Southern Weddings

Holly and Austin may have met in a rather unconventional way (through an Instagram hashtag!), but their wedding day was full of traditional Southern fare and all the classics we know and love. Inspired by Holly’s Tennessee home and deep Southern roots, one of the highlights of their Swann Plantation celebration was their tasty “breakfast for dinner,” which included country ham, eggs, chicken and waffles, and biscuits and gravy. The Southern spirit of hospitality continued throughout the reception–to keep guests extra cozy, Holly and Austin provided seating areas around fire pits that were perfect for snuggling up around under quilts, all handmade by generations of Holly’s family!

Ais Portaits captured all of this sweet day, and we’re sure glad about that!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. After searching online, I came across a dress that peaked my interest, so I printed out a copy of the details. Two days later, my mother and I decided to run into David’s Bridal to try and find it. At first, the front desk told me my dress has been discontinued, which made the first 20 minutes of my wedding dress shopping experience terrible. However, the manager saved the day by informing her employee and myself that my dress was brand new! I tried on my tea-length wedding dress and fell in love. I only tried on two dresses, the second only because the employee insisted. I was so happy that the special moment was shared between my mother and I. She hugged me, cried with me, and babied me for one of the last times before I became a Mrs. It was a shopping trip I’ll never forget.

We decided to keep it traditional and let the first time he saw me be when I walked down the aisle. We did get to exchange cards and say a prayer together first (with his eyes shut). When he did see me walking down the aisle, it was priceless. Definitely worth not having a first look!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I got my Bachelor’s degree in music, so this was a very important part of the service to me. We had a small choral ensemble, a trumpeter, and a pianist/organist. The trumpet and organ played “Canon in D” when I walked into the church, which was special for me because my mother also used this song in her wedding. After the ceremony was over, we wanted to let people know the party was starting, even though they had to make a little drive to the reception site. As the church bells were chiming and we were standing in front of the congregation, the song “Everybody Dance Now” started playing. At this point, I surprised my new husband by taking a selfie (because we met on Instagram), and then the entire bridal party danced out of the church and onto the bus to head to the party!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I loved the traditional aspect of the church where our ceremony was held. There are lots of beautiful stained glass windows, and it’s one of the only churches in the area with just a center aisle. Our reception venue just captured the feel I was aiming to achieve. I’m Southern and I wanted that to be a part of our day, and this plantation was perfect because it had a charm and elegance to it. It allowed my guests to experience the Southern charm in the way I wanted it to be displayed.

