This classic and traditional Charlotte wedding from Jere & Ashley Dotten has a sweet, small-town charm that makes this Southern girl’s heart beat a little faster. Ruffled bridal gown? Check! Dramatic wedding cake? Check! Big ol’ Southern mansion? Check! Check! Check! I am in a major swoon, y’all! The neutral color palate lets the natural beauty of the venue shine through and the gorgeous all-white florals provide the perfect pop against the ceremony’s garden setting.
What (or who) helped you most in your planning process and/or on your wedding day?
What helped me the most was staying organized. It seemed like the most important decision we made was where we were going to have the wedding. Once we determined the venue, we were limited to the dates that it was available. Once we picked a date, we were able to nail down the big things as soon as possible, such as the photographer, ceremony musicians, reception music, and florist. We had a great relationship with our venue’s on site wedding coordinator as well as all of our vendors, which made us feel comfortable sharing our idea of how we wanted our perfect day to be. We also weren’t afraid to ask questions. If there is something that you want to be a part of your wedding it doesn’t hurt to ask. Most of the time your vendors will go out of their way to accommodate your needs.
What was the most important thing to you when deciding who to work with for your wedding?
My husband and I both grew up in small towns with great family and friends. We love good food and having fun, so when we were deciding on whom to work with for our wedding, we wanted to make sure that they understood this and wanted to be a part of it all. We didn’t want our wedding to be too busy, but simple and chic. Upon meeting our photographer, florist and the on site coordinator at our venue we just clicked. I felt like everyone really took the time to listen to how we wanted things to be on our wedding day without trying to make our wedding something it was not. They made it easy for us to say “no” when we didn’t like something, but also offered great suggestions based on the feedback that they had received from really getting to know us. The Duke Mansion is unique in that it only offers one wedding per weekend for only a few months a year. This allows the wedding coordinator to take the time to get to know each and every couple that gets married there in away that some places cannot.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding?
I could not have asked for a better venue and vendors. I was prepared for the worst, due to the fact that our ceremony and cocktail hour were being held outside and I generally don’t have very good luck. When everything went off without a hitch, I was completely shocked and grateful. Everyone that I worked with did everything they could to make sure we felt special on that day. The pictures were amazing, the food was great, I always had a drink in my hand, and at some point in the night I think almost everyone made it out on the dance floor.
What was your inspiration for your wedding details and/or design?
Our venue was totally our inspiration for our details and design. The sheer beauty and history of the Duke Mansion doesn’t need much design to make it beautiful. We didn’t want to take away from the natural beauty of the venue, so we used more neutral colors. The setup of the venue also provided us with the perfect transition from ceremony (outside) to cocktail hour (outside) to the reception (inside). We had an amazing sit down dinner in which we sat people at tables arranged by places that my husband and I have visited. We love to travel, so we felt this was just a little detail that we could add to the reception to allow people to share some of our special trips with us. As favors, we also set out “treats” from many of the places that the tables were named after.
My best piece of advice is to remember that this is your one and only (hopefully) wedding, so plan your wedding how you want to and don’t get caught up in how you think your wedding is supposed to be. Also remember that the people that care about you the most will be there no matter what. When picking a day or a venue, don’t worry that it might not be the best day for some people. The people that matter the most will make the trip or find the time. The best weddings are not the most expensive, but the most memorable.
One of my favorite details from this wedding? Jennifer and Jeff coordinated their wedding favors with special places they’ve visited in the past. Such a perfect way to offer their guests a treat and include a personal detail unique to their story.
Do you plan to offer favors on your special day? Will they tell a story or just be a fun treat for your guests?