From I Will to I Do: How Colby and Elyse Planned Their Meaningful Charlotte Wedding

Tell us about your engagement. How did the proposal happen?

Elyse: Colby “interrupts” most surprises, but I was determined for the proposal to be a surprise. Interrupts feels like a more polite word than ruins. I’m a therapist and at the time was doing private practice on the side. Colby knew I was “holding back money” in an account for taxes due at the end of the year, but she had no access to that particular account. I told her that my math was so good I had to use all of the money towards taxes for the business – which wasn’t the truth. All along, this was my holding account for money for her engagement ring.

I rented a private car that took us to The Elizabeth Lawrence House of Winghaven Gardens in the Myers Park neighborhood of Charlotte, NC. Certain that I was broke (as I had told her so many times), she had no idea what was really going on.

I proposed to her in front of the fountain in the gardens. Once I started talking, she quickly realized what was happening and squealed through the rest of my speech. We then headed to Fig Tree for an amazing dinner and then out with a couple of friends. Our proposal could not have gone more perfectly.

ECE: What was the wedding planning process like? Did you two have a specific vision for your big day? Which elements were the most important for you?

Both: The overall process was so awesome. We had so many friends warn us about the stress of planning a wedding. Upfront, we set the expectation that we both would get the big things we wanted and the rest would be prioritized. It really wasn’t stressful at all!

It helped that our vision was on the same page in the sense that we both wanted a really nice wedding with great food and good music. Having an intimate ceremony was important to us as well.

We loved that our wedding had fancy elements to it, but that it was also very meaningful… and very us.

ECE: Can each of you share your favorite part of planning your wedding? Least favorite?

Colby: My favorite part was probably deciding on the little details like the sequined linens and making sure the fonts matched on the programs, welcome sign and table numbers. My poor friends had hundreds of texts about these details! My least favorite part was prioritizing the budget.

Elyse: My favorite part of planning our wedding was getting to pick the food, while my least favorite was the endless conversations about details.

ECE: Your wedding was peppered with thoughtful, personal details. Can you share some of your favorites?

Both: We both agree that writing our vows was a really special, personal detail.

We seriously have the BEST friends and had some of our closest be a part of the wedding without having an actual wedding party. One of our dear friends officiated our wedding, and his wife, Piper, was our photographer. We are so grateful for their involvement in our wedding day.
Other close friends helped us plan and were our bridesmaids behind the scene. It was really nice knowing that we had the people who had been so supportive of our relationship and commitment to one another surrounding us on the most special day of our lives.

Elyse’s dad did the flowers, so that was special – and a great gift. Those flowers literally lasted for two weeks. It was definitely a gift that kept on giving!

Colby: Something that was really special to me was getting to wear my dad’s grandmother’s ring and matching broach. It’s something that has been in our family for over 100 years, so it was really special to have on my wedding day.

ECE: You ended up choosing Java for your wedding band. What was it about this group that made you hire them?

Colby: We saw Java perform in uptown Charlotte several years ago at Alive After Five – years before we were even engaged. Immediately, we decided they had to play our wedding someday.

Whenever Java plays public gigs, we always try to go because they are THAT good. Noble, the bandleader, is so nice and does everything with a smile. He and the entire band are so kind and professional. They have a dynamic that not many bands have. We loved the quality of the musicianship as well. Having people who can actually sing and play instruments is really important because it takes the experience to a whole new level.

ECE: Colby, you’re a singer and have previously worked in the music business. What would you consider the top three things couples should consider when hiring wedding entertainment?

Colby: If you’re booking a band, check out their video. If I had to book a band I hadn’t seen, I would probably try and get a live video. I like watching how the band interacts with the crowd. I even watched some YouTube videos that our band had! Also, ask for references too!

Talk with the bandleader or DJ to make sure you are on the same page so there aren’t any surprises. Playing music is the livelihood of most of these artists, so they are passionate about it and want your event to be special for you. Just like any other vendor, it’s important that you have a good connection and vibe with your wedding entertainment!

Lastly, when booking entertainment, remember that you get what you pay for. Going through an agency can really help reduce stress when booking a band or DJ. I’ve heard so many horror stories about couples booking a band or DJ because they got a good “deal” and it ruined their wedding.

I felt like the agents at ECE were hired because they are talented and know music. It’s kind of like buying a car – if you want a good car, you’re going to go to a reputable source. You get what you pay for! I can’t recommend ECE enough. They have the best talent and really care about getting clients the right music for their special day!

ECE: Looking back, what were the most memorable parts of the day?

Elyse: Because my adrenaline was running so high, I only remember bits and pieces of the ceremony such as our vows. Our first dance and exit were also very memorable to me.

Colby: I loved having our first look. It was so surreal to see each other dressed up. We rented a vintage Bentley and rode in it to the ceremony. Those 15 minutes together in the car ride were really special because we got to talk about how excited we were that this day was finally here! I also loved reciting our personalized vows to each other.

Both: It was really memorable that we were able to get legally married in front of our friends and family. We always wanted a wedding but weren’t sure if our marriage would be legally recognized in North Carolina.

ECE: What has been the best part about marriage so far?

Both: So many people ask us this! Our answer is usually – there isn’t anything different! We have always had a very vulnerable and honest relationship, so nothing has really changed! We are definitely excited about our trip for our one-year wedding anniversary to Savannah, GA.

Wedding Coordinator: Carla Eustache, Style Perfect Events
Ceremony Location: Kadi Fit
Reception Location: Waterford Hall, The Galway Hooker
Hair and Make-up: Lovely by Lindsey
Floral Design: Clippers Flowers of Lake Norman
Band: Java Band
Bentley Rental: Queen City Party Charters
Cake: Cake Dutchess
Photographer: Piper Warlick Photography

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