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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Do you ever have those days when you realize you need more words in your vocabulary? I, for instance, get in the habit of saying “awesome” or “perfect” when I could be saying things like “jaw-dropping” and “impeccable.” (Confession: I just used a thesaurus for that last word. That’s how bad it is! They don’t even pop into my head!)

Today, I could have used the word “sweet” to describe Holly + Chase’s wedding, but when I sat back and broke it down, there was much more to the feelings I have about their Alabama wedding. Looking through these photos from Rylee Hitchner makes me feel like I’m home. You know, that feeling you get when you know exactly how long it takes for the water to get hot, where the glasses and spoons are, and the sound of the back door creaking as your friends walk in.

Don’t you feel right at home in these photos? I love that good family friends of Holly + Chase let them use their home to host this wedding. It was also the spot where Chase popped the question, making it one of the couple’s favorite details. “Not only was the home a warm, charming and picturesque piece of art in itself, the family that lives there are the kindest of friends, and their home had truly been a haven to us both at different points apart and then together as we began to fall in love.”

We love how Holly described the Southern elements of her wedding. “I think what makes the South so iconic is it’s preservation of a sense of real community and that was a shining theme in our wedding. More than the beautiful Alabama home, more than the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the background, more than the homemade biscuits and cornbread, the most important Southern element was the way our families, friends and neighbors banded around us, offering their creative talents to make our wedding beautiful.”

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Having known each other for about five years, I don’t know that we would have started dating if we hadn’t bumped into each other several times in the span of a couple days. After those few, fortunate run-ins in the summer of 2010, we ended up spending tons of time together right before Chase left for a summer in Ireland and before I moved to South Carolina for a new job. While Chase was overseas, I made the decision to move to Uganda for six months and, no hard feelings involved, knew we probably wouldn’t date. Somewhere in those fall months before I left, we found ourselves talking all the time anyway. We fell fast, making for a very long six months apart while I was in Uganda! Chase flew to see me for 7 days in March, I got home in May and we were engaged in June. It was the best kind of whirlwind!
Describe the proposal. After I returned from Uganda, I started working at a local shop back in Alabama. Saturdays were usually slow, and one Saturday in particular it was so slow that my boss gave me the afternoon off. When I got off work, my friend suggested that we, along with some other friends, ride out to our friends’, the McMurtrie’s, house to pick blueberries, even though they weren’t quite in season yet. I was glad we were going to our friend’s house because Chase had planned to fish on their pond that afternoon. When we arrived, my friends ran out to the blueberry bushes while Robin McMurtrie and I walked out to the pond where Chase and Robin’s husband Tommy were fishing. When we got there, Tommy excused himself and Robin followed. Chase had slyly captured my Bible and read me a passage of scripture that he and Tommy had been talking about and then told me to read a note he had left me between the pages. It was a little note scribbled on a small piece of notebook paper telling me a few things he loved about me. Then, he told me there was another note in the front page. I flipped to it and saw Chase had crossed out “Holly Hereth” and written “Holly Stephenson?” From there, Chase was on one knee! We walked back to the house where friends and family were waiting to surprise me and to celebrate!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Simple, effortless and joyful!
In what month did you get married? October
How many guests attended your wedding? 200
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: Well, it was the first one I tried on! I didn’t have much of an idea of what I wanted besides the fact that I wanted something simple with lace. I didn’t even know what to look for on the hanger. My mom actually found my dress. When I tried it on, it just felt like me. After putting on just two others, I was ready to put the first back on. I loved the simple fit, the low back and the scalloping lace over the shoulders.
Describe your wedding flowers: My wedding flowers were actually one of my favorite surprises of the wedding! A sweet friend of mine, Lindsay Rae, offered to arrange them for me. Being such the creative spirit that she is, I knew I could I send her a few photos of bouquets and let her run with it. She made the most beautiful, spilling bouquet for me and the sweetest little arrangements for my bridesmaids, not to mention the boutonnieres for the fellas and the table arrangements.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: Our wedding cakes were made by all kinds of loving hands! My friend Grace made the biggest portion of the cake, a delicious spice cake with cream cheese frosting roughly smeared to hold the layers together. Days before the wedding, I started to get nervous that there wouldn’t be enough, so my friend Cassidy helped me make a chocolate stout cake to add to the mix. The cakes we put on display were small and simply decorated with foliage from the landscape. We served guests slices from sheet cakes that no one ever saw!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I think the biggest challenge came in remembering that the purpose of our wedding was to marry each other. Of course I wanted the day to be lovely, but letting go of my ideal in a lot of areas shifted my focus and let me enjoy the beauty, charm and sanctity of it all. After all, have you ever enjoyed something you’re micromanaging? Probably not.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? Less than $10,000.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Dancing with my bridesmaids right before we walked down the aisle to Motown in our dressing room, and then dancing with Chase to the same songs at the reception.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Forget every wedding you’ve ever been to, and don’t think about the resources you don’t have. If you have a bride, a groom, a pastor and a few friends or family members who love you, you have everything you need to make the sweetest, most magical and meaningful wedding.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We now live in Nashville where we eat chocolate ice cream every night, listen to all the live music we can afford and love being married! We’re most looking forward to going to seminary in a few years, traveling together and eating big Saturday breakfasts every Saturday for the rest of our lives!

