Hello, ladies! I am SO excited to introduce you to our first Southern Bride of the Month for 2013! I know after reading just a few sentences of her interview you will fall as in love with spunky, sassy, and oh so Southern Sarah Jane as I have. In fact, she reminds me a bit of our dear Marissa — just sub in the Kentucky references for Alabama ones :) Please enjoy!
Hi! What’s your name?
Sarah Jane Boyson
What’s your fiance’s name?
Brad Calvert, or Emmett Bradford when he’s in trouble :)
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
We met at one of our favorite local restaurants which was hosting a benefit for autism. I had a girlfriend visiting from Southern California, and Brad was there with one of his buddies who I’ve known for years because we work in the same industry. Jason stopped by our table to say hello, and immediately hit it off with my friend! As a result, we were thrown together for the remainder of the weekend, and by the time it was over, Brad and I had fallen hook line and sinker! We’ve been blissfully together ever since, and still marvel that we never met before that night, as Lexington is such a small town, and we know so many of the same people. God’s timing is such perfection!
Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
Brad is a die-hard UK Wildcat fan, and I bleed Volunteer Orange! The UK/UT football game always takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and when it’s a home game for Kentucky, our tradition is to go to the game together. He patiently takes relentless punishment from his friends for walking into the stadium with me, as I wear so much orange that you could probably see me from space! I also can and do sing every verse of Rocky Top whenever the appropriate occasion arises (Brad would say that is never). 2011 was the magic year for the Wildcats, and they won the matchup with Tennessee for the first time in 27 years. He proposed that weekend – I’m still trying to decide whether he wanted to commemorate their historic win, or balance what he knew would be a tough loss for me with a wonderful memory! I’m choosing to go with the latter :)
When’s the big day?
May 19, 2013!!! I seriously am incapable of typing that date without multiple exclamation points, I am so excited. Even though we got engaged in November of 2011, a May wedding date was utterly non-negotiable. Peonies are my favorite flower/obsession, and I was willing to wait any amount of time to have the Big Day when they’re plentiful. I felt a little squeamish about pulling off the wedding in just 6 months, so we elected to pull the trigger for 2013. Actually, it’s been one of the decisions that I’ve been most grateful for, as we’ve been able to take the planning process in bite sized pieces and really enjoy just being engaged.
Ohhh peonies… from top to bottom, photos by Gabe Aceves via Southern Weddings, Adam Barnes via Southern Weddings, Charlotte Jenks Lewis via 100 Layer Cake, Jonathan Canlas via Southern Weddings, Cyn Kain via Southern Weddings, Corbin Gurkin via Style Me Pretty, and 13:13 Photography via Southern Weddings
Where might you two be tying the knot?
The first thing Brad said when we started talking “wedding”, was that he’d like to say his vows with sand in his toes. Weather permitting, the ceremony will take place on the sugar white sands of Carillon Beach, just off 30A in the Florida Panhandle. One of the things I love most about this venue is that it requires so little in the form of decoration. Because the sand and water are so spectacular, additional decor becomes merely gilding the lily. White benches and crepe myrtle branches for an alter are all it will take. The wonderful thing is that frees up additional budget to use elsewhere! Just don’t ask my Daddy how he feels about going barefoot, he is appalled. Mama has already activated the prayer chain for perfect weather, so I have no worries on that score… I swear, that woman has a direct line!!
Paul Johnson Photography from an SW Carillon wedding
How did you pick your ceremony and reception venues? What do you love most about each space?
I knew we would pick one of the communities on 30A for the ceremony and reception, but Carillon was the runaway pick! Mama, Brad’s mom Vi, my sister/best friend/matron of honor, and two of our close friends made the trip to Florida to find the perfect place. All it took was just one look at the Carillon Meeting House, with it’s whitewashed feel, exposed beams, and indoor merged with outdoor space and we were goners! I don’t think you could easily get the six of us to agree on what to put on a pizza, but Carillon was unanimous. The inclusion of darling Avis Glenister as wedding planner was the ultimate cherry on the sundae!! There isn’t much I haven’t relied on her to do, including sneaking out to the ceremony site on April 19 to bury the bourbon! Girls, she is a trooper!
