Carolina Winter Wedding Inspiration

It’s all about the details

December 6, 2015, Northeastern North Carolina was the most beautiful place in the world; we have photos from Missy Loves Jerry that proves it.

A wedding is a love story. Having details about your story featured at your wedding or event makes it come alive for you and your guests. When we began to work with our shoot we found the perfect blend of details that encompassed the heritage, love of nature and personalities of Will and Caitlin.

Our 2015 holiday season has been wonderfully wacky here at the farm. We don’t think we are alone in this mayhem, therefore, we decided to give you an early Christmas present and release our hopelessly romantic Carolina Winter Wedding Shoot. So hang the mistletoe, get a cup of wassail,h2 put your feet up and enjoy – Merry Christmas from Yeopim Flowers

The location for the ceremony — the lowlands along the Yeopim River — could not have been more appropriate for this Northeastern North Carolina wedding! Caitlin and Will are both botanists by trade, making the love of the outdoors second nature to them. The still reflections of the Yeopim River and the Spanish moss draping from the bald cypress trees in the background leant a sense of serenity and reverence to the occasion.

The intention of the ceremony’s staging was to enhance the natural backdrop, not to overshadow it. Therefore, all of the elements used in creating the arch were simple, yet rustic and elegant. The main structure of the arch was created by lashing a sweetgum pole to two oak trees. Will and his father were in charge of lashing the sweetgum pole before the ceremony. Will is an Eagle Scout, and he and his Dad tied knots all the time when he was growing up. By the time they were finished, the simplicity of the knots holding the sweetgum horizontally became an important detail to the overall look.

Red tea roses and white cedar adorned metal rings that we attached to the top of the arch with vibrant red ribbon whose ends flowed in the wind. The rings were from fishing nets used by Will’s granddaddy in the Yeopim River over fifty years ago. The area has a rich history of fishing — the herring used to run so hard they would turn the water black as the moved up into the creeks to lay their eggs! Imagine what the ceremony would look like if it had happened in the same spot fifty years earlier! To line the aisles, we hung adorned rings in tree branches and marked the entrance with an antique net.

The bride and groom carried the themes of heritage, nature, and elegance into their dress. Mollie Gregory White of Glimmer Hair & Makeup styled Caitlin’s hair inspired by a cameo owned by Will’s great-grandmother. A crown of grapevine, tea roses, and white cedar sat low on Caitlin’s hair, allowing Mollie to weave loose curls around and over the crown. The roses elevated the crown to a more sophisticated level, allowing it to perfectly compliment the vintage brocade gown she wore. The gown was made and worn in 1964 by Will’s Aunt Beckie for a ball held at East Carolina College. Caitlin and my daughter, Elizabeth, found the perfect fur-trimmed bolero — made in the same era as the gown — at a costume sale at their college. The entire look was tied together by the vintage ruby ring provided by the Silver Fox of Hertford, NC.

The flower choice for the bouquet was a given. Caitlin spent her past summer searching for and assessing the status of rare and endangered plant species, which were often beautiful native orchids. Her love for orchids was reflected by the use of James Storie Mokara Orchids, which are beautiful dark red orchids perched on long spires. Small pink poinsettias were incorporated into the bouquet, celebrating Will’s history with Greenville, South Carolina, where Joel Poinsette — the man responsible to introducing the plant to North America — resided. The greens of yellow pine, white cedar and scuppernong grapevine were forged from our farm. Anemone, ranunculus, and tulips were all forced flowers from bulbs, yet yielded invaluable color and dimension to the entire arrangement.

Will’s look was inspired by a warm, classic, English gentleman-like feel. He layered a wool vest and coat with understated red details, adding a Northeastern North Carolina flair to the ensemble. His white cedar boutonniere honored the memory of his mentor, Dwight. The wedding would not have been complete without Will’s dog, who accompanied him to the alter! Atticus loved all the attention he got from being dressed in his crown which was made of ranunculus, galax leaves, white cedar, and grapevine. Isn’t he a handsome boy?

The Reception
As guests arrived, they were immediately greeted by the menu, which was affixed to a white oak with antique hand forged nails. The menu could not have been more gorgeous — it was hand written in scarlet ink by the legendary and local calligrapher, Elizabeth Jones.

The guests continued down the path to an open field where dinner took place. Two heart pine tables were surrounded by mismatched Chippendale chairs, all hand made over the years by Will’s uncle, Ben Hobbs of Hobbs Furniture. These chairs were reproduced from originals that date back to the early 1700’s, carrying the history of Northeastern North Carolina forward into the present. These classic and formal chairs created a beautiful contrast to the pastoral grass field they were placed in. 

