Southern Weddings

I’m married to my own college sweetheart, so I always love reading about couples who share a similar courtship. Of course, since we all know how deeply college allegiances run in the South, I can’t help but adore Lauren and Casey’s nod to not only their alma mater, but also to their relationship, at their wedding! The Jefferson is a beautiful hotel, and I especially love that these two had both their very first dance and their first dance as husband and wife in the same ballroom there. Lauren said, “we felt it would be very special and fitting to our relationship to get married on campus, where our relationship not only began, but has also grown.” So sweet!

Thanks to Whitebox Photo for sharing such a sentimental day with us!

Aren’t these little gals the cutest?!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding the dress was one of my favorite parts of wedding planning! One long weekend, my parents, sister, and I went dress shopping in Miami. At first, we all had very different opinions on what the dress should look like, but in the end, when I tried on my dress, we all knew it was the one. It had a lace bodice with a full tulle skirt and lace detailing at the bottom. For the church, Chic Parisien made me a custom lace bolero, which I removed for the reception. My favorite part of my look was the cathedral-length veil with lace detailing around the edge.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a “first look.” We wanted to stay traditional on this and have the first time we saw each other to be when I walked down the aisle, so we planned for a longer gap between our ceremony and cocktail hour. This gave us plenty of time to get all the photos we wanted! In the meantime, the guests enjoyed champagne on a scenic shuttle ride down Monument Avenue on their way to the reception site, and had a few minutes to freshen up before the cocktail hour.

Did you write your own vows? No, we opted for traditional vows. We both agreed we did not want the added stress of reading personal vows in public on our wedding day, and we wanted to stay relaxed.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had a traditional Christian ceremony with two readings. My aunt read Colossians 3:12-17, and Casey’s aunt read 1 Corinthians 13:4-13.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. While the parents’ and bridal party’s entrances were traditional wedding songs, I really wanted my entrance song to be different. I spent forever trying to find the right one. The church has a beautiful organ, which we wanted to use, but I also wanted to incorporate a cello. I finally found “Song for Sienna” by Brian Crain, which could be played as a duet by the organist and cellist. It was perfect! It has a 30-second introduction by the organ, and when the deep cello started to play, the doors opened, and I walked down the aisle. Our first dance was Lady Antebellum’s “When You Got A Good Thing.” We have always loved that song and we were so happy that our band, The Boomers, learned it for us.

The University of Richmond is very special to Casey and me. Not only did we meet on campus, but we were also both athletes there and feel a strong sense of school pride. Since we still live five minutes away from campus, we support the Spiders at many home games, go for jogs around campus, and are able to take part in many alumni events. We felt it would be very special and fitting to our relationship to get married on campus where our relationship not only began, but has also grown. Our reception site, The Jefferson Hotel, is an iconic Richmond hotel that has very special meaning to us. Since our first dance at Ring Dance, we have frequently visited the Jefferson for happy hour, dinner, and brunch. It’s the only place we wanted to have our reception!

