Erin McLean Events is a boutique wedding planning + design team specializing in elevated design and exceptional service. Based in North Carolina, We create Southern couture events for the fanciful at heart. Our team of creatives orchestrate seamless and lovely occasions that are true to our clients.


Lauren + Ben | An Old Southern Tradition | The Carolina Inn

Southern Bride

As we begin a new season of the year and welcome the cooler breeze and cozy scarf weather, we can’t help but reflect back on some of the fantastic weddings we were so fortunate to be a part of this summer. One that is particularly top of mind today — Lauren & Ben’s Southern Summer wedding, steeped in tradition, simplistic beauty, and a whole lot of fun. This couple knew how to play their cards right. Not only did they summon up some good old Southern folk lore to chase the rain away, they were blessed with a breathtaking double rainbow to prove it. How you might ask, did the forecast of 100% chance of rain on L+B’s wedding day turn into a sunshine filled afternoon as they said “I Do”? Well you’ll have to keep reading to find out their secret…Miss Dior wedding day

Traditional Wedding Bands

Plum Pretty Sugar Robes Chapel Hill Bride

Lauren had immaculate taste right down to these lovely little robes by Plum Pretty Sugar for her posse of ladies! We love the bright pops of color and all the sweet matching smiles the girls donned on L’s day. Shout out to Makeup For Your Day for the gorgeous wedding day hair + makeup!

university Presbyterian wedding chapel Hill

Chapel Hill groom

Ben’s father served as his best man, their relationship and closeness was so evident throughout the week – such a great touch to include family in your wedding party!

Southern groomsmen North Carolina

Carolina Blue Bridesmaids

Lauren chose a soft blue hue for her bridemaids’ gowns by Amsale, reminiscent of her Alma Mater , UNC Chapel Hill. The bright white and blush bouquets filled with peonies, hydrangea, and of course peonies, were created by the ever talented, Tre Bella Florist. Lauren’s gown may have been the crown jewel of the day, so elegant and quintessentially Southern. A design by Romona Keveza, and chosen from Traditions by Anna in Raleigh, North Carolina, the lace sleeve detail was breathtaking and Lauren was absolutely stunning in it.

Romona Keveza Bride

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Father Daughter First look

Have you ever seen a daddy look so proud. Love this shot captured by Nancy Ray Photography just moments before Lauren walked down the aisle!

Southern Gentleman Groom

University Presbyterian Wedding Chapel Hill

So I promised you the secret to sunshine on your wedding day. True to Southern tradition and proved to be accurate by Lauren + Ben, they buried a bottle of bourbon the month before their wedding day in the place they were to be married.  So once the vows were said and the knot was tied, Ben and his new Father-in-Law dug up the bottle and toasted to the good weather and the new Mr. and Mrs. Leader! When all the guests were safely to the Carolina Inn for the evening’s festivities, the clouds released and Chapel Hill was sprinkled with a sweet spring rain and capped off with the most amazing double rainbow right above the Carolina Inn for all to see.

Bury the bourbon tradition

Wedding day rainbow

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Entryway Centerpiece peonies Hydrangea White and Blush

All of L’s details were as classic and beautiful as she was. Mixing warm ivories, hints of gold detail, and easy flowing greenery, the Hill Ballroom was transformed into a magical space to dance the night away!

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Did you catch that? Another nod to Southern heritage? The Mint Julep cup made a subtle appearance in some of the couple’s cocktail arrangements sprinkled throughout the reception space.

Ashley Cakes Design

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One of my favorite personal elements that we brought into Lauren + Ben’s design was a nod to both of their sweet Pups, Millie and Riggs. Each had their namesake on a signature craft cocktail that guests sipped on throughout the evening. The Champagne inspired Millie and the Bourbon inspired Riggs. 
Signature Cocktails Carolina Inn

Southern Bride Glamour

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Lauren’s mom Shari, surprised her with the most amazing wedding day gift! A live painter to capture Lauren + Ben’s first dance, the end result I am sure is not front and center in their living room!

Dan Nelson Live Painter

Sweet Father Daughter Dance

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Wedding Swag

One last little treat for guests. TWO southern delicacies, Krispey Kreme doughnuts AND Chick-fil-A sandwiches. Guests were thrilled. I can think of a better night cap than that!


southern wedding favors

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Cheers to the new Mr. and Mrs. Ben and Lauren Leader! Wishing you a lifetime of joy and sparkling happiness!

Carolina Inn Sparkler Exit

Thank you to a fantastic team of vendors who collaborated on L+B’s wedding!

Lauren and Ben were also recently featured on Style Me Pretty!

Planning + Design – Carrington, Erin McLean Events

Photography – Nancy Ray Photography

Ceremony Venue – University Presbyterian Church

Reception Venue – The Carolina Inn

Florals – Tre Bell Florist

Band – Groovetown Band

Cake – Ashley Cakes

Rentals – CE Rental

Live Painter – Dan Nelson

Transportation – Carolina Livery

Gown – Traditions By Anna, Romona Keveza

Bridesmaids Gowns – Amsale

Hair + Makeup – Makeup For Your Day 

Calligraphy – Well Addressed Calligraphy

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Posted in Carolina Inn Wedding, Chapel Hill Wedding, Chapel Hill Wedding Planner, Featured Blog, Nancy Ray Photography

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