Ashley & Ethan Fall Wedding at The Bradford | New Hill, NC

College friends who fell in love after reuniting several years after graduation, Ashley and Ethan knew that they wanted to throw a party for the ages to celebrate their marriage, and they succeeded in showing their family and friends an unforgettable wedding day.  The sun shined brightly on the stunning grounds of The Bradford, a European countryside inspired wedding venue located in New Hill, NC, as did the smiles of the bride, groom and their wedding party.  Ashley and Ethan’s charismatic personalities were evident in every aspect of their wedding, from the personalized wedding party gifts to the radiant florals designed by Bloom Works to the hot pink sunglasses they wore as they recessed down the aisle as husband and wife.  Guests were treated to a decadent meal prepared by Catering Works and a stunning 4-tier white wedding cake with gorgeous pink, peach and green florals designed by Pastry Works

The day’s highlights included Ethan’s gift to Ashley- a book written by the groom entitled “The Reasons Why”, having their ceremony officiated by a close family friend, the bride and groom “making it rain” on the dance floor with Cash Cannons, a late night black and white sweets bar, and DJ Willis keeping the party going full speed until the very end.Cool sparkler photo bride and groom Fire Rose Photography

Congratulations, Ashley and Ethan!  We will never forget your contagious laughter, radiant smiles and kind, loving hearts.  Thank you for trusting Chestnut & Vine to coordinate your dream wedding.




Photos Courtesy of FireRose Photography

Ashley & Ethan’s All-Star Wedding Team

Photographer: FireRose Photography

Day-of Wedding Coordination: Chestnut & Vine Wedding Logistics Coordinators

Venue: The Bradford

Caterer/Bar: Catering Works

Officiant: Elaine Kaplelanski

DJ: Willis J. Entertainment

Tent/Linen/Dinnerware Rentals: Grand Rental Station

Hair/Makeup: The Makeup Addict

Florals: Bloom Works

Cake/Desserts: Pastry Works

Decor Rentals: Greenhouse Picker Sisters

Photo Booth: Spark Photo Booth

Transportation: Homewood Suites Raleigh/Cary


James & Jess’s Provincial Downtown Wedding | Jiddi Space & Courtyard | Raleigh, NC


Pre-Wedding Photos Raleigh, NC

College sweethearts from Michigan, James and Jess decided to start their lives as husband and wife in the state where they got engaged during a trip to the mountains and now call home thanks to a career opportunity that brought them to Raleigh, NC.  Hoping to find a wedding venue with an urban edge that encapsulated their adventurous spirit, the Jiddi Space & Courtyard, with its provincial red brick and market lights quietly tucked away in downtown Raleigh, was the perfect location for the intimate wedding they both envisioned.

Jess’s smile radiated as she walked down the aisle in her blush wedding gown that perfectly complimented her gorgeous auburn locks, and James killed it in his tailored navy suit and sage green tie.  The newlyweds took full advantage of their downtown surroundings by having Asheville based photographers The Stewarts Roam photograph the newlyweds in an array of unique urban settings before and after their ceremony.  During the cocktail and dinner receptions, guests enjoyed savory Lebanese dishes from Sitti, one of Raleigh’s most popular restaurants and even witnessed one of the greatest toasts ever to be delivered by a Best Man.  Later in the evening, DJ Pdogg kept the party going on the outdoor dance floor until it was time to wish the newlyweds well and send them off on their next big adventure.

Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Majewski!  We had so much fun getting to know you and helping your wedding vision turn out perfectly.  Enjoy all of your future adventures!

P.S. Jess – you will forever be my “logistics soulmate.”

Photographs Courtesy of The Stewarts Roam

James & Jess’s All-Star Wedding Team

Photographers: The Stewarts Roam

Day-of Wedding Coordination: Chestnut & Vine Wedding Logistics Coordinators

Venue: Jiddi Space & Courtyard

Caterer: Sitti

Officiant: Rev Ron Weddings

DJ: DJ Pdogg

Florals: Fallon’s Flowers of Raleigh

Cake: Dolce Desserts Co.

Hair/Makeup: Silverceiling

Transportation: The Great Raleigh Trolley

Bride’s Dress: Allure Romance

Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson

Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Birdy Grey

Groom’s Suit: Generation Tux

Groom’s Watch: LuxWoods

Sarah & Patrick’s Summer Wedding at Duke Chapel & Gardens | Durham, NC

Chestnut & Vine Wedding Logistics Coordinators Duke Chapel Wedding

Duke University has always held a special place in Sarah’s heart.  Having parents who attended Duke University and got married in Duke Chapel, she was raised on Duke Basketball and always looked forward to family trips to visit the gorgeous campus famous for its gardens and gothic buildings.  So when Sarah and Patrick decided to take a short detour to Durham, NC during a road trip from Florida to New York so that Patrick could see the campus for the first time, Patrick knew that Duke Gardens was the perfect place to propose to the love of his life.

Just over a year later, Sarah and Patrick made another memorable trip to Duke University, but this time they were joined by their family and friends to commemorate their next life adventure as husband and wife.  Their wedding weekend began when their entire wedding party loaded onto a chartered bus that took them from Jacksonville, FL to Durham, NC, and since the majority of their guests were also from out-of-town, they smartly used the same chartered bus to transport everyone throughout the weekend to the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception.  On the day of their wedding, Patrick and Sarah saw each other for the first time on the bridge in Duke Gardens where they became engaged, and the highlight of the weekend, of course, was when Sarah’s father walked his daughter down the aisle of Duke Chapel so that she, too, could be married where her parents’ story began.

Wedding Duke Chapel Durham, NC Day-of Wedding CoordinatorFollowing a beautiful ceremony officiated by Rev. Kevin Holland, guests made their way to Kirby Horton Hall at Duke Gardens where they enjoyed delicious dinner stations expertly prepared by Catering Works and a Pastry Works dessert bar that was a sweets lover’s dream.  Willis J. Entertainment had everyone dancing late into the night until it was time for Sarah and Patrick to close out their reception with a private newlyweds’ dance on the Piva Terrace under the bright summer stars.

Sarah and Patrick’s wedding day was everything they had hoped for and more, and we are so grateful that Chestnut & Vine got to help them make it happen.  Cheers, Mr. & Mrs. Kennedy!  We loved working with you and enjoyed seeing your endless smiles throughout the entire weekend!


All Photos Courtesy of We Are The Bowsers

Sarah & Patrick’s All-Star Wedding Team

Photographer/Videographer: We Are The Bowsers

Day-of Wedding Coordination: Chestnut & Vine Wedding Logistics Coordinators

Ceremony Venue: Duke Chapel

Officiant: Personal Weddings of North Carolina

Reception Venue: Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Caterer: Catering Works

Florals: Tre Bella Florist

DJ: Willis J. Entertainment

Cake: Pastry Works

Lighting: Get Lit Event Lighting

Bride’s Hair/Makeup: Maranda Brown

Bridesmaids’ Hair: Mena Garcia

Wedding Dress: Kleinfeld New York City

Linen/Dinnerware Rentals: CE Rental

Transportation: A Charter World

Calvin & Morgan – Elegant Summer Wedding | Hillsborough, NC

Bride and Groom Sunset Photo Industrial Venue

College sweethearts who met at Barton College, Morgan and Calvin started their forever together on a beautiful summer evening in front of their closest family and friends at The Cloth Mill at Eno River in Hillsborough, NC.  Guided by Morgan’s impressive talent for organization and attention to detail, they planned their elegant dream wedding all while Morgan started a new nursing position and Calvin completed his graduate degree in chemical engineering at NC State, and their day could not have been more perfect!

