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Sarah & Corbin

This is a fun one folks. All of the Real Weddings stories are near and dear to our hearts, but this one was especially fun to read. Sarah and Corbin married on the Garden Terrace on a crisp fall afternoon and then celebrated with their friends and family in the barn. The story of their engagement and how they approached wedding planning and their special day is just a pleasure to read.

How did you two meet?
Corbin and I met through work, which feels taboo to state, but we went from being work acquaintances to friends to being in love. It was the most natural progression and made a solid foundation for us to grow on. He was living in Dallas, TX while I was working in Raleigh, NC (same company/franchise, different office/time zone/state). Though we rarely had any opportunities to hangout or even talk the first two years of knowing one another, I would always gravitate toward him any opportunity I could which was generally twice a year at a training or company get together. He would tease me about my fantasy football team or we would joke about a mutual interest we shared. The joking and casual conversations sparked a general interest in one another and developed my wish to get to know him. I would think of ANY excuse I could muster to Skype him or shoot a text his way. He was completely oblivious to my flirtation, dismissing it as me being over friendly (which for the record, I am not to most people). Our friendship was initially very one sided and he made me work for his attention. It was so frustrating! He eventually let his guard down after moving to Huntsville, AL. Corbin made me want to be a better person and inspired me to be more positive so I knew I did not want to live without him in my life. I tend to keep my feet on the ground at all times and can be a bit of a skeptic while Corbin lives on the brighter side of things. I knew it was the real deal within 4 months of dating but played it cool until I was certain he felt the same way. Fortunately, he reciprocated the sentiment and moved himself to Raleigh at the first opportunity given in order to be closer to me. The rest is history.

Tell us about the engagement.
I mentioned above that Corbin inspires me to be more positive. Well, sometimes my general disposition can be less than pleasant, despite his overwhelming optimism. It was Memorial Day weekend and Corbin was incessantly attempting to get me to go hiking with him. I did not want to wake up before 8am or leave my bed and I certainly did not want to drive 3 hours to exercise. I finally conceded and we headed to Grandfather Mountain. I complained the entire ride, I mean, THE WHOLE TIME. About a mile from the top of the peak, he forced me out of the car to take the trail by foot. Corbin was more chipper than usual and I scolded him constantly for practically running up the terrain. He kept hurrying me along but when we reached the cable bridge, I was over it. I didn’t want to deal with it or the crowds and it wasn’t terribly important to me to cross over to the other side. Corbin insisted however that, “it would be worth it”.

He bounced around from rock to rock, coming dangerously close to mountain ledges at times. He said, “he wanted to get away from the crowds”.

He sat me down at a remote overlook. He took a knee and reached for my right hand, which I thought was so strange. Then he took my left hand. He seemed so nervous and it finally dawned on me what we were doing there. He began to speak but to this day, I have genuinely no idea what he said. He also does not remember what he had rehearsed either. I started to cry my eyes out and by the time I lifted my head from my hands, Corbin looked horrified. I had gone to the optometrist the day before and had my eyes dilated. I WAS CRYING BRIGHT YELLOW TEARS! Cheers erupted from others on the mountain who had witnessed our special moment and a medic actually stopped by shortly thereafter to see if we were ok. A perceptive stranger witnessed what was happening and captured the moment with her camera. She was kind enough to text us the photos afterwards which we will cherish forever. Without context, though, the photos totally look like Corbin is breaking up with me. I was in Chacos, a sports bra and yesterday’s makeup, not remotely as glamorous as I had imagined it all, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

What made Fearrington the place for you to say “I do?’
Fearrington was the only venue we looked at, which was not intentional. We had planned to check out other places but when we arrived and met with Gilda – we didn’t need or want to go anywhere else. We toured the grounds and were ready to cut a deposit check that day. The only thing I admittedly was worried about was the technical address. I did not want to get married in Chapel Hill having attended NC State. I couldn’t lose any credibility by inviting my former sorority sisters and college friends to “light blue” territory.
When you’re engaged, you hear so many horror stories. Other couples struggle with every detail because they’re reliant on vendors to be friendly, reliable, timely, professional, etc. – the list goes on. Customer service, or lack thereof in some cases, was a huge concern initially when we were contemplating venues. What drew us to Fearrington was that everything is essentially in-house. Once you tour the place, there is no doubt in your mind that everything would be executed to the finest degree and detail. For the few things that must be outsourced (photography, makeup, music, transportation), Gilda has a comprehensive list of vendors for every category imaginable, all of which are well reviewed. We never had a single worry when it came to planning besides our own indecisiveness about the small details.

