This Modern-Day 'Father of the Bride' Wedding was a True Family Affair
When Tori's father purchased Bellewood Estate almost 25 years ago, he already had his little girl’s wedding in mind. A big Father of the Bride fan (they even hosted a watch party on Tori’s wedding day), he knew this historic 1760’s estate in North Carolina would make the perfect, personal backdrop for his daughter’s Big Day. Boy, was he right.
The Bride and Groom
Tori and Phil met on a camping trip while waiting out a thunderstorm with friends. Coincidentally, a similar storm blew through the week of their wedding, wrecking havoc on the reception site and causing around-the-clock lawn work to whip the backyard back into wedding shape. Guests wouldn't have believed that the plush and fresh sod they walked on that evening was eight inches of mud just two days before.
There’s No Place Like Home
Tori’s childhood home and its grounds were decked out in effortlessly elegant details. Though it was a large affair, the 275-person celebration felt personal and intimate with her family home framing the ceremony space.
Elegant Backyard Ambience
“It was really important to us that the guests have a great time,” says Tori. “I’m big on having the right ambience, and I knew I wanted that to be a major focus.”
With her family’s horses overlooking a stunning, warm yet formal set up, we’d say she achieved her goal.
The couple’s crisp, white wedding invitations combined formal and relaxed fonts to set the tone Tori envisioned for her Big Day. “I wanted our wedding to feel fancy yet totally friendly and approachable,” says Tori.
Fairy Tale Fit and Flare
Tori says she knew this Vera Wang stunner was the one when it “made my figure look great even after a huge lunch” while she was dress shopping in New York City.
Gorgeous Garden-Style Florals
Full of garden roses and scabosia with pops of deep eggplant ranunculus, Tori’s bouquet fit perfectly into her formal, yet relaxed backyard vibe. She included her grandmother’s rosary beads wrapped around her bouquet for a special family touch.
Simply Stunning Ceremony Space
Nearly all white with a touch of cascading greenery, the couple’s ceremony space was edged with lush bushes and white picket fences and fit seamlessly on the front lawn.
A Purposeful Pause
“When I was walking out of my front door with my dad, he held my arm and made me pause for a second before descending the stairs,” says Tori. “It was such a short moment, but it was so sweet. We just looked at each other and took in all the guests seated there ready to celebrate with us. He really made me appreciate the moment I was in rather than rush through it.”
Ordained for the Occasion
In true family-affair style, Phil’s cousin was ordained just for the wedding. “We wanted it to be some really close to us,” says Tori, “and he knocked it out of the park.”
Cigar and Bourbon Bar
To help calm her nerves, Tori channeled her inner interior designer to DIY a beautiful cigar and bourbon bar for the veranda.
Creating the Perfect Space to Celebrate
The couple tented Tori’s family lawn to create a space to dine and celebrate. Complete with a black and white dance floor and large chandelier, it’s easy to forget the fairytale setting is just behind Tori’s childhood home.
Deep Pops of Color
Classic white tablecloths allowed the couple’s eggplant, blush, white, and green floral tones to pop in their low, lush centerpieces.
Formal Place Settings and First-Class Fare
Formal china with mixed patterns greeted guests for a dinner planned to perfection. “We went full force with food and beverages,” says Tori. “We love a good meal so it was important to us to avoid serving standard ‘wedding dishes.’” Guests enjoyed everything from chicken and waffles with jalapeno pimento cheese to hoison glazed pork belly on wontons with apple slaw.
Nearly-Naked and Completely Delicious
Tori embraced the stylish, nearly-naked wedding cake trend, bringing a relaxed yet polished piece of edible artwork to the dessert table.
Sent Off With a Bang
“My brother rigged together a professional level display, and we set them off totally illegally,” confesses Tori. “It was a true nod to our Southern wildling roots and a perfect end to an epic evening.”
Cheers to the vendor team that brought Tori and Phil's Big Day to life:
Planning + Design: Erin McLean Events
Gown: Vera Wang
Hair: Michelle Tucker
Makeup: Allie Daniel
Flowers/Florist: Tre Bella
Paper: Wiregrass Weddings
Place Cards, Signage: Well Addressed Calligraphy
Catering: Rocky Top Catering
Cake: Ashley Cakes
Lighting: Get Lit Special Event Lighting
Favors: Rise Biscuits and Doughnuts
Photographer: Michelle Lyerly Photography