Google+ Emily, Author at Southern Weddings

Southern Weddings

Author: Emily

Like most 20 and 30 somethings in America today, the Southern Weddings gals are big fans of Mrs. Joanna Gaines and HGTV’s Fixer Upper. BIG fans. So when we got the chance to interview one of the sweetest couples from Season 3 (the owners of one of my all-time favorite exterior transformations!), there may have been some squeals and a little happy dance done in the SW office. Luke and Rachel Whyte were kind enough to share some Fixer Upper secrets in addition to their newlywed advice, and as diehard fans, we all loved comparing what their house looked like done-up for the show and after a few months of loving and living.

If, like us, you’ve always wondered what goes on while the Fixer Upper cameras are rolling (and after they’ve packed up!), this post is for you!

The couple: Rachel (27) and Luke (27) Whyte
Years married: 3.5
The littles: Haven (22 months) and James (3 months)
Where you live: Waco, TX
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. We moved to Waco nine years ago to attend Baylor University. We got married the year after we graduated, and have been here since! When we decided to stay in Waco, we did it for a very specific reason: we wanted to invest in the city. We knew that Waco was growing and that if we were to stay, we would get to watch it undergo a major transformation. This was one year before the Fixer Upper phenomenon began, so as you can see, we were right! And we most definitely made the right decision. Luke is a young adult pastor and I am a wedding photographer. I’ve also had the privilege to work as a photographer for Magnolia and for Fixer Upper. We have two little babies under the age of two. Life in ministry, owning a business, and having a toddler and newborn isn’t easy, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We are two broken people who, because of God’s grace, have been redeemed so that we can tell His story of redemption.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? It’s amazing to watch your life change and family grow, and at the same time, still feel like those two crazy college kids who first fell in love. Sometime we look at each other and say, “How are we parents? How do we live here??” It’s all so surreal. Life moves so fast. And it’s a lot easier to become friends and teammates than I would have thought before getting married.
Tell us a little bit about where you live. We live in Woodway, which is essentially a suburb of Waco, in our own home. We live very close to Lake Waco and we love to go on walks and experience nature there.

Tell us about the process of moving in together. When we first moved in together after we got married, I recycled most of my old college decorations. Now living in this house, we kind of started from scratch. It’s been fun to blend our styles. When we sat down with Joanna for our design meeting, we both stated our biggest preferences. Luke wanted to incorporate Colorado and the mountains, and I wanted a big, bright kitchen. We got both of those things and more. Joanna did an amazing job combining our styles and we couldn’t be happier with our home!
Where did you live while your home was being renovated for Fixer Upper? While our home was being renovated, we decided to live as nomads rather than finding semi-permanent housing. We stayed with various friends and acquaintances and were astounded at the hospitality we encountered. We also traveled quite a bit since it was the summer. We stayed in 17 different beds total during the 11 weeks. We did not peek at all during our renovation process. Luke loves surprises and I agreed to stay away so that we could be surprised together.

What happens after “reveal day”? Do you keep all of the furniture and decor? On reveal day you meet Chip and Jo at a location near your house. You get all mic-ed up and then they drive you to the house. You close your eyes and Chip and Jo lead you to the canvas, and they pull it back to show you your new home! It really is like what you see on TV. We kept some decor but not any furniture, as we had our own. There is a separate budget to buy the furniture and things used to stage your home, but I would expect that most people have their own furniture already.

Did Magnolia renovate your entire house? What about rooms we didn’t see on the show? There were two rooms and two bathrooms that were not renovated for the show. We did them ourselves after moving in, which I don’t recommend. In hindsight I wish we would have included that in our budget so that Magnolia could have done the renovation for us.
Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? I personally really love our kitchen. I also love our master bath, but haven’t gotten to spend as much time in there since having two babies! We just recently finished the Whole30 diet, so I spent a lot of time cooking creative meals. It’s such a blessing to have a large kitchen!

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? We use our knives most often. Like I said, I’ve been cooking three meals a day for a month, so I’ve been getting really good use out of them!
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you know now? I would get fewer serving and entertaining pieces. You only have so many parties and host so many showers!

