Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Even a Planner Needs a Coordinator (Part I)

I’ve always said I was an open book and that I want others to learn from my “life lessons.”  First if I didn’t believe in the magic of marriage I wouldn’t send couples down the aisle week after week and year after year.  Yes, I’ve been married before and from my experience EVERYONE NEEDS a coordinator… here’s my story:


I was very young and right of out college marrying my college sweetheart.  I had just graduated with a degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism and since I had taken ONE class on event planning I thought I didn’t need a planner or coordinator personally... BOY was I WRONG!  We barely had two cents to rub together and were very creative.  We did our wedding for 100 guests for less than $4,000 ($40pp and it looked like it).  We did everything ourselves, when I say my mother was my everything…SHE WAS!  Her and her friends cooked our food, baked our cake, and decorated the venue we got at a discount since my dad knew the owners.  My mom even made my table linens to save money.  In the hustle and bustle of setting up, my mom spilled bennie-wennies down her dress and had to go with a backup plan along with getting ready in the restroom because she couldn’t go to the salon and get her hair and make-up done due to running out of time. 

Since we didn't have anyone to tell us who went when...we just "winged it." We got dressed in the prep tent because it had more room than the restroom trailer.  Due to the rain right before the ceremony, family and friends were busy drying chairs since our venue didn’t have a site manager on duty.  With all the craziness, we forgot to put out the arch so my mother’s neighbors were literally running it down to the ceremony as our wedding party took their places.  Just as we were pronounced (by no last name, by Mr. & Mrs. His first and middle name by a neighboring pastor not a public speaker or anyone that really knew us personally) we quickly took a few photos prior to the rain falling again.  

Food was great, we had one of my sorority sisters then boyfriend who owned a DJ company give us a discounted deal, and guests were mingling… This is setting up to be a great night right?  Wrong again…since I didn’t have a coordinator one of my aunts (who had never planned a wedding) comes to me as we are finishing photos to tell me “no one is eating until you cut the cake.”  BIG MISTAKE! 
We were introduced, we did all our first dances back to back (notice by the end of my father/daughter dance the tent was already starting to empty out), followed by our toasts and went right into cake cutting because that’s what they said to do…and as soon as everyone ate, they left.  No kidding!  Our wedding started at 4pm and by 630pm we were back at our hotel room changing to head to Wendy’s to eat (since we never got to eat)…. How many couples have had that happen to them… NONE of ours since this then!  We believe it is very important for our couples to have their first meal together as a married coupled.  We even try to package food that is safe to send with our couple so they have a snack later too.  Allow our team make sure you and your family gets to eat during your reception. 

Even a Planner Needs at Coordinator (Part III)

So yes, I’ve been married twice and have had three receptions.  Does that make me an expert yet? Nah…. I’m still learning, and you can learn from me too.  Knowing what I know now, I would never plan my wedding celebration reception 4 days after returning from our weddingmoon.  We ran around like crazy people the week between the two events.  We had completed a lot prior to going down to Antigua but we had to get photos printed from the wedding, pick up flowers from the wholesaler (which had to be changed since most flowers came in dead) to take to our professional florist (got a little smarter the second time around), and list will go on and on.  There is a reason WHY you book the honeymoon (full of rest and relaxation) AFTER your wedding.  I needed a vacation after our big reception.

Since I was the site manager of the venue we held the reception out at, we could go out the day before and set up some stuff (I still couldn’t set up the candy buffet or anything outside in fear of rain or animals).  We had rented our linens from an online company so we had to set those out, set up the tables and chairs, and set out what décor we could.  We even went back out early that morning to finish.  Since we didn’t have a ceremony, I wasn’t stressed not having a coordinator and I’d done a few weddings at that point so who needed a planner…. ONCE AGAIN WRONG!!!! Oh the many things that went wrong on this day…

We had a team of family and friends once again help set everything up (not having a professional team with a full plan led to more chaos than organization).  Everything looked ready for vendors to start setting up as we left to get ready ourselves.   Our professional florist was delivering flowers, our professional catering company would be handling food and bar, and our professional lighting company, photographer, videographer and DJ were set to come out later that afternoon.  Too bad we didn’t really think things through because we had so many flowers left over…like buckets and buckets… But it was pretty.  I’ve learned since then to set place settings and linen napkins on the tables because our tables looked empty without these items. 

