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Our History: Southern Bride & Groom to Heart of NC Weddings

Southern Bride and Groom – The Story of the Premier NC Wedding Magazine

Southern Bride and Groom magazine came to be the way most established businesses do – a creative, hard working entrepreneur sees a hole in the consumer market and fills it! In the 1980s, there were national wedding magazines. However, regional publications were practically non-existent. Donna Parks saw that there was not a wedding magazine for North Carolina’s various urban areas. The thriving cities of Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill needed a wedding guide. And so, the idea was born!

SB&G magazine was therefore built to be a wedding planning guide for NC cities. From the beginning, the goal was to introduce couples to the best local wedding vendors. Today that intention remains central to our company’s ever-expanding mission!

Our History – from the South to the NC Triangle

The magazine has deep family business roots. Donna’s father owned a publishing company in Gastonia, NC. Under Mar Mac Services, Inc, Southern Bride and Groom came alive. Donna produced editions in Charlotte, Fayetteville, Asheville, Winston-Salem, and even Savannah, GA.

Throughout her adult life, Donna lived in Durham with her husband and daughter. So above all, the Triangle Area was always the heart of the publication. At first, Donna published two separate issues here. One edition covered Chapel Hill and Durham weddings. Additionally, there was an issue for Raleigh. Gradually, the Triangle Area grew. People were moving here for school and business. Logically, the wedding industry exploded as well.

Donna wisely responded by merging the publication into one annual Triangle Area wedding guide. In the early 1990s, she dropped the other city editions. Subsequently, she put all of her energy into the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill publication. This allowed Southern Bride & Groom to grow into the nearly 300-page magazine we produce today. In other words, this focus allowed us to become the most well-known and reputable wedding resource guide for the NC Triangle.

You might be wondering how Donna organized so many amazing wedding vendors into one publication. The answer? She built and nourished personal connections. Southern Bride & Groom magazine has always been based upon a foundation of hard-earned community relationships. From day one, Donna met wedding vendors face-to-face. She shook hands, hand-delivered magazines, and asked NC couples for honest recommendations on the best local wedding vendors.

Our Future: Heart of NC Weddings

Want to know a secret? Even today, we still practice those same business strategies! Our team hand-delivers magazines and checks in with our vendors monthly. We collaborate with these vendors on photo shoots, and attend events together. This aspect of Southern Bride and Groom magazine is truly what sets us apart from national wedding guides. We consider our recommended NC wedding vendors to be friends and family.

Now Heart of NC Weddings, this print and digital publication still focuses on the Triangle Area. As couples are now seeking information for weddings across the state, we have returned to covering great nearby destinations across the state including the Triad, the coast and the mountains.

Southern Bride and Groom 2018 cover NC Weddings Magazine by Bronwyn Duffield

Southern Bride and Groom – From One Woman Show to Mother-Daughter Duo

As Southern Bride and Groom magazine continued to grow, Donna’s husband, Rick Parks, and daughter Jenna Parks offered their love and support. Jenna grew up admiring her mother’s passion for connecting NC brides to the best local wedding vendors. She graduated from the School of Journalism at UNC Chapel Hill and lead a career in arts fundraising and events in NYC. In 2010 Jenna made the leap from supportive daughter to Donna’s business partner.

Today, Donna and Jenna make a remarkable mother-daughter business duo. They work alongside a dedicated staff, each contributing their passion and skill to making SB&G magazine the best it can possibly be. When Jenna joined the family business, she transformed a local magazine into a blog, as well as a social media entity.

Now, NC wedding vendors and couples know and love Southern Bride and Groom as a multi-platform resource guide with a heart-led mission. If you follow us on Instagram, you’ll see what we mean! As we look ahead into the future of this family business, we can’t help but wonder what role Jenna’s daughter Cecelia will play in the next chapter of the magazine’s story!   

Donna Parks Cece and Jenna Parks of Southern Bride and Groom Magazine in Durham NC Weddings by Heba Salama Photography

Southern Bride & Groom

Our Mission

Heart of NC Weddings, formerly known as Southern Bride & Groom, publishes NC wedding inspiration and content across our website, social media, as well as our yearly publication. As we create and share wedding content daily, we make a point of keeping our core values in mind. Our mission is to make your wedding planning process as easy and joyful as possible, so that you can truly enjoy your day. Southern Bride & Groom is dedicated to connecting you to the best local services, modern inspiration, and personally vetted resources as your trusted NC wedding planning guide.  

Southern Bride & Groom Magazine’s Core Values 

Local Community – Southern Bride & Groom believes in fostering authentic relationships among NC wedding vendors and couples. We prioritize local NC businesses by promoting their talent and work across all of our social media platforms and publications. We focus on being present at NC wedding events, bridal showcases, trunk shows, tastings, and more, in order to maintain a presence in the local wedding community.   

Authenticity – Southern Bride & Groom promises to create and promote honest wedding content across all of our platforms. We strive to give the correct vendor credits that belong with each photo or piece of written text we publish. We value authenticity in every real wedding story and real wedding business we promote.  

Talent & Trust – Southern Bride & Groom magazine’s reputation has come from our authenticity and vetted list of recommended NC wedding vendors. We take care to promote only the best NC wedding vendors and reliable businesses to our NC couples. This practice has created a relationship of trust between Southern Bride & Groom and the community.