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Southern Weddings

Author: Lisa

Most couples choose a familiar city for their wedding…one of their hometowns, the place where they met or fell in love, or a favorite vacation destination, for example. I think there’s something so fun about the alternate route Teresa and Jeff took though! They purposefully chose to be married in a city that neither of them had ever been to before. Together, they got to create totally new memories during their wedding weekend in a place that will now always be special to them. It just so happens that the city they chose is my personal favorite city in the South (Austin, Texas–home of my alma mater!), so I knew I was going to love their stylish wedding! Teresa rocked a Carolina Herrera that looked stunning against the Hill Country backdrop, and the blue watercolor details they incorporated throughout their day (with the help of Bird Dog Wedding) were gorgeous and unique.

Big hugs to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Kristen Kilpatrick for sharing this beautiful day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my dress on the very first shopping trip I went on! Shortly after getting engaged, I went with one of my bridesmaids, just to see what was out there, but definitely not expecting to find anything. Surprise surprise, I found the most gorgeous Carolina Herrera dress that was everything I wanted! I bought the dress that day and didn’t look back!

We were originally not going to do a first look, but after receiving some good advice from our photographer, we ended up doing it and we were so happy we did! Most people say they do one to cut down on photos after the ceremony, but for us, it was all about calming nerves. Not seeing someone that you see every day for a whole day, especially on such an exciting day, is a little unnerving. Being able to see Jeff a few minutes before the whirlwind of the wedding day was truly special!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Being among all of our closest family and friends while getting married to my best friend and love of my life!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? For us, it was more about the city in which we decided to get married. Our first time going to Austin was actually for wedding planning. We wanted to get married in a city that had no memories, so everything about that city would remind us of this new start to our life, and it was such a great decision! We were able to explore a new city as wedding planners and now as newlyweds!

Describe your wedding flowers. Organized mess. Valerie, our florist, did such an exceptional job capturing our vision. We wanted asymmetrical bouquets that were intentional, greenery that looked like it was growing off of our candelabras, and a head table structure that was the focal point of the reception hall. Primarily white florals paired with greenery created a beautiful complement to the blues in the rest of the design.

Our first dance was to a remake of Jack Johnson’s “Better Together.” The lyrics of the song are beautiful and really describe our relationship. We both feel better when we’re together, and having each other makes life so much more fun!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. A few cubicles seemed like a world away when we met working long hours at UBS in NYC. I was the serious one in the office and Jeff was, well, not as serious. In other words, Jeff was a distraction–an unwanted distraction. It took some time, but he finally convinced ne to give him a chance and I quickly realized he was the one! Okay, not really, but I did let him take me out.. baby steps. A few weeks passed and we both remember saying the same thing to our respective best buds. Jeff to Kevin: “I think I like Teresa.” Teresa to Raquel: “I think I like Jeff.” More than seven years later, we are more in love than ever and practically inseparable. Every day we spend together is an adventure, and we’ve enjoyed every second of it.
Tell us all about the proposal! Thinking back, I still remember how cold it was that day! It may have been the coldest day in February, and literally no one was outside. Given the weather, we spent most of our day inside until about 4 P.M., when Jeff suggested we go buy a new collar for our sweet little pup, Tucker. A little surprised by the suggestion, but willing to venture outside, I started pulling on as much winter gear as possible! I remember Jeff suggesting I wear my nice boots instead of Uggs and that I probably didn’t need a hat because it wasn’t THAT cold, so I obliged without thinking too much about it. (Once outside, I definitely wished I had my hat!) We walked to Washington Square Park, which is one of our favorite places to take Tucker, and before I knew it, Jeff was down on one knee, ring in hand! I remember nodding as fast as possible and smiling ear to ear. Little did I know, his clothing suggestions were because he had hired a hidden photographer to capture the moment! After lots of phone calls with family and friends, we went out to a delicious dinner at our favorite spot, Colicchio & Sons. It was a day I will remember forever!
When did y’all get married? April 29, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Funfetti with extra sprinkles! Funfetti sparks such an emotional feeling for everyone; we really wanted our wedding cake to make people feel like a kid again!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Have fun! The wedding planning process is just as much a part of the journey as the proposal and wedding day. Make memories along the way and do it as a team!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? After living in Manhattan for almost ten years, we made the move to Brooklyn and are enjoying every second of our calmer surroundings. We can’t wait to eventually start a family together! We said it in our vows, but every day really is an adventure and we’re both so lucky to have each other to experience it with!