We all left to go and get ready feeling secure because my site manager was going to be there to look over the place as vendors arrived.  In the hustle, I forgot my headpiece at home so I had to send a friend to pick that up.  While sitting in the stylist’s chair I learned that my cake had fallen and that it would be 8pm before it would be delivered…no problem cake cutting was later (I learned from part I).  We left the salon to pick up the photos we had printed from our destination wedding and took to get custom framed were late getting finished.  Again I had planned for extra time before family photos before all guests arrive.  However, the closer our limo reached the venue the harder it rained… I will never forget the look on my site manager’s face as we pulled up and he stated “I grabbed everything I could save before the bottom fell out.”  Now if our current KYAE team would have been there… I bet they would have saved everything! 

I quickly canceled family photos and sprang into action of wedding planner… pulling linens, flipping tables, checking chairs, drying the outside bar off.  Without a blink of the eye, I slipped away changed into my dress and was taken over to our horse and carriage grand entrance (remember we didn’t have a budget).  Guests arrived and welcomed by our Steel Drummer (former player for Jimmy Buffett) as we arrived in Horse and Carriage to release doves then butterflies. 
*My advice here looking back…pick one not all three (LOL). 

We played our wedding video on a huge screen, danced our first dances and opened the dance floor with food stations and music videos playing in the background.  We were supposed to have two chocolate fountains but the power didn’t work in that corner we had planned for and since I was the bride and not the planner I didn’t think to throw power chords to that area; so we had chocolate dips.  In our world we adapt.  If it wasn’t for my professional Event Coordinator with our catering company, the night would have gone really bad.  But really some of the things she was doing weren’t in her job description.  We should have had a coordinator onsite from start to finish. 


So you probably are wondering would I do it all over again? Absolutely!  These two weddings and three receptions made me the person I am today.  Would I ever get married again? I hope so.  I loved being married, I love the spirit of marriage, I love everything about the memories created on each of those days.  Because no other day will those exact people be in the exact location ever again all together.  Make memories, laugh, enjoy time with family and friends.  Remember to slow down and take it all in.  And whenever that day comes for me, I vow this time to hire a planner and coordinator from start to finish!  Third time is the charm…but if you hire us we’ll make it right the first time so you don’t have to have a do-over.   

Even a Planner Needs a Coordinator (Part II)

Take two…I learned a lot from my first wedding.  Sad it didn’t work out… I really
wanted kids and my then husband wasn’t ready… I’m still close to the family and made friends to last a lifetime.  I’m ever so blessed because I actually started working for the venue that we were married at when I returned home from Wilmington (hence my 910 area code still).  I’m a true believer everything happens for a reason…just like part two…

So years went by and I ran into someone from my past, sparks flew….and another wedding was in the works.  Since I’d been married before, I’d dressed like a princess, I had all the “bells and whistles” I felt I didn’t need the “whole wedding” again so we set out for a destination wedding.  This is really where my love of Sandals Resorts started.  After a DIY (Disaster It Yourself) Wedding in my previous life (see part I) we were going to keep it simple…so I thought.  Next thing I know we are inviting 500+ people to the Caribbean for a destination wedding in Antigua and then a welcome home reception to celebrate our wedding once we returned (with no budget).  I figured I was only doing this once again and this was the way to do it. 

Our wedding in Antigua was breathtaking and amazing!  I highly recommend this for anyone on a tight budget, looking for something simple, planning a second/third marriage or just wanting an experience of the lifetime.  However, if it’s important for Grandma or lots of family and friends to be there…this isn’t for you.  We invited 500+ down to the Caribbean and we had 10 people go down with us (besides our room, one of the rooms we paid for ourselves so they could be there). 

