Southern Weddings

To all our sweet readers who are stressed out while wedding planning right now, take a deep breath and scroll through Sarah and Clint’s big day. Their summer brunch wedding was a joyful celebration of their love for God and each other, from the meaningful Bible readings they selected, to the mix CDs from throughout their relationship that played at their reception. I love all of their pictures in the Tennessee countryside, but my favorite is the last one in this post–it’s not a fancy detail or perfectly-posed portrait; rather, it’s a moment that gave me butterflies of excitement for that same moment at my wedding!

Thank you so much to Alex Bee for sharing Sarah and Clint’s lovely wedding with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. After a day of trying on every dress in Knoxville, I was beginning to lose hope. I wanted something simple, flowing, and comfortable for our hot August wedding. One of my bridesmaids follows J. Crew online, and she forwarded an email for a 24-hour wedding gown sale. I saw one that I knew would work, and bought it instantly! Within a week, it arrived at my house. It all happened so fast!

Clint’s wish was to wait to see me when I walked down the aisle with my dad. We did, however, meet to pray before the ceremony. I stood behind a screen and we held hands at the edge. We were able to get a lot of tears out of the way then, and we still had our classic wedding tradition. We also had plenty of time for pictures after the wedding!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes. It was a joy to share our handwritten vows with our guests. We both wrote and spoke a bunch of special promises, but one in particular I remember was that we promised to always be present and engaged every time we are together.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our officiant and friend read from 1 Corinthians 13 to demonstrate Jesus’ love for his church as an example of our giving our lives to each other. We know that as long as we put love for God first in our lives, we will bless each other as companions in marriage.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had a morning brunch wedding to beat the August heat, but we still gave each guest a fan to cool themselves off with. You could see Mt. LeConte of the Great Smoky Mountains from the field where we were married. We decorated with framed engagement pictures that we took in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The reception theme was burlap, maps, mason jars, trees, and flowers. We ate banana pudding, and I baked my Great Aunt’s snickerdoodles to pass out to our guests.

Describe your wedding flowers. I wanted white, green, and purple, so the florist showed us each flower they had in those colors. I trusted my florist, and they made a beautiful mix. My favorite flower is the Tennessee Iris, so I had a few in my bouquet.

Our wedding cake was simple and elegant. Because we both love trees, the icing was delicately shaped to look like the bark of a tree. It was decorated with hydrangeas and placed on a slice of a tree stump. We topped it with a “W” made of twigs. Clint’s favorite dessert is banana pudding, so I surprised him with that instead of a having a groom’s cake.

For our first dance, Clint surprised me with one of our favorite songs, “All I Mind is Losing You,” by The John Butler Trio. Clint recorded his own version in which groomsman Clay played the guitar while Clint sang. It was such a sweet moment. Throughout our relationship, I made Clint mix CDs of songs that I thought described how we felt about each other. We borrowed a sound system from our church, and played that variety of our love songs throughout the reception.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t let this day or the planning be stressful, and trust in the ideas of others. All that matters is that you are marrying the love our your life, and the people that you love the most in the world will be there to witness and celebrate it with you.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in French class on the first day of college at the University of Tennessee. We were also in the marching band together, so we had plenty of time to get to know each other. We became best friends instantly, and we officially became a couple on New Year’s 2008. We traveled to Tampa, Florida for a bowl game and watched the New Year’s fireworks on the beach. Right after, Clint asked if I would be his. :)
Tell us all about the proposal! Clint wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t know when or how he would ask, so his idea was for it to start like a normal day. We were having a picnic at the University of Tennessee’s Botanical Gardens after church, and then we went on a walk. The trees in the garden were beautiful with fall leaves, and the weather was perfect. We were casually talking about our lives and love, and then he stopped, knelt down, and asked me to honor him by becoming his wife. It was so simple and sweet, and the ring was so elegant and antique. I started crying when he told me he had asked my mom for my grandmother’s engagement ring. I didn’t even know it existed, and it was perfect!
When did y’all get married? August 10, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Because we had met in the marching band, we have several friends who can play instruments. Clint played the French horn, and he asked two of his friends to play for the ceremony. He selected a few hymns that we both love. During the ceremony, we wanted to take a moment to praise God. We printed the words to one of our favorite hymns, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” and put a copy on each chair. Our officiant, a long-time family friend of Clint’s, led us and our guests in singing.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We both loved the large oak tree that we were married underneath. It was the perfect setting–so majestic and elegant on its own.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I was away completing an internship in Washington, D.C. during the spring, so I had to trust my fiancé and my parents to make most of the decisions. In a way, it was a blessing. We had such a stress-free wedding planning experience, and I am so grateful for that.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? Less than $10,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My photographer! Alex Bee has an eye for capturing emotional moments. This is a much better way to remember your wedding day: with photos of the joy of the day, rather than something posed.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Saying a prayer together before the ceremony, and the moment immediately after the ceremony! So much love and excitement!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are both graduate students, so our next big goal is to graduate! But the best thing about being married is tackling it all together!

Photographer: Alex Bee / Second shooter: John Shim / Venue: The Riverdale School / Florist: Powell Florist / Cake Baker: Jane Monday, friend of the bride’s family / Caterer: Billie Bounds, Catering on a Shoestring / Bride’s Gown: J. Crew /
Paper Products: The Groom / Paper Fans: Accent the Party / Bride’s Shoes: Dillard’s / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Target / Men’s Attire: L. L. Bean

lisa Written with love by Lisa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    i love her sweet flower crown!

  2. avatar Stephanie reply

    I love this wedding so much, as this couple absolutely radiates joy and love! Some of the best weddings that you see aren’t the ones where the budget is sky-high but instead is one when the couple so clearly celebrates what really matters – their love, their faith, and their family!

  3. avatar Sarah reply

    Brings tears to my eyes…
    It sounds and looks so sweet and so beautiful. They all look gorgeous.
    I just can’t help it but to be so touched by a couple who share their love for God together!

  4. avatar Kyla F reply

    I love that this wedding was centered around what matters most. Sarah and Clint’s joy and love for each other is so apparent in every photo. I adore that sunflower field picture the most!

  5. avatar FIRST LOOK, UN ENCUENTRO A SOLAS ANTES DE LA BODA | Popelin Happy Weddings reply

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