Photographer: Rylee Hitchner Photography // Planner: Lindsay Rae (lindsay@lindsayraedesign.com) // Venue: McMurtrie Home // Florist: Lindsay Rae (lindsay@lindsayraedesign.com) // Wedding Cake Baker: Grace Henderson, Cassidy Gibson // Caterer: Lyn’s Gracious Goodness // Rentals: Mullins Special Occasions // Linens: Barron’s Rental Center // Lighting: Steve Metz // Bride’s Dress: Jessica by Robert Bullock from The Something Blue Shoppe // Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil: Hairpiece from Out of Hand // Bride’s Shoes: Sundance Catalog // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Modcloth

Out of Hand is a member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Do you love this wedding? You might like these, too:
Ashley + Ross’s simple white + kraft wedding here and here.
Meredith + John’s Alabama farm wedding here and here.
Meghan + Chris’s homemade farm wedding here and here.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
13 Comments
  1. avatar Laura reply

    This wedding makes me happy. I pray God’s blessings on this sweet couple.

  2. avatar Kelly Cummings (Spindle Photography) reply

    I love the bride laughing in the photo with the bridesmaids! Lovely photos Rylee!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Oh, I love that photo with the girls all in a row under the blanket! Reminds me of my sisters :)

  4. avatar Madelynne Miller reply

    This is one of those weddings that is beautiful on its own, but truly enhanced by the story told with it. I LOVE her advice. What a wise lady.

  5. avatar rylee hitchner reply

    thank you for this feature, girls!
    i love the entire post.

  6. avatar holly stephenson reply

    yes, thank you! Rylee captured the day so perfectly. I’m so honored y’all think it was as sweet and homey as we did!

  7. avatar Cory Weber reply

    Totally love the girls all in a row, that’s the kind of true expression a great photographer can evoke in their subjects. Nice work Rylee Hitchner Photography

  8. avatar Tim Duncan reply

    These photos are precious! The bride is so stunning! :)

  9. avatar rylee – Meagan Tidwell Design reply

    [...] a year ago, my bestie, holly, was looking for a wedding photographer, so my friend kelsey hooked us up with rylee’s [...]

  10. avatar HERE WE GO! – Lindsay Rae Design reply

    [...] over a year ago this adventure began… I’ll never forget driving to Huntsville, AL for Holly and Chase’s wedding in a freezing cold 4-runner filled with flowers and thinking to myself, “I despise cold [...]

  11. avatar rylee | Seed & Water reply

    [...] a year ago, my bestie, holly, was looking for a wedding photographer, so my friend kelsey hooked us up with rylee’s [...]

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A few weeks back we received a note from one of you sweet readers. She wrote:

“My fiancé recently lost his father (and I lost my wonderful father-in-law-to-be). I am trying to think of the best way to honor him during our wedding ceremony this September. I would love to hear y’alls’ ideas, as well as your reader’s ideas. Thanks so much!”

Of course! We love helping our readers out whenever we can. The community surrounding a couple is so important throughout their life, but especially when planning a wedding, and finding meaningful ways to honor and remember friends and family members is often an important part of wedding planning.

My family is actually very small (not to fret, I married into a very large, very Southern, and very amazing one), and both of my maternal grandparents have passed away. When I married my sweet husband, I wore the pearls that my grandmother had worn on her wedding day over 50 years before. When my sister got married this past year, she chose to honor our grandfather by having his photo placed in a small frame, and pinned to her bouquet.

My handsome grandfather. Image credit: Sara Kauss.

The ceremony is a great place to honor loved ones who have passed away, because it’s naturally a more solemn and sacred part of the day.

Some couples choose to light candles in memoriam. Others choose to place a single rose (or their favorite flower) on the pew where they would have been seated. We thought it was so sweet when recent bride Suzanne included a single white rose in her orange tulip bouquet to honor her father, who had passed away.

Photos by Amy Arrington (see more here!)

For this particular couple we think it would be lovely to to include the groom’s late father’s monogram inside his jacket.

Photo by Lisa Poggi

We also like the idea of choosing a special reading or singing a particular hymn that was a favorite of his. These are great options especially if you’re worried about the overall tone of the ceremony being sad, because only the people who it matters to will realize the true significance of the detail.

Along those same lines, we also like the idea of using a scrap of a favorite jacket or piece of clothing for the ring bearer pillow, a handkerchief, or the groom’s pocket square. If you have a larger amount of fabric to work with, you can have a custom tie made through a company like Tie Crafters. Or, simply have the groom wear one of his father’s favorite accessories, like a tie or cuff links.

