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


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






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!



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


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



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


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


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







Kate + Michael | Magnolia Wedding Magic | The Carolina Inn

Green Wedding Details

If there ever was a classically stunning bride, it was Kate. Every choice she made for her wedding added to the elegance of the day. Guests must have known they were in for a treat when they opened their envelopes to find a lovely magnolia inspired envelope holding their invitation. She and Michael didn’t disappoint. Kate donned a beautiful lace gown that fit her just perfectly — paired with a glittering pair of Jimmy Choos, every girl’s wedding day dream. Gifted with a beautiful day full of summer sun, the couple said I do in Chapel of the Cross, a gorgeous church in the heart of Chapel Hill. As they made their exit from the chapel, the afternoon light was just perfect for what turned out to be jaw-dropping portraits captured by Nancy Ray Photography. Kate’s wedding day inspiration came from her Alma Mater, Wake Forest, where the campus is dotted with magnificent magnolia trees at every turn.

Lace Gown

Jimmy Choo Wedding Shoes
Magnolia Invitations, Calligraphy

The hand created invitations were done by the talented Page Palmer, of Penned By Palmer lettering. One of our favorite invitation suites to date. 
Classic Bridal Details, Carolina Inn Bride

One-Shoulder Navy Bridesmaids

Summer Navy Bridesmaid Dresses

How amazing is the sunshine in this photo – Kate was married with her best friends by her side in floor length navy gowns. We loved the one-shoulder detail!

Ranunculus boutonniere

Chapel of the Cross Wedding Program

Chapel of the Cross Wedding Ceremony

Chapel of the Cross Wedding

This photo is one for the wall – just beautiful!!

Ivory Peony Bouquet

Kate chose a simple ivory bouquet of lush peonies for her day. They paired perfectly with her gown and her classically elegant taste.

Father Daughter first look

Navy Bridal Party

Ivory Ballroom Design

Magnolia Chair Swag

Calligraphy Escort Cards



Kate and Michael said their good-byes under a flood of ivory rose petals from family and friends!


Thank you to a fantastic team of vendors who worked together to bring this day to life!

Planning + Design – Erin McLean Events

Ceremony Venue – Chapel of the Cross

Reception Venue – The Carolina Inn

Florals – Tre Bella

Photography – Callie, Nancy Ray Photography 

Calligraphy – Penned by Palmer

Invitations – Sealed Design Studio

Cake – Ashley Cakes 

Hair + Makeup – Ceremony Salon 

Band – 10 Spot, Sam Hill Entertainment 

Transportation – A Formal Affair 

Rentals – CE Rental 

- Erin

Elisa + Craig | Social Media Sweethearts | Chapel Hill Wedding

Southern Weddings

Not many couples can say they met through Instagram but such is the case with Elisa + Craig – #howcuteisthat? You never know what can come about when you start “following” someone on social media! What came about for these two was a Great Gatsby-inspired wedding tailored to the couple’s romantic vision of gold, white and timelessness.  Elisa stepped straight off the runway in a stunning gown and picture-perfect hair and makeup (Can we say Old Hollywood at its best!?) while Craig sported a classic black tux. In fact, you may recognize this gorgeous couple as they are featured in the ad on the back cover of Southern Weddings Magazine and a blog feature!

Groom's Gift

Lula Hair and Makeup Stylist

Carolina Inn Bride

Bridal Shoes

Groom Cuff links

Chapel Hill Groom

Yellow gold wedding bands

Bridal Party Selfie


Floral Crown Flower girl

Carolina Inn Bride

yellow rose bouquet

Carolina Inn First look

Chapel Hill Bride and Groom

Hill Courtyard Ceremony

The Carolina Inn was the perfect backdrop as these L.A. based Sweetheart’s said “I do” in front of gilded magnolia leaves and a family-made cross adorned with floral garland. Music played a major role in the celebration as many relatives and friends (You may even recognize some famous faces!) serenaded them throughout the ceremony and reception. Personal choices to incorporate a prayer circle during the ceremony and to dance to a live version of “Endless Love” stood out as unique pieces of the celebration.

Anne Hill Courtyard Ceremony

Champagne Bridesmaids Dresses

We loved the Bridesmaid’s champagne lace dresses and the adorable Junior and Petite Bridesmaids! Signature cocktails served on the Front Porch, a mirrored table assignments sign, sweet thank you notes to guests and an oh-so-glamorous cake were lovely touches.

