Hi, y’all! This month’s Southern Bride of the Month is Elizabeth, who is a Southern girl through and through! She’s planning a classic Southern wedding with a vintage twist in Georgia. I hope you enjoy getting to know her and her fiance, Joe, and be sure to read through to the end and then offer up your advice!
Hi! What’s your name?
Elizabeth Ashley Jeffcoat
What’s your fiancé’s name?
Joseph Emerson Johnson
Engagement photo by The Reason
What do y’all do for a living?
Joe is a senior marketing analyst, and I’m an intensive care registered nurse.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
The older Southern boy with bright blue eyes, polo button downs, and a perfect frat swoop had always caught my eye, but since he was a year older than me, I could only wish. Joe and I both played basketball and always knew of one another, but he was the starting varsity lead scorer, and my JV status didn’t really compare.
However, my junior year, Joe and I both had weight training during the same period, and began developing a relationship past his perfect hair and eyes! Not only was Joe everything I could imagine in a man, he also has such an amazing family. Before Joe and I started talking, I had already said yes to go to prom with one of my good guy friends, who also happened to be best friends with Joe. However, that didn’t stop Joe, who managed to figure out what we were doing after prom and asked my best friend, now maid of honor, if he could also come to her house! I am so lucky to have found my soul mate so early in my life; God truly blessed me with this man and his family.
Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
First off, I am the world’s worst person to try and surprise. Almost every attempt Joe or my Momma have ever made to surprise me, I’ve figured out! But this time, Joe and Momma had been scheming for a month or so about our perfect day.
On December 12, 2010, I woke up really early for work. My Momma also works at my hospital in the same unit, and she was with me that day, but she didn’t let on at all, even when she had to leave in the middle of the day to let Joe into my car!
I finally ended my stressful day around 7pm, and began the freezing journey to my car. When I first saw my car, I saw something hanging from the seat, and I freaked out, thinking someone had broken in! I called Joe, but didn’t get an answer. It was so cold, I decided to just go look in. When I made it to the window, I saw a piece of paper with an address and “Go Here” written on it (in Joe’s unmistakable writing). I put the address into my Garmin and began following the route. Well, somewhere along the first mile, I hit a detour button, and it started taking me somewhere else! I called Joe again, but he still didn’t answer! When I “reached my destination” and it was a gas station in a not-so-good section of Atlanta, I really hoped something was wrong and reprogrammed the Garmin. I finally reached the right address – the W Hotel in Buckhead – but after 45 minutes, when it should have taken me 10! I found out later that Joe was getting so nervous that he broke my ring box in half from opening and closing it so much!
When I pulled up to the valet, he opened my door and said “Elizabeth, we have been waiting for you,” and led me to the front desk where he handed me a key, led me up the elevator, and then to our door! When I opened the door, all I could see were rose petals and old ticket stubs lining the floor. As I walked into the first room, Joe had set out all of the old cards and keepsakes I had given him over the last five years. When I rounded the corner, Joseph was there with the (deformed) ring box, down on one knee, proposing. All I said was, “Of course!” I wish I could remember all the sweet things he said, but it was so overwhelming! After we got to spend some time together, both of our families and two of my best friends met us to celebrate at the hotel bar!
Anna K Photography
When’s the big day?
March 24, 2012
Where might you two be tying the knot?
Our ceremony will be at Duluth First United Methodist Church and our reception will be right around the corner at Sugarloaf Country Club.
How did you pick your ceremony and reception venues? What do you love most about each space?
Joe’s family has been members of Duluth First United Methodist Church since Joe and his brothers were little. The church is not only absolutely gorgeous, with huge stained glass windows and a bright red front door, but the traditions and occasions his family has shared there make this location so special. We are also happy that our YoungLife leader from high school will be marrying us!
Our reception venue, Sugarloaf Country Club, was the easiest decision we made. Joe and I have grown up there sharing numerous holidays, family birthdays, and Wednesday night suppers.
Sugarloaf Country Club
Who or what has been most inspiring in the wedding planning process?
My Momma is not only my best friend, but has come up with the best, most unique ideas for our wedding. As a surprise to me, she decided to make a cuff bracelet for me to wear on our wedding day that incorporates my “something new, something old, something borrowed, and something blue.” For months she has been collecting vintage and new cream and white beads, and each bead is then attached by hand. It is a masterpiece that I will forever cherish!
Dramatic hydrangea inspiration (design by Caplan Miller and photo by Brian Fitzsimmons)
Has your vision for your wedding changed or evolved over the course of your engagement? If so, how?
My overall vision has remained constant: I’ve always wanted a very vintage, Southern, swanky yet formal combination. We will have a yummy grilled cheese station, hydrangeas everywhere, lace doilies mixed with lots of vintage crystal, long dresses, and black tie attire. Over time, however, things have shifted as we got more realistic about which aspects are most important to us and which DIY projects I would actually be able to complete.
Another grilled cheese station by The Reason! See more here!
Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go? What will you be wearing on the big day?
Yes, my dress was checked off the list very early on! It was the very first dress I tried on, a Vera Wang. My Momma and I both were shocked, thinking there was NO way the very first dress could be the one. So, we decided to keep all of our reservations just to make sure. We tromped all over boutiques, including Bridals by Lori and Priscilla of Boston, and finally surrendered to the first gown, since not one other dress compared.
Some of Elizabeth’s hair inspiration! (on left unknown and on right by Hair and Makeup by Steph)
Also, last January I was so lucky to win a custom getaway gown by Chaviano Couture right here on the Southern Weddings blog! Annette has already started taking apart my Momma’s wedding dress to incorporate her lace into my gown. I am beyond excited about seeing the final product; Annette is so talented and passionate about her designs! This is a piece I hope to pass down to my children.
My eight amazing bridesmaids will be in black Allure gowns – simple and classic. (See them here!)
Do you have a favorite Etsy store you’d love to tell us about?
I purchased my wedding sash from Little White Dresser. I also had custom silhouettes made by KO Two Wedding Creations. Her design is a spitting image of us and she worked with me to create a logo I love.
What has been the best part of wedding planning?
There is nothing better than being able to spend extra time with my eight bridesmaids, seeing the generosity of all our family and friends that have hosted showers for us, table time with my almost-in-laws, watching the look in my Momma’s eyes as I try on my wedding dress, and looking outside at my Dad sawing away on his workbench for more of my DIY projects. These special moments would never be possible without Joe picking me to be his wife!
Atlanta welcome bags (photo by Melissa Schollaert) and ruffled chair decor (photo by Phyllis Lane)
What has been the biggest challenge so far in wedding planning?
THE GUEST LIST! Joe and I have had such a challenging time cutting our numbers. The only time my stress level rises is when dealing with our color-coded excel spreadsheet to cut more numbers! We are happy with our final count, but hoping the whole “15% won’t come” thing is accurate!
What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
I am most looking forward to getting ready with my best friends, and then having my Momma fasten that last button on my dress. I get chills thinking of that moment! Sticking to Southern tradition, the first time Joe sees me will be as I walk down the aisle. That second is something I hope to forever remember. I can’t wait to see the look on that man’s face!
Photo by Dixie Pixel via Ruffled
Any advice you’d like to pass along to fellow brides?
Start your guest list first thing, as your venue and budget depend on it!
Now it’s your turn to ask for advice – is there anything you’d like to poll the SW readers on?
Pictures are SO important to Joe and me. Does anyone have any advice on how to balance getting the most pictures, but not missing out on your own wedding?
Thank you so much for playing along, Elizabeth! Readers, if you love Elizabeth’s style and would like to see more of it, you can check out her Pinterest board right here! If you’d like to apply to be a Southern Bride of the Month, check out this post for all the details! If you’ve already emailed me, you’re still in the running for future months!
Meet a few more Southern Brides of the Month:
Alissa, planning a destination wedding in sunny Rosemary Beach
Kelly, planning a Savannah wedding with a heartfelt favor
Megan, planning an at-home wedding with fabulous paper details