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Southern Weddings

Author: Marissa

Neither Olivia nor Chad is from the South, but after meeting in Charleston, they knew they wanted to start their marriage there, and show their friends and family why they love it so much! Thanks to its beautiful oak trees, big ol’ wraparound porch, and boat access, The Creek Club and its quintessential Lowcountry feel proved to be the perfect place to introduce their guests to the South. With a little help from a fun tradition, the South showed off with a glorious day for Olivia and Chad to say their vows! Speaking of vows, I love that Olivia said, “Knowing we were saying the same vows that our parents and grandparents said before us made it very special for us.”

Boy, we’re happy Kelly Dillon was on hand to capture this sweet day!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did, thanks to our photographer, Kelly. We really loved the idea of an intimate moment for our first look, and we loved that a lot of pictures would be out of the way so that we could enjoy our cocktail hour instead of disappearing for an hour or so. I also don’t think it took away from the walk down the aisle–my heart was still pounding and I still teared up with excitement when I saw Chad waiting for me at the end of the aisle.

For us, our favorite detail had to be our lab, Buoy. Chad has had her since before we met–she is how he got me to come over to his house the first time, and she is with us for literally everything we can incorporate her into. Having her be our flower dog was so important. We may be crazy dog parents, but having her there for our big day made it even more special to us!

My wedding flowers were everything I could have dreamed of and more, thanks to Whitney at Branch Design Studio. With the help of Pinterest, Whitney was able to see what I liked, which turned out to be anything pink! After that, she gave me several books of past weddings she had done so that I could point out what flowers and styles I liked. This was super helpful because before the wedding, I knew the names of very few flowers–I did not even know what a peony was!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Neither of us are from Charleston–we both moved here about five years ago. I am from northern Illinois and he is from western New York. After getting engaged, we knew we would be married in Charleston. We wanted to show all of our friends and family why we live here and why we love this city so much! We wanted the venue to be outside and on the water, things I think every Charlestonian loves. The Creek Club at I’on had everything we could ask for: a large lawn for the ceremony looking out over the creek, Spanish moss, and nice, large oak trees. It had the quintessential Lowcountry feel, thanks to a huge wraparound porch that was perfect for hosting cocktail hour. Chad also loved the venue because it would allow him to arrive and then us to leave together via our boat. This was a unique feature that not many other sites offered.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? For me, it was walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing Chad, the man of dreams and love of my life, standing there smiling and waiting for me to join him. I may have already seen him that day, but my heart had never skipped a beat like that before.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My maid of honor was coming into town from Chicago for a weekend, so we decided it would be a great time to try on gowns. We went to White on Daniel Island for the first shop of the day, and Jodi, the owner, was the perfect hostess. After a little discussion on what I might like (strapless, sweetheart neckline, a-line, no lace), my MOH, another bridesmaid, Jodi, and I started putting dresses into the fitting room for me to try on. When I put on my gown, I was hesitant at first, but I loved all of the beading and crystals and the fact that it was a little different than most wedding gowns. We decided that this would be my number one choice, but I would continue trying on other dresses. From that point on, I compared every dress I tried on to that one, and nothing compared. The following weekend, we went back to White, I tried on every Jenny Packham gown there was to offer, and put on the gown I loved last. It was still the most gorgeous gown I’d ever seen and it just felt like me. Jodi let me twirl around in it for a good hour or two and popped another bottle of champagne to celebrate!

Not being from the South originally, we wanted to show off some amazing Southern Lowcountry cuisine. To showcase that, we started with appetizers of chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, and sweet BBQ shrimp. In our welcome bags, we included bags of stone ground grits, along with our favorite shrimp and grits recipe, to allow our friends and family members to try it out when they returned home. As far as Southern tradition is concerned, a month before our wedding, we buried a bottle of bourbon to bring us good weather. I’d say it worked because it was the most gorgeous day in early May with the perfect temperature in the upper 70s. Clear skies gave way to a beautiful Charleston sunset!