Signature Cocktail Front Porch

Carolina Inn Bridal Party

Old Well Ballroom Decor

Old Well Ballroom Draping

Gold Wedding Cake

Bridal Party Introductions

Toasts Old Well Ballroom

Old Well Ballroom Photobooth

Carolina Inn Grand Exit

Grand Exit Chapel Hill

One thing was abundantly clear through this wedding day – they are surrounded by love and blessings. Such an adoring family, supportive and fun friends, and the way they look at each other is nothing short of an epic romance.  Mustang Grand Exit

Planner – Tia, Erin McLean Events

Venue – The Carolina Inn

Photography – Grain + Compass

Hair + Makeup – Lula Hair and Makeup

Videography – Grain + Compass

Florals – Barbara Long

Reception Music – The Local DJ

Rentals – CE Rental



Lorea + Kyle | Lovely Blush Garden Wedding | The Carolina Inn

Blush Garden Wedding

Lorea is a true Southern lady with an infections laugh and great style. She met her sweet groom Kyle while working together on Capital Hill. We playful called the theme of her wedding was blush and bashful with just the right dash of gold glitter.

Blush Invitation Suite - Smitten on Paper

When we started designing her wedding it was clear that Lorea and Kyle wanted their wedding to have an effortless elegance. We used greenery and soft blush peonies as the floral inspiration. The florist used gorgeous green garland that mimicked their fun and pretty invitations.

Classic Carolina Inn Wedding

Hill Courtyard Wedding

North Carolina Bridal Party

Blush Peony Bouquet
Navy Bridesmaids Chapel Hill Wedding

The Carolina Inn Hill Ballroom Ceremony

Hill Ballroom Ceremony

Following a tearful and sentimental wedding ceremony the wedding guests made their way to the Front Porch of the Carolina Inn and were met with passed fried green tomatoes, lamb lollipops, beef bourguignon, and more scrumptious appetizers. Guests were then ushered into the the gorgeous black and white floor reception with plenty of rose gold sequin and garland. The guests danced all night and the bride and groom made their joyful sparkler to close out the evening.

Champagne Sequin

Tall Greenery and Blush Centerpiece

Ashley Cakes Classic Butter Cream Design

Carolina Inn First Dance
Classic Blush and White Cake
Old Well Ballroom Toasts

Old Well Ballroom Draping

We loved the simple elegance of adding soft ivory draping in the space!

Late Night Snack Cheerwine

Lorea + Kyle wanted a sweet Southern treat for their guests to snack on a the end of the evening — Cheerwine, a native of North Carolina, and doughnuts were the perfect send off!

Carolina Inn Grand Exit

Sparkler Exit Carolina Inn

This wedding and sweet couple were something out of our planning dreams all the way up to this fabulous little number Lorea changed into for their grand exit! Thank you to all the vendors who made this night so magical!

Planning + Design – Erin, Erin McLean Events

Florals – Tre Bella Florist

Venue – The Carolina Inn

Photography – Graham Terhune Photography

Rentals – CE Rental

Cake – Ashley Cakes

Ceremony Musicians – Elegant Ensembles

Videography – Heartstone Films 

Paperie – Smitten on Paper 

Reception Music – Another Level, Sam Hill Entertainment

Gown – Mikaella Bridal 

Bridesmaids’ Gowns – Bill Levkoff

Transportation – Carolina Livery 





Heather + Nate | Southern Summer Wedding | Chapel Hill Wedding Planner

Chapel Hill Wedding

Planning from Chicago was no challenge for Heather and Nate as they dreamed up a perfectly charming and chic wedding day at The Carolina Inn. They embraced Southern charms such as peonies, lace, blush pink, pictures at the Old Well and a surprise visit from the UNC mascot (arranged by the Groom as a gift to his Bride!). These sweet touches were enhanced with an amazing party band, Krispy Kreme Doughnut favors, and an exit on a pedicab. All the details were gorgeous but the spotlight was definitely on the couple and their families. Not only do Heather and Nate look like they are straight from a photoshoot, the love and respect they have for each other was inspiring. dnd the way they interacted, included and honored their parents while planning, was just as sweet as their relationship. What an honor it was to see these two wonderful people join together!

Carrington Clevenger -Buck Favorites21

Wedding Details

Invitation Suite

Getting Ready Wedding Day

Heather put a six-pence in her shoe for good luck on her wedding day – such a unique and special touch!

View More:

The Groom and groomsmen were pinned with fresh ranunculus accented with a rose bud and ruscus. The perfect boutonniere for a summer wedding celebration!

