Carolina Bride

January 2, 2012

A little Southern charm

Ashley and Robert welcome their families with classic Southern hospitality.

On a fall evening in uptown Charlotte, Robert Barnikel and Ashley Harty sat at a table for two. The couple, who dated for five years, just finished a nice steak dinner. Before ending the night, and much to Ashley’s surprise, Rob took her up to a private room overlooking the city at the hotel above the restaurant. Ashley hadn’t a clue what was going on until she saw rose petals decorating the room and UNC pompoms (her alma mater). Rob began a heartfelt speech about memories and the things he loved about Ashley. Then he pulled out the ring from Diamonds Direct. “I was in shock and just staring at the ring,” recalls Ashley. Southern hospitality was the theme of the event. Since most of their guests were coming from places like Minnesota and New York, the couple wanted to welcome them to the South. Ashley’s bridal portraits, taken by Indigo Photography, signified that Southern charm. With The Dairy Barn in Fort Mill, S.C. as the backdrop, Ashley donned cowboy boots with her white gown. Ashley and Rob found love in the South – it was only fitting that their wedding ceremony take place outside on the green earth, under the Southern sun and sky. Ashley looked gorgeous in a strapless fitted gown from Mecklenburg Bridal Gallery. Lace and pearls peeked out the top of the sweetheart neckline. Rob looked dapper in a Calvin Klein tux from New York Bride and Groom. In true Southern fashion, Rob also wore a bow tie. But the Southern flair didn’t stop with the attire. “We used mason jars everywhere,” says Ashley. Their signature cocktail was a take on an Arnold Palmer, which used Firefly sweet tea vodka. Even their gift bags consisted of North Carolina goodies, including wine from Childress Vineyards. Instead of a guestbook, they had two friends snap Polaroids of all their guests so they could remember everyone on their big day. The newly married couple fondly remembers their first dance as being one of the best moments of the day. “It was such a sweet moment, and it felt like we were in the space alone,” Ashley says. Soft candlelight and arrangements from The Place for Flowers created a warm glow in the reception space. Since most of their guests came from out of town, the newlyweds cherished the rare occasion of having all their loved ones together in one room. “Having everyone finally meet one another and get to see our lives was really important and special,” says Ashley. “The wedding turned out exactly how we wanted it to.” Since the wedding – and their relaxing honeymoon to Antigua – the Barnikels have been house hunting, and they’re also thinking it might be time to get a dog.

Featured vendors

Mecklenburg Bridal Gallery

New York Bride and Groom

Bridal portrait location
The Dairy Barn

Engagement and wedding rings
Diamonds Direct SouthPark

The Place for Flowers

Indigo Photography

Continue reading real wedding stories! Up next: ’She said yes: Dedria & Phillip’

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