Google+ Marissa | Southern Weddings - Part 3

Southern Weddings

Author: Marissa

We believe in planning a deeply meaningful beginning to married life, and we love to see couples who feel the same. Molly and Josh’s sweet wedding day is filled with beautiful, yet completely personal details. The two were married in the middle of the giant pecan orchard where Molly has spent hours and hours riding the very same horse that carried her to her groom on her wedding day. They included a selection of Molly’s late grandmother’s favorite hymns within their ceremony, and even rode their prized ponies to their reception at her family’s farm. Topping off their day, “Pop” (Molly’s grandfather), surprised them with a memorable fireworks display!

Thanks to Ashlee Culverhouse for these sweet photos! P.S. See Ashlee’s own wedding on our site here!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my MeMa’s pearl earrings from my mother – something old and borrowed. My oldest sister, Ashlee, embroidered the most beautiful blue horseshoe on the underside of my dress, and I had a new, sparkling dress, of course!

Our venues are part of my heart and soul. Josh and I were married in the middle of a giant pecan orchard, the same orchard I spent hours riding through in middle school, high school, and college on the very same horse that carried me to my groom. Our reception was held on my parents’ farm in the middle of my mare’s pasture. My horses were pastured right next to the tent and received all the apples and carrots they could have ever wanted. Every time I go ‘home,’ I think about all the fun we had that night. Those memories will forever be just a few steps away.

Two family friends designed Molly and Josh’s flowers, using dahlias, peonies, succulents, ferns, roses, lilies, berries, Queen Anne’s lace, and tulips! “I don’t know how they did it, but they did it flawlessly! My flowers were by far one of my favorite things,” said Molly.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Absolutely. I wanted to get all of our pictures together and our family pictures done so that we could spend as much time as possible at our reception. We also gathered the bridal party and a few others at the house between the ceremony and reception to watch the Kentucky Derby – it’s important to get your priorities straight!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. As guests arrived, my violinist played a number of hymns that were provided to me by my MeMa. She was something special, and ever since she passed away, I wanted her to be included somehow in my wedding. While we were going through some of her things, we found a list of her favorite hymns, and I knew that was exactly what I wanted for the prelude. My absolute favorite movie in this entire world is The Man From Snowy River, so my bridesmaids walked down the aisle to Jessica’s Theme: “Breaking in the Colt.”

Between the hustle and bustle of everyone driving from the ceremony site to the reception, Josh and I were together, riding horses back to my parents farm. It’s a little more than a mile between the sites, and our time together was relaxing and beautiful. I am so lucky that my two most prized ponies were able to be a part of our wedding.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I loved every single thing about our wedding: the flowers, the horseshoe boxes, the kids roping the straw calves, my horses being a part of everything, and the band! If I had to have just ONE favorite, it would have to be my steed, Flint, carrying me to the ceremony. He was a perfect gentleman, and I couldn’t have dreamed of anything more magical. Also, a pretty memorable detail was the HUGE fireworks show that my grandfather, Pop, surprised us with. He has since passed away, and that was such a special moment for us to share with him.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. First, I must preface our first meeting with the first time I ever saw Josh. It was October of 2007 at the Georgia National Fair and he was the front and center act of the hypnosis show. I was in the audience and was smitten by his good looks and funny personality, even recording small video clips of him the whole show! In May of 2008, I came home for the summer and picked up my normal summer job at the local veterinary office. I was walking dogs outside the first time I ever saw him. After weeks of pondering, I asked him if he happened to be in the hypnosis show at the fair. It was him! I showed him all the videos I had taken of him and was sure I had scared him off. We started eating lunch together every day, and then we fell in love!
Tell us all about the proposal! My sister was scheduled to have her baby on a Sunday in Chattanooga. I made plans to go up with my mom for the weekend, and decided spur of the moment that I wanted to go see Taylor Swift that Saturday in Nashville. I bought the tickets and immediately called to ask Josh if he wanted to go. He did, so the next day we headed to Nashville. I wanted to walk downtown and take in all the pre-concert activities that were going on, but Josh wanted to get away from all of the people and get something to eat. We finally we settled on a roadside hotdog stand off the beaten path and headed toward a place to sit that Josh spotted up the road. I quickly scarfed my hotdog while taking in the garden around us. When I turned back around, Josh was holding the most perfect diamond ring in his hand and said, “Are you ready?!” Between my, “is that real?” “are you serious?” and “am I ready for what??” he got down on his knee and I said YES.
When did y’all get married? June 7, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 210
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I love red velvet, and I would not go any other way. My husband is more of a traditional fellow. He goes into a coma when he eats my mom’s Chocolate Groom’s Cake, and, as expected, he chose it for our wedding day, too.
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? Do what YOU want to do! I did everything exactly how I wanted to do it, and I don’t regret a single thing! I am so grateful for all the helping hands that helped me build my vision on that day. Spend more money on what is most important to you.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? The thing I looked, and still look, forward to every day is seeing him when I get home from work. We were long distance for over five of the six years that we dated, and I can FINALLY come home to him every single day!

Photographer: Ashlee Culverhouse Photo / Videographer: Perry Swanson / Ceremony Venue: Big Indian Creek Farm / Reception Venue: White House Farm / Florist and Special Details: Karen Freeman & Linda Troxel / Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker:Jan McCord / Caterer: Pat Coody, In Good Taste Catering / Rentals and Lighting: Tent-sational Events and Taylor Services / Band: Celebration Band / Paper Products: Created by Ben Freeman and Printed by FastSigns / Bride’s Gown: “D1410″ by Essense of Australia / Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: Erica Koesler / Hair Stylist: Katie Freeman Owen / Makeup Artist: Linsey McCord Freeman / Bride’s Shoes: “Heritage Western X Toe” by Ariat / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Heidi, Arabelle, Kylie, Nadia and Mirabelle” by J.Crew / Groom’s and Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Director: Cindi Holly / Additional Vendors: The Melon Vine and The Something Blue Shoppe / Ceremony Musician: Baylee Culverhouse / Officiant: Jim Hamlin

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Just love this wedding! They did western perfectly!

  2. avatar Abby reply

    You can feel the bride’s spunk jumping out of the pictures! LOVE the horses and all he personal touches. What a memorable day!

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During our team retreat, we played a Southern Weddings version of The Newlywed Game. Kristin and I lost to Emily and Lisa by just one point! However, when the question of whether your partner would rather go to Mardi Gras or the Kentucky Derby came up, KNW knew me the best! I love Mardi Gras, but I’ve never been to the Derby, and we often daydream of a Derby double date with our beaus. Lindsey and Ryan’s Derby-inspired wedding only makes me want to go more! I love how they timed their cocktail hour with the race, included mint juleps as their signature drink, and aptly named their tables after past winners, inspired by the guests at the table (be sure to read about that below!). But, despite their love for every special detail, Lindsey and Ryan said “our favorite detail was becoming husband and wife.” That’s the best detail in my book as well!

Big SW hugs to our friend Elaine Palladino for sharing this fun day!

P.S. How fun is it that Lindsey and Ryan are celebrating their first anniversary at the actual Kentucky Derby this weekend? So special!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Mutual friends of ours, Dave and Rachel Gossett, hinted for eight years that we should meet. Living in different cities, we both presumed that it was never really meant to be. Fast forward to Derby Day 2012 when Dave and Rachel were at my annual Derby party and sent Ryan his first picture of me. A little later in the evening, one text was followed by a few clever other ones, that led to a conversation that never stopped. We texted through May into June, talked on the phone for the rest of the summer, and then Ryan came to visit over Labor Day weekend. We met on my front porch for our first date, and though I will admit to being profoundly nervous, we both knew instantly that there was something special between us. We spent the next year and a half dating and being engaged long-distance, while Ryan took care of his ailing father in Jacksonville before making the big move to Miami last spring, just in time for the wedding.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did. I am exceptionally traditional in most areas of my life, and was convinced I’d never do a first look, but when we decided to time the cocktail hour so that it was during the Kentucky Derby, we knew if we wanted to see it, we’d have to do pictures beforehand. It was a good thing we did, because as soon as I was dressed, all I could think about was getting to Ryan. If I had to wait until the ceremony, I might have gone crazy! It was just us for those few moments, and it was fantastic. Well, it was supposed to be just us, until I saw the pictures later of the entire wedding party watching from inside the hotel. :)

