette and The English Garden provided creative centerpieces, altar adornments and a custom shoulder accessory for Liam.

This deeply personal day was captured by Elyssa Kivus and John Kivus, owners of Kivus & Camera, who also met during college, where they bonded over a shared love of photography. They started their business shortly before their own wedding and are inspired by capturing bold, magical memories. “Elyssa and John were literally amazing – we are so glad that we got photographers that we liked so much, since we spent all day with them,” the couple says. “Their work captures such joyful energy and the photos are such a treasure to have and remember the day by.”

Rocky Top Catering provided food to meet the needs of everyone present. “[The food was] delicious, and [they] did a great job with some complex dietary restrictions for our guests,” Abby and Liam say. Rocky Top also supplied custom funfetti cake pops for dessert.

228 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Photographer Kivus & Camera | Caterer Rocky Top Catering Rentals American Party Rentals | Transportation Triangle Corporate Coach Photo Booth ZimZoom Photo Booth
Real Weddings
heartofncweddings.com 229
Additional Vendors Mystic Farm and Distillery, Rowan Lane Events, David’s Bridal, Mae’s Makeovers, The English Garden, DJ K Stones, Hilton Garden Inn, Triangle Lawn Games, Rock’s Bar & Hair Shop, Hippie Hair Studio, Frank Darling, Automic Gold
arielkaitlin.com | @arielkaitlinphotography
Capturing joy, laughter, and authentic love stories.


Nicholas Tomaine and Julian Tucker’s spontaneous first date took place just a few days after meeting and getting to know each other online. They both happened to be visiting downtown Raleigh on the same evening and decided to meet at Morgan Street Food Hall. The pair ended up talking for hours before realizing they were the last two at the bar.

Three-and-a-half years later, Julian proposed on his 30th birthday and received a, “Well, duh!” from Nicholas in response to the ring box he slid across the table. The couple married on June 18, 2022 at The Distillery. Nicholas says that owner Chad Biggs “and his team were professional and knowledgeable, which made the experience even better. The venue was in the perfect location in downtown Garner on a quiet street with a lot of greenery for photos.”

Ariel Kaitlin Photography took Nicholas and Julian’s engagement pictures. Ariel Mason and her partner and second shooter, Alex Ross, also captured Nicholas and Julian’s special day –everything from pre-ceremony details and the couple’s first looks to dancing and a glow stick send-off. “[Ariel and Alex] made it so easy to be in front of a camera and had great strategies to get you laughing,” Nicholas says. “The pictures always come out so naturally.” Rocky Top Catering served guests during the cocktail hour and reception. “The Rocky Top team was a pleasure to work with and was a huge help with choosing our menu and handling all the details for our big day,” Nicholas says. “Our guests are still raving on how good the macaroni and cheese was!”

Entertainment from DJ Alan Domingo, a friend of the couple, kept the dance floor packed until the newlyweds shared a private last dance.

232 heartofncweddings.com
Real Weddings
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Photographer Ariel Kaitlin Photography | Venue The Distillery Caterer Rocky Top Catering | Rentals Curated Events Raleigh

“Our wedding was captured perfectly by [Ariel Kaitlin Photography],” Nicholas says. “When we look through our final images, we can relive our wedding day second by second.”

heartofncweddings.com 233
Additional Vendors Kaisey Wilkinson, Savvi Formalwear, Rings By Lux, Heritage Floral Design, Publix, Zola, DJ Alan Domingo, AC Hotel Raleigh Downtown, The Great Raleigh Trolley, Artful Libations


John Aaron Murray and Uma Tadepalli met online in 2020, and their relationship grew from a mutual love of gardening and South Indian food. Hindu culture emphasizes the use of astrology when making big decisions, so when Aaron asked for permission from Uma’s parents before proposing, her mother recommended a date. “After he proposed,” Uma says, “he found out it was the same day his dad and brother proposed to their now-wives!”

Uma’s father had long dreamed of hosting a colorful, traditional Hindu ceremony for his daughter in the backyard of their house in Durham’s Arrowhead neighborhood – and the pair did just that on June 10, 2022. Uma says that getting married in her parents’ welltended garden at the home where she grew up made the event all the more personal. “It was a lot of work, but Thoran Creations did a fantastic job with the decorations,” Uma says.

The couple selected the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club for the reception to utilize its outdoor space and hire outside caterers. Aaron selected some of the couple’s favorite dishes from Sitar Indian Cuisine and Lime & Lemon Indian Grill & Bar for guests to enjoy. While Aaron and Uma wore traditional colors for the ceremony – white and red, respectively – they switched it up for the reception. “I wanted green and cream, and found a fun lehenga with peacockthemed embroidery,” Uma says.

Durham-based Mark Maya photographed emotional moments and decor details from the ceremony and reception while simultaneously capturing the day on film. “I don’t know of any other photo-videographers in the area with his distinct aesthetic who are also so tuned in to capturing all the moments,” Uma says.

234 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Photographer & Videographer Mark Maya Films & Photography Reception Venue Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club
Real Weddings

“Mark makes everything beautiful, even in the potentially challenging, harsh midday light we had!” Uma says.

“He takes the time to connect and meet with you beforehand at the venue to get a sense of the program and what you’re looking for.”

heartofncweddings.com 235
Additional Vendors Makeup Solutions by Nila, Fireside Farm, Ora Teahouse + Bakery, Sitar Indian Cuisine, Lime & Lemon Indian Grill & Bar, Thoran Creations, Themeworks
919.579.8110 | alinebottiphotography.com | @alinebotti_photography
The dream of the luxury wedding captured with the true eyes of a passionate fine art film and digital photographer.


Kaley Smith was raised in Sanford, North Carolina, and Brunswick, Maine. She met Alex Budrys, a native of New Bern, North Carolina, on a dating app, as many modern couples do.

The pair got engaged beachside in Maine during a trip with Alex’s parents to visit Kaley’s family. “We loved having our families witness our engagement,” Kaley says, recalling her surprise and delight at the proposal.

On Aug. 27, 2022, the couple were married at The Maxwell in Raleigh, surrounded by family members and friends. “The Maxwell was absolutely amazing, they truly made our wedding dreams come to life!” Kaley says. Premier Party Planners’ Tara Ruffier organized the day flawlessly.

Alex and Kaley chose dusty sage with hints of blue and ivory for decor, florals and other details, bringing together a natural summer theme at The Maxwell’s modern event space. Kaley chose a Martina Liana gown from Carolina Bridal World boutique.

Raleigh-based photographer Aline Botti captured the nuptials. “We met [Aline] before the wedding [when she photographed] our engagement shoot, and as two people who don’t love pictures, Aline made us feel comfortable and got beautiful shots!” Kaley says. “She listened to us and got all of the pictures we wanted on our wedding day while still leaving us time to enjoy the cocktail hour.”

The couple hired Erick Berrones, founder of entertainment company DJ Ones, who kept the dance floor packed. Kaley says her favorite moment of the big day was sharing a private last dance with Alex, which was followed by a dramatic exit veiled in bubbles and smoke.

238 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Photographer Aline Botti Photography | Venue The Maxwell Caterer Catering Works | Entertainment DJ Ones
Real Weddings
heartofncweddings.com 239
Additional Vendors Premier Party Planners, Kendra Scott, Carolina Bridal World, Gwen Downs, Weddings by LDF, Lilac Floral Decor, Burney’s Sweets & More, Dena Christine, Azazie, Men’s Wearhouse

paper & gifts

240 heartofncweddings.com


Many stationery designers have a base cost of $2,000-$3,000, but paper options, engraving and details like wax seals, response sets and more can raise costs as high as $6,000. For 100 fully custom invitation suites (classic suites include an invitation, envelope, envelope liner, RSVP card, matching envelope and details card) expect to pay between $1,000-$4,000. Semi-custom invitation suites start at $500 for 100 and can go up to $2,000. Fully custom day-of items cost about $1,500$3,000 for a wedding of the same size (about 175 guests), or $500-$1,500 for semi-custom items.


Send save the dates six months to one year in advance, meaning you will need to book a stationer at least eight months in advance to account for production and shipping time. Aim to book your full-service stationer eight to 14 months in advance if you choose a custom design. Send invitations eight to 10 weeks in advance.


Set aside 6-8% of your total budget for paper and stationery costs. That includes day-of items like escort cards, menus, ceremony programs, signage, welcome bags and favors. Budget in gifts for your partner, wedding party, parents and vendors.


“[Couples] can certainly print pieces on their own or try DIY-ing, but should consider if that’s something their time, schedule, patience and crafting skills allow for. Hiring a stationer means having someone on your team who recognizes your realistic budget and helps make your vision happen within those parameters. I’d argue that hiring a stationer is one of the best things you can do to save on stationery overall! ... We know the world of paper and print like the back of our hands, saving you time, money and frustration.

When it comes to [spending on] big impact moments ... allocate budget to the invitation opening experience, as well as the seating experience. A unique seating chart installation or escort display can be a fun and interactive way to transition your guests from cocktail hour to the reception space.” – Stationer, watercolor artist and live painter Ashley Triggiano

suite by If It’s Paper.

heartofncweddings.com 241
Invitation Photo by Bow Tie Collaborative

Custom stationer and artist Ashley Triggiano thrives when it comes to dreaming up creative, one-of-a-kind designs, crests, welcome signs, escort displays, venue illustrations and more. Ashley also offers live painting that guests will marvel at during your cocktail hour or ceremony. Her watercolor illustrations and carefully designed paper products and favors are beautiful enough to frame as a keepsake after your wedding – and Ashley works with each couple to ensure her services align with their price point. “I believe in creating custom heirlooms that capture [each couple’s] love story and the unique feeling of their day, and that will bring back those feelings time and time again,” Ashley says.

In what ways can couples personalize paper products and stationery without breaking the bank?

A trend I’ve seen is clients hiring artists to do a custom crest and then release a digital file that they can print themselves. However, the downside to this is that the clients don’t necessarily have experience with what the best print method, file type or size requirements are, and end up with sub-par items that they don’t love. In the end, they may not save as much as they’d initially hoped by sourcing the printers themselves. [In 2022], I released four new collections in my semi-custom, online Wedding Shoppe so that clients can still get a personalized experience at a budget-friendly price point. Not everyone’s budget can accommodate custom design fees – these pre-designed suites can be customized with unique monograms, venue illustrations, plus color, paper and envelope choices, so clients can still get something unique to their style. They also get the convenience of working with an expert who will do the designing and manage printing for them. There are also day-of items that coordinate with the invitation collections, making it easy to create a consistent look for their day from start to finish!


Stationer Ashley Triggiano Jewelry Diamonds Direct

Additional Vendors

1 Meristem Floral, Jillian Knight Photography

2 & 3 The Styling Source, Magdalena Stefanek Photography

242 heartofncweddings.com
Paper & Gifts ASHLEY

We love seeing more pops of color and personality brought into [stationery] designs,” says Chelsea Enloe of Enlove Occasions. Chelsea started her business after she struggled to find a stationer for her own wedding and was left underwhelmed with the options that online retailers offered. Chelsea worked with a local press to design and create her own invitations, and discovered a passion for the process. Couples who work with Enlove share their love story and wedding plans with Chelsea, who works to create invitation suites and day-of paper products that embody the unique love of each couple. Custom orders always include hand assembly – “which means that we will handle stuffing envelopes, pouring wax seals, attaching envelope liners and more,” Chelsea explains. Enlove also offers digitally printed designs at an affordable price point.

What products, aside from invitation suites, do couples forget to budget for?

The most overlooked item is probably stamps. Your invitation suite will have to be mailed, so it’s important to work with a stationer who can help you estimate how much it will cost to send your invites. Beyond stamps, day-of stationery is typically an afterthought. This ranges from seating charts to welcome signs, escort cards and menus. A perk of working with a custom stationer is that we can remind you of these commonly forgotten elements and carry the design of your invitation suite through each day-of product as well, which creates a cohesive look for your wedding.

