This Christmas-Themed Wedding in North Carolina Drew on Hot Pinks and Ice Blues for a Fun, Seasonal Twist

bride and groom embracing looking to the side
Perry Vaile

"It was never a question that we'd have a Christmas wedding," says event planner Elizabeth Flake Lancaster of A Southern Soiree. The holiday is part of her happiest childhood memories, she says, and the seasoned hostess throws annual parties, which are a highlight of her December ("I'm the type of gal who plans her Christmas décor all year," she says). Kendall Lancaster, her now-husband, timed his proposal perfectly: He got down on one knee during their 2019 holiday soirée, asking her to marry him in front of their 12-foot evergreen.

When it came time to plan their wedding, Elizabeth looked to traditional Yuletide motifs and the coziness of wintertime interiors ("Our living room is very colorful and nostalgic during the holidays, so we wanted to reflect that," she says) for inspiration. Vintage accents—she collects antique China and décor—were also paramount. After the pair postponed their original big-day date by exactly one year (so they could keep their just-before-Christmas nuptials), Elizabeth revisited the design plans and decided to lean deeper into a color-blocked pink-and-red palette. "I had originally planned to incorporate some pink, and am obsessed with how pink photographs on film, but it was not a main color outside of florals," she says. "After postponing, our bridesmaids' dress designer started offering pink velvet—and I knew immediately that I wanted to go for it. After making that selection, the design shifted and took off from there."

Come their December 20, 2021, celebration, which was held at The Merrimon-Wynne House in Raleigh, North Carolina, Elizabeth and Kendall's "Dorothy Draper and vintage holiday-inspired vision" was realized with some help from her team. Christmas florals and greens defined the event spaces, which were transformed into miniature winter wonderlands thanks to pops of ice blue. Prefaced on their invitation suite, a signature pattern—"inspired by the carpet in the Trellis Lobby at the Greenbrier Hotel," notes the bride—ran throughout the entire celebration, tying all parts of the party together like a holiday bow. The tenor of the day truly came into focus during the pair's candle lighting service at their ceremony, as they listened to a gospel choir: "While the choir sang, we looked out into the audience to take it all in. It reminded me so much of candlelight services at church during Christmas when I was growing up—it felt so special that our village was a part of that moment with us."

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Bows and Trellises

christmas themed wedding stationery suite
Perry Vaile

If It's Paper designed the pair's festive wedding invitations, which were printed via a gold matte letterpress method and included bows and a hot-pink 45-degree beveled edge; detail cards featured vintage ornaments and the envelope liner, crafted by Willa Heart—"an artist whose work I adore," says Elizabeth—offered vibrant flair and previewed a signature big-day pattern. Vintage holiday stamps and a bright pink seal completed the set.

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Festive Pajamas

bridesmaids wearing matching nutcracker pajamas
Perry Vaile

Elizabeth sourced her bridesmaids' getting-ready pajamas from Jaye's Studio, a company she supports regularly. "I loved the diversity of the nutcrackers on the sets. Representation within holiday commercialism is really important to me," she says.

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Tied with a Bow

bride wearing long-sleeve gown with large bow
Perry Vaile

Unsure of what she wanted in a wedding dress, Elizabeth did plenty of research before making any appointments. When she saw Sareh Nouri's "Letizia" gown online, she was immediately drawn to the quality of the trumpet's fabric and seamwork. "My mom and I drove to a shop five hours away just so that I could see the sample in person ahead of a local trunk show," she shares. The fact that she could add a custom bow to the back of the garment—which boasted long sleeves, a lace bodice, and a pleated Mikado silk skirt—sealed the deal. "It absolutely made the dress!"

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Statement Shoes

brides bright pink high heels with gold accents
Perry Vaile

Hot-pink-and-red Jimmy Choo pumps with a wreath-inspired buckle added a splash of Christmas cheer to her look.

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Pops of Berry

bridal bouquet comprised of white and pink roses
Perry Vaile

Watered Garden Florist composed Elizabeth's horizontal bouquet, which was filled with David Austin roses, ranunculus, and snap dragons. "It smelled divine," the bride says of the velvet ribbon-tied, mostly-white arrangement with pops of pink.

