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
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
Transportation: Carolina Livery Service
Classic Car: Chad & Demi Goldman
YOU’RE ENGAGED!! And not even 5 minutes after sharing your fantastic news, the notorious question is inevitably asked … “When’s the wedding?!” It’s a natural response. Everyone who loves you is excited for you and wants the celebration to start right away and to offer their input. As a newly engaged bride, it is easy to get swept up into the excitement and feel rushed to choose a location and date just so you have an answer the next time it’s asked. If you don’t know when and where yet, it’s okay! By politely telling your loved ones that you and your fiancé are relishing the excitement of being engaged and that you’ll let them know when you are ready to discuss the details, you have officially set the tone that this is YOUR wedding.
Now this isn’t to say that you aren’t going to involve your loved ones in the planning process, but the key to having your dream wedding is never losing sight of the fact that this is a special occasion to celebrate you and your fiancé. The ceremony and reception should be a reflection of your unique relationship, so let your personalities shine! Let it be known from the beginning that you and your fiancé welcome input and advice, but ultimately the final wedding decisions belong to the two of you. Time and time again I hear tales of regret from brides who gave into their family members’ wishes instead of sticking to what they wanted. All they can recall from their wedding day is that they were made to do something they didn’t want to do. If you are feeling the pressure to do what others want just to keep the peace, ask yourself, “In 20 years will I remember this as my wedding or their wedding?” If the immediate answer isn’t “my wedding,” it might be time to use your “I’m the bride” card.
(WARNING: Don’t abuse your “I’m the bride” card privileges. Overuse will earn you the dreaded bridezilla title. Keep an open mind when receiving well-meaning opinions and advice because often they are both helpful and inspiring. Your wedding will be more fun for you and everyone else involved if you are a joyous, appreciative bride instead of a scary, unapproachable diva.)
Have you used your “bride card” appropriately but still feel like you aren’t being heard? Hire a wedding coordinator! Wedding coordinators are experts in taking the tension down a notch and playing the role of mediator. Chestnut & Vine prides itself on being the bride and groom’s strongest advocate for making sure they get the wedding THEY want while also looking for compromises that will satisfy both the opinion givers and the happy couple.
In the end, if you are open to your loved ones’ opinions but ultimately stay true to you and your fiancé’s wedding vision, you will have the perfect wedding. However, as you bask in the glow of marrying the man of your dreams and throwing the celebration of the year, don’t for a second think that you are now off the hook. For not even 5 minutes after returning home from your honeymoon, inevitably the second most notorious question will be asked … “So when are you having a baby?”
Last Sunday Chestnut & Vine participated in its first Southern Bridal Show and Expo at the NC State Fairgrounds presented by Forever Bridal Productions. Thank you to all of the brides and their entourages for stopping by our booth to learn about our day-of wedding coordination services. It was especially fun to meet the valiant grooms who braved the wedding mayhem to support their beautiful brides. These ladies have found keepers!
It was easy to differentiate between the first-time bridal show attendees and the veteran bridal show experts. The veteran attendees wasted no time and got right to business. Here are some great “Bridal Show Survival” tips that I observed during the show:
- PRE-MADE LABELS with your name, fiancé’s name, wedding date, e-mail and phone numbers are a must. Not only will this prevent hand cramps from writing your contact info a hundred times, the vendors will not have to guess if your e-mail address contains an “e” or a “c”. You may have won a free massage or a full-photography package, but you’ll never know because we couldn’t read your handwriting.
- LIMIT YOUR ENTOURAGE to 2 or 3 members. Any more than that becomes a chaotic scene with the bride’s attention being pulled in too many directions. Instead of collecting solid information about vendors in our area, the bride leaves with an overwhelming case of brain fog.
- Speaking of your entourage, BRING A GOOD LISTENER and A RECENT BRIDE with you. You will get bombarded with a lot of information in a short amount of time. A good listener will help you remember the important details and refresh your memory of who you liked and why when you debrief on the car ride home. A recent bride will provide helpful tips on what she did but more importantly what she WISHES she had or hadn’t done. I lost track of how many Matrons of Honor told me their biggest regret was not hiring a day-of wedding coordinator. (So learn from their mistake and hire Chestnut & Vine asap!)
- “YES AND NO” BAGS. Start the sorting process before you head home. Like a vendor? Put their marketing materials in the bag you are holding. Not interested in another vendor’s services but feel rude refusing their literature, put it in your friend’s bag. Just don’t forget which one is the YES bag when you get home.
- AVOID THE CROWDS by meeting with vendors during the fashion shows. When you first arrive, stroll through the isles to get your lay of the land. Then while the masses are watching the entertainment on the main stage, visit the vendors that interest you most. We are thankful for the company and have more time to give you the attention you deserve.
- Most importantly, HAVE FUN!! And if you are wondering how in the world you are going to bring all your ideas and vendors together for your wedding day, hire Chestnut & Vine to help you sort it all out. Sorting through the chaos is what we do best!
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.
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.