It only took one conversation for Bradley Quarles to know there was something special about Mallory Mpare. "I mentioned that I needed to hurry back to my dorm room to watch the UNC/Duke basketball game," Mallory says. "I'm from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Brad, a lover of all things sports, was immediately hooked." Eight years later, in May of 2014, between a couple's massage and brunch, Brad popped the question in the center of Dupont Circle with both his and Mallory's families looking on.
The couple knew they wanted to get married near Mallory's hometown, so they looked at several venues in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In the end, the Cotton Room in Durham was the winner. "Since many of our guests would be traveling from out of town, we decided it would be most convenient to have our ceremony and reception in the same venue," the bride says. "We wanted something that felt intimate but would accommodate everyone, and we love the Cotton Room's industrial vibe."
Priscilla Erwin of Orangerie Events helped Mallory and Brad bring their dreams of relaxed yet elegant celebration to life on September 19, 2015. After 14 months of planning, their day went off without a hitch. Check out all of the gorgeous moments, as photographed by Kristen Lynne Photography, below.
The bride admits she tried to be practical about purchasing a wedding dress, but her heart won out. Although it was a splurge, her Romona Keveza lace and tulle gown was totally worth it. "I knew this was the silhouette I was going for," she says of the figure-hugging mermaid wedding dress. "I really wanted that lace illusion neckline, too!" She first tried it on a boutique in Washington, D.C., but waited until she had that coveted "moment" with her mother before she made the purchase. Luckily, Traditions by Anna in Raleigh, North Carolina, had the gown during a trunk show, so Mallory wasted no time in showing off the romantic style to her mom.
Since the dress — particularly, the neckline — featured lots of intricate detail, the bride didn't want to overwhelm her look with too many accessories. She skipped a necklace in favor of blingy crystal earrings and embellished shoes.
Mallory says her vision for her bouquet could have been challenging for some florists, but her pro nailed it. "I wanted something textured and organic, but still refined," she says. The mix of garden roses, spray roses, dahlias, snowberries, brunia berries, and lots of greenery, all tied with a flowing blush ribbon, was exactly what she had envisioned.
We're loving Brad's two-tone Kas Collection tuxedo, which he paired with smoking slippers.
Both the bride and groom had seven attendants each. Mallory's six 'maids wore neutral-hued dresses they chose themselves. The bride's only request? No satin! "They made some lovely, lovely choices," she gushes. Her half of the wedding party was completed with a man of honor — her brother, Clifford. "We knew we wanted him involved in our bridal party and it only felt right for him to stand with me as we are, and have always been, best friends." Brad's seven groomsmen all wore navy tuxedos.
The final member of the wedding party was the couple's ring bearer, the son of Mallory and Bradley's close friends. "Before going down the aisle, Ezra was terrified of me behind the veil," the bride says. "I swooped it off of my face so he could recognize me, which calmed him down momentarily. Luckily, our planner is great with kids so she scooped him up, played with him a bit, and then sent him on his way down the aisle."
The couple's 6:30 p.m. ceremony took place on one side of the main space inside the Cotton Room, a former textile factory. With exposed brick and industrial-looking ductwork, the couple knew they only needed to add a few romantic elements to achieve the balance they were looking for. With gauzy fabric separating the ceremony from the reception area, the space felt intimate and cozy.
At the head of the aisle, Mallory and Brad's florist designed a floral arch made from greenery and bundles of fresh blooms. Glowing lanterns completed the décor.
While a cellist and violinist performed, Mallory's father walked her down the aisle. She and Brad chose to write their own vows, but the bride admits it took a little convincing to get the groom on board. "We're both very glad we did, though," she says. Because they wanted their guests to play an active part in their union, the duo incorporated a call-and-response group reading into their ceremony. "We chose Kahil Gibran's 'The Prophet' and had our reader recite a line and then our guests responded with the next. It was lovely to hear their voices surrounding us."
Guests enjoyed cocktail hour in the venue's entry while the main space was flipped for the reception. When everyone re-entered, they found a mix of round and long tables topped with tall arrangements of hydrangeas, roses, and ranunculus. The couple's head table was left without linens and decorated with a low greenery garland.
There are plenty of chandeliers throughout the space, but the bride and groom further warmed up the interior with their own lighting. Tea lights were suspended from greenery chandeliers and mesh orbs were decked out with twinkle lights.
"We wanted our reception to be fun, with great music, lots of dancing, and to also have delicious food," the bride says. They pulled it off with a family-style feast guests won't soon forget: Southern-style salad, watermelon and blackberry salad, potatoes au gratin, honey glazed carrots, pan-seared salmon, and carved garlic and peppercorn-crusted beef tenderloin were all on the dinner menu.
Instead of one large cake, Mallory and Brad chose several smaller cakes, all frosted in their favorite buttercream. Guests had their choice of red velvet, caramel delight, and almond cake for dessert.
The newlyweds admit that their friends are "dancing fools," so it should come as little surprise that as soon as Mallory and Brad finished their first dance to Bob Marley's "Is This Love," their guests all hit the dance floor.
As a nod to Brad's favorite snack, the couple's planner organized a late-night popcorn machine where guests could grab a quick bite between songs. "It was a really great touch," Mallory says.
The night ended with a casual after party at the rooftop bar of a nearby hotel where the couple and their friends enjoyed pizza and beer.
Venue & Catering: The Cotton Room || Wedding Planner: Orangerie Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Romona Keveza || Invitations & Stationery: A&P Designs || Floral Design: Meristem Floral || Cake: Sugar Euphoria || Music: Integrity Strings; The After Party Experience || Videographer: West Mint Media || Photographer: Kristen Lynne Photography
Looking for more inspiration just like this? Then check out another couple's North Carolina wedding in the video below.