Our onsite coordinators, spa staff and our butler were AMAZING!  The only thing I wish we would have had was a live human being to speak with here in person while we were planning to ask questions about what to pack, what to expect, talk about the rehearsal, and give ideas of excursions, spa packages and book our candlelight dinner on the beach before heading down there.  This is why I became a certified Weddingmoon & Honeymoon Specialist through Sandals and Beaches Resorts.  I wanted to be the local go to person to answer questions and help plan for couples’ destination wedding.  I’ve sent several down to the Caribbean to say “I Do.”  Here’s a few photos from my destination wedding:
Our Ceremony location in a private garden.
Our reception area after the ceremony:
 One of my favorite highlights was our steel drum band playing at our reception down there.  At one point I even got to have a little fun!

 Take it from'll love a stress-free destination wedding... Just ask me to quote you a few different options and we'll find the right fit for you~

Allow me to create the same magic for you!  There is no charge for me to plan your wedding in the Caribbean or honeymoon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

How to choose a planner/coordinator?

So you’ve said yes, now what?  First thing first: hire a planner.  Even if you are going to use someone for month out services (what most people call a day of coordinator), book them first.  This will allow everyone to start on the same page, create goals, budgets, timelines, visions and they can even recommend vendors they prefer to work with (and usually know the vendors offering the best specials). 

Your venue may come with a site manager or even an event coordinator but make sure someone will be present the entire duration of your event rental time.  (It works best if it is the same person for the duration of the time.)  That person should be able to work behind the scenes with your vendors and make sure you and your family are in the right place at the right time.  Make sure they will know how to handle centerpieces while being delivered (or if something breaks or doesn't show up)  and any decorating for set up, catering issues, show you how to cut the cake and assist with any clean up at the end of the night.

Here are a few questions you should ask when interviewing a planner and/or coordinator:

·         Ask them why should you hire a planner throughout the process vs a day of coordinator?

·         What is your level of experience? (years or number of weddings)

·         Does their company have insurance?

·         Are they a part of any local or national associations or groups?

·         Have they been certified or did have they attending any classes for coordination (how long ago)?

·         How many staff members do they have on hand during a typical wedding/event?

o   Are they included in the pricing or an additional cost?

·         Will they personally be onsite for the duration of the event (from open to close of the rental time)?

·         We all know events will never go 100% to plan, has anything ever happened where a plan went astray and how did they handle it?

·         Best memory from a wedding?

·         How many events does their company handle in a day, week, and year?

·         Are there extra fees or hidden costs that could arise during the planning process?

·         Do they have any personal touches or details that make them stand out from other companies and planners in the area?  Why should you hire them?  What makes them unique?

·         Ask them what does their typical schedule of a wedding look like? (Every planner has their own style)

·         Do they have any referrals that you can speak with or follow up with before making your final decision?

By asking these few questions you will see firsthand who are the professionals that are making dreams come true and will treat you both like a client and a best friend.  There are some amazing qualified event planners throughout North Carolina, just be wise in choosing who is right for you and your special day.  Your planner and coordinator should be an extension of you.  They should be able to take your vision and create magic.  They should provide you and your vendors with a sound schedule and assist you in staying within your budget.  A planner can truly save you time, money and most of all stress!

For more information or advice for wedding planning please contact Jennifer Ball w/ Knot Your Average Events.  We offers free advice, ideas and tips of the day on her Facebook Fanpage.  Check out our website: for more information.  

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Stunning Ballrooms

With the “Great Gatsby” era and inspiration quickly approaching and taking over our Barns and Country Chic Weddings.  Several brides are now searching out the perfect ballroom to host their upscale fancy reception.  This area has several for you to choose from with lots of breath taking photo opts.  Take a ride with us as we venture through three local ballrooms to show another style of events where crystals, glam and lots of WOW comes into play.

The most breath taking chandelier in this area would belong to The Palladium Event Center of Burlington NC.  It is located in the Burlington Outlets but don’t be fooled by its location, once inside and you are whisked away to another level of reception flare.  This Chandelier demands your attention and will be the centerpiece of all of your photos.  Dancing under this truly brings magic to any event.  As a designer, I would focus on linens and uplighting to really make this room transform into another decade.  I really could see lots of beautiful tall centerpieces w/ crystals hanging from them with lower candle tablescapes to add a touch of romantic softness.  Lots of different sizes of vases with lush floral and just a hint of sparkle here and there to bring out the bling.  They have two rooms that can be used for a number of events from birthday parties, rehearsal dinners, ceremonies, and full scaled receptions.  They allow you to bring in all of your own vendors and even offer a 30% discount on Fridays & Sundays.  (Photo is from their facebook fanpage)

The Vailtree is conveniently located right off of 85/40 in Graham NC.  This

destination makes for a great location if you have guests traveling from Greensboro or Raleigh.  There are several local hotels close by and getting to the Vailtree from local churches will make for an easy transition for a day of festivities.  They have over 12,000 square feet including a large ballroom with a stage perfect for band or a dramatic head table, projector for slideshows

three small side rooms great for photo booths, bar areas, and appetizer or coffee stations and another small room set up for a buffet.  The possibilities are endless at this venue at an incredible value.  They can host up to 400 people.  They offer tables and chairs and will set these up for you.  There is a bridal changing room and another room great for kids to occupy by placing a TV and movie with games.   This ballroom offers plenty of room and you get two days to come in and set up and decorate.

(Photo is from their facebook fanpage)

As a coordinator, when I think of “Great Gatsby,” I see The Diamond Room in Gibsonville NC.  The sheer fact that it is located on top of a jewelry store screams jewels and glam!  This venue is the perfect setting for glitz and glitter.  They offer in-house catering and bar services along with tables, chairs centerpiece and linens for very affordable pricing.  Pat’s Florist is conveniently right next door and can easily handle all of your floral needs. 

There is a really cute chapel right down the street that you could use if you would like to keep your ceremony close.  As a designer, I see lots of soft floral and candlelight to add a little romance to the air at this venue.  Gorgeous white hydrangea and lush greenery would accent the colors of the Diamond Room and would go with any color scheme of your wedding to make your wedding party “pop” throughout the room. 

So go ahead and break out your feathers, glitter and china to create an experience your guests will soon never forget!  The ballrooms this area has to offer can handle almost any size event, time of day and try style.  Some allow you to bring all of your own vendors while others truly want to offer a one stop shop.  Just start thinking of the style of party you want to host and find the right venue that sets that tone and allows you to bring your own personality into it. 


Palladium Event Center- 1272 Plaza Dr Burlington NC;

Vailtree Event Center- 1567 Bakatsias Lane, Graham NC,

The Diamond Room- 103 East Main St. Gibsonville NC, 336-449-4949;

Friday, January 8, 2016

From Rehearsal Dinners to Receptions

          On one of our latest adventures 2 Chicks and Venue found two venues that are the perfect size for engagement parties, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners and/or receptions.  The Cutting Board & Occasions both offer rental space, tables, chairs, simple centerpieces, food & beverage and can handle all of your alcohol needs.  These two venues are truly one stop shops for any couple looking for stress free planning.

Occasions is located downtown Burlington NC.  It has a smaller meeting room for
up to 50 guests and a main space that can handle up to 400 people.  They have a choice of round tables, banquet tables and smaller square table to really personalize your layout design.  The dance floor is in a great location so that everyone can see your first dances.  As a coordinator, I would use the second smaller room for an entertainment room for small children attending the event by placing games and toys to keep them occupied so they have just as much fun at the event as their parents. 

          Occasions keeps one staff per 50 people on site during your event.  They will handle all of your set-up and tear down.  They have a full southern styled home cooking buffet that will keep your guests coming back for seconds (so plan for extra)!  They have all of their ABC permits so they can handle all of your bar and beverage needs.  To rent, all you need is to meet their food minimum and then the space is only $200 per hour.  If you are looking for a good place to hold a party in the downtown area, this is one to check out.

          The Cutting Board is conveniently located off of I-85/I-40 in Burlington NC. 
They have four different size rooms.  The most intimate would be their dinner for four, which would be perfect for a proposal dinner or a lunch celebration following a justice of the piece marriage.  Another room can hold up to 20-25 people which is great for small bridesmaid luncheons or hosting a private lunch for the groomsmen prior to the wedding.  They have a large rental space that can either be divided or opened to host up to 175 people. 

          The Cutting Board offers simplistic romantic centerpieces and linens to set the mood for any occasion.  You are welcome to bring a band or dj to entertain your crowd.  They are known for their “Chuck” Burger and Fix’in Bar along with their salad bar.  This is the perfect local location for rehearsal dinners if you are already planning a simple wedding or they can add filet or salmon to your menu to “dress” your celebration up!  They are easy to work with and will take over all of the set up while you are at the ceremony or rehearsal. 

          Burlington has lots of venues and these two really do a great job pleasing their guests.  Both The Cutting Board & Occasions have been around for years and are a well-known name throughout town.  Contact the staff at either one of these establishments and start your stress-free planning today!
(All photos are from their website/facebook fanpage)

Janna w/ Cutting Board, 2699 Ramada Road Burlington NC; 336-229-2770;

Shelia w/ Occasions, 286 E. Front St Burlington NC; email:;

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Think Outside of the Box

In the wedding world there are the traditional churches, reception halls, barns and ballrooms but whether you are a traditional bride or not think of all the possibilities of venues in your area.  Think about your favorite hobbies, passions, childhood memories, favorite past times and go beyond the traditional locations.   Did you know almost any place can be the place you say “I do?”  All you have to do is ask about special rental rates, after hour rates, private party rates or special requests.  If there is a place you and your fiancé absolutely love, just ask the manager or owner about the possibility of hosting your ceremony and maybe even your reception.  Just beware most non-traditional venues will require an intimate guest list, unique event times, special set up requirements and lots of rules.  However the memories and photos will be something you guests and family will be talking about for years to come.

Cedar Rock Park is a great spot for those that love long walks in the woods, history and local parks.   Most locals use this venue for engagement photos and bridal portraits because of all of the great backdrops and areas that make great photo opts.   There are several different areas couples have gotten married in the park.  You do have to rent tables and chairs but the décor can be limited because the park is beautiful.  I’ve seen weddings that focus on wood features and wild flowers to really add to the inspiration of the park setting.  Having a simple non-alcoholic afternoon wedding here offers a great setting for the simplistic bride looking for charm and outdoors.  Two of my personal favorite areas are the old buildings and the waterfall.  When looking for a quiet bench or a babbling stream to take a few post ceremony photos the Cedar Rock Park may just be the out of the box spot for you and your guests.

Now if your ideal park involves bases and bats, why not get married at the local
ballpark?  The Burlington Royals Stadium will allow weddings on the field after their final game of the season.  They also have several different areas you can rent for groups celebrating the wedding either for pre-ceremony fun or creating a weekend fun filled week of activities.  Why not plan a fun afternoon for your family and friends traveling from afar get to know one another better than by watching a baseball game.  Now if you are planning a fall wedding, they will even allow you to put tents up in the outfield for a full reception following your ceremony on home plate.  They also have a really neat locker that can be used for a unique rehearsal dinner spot.  They have connects with all kinds of sponsors to help create memorable party favors.  So allow The Burlington Royals make your event or activity a home run!

Are you a history buff?  What about a local museum?  The Alamance History Museum will offer a history making backdrop.  They will even open the museum with staff for cocktail hour as long as there is no red wine.  This is a great way for guests to be entertained while you and your family are busy taking photos with the wedding party.  There is plenty of space to park up to 200 cars and a flat area to add a tent.  My favorite area is the garden which could host little Italy lights over a dance floor and lots of cocktail tables for the perfect cocktail hour prior to grand introductions and first dances.  There is an old barn still on the property that would be a great backdrop for a gentleman’s smoking lounge.  Start picking out your vintage china and lace because this venue is begging to host a vintage party.  Want to know an interesting fact?  One of the first families were married in the foyer.  Come be a part of history add your memory to the history.

Hosting your reception in a children’s museum might not have been your first thought of a wedding or event venue.  But not only are museums great for teachers or kids at heart but anyone wanting to keep their guests entertained all night long.  The Children’s Museum of Alamance County has a few small rooms in the back great for birthday parties but you can rent the entire museum for an afterhours reception. You can place dinner tables in one bay, a stage and dance area in another bay, sprinkle cocktail tables throughout the entire museum to offer guests places to hang out and enjoy the evening.  One of the play areas makes for the perfect bar and beverage area.  Having food stations spaced out throughout the different rooms/bays allows your catering to have fun with the menu to play up the different areas.  This reception venue is one place your creativity can run wild literally!  

Love the idea of the Night at the Museum?  The Greensboro Science Center will offer several different options for ceremonies, receptions, and cocktail styled parties.   They even have a shark tank you can have as your centerpiece of your “I do’s.”  You can rent the entire museum after hours or use one of the small meeting rooms downstairs to host luncheons or a small rehearsal dinner.  There is a small garden area outside that has a
large patio that would be great for a cocktail party.  One of the meeting rooms downstairs offers a small stage, so you could dine in one room and dance the night away in the other.  Add the staff so your guests can check out exhibits during the event.  They will flip the aquarium area during the cocktail hour to create a dining and dance area as a possibility.  Depending on the time of day, you may have enough time for your guests to hang out in the zoo area for a cocktail party to remember for a lifetime. 

So if you find yourself asking questions like: “how do I make my reception memorable, what will make my wedding stand out, how can we let our personalities inspire our wedding?”  Then non-traditional venues are where you need to start viewing.  Be creative, add amazing lighting and linens to make your guests WOW from the moment they arrive.  So start scoping out the local parks, stadiums, and museums to create a starting place for your forever happily ever after.
(All photos are from their websites and/or their facebook fanpages)

Southern Charm Weddings with an Old World Escape

Are you dreaming of wedding full of “southern charm” without the barn?  How about getting whisked away to a Manor, a Plantation, or even a Victorian Home?  There are several options with years of experience and even some brand new ones opening this fall in the Triad & Triangle area.  We had the pleasure of touring several this spring.  While most are better fitting for smaller intimate weddings, but there are a few that can host over 150 of your closest family and friends.  So break out your best vintage china and ask your catering company for their best recipes for cheese biscuits and shrimp & grits because we are sharing some of the best hidden Southern Charms of the Area.

One of our first stops was The Matthews House in Cary.  They have the sweetest garden lying next to the main house that sets the tone for a beautiful ceremony with several options for locations for the “I Dos.”  The House has rooms available for the couple to get ready prior to the wedding.  There is a lovely front porch and courtyard that offers a great holding place for guests during the cocktail hour so they don’t see your reception area until you are ready to be announced. 
(photos are from their facebook/website)
Their ballroom can host up to 170 guests and they could seat more if you are willing to
add a tent in the courtyard area.  They offer four and eight hour packages and catering packages starting at $42 per person.  Beer and Wine are welcomed starting at $21 per person.  (plus tax and gratuities) They offer an onsite bakery, black linens, China, place settings, tables and chairs.   Other than their in-house catering, you can bring in all of your own other vendors.  Add as many flowers as you can to this charming house because too many will never be enough to accent its true beauty.   Be sure to take advantage of the small balcony over the front door.  This would be an perfect photo opt of first talks without seeing one another by having the bride in the balcony and the groom standing in the doorway awaiting the start of the ceremony.

Traveling back from Cary we stopped in Graham and found a yellow Victorian House which is actually the home to the Alamance Arts Council.  This venue can host up to 60 inside and up to 175 on their front lawn with a tent.  The art of the walls change with every series so if you are a fan of art this is a great venue for you.  As a coordinator, I’ve had several brides host their bridal lunches, morning of their weddings brunches and even rehearsal dinners at the Captain White House.  You can rent the entire house for the day evening for $900 additional for Sundays).  The sky is the limits because you can bring in all of your own vendors.  However, if you don’t have a caterer, Marg has been catering here for years.  Beware, no red wine can be allowed in the house due to the artwork. 

There is a small garden to the side the house to offer a ceremony area for small intimate affairs, a large front lawn you can dance the night away under the stars and several rooms on the main floor to offer a unique layout for smaller weddings and receptions.  It’s okay to think outside of the box and host your wedding inside an Art Museum with a Southern Vintage Backdrop.  The front porch will offer several options for great photos to create your own work of art to last a lifetime.  (photos are from their facebook/website)

Back on the road we stopped in to see what all the buzz was about at The Burke Manor Inn in Gibsonville.  When Lori & Lil took over the Manor a few years ago they could see it being one of the most well-known venues in the area.  They brought in a “French Flare” to what the Inn already offered.  While they specialize in French cuisine, their in-house catering can create magic from the kitchen!  They have catering packages starting at $27 per person but are willing to customize their packages to make it your day.  The Burke Manor Inn offers packages between $700-$3800, so they can handle almost any size wedding and budget.  Don’t want to get married in their gorgeous garden because of the fear of rain or a hot summer day, have no worries they have a chapel just a few block away to rent for $950 for indoor church ceremonies.  

The Burke Manor Inn is a full scaled Bed and Breakfast.  As a coordinator, I would
highly recommend renting the entire house for the whole weekend maybe even a few days prior the wedding to truly submerge yourself, family and wedding party into the house.  Host your rehearsal dinner in the main restaurant, brunch for the bridal party in the lower level of the restaurant or even front porch, then spend the day getting ready in the larger suite and the guys can hang out by the pool while all the preparations take place for the Big Day.  From the Gardens the front porch or walking downtown Gibsonville there are so many options for a photographer to create memories. 

There’s one more stop on our Victorian Tour and that’s The Gardens at Gray Gables in Summerfield.  Danielle has really made her father proud by the amount of passion she has for this “old home.”  Over the last few years they have done major renovations to the gardens and rental space areas.  They have a 50x60 foot frame tent that is nestled right off the main ceremony location.  However, their newest addition is probably one of their best!  They just added a new cocktail patio will a HUGE built in bar with their own duck pond.  I could get lost in their pathways leading back and forth from the gardens, to the cocktail patio and the main tented reception area not because they are too long or hard to follow but because they are breathtaking.  

This venue is a photographers dream!  I have stolen my bride and groom for tons of

“stolen moments” & stolen kisses in the vine-covered back walkway, the front porch, the tall staircase in the main house, the pergola in the garden, the sweet wishing well or just hanging out by one of the fish ponds.  The Gardens at Gray Gables has separate dressing areas for the bride and groom which really allows them to arrive a little earlier and get settled in for the day.  As a coordinator, having a holding space for both wedding parties prior to the ceremony is important.  This is an area lunch or a snack can be served prior to the long day’s festivities.   They even have a playground to entertain the kids.  While they do have a preferred vendors list and even a wedding director they love meeting new professional vendors and encourage event planners and coordinators.  The Gardens at Gray Gables is large enough to spread everything out without feeling lost and separated from the main activities. (photos are from their facebook/website)

We also wanted to let you know about an up and coming Plantation that is in Alamance County.  The White Horse Plantation that opened in the spring 2015.  This venue was THE place to go in the 80’s & 90’s.  It once was one of the premiere restaurants in the area that hosted all sizes of events.  You can rent the entire house and 200 person ballroom for the day or even the entire weekend to have the rehearsal dinner in the main house and the reception in the ballroom.  There are four different ceremony locations outside including a magnolia tree,

an old barn, a small open field, and a shaded area.  The brick patio is a great location for cocktail hour and this venue even has its very own “Fox & Hound” styled English Pub.  There are separate areas for the bride and groom to get ready and lots of spaces for all of your vendors to set-up, prep and work from without being right on top of one another.  They are currently hosting tours and are offering incredible specials for the first few couples.  Contact Jennifer Ball with Knot Your Average Events for a private tour.  We have a satellite office onsite
We’ve really enjoyed this adventure to search out some of the best little hidden charms throughout the Triad & Triangle. There are so many ways to add country without going rustic.  Vintage lace should be your base over soft pastel colors.  Think lots of layers of pearls, vintage china, lots of romantic candles and soft floral.  Peonies is the first flower that comes to mind when thinking Southern Weddings.  Then add large and small garden roses, hydrangea, snap dragons, and lots of greenery and baby’s breath.  Use antique silver and gold pieces to accent the old world southern charm.  Keep the Southern Style throughout your dinner menu offering shrimp and grits, ham biscuits, pork chops, warm soups for the fall, and spring salads fresh from the garden.  Don’t forget no Southern Wedding is complete without a huge dessert bar styled after Grandma’s Easter Sunday Brunch.  Offer cakes, pies, cookies and all the sweet treats you can imagine.  So no matter what city you are getting married in, there is a little slice of Southern Charm waiting for you to come and personalize.