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Pink Velvet

bride with bridesmaids wearing pink velvet gowns
Perry Vaile

After Elizabeth and Kendall postponed their original big day, the bride discovered these hot-pink velvet gowns by Jessica Angel, which she sourced from An Affair to Remember—she liked them better than her original selection, since she had always envisioned her attendants wearing dresses with long sleeves and trains. "The pink was fun and bold while the velvet made the dresses perfect for winter," she says.

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Dressed to the Nines

groom buttoning tuxedo jacket
Perry Vaile

Kendall's black velvet tuxedo jacket from Robert Jamison Collection was emblazoned with a custom argyle liner that nodded to the pair's shared alma mater, UNC. Custom velvet loafers were the finishing touch—until the reception, that is. "He switched sneakers four times," says Elizabeth. "One pair of Jordan 11s for every hour of the party."

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A Touch of Nostalgia

vintage here comes the bride board game
Perry Vaile

Ahead of the ceremony, the bride shared a private moment with her father. "My dad and I used to play the Here Comes the Bride board game when I was little, so I surprised him by having it set up for our first look," she says.

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Gift-Wrapped Arch

wedding ceremony set up with poinsettias lining aisle
Perry Vaile

An arch composed of Christmas greenery was punctuated with roses and amaryllis; it was wrapped in Christmas lights and fuchsia-and-red velvet ribbon. "I was really inspired by the lush doorway garlands in Charleston and wanted to recreate that look with florals for our arbor," says Elizabeth, noting that the flower arrangements lining the walkway nodded to the window boxes seen in the city, as well. "I wanted the design to feel like a big party in a traditional southern home!" A white aisle—a nod to the carol lyric, "In the lane, snow is glistenin'!"—and ceremony chairs brightened the space; drapery and gold chandeliers softened the look.

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Hot Drinks

hot chocolate with festive straws
Perry Vaile

The pair offered coffee and hot chocolate—with an assortment of marshmallows and cookies—to their guests ahead of the outdoor ceremony.

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Unity Ceremony

wedding guests holding candles
Perry Vaile

Kendall and Elizabeth decided to hold a unity ceremony, using candles—a nod to the ones used during Christmas services and the Kinara iterations lit on Kwanzaa—to symbolize "solace and hope"; they dedicated this part of their service to loved ones who are no longer with them. Drip protectors were printed with the same pattern from the envelope liner and another Christmas song lyric that felt appropriate after two difficult years apart from their nearest and dearest: "Faithful friends that are dear to us, gather near to us once more."

12 of 25

This Little Light of Mine

bride and groom walking through confetti wedding ceremony recessional
Perry Vaile

The duo's ceremony, officiated by Perry Hardison, was full of meaningful moments. "UNC Voices of Praise Gospel Choir did a surprise performance of 'This Little Light of Mine' during the unity candle ceremony," shares Elizabeth, noting that the tune was an anthem of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s. Another highlight? Before recessing back up the aisle—finally married!—the pair jumped the broom (decorated by the groom's mother) to "honor Kendall's ancestors," says the bride.

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Festive Stirrers

champagne glasses with festive stirrers
Perry Vaile

Festive stirrers dressed up the evening's signature drink, the "Jingle Bella," made with sparking wine and sugared cranberries.

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Card Station

wedding card station with stockings hanging from mantel
Perry Vaile

Velvet stockings with their initials—plus a "B" for their pup, Bella—were hung from a mantel to collect cards.

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Santa Is Officially in Town

santa claus placing gift in sleigh
Perry Vaile

"I curated vintage wrapping paper and filled a sleigh with presents," says the bride. "Santa greeted and interacted with guests as they entered cocktail hour. The company, Santas Just Like Me, has an amazing mission that we really wanted to support."

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Poinsettia Trellis

christmas themed wedding escort card display
Perry Vaile

The trellis-style escort card display featured poinsettia ornaments and big pink bows and served as an oversized rendition of the event's signature pattern.