Their entire wedding day was filled with smiles and laughter, which Jennifer and Joe from JCM Photography captured flawlessly.  Morgan and Calvin’s navy, dusty blue, dusty rose and quartz color palette was the perfect complement to The Cloth Mill’s industrial brick backdrop, and Morgan was absolutely breathtaking as she walked down the aisle in her stunning lace wedding gown.  Guests were treated to a delicious meal prepared by Hillsborough’s own Beau Catering, and Vic from All Events DJs had no problem getting this dancing crowd out on the dance floor for hours of fun.  Morgan’s Grandmother hands down won the VIP award for Most Fun as she showed the younger generations how to own the dance floor.

Thank you, Morgan and Calvin, for trusting Chestnut & Vine to make your wedding plans happen just as you envisioned.  The two of you make an awesome team and will without a doubt accomplish the goals you have set for yourselves.  We are grateful to have played a part at the beginning of your loving marriage.  Best wishes!

Morgan & Calvin’s All-Star Wedding Team

Venue/Bar Service:  The Cloth Mill at Eno River

Photographer:  JCM Photography

Videographer: Dogwood Media

Day-of Coordinator:  Chestnut & Vine Wedding Logistics Coordinators

Caterer: Beau Catering

Florals: Tre Bella

DJ/Ceremony Sound:  All Events DJs

Hair/Makeup: Perfection by Patricia

Officiant: Michelle Wawrzyniak

Cake: Rachel Bailey

Linens/Dinnerware Rentals:  CE Rental

Draping: Showtime Events

All Photographs Graciously Shared by JCM Photography

Cassidy & Tyler’s Industrial Chic Wedding | Hillsborough, NC

Bride & Groom in white tuxedo

A new job, a new city, planning a wedding, and packing for a move from Florida to D.C., all while a hurricane approached the Atlantic Coastline, did not faze these East Carolina University Alumni from throwing a celebration for the ages.  Cassidy and Tyler’s tenacity and positive attitudes were rewarded with a gorgeous Fall wedding day under vibrant Carolina blue skies.  The festivities began at The Washington Duke Inn in Durham, NC where the bride, groom and wedding party got ready in two of the Inn’s luxury suites before heading down to the WaDuke’s beautiful grounds for the First Look and wedding party photos and film taken by Richard Barlow Photography and Oak City Films.

Cassidy and Tyler were later married at The Cloth Mill at Eno River in Hillsborough, NC in front of their families and friends by the Bride’s uncle.  Some of the sweetest moments included their adorable flower girls and ring bearers, the mothers of both the bride and the groom processing down the aisle together, and the groom escorting the couple’s pride and joy, Raleigh, down the aisle to take her rightful place with the rest of the wedding party.  There were few dry eyes among the guests when the stunning bride walked down the aisle with her father as a string trio played in the background.  After the bride and groom were pronounced husband and wife, guests were treated to a selection of savory hor d’oeuvres expertly prepared by Catering Works while they listened to the music of Ron and Donna Davis, who were also good friends of the newlyweds.

The Cloth Mill Reception Setup with long tablesCassidy and Tyler brought an elevated elegance to their reception by using a combination of round tables, long tables, hightop tables and a king’s banquet table for their guests’ seating.  Each table was named in honor of a city that held a special meaning to the couple.  Catering Works out did themselves with a delicious array of food stations that included a colorful, decadent antipasto display.  After dinner, Sweetwater Junction amped-up excitement by getting the newlyweds and guests on to the dance floor for a non-stop dance party.  If guests found themselves in need of a short dance break, they were encouraged to help themselves to cake and donuts by Pastry Works, an expertly made cappuccino from Espresso Events Catering and Chick-fil-a sandwiches to curb their late night munchies.Newlyweds with Pee Dee Pirate at their reception

The most memorable part of the evening came when all East Carolina graduates were called to the dance floor for an ECU Alumni Photo.  Just as the photo was to be taken, Cassidy and Tyler were informed that a special guest wanted to be a part of the photo as well.  The newlyweds’ were blown away when ECU’s own Pee Dee The Pirate came racing out to their alma mater’s fight song.  These two loyal Pirates could not have asked for a more perfect way to end their incredible dream wedding thanks to some generous friends.

Congratulations, Cassidy and Tyler!  Thank you for allowing Chestnut & Vine to be a part of your wedding story.  It was an honor getting to know you both and to share in the joy of your first day of marriage.



Click here to experience Cassidy & Tyler’s Wedding Day as captured by Oak City Films

All Photos Courtesy of Richard Barlow Photography

Cassidy & Tyler’s All-Star Vendor Team

Venue: The Cloth Mill at Eno River

Photographer: Richard Barlow Photography

Videographer: Oak City Films

Wedding Coordinator: Chestnut & Vine Day-of Wedding Coordination

Catering: Catering Works

Officiant: Jack Cloninger, Esq.

Reception Entertainment: Sweetwater Junction

Cocktail Reception Entertainment: Ron & Donna Davis

Ceremony Musicians: Ashley Kovacs

Bar Service: The Cloth Mill at Eno River

Florals: The Foraged South

Hair & Makeup: The Makeup Addict

Coffee Cart: Event Espresso Catering

Cake: Pastry Works

Linen and Dinnerware Rentals: CE Rental

Draping: Showtime Events

Specialty Decor Rentals: The Greenhouse Picker Sisters

Getting Ready Suites: The Washington Duke Inn

Transportation: S & H Transportation

Erin & Mike’s Romantic Woodland Inspired Wedding | The Fairview | Raleigh, NC

First Dance in Black and White Joe Payne PhotographyAs soon as I met Erin and Mike, I knew they were a friendly, upbeat couple who were going to throw an unforgettably fun wedding, and they did not disappoint!  The fact that the couple first met on St. Patrick’s Day made me love them even more!

Erin and Mike were married before their family and friends at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral in Raleigh, NC, whose stunning sanctuary rivals the best cathedrals in Europe. After taking post-ceremony photos around Raleigh with their wedding party and sweet dachshund, Snickerdoodles, the newlyweds joined their guests at The Fairview for a Woodland inspired cocktail and dinner reception designed entirely by the bride herself.

Erin got the idea for a Woodland themed wedding reception when she was captivated by a hedgehog planter at Pier 1 Imports.  She quickly figured out how many she would need, located stores across the country that still had them, and recruited her friends who lived near those stores to acquire them.  The end result were whimsical centerpieces beautifully accented with baby’s breath and floral arrangements designed by The English Garden.  The wooden stands and candle boxes that completed the look were built by the couple and an assembly line of family members.  Two of their most unique details were the “Guest Ribbon Tree”, which came from the Matron of Honor’s backyard, and the adorable bride/groom hedgehog cakes, skillfully designed by the talented Cakes by Chloe.