244 heartofncweddings.com
Paper & Gifts
3 1 2
Additional Vendors 1 Adornment Wedding Photography 2 Sheree Taylor Photography 3 The Good Photo Co.
Stationer Enlove Occasions
Little Wagon Photo Sheree Taylor Photography Amanda Somerville Photography Demi Mabry Photography

Elizabeth Stewart Belk and her mother, Sherrie Stewart, own this stationery and gift shop with locations in Greensboro and Raleigh. Each consultation begins with a thorough walk through the details of print methods, paper options and pricing for invitations and stationery suites, in addition to a range of customizable items including koozies, napkins, matches, cups, stir sticks, tray inserts and day-of paper items like programs. The team at If It’s Paper enjoy forming lasting relationships with clients who often source holiday cards, birth announcements and party invitations from the shop as well.

What stationery trends are you excited about seeing come into focus in 2023?

Edge treatments have been big recently! It’s a fun place to add a pop of color and highlight high quality paper. We’re also seeing a lot of clients commision custom artwork that we use throughout (think belly bands, envelope liners, etc.). Overall, we’re seeing people really lean into an aesthetic that is unique to them, and we love helping clients show their personality through their printed goods.

How can couples incorporate custom artwork in products

aside from invitations?

We can work with clients to supply high resolution files (custom monograms and more) for custom dance floors, bars [and other uses]. We love when clients have fun with their welcome boxes. It’s a special way to thank guests for making the effort to celebrate and to kick off the weekend. Some of our favorite things to include are custom water bottles, weekend events schedules, local snacks, and cups and koozies.

246 heartofncweddings.com
Paper & Gifts IF IT’S PAPER 3 1 2 HEART OF NC WEDDINGS VENDOR Stationer If It’s Paper Additional Vendors 1 & 3 Michelle Lyerly Photography 2 Bow Tie Collaborative
ne stationery and invitations curated gifts and accessories 445 daniels street raleigh
1220-d battleground
| 919.615.4333
| 336.379.9874
photos by julia wade photography

Anna White, the owner and calligrapher behind Ella Ink, draws inspiration from the natural world when creating her artful writing, and often uses stones, shells, marble and fabric for a mix of texture and color. “One of my favorite things is to write on non-paper surfaces,” Anna says. She provides couples with custom, handwritten calligraphy in a variety of scripts and styles, which can be digitized as a print-ready file for use on invitations, paper signage, vow books, seating charts, menus, gift tags, drink signs – and just about anything else you can think of. “In terms of how couples can incorporate calligraphy into their event, the sky is the limit!” Anna says.

How can couples personalize stationery and paper products without breaking the bank?

Spot calligraphy is a wonderful, affordable way for couples to incorporate the character and elegance of handwritten calligraphy in their events. ... For example, couples may have their names or monogram calligraphed and digitized for use on paper products.

Additional Vendors Magdalena Stefanek Photography, The Styling Source

248 heartofncweddings.com Modern calligraphy that compliments your unique style 530-902-7497 | ellaink.com | @ellainkcalligraphy
Ariel Kaitlin Photography Magdalena Stefanek Photography Magdalena Stefanek Photography
Paper & Gifts ELLA

E x c l u s i v e g i f t s f o r t h e h o m e + s p e c i a l o c c a s i o n . s h o p a t s m a l l b a t c h . c o m | @ s h o p a t s m a l l b a t c h

2 5 2 . 6 1 7 . 0 2 1 1

Wedding Gift Guide


1 Stationers like Ashley Triggiano can personalize paper products for welcome bags to add a polished touch that ties in with the rest of your wedding stationery suite and day-of paper designs.

2 Treat your wedding party or parents to a tin of loose-leaf herbal tea from Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary. Bowerbird operates a storefront in Durham offering gifts, candles, ceramics, dried flowers and fresh floral designs. Photo by Fancy This Photography

3 The team at Small Batch Gallery + Goods often design custom welcome gifts in addition to pre-designed boxes that include barware, a bottle of bubbly and a set of handmade wine glasses made with recycled material. There’s nothing more sophisticated than an elevated charcuterie board with brass silverware and olive green picnic blanket, all packed in a handcrafted palm leaf picnic basket.


We think it’s a thoughtful touch to give your out-of-town guests a warm welcome when they arrive in the town or city of your celebration. Introduce them to local brands and provide a list of local attractions or events that guests might want to attend during their stay, maps of the area, transportation details and a weekend itinerary.


Custom calls for you to give a gift to each member of your wedding party. Show your appreciation for how they’ve gone above and beyond to support you and celebrate your day with you.


Present your parents with sentimental gifts as a token of your love and appreciation for them. You may choose to give your new in-laws a personal gift on the wedding day as well.


While you should tip service vendors, we also love the idea of giving a gift to your wedding vendors who have worked hard to make your day a reality.

250 heartofncweddings.com
Photo by Jillian Knight Photography
2 3
Photo by Magdalena Stefanek Photography


4 This sweet gift basket from Small Batch Gallery + Goods is a thoughtful way to ask your bestie to be a bridesmaid on your big day, and includes a heart-shaped ceramic ring dish, Formulary 55 face mask with wooden mixing spoon and Eyestea eye masks. Photo by Magdalena Stefanek Photography

5 Shopping for the craft beer lover in your life? Trophy Brewing Co.’s Trophy Wife Session IPA and Trophy Husband Witbier are standout brews sure to get top marks for flavor and personality. Photos by John Michael Simpson

6 Gift your parent or new in-law this rosy basket from Small Batch Gallery + Goods that includes a botanical tin travel candle, mini bottle of rosé and labradorite drop earrings with pearl accents. Photo by Magdalena Stefanek Photography

7 This classy assortment from Small Batch Gallery + Goods includes a petite cutting board, gilded oyster shells, brass cheese knife and tea towel decorated with a map of Chapel Hill. Photo by Magdalena Stefanek Photography


A day-of gift exchange with your beloved is a tradition that we’re fond of. Discuss with your spouse-to-be whether you’d like to exchange material gifts or love letters.



While it’s customary to give wedding guests favors, it isn’t mandatory. We recommend giving favors to show your appreciation for the travel, time and expenses that your guests have taken on to be present on your special day. Remember that the higher your guest count, the higher the cost for wedding favors. Customized koozies, candles, sweet treats or spa items are popular. Another option is to make a charitable donation in your guest’s name.

heartofncweddings.com 251
Photo booths are a great option that double as reception entertainment and a keepsake for guests to take home. Some vendors, like ZimZoom Photo Booth, have the option for addons like retro keychains and metallic or magnetic prints. 7

flowers & decor

252 heartofncweddings.com


Floral expenses average around $3,500-$6,000, but many florists will work with couples who have smaller or larger budgets. Some highend floral designers have a $4,500-$6,000 minimum, and rates go up from there. Party rental costs range greatly depending on your needs, from flatware and linens to entire tent build-outs.


Plan for flowers and decor 10 months to one year in advance, or as soon as you’ve secured your wedding date and venue. Consider linens, china and tableware, floral design and party rentals, and finish your design with accents like lighting and lounge areas. The lighting, rentals and florals you choose can completely transform your event space, and may depend largely on the characteristics of your venue.


Flower costs vary depending on venue location and season. Remember that a larger guest count and wedding party means higher floral expenses.

Standard party rental items to budget for: linens, china, flatware, chandeliers, chairs, drapery, lounge furniture, lighting and, when necessary, a tent and dance floor.

Florals to discuss and budget for: bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, ceremony arrangements, centerpieces, an escort table display, entryway display and fireplace mantles. A smaller budget may include bud vases, bouquets or a la carte orders. Remember that candles are included in your floral budget.


“I recommend the majority of your budget go into large-scale designs, like a custom-built ceremony piece, a beautiful floral installation for your reception or an overhead installation. That is what your guests will be talking about all night and most likely to remember, not the centerpieces on the dining tables.”

– Katie Wright Thomas, founder of KatieDid Florals

“Making a large statement is always better than trying to spread everything out. No one will remember that you had greenery placed in little spots everywhere, but they will remember a gorgeous statement arrangement in the welcome area, or a ceremony installation or head table overflowing with lush blooms. If you are trying to cut things in your budget, forgo the aisle markers, a huge wedding party and personal flowers for all of your family members.”

– Diane Joyal, founder and CEO of Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary

heartofncweddings.com 253
A hydrangea arch by Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary at the McAlister-Leftwich House during a styled shoot planned by C&D Events West. Photo by Fancy This Photography

Modern Microwedding

Amoment for the time being …” reads the quote swirling below a glittering wall of stained glass disks that throw beams of color throughout Vidrio, an eclectic fine dining restaurant in Raleigh. Lou Moshakos and Joy Moshakos of LM Restaurants opened the Mediterranean-inspired space as an ode to Lou’s Greek homeland and decorated it in happy colors and unusual, artistic details to bring the “wow” factor. Their daughter Amber Moshakos now leads the family business, which operates 31 restaurants across multiple states.

254 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Florals FauxReal Flowers | Venue Vidrio | Rentals Curated Events Raleigh | Photographer Richard Barlow Photography Dress White of Raleigh | Formalwear Bernard’s Formalwear | Jewelry Diamonds Direct
Flowers & Decor

It’s a given that Vidrio’s topnotch cuisine and memorable settings lend themselves to rehearsal dinners, but this Raleigh gem is just as well suited for weddings and can accommodate as many as 250 guests. Events can take place across several spaces, including the Mezzanine, with views of glassblower Doug Frates’s towering installation and the main dining area, or the moody Fiera Bar & Lounge with its floorto-ceiling windows overlooking Glenwood South. There’s even a second-floor suite where couples can prep and get dressed.

Magnolia Collective’s owner, lead planner and designer Meagan Culkin drew on Vidrio’s eccentric elements for inspiration when creating this vibrant styled shoot. “Nontraditional can be so incredibly fun and beautiful,” she says. “This was an alternative color-pop intimate celebration that focused on art and the beautiful food that is a staple at Vidrio.”

Meagan chose unique elements from several party rental suppliers, including linens and glassware from Curated Events Raleigh, to compile a bold tabletop.

Amber Holmes and Lisa Smith, the dynamic duo behind Raleigh’s FauxReal Flowers, mimic the glass wall art – Vidrio’s focal point – and modern art elements in equally impactful floral designs. Unlike traditional fresh flowers, FauxReal arrangements won’t wilt – they’re created using custom, rentable faux blooms that are available in any color, size and variety of flower imaginable. The high-quality look and feel of these flowers are second to none, and Lisa and Amber showcase a wide mix of their faux

heartofncweddings.com 255
Additional Vendors Magnolia Collective, Karen Michelle Clark, Robert Burns Photography & Videography (videographer), The Cupcake Shoppe Raleigh, Junco & Pine Arts, Party Reflections, BBJ La Tavola

blooms throughout this design to create an off-beat aesthetic. Raleigh-based photographer Richard Barlow captured the scene and FauxReal’s signature “messy organic” style.

Terracotta and peach garden roses plus cream cabbage roses interspersed with fuschia roses, blush and yellow poppies, white dahlias and eucalyptus greens come together in a garland that decorates the head table. Bud vases are placed amid the garland, while elevated centerpieces create visual interest at side tables. “It’s not typical for a wedding to mix this many, but we loved it,” Lisa says. “The table centerpieces mixed highs and lows, which is always a great option. And, the head table looked so grand, but it is super affordable to do!”

256 heartofncweddings.com
Flowers Decor

FauxReal’s deconstructed arbor arch, which is also available to rent, marks the ceremony spot and makes a statement with the addition of champagne pampas grass and white orchids, plus large dried fans.

