I’m not positive, but this might be the first Canadian wedding to grace Southern Weddings! The lovely bride, Brooklynne, and her Southern gent, Michael, met at summer camp as teenagers, and then fell in love over years of distance between Canada and South Carolina. A birthday visit and surprise picnic proposal later, this sweet couple decided to bring everything they love about the South to Canada through their charming, sparkly wedding. We couldn’t agree more with Brooklynne’s sentiment that Southern is a state of mind, and we can only imagine how much their Northern guests enjoyed an evening of Southern hospitality…and cuisine!
Thank you so much to Genevieve Renee Photographie for sharing Brooklynne and Michael’s wedding with us!
I was nervous about finding a dress that would not only fit my vision, but be something that Michael would love as well. I was ecstatic when I found a dress at a boutique in my hometown that was just perfect. The mix of tulle and lace struck the perfect balance of whimsical, feminine, and a touch vintage. It was a bit over budget, so I decided to think it over for a bit. That night, during my ritual wedding blog perusals, I came across the used wedding dresses on Once Wed. I decided to type in the dress I had tried on earlier that day, and to my amazement, the exact dress in the right size came up! The price was almost half of what the store was selling it for. I had always imagined myself saying yes to the dress in the shop while wearing the dress, but I decided to just email the owner anyway. I decided to order the dress, and within a week, it was in my home! It was everything that I had imagined, and I was so thankful I could save that money and use it toward another part of the wedding, without compromising the dress that I had always envisioned.
Describe your wedding flowers. I wanted my bouquet to look handpicked and whimsical, but still have structure and continuity. My sister helped me come up with the perfect blooms, and our florist executed the bouquet so beautifully–neutral astilbe, blushing bride protea, lisianthus, and wax flower, with pops of coral and pink garden roses. White veronica and green trailing ruscus accented the feminine flowers. My sister hand-tied my bouquet with beautiful silk ribbon from FrouFrou Chic.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided against a first look, as we wanted the impact of seeing each other for the first time as I came down the aisle. This was an easy decision for both of us!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We both love traditional vows and felt like they encompassed everything we wanted to communicate to each other. Michael’s father is a pastor and married us, so it was so wonderful to be able to go through the vows and talk about what they actually mean, making traditional vows very personal to us.
Walking down the aisle, a friend played “Dawn” from Pride and Prejudice, a simple and lovely song on the piano. We wanted something beautiful that didn’t distract from the moment. During our ceremony, we had my grandmother and Michael’s grandfather each read a Scripture passage, Colossians 3:12-17 and Ephesians 3:14-21.
Because of immigration/paperwork complications, we couldn’t have the wedding in the South that we had always dreamed of. But Southern is a state of mind, so we decided to throw a Southern-infused bash up in Canada! Our ceremony was followed by a church picnic-inspired biscuit bar–my grandma made the biscuits and the jam was brought in from Texas. Dinner and merriment were held in a charming town dance hall, where our guests enjoyed a brisket dinner served family-style, BBQ sauce homemade by Michael’s grandpa, and of course, sweet tea. :)
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I was so honored to have my sweet and talented sister, Alexandra Joy of Pink & Honey Event Styling, style our special day for us. I have worked with her on many different shoots and projects, and have always been so inspired by the beauty she creates, so to have her pour her creative talents and love into our wedding was so special. To top it off, she was seven months along with my sweet niece at our wedding!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I was so excited to have the bakery I had been working at provide the cakes for our wedding! I loved knowing what was going into the cakes–from the fresh and delicious ingredients, to the love and passion the bakers pour into each cake! We decided on a display of seven cakes, all with different designs and textures on white buttercream. They were topped with chunks of fresh honeycomb, white wax flower, and greenery. Not only were they beautiful, they were also absolutely delicious!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. At the sweet age of 16, I went down to Texas from Canada to work at a summer camp. I was paired up with Michael, who was 17, to do photography for the camp. It didn’t take long for me to fall for this sweet Southern gentleman, who was so different from any guy I had ever met. At the end of the summer, I returned to Canada, and we spent the next year and a half getting to know each other through letters, emails, and a few visits. In January of our freshmen year of college, we officially began dating, and thus began several years of long distance. Because of some visa complications, I had to return to Canada and began working at a bakery, while Michael attended college in South Carolina. Yet, Michael proved to be the strong, caring man I fell for at 16–he continually came to Canada to visit me and didn’t let the complications of distance change our relationship.
