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A First Touch That Brought Sunny Skies

Emily + Mike | Oct 20, 2018

Maroon, blush and gold fall garden party wedding at The Bradford in Raleigh, North Carolina

Emily and Mike first met while Emily was on a recruiting trip to North Carolina and ate lunch with Mike that day, who was already on the track and field team there. Once Emily officially joined the team that fall, it didn’t take long for them to start dating.
After Emily graduated, the couple knew marriage was next on their timeline. Mike planned a beach weekend for the two of them and decided that would be the perfect time to propose. While the couple was on the beach one evening, Emily was so caught up in watching the sunset that she almost didn’t notice Mike down on one knee. 
The couple planned their wedding for October, their favorite time of the year. As runners, they love the outdoors so when Emily and Mike saw the versatile space at The Bradford, they were sold. Between the functional and charming indoor space and the garden patio, they knew it was the spot for them. Mix the venue with the fall color paletteand the heartfelt personal touches, and you’ve got one perfect wedding day.
“Throughout the entire wedding planning process, we wanted our big day to be a reflection of our relationship, so we used that as a springboard for planning our wedding,” explained the bride. “We wanted the colors to feel very natural and organic to the season, so we went with a wine, dusty rose, and neutrals color palette with touches of greenery.”

Although the day started off with gloomy weather, nothing could take away from the beauty of this stunning autumn inspired wedding.
Emily spent the morning getting ready, drinking champagne and relaxing with all of her favorite women. She had her hair done in a braid and twist combination with curls. Her dress was really the statement maker. 
“I was drawn to lace gowns with long trains, so Made with Love’s Frankie gown was a natural fit,” said Emily. “It was the first dress I tried on, and every dress after that one really couldn’t compare. It’s train, lace, and low back were everything I was looking for and we even ordered buttons to add to the back of the dress.”
After she was dressed, Emily had a rainy but oh so sweet first look with her dad. He stood outside in the rain (underneath an umbrella, of course!) waiting for Emily to come up behind him. Once he saw her, he was speechless and had tears in his eyes. It’s a good thing Emily gifted him with a personalized handkerchief, so he had something to wipe his tears with!!
While the couple didn’t do a first look, they did do a first touch. They took a moment before the ceremony to be alone and share a prayer; it was a moment Emily cherished deeply. 

“We didn’t do a first look on our wedding day, but we did do a ‘first touch’ and prayed together and that was a really special moment for us; we were so grateful to have those few minutes together among the crazy day leading up to our vows,” said the bride. “It was raining all morning, so it was amazing to join hands, let God, and literally watch the clouds clear out for the rest of the day.”
Guests arrived and headed inside to take their seats for the ceremony. The room was set with wooden folding chairs and at the front, underneath the crystal chandelier was a macramé backdrop with greenery accenting. Mike took his spot in front of the backdrop and awaited his bride. Next to Mike were his groomsmen, standing there all matching him in navy blue suits. The skinny maroon ties made them look extra sharp and Mike stood out in his maroon floral tie. 

Opposite the groomsmen were the bridesmaids, all in a different dress. There were a mix of blush colored dresses and floral patterned dresses… we love everything about the look. Each girl carried a small bouquet of blush, white and maroon flowers that brought the whole garden inspired look together. 
Emily walked down the aisle on her father’s arm while everyone stood in awe. She carried a bouquet similar to her bridesmaid’s, but it had a very special touch to it. Emily had fastened her late grandmother’s rose brooch to it, so she could hold her close all day. Once she reached the end of the aisle, she took her soon-to-be husband’s hands and never let go. The ceremony was actually officiated by the bride’s brother and added yet another touch of personalization to the wedding. 
Once the ceremony ended, the skies had fully cleared, and guests were invited outside for the reception. They were greeted by an acrylic welcome sign, that matched other acrylic décor at the reception, like the table numbers and dessert stands. Before finding their seats, guests made sure to snap of picture of themselves with the Polaroid camera and hang it up on the board that served as the couple’s guest book. 

Outside, in the clear top tented reception, long family style tables were set with very light lavender linens and wooden folding chairs. At each seat was a white dinner plate with a champagne colored napkin and menu card sitting on top. The table was lined with greenery and hand painted gold candlesticks that the couple painted themselves. There were maroon candles in the holders for the right pop of color. The bridesmaid’s bouquets were placed in vases and reused in the centerpieces. The white and light wood rectangular sweetheart table was draped with a maroon runner, greenery, candlesticks and votives. 
The party got started and barely slowed down the rest of the night. Aside from the break to cut the bundt wedding cake and eat mini bundt cakes, the couple spent the entire night dancing with their guests and enjoying some of their favorite local beers they made sure the bar was stocked with. 
“We started a conga line during our reception, which was probably my favorite part” said Emily. “It was so unreal to see all of my favorite people joining in and conga-lining through the venue.”
In lieu of favors, the couple decided to honor the bride’s late brother with a donation to the Wounded Warrior Foundation. Her brother was a veteran and wounded warrior, so they thought it was a meaningful way to include and honor him on wedding day. 
The couple ended the night on the dance floor, surrounded by all of their favorite people. Talk about one heck of a party!
Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs.!
Looking for the perfect venue to host your wedding day? Check out The Bradford HERE!


Creative Team

The Bradford

Rentals & Decor
CE Rentals (Charlotte)
Cottage Luxe


Nothing Bundt Cakes

Amanda Blair by Design

Jill Shaw Photography

Green Planet

Jon Warlick Media

WINK Hair & Makeup


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