Meagan enlisted a real couple and her former clients, Konnor Holloman and Spencer Holloman, to model a flirty Hera Couture gown from White of Raleigh boutique and a black suit with crimson tie from Bernard’s Formalwear in Durham. Eye-catching gems from Diamonds Direct top off the couple’s edgy, glam look.

heartofncweddings.com 257 Flowers & Decor
your Dream Flowers EZER PHOTOS ASHLEY STONE PHOTOGRAPHY @SAMANTHAGRIGGPHOTOGRAPHY RENT RENT fauxrealflowers.com @fauxreal_flowers | @fauxrealflowersNC Customize and RENT your dream flowers! Raleigh | Wilmington New locations coming soon! Franchises available. @AMARAIMAGESPHOTOGRAPHY

Wildflower Fields

Adozen miles from downtown Chapel Hill sits a barn venue that’s unlike any other in the area. The Barn of Chapel Hill at Wild Flora Farm is situated on 22 acres of a working flower farm, design studio and apiary. Owner Kara Brewer fully renovated the 1864-era barn after the structure was relocated to Orange County from Marcy, New York, in 2016. The barn’s interior showcases hand-hewn hemlock beams and space

to comfortably host 200, with a covered porch and spacious brick patios stretching beyond its doors.

The venue celebrated its fifth anniversary in August 2022 with an open house and interactive fashion show. Wild Flora Farm Creative Director Christine Wilkinson says these gardenlike floral designs showcase unexpected pops of color, inspired by the wildflowers that spring up across the farm’s fields every

260 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Florals Wild Flora Farm | Venue The Barn of Chapel Hill at Wild Flora Farm

summer. “This design creates a twist on the beautiful nature that surrounds us every season in North Carolina,” Christine says. Zinnia and ‘Limelight’ hydrangea from Wild Flora’s gardens are paired with lilies, snapdragon, chamomile and blue-dyed tulips in bright bouquets, headpieces and bracelets (Christine and her team know how to elevate wearable flowers lightyears beyond basic boutonnieres). Models Christina Bailey (pictured left), Jessica Monroe (below) and Courtney Humphrey (right) wear dresses from A&Bé Bridal Shop in Raleigh.

Wild Flora Farm offers full-service and a la carte options for events at the farm and off-site, and excels at creating custom installations, floating arrangements and ceremony backdrops. Of course, working with the Wild Flora team to decorate The Barn’s spaces is sure to produce magical results, as the design team knows exactly how to make the venue shine.

heartofncweddings.com 261
A&Bé Bridal Shop, Wedded Kiss

Creative Charm

Our vision for this shoot was ‘Let me show you what you want,’” says Maggie Beadle of C&D Events West, and planner and designer of this refreshingly modern styled wedding at Greensboro’s McAlister-Leftwich House Cheery shades of yellow and pink paired with navy and neutral cream decorate the interior of the Gant Room

262 heartofncweddings.com
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Florals Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary | Venue McAlister-Leftwich House Planner C&D Events West | Photographer Fancy This Photography | Dress Vow’d Weddings Formalwear Bernard’s Formalwear | Jewelry Diamonds Direct | Rentals Curated Events Raleigh

inside the Leftwich House. The space is suited to small-scale celebrations as one of several indoor and outdoor ceremony sites that the venue offers. A circular seating arrangement bordered by overflowing florals and greenery creates an atmosphere of intimacy among guests and the couple, portrayed by models Jasmine Brown and Rony Thomas.

Maggie says that Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary’s signature blend of rich color and texture throughout garden-like florals brought a dose of vibrancy to the styled shoot, photographed by Fancy This Photography’s founder, Nikki Whitt Belch. At the entrance to the black-and-white tiled hallway connecting the Leftwich and McAlister houses, a stunningly unique arbor is composed of 350 green hydrangea stems. The hallway is

bordered in floor-to-ceiling windows that let in waves of natural light for resplendent portraits and couple shots.

Diane Joyal, Bowerbird’s founder and CEO, and lead designer Amanda Davila mixed garden roses, ranunculus, snapdragons, itoh peony and bupleurum among the bouquet, centerpieces and bud vases. Bowerbird’s gift shop and full-service floral design studio based in Durham create arrangements that often play with whimsical and organic shapes, yet remain grounded in timeless beauty. A two-tiered cake by Raleigh baker Sugar Euphoria on a display table set with candles and bright, patterned linen from Curated Events Raleigh, and topped with more bright blooms, is the sweet finale to this romantic scene.

heartofncweddings.com 263
Additional Vendors Serrano Film Co., Sugar Euphoria, Vie Creative Co., Sweet Everlasting, Eventful NC, Chez Genèse, The Beauty Tribe
264 heartofncweddings.com bowerbirdflowers.com | @bowerbirdflowers | 984.234.0024
Mina Von Feilitzsch Photography Alaina Ronquillo Photography
Visit our botanical haven located at 3105 Shannon Rd. Suite 205, Durham, NC
Jordan & Alaina Photography

Ethereal Elegance

Some venues – especially destinations amid waterfront or mountain settings – have so much natural beauty in their landscape that you may only need florals on a more minimalistic scale to enhance the space. Others are a blank canvas, with the versatility to take on your unique vision.

heartofncweddings.com 265
Heart of NC Weddings Vendors Florals KatieDid Florals | Venue Walnut Hill | Photographer Ariel Kaitlin Photography Dress White of Raleigh | Jewelry Raleigh Diamond Fine Jewelry | Formalwear Bernard’s Formalwear | Hair & Makeup Pinup Studio

Walnut Hill’s open-air chapel and the white walls of its barn fall somewhere in between, with the ability to embrace any color palette while exuding the charm of a country estate. (See how Walnut Hill owner Amanda Peoples decorated the venue for her own vow renewal on page 100.)

Floral designer Katie Wright Thomas accentuated each space with the whimsical, garden-like arrangements that are right within her wheelhouse. Katie founded bespoke floral studio KatieDid Florals in 2017, providing her services in southern and central Virginia as well as Raleigh, Durham and Pinehurst in North Carolina.

“I wanted to create a design that evoked the transition from summer to fall through the use of local, seasonal blooms and timeless wedding flowers,” Katie says. Brightly hued pink and mauve dahlias paired with soft, romantic lisianthus; blush and cream Quicksand and Playa Blanca roses; and ruffled peach David Austin Roald Dahl English Shrub roses from Katie’s personal cutting garden come together in a playful, sweet design. The depth, warmth and dimension that copper amaranthus and textural sedum add to the arrangements hint at the coming of autumn. Katie’s signature loose, organic style results in a lush effect.

266 heartofncweddings.com
Flowers & Decor

The majority of these flowers were sourced locally in North Carolina and Virginia – a foundational element of KatieDid’s operations. “I am passionate about supporting local farmers and growers,” Katie says. “Whenever possible, I source as many of our blooms as I can from local, dedicated flower farms.”

Katie also plans to expand KatieDid’s flower gardens. “I do grow many of my own flowers, and I recently purchased a 1930s historic greenhouse, which I plan to renovate so I can expand our growing operation.”

KatieDid’s romantic creations perfectly complement the ethereal Dora Sasu gown, embellished with floral lace appliques, from White of Raleigh that model – and White of Raleigh bridal stylist – Moira Zipperer wears, along with jewels from Raleigh Diamond Fine Jewelry. Moira’s romantic hair and makeup by Pinup Studio echo the mauve and pink tones of KatieDid’s florals. Moira’s real-life partner, Troy Jones, wears a blue suit and classic black bow tie from Bernard’s Formalwear

At Walnut Hill’s open-air chapel, two asymmetrical floral columns by KatieDid mark the altar. Greenery draped along the chapel’s beams and entrance brings an elegant garden feel to the space while accentuating the unique outdoor structure.

heartofncweddings.com 267
434.793.9122 | katiedidevents@gmail.com | www.katiedidflorals.com PHOTOS BY CAMERON THOMPSON PHOTOGRAPHY Joyous Modern Floral Design
Innovative floral designs and creative decor custom arranged to your style. BloomWorksNC.com | 919-828-5932 | 2323 Laurelbrook Street, Raleigh, NC 27604
YOU SPELL IT, WE LIGHT IT UP CALL/TEXT: 919-670-2555 | getlit@alphalitrdu.com | alphalitletters.com/raleighdurham | @alphalitrdu
Magdalena Stefanek Photography Gabby Carr Photography Megan Kerns Photography

Flowers & Decor

Wedding Rentals Checklist

Don’t forget to order these essential event items


✓ Ceremony arch, arbor or backdrop

✓ Chairs

✓ Bar

✓ Greenery or escort wall, shelving

✓ Signage – ceremony, cocktail hour, reception

✓ Tent and accessories –walls, heaters, fans, dance floor, flooring, stage

From ceremony chairs to cocktail tables and everything in between, finalize your wedding rentals and decor at least six months before the big day. Turn your rental showroom visit into a fun pre-wedding date. Keep this checklist handy to ensure your wedding day goes off without a hitch.

Couples risk a lot when they order wedding rentals and decor online. Style, quality and, let’s face it, even on-time arrival is not guaranteed. That’s why Heart of NC Weddings highly recommends that you shop at local rental companies with staff who are committed to excellent service and product quality.

Consider rental needs for events including your engagement or welcome party, rehearsal dinner and farewell brunch.


Your venue may already have market lights, chandeliers or other light fixtures, but you may want additional elements to illuminate the space, including string or bistro lighting, lanterns, up lighting and custom lighting.

✓ Tables – entry/guestbook, banquet, farm, round, square, cocktail, dessert/cake

✓ Catering – food and beverage service items, risers, tiered trays

✓ Linens – tablecloths, napkins, cuffs, draping, table runners, sashes

✓ Tabletop – glassware, chargers, china, flatware, serving utensils

✓ Event decor – candles, votives, vases, rugs/carpets, games, umbrellas

✓ Lounge area furniture –couches, chairs, coffee and side tables, pillows, throw blankets

✓ Additional rentals you may need to include a photo booth, generator, sound system, trash cans or restrooms

Amanda Smith, who co-owns an Alpha-Lit Marquee Letters franchise serving the Triangle with her husband, Matt Smith, says wedding events are the perfect time to go all out with lighting. “[Marquee letters] can be very impactful in large or small spaces. Whether the couple does just initials or stacking ‘Crazy in Love,’ marquee letters give that extra pizazz and ambiance to any special occasion.”

Our favorite wedding rental trend takes place well before the big day. Thoughtfully designed marriage proposal setups elevate an already unforgettable occasion. Let pros handle the details while you focus on wording and your partner. Walk away with some wow-worthy photos to post on social media, use for engagement announcements and print as keepsakes.

“The idea is to have fun and spread the love,” says Priscila Budway, owner of Posh Picnic NC. “I truly enjoy seeing people’s faces when they arrive at their picnic. The mesmerized faces and emotions make everything so special.” Priscila loves to use bright colors and incorporate floral designs into Posh Picnic’s free-spirited designs. “We will set up and do all the cleanup. All you have to do is show up, and enjoy,” Priscila says.

270 heartofncweddings.com
Moira Zipperer wears a dress from BeEverthine with hair and makeup by Pinup Studio in front of a Posh Picnic NC proposal setup at Walnut Hill, with her reallife partner, Troy Jones. Flowers by KatieDid Florals and lights from Alpha-Lit Marquee Letters. Photo by Ariel Kaitlin Photography Posh Picnic NC garden tent at Walnut Hill. Photo by Magdalena Stefanek Photography
invited to the best weddings Linens | China | Glassware | Flatware | Tables | Chairs 3633 S. ALSTON AVE., DURHAM, NC • (919) 544-1555 AMERICANPARTYRENTALS.COM
Photo by Katherine Miles Jones Photography

Give Me a Sign

ost couples are good about planning and budgeting for the main vendors such as the venue, catering, photographer, etc.,” says Hailey Rodriguez, director of operations and marketing at ACE Weddings & Events. “However, many couples don’t think about budgeting for the little details such as signs and stationery, personalized details, and wedding attire and accessories, but these little details can add up quickly!”


