After what sounds like a delicious and romantic vineyard proposal, it was only appropriate for wine-lovers Amber + Jon to plan their nuptials at Raffaldini Vineyards in North Carolina. With the addition of deep jewel tones and family heirlooms as décor, their October wedding was perfect for the fall weather. We just love that guests were treated to a beautiful mountain sunset just before dinner and that A + J incorporated some finds that they picked up at our first Southern Weddings Yard Sale! Big thanks to Nancy Ray for sharing this lovely wedding with us!
Describe your wedding flowers: When I first met with our florist, I was very clear that my two main criteria were that I did not want any pink or any roses. Second, I wanted flowers that looked very natural and not over the top, nothing that was not local or out of season at the time of our wedding, and I think she did an incredible job. My bouquet was made up of antique hydrangeas, burgundy dahlias, eggplant mini callas, dusty miller, and peacock feathers then wrapped in burlap and lace, made complete with a cameo brooch that my great grandfather had made for my great grandmother. Our florist mixed in additional jewel tones for the bridal party’s bouquets and I loved the end result. Thank goodness for Pinterest, I think it was fairly new when we started planning but it was key in sharing ideas with all of our vendors!
During our 18 months of engagement and wedding planning, Jon was especially adamant that he wanted to keep with tradition and not have a “first look,” but as we got closer to our wedding date and started looking at a realistic day-of timeline, we realized it was worth considering. I found a few first looks on various wedding and photography blogs that I was impressed with and read what people had to say about it. I shared those with Jon and we ultimately decided to have a first look. It was one of the best decisions we made. I tend to be very shy and anxious in big crowds, especially being the center of attention, and it was the perfect way to calm some of my nerves by seeing Jon. It also gave us a lot more time for relaxed pictures with each other and our wedding party all together, which was a lot of fun before the ceremony. With a 6pm ceremony, we lost light fairly quickly after and we wouldn’t have been able to get half of those pictures or really enjoy that time if we had decided against a first look.
Did you write your own vows? We knew all along we wanted to incorporate personal vows into our wedding day. We shared our special self-written vows during our first look, and kept the ceremony fairly traditional. We had the idea to involve both of our immediate families in the ceremony. After my dad presented me, both of our sets of parents joined us at the altar as a symbol that both families were uniting to create a new family and to also give us their blessing. It was different and we loved the expression.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Jon’s sister read Colossians 3:12-17. She forgot to bring her Bible to the wedding, so she ended up reading it from her iPhone which was pretty funny.
My vision for our wedding was always vintage, rustic, and fall-themed. Our wonderful planner helped us create that by using lots of jewel tones, lace, peacock feathers, touches of burlap, and lots of vintage doilies. We also incorporated a lot of family heirlooms from both sides of our families and tried to involve family as much as possible. I loved that our wedding was set overlooking the Yadkin Valley of NC, which is by far one of our favorite places. We got to share something special to us with all of our friends and family who had traveled so far, and our guests were able to experience a beautiful NC sunset over the Blue Ridge just before dinner. Also, no Southern wedding is complete without acknowledging one’s alma mater! Jon is a Hokie so I surprised him with VA Tech colors for the ribbon wands used for our exit.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met through mutual friends while out playing trivia in March of 2009. I was invited and hardly knew anyone who would be there so I took my best friend with me. We barely spoke to anyone all night and probably brutally lost at trivia, but Jon and I kept making eye contact across the table. We spoke briefly at the end of the night and I left hoping I’d run into him again, but assuming I would not. Two days later, he had tracked down my contact information and emailed me to tell me he’d like the chance to get to know me better. The next week we met at Raleigh Times for drinks, and over five hours later, we realized we were just about the last people there and they were closing around us. That night he bravely admitted to me, “Either you’ll run or you’ll stay, but you’re it. This is it.” We just knew immediately.