Southern Bride

Carrington Clevenger -Buck Favorites13

First Look - groom

Carrington Clevenger -Buck Favorites16

Carrington Clevenger -Buck Favorites22

Heather’s bridesmaids wore long flowing blush gowns that paired perfectly with their bouquets tied with satin ribbon.

View More:

View More:

Carrington Clevenger -Buck Favorites17

Carrington Clevenger -Buck Favorites23

Carrington Clevenger -Buck Favorites18

Carrington Clevenger -Buck Favorites19
View More:

Carrington Clevenger -Buck Favorites20

 Thank you to Heather + Nate for allowing us to be a part of their celebration and to all the vendors that made it happen!

Venue – The Carolina Inn

Planner – Erin McLean Events

Photographer – Britta Marie Photography

Florist – University Florist

Ceremony Musicians – Save the Date Music 

Cake –Sugarland

Band –Liquid Pleasure 

Mascot – UNC Chapel Hill Athletics

Bride + Groom Transportation – Greenway Transit Pedicap 






The Carolina Inn Wedding | Chapel Hill Wedding Planner | Katie + Scott

Chapel Hill Bride

These lovebirds were so much fun to work with! Katie and Scott wanted a classic black and white affair at The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill – but boring need not apply. On a cool spring day in May, Katie donned a beautiful lace gown and married Scott in Chancellor’s Ballroom framed by a gorgeous archway of greenery, hydrangea, and garden roses.  Despite a little drizzle the couple took full advantage of the ground at the Inn – capturing a romantic moment at during their first look.

Lace Veil

Southern Wedding Details

Southern Bride

Southern Groom

Groom First Look

First Look

Southern First Look

Peony bouquet

Ceremony Space - Chancellors Ballroom

Chancellors Ballroom Ceremony

Reception Decor - Hill Ballroom

Hill ballroom was filled with the scent of blooming hydrangea and lush ivory linens donned the table tops. Guests were greeted to the reception with fresh baked gold macarons escorting them to their seat. Everyone danced the night away to the sounds of  Jupiter Jones, a band the couple picked after seeing them perform locally at one of their favorite hot spots. The night was capped off with rose petals floating through the air, as the bride and groom made their exit into the night!

Macaron Escort Cards

Hydrangea center piece - Hill Ballroom

Ivory wedding decor

simple wedding cake - champagne sequin


Katie and Scott chose a  simple cake design but brought it to life with a happy champagne sequin linen and the glow of candle light!

Grand exit rose petals


Planning + Design – Erin McLean Events 

Florals – Tre Bella 

Photography – Cyn Kain Photography

Videography – Oak City Films 

Venue – The Carolina Inn

Cake – Ashley Cakes

Hair + Makeup – Makeup For Your Day 

Reception Music – Jupiter Jones

Rentals – CE Rental 

Favors – Sugar Euphoria 

Ceremony Musicians – Elegant Ensembles

Paperie – Wiregrass Weddings

- Erin


Meredith + James’ Carolina Inn Wedding | Erin McLean Events | Chapel Hill Wedding Planner

Meredith Petty2

When I first spoke with Meredith + James, they said their focus for their wedding day was to be hospitable to their guests, for the family to really enjoy it and to have a seamless flow. Right off the bat, I knew this was a gracious couple who came from amazing families and would be a joy to work with! As if that weren’t enough, their taste was impeccable and the entire event was stunning. Each and every detail was unique and hand-picked by the couple and even the perfect spring weather fell in line perfectly with their vision.

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Meredith Petty1

And the dress – a chic art deco feel completely covered with sparkles.  It was accented beautifully by her earrings and bouquet!

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Meredith Petty3

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Meredith Petty & James Hughes


Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Sometimes the simple elegance of garland and peonies says it all for a ceremony. Loved the draping of the ceremony space with greenery and these perfectly blooming Bridesmaid’s bouquets.

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Meredith Petty6

Carolina Blue, crisp white and lots of silvery greenery filled the reception space. I loved seeing all the tulips!

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Meredith Petty4

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

How much fun is this party dress and his open bow tie with suspenders?! Meredith + James were having so much fun at the reception, I could barely coax them into exiting through rose petals and onto a UNC golf cart. None of us wanting this night to end!

Meredith Petty & James Hughes

Wedding Coordinator: Tia, Erin McLean Events

Venue: The Carolina Inn

Photography: Exum Photography

Florist: Special Arrangements

Cake: Ashley Cakes

Videography: Reel Weddings

Ceremony Music: Save The Date

Reception Music: Groovetown Band

Hair/Makeup: Mina’s Studio

Rentals: TCS Events


Lauren + Mac’s Carolina Inn Wedding | Erin McLean Events | Chapel Hill Wedding Planner

Lauren envisioned a beautiful garden theme for her wedding day and there couldn’t have been a more perfect setting than the Carolina Inn in summertime. But Lauren + Mac didn’t just choose the Inn for its charm and beauty – they also had a sentimental reason, they met there! We loved the tying in the soft blush, pinks, and greens with the theme – it couldn’t have turned out more perfect!

  This lovely cake by Sweet Memories bakery was the perfect fir with the garden party!





Wedding Coordination: Erin McLean Events

Ceremony and Reception: The Carolina Inn

Florals: Bride and Erin McLean Events

Photography: Julie Livingston

Cake: Sweet Memories

Officiant: Barbara Lodge

Band: Peter Lamb

Hair/Makeup: Makeup for Your Day

- Erin





Susan + Rob’s Carolina Inn Wedding – Chapel Hill Day of Coordinator


Susan, Rob and their families were a joy to for us to work with! They had so much history going back to their childhood and family ties to The Carolina Inn which made the wedding weekend extra special for everyone. It truly made for the perfect love story! From their cocktail hour on the front porch of The Carolina Inn to their confetti popper exit, this couple was just adorable. Guests danced into the night to the talented tunes of Groovetown and snacked on fresh Krsipy Kreme doughnuts to cap off the evening. Yum! SRWB_03


Susan + Rob1


SRWB_23  Susan + Rob2 SRWB_27SRWB_30How amazing is this photo reenactment of Susan & Rob when they growing up in the same church they married in! Such an cool keepsake!


Susan and her mom chose so many sweet touches to add to the wedding night. We loved the generations of family wedding photos on display! The signage provided by Calligraphy by Carrie added charm and style too. SRWB_38

This cake by Miel Bon Bon was jaw-dropping. The detail was exquisite – definitely a show stopper. SRWB_37

We loved the bold color palette Susan chose. It was the perfect blend of fall colors with the already beautiful decor in Old Well. SRWB_36 SRWB_21SRWB_40 SRWB_42 SRWB_44 SRWB_48

This was all possible with an amazing team of vendors! We wish Susan + Rob so much happiness!

Ceremony: University Presbyterian Church

Reception: The Carolina Inn

Photography: Robin Lin Photography

Videography: F8 in Motion

Wedding Coordinator: Carrington, Erin McLean Events

Florals: Tre Bella

Cake: Miel Bon Bon

Reception Music: Groovetown

Signage: Calligraphy by Carrie

Stationary: Maria Scheel

Transportation: Boston Coach

Rentals: CE Rental

Makeup: Bella Trio

Hair: Kim King


Blair + Greg’s Carolina Inn Wedding – Chapel Hill Wedding Planner


This couple called on old Hollywood glamour for their stunning Carolina Inn New Year’s Eve wedding! From the bride’s sparkling Jimmy Choo’s to the mix-and-match sequin bridesmaid dresses, there was no lack of drama and grace on Blair’s wedding day.

Blair & Greg1


Blair & Greg2


Blair & Greg

Blair & Greg8

The black and white decor highlighted the “Gatsby” like feel in the Old Well Room for Blair and Greg’s reception. Typically it is tough to use a black and white color palette but this couple pulled it off. They wanted a simple, classic, but dramatic night, capturing the essence of the sparkly celebration!

  Blair & Greg3

Blair & Greg5

The couple brought in an acoustic guitar for their ceremony, but pumped up the party with Groove Town at the reception.



We brought in up-lighting  to showcase the architecture in Old Well and to warm up the space with a festive glow.

Blair & Greg4

The bride was big on sticking to the black and white theme, but there was catch…the only color was in the cake! A Funfetti cake – we loved it!





     Blair & Greg6





Thanks to the fabulous team of vendors that made this night possible!

Venue/Caterer: The Carolina Inn Photographer: Michael Moss Photography Wedding Coordinator: Erin McLean Events, Tia Florist: Tre Bella Baker: Cinda’s Creative Cakes Ceremony/Reception Music: Groovetown Rentals: CE Rentals Lighting: Total Production Services Hair and Makeup: Makeup for your Day   TIA-copy-300x119111