Real Wedding: Brenda and Renan at the Ritz Carlton

Top: Brenda and her sister went dress shopping and chose a strapless lace trumpet gown, by Christian Michele from Group USA, which sent her sister for the handkerchiefs, saying, “That’s what Mom would have picked out.” The European groom insisted on a slimmer European cut tuxedo from East Blvd. in lieu of a boxier American style. The bride works in healthcare IT, and the groom in shipping; the pair met while working in Copenhagen. Bottom: For this international wedding, Carolina Event Design placed textured linens in fall tones on the cocktail tables, with moss topiaries and tiny flags.

OCTOBER 12, 2014
Ritz-Carlton Urban Garden
Photographs by Smitten & Hooked

From his native Turkey to Denmark (where they met) to France (for her birthday), to the Bahamas (where they got engaged), Brenda Piercey and Renan Akcora have celebrated life and love by traveling the world. To bring together friends and families from across the globe to the bride’s hometown, they charged Heather Bryson of Carolina Event Design to bring Europe to Charlotte’s Urban Garden at the Ritz Carlton.

What evolved was a candlelit aisle and romantic wedding arbor, followed by dinner in a European-style cafe, aglow with projected trees, candles and market lights. “The minute I saw it, the light, the candles…it was magical,” said Brenda.

The bride, who dislikes being the center of attention, was shivering with nerves, until, “Renan took my hand. Everyone faded away. I just needed him.” Dr. Patrick Maloy presided over the non-denominational service, joining the Catholic bride to her Muslim husband, with readings by friends, and a yellow rose in memory of Brenda’s mother.

Wanting to incorporate the countries where the bride and groom fell in love, Bryson framed a world map “guestbook” to sign, while the wedding party made their reception entrance waving tiny world flags from their homelands of Turkey, Denmark, Great Britain, Sweden and Dubai. Dessert tables and bars sported apples and pumpkins, with rustic fall colors in cornflower blue, warm browns, golds, and oranges. Far from serious, the bride and groom cut their pineapple and raspberry naked cake with light sabers to the “Imperial March.”

The Place For Flowers

Colour by Candace (Hair), The Look (Makeup)

Chic Paper Chick

Heather Bryson of Carolina Event Design

Split Second Sound

Event planner, Heather Bryson turned the Urban Garden into an urban forest, with willow tree gobos, a romantic arbor, and candlelit aisle.

The Ritz displayed their rustic pineapple and raspberry naked cake strewn with apples.

The Place for Flowers outdid themselves with the verdant rose and mum arbor, entwined with river willow, greenery, and eucalyptus.

Guests were seated in a “European café” for dinner under festive market lights.

Chic Paper Chick designed a full suite of warm, fall stationery for the autumn wedding.

Brenda wore sparkly Badgley Mischkas for the ceremony, switching to Kate Spade flowered flats for dancing.

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