On the day of their engagement, Heather Kimsey and Michael Cole made their way through the lush gardens of Biltmore Estate. Around a bass pond, across a bridge and over a steep hill, they found the perfect location to lay out their picnic blanket and begin snacking on cheese, crackers and fruit. The day was incredibly romantic as they discussed the importance of friendship and camaraderie in life. “Speaking of partnership ” Mike said as he got on both knees and pulled out a bobble ring with a picture on top.“He always said if he proposed to me it would be with a Cracker Jack box ring,” says Heather. It only took a few seconds for her to recognize the ring in the picture. It was the one she had been fantasizing over for months, peering through the glass at the 14 diamonds set in yellow gold, wondering about the history of the cluster ring.That day, Mike proposed to Heather: just the two of them, in the grass, under God. Heather didn’t have to say a word. She cried and hugged him. A year and a half later, she had planned every detail of their wedding. “It was an absolute, extremely conceptual, art project for me. It was like the biggest, most elaborate painting in the world,” she says. Heather – an old soul – is drawn to things that are rich in history, which she incorporated into the style of their wedding. From her look, to the wedding party’s looks, to the ceremony location, a 1950s feel flowed throughout. Heather embodied celebrity icon Grace Kelly with spiral curled hair pinned up to look like a short, curly bob paired with classic red lips. Her mother was styled after Audrey Hepburn and the groom and all his groomsmen personified Cary Grant with skinny ties and suspenders.The couple decided to have a special reveal before the actual ceremony where they would say their personal vows in an intimate moment surrounded by their closest friends and family. So, on their wedding day, Heather walked up to Mike in her gorgeous, mermaid silhouette gown from J. Major's and said, “It had to be you, Baby.”Critsey Rowe Photography was right there to capture every moment. “The difference in a picture and a photograph is perfect composition, and Critsey has phenomenal talent for a perfect photograph,” raves Heather. Critsey shot Heather's bridal portraits in a Cymbeline gown from New York Bride & Groom. Their friends and family blew bubbles and then piled into the limo, which took them to St. Mary’s Chapel in uptown Charlotte. As the 85 guests entered the quaint brick chapel, the soundtrack of the French film Amélie set a romantic mood. Heather held white roses and each of the mothers held red roses, bouquets designed by The Place for Flowers. She walked down the aisle with a family heirloom in one hand – a violin belonging to her late grandfather – and her niece holding her other hand. After the ceremony, the couple stood together and released white balloons outside the church.After many intimate and memorable moments, the reception at Bentley’s on 27, a French-inspired restaurant, would prove to top off the night in style. Guests were welcomed by the soulful tunes of Michael Bublé being played by Split Second Sound. “They did a great job of getting everyone revved up,” says Heather. After a cocktail hour with crab cakes and shrimp cocktail, a sit-down plated dinner followed with choice of French onion soup or salad and one of three entreés including filet, salmon or chicken. “One of the coolest things about Bentley’s is that they do tableside service,” says Heather. “The servers flambéed the desserts right in front of us.” The couple wanted the reception to feel like a huge family dinner. “The dinner table is where families share ideas, opinions, stories and memories all over a meal,” Heather explains. “During dinner, time stands still and we are able to appreciate the closeness of family and friends.” After their dream wedding, Heather and Mike flew out to Napa Valley and enjoyed five days at a marvelous resort on the Napa River. They spent those precious days bike riding through vineyards, hiking in Redwood forest and, of course, indulging at wine tastings. Mike says, “It was the perfect cap to a very successful wedding.”
PhotographyCritsey Rowe Photography704-777-7707www.critseyrowe.com
Bridal Portrait GownNew York Bride & Groom704-372-7441www.nybride.com
FlowersThe Place for Flowers704-521-6111www.placeforflowers.com
Music/EntertainmentSplit Second Sound704-907-9507www.splitsecondsound.com
Reception LocationBentley’s on 27704-343-9201www.bentleyson27.com
Wedding GownJ. Major's704-372-0082www.jmajors.com
Continue reading real wedding stories! Up next: 'She said yes! - Kisha & Kimani'