Carolina Bride

Life in Color

© Project Life Photography Brian & Melissa Powell
© Project Life Photography Brian & Melissa Powell

Austin and Zach are not your typical couple. The pair met during the first few weeks of their freshman year at East Carolina State University, and after months of being friends Zach asked Austin to be his girlfriend—little did she know, a proposal would follow just two months later. “We were babies, but as soon as we met we were inseparable,” says Austin. The two were overjoyed, but their peers did not share in the excitement. “We faced a lot of criticism,” she says. “It was hard for everyone to believe and understand that two people so young could actually love each other and be that seriously committed to each other.”

The couple waited until they had graduated to tie the knot, but not before Zach surprised Austin with a proposal renewal. “He always felt like he didn’t give me the proposal I deserved, so he asked me again, two years later,” says Austin. “I loved it. He wanted to show me that even though it had been so long, he still wanted to get married. Of course, I said yes.”

The wedding planning began later that year, and after a lot of searching, Austin and Zach decided to host their ceremony and reception at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. The location was particularly meaningful for Austin, as a trip to the Garden was one of the last things she did with her grandmother before she passed away. “I obviously loved that it was such a beautiful space overall with amazing grounds, but choosing Daniel Stowe felt very full circle for me because of the memories I have from visiting with my grandmother.”

Wanting a wedding entirely unique to them, Austin and Zach decided to forego a traditional wedding color palette and opted to use vibrant shades of purple, teal, fuchsia, and gold, which found their way in to nearly every detail. “We were really inspired by a henna-decorated unity candle, painted in shades of purple and teal,” says Austin. The henna designs were also used on the hand-painted mason jars that lined the ceremony aisle as well as the wedding cake. “We wanted to choose decorative details that would show guests what our love looks like, and I felt like that’s exactly what we did. The ceremony and reception were perfectly eclectic and perfectly us.”

Featured Vendors


Cheesecake Etc.



Lily Greenthumb’s Wedding & Event Design



Split Second Sound


Ceremony and Reception Location

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden



Best Impressions Caterers



Project:Life Photography


Wedding Night Hotel

The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge



New York Bride & Groom, gown

Dessy, bridesmaids’ dresses

Men’s Wearhouse, tuxedos

Perry’s Gold Mine, rings

Kymm McLean, hair and makeup

My Lady Dye, stationery

Leila Hall Latimore and Eben Mann, ceremony musicians

Isabel’s Corner Videography, cinematography

Rev. Sally Langford, clergy

Creative Solutions, rental provider

The Silk Veil, wedding design