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North Carolina-Raleigh-Durham

Need your planning advice please.

Hey NC Knotties,

We’re doing an article for the local Knot Magazine, and we want to hear your tips on the best places in your area. Basically, this is a chance where we get to give props to local vendors. So tell us: What’s the best place for a bachelorette party in your city, the greatest florist, cake baker, hairdresser (and why!), or even the coolest place for photos or a post-wedding brunch. You’re not limited to these things, but it’s just an idea to get you started. 

Post below, and thanks in advance!

Tweet? Me too! Have you checked out our My Real Wedding Gallery for ideas? Upload your photos here and be featured on The Knot!

Re: Need your planning advice please.

  • edited December 2011
    Hey Annie! Here are our amazing vendors that we used for our wedding day!

    Venue:  Rand-Bryan House, Garner NC

    Martha, the owner was absolutely amazing to work with, even though I probably drove her crazy with my million's of questions that I asked. She was constantly understanding and always happy to help and give suggestions when I was stuck with planning or decorations.

    The venue itself is absolutely stunning and oozes southern charm and your warm/cozy feeling without having to decorate much at all. The venue can hold small and large weddings without feeling too large or squished. Our wedding had 70 guests or so and it felt 'just right' for us!  There are also many windows all over the house, which allows for massive amounts of natural and beautiful sunlight to come in during the day.

    The scenery around the venue is also stunning with all the natural greenery and landscape. It's nestled on a Christmas tree farm, but also has a cow farm to the rear of the venue.  The house sits on top of a hill that gives way to a perfect view of the amazing Carolina blue skies we get here.

    This venue is the kind of venue where you can walk in and picture everything about your wedding perfectly and you can imagine all of the little pieces falling into place. My now husband and I took one look at the venue and instantly knew that it would be where we would get married (We had both our ceremony and reception here).

    I can't say enough great things about the Rand-Bryan house! http://www.rand-bryanhouse.com/

    Salon: Salon Bliss, Fuquay-Varina NC

    I used Salon Bliss, which is located in Fuquay-Varina NC. My hairdresser was Dara and she is so lively and fun. She also has the ability to take a jumble of description words about a hairstyle and transform it into an actual style!

    I had no idea what I wanted my hair to look like. I had a general description, but honestly it was pretty vague. I talked with Dara and see made it a reality and my hair was gorgeous the day of our wedding!

    Dara was also great to work with because she too answered any hair related questions I had and also even calmed my nerves two days before my wedding when I was tempted to change my hair style. It was definitely a great stress-relief to go to the salon and just relax and know that everything would look gorgeous and not have to worry about stray hairs.

    I also had my makeup done at Salon Bliss by Caroline. She too is fun and provided a great stress-relief. I didn't even decide to get my makeup done until two weeks prior to my wedding. So when I went to get my trail done, it was a week prior to my wedding and it had been snowing all day. Caroline still came in and walked through the makeup process with me to help decide on which route to go and which colors to use. She did an absolutely amazing job!

    Overall, Salon Bliss is AMAZING! Angie, the owner is so sweet and helped coordinate everything!

    The Thursday prior to our wedding, two of my bridesmaids and myself went in and had manicures done and it was a very fun trip. The morning of our wedding, they even provided fruits, muffins and other danish and treats for us to eat (which was a lifesaver because I had forgotten to eat breakfast) as well as mimosa's which really helped to calm my nerves.

    Pricing wise, in my opinion, you can't beat them. For the quality and time that was put in, the price was a steal of a deal. I now continue to go back to them for my regular salon needs and tell every friend I can think of to go to them.

    Love love love Salon Bliss in Fuquay NC!!! (http://www.salonblissnc.com/)

    DJ: All The Right Grooves, Charlotte NC

    While ATRG's isn't 'local', they do travel for a nominal fee. They're a board favorite and with so many amazing reviews about them, I knew that when it came time to book a DJ, I didn't want to look anywhere else until I had met with this company first.

    Bethany was our DJ and she too was a dream to work with. She was so comfortable to be around and really helped to put my and my husbands nerves to rest. We knew we wanted a fun and active DJ, but not a corny DJ. Bethany did our ceremony and reception music and we received so many comments on both about how great the music was.