Tell us all about the proposal! Michael was planning to come to Canada to visit me for his fall break during his senior year of college. My birthday was on a Friday, so he planned to come a few days after that and stay for the week. However, on my birthday, he surprised me by coming early! That night (without my knowing), he asked my dad permission to marry me. The next day, Michael took me on an evening picnic at the very top of a hill, which overlooked the Rocky Mountains. He set up a tripod and camera behind us to take photos of the sunset. After a few minutes, he came over and sat by me, and proceeded to read me the most beautiful letter. We had saved saying “I love you,” as Michael only wanted to say it to the girl he married. In that letter, he told me all the reasons he had grown to love me. At the end, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife! To top it all off, he had been recording the whole thing behind me on the tripod without me knowing.
When did y’all get married? August 17, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I loved that there was a story behind almost all of the details in the wedding. My sister made fabric flags for our send-off, my best friend spent hours dip-dyeing napkins with me, and a whole group of friends participated in a craft night, making dozens of fabric mobiles that covered the ceiling of our reception. I also absolutely loved that my brother-in-law made loaves of homemade sourdough bread for each table at our reception.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest thing we faced during our engagement and wedding planning was the distance between us. It was hard having to do different things without Michael, even simple appointments or consultations. I just wanted to do all of these “wedding things” with my groom! But it led us to communicate well, not get upset at each other over minor things, and appreciate the time we had together so much.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Right after the ceremony, Michael and I slipped away to share our first moments as husband and wife together before taking photos. It was so special to have a few minutes to take in everything that had just happened, thank the Lord for His goodness, and enjoy the moment.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? After assisting at many different weddings, I couldn’t wait to plan my own. It was a special time that only happens once, but it really is only one day…a marriage, on the other hand, is forever. Spend time together as a couple planning for your marriage and future, not just the wedding. Don’t let a day that is supposed to be celebrating and emphasizing your love damage your relationship. Recognize that this day, like the rest of your relationship, is suppose to be about the bettering of the other person. Pray about the decisions you make as you’re planning, and be thankful!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? I had always imagined that after our wedding, I would move back to Texas, begin making a house a home, and just enjoy a simple life with my husband. Well, the Lord had other plans for us, and four days after our honeymoon, we were on a plane flying across the world to the beautiful country of New Zealand. We are spending the next year volunteering at a small Capernwray Bible School on the South Island, with Michael teaching and me serving as the school’s cook. We would have never imagined our first year of marriage in New Zealand, but we are so thankful for this opportunity. It is so wonderful to have a year together to explore, adventure, and continue to learn about each other.
Photographer: Genevieve Renee Photographie / Planner: Pink & Honey Event Styling / Ceremony Venue: North Zion Lutheran Church / Reception Venue: Southey Memorial Hall / Florist: Fresh and Green / Cake Bakers: Crave Cookies & Cupcakes / Catering: Smokin’ Okies BBQ / Band: Jamison Troy (Bride’s brother) / Paper Products: Uh Oh My Deer / Bride’s Dress: “Detalle” by Provonias / Bride’s Shoes and Jewelry: Kate Spade / Hair Stylist: Alison Borowko / Makeup Artist: Ginette Yee / Bridesmaid Dresses: Ruche, ModCloth, TopShop, World of Trout / Groom’s Attire: Tip Top Tailor / Groomsmen’s Attire: Express Men / Bouquet Ribbon: FrouFrou Chic / “South” Print: Southern Weddings Shop