We love seeing our “I Choose You” print from the Southern Weddings Shop at Olivia and Chad’s reception!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was just perfect for us. It was a four-tiered white and gold foil cake with stenciling. I thought it had just the right amount of elegance and tied in with our wedding colors. Tammy at Cakes by Karsada was amazing to work with. We chose vanilla cake with alternating fillings of raspberry and Italian buttercream and blueberry and Italian buttercream. Sooo good!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chad and I met in December 2010 at Midtown Bar & Grill in Charleston. I had just finished nursing school finals and was about to go home to Illinois for the holidays, and Chad was out with some friends. After mingling and several drinks, he managed to get my real name and number. Over the holidays we texted back and forth and he asked me out on a date when I returned. On January 6, 2011, I almost decided to be a no-show on the date, but I went after some friends told me I should. We met a Pearlz Oyster Bar and ended up having a great time. The rest is history.
Tell us all about the proposal! A little over three years into our relationship, we were in Breckenridge, Colorado on a ski trip with a few other couples. After a great first day of skiing, Chad said he wanted to get one last run in and asked if I could film him with the “slow-mo” option on my iPhone as he came down the mountain. He did an awesome run and I was so excited that I had gotten it on video that I didn’t notice until after he finished that he had taken off his skis and sat down next me. He finally got my attention and asked me, “Babe, today has been an amazing day, right?” I said, “Yes?” He continued, “Well every day of these past three years have been amazing with you. Will you marry me?” I said yes and couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.
When did y’all get married? May 2, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not. This was something that we knew we wanted to keep traditional from the start of our wedding planning. Knowing we were saying the same vows that our parents and grandparents said before us made it very special for us.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Pinterest. It was my best friend and worse enemy. I may have always dreamed of getting married, but colors, flowers, and lighting were all new to me. Pinterest gives you so many options, it’s hard for someone as indecisive as myself to really focus on what I wanted. I actually stopped myself from going on Pinterest after I met with our florist and lighting vendors so that I couldn’t change my mind on anything.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? A huge cost saver for us was that my husband is a graphic designer. He designed our wedding logo, and designed and printed our invitations, ceremony cards, escort cards, and menus for the wedding. We had quite the printing pop-up shop in our home!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Relax and enjoy your engagement–it will be over in a flash. It’s easier said than done, but at the end of the day, it will all work out and be the most exhilarating day of your life.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are just excited to return to regular life together! We already own a little home on the upper peninsula of Charleston. Chad can now return to doing little projects around the house. I have taken the summer off of graduate school, but I still have one year left to obtain my MSN as a family nurse practitioner. We are also looking forward to adding to our family with the addition of another puppy soon!

Photographer: Kelly Dillon / Planner: Meredith Tanton of Sweetgrass Social / Venue and Catering: Creek Club at I’on / Florist: Branch Design Studio / Cake Baker: Cakes by Karsada / Rentals: Eventworks / Linens: La Tavola Linens / Lighting: TEC / Band: New South Players of East Coast Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: “Daphne” by Jenny Packham / Bridal Salon: White on Daniel Island / Hair and Makeup: A Jolly Occassion / Bride’s Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “2880″ by Dessy / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaid Charleston / Menswear: Brooks Brothers / Ties: Private Stock Ties

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Antonio Gual reply

    What a charming wedding celebration! -Best wishes!

  2. avatar liam smith reply

    beautiful cake

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While they might have hit a little bump in the road when they first met (be sure to read their interview to get my silly pun!), Monica and Jerrod’s wedding day was as sweet as their amaretto cake. Together with their planner, Meagan Warren, and the talented team at Fern, Monica and Jerrod took the blank space of 701 Whaley and turned it into a pretty, preppy celebration full of pink dogwoods and puffy peonies. I love the juxtaposition of the renovated industrial building and the feminine details!