Table numbers, place settings and wayfinding signs help guests navigate your venue and keep the day running smoothly. But function needn’t outweigh style. The shapes and design of custom signage and backdrops can elevate your event.

Grace Allred and Davion Allred are the husband-and-wife team behind Revel NC, a Durham-based custom design studio and event rental supplier that specializes in crafting unique signage and backdrops. The couple launched the business in 2021 after working together on a favor wall for guests at their own wedding.

“We saw a lot of businesses doing unique signage pieces in California, Texas and Florida, and we just didn’t see anything like that here,” Davion says.

Davion and Grace create cohesive, personalized signage pieces that can pair with their rental backdrops, walls and displays. Grace is the artist behind Revel’s custom designs. She says that neutral and pink backdrops are currently trending. Many of the rentals Revel offers feature muted, earthy tones – ideal for many wedding color palettes.

Grace notes that orange tones are also an up-and-coming color. “Orange is a gender-neutral color that’s not too masculine and not too feminine, and it can work for every season of the year,” Grace says. “Orange can be bright, fresh and playful, or moody and dark.”

Another budding trend the pair has noticed is a clean, modern aesthetic featuring a black-and-white color scheme. “Everyone wants a classic wedding that’s going to look great in pictures for years to come,” Grace says. “People are trying to steer away from [rustic decor] and go with [a theme that’s] more fresh and modern.”

Davion, an engineer by day, says that the various styles of arches Revel rents are among their most popular items. For instance, clients can personalize “the Rome Wall,” an 8-foot-tall-by-8-foot-wide backdrop with an arch cutout, with decor, flowers, type, etc. Grace says that their shapes are constantly evolving, and abstract, organic pieces are in high demand.

Davion and Grace recommend ordering custom signage or rentals at least six months in advance of your event. Giving your designers plenty of time to plan and collaborate will ensure that the pieces are beautiful and timeless.

272 heartofncweddings.com
& Decor
A bright escort wall design by Revel NC pictured at Walnut Hill. Photo by Magdalena Stefanek Photography Revel NC created blush menus, place settings and table numbers to pair with tabletop rentals from Curated Events Raleigh and florals and lighting from Petal & Oak. Photo by The Axtells: Wedding Photography + Films
heartofncweddings.com 273 984-900-9798 | poshpicnicnc.com | @poshpicnicnc All photos by Ariel Kaitlin Photography WEDDING & EVENT WWW.REVELNC.COM SIGNAGE INSTALLS RENTALS Alaina R o n q u illo Photography DESIGN STUDIO REVEL NC
274 heartofncweddings.com


Expect to pay $32 to $100 per guest for food. Bar packages with beer and wine for 100 guests average around $2,000, but vary greatly due to alcohol choices, add-ons, the number of bartenders you require and whether your venue requires you to purchase a bar package in-house. A mid-tier liquor package costs about $3,200 for 100 guests.


Book your caterer as soon as you secure your date and venue, or nine to 18 months in advance. Determine what serving style is best for your event: buffet, stations, plated or family style. Consider guests with food allergies or special diets who will need vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten- or dairy-free options.


Remember, labor gratuities and taxes are added to the final cost. We suggest budgeting at least $50 per guest. Be sure to include meals for your photographer, videographer, catering staff and any other vendors who will be present at your reception. Don’t forget about additions like late-night snacks and specialty rentals!


“If you want to save, focus on picking menu items that will be in season on your wedding date. For plated meals, limit protein options and plan to use the same sides for all meals. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for with quality of food and service. Sometimes, spending a little more will pay off in the long run.”

– HL Catering Company chef/owner Houston Loper, owner Katie Loper and executive chef Ricky Myers

“The best splurge would be late-night snacks, which are always a fun addition and serve a very important role in soaking up booze in the revelers.” – Posh Nosh Catering executive chef/owner Coleen Speaks and chef Zach Fisher

A gumbo bite with shrimp, andouille sausage, okra and tomato on a bed of puffed rice from HL Catering Company.

heartofncweddings.com 275
Photo by Heba Salama Photography


Plated 1 Grit cake topped with lemon Tabasco aioli, sauteed mushrooms, shrimp, bacon and scallions

2 Tomahawk pork chops with honey roasted apples

In the wake of Beau Catering’s larger-than-life leader Beau Bennett’s passing in 2021, general manager and lead chef Katie Hopkins and owner Lauren Erickson Bennett worked tirelessly to maintain the endless enthusiasm, exceptional food and enduring passion that Beau was known for throughout the state. Katie created the delicious menu that you see here in tribute to Beau – incorporating his personal favorites like chicken-fried cheesesteak, which utilizes Beau’s secret recipe, and cupcakes flavored with his favorite cereals – and the team continues to carry on his legacy by cooking elevated Southern classics with a Californian twist.

What have you learned from catering North Carolina weddings over the years? That hospitality is so important and is what “makes” the wedding – it’s not just the food or service. The caterer is such a part of the entire event that you need positivity, fun and overall hospitality to shine through.

What’s your signature dish? Beau’s famous crab cakes.

What sets your team apart within the local catering industry? Two things consistently – first, cooking food on-site allows for the freshest food around. Second, our customer service through the whole process. We are very hands-on and spend time with each client to make sure they have the best experience.

3 Lauren Erickson Bennett, Katie Hopkins and office manager Carmack Kelley present dishes including mini cupcakes, mini Southern tomato pies, a charcuterie plate, tomahawk pork chops with honey roasted apples, chicken-fried cheesesteak sliders and shrimp-and-grits bites

4 Mini classic vanilla and chocolate cupcakes topped with honeycomb and Count Chocula cereal milk frostings

276 heartofncweddings.com
Meet Your Local Caterers
1 2 4
Photographer Heba Salama Photography

Beau Catering is a full-service catering company – impressing the greater Triangle area for over a decade. We cater weddings, rehearsal dinners, parties and corporate events. Special attention is given to the menu as well as additional services we can customize for you. Drop-off catering also available at BeauCateringMarketplace.com.

“I could rave about the food and the staff for hours. I can’t imagine working with any other catering company…” ~ Sarah ~

“Thank you for the delicious food and excellent service. From menu development to the night of execution, your team was terrific. We are especially appreciative of your hard work considering the difficult weather conditions. I enthusiastically recommend Beau Catering to anyone.” ~ Robin ~

Bring Beau Home

Beau’s family meals – with free delivery –a healthy, stress-free weekday solution. Host a party and let Beau Catering do the cooking with drop off Party Platters and Build-Your-Own Catering Packages –featuring some of Beau’s all-time favorites. Place orders at: BeauCateringMarketplace.com

BeauCatering.com 919.296.9039 Hillsborough, NC beaucateringco beaucatering
Photo by Arika Jordan Photography
Southern Hospitality



Locals’ mobile raw bar serves Carolina Dream oysters cultivated in Stump Sound, North Carolina, by Falling Tide Oyster Co. with mignonette, lemon and cocktail sauce

Locals Seafood offers fresh seafood and shellfish sourced straight from the North Carolina coast. The company operates a restaurant and fish market out of the Durham Food Hall and sells seafood at several Triangle-area farmers markets. When it comes to catering, Locals’ mobile raw bar is a fantastic way to elevate your cocktail hour or reception. If you or any of your guests aren’t a fan of raw oysters, opt for an oyster roast package or custom seafood-centric menu.

What sets your team apart within the local catering industry?

Our team consists of seafood and oyster experts. Our shuckers not only serve delicious oysters, they can also answer oyster questions and share seafood facts with guests.

What’s the most inventive way you’ve plated for a wedding?

Our seafood towers, complete with two or three levels of cold seafood and oysters, are a neat way to step up the elegance.

What are your suggestions for the best dining styles for various reception sizes?

The beauty of a small wedding is that you can host a seated, fullservice meal. This style of dining gives the event an upscale feel.

You don’t need a huge team to pull it off either. Bartenders can double as servers and prep cooks. You can’t beat a buffet for a large wedding – guests love to come and go as they please.

278 heartofncweddings.com
Meet Your Local Caterers
Photographer Heba Salama Photography

What is the most inventive or innovative dish or plating you’ve created for a wedding? We love innovating to make our clients’ wedding food dreams come true, from our liquid nitrogen frosé station to charcuterie cigars with a black olive and Aleppo chili ash served on crystal cigar trays; from caviar rings served in ring boxes to savory, salted blue corn waffle cones filled with tater tots, beef short rib and a Gruyere beer cheese; from our burrata station with various toppings and balsamic vinegar and olive oil served in vintage perfume bottles to our latenight boozy donut holes.

Are there any wedding trends from the past few years that you believe are going to stick around for a while? Instead of open buffets or stations, we love the trend of small, composed plates assembled behind a bar top. We feel like it brings a sense of elegance to the service. The focus is on the final, composed plated dish and not the display, so it doesn’t take away from the beauty of the flowers and the couple’s design vision. Also, using Zoom more for client meetings – especially to help connect with out-of-town couples – instead of just a phone call.


1 Tuna salade nicoise with endive, charred beans, tomato jam, cured egg yolk, crispy potato and crunchy olives

2 Bone-in carving station: crispy fingerlings, Brussels sprouts with lemon vinaigrette, horseradish sauce, red wine demi-glace, yeast rolls

3 Cauliflower fries with black garlic aioli and truffle aioli

4 Beet-cured salmon on everything lavash with cucumber, dill cream cheese and caviar

280 heartofncweddings.com
Meet Your Local Caterers HL CATERING COMPANY
Photographer Heba Salama Photography
1 3 4

For The Memorable Moments in Life

www.hlcatering.com RALEIGH, NC • 919-675-1854
Photo from top-right clockwise: Jamie Vinson Photography; Anagram Photography; Jamie Vinson Photography; and Adelyn Boling Photography.


Cary-based Catering by Design has provided food for special events and weddings in the Triangle for more than two decades. Taking exceptional care in food preparation is integral to the business, and owner Phillip Lin and his employees strive to put couples’ desires first on their big day.

How do you elevate traditional, casual Southern faves?

Our Southern menu with a flair incorporates more upscale menu options, including fried green tomatoes and a shrimpand-grits action station. Deviled eggs can be kicked up with [garnishes like a] piece of bacon.

What are your team’s signature dishes?

Memphis “crazy” chicken, chicken marsala, penne pasta with portobello mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes with pesto cream sauce.

What sets your team apart within the local catering industry? Longevity of our teams and how much we care for one another and for this business.

282 heartofncweddings.com
Meet Your Local Caterers
Plated 1 Bloody
Photographer Heba
Photography 1 3 4 2
Blueberry watermelon
Pasta primavera aglio e olio
Grilled filet mignon and lobster tail
info@catering-by-design.com | 919-481-2366 | catering-by-design.com Customized Catering At Its Best

This Durham-based catering company helmed by chef Natelege Bryant has dished up elevated and inventive Southern cuisine since 2017. Natelege named the company after her grandmother, who found sanctuary and solace in the kitchen. A sense of comfort, joy and love prevails in Natelege’s own cooking. Delight your guests with opulent grazing tables as large as 20 feet long and stocked generously with artisan cheeses and seasonal fruit in addition to chef-attended carving stations, or choose from plated, family-style or buffet meals. Elevate your reception with one of Natelege’s late-night snack stations, featuring options like s’mores or a doughnut wall.


1 Moroccan spiced lamb chops with roasted fingerling potatoes, charred tomatoes and red onions

2 Mini charcuterie boards

3 Lemon chiffon cheesecake with raspberry caviar and mint

4 Boozy milk and orange biscotti cookies

Are there any wedding trends from the past few years that you believe are going to stick around for a while? We have seen an uptick in action stations as couples are moving toward less formal receptions. During the pandemic, we also reimagined something that we are known for –grazing tables – and have started offering individual charcuterie boards during cocktail hour!

