An Elegant Garden Wedding at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina

In a beautiful garden ceremony at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina, Christina Le (25 and a clinical resources associate) and Zach Sipes (27 and an electrical lineman) exchanged their handwritten (and humorous) marriage vows. “I promise we are a team, and I will be your biggest fan, now and always,” Zach said. “With you by my side, I know we can tackle anything. We’ll share all our wins and support each other through any losses. I will treat you with compassion and over fairness. I start today by promising not to give you any household chores during NC State games.” The two NC State sweethearts said “I do” surrounded by friends and family in the botanical garden’s romantic White Garden, which was surrounded by manicured green hedges. “We felt like we were in our own secret garden,” Christina says. The couple’s golden retriever, Amos Lee, made an appearance during the ceremony as “best dog.” After Christina and Zach were pronounced husband and wife, they celebrated with a cocktail hour in the botanical garden’s White Garden and Crepe Myrtle Grove. Guests sipped Champagne and noshed on Southern and Asian-fusion hors d’oeuvres of vegetable spring rolls, peach wedges wrapped in prosciutto and fresh basil, Thai chicken satay, mini crab cakes and seared scallops. Dinner and dancing in the botanical garden’s ballroom followed. For the reception, Christina honored her Laotian and Vietnamese heritage by wearing traditional wedding garb. First, she changed into a traditional silk Laotian skirt called a sinh, along with a matching one-shoulder sleeveless top and a scarf that her grandmother had purchased in Laos during her engagement. She then donned a traditional silk Vietnamese dress, pants and hat called an ao dai that her aunt had custom-made for her in Vietnam. “My outfits were red and gold to represent luck and prosperity, and the embroidered dragon symbolized wealth,” Christina says. The newlyweds shared their first dance to “Sweet Pea” by Amos Lee, a song that Zach learned to play on the guitar for Christina. (He also calls Christina “Sweet Pea.”) “Six months later, and it’s still difficult to find the words to describe how amazing that day was. I believe it’s because we can still feel and are overwhelmed by all the warmth and love that was poured into us that day,” Christina says. —Marissa Hermanson