I don’t even know where to start with today’s wedding because there is just so much that I absolutely love about it! Sweet, classic couple? Check. Sentimental venue with amazing views? Yes ma’am. An elegant reception and Southern details for days? You got it. Emily and Justin’s wedding was beautiful, no doubt about it, but what I love most about these two is the fact that they were so intentional in their wedding planning. They fulfilled some of Emily’s longtime wedding dreams (don’t miss the story about her dress!), built lots of meaningful moments into their timeline, and soaked in every second of the day once it arrived. We’re so happy that Genya of Vue Photography was on hand to capture it all so beautifully and then share it with us!
I actually found my wedding dress back in 2004! I was shopping for my debutante dress when I saw a sketch of a Carolina Herrera gown on the wall of the bridal salon. It was gorgeous and I begged my mom to let me try that dress on if they actually had it in the store, which they did! I still loved it years later and we went back to the same bridal salon to have it altered a little bit–I changed from a lace bolero-style top at the ceremony to a beautiful top with pearl and crystal accents for the reception.
Describe your wedding flowers. Beyond my wildest expectations! I am a very detail-oriented person, but have very little experience with flowers, so it was difficult for me to communicate what I wanted. I knew I wanted full arrangements in mostly white with green accents, and silver vases. I also had my heart set on a magnolia garland lining the back row of the chairs at the ceremony. Leon (our florist and caterer) did an amazing job.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Justin’s sister, Kristen, read Romans 12:9-18, and our friend, Heather, read an excerpt from a letter John Steinbeck wrote to his son in 1958, after his son told him he had fallen in love. Justin came across the letter in a book my dad had given me, and we love it so, so much. “First – if you are in love – that’s a good thing – that’s about the best that that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you. Second – There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you – of kindness and consideration and respect – not only the social aspect of manners, but the greater respect, which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak, but the second can release in you strength and courage and goodness, and even wisdom you didn’t know you had. Glory in it and be very glad and grateful for it.”
Kolomoki Farm is my family’s farm in southwest Georgia, and it is where I have wanted to get married ever since I first started to think about my future wedding! I know I’m biased, but I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place for a wedding. We timed our ceremony so that the sun would set during cocktail hour; it’s so gorgeous out there, and we wanted our guests to be able to enjoy it. Kolomoki is also where Justin proposed!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Justin and I both really loved having a private dinner by the lake during our cocktail hour. It was a hard decision, because we weren’t sure we wanted to miss that time with our guests, but it ended up being very special. We ate on our wedding china, relished in the fact that we were married (!), and had a moment to look over at everyone and take it all in. Walking through the tent at the start of the reception for our first dance was also an incredible moment. Seeing everyone that you love around you is such a surreal feeling.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I had a great time putting together our welcome bags and loved including special details–peanuts from our farm, UNC Tarheel-shaped cookies from Southern Seasons for Justin, bottled Coca-Cola just like we drink during quail hunting breaks, the welcome letter my dad helped me craft. I was also so proud of our escort cards–we had to think creatively so that they wouldn’t blow away in case it was windy, so I worked with Erin at Hi Note to create little cards that we tied with ribbon around champagne glasses for all of our guests. I loved that we got the party started that way!
I’m from Georgia and Justin is from North Carolina, so we are Southern through and through. We were married on my family’s quail-hunting farm in Southwest Georgia. Our food was incredible–we served boiled peanuts on all of the bars, pimento cheese and candied bacon at cocktail hour, and grilled quail, shrimp and grits, and a biscuit bar at the reception. We also incorporated lots of monograms! Justin and his groomsmen monogrammed their cummerbunds from High Cotton Ties, my mom had our cake knife and silver toasting goblets engraved, and we had our monogram embroidered on pillows that sat in rocking chairs during cocktail hour. Justin also wants to add that my wedding day gift to him was a shotgun, and that “there’s nothing more Southern than that!”
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We actually met at work! I thought Justin was really cute when I first met him, and I referred to him as the “hot, old guy at work” to my friends for several months before we ever went on a date (Note: he’s only four years older than me, but I guess 26 sounded so mature to my 22-year-old self at the time!). The morning after our first kiss, I called and texted my then-roommate–who was out of town–so many times that her boyfriend pulled her out of the shower, exclaiming “It’s Emily and Hot Old Guy!” She was one of my bridesmaids and hilariously re-told the story during her toast at our rehearsal dinner.
Tell us all about the proposal! Justin had the ring shipped to his parents’ house in North Carolina first, and told his mom to overnight it to him at work. The next weekend, we were down at my family’s farm (where we ended up getting married). Apparently, Justin had thought about proposing that Friday night, but my dad was in Montana at the time without cell phone service, and Justin wanted to talk to him beforehand. Then, he planned to pop the question while we were out riding horses, but I decided that I didn’t want to ride after all. Next, we were going to shoot skeet over the lake and he wanted to put the ring in one of the shotgun shell boxes, but we were out of clays, so we nixed those plans, too! Finally, later that night, Justin convinced me to go outside to watch the sunset, and when I finally got outside, he proposed by the lake behind our house!
When did y’all get married? October 26, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Living in Atlanta and planning our wedding in rural Georgia meant we had to do a little extra legwork in looking for vendors who wouldn’t have to travel so far to work with us. We also spent a good amount of time figuring out transportation and accommodations for our guests, since almost everyone was coming from out of town.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? A couple of my friends gave me two pieces of advice that really stuck with us throughout the planning process and on our wedding day. First, hire people you love. You spend so much time with some of your vendors–your wedding planner, photographer, everyone–that it makes sense to surround yourself with people that you genuinely like. Second, try to stay together throughout your reception. We tried to spend the engagement parties, showers, and rehearsal dinner chatting with guests so that when we were at our wedding reception, we wouldn’t feel pressured to split up in order to speak to everyone. We wanted to experience it together and have the same memories! Finally, bury the bourbon!! It worked for us.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We bought a house in the cutest neighborhood in Atlanta a couple of months before our wedding, so we are settling into life here with our dog. It’s been fun to move on to the next project–decorating! :)
Photographer: Vue Photography / Videographer: Anchor Heart Films / Planner: Amy DiLoreti of A Flawless Event / Venue: Kolomoki Farm / Florist: Leon Holloway of Gatewood’s Flower Shop / Wedding Cake: Cakes, Cakes, Cakes / Caterer: Leon Holloway of Cousins Catering / Rentals and Lighting: Rental Depot / Band: Yacht Rock Revue / Paper Products: hi note / Bride’s Gown: Carolina Herrera / Bridal Salon and Veil: Joan Pillow Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Natalie Teasley / Bride’s Shoes: “Shalyn” by Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Aidan” by Jenny Yoo / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids / Men’s Cummerbunds and Bow Ties: High Cotton Ties / Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Calligraphy: Penny Greer / Transportation: Capital Trailways / Koozies: Middle Georgia Embroidery / Ceremony Musicians: Auburn String Quartet / Cake Table Linens: I Do Linens