Real NC Wedding : Jennifer & Ben’s at Charming Chapel Hill Wedding
Two months before the wedding, Dale lost her beloved father and returned to Liberia to pay her respects. Though she had begun planning the wedding, the preparations had to continue in her absence, and she did not know the final details until the day of her wedding.
The Wedding of Dale and Boris represented a bittersweet time that signaled both loss and renewal.
Before she left, Dale chose a color palette of peacock, sunrise and caramel, and when she returned, she was delighted to be shown an event design that incorporated those colors into a vibrant design scheme. Candles twinkled against a backdrop of deep browns and creams, and arrangements of hydrangeas and calla lilies created a warm and inviting atmosphere.
How did you and your fiancé meet and begin dating, and how did you become engaged?
Ben and I met as UNC-CH students in the summer of 2005. While there was an instant connection and bond, we remained friends for one year. At long last, I asked Ben to be my date for a Kappa Delta sorority event. From there, we quickly became inseparable. As of moment one, I knew that Ben was someone she could depend on and trust. Ben says he was attracted to my passion for life and joyful spirit.
After four years of post-graduate, long-distance dating, Ben and I grew accustomed to flying back and forth to visit one another. So accustomed in fact, that Ben caught me completely off guard by proposing during a routine visit to Houston in July 2010. Ben detoured off course on the way home from dinner to a small pond outside his family’s home. He then dropped to one knee and popped the question. I enthusiastically said- YES! We sat in the same spot for at least an hour, savoring each and every moment. The most memorable part of that weekend was the outpouring of support and well wishes from family and friends. We felt so truly loved. Ben and I are best friends and continue to grow together each day.
Tell us a little about your planning experience – how did you choose your venue/theme/vendors?
For us, wedding planning was always fun, because we picked an all-star team of people we genuinely liked. The best decision we made was hiring Kelly Odom of Kelly Odom Flowers and Interiors. Kelly truly listened to our hopes for transforming the reception space and made them a reality. The bones of our large reception hall were breathtaking (read – dramatic, high ceilings with stunning artwork covering the each of walls). The layout was ideal for a party, but the décor was dated. Kelly and his team created stunning floral fixtures that were instrumental in transforming the space and giving the room an fresh and inviting, warm quality. He also created the most incredible hand-tied bouquet for me with white peonies, orchids and hydrangeas. Each flower looked as though it could have been picked right outside. When it came time to remove my veil for the reception (I wore my mother’s wedding veil) – I placed a comb of Kelly’s phaleonopsis orchids in my hair!
Also, Neil Boyd of Neil Boyd Photography. Neil shot my bridal portrait, our wedding ceremony and reception. Neil has a genuine talent for combining elements of photojournalism and fashion. I want to frame each and every image that he captured of our wedding day! Each photo conveys a touching emotion and is truly worthy of the spotlight. We were blown away with Neil’s ability to weave the threads of seemingly separate moments into one story. In the end, the friends and family who were unable to travel to our wedding were able to relive our special day – Neil’s work truly captured the charge of each and every special moment.
“Live Wedding Painter” Tesh Parek sketched and painted our wedding ceremony with unbelievable, vivid detail. (Tesh sketched the altar scene during our ceremony; and then painted onto the sketch next to the dance floor during our reception). Our guests enjoyed stopping by his painting station throughout the evening. The added entertainment value is something the attendees will not soon forget! Plus, we left the wedding reception with an already-framed, watercolor portrayal of our wedding ceremony. Tesh offers a unique service and can paint in both watercolor and oil.
What were your wedding colors and theme? How did you make it personal?
The inspiration for our wedding style and color palette came from photographs of family weddings gone by. Weddings of our parents – and even grandparents! What spoke to us were timeless, sleek details. Decades later, clean lines and pared-down basics are still thoroughly beautiful. Our wedding color palette was built off of steel grey Monique Luhllier bridesmaid dresses, paired with classic black and white tuxedos. Floral arrangements were to be comprised entirely of natural whites and greens – with peonies, orchids, hydrangeas, and garden roses. Once the color palette was determined, everything else followed suit and fell easily into place.
The family photographs that inspired so much of our planning were prominently displayed for all guests to see. I wore my mother’s veil and carried Ben’s grandmothers handkerchief with my bridal bouquet. We even exchanged vows over the family Bible which I had read from as a child. For the reception dinner, the Carolina Club used local ingredients to prepare family recipes. Our signature cocktail was a hit – the Champagne Julep perfectly complimented the southern Chapel Hill setting and bright April day. Ben and I were married on the sixth anniversary of our first date!
Our wedding day was as thrilling and surreal as I ever imagined. There has never been a time when we were surrounded by all of our favorite people in one place. Wedding planning was always fun, never stressful because we stayed true to our aesthetic. When in doubt, we always returned to the romance of the clean lines and simple details that we originally envisioned. For us, the classic elegance that we originally set out for ruled the day – every time. If it did not take our breath away – we did incorporate it into our wedding plans. We love the beauty of an “updated” tradition, pure and simple. We also stayed inspired by each other’s ideas! Our motivation for creating the perfect day was for each other. We never lost sight of that.
Did you use Weddings Magazine for your planning and vendor selection?
Yes! Each issue of Weddings Magazine in North Carolina (and we read EVERY one) is full of insider advice and real-world, North Carolina weddings that we loved. We worked exclusively with local Chapel Hill vendors – many of whom are affiliated with the magazine. (See the many examples in the vendor list above . Your party ideas, vendor recommendations and photo galleries were endless sources of inspiration! My family tree display and guest book were inspired directly from an online real wedding called “Megan and Rob’s Romatic Raleigh Wedding.” I did all of my wedding gown research using the beautifully-selected photos from your publication. Weddings Magazine in North Carolina is really is the ultimate local wedding guide. Thank you for compiling such beautiful inspiration and for making your images easy for to browse and identify with (from a self-admitted Pinterest addict).
Reception Location: Carolina Alumni Club
Rehearsal Dinner Location: The Great Room at the Top of the Hill
Planner: Angie Wright, Chic Details Weddings and Events
Photographer: Neil Boyd Photography
Videographer:Heart Stone Films
Florist: Kelly Odom Flowers
Wedding Cake: Sugarland Bakery
Wedding Stationary/Invitations: Salutations of Chapel HIll
Ceremony Musicians: Arioso Strings Quartet
Reception Entertainment: Atlanta Rhythm + Groove
Party Rentals: CE Rentals of Raleigh
Wedding Guest Accommodations: The Carolina Inn and the Franklin Hotel
Hair and Makeup: Bella Trio Salon
Bridal Fashion: Monique Lhuillier, Badgley Mischka and David Yurman
Bridesmaids Fashion: Monique Lhuillier and BaubleBar
Groomsmen’s Fashion: Julian’s of Chapel Hill