2021 Wedding Fashion

NC Wedding Dress and Fashion Photo Shoot in Raleigh 

Nothing brings us more joy than someone saying, “I found my NC wedding dress in the pages of your magazine.” We host a massive NC wedding dress and fashion photo shoot every year – it’s an all-day marathon filled with hairspray, sweat and outfit changes. This year, instead of calling a modeling agency, we invited everyday people to represent our local wedding industry.

The folks featured in this editorial are local hairstylists, food bloggers and neighbors. Words cannot describe how grateful we are to each vendor and model who participated in our 2021 wedding fashion photo shoot.

Despite the humidity and COVID-19, everyone showed up with respect and enthusiasm. Adrienne Duterte brought her masks and mascara, Susan Langford of Gilded Bridal loaded her Suburban with wedding dresses, and Danielle Smith of Danielle James Photography arrived seven months pregnant and strapped with camera equipment, shooting a mix of digital and film photography.

Bride and Bridesmaids in Beautiful NC Wedding Dresses at Fashion Photo Shoot in Raleigh NC
BRIDESMAID DRESSES Bella Bridesmaids | WEDDING DRESS Gilded Bridal | PHOTO Danielle James Photography | BOUQUETS Sweet Love Blossoms

Behind the Scenes of the NC Wedding Dress and Fashion Shoot 

Our fearless Heart of NC Weddings editorial director, Becca Taylor, planned the big day, kept us on time and made sure everyone had hand sanitizer! Boxed lunches from Carroll’s Kitchen gave us the energy to hustle from photo to photo. At the end of the day, we created something beautiful. To witness so many talented local wedding vendors work together was inspiring, and we hope our fashion editorial will inspire you as well.

This editorial appeared in the Heart of NC Weddings 2021 edition. We’re sharing several gorgeous images that could not fit into the print editorial. Enjoy the extra images of Raleigh and New Bern wedding dresses, stylists, jewelers and flowers. All of the contributors of this editorial are mentioned in descriptions as well as at the bottom of the post.

Gilded Bridal & Bernard’s Formalwear 

Shar-Narné Flowers looks resplendent in this hopelessly romantic Daalarna Couture bridal gown from Gilded Bridal. Her real-life beau, Tan Tran, looks suave in a navy blue suit with yellow accessories from Bernard’s Formalwear. 

“I felt so glamorous the entire day. Everyone on the Heart of NC Weddings team as well as the makeup artists and hairstylists were nice, professional and welcoming. I also appreciated how everyone wore their masks throughout the shoot.” -Shar-narné Flowers

Justine De Angelo, owner of Sweet Love Blossoms floristry, created beautiful arrangements with a fresh spin on the ever-so-trendy ombre color palette. 

Shar-Narné and Tan are pictured in a more glam wedding day look – perfect for a black-tie affair!

BRIDESMAID DRESSES Bella Bridesmaids | BOUQUETS Sweet Love Blossoms | JEWELRY Bailey's Fine Jewelry

Thornbury Brides 

Amber Worrell wears a sophisticated, couture wedding dress from Thornbury Brides. The empire cut waist and fit-and-flare skirt make this dress flattering for all body shapes. 

BOUQUET Sweet Love Blossoms | WEDDING DRESS Thornbury Brides
Bride and Bridesmaids Bella Gilded NC Wedding Dress and Fashion Photo Shoot in Raleigh Blissmore
BRIDESMAID DRESSES Bella Bridesmaids | BOUQUETS Sweet Love Blossoms | JEWELRY Bailey's Fine Jewelry

Gilded Bridal & Bella Bridesmaids 

We love this soft, feminine wedding dress from Gilded Bridal on bride Sydney Jones. Beside her, bridesmaids Amber and Brittney Brady dazzle in two Jenny Yoo gowns from Bella Bridesmaids. Each woman holds a bespoke bouquet fastened with ribbon. With dresses like these, your bridal party will look and feel good all day long! 

“Do your research on wedding dress styles, cuts, designers, everything! Establish a budget. Bring proper undergarments – this is so undervalued! Keep an open mind! You never know what might surprise you.”-Amber Worrell 

Bride Silverceiling Makeup NC Wedding Dress and Fashion Photo Shoot in Raleigh Blissmore Photography
WEDDING DRESS Gilded Bridal | JEWELRY Bailey's Fine Jewelry | PHOTO Danielle James
Groom and Bride Bernards Gilded NC Wedding Dress and Fashion Photo Shoot in Raleigh Blissmore
FORMALWEAR Bernard's Formalwear | WEDDING DRESS Gilded Bridal

Boho Wedding Style for NC Couple

Stylists Marissa Davis and Adrienne Duterte gave bride Sydney and bride AnnaLaura Erickson unapologetically boho hairdos. And who doesn’t love a bold lip color? Scott Erickson (AnnaLaura’s husband!) looks dapper in a deep blue suit and blush bow tie from Bernard’s Formalwear. 

