Blair and Paige Holloway had no idea that their boyfriends were planning to propose. Both in long-distance relationships and both pursuing medical careers, the sisters planned a Fourth of July weekend away at their parents’ home in Lake Norman. But plans began to unravel when Jared surprised Paige with a weekend away in Savannah, and their parents took a last-minute trip to Baltimore. While the weekend plans were ever changing, the fact that Jared and Joseph were planning to pop the question to their unsuspecting girlfriends, did not. Paige met Jared Sokolsky during their first week as freshmen at UNC Chapel Hill. “Let’s just say he blew me away,” Paige says. “He was a gorgeous Canadian who played ice hockey and liked to rock climb. Wow!” The two became friends and learned they had several things in common, but it wasn’t until after their sophomore year that they decided to officially become a couple. Paige says, “I emailed Jared about how one of the young girls I was coaching that summer was telling people I had 17 boyfriends.” Jared jokingly replied, “Well I have been telling everyone that you were my girlfriend.” Paige says, “I told him I guess I could dump the 17 guys and stick with him!”While in Savannah, the couple enjoyed a long lunch, walking on the beach and simply soaking in the time that they were in the same state. Deciding to explore a nearby lighthouse, the couple made the long climb to see the view. Reaching the top, Jared asked Paige, “Was it worth the walk up here yet?” Turning to see Jared kneeling with a ring from Skatell’s, Paige answered, “Yes!” Several other carefully planned surprises followed as the couple enjoyed dinner and a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride before spending the next several days relaxing in Hilton Head.Just a few hours away in Chapel Hill, Joseph Cuneo had a surprise of his own planned for Blair. After an exhausting day of house hunting, the couple decided to relax at Blair’s condo. Joseph proudly presented Blair with an oddly shaped box wrapped in colorful newspaper for her anniversary gift. A bit confused by the gift of jewelry cleaner, she looked up to find Joseph kneeling with a beautiful engagement ring from Diamonds Direct. Blair interrupting the proposal several times with an enthusiastic “Yes,” and they soon called family to tell them that they, too, were engaged. Blair had met Joseph several years earlier while playing on the same ultimate Frisbee team in college. She quickly noticed that Joseph stood out among the other players. “He was gorgeous and a bit shy — not to mention a really good Frisbee player!” At the time, Joseph was living in Maryland and Blair was in North Carolina. After the second season of ultimate Frisbee, the two found themselves spending every free weekend visiting each other. Blair laughs, “Let’s just say we became very well-versed in the potholes of I-95.” Once the news spread of the engagements, the Holloway family decided to meet in Chapel Hill for a celebratory dinner, and the sisters quickly solicited help from their mother, Mary, with planning their weddings. Mary’s first assignment was helping to determine the theme for each of her girl’s weddings. “My daughters are so unique, so it was easy to envision each daughter’s wedding as a separate and distinct celebration,” she shares. “Blair and Joseph are a compassionate, laid-back, musically talented couple. So for their autumn-inspired nuptials, they wanted a relaxed, yet refined, family-oriented gathering with a great band. Paige and Jared are a sharp, sophisticated and fun couple. Their black-tie affair was classic, formal and fun. They decided on elements that created a New South vibe, blending Southern charm and sophistication.” Next on the agenda, the sisters set out to find the perfect venues, photographers, bands and gowns. They both admit that it was extremely helpful to be wedding planning at the same time. “It was great to be able to tackle the big things together,” Paige shares. “I really wanted to focus on looking for the perfect photographer and cake. For Blair, finding the right music was most important. We would each research on our own and then share our findings. When I found Chuck Eaton Photographers I knew I had to use him. And my sister was so impressed she ended up using him as well!” Blair adds, “We also both decided to use Classic Party Rentals, which was a great decision. We joke about how we got to have two weddings, because we could plan our own, but live vicariously through the other.”Paige and Jared selected Providence Country Club as the location for their spring wedding. For their interfaith ceremony, it was important for the couple to incorporate both Christian and Jewish customs to honor their families. While parts of the ceremony were in both