What’s the most inventive or innovative dish or plating you’ve created for a wedding? One of the most fun things that we had a chance to plate was a deconstructed banana pudding. We also love playing with vessels to plate and have been known to use mirrors, palm leaves or really anything fun and out of the box to begin the plating process.

284 heartofncweddings.com
Meet Your Local Caterers
Vendor Brett Seay Photo 1 3 4


Plated 1 Chicken tandoori skewers with raita

2 Smoked deviled eggs with trout roe and pickled red onion

3 Endive with Brussels sprouts, apple, Parmesan cheese and spiced walnuts

Founder and executive chef Coleen Speaks has spent more than two decades catering events across the Triangle and now oversees PoshNosh Catering, her wedding and event venue Whitaker & Atlantic and an eclectic neighboring cocktail bar called Hummingbird at Dock 1053 in Raleigh. PoshNosh maintains a stellar reputation for gourmet food that’s effortlessly elegant and delicious and sources local ingredients whenever possible.

What sets your team apart within the catering industry? PoshNosh is hyper-focused on seasonal, delicious food! Our boutique approach to catering helps create a more memorable, stylized event.

What’s your signature dish?

We are always changing up our menus and playing with new dishes, but if I had to mention one that’s always recurring, it would be our chickpea and tomato pani puri with cilantro chutney. So much flavor in a tiny bite!

What are your suggestions for the best serving styles?

3 4

My favorite is family style, which allows more food varieties, creates a natural fellowship with sharing platters and is by far the most efficient to serve. The most celebratory is stations/heavy hors d’oeuvres; this also allows for a greater variety of foods for guests and disperses people evenly throughout the room. A seated dinner can be very stiff, challenging to serve efficiently, more expensive with staffing costs and allows for the least variety in menu. The buffet is my least favorite, as this style tends to create anxiety issues in guests waiting for their turn!

286 heartofncweddings.com
Meet Your Local Caterers
4 Rosemary and thyme roasted chicken with vegetable couscous and glazed carrots Photographer Heba Salama Photography 1 2
heartofncweddings.com 287 YOUR IMAGINATION. OUR CATERING. WHERE FOOD CELEBRATES LIFE sales@poshnoshraleigh.com | poshnoshraleigh.com PHOTOS BY CHAIR 8



This experienced team is a fixture in our catering scene, having designed menus at Triangle events for more than 20 years. Rocky Top Catering is known for scrumptious signature dishes like slow-braised short ribs and chicken and waffles, plus flavorful new options like pink peppercorn and coriander-seared tuna. They always go above and beyond to deliver exceptional food and service at an affordable price.


1 Green chilibraised pork shoulder with salsa verde, corn salad and goat cheese grits

2 Hand-sliced ahi tuna board with pink peppercorn and corianderseared tuna, house pickles, edamame salad, wasabi and pickled ginger

3 Fried Raleigh hot chicken sandwich (fried chicken breast, honey-Sriracha sauce, pickleand-collard slaw)

Photographer Heba Salama Photography 1

What sets your team apart within the catering industry?

The first-rate client experience is what separates us. During the planning process, it can be rather stressful with a lot of decisions to be made, but with an experienced team on our side helping to guide clients, we feel we are taking their best interests to heart. Among our directors, sales team, chefs and operations manager, we have well over 20 individuals who are available as manager support and assistance on event day. With our experienced onsite team, plus a wealth of talent from the salaried positions, we have the necessary infrastructure to handle all events and the curveballs that may be thrown day-of.

What are your suggestions for the best dining styles for various reception sizes?

Stations offer the best bang for your buck. Our goal, no matter the service style, is for guests to receive their food within 25 minutes. This is true whether it’s plated, buffet or stations. The beautiful aspect of stations, when done correctly, is that guests can pick and choose where to go. If station A has a line, head to station B and grab a plate. This gives you a chance to enjoy and then you can visit station A or C. When done in this manner, all guests, no matter the guest count, should have their first plate within 10 to 12 minutes. With the increase in goods and services, stations have now become one of the more favorable styles from a pricing perspective. We offer dynamic tiered pricing based on guest count and the number of stations.

288 heartofncweddings.com
Meet Your Local Caterers
heartofncweddings.com 289 CREATING MEMORABLE EVENTS FOR OVER 20 YEARS: • Locally fresh & customized menus • Deliciously seasonal & creative cuisine • Experienced & refined service • Exclusive & preferred caterer for dozens of venues throughout the Triangle: 1705 EAST, BLUE ZONE, CANNON ROOM, CROSS+MAIN, MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCES, POWER HOUSE, ROSE HILL, THE UPCHURCH TASTEFULLY REFINED PHOTOS (TOP TO BOTTOM): FANCY THIS PHOTOGRAPHY, F8 PHOTO STUDIOS, FABIANA SKUBIC PHOTOGRAPHY 919.850.2340 ROCKYTOPCATERING.COM



Sisters Lorin Laxton and Jill Santa Lucia have operated Catering Works in Raleigh for more than three decades. Since its inception, the business has blossomed to include a floral design branch, Bloom Works, and garnered praise from couples across the Triangle for its exceptional food, service and professionalism. The company’s green initiative has resulted in implementing the use of compostable utensils, composting food scraps and partnering with local organizations to donate leftover prepared meals.


1 Monkfish beurre monté, slow-poached in butter with fresh snipped herbs

2 Citrus salad with marinated beets, orange segments, shaved fennel and figs

3 Catering Works creatively replicated the North Carolina Museum of Art's famous concrete rings (sculpted by artist Thomas Sayre) out of butternut squash for this appetizer course. The rings accompany a salad of mesclun greens with cranberries, pepitas and apple cider vinaigrette.


Are there any wedding trends from the past few years that you believe are going to stick around for a while?

Grazing tables during cocktail hour and the large variety of beverage options for guests, like seltzers, crafted mocktails, the abundance of North Carolina beers and variety of wines.

What is your team's signature dish? Creative stuffed chicken combinations like spinach with chevre (goat cheese) and roasted peppers in an artichoke cream sauce.

What wedding food or drink trends are you just over?

Pinterest ideas that are not realistic for catering, like Tater Tots on a skewer – they fall apart! [When it comes to] beverages, [ice pops] in cocktails and Champagne towers. We don’t like to waste Champagne here!


290 heartofncweddings.com Meet Your Local Caterers
Photographer 1 & 2 Danielle Flake Photography Additional
Mina von Feilitzsch Photography
heartofncweddings.com 291 Say “I do” ... t r ct menu! ARIKA JORDAN PHOTGRAPHY GAIL VANMATRE PHOTOGRAPHY CateringWorks.com | 919.828.5932 | Greatfood@cateringworks.com LUX & PINE PHOTOGRAPHY ARIKA JORDAN PHOTGRAPHY



1 Chicken and waffles with maple-Sriracha syrup from The Morning Times

2 Pimento cheese biscuit with chopped barbecue from The Pit

3 Meatballs with gravy from Gravy

The menu offerings at Empire Eats range from Italian comfort food to Mediterranean dishes to whole-hog North Carolina barbecue, with plenty of vegetarian- and vegan-friendly options available. The company is part of a local restaurant family that includes Gravy, The Pit, Sitti and The Raleigh Times Bar – all of which operate on a foundation of genuine hospitality and unpretentious, delicious food that’s rooted in taste, not trends. Empire also operates event spaces Jiddi Space & Courtyard, All Saints Chapel and The Stockroom at 230 and transformed its Durham restaurant into The Pit Durham Event Venue in 2022.

What wedding food and drink customs are you happy to see return as the pandemic wanes? Guests being allowed to plate their own food [and] choose their portion sizes and toppings at stations. It allows us to be much more creative in displays and eliminates the waste created with individual portion cups and portions not matching the guests’ desires.

Are there any wedding trends from the past few years that you believe are going to stick around for a while? Online booking. Having been in the business for a long time, it used to be so critical to have face-to-face meetings, but during the pandemic, we learned to work through email, and many times, I was meeting my couples for the first time on their big day. Couples are more comfortable with that now, and I am not seeing a shift back to in-person meetings.

4 Buffet plate: Sitti salad, Gravy’s roasted vegetables, The Pit’s barbecue chicken and mac and cheese, The Raleigh Times Bar’s shrimp and grits

292 heartofncweddings.com
Meet Your Local Caterers
4 2
Photographer Heba Salama Photography
1 3
f8 Photo Studios Cirque91 Photography Catering Partner of www.empireeatscatering.com · 919.582.9470 · catering@empireeats.com


Saladelia Café & Catering has been a fixture in Durham since opening its brick-and-mortar cafe in 1988. Owners Fida Ghanem and Robert Ghanem serve seasonal menus inspired by their Lebanese roots, which always include freshly baked bread and locally sourced ingredients. Saladelia’s empire has grown to several locations on the campuses of both Duke University and UNC as well as a second cafe in Durham and a catering business that offers hors d’oeuvres like mini chicken biscuits and entrees like stuffed balsamic pomegranate chicken with caramelized onions, roasted potatoes and Saladelia’s signature house-made focaccia.


1 Caprese skewers with mozzarella, tomato and basil

2 Beef canape with horseradish and crispy shallots, falafel canape with whipped hummus and salmon canapes

3 Salmon canape with herbed creme fraiche, dill and capers

4 Cheese board with crostini and pita points

294 heartofncweddings.com Meet Your Local Caterers
4 2
Photographer Lauren V. Allen 1 3
heartofncweddings.com 295 919-489-5776 | saladelia.com Catering for all life’s occasions


FOREVERANDCOMPANY.COM You're invited to a one-of-a-kind wedding show experience bringing together a curated collection of trusted professionals and planning inspiration.
show schedule at

cakes & desserts


Expect to pay $6 to $8 per slice for cake. Cost varies for dessert bar items; two individual desserts will cost $5 to $9 per person.


Book your baker six months to one year in advance. Attend a wedding showcase with your partner (we love the idea of making a date night out of it!) and sample treats from local vendors, or order an at-home tasting box, which many vendors offer. Schedule a consultation with your top bakery pick to talk over your flavor, design and color preferences, and any other questions you may have. Think about spicing things up with interactive serving stations, displays or delighting guests with a variety of miniature desserts.


If your guests have dietary restrictions, you may need to budget extra for a gluten- or dairy-free dessert option. Don’t forget to plan for and budget in the cost of rental cake stands and displays. Consider adding on a cutting cake if you opt for a nontraditional dessert but still want to keep the ceremonial element.

heartofncweddings.com 297
Blush ombre cake from Bestow Baked Goods. Photo by Ariel Kaitlin Photography.



Cake The Mad Hatter’s Café & Bakeshop

If you’ve driven down Durham’s Main Street, you’ve spotted the unique 1950s building that’s housed The Mad Hatter’s Café & Bakeshop since 2001. And, if you’ve stopped in for an espresso or a lunchtime sandwich, you’ve certainly gazed across dessert cases filled with exquisitely decorated cakes and desserts. Mad Hatter’s is known for classic flavors like afterdinner mint, German chocolate, Black Forest and chocolate strawberry shortcake. The bakery offers a range of cake designs to choose from including fun groom’s cakes, plus decorated cookies and dessert bar displays.

Cakes & Desserts
Additional Vendor Photographer Lauren V. Allen
heartofncweddings.com 299 919-286-1987 | madhatterbakeshop.com Time to Celebrate!


Elegant lines and modern details are hallmarks of Stephanie Richardson’s creations. Her eye-catching cakes turn heads with colorful tones and please guests with flavorful combinations like orange cardamom, spiced Mexican hot chocolate and summer berry. Stephanie created the mauve cake with abstract art-deco detailing that’s pictured below to showcase one of her “all-time favorite” pink shades, and it includes flowers, one of her go-to ways to elevate a wedding cake design. Stephanie’s talent in baking isn’t limited to cakes – she also offers a selection of mini desserts including tarts, parfaits and cupcakes.

