Mariel and Paul

Lexington, North Carolina



Photography | Trinity Photography | @trinity_photo

Ceremony Location | Childress Wineries | @childresswines

Studio Venue | The Prettiest Pieces | @the_prettiest_pieces

Event Planner | Coordinating Dreams | @coordinatingdreams

Floral Designer | Dahlias @dahliasfloraldesign

Gown Designer | Abyss by Abby @abyssbyabby

Gown Salon/Bridesmaids Dresses | RK Bridal | @rkbridal

Lingerie | Le Laurier | @lelaurier

Men’s Apparel | Stitched @stitchedlife

Hair Stylist | Maestro’s Classic | @maestrosclassic

Hair Stylist | Kendra Currie Hair

Makeup Artist | Sitting Pretty Makeup Artistry | @sittingprettymakeupartistry

Jewelry | The Foxy Lady Myrtle Beach | @shopfoxylady

Rentals | Party Reflections | @partyreflections

Linens | Hauser Rental Services | @hauserrental

Lighting | Creative Sound and Lighting | @creativesl

DJ | DJ A-Minor | @aminorthedj

Musicians | Dean’s Duets | @deansduets

Heirlooms and Extras | Heather Smith Art

Transportation | Camel City Carriage | @camelcitycarriagews

Whimsical Winter Wedding in North Carolina at Childress Vineyard

– Dramatic Ballgown with Feather Details (new last name is Swan)

– Wood and Vintage Details

– Evening Ceremony

– Custom Lace Robe For Getting Ready

– Woodland Feel Created For an Indoor Ceremony

– Bride is MONSTER DRINK Model, Former NFL Cheerleader and Miss TN

– Groom is Jackman For NASCAR Driver, Austin Dillon

Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette?

My new last name is Swan and I wanted to tie that into the theme of my wedding. I wanted everything to have an enchanted feel, because after all, I was morphing into a swan. From my bridesmaids emerald green gowns to the moss wall and flower girl dresses, I wanted the atmosphere to feel enchanted! I used tons of greenery and faux trees to replicate the look of a forest and stuck with rich colored jewel tones to create a warm and enchanting feel. When people walked in, I wanted them to feel as though they were in an enchanted forest. At the end of the ceremony, Paul and I jumped the broom, which is an African American tradition which symbolizes sweeping your old life away and jumping into a new life together!


Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception?

For the ceremony and wedding reception, I had cream draping in the front, but that is the only draping I used. I wanted to keep the earthy feel of the stones and wood at the vineyard. I used wooden chairs and tons of trees and greenery. We had cascading greenery from the sky. And used tree/branch cut outs to create more of a forest scenery. During the reception, I loved the look of massive candelabras with creeping greenery to give a fairytale feel. For the reception and ceremony, I had to have two massive golden swans so I took some swan sculptures I found online and spray painted them in an antique gold. For the ceremony, I wanted the aisle to be lined with greenery, tree stumps and gem colored floral arrangements.


What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?

Florals played a huge role in the design element of my wedding. Dahlias and Coordinating Dreams did such an amazing job taking my dreams and turning them into reality! They made the most beautiful hanging greenery piece to go above the couch near our bar and a huge greenery installment in the sky! For the tables, I wanted the flowers to have massive floral centerpieces mixed in with the candelabras with the creeping greenery. The colors of my flowers were cream, magenta, dark plum and blush. I wanted to keep them very warm and inviting. My bouquet was massive with big lush white flowers. Our head table had a long velvet runner with tons of candles, tree stumps and richly colored flowers.

Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?

Live music was a huge part of my childhood and life. I I grew up taking ballet and living in Memphis. Live music was everywhere, so I really wanted it incorporated in my ceremony and reception. For the ceremony, we had a harp, cello and violin trio ( April Deans Duets) and for the reception, we had a saxophone player (Tony Hayes) and singer and guitarist play (Dallas Dodson and Briana Lise) before the DJ. The arts are extremely important to me so we had a live artist there too to capture the moment. When we left after the reception, we left in a carriage because it’s a tradition that my mom and aunt did for their wedding. All of our drinks were signature drinks that ( Jimmy the bartender) made for our big day! Paul, my husband, has always joked about being the “Ticketmaster” and that’s what all his friends refer to him as, so everyone at the wedding also had red tickets. My mother wrote and read the most beautiful poem alongside my mother-in-law, which was their tribute and it was one of my favorite moments, along with hearing my daddy’s speech, maid of honor speech and Paul’s best man speech.


Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.

I found the most perfect dress from RK Bridal, by Morris Lee! I know I wanted a ball gown with feathers, and when my mom, MIL, and MOH got to New York, there it was! I truly felt like it was made for me. My favorite part of the dress were the feathers at the bottom, which made me feel like a swan queen and to top it off, I had a crown made! Paul got his tux custom made by Stitched. I love the look of black velvet because it is the blackest black and that’s what he used for his tux. The inside of the tux was lined with tickets!


How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.

Paul and I met through our best friends, Austin and Whitney. We all met at the Kentucky Speedway for NASCAR 3 years ago. Paul and Austin were best friends and Whit and I were best friends. Now we’re all bay friends and Whitney is married to Austin and I’m married to Paul. Paul surprised me in Vegas after the NASCAR banquet in front of my closest friends and family. I had no idea that he was proposing, but him and my best friend/MOH, Whit, did a great job of keeping it a surprise.


What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?

The most special moment of the day was having my daddy take me down the aisle and seeing my husband’s face… I will never forget that look.


Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?

Yes! Always remember at the end of the day, it’s about you and your significant other.