The Carillon beach walkover (photo by Rae Leytham)
Tell us a little bit about the wedding you’re planning: style, theme, feel, colors?
From the beginning, we wanted our day to be very intimate, fun, and memorable. We want it to reflect who we are as a couple, but also be the kind of classic affair that will stand the test of time. The colors are inspired by the “Emerald Coast” in the minutes just before sunset, the pale blues and greens of the water, the shimmer and taupes of the sand, and the faint pinks and washed out fuchsias of the pre-sunset sky. The bridesmaids will be in long Amsale chiffon dresses in the palest blush color, and the guys will rock khaki suits. The palette will be carried throughout the reception, with a mix of modern vintage, mercury glass, and distressed/driftwood elements. I love contrasts in both texture and formality, so there will be plenty of that. One of the things I’m most excited about are the cocktail tables next to the outdoor dance floor with petal covered linens that will be lit from underneath, giving them an ethereal glow as the sun sets (thank you, Pinterest!)
Sarah Jane’s cocktail table inspiration, via Brides of Oklahoma (photo by Chris Humphrey)
How have you involved your “community” in the wedding planning process?
I honestly had no idea how many unbelievably gifted women I have in my life until I started planning the wedding! It came as no surprise that my sister Melia would be the number one resource for ideas and inspiration, she is known far and wide for her impeccable taste and talent for all things aesthetic. My friend Kristy Yowell is the graphic designer for Cardinal & Straw fine paper goods, and she has put together a paper suite for us that is nothing short of stunning! Mama has perfected the use of the phrases “that sounds wonderful” and “let’s do it”. I don’t know what I would do without her in my cheering section!
Sarah Jane and Brad’s pretty in pink save the date by Cardinal & Straw
Which part of your wedding have you been most intentional about planning?
From moment one, photography was my number one priority! Brad and I had visited 30A for vacation the year before we were engaged, and I came across an absolutely gorgeous photo taken by Genya Garrett of Vue Photography while we were there. When I got home, I googled her, and stumbled upon her blog. Adjectives fail me when I try to talk about her images, they are just indescribably beautiful!!! Knowing that no other would do, I got in touch with her the day after I got the ring! Seriously, I would have scheduled our wedding for a Tuesday, if that were the only day she was available. From her first exuberant e-mail, I was convinced that we would be fast friends.
Tell us about the one that got away. Is there one dream thing or vendor you wish you could have fit into your budget?
We are both crazy about fireworks and would have loved to have a display at the conclusion of the reception, but we soon realized that due to the zoning restrictions at our venue we would have to have them set up in some sort of raft out in the ocean! Needless to say, that one didn’t make the cut!
Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go? What will you be wearing on the big day?
Omigosh, I LOVE LOVE my wedding gown! On our way down to Florida to select the venue, we stopped in at Joan Pillow in Atlanta to do a little browsing. For a couple of years now, I’ve been crushing on Monique Lhuillier’s incredible confections, and I fell equally in love with two of her gowns that day! Not only two different dresses, but two which could not have been more different in fabric, silhouette, and vibe!! Susan, the world’s best consultant, told me to go on down and select the venue, and I’d immediately know which one to choose. We went on our way, nailed down venue etc., and I was still completely torn between them! I waited as long as I could to schedule a return visit, just hoping time would help me make up my mind, but had made no progress by the order deadline so we packed up and headed back to the ATL. Mama, Brad’s mom, and my sister/MOH piled into the car, and both of my sweet bridesmaids made the trip (one of them flew down from NYC and back in the same day, just to be there for me!) Y’know what’s funny? When I finally got both dresses back on my body, it wasn’t even close! As soon as I saw “the one” hanging in the fitting room, I got giddy!
Amsale bridesmaid dresses by Divine Light Photography, including the exact designs Sarah Jane’s ‘maids chose!
What do you love most about Southern weddings?
