While the South may be home to countless beautiful venues, some of the most memorable are the ones that couples create themselves. In Marci and Ross’ case, the only place they considered for their celebration was Ross’ family farm: the same land that hosted their first date (four-wheeling in the rain!), their engagement, and now, their wedding day. It’s weddings like this that make my heart flutter a little, thinking of how many sweet memories are layered onto this land, not only for the bride and groom, but for the family members and friends who have walked alongside them throughout their relationship. Marci and Ross dream of someday building a home on this property, too–can you imagine waking up every morning among the same trees where you once promised your lives to each other? Y’all, it doesn’t get much more romantic than that!
We’re so grateful Taylor Dane shared this gorgeous day with us!
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? The farm has been weaved into our story from the very beginning. It’s where we had our first date, got engaged, and may even build a house one day. We’ve also shared many memories there with our friends during college, since it was only an hour drive from Auburn. There’s just something special about that place that you feel as soon you step foot onto it. I never considered another venue.
Describe your wedding flowers. Since the venue was already so special to us, we wanted flowers that would enhance the natural outdoor setting. I described to my florist that I wanted a very organic and romantic feel, using lots of greenery and tones of blush and cream with accents in a deep wine color. I also wanted anything but ordinary. She hit the nail on the head! My bouquet was stunning and so were the rest of the wedding party’s flowers. I loved that they were all so unique. Each bridesmaid’s bouquet matched, yet they were all very different at the same time. My two favorite pieces, however, were the ladder we had hanging above our buffet line that had flowers overflowing from it and the flowers on the cross used at our ceremony. I brought a slew of ideas and dreams to Ginny, and she quickly grasped my vision and exceeded my expectations!
Finding my dress was such a fun and memorable day! My mom, mother-in-law, and all of my bridesmaids except one came with me, and we made a whole day out of it. The most important thing to me was staying within a certain budget for my dress. I knew that I could find a beautiful gown without spending an arm and a leg. My bridal consultant understood that and did a great job of only showing me dresses within the price range I gave her. While all of the ones I tried on were beautiful, the one I chose just felt so classic, Southern, and timeless, which is exactly what I had in mind for our fall wedding. It was modest, yet still feminine. I fell in love with the lace sleeves and intricate beading. It was also super comfortable, and when I tried it on with the long veil, I knew it was the one!
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we did do a first look. As the traditionalist that I am, I was originally against doing one. However, someone explained to me that the point of the first look really isn’t about convenience and saving time with photos; it’s about having a moment on your wedding day to simply soak in what’s going on and enjoy some one-on-one time with your husband. When I began to think about it in that light, the idea grew on me more and more. We decided to do it in the woods where Ross had proposed to me. I could not have been happier with that decision. I felt at ease as soon as I saw him. We laughed and hugged and posed for hundreds of photos; it felt like the most un-rehearsed, real part of the day.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I’m huge on details, so it’s really hard for me to choose one. However, if I had to pick, it would be the canvas my friend calligraphed for us with the verse Ruth 1:16: “For where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” This verse is extremely near and dear to my heart because it was read at my grandmother’s wedding. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to try and incorporate it somehow, but when she unexpectedly passed away six weeks before our wedding, I knew it was a must. It hung in a tree that aligned with our ceremony spot so I would see it when I was walking down the aisle. It now hangs on our back porch and will always remind me of her and our special day.
Did you write your own vows? No, we chose to recite traditional wedding vows. We wanted to use the same ones that have been spoken for many years, the same ones our parents and grandparents said to one another, the same ones that you dream about speaking on your wedding day as a little girl.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? As we took the Lord’s Supper during our ceremony, our pastor read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. It was important to us to profess our faith during our ceremony and give God the glory and honor He deserves. Taking communion in church has always felt emotional and reverent to me, but taking it on our wedding day as we committed our lives to one another was incredibly powerful.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Standing before the cross during our ceremony, praying and worshipping together with our friends and family. I had stood in that spot multiple times before the wedding, praying God would show up and that His presence would be felt. That’s exactly what happened. I’m so grateful for that moment when we could stand before the Lord and praise him for all his goodness and faithfulness. That was, without a doubt, the most important and most memorable part of our whole day.
We were both born and raised in the South and were definitely keen on reflecting some Southern traditions and values in our wedding. I tried to incorporate as many heirloom pieces as possible, such as the Singer sewing machine that my cake sat on. It was my great-grandmother’s and then my mom’s, and now, it has been given to me. My great-grandmother sewed many wedding dresses on it, including my grandmother’s. I also wanted to incorporate a part of my mom’s wedding dress, since she saved it for me (but it was a little too 80s for my liking). I cut some of the lace from her veil and tied it around my bouquet. In addition to those things, the food was very Southern. We had cream cheese and sugared jalapenos, chicken and dressing, sweet potato casserole, and my favorite, a biscuit bar with homemade blackberry jam, local apple butter, and honey. Oh, and one more sweet treat–moon pies! Since we got married in Ross’ hometown, it was important to me to include pieces of mine, so since Mobile is the birthplace of Mardi Gras, we chose to give out moon pies as our favors. Our guests loved them! Lastly, everybody in the South knows football is a big deal, and since Ross and I met at Auburn, we of course had to show some affection for our beloved alma mater. We exited to the Auburn Fight Song while our guests made a tunnel with Auburn shakers (the best part of this was seeing our die-hard Alabama and Georgia friends having to participate!).
Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE sweets, so the most important part of choosing the desserts for our wedding was the taste. We went with two flavors for the wedding cake: a traditional almond and a strawberry champagne, topped with classic buttercream icing. For the design, I wanted something more understated, but still unique, so we did two tall tiers with a plastered icing look, a wine-colored drizzle, and just a few florals. For Ross’ dessert, we again wanted to do something different, so we went with cobbler. He’s not much of a cake eater, and who doesn’t love warm cobbler on a fall night? We chose blackberry (Alabama’s state fruit) and peach (Georgia’s state fruit) to pay homage to our roots. Our caterer prepared these in cast-iron skillets and they were served in mini mason jars.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ross and I met at Auburn our freshman year. Our two best friends, James and Hannah, actually met first in a class they were in together. The two then decided to play matchmaker and set us up. The first weekend of summer 2013, Hannah and I met James and Ross at Ross’ family farm to go four-wheeling. Despite the unusually cold, rainy weather in May, we had the best time together! After that day, I knew without a doubt that Ross was the one. What I didn’t know was that the farm would hold such a dear place in my heart over the next four years.
Tell us all about the proposal! It was the weekend before Thanksgiving break during our senior year, and Ross and I had made plans to drive up to his parents’ house on Sunday after church to have a Thanksgiving dinner with them, since we’d be spending Thanksgiving Day with my family. We were about 15 minutes away from getting off the exit when Ross’ mom called and asked if we would stop by the farm on the way and check on the horses. I found this to be a little suspicious because of the tone in Ross’ voice when he was talking to her, but I tried to convince myself nothing was up. When we arrived, Ross insisted that we go check on his game cam in the woods first. We drove to the fence line in the back on the four-wheeler (flashback to our first date) and then Ross suggested we walk from there. As we began to walk through the woods, I noticed the first picture of us nailed to a tree, and then the second, and the third, and so on. He had created a trail of pictures of us over the years–it literally felt like walking down memory lane. We arrived at a spot in the woods where we had always talked and dreamed about building a house one day. There sat a beautiful church pew adorned with one of his mother’s quilts and fresh pink roses. It was the most special, serene spot. We sat down on the pew and Ross pulled a laptop out of his backpack. We watched the sweetest video of all of our memories over the past 2 1/2 years while the song “Die a Happy Man” played. After the video concluded, Ross said some really kind words I unfortunately can’t remember. He then got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife! Sobbing with my head in my hands, I shook my head YES! After we sat there for a few more minutes, I asked if we could go back to the barn for me to grab my phone so I could take some pictures of everything before we headed to his parents’ house. As we were driving back down the hill, Ross said “Hey! Who’s that down there?” I looked, and at the bottom of the hill stood all of our friends and family cheering. I still tear up thinking about that moment. My parents and high school friends drove 5+ hours to be there, all of our college friends were there, his family and family friends…it was truly overwhelming. We spent the rest of the night at the farm eating, crying, and rejoicing together! It was the day I had always dreamed about and MORE.
When did y’all get married? October 8, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Fortunately, we started planning for marriage before we started planning for our wedding. We knew while we were dating that we would eventually get married, and that allowed us to be more intentional about getting to know each other. Before we got engaged, we read “Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married” by Gary Chapman, which was really good for opening our eyes and making us ask the hard questions. Once we got engaged, we went through marriage counseling at our church and read through a couple of other marriage books. We also just tried to do our best to not be overwhelmed by all of the planning and remember to still date and have fun!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? One of the biggest challenges for me while planning my wedding was being so far from my mom. Since I was already living in Atlanta before we got married and she was in Mobile, she and I were about five hours apart. We made it work with lots of phone calls, emails, and FaceTime, but I would have preferred to have her next to me through it all.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I would advise those planning a wedding to evaluate all of the costs associated with “creating your own venue.” While I’d never change where we got married, I wish I had known from the beginning all of the time and money it would take to make it happen. I thought we’d save money by using a free venue, but I’m pretty sure we made up for it in the cost of renting generators, port-a-potties, shuttles, and so on. Just have a realistic understanding of what you are getting yourself into when you start planning. My second piece of advice would be to research your vendors and find people you truly enjoy working with. We were really intentional in choosing who we shared our day with and it made all the difference. It may cost you more time on the front end, but it will be so worth it in the long run.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Considering we graduated from college, moved to Atlanta, started new jobs, bought a house, and got married all within a year, we hope nothing big is on the horizon just yet. We’re looking forward to enjoying this settled season of life and getting to build community here in Newnan. We also are excited to do some traveling together!
Photographer: Taylor Dane Photography | Videographer: CL Money Films | Day-of Coordinator: AK Events | Venue: Private Farm | Florist: Enemies of the Average | Wedding Cake: Sister’s Sweet Creations | Caterer: Dinner’s Ready by Chad | Rentals and Lighting: Goodwin Events | DJ: Nice Entertainment | Signage: Sunkissed Scripts | Paper Products: Haint Blue Collective | Bridal Salon: Ivory & White | Hair Stylist: Jaime Marsau Beauty | Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle,” “Aria,” and “Willow” in Mink Grey by Jenny Yoo | Men’s Attire: Joesph Abboud for Men’s Wearhouse