I’m pretty convinced that at Southern Weddings, we get to feature the sweetest couples in the South–not only because they do such a beautiful job planning their weddings, but also because of the heart and intention they pour into their big days. Alex and Cole are a perfect example of this, and I had so much fun poring over the details they shared with us in their interview! These elementary school friends-turned-high school sweethearts have an adorable love story, a huge heart for the South, and style for days (can we call that the trifecta?), so it’s an honor and a delight to share the day they became husband and wife at Magnolia Plantation today!
We’re so glad Landon Jacob Photography was on hand to capture every magical moment!
Cole and I decided we wanted to get married in Charleston pretty soon after we got engaged. Charleston has always held a special place in my heart. My family has owned a small beach cottage on Isle of Palms since I was a little girl. I have some of my fondest memories with family and friends in our sweet home. Once Cole and I began dating, he started coming along with us on random trips, which ended up including each summer for July 4th. It became a really fun tradition that we both looked forward to each year! Once we began looking at venues, I immediately was drawn to the idea of a beautiful plantation wedding. I grew up going to Easter sunrise service at a plantation in Charleston and have always loved the aesthetic and beauty there. I called Magnolia after falling in love with their website, and they had one Saturday left! My mom, being the greatest momma in the world, drove to the plantation without me, toured the property, FaceTimed me, and booked the venue right then and there! A few months later, we both went back and walked through it again and I knew it was a perfect fit!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I was so anxious about finding my wedding dress! I set up an appointment at Alexa’s Bridal in Raleigh for a Saturday in July. I had my mom, both of my sweet grandmas, and my mother-in-law with me. I began trying on very simple, spaghetti strap dresses. They were gorgeous, but I just didn’t feel like a bride when I had any of them on. I was a bit discouraged, but my sweet stylist was so encouraging and walked through the store with me. That is when I found a perfectly timeless and Southern detailed dress. From the quarter-length sleeves to the bow around the waist, and even the beautiful ivory material, it was exactly what I wanted! Even more, I loved that Cole would never expect me to wear something like it, but I knew he would absolutely love it! It only took me six dresses and about 45 minutes to find the perfect one for me!
I absolutely adore flowers–I swoon at the sight of them no matter where I am! I really wanted bright, bold pinks and a touch of maroon with some elongated, whimsical, flowing pieces. I wanted my bouquet to be big! I was torn on what to do for my bridesmaids, but went with small bouquets for them, which I ended up loving! And even more, my honorary bridesmaids held one big peony with ribbon! It was gorgeous! I decided to add ivory ribbon to the bouquets to add some more texture against the dresses and the bouquets, and I loved the look.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look on our wedding day! Cole really wanted to do one from the beginning but I was a little more torn at first. I had always dreamed about the moment I would walk down the aisle and Cole would get to see me for the first time in my wedding dress. I was afraid doing a first look would take some of that “magical” element away. I was SO wrong! We decided to do a first look for a few reasons. First, to help calm any nerves we may be feeling. Second, to have some time to ourselves where we could enjoy each other and soak in the fact that it was finally our wedding day! Third, we recognized that it didn’t matter where we were in that moment because it was going to be the most magical part of the day. We decided we really wanted that special time to be between just the two of us. It was such a blessing! On our day, I was nervous! Cole was the only person I wanted to see and get a big hug from, right before we committed to years of love, laughter, hardships, and memories in front of all of our closest family and friends. I am so thankful for that time during our first look on our wedding day and would not change it for the world!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows! That was something that was extremely important to Cole and me. We really wanted our vows to be personal to us. They were short and sweet, but by far the sweetest part of the service! One of Cole’s vows was, “Sharing my life with you has brought down the walls I took so long to build, and you have transformed my heart in a way only true love can comprehend.” And mine was, “I pray the Lord will teach me to love you without condition, remind me to honor and support you always, encourage me to challenge you and to be a listening ear.”
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. When it came time to pick out our wedding music, Cole gave me full rein on choosing, so I began googling and searching for music to use. I wanted to find songs that were meaningful to Cole and me, but also to our families and friends. Our ceremony was such a special, spiritual, and emotional time, and I wanted the music to reflect that. I chose four songs because the words meant so much to me and said much more than I could say that day. First, I have such a “Good, Good Father” for giving me my family. They have shaped me and made me into the person I am today. Next, I picked “O, Come to the Altar” for our bridal party processional not only because Cole and I were walking up to the altar, but also because our friends were too. They were there to support us in making this amazing covenant. Third, I chose “Jesus I Come” to play while I walked down the aisle to my sweet Cole because I felt those words in my soul. It was so important that Jesus was, and is, the center of our marriage, and I wanted every moment, but especially the moment before my precious daddy gave me away, to shine with His love. Last, I picked “I’ve Always Loved You” because Jesus knew Cole and me long before we knew each other and had this incredible day planned for us long before we could have ever fathomed it. Knowing that and how much He loves us was the greatest gift He could ever have given us. Cole picked out our first dance song, which was so special to me! He was so sure he wanted our song to be Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” so that is exactly what we danced to! It was perfect.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I think the biggest Southern detail was the wedding being in Charleston. The moss-covered trees, the river, and the gorgeous plantation are exactly what I envision when I think of the South! My other favorite detail that was subtly included in most of my wedding was a pineapple. I had the pineapple on our wedding invitations and in a lot of our table decor, including the centerpieces. Lastly, I had to have monogram! I was so excited about my new monogram, so I put it on my Jack Rogers that I wore for our wedding. It was a perfectly subtle detail!