Pretty much everything! As a rule, I adore everything remotely Southern, and will forever hold the opinion that nobody does weddings and parties better than the South! We can’t wait to incorporate some of our favorite Southern details into our day… We’re topping the salad with fried okra instead of croutons. We’ve also decided to bury a bottle of bourbon (a tradition that I first read about on Southern Weddings) and we’re adding touches of cotton to the arrangements and bouquets. Because we’re choosing to tie the knot outside of our “old Kentucky home” state, we’ve really worked to add a few details that remind us of where we come from. We’re doing a Kentucky-themed cocktail hour, with mini hot browns, cheese straws, benedictine and, of course, bourbon! Vineyard Vines has perfect ties for the guys and dads – they have both horseshoes and mint julep cups! Of course, the opportunity to take the next big step in our lives with God’s blessing, surrounded by our nearest and dearest amid all their love and affection is truly the ultimate Southern tradition!
Do you have a favorite Etsy or independent store you’d love to tell us about?
I’ve got to take the opportunity here to make a shameless plug for one of my incredibly talented friends! I just happen to be lucky enough to have met the owner/designer/creative genius behind the children’s clothing line a La Modish. All of her designs are based on vintage children’s clothing patterns from the 50s and 60s, which she then pairs with wonderful, unexpected fabric combinations. She has somehow agreed (it might be because of all the begging) to custom design dresses for my flower girls. She has just begun to design a line of the most adorable infant peep toe slingbacks – I kid you not, I die!
An a la Modish design! (Photo by Erin Roth)
Tell us about planning with your fiance.
Brad is an absolute gem to deal with… he DOES have his opinions, but generally tells me to choose exactly what I would like. I have a feeling he goes this route because it saves him the lengthy sales pitch that he would inevitably get, and end up capitulating anyway. He did draw the line at wearing seersucker, and I know when to pick my battles! Fortunately, Daddy stepped up to be the seersucker standard bearer, as I’m not at all sure we qualify as a Southern wedding with it absent!
What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
I’m looking forward to every single solitary second! This sounds kind of cheeseball, but even though I’m neck deep in all the specifics and details of the day, what gives me the most happiness and serenity is that we’ll begin our lives together on that day. We hope to throw a really great party that our friends and family will enjoy; but even if nearly everything goes wrong, I’ll still be Brad’s wife at the end and that’s the very best part!
Any advice you’d like to pass along to fellow brides?
I’m pretty much the last of my friends to get married, and all of them told me at the beginning that I should keep an open mind when shopping for the dress. Every single one of them told me that I’d likely end up with the exact opposite of what I thought I would choose. THIS IS GREAT ADVICE! If I hadn’t been open to trying on a dress that my sister, who knows me better than just about anyone on the planet, pulled off the rack – and met almost none of my criteria – I would have missed out on my sartorial soulmate!
Now it’s your turn to ask for advice – is there anything you’d like to poll the SW readers on?
Can I ask two? First off, we’ve been considering requesting an “unplugged” ceremony, indicated by a small, gently worded sign as guests enter the ceremony site. Both photographer and videographer have expressed the frustration that comes with nailing the “money shot”, only to have an iPad hoisted by a guest ruin it. With two photographers and a videographer on hand for the ceremony, I feel like they’re going to have enough of a challenge staying out of each other’s frame of reference without the additional obstacle course of phones, cameras, and iPads. What do y’all think? Is it rude to ask people to stow their devices just for the ceremony?
Second, does anyone have a super terrific recommendation for a waterproof mascara? I’ve never had good luck with the waterproof formulations, but I’m guaranteed to need one on the Big Day! I get teary at weddings where I don’t even know the folks getting married, so I’m pretty sure that my regular stuff will not survive the day intact! Thanks so much for any suggestions.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Sarah Jane! It has truly been a pleasure. Readers, if you’d like to apply to be a Southern Bride of the Month, check out this post for all the details! If you’ve already emailed me, you’re still in the running for future months!
Adam Barnes and Cyn Kain are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!