Thanks to Joshua Aaron for sending this striped day our way!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met on St. Patrick’s Day in Five Points (a local festival in Columbia, South Carolina) through mutual friends. After chatting that evening, Jerrod offered to drive me home. We were sitting at a traffic light talking when Jerrod leaned over to give me a kiss–just as he accidentally took his foot off the brake and bumped into the car in front of us!! After that, we did not see each other for several years, and one night, Jerrod liked a photo I put up on Facebook. I had not seen or spoken to him in so long, so I sent him a message asking him how he was doing. We ended up going out and catching up, and from that night on, we have been together, having fun and creating memories. And there have not been any more fender benders! :)

I went dress shopping in Charleston, South Carolina at a place called Maddison Row. After a couple of dresses, I tried on “THE” dress, and I loved it immediately. I loved the buttons that went down the back of the dress. The fact that my father loved the dress as well sealed the deal!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a bagpiper play “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven when I walked down the aisle with my dad. When Jerrod and I walked back up the aisle, he played “Highland Cathedral” by Roever and Korb along with the organ.

We were married at Mt. Horeb United Methodist, which is the church that Jerrod’s mother’s side of the family attends. Our reception venue was 701 Whaley–I really liked the open floor plan and the uniqueness of the renovated building. We could really make it our own.

Describe your wedding flowers. My wedding flowers were beautiful and colorful. There were pink dogwoods in large vases on the tables at the venue. I love peonies, and had the most beautiful peonies at the wedding. I wanted a colorful palette, and it was beyond what I could have imagined.

Describe your wedding cake. The wedding cake was four tiers in amaretto and lemon flavors, and it had real flowers cascading down the side. It was so good, we only had a few pieces left to take home.

Tell us all about the proposal! I am a nurse and I was coming home from a day shift at the hospital. I usually talk to Jerrod on the way home from work to let him know I’m on the way home. When I pull up to the house, he is usually sitting out on our front porch with my dog, a french bulldog named Bella. Bella always runs to greet me when I am getting out of the car. Just like every other day, Jerrod and Bella were outside and Bella ran to greet me. Jerrod was standing on the porch and came walking towards me. We hugged each other and he said “Say hey to Bella.” As I turned around to look at Bella, the sun hit something on her collar. I then realized what it was and turned around to see Jerrod on one knee. He asked me if I would marry him, and I, of course, said yes!!
When did y’all get married? April 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? A little more than 200
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My old and blue item is very special to me. My Aunt Tina made a garter belt for me out of an old blue tie of my Opa’s (which means grandpa in German). He passed away a few years ago and he was definitely there in spirit at my wedding. I borrowed my mom’s diamond tennis bracelet and I had new earrings that were made especially for me.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had koozies made for our guests. We served fried green tomatoes and corn dip, which was amazing. We all sang along to “Family Tradition” by Hank Williams, Jr.–I don’t know if it gets more Southern than that!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I would suggest hiring a wedding planner if you are able. This takes so much stress off of you and lets you enjoy the wedding planning experience!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Our home is being built and we will be moving at the end of summer 2015. We are also looking forward to expanding our family and having children.

Photographer: Joshua Aaron / Planner: Meagan Warren / Ceremony Venue: Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church / Reception Venue: 701 Whaley / Florist: Fern / Cake Baker: Parkland Cakes / Caterer: Southern Way / Rentals: Party Reflections / Lighting: Ambient Media / DJ: Jason Book with Party Time DJs / Paper Products: Byfarr / Bridal Salon: Maddison Row / Hair Stylist: Keri Bailes / Makeup Artist: Daniel Price / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Sarah Svendsen reply

    What vibrant colors! I’m in love with the teal blue bridesmaid dresses and how the bride mixes in the coral flowers. I also love the asymmetrical dresses, though I’m partial (I had similar bridesmaid dresses but in nude at my own wedding) :) Great work, SW!