Guests were treated to an elegantly plated meal expertly prepared and served by Rocky Top Catering, and Stylus S.E. kept the dance floor packed throughout the night as the newlyweds celebrated with their marriage with their closest friends and family.

Congratulations, Erin and Mike!  Thank you for allowing Chestnut & Vine to be a part of your wedding day.  We had a blast!

Photographs Courtesy of Joe Payne Photography

Erin & Mike’s All-Star Wedding Team

Photographer: Joe Payne Photography

Ceremony Venue: Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral

Reception Venue: The Fairview

Wedding Coordinator: Chestnut & Vine Day-of Wedding Coordination

Caterer/Bar Service: Rocky Top Catering

Florals: The English Garden

DJ: Stylus S.E.

Hair/Makeup: Makeup by Ashley Mooney

Cake: Cakes by Chloe

Linen, Dinnerware and Decor Rentals: Themeworks

Transportation: North Hills Transportation

Holly & Chris’ Wedding – A Perfect Blending of Chinese Tradition and Modern Style | The Barn of Chapel Hill, NC

Bride and Groom Chestnut & Vine Day-of Wedding CoordinationWhen it comes to weddings, everyone has an opinion, especially family members.  Many times older generations think all weddings should keep to the traditions from their eras, while the engaged couple wants to have a wedding that is modern and unique to them.  Holly and Chris found the perfect compromise by seamlessly blending their families’ Chinese traditions with modern elements that expressed the couple’s distinct personalities.  

The importance of family was evident throughout Holly and Chris’ wedding day at The Barn of Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC.  While standing before an exquisite flower ring (designed by the talented Jennifer Wood of Wild Flora Farm), the Bride and Groom recited their vows and presented their parents with gifts to pay homage to the positive role their families played in their lives.  After they were introduced as husband and wife, Holly and Chris processed down the aisle to the vocal stylings of Ariana Grande to kick off the festivities. Prior to the dinner reception, the newlyweds participated in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony to honor members of their extended family.  The Bride’s cousin provided commentary by introducing the family members and explaining the ritual to guests who were seeing a tea ceremony for the first time.  

Cottage Luxe’s exclusive farm tables were decorated with beautiful pastel floral arrangements with greenery and a collection of watercolor prints painted by Holly’s Aunt, each one selected because they made the bride happy when she looked at them.  Each place setting included a traditional Chinese gift box filled with candies for the guests to take home. After the guests enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by Catering Works, they were treated to a variety of decadent desserts all made by the Mother of the Groom.  One of the most memorable moments of the evening was when the Father of the Groom expertly played the harmonica during the Mother/Son dance. Everyone did a double take when they realized the harmonica they heard playing was not a part of the song recording. Holly and Chris’ magical night conclude with guests of all ages dancing alongside the newlyweds to old school hip hop and modern rap spun by Joe Giampino of Morse Entertainment.

The love that Holly and Chris have for each other and their families was deeply felt by all who were in attendance and will no doubt continue on for many generations to come.  Congratulations, Holly & Chris!


All Photos Courtesy of Jenna Goetz of A.J. Dunlap Photography

As featured in the 2019 Fall/Winter Issue of The Knot The Carolinas Magazine

Holly & Chris’ All-Star Wedding Team

Ceremony/Reception Venue: The Barn of Chapel Hill at Wild Flora Farm

Photographer: Jenna Goetz, A.J. Dunlap Photography

Videographer: Wei Ying, Story2Movie

Florals: Wild Flora Farm

Wedding Coordinator: Chestnut & Vine Day-of Wedding Coordination

Catering/Bar Service: Catering Works

Officiant: David Kwon

DJ: Joe Giampino, Morse Entertainment

Tables/Chairs: Cottage Luxe

Lounge Furniture: Greenhouse Picker Sisters

Hair: Douglas Carroll Salon Raleigh

Bride’s Makeup: Karmilla Kim

Lighting: Get Lit Event Lighting

Photo Booth: Spark Photo Booth

Cake & Desserts: Mrs. Lo (Mother of the Groom)

Simple Tips for Easing the Tension with your Fiancé While Wedding Planning

Wedding Cake and Planning as a CoupleWe are delighted to have Guest Blogger Amanda Turner contribute her talents to The Corner of Chestnut & Vine!

Simple Tips for Easing the Tension with your Fiancé While Wedding Planning

Getting married is considered to be one of the most magical events of your life that you will never forget. Unfortunately, most of the time all that magic gets bogged down with stress from planning your dream wedding. During this time, tensions may start to right high between you and your fiancé. If you just got engaged, be proactive and follow these simple tips to ease some tension between you and your fiancé during this…exciting time!

Take a Break

Whether you’re knee deep in wedding planning or just popped the question, be sure to take a break. Whether you want to plan a mini vacation to relax, or just want to put wedding planning on hold for a couple of days, be sure to take a beat and enjoy being engaged.

Communicate with Each Other

Just like any relationship, healthy communication is key. When it comes to planning an event like your wedding, communication is even more important. There may be one person taking the lead on the planning, but that doesn’t mean your partner doesn’t want to have a say at all in the event. Be sure to keep each other in the loop and communicate if you feel like you aren’t being heard.

Learn Something New Together

Your engagement doesn’t need to be exclusively about wedding planning. Try and take some time to learn something new together. This could be anything from taking a cooking or dance class, to learning a new sport. Learn something new together, and you may even learn something new about each other in the process.


Have tensions already started to run high? Exercise it off! Believe it or not, if you feel yourself getting stressed or anxious, you may be lacking exercise in your life. Think about all of the pent up energy you have been investing in getting stressed or irritated. More often than not, all that tension melts away after a good workout. Try working out with your partner to release some tension and also spend quality time with them.

Stay Organized

Staying organized is key in mitigating any type of stress, and your big day is no exception. Try having a notebook or binder dedicated to wedding planning and fill it with mockups, ideas for decorations, and of course meetings and events you need to attend to. Keep in mind that weddings can be a big expense, so organization is important now more than ever to keep your finances in check. If you are worried that unexpected home expenses may leak through the cracks, consider investing in a home protection plan to save on potentially costly repairs while you plan and pay for your wedding.

Hire a Wedding Planner

Depending on your venue, your package may already come equipped with a wedding planner. If your venue does not have a wedding planner, do not go at it alone. Between remembering floral arrangements, keeping your timeline in check, paying deposits, choosing the food, and juggling your day-to-day is hard. A wedding planner may be the best investment you make during this process, and it will save a lot of tension between you and your fiancé.

Remember “Why” You’re Doing This

Keep in mind that you are getting married because you love each other, not because you want to have a big party – even though that is a part of the fun. You want to be able to enjoy being engaged and looking forward to spending the rest of your life with your partner. So, if you feel like tensions are started to run high, keep that perspective in the back of your mind.


About the Author: Amanda Turner is a freelance writer and recent graduate who is exploring her passions through writing. 

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

Kaitlin & Chris’s “Game Night” Wedding Reception |NC State – Raleigh, NC

NC State Wedding Game Night Theme

As high school sweethearts who went on to become loyal NC State Alumni, Kaitlin and Chris set out to plan a unique wedding day that encompassed their love of family, friends, board games, cards, cornhole and all things Wolfpack, and they more than delivered by treating their guests to a fun-filled Game Night themed wedding reception at the NCSU Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center on the southern shore of Lake Raleigh.

The bride and her attendants began their day next door at The State View Hotel where they had their hair and makeup expertly done by the Wedding Hair By Liz team.  Their outdoor ceremony on Park Alumni Center’s beautiful brick plaza was officiated by the Rev. Kayelily Middleton, whose insightful retelling of Kaitlin and Chris’s love story brought both laughter and a few tears to all who listened.  Following the ceremony, guests were treated to drinks, delicious appetizers, cornhole, bocce ball, board games and a surprise visit from NC State’s very own Mr. & Mrs. Wuf during the cocktail reception.  Prior to the start of dinner, guests were invited to answer trivia questions related to the newlyweds, and the guest who proved they knew them best won a prize!  To top off the perfect Game Night themed wedding, Kaitlin and Chris kicked off their dinner reception with a rousing game of “Family Feud: Wedding Party Edition” followed by “Family Feud: Bride’s Family v Groom’s Family.”  It can easily be said that a good time was had by all – which is exactly what Kaitlin and Chris wanted!

Congratulations, Kaitlin and Chris!  It was an absolute pleasure to help you coordinate such a memorable wedding that was unlike anything we had ever done.




Kaitlin & Chris’ All-Star Wedding Team

Photographer: Faith Teasley Photography

Venue: Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center at NC State University

Wedding Coordinator: Chestnut & Vine Day-of Wedding Coordination

Hotel: The State View Hotel

Florist: The English Garden

Hair/Makeup: Wedding Hair by Liz

Officiant: Rev. Kayelily Middleton

DJ: Bunn DJ Company – DJ Ken Bloms

Catering/Bar: Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center at NC State University

Dessert Bar: Sweet Cherry Bakery

Rentals: CE Rental

Lighting: Simpsound DJ & Lighting

Special Guest Stars: Mr. & Mrs. Wuf

“ALWAYS” | Laura & Steve’s Romantic Winter Wedding | The Cookery – Durham, NC

Romantic Winter Wedding Portrait Downtown Durham

Laura and Steve “Always” dreamed of having a magical wedding day, and on an early December evening, they turned The Cookery in downtown Durham into a romantic winter wonderland, thanks to the talents of renowned DC florist Kevin Canfield of K Aubrey Flowers, a close friend of the Bride & Groom.  The delicate wintery whites of their candlelit ceremony were the perfect contrast to the warm navy and gold tones used throughout the cocktail and dinner receptions.  Family and friends were treated to delectable appetizers and a savory dinner buffet expertly prepared by Durham Catering.  Following a champagne toast and traditional cake cutting ceremony,  Laura and Steve danced the night away with their family and friends to the sounds of DJ Damien Maass.  The Newlyweds could not have asked for a more perfect beginning to their “Always”.

All Photographs Courtesy of Brian Mullins Photography

Laura & Steve’s All-Star Wedding Team

Venue: The Cookery – Durham, NC

Photographer: Brian Mullins Photography

Floral and Decor Design: K Aubrey Flowers

Day-of Wedding Coordinator: Chestnut & Vine Day-of Wedding Coordination

Caterer: Durham Catering

Bar Service: The Cookery

DJ: Damien Maass DJ & Video Service

Photo Booth: Spark Photo Booth

Rentals: American Party Rental

Officiant: Bob Bennett

Hair & Makeup: 140 Salon & Blow Dry Bar

Chalkboard Artist: Marika Wendelken Calligraphy

Cake: Rose’s Meat Market and Sweet Shop

Hotel: The Durham Hotel

Transportation: US Coachways

All Photographs Courtesy of Brian Mullins Photography

Christina & Lucas’ Memorial Day Weekend Wedding | Downtown Raleigh, NC

Raleigh Day-of Wedding Coordination

When planning their Memorial Day Weekend wedding in Downtown Raleigh, it was important to Christina and Lucas that their guests experience three things: good food, a great bar, and fun music.  With the help of their all-star wedding vendor team and a distinct wedding vision, that is exactly what they delivered.

The sun shone brightly as Christina and Lucas’ family and friends gathered in the Courtyard tucked behind Gravy, one of Raleigh’s top Italian Restaurants, to witness the marriage of the Ohio bride to her North Carolina sweetheart.  The bridesmaids wore blush dresses that were a perfect compliment to the gentlemen’s navy suits.  The stunning blush and white bouquets were all designed by her talented bridesmaid, Valerie, and the Father of the Bride built the ceremony arbor.

It is often the unexpected imperfections that provide some of the biggest smiles on a couple’s wedding day, and so it was when their adorable flower girl got a sudden case of stage fright and made a bee-line for the sidelines.  Impressively, her older brother didn’t miss a single beat and successfully carried his Aunt and Uncle’s wedding bands all the way up to the front of the aisle.

day-of wedding coordination | homemade macaroonsAfter the ceremony, the guests enjoyed risotto balls, antipasto and expertly made cocktails before heading to the reception in The Jiddi Space for a delicious family-style Italian meal.  Afterwards they enjoyed an array of delicious desserts prepared especially for them by Gravy’s head chef.  Once their guests were properly fed, Christina and Lucas led everyone back out to the Courtyard to complete their celebration with a night of dancing hosted by DJ Scotty Williams.  It didn’t take long to realize that Lucas gets his impressive dance skills from his Mom when the two brought down the house with their surprise killer dance routine.

Christina and Lucas worked hard to give their guests an unforgettable evening of fun, and it was a joy to see them relish every second of their wedding day.  What impressed me the most about these newlyweds is their innate ability to work as a team and their willingness to keep an open mind to new ideas so that their wedding would be their best day ever.

Congratulations, Christina and Lucas!


All Photos Courtesy of F8 Photo Studios

Christina & Lucas’ All-Star Wedding Team

Ceremony/Reception Venue: Gravy – The Jiddi Space

Photographer: F8 Photo Studios

Floral Design: Valerie Messmer

Wedding Coordination: Chestnut & Vine Day-of Wedding Coordination

Catering: Gravy

Linen Rentals: CE Rental

Hair/Makeup: Cori Lee Style

Cake/Desserts: Gravy

DJ: Making Memories DJ Service

Transportation: Elevate Transportation

Tent/Dance Floor Rental: Dee-Jay Events



Julia & Corey’s Spring Wedding | The Graylyn Estate | Winston-Salem

Graylyn Wedding Day-of CoordinationThe Graylyn Estate is a hidden gem located minutes from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.  As soon as they set their eyes on the main house of this historic property, Julia and Corey knew it was the perfect setting for the elegantly romantic wedding day they envisioned.

The sun shown brightly in the estate’s White Garden Terrace as the couple read their personal vows to one another before their families and closest friends. The Terrace’s natural beauty was magnified by the stunning floral bouquets crafted by the incredibly talented team at Green Bee Floral Designs.  During the cocktail hour, guests were treated to a signature cocktail inspired by the Disney Cruise Line cocktail they were treated to on the night of their engagement.  After enjoying a delicious meal expertly prepared by the Graylyn’s catering staff, Julia and Corey were especially excited to cut into their 4-tier lemon-blueberry wedding cake that was surrounded by 4 white chocolate satellite designed by Regi Originals.   The evening finished with a fun night of dancing hosted by A&A Disc Jockey Service and a grand sparkler exit down the cobble stone driveway in front of the estate’s main house.

Congratulations, Julia and Corey!  You successfully pulled off the perfect wedding that you always wanted.  Thank you so much for choosing Chestnut & Vine to be your day-of wedding coordinator.  It was an absolute honor!



Julia & Corey’s All-Star Wedding Team

Ceremony/Reception Venue: The Graylyn Estate

Photographer: Danielle Flake Photography

Floral Design: Green Bee Floral Designs

Wedding Coordination: Chestnut & Vine Day-of Wedding Coordination

Catering: Graylyn Estate Catering

Lighting Design: Sound Illusions Events

Hair/Makeup: Updo’s Studio

Cake Design: Regi Originals

DJ & Photo Booth: A & A Disc Jockey Service

Officiant: Reverend Kenny Compton (Groom’s Cousin)




Sarah & Christian’s Fall Wedding at Cross + Main | Youngsville, NC

Joyner Park Wake Forest, NC Wedding Photo

On a gorgeous, sunshine filled Fall afternoon, Christian and Sarah were the first couple to be married at the newly christened Cross + Main (formerly The Boondocks before it was purchased by Rocky Top Catering) located in the quaint downtown of Youngsville, NC.  The bride and groom, who relocated from North Carolina to Oklahoma so that Christian could continue his training with the U.S. Marine Corp, have Sarah’s parents and sister to thank for finding this small town gem 22 miles north of Downtown Raleigh.  Cross + Main’s exposed red brick and pristine wood floors, which were immersed in a flood of natural sunlight, formed the perfect backdrop for an endearingly romantic wedding.  

It was important to Sarah and Christian to make their wedding a family affair.  They were married by the groom’s cousin under an archway built by the bride’s father that was cloaked with sheer draperies sewn together by the bride’s mother, and their siblings, nieces and nephew were all members of their wedding party.  During the cocktail hour, the entire wedding party was shuttled to nearby Wake Forest for a photo session in Joyner Park.  The majestic Carolina Blue sky made their outdoor photoshoot absolutely perfect.  Once the wedding party returned to Cross + Main, guests were welcomed into the reception hall that was beautifully decorated with cranberry and navy linens and gorgeous floral centerpieces masterfully designed by Youngsville’s own Brandi’s Bontanicals.  After a fun evening full of dancing and laughter, the newlyweds exited under an archway of sparklers that led them to their getaway car – an immaculate 1941 Packard Sedan owned by a local couple that the bride’s parents just happened to meet at a car show.  It was the perfect way to end a wonderful celebration of such a sweet, thoughtful and loving couple.

Congratulations, Sarah and Christian!  Thank you for entrusting your wedding day to Chestnut & Vine.  It was a pleasure to work with you both and to see all of your hard work come to fruition.

All photos courtesy of Photographs by Stephanie

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Sarah & Christian’s Wedding Team

Ceremony/Reception Venue: Cross + Main | Youngsville, NC

Photographer: Photographs by Stephanie

Floral Design: Brandi’s Botanicals

Wedding Coordination: Chestnut & Vine Day-of Wedding Coordination

Catering: Cannon Catering

Bartending Services: POUR Bar Services

Decor Rentals: Classic Party Rentals

Hair/Makeup: Joanne Maye Makeup Artistry

Cake Design: Sweet Memories Bakery

DJ: Avalanche Sound & Lights

Transportation: Carolina Livery Service

Classic Car: Chad & Demi Goldman

Kristi & Doug’s Summer Wedding at Duke Chapel & Washington Duke Inn – Durham, NC


When I met Kristi and Doug at the April 2015 Southern Bridal Show at the NC State Fairgrounds, I knew immediately that I wanted to work with this lovely, sweet natured couple.  Doug’s willingness to attend a bridal show with his winsome fiancée spoke volumes for how much this couple loves each other and will work well together as a team.  So, I was thrilled when they chose Chestnut & Vine to be their day-of wedding coordinator.

Their story began when Kristi, who met Doug during her employee orientation at Duke Hospital, invited him to attend Sunday mass with her at the iconic Duke Chapel.  By the end of the evening, Doug happily clued into the fact that he was on a date and astutely asked her if she would like to go out again.  The two have been inseparable ever since.

When it came time to plan their wedding, Doug and Kristi had their hearts set on getting married in the very church where they had their first date, but as luck would have it, Duke Chapel was booked a year in advance and about to begin an extensive restoration project which would delay their wedding an additional year.  Not to be deterred, this undaunted couple camped out in front of Duke Chapel for three days in North Carolina’s merciless summer heat and joyfully walked away with a July 2016 wedding date.  As it turns out, their long engagement was worth the wait because their dream wedding venue, the renowned Washington Duke Inn, was available on the very same day.

One year later on a gorgeous, sunny afternoon in July, Doug and Kristi were married in the Duke University Chapel before friends and family who traveled from near and far to celebrate their big day.  Kristi’s bridesmaids all wore blush-colored, floor length gowns of their own choosing.  The mix of dress styles, patterns and colors were a stunning backdrop for the gorgeous bouquets of English Roses and succulents superbly arranged by Bea Miller and her team at Floral Dimensions.  The newly restored Chapel organ filled the sanctuary with its rich, melodic tones as Kristi was escorted down the aisle by both her Mom and Dad and again when Kristi and Doug recessed out of the Chapel for the first time as husband and wife.

Later in the evening the guests were greeted by the newlyweds as they arrived to the cocktail reception outside of the Washington Duke Inn’s Presidents Ballroom.  After a delicious dinner prepared and served to perfection by the Washington Duke’s Catering Staff, Kristi and Doug invited all of their guests to join them out on the dance floor.  Never have I seen a bride and groom effortlessly dance together more than Doug and Kristi did that night, which set the tone for a high-energy, unforgettable evening of fun hosted by the one and only Randy Bennett from Bunn DJ Company.  When the time came to send the newlyweds off to begin their life together, the guests formed a tunnel of twinkle lights for the couple to run under as they made their grand exit in a decorated golf cart driven by the bride herself.

Congratulations, Kristi and Doug!  You could not have planned a more elegant, flawless wedding that celebrated who you are and will become as you journey through your life together.



Kristi & Doug’s Wedding Team

Ceremony Venue: Duke University Chapel

Reception Venue: Washington Duke Inn

Photographer: Brian Mullins Photography

Day-of Wedding Coordination: Chestnut & Vine Day-of Wedding Coordination

Floral Design: Floral Dimensions

Catering: Washington Duke Inn

DJ: Bunn DJ Company – DJ Randy Bennett

Cake Design: Sweet Memories Bakery

Hair & Makeup Design: Makeup for Your Day

Transportation: RDE. Raleigh Dream Limos

I am a Diehard Cubs Fan and Proud of It!

Screenshot 2016-10-25 19.51.22I often wondered if I’d ever see today. My beloved Chicago Cubs are playing in the World Series for the first time in 71 years, and I could not be more thrilled to see this dream come true.  Over 30 years ago my dear friend, Marnie (who was a bridesmaid in my wedding), introduced me to a handsome 2nd baseman named Ryne Sandberg, and thus began my first longterm relationship filled with feelings of hope, admiration, heartbreak, disappointment, joy, and blind faith that better days are just a spring training season away.  As a kid I collected baseball cards, rarely missed a Cubs game on WGN, faithfully listened to the gospel of baseball according to announcers Harry Caray and Steve Stone, and proudly attended a Cubs game at Wrigley Field before a night game was ever played.  My Dad contends that to this day he has never seen a bigger smile on my face than the day I attended my first ballgame in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, and every detail that I soaked in that day from where we sat (behind the Cubs’ bullpen), to who stood on the pitcher’s mound (Rick Sutcliffe and Lee Smith), and who hit the winning home run (the one and only Shawn Dunston) still plays in my memory like a highlights reel.  And of course I was completely giddy when I got to see my crush “Ryno” in person with my very own eyes.

In an interview earlier this week, fellow Cubs Fan Bill Murray perfectly expresses what it means to be a Cubs Fan and is dead on when he says, “To root for a team that never won, it’s just character building.”

I am proud to be a Diehard Cubs Fans because we:

  • Are Devoutly Loyal. While fans of other sports teams openly question my sanity for cheering on a team whose own fans endearingly call them “The Lovable Losers”, my devotion towards my Cubbies has never once swayed.  There is no such thing as a “Fair Weather Cubs Fan.”  We support our team no matter the score or our place in the division standings;
  • Understand the importance of Relishing the Moment because we never know when the next “W” might come along.  It could be tomorrow or it could be next month, so you had better appreciate and celebrate today’s victory while you can; and
  • Are Eternal Optimists.  In my hometown, a common conversation starter is “How ’bout them Cubs?,” and whether you are commiserating with a fellow Cubs fan over the team’s string of bad luck or engaged in an animated disagreement with a rival Cardinals fan, it’s pretty much a guarantee that the conversation will end with the Cubs fan confidently stating with a gleam in his/her eye, “Wait ’til next year!”

This 2016 Cubs Team is a true blessing that is so much fun to watch, and a text I received this week from Marnie sums up exactly how all of us Diehard Cubs Fans are feeling this season, “For all the fans that have come and gone and never saw what we might see, I am grateful.”  Me, too, Marn!

So it is with great pride and feelings of good fortune that I ask to all who will listen, “How ’bout them Cubs?!”  No need to wait for next year.  Next year is finally here!!

Wrigley Field

Wedding Insurance – A Wise Investment or an Unnecessary Expense?

Wedding rings and moneyRecently one of my brides asked if I thought wedding insurance is a smart purchase or an unnecessary extra expense.  This is an excellent question because the larger the wedding industry gets, the harder it is for engaged couples to determine which “wedding extras” are essential or a waste of money.   According to TheKnot.com, a basic wedding insurance policy typically costs between $155-$550 and will cover venue deposits, vendor no-shows, and the inability for an essential bridal party or family member to attend the wedding due to weather, illness or military deployment.  A supplementary policy will need to be purchased if you want the insurance company to cover (1) the total cost of re-staging your wedding should your photographer/videographer be a no-show or the original negatives/video are damaged or lost; (2) your wedding bands*; (3) special attire (wedding gown, groom’s tux, etc.), and/or (4) your wedding gifts. 

[*Your engagement ring is not covered by wedding insurance.  When your fiancé presents you with your gorgeous engagement ring, your first call after you phone your parents with the good news should be to your insurance agent to purchase Personal Article Insurance.  This is insurance I urge every engaged couple to purchase.]

In my opinion, there are four instances when a couple should strongly consider purchasing wedding insurance:


If your wedding is taking place outside of the U.S. (Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, etc.) and the vast majority of your guests and bridal party will purchase expensive plane tickets to get there, your wedding investment should be protected from unexpected flight delays on account of weather or political discourse.  When U.S. travelers booked their European vacations in April 2010, I doubt any of them thought that an Icelandic volcano eruption would keep their flights grounded for nearly a week. [Note: Travel insurance and wedding insurance do not cover the same losses.  Discuss with your insurance agent which of these policy types best protects your wedding investment.]



Nothing is more romantic than saying “I do” while standing on the white sandy beaches of the Carolina Coastline or atop a breathtakingly beautiful peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains, unless of course Mother Nature decides to serenade you with a hurricane or blizzard on your wedding day.  If you are getting married during a month when the locals regularly describe the weather forecast as “iffy”, purchasing wedding insurance is a sensible way to defend yourself against Mother Nature’s twisted sense of humor.




Planning a wedding naturally increases an engaged couples’ feelings of stress and anxiety, but emotional stress is compounded exponentially when there is a chance that your nuptials may need to be rescheduled due to an essential bridal party or family member’s serious illness or possible military deployment.  Finding room in your budget to purchase wedding insurance will at least bring your anxiety level down a notch knowing that you will not be out a significant amount of money should you need to change your plans at a moment’s notice.

Just like other forms of insurance, deciding whether or not to purchase it is a personal decision that requires you and your fiancé to weigh the benefits and the risks.  If you do to decide to purchase wedding insurance, I recommend getting quotes from 2 or 3 insurance agents and ask them to thoroughly explain what is and (even more importantly) what is not covered by the wedding insurance policy.

Tempe & Stuart’s Traditional Southern Wedding – Louisburg, NC

Tempe and Stuart were married on April 16, 2016 in the bride’s hometown of Louisburg, NC.  Since the bride and groom both reside in Wilmington, I had the pleasure of working closely with Tempe’s mother, Anne, on all of the final details.  It was quite the family affair with 370+ guests in attendance with some guests traveling from as far as Jackson Hole, WY to celebrate Tempe and Stuart’s big day.

Nieto Photography 2016

Nieto Photography 2016

Weather conditions could not have been better for an outdoor reception that included a traditional Southern barbecue made to perfection by Louisburg’s own Cook Shack.  The weekly forecast predicted rain for their wedding day, but thanks to the Father of the Bride and an old Southern tradition, Carolina Blue skies and billowing white clouds shined brightly all day on the festivities.  In order to guarantee that rain would not fall on his youngest daughter’s wedding day, Tempe’s Dad buried a bottle of bourbon at the site of the reception exactly one month before the wedding.  Once the party was underway, he dug up the bourbon bottle and presented it to the couple during his toast.  Thanks to that bottle of bourbon, not one drop of rain fell the entire day!

Congratulations, Tempe and Stuart!  Your celebration was one that Louisburg will never forget!

All photographs courtesy of Chris Nieto of Nieto Photography.

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Nieto Photography 2016 / Cook Shack Catering

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Nieto Photography 2016 / Timberlake House

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Tempe & Stuart’s Wedding Team

Ceremony: Louisburg United Methodist Church

Reception: Timberlake House

Photographer: Nieto Photography

Videographer: Linn Bennett

Floral Design: Brandi’s Botanicals

Wedding Coordination: Chestnut & Vine Day-of Wedding Coordination

Catering: Cook Shack Catering Company

Rentals: Grand Rental Station

Hair/Makeup Design: Total Image Salon

Cake Design: Nancy Hearne

Entertainment: “Charlie” 

Bridal Luncheon: Ladyfingers Caterers

Late Night Snack: Granny’s Drive-In

Horse & Carriage: Rusty Thornberry

Transportation: USA Party Bus

Samantha & Parker’s Spring Wedding at Merrimon-Wynne – Raleigh, NC

In April 2015 at my first ever wedding show, I had the good fortune to meet Samantha and her Mom, Bonita.  They came to the wedding show specifically to find a day-of wedding coordinator, and the three of us hit it off immediately!  Samantha was a day-of wedding coordinator’s dream because when we met for our initial meeting she had already booked her venue, florist, band, photographer, and purchased her dress – and her wedding was still 13 months away!  Over the next year I had the pleasure of getting to know Samantha and her fiancé, Parker, while helping them coordinate the details that made their wedding extra special.  When I met their extended family at the ceremony rehearsal, it was clear to see where they get their festive spirits and kind hearts.

Samantha & Parker were married on May 21, 2016 at the Merrimon-Wynne House in downtown Raleigh and were one of the first couples to hold their ceremony and reception in the venue’s brand new Carriage House.  Samantha’s vision for an elegant yet lively wedding reception suited the Carriage House perfectly.  So, it is with great pleasure that I share with you Mr. & Mrs. Parker Hawkin’s unforgettable wedding day!

All photos courtesy of Ellen LeRoy Photography.


Samantha & Parker’s Wedding Team

Ceremony/Reception Venue: Merrimon-Wynne House

Photographer: Ellen LeRoy Photography

Floral Design: Leaf & Petal Design

Wedding Coordination: Chestnut & Vine Day-of Wedding Coordination

Catering: Rocky Top Catering

Decor Rentals: Party Reflections, Inc.

Hair Design: Parlor Blow Dry Bar

Makeup Design: WINK Hair + Makeup

Cake and Cookie Design: Joy Bauer

Wedding Dress: Traditions by Anna Bridal Boutique

Entertainment: The Al Williams Band

Ceremony Music: Dennis Aberle

Transportation: A Formal Affair Limo

Got Flowers? Not in these Creative Non-Floral Centerpieces!

This past Saturday at The Sutherland, our bride, Laura, designed her own non-floral reception centerpieces that equaled the work of a professional.  Their elegant simplicity dazzled under the pavilion market lights as the December evening sky turned to dusk.  Inspired by Pinterest, she created everything herself, including the boxes which were made from recycled shipping pallets.


While I am constantly blown away by the floral creations dreamed up by my wedding design colleagues, the thought of spending thousands of dollars on flowers for my own wedding made me uneasy because 90% of our guests traveled from long distances and would not be able to take the centerpieces home, which means all of the beautiful blooms would be tragically thrown out at the peak of perfection.  I did follow tradition by using flowers for the ceremony, the wedding party bouquets and boutonnieres, wrist corsages for special guests, and a a floral centerpiece at the head table.  For the guest table centerpieces, I filled vases of all shapes and sizes with our family’s favorite red and orange candies, as well as popular red and orange labeled candy bars (think Reese’s, Kit Kats and Take 5 Bars), and instructed our guests to take bags of the candy home as their favor.  A simple photo of a lollipop centerpiece on Pinterest (and my love of all things sugary) inspired an explosion of candy-themed creations.  Here are just a few:

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When my college friend Amy accepted an invitation to a wedding near her hometown in Wisconsin, little did she know that one of the bride and groom’s non-floral reception centerpieces would become a member of her extended family.  Over three years later, Sammy the Fish resides in the middle of the family’s kitchen table where he remains the center of attention.  (Note from Amy:  Sammy has since received a bigger home.  The original bowl was smaller and filled with a few marbles and a starfish.)

If you, too, are looking for an alternative to flowers for your wedding centerpieces, here are some of my favorite non-floral Pinterest finds to get your own inspiration board started.  Happy Planning!

A yummy 3 for 1 alternative – Centerpiece, Favor and Wedding Cake all wrapped into one.

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These book and clock centerpieces seem perfect for an English Garden themed bridal shower.

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Candles are a simple, economical way to bring elegance and romance to any occasion.

I adore the cheeriness of this whimsical centerpiece. It would be perfect for a tropical venue.

I adore the cheeriness of this whimsical centerpiece that makes me long for a tropical getaway.

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A colorful, fruity alternative to traditional floral centerpieces.

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These are three distinct, innovative centerpieces that bring height to the room’s design scheme.

Say “YES” to Kids On your Wedding Guest List

Happy Halloween!  Oh how I loved this day when I was a kid running from house to house with my friends through leaves that came up to our ankles refusing to take a break until we  hit every candy bowl in the neighborhood.  I still get a rush when we take our girls trick-or-treating.  My step-daughters think I sound like a drill sergeant when I tell them to pick up the pace and hustle up those steps to the front door.  And how fun were our grade school Halloween parties?  Large rooms full of dressed up kids with treat bags in one hand, gigantic lollipops in the other and enormous  jars of candy scattered throughout.  Well those parties must be seared into my subconscious because this is also a fitting description of what my wedding reception looked like, too.  Blog 15.9 pic 1

I realize for some that the thought of having children at a wedding reception is frightening, but I believe including them in the celebration enhances the experience for the couple and all of their guests.  The kids’ excitement to be at a “big person party” is contagious and brings added spirit to the festivities.  You won’t have any trouble getting the dance party started with energetic kids in the room.  The bride will feel like true royalty as little girls stare in awe at her gorgeous white gown and tell her over and over how she looks like a beautiful princess.  Most importantly, you are giving your guests with children an endearing family memory they will never forget.
rsz_511Since our wedding party included my 7 year-old and 10-year old step-daughters, my 6 year-old niece as flower girl, and my 4 year-old nephew as “ring security”, it was predetermined that our wedding would be kid friendly.  Plus, as a bride in her late-30s, the majority of my friends had kids whom I adore and wanted to be a part of our celebration.  We ended up with 25 kids in attendance, and, let me tell you, EVERYONE had a blast on account of the kid friendly details .  Here’s what we did:


  • In addition to passed hors d’oeuvres at the cocktail hour, we put large bowls of goldfish, pretzels and Chex Mix on the cocktail tables with clear plastic cups next to each bowl.  The adults were as appreciative for the snacks as the kids.
  • I hired the sweetest 17 year-old twins to look out for the kids during the reception.  They were given a list of all of the kids’ names, their parents’ names and the parents’ assigned table numbers.  During the cocktail hour they found every family on the list, introduced themselves, and told the kids to meet them in the children’s section of the reception.  Our friends LOVED this because it gave them a chance to enjoy an evening out with uninterrupted adult conversations.
  • We put the children’s tables on one end of the room with some space between the other tables.  In place of a table setting, the kids were each given a wedding-themed activity book and crayons.  Plus games and scavenger hunt cards were placed on each table.

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  • Blog 15.9 pic 3As soon as the adults began their salad course, the kids were invited to go up to the Chicken Finger and Mac ‘n Cheese Bar.  Our caterer provided biodegradable disposable cups, plates and silverware that were kid-proof.  They even purchased a special kid size buffet table just for our reception.  The kids were very pleased with their meal, it was cost effective, and I later learned from my girlfriends that their husbands were ecstatic when they discovered chicken fingers on their way back from the men’s room.
  • Our centerpieces are probably what the kids (and adults) will remember most about our wedding.  In lieu of flowers, our centerpieces were made entirely of red and orange candy.  We had jars full of sour balls, candied orange slices, gummy bears, Airheads, Kit Kats, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, 100 Grand Bars, Take 5 Bars, and M&Ms.  Even the bottom of the lollipop bouquet vases were filled with itty bitty red and orange jawbreakers.  Each guest was given a treat bag with a note saying, “Love is Sweet.  Fill this with treats.  When you are able, go to the next table to meet and greet and find more candy to eat.”  And they all did!

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  • Blog 15.9 Pic 9As predicted, the kids did an excellent job of getting the dance party started and keeping it going until the end of the night! And in a twist on the age old tradition, only the kids 16 years and younger were invited to take part in the bouquet toss.


Needless to say, we set the expectation bar high for our young guests on what it takes to throw an amazing wedding!  Many of the kids were heard saying “BEST WEDDING EVER!!” even if it was the first one they’ve ever attended.  Some of our  friends opted to have a parents-only getaway weekend but were grateful that we gave them the option to bring their kids.  The best compliment I received was from my friend Sue, a mother of twin 5 year-olds.  She now tells engaged couples that her biggest regret from her wedding was making it adults only because our wedding made her realize that kids make the day even more special.

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Everything Looks Better in Color

Like many of my clients and wedding colleagues, I spend a little time each day scrolling through Pinterest to keep up on the latest wedding trends.  Lately my favorite Pins have to do with unique color combinations that make me swoon. When choosing your perfect wedding colors, it’s important to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do these colors compliment the decor of my wedding venue?
  2. Will my bridesmaids look good in these colors?
  3. Do these colors reflect the tone and mood I want to set for our wedding day?
  4. Am I so in love with these colors that I won’t grow tired of them before my wedding day arrives?
  5. Will I look back at my wedding photos in 20 years and ask “What was I thinking?!”

By far the best color theme Pins come from Chrissy Arpie Ott’s blog, The Perfect Palette, which is full of gorgeous inspiration boards for every taste and season.  I encourage you to check out her blog for colorful inspiration or a simple pick-me up on days when you could use a little cheer.  Here are some of my recent faves from The Perfect Palette.  Enjoy!

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All images featured in this blog post can be found at The Perfect Palette.


When discussing Chestnut & Vine with potential clients, I am often asked (1) exactly what is “day-of wedding coordination,” and (2) what made you decide to focus solely on “day-of” services?   What better place to address these questions than here on “The Corner of Chestnut & Vine”?

“Day-of Coordination” is wedding industry lingo for when a couple hires an organizer to implement their wedding plans for them.  In other words, the bride and groom choose their theme, colors, venues, vendors, menus, entertainment, decorations, etc. themselves, but then they hire a coordinator to handle all of the event details the weekend of the wedding.  “Day-of” is a deceiving description because the coordinator actually begins working on the wedding details well before the big day arrives.  For instance, I meet with my clients 6 weeks before their wedding day to discuss timelines, exchange contact information for vendors/venues, review transportation plans, and identify details that they may have overlooked.  In the weeks leading up to the wedding, the day-of coordinator drafts the wedding weekend schedule, contacts all of the vendors, and confirms that all of the details will be conducted as planned.  When the wedding weekend arrives, the day-of coordinator oversees the set-up process, keeps the wedding timeline on schedule, handles last minute emergencies, distributes gratuities, and then sees that the gifts and centerpieces are transported to a designated location.

As a recent DIY bride, I relate well with engaged couples who develop their own wedding day vision and want to be in charge of the planning process.  Many DIY brides and grooms find themselves in a last minute panic and are unable to fully enjoy their wedding day because they didn’t hire a professional to handle the final details for them.  A friend once confided to me that she should have hired a day-of wedding coordinator because it wasn’t until the end of her reception that she realized there was no one to pack-up the centerpieces or load the gifts into the car.  Instead of having a big send-off at the end of the night, she and her bridesmaids were scrambling frantically around the hall in their formal gowns collecting centerpieces and carrying large gifts to the parking lot.  This is taking DIY to an unnecessary extreme and is a guaranteed buzz kill for the bride and groom, the wedding party and their guests.  Hearing numerous stories like my friend’s made me realize that day-of wedding coordination is an untapped niche that I am excited to serve.

Welcome to “The Corner of Chestnut & Vine”

Chestnut & Vine’s newly designed website is finally here! This project has been months in the making, but I think you will agree that it was well worth the wait! This blog, “The Corner of Chestnut & Vine”, is where you will get my perspective on various wedding trends and planning tips, as well as meet my amazing clients. In case we haven’t had the chance to meet yet, I’m Erin McCauley – owner and founder of Chestnut & Vine Day-of Wedding Coordination. I moved to Raleigh, NC over six years ago on a complete whim that turned into the best decision of my life because it is here where I met the love of my life, became a wife, a co-parent to my step-daughters, and started my own small business. It also doesn’t hurt that the weather is much better in North Carolina than it is in the Midwest.

Even as a kid growing up in Springfield, IL, I’ve always been a planner who loved to make lists and work on projects. I honed my planning skills as a student at Indiana University (GO HOOSIERS!) where I was on the Steering Committees of the two largest campus events, IU Sing and the Little 500 bicycle race. During my time at IU I learned the importance of teamwork, compromise, leadership, and being organized. It is also where I realized my passion for event planning.

Over the years I ventured down a number of paths that enhanced my event planning skills. I was a training coordinator for the Walt Disney Company; an event coordinator for the Indiana University Foundation, and a campus activities director at several universities. Through a twist of fate, I was presented with an opportunity to venture down a new career path as a paralegal for a large law firm. As someone who embraces change, I decided to go for it. My legal career has improved my organizational skills, expanded my understanding of contractual agreements, and given me the flexibility to volunteer for organizations that benefit from my event planning abilities. However, it was during the planning of my own wedding that I realized how much I missed planning events on a regular basis and working with vendors to create an unforgettable experience. In fact, I had such a great time planning my own wedding that when it was all over, I found myself eager to help others plan their weddings. Hence the creation of Chestnut & Vine.

I love helping couples identify the little things that make their weddings uniquely them and then handling all of those details so that they can fully enjoy the biggest day of their lives. Engaged couples can also depend on my legal expertise to help them better understand and negotiate vendor contracts. My ultimate goal as a wedding coordinator is to make sure that my clients and their guests have as much fun as my husband and I did on our wedding day, and our guests will testify that we all had a blast.

Hopefully this gives you some insight in to who I am and how much joy I get from coordinating weddings for my clients. If you have any bridal related questions or come across interesting wedding articles, send them my way, and please keep an eye out for more posts on “The Corner of Chestnut & Vine.”

P.S. A huge thank you to Drew Schlosser and his talented team at Solution Design for the outstanding job they did on Chestnut & Vine’s logo and website. I could not be more pleased with how it all turned out. If you are in need of professional branding and/or web design, please check out their portfolio at yoursolutiondesign.com. Their work does not disappoint.