Describe the proposal. Usually once a month or so, Jon and I jump in the car and either take a day or weekend trip in NC or VA. At the beginning of July 2010, we looked at our calendar and realized that every weekend of June was booked with weddings or out of town visitors. Jon knew I was stressed with work and our packed schedule so he offered to plan a getaway just for us at the end of the month. He told me not to worry about anything, he would take care of it all and it would be a surprise. He even helped me pack! For Jon to plan a surprise wasn’t really out of the ordinary, he loves doing things like that. I really didn’t think anything of it at first. Of course, as we got closer to the trip, I started becoming a little more hopeful. Early that Saturday morning, we got in the car and I drove the first part of our trip with directions from Jon. We took the back roads and reached the Virginia state line and jumped out to take a picture. That’s when Jon informed me we only had four more states to go. I was so confused. Still traveling on back roads, I started to get impatient and told him I wished we were going to Charlottesville, because that had been our first trip together and a special place for my family. Jon admitted that we were, and before I knew it we were pulling into the parking lot of Veritas Vineyards, one of our favorite wineries. After our wine tasting, we decided to head to King Family. We had a romantic picnic under a huge tree out on the grounds at King and once we finished, Jon presented two dessert boxes from the bakery he always brings me pastries from on special occasions. I told him there was no way I could eat dessert after our lunch. He convinced me and handed me one of the pastry boxes and kept one for himself, suggesting we just take a bite. When I opened it, there was a ring box inside. It had been in our refrigerator all night without me snooping or knowing. He got down on one knee and asked that we always strive to better ourselves and continue to grow together and I, of course, said yes!
In what month did you get married? October, our favorite time of year.
How many guests attended your wedding? 120
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: Shopping for a wedding dress was something I was most excited about. Shortly after getting engaged, my mom and I started visiting boutiques. I knew I wanted something very different, with lace, and not strapless. My mom was the only person I took shopping with me and I feel like that was really special for us. Plus, my style is so different from my friends’ that I didn’t really want their opinion! I had pretty much decided on the Watters Escalante, but I kept holding out and kept getting more frustrated trying on dresses because nothing felt just right. We were visiting stores around Charlotte one day and I mentioned NY Bride to my mom, which wasn’t far away from where we were, so we decided to drop in. They just happened to be having a Blue by Enzoani trunk show that Saturday. My mom pulled the Concord from the rack, but I really wasn’t so sure about it on the hanger. When I came out in the dress, we both started crying, which was a first, so we knew that was the one. It was so different and so me, I couldn’t imagine having worn anything else. Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. All of our ceremony and first dance music was performed by Swift Creek, who also played throughout the cocktail and dinner hours. They were fantastic and were willing to learn anything we asked for. I walked down the aisle to our band’s instrumental rendition of “Storybook Love,” the theme from The Princess Bride since we both love that movie. Our recessional was “Swept Away” by The Avett Brothers and our first dance was “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. We only took one dance lesson and had so much fun dancing around the house practicing before the wedding. By the time our wedding day came, we just had a great time. My dad and I danced to “Daughter” by Loudon Wainwright III, it was both fun and emotional since I’m an only child. And the last song we played at the reception was “Salvation Song” also by The Avett Brothers. Our friends just gathered around us in a circle and sang; it was the perfect end to our wedding day.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: Neither of us really cares for cake, and keeping with our rustic fall theme, we decided to serve an assortment of seasonal pies. We had full size apple, pumpkin, and banana/coconut crème (a combination of our Dads’ favorites) pies. There were also mini bourbon pecan pies, which were in honor of my late grandmother who used to bake mini pecan pies for me, so that was definitely a special touch.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There were so many projects we (really Jon) worked on for the wedding. Jon’s from upstate NY and I’m from NC, so he made a sign post with different places our family and friends were traveling from with how many miles they had traveled to be there. The two things we still laugh about most are the cameos and the invitations. Each project took a lot longer than expected and we were both really happy how each turned out. It’s just hilarious how much time was spent on them and you just hope your guests notice the hard work. Another of my favorite details were the amber, purple, and green glassware and vintage doilies my mom and I collected from antique stores and flea markets for our centerpieces. We also used some glassware that I picked up at the first SW Yard Sale!What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We live in Raleigh and decided to get married three hours away at Raffaldini Vineyards. The majority of our vendors were based in Winston Salem, so we spent many weekend hours driving back and forth for meetings and tastings. However, we’ve always enjoyed visiting the vineyards in Western NC, so we were able to incorporate that here and there, which made for enjoyable weekends away during sometimes hectic wedding planning. Plus, we really liked all of our vendors so we didn’t mind spending time with them!
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Well, a couple of things were top priority for us – the food, the dress, and the photography. We were happiest we splurged on the food because rarely do you walk away from a wedding remembering how good the food was. We’re foodies and vegetarians and wanted our food to be delicious and representative of us but memorable for our guests. We were able to work with our awesome caterer to achieve exactly what we wanted and we still receive compliments from our guests about our food. We had a sit down dinner with choice of grilled salmon with lime butter or Portobello lasagna with gruyere. Both were served with parmesan asparagus and the salmon also came with a side of macaroni and cheese (my favorite). Our caterer brought in a large commercial wood fired grill so the guests could smell the food grilling while they enjoyed hors d’oeuvres during the cocktail hour.
Nancy Ray and Rebecca Rose Events are fabulous members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!