The Belmont Estate Wedding {Sarah + Cedric} | Charlotte, NC Wedding Planner

This wedding will undoubtedly steal your heart like it did mine. Sarah and Cedric have a romance that has spanned the globe and we really took that idea to heart when planning the details of their big day. These two started their love story in France — Sarah was teaching for the summer before heading back to the States and met a sweet Frenchmen <<enter Cedric>>. Their romance blossomed and many travels and international moves later they were engaged and ready to plan a proper Southern wedding in Sarah’s home state of North Carolina. Sarah and Cedric selected the antebelleum style Belmont Estate in Reidsville, NC as the backdrop for their big day and we quickly got to work planning their big day!

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Sarah wanted to embrace the fall setting with a color palette of deep wine red, metallic gold, blush, and cream. The Farmer’s Wife created beautiful floral designs that really helped drive our color vision and balance the elegance of the estate with the natural, organic feel Sarah loves in flowers.

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A first look is one of my favorite moments of the wedding day, but is not always the right fit for every couple. Sarah and Cedric choose to do a first touch so they could say hello and calm some nerves without taking away from the first time they would see each other at the ceremony. So sweet!

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We decided to forgo the traditional flower girl and ring bearer roles and opted for flag bearers instead. Sarah’s adorable niece and nephew were the perfect duo for the job!

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The grand front steps to Belmont are the perfect setting for a wedding ceremony. It was very important to Sarah and Cedric that their ceremony be as bilingual as possible so their mix of guests from the States and France could all understand and appreciate every word. Readings were said in both languages and the minister read their vows to them in English while Sarah and Cedric repeated them in French. It was so personal and touching.

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Southern elegance at it’s finest!

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I still swoon for this adorable amour cake topper! It was the perfect accent to the delicately iced cake. For our table design, we went for a balance of classic elegance and understated fall touches. The natural floral designs and warm pops of wine in the napkins and blooms were the perfect accent!

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You cannot have a travel inspired wedding and not incorporate a globe or map! I translated their wanderlust into a glove for a guest book and this beautiful map with mini flag escort cards to guide guests to their seats. The map was my gift to Sarah and Cedric and now hangs in their apartment as a reminder to their wedding day.

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Sarah and Cedric’s love for travel and their worldwide romance really drove our design for the day from the Love Knows No Borders cocktail napkins (with gold foil!) to their gold metallic Madame and Monsieur chair signs to their Oui koozies.

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The best part of the night was by far the send off. We offered guests a mix of French and American flags to wave as Sarah and Cedric departed for their honeymoon. While we were finalizing the last few details before sending the newlyweds through a tunnel of their nearest and dearest, the guests began an impromptu sing along of the French national anthem followed by The Star Spangled Banner. It was so fun and sweet and definitely one of my top ten wedding memories.

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Sarah and Cedric, thank you for sharing your day with the LPW team and I! So glad to call you both as well as your families life long friends. XOXO

Featured on Style Me Pretty | Planning + Event Design: Leigh Pearce Weddings | Photography: Boonetown Story | Venue + Catering: The Belmont Estate | Floral Design: The Farmers Wife | Rentals: Partymakers | DJ: Complete Music | Bridal gown: Justin Alexander | Bridesmaid Dresses: Bill Levkoff | Cake: Delicious Bakery | Hair + Makeup: Carla White

Featured on Style Me Pretty | North Carolina Destination Wedding Planner

It is always such a treat to relive our clients’ events on our favorite blogs! Sarah and Cedric were featured on Style Me Pretty this week — hop over to see all their travel inspired details. Our full recap coming soon!!

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Catering Options – Dinner Styles | Greensboro North Carolina Wedding Planner

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Anna Paschal Photography

One of my favorite pieces of the wedding planning puzzle is working with my clients and their caterer to create a personalized menu.  Before we dive head first into menu planning, place settings, and the tasting, we must decide what type of food service will work best for the event.  There are so many different options available to give your guests a great culinary experience.  Here’s the skinny on the most popular options:

Plated: A plated dinner means that all guests are seated and servers bring out individual plates to each guest during each course.  Plated dinners add a sense of formality to an event.  They are a great option if you want the look of a full place setting.  With a plated dinner, assigned tables and seats are required if guests had an entree choice.