What most makes your house feel like home? Being a photographer you might expect this, but I have a ton of photos up around our house, and they really make it feel like home. I love adding more as we have more kids and move through new stages of life.
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? I try to buy quality, and buy once. I’m not a big bargain shopper, although I wish I was!

What is your favorite part of being married? I love getting to do life with my best friend.
What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? We have defined boundaries and we stick to them. We also communicate when things feel off and are willing to adjust accordingly.

How does your family handle finances? We have a set budget, but we both seem to make incidental purchases quite often, so we have a big “miscellaneous” section in it.
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? We send each other encouraging texts sharing things we’re thankful for about each other.

Do you have children? We have two kids, Haven and James. We hope to have one or two more, and adopt as well. Our biggest desire for them is that they would grow to love Jesus and give their lives to serve Him.

Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… that if you submit yourself to the process of being refined and sharpened by your spouse, you will slowly but surely start to grow in the same direction. It’s dying to yourself. In the moment it is painful, but long term you see the life and beauty it brings.

Big hugs to Rachel and Luke for sharing, and to Sarah Best for the Whyte family photos! Keep up with Rachel on her website and blog and Instagram! And if y’all have questions about the light fixtures, paint colors, or materials used, feel free to leave them in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Meredith reply

    LOOOOOVE!! So fun having them interviewed! Love their beautiful home!

  2. avatar Michelle reply

    Love this post!! Question- where are the kitchen stools from? I know it’s not about paint or light fixtures but I thought I’d try and see if y’all knew!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to:

I’ll be honest, this wedding inspiration had me at “dogwood bouquet,” friends! Add in the gorgeous tulle wedding gown, the chic bridesmaid look (love those cap sleeves!), and the sleek gold accents, and I knew I had to share these photos with y’all. Big hugs to Hannah Lane for sending them over and to the sweet real-life married couple who posed as our bride and groom!

Photographer:  Hannah Lane Photography | Invitation Designer: Catharine Perry Design | Jewelry: Everistta Bridal | Hair and Makeup: Danna Breaux, Lashes and Lace; Hillary Parker; and Mirror | Mirror | Dress Shop: Ivory and Beau | Handmade Goods Designer: Lovely Retro Renos | Menswear: Menguin | Event Planner: Mingle | Cake Designer: Sablée | Linens and Coverings: Snyder Event Rentals | Event Venue: Sunshine Oaks Retreat | Floral Designer: The Purple Magnolia | Tulle skirts: Whimsy Luxxe

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Ann Cunniffe reply

    Thank you, Emily, for including us as an inspiration for spring weddings! Hannah’s photos are beautiful!

  2. avatar Hannah reply

    THANK YOU! This is such an honor and I’m so very blessed to have worked with all the incredible vendors involved :)

  3. avatar Stephanie reply

    Beautiful! Love Whimsy Luxxe skirts!!

  4. avatar Lindsay Everistta Bridal reply

    Thank you so much for sharing our beautiful Charleston shoot! Every detail was so gorgeous! I loved designing jewelry for this shoot.

  5. avatar Adrienna reply

    Thank you so much for featuring our gown!

  6. avatar Danna reply

    Thanks so much for this gorgeous shoot Hannah Lane!!!

  7. avatar Catharine Perry reply

    Thank you, Southern Weddings! It was so fun to contribute the invitations & laser cut signage to this beautiful shoot. :-)

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to:

Southern couples are just plain lucky. In addition to having access to some of the most beautiful venues in the world, we have delightful weather most of the year AND gorgeous outdoor spaces – the two main necessities to throw a tented event! If, like many of our readers, you’re thinking of dining and dancing al fresco on your big day, you’ll want to read up on the ins and outs of renting a tent. We’ve broken it all down for you in Tented Weddings 101 with the help of our friends at Sperry Tents!

If you refer to the timeline at the front of your Southern Weddings Planner, you’ll see that “renting a tent” should be checked off right after or alongside “secure a venue.” You’ll want to take into account the cost of a tent AND your venue cost right from the start to make sure you’re getting an accurate picture for your budget!

Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay

The two main types of tents are pole tents and frame tents. Pole tents tend to be prettier right from the start (they’re the ones with the swooping skyline!), but they do have center poles you’ll need to design around and they require 5-8 feet of clearance on all sides for staking into the ground. Frame tents can be set up on any surface (like pavement), can be configured into more shapes by joining multiple tents together, and do not have center poles. However, the frame is visible from the inside (and if you don’t like the look of the frame, an expensive liner is required to cover it up).

A gorgeous Sperry tent at night from Lauren + Rob’s wedding (photo by Jen Fariello)

A Sperry tent is, in my opinion, the ultimate pole tent: thanks to their hand-milled support poles, genuine sailcloth ceilings, unobtrusive side walls, and cheerful pennant flags, they are the epitome of effortless elegance. Their classic aesthetic pairs perfectly with any landscape, from a beach to a sculptured garden. And because their tents are made from sailcloth, they are equally attractive adorned with decorations or left simple and clean. It also means their canopies are translucent, allowing natural light to seep in during the day and electric light to glow out during the night.

How cool is this?! Sperry center poles are milled by the company founder in the historic saw mill on his property.

To determine the right size tent, you’ll need at least a ballpark figure of the number of guests you’re expecting and a rough idea of the type of meal you’re serving. In general, in terms of square feet per person, the order goes: cocktail party (about 6-12 square feet per person), seated dinner (about 18), buffet dinner (about 20). Those numbers can easily change based on the type of tables you rent, your other decor, the size of the dance floor, and whether you’re hiring a band or a DJ, so it’s best to work directly with your rental company to determine the right size and shape.

And be sure to review your rental contract for the change or cancellation policy – you’ll want to be able to size your tent up or down if your plans or guest list change over your engagement!

Here are a few add-ons you might want to consider:
– A catering tent: Even if you rent a Sperry for your main tent, ordering a simple frame tent from another rental company for your catering tent can be a great way to save money – nothing fancy needed there!
– A clear top or a liner: If you’re not ordering a Sperry, these are two options to consider. Just remember, a clear top is not a great choice if your event is taking place during the day (it will heat up faster than butter melting on a biscuit!), and a liner can add three times the cost of the tent to your budget (though they can be lovely!).
– Flooring and lighting: Not all sites require flooring, but if you’re worried about uneven ground or rain in the days leading up to your event, laying down flooring is smart. Renting just a dance floor is a good intermediate budget option. And make sure you have a plan for lighting – Sperry retailers offer a variety of beautiful options, from cafe lights to classic fisherman-style lanterns.
– Heating and cooling: Very important considerations in the South! The best options are large portable fans for cooling, and a tent furnace for cooler months (portable heaters can be fire hazards and are square footage hogs).

Ira Lippke Studios

If you’re pitching your tent near an existing structure, you might only need to rent tables and chairs. If, however, you’re not near a fully-equipped venue, your rental list might run considerably longer, from a generator to portable restrooms to flatware, glassware, china, and a complete bar set up.

Even the smallest details on a Sperry are gorgeous, like these handcrafted support patches that allude to their sailing heritage! (Photo by Snap! Photography)

When you start receiving quotes from tent companies, make sure they cover the basics: fees for delivery, set-up of the tent and accessories, and breakdown, as well as any costs associated with fire or zoning permits. Also, be sure to go over the timing of the set-up and breakdown with your venue, as many companies will want to set up the day before and breakdown the day after your event.

Any other questions? Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer!

Sperry Tents are only available through a network of licensed providers and are available for rent throughout the South. You can find out much more on their website here! I personally guarantee you will not regret your decision to go with a Sperry :)

This post is brought to you by Sperry Tents – thanks for your support of the brands that make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Anne reply

    Emily, whenever I think of Sperry tents, I think of your wedding! Beautiful! I love this post (and all SW posts), but am REALLY missing Southern Newlywed posts on Fridays… are they coming back or gone forever? (Say it ain’t so!) Happy weekend to you and your loves!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to: