Oh y’all, you know a Real Wedding is going to be gorgeous when you’ve already swooned (multiple times) and you’ve only seen the first three photos! It’s even better when you’ve also cried while reading the bride’s interview! Be sure to check out Mary Simm’s most memorable moment below — I know you’ll love it, too!
Mary Simms + Alex’s sweet South Carolina wedding was filled with family traditions, like the prayer her grandfather said before every meal, and handmade details like the amazing cross Alex made for their ceremony. When asked what was Southern about her wedding, she replied, “What wasn’t Southern about it!?” A girl after my own heart!
We SW gals are sending Jennings King some big ol’ hugs for sharing this lovely day with us!
Well hello, you beautiful sparklers! Mary Simms is giving the Duchess of Cambridge a run for her money!
Keep an eye on that monogrammed beauty there — it will make its debut later in the evening!
I found my dress at the first place I tried gowns on. However, I wasn’t quite ready to commit… finding THE one is a big deal, plus trying on all these beautiful dresses was beyond fun! My mother and I went to four other stores and I tried on probably 25 other dresses before returning to the first place.
A month before the wedding during my bachelorette party, my bridesmaids and I went out to the wedding site at Boone Hall and buried a bottle of bourbon under a tree. (This is an old Southern tradition that if done correctly (the bottle must be buried completely full and upside down) means it will not rain on your wedding day.) Not a drop of rain on March 29th, so it’s safe to say I am a believer!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Honestly, everything. Every little detail was made with love. One detail that we really enjoyed was our getaway car. It was a 1952 light green Ford pick up truck appropriately named Sweet Pea and it was used for so many things throughout the night. It was set up next to the Cotton Dock with the tailgate down. We had burlap-wrapped buckets with water bottles and cans of champagne in them for our guests. After the ceremony, Sweet Pea became the backdrop for our photo booth. It certainly made for some GREAT pictures! At the end, Alex and I sat on the back of the truck while a driver drove us off into the night.
For our wedding favors, Alex and I made 200 cotton angels that we tied strings to so they can be used for ornaments. We love to travel, and we always bring home a Christmas ornament from every place we go, so we thought the cotton angels would be a personal touch for all of our guests to keep. Alex picked the cotton himself from a family cotton field and we spent many nights gluing on halos and wings.
We did not write our own vows, but we made them custom to fit us. My favorite line from our vows was, “I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, loving you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face together.” My favorite verse from the God of Love Prayer was, “Bless this husband. May he so live that she may find in him the heaven for which her heart truly longs. Bless this wife. Give her the inner beauty of soul that never fades, that eternal youth that is found in holding fast to the things that never age. God, give them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them human, enough failure to keep their hands tightly clenched to yours, and enough success to make them sure they walk with you God.”
We didn’t do a first look either. Alex didn’t know anything about my dress or how I would wear my hair, and he wanted it to be that way until the moment he saw me walking down the aisle. As much as we wanted to see each other before, we knew the surprise factor would make it much more exciting for us. The second I saw him standing in front of me at the end of the aisle was the best second of my life. It was such an amazing and overwhelming feeling and I will never ever forget it.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy every minute because it all happens in the blink of an eye. Soak it all in and remember that at the end of the day it’s about the two of you. After your ceremony, have a friend or family member make you a plate of food and eat it! You will be so busy talking to everyone and dancing that it is easy to forget to eat. Also, a piece of advice that my photographer Jennings gave me a few days before the wedding: Try to take a moment or two away from everyone during the reception, just the two of you. Say I love you, take a few deep breaths, and enjoy your first moments as a married couple.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a round, three-tier cake with a bead border around each tier. Each tier was a different flavor: the bottom tier was white chocolate, the middle tier was hummingbird with a cream cheese filling (my absolute favorite!) and the top tier was chocolate Kahlua (which we have in our freezer!).
I love that Mary Simms changed from a white sash at the ceremony to this fabulous monogramed Tiffany blue sash at the reception!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. The night after a mutual friend pointed out we had a lot in common and should go out Alex asked me to go to dinner with him on Folly Beach. I ordered the tuna and asked for it to be cooked rare, and from that moment on Alex says he knew he was going to marry me one day. We in fact did have a lot in common (including our love for a good piece of seafood) and have had many dates since then!
