Today’s sweet wedding took place in the small town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina where Sarah and Taylor first met during their college years. Their joyful day was filled with such beautiful personal details, from the bride’s veil that was made using lace from her mother’s wedding dress, the most charming church, and fun DIY succulent favors (a favorite of the bride!). Her advice is to love each other well and have fun often, and we couldn’t agree more.
Photography by Emily March.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? Yes! Something old: My mom’s lace from her wedding dress became the trim of my veil that she sewed for me! Something new: My dress. Something borrowed: my grandmother’s handkerchief that wrapped my bouquet (my mom used it in my parents wedding too). Something blue: my garter that my sister made me (Carolina blue, of course). Our ceremony was very traditional with a unity candle, scripture, and traditional vows.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Enjoy the ride. Planning can be stressful at times and it’s so easy to want to just jump ahead to the wedding day. However, if you are always looking towards the next step, you miss the journey. Soak up every moment of the wedding weekend because the big day comes and goes so unbelievably fast and all you have left are the memories. Make sure you take a minute (or several) to just observe and take it all in.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? I love that Taylor and I had the opportunity to sneak handwritten notes to each other and pray together prior to the ceremony. Although we didn’t physically see each other, it was so special to have that time to ground ourselves before the most important event of our lives. Love each other well, have fun together, laugh with each other, and serve one another. Those are the things that matter most.
“We met in Chapel Hill while studying at UNC and we truly love everything about this sweet college town. It is where we started our relationship as well as so many other lifelong friendships. We decided to get married in Chapel Hill because of its undeniable beauty, the many special times we’ve shared there, as well as it being a convenient location for both of our families. Because of our faith (and my dream since being a little girl), we wanted to get married in a church. We loved the simple, quaint beauty of Orange United Methodist Church, which made it a perfect fit for the overall feel of our wedding day.”
Your ceremony in three words. Only three words?! Joyful, fulfilling, loving.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? My mom and I did the majority of the planning, although we had venue-specific wedding coordinators at both Orange United Methodist Church and Fearrington who were both wonderful. After we got engaged, we started the planning with the things that I definitely wanted to be a part of the wedding — a band (dancing was a MUST), the Fearrington Barn, and the church. From there, we filled in all of the details with items that I was less particular about or more willing to compromise on, depending on what the budget allowed. The wedding coordinators at Orange United Methodist Church and Fearrington were super helpful with coordinating the many intricate details within the ceremony and reception that I would have never even thought of!
What was your ceremony music?
Seating of the grandparents and mothers: “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven
Procession of the wedding party: “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Bach
Procession of the bride: “Canon in D” by Pachelbel
Lighting of the Unity Candle: “Be Thou My Vision” sung by Madison Sasser, a bridesmaid, and Dan Silva, a groomsman.
Recessional: “Wedding March” by Mendelssohn
Who officiated your ceremony? Reverend Ken Hall at Orange United Methodist Church officiated our ceremony. The church welcomed us with open arms and Dr. Hall did a wonderful job!
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? Within our ceremony, we had a scripture reading and a duet (“Be Thou My Vision”). The duet was sung by one of my bridesmaids and one of Taylor’s groomsmen, which was performed while Taylor and I lit the Unity Candle.
What were your ceremony readings? Colossians 3:12-17
What were your vows like? We used traditional wedding vows because they are so classic and timeless!
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? My favorite thing about the ceremony was that it was so personal and filled with such love and joy. Just to name a few special memories: the duet that two of our best friends performed of “Be Thou My Vision” that brought us to tears, the meaningful scripture that was read by a dear friend and mentor, the chance to wear the beautiful veil that my mom enhanced with the lace from her wedding dress, and most importantly, seeing Taylor at the end of the aisle. These were definitely some of my favorite things from the ceremony.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? One of Taylor’s friends from college made the wedding party’s bowties/neckties (from Blake Ashland). They were fabulous. Am I right or am I right? It was so special to have incorporated many of our friends’ incredible talents into our wedding day!
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? The best advice I can give is to pick a few things that you have your heart set on and you are not willing to compromise on (within reason). After you have those few things decided on (for me, it was the band and the reception venue), be flexible with the rest. It will all work out and you probably won’t remember all of the little details anyway!