300 heartofncweddings.com Cakes & Desserts
2 HEART OF NC WEDDINGS VENDORS Cake S. Richardson Cakes Photographer 1 Fancy This Photography 2 Ariel Kaitlin Photography Venue 1 The Maxwell 2 Walnut Hill Linen 1 Curated Events Raleigh 2 American Party Rentals

Heather Sutton takes pride in offering a long list of flavors for couples to choose from, including Bestow Baked Goods’ most popular combination: a sweet potato cake with cream cheese frosting, inspired by Heather’s grandmother’s recipe for sweet potato pie. Couples fill out online questionnaires and can order a cake tasting box of seasonally rotating flavors, followed by a virtual consultation to discuss color palette, floral and decor details of the wedding, and the vibe or design they’d like to reflect in their cake. If cake isn’t your cup of tea, Bestow also offers cupcakes, cookies and more desserts.

What advice would you give to couples trying to please their guests? “I obviously want the cake to be beautiful, but it seems that the thing most guests will remember is how the cake tasted, so I’ve put a lot of effort into offering a range of cake flavors – all of which couples can be proud to share with their loved ones. When it comes to selecting which ones they want in their wedding cake, my suggestion is to choose the one that they’ll be most excited to bite into during their cake cutting ceremony. This is their special moment – and it should be one that they will savor!”

heartofncweddings.com 301
SERVE A CAKE YOUR GUESTS WILL RAVE ABOUT! Tiffany L Johnson Photography 919-473-9225 | bestowbakedgoods.com | letseatcake@bestowbakedgoods.com | @bestowbakedgoods
Additional Vendor Photographer Photographs by Stephanie

Sisters Mindy Davisson and Erin Seabolt lead this family business that started in 1982. Their family’s classic pound cake recipe is the base for the most popular Edible Art Bakery & Dessert Café flavor, almond cake with amaretto mousse and vanilla buttercream filling, which Edible Art employees and customers have come to know as the “wedding cake” flavor. Buttery, rich pound cake is also the base for other options like red velvet, pumpkin and chocolate chip. In addition, the bakery serves up pies, custom decorated cookies, cupcakes, macarons and mini “piekins.” Take home a tasting box to sample flavors, then discuss your cake or dessert design via phone or an in-person meeting.

Do you have tips for couples who want to impress guests with a wedding dessert display?

“We recommend that you incorporate height into your wedding dessert displays. This gives nice depth to the display. Some examples would be tiered platters, wooden crates and risers. We actually have a few dessert displays that can be rented out as well.”





Edible Art Bakery & Dessert Café

Photographer 1 & 2 Ariel Kaitlin Photography Venue Walnut Hill Linen 1 & 2 American Party Rentals

Additional Vendor 3 Rachel HoTong Photography, Party Reflections

302 heartofncweddings.com
Cakes & Desserts
EdibleArtNC.com • The Circle at North Hills, Raleigh • 919-856-0604 Photography by Brian Anthony Photography
704-568-1968 info@keysignatureonline.com keysignatureonline.com
McCart Photography IWP Photography Catch Light Studio Catch Light Studio
us to be the one stop shop for all of your wedding live music needs because we’ve created an easy process, working with you to find, secure, and contract the right entertainment for YOUR special day. We are in the people business first, and the music business second which is why our motto is “Good People, Good Music.”



Wedding ceremony musicians typically start around $400 for a soloist, and the price increases for duos and trios. Expect to pay more if you want your musicians to play during cocktail hour as well. Uppertier DJs start around $2,000 and can go up to $7,500 with add-ons. Middle-tier DJs start around $1,000. On average, live bands cost $3,500 to $8,000. Photo booths start around $700 and can go up to $1,200.


Local DJs are professionals with modern setups – think custom, sleek booths, slick backdrops, video screens and light shows that can transform your venue into a dance club. Talk to your DJ about including one of these preferred setups in your package. Alternatively, if you want your live band to have a snazzy stage, you’ll need to coordinate with your rental company to secure a setup. Your DJ can also provide audio for your ceremony officiant, LED dance floors and other special effects. Also consider nontraditional forms of entertainment such as live painting, live poetry, yard games, a s’mores station and more.


Entertainment costs may be higher if you choose two separate ceremony and reception venues, requiring multiple sound systems. For both practical and aesthetic reasons, consider the size of your musical entertainment in relation to your reception. An intimate backyard wedding is probably better suited to a trio of musicians rather than a 10-piece band. If you have a guest list above 150, you’ll want to consider an experienced DJ who can read the crowd and keep the party going well into the evening. Check with your reception venue to see what infrastructure they have to support the entertainment you want.

heartofncweddings.com 305
DJ Spencer McAvoy of Stylus S.E. spins during an event at Belt Line Station. Photo by The Axtells: Wedding Photography + Films

Let the Music Play

Hiring a wedding DJ or live band isn’t a requirement, but there’s no end to the advantages you’ll gain from professionals who know how to read the crowd, direct the flow of your reception and maintain the energy of the party. Keep entertainment costs in mind when planning your overall budget. Discuss priorities with your partner – maybe having a live string ensemble is what you’ve always dreamed of for your ceremony. Or do you want a live band to play covers of your favorite Motown songs or a DJ who can mix a special playlist?

Live musicians offer a different experience from recorded music – and genres can vary widely. Sarah Cavaiani of Hummingbird Harmonies is a harpist who relocated her business from Wisconsin to North Carolina in 2020, and she typically performs at 25 to 30 weddings per year. Sarah points out that settling on a genre is the most crucial factor in picking a live band or musician because the performers will “be limited in terms of what songs they can play [without] a computer [that can] just pull up any song that’s ever been written.” Sarah says many of her clients “either veer toward pop – so, Ed Sheeran and Christina Perri are both very, very popular – or classical, like Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in D Major.’”

Your DJ or band will set the tone for the reception, help the evening flow smoothly and possibly provide additional elements like enhanced narration, customized lighting, special effects like smoke machines and more. It’s imperative to hire a reliable professional. Don’t know where to begin? Key Signature Entertainment books live bands for private events and weddings across North and South Carolina, with a focus on helping connect couples with dependable, professional musicians best suited to their needs.

“Couples should truly consider what type of ambiance and vibe they desire on their special day, whether it’s a low-key, classy ambiance or a high-energy, nightclub vibe,” says Ava Michele, event coordinator, host and DJ with Holly Springs-based entertainment company DJ Ones. “Couples should keep in mind that their DJ will be in control of about 80% of their special day.”

Once you’ve secured your entertainment of choice, spend some time with your future spouse picking songs that are meaningful to you. Some DJs will offer curated playlists or special mixes. Sarah creates a few custom song lists for the ceremony and reception for couples who prefer a hands-off approach to choose from, and she focuses on adding a wide variety of music. “We’re seeing more personalization and a lot more customization in wedding music,” she says. “I have Disney classics, I’ve got the Chainsmokers, I’ve got Ray Charles. … I try to let couples customize their playlist as much as possible.”

When it comes to picking your first dance song, don’t feel the need to limit yourself to a sappy love song or emotional ballad if that isn’t your jam. Opt for a tune that is reflective of your relationship over time. You might decide to dance for the entirety of the song, or let it fade out around the two-minute mark. There’s no right or wrong way to go about your first dance, if you choose to have one, says Jason Huggins, managing member of Stylus S.E., a pro DJ service based in the Triangle. “It’s totally OK to sit there, hold each other and just share the moment to celebrate how far you’ve come while you’re wrapped in each other’s arms,” he says. “Sway side to side, smooch or just talk about how uncomfortable your shoes are. Remember that your first dance is a moment to share and reflect with each other.”

Also consider sharing a private last dance after your guests exit the reception. “It’s an intimate moment for the couple to just be together and take in the day,” Sarah says. And, it’s a perfect way to end an occasion you’ll remember for a lifetime.

306 heartofncweddings.com
Sarah Cavaiani of Hummingbird Harmonies plays her harp. Photo by Cynthia Viola Photography
308 heartofncweddings.com ncharpist.com | @hummingbird.harmonies Sofi Khmara Elegance through music Sarah Cavaiani - Classical harpist Serving couples across NC Sofi Khmara New Depth Creations Unrivaled talent and expertise in energizing your dancefloor! Live Moments Media dj-ones.com | 917-574-1984 BEST. WEDDING. EVER. PERIOD. Amanda Lane Photography Christina Sturgis Photography Remy Biase Photography

Picture Perfect

The best memories are the ones you can keep with you. We recommend photo booths because they’re not only a fun way to keep guests engaged and entertained, but also to capture unforgettable moments and give guests personalized keepsakes.


Some photo booth prints are bright and clear, while others go right in the trash. Finding a vendor that uses top-of-the-line equipment is essential. View sample photos to see the quality before you commit.

ZimZoom Photo Booth’s PRO Booth package includes unlimited prints and high-definition, digital single-lens reflex camera (aka DSLR) photos. This means you’ll get superior images and the ability to enlarge, edit and reprint. Think of it like having a second photographer at your reception to capture every moment!


Make sure to ask what’s included in your package, from the time frame the booth will be up and running to props and screen options.

With ZimZoom, your booth is totally customizable. Once you book a reservation, you’re sent a design questionnaire that allows you to pick a backdrop, choose templates and upload graphics of your own. You could even use your invitations or personal monogram for inspo! Use signs, glasses and other props to keep photos fresh and fun. All of ZimZoom’s wedding packages include a host to engage with guests, manage the booth and help with posing and lighting.


There are traditional photo booths – think dark, enclosed cubicles – and then there are the modern, open-air booths that ZimZoom offers, which use a free-standing camera, lighting equipment and a large backdrop, allowing for 15 or more people in a single shot. What’s more, ZimZoom’s 360-degree video experience is an entertaining video booth capable of capturing your guests on film. Choose a green screen experience to elevate the fun or try the popular minimalist glam booth with no props, which makes for classy black-and-white photos.


One of the biggest pros of a photo booth is that your guests can take home stylish mementos of your special day. ZimZoom uses a QR code to link to a live gallery, which you can see directly on your phone. You’ll also get an email link to the full, private gallery. You can receive photos as GIFs, boomerangs, metallic prints, retro keychains and more.

heartofncweddings.com 309


craft and domestic beers and wines to high-tier liquor and cocktail offerings. Brewmasters provides the alcohol, cups or glassware, ice, napkins and bartenders – one of the only vendors who will interact directly with your guests – plus, they’ll calculate how much alcohol you’ll need, so not a drop or a dollar from your budget goes to waste.

Molly advises striking a balance between representing yourselves and your preferences as a couple and having a selection of drinks to satisfy a variety of tastes. It’s also crucial to ensure there are enough bar stations and bartenders to serve your guests quickly – typically, you’ll need one bar with at least two bartenders for up to 150 guests.


The bar is a place to add personal touches that represent your love story and align with the atmosphere of your event. Molly says unique drink menu displays are a popular choice.

“Realistically, it’s something that every guest is looking at repeatedly throughout the night, so [the bar menu is] a good place to elevate things,” Molly says. Ask your stationer or party rental supplier about creating custom options.

In Good Spirits

Your wedding is, first and foremost, a day dedicated to celebrating your love and new commitment. But while you’re enjoying one of the best days of your lives, you’ll also want to ensure that the guest experience for dozens of your closest loved ones leaves nothing to be desired. That means putting some thought into one of the most popular elements of your event – the bar.


The best way to plan and execute a well-crafted drink menu is to seek out professionals. While some venues require you to purchase a bar package that can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000 (depending on your alcohol choices) for 100 guests, hiring an off-site vendor may help save on alcohol costs. Molly Youssef, owner of Brewmasters Mobile, has brought Brewmasters’ selection of mobile bar setups to venues across North Carolina. Brewmasters opened the doors to its brick-and-mortar in Wilson, North Carolina, in 2013 and serves craft beer and made-to-order sandwiches. The company subsequently added mobile bar setups designed for events (including Heidi the Hopbox, our state’s first renovated horse trailer bar). Their packages range from unlimited

Brewmasters stocks a wide range of craft brews, domestic beers, wines and creative cocktails – we recommend selecting drink options that are meaningful to you, like the wine you shared with your partner to celebrate your engagement or a Pilsner from the brewery where you had your first date.