I saw my dress on Pinterest almost a year before getting engaged. I saved the picture thinking, “I would love to find a dress like this one day.” The night of my engagement, my sister, who was so excited to start planning wedding details, asked me if I knew the kind of dress I wanted. I shared the picture, just to give her an idea of what I was looking for, but realizing it would be hard to match something to that dress. Somehow, within a couple of days, she had found the dress, identified the designer, found the only store in Miami that sold that designer, and sent me there the following Saturday. I walked in, tried on the dress, and knew it was the one. I am forever grateful to her, more than I could ever express.

We chose orchestral hymns for the seating of the mothers and the processionals. Having both been raised in the Protestant faith, the hymns we chose felt like a natural way to invite the Lord into our day, while also honoring our moms at the same time. Our close friend beautifully sang The Lord’s Prayer at the end of the ceremony for the same reasons. Our first dance was to “Amen” by Dave Barnes. The words remind us that in all things, we are thankful to God and trust in His plans for our future. As a side note, the trumpeter at the wedding decided on his own accord that the bridal processional should start with a lively “Derby” fanfare. It was a surprise to all, and a great laugh.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? It was extremely important to us and our parents that we were married in a church. Our home church doesn’t offer ceremonies on Saturdays, so we chose a beautiful church near the Biltmore Hotel, where our reception was going to be. We wanted our day to be as enjoyable and easy as possible for all of our guests, so we kept everything as convenient as we could. The Biltmore was the perfect backdrop for the feel and style of our wedding.

We encouraged our guests to embrace the theme of the Derby by wearing big hats and bow ties–and boy, did they! We also included mint juleps, pennant mason jars, and a bluegrass band. To top the night off, we opened (and emptied) a long-saved bottle of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle with all of our friends. To represent “South” Florida, we had a cigar roller at the reception.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We named our tables after horses who have won the Derby throughout history, and chose names that best represented the guests sitting at that table (for example, “Behave Yourself” was for the wedding party and “Spend A Buck” was for my parents’ table :)). We also set thank you notes on each table, which we hoped expressed to our family and friends just how much their love meant to us. Honestly though, despite our love for every special detail we included, our favorite detail was becoming husband and wife.

What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Our first anniversary! We are going to the 2015 Kentucky Derby with our immediate family. None of us have ever been and we thought it would be a wonderful way to celebrate a year of marriage with our families!

Tell us all about the proposal! Each year, my family travels with the Gossetts and all of our extended family to Sanibel for the Fourth of July. Before the weekend, Ryan met with my dad to ask for my hand in marriage. On the night of the 4th, while on the beach, we joked about being married a year from that day. I gave Ryan a hard time, saying “First, we have to get engaged!” Just 20 minutes later, while watching fireworks, Ryan whispered into my ear, “Remind me again what step one is?” I turned around in disbelief and Ryan got down on one knee! It felt like we were the only two people on the beach in those few moments, and then, we turned around to find our families and friends there to greet us with hugs and champagne.
When did y’all get married? May 3, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 275
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We exchanged traditional vows, but we tweaked one line. Instead of saying “to love, honor and cherish,” we added “care for” into the phrase. The way we take care of each other is often our greatest expression of love.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had two readings at the ceremony: Romans 12:1-2, 9-13 and Colossians 3:12-17. Romans spoke to us about how to honor the Lord, each other, and others through our union and love. Colossians taught us how to love each other. Also, Romans 12:13 tells us to “practice hospitality.” This instruction highlights a gift we feel God has given us, as we both find joy in opening our home and hearts to others.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My mom gets the glory for the DIY details. Among the countless, non-crafty details she managed, she still found time to spray paint horseshoes, assemble pennants, and sew napkin rings for nearly 300 people. As a team, we stuffed invitations, assembled programs, hand-wrote the name cards and pennant mason jars, and painted flower boxes and “happily ever after” signs.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Make it your own; tell your story. But most importantly, stay calm and remember that everything will turn out okay. It will be more perfect than you can possibly imagine, because at the end of it all, you will be married.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? In lieu of wedding favors, we made a gift to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, in honor of Ryan’s father, Douglas Franklin Parker, who passed away in April 2013. Each guest received a note from the foundation and a chocolate horseshoe from Dr. Parker’s favorite chocolatier, Peterbrooke.

