Every May and October, a farm in Pittsboro, NC comes alive with music, art and community for four days to celebrate the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance. Full of bright colors, diverse cultures and homegrown influences, Shakori captured my heart as a child when my uncle would take me to the festival. Later during college, I would welcome the opportunity to escape my reality, turn off my phone and camp on the farm during the festival, surrounded by strangers who felt like family and music that filled every tent and spirit.
When I first established my wedding planning business, I shared my excitement with my cousins, and one of them mentioned that she could imagine getting married at Shakori. I immediately fell in love with the idea of using Shakori Hills as the backdrop and inspiration for my first styled shoot. I developed a boho eclectic festival theme, shared the idea with a few vendor friends, and the shoot quickly began to fall into place.
So many vendors I met and began working with loved the idea of creating a shoot that broke a standard wedding mold and would appeal to the adventurous and creative spirits we love as clients. We imagined what a real Shakori wedding would look like (we later found out that there have been elopements during the festival!) and recognized that the focus would be on love and community above all else, and that a couple would likely choose to remain at the festival and camp out on site to enjoy their first few days as a married couple.
To act out our vision for the Shakori Styled Shoot, real-life couple Miranda & Brandon modeled for us. Miranda’s wedding dress was provided by The Magnolia Bride, and her hair and makeup were beautifully done by Wedded Kiss. The wonderfully non-traditional paper flowers for the bride’s bouquet and groom’s boutonniere were created by Paper Swallow Events. The shoot was photographed by three amazing photographers, each representing a different photography and editing style – The Wild Bloom Photography, Arika Jordan Photography and Melissa Toma Photography.
We decided to create a small ceremony setting with a beautiful triangular backdrop from Pop the Champagne! and decorated with stunning paper blooms from by Paper Swallow Events. The ceremony space was at the top of a field overlooking the main music stage, with woods and campsites directly behind the altar. We imagined that guests would stand around the altar space to witness the union, so no guest chairs were necessary, but a white throw rug from Wildflower Vintage Co marked the aisle, and lanterns from their rental inventory were placed at the base of the altar.
After the ceremony, our lovely couple would then move on to an intimate dinner space. In true Shakori form, we imagine many of the guests would begin exploring the festival and proceed to the amazing food vendors on site, likely to return to sit in the field where the family gathers for their dinner. We set a dinner table for eight, a place of honor for the couple and a few of their closest family and friends. The dinner table, made of recycled pallet boards, was placed atop rugs rented from Wildflower Vintage Co, with pillows as seats. Dinnerware was a mix of plates and drinkware from Social Event Design, who also provided a collection of vases and gem stones to decorate the table. A macramé table runner and more paper flowers tied together the look.
After dinner, the couple would then move on to dessert – because even in the middle of a music festival, everyone wants a sweet treat. Perched atop a lovely rustic blue table and a rug from Wildflower Vintage Co sat a wedding cake created by Capital Cakes, as well as some delicious and earthy lemon-lavender whoopie pies from Makin’ Whoopie Kitchen. The whoopie pies were served on stunning gem slabs provided by Social Event Design that tied together with the earthiness of the design. The finishing touches included a lantern, flowers, and the invitation suite designed by Lovely Little Bee.
The reception would then flow seamlessly into the music festival surrounding them, so we sent our couple down the hill to join in with the crowd of dancers. Festival-goers and guests blend together in community as everyone congratulates the new couple, and the party breaks into full swing.
When the couple is finally ready to step away from the main stage to take an intimate moment alone, they make their way to their honeymoon tent, where they will enjoy the next few nights of the festival. A simple a-frame tent is decorated with dreamcatchers, pillows, lanterns and a macramé quilt from Wildflower Vintage, and a beautiful painted canvas from Rachel Wadlow Art drapes over the tent.
I am so proud of this amazing team for their hard work, creativity and vision. I send my sincerest thanks to each vendor for the services and products they provided to ensure my first styled shoot was a huge success.
Planner & Designer: Beauty & the Budget Events
Photographers: Arika Jordan Photography | Melissa Toma Photography | The Wild Bloom Photography
Venue: Shakori Hills
Dress Shop: The Magnolia Bride
Hair & Makeup Artist: Wedded Kiss
Flowers: Paper Swallow Events
Ceremony Backdrop: Pop the Champagne!
Decor Rentals: Wildflower Vintage Co | Social Event Design | Rachel Wadlow Art
Cake: Capital Cakes
Alternative Dessert: Makin’ Whoopie Kitchen
Invitations: Lovely Little Bee
“Stephanie is such a kind soul which is important for her line of work, but more than that, she is exceptionally passionate about what she does. She is ready to fully invest in you (the couple) and your vision and bring it to life!” – Jenn, The Wild Bloom Photography
“I am a wedding coordinator in the Raleigh area and I have worked with Stephanie on 2 weddings and 1 styled shoot. She pays great attention to detail and always puts the clients first.” – Miranda Day, River Ridge Golf Club