I have butterflies of excitement in my stomach typing these words: V6 is only one week away!! Are y’all as excited as we are?
One of the most fun and rewarding parts of working at Southern Weddings is following along with our sweet brides as they plan their big days. That’s how most of our readers find us, after all, and from their proposal stories to their etiquette questions to their wedding pictures, we love it all! That’s why I was so excited about the fact that Justin proposed to Melissa aided by a video he made, which they graciously shared with us. I watched it before I even finished reading their interview, so by the time I got around to looking at the pictures from their rustic navy and pink wedding, they felt like old friends! P.S. You can also check out their wedding video here.
Thank you kindly to Crystal Stokes for sharing Melissa and Justin’s special day with us!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had an idea of what I liked, down to every detail. My mother, bridesmaids, Rachel and Jillian, and I decided to go look at dresses at J Major’s in Charlotte, NC. I tried on SO many dresses. Rachel threw one into the mix that was completely unlike what I thought I liked. She told my mom, “I just really want to see what she looks like in this. What if she likes it?!” When I put it on, I KNEW it was the one. Funny how things work out sometimes!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Of course! My veil was my something borrowed. My garter was my something blue–it was made of ivory lace with a navy blue flower and pearls. My something old was my sapphire ring, which is very special to me. My dress, bracelet, and earrings were my something new. We also followed the rest of the rhyme, “and a sixpence in her shoe.” One of my bridesmaids, Lindsay, taped a coin to the bottom of my shoe!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. With the location of the wedding, the walk down to the ceremony was a very long walk and I would not have been able to see Justin’s initial reaction. I also knew I would be very emotional, and I wanted that to be a special, intimate moment for just us. It is now one of the sweetest and most memorable moments from our wedding.
Our wedding colors were navy blue and hot pink, so the flowers were all different shades of pink. We didn’t know much about flowers, other than that I love lilies, so we gave our florist creative liberty to do what she thought looked great. She went above and beyond our expectations!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We wood burned the words of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 onto slices of wood and hung them off of shepherd hooks to line the aisle of our wedding. The words are so special to us, and perfectly describe what we want to build our marriage on.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows. Our ceremony was conducted by my grandfather, who is a Presbyterian minister, so it was very traditional.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 1 John 4:8-10, 16-19. These were read by two of my cousins that are very close to me, and I will always remember them reading about how “God is love.” It was very sweet.
We exchanged rings and said “I do” RIGHT before the bottom fell out of the sky and it rained. It was one of the craziest and most exciting moments of our lives. The timing was truly incredible.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. This was one of our favorite things about our wedding! We had a two-tiered vanilla cake on a cake stand that was placed on an overturned tin wash tub. We also had cupcakes in a variety of flavors for our guests that were placed on the wash tub. They were so delicious, and our guests loved them!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Justin had just moved to Charlotte, North Carolina and didn’t know anyone. He became friends with his coworker, Tyler, who was dating one of my childhood friends, Lindsay. Justin and I met thanks to Tyler and Lindsay, while hanging out at Lindsay’s house in January 2010. I later learned that Justin was instantly interested in me, but was too shy to tell me. We became really good friends and talked all the time. On New Year’s Eve 2011, when we were hanging out with friends and celebrating the coming of the New Year, something changed. We just knew we should make the move from friends to dating. It was a whirlwind romance, and he stole my heart. A little over a year later, we were engaged.
Tell us all about the proposal! On February 2, 2013, it was just a normal Saturday night to me. We had decided to go out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants. While dining, being as impatient as always, I decided I was too excited to wait to give Justin his Valentine’s Day present. I asked, “Can we PLEASE exchange gifts tonight?!? As laid back as he is, he said yes. When we arrived back at his house, I ran to get my gift, and then waited on his couch while he told me awkwardly that he would be right back. It seemed like an eternity, but it was probably only a few minutes. When he came back, he had a shoebox of old stuff of his, and turned on his TV. He opened YouTube and played a video titled, “Awesome Video For Melissa.” It was a video he had made of pictures of us with words at the bottom of each picture, making up a letter to me describing all the reasons why he loved me. The song playing was “You Are The Best Thing,” by Ray LaMontagne. At the end of the song, he pulled a small box out of the shoebox of old stuff, got down on one knee and said, “Melissa, I love you more than anything in the world, and I would love to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?” Crying as I responded, I jumped and said “Yes!”
When did y’all get married? August 9, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Walking down the aisle, we used “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” by Ingrid Michaelson. The first time we heard the song, we knew it was the one for this moment. The words described how we felt so perfectly. Our walk back down the aisle was to “You Are The Best Thing,” by Ray LaMontagne. Justin always said this song reminded him of us, and he actually incorporated it into his proposal. We decided it was the perfect song for the recessional. Our first dance was to “The More I See You,” by Nat King Cole. I’ve always loved it, and since it is such a beautiful and classic song, we knew that it would be meaningful for us throughout our lives. We were supposed to have two of my cousins sing “The Prayer” during the ceremony, but since the rain was closing in, we decided to skip the song for that time and have it at the reception instead. They sang right before we ate, and it was the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? In true Southern fashion, we had an outdoor wedding on a farm, which also had a rock quarry. The vegetables served at our dinner were grown on the farm. The food was AMAZING! We incorporated mason jars throughout our whole wedding, from the save the dates to the drinking glasses and centerpieces. We had so much fun deciding how to do that! For our centerpieces, our florist found all different types of flowers and greenery to create a wildflower look. We also displayed my bridal portrait at the reception, which is a must in our family!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was getting things done in a reasonable amount of time while working with everyone’s schedule.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our favorite vendor was definitely our photographer, Crystal Stokes. She was such a joy to work with. She helped us with so many different things that we weren’t sure about, and she was always very quick to respond to my questions (something any bride can appreciate). My favorite details were all the mason jars that we incorporated throughout the wedding. They were all different sizes and colors, and really made it feel more Southern!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Work to get things done at the beginning so you don’t stress about the details at the end.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are mostly looking forward to being married and spending time with our best friend, and soon, we will begin building a family together!