Meet Donna and Jenna Parks, the Mother-Daughter Team behind Heart of NC Weddings magazine
We’re Donna and Jenna, the mother-daughter team behind Heart of NC Weddings.
While we’re a bridal magazine and trusted wedding planning resource, we’re also a family business. Weddings are about bringing families together, and that’s so much of what we do.
You may have heard that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, we believe it takes a village to get married too! Our magazine began as an idea to connect North Carolina brides and grooms with the best services and venues in our community. From the very beginning, we’ve wanted you to have the team you need to make your wedding dreams a reality.
Donna started the magazine in 1986, thirty-three years ago, as Southern Bride and Groom. We’ve been growing ever since – from Raleigh and Durham, to the entire NC Triangle Area and beyond to the Triad and nearby destination wedding cities across the NC coast.
As a child, Jenna grew up watching Donna connect engaged couples with everything they needed. Jenna officially joined the business in 2010 to usher in a new chapter and bring even more support, resources, and inspiration to NC couples. That’s why in 2020, we have re-launched with our new name, Heart of NC Weddings.
Today we work together, along with our dedicated staff, to make Heart of NC Weddings better, more personal, and more helpful to you in your wedding planning process. We’re here to bring the village to you, because that’s what family does.
Donna and Jenna
I’m Becca, and I execute our large editorial shoots for publication. This position marries my two favorites – planning + designing!
I love being on this fabulous team that provides a standard of talent and professionalism and community among the wedding industry in the NC Triangle. Getting to plan shoots and see them come to life, and then in print, is a dream come true.
I’ll admit that I’m totally a design seeker – I’ve always been one to decorate the spaces around me. I have strong Southern heritage – I was raised in Eastern NC in the small town of Goldsboro where I lived until moving to Raleigh for college. Southern themes of good, slow-prepared food, gathering with loved ones, and timeless design always draw me in. My family also loves gathering and celebration – so I guess you could say that those things have driven me to my love for the wedding and event industry.
Some call me serious, but I like to think of myself as intentional. I strive to be purposeful in all relationships, jobs and activities! I want to leave a legacy of a hard-working, imperfectly grace-giving marriage and be a positive female role model for my darling little daughters. My marriage continues to inspire and push me to new levels of myself. Being married to (truly) my best friend (college sweethearts!), continues to inspire me to encourage others towards healthy and thriving relationships. I love being in an industry that focuses on the act of celebrations and love!
Fun Facts: Becca’s family helps attend to a century-old family farm in Eastern North Carolina. She is an alumna of Meredith College in Raleigh. Becca also works as a wedding planner in NC!
I’m Jenna. I’m Donna’s daughter and now Publisher of Heart of NC Weddings. For as long as I can remember, I’ve watched my mom passionately build this guide. I’ve seen her and the team create so much inspiration, foster community, and above all – serve so many engaged couples.
As a teen, I pitched in here and there, going to bridal shows and helping my mom. I didn’t imagine then that I’d join the business, but that’s exactly what I did in 2010. After a career in arts fundraising and events in NYC, I returned home to work with my mom and to play a part in helping her write our next chapter.
In the last 10 years, we’ve expanded all we do online and in-person to reach and support brides. Whether I’m meeting with a new wedding business, writing for our blog, or sharing behind the scenes inspiration on Instagram, it’s been exciting to add to all that we offer couples to make their wedding day as amazing as they’re hoping it to be.
As I think about the future, it comes back to that partnership between my mom and me. Now when I look at my own young daughter, Cecelia, I wonder – in what ways will she be a part of this story too?
One thing’s for sure, wherever life takes us, Heart of NC Weddings will always be more than just a business – it’s part of our family.
Fun Facts: Jenna is also a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill. She has served on the Board of Directors of Triangle NACE (National Association of Catering & Events), and has been a member of ILEA Greater Triangle (International Live Events Association). She lives in Durham with her daughter, Cecelia. On Jenna’s days off, she might be playing dress up and singing musicals with Cece, trying a new restaurant in town, or getting some yoga time in!
Heart of NC Weddings has been my passion since it was just an idea in 1986. Thirty years ago, I started the first ever North Carolina wedding magazine – at the time, known as Southern Bride & Groom. Little did we know, it’d become so much more.
We grew from our roots in Durham to Raleigh and to Chapel Hill. Before we knew it, we were reaching across so much of our great state. We’ve gone from a magazine, to a multi-platform resource with a heart-led mission in mind: helping you have a more joyful and easy journey to your wedding day.
Through the years, my favorite moments have been when I hear from a bride that tells us we were there for her every step of the way. I love seeing couples cut out articles, dog-ear the pages, find their perfect vendors, and with our help, see their wedding vision brought to life. That’s what it’s always been about.