Madras bow tie photo by Gabe Aceves (see more here!)

However you choose to honor their memory, we think the goal is to make the addition a positive and loving part of the ceremony.

Readers, do you have any additional ideas of how to remember a loved one during your wedding? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

marissa Written with love by Marissa
14 Comments
  1. avatar Erin reply

    Love the ideas. My BFF passed in 1999 we had been friends since our mom’s were pregnant. She would have been my Maid of Honor. So I am having a bouquet made and will be placed on an empty chair on the front row at the ceremony and then will be on my cake table. The girl loved some cake.

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Erin, I am so sorry to hear about your BFF, but that is such a wonderful way to honor her. I’m sure she would have loved the cake! : ) xo, Marissa

  2. avatar Dianna reply

    My sweet daddy passed several years ago. I’m trying not to do all of the typical rememberance things, for myself and my families sake. I know that if he was here that we would have a one toe tapping good time, and since he’s there in spirit, I know we will anyway. To honor him on my wedding day, I will be sewing his wedding band on the inside of my dress so he will be everywhere that night!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Diana, I am so sorry about your daddy. I love the ideas of sewing his wedding band into your gown, that is such a sweet sentiment. I am sure he will be looking down on you dancing the night away with y’all! xo, Marissa

  3. avatar Kelly reply

    To honor my fiance’s late mother, I’ll be wearing her engagement ring on my right hand and we’ll be using her cherished family Bible to read scripture from during the ceremony. I love the other ideas you suggested!

  4. avatar Brit at Colure Weddings reply

    This post almost brought a tear to my eye. I love the bouquet with the one white flower in it!

  5. avatar Brittany T reply

    My father passed away when I was in highschool almost 10 years ago. For every special occasion since his passing my mother has done an amazing job doing little things to make him feel like he is there. For both my highschool and college graduation I’ve recieved a bouquet wrapped with one of his neck ties. So for my future wedding the bouquet I walk down the aisle with will be no different. It will also be wrapped with one of his neck ties, that way he is still there to walk me down the aisle. I also plan on using his old white Bible as the ring bearer’s “pillow.”

  6. avatar Heather reply

    Both my fiance and I had wonderful relationships with our grandparents, but unfortunately only Austin’s maternal grandfather will be with us in person for our wedding day (Grandpa Baker is sooo cute!). So that left us with trying to figure out how to honor the memories of our grandparents that will be with us in spirit… but we wanted to do it in a unique and special way. We came up with the idea of making all of their best dessert recipes for our reception… and printing those recipes on cards for our guests to keep… this way our guests could get to know them a little bit too… and enjoy their most delicious treats! Their are so many wonderful memories surrounding each of those special desserts! :) Our wedding is June 2, 2012… so I will keep y’all posted on how our special dessert table turns out!! This idea is definitely one that I am most excited about on our big day (aside from marrying the most wonderful man in the world!!!)!! :)

  7. avatar Katie reply

    I love learning about the meanings behind flowers and think it’s so special to incorporate those. To honor late grandparents at our wedding, my husband and I placed several potted rosemary plants on the mantle of the fireplace where we held our ceremony. Our programs quoted Shakespeare’s Hamlet passage: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray you, love, remember,” along with our grandparents’ names. I loved the look, and surrounded by candles, the plants gave such a wonderful scent, too. We gave the plants to our parents after the wedding.

  8. avatar Kelly reply

    I have really struggled with this topic and I am so glad you covered it. (OnceWed covered it this week too: http://www.onewed.com/entertainment/blog/how-to-honor-the-deceased-at-your-wedding?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+onewed+%28Savvy+Scoop+%7C+OneWed%27s+Bridal+Blog%29)

    My dad passed away three weeks after I was engaged. He was struggling with his health so the idea of him not walking me down the aisle had occurred to me, but once John proposed right before my college graduation I was elated that my dad would be there to walk me down the aisle. I have gone back and forth about how to include him in my day, and one that I have decided on is a Journey Locket! (Thank you SW for that giveaway). I really like the flower idea, but I will be having an all white bouquet so I will be including a violet. This is the official flower of my dad’s fraternity and I loved hearing him talk about his time as an active. My dad was Greek but my mom wasn’t so it was something that we have in common.

  9. avatar Joyce reply

    I met my fience when he was 6 & I was 12, his sister was my best friend. She died when she was 14, & he & I met up on facebook in 2010. Our grandparents are gone & he lost a son at birth. We’ll be sending off chinese lanterns over a river.

  10. avatar lisa reply

    My mother passed away just recently. She loved my three daughters dearly and they miss her very much. I saved some of her blue clothing. I plan on having a heart shapes cut from her clothing and sewing them nside my daughters’ wedding dresses when the time comes. It will be their “something blue”.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Lisa, that is one of the sweetest ideas I’ve ever heard. What a thoughtful touch!

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