  2. avatar Meagan Warren reply

    Thank you for showcasing one of my FAVORITE weddings we have planned! Loved working with Monica and Jerrod… dream couple to work with. Thank you Southern Weddings and Joshua Aaron Photography! xoxo, Meagan Warren
    Meagan Warren Weddings

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Ellie and Nick met in a fraternity house in college, and while their love story might not have started in the most romantic way, their wedding is another story! Ellie and Nick worked with their florist, Botanica, to take the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts from a monochromatic museum into a romantic reception full of lush blooms, and of course, lots of Southern details! During their wedding planning, they not only focused on planning for their marriage, but on being hospitable and throwing a party guests would enjoy just as much as they did. I can’t help but love that they included a generational blessing given by their fathers and grandfathers. Such a sweet way to not only honor their family, but also to include them in their celebration.

So wonderful of Kristen Weaver to share this lovely day with us!

Tell us all about the proposal! During September 2013, I was in my last year of law school at the University of Chicago and Nick had just started his first year of medical school at the University of Florida. I made a trip to Gainesville for the weekend to see Nick and attend the UF-UT football game. On Friday, Nick suggested that we visit Paynes Prairie, a state park just south of Gainesville. We had the prairie all to ourselves and enjoyed seeing the wildlife and hiking the trails. Toward the end of our trip, we climbed to the top of a three-story watch tower and relaxed on the porch swing. Before heading back down, he got down on one knee to propose. After his very sweet speech, he reached into his pocket to pull out the ring, but accidentally pulled out the car keys instead! He had taken the ring out of the ring box so he could stealthily fit it into his athletic shorts pocket, but it had gotten caught up in the keychain. After a good laugh, I said yes!

I’ll admit, finding my wedding dress was harder than I anticipated. I bought a dress at the first boutique I went to–my mom, grandmother, and my three best friends were all there, and I foolishly let the excitement get to my head. Afterwards, I had some regrets, but assured myself that I would be happy when the dress arrived and I could try it on again. Well, it turned out that the boutique ordered it two sizes too small and then told me I must have gained weight (in fact, I had lost weight). I left in tears and tried to avoid talking about wedding dresses for as long as I could. Thankfully, my mom sensed my anguish and booked a trip to visit me in Chicago so we could go shopping for THE dress. We went to a few places, but we knew the search was over when I tried on the Esther dress at Vera Wang. We all cried (even our sweet bridal consultant!) and then celebrated with champagne and mini cupcakes. It was total redemption from our first experience and one of my favorite memories from wedding planning.

Describe your wedding flowers. We worked with Ian and Zoe at Botanica and they totally nailed it. I brought in pictures of loose, cascading bouquets and arrangements, but only had a vague idea of what colors I wanted. It was Ian’s idea to use more neutral tones for the ceremony and then pump up the color for the floral arrangements at the reception, which was in a rather monochromatic room.

We chose to have a first look. Those few minutes when it was just the two of us were the most peaceful moments of the whole day and a feeling I’ll remember forever. Even though we saw each other beforehand, nothing could have taken away the thrill of seeing him at the end of the aisle. It was the best of both worlds! Plus, we were much more relaxed in our pictures before the ceremony–after the ceremony, we were itching to get in there and celebrate with our friends and family!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We found out a few months before the wedding that there would be a huge evening festival in the same park where we were going to hold our ceremony. Thankfully, the music wouldn’t start until an hour after the ceremony, and the wonderful people at Botanica assured us that they could create a wall of greenery to stand between us and the event. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because the wall created so much privacy that the ceremony felt much more intimate than it would have otherwise, festival or not!

To begin the ceremony, my cousin sang the praise and worship song “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman. Nick and I love the song and thought that it would set the ceremony off on the right foot. I chose “Dawn” from Pride and Prejudice to walk down the aisle to. I’ve always loved the book and the movie, and I thought it was a beautiful arrangement. Nick and I walked back up to aisle to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” We wanted something fun to let everyone know that the party had started!