Family Style:  Family style meals are some of my absolute favorite.   Guests are seated and servers bring out large platters of food for guests to pass around their table like a family dinner.  This is a great way to break the ice with other guests at the table because you have to communicate.  What’s a better ice breaker than, “Can you pass the green beans?”

Buffet:  A buffet is a display of food in a public area where guests get up from their seats to serve themselves.  Great caterers know how to make a buffet look and taste amazing by utilizing interesting display pieces.

Food Stations: Food stations are separate displays of food.  Guests move around the space with small plates and pick and choose what they want to eat.  Stations can be chef attended (like a carving station), action (chefs cooking small batches on the spot), or self serve.  Each station can offer pieces of a full meal (one protein, one starch, one vegetable) or they can make up pieces to a whole meal that don’t have a typical “dinner” feel.  For example, you can have a mac and cheese station with multiple toppings, a carving station with assorted breads, and a salad and vegetables station.

Don’t forget about cocktail hour!  This is the first glance your guests get at your menu.  I recommend offering passed hors d’oeuvres during this time and the possibilities are endless.  In addition to your passed options, you can offer a cocktail hour only station that can range from a simple fruit and cheese display to an action station.  No matter what you serve or how you serve it, get creative!

Picking Wedding Vendors Is Like Dating | North Carolina Wedding Planner

 

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Alexa’s Photography

When you first meet with your potential wedding vendors and creative partners, it is very similar to going on a first date. I know it sounds silly, but it’s true! I checked out EHarmony’s 5 Telltale Signs of Great First Dates, and it’s surprising how well they apply to your first fall-in-love vendor meetings.

Positive Anticipation: You know those little butterflies you feel before a first date? The thoughts of what might happen, what you should wear, and the hope that you two hit it off? All of these should be present before your first meeting with a potential wedding vendor. You may have chatted on the phone a few times and gotten a little bit of information about your vendor, but that first meeting is when everything comes together; it’s absolutely normal to feel a little nervous! Remember: just like a first date, your first vendor meeting is a time to feel each other out and get some more information. It doesn’t have to lead to a commitment – it’s all about finding that chemistry.

Relative Ease: Just like a first date, the initial minutes of the first meeting with your vendor might be a little awkward. Icebreaker conversations about shared acquaintances are completely normal, but as your meeting goes on, you should become more comfortable and relaxed. Meeting with a vendor should be enjoyable whether the two of you are chatting over coffee or sitting in an office. If you feel relaxed and at ease with the vendor by the end of your meeting, you may want to take the next step in your relationship.

Mutual Curiosity: When chemistry is present on a date or in a vendor meeting, both parties should be curious about the other. First dates are a time to discover information about the other person, tell stories, and ask questions and this is no different from a first meeting with a vendor. You should be chatting it up and getting to know one another. Pay attention to how they conduct the meeting and their attitudes and opinions – if their style jives with yours, they me be the vendor of your dreams.

Great Endings: Being reluctant to end a first date is a good sign, and the same can be said for a first meeting with a vendor. At the end of your meeting, you should feel excited and happy – but you may want to skip that goodnight kiss (ha!). If you’ve found the vendor for you, you should be eager to start the planning process with him or her.

Even Greater Follow-Up: Commitments don’t have to be made on a first date, and they don’t have to be made during a first vendor meeting either. If you had a great consultation with your vendor, or even if it turned sour, follow-up is crucial. Make sure to call or send an e-mail in a timely manner thanking them for taking the time to meet with you, and if you think he or she is the one for you, be sure to let them know. It’s a good idea to set up another meeting, or at least make it clear that you’d love to work with the vendor to make your big day as fabulous as possible.

If you keep these 5 great tips in mind as you pick your wedding vendors, you may just find that your next great relationship is only a meeting away!

Snapchat Wedding Geofilters | North Carolina Wedding Planner

I am always on the lookout for the latest and greatest trends for our LPW clientele. Social media is ever changing and while the Instagram wedding hashtag is not going anywhere for a while, Snapchat is becoming a more and more popular medium for sharing your wedding day.

Recently Snapchat rolled out their On Demand Geofilters feature where you can create and submit a custom filter for your event. The fees vary and are mostly based on the size of the area you want your filter to be available to (i.e. just your venue or your entire city) and the length of time available. You can use a template from Snapchat to create your filter or upload a custom one you designed.

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If you are addicted to Snapchat like I am, this fun new feature will be such  a great addition to your customized event! Approval for your filter only takes one business day so you still have plenty of time to add this to your final wedding to do list!