Describe the highlight moment of your wedding day.
It sounds so silly but Corbin and I both were most thankful for the 15-20 minutes we had after the ceremony alone by the fire in the garden house. While our guests mingled with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, Gilda brought us food and champagne and encouraged us to take as much time as we needed to gather ourselves. We sat in the oversized leather chairs, holding hands (in between handfuls of hor d’oeuvres that we shoveled into our faces because the food is amazing). It was so calming to know that Gilda was looking out for us from start to finish. She knew what was important to Corbin and me. We had told Gilda in our first planning session that at the end of the day, we just want to spend our lives together and that making a spectacle of it was not a priority. We didn’t need or want constant attention but rather, we wanted our guests to have a memorable evening celebrating our union. Fearrington provided that from beginning to end and we are still receiving compliments about how beautiful everything was.

What was the biggest surprise of the day?
I was in the middle of my makeup session with Pam Hung (OnLoKtionMakeup Artistry, shameless plug, Pam and her crew are amazing), my mother-in-law stopped by to give me a present. It was my husband’s christening blanket, which became my something borrowed. Inside the box, she had a handwritten note and naturally, I started crying. That was probably not ideal since Pam was applying fake lashes and mascara. The blanket was special because Corbin is a twin and he and his sister, Courtney, were born prematurely at 3 months. His parents were told that they likely would not make it out of the NICU. He was so small, his father’s wedding band fit around his wrist. Corbin & Courtney even had their last rites read to them. It meant so much to have a piece of his history on my wedding day. The florist attached it to my wedding bouquet carefully, at my request, which was just another example of an above and beyond accommodation Fearrington does for its brides.

What was your biggest surprise about wedding planning?
I felt like royalty during the whole process. The commitment to service is unrivaled at Fearrington and the biggest surprise of our wedding planning came just a few days before our wedding. We had reserved the venue for November 17th for our ceremony and reception. When we visited, I took one look at The Barn and nearly fell over. I was in love. It is just breathtaking. It was being set up for a wedding the day we toured. There was a stipulation though, a minimum guest requirement that I could not fulfill. Corbin and I always talked about a small, intimate ceremony and reception, strictly family and close friends. While my family is tiny, his family is rather large. We just simply could not and did not want to increase headcount to reserve the space. I suppose that since we already were hosting both our ceremony and reception on site for November 17th, no one booked the barn for the day. Gilda was aware the forecast was calling for a cold night and offered to move our reception and ceremony indoors. I cried the happiest tears. I had my heart set on the barn since we looked at the venue but we initially planned for everything to take place on Dovecote lawn and the Garden Terrace. We were able to move our ceremony inside on the Garden Terrace and move the reception to the barn. I still get goosebumps thinking about it. It was all just perfect.

Anything you want to add about your wedding story?
The only thing I would add is trust the Fearrington staff. Take suggestions. Listen. This isn’t their first wedding and while I like to think I know everything, when it came to weddings – I didn’t have a clue. If you have never conceptualized your wedding, like me, let them guide you. I pride myself on not having any Bridezilla moments or tendencies, but that is partly because I have no idea how to plan a wedding. I did not know what a perfect day meant to me, but they did. There is not a single thing I would change. I find it difficult to articulate these thoughts and feelings because I become so overwhelmed with love and joy for my husband. I was so lucky to meet Corbin 6 years ago and every day I wake up thankful that he’s at my side. I am so grateful to have him in my life and I am grateful for Fearrington for making our day my favorite memory.

Dress: Elysia Gown by Haley Paige
Flowers: Fearrington Village
Cake/Catering: Fearrington Village
Day of Wedding Planner: Gilda McDaniel, Fearrington Village
Bridesmaids Dresses: Azazie
Officiant: Ben Poston
DJ: Matt Butterworth, Ultra Mix Events
Ceremony Site: Garden Terrace
Reception Site: The Barn
Makeup/Hair: Pamela Hung, OnLoKtion Makeup
Photographer: Sara Coffin