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Anna and Eric were married in a traditional church ceremony at St. Thomas Preservation Hall followed by a reception at 128 South in downtown Wilmington, N.C. on May 17. “I loved the charm of the building and the stunning water views of Cape Fear River” Anna said. The bride wore a sweetheart lace mermaid wedding gown, accessorized with her hair half-up/half-down in loose curls, while the groom wore a tan suit, accessorized with a solid tie and embroidered heart patch that said, “I will always love you.” Bridesmaids wore long chiffon dresses and carried bouquets of roses, peonies, hydrangeas, and dusty millers. Guests were greeted inside the renovated brick-walled church with a vintage window panel displayed with the itinerary. “Even after nine years of dating, Anna still gets giddy when Eric kisses her and gives her the sweetest looks of adoration,” according to Aaron, the photographer. The reception followed on an outdoor deck covered with a tent. Farm tables were decorated with gold charger plates, sequin runners, mint napkins, and personalized floral place cards. The newlyweds’ best advice? “Work together as you can really have fun,” she said. Somehow, after dinner, drinks, and dancing, they exited amongst a sea of sparklers and rose off on a pedicab.

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Photography: Aaron Nicholas Photography | Ceremony Venue: St. Thomas Preservation Hall | Reception Venue: 128 South | Event Planner: Kickstand Events | Dress Designer: Marisa from Victorian Rose | Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids Dresses: Donna Morgan from Nordstrom | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Macy’s | Floral Designer: Bella Florals by Theresa | Hair Stylist: Salon Fringe | Makeup Artist: Makeup by Amy Kennsion | Jewelry: James Allen | DJ: Absolute Best DJ | Stationery: Minted | Cake: Simply the Best Cakes

Rachel & Dylan

September 14

Wilmington, North Carolina


Q&A with the Bride

Which three details from your wedding were your favorites?

  1. The archway that Tamara (of Tamara Wade Designs) built and decorated for us looked magical when she finished with it. The burlap and clustered flowers were the ideal combination of rustic and romantic.
  2. The fingerprint tree that we used in lieu of a more traditional guest book was also both a crowd-pleaser and a terrific way to display a memory from the wedding. We had it designed on and it came with leaf-colored ink and a pen. Our guests put thumbprint “leaves” on the tree and signed their print. We framed it afterward and it’s hanging in our home, a constant reminder of our loved ones sharing an awesome day with us.
  3. The old books tied with lace and the lemon-lined Mason jars were two little decorative things we’re pretty proud of. The books came from thrift and antique stores all over the state. Me, my Mom, and Tamara would pick a few up at a time for pennies and at the wedding, Tamara tied them in little bundles with lace craft ribbon to scatter on the tables. They were a touch I thought of because of my love for reading and literature. As for the lemon jars, they went with our color palette and were such a happy, fresh addition to the tables.

If you could offer one piece of advice for other couples planning their wedding, what would it be?

There are two things that my husband and I would offer as key advice to anyone planning a wedding. First, know that you can absolutely achieve your wedding vision, no matter what that budget is. The budget simply dictates how you get there. Most of what we used for decoration we either made ourselves at a fraction of the cost, or we ordered it from somewhere like Etsy, where you can get one-of-a-kind items at-cost or just above. Second, don’t be afraid to plan the wedding that best fits who you are. For us, I felt strongly that I didn’t want an out-of-the-box wedding, so I planned it myself. Our ceremony was a mix of traditional passages and poetic recitations. We wrote our own silly-romantic vows to one another (which lightened the solemn mood considerably!), but we also repeated the traditional “til’ death do us part” bit. We skipped a receiving line altogether, and took many of our formal portraits before the ceremony so we’d have more time with family and friends. Our recessional was The Imperial March from Star Wars! The point is this—to be your happiest and most comfortable, include plenty of elements that speak to the people you are. Embrace that!

Give us the one moment in your wedding day you can’t stop thinking about.

For both of us, it’s probably the moment before the wedding when we saw one another all dressed up for the first time. We were getting ready to take our “First Look” photos and our photographer (Melissa Stallings) had Dylan stand with his back turned to me as I approached so that she could capture that instant where we laid eyes on each other for the first time. That was one emotional moment for everyone! I highly recommend a first look session for the bride and groom before the ceremony. It gave us more time to be with our guests after the wedding, and seeing each other beforehand allowed us a precious moment of privacy and a chance to shake off our pre-wedding jitters before the ceremony.