We began as a family business and it’s been my greatest pleasure to watch that tradition continue to this day. I’ve watched my daughter Jenna go from a little girl helping me take issues to bridal shows, to becoming my partner in the business ten years ago. Whether it’s Jenna, or my husband Rick of 46 years, our publishing team, or the community of incredible wedding professionals and small businesses we collaborate with – everything comes full circle with family.
We welcome you into that family and we wish you the most beautiful wedding day you can imagine. We’d be honored to play a part in turning that dream into a reality.
Fun Facts: Donna is a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill. She and Southern Bride & Groom have a 15-year membership with NACE Triangle Chapter (National Association of Catering Executives) and is a charter member of the TBA (Triangle Bridal Association). Her favorite things to do are walking the Eno River with her husband, and spending quality time with her beautiful granddaughter, Cecelia.
Hi, I’m Patricia. I’m our Art Director and Graphic Designer for our magazine. I pull everything together visually – from styled features to ad design and editorial layouts. I collaborate with Donna and Jenna to ensure everything we’re creating and sharing is telling a story that will inspire our brides.
I grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and studied graphic design at Louisiana State University. In my work, I tend to find inspiration in the small details of everyday life–whether it’s the color of a coffee can or the curve of a tree trunk. In my design career, I’m honored to have earned recognition from the Addy Awards, the local level of the American Advertising Federation and the MAME Awards (Major Achievements in Marketing Excellence).
I love what I do at Heart of NC Weddings because we passionately believe in quality. We strive to give our couples and our community inspiration and resources that are extraordinary. And when it comes to the extraordinary, I’m so proud to be a part of a team of exceptional women who I’m lucky to call friends!
Fun Facts: Patricia’s mother, a volunteer art teacher for more than 25 years, was dedicated to making art accessible to children in Louisiana. She inspired Patricia’s love of art, nature and beauty in all things, and showed Patricia that through art, the world can be a better place.
My name is Marie Frances Muir, and I am a storyteller. When I heard about the local mother daughter duo in Durham that built a wedding magazine from scratch over 30 years ago, I thought to myself, I need to be a part of that. But what does a 21 year old college graduate know about weddings or marriage? Honestly, not much. I have always been more interested in the love story.
Working for Heart of NC Weddings magazine allows me to write and share with YOU the real life stories of local wedding vendors, brides and grooms. Daily, I receive real wedding submissions which I transform into love stories for our blog. Each one contains a written love story and photos of the masterpieces local wedding vendors create. I feel incredibly blessed to present their work to our readers.
I am a Bull City gal through and through. Born and raised in Durham, I am happy to be returning to my hometown to work with Heart of NC Weddings. I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Communication with a Minor in Urban Geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My studies have given me the tools I need to fuel my passion for writing and sharing local love stories. I am inspired by my co-workers, family, and friends, who help me see that the forces of love are always more powerful than those of hate in our world.
Fun Facts: Marie’s favorite spot in Durham is her parent’s house, where she sits on the back patio of their party barn with her calico cat Bricker. When she is not sitting by the barn you can find her dancing at Zumba, hiking the Eno River, eating at Monuts, or listening to live music in downtown Durham.
Heart of NC Weddings Magazine– Your Wedding Planning Website and Guide for the best Local Vendors in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill NC
Thank you again for visiting Heart of NC Weddings, the NC Triangle Area’s leading wedding planning publication for the past 33 years. We hope that from here, you’ll explore our magazine and website.
Each year, we feature dozens of real NC weddings, styled shoots and planning tips. The extensive resource guide covers every details of planning an NC wedding. You’ll meet the top venues, to the best wedding dress shops, photographers, florists and more. We offer a curated collection of the top-tier, most reliable and talented vendors in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill wedding industry. We always feature a variety of styles, so no matter what you like, you’ll connect with one of our venues or vendors.
Our complimentary wedding magazine is available for free around town, or a digital magazine can be read online. All of the vendors you see on our Local Vendors Resource Guide are ones that we have gotten to know, who have great reputations, and who we collaborate with on local projects. In other words, they are personal recommendations from our team.
The goal of Heart of NC Weddings is to provide all of the best resources in one location, to help guide the way to the big day when you walk down the aisle! This has been the case since we began in 1986 as Southern Bride and Groom. Feel free to email us with any questions you have regarding any of the vendors on our site. We also love those engagement and wedding feature submissions.
We wish you the best during your planning period, and stay in touch!
Heart of NC Weddings
PS- Big thanks to Java Rose Photography for the fabulous team photos!
A Durham Magazine 2018 Editorial by Jenna Parks
A Durham Magazine 2017 editorial by Jenna Parks
Mother-Daughter Business Team Celebrates their Silver Anniversary in Print
Donna and Jenna talk about their anniversary on North Carolina Now.