English and Hebrew, they also incorporated more traditional elements such as the water ceremony. “I had a vase of yellow water and Jared had blue. Together we poured into a new vase to create a fresh color green. The entire ceremony was like a beautiful dance.” The bride wore a strapless and hand-beaded, trumpet-style gown and shoes found at Mecklenburg Bridal Salon. Her cathedral veil, handmade by her mother, was embellished with crystals and secured to a delicate pearl and crystal headpiece. Another gift from her mother was a swatch of fabric from her mother’s own bridal gown, which was embroidered in blue with Paige’s name and wedding date and sewn into the dress. The modern Southern soirée that followed boasted elegant strands of orchids and crystals suspended from chandeliers, tall vases with hydrangeas, calla lilies, peonies and roses, and amber uplighting throughout the ballroom, which created a soft, romantic tone. An exquisite five-course dinner paired with various wine selections were savored before guests danced to the sounds of a nine-piece brass band. After enjoying the four-tiered cake decorated to reflect the details on Paige’s gown, the guests hoisted the bride and groom in the air on chairs to participate in the hora. “I felt like I was suspended for hours as we all danced around! It was such a wonderful memory holding hands with Jared, laughing the whole time,” Paige shares. At the end of the night, the couple drove away in a Rolls-Royce to Ballantyne Resort before leaving for their honeymoon in Tahiti.Before the family knew it, it was time for the fall celebration to honor Blair and Joseph at Firethorne Country Club. The couple chose the venue because of its unique stone facade, vaulted ceilings with impressive natural rafters and rustic chandeliers. It was the perfect setting for the ceremony and reception that would incorporate refined, organic elements with elegant décor. Originally the couple planned an outdoor ceremony, but plans quickly changed with the approaching rain. While the wedding party was already in place, the sky opened and rain began to pour, causing Blair and her guests to hurry inside. Ever the carefree pair, they quickly regrouped and all gathered by the stone fireplace in the Great Dining Hall. With unique uplighting projecting a canopy of tree branches above them, the bride and groom recited their vows in front of family and friends gathered closely beside them. Wearing a stunning Vera Wang gown, Blair also had a small piece of her mother’s gown sewn inside her own with her name and wedding date in blue. Family and friends recited carefully selected poems and passages of literature that Blair and Joseph selected in honor of their love and vows to one another. “The most significant memory was during our candle ceremony when ‘Intermezzo’ from Cavalleria was playing,” Blair says. “This song has always moved me, and it was important to incorporate it into our time together.” For their formal dinner, the bride and groom offered their guests an impressive menu with several courses including pan-seared quail over polenta, mango sorbet, grilled filet and seared grouper, paired with carefully selected organic wines. Blair’s mother was an important part of expanding the organic wedding theme into the menu. “I was impressed that my mom was able to incorporate foods that were locally grown and organic,” Blair says. “That just added a special touch to the theme of our celebration as well as proves how dedicated she was to making the wedding exceptional.”Even the almond cake reflected the theme, sitting atop a recycled log hand-hewn by Blair’s father. At the end of the evening, guests gathered to release butterflies from the veranda. The bride and groom then enjoyed an extended stay at Triple Creek Ranch in Montana where they relished in the amenities of an inclusive mountain resort. Blair and Paige thankfully attribute the successful execution of their wedding visions to their mother Mary. Whether it was designing the invitations, menus or a cathedral veil, both sisters agree they could not have done it without her. “It’s like she knew what I wanted before I did,” Blair says. Paige adds, “My mother would gather 10 different options for me and then allow me to select my favorite. It was extremely helpful and amazing how she knew my tastes better that I did!” After 14 months of planning, a mother’s labor of love for her girls is perhaps the most wonderful wedding gift of all.
Diamonds Direct SouthPark
Skatell’s Manufacturing Jewelers
Providence Country Club
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Chuck Eaton and Jason E. Miczek of Chuck Eaton Photographers
Classic Party Rentals
Mecklenburg Bridal Gallery
Trolleys of the Carolinas
Continue reading real wedding stories! Up next: ’Sweet harmony’