Photographer: Kristen Kilpatrick Photography | Videographer: Candlelight Films | Planner: Emily of Bird Dog Wedding | Venue: Ma Maison | Florist: Davy Gray | Wedding Cake: Classic Cakes by Lori | Caterer: Pink Avocado | Rentals: Premiere Events | Lighting and DJ: Ross Phillips via Look No Further Entertainment | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Paper Products: Grain & Dot | Bride’s Gown: “Jiselle” by Carolina Herrera | Bride’s Jewelry: Ascot Diamonds | Hair Stylist: Danann Patrick of Mint Salon | Makeup Artist: Avery Allen | Bride’s Shoes: Oscar de la Renta | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Attire: Suit Supply | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Music: Terra Vista Strings

Kristen Kilpatrick is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory, and The Black Tux is a wonderful Southern Weddings sponsor!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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  1. avatar Sarah reply

    We loved T&J’s wedding! They had such a lovely design that transformed Ma Maison!

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How about a sweet-as-pie love story for your Thursday, belles? Ellie and Grayson are University of Virginia sweethearts whose friendship turned into a budding romance over a summer spent writing letters to each other. After Ellie found out Grayson had called her daddy to ask if he could take Ellie on a date, they never looked back. Their relationship grew thoughtfully and intentionally–despite their busy college schedules, they kept a standing Wednesday garden date to reconnect, share their joys and challenges, and pray for each other. Fittingly, Grayson got down on one knee during the last garden date of their college careers! Just five months later, these two were married right down the road at Castle Hill Cider, where the talented Mallory Joyce helped them pull their vision of a “refined comfort” aesthetic to life. I love the way they combined family heirlooms, local flowers, and even custom art to create a celebration that was as gorgeous as it was meaningful!

Thank you so much to Elisa Bricker for sharing this dreamy day with us!

My grandma, mom, and I went to a small boutique in my hometown of Louisville. It was a place I’d passed many times growing up, never knowing when I’d wander in looking for my wedding dress! I tried on a bunch of dresses but was not enamored by any of them. After an hour or so, we decided to call it a day. On our way out, I quickly browsed a few more racks, just to make sure I hadn’t missed any. Tucked in the back, I found my dress. I knew it was the one before it came off the hanger. I tried it on and it was perfect!

Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding planner, Mallory Joyce, is also an incredibly gifted florist (a woman with many talents!). The vision of our wedding was simple and organic. In keeping with that, she prioritized local flowers that were in season. Everything from the bouquets to the decorative flowers felt freshly picked and naturally beautiful.

We did not do a first look. We both felt convinced we wanted our first look to be the moment when we locked eyes at opposite ends of the aisle. And we are so glad we waited. That moment, when my laughing eyes met his tear-filled eyes, is one I will never forget. Never before has the world been so silenced. The only thing that mattered in that moment was that I was walking forward to marry my best friend.

We had our good friends play our ceremony music, which was really meaningful. While we loved the songs we chose, it was even more special that the beautiful music came from our talented friends! I walked down the aisle to a musical version of the hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King,” which was a beautiful expression of the joy and thanksgiving we had on that day. We walked back up the aisle to the piano and violin playing Ben Rector’s “Brand New.” We’d danced, laughed, and celebrated to that song during our engagement season, so it was fitting to kick off our marriage with such a celebratory and dance-worthy song. One thing we loved about our ceremony is that my grandparents were our ring bearers! They have been married for over 50 years and are still madly in love. They have a relationship based on faith and friendship, something Grayson and I hope to emulate. Grayson and I look up to them in so many ways, and it was incredibly significant to have them present our rings to us. We hope and pray our marriage will look like theirs in 50 years. They still go camping in a favorite spot in North Carolina, for goodness sake!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? At the beginning of our wedding planning, I was already stressing about some detail. Grayson sat me down and said, “Ellie, no matter how hard you plan, something is going to go wrong.” While this may sound a tad pessimistic, he was completely right. Some people didn’t receive the invitation we sent, expenses were higher than estimated, the list could go on. However, I held on to the second part of Grayson’s advice: “We are still going to be married, let’s keep our focus and joy set on that.” In twenty years (maybe even five), the little mishaps have no place compared to the immense joy of entering the covenant of marriage and celebrating that with all of your favorite people.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I completed about 75% of the borrowed, blue, old, and new…does that count? The most significant was my something old. I got to wear my mom’s veil! The best part was that it matched my dress perfectly, and we didn’t even plan it that way. The lace appliqué detail on the veil resembles the appliqué on the skirt of my dress–something we discovered after we’d ordered the dress! I admire my parents’ relationship so much, and it was sweet to wear the veil that was with them at the start of their marriage.

