A Fancy (and Fun!) Wedding in North Carolina

A black tie dress code, plus fried chicken? Why not? !

Updated 04/10/18

Photo by Olivia Rae James

Architect Robert (Ed) Hall and Gabrielle (Gabe) Bratton, owner of Gabrielle Jewelry, have known one another since they were young. “We grew up in the same city, and our brothers are good friends,” she says. But it wasn’t until New Year’s Eve in December of 2014 that they reconnected, and meeting as adults was totally different. After a year and a half of dating, Gabe and Ed made the drive from Seattle back to their home in San Francisco, taking a scenic tour on Highway 1 along the way. “We spent the night in Astoria, Oregon, visited coffee shops, and snacked on roadside oysters,” Gabe recalls. Their final stop was at a park overlooking the beach, which is where, after a few pictures, Gabe started to head back to the car. “Ed called my name, and when I turned around, he was on one knee!” she remembers.

The couple gave themselves just over a year to plan their wedding and decided to head back to their home state of North Carolina for the celebration. “I grew up going to Christ Church in Raleigh, and attended Saint Mary’s School—as did Ed’s mother and grandmother,” says the bride. “It was so special to incorporate such meaningful places in our wedding day.” The couple created a romantic black tie wedding, but infused it with low-key touches like a comfort food menu and a secret bottle of mezcal behind the bar. “My mom and sister were instrumental, especially because Ed and I were on the other side of the country,” she says.

With planner Katie Dunn of La Fête on the team, Ed and Gabe’s October 21, 2017 wedding came together beautifully. They surrounded themselves with 375 guests for a killer party, and brought Olivia Rae James along to photograph it all. Take a peek for yourself below!

bride getting ready with mother of the bride

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bride with dog

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Gabe got ready at her parents’ home, practicing the father-daughter dance with her dad in the kitchen before slipping into her wedding gown.

A Romantic Fall Wedding in North Carolina

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bride long sleeve wedding dress details

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The bride opted for a long sleeved gown by Monique Lhuillier. “I shopped a lot by myself, then finally had my mom come to L.A. for a mother-daughter shopping trip,” says Gabe. “This dress was the only one I cried in, and we both loved it!” Floral appliqués and intricate beading covered the sweetheart neckline, and a gauzy layer flowed over the skirt.

bridal accessories

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Gabe is a jewelry designer so she created pieces for herself and her bridesmaids (plus Ed and their fathers!) for her wedding day. She used lost wax casting to turn antique lace into necklaces and earrings, and invited her bridesmaids to pick pieces to accessorize their Jenny Yoo dresses.

bride and groom with baby

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bride with baby

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The couple's littlest guest looked adorable in an vintage gown featuring delicate lace.

bride and groom first look

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bride and groom first look

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“Ed and I had our first look in the courtyard at the church, which was really sweet and peaceful,”she says.

flower girls flower crowns

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The couple's flower girls wore white dresses from J.Crew, paired with whimsical floral crowns.

father of the bride walking bride down the aisle

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bride and groom ceremony exit

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Gabe and Ed were married in a traditional Episcopalian ceremony, accompanied by an organist. “The organist at Christ Church is amazing, and we also had two friends sing a duet,” Gabe recalls.

bride and groom

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night time tent reception

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Before heading to the reception, Ed and Gabe enjoyed a private dinner for two on a porch overlooking the tent. “It was private, which gave us some time to ourselves before we entered the huge party,” says Gabe. Caterer Ashley Christensen put together a spread of wine, champagne, cocktails, and delicious food to fuel the newlyweds before they hit the dance floor.

tent reception with candles

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The tent was arranged around a dramatic central bar, topped with a white trellis and hanging greenery—which is where Ed and Gabe’s wedding planner hid that secret bottle of mezcal.

reception cocktail-height farm tables

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lush greenery tablescape

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Dinner was served at food stations, so guests found seats at a variety of tables that ranged from low rounds topped with gray linens to cocktail-height farm tables with modern clear stools. Lush greenery and candlelight created an elegant setting.

The dinner menu featured refined takes on Southern favorites, from buttermilk fried chicken and North Carolina shrimp and grits to cornmeal-fried okra. “Ashley Christensen is a James Beard Award winner and a hometown hero of mine," says Gabe. "We were thrilled that she was able to cater our wedding!”

french macaroons

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semi-naked wedding cake with strawberry filling

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French macarons and a stunning semi-naked cake with strawberry filling were served late in the night.

bride and groom cutting cake

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“Cutting the cake was the only time Ed and I left the dance floor,” says the bride.

bride and groom dancing

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bride and groom dancing on shoulders

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The Perfect 10 Band filled the tent with energy—and even got Gabe and Ed high above the crowd for a few glorious moments.

bride and groom reception exit

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At the end of the night, Gabe changed into a Zimmerman dress and she and Ed made their getaway, waving to guests from the back of her father’s 1980 Scout. “We drove around the grove and waved to everyone, and then met them at a bar for the after party a few minutes later!” says the bride.

Wedding Planner: Events by La Fête || Ceremony Venue: Christ Church, Raleigh || Reception Venue: Saint Mary’s School || Bride's Dress: Monique Lhuillier || Bride's Veil: Monique Lhuillier || Bride's Shoes: Stuart Weitzman || Bride's Jewelry: Gabrielle Jewelry || Hair: Ceremony Salon || Makeup: Stephanie Parker || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo || Flower Girl Dresses: J.Crew || Engagement Ring: Wilson Diamond Brokers, Gabrielle Jewelry || Wedding Bands: Bell And Bird, Gabrielle Jewelry || Floral Design: Kelly Odom || Paper Products: Katelyn Taylor || Catering: Ashley Christensen || Cake: Edible Art || Reception Music: The Perfect 10 Band || Rentals: CE Rental, Skyline Tent Company, Total Production Services, Cottage Lux || Photography: Olivia Rae James

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