Tennessee is home to me, and I wanted a wedding that I felt took me back to my roots. Our guests were given small homemade sweet potato pancakes with their choice of toppings and our signature drink, McMosas (mimosas). We served breakfast for dinner, including country ham, eggs, chicken and waffles, gravy and biscuits, potatoes, and anything you would consider traditional Southern breakfast. We offered a fall orange and cranberry juice, and our bar included McWilliams wine, Samuel Adams Octoberfest, and Angry Orchard, which all contributed to our vision for an elegant, fall, Southern wedding. Being a Tennessee Volunteer fan and alumnus of the college, we had both the original version of “Rocky Top” by the Osborne Brothers played, immediately followed with a recording of The Pride of the Southland band playing the football team’s version. The deck, which provided the dance floor, was shaking because of the excitement the guests had during this joyous, classic Tennessee moment. When the sun went down, in case guests were not staying warm with our open bar services or the dance floor, we provided couches around fire pits for them to sit and relax at, snuggling up with their dates or families under handmade quilts from generations of my family.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Austin and I met in one of the most unique ways. Austin was browsing Instagram and decided to search for photos under the hashtag #Dexter, because the series finale was set to air that week. The first photo that popped up was a photo of a young, bubbly, wide-eyed girl named Holly (that’s me!) who was super stoked about the series finale. He liked my photo…and maybe one or two more. I liked a photo of him. He followed me. I followed him. After a month or two of casual liking of photos and commenting, I decided to make sure he was a real person! No one wants to be “catfished,” so I added Austin on Facebook. He approved my friend request and our messaging continued. After a week or two of messaging and texting, Austin wanted to call me. I, however, did not want my illusion of the perfect man to be broken, so every time he called, I made up excuses of having too much homework, being at work, or being on the phone with someone else. The reality: I was at home by myself watching Netflix. :) Finally, on Christmas Eve, I answered a phone call from him. We ended up talking for hours that night and I have not gone a day since without talking to him. In January, when I had a date function to attend, I asked Austin, sure he wouldn’t drive ten hours to go to with me. To my surprise, he decided to drive up and meet me in person for the first time! We dated long distance for about four months before I moved down to Florida for a summer to get to know his family a little more. After the summer ended, Austin moved up to Tennessee to be closer to my family and me as I finished up college. The summer after college, I was accepted for an internship position in Orlando, Florida. This was my last move to Florida as a single lady.
Tell us all about the proposal! Before I moved to Florida for my summer internship, I took a week off work to go visit Austin and figure out where I would live for the summer. That Friday, Austin surprised me with tickets to see the Pentatonix (my favorite music band!) in Atlanta the next day! We drove eight hours to Atlanta early that morning. That night, he told me he wanted to go out to a nice dinner. We had a great time, and when we were going back to the car, he said, “I need you to put this bandana on to cover your eyes, or I need your promise to not look.” I chose the bandana, now knowing something was up. Austin drove me around the long way to my house, led me out of the car, and said, “Open your eyes.” He had filled the barn in my backyard with hanging lights, salt lamps, and pictures of us. I immediately started crying as he led me to a seat with an iPad and some speakers and told me to watch a video. It was a 20-minute video of all of my friends and family telling me how excited they were I was getting married!! At the end of the movie, it said, “Turn Around,” and there was Austin, on his knee. He told me he didn’t know what the future held, but that he wanted it to be with me. He said, “Will you marry me?” and I jumped into his arms and said “Heck yes!” He then pointed out that he had a photographer who had been taking pictures of the entire thing, along with a video recorder recording everything! When we walked back into my house to tell my family, all I heard was “SURPRISE!” Austin had gotten all of my family and close friends to come to the house to participate in an engagement party.
When did y’all get married? October 17, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Approximately 200
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We enjoyed our special dances for each other. My father-daughter dance was filled with special memories my dad and I shared–the medley included, “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble,” “Come On, Feel the Noise,” “Night at the Roxbury,” “Eye of the Tiger,” “Gullah Gullah Island,” and “My Girl.” It ended with a sweet song for my dad and I to dance to normally, “Edelweiss.” Austin surprised me later in the evening with a “boy band dance tribute to my musical preferences through the ages.” This included “It’s Gonna Be Me” by NSYNC for the boy band phase, then “Beautiful Soul” by Jesse McCartney for the boy phase, a Blink 182 song for the punk rock/dating age phase, “Can’t Touch This” for the daddy patrol phase, “Single Ladies” for my college/single life phase, “O Babbino Caro” for my opera singer phase, and finally, the “Disney Dudez” version of “Let it Go” for the “let it go and date Austin” phase. Austin was accompanied by four of his groomsman for a synchronized dance.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We met with both a marriage counselor and our pastor at least every other week. We have always heard that marriage is tough, and we know we are both different, so we faced the challenges head on. It has been so great to step into this beautiful relationship with the tools to create a lasting marriage!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We’re looking forward to just spending the next phase of life together. I’ll continue to grow my music teaching business and Austin is planning on going to graduate school. Most importantly, no matter what happens in life, we’ll have each other for support.

Photographer: Aislinn Bailey | Videographer: Viola Cinematics | Planner: Amanda Graves of Southern Bliss | Ceremony Venue: Second Presbyterian Church of Knoxville | Reception Venue: Swann Plantation | Florist: Sassafras | Cake Baker: Cheryl McMillian Cake Design | Caterer: Luxe | Rentals: Campbell Rentals and Tents | DJ: Premier Party Machine | Paper Products: The Happy Envelope | Bride’s Gown and Accessories: David’s Bridal | Hair and Makeup: Porsha Kimble Adams | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Aislinn Bailey reply

    We are always so thrilled to see our work published, but having it on Southern Weddings is a dream come true. Thank you!

  2. avatar Faith reply

    Such a sweet story!! Congrats to the newlyweds!

  3. avatar Amanda Graves reply

    Thank you so much for featuring/publishing Holly and Austins wedding!! We are beyond thrilled!

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