Real NC Wedding: Heidi and Bill at The Biltmore Estate
One of the most celebrated and sweet souls of the wedding industry.
If the theme of this issue is celebrating the beautiful weddings of local industry professionals, then there is no better wedding to feature than that of beloved event professional Heidi Dawson of the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, NC. For her intimate Christmas wedding, Heidi and her fiancé, Bill chose The Biltmore Estate, a treasure of North Carolina and elegant wedding destination.
Heidi began her career as a pastry chef, spending much of her early career working at various high-end luxury resorts in New England. Her foray into the front of house operations began at the Nantucket Island Resorts which was followed by many years traveling the world on behalf of the Christian Broadcasting Network in their donation department. For the past several years, Heidi has not only maintained but enhanced the stellar reputation of the Carolina Inn on the University of Chapel Hill’s campus as one of the state’s premier wedding and event venues.
Bill proposed at the Oak Leaf in Pittsboro, the same place where they shared their first date. The way Heidi tells it, Bill got up to go to the “restroom,” and had the wait staff put the ring on a cheese plate (Heidi’s favorite)! Heidi, who was so excited about the charcuterie, didn’t even notice the ring for several minutes until the waiter kept suspiciously returning to ask how they were enjoying the appetizer. Once she did, a very excited squeal was followed by a big “YES!” and the newly betrothed couple ended their night sharing a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
For their December 5th wedding, the pair knew that they wanted a destination venue away from their places of work, where friends and family could enjoy a mini-vacation together. What better place than the Biltmore at Christmas?
Knowing that the venue would already have all the holiday trimmings in a way that only the Biltmore can, Heidi and Bill chose to embrace the Christmas theme and selected a stellar team of vendors to execute their dream wedding. As a Triangle wedding professional, Heidi had her pick of the best in the business and people she already had a wonderful relationship with, starting with her planner Erin McLean of Erin McLean Events. “Her style and my style are very similar, so I hired her to be my designer and Day of Coordinator.”
In the spirit of Christmas, the pair conceived a design plan that included big beautiful wreaths, gold sequin linens, and lots of greenery. The tone began with the invitations – gold letterpress from Maria Scheel Invitations with hand calligraphy and custom Biltmore stamps set the stage for a gorgeous event.
The entire event was hosted at the Biltmore’s Lioncrest – the ceremony upstairs and the reception downstairs. The escort cards were hung from a Christmas tree, with hand calligraphy by All She Wrote Notes. Wedding favors, a sweet treat from Heidi’s hometown of Williamsville, New York, were even wrapped to look like delicate little Christmas presents.
Tre Bella Florist created a gorgeous floral design that married Christmas hues with shades of blush with soft pink and ruby red roses, cranberries, evergreen elements, and lots of greenery, gold, and candlelight.
The couple knew that they wanted a plated meal – as a chef food and wine was very important to Heidi, as was the symbolism and fellowship in sharing a meal together with friends and family. They served a three-course meal starting with, what else, a cheese plate. This was followed by a grilled romaine caesar and filet oscar, all paired with Biltmore wines.
Wedding professionals are constantly surrounded by and attending weddings, so it was very important to the couple to find ways to make theirs personal and special to their love for each other. Examples of their sweet and unique details included a solo by a young lady that Heidi used to give voice lessons to, serving communion during their ceremony, and the Game of Thrones theme music as their recessional – Bill’s favorite!
Heba Salama photography captured every beautiful moment of this stunning and sparkly wedding, showcasing not only the gorgeous and thoughtful details but so many moments of real and joyful love between the couple, as well as their guests.
As a bride and event industry professional, Heidi shared her words of wisdom for ladies planning their own nuptials: Don’t sweat the small stuff, be definitive in the choices you make, and incorporate your own personal details. “If a detail didn’t end up exactly how I imagined it, that was ok. That’s called life and it’s what I always tell my brides. Focus on what the day is actually about, be present, and enjoy it.”
Florist – Tre Bella
Invitations – Maria Scheel
Placecards – All She Wrote Notes
Make Up/Hair – Make Up For Your Day
Venue – Country Club of Landfall
Ceremony Music – Cafe Strings Quartet
Reception – Joe Bunn DJ
Linens and Tabletop – CE Rental
Planner – Erin McLean Events
Photographer – Heba Salama Photography
Cake – The Biltmore
Favors – Sweet Jenny’s Williamsville NY. (My piece of home)
Tiffany Dawn Jackson
Matron of Honor
Harper Rose Cummins