Describe your wedding cake. I wanted the wedding cake to be a central decor item at our reception. The cake plate was placed on a sparkly gold linen behind our sweetheart table with large flower arrangements on either side. Behind it, French doors opened to overlook the Jefferson’s grand staircase. It was magical! The cake had a simple design with alternating layers of ruffles and sparkly gold detailing. It was so beautiful that I didn’t really want to cut it, but good thing we did, because it was delicious!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? From the iconic Jefferson Hotel to my lace-detailed dress to the song selections played by our band, our wedding had many Southern touches, but to us, the South is all about hospitality. We wanted our guests to feel welcomed and taken care of. When they arrived, our DIY, Virginia-themed welcome bags, complete with Virginia peanuts, Route 11 chips, Hardywood Singel, and more were waiting for them. The night before our wedding, we hosted a dessert and cocktail reception at the Boathouse, which overlooks the James River, so everyone could get to know each other. After the ceremony, guests enjoyed champagne on the shuttle back to the hotel. And our main goal, of course, was to make sure our guests left very well fed. Our cocktail hour featured seasonal, local ingredients, and of course, a couple of Southern classics, including shrimp and grits in mason jars. Our guests enjoyed a plated dinner and our dessert bar featured pecan pies, among many other desserts, which guests could enjoy at the reception or take to-go.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met junior year of college at the University of Richmond. Casey and his teammates were having a party, which my teammates and I went to. Casey and I bonded over being the only two Southerners and the only ones who wanted to listen to country music. A couple of weeks later, we attended “Ring Dance” together, which is a school tradition where junior women are escorted down the grand staircase at the Jefferson Hotel by their fathers and receive their class rings, followed by a dinner and dancing reception. I invited Casey and we shared our first dance together at the Jefferson Hotel. It was so special to later share our first dance as a married couple in the same place.
Tell us all about the proposal! Casey, who can never keep a secret, somehow managed to plan an elaborate engagement with the help of our close family and friends. They completely transformed my backyard with candles, twinkle lights, pictures, champagne, cake, wedding magazines, and our love story. We were so blessed to have both our parents and close friends surrounding us for this special moment, and the next day, we all went out for brunch to celebrate!
When did y’all get married? April 12, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Describe your wedding flowers. Vibrant! Given that our main wedding colors were black and gold, I really wanted the flowers to pop and make a statement. I prefer garden-style arrangements that incorporate a lot of greenery along with the flowers. They turned out beautifully and really helped transform the ballroom and church. Our florist, Rick, was fantastic!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Both of our favorite details were food-related. Casey says his favorite was the dessert table with Sugar Shack donuts and pecan pies! Mine was the fusion of Cuban and Southern touches at the cocktail hour. The Cuban sandwiches and shrimp and grits in mason jars were delicious and very “us!”
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my hairpiece–my sister (matron of honor) had worn it on her wedding day, and it was so beautiful and made such a statement that I was so thankful when she offered to let me wear it. My maid of honor gave me a blue garter with a pearl pendant to wear on my wedding day. My something old was my great-grandmother’s hand-stitched handkerchief that was pinned to the inside lining of my dress. A lot could fit into the something new category, but my favorite was the pair of David Yurman pearl earrings my parents gave to me the night before my wedding. They were simple, but breathtaking, and went perfectly with my dress.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our biggest challenge was planning our wedding far away from our families and trying to make sure that everyone’s wants and needs were fulfilled. Sometimes, this meant taking longer to make decisions.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? A big money saver was having our ceremony floral arrangements reused at the reception venue. Our pew clusters were hung on the sconces around the ballroom and the two large arrangements at the church were placed on either side of our wedding cake at the main entrance.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our wedding would not have been the same without our wedding planner, Lindsay! She is the one who introduced us to all of our fabulous vendors and really took the time to get to know us and our vision for our wedding. Because our families live out of state, she helped us pick out all the small details, attended meetings, and sat down with us on some of the most stressful planning days. She became more than just a wedding planner–we definitely consider her a great friend.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? That would have to be when the preacher accidentally showed up 45 minutes late for our ceremony. Once I knew it wasn’t Casey who had gone missing, I enjoyed the extra time with a bridal portrait session. It is something we will joke about forever, and it all worked out when the preacher made a great recovery in his sermon.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? First, hire a wedding planner. On your big day, you want to be stress-free, relaxed, and confident that someone is behind the scenes making sure every detail is as it should be. Second, relax on your big day and soak up as much of it as you can. It’s over before you know it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Casey and I recently adopted a dog named Harley from the Richmond SPCA, so the three of us are adjusting to our new lives together! I am finishing medical school and Casey is continuing franchise development for sweetFrog Frozen Yogurt. We are excited for all of our family adventures ahead!

Photographer: Whitebox Photo / Videographer: Ginger Topham / Planner: LK Events and Design / Ceremony Venue: Cannon Memorial Chapel / Reception Venue: The Jefferson Hotel / Florist: Rick Lunsford of Blooms at The Jefferson Hotel / Wedding Cake: Sweet Fix / Caterer: Ashton Hassan at The Jefferson Hotel / Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Linens: La Tavola Linen / Lighting: Blue Steel Lighting Design / Band: The Boomers / Bride’s Gown: “LZ3251” by Lazaro / Bride’s Bolero and Veil: Custom by Chic Parisien / Paper Products: Paper on the Avenue and Elise DiPace / Jewelry: David Yurman / Hair Stylist: Welsy Mourino of Elle Style Studio / Makeup Artist: LaCretia (LC) Baskfield of Ave 42 Style Studio / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Aidan” in Black Luxe Chiffon by Jenny Yoo / Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Transportation: James River Transportation and Richmond Trolley Company / Calligraphy: Mary Sue Sanderlin / Save the Dates: Dear June / Eclectic and Vintage Rentals: Paisley and Jade / Custom Stamps for Invitations: Verde Studio

Whitebox Photo is a delightful member of the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    What a beautiful bride!! Love their sentimental venue choice–I’ve been wanting to visit the Jefferson Hotel, but now I want to attend a wedding there even more!

  2. avatar Ashton Toler Hassan reply

    Would you please be so kind as to correct, under the vendors section, Caterer to read: Ashton Hassan at The Jefferson Hotel? It would be most appreciated.

  3. avatar Kelsey reply

    This wedding is just perfection! I am in awe of the bride’s gorgeous dress and hair! Do you know where she got her hair clip? I am looking for one just like it for my wedding!

  4. avatar Kelli + Daniel Taylor Photography, LLC reply

    What a beautiful wedding. The reception tables took my breath away.

  5. avatar Lindsay Kennedy reply

    This wedding was just STUNNING! Thank you for the feature!

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