Photographer: Elaine Palladino / Videographer: Michael Burgos Films / Day-Of Coordination: Claudia Glasson and Claudia Santana / Ceremony Venue: Granada Presbyterian Church / Reception Venue, Catering, and Rentals: The Biltmore Hotel / Florals, Rentals, and Lighting: Always Flowers / Wedding Cake: Todo Dulces / Ceremony Musician: Ross DeBardelaben of Miami Virtuosi LLC / Band: Tropics Entertainment / Special Details: Unearthed Vintage / Paper Products: Fresh Impression Letterpress Studio / Bride’s Gown: Watters / Bride’s Shoes: Benjamin Adams / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Sung / Menswear: Jos. A Bank

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Who Gets Married on Kentucky Derby Day | Equestrian Stylist reply

    […] Weddings recently shared a “Kentucky Derby Wedding by Elaine Palladino” post, and check out a few of these […]

  2. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #189 – Floridian Social reply

    […] must have had a blast shooting this fun Kentucky Derby themed affair at the Biltmore […]

  3. avatar Kirsti reply

    I just adore this wedding!! How precious can this be?? I love the derby theme and all of the little details they included in their special day!!

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Our own Lisa is getting married this weekend (!), and we’re obviously really excited for her! One thing I truly admire is how she and her adorable fiancé Dave have prepared for their marriage. Like Lisa and Dave, Amy and Todd know how important the covenant of marriage is, so during their engagement, they chose to cultivate their relationship first and foremost. Amy told us “it was important to us to prepare not only for our wedding, but for the marriage to follow–the most important part!” We completely agree! I know their wedding must have been a beautiful reflection of that sweet preparation. And, y’all, I cannot let Todd’s expression when he saw Amy for the first time pass without a note. So much love right there!

Big SW hugs to Mandy Busby for capturing this pretty day!

Our wedding flowers were absolutely stunning. Laura McCarty of Marked pulled together beautiful neutrals with hints of pink–plus one brilliant yellow peony–that totally suited my neutral, subdued taste. She included lots of garden roses, peonies, and greenery, which are my favorites! Laura also added kumquats to one of the arrangements, which I loved! One of my favorite parts of our wedding was the beautiful arbor that Laura flowered up. I couldn’t have asked for anything more beautiful!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We had lots of help from friends and family, who were all willing to give us advice and guidance. We also went through premartial counseling, which was really helpful for us. It was important to us to prepare not only for our wedding, but for the marriage to follow–the most important part!

We decided not to do a first look. I wanted to save that moment for when I was walking down the aisle, and for us, I think it was perfect. Walking down the aisle was so incredibly special and memorable. Since we didn’t do a first look, it was very emotional and sweet, and the breeze wafted cherry blossom petals as I walked down the aisle. I will never forget it!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my wedding dress was so much fun! I bought my dress from The White Room in Birmingham, Alabama. I had my mom, my three sisters, and my grandmother all come with me, and they were all so kind and supportive. It was such an honor to have them all there! I only tried on three dresses, and I knew almost immediately after I tried on the third dress that I’d found my wedding dress! I loved that it was simple and romantic and reflected who I was as a person and a bride.

We loved having our wedding and reception at the Donnelly House in Birmingham, Alabama. I’d grown up on the same street as the owners, Carl and Karen, and it was so special to have them involved on my wedding day! The venue was also in a significant area of the city for us, as we spent a lot of our dating relationship downtown and on Highland Avenue.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t get caught up in the details! Details are really fun and special, but what’s really important is to enjoy the process and savor your engagement. It is such a sweet time to prepare for such a reverent day, so don’t worry too much or agonize over little details! It will all come together.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Todd and I met through mutual friends after I graduated from Auburn University and moved to Birmingham. He moved to Louisville shortly after I returned to Birmingham, but we kept running into each other at weddings and parties when he’d visit