North Carolina Wedding by Nancy Ray

At Southern Weddings, we have a special place in our hearts for couples who find wedding inspiration in the most meaningful places. A wonderful example? Nicole and Matthew--the beautiful bride and groom in today's wedding, photographed by Nancy Ray. With a preppy navy-and-yellow color palette as their guide, Nicole and Matthew filled their wedding with nods to their love story--they decorated with yellow roses in honor of Nicole's parents (they used yellow roses at their wedding too!), nicknamed signature cocktails after their alma maters, and even sliced into a cake that has been Nicole's favorite flavor since childhood.

Thank you so much to Nancy for sharing Nicole and Matthew's wedding day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mom and I did this part together--just the two of us. We went to Nitsa's in Winston-Salem, where I tried on a couple of dresses, and even fell in love with one, but I couldn't shake another dress that I had seen online out of my mind. When I showed the woman who had been helping us the dress online, she told me that if I came back in a couple of weeks, she could get the dress there for me to try on. I finally tried it on a few weeks later, and it was beautiful--the perfect blend of fairy-tale princess and classic beauty. When I put the veil on, both my mom and I cried. I don't think you really feel like a bride until you put on the veil!

Did you decide to do a "first look"? Why or why not? Matt and I didn't do a first look. We're both pretty traditional, and we wanted the "first look" to be when he saw me walking down the aisle on my dad's arm. The look on his face was so worth it. Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we didn't write our own vows. We had a traditional Catholic ceremony, in which the vows are beautiful and classic.

Describe your wedding flowers. I wanted as much yellow as possible. I told Amy Lynne Originals what my favorite flowers are--tulips and roses--and other than that, I told her to be as creative as she wanted to be. When I walked into the reception for the first time and saw the flowers, my heart was so happy. They were even more beautiful than I thought they'd be, and there was yellow everywhere!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite details were the speciality cocktails--the Demon Deacon and the Tar Heel--served up Southern-style in mason jars with yellow-striped straws. They brought in the love that we both feel for our alma maters, but they were also just super cute and fun. We got so many compliments on them!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had, hands down, the most delicious cake ever. We chose the Strawberry Buttercream cake from Maxi B's, and it was the perfect compliment to a summer day. Strawberries are special to my parents and I because they always joked that there was no child in the world who loved strawberries as much as I did. The lace design matched my dress, which was such a special touch, and a lovely navy bow created the preppy chic look that we were going for. We also did a s'mores bar, because no matter how old Matt and I get, s'mores will always be one of our favorite desserts!

How did y'all meet? Tell us your love story. I met Matt at my dear friend’s Disney-themed birthday party. We stayed up all night talking about everything. It was our senior year of college--I was at Carolina and Matt was at Wake Forest. We graduated a week or two after we met, but the connection we made that night eventually blossomed into a relationship. Tell us all about the proposal! At the time, I was in graduate school at Columbia in New York City, while Matt was living and working in Charlotte. On one of his weekend visits, he got down on one knee at Columbus Circle. He had arranged for a photographer to be there to capture it on film, and after he proposed, we made our way to Central Park for a photo shoot. People always ask me if I suspected it, and the truth is that on the morning of the proposal, my sweet husband was a hot mess. I knew something was up when he started sweating, popping Tums, and telling me I wasn’t dressed up enough. What can I say? He doesn’t do subtle very well. When did y'all get married? June 8, 2013 How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150 Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to "All Creatures of Our God and King," and it was a wonderful choice. It reminded us and everyone there that all joy comes from the Lord. There was no better way to start our day. Matt and I's first dance song was "Have I Told You Lately," and boy, did we work hard to make that dance happen! Let's just say that Matt and I are not naturals. We took dance lessons, and we were so excited that we pulled it off. The dip at the end will always be Matt's claim to fame! Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I "borrowed" yellow roses from my mom and dad's wedding. My parents have been married for more than 30 years, and when they got married, they had a very small ceremony at my grandmother's home. Our weddings were so different, but I still wanted part of their day in mine, because I hope Matt and I will have a marriage as strong in love and faith as theirs. Having yellow roses at our wedding made me feel connected to them in a special way. What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The reception site, especially the barn, the menu (fried pickles, pimiento cheese, and shrimp and grits--YUM!), classic monogrammed details, Vineyard Vines ties (with fish--my husband's favorite), and endless sweet tea. If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000 What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? It's so hard to choose just one. As Matt and I were planning the wedding, we really wanted a photographer who was going to capture "us"--who we are as people and our love for one another. Nancy Ray did just that. We will treasure her pictures forever--they are the only part of our day that we still have. What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The wedding ceremony itself was probably the most memorable part of our day. The priest at St. Leo's, Fr. Brian Cook, was lovely to work with, and he made Matt and I feel so special. His homily was beautiful and powerful, and we couldn't have asked for a more meaningful ceremony. What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Breathe. Relax. Enjoy the extra time you get to spend with your mom. Keep reminding yourself that there's nothing that can ruin the day that you're going to marry your best friend. Let other people take ownership of things and help you. Drink margaritas with friends who are also planning weddings and swap horror stories. Try not to cry too much--I promise that whatever you're crying about will seem silly to you in a couple of weeks. Go on dates with your fiancé--you only get to call him that for so long!

Vendors: Photographer: Nancy Ray / Planner and Event Designer: Leigh Pearce Weddings / Ceremony Venue: St. Leo the Great Catholic Church / Reception Venue: Brookberry Farm Clubhouse / Florist: Amy Lynne Originals / Cake Baker: Maxi B's / Catering: Painted Plate / Band: The Dickens / Bride's Gown: Amsale / Bridal Salon: Nitsa's / Bride's Veil: Nitsa's / Hair and Makeup: Carla White / Bridesmaid Dresses: Lela Rose / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaid / Men's Attire: Jos. A. Bank

Nancy Ray, Leigh Pearce Weddings, Amy Lynne Originals, and Carla White are delightful members of the Southern Weddings Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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