For Heather Black and Will Cox, a wedding at Duke University Chapel in Durham, NC, was a no-brainer. "We met there as sophomores in 2007, I also went to Duke Law School, my parents went there, and so did Will's dad," says Heather. "We knew that we wanted to commit to spend our lives together in a place that meant so much to both of our families."
On August 16th, 2014 — seven years after they met and a year after Will popped the question at sunset at his family's beach house — the couple invited 220 guests down to North Carolina for a formal celebration with a very distinct theme: Flowers! "As soon as I started gathering ideas and putting together my planning binder, I realized that my vision was pretty clear," the bride says. To execute the detail-oriented vision, the couple hired Katie Dunn of Events by La Fete, and of course a wedding with this many blooms needed amazing photographs, thanks to Walters & Walters.
Keep reading to see a wedding that's straight out of a garden fairy tale.
Heather's mother finished chemotherapy just before Will proposed, so the bride wanted her dress-shopping experience to be really special. "We went just the two of us, and when I put this gown on, we both had tears in our eyes," she says of her A-line Chantilly, Alençon, and Lyon lace Vera Wang gown. "My first thought was 'I can't wait for Will to see me walk down the aisle in this gown.'"
For a ceremony in a chapel as grand as Duke's, a Chantilly lace cathedral veil was a must. Blush, pink, coral, and ivory garden roses, wrapped in lace from Heather's mother's wedding dress, completed the bride's ensemble.
The couple exchanged traditional Episcopalian vows, with Heather's grandfather reading a passage from the Bible. The bridesmaids, in blush Monique Lhuillier gowns, and groomsmen, in Vera Wang tuxedos, led the way out of the church as the sun set.
The entrance to the Carolina Country Club was flanked with urns overflowing with blush and hot pink roses and hydrangeas. "The floral aroma greeting the guests set a beautiful mood," says the bride. Once inside, guests found a wall of white hydrangeas hung with vellum lanterns, each calligraphed with a guest's name and table number. In the cocktail area, a square bar surrounded an oversized tree covered in soft pink, white, and green blooms.
The real pièce de résistance was the canopy of hot pink flowers hung over the dance floor, the perfect frame for the couple's first dance and a night of celebration. Blush linens were topped with floral runners of white hydrangeas studded with pink roses. Touches of gold, from the votive holders and menus to the ornate chargers, gave the room a glamorous feel.
After a meal of fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, country ham biscuits, filet mignon, crab cakes, and black truffle mac and cheese (yum!), the newlyweds cut into a 9-tiered, 62-inch blueberry cobbler pound cake decorated with lace, gold roping, and hand-painted sugar flowers. "After we cut the cake, we packaged up the flowers for guests to take home," says Heather. "And the blueberry flavor was perfect for summer."
If that weren't enough, a late night after-party featured a DJ, fried chicken, and a waffle bar with everything from bacon and Nutella to sprinkles and chocolate chips.
Heather and Will, who honeymooned in Mykonos and Santorini, encourage couples to get planning done as far in advance as possible. "That way you can relish and enjoy some of the time before the wedding — and have a fantastic time on your wedding day!"
Ceremony Venue: Duke University Chapel || Reception Venue: Carolina Country Club || Wedding Planner: Events by La Fete || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair & Makeup: Ginger Mullins || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier || Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Black by Vera Wang || Engagement Ring: Zwikker & Zacher Ltd. || Wedding Bands: Bailey's Fine Jewelry || Florist: Kelly Odom || Invitations & Paper Goods: Ladyfingers Letterpress || Calligraphy: Calligraphy by Carrie, Yellow House Calligraphy || Music: Ceremony - Arioso Strings, Reception - Atlanta Party Band || DJ: Bunn DJ Company || Reception Venue: Carolina Country Club || Cake: The Art of Cake || Rentals: CE Rental, ThemeWorks || Favors: Coco's Confections || Videography: Heart Stone Films || Photography: Walters & Walters
Can't get enough of the flowering details at this North Carolina wedding? Then check out another wedding with plenty of bright blooms in the video below!