“Growing up, my parents would sometimes escape for the weekend to The Fearrington Inn. In my imagination, it was a wonderful, magical place, full of romance and fun — which actually turns out to be true! Fast forward many years, my senior sorority formal was located in the Fearrington Barn. I remember walking into the beautiful yet simple barn and texting my mom that I wanted my wedding reception to be there one day. My mind was made up from that moment!”
How would you describe your reception? It was so fun! It was the joining of friends and family in celebration of our marriage! Also, it was full of yummy food, thoughtful toasts (especially the rap written and performed by my sister), and most importantly, lots and lots of dancing! I wish we could do it all over again every single day.
Did you have a signature cocktail? We did not having a signature cocktail. During the cocktail hour, we had mixed drinks, beer, and wine available. However, once the reception started, we only served beer and wine.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? When planning the wedding, there wasn’t necessarily one thing that inspired me. All of the details seemed to effortlessly come together for a rustic feel, without us even planning for that initially. Since my mom and I share a fondness for succulents and their uniqueness, we decided on having them as wedding favors. From there, we began subtly incorporating the cute little guys other places as well — my bouquet, the groomsman’s boutonniere, the cake, table settings, etc. I think that little detail solidified the overall feel of the wedding. Additionally, the floral arrangements on the tables were comprised of mismatched antique bottles (many of them old medicine bottles), which was special to me being that I’m a pharmacist.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? My mom is wonderful and made so much for us on our wedding day. Just to name a few: beautiful tulle and baby’s breath pew markers that signified reserved seating at the church, baby’s breath wreaths that hung on the church doors, and most special to me, she enhanced my veil that incorporated beautiful lace from her dress as the trim. My sister made my cute little garters.
What was your wedding menu? Cocktail hour appetizers: Grilled Cheddar Cheese Sandwich with Tomato Chutney / Crab Cake with Tartare Sauce / Smoked Pork Tenderloin with Apple Remoulade and Honey Mustard Sauce // Stations: Rosemary Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Sauce and Mustard, Potato and Parmesan Gratin, Ciabatta Bread, Garlic Buttered Broccolini, and Ceasar Salad / Seafood Station: Seared Salmon with Spinach, Creamed Leeks and Lentils, Crab Dip with Crostini and Flatbread, Sesame Seared Tuna with Bok Choi and Pickled Ginger Mayo, Shrimp Cocktail, Cold Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese, Bagel Chips & Capers, Rock Shrimp, and Delmonico Potatoes / Taste of the South Station: Braised Short Rib with Sherry BBQ and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, Shrimp and Grits with Andouille, Peppers and Orange Sauce, Truffled Mac ‘n Cheese, Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Cornbread, Chicken Salad, and Brisket Hoppin’ John
Catering by Fearrington.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had a three-tiered formal wedding cake and a groom’s cake that was decorated to look like the groomsmen’s attire – down to the bowtie pattern and everything! It was super cute. The flavors were: spice cake with cream cheese filling, lemon cake with raspberry jam and cream cheese filling, marble cake with raspberry jam and chocolate ganache, and almond cake with raspberry jam and cream cheese filling – all topped with buttercream frosting!
Cake by Fearrington.
What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance?
First dance song: “With This Ring” by the Platters
Father/daughter dance: “My Girl” by the Temptations
Mother/son dance: “How Sweet it Is” by James Taylor
Reception Music by Fantasy Band.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? My favorite moment of the reception was sharing the first dance with Taylor. We have always loved dancing together and it was such a special moment to do what we love doing, but surrounded by all of our family and friends!
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. Gosh, there were lots! To name a few: my dad opening the reception with a wonderful welcome and blessing, my sister (who was my maid of honor) rewrote the words to “The Good Life” by Kanye West and rapped her toast, wonderful music by Fantasy Band (mostly beach music, to be exact), and lots and lots of dancing. Taylor and I even got pulled on up stage by the band to shake our groove thing. Other special details included our Polaroid guest book to capture all of our guests beautiful faces, little emergency care kits located in the bathroom for anything our guests could possibly need (thanks, mom!), the super cute grooms cake, and the succulent wedding favors.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Nothing at all. It was the best day ever.