7 Tips for Finding Your Perfect Wedding Gown | Winston Salem Wedding Planner

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McCardell Photography

Other than finding your soul mate, selecting your wedding dress can be one of the biggest obstacles on your way to the perfect day. There are a million styles, cuts, fabrics, price points … the list goes on and on. So, before stepping into the bridal salon or applying to be on “Say Yes to the Dress,” read up on my top 7 tips for find your dream dress:

1. Know exactly how much you are able to spend before you even walk in the door. Set a realistic budget ahead of time to avoid disappointment. Nothing good can come from trying on a dress that is way outside of your budget. I guarantee you will fall in love with the dress and nothing else will be able to compare.

2. Set up an appointment so you get the time and attention you deserve. If you’re able to, I suggest taking a day off of work. Week day appointments are less frequent so sales associates can give you more of their attention and aren’t going to rush you out when your time is up.

3. Bring some inspiration. Take along some magazine clippings or show the bridal consultant your Pinterest board. They will be able to get a sense the style you’re going for. I also recommend showing or describing a few dresses/styles that you absolutely hate. The consultant will appreciate the parameters you set and will be able to help you that much better.

4. Don’t bring along everyone you’ve ever met. If you’ve ever watched an episode of “Say Yes to the Dress,” you should already know this is a bad idea. Take along no more than 3 people (and that’s a stretch) to pick out your dress. You want to take someone whose opinion you value but who can also balance telling you you’re gorgeous and telling you the truth. Moms, sisters, and maids of honor are usually a safe bet. The other important people in your life that you want to see the dress (like Grandma or Dad) can come along with you to an alterations appointment.

5. Keep an open mind. The bridal consultant will take your ideas that you shared, but she’s the expert here. Don’t be afraid to try on some shapes and styles a little outside of your comfort zone. I guarantee you’ll like what you see.

6. Don’t forget about the details. Ask how the dress will look bustled. Try on some accessories like a veil to get the full affect. Ask when the dress will come in and how the payment plan (if there is one) works. Can the shop work with you on a discounted rate? Most importantly, ask how the alterations will work. Do you have to use their seamstress (how much?) or can you find your own?

7. Trust your gut. If you have to be constantly reassured that this dress is the one, then maybe it isn’t. Can you really see yourself walking down the aisle in this dress? Don’t be afraid to take a night to sleep on it. The dress will still be there the next morning. You don’t want to make a $2,000 mistake.

Make the Most of Your Wedding Appointments | Reidsville North Carolina Wedding Coordinator

Leigh Pearce Weddings, Greensboro North Carolina Wedding Planner

Anna Paschal Photography | Amy + Matt’s Wedding at Revolution Mill Studios, Greensboro, North Carolina

During the wedding planning, vendor appointments are something that you become very accustomed to. Meetings at the florist, venue, bakery, and with countless others involved in your wedding become almost as routine as brushing your teeth. Each meeting should have a purpose and make you feel even better about the event you’re planning. Here are a few tips on how to make sure you vendor appointments are successful:

1. Make an appointment: Vendors, just like you, are busy people. Planning, photographing, styling, and catering weddings and events are what they do every day to make a living. Take this into consideration and make sure to make appointments ahead of time. If something comes up that day, no problem; life happens. Just make sure to let your vendor know as far in advance as possible that you have to reschedule so they can adjust their day accordingly.

2. Know your budget: The wedding budget is something that should be decided on from the very beginning of your planning process. Sit down with whomever will be paying for the wedding and decide how much you plan to spend in each ‘category’. If certain items are super important to you, like that amazing Vera Wang wedding gown you have been eyeing, budget for them!  Just remember, you get what you pay for in the wedding industry. Quality is very important.

3. Bring materials with you: If you have a wedding notebook or folder on your iPad of inspiration photos, bring them along to the appointment. Images of things you like and don’t like serve as inspiration for those working with you. Plus, it always helps to be prepared!

4. Communicate Fully: Sitting down with the vendor in front of you is the best time to ask questions. If you’re not sure about the contract, the packaging or the pricing on an item, ask! You will feel so much better knowing the answer to all of your questions instead of worrying about them once you get home. Put it all out in the open. It also helps to write down questions ahead of time, so you don’t forget once you’re in the moment.

Just remember, finding the perfect vendor is sort of like finding a great relationship. It takes time, communication, and trust in order to make something amazing!