Real Weddings/Rustic Weddings

A Celestial-inspired Wedding At The Barn Of Chapel Hill

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Barn weddings aren’t going away anytime soon. Especially not when places like The Barn of Chapel Hill exist, providing a gorgeous blank canvas for any couple’s dream wedding.

Set in North Carolina, this rustic barn wedding has a celestial twist. Not only with a moon and star-studded cake (from grocery store Publix, can you believe it?!) but bride Alaina’s Rue de Seine Sia wedding gown could have her dancing in the cosmos.

When it came to flowers, at first, Alaina and Fitz were a bit lost: “I knew I didn’t want red roses, Fitz knew he had allergies and didn’t want to get married in a greenhouse.” With help from their planner and florist, the scene truly turned into a dreamy textured floral paradise, introducing “no-red-roses” bride Alaina onto one of our favorites: Quicksand Roses.

Don’t let allergies stop you from having a floral-filled wedding. Here are the best allergy-friendly and hypoallergenic flowers to include in your bouquets and wedding design.

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Our Love Story

I’m not sure our parents quite knew what they were putting into motion when they brought Fitz and I together for the first time at my “barn” themed third birthday party. But, I like to believe that somehow they had a feeling that they were setting us on the most important paths of our lives. While my third birthday celebration was our first meeting, luckily for us, it became one of many, as our parents’ friendship (our dads met through work) formed a new family tradition of spending the Thanksgiving holiday break together every year (a tradition we still try to uphold to this day!)

Having the ability to get to know each other as we grew up was an invaluable experience. We truly knew what kind of person the other was, and, although it wasn’t outwardly acknowledged, we had big crushes on each other for years. When we went to separate colleges in different states, both of us believed that the childhood crushes we had for each other would be left at just that.

But when Fitz moved back to North Carolina to attend law school at UNC while I was beginning my senior year there, the prospect of a relationship between us finally became possible. I asked Fitz to be my date to an event Fall semester and the rest is history!

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The Proposal

We got engaged the day after my dad’s cancer surgery. All I wanted to do was stay home with my family but everyone (including my dad) was insisting Fitz and I go to this new restaurant we had made a reservation for weeks before we knew the surgery date.

Turns out, instead of just a dinner, Fitz had booked a private room at a local brewery and invited all of our close friends and family to come to celebrate our engagement – some of whom had flown in from as far as California. The proposal might not have been a surprise given the circumstances, but the party afterward certainly was and was made even more special by the fact that we got to celebrate my dad as well.

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Getting Ready

On the morning of our wedding, getting ready with my bridesmaids was made perfect by Blissful Muse, a hair and makeup company recommended to me by The Gathering. Blissful Muse’s “romantic + modern” philosophy really reflected our styles and hanging out with Ashely and Lindsay felt effortless. If not for their amazing hair and makeup skills, hire them for the great wedding day playlists they bring!

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The Planning

Through The Barn of Chapel Hill‘s recommended planners list, we discovered The Gathering Co. and Chelsy, who ended up being my wedding fairy godmother. You could definitely write an entire feature on all the ways Chelsy and her team create the perfect wedding day, but to be mindful of space here, I’ll summarize our working together by saying that The Gathering operates by making sure every decision made is intentional and based on the needs and personalities of the couples they work with.

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The Flowers

As a baseline, Fitz and I know almost nothing about flowers. I knew I didn’t want red roses, Fitz knew he had allergies and didn’t want to get married in a greenhouse. Somehow, we wanted the flowers to be both dramatic and minimalist. Going into our planning meeting, I knew these conflicting desires would be unrealistic. Even now typing it I can see how annoyingly contradictory the ask must have been. We felt so lucky to have our planners Chelsy and Wild Flora Flowers on our team. They nailed the colors and design to somehow capture exactly what we wanted…and introduced me to quicksand roses – which I now love!

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Favorite Moments

Our Tea Ceremony – My mother is Taiwanese and in our culture it is traditional to have a tea ceremony before the wedding. The purpose of the modern tea ceremony is to mark the union of two families and show our gratitude towards our parents and other elders who have loved and cared for us over the years. In turn, those in attendance share well wishes for the couple. My mother, my grandmother, my grandmother’s mother and so forth have all participated in this kind of ceremony on their own wedding days. On the day of our ceremony, I wore my grandmother’s qipao (traditional dress) and my mother’s jade bracelet. To be able to celebrate your culture with the person who you love and who will be your life partner is an amazing thing, and the event is now a memory that I will treasure always.

Our Moment of Gratitude – During the ceremony, our wonderful and thoughtful officiant gave us the idea to take a moment to acknowledge our guests during the ceremony. Although we knew the moment was going to happen, I don’t think either of us was ready for the rush of emotion that we felt while looking at all those we loved in one place. It only lasted a second or two, but it was one of our favorite parts of the day! Our wedding readings were “Touched by an Angel” by Dr. Maya Angelou and an office quote by Jim Halpert.

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The Photography

We were immediately drawn to Nicole’s (Boonetown Story) work after seeing it as part of the Barn of Chapel Hill’s tagged photos. We loved that her photos had a comfortable and airy feeling about them that seemed to be just as much about capturing the essence and emotions of the day as they were about capturing the “happenings”. Fitz and I also do not consider ourselves naturals in front of the camera, and we wanted someone who would make the experience as painless as possible.

When we met Nicole for our engagement shoot, we instantly knew we had made the right choice! She is warm, positive and sincerely invested in the happiness of all her couples. My favorite memory with Nicole was shooting the first look with my dad. We were all crying and it meant so much to see how she connected with our family.

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The Reception

The signature drinks we designed with POUR were based on significant places in our relationship: Sedona which was our first vacation and Little Sugaw Creek Greenway where we got engaged. The menu we put together with Rocky Top was inspired by our Italian, Taiwanese, and Irish heritage as well as our love for our home state of North Carolina and southern cooking.

Chelsy and her team scrutinized over every detail and revised it until it was perfect. She even asked our ceremony band to learn several new songs and incorporate a new instrument which they did beautifully. Shout out to the wonderful Apex Band.

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Advice to Other Couples

We got our wedding cake from Publix and it was one of the best decisions we made!

Coordinate with catering so that service isn’t happening during speeches. A small detail that might get overlooked but makes a big difference! (Thanks Chelsy for this advice!)

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