signature cocktail

Classically Carolina: Cheerwine

Try talking to someone outside of the Carolinas about Cheerwine and you’re likely to get some blank stares. This fizzy red beverage, which originated in Salisbury, North Carolina (not too far from Charlotte), is truly a Carolina classic. If Cheerwine is one of your favorites, or if you want to create a signature drink that reflects the local beverage scene, include this soda in the mix!

For a cost-effective signature drink option, ask your caterer or bar tending service to mix Cheerwine and vodka (about 1 oz of vodka to every 6 oz of Cheerwine should do the trick…experiment at home until you get the ratio the way you like it) to serve up to guests. Be sure to give the beverage a clever name. I am partial to “Southern Cheer” or “Carolina Cheer” for this one. If you really want to kick it up a notch, garnish the drink with cute straws or lime wedges. You could even serve it up in glass Cheerwine bottles for a vintage feel.

If you’re a cocktail connoisseur or have a larger bar budget, you can get more creative in the mixology. Take for example this creative “Cheershine” cocktail, which includes Cheerwine, moonshine, and Campari:

What do you think, belles and beaus? Any Cheerwine lovers out there?

xoxo Laura

My Wedding Photos

I have a treat for y’all today…my very own wedding photos! Truth be told, I’ve had them back for over a month now, but just hadn’t gotten around to posting them yet. There’s something very personal and intimate about sharing your own wedding day with the whole world, you know? At any rate – Emily March Photography did an amazing job, if I do say so myself, and it was absolutely the most perfect day for me and Wes. I will just go ahead and unabashedly tell you that I am about to share far more photos than I should, but it’s way too hard to cut photos from your very own wedding. Hope you enjoy….

Ecru Invitation Suite - Wedding Belles Blog

Oval Aquamarine Engagement Ring - Wedding Belles Blog

I always get lots of compliments on and questions about my engagement ring. The center stone is an aquamarine, my birth stone. My mother, father, and late grandmother picked it out for me on a family vacation when I was about 6 years old. Wes had the diamond halo setting designed for it. It is so special to me – my most prized material possession.

Bow Tie Car Decoration - Wedding Belles Blog

Hats off to my mom and sister, who sewed all of those bow ties onto the white ribbon for the getaway car decoration!

First Look - Wedding Belles Blog

First Look - Wedding Belles Blog

First Look - Wedding Belles Blog

Jones Chapel in Raleigh, NC - Wedding Belles Blog  Church Door Wreaths - Wedding Belles Blog

Classic Church Wedding Ceremony - Wedding Belles Blog

Bridesmaids - Wedding Belles Blog

Y’all, I just love that picture of my ladies as they wait for their turn down the aisle.

Father and Mother Walking Bride Down the Aisle - Wedding Belles Blog

Wedding Ceremony - Wedding Belles Blog

Wedding Belles Blog Wedding Belles Blog

Wedding Belles Blog

Wedding Belles Blog Groom in Tan Suit and Navy Bow Tie - Wedding Belles Blog

Groomsmen in tan suits and navy bow ties - Wedding Belles Blog

Wedding Belles Blog

Seersucker bridesmaid dress - Wedding Belles Blog Seersucker bridesmaid dresses - Wedding Belles Blog

Yes sir/ma’am, those bridesmaid dresses are seersucker! I am SO happy with the way they turned out.

Seersucker bridesmaid dresses and white bouquets - Wedding Belles Blog Seersucker bridesmaid dresses - Wedding Belles Blog

The Garden on Millbrook in Raleigh, NC - Wedding Belles Blog Wedding Reception signage - Wedding Belles Blog

My sweet sister designed all of the reception signage herself…isn’t she talented??

Navy Wedding Reception - Wedding Belles Blog

Sweetheart Table - Wedding Belles Blog

Navy linens, hydrangeas, floating candles - Wedding Belles Blog Navy linens, hydrangeas - Wedding Belles Blog


White Wedding Cake Display - Wedding Belles Blog

Wedding Cake Flavor Sign - Wedding Belles Blog "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You" Cake Table Sign - Wedding Belles Blog

Bar on the Patio with Twinkle Lights - Wedding Belles Blog

Bar Signage - Wedding Belles Blog "Lemon Kiss" Signature Cocktail - Wedding Belles Blog

Navy Cocktail Tables - Wedding Belles Blog Custom Monogram Cornhole Set - Wedding Belles Blog

One of my favorite parts of the night was when Wes and I led the pre-buffet blessing. We said a childhood favorite of Wes’s (the Moravian blessing), and many of our guests joined hands and chimed in. So special!!

