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Anna + Joel | Holly Springs, NC | Leslie-Alford Mims House


Anna and Joel’s wedding was unique, beautiful, and fun in all aspects, taken place at The Leslie-Alford Mims House in Holly Springs. Joel’s family traveled all the way from the country of Brunei to be a part of this celebration in Anna’s home state of North Carolina! Even Anna’s Maid of Honor was able to take a break from working in China to stand next to her best friend on this big day! There were some amazing stories to be heard and laughs shared among guests who were old friends and new, which was exactly what the couple wanted in their wedding day. What started off as a day likely to be filled with thunderstorms, the rain held off until the reception, which made for the perfect outdoor ceremony and a great view for a tented wedding. Joel and Anna found the design of their wedding to be an important factor, and being a design-based company, we always love working with a couple who recognizes the little details within the big picture. Their crafted bar, unique Paisley + Jade cocktail tables, and exquisite floral arrangements from Eclectic Sage made a stunning impact on the already beautiful Mims House. Some of our favorite details of the night were the bride and groom rooms, which featured the hobbies of the couple including photography, traveling, and pictures from their childhood. This made the house even more homey and special. To top off the perfect night, their favors consisted of Joel’s favorite sweet treats from Brunei. How cool is that?!

We were lucky enough to catch up with both Anna and Joel. Get to know them and learn about their wedding below, while checking out the photos taken by the talented, San Diego-based photographer, Brett Butterstein. Maybe you will get some ideas for your own day 🙂

Where and how did you meet?

Joel: We met while playing pick up frisbee at Rosalind Franklin University, the graduate school that we both went to in Chicago. Anna is from North Carolina and as soon as she saw I was wearing a Wake Forest shirt she was quite curious. At least that’s how I remember the situation…

Initial thoughts/impressions when meeting each other for the first time: 

Joel: I remember thinking this girl can throw a frisbee properly, which was something I found cool. Other than that I honestly did not think much else, and not in a bad way. I was just starting my second year of medical school and so the thought of being in a relationship was not at the forefront of my mind.

Anna: I remember thinking that he was a good Frisbee player and that he was attractive.

Tell us about the proposal!  

We were in North Carolina for two of our friends wedding that Joel was a groomsmen in. The wedding was on a Sunday afternoon and afterwards he wanted to see another friend in town that wasn’t at the wedding. Assuming this is what we were doing, and also believing that he wouldn’t propose on someone else’s wedding weekend, because I explicitly told him not to multiple times, I didn’t think anything of it or that maybe this friend lived out in the middle of no where. When we pulled up to this field however, I got quite suspicious. And after I saw the ring box, which he didn’t intend for me to, I knew what was coming. I will say I did briefly say how I told him there was one thing that couldn’t happen that weekend, and did make sure he had asked our newly married friends if it was okay he did this. He assured me they were fine with it, and I decided I was going to let it go and not ruin the proposal. While he isn’t the best with words all the time, he is incredibly thoughtful which was proven by the beautiful and thought out proposal and the surprise engagement party he threw together at the place we were staying. For which he invited a lot of my friends from home to and all of our friends from the wedding. He proposed that weekend because he wanted to propose in North Carolina as its my home, and that was the only time we were going to be there for a while.

The proposal itself was funny and beautiful. First, it was beautiful because the storm earlier that day caused this gorgeous mist to hoover above the grass. Second as Joel was a wedding photographer in a previous life, he knew how to make a great setting and had his photographer friend, who photographed the proposal, set out tiki torches before we got out there, and made sure we got there during the golden hour before sunset. Lastly it was beautiful because we slow danced to the song I picked as a teenager as my first dance song. It was funny because when he asked me he didn’t have this speech planned out about how much he loved me or how great we were together, nope he said “Well I guess I should ask you now.”

Describe the wedding planning process.

Anna: Planning definitely has its ups and downs. Its always fun to dream about what the wedding day is going to be like and its great when you can find and incorporate those things you’ve been dreaming about. We definitely had to grapple with the budget at times and by the wedding week we were way past over it with planning, but overall we loved our vendors, their amazing work, and we loved the day.

Joel: Anna and I were both in Chicago so planning it from afar was quite difficult at times. We had to fly back to North Carolina on quick weekend trips, which was tough when I was in medical rotations and Anna was working in the Emergency Room. There were plenty of times we felt overwhelmed, but everything turned out great!

Let’s get to the wedding day! 

I started checking the weather as soon as it was available on the 10 day forecast. While at first it looked great, soon enough the clouds and rain started rolling in to the weatherman’s predictions. Even two days before it looked okay, but then the night before it called for rain the whole day. However on our wedding day, we watched the chance of rain get smaller and smaller for ceremony time and watched the sun get brighter and brighter outside. We had to do some quick adjustments as we planned to have the ceremony inside, but after all of that we were able to get married outside like we always dreamed!

The reception was just as great! While it did rain for all of ten minutes before we walked out, it cooled the place off and added to the fun of the reception. The food was amazing, the place looked wonderful, and the dancing and music was the best. My dress has a ring of mud at the bottom, but it was so worth it for all the fun that we and our guests had.

What was your overall feeling at the end of the wedding day?

Anna: It flew by way too fast, but will forever be one of my favorite days and weddings. We had such a good time and felt so loved by all of our friends and family who had made the trip for our wedding and partied with us.

Joel: I was happy to have our friends and family be there to celebrate with us. I was relieved the planning process was over, but glad that it all came together so well. Everything flew by so quickly!

What was your favorite design detail?

Joel: I loved the stand up cocktail tables from Paisley and Jade, as well as the farm tables from Themeworks. I think those two elements really were key to our vision for the wedding day. The custom designed bar was great too!

Anna: The farm tables and the flowers were my favorite part. They were both different from the normal wedding design and flowers, and were so gorgeous and eclectic.

Share a story from the night!

Anna: Joel asked me before we fed each other cake if it could smear some one my face. Thinking it wouldn’t be a lot I was happy to let him, I even offered him the cake with more icing. What happened next was not little by any means. Joel mauled me with a piece of cake, to the point that I moved away, he followed me and continued smearing it on my face. Oh and it was chocolate cake with fudge icing. I had cake up my nose and in my ear. Fortunately only a little got on the inside of my dress. I made sure to get him back though and smeared it all over his face when he kissed me afterwards.

What were some unique aspects of your wedding?

Joel: During our wedding rehearsal we had a traditional tea ceremony where Anna and I served tea to my parents as an introduction to the family. We thought it would be important to celebrate both of our cultures, and this was one of the ways we did that.

Any last comments about the wedding?

One of our goals in planning our reception, was to have a party that we could love our friends through. We hired some amazing vendors that helped to make that possible, and since our wedding have heard from multiple people how much fun they had and how our wedding was one of their favorites. Hearing this just makes us excited and thankful that we achieved our goal and our friends felt so loved.





Congratulations Anna + Joel!


Venue: Leslie-Alford Mims House

Catering: Belle’s Catering

Photography: Brett Butterstein

Videography: Blueberry Creative

Flowers: Eclectic Sage

Furniture Rentals: Paisley and Jade,  Themeworks

DJ: DJ Mike

Hair + Makeup: Wink Hair and Makeup, Kristi

Officiant: Luke McFadden

Cakes: Katy’s Cakery

Lighting: Vivid Lighting



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