Struggling to pick your signature cocktails? Delight guests with libations crafted for the season of your event.

• One of the cocktails on Brewmasters’ menu is a staple for spring and summer weddings. The Love Potion has vodka, hibiscus, pineapple and club soda. Other crowdpleasers are a Bourbon Peach Splash and blood orange or watermelon margaritas.

• Molly says that many autumn weddings have featured Brewmasters’ Apple-y Ever After with bourbon, lime and apple. You also can’t go wrong with a pomegranate spritzer or a maple cider old fashioned.

• Winter calls for a warming cup of something stiff – think spiked hot chocolate or a hot toddy.

If you’re expecting a particularly picky guest (or want a secret stash of your favorite brew) Brewmasters will stock a six-pack or two of whatever you like.

No matter what you’re serving, making a plan with a trusted vendor will keep guests happy and the drinks flowing all evening. Cheers!

310 heartofncweddings.com
Margaritas with tequila, lime, triple sec and Tajin rims from Brewmasters Mobile. Jewelry from Raleigh Diamond Fine Jewelry. Photo by Magdalena Stefanek Photography



Brewmasters Mobile provides full service alcohol catering for wedding receptions and private events with a huge selection of craft beers, wine, and cocktails. With a variety of indoor and outdoor mobile bars including a unique horse trailer bar, Brewmasters Mobile takes all the stress out of planning your bar! Proudly ABC licensed to serve Eastern NC, The Triangle and beyond.

Dakota Hersey Photography
.com /brewmastersmobile /brewmastersmobile
www. brewmastersmobile
Photo and
Anna Marie Creative J. Hagan Photography Tiffany Johnson Photography


Ticket to Ride

Why hiring a professional transportation service might be essential for your wedding

There are a few no-brainers when it comes to the wedding vendors you’ll need to hire, like a caterer, photographer and florist. But if your special day involves multiple locations, you need to consider how your wedding party and guests will get from one venue to the next. Hiring a professional transportation service who can help plan out the logistics will ensure your loved ones arrive safely and on time to their destination, relieving you of additional stress.

Lewis Jones, Senior Business Development and

Manager of Triangle Corporate Coach, says that one of the biggest challenges with booking a car service is determining which and how many of your guests to provide transportation for. For out-of-town guests, you may want to offer rides from a designated hotel to the ceremony venue. If your reception is just a short walk or drive from the ceremony venue, then one shuttle for yourself and your new spouse, plus parents and the wedding party may suffice.

However, if the reception is more than 20 to 30 minutes from the ceremony location, you should consider offering transportation for all of your guests. A professional service like Triangle Corporate Coach can arrange transportation and be flexible, which is crucial, as the total number of guests will remain uncertain until RSVPs arrive just a few weeks before the wedding.

Lewis also suggests including transportation information on your invitations and wedding website. Asking guests to sign up for transportation early can help provide clarity on how many people will take advantage of the options you offer.

“Pick a professional transportation company with a wedding specialist that can guide you through this process, and options available to you, through the inevitable changes in expected amount of ridership,” Lewis says.

The big day will run on a tight schedule, so avoiding delays associated with transportation is crucial. A trusted driver will have experience in the area and familiarity with your venue’s location and parking situation, as well as elements like traffic that may add time to the commute.

Hiring a professional transportation service is also the best way to ensure an optimal guest experience at your wedding. Your loved ones won’t have to worry about waiting for an Uber – which may not offer service at the location or time of your event – or navigating unfamiliar roads.

Lewis also points out that there are options to keep transporting dozens of guests eco-friendly. Instead of having everyone leave at once in multiple vehicles, use just one shuttle. Early risers can get back to the hotel while other guests enjoy the last few songs on the dance floor.

“Although you may not know exactly what your transportation needs are until late in the wedding planning process, it’s without a doubt one of the most critical wedding vendors you will need to plan and budget for,” Lewis says. “Professional transportation is most likely the very first wedding vendor your guests get to experience. Getting family and friends to your ceremony on time is by far the ultimate necessity to ensure the rest of your wedding timeline stays on course!”

312 heartofncweddings.com
Group Sales
Triangle Corporate Coach is a premier chauffeured ground transportation provider. Our mission is simple: We pride ourselves on taking the stress out of your driving and satisfying the customer’s overall experience when leveraging our services. 919-648-1048 | trianglecorporatecoach.com | info@trianglecorporatecoach.com | @trianglecorporatecoach Wedding Group Bus and Getaway Car Services
Java Rose Photography Bottom Row: Spann Man


Find a venue that matches your wedding needs. Visit heartofncweddings.com to use our wedding venue guide online.

Guest Room Accommodations

Seating Capacity

Cocktail-Style Reception Capacity Choice of Caterer

Catering Provided Outside Area

1705 East 984-212-4651 / Raleigh / page 87 No 225 350 No Yes Porch, lawn

21c Museum Hotel 919-956-6700 / Durham / page 13 Yes 150 175 No Yes None

All Saints Chapel 919-459-3212 / Raleigh / page 56 No 120 200 Yes No No

Amazing Graze Barn 919-495-5048 / Louisburg / page 63 Yes 200 175 Yes (fullservice) No Fire pit, lawn

Barn of Chapel Hill at Wild Flora Farm, The hello@barnofchapelhill.com Chapel Hill / page 38 No 200 250 Yes No Garden patio, covered porch, lawn, flower fields, gardens, fire pits

Barn on New River, The 704-798-3512 / West Jefferson / page 131 Yes 200 200 Yes No

Garden, pond, fire pit, barn, covered porch, stone cocktail area

Belt Line Station 919-530-8380 / Durham / page 80 No 100 inside 200 outside 175 Yes Yes Patio, open-air covered room

Board & Batten 336-793-1155 / Lexington / page 48 No 250 250 No Yes Rolling hills

Bradford, The 919-542-2467 / New Hill / page 102 Yes 225 300 Yes, from exclusive list No Terrace, front garden, back field

Cannon Room, The 984-212-4708 / Raleigh / page 86 No 110 125 Yes Yes None

Carolina Barn, The 910-495-9909 / Spring Lake / page 20 No 300 300 Yes No Mountain views, covered patios, terrace, lawn

Carolina Club, The 919-843-8188 / Chapel Hill / page 85 No 400 1,000 No Yes Terrace

Carolina Inn, The 919-918-2715 / Chapel Hill / page 5 Yes 350 650 No Yes Terrace, courtyards, lawns for tenting

Chandelier Wedding & Event Venue 919-533-8398 / Cary / page 39 Yes 155 200 No Yes Terrace, lawn games, courtyard

Chapel Hill Country Club 919-967-8201 / Chapel Hill / page 96 No 180 300 No Yes Golf porch, front porch

City Club Raleigh 919-834-8829 / Raleigh / page 55 No 150 in ballroom, 250 with club full buyout

300 in ballroom, 650 with club full buyout No Yes None

Cookery, The 919-908-8974 / Durham / page 66 No 330 500 Yes* No Private garden, courtyard

Cornealius Properties, The 919-920-8061 / Goldsboro / page 118 Yes 200 300 Yes No

Trails, natural areas, pond, farmland, woodland

Cotton Room, The 919-530-8380 / Durham / page 80 No 350 440 No Yes None

Cross + Main 984-212-8111 / Youngsville / page 86 No 200 225 No Yes None

Daniel’s Ridge at Broken Plow Farm 919-770-3041 / Sanford / page 72 No 200 250 Yes No Water overlook, porch, patio, fireplace



Find a venue that matches your wedding needs. Visit heartofncweddings.com to use our wedding venue guide online.

Guest Room Accommodations Seating Capacity Cocktail-Style Reception Capacity Choice of Caterer Catering Provided Outside Area

Distillery, The 919-391-8350 / Garner / page 46 No 242 242 Yes No Outdoor patio, green space

Donovan Manor Fuquay-Varina / page 62 No 250 inside, 250+ outside 450 No Yes Lawn, creek, railroad bridge, patio, fields, gardens, wetlands

Dram & Draught Durham, Greensboro, Raleigh / page 97 No 90 90 Yes No Rooftop at Raleigh location

Durham Hotel, The 919-768-8830 / Durham / page 35 Yes 100 150 No Yes Rooftop

Glass Box, The / 919-459-3212 Raleigh / page 57 No 30 45 Yes* exclusive list Yes Private outdoor balcony

Governors Club / 919-933-7500 Chapel Hill / inside front cover No 250 350 No Yes Terrace, lake views, driving range

Graylyn Estate 800-472-9596 / Winston-Salem / page 107 Yes 125 125 No Yes Garden, rear lawn, terrace

Grove at City Market, The 984-232-8661 / Raleigh / page 25 No 250 600 No Yes Patio, outdoor lounge

Heights House Hotel 919-594-1881 / Raleigh / page 16 Yes 149 149 Yes No Lawn, historic neighborhood

Hibiscus, The 919-727-9354 / Raleigh / page 63 No 375 500 Yes Yes No

Hill House Durham 919-682-0449 / Durham / page 109 No 56 indoor, 150 outdoor 150 Yes No Pergola, lawn, covered porch

Inner Banks Inn 757-289-4155 / Edenton / page 115 Yes 205 205 No Yes

Golf course, historic barn, courtyard, porch

Jiddi Space & Courtyard 919-592-7176 / Raleigh / page 49 No 120 140 No Yes Outdoor courtyard

La Résidence 919-967-2506 / Chapel Hill / page 47 No 150 200 No Yes Covered heated patio

Lavender Oaks Farm 919-909-7417 / Chapel Hill / page 18 Yes 250 250 Yes No Wedding gazebo, lavender fields, outdoor pavilion

Machaven, The 252-985-8858 / Rocky Mount / page 94 No 100 inside, 100+ outside 150 inside, 300+ outside Yes No Front lawn, south lawn

Market Hall 984-232-8661 / Raleigh / page 24 No 350 450 No Yes Awning, street closure

Matthews House, The 919-467-1944 / Cary / page 53 Yes 160 180 Yes Yes Terrace, garden, porch, courtyard

Maxwell, The 919-213-0059 / Raleigh / page 31 No 350 500 Yes No Open-air patio, lawn

Mayton, The 919-670-5000 / Cary / page 35 Yes 120 indoor, 80 outdoor 140 indoor, 120 outdoor No Yes Main terrace, north terrace

Maywood Hall & Garden 919-803-1333 / Raleigh / page 36 No 100 inside, 200 outside 200 Yes No Large private outdoor patio and garden

McAlister-Leftwich House 336-740-9503 / Greensboro / page 103 No 125 150 Yes (preferred caterer list) No Front Lawn

Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve, The 919-628-5012 / Raleigh / page 98 No 250 500 Yes No

Meadows, outdoor ceremony site, covered patio

heartofncweddings.com 315


Find a venue that matches your wedding needs. Visit heartofncweddings.com to use our wedding venue guide online.

Mill at Rock Creek, The 828-829-5800 / Boone / page 130 Yes 250 indoor, 280 outdoor 350 Yes No Open-air patio, gardens, mountain views

Museum of Life and Science 919-220-5429 / Durham / page 34 No 150 200 Yes No Tented lawn, treehouses, butterfly house garden

North Carolina Museum of Art 919- 839-6262 / Raleigh / page 11 No 150 200 No Yes Courtyard

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences 919-707-9845 / Raleigh / page 84 No 400 625 No Yes None

Oakland Farm 919-352-8247 / Bear Creek / page 50 Yes 300 400 Yes No Outdoor pavilion, forest, fields, patios

Oaks at Salem, The 919-387-4158 / Apex / page 59 No 300 300 Yes No Pond, fountain, courtyard

Old Edwards Inn 828-787-2610 / Highlands / page 124 Yes 220 275 No Yes Apple orchard

Oxford Oaks Farms Oxford / page 65 No 125 200 Yes No

Overlook Barn 828-414-1156 Beech Mountain / page 129 No 250 300 Yes No

Ceremony sites, three flower gardens, meadows, goat pastures, open-air pavilion

Ceremony platform, mountain view, meadows

Parizade 919-286-9712 / Durham / page 70 No 80 120 No Yes Courtyard garden, water feature

Parlour at Manns Chapel, The 919-823-6540 / Chapel Hill / page 108 No 100 100 Yes No Courtyard, patio, woodlands

Pit Durham Event Venue, The 919-282-3748 / Durham / page 69 No 150 300 No Yes Rooftop, street-level patio

Power House at Rocky Mount Mills, The 252-801-6528 / Rocky Mount Mills / page 51 No 280 400 No Yes Outdoor terraces, Tar River

Prestonwood Country Club 919-467-2566 / Cary / page 10 No 350 1000 No Yes Covered veranda

Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley 919-571-5345 / Raleigh / page 82 Yes 800 1000 No Yes Courtyard, terrace

Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel 919-571-8773 / Raleigh / page 81 Yes 350 400 No Yes Terrace

Rickhouse, The 984-244-7662 / Durham / page 67 No 200 200 Yes No Balcony

River Dunes 252-670-5987 / Oriental / page 122 Yes 100 inside, 200+ outside 150 No Yes

Marina, on-site chapel, waterfront views, lawns, natural areas, lake house, amphitheater, pool, fire pit areas

Riverfront Convention Center of Craven County 252-637-1551 / New Bern / page 113 No 900 1,000 Yes Yes Neuse River, patio, veranda, lawn

316 heartofncweddings.com
Guest Room Accommodations Seating Capacity Cocktail-Style Reception Capacity Choice of Caterer Catering Provided Outside Area


Find a venue that matches your wedding needs. Visit heartofncweddings.com to use our wedding venue guide online.

River Landing 910-285-1016 / Wallace / page 116 Yes 300 600 No Yes

Grounds with river lodge, pool, veranda

Rose Hill Estate 252-459-4058 / Nashville / page 2-3 No 325 425+ No Yes Gardens, gazebo, pool, lake, porches

Saint Mary's Chapel 919-424-4000 / Raleigh / page 30 No 250 250 No No Landscaped grounds

Serre Vineyard 336-525-9463 / Mount Airy / page 50 Yes 200 350 Yes No

Covered patio, outdoor bar fire pit, hiking trails, fields, vineyards, game area

Sheraton Chapel Hill Hotel 919-968-4900 / Chapel Hill / page 73 Yes 400 650 No Yes Outdoor terrace, pool

Sheraton Raleigh Hotel 919-834-9900 / Raleigh / page 69 Yes 300 600 No Yes None

Stockroom at 230, The 919-459-3212 / Raleigh / page 57 No 175 250 Yes (from exclusive list) Yes None

Summerfield Farms 336-643-2006 / Summerfield / page 58 Yes 300 300 Yes Yes

Rooftop terrace, garden, fire pit, reception tent, front porch, pond, natural areas

Trophy Brewing Co. / Young Hearts Distilling Co. 919-424-7817 / Raleigh / page 37 No 200 300 No Yes Rooftop patio

Tryon Palace 252-288-3820 / New Bern / page 117 No 250 inside, 400 outside 300 Yes No Gardens, lawns, courtyards, river views

Umstead Hotel and Spa, The 866-877-4141 / Cary / page 7 Yes 200 250 No Yes Lawn, terrace

Union Grove Farm 919-265-3420 / Chapel Hill / page 83 No 200 250 Yes No

Lawns, vineyard, garden, pond, gazebo, orchards

University Club 919-493-8099 / Durham / page 19 No 180 200 No Yes None

Upchurch, The 919-205-3036 / Apex / page 95 No 225 225+ No Yes

Lawn, covered porch, greenhouse, forest, covered terrace, pond

Vidrio 919-803-6033 / Raleigh / page 110 No 170 450 No Yes Open-air loft

Walnut Hill 919-295-6284 / Raleigh / page 107 Yes 200 225 Yes No Porch, lawns, patio, gardens

Westin Raleigh-Durham Airport, The 919-224-1400 / Raleigh / page 29 Yes 320 600 No Yes Rooftop, terrace

Whitaker & Atlantic 919-301-8587 / Raleigh / page 27 No 150 300 Yes Yes Covered patio

Willard Rooftop Lounge, The 919-803-5100 / Raleigh / page 17 Yes 112 250 No Yes Terraces

WinMock at Kinderton 336-397-2010 / Bermuda Run / page 108 No 275 275 Yes No Lawn, patio

heartofncweddings.com 317
Guest Room Accommodations Seating Capacity Cocktail-Style Reception Capacity Choice of Caterer Catering Provided Outside Area

2023 Directory of Wedding Resources


1705 East ........................................................ 87 21c Museum Hotel 13

All Saints Chapel ........................................... 56 Amazing Graze Barn 63 Barn of Chapel Hill at Wild Flora Farm, The ........................................................................... 38

Barn on New River, The 131 Belt Line Station ...........................................80 Bluewater Waterfront Grill ........................ 111 Board & Batten 48 Bradford, The ............................................... 102 Cannon Room, The ...................................... 86 Carolina Barn, The 20 Carolina Club, The ....................................... 85 Carolina Inn, The ............................................ 5 Chandelier Wedding & Event Venue 39 Chapel Hill Country Club ........................... 96 City Club Raleigh .......................................... 55 Cookery, The 66 Cornealius Properties, The ..................... 118 Cotton Room, The ........................................80 Cross + Main 86

Daniel's Ridge at Broken Plow Farm ....... 72 Distillery, The 46 Dram & Draught 97 Donovan Manor ............................................ 62 Durham Hotel, The 35 Glass Box, The .............................................. 57 Governors Club ................ inside front cover Graylyn Estate 107 Grove at City Market, The .......................... 25 Heights House Hotel ................................... 16 Hibiscus, The 63 Hill House Durham ..................................... 109 Inner Banks Inn ...........................................115 Jiddi Space & Courtyard 49 La Résidence ................................................. 47 Lavender Oaks Farm ................................... 18 Machaven, The 94 Market Hall .................................................... 24 Matthews House, The ................................. 53 Maxwell, The 31 Mayton, The ................................................... 35 Maywood Hall & Garden 36 McAlister-Leftwich House ....................... 103 Meadows at Firefly Farm Preserve, The .... 98 Mill at Rock Creek, The 130 Museum of Life and Science, The ............ 34 North Carolina Museum of Art ................... 11

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences ......................................................... 84 Oakland Farm 69 Oaks at Salem, The ...................................... 59 Oceanic at the Crystal Pier 111 Old Edwards Inn 124 Oxford Oaks Farm ........................................ 65 Overlook Barn 129 Parizade .......................................................... 70 Parlour at Manns Chapel, The ................ 108 Pit Durham Event Venue, The 69 Power House at Rocky Mount Mills ...........51

Prestonwood Country Club ....................... 10 Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley 82 Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel ... 81 Rickhouse, The ............................................. 67 River Dunes 122 Riverfront Convention Center of Craven County ...........................................................113 River Landing 116 Rose Hill Estate ......................................... 2-3

Saint Mary's Chapel .................................... 30 Serre Vineyards 50 Sheraton Chapel Hill Hotel ....................... 73 Sheraton Raleigh Hotel 50 Stockroom at 230, The 57 Sutherland, The ............................................71 Summerfield Farms 58 Taverna Agora ...............................................110 Tryon Palace ................................................. 117 Umstead Hotel and Spa, The 7 Union Grove Farm ......................................... 83 University Club .............................................. 19 Upchurch, The 95 Vidrio ............................................................ 110 Walnut Hill ................................................... 107 Westin Raleigh-Durham Airport, The 29 Whitaker & Atlantic ..................................... 27 Willard Rooftop Lounge, The .....................17 WinMock at Kinderton 108 Young Hearts Distilling Co. ........................ 37


Bardot, The ................................................... 174 Finn Plastic Surgery 175 Pinup Studio ................................................. 171 Reign Beauty ................................................ 154 Umstead Hotel and Spa, The 7



Bestow Baked Goods ................................ 301

Edible Art Bakery & Dessert Café 303

Mad Hatter's Café + Bakeshop, The ...... 299 S. Richardson Cakes 300


Beau Catering 277 Brewmasters Mobile ...................................311

Catering by Design .................................... 283

Catering Works 291

Empire Eats Catering ................................ 293 HL Catering Company ............................... 281

Locals Seafood 279 PoshNosh Catering ..................................... 287 Rocky Top Catering .................................... 289 Saladelia Café & Catering 295 Virginia & Co. .............................................. 285


Bernard’s Formalwear .............................. 155

Claire Roberts Style ...................................157

Gilded Bridal 160 Hushed Commotion .................................. 169

Kannon’s Clothing 171 Liles Clothing Studio 163

Thornbury Brides ....................................... 165

Vow'd Weddings 166-167 White of Raleigh .......................................... 153


Bloom Works ............................................... 268

Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary .......... 264 FauxReal Flowers 258 Joneswell Flowers ...................................... 264

KatieDid Florals .......................................... 267

Petal & Oak 259 Wild Flora Flowers ....................................... 38


Ashley Triggiano ......................................... 243

BeEverthine ................................................. 169

Ella Ink 248

Enlove Occasions ....................................... 245

If It's Paper 247

Small Batch Gallery + Goods .................. 249


Bailey’s Fine Jewelry ..................................... 1

Diamonds Direct .......................... back cover

Jewelsmith 158-159 Raleigh Diamond Fine Jewelry .................. 15

318 heartofncweddings.com


Ashley Triggiano


Aline Botti Photography 237

Ariel Kaitlin Photography 231

Axtells: Wedding Photography + Films, The 213

Barlow Boudoir

Danielle Flake Photography .................... 225

Fancy This Photography 215

Heba Salama Photography ..................... 221

Kivus & Camera

Left Shot Photography 224

Mark Maya Films & Photography ........... 236

Richard Barlow Photography .................. 220


DJ Ones .........................................................308

Hummingbird Harmonies . 308

Key Signature Entertainment .................304

Stylus S.E. 307

ZimZoom Photo Booth 309


Alpha-Lit Marquee Lighting .................... 269

American Party Rentals .............................271

Curated Events Raleigh 21

Petal & Oak ................................................. 259

Posh Picnic NC ............................................ 273 Revel NC 273


An Event Lady Production 206

ACE Weddings & Events............................. 188

Anthem House ............................................. 183

Bustled Events 207 C&D Events .................................................. 182

Dogwood Gatherings and Events............ 195

Jane Rose Events .......................................200

Lauren O & Co. 194

Sally Oakley Weddings & Events ........... 189

Socialite Events 201

Vision Events 124


Triangle Corporate Coach ........................ 313


Charleston Area CVB ........................... 120-121

Outer Banks Wedding Association ..........125

Person County Tourism Development

Authority ...................................................... 126 Visit Edenton ................................................114

Visit New Bern ...........320-inside back cover Visit Sanford ................................................ 127


Forever & Company.................................... 296

heartofncweddings.com 319
......................................... 243
.......................................... 218
.......................................... 230
ALL LOCAL! ALL FOR YOU! HAPPY PLANNING! WALK DOWN THE AISLE WITH US The dedicated resource guide for vetted vendors in North Carolina heartofncweddings.com

Your something old is your something new in New Bern. From canopies of Spanish moss to the gardens of a historic palace, we have wedding venues fit for every style or occasion.

A destination where waterfront scenery and charming streets unite, our storybook-town is the perfect setting to start your next chapter.

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.