“The Heart of NC Weddings fashion shoot wasn’t like other shoots I’ve done where it’s a sea of girls who all look alike and fit perfectly in the weddings dresses we’ve seen for years (then typically I am the token size 6 “curvy girl”). There was more representation, which much of the wedding industry is desperately lacking. I feel confident being a part of this shoot knowing there were diversity styles, race, sizes and sexuality, so no matter who is looking for inspiration, hopefully they can see themselves in these photos.” –AnnaLaura Erickson

The Best of NC Wedding Dresses 

“Try on dresses outside of your comfort zone. Don’t just gravitate towards your “dream dress” while shopping—have fun with it! Even if you ultimately decide to go with your “dream dress” after all.” -Elizabeth Hylton

Best friends and roommates, Elizabeth Hylton and Maria Alejandra stole the show in these one-of-a-kind wedding dresses from Gilded Bridal. Maria’s rainbow skirt is a detachable overskirt – oh, it would be so fun to say “I do” in either of these spectacular dresses! They pair beautifully together for a two-bride couple, as displayed here. 

Two Brides Gilded Silverceiling NC Wedding Dress and Fashion Photo Shoot in Raleigh Blissmore

Mother of the Bride Attire in Raleigh, NC at Kannon’s Clothing of Cameron Village

Mary-Kannon Jefferson of Kannon’s Clothing store in Raleigh, suggests that parents start shopping for a wedding outfit six months prior. It is customary for the Mother of the Bride to pick her dress first, and then the Mother of the Groom, so be mindful of that in the timeline. The two main decisions to make are if you want to wear long or short, and what color you want to wear. The reason to allow so much time is because many social occasion companies have scaled back their Spring collections for 2021, so the earlier in the season you begin shopping, the higher your chances are at finding something you love before it is sold out.  

“My biggest piece of advice would be to not shop online! I hear women all the time saying they ordered over a dozen dresses online and none of them worked. It is always better to go into a store, to touch and feel the dress and to actually see it in person before purchasing.”  – Mary-Kannon 

Laura and Dominick DiGirolamoowners of local wedding show production Forever & Company, had their first experience as “parents of the bride” in 2019 when their daughter, Jackie DiGirolamo Hambright, tied the knot. Laura looks lovely in tow different mother-of-the-bride dresses from Kannon’s Clothing, located in Raleigh’s Cameron Village. Dom is ready for the father-daughter dance in this handsome black suit from Bernard’s Formalwear in Durham. 

Thornbury Bride Gilded Bridal NC Wedding Dress and Fashion Photo Shoot in Raleigh Blissmore
WEDDING DRESS Thornbury Brides | JEWELRY Diamonds Direct

Classic Wedding Dresses at Thornbury Brides in New Bern, NC 

This wedding dress on bride Brittney is the perfect combination of flirty and sweet! Visit Thornbury Brides in New Bern, NC to find a dress that makes you feel and look beautiful. After you select your dream dress, you can write your name and wedding date in gold on the bridal salon’s black walls. 

My favorite part about the fashion photo shoot was being able to connect with great people to create something beautiful. The energy was so upbeat and the feeling of excitement was contagious. I couldn’t be more grateful to have been a part of this experience.” -Brittney Brady

Bride and Groom Sweet Love Blossoms Wedding NC Wedding Dress and Fashion Photo Shoot in Raleigh Blissmore
WEDDING DRESS Gilded Bridal | FORMALWEAR Bernard's Formalwear
Suspended Flower Hoops Sweet Love Blossoms NC Wedding Dress and Fashion Photo Shoot in RaleighBlissmore
FLORAL HOOPS Sweet Love Blossoms

Romantic Wedding Flowers by Sweet Love Blossoms 

AnnaLaura and Scott certainly turned a few heads in this classy wedding attire! We can only imagine the pure romance of witnessing a couple share their vows in front of this whimsical flower hoop backdrop by Sweet Love Blossoms

“This dress is so different from the traditional trumpet, fitted, beaded dress I chose for my wedding day and that’s why I loved it so much. The dress embodied a completely different part of my personality in such a fun way. It was feminine and romantic but also relaxed in a way that felt organic to who I am. I don’t think I would have tried this dress on my own, which is a reminder to step out of your box!” -AnnaLaura Erickson

Bride and Groom NC Wedding Dress and Fashion Photo Shoot in Raleigh Sweet Love Blossoms Blissmore
NC WEDDING DRESS Gilded Bridal | FORMALWEAR Bernard's Formalwear

NC Wedding Fashion at The Bradford 

For Part II of our Heart of NC Wedding Dress and Fashion Photo Shoot, we visited The Bradford – a French countryside-styled venue just outside of Raleigh. The Bradford completed a major expansion last year. Owners Courtney Hopper and Dana Kadwell upgraded their venue to accommodate larger events. The original reception space got a face-life and was expanded t add a modern ballroom. Learn more about the venue here.

 Photos by Richard Barlow Photography

Danielle James Photography is a hard act to follow, but Richard Barlow Photography seamlessly picked up the beauty-baton in this second part of our NC Wedding Dress and Fashion Photo Shoot. Despite the midday sun beating down on us, Richard captured each of our models natural glow. Keep scrolling to learn more about these incredible local wedding vendors.

Trust your instincts. Most wedding dresses are actually made to look flattering so just try on different styles! Also it’s all about how you feel, it’s your day girl! Do you.” -Maria Alejandra 

Bride and Bridesmaid Happy NC Wedding Dress and Fashion Photo Shoot in Raleigh The Bradford Barlow
NC WEDDING DRESS Gilded Bridal | BRIDESMAID DRESS Bella Bridesmaids | VENUE The Bradford | PHOTO Richard Barlow Photography

Heart of NC Weddings Preferred Vendors are part of a curated collection that our team has vetted and personally recommends to our readers. Click here to browse our preferred list of NC wedding dress, florist, venues, bakers, planners and more.

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