Southern Weddings

A girl after my own heart, Jennifer has a strong love for her family and anything with old Southern charm. Oh, and magnolias and monograms, so we’re basically already besties! We’re also in agreement that Southern summers are too hot, and fall is for football, so a sweet springtime wedding it was!

With 80% of their 300+ guest list traveling into Greenville for their wedding weekend, together with their families Jennifer and Matt threw a weekend-long adventure that she describes as “joyous, exciting, classic, and timeless!” From the welcome cocktails and dessert with a view of the Greenville skyline for out-of-towners to the bridesmaid luncheon on her great-grandmother’s china and my personal favorite, “Bullets & BBQ” for the groomsmen (!), Jennifer and Matt made each and every guest feel special, welcomed, and fully introduced to the South that they love throughout their wedding weekend!

Big hugs to Olivia Griffin for sending along this beautiful day!

Finding my wedding dress was such a wonderful and special weekend with my mother. Since I now live in Cincinnati, OH, we decided for her to fly up for a fun-filled weekend full of champagne, silk, lace, tears, and tons of laughter. We had appointments at the top bridal boutiques in the area and we saved the best for last at Hyde Park Bridal. Amanda and Madison gave us the ultimate mother-daughter bridal experience in their beautiful boutique full of beautiful dresses and such an unbeatable atmosphere. I was very open to different styles but had it slightly narrowed down with this being our final appointment. We tried on several dresses and quickly determined which one was perfect for me! That is right when my mother recommended a final dress that was a little different from the others. I was hesitant at first glance, but once I put it on, it was truly love at first sight for both of us (that is also when we realized I was going to have TWO wedding dresses) and I think that ended up being the perfect decision for us. I am still so in love with my dresses and couldn’t be more pleased with how classic and elegant I felt on my wedding day.

Our florist Greg Foster was a dream to work with throughout the entire wedding process. We had a very clear vision that he was able to bring to life in the most perfect execution. I had dreams of magnolia leaves, peony bulbs, cymbidium orchids with accents of greenery, David Austin roses, lots of draping leaves, exquisite swag, and so much garland. We had highs, lows, swags, garland, and large specialty arrangements, but one of my most favorite pieces was on and around our main boxwood hedge wall situated behind our main bar area. The hedge wall was topped with thick beautiful arrangements highlighting the whites and greens of a truly unique and elegant visual. It was our exact vision brought to reality.

Our story all began in a wonderful place called Clemson, South Carolina. More specifically, Clemson University, where we both attended college. We were both very active in extracurriculars and Greek life at Clemson. In fact, it was my friend and sorority sister that first introduced us when we were blindly set up for my freshman year sorority semi-formal during the fall of 2009. What came next was truly something special. Dances, dates, tailgates, and everything in between, we began to grow and build the relationship that has lead us along this wonderful path to marriage.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look. Although we had several discussions about the convenience and timeliness of a first look, ultimately, we wanted to cherish the live moments of our day together. Matt felt strongly about seeing me for the first time walking down the aisle towards him on our wedding day, in the truest and most traditional sense of our moment. We are so pleased with our decision and we will hold those special moments dear in our hearts forever.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We absolutely loved our wedding weekend and how we were able to incorporate some of the most beautiful Southern highlights that Greenville has to offer. I grew up in the area, and through the years Matt and I were in school together, we were able to see Greenville transform into such a special city. We spent many dates including our first Valentine’s Day in Greenville, and it really hit home to be able to share those wonderful memories and charming venues with all of our friends and family.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Personally, I believe that our wedding cake was and is the most beautiful, classic, and perfect wedding cake that I have ever seen. Kathy at Kathy and Company is the sweetest (pun intended) and most talented baker. I was able to sketch out our vision and she created our absolute dream cake. It was four tiers, each a different flavor: almond with almond amaretto filling, white chocolate caramel apple with apple spice filling, chocolate with Reese peanut butter filling, and red velvet with cream cheese filling. YUM. Each layer alternated with buttercream frosting and white chocolate fondant. Two of the layers had raised fondant French dots (to match my veil) that she hand-painted in gold, as well as the painted skinny gold bands around each layer. The cake also had three large stunning sugar magnolia blooms with gorgeous green leaves with touches of gold that looked so lifelike and perfect. To top off all of Kathy’s amazing artistry, we had a custom wooden cake topper of our wedding logo and all of its intricate golden details created by a good friend at Grainwell in Covington, KY. Our cake really did encompass some of my most favorite Southern elements and details all in one.

Tell us all about the proposal! Matt did it. He somehow found a way to surprise me, a feat of its own. Our whole “plan,” because we all know that I love a good plan, was to get engaged after Matt took his bar exam at the end of July that year. I had outfits waiting and nail appointments booked to be fully prepared for August – and that was the kicker. I had absolutely no idea that Matt had been plotting for months ahead and would jump the gun and pop the question early. So, the weekend of June 19-21, while Matt was “supposed to be” buried in his studies for the bar, I headed down to South Carolina for Father’s Day. While I was there, I may or may not have had several meetings booked to meet with some potential photographers that we already liked so that we were fully prepared for the “plan” in August. Well, one of the photographers had to reschedule the day before due to her “babysitter backing out on her” and requested that we meet her quickly in Clemson before she did a different engagement session. I was not pleased, to say the least. My mother and I went to our other meetings, did some shopping, and had lunch all before heading to our meeting in Clemson. I later found out that behind the scenes, Matt, his mom, and my mom were all freaking out. I ended up loving that photographer, Olivia Griffin, and as we were wrapping up our meeting, Olivia asked if we would like to see her in action as she photographed this other couple. I hesitated thinking that it may be awkward, but my mother quickly piped up that it would be fun. So I reluctantly agreed and we were instructed to meet the photographer at the President’s Rotunda on Clemson’s campus. We proceeded to head in that direction in 99-degree weather. We park and are walking down the sidewalk to the rotunda when my mother claims to have forgotten something in the car. I quickly scold her that I am absolutely not walking up on this random couple alone and kept my mother tightly by my side. Just seconds later, we round the corner and there he is – Matt is standing in the center of the rotunda. I am in complete shock as I drop down to my knees and immediately start crying. Matt was supposed to be studying in Ohio, yet here he was in South Carolina standing right there. Still crying, Matt now has me in his arms as he reminds me of the sweet meaning that the rotunda represents: a lifetime of love and happiness for Clemson alumni. He continues with all the warm fuzzies of asking me to spend forever with him while getting down on one knee. Through lots of tears, joy, kisses, and some shaking, we’re 99% sure that I said yes! Moments later, Matt leans me back and says that some people came to celebrate with us… from behind the columns, my teary-eyed dad and mom and Matt’s parents in from Ohio all appear, and I naturally drop again to my crying position that was so popular this day. We all celebrated together while the photographer was capturing everything on camera. We continued the celebrations at the Esso Club, a famous Clemson bar, where again, Matt had organized another surprise. He was feeling pretty good about what my answer would be and so he had the Esso Club place “Congrats Matt & Jennifer, she said yes!” on their sign. Needless to say, the celebrations continued throughout that night.
When did y’all get married? Saturday April 23, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 320
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: With a wedding so jam-packed full of details that are so near and dear to our hearts, it would be impossible to pick just one. Our most favorite detail would have to be the implementation of so many details that, when combined, turned out to be one of the best days of our lives.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! We are very sentimental people and incorporating special elements was an important priority to both of us, so we had several of each. My something borrowed was my great-grandmother’s delicate opal ring (my grandmother’s name is Opal) that I wore on my right hand. My something blue for the ceremony was one of the most touching surprises of the day. My grandparents hand-sew these incredible cathedral quilts and my all-time favorite quilt of theirs is a blue and white chinoiserie pattern. Prior to the wedding day, my mother and my grandmother were able to stitch in one of the blue and white quilted squares inside my gown that triggered all of the waterworks when I spotted it while getting dressed. For the reception, I wore the royal blue Manolo Blahnik ballet flats that I absolutely adore (and that I also had to condition my husband and father that I had my wedding shoes picked out before I picked out my groom and that they were a priority). My something old was the necklace gifted to me that morning from my parents. They had my mother’s original diamond engagement ring setting transitioned into a charm on a simple gold chain necklace. My mother put that around my neck and it has not come off since my wedding day. I am constantly reminded of the growing love of my parents that this charm symbolizes, and having it close to my heart every day is one of those simple things in life that will forever be cherished. I was also able to incorporate my great-great-grandmother’s monogrammed handkerchief that my grandparents gifted to me on my wedding day as another special something old. For my something new, my parents gave me beautiful pearl and diamond earrings to wear that day, and they were just perfect.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? A sweet Southern spring wedding was always a dream. In the South, as you know, the summers are too hot, the falls are for football, and the winters are just okay…we knew we wanted a beautiful South Carolina Southern wedding from the start. I think we really focused on what is important to us and wanted to portray that in a way that reflected our relationship throughout the entire wedding weekend. We had a lot of emphasis on family history, heirlooms, classic white elegance throughout, and true traditions to celebrate our love with all of our most favorite friends and family. From personally drawing our magnolia wedding logo to the beautiful white columns upon the grand stairs of our church, to the hand stitched veil my momma made me, and all the way to the late night country ham Bojangles biscuits. We tried to incorporate some very meaningful details that created a joyous, exciting, classic, and timeless weekend-long adventure. One of my most favorite Southern elements was our favor. I drove down to my grandparents’ house in Georgia for the weekend. With the help of my mother and my mamaw and papaw, we made 300 jars of strawberry preserves from scratch with lots of love and a few arm cramps. We had such a wonderful time making these favors from my great-grandma Dailey’s original canning recipe. My great-grandma Dailey was well known across the GA, NC and SC farmer’s markets for these preserves. We were so thankful for everyone being a part of our special day that we wanted to continue to spread the love by sharing in this special family recipe! Our favor table included a photo of all of us in matching aprons in the kitchen making all of the jam, and it was just such a great experience that I will forever hold dear to my heart! You may be starting to see a theme – I love old Southern charm. All of the beautiful unique gold and crystal bowls, servers, and stands that were used throughout the reception were family antiques directly from my grandparents’ home. I have a deep appreciation for the elegant details and history of these items. Some of the items I had admired since I was a child so for us to be allowed to use those on such a special day meant the world to us! Thanks mamaw and papaw! In true Southern form, we fully embraced the classic monogram. Monogrammed ice sculptures, suspenders, matchbooks, welcome bags, frosted cups, wax seals, flower girl dresses, gold tux buttons, koozies…you name it, it was probably monogrammed.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? While planning our wedding, we tried to constantly reflect and take time to enjoy each moment together. It is very easy to get caught up in the lists and stresses of planning a wedding, especially one that takes place 7 hours away. I think being aware of that going into the process enabled us to find the excitement and joy in each situation and to learn from those challenging moments. We learned more about important values and long term goals that will carry us into a long and happy marriage together.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge we overcame while planning our wedding was the distance to South Carolina. I am a very hands-on planner who likes to see, touch, and feel things, so living 7 hours away was a little hard for me at times. Fortunately, I was blessed with an amazing momma as well as a phenomenal planner, Amanda Cox, who lived right in town. They were my eyes, ears, and hands for so much and I could not be more grateful for their love, support, and soothing phone calls that brought our fairy tale wedding to life!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? More than $100,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? One way that we were able to cut cost for our wedding was in the design/crafting area of the budget. I was blessed with some of my momma’s artistic ability that proved very helpful (and fun) in planning our wedding. I drew and designed our wedding logo, digitally laid out our programs, did all of our wax seals, created the signage and sign calligraphy, and more – all things that would have significantly added up on design sites and specialty boutiques. I thoroughly enjoyed letting my creative juices flow and saving my daddy some money in the process!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? One of the most memorable moments of our wedding day was reading the letters that we wrote to each other. As we were in separate locations, our wedding planner delivered our letters to us. We didn’t really set expectations on what the letters were or what they were supposed to be, and what each of us got was so beautiful. In the middle of the hustle and bustle of all things wedding day, it was such a peaceful and heartfelt moment to separate from each of our groups, sit down in a quiet room, and read each other’s thoughts, prayers, and emotions on our wedding day. It was a moment of true feelings, an outpouring of love and of excitement and tears. It was a moment that we will each remember forever.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? The most simple advice that we can pass along to the next couple is to have fun and take deep breaths, to make lists and to laugh, cry, and cheers to all of the moments and experiences that will lead to one beautiful ceremony, one fabulous celebration, and ultimately to the rest of your happily married lives together… (and to use the Southern Weddings Planner from day 1)!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We’re looking forward to enjoying the newlywed life. We are excited about moving forward with purchasing our first home and pretending to be like Chip and Joanna. We are most looking forward to enjoying the small things and cherishing each moment together.

Photographer: Olivia Griffin | Videographer: Carlisle Videography | Planner: Amanda Cox Weddings | Ceremony Venue: Grace Church | Reception Venue and Catering: The Westin Poinsett | Florist: Greg Foster Florist | Wedding Cake: Kathy and Company | Cake Topper: Grainwell | Rentals: Professional Party Rentals, Industry Event Rentals, and All Occasions Event Rental | Lighting: Professional Party Rentals | Band: Ascension via East Coast Entertainment | Personalized Marriage Certificate: The Southern Weddings Shop | Guest Book: Blue Sky Papers | Paper Products: Designs by Dawson | Calligraphy: Calligraphy By Kim | Velvet Ribbon: Creative Trims | Wax Seal and Wax: Back to Zero and Nostalgic Impressions | Vintage Stamps: Magnolia Tree Stamp from Mystic Stamp Company | Bride’s Ceremony Gown and Veil: Custom by Paloma Blanca | Bride’s Reception Gown: Style 2357 by Tara Keely | Bridal Salon: Amanda’s Hyde Park Bridal | Hair and Makeup: Cotton Rouge and Company | Lashes: Verb Beauty Studio | Bride’s Ceremony Shoes: So Kate Pump by Christian Louboutin | Bride’s Reception Shoes: Hangisiflat by Manolo Blahnik | Wedding Rings: The Richter and Phillips Co. | Ring Box: The Mrs Box | Bride’s Clutch: Monogram Goods | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Emily” in Cement Shantung by LulaKate from Bella Bridesmaids | Men’s Attire: M. H. Frank Ltd.

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marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Erin, Attention to Darling reply

    Such a gorgeous and classic wedding! I had the pleasure of working with Jennifer when I lived in Greenville and it doesn’t surprise me that she pulled off an event so perfect and stunning! Congrats!

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