In most cases, a split competition between two guys at a party doesn't end well for either competitor. But when Robert, now 31, got low to impress a girl at a Labor Day party in 2012, it actually worked. Etta, 27, agreed to accompany him to a wedding the next weekend — and, a year later, agreed to tie the knot in a wedding of their own. The following spring, the two returned to Robert's family's summer home in North Carolina — the spot where their romance took off, and where Robert proposed — for an elegant coastal affair. Keep scrolling to see Natalie Carter Hyde of Aesthetic Images Photography's photos of their bash!
Robert proposed just days after Etta sat for the North Carolina bar exam. She was so out of it after the longest, most intensive exam of her life that she hardly knew what was happening as her future husband got down on one knee in his family's boat off Queen's Point, their waterside property. As soon as she stopped asking questions, the couple toasted with plenty of Champagne — and both Robert's and Etta's families and friends — to celebrate.
Etta wore a Lazaro gown. "I wanted lace, but I love the volume and romance of tulle," she says. "I found the best of both worlds in my dress."
The bride included peonies in her bouquet, not only because she loves them, but because her grandmother, who Etta is named after, carried a peony bouquet at her own wedding. Her Charlotte Olympia shoes were perfect for the seaside bash — and as a bonus, Etta still wears them all the time!
Etta and Robert tied the knot in a simple, traditional Methodist ceremony. They let the church's clean-lined decor speak for itself so they could focus all their decorating energy on their backyard reception, back at Queen's Point.
With the help of Katie Dunn from La Fête, Etta and Robert decked out his family's waterfront property with a black-and-white tiled dance floor, glittering chandeliers, and plenty of white flowers for a timeless Southern reception.
Guests tucked into a classic Southern meal of shrimp and grits, hearty hors d'oeuvres, and other mouthwatering fare. After hours on the dance floor, they finished the night with caramel cake filled with chocolate ganache and decorated with rosettes.
The couple relaxed after their wedding with a honeymoon in Turks & Caicos. Says the bride, "Relax while you're planning, too! Whatever is going to happen will happen, so let it go and have fun!"
Ceremony Venue: Grace United Methodist Church || Reception Venue: Private Residence || Wedding Planner: La Fête || Bride's Wedding Dress: Lazaro || Shoes: Charlotte Olympia || Hair and Makeup: Makeup for Your Day || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale || Groom's Attire: Turnbull & Asser || Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands: Elizabeth Bruns || Florist: Fiore Fine Flowers || Invitations & Paper Goods: Yellow House Calligraphy || Music: East Coast Entertainment || Catering and Cake: Scarborough Fare Catering || Rentals: CE Rental, The Catering Company of Chapel Hill || Videography: Life Stage Films || Photography: Natalie Carter Hyde for Aesthetic Images Photography