We chose the Museum of Fine Arts with our guests in mind. Most of our guests were coming from out of town, so we wanted them to be able to enjoy their weekend without worrying about the logistics of driving, parking, and all that good stuff. The museum fit the bill of being close to a major airport, within walking distance of a ton of great restaurant and hotel options, and large enough to hold 180 people.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? To me, being Southern is all about family and hospitality. To honor our families, we featured pictures of our parents and grandparents at the ceremony and cocktail hour, we chose my uncle to officiate our ceremony, he read out of a Bible that has been passed down from my great-grandmother, and we had our fathers and my grandfather come up during the ceremony to give a generational blessing. We got to keep the handwritten notes from my grandfather’s blessing, and they are among our greatest treasures. In all of the wedding plans, we tried to focus on being hospitable and throwing a party our guests would enjoy just as much as we did. We had custom corn hole boards set up during the cocktail hour and on the patio during the reception. We made sure all of the children felt welcome and entertained by including a box at their seats with a coloring book, an I Spy game, and some other fun goodies. And of course, the food was Southern! Our cocktail hour appetizers included blackened alligator, fried green tomatoes, and game sausage. Dinner began with a basket of cornbread at every table and included a shrimp and grits station. Our late-night snack was BBQ pulled pork sliders on sweet potato biscuits. We made sure our guests went home with full bellies!

We had a wedding cake (lemon cream cake with raspberry filing and simple buttercream frosting) and a late-night dessert bar of fried Oreos, Twinkies, and Snickers with raspberry sauce!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our love story didn’t start in a very romantic way–we met at his fraternity house during our sophomore year at the University of Florida. My friend had just finished an exam and was planning a low-key night in with her friend, Michael, and she invited me to tag along. Turns out, Michael was Nick’s best friend and fraternity brother (he even ended up being the best man at our wedding). Nick wandered into Michael’s room at some point during the night, we started talking, and we hit it off right away. We exchanged numbers and kept talking, even when I moved to Italy for a summer abroad. He asked me to be “official” from 5,117 miles away over Skype.
When did y’all get married? November 22, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Nick and I tried to keep in mind that the real event was committing ourselves to each other in front of God, our friends, and our family. All of the other stuff was just icing on the cake. With that in mind, we tried to be conscious of how we dealt with each other during the process, because we knew we were setting the foundation for our marriage.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We got really lucky with an incredible team of vendors, but I will say that we just adored Bryan and Tracey from Lucky Lemon Films. They really took the time before the wedding to get to know us as people, not just as a generic bride and groom, and to let us get to know them. Nick and I are both camera shy, but they made us feel so at ease. Their work is incredible and we really felt like they captured who we are in the wedding film they created. We can’t stop watching it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are enjoying settling into our first home together in Gainesville with our dogs. 2014 was a hugely busy year for us, so we are taking it easy and cherishing our first year of marriage!

Photographer: Kristen Weaver / Videographer: Lucky Lemon Films / Planner: Nancy Cotto / Venue: St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts / Florist: Botanica / Cake Baker and Caterer: Olympia Catering / Rentals: Botanica / Lighting: Encore Lighting / Band: Brett Foreman Band / Paper Products: Invitation Consultants / Bride’s Gown: “Esther” by Vera Wang / Bride’s Accessories: BHLDN / Hair and Makeup: Rachel Reumann / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Nordstrom / Groom’s Attire: J. Crew / Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Dog Sketch: DM Creative Studios

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Bridget reply

    What a delightful wedding. Her wedding ring is one of the prettiest I’ve seen.

  2. avatar Kristen Weaver reply

    I can’t say enough about how much I adored Ellie and Nick, and photographing their wedding was definitely an honor for us! They are a beautifully wonderful couple and I’m so happy to see her wedding published on Ellie’s favorite blog!

  3. avatar Michelle reply

    Wow, this place looks so amazing !

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