    For the cost for the DJing itself, plus to travel cost, she was the best option within our budget and we're so thankful we used ATRG's! They even gave us CD's of our music which is wonderful because now I can play the music and relive our wedding day. It's amazing how many memories have been formed now around different pieces of music!

    Again with ATRG's, I couldn't say enough amazing things about them. Hands down, best DJ's around! (http://www.therightgrooves.com/)

    Cake Baker: Cakes by Caren, Garner NC

    My husband and I first met Caren at a local wedding show at Cary Towne Center a couple of months prior to our wedding. We tried her samples and really enjoyed them. After chatting a bit about designs and possible prices, we took her card and figured that later on, we would schedule an appointment with her.

    Fast forward a few more months (about two and a half months prior to the wedding) I was panicking because we hadn't found a baker we liked and could afford. We wanted a great tasting cake, but didn't want to pay an arm and a leg for it (It's food, you're going to eat it, not cherish it. We felt paying thousands for a cake was silly in our opinion, especially since we didn't want anything super fancy.).

    After a couple of weeks of panic, I remembered meeting Caren, but I had lost her business card (be sure to have a safe place for those or you'll lose them all!). I googled for a while and finally stumbled across who I thought may be the right Caren. We scheduled an appointment and low and behold, it was the same Caren.

    The cake tasting was awesome as Caren provided multiple samples that were very delicious. We ended up signing a contract before leaving her house, two months prior to our wedding.

    We went with a red velvet cake with cream cheese filling and buttercreme frosting for our wedding cake. We also purchased shot glasses of cake for the grooms cake. The flavor of the grooms cake was Chocolate cake with raspberry filling and cocoa butter creme (soooo good!). While the shot glasses were a different take on a cake set up, they looked awesome and again, all of our guests loved them! 

    Caren was amazing to work with and also extremely affordable! Again, I highly recommend her! (http://www.cakesbycaren.net/)
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
  • edited December 2011
    NCSU - can I just say you are super awesome and always so thorough and helpful? THANK YOU!
  • edited December 2011
    Not sure if you are still looking for information but here is my suggestion for a florist and cake baker:

    I don’t think there is a better florist in North Carolina who compares to Marsha Snyder. She is extremely detailed, highly professional, very loving, tuned in to your vision, generous with ideas, and understands the word “budget.” If you need an amazing florist who will care about your personality, your vision, and your budget, there is not a better florist than Marsha Snyder of MEWS Designs. I consulted with about 10 before I settled on her, and I’m sooooo glad I did. My day was amazing, and a lot of it is because of Marsha. Love this lady!

    Ambrosia cake creations makes the most delicious and beautiful cakes.  They did an amazing job at creating our cake to match the design on my wedding gown.  We got so many comments on how great it tasted and how beautiful it looked.  We were so pleased with everything they did. www.ambrosiacakecreations.com/

    I had family and friends help with other things, we had a lot of DIY stuff, but the flowers and cake were something I did get a professional to do. 

    Hope this helps!

  • I'm almost done planning and our wedding is in March but so far I'm really impressed with our florist and photographer.

    Our florist is The English Garden. They've been great helping me decide what would look best for my wedding. I went in for the first consultation and they had a small arrangement ready with a few flowers from my color palette so I could actually see what they would look like together. They're really friendly and are a big help in working with our budget.

    Our photographer is Nancy Ray Photography. I've been following her blog for years and way before I was engaged I knew I wanted her to photograph my wedding. Her pictures are beautiful. I was a little nervous that it would seem awkward at our engagement session but she really helped us feel at ease and our pictures turned out great! I'm excited to see how she captures our wedding. 
  • Preferred Vendors:

    Videographers - Heart Stone and 21 Films

    Photographers - In His Image Photography; Sweet Life Studios, Kidd Photography

    Cakes - Cinda's Cakes, The Priceless Cake, Cake Artistry

    Venues - The Great Room at Top of The Hill, Nasher Museum, Bay 7 at American Tobacco

    Event Planners - Virtue Event Planning & Consulting, Tracey Adams, and Bliss by Sam

    Wedding Dresses- TreBella

    Men's Wear- Bernards

    Florists - TreBella, Blossom Artistry, The English Garden

    I've worked with all of these vendors and they display the highest quality in their craft. 

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