Happy, happy (first!) wedding week, Caroline and John!!! I am so excited that Caroline and John are getting married this week – and I know they are, too! While their large wedding celebration (and all of those details and designs) have been postponed til next summer, these two have decided to get married on their original wedding date in their hometown of Charlotte, NC in Caroline’s parents’ backyard! I don’t think there’s anything sweeter, more meaningful, or more personal than being surrounded by just your immediate families – and in your childhood home – as you are married, and this was the perfect decision for Caroline and John. Their wedding day (both of them, really!) is so highly anticipated, and I know it’s going to be overflowing with love, joy, the most memorable moments, and incredibly special, heartfelt details.
Caroline and John have such a sweet, adventurous, beautiful love story, and I have absolutely loved getting to know them even better throughout the past year of wedding planning – and another year of wedding planning ahead of us, too! I have known John, the groom, since he was in elementary school, as his older brother was one of my closest friends from church – I planned his older brother’s wedding back in 2017, and our parents are all still in the same Sunday School class all these decades later! I first met Caroline in person at John’s brother’s rehearsal dinner and ended up chatting with her for a while then. As soon as we started talking – and knowing that she and John had been seriously dating for a while! – I knew that my dream would be to be her wedding planner. She is so vivacious, personable, and fun, and I have adored both Caroline and John for many years now. John’s been in business school in Oxford, England for the past year, and it’s been so fun and entertaining (virtually) following them around the globe as we’ve planned their wedding. They were so clearly made for another one, and I love how perfectly they complement one another and bring out the very best in each other. Being their wedding planner is just so fun and is such a treat!!
Below, Caroline shares more about what their intimate family wedding will look and feel like, and while it’s not what their original plan was, it really is the best of both worlds in so many ways. And next summer, they’ll do it all over again with all of their beloved wedding guests with the amazing vendors and all of the details and designs we originally planned! Their graciousness, flexibility, understanding, and excitement during this hard, unprecedented time is truly admirable, and I couldn’t ask for a sweeter, more trusting couple (or parents)! It’s hard to put into words just how special Caroline, John, and their families are and how utterly thrilled I am for them to be married this weekend… and to bring their second dream wedding day to life next summer!
At the end of the day, even with changed plans, it’s going to be the sweetest, most extraordinary, most beautiful day as Caroline and John are married! It’s such a joyful occasion to celebrate with their immediate families and to kick off married life for Caroline and John in such a lovely, romantic, memorable, and meaningful way.
Caroline and John, your wedding week is finally here, and I hope you feel nothing but an abundance of love, excitement, and joy as you two are married and are celebrated with such profound joy and excitement! You were clearly made for one another, and your love is so inspiring.
I’m so excited to share Caroline’s bride spotlight with you today, where you can learn more about the two of them, their love story, and what they’re most excited about on their wedding day, covid-edition! I asked Caroline to focus more on this intimate celebration and what it’s like pivoting wedding plans during 2020… and next year, we’ll share plenty more about their bigger celebration! Also, are they not the most attractive couple just bursting with joy?! Their love simply radiates in their engagement session on UNC’s campus by the wonderfully talented Olivia Suriano — swoon!
1.Tell us about you and your fiancé, John, and more about your love story.
John and I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. While we went to “rival” high schools and attended the same Friday night football games, we did not officially meet until we were in our sophomore year at Chapel Hill. John likes to talk about the glitter I was wearing the night he met me (I say he met me because I remember more of the glitter getting all over the place than meeting him that night, eek!) but regardless of the time or place, we quickly became friends. Our senior year we took an Italian film class together. I remember him plopping down next to me on the first day of class and then every day thereafter for the rest of the semester. We used to watch these amazing films and then he would walk me home after class. I never wanted those walks to end!
What started in Chapel Hill has since taken us around the globe. Together and separately we have lived in 4 countries and traveled to countless more. We find humor in the fact that, despite our love for the great big world and all the people in it, we both chose to marry the kid down the street. PS – our favorite Italian film was “La Vita è Bella.” Please watch and thank us later!
2. How have your wedding plans changed due to the pandemic and what did you and John decide to do? How has it been for you?
Strangely, we actually feel quite lucky. While our original 2020 dream will not be happening on the 26th, we had an incredible wedding planner (Stephanie!) who essentially picked it all up and placed it neatly into Summer 2021. With the support of our families, friends, and our amazing wedding planner, there was very little stress once we made the decision to postpone.
Although we have to wait longer to celebrate with our friends and family, we decided to carry on with what we were always most excited about anyway – getting married! We are thrilled to get to have our “mini-mony” at my childhood home in front of our immediate family. We think of it as such a unique opportunity to celebrate with the people who have been with us since day 1!
3. What are you most excited about your wedding day in September? Do you have a moment that you’re most anticipating?
Of all the things, I am most excited about seeing John at the end of the aisle. We have been dating for over 6 years, it’s a moment I have thought about a lot and I can’t believe it’s almost here! Also, both of my parents are walking me down the aisle, which I think will be so special.
Our whole wedding day in September has been a sort of a grand display of love from our families and we are excited to see how it all comes together. My parents have done an incredible job of envisioning what our house will look like and putting in the leg-work to get it there; John’s brother is planning on playing acoustic guitar for the ceremony; his parents have gone above and beyond in helping at every turn; my sister in law is sort of the day-of coordinator and solo bridesmaid; my brother the bar-tender. Everyone has a role to play! We are also taking the opportunity to add pieces to the ceremony that are non-traditional. We are excited to see how it all comes together and we couldn’t be more thankful for all the work that everyone has put in to make the day special!
4. What are you most excited about next summer?
Next summer we are getting married in the church I grew up in, surrounded by our family and friends. I know we are both looking forward to celebrating with everyone, and hopefully, it will be even sweeter after the long wait! In specific order of excitement- I am most looking forward to the ceremony and seeing all the people we love and admire in one room; I am so so excited for that. Then the dance floor…around 10pm when everyone is feeling like they have the MOVES… and then cake cutting (because, cake) … then the brunch the next morning when everyone discusses the antics of the night before : )
5. What was your biggest inspiration for your intimate ceremony and dinner design?
Our biggest inspiration has been the colors of fall. Our wedding next summer is so full of soft tones, we decided to go bold with this one. We also have been inspired by the intimacy of getting married with just our immediate families. We love the idea of one long table, filled with flowers, long exposed candles, and our people. With COVID, it will be a longer table than usual. Especially in the environment we are currently in, just having our families all together in one place will be so special.
6. What advice do you have for 2020 brides and for planning a wedding during a pandemic?
During a pandemic or not, having Stephanie in our corner has been the best decision we could have made. She has been so much more than a wedding planner. She has made us feel like we are the only people on her calendar. She has used her skill, her organization, her attitude to make wedding planning enjoyable and stress-free. She is universally loved; I think our vendors love her as much as we do! We feel like celebrities.
7. What is something you’re passionate about? What are some things you and John love to do together?
Individually and together, John and I are both passionate about travel. In high school, we independently volunteered in Tanzania. It’s funny to think that while we didn’t know each other, both of us in our teens thought boarding a plane and volunteering in Africa was what we were meant to do. We have both grown and changed a lot since then, but our desire to connect with others both at home and abroad has always bonded us (and our degrees in international relations landed us in the same Italian film class! Thank you, UNC registrar!). We just got back actually from living in the UK for the last year while John was in graduate school. We spent weekends with friends road tripping to the Cotswolds’, hiking the coast of England, posing in front of Stonehenge, and trying every pub that was open : )
8. What has been the biggest surprise in the wedding planning process?
The biggest surprise has been all the little pieces that come together to make it what it is. I have to admit, after having attended plenty of weddings, I was under the impression that between my mom and I, we could figure it out, no problem…we definitely romanticized the wedding planning process. As it turns out, it’s hugely laborious, confusing, and stressful!
In a way, Stephanie acted as a wedding planning bodyguard, she took the heat, made the decisions, and defended our vision. We couldn’t be more thankful.
9. What is your favorite part of your intimate wedding design?
My favorite part is the location – we are getting married at my parents’ house. We have spent the past few weeks gardening, hanging twinkly lights, arranging furniture. John and I are about to embark on this grand adventure together, but we have all these people both literally and figuratively supporting us along the way.
10. What is your favorite thing about John?
If I had to pick one, it would be his ability to make me feel like I am at home. Sort of cheesy, but he makes me feel loved, respected, empowered, supported, happy, and strong. I am a big homebody, and just by being himself, he gives me that same sense of security and calm. I feel incredibly lucky to have met John Healy.
If I had to pick just one more, it would be his sense of humor. John has a positive outlook on life and always makes me laugh. I have lots of emotions and feelings and he is sort of a calming force for all that. If I had to pick just one more (I could go on!), it would be his self-assuredness. John makes all things look easy. His confidence in himself is really inspiring to me. I could pick a few more but I will leave with his patience. He is incredibly patient. Since 2020 started, we have been not getting married this year, have been getting married by our moms, have been getting married and keeping it a secret, have been eloping, have been getting married on a beach… he has been really patient and had such a good attitude through it all : )
While I won’t be onsite this weekend for their family wedding, I couldn’t be more thrilled and excited for Caroline and John to be married!!! It’s going to be incredibly special and so sweet to be surrounded by their immediate families. I’m already counting down the days til next summer and their big wedding bash! All my love, Caroline and John!!
all photos by Olivia Suriano Photography