Unique wedding tip: The bride and groom lead the pre-dinner blessing. This makes it so much more personal! - Wedding Belles Blog

Our first dance song was “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show. As usual, Wes swept me off my feet!

Bride and groom first dance - Wedding Belles Blog

While getting ready earlier that day, Wes and his fellas received this gift from me…a painted cooler complete with lyrics from our first dance, snippets of our vows, and little mini versions of me and Wes. And it was full of their favorite beers of course (and water – it was a hot day!). The cooler joined us at the reception.

Wedding Day Painted Cooler - Wedding Belles Blog

Our band, Flashback, was absolutely incredible and kept the dance floor packed all night long! We have so many great photos of our guests dancing.

Wedding Belles Blog

Wedding Belles Blog Wedding Belles Blog

Sparkler Sendoff - Wedding Belles Blog

All I can say is that it was the sweetest, sweetest day. (And I did a good job not sharing all 800+ photos, am I right??)

Please feel free to comment below or contact me privately if you have any questions about where we got things, how we selected our vendors, what our experience was like with our vendors, etc….I love hearing from y’all!!

xoxo Laura

The Most Comprehensive Vendor Credits Ever (seriously, look how much goes into a wedding when you’re planning yourself!):

Photography: Emily March Photography
Invitations: David’s Bridal (Seriously!! And they were thermography!)
Invitation addressing: Bride and groom’s family and so many friends
Invitation ribbon: Ben Franklin Crafts
Programs: Designed by the bride, printed by Allegra, ribbon from Michael’s
Bow tie car decoration: Created by bride’s family
Groom’s ring: Kay Jewelers
Bride’s rings: Duncan Design in Raleigh, NC
Ceremony venue: Jones Chapel
Officiant: Matt LeRoy of Love Chapel Hill
Organist: Bride’s uncle
Ceremony coordinator: Marc Dabagian from The Garden on Millbrook
Floral design: Fresh Affairs
Bride’s dress: Mori Lee, purchased at Hope’s Bridal Boutique, alterations by Hope’s Bridal Boutique and Olga’s Bridal and Formal Couture
Bride’s veil and shoes: Hope’s Bridal Boutique
Bridesmaid dresses: Custom made by Kimberly Glass
Hair and makeup: Ginger Mullins
Groom/groomsmen suits: Jos. A Bank
Groom/groomsmen bow ties: Macy’s
Reception venue, catering, rentals: The Garden on Millbrook
Reception signage: Sister of the bride
“Bride” and “Groom” signs: Michael’s
Signature drink swizzle sticks: sticks from Amazon, ribbon from Ben Franklin Crafts, several hours of tying done by bride’s patient family.
Cakes: The Cupcake Bar
Cake stands: Handmade by bride’s father (talk about talent!)
Cornhole boards: Cornhole Express
Band: Flashback
Custom-painted cooler: PrintsFromAPrep
Sparklers: Wedding Sparklers Direct

Not pictured vendors:

Videographer: Good Earth Films
Bride/Bridesmaid getting ready robes: MaySilk
Mother handkerchiefs: Wedding Chicks
Reception pianist: David Omer
Favors: Made With Love Bakery
Photo book guest book: Shutterfly
“Just Married” car magnets: eBay for the win.
Hotel block: Hyatt Place North Raleigh/Midtown
Welcome cupcakes: Gigi’s Cupcakes
Rehearsal dinner venue and catering: Carolina Country Club
Save the dates: Design by Wedding Chicks, printing by Vistaprint

Signature Cocktail Idea: Mason Dixons

Continuing on with our Signature Cocktail series, I have a truly Southern drink for you today: Mason-Dixons. Here in the Carolinas, we take true pride in living below the Mason-Dixon line…am I right y’all? Everything good in life comes from below this proverbial line….pecan pie, big hair, blessed hearts, sweet tea… Which brings us back to this lovely drink, which would be especially refreshing on a hot day:

Mason Dixons - Wedding Belles

via Tumblr

This concoction is simple to make: simply mix together Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka (made in South Carolina!) and lemonade. Bonus points if you serve in a Mason jar!

xoxo Laura