5 Things Every Bride Can Learn from This Penthouse Wedding in Charlotte, North Carolina

Real Weddings
Bride and Groom in Charlotte, North Carolina

Photo: Corbin Gurkin

MarySue Zaytoun, 28, and Kevin Boyle, 32, wanted their wedding to feel like they were entertaining their family and friends at home instead of hosting them in a formal venue, so they skipped the ballroom and rented a penthouse apartment in downtown Charlotte that gave them all the flexibility they needed, and then some. They followed their morning wedding on November 3, 2012, with a family-only brunch, then gathered their guests for a cocktail party with no curfew. "There was live music and dancing inside, and bocce, beer pong, and cocoa on the condo's patio," says MarySue.

For the full scoop, and to see how they managed to keep on top of their budget, pick up the June/July 2014 issue of Brides (on newsstands now!). As a bonus, we've got five tips every bride-to-be could use from this couple's polished, vintage-inspired wedding.

Embrace heirlooms: MarySue was the fifth generation to wear her lace-sleeved wedding gown, hand-made by her great-great-grandmother. She set the tables with heirloom china, supplemented with flea-market finds.

Put a twist on the classics: The couple loves classic comfort food, so for their cocktail hour they worked with the caterer to create fancier bite-sized versions. Guests chowed down on toasted Wonder bread with peanut butter mousse and local berry glaze, free range deviled eggs with fried shallots, truffle, and caviar, and beer-battered lobster tail "corn dogs" with apricot mustard.

Make timing work for you: Because the only time choices for their Catholic ceremony were in the morning or the evening, Kevin and MarySue chose an a.m. ceremony and followed it up with brunch for their families, with waffles and breakfast hash. Then, at 7:30, a larger group joined them for cocktails and revelry.

Shop the sales rack: MarySue wanted a more modern dress for the evening party, and she and her mom lucked out when they stumbled upon a wedding store that was going out of business. "I found it on the $99 rack!" she says.

Mix up the order of events: Since there was no seated dinner, MarySue and Kevin got formalities out of the way as soon as the evening reception began. They took a spin for their first dance, cut the cake, then everyone grabbed a cocktail and hit the dance floor, grabbing an hors d'oeuvre whenever hunger struck.

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