17 of 25

Tag, You're It

festive poinsettia wedding escort cards
Perry Vaile

The cards themselves—shaped to mimic gift tags—were trimmed in hot pink to match the beveled edges of the main invitation card.

18 of 25

Winter Wonderland

christmas themed wedding reception room
Perry Vaile

Elizabeth's vision for a "colorful, but sophisticated" reception was brought to life within the event's hot-pink-and-cool-blue color palette. A diamond-oriented, "bow-tied" dance floor was offset by the square floral installation overhead, which was swagged in Christmas greenery and ribbons.

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Blue-and-Gold Chairs

blue velvet and gold wedding reception chairs
Perry Vaile

A major focal point of the party? The ice-blue velvet chairs, which added depth to the rest of the pink-and-red palette translated predominantly through the tabletop centerpieces.

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Lined with Trees

christmas themed wedding reception tablescape
Perry Vaile

Smaller square tables were covered in pale blue linens; a series of colorfully-lit tinsel Christmas trees were an on-theme backdrop for the nearby photo booth.

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Gleaming Settings

christmas themed wedding reception placesetting
Perry Vaile

Napkins were tied with red velvet bows and placed atop gold-rimmed chargers; gilded silverware added a metallic gleam to the patterned cream linens on rectangular tables.

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Table Numbers with a Twist

christmas ornaments wedding reception table numbers
Perry Vaile

Calligraphed bon-bon canisters, filled with ornaments, were a creative spin on table numbers.

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Vintage Lounges

wedding lounge decorated with christmas trees and tinsel
Perry Vaile

Elizabeth gave the pergola attached to the main party space a few retro-inspired touches. "We added tinsel garlands through the ceiling, as well as a colorful lounge," she says, noting that she was thrilled with how much cheer the multi-hued string lights, employed here and throughout the rest of the reception, introduced. "I know that they are often considered less 'sophisticated' and I was originally going to use them in our retro lounge only, but I decided to put them on the trees behind our sweetheart table. I am so glad that we went for it. They are so us!"

24 of 25

Classic Cake

classic wedding cake decorated with garland and christmas ornaments
Perry Vaile

The newlyweds' vintage-inspired confection from Ashley Cakes featuring traditional piping; the tiers in between were coated in an iridescent glitter glaze. "Our baker used vintage ornaments, velvet ribbons, and tinsel around the tiers, and we topped it with my great-grandparents' 50th-anniversary topper," says Elizabeth. A pink ruffled tree skirt added a pop of color below.

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bride and groom cheersing with festive champagne coupes
Perry Vaile

Photography, Perry Vaile
Venue, The Merrimon-Wynne House
Wedding Planning, A Southern Soiree
Event Design, Elizabeth Flake Lancaster of A Southern Soiree
Videography, Thomas Blake Films
Florals, Watered Garden Florist
Invitations and Day-of Paper, If It's Paper
Envelope Designer, Willa Heart
Printing, Bella Figura
Calligraphy, Calligraphy by Carole
Officiant, Perry Hardison
Bride's Gown, Sareh Nouri via Alexia's
Veil, Toni Federici
Jewelry, Loren Hope (wedding earrings), Bauble Bar (after-party earrings)
Shoes, Jimmy Choo
Hair and Makeup, Wink Hair and Makeup
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Jessica Angel, An Affair to Remember
Groom's Attire, Robert Jamison Collection
Groomsmen's Attire, The Black Tux
Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands, Tacori, Diamonds Direct
Guest Book, Etsy
Music, UNC Voices of Praise Gospel Choir (ceremony), DJ Rang (reception)
Catering, Rocky Top Catering
Cake, Ashley Cakes
Rentals, CE Rental, Ooh Events, Party Reflections, Themeworks Creative
Lighting, Get Lit Special Event Lighting
Santa, Santas Just Like Me
Photo Booth, Skyy's Kreations
Dance Floor, VIP Graphics
Bridal Suite Cookies, Baker Street Cookies

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