Cover art for podcast Weddings for Real

Weddings for Real

188 EpisodesProduced by Megan GillikinWebsite

Real wedding vendors share their tips and tricks for surviving and thriving in this one of a kind industry. Hosted by Megan Gillikin of A Southern Soiree Wedding Planning, you'll hear guests share their secrets on marketing, the client experience, networking, community, sales, and more - and you mig… read more


13: Sister Entrepreneurs Courtney and Dana on Building a Wedding Venue

Courtney Hopper and Dana Kadwell are sisters and serial entrepreneurs in the Raleigh wedding industry.  In this show, you'll get a sense of what that means to really be an entrepreneur.  Courtney and Dana were willing to sell everything and go for it, knowing that their visions for their businesses would work. 

Courtney and Dana own both C and D Events Wedding Planning and The Bradford Wedding Venue in New Hill NC, just outside of Raleigh.

Their partnership, loyalty, and love for each other is something special too - building a business isn’t easy, and working weddings isn’t always glamorous – and there’s tension – and they fight – but in the end, they’re always there for each other, and that really comes through.

You’ll hear them talk about their families a lot on this show. Courtney is married to Mikhail, and they have 3 kids, Mason, Nora, and Liam.  Dana is married to Sam, and they have two kids, Henry and Ada.  And it sounds like their families are together all the time. It’s just a special relationship as you’ll probably tell.

On the show, Courtney and Dana talk about how they got into wedding planning, saving up enough money to start the venue, the difficult times when money was tight and tensions were high, how they work together, one of the craziest stories you'll hear, and advice they would give for someone starting out.

Courtney and Mikhail with Liam, Mason, and Nora (Photo Credit Sarah Joann Photography)


Dana and Sam with Ada and Henry (Sarah Joann Photography)




Dana and Courtney at The Bradford Grand Opening (Photo Credit Live View Studios)


Courtney and Dana at their FIRST wedding they planned, which started C and D Events


The Bradford (Photo Credit Caroline Lima Photography)


Today's episode is brought to you by Forest Hall at Chatham Mills, which is having an Open House Sunday June 3rd from 3:30PM-6PM.  Forest Hall is located in Pittsboro and is about 20 minutes outside of Chapel Hill Nc.  The open house is FREE and open to everyone - engaged couples, fellow vendors and community. At the open house, you can see the space set up and decorated for a wedding as well as meet some of our favorite vendors who will be giving away samples, prizes and special discounts. Forest Hall is a stunning industrial venue with indoor and outdoor ceremony options, hardwood floors, tall windows and exposed brick walls. Click on the invitation at for more information.

Music for this episode by

The host of the show is Megan Gillikin, owner and lead consultant at A Southern Soiree Wedding and Event Planning.  She's also available for wedding and hospitality business consulting and can be reached at

Weddings for Real is edited and produced by Jason Gillikin for Earfluence.

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