In the fall of 2011, Lauren DiMartino was in her first year of pharmacy school at the University of North Carolina, and had fallen into a study routine with her best friend that included afternoons at a local café, followed by a glass of wine at a nearby wine bar when the café closed for the evening. “We became regular customers at both places, and quickly befriended the bartender,” she recalls. That bartender was Dylan Terhune, and he fell for Lauren much more quickly than she fell for him. “Over the next year, I visited that wine bar quite a few times for first dates, and Dylan was often the one carrying the conversation between me and my date,” she says with a laugh. Finally, he got the courage to ask Lauren out on a first date of their own—and it was the last one either ever went on.
In December of 2016, the couple was planning to leave for a vacation in St. Martin, where Dylan had elaborate plans to propose on the island—but he couldn’t wait that long. “He got down on one knee in our home, with tears in his eyes,” says Lauren. “I said yes, then we grabbed the champagne from our fridge and picked up take-out Chinese food and showed up unannounced at my parents’ house to share the news!”
The couple gave themselves 10 months to plan their October 27, 2017, wedding in Raleigh, North Carolina. “We wanted an intimate wedding with just 100 guests, and the Merrimon-Wynne House was perfect for that,” says Lauren. The couple loved the Southern and historic charm of the venue, as well as the multiple locations they could utilize to create a celebration that evolved throughout the evening. They turned to planner Chelsey Morrison of Gather Together to create a Southern wedding reminiscent of the couple’s food-focused trips to New York City. “We were inspired by the design of the Nomo Soho hotel, and the menu drew from our favorite meals at Jack's Wife Freda, Joe’s Shangai, and Barbuto,” Lauren describes. If that doesn’t have your mouth watering already, just wait until you see the photos from Morning Wild Photography!
A rich forest green tone tied together the couple’s invitation suite by One + Only paper, which combined watercolor washes and illustrations of delicate greenery.
“I knew I would be a Hayley Paige bride the minute I got engaged, but I assumed I’d wear long sleeves and lace,” says Lauren. Instead, the bride chose a chiffon A-line gown with a beaded bodice and a delicate T-strap low back. “I tried it as an outlier, but it immediately felt like an extension of me,” she describes. Her organic, textured bouquet combined white dahlias, garden roses, snapdragons, hellebores, and ranunculus with snowberry, thistle, lavender, and ferns.
The flower girls all wore ballerina-style tulle dresses and crowns of roses and eucalyptus.
The ring bearer carried a needlepoint pillow made by the bride’s mother. “At the rehearsal, everything went smoothly, but when the ceremony started our youngest flower girl took a detour through the garden, only to be herded back by our planner,” Lauren recalls. “From there, everyone made a bee-line down the aisle as quickly as they could!”
The ceremony took place on the porch of the Carriage House, festooned with soft white linen. Dylan now works in landscaping, and sourced live oak trees to flank the aisle. The couple’s friend, Jake Zuckerman, played guitar and sang for the ceremony, playing “Only You” by Yaz as Lauren walked down the aisle with her dad.
The groom wore a modern blue herringbone suit, which contrasted beautifully with his groomsmen’s darker navy suits.
For cocktail hour, guests moved inside the house, where the décor paid homage to the Asian-inspired menu of hors d’oeuvres. A mix of high and low tables were draped in blue silk Chinese floral prints, and the bar was decorated with a garland of greenery and accented by a gold bamboo-framed set of shelves.
Appetizers were served on dim sum-style carts and ranged from Xi’an style lamb dumplings and Korean fried broccoli to smoked tofu summer rolls.
“We wanted the reception to feel like you were walking into Nomo Soho in New York City,” Lauren says of their plant-inspired decor choices. To that point, escort cards were tucked into potted herbs set on an industrial bar cart.
Inside the carriage house, long tables in the center of the room were decorated with blue printed runners, tall arrangements of lush greenery and white and blush flowers, and place settings that paired gold-rimmed chargers, white fluted dinner plates, and blue and white floral printed salad plates. Brushed gold utensils and modern glassware added a sophisticated feel to the elegant setting. Around the edges of the room, guests were seated at banquette-style tables sectioned off with soft draping to evoke the spirit of private dining.
“We really wanted the meal to be fresh and local, so we had a sign listing all of the local farms our caterer worked with to source the evening’s ingredients,” says Lauren. The mouthwatering family-style dinner included wood-fired bread and local cultured butter, pasta with braised beef cheeks and broccoli raab, and roasted heritage chicken with dried plums and olives.
In lieu of a traditional wedding cake, the couple served a selection of their favorite flavors from local bakery Hayes Barton Café, including coconut, lemon blueberry, chocolate heath bar, carrot, and Boston cream cakes.
Looking back on their own big, the couple shared one bit of advice for those planning: have a Friday wedding! “It gave us the ability to spend more time with our family and friends before we left for our honeymoon on Sunday,” Lauren says. “We got to celebrate for an extra day, as well as catch up with everyone who’d come to be a part of it!”
Wedding Planner: Gather Together Events || Venue: Merrimon-Wynne House || Officiant: The Reverend Tambria Lee || Bride's Dress: Hayley Paige || Bride's Veil: Coastal Knot Bridal || Bride's Shoes: Sergio Rossi || Bride's Jewelry: David Yurman || Hair & Makeup: Ceremony Salon || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Hayley Paige Occasions || Groom's Attire: HUGO Hugo Boss || Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux || Flower Girl Attire: US Angels || Engagement Ring: Finks Jewelers || Wedding Bands: Finks Jewelers || Floral Design: Meristem Floral || Paper Products: One + Only Paper || Catering: Snap Pea Creative Dining and Catering || Cake: Hayes Barton Café || Coffee Bar: Event Espresso || Ceremony Music: Jake Zuckerman || Reception Music: Affirmative Groove || Linen & Draping: Party Tables || Rentals: Themeworks, Cottage Luxe, Petal & Oak, American Party Rentals || Transportation: Carolina Livery || Photography: MorningWild Photography