One Couple Used Glam Details to Make a Traditional Southern Wedding Their Own

Ice cream dates, flowers at work, and a horse-drawn carriage: If this all sounds too good to be true, it’s not, or at least not for Courtney and Roland Hayes. This romantic duo spent six years together before Roland popped the question in dramatic fashion. After many dates spent wondering when it would happen, Courtney found herself sitting across from Roland at dinner in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She sensed some nerves in her better half but didn’t think anything of it until she saw a horse-drawn carriage pull up next to the restaurant. "Roland proceeded to inform me that the carriage was for us," she says. "I smiled and laughed with nervousness. We sipped wine while riding through downtown Winston-Salem, and it was so romantic! We finally arrived at a spot with yellow rose petals everywhere!” Sure enough, the moment had arrived, and as soon as she said yes, Courtney and Roland got back in their buggy to call friends and family.

From early on, the couple knew their wedding venue would be the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem, a place Courtney cleverly describes as having the perfect mix of southern legacy and spunk. The elegant ballroom is decked out with all the trimmings you'd expect for a regal affair but also features an art-deco-inspired entrance and rooftop views of the city. “The vision for the wedding was simplicity and elegance—small and intimate, with a less-is-more feeling,” explains the bride. But simple didn't mean without style—a fact that Courtney and Roland proved a thousand times over with their tasteful decor, which was punctuated by fun, modern elements. They worked with Rebecca Rose Creative to bring their vision to life and Jake + Heather to capture the day’s most memorable moments. See how this couple updated the traditional southern wedding to be their own on September 3, 2016, below!

Courtney knew Roland was the One early on in their relationship, and she had the same instincts about her wedding dress. "I cried as soon as I put it on,” she says of her Pronovias gown. "The dress reminded me of something someone would wear to the Grammys. I felt like I had won an amazing award.” The strapless number was certainly red-carpet-worthy, complete with a crystal-studded belt and embellishments down the back. And since the mermaid cut featured a detachable train, it was the perfect gown to wow in during the ceremony while still being dance-floor friendly. She had her hair swept back in a clean, elegant bun that let her two-tiered veil shine.

For her bouquet, Courtney chose an array of white flowers, including calla lilies, roses, larkspur, and Israeli cuscus, paired with soft-blush-colored astilbes. The arrangement was romantic and ethereal, but its final touch—Courtney's "something blue"—was what tied it all together: The bride's late grandmother’s wedding rings were affixed to a blue ribbon wrapped around the bouquet's stems.

Bridesmaids wore cream-colored convertible gowns from Twobirds. "I wanted them to look effortlessly elegant," she says. "It was something they could wear again and a color that will never go out of style. I loved these dresses from the moment I saw them!" The versatility of the style came in handy when the maid of honor discovered she was pregnant before the big day!

The groom wore a slim-fit navy tuxedo, perfectly tying together the day’s aesthetic. We especially love his choice of footwear, blue velvet LoLu slippers, which added a chic vibe to his formal attire. The groomsmen wore classic black tuxedos, offsetting the groom’s navy garb and looking perfectly handsome in their own right.

The Davis Chapel at Wake Forest University provided a hometown feel for the couple’s nuptials. Courtney and Roland were able to personalized the interior, with its stained-glass windows and traditional wooden pews, in a variety of ways, and while the couple exchanged customary vows, they made the ceremony their own in a heartfelt way by including both of their childhood pastors.

Loved ones tossed rose petals as the couple exited the church.

Before beginning the celebration, Courtney and Roland took some time to themselves to bask in the glow of being newlyweds—one of their favorite memories from the entire day. “It was such a small moment but so special,” remembers the bride.

Once inside the Cardinal Hotel, guests enjoyed the couple's signature cocktail, the “Heavenly Hayes,” a concoction of gin, lemon, ginger liqueur, simple syrup, and blueberries. Tables were covered with patterned linens that made a bold statement against transparent chargers edged with gold. Mixed high and low centerpieces, all made up of a classic mix of white and pink blooms with plenty of greenery, were scattered throughout the room. For some added flair, the sweetheart table switched things up and was covered in sequined linens as glam as the couple themselves.

After dinner, guests hit the dance floor while DJ Hollywood played the couple's favorite music. Courtney and Roland shared their first dance, to “For the Rest of My Life,” by Robin Thicke. Dessert was a delicious wedding cake that looked prim and proper on the outside but had a fun surprise on the inside: Layers of strawberry buttercream, caramel pecan, and Oreo were stacked three tiers high.

Another sweet aspect of the reception came not in the way of food but through the bride and groom's thoughtful favor. In lieu of traditional favors, they made charitable donations to Brenner’s Children Hospital. The caring couple also donated their flowers to Wake Forest Baptist Health after the wedding—a sure way to start marriage on the right foot.

As the night drew to a close, Courtney and Roland set their sights on a Charleston, South Carolina, honeymoon and the fun times ahead. But looking back on the process, the bride has this advice for the newly engaged: "No two people agree on everything, and that's okay, but it's important to be okay with each other's differences. Focus on how you can be a blessing to your mate, and in turn you will be blessed and so will your advice."

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