The tablescape contained both classic and rustic elements, embodying both the elegance of a wedding and the beauty of the natural surroundings. The table’s centerpiece was a garland woven with farm-forged greens. Poinsettias and other red flowers were positioned throughout. These were the same flowers used in Caitlin’s bouquet, tying the reception and ceremony together symbolically. Silver candelabras with glass globes ensured the candles would remain lit throughout the celebration. Scattered along the table, they added vertical dimension, creating a beautiful silhouette as the sun set over the Yeopim River.

Each table setting included a ruby red charger with Wedgewood’s Queen Anne’s Plain China. This particular Wedgewood setting was introduced in 1776, making it the perfect classic dishware to use for a heritage wedding. Red napkins folded as poinsettias reflected the detail in the garland centerpiece, while bread butter plates held individual flowers as gifts for the guests. Each setting also contained a cup and saucer with a spice bag for the signature drink. The silverware was a classic Chippendale pattern, which repeated in the crest rails of the chairs. Elizabeth Jones again captured the elegance and beauty of the entire celebration with stunning place cards hand-written in scarlet ink. 

As guests seated for the meal, they helped themselves to several silver teapots placed along the table. Wassail is the perfect warm, spiced drink for guests to sip during a winter wedding, not to mention the word comes from an English tradition meaning, “be you health”! We had no qualms making this the signature drink, as with every sip we were toasting to the couple’s good health.

The Albemarle Sound is a huge resource for Blue Crabs, making seafood a must for any traditional affair. Therefore, we served a rich cream She Crab soup with a splash of sherry to warm guests before the main meal. Will’s family comes from an agrarian background, a heritage they readily embrace and rejoice. Therefore, the soup was followed by local field greens with pecans, pork tenderloin, and roasted root crops as the main course was a celebration of his roots and a celebration of the land we love. 

To finish the meal, Jonathan Szarke, Chef-Owner of the nearby Patricia’s Grille baked a delicious ginger bread cake. The contrast of the white dripped icing and raspberries topping the warmth of the brown cake gave the perfect send off to our guests! The cake table was decorated with a beautiful floral arrangement sitting upon a tablecloth crocheted by Will’s great, great aunt.

In December it can be all about keeping warm and the quilt Will and Caitlin are wrapped in is Will’s Great, Great, Great Grandmother’s hand work.

We have joked for years that we are going to call our property Yeopim Breezes and you know I am beginning to like the sound of it…


Floral Design - Yeopim Flowers

Photography - Missy Loves Jerry Wedding Photography

Hair/Makeup - Glimmer Hair and Makeup

Cake - Patricia's Grille

Jewelry - Silver Fox of Hertford

Calligraphy - Elizabeth Porcher Jones

Videography - Layden Films

​Furniture - Benjamin Hobbs


Farm Flowers


I’ve been reading Fresh from the Field Wedding Flowers this week and my eyes are being opened a little wider. I so hate to admit that I had not realized until reading this book how packaging is a huge reason to use local.

Often times, I order flowers. They are delivered to my door, shipped by a wholesaler, ordered from a middle man, provisioned from somewhere on this earth where they were packaged 10 stems per sleeve and strapped into a box after being grown and harvested by a farmer. I am very grateful for this process, but there have been huge amounts of garbage to discard or recycle -- large printed cardboard boxes, plastic sleeves, straps, gel packs, and the list goes on. Very pretty, but ultimately land fill material. (And did I mention you should not discard stems and leaves in your compost pile because you really do not know what pesticides have been applied to the plants – eye opening isn’t it?)

I am not saying we are doing everything right, but, our preferred way to deliver flowers is in a 5 gallon bucket that is returned and refilled. Our plant discards go into a pile and decomposes. We are way too cheap to buy fancy printed boxes, so we use plastic lily crates over and over to deliver our goods, we do not use gel packs because our flowers have just been picked and transportation is from our farm to your house, and our sleeves have way more than 10 stems.

So there you go. I had never considered before today why using locally grown flowers for your event is good thing -- because of Packaging (or lack thereof).

The flowers in each of the photos above were grown locally.


“Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About II”


I get to be Ethel this weekend…Louise’s friend who thinks all these new fangled weddings are so WONDERFUL …It has been a year since I published my blog of advice - I still believe it takes work and planning to give them something to talk about in a positive manner. So, a year later I am offering my updated-simplified-glorified words of wisdom blog about wedding florals...

Mother Nature - Take advantage of the seasons
Paint Stores – Paint chips — lots of paint chips
Build a File –Ripping pages from a magazine is AWESOME
Brain Storm –Crazy ideas are a designers dream
Bouquets – Style, color, size all are equally important...Your bouquet sets the tone
Budget – Be realistic – 50 bridesmaids = 50 bouquets
Help – Know who is doing what
Own It – It is your wedding day — not a Pinterest board
Show It – Tell people why you are perfect for each other.
Fun – HAVE FUN you only do this once!

And I still say:
“Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About.”

Sybil Hobbs Skinner, Yeopim Flowers