I went super simple for our wedding cake! I fell in love with some handmade flamingos as cake toppers, so I went with a three-tier, traditional white buttercream cake with striped frosting. The flamingos were super fun, so I wanted those to be the center of attention! I then did two non-traditional one-tier cakes on either side of the main one (to have more flavor options, because who doesn’t love cake?). These had flowers on the top of them. I loved the aesthetic of the height differences and the pops of color!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Cole and I have known each other since first grade at Wesleyan Christian Academy. It seems we always had crushes on each other. One of my favorite things to do is look through my elementary school diary and see his name pop up every once in a while! In third grade, Cole gave me a valentine asking if I would be his girlfriend (I still have it!). We became best friends in eighth grade and started dating after he asked me to homecoming our freshman year of high school. We have had the privilege of growing up together and it has been the most exciting adventure! I would never trade falling in love through the awkward stages and getting to know each other so closely over these past eight years. It has been the sweetest experience and we feel so blessed that the Lord has put us on this awesome journey together!
Tell us all about the proposal! From Alex: My sweet Cole got an awesome internship at Idaho National Lab near Idaho Falls, Idaho for 13 weeks over the summer. I had a job in Greensboro and the flights to and from Idaho were expensive, so we didn’t think we would be able to see each other at all. Luckily, my aunt, uncle, and cousins were headed to Pray, Montana and brought me along! On June 13, 2015, Cole insisted that I go hiking with him. After a few hours, as we began packing up, Cole reached down to put the supplies into his bag, and when he turned back around, he had the most beautiful ring on his pinky finger. I think I did a double take three times before realizing what it was because I was so shocked! I could hardly believe it! I was so excited! Cole got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. I was elated with joy and immediately said YES to forever with the guy I had been loving for almost seven years!! From Cole: I was beyond ready to get out to Idaho for a summer internship that I hoped would be full of learning, outdoor adventure, and overwhelming experiences. At the same time, I was trying to figure out how in the world I am going to propose to Alex in the timeframe I had planned in my head so long ago. It was almost time to head across the country, and I still hadn’t asked Ricky for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Of course, Alex was utterly convinced that I would have to wait until I returned home at the end of the summer. In a moment of desperation, I realized I could just stop through Charlotte on my way out of the state to speak with Ricky and Kelly. After a few weeks in Idaho, I was as ready as ever to give the rest of my life to Alex when she came to visit in Montana. I will never forget the day I got down on one knee in front of her. I’d never seen someone so elated. I had managed to surprise her against all odds! I could not have been happier!
When did y’all get married? May 29, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Cole and I had the privilege of being engaged between our junior and senior years of college. Call us crazy! I was in Winston-Salem at Wake Forest and Cole was in Raleigh at NC State. Luckily, the process of planning our wedding became prep for planning our marriage. It takes sacrifice, communication, and lots of meeting in the middle (literally and figuratively!). The biggest part of planning our marriage was making premarital counseling with our pastor a priority. Cole had a very rigorous schedule at school and our pastor was in Greensboro, but we both agreed that it was a priority for both of us. We spent about three hours one Saturday with our pastor and his wife, and it was one of the most life-giving, fun-filled learning experiences for both of us!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Jessica Rourke. My wedding planner was the sweetest! She was organized, calm and reassuring, and always there when I needed help or had a question. The day of my wedding, there was supposed to be a hurricane and I was so nervous! Jessica found a tent, had plans A, B, C, and D, and was ready to go! She called me and reassured me how wonderful everything was going to be, and that was the most precious gift she could have ever given me. I am beyond grateful for her and for her heart. The Lord blessed me in so many ways when crossing our paths! I also absolutely adored working with Jessica of Simply Jessica Marie on our paper goods! They were one of my favorite elements. I went a bit non-traditional and had so much fun dreaming up different ideas and pieces with her. The best part of working with her was becoming friends along the way! I can’t wait to hang our invitations in our new home!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Soak it all in. It is hard to explain how special of a time engagement is. It goes by so fast! Most of all, stay organized! I have helped coordinate a handful of weddings and even considered planning mine myself, but I can’t stress enough how much I recommend a wedding planner, even if it is just a day-of coordinator. I was still just as involved in the design planning, but I had organizational and logistical help that would have been a lot of work for me, especially on my wedding day.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are living in Raleigh and absolutely loving it! I am working at Baker Roofing Company and assisting coordination with Gather Together Events on some weekends. Cole is getting his PhD in Nuclear Engineering at NC State. We just moved into our first home and it is a dream! I am so looking forward to starting new family traditions. We want to start traditions now that we can continue once we have our own kids one day. We also absolutely adore traveling and can’t wait to start planning our next big adventure!
Photographer: Landon Jacob Photography | Videographer: Almond Leaf Studios | Planner: Jessica Rourke | Venue: Magnolia Plantation and Gardens | Florist: Fern Studio | Wedding Cake: DeClare Cakes | Caterer: Beyond Expectations | Rentals and Lighting: Ooh! Events | Band: 17 South Band | Paper Products: Simply Jessica Marie | Bride’s Gown: Rosa Clara Bridal | Hair and Makeup: Lashes and Lace | Bride’s Shoes: Jack Rogers | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “The V-Neck Cinch Gown” in Azalea by Natalie Deayala | Groom’s Attire: Liles Clothing Studio | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux