Where all my fall 2016 brides and grooms at? Believe me when I say that you’re going to want to steal ideas from today’s featured wedding. Ben and Marie were married on a sunny September day surrounded by sunflowers, burgundy lace, and and a little white church. In true Southern belle style, Marie wore family heirloom jewelry and her mother’s veil, and the couple designed their reception to feel like a family reunion. Of course, they served up Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue and all the fixins. It was autumn wedding perfection! Enjoy these gorgeous photos, courtesy of DiPrima Photography.
From the bride: We first met at a Christmas party given by mutual friends in 2012. There was a white elephant gift exchange, and we were the only two to agree on the rules to follow! Ben wanted to ask me out right away, but knew he was going to be out of town for the holidays. Instead, he requested the same friends throw another party at the next possible event – which turned out to be the Super Bowl – so that we could meet again. Ben asked me out for a glass of wine, and I said, “That could be fun!” We got engaged on December 19, 2014: two years exactly from the Christmas party when we first met.
I’ve loved sunflowers for years; so much so, that every time Ben buys me flowers, he always makes sure there’s at least one sunflower bloom. Sunflowers were actually the first decision I made about the wedding! I remembered that, for my cousin’s wedding, my uncle grew hundreds of sunflowers for her. At the time, he promised if I ever needed a field of sunflowers to let him know – and he was able to come through for me with flying colors! All the sunflowers were grown on his farm in the eastern part of NC and transported to Chapel Hill and Burlington by my parents.
Our ceremony was at Orange United Methodist, the church we both have been attending since prior to meeting each other. It was mutual friends though church who brought us together, and the church has remained an important part of our relationship!
My necklace was borrowed from my mom and was the engagement gift from my great-grandfather to my great-grandmother. I wore a bracelet borrowed from Ben’s mom and a ring that was Ben’s grandmother’s.
We really wanted to make sure the ceremony was a meaningful part of our wedding day, not just an event to happen on the way to the reception. Ben and I both spent a lot of time talking about what was important to us in a wedding ceremony and made sure to incorporate those elements. We had two pastors officiate: the minister of our church and a retired minister from my childhood (who, incidentally, went to seminary together!). We searched for verses that we liked and decided on Colossians 3:12-17 as the cornerstone of our marriage.
Music selection took us a long time (final decisions weren’t made until the week prior!), but each song was chosen very specifically. “You Raise Me Up” was one of my favorite selections for the entrance of our mothers and grandmothers. We were lucky enough to have a very accomplished pianist friend in charge of our music!
One of the most meaningful parts of the service, for me, was our incorporation of the unity candle. We wanted to make it an important part of our service, and so we had our parents each light their family candles just prior to us lighting the unity candle together. They each lit their candles from a memory candle, which had written on it the names of each of the grandparents we have lost. This was especially important to me, after losing my grandfather only three months before. It was a meaningful way for us to ensure our grandparents could still hold an important place in our marriage.
The stone in my engagement ring is from Ben’s grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s engagement rings. It is incredibly special to us, and he worked very hard to pick the right setting for it.
In searching for a reception venue, we were hoping to find a location that would give off feelings of a family reunion. We were both so excited to have all our friends and family in one place and wanted to make sure everyone would be able to relax together. As soon as we saw Starlight Meadow, we knew it was the place for us!
Catering and cake were an adventure for us! My own mom is such a good cook, and I couldn’t help but compare everything we tasted to her home-cooked goodness. After a couple months of searching for caterers, we ended up deciding on the person we did our very first tasting with: Above and Beyond Catering out of High Point. They were extraordinarily professional and courteous through the whole process, and that went a long way towards our decision. And the food was fantastic too: NC barbecue, roasted chicken, summer veggies, mac-and-cheese, and baked potato salad. I wish I could request the same menu again!
After going to at least six cake tastings, Delicious (in Greensboro) stood out to us as, hands down, the best cake we tasted. We did layers of both yellow cake with fudge filling and white cake with raspberry jam and lemon cream. Both were incredible! Delicious is going to be our go-to bakery in Greensboro from now on!
Are y’all swooning over that last sunset photo like I am?? Congrats, Ben and Marie!
Photography: DiPrima Photography; second shooter Sammi Evans Photography
Rings: Diamonds Direct
Bride’s dress: Mori Lee from Carolina Bridal World
Bride’s veil: Mother of the bride
Bride’s shoes: Aerosoles
Bride’s jewelry: Family heirlooms, 1928
Hair/makeup: Julianna Knox
Bridesmaid dresses: Simply Liliana from JCPenney
Groom and Groomsmen attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Ceremony Venue: Orange United Methodist Church
Officiant: Revs. Ken Hall and Jim Bailey
Floral design: sunflowers grown by bride’s uncle, reception flowers by bride’s family and friends, bouquets/boutonnieres by Designs by Mike
Reception Venue: Starlight Meadow
Catering: Above and Beyond Catering
Cake: Delicious Cakes
Linens: Above and Beyond Catering, Starlight Meadow
DJ/Singer: Gary Mitchell
Sunflower seed packet favors: Earthly Goods