Here comes the new Southern bride
By Elizabeth Roy
For the Salisbury Post
Spring is around the corner. The grass will soon green, and flowers will begin to blossom for the bouquets of spring brides across the South.
In addition to the Southern wedding trademarks of hospitality and romance, this year’s brides-to-be and wedding planners have a new — and different — inspiration for giving their big day a unique effect: Created by Salisbury native Cristina Wilson and her co-author Drew Humphries and released in November 2014, “Carolina Bride: Inspired Design for a Bespoke Affair” is a compilation of more than 500 vendors and diverges from the typical wedding book.
“Ours was more of an artful approach, as opposed to the wedding how-to’s and guidelines that you find,” Humphries said of the book, which features 240 pages of clean, minimal text and photo-heavy layout.
“We also wanted to show the world that Southern weddings can be so much more than the stereotypes,” said Wilson.
The Carolina Bride book showcases the many backdrops of the Carolinas, from cities to mountainsides to the coast, while providing new and unusual twists on the traditional celebration.
“Even if the aesthetic style is more modern or trendy, the little details still exude Southern charm and real care for each guest,” said Wilson.
One of Humphries’ favorite wedding styles featured in the book and one that she says stretches the typical boundaries of wedding design is the “Bohemian Beauty” setting which features flower crowns, pillows in place of chairs, and plentiful spreads of figs, honey, and other rustic foods on tables and blankets. In place of an arch, the ceremony took place in a teepee of sorts.
“The word that comes up a lot is ‘New South,’” said Humphries. “Just a different take on how to do something unique for your wedding.” For a sure success, Humphries suggests that couples choose an object or theme that is meaningful to them, then develop their style and design from there.
At one point in the creation of the Carolina Bride book, the authors sought a dramatic, historic setting to showcase a high-fashion wedding effect.
“I started thinking about historic Salisbury and the locations I saw growing up,” said Wilson.
Photographers Richard Israel and Parker J. Pfister, assisted by Wilson and Humphries, shot images for the book at the Dr. Josephus Hall House and the Salisbury Depot. The team even indulged in some Wink’s Barbeque afterwards.
“It’s really the first time I’ve been able to combine my work with Carolina Bride and a few of my favorite hometown spots,” said Wilson.
As the editor of Carolina Bride magazine, 26-year-old Wilson sees Salisbury and its surrounding area as offering an abundance of wedding venues – The Arbors of Cleveland, for example – with breathtaking settings both indoors and outdoors.
As for the edible aspects of the wedding, Wilson says that family style dining has become more popular across the country and is a natural part of a Southern celebration.
“If you love barbeque, go for it and serve it,” said Wilson.
Spring flowers that will lend style and freshness are the organic-style bouquets, Wilson says.
“Asymmetrical shapes, wildflower-looking blooms, and interesting ribbon textures make your flowers look fresh and on-trend, but still timeless.”
And what could be more important in the planning process than finding the perfect wedding dress?
At Bellissima of Salisbury, owner Monica Cameron and her associate Keely Hudson offer appointment-only consultations to assist brides in finding the dress of their dreams.
“You have the whole store to yourself,” said Cameron. “It’s a personalized, memorable experience.”
Coming off of the holidays — the hottest time of year for wedding engagements — and with Valentine’s Day around the corner, Bellissima is now in its busiest four months of the year.
Cameron and Hudson travel once, sometimes twice, a year to New York to get a taste of the trendiest bridal styles. The latest colors for wedding dresses are blush, champaign, and the layering of ivory with pops of color through sashes and other accessories, Cameron says. Metallics are also popular in the dress embroidery and as lining, providing a touch of shimmer to the dress.
Brides-to-be travel from Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and even as far as Blacksburg, Va. to visit the award-winning wedding boutique.
“You don’t have to go to a big city to find a designer dress,” said Hudson, noting that almost all of Bellissima’s designers are exclusive to them in the state of North Carolina.
Bride Colin Gainer, 26, recently visited Bellissima to help a bridesmaid with the fitting of her emerald green bridesmaid dress.
“We are trying to do an outdoor theme, but indoors,” said Gainer, who will marry her fiance at the F&M Trolley Barn on April 25. “We chose green dresses because it reminds us of the trees.”
Beyond Carolina Bride magazine, Pinterest, and The Knot, Humphries suggests that those in the planning stages find wedding blogs that speak to them. Humphries’ favorites include the blogs “Wedding Sparrow” and “Pearl & Godiva.” And for anyone interested in a closer look at the Carolina Bride book, visit carolinabridebook.com
“Wedding season is creeping up,” said Humphries. “So it’s definitely a good time to show brides what they can start planning for.”