Our relationship began in Charlottesville and it was really important to us that we were married there. The rolling Virginia hills hold so many memories, and it was only fitting that our wedding was in Charlottesville. We chose Castle Hill Cider for both our ceremony and reception because we had gone to a sorority formal there and loved the beauty of the setting and facilities.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We love collecting art when we travel, something to hang in our home and capture the memories of our experiences. We wanted to carry that tradition into our wedding for our guests to enjoy! Our stationery artist, Jessica McSweeney, painted a watercolor of Castle Hill with the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. At each place setting, we had a 4×4 print of the piece with each guest’s name attached as a vellum overlay. We wrote a note on the back to welcome and thank our guests and share the story behind the painting. It is our hope that our guests took the watercolor home as a symbol of our gratitude for the impact they’ve had on our lives.

Despite good intentions, we did nothing to prepare for our first dance–no dance lessons or even living room practices to our song. That said, we’ve had years of learning each others’ dance moves from many formals and spontaneous swing dancing events. We walked onto the dance floor, totally unprepared, and all credit to Grayson, we nailed it. We danced our hearts out, dipping, spinning, and swinging our way across the dance floor to the song “(I Love You) More Today than Yesterday.” It was the most beautiful culmination of our years of dancing through life together, and foreshadowed a life of celebration and rejoicing together.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was freshman year at the University of Virginia and I was on my way out of a class when I noticed a familiar face holding the door for me (a true gent). I recognized Grayson from a brief encounter after our Christian fellowship’s weekly gathering. I reintroduced myself to him as we made our way back to our neighboring dorms. We quickly realized we had a lot in common, including our aspiration to apply for the business major. That sparked many hours spent studying together for the classes we shared. Rumors buzzed that we were dating after we were spotted having lunch after class in the cafeteria (gasp!), which we completely denied for the remainder of our freshman year–we had effectively “friend-zoned” each other. Summer came, and Grayson worked as a counselor for a camp where he grew up spending summers. Without cell service to keep in touch, Grayson struck up letter writing with me. I started to fall for this boy who wrote me letters, and returned to school eagerly anticipating what it could bring for the two of us. I mean, he wrote me letters…that must mean something, right?! Our nonchalant first interaction after summer quickly deflated any hopes I had. Little did I know that Grayson was definitely interested, but wanted to play his cards close to his chest until he know I had a sweet spot for him. Thus began the stalemate: both interested, both too scared to do anything about it! One day, when I was on the verge of giving up hope, I received a call from my mom telling me that Grayson had reached out to my dad asking if he could take me out for a date–a gesture that landed Grayson major points with my Southern-mannered dad. After a few dates hiking and brunching, Grayson finally revealed his admiration for me, and I got to do the same for him. We started slow, but our relationship was so worth the wait! We both really value the firm foundation of friendship on which our relationship began.
Tell us all about the proposal! We had a standing garden date every Wednesday of our senior year. We asked each other the same seven questions weekly and jotted down each other’s answers in a shared notebook. The consistency of the questions helped us realize growth and challenges, as our answers changed weekly. It was through this structure of seven questions that we began our discussions around marriage. On our last Wednesday date of our college career, I showed up in the garden as usual. Although it had been torrentially raining that morning, the sun decided to pop out just in time for our date. We struck up conversation and per routine, we whipped out our notebook of seven questions. We went through the first few, answering questions about joys, challenges, ways we could serve each other better, and prayer requests. Then came the question, “Is there anything left unsaid between us?” When it came Grayson’s turn to answer, he started speaking in poem! Grayson recited a thirty-line poem that he had written about the history of our relationship and the reasons he wanted to call me his wife. He ended with, “So get up now and stand, as I get down on one knee, Elizabeth McKinnon, will you marry me?” and of course, I said “yes!” Not only did Grayson plan the perfect proposal, he had also planned a surprise engagement party with 200 of our friends that evening. We had friends who had walked alongside us through every phase of our relationship celebrating the engagement. It was truly the best day of our lives, until the wedding!
When did y’all get married? October 29, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you write your own vows? We did not! We kept to traditional vows.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had dear mentors of ours read two different passages. One couple who had mentored us through our relationship and conversations about engagement selected and read Romans 12:9-13. A professor who discipled Grayson in college read Philippians 2:1-20. It was incredibly special to have some of the most influential people in our lives minister to us and our guests through those readings.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. It was fall in Charlottesville, which means one thing: pie. We had a simple mini cake for the traditional cake cutting, while our guests enjoyed an assortment of pies á la mode! As an ode to my hometown, we served Derby pie, a favorite of Louisvillians (mostly because of the equal portions of bourbon, brown sugar, and chocolate it contains). The pies helped make our wedding feel so homey and warm. They were the perfect addition!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We actually planned for our marriage before we planned our wedding. Through the guidance of our mentors, we completed pre-engagement counseling sessions. We went through the same content as premarital counseling, just before we were engaged. Because there was no ring, social media post, or save the date, we were able to freely address fears and concerns about marriage. These conversations ultimately led us to a place of confidence in our relationship. When we got engaged, we felt well prepared (as much as you can be, at least) for marriage. Throughout our engagement, we continued to seek wisdom from our mentors, parents, and friends.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are loving living together in our apartment and creating a home together! We are just starting to form regular rhythms and adjust our habits to each other. What we’re loving most is the joy of just doing life together, from starting and ending our days together–it’s the little moments of laughter, bad jokes, and takeout Chinese that we treasure. After packing lots of life change into 2016, we’re hoping 2017 will be filled with fun as we discover the new normal. We are planning to join a small group through our church and are looking forward to making new friends in the area! With all of our free time now that we’re not planning a wedding, we hope to explore Richmond and discover favorite date spots, coffee shops, and walking trails. We will also return to Charlottesville to watch some basketball and cheer on the Hoos!