Tell us all about the proposal! A few of our close friends had already booked a Mediterranean cruise and had been begging us to join them for months. Although Alex and I had just got a new puppy a week before, we decided that we just could not pass up this offer. We booked our spot on the cruise along with our plane tickets the very next day. Getting ready for the long journey across seas, I was nervous and excited all at once: not only was this my first time going to Europe, but we were also going to be there for my 25th birthday! Our itinerary said we would be in Rome for two days, the first of which would be on my birthday. On July 18th, Alex and I and our friends decided that we would tour the city of Rome, beginning with a tour of the Vatican. There is a strict dress code for the Vatican, where men have to wear long pants and women should not have their shoulders or knees showing. Needless to say, it got a little hot walking around the city in 80 degrees after the tour of the Vatican was over. We all decided to walk over to the famous Trevi Fountain to toss in our good luck coins before breaking for lunch. During the walk over, I noticed Alex wasn’t talking very much and seemed like he was trying to catch his breath. He assured me nothing was wrong, that he was just hot and would be fine soon. We made our way through the crowd, down the steps and to the bottom of the Trevi Fountain where my best friend Gina told Alex and I to face her as we tossed our coins in so she could get a picture. It was then, as I was grinning from ear to ear, tossing my coin over my shoulder at the same time Alex was, that Gina screamed, “Oh my Lord! Mary Simms!!” I had no idea what she was shouting for until I turned my head to look at Alex, who was down on one knee proposing. It was hands down the best moment of my life. I was in a beautiful city known for its romance, surrounded by my closest friends, and the man of my dreams asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. I said yes, and the entire crowd began clapping. It was magical, to say the least.
When did y’all get married? March 2013
How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. A trio including a flutist, a trumpet player and a violinist played music before the ceremony started. We used “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” for the seating of the mothers, “Trumpet Voluntary” for the processional, Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” for my processional, and Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” for our recessional. Our first dance was “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” by Van Morrison and our father/daughter dance was to “I’ll be there” by Jackson 5.
Describe your wedding flowers. Our flowers were absolutely beautiful: pink peonies, white roses, cherry blossoms, and white hydrangeas in large and small vases. Since our wedding was two days before Easter, we wanted our decor to be soft, but elegant.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? What wasn’t Southern about it!? We were married on an old dock on a historic, breathtaking Southern plantation surrounded by live oaks with hanging moss, cotton fields, oyster beds, and salt water. We also had a family prayer that was said before the food was served: “Lord, Bless us and Bind us, Put our Sins Behind us, and Hide us where the Devil can’t Find us!” My grandfather would say this before every meal, and it has been passed on to every family member. Alex built the cross we used as our backdrop on the dock. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. My aunt hand-sewed my new initials into the handkerchief that I used to wrap around my bouquet. We had a direction sign of our favorite places that we have traveled to over the years. The special thing about the sign was that each of my bridesmaids painted an arrow.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It was all very memorable, but the one moment that I will cherish for a lifetime was when I arrived at Boone Hall in the car with my maid of honor. We were waiting for the go ahead from my wedding planner that we could get out of the car when I saw one of Alex’s groomsmen running down the road toward us. I had no idea what was happening, or why on earth he was not with Alex and the other groomsmen. The ceremony was supposed to start in less than five minutes! He motioned for me to roll down my window, and when I did, he handed me a folded up piece of paper and said, “This is from Alex. He says he loves you to the moon and back times a million and he can’t wait to see you.” (Alex and I say that to each other all the time). The tears were already starting to roll, and I contemplated for about a second whether I should read the letter or not, because I didn’t want to be a complete mess walking down the aisle. But I pulled my self together and read aloud the sweetest letter I have ever received. All of my wedding jitters were suddenly gone, and I couldn’t wait to get out of that car!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Alex and I are most excited to start building a life and a family together. We closed on our first house two weeks after the wedding, and are now getting all settled in. We have plans to travel as much as we can and continue to enjoy every day that God gives us.
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