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 Z

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

“Since Zach’s nickname for me is ‘Sweet Pea’ his boutonniere was a cluster of white sweet peas accented with greens held with his Nana’s pin,” Christina says. Groomsmen embellished their lapels with a single pink ranunculus.
Christina’s three maids of honor and five bridesmaids donned blush chiffon floor-length gowns with sweetheart necklines. “We knew we wanted chiffon, and something light and comfortable for the summer season,” she says. “The goal was for my ladies to feel as beautiful on the outside as I knew they were on the inside, and I have proof that they knocked it out of the park.” Christina’s maids carried garden-inspired nosegays of vintage garden roses, sweet peas, jasmine and honeysuckle.
On her wedding day, Christina looked stunning in an ivory strapless David Tutera gown with a sweetheart neckline and a beaded and embroidered lace bodice. “I was also able to purchase matching beaded lace that we applied along the bottom of the dress to help the train lie flat and create a more defined outline at the bottom,” Christina says. She accessorized her gown with pearls from her parents and a floral lace veil, and she carried a blue silk heart in honor of her grandfather.
“Between our families, we have dozens of precious little brothers, nieces, nephews and cousins. With such close families and adorable faces, we couldn’t choose just one or even two,” Christina says. Flower girls looked darling in white dresses and floral hair wreathes made of jasmine, honeysuckle and pink majolica spray roses.
Christina and Zach exchanged vows in the botanical garden’s White Garden, which was surrounded by manicured green hedges. “We felt like we were in our own secret garden,” Christina says. “The space was already naturally beautiful with the white flowers climbing over the trellis.” The couple decorated simply by adding wooden folding chairs and a rose petal aisle.
The couple had to include their dapper dog, Amos Lee, in their nuptials at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina. “Amos charmed guests as they arrived at the venue, accompanied his dad down the aisle as his 'best pup' and was great throughout the entire ceremony,” Christina says. “It really was priceless.”
“Six months later, and it’s still difficult to find the words to describe how amazing that day was," Christina says. "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.”
“I am half Laotian and half Vietnamese, so I decided to honor my culture and elders by wearing the traditional wedding dresses,” Christina says. For her reception, she changed into a traditional silk Laotian skirt called a sinh, with a matching one-shoulder sleeveless top, and a scarf that her grandmother had purchased in Laos during her engagement.
Christina then changed into 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.
“Some of the words we used when describing our wedding vision to vendors were romantic, natural, lush, sentimental, elegant, playful and interesting,” Christina says. “Ashley, our wedding planner, was able to transform those select words into a stunning reception space.” The couple’s reception was held in the ballroom at the botanical garden and was decked out in sheer draperies, lush greenery and floating candle displays.
Christina and Zach’s dinner reception included an Asian-inspired green papaya and sweet mango salad, a surf-and-turf duo with filet mignon and sweet chili-glazed salmon served with white truffle mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.
The head table was decorated with a garland of sprengeri ferns, nagi, plumose, magnolia leaves and pink and coral blooms, while round dining tables were accented with tall vases filled with leafy branches.
In lieu of traditional escort cards, magnolia leaves with calligraphy script marked the place of each guest.
The newlyweds’ four-tier ivory cake was frosted with textured buttercream and topped with cascading blooms in shades of coral, peach and pale pinks. “Wow Factor even added a little fondant Mr. Wuf peeking out from the side of the cake, and we absolutely loved it,” Christina says.