Photographer: Elisa Bricker | Videographer: DeVries Productions | Planner and Florist: Mallory Joyce Design | Venue: Castle Hill Cider | Wedding Cake: Arley Cakes | Caterer: C & O Restaurant | Rentals: Festive Fare | Lighting: East Coast Entertainment | Band: TFC via East Coast Entertainment | Paper Products: Poppy and Scooter | Bride’s Gown: Style D1751 by Essense of Australia | Bridal Salon: Rebecca’s Wedding Boutique | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Anna Breeding | Bride’s Shoes and Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN | Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Tablecloths: Willow Knows | Napkins: Dot and Army

Mallory Joyce and East Coast Entertainment are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Catherine Marks reply

    I’m loving all these gorgeous Virginia Wine Country weddings lately, and this one is no exception! Her dress is to die for!

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What I love most about Sarah and Sean’s wedding is that it gets right to the heart of what a wedding is really about: marrying the person you love and celebrating with your family and friends. These two care about their community in a big way–so much so that their loved ones inspired practically every detail! From the daffodils Sarah chose (and arranged with her bridesmaids) in honor of her grandmother, to the way they spent the wedding morning (in church together with their bridal party), everything from Sarah and Sean’s wedding decor to their timeline was centered around the people they love most. I’m not too surprised to hear that as they focused on blessing their community, their community, in turn, blessed them–don’t miss the story of Sarah’s wedding dress below!

Many thanks to Michelle Boyd for sending this special day our way for Southern Weddings V9!

My bridesmaids wore long skirts the color of daffodils. I wanted each girl to be able to showcase her unique personality, so I left the top up to her! One of my favorite memories from the wedding was making bouquets with my bridesmaids. I ordered flowers wholesale from the Austin Flower Market. Then, with rainbows of flowers piled before us, we made our bouquets together. I chose daffodils because my grandmother and namesake, Sara, loved yellow daffodils.

Tell us all the basics of your wedding! Why did you choose these things? Did any of these details hold special meaning for you as a couple? Sean and I got married at Brison Park, a city park tucked away in a sleepy neighborhood, under the Grandmother Tree where Sean had proposed. During the golden hour, under an arbor built by my family, and surrounded by our people, we said yes to forever.

Because our relationship was so marked by our community, we wanted our wedding to be as well. As I walked in, all of our wedding guests sang. Our ceremony was in the round, our bridal party was big, and our friends played music and sang and read verses from the Bible.

What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? All of our bridal party and family members gathered around us and prayed for our marriage and future life together. I’ll never forget standing there in that moment–under God, under the Grandmother Tree, under the arbor, and under the love and prayers of our friends and family.

Did you try anything new or nontraditional? We thought it would be fun to make our exit by running through the field behind our ceremony. So after we had been pronounced husband and wife, our bridal party parted and we darted through the opening and away toward the tree-line.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? Our wedding was overflowing with friends. I know one wouldn’t usually describe a design inspiration as community, but there’s no other way to put it. Every inch of the wedding–from the bouquets the bridesmaids put together, to the arbor built by the family, down to the wedding band that had been my grandmother’s–was influenced by our community. There would have been no wedding without our community gathering around us to make it possible, and it was oh so sweet!

As Sean and I planned the reception, we just kept thinking, we get to throw a big party for our best friends! Instead of stressing about every detail, we tried (key word, try) to plan the best party we could to bless our community. We ate a fabulous farm-to-table dinner around long wooden tables that snaked through the woods, strung with candles and lights. We danced into the night in an old barn lit with lanterns.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met at Dallas Theological Seminary in Houston on the first day of our first week-intensive class. By the end of the week, we decided to date, despite living in different states. By the end of the month, we had decided to get married.
Describe the proposal: On a hot day in August, Sean moved from Nashville to College Station. He had always said that our first date living in the same city would be a bike ride. Before his car tires were cool, he jumped on his fixie and I on my ten-speed, and we raced off to buy a Coke. We biked to my favorite park, Brison (where we got married!), and sat under the Grandmother Tree. The tree is thus named because she is stately, beautiful, and very old. No doubt, she’s watched countless young Aggies fall in love under her branches. Sean picked me up and sat me on a drooping branch. He then said some wonderful things that neither of us can remember, and then asked me to be his wife. I said yes twice! We stayed at the park an hour or two more, just laughing and talking and praying and dreaming, before we told anyone. Those few hours of keeping our special news to ourselves were priceless.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? About once a week for the months leading up to our wedding, Sean and I had meaningful discussions on all matter of topics, from sex to finances, with our mentor couple and dear friends from church, the DeVores.
How many guests attended your wedding? 200
Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: My house where I lived with my roommates was just around the corner and a few blocks down from Brison Park, so all of the girls got ready together at the house, and then, gathering our skirts and bouquets, we walked down the road to the park.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? After finding the dress of my dreams at a consignment shop in Austin, but being unsure that I could afford it, I was told that my dress and all accessories had been anonymously paid for hours earlier. I’ll always remember that as an incredible gift from God to me.
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your ceremony? Since Sean and I got married on a Sunday, we wanted to spend the morning at church with our bridal party. That was one of my sweetest memories.
Tell us about your grand exit. Sean’s uncle shot off a cannon (which scared most of us) at the end of the Aggie War Hymn. Through a tunnel of sparklers, Sean and I ran to his beat-up Toyota Corolla that was filled with balloons.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? In all of the planning, with all of the decisions and deposits, don’t forget what the day is about: the person you love, surrounded by the people you love.

Photographer: Michelle Boyd Photography | Videographers: Michael and Alyssa Meyerdirk | Ceremony Venue: Brison Park | Reception Venue and Caterer: Ronin Cooking | Florals and Bride’s Flower Crown: Sweet Magnolia Floral Studio | Dessert Baker: 1541 Pastries and Coffee | Bridal Salon: Second Summer Bride | Bride’s Earrings: Francesca’s | Bridesmaid Skirts: Morning Lavender | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Tara at Head Shoppe | Groom’s Fashion: Jos. A. Bank and Levi’s

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Brittany reply

    Dying over this bride/color scheme. Everything is dreamy!

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