Wow-Worthy Winter Wedding

A Winter Wedding in Raleigh Planned by Dogwood Gatherings and Events

It was a given that Sarah Hardin and Taylor Gustafson would have a church wedding. Both have been faithful churchgoers their whole lives. The couple knew they were on the same page about what they wanted in life as soon as they began exchanging messages on a dating app. When they met for their first date, each felt an instant connection. It wasn’t long before they began regularly attending church together. So when they got engaged, the breathtaking Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral was a given for their classic church wedding. Wisely, they found a wedding planner to help bring their vision to life! Addie Thompson of Dogwood Gatherings and Events planned this winter wedding in Raleigh perfectly.

Wedding party winter fur stole bridesmaids red and navy groomsmen
Winter blue gold white wedding invitations Dogwood Gatherings

An Engagement and Winter Wedding Inspired by the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral in Raleigh

When the pandemic hit, Taylor and Sarah were grateful to have each other. They joked about getting married if quarantine lasted for more than three months. Really, they both already knew that they wanted to spend their lives together. When three months passed, they mutually decided to get married.

For Sarah, a Raleigh native, saying “I do” in her hometown was a must. They chose their wedding date based on availability of the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral in Raleigh, a meaningful place to them both. It was where they attended church together while dating.

When they stumbled upon Make Made Jewelry in Greenville, SC, during a trip to the mountains, Taylor knew he had met just the right people to help him surprise Sarah. Secretly, Taylor worked with them to create a custom engagement ring for Sarah. The design was inspired by the architecture of the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral. The ring also featured the wedding date they had picked and details meaningful to their love story. Taylor gave the ring to Sarah the fall before they tied the knot, while they were in Atlanta to celebrate her grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary.

Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral Wedding Dream Come True

On Jan. 23, 2021, Taylor and Sarah were pronounced husband and wife at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral. Getting married at the gorgeous, airy cathedral was a no-brainer for Taylor and Sarah.

Holy Name of Jesus held special significance to their love story, and it also couldn’t be more beautiful. The winter wedding colors of burgundy and navy blue complimented the cathedral’s creamy white walls. Pops of blush went well with the building’s copper accents. The patriotic shades of red and blue celebrated Sarah’s career in government affairs. The colors were also a nod to Taylor’s time working for a minor league baseball team. 

Church wedding in Raleigh at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral
Couple kiss cathedral ceremony wedding Raleigh

A Winter Wedding in Raleigh Planned by Dogwood Gatherings and Events

“Addie Thompson at Dogwood Gatherings is a genius!” Sarah says. “Our wedding could never have happened so flawlessly without her. She understands and totally manages the stress of event planning, even making it disappear when I needed it to.” Addie also made sure to include the couple’s key “non-negotiables,” like a first dance and having as many guests as safely possible.

Hiring Addie was a great gift to themselves, Sarah and Taylor say, because she completely took care of everything behind the scenes, letting the couple enjoy the day. “When I hired Addie to help with coordinating my wedding, she sincerely wanted to help us have the best wedding day,” Sarah says.

Winter Wedding Party Portraits in Downtown Raleigh

Taylor and Sarah took advantage of their venue’s location in downtown Raleigh and took to the streets for a wintry photoshoot. Furry stoles kept the bride and wedding party warm and added to the winter wow-factor. Sarah stood out in white while her bridesmaids matched their red gowns with classic brown stoles.

The grey and industrial tones of downtown Raleigh complimented their jewel-toned wedding colors of red and navy. Curved wrought-iron arches and vintage streetlights only added to the elegant vibe of their winter wedding.

Bridesmaids bouquets red and white florals
Bride groom downtown Raleigh classic winter wedding

Dogwood Gatherings and Events Tied in Personal Details for the Winter Wedding

Sarah and Taylor’s relationship was built on intentionality and sincerity, and it was only fitting that each detail of their day was special enough to reflect that. Dogwood Gatherings and Events helped them incorporate plenty of personal touched to make the day even more meaningful.

So, Sarah wrote out each escort card by hand. Her father custom-built the box in which the guests’ cards were collected at the reception. Sarah also wore the same garter that her maternal grandmother wore at her own wedding, with a penny from 1960 tucked into a hidden pocket. And, their officiant, Father Alex Gonzalez, was Sarah’s pastor in college. Even their photographer, Rachael Elisabeth Photography, had close personal ties to the couple through one of Sarah’s dear friends.

The couple opted for a smaller guest list. They decided that the most important part of their wedding day was to spend quality time with every guest. Choosing to have Dogwood Gathering and Events to help bring it all together was also meaningful, because they wanted a wedding planner who shared their values. Addie and the Dogwood team helped the couple navigate changes due to the pandemic, and made sure they could still have as many guests as possible join them without compromising safety.

Sarah and Taylor chose Caffe Luna for their reception. After dinner came one of Sarah’s favorite parts of the evening, when friends and family gave toasts. Caffe Luna’s delicious food and unmatched hospitality made the night one to remember. And Sarah and Taylor love returning to the Raleigh restaurant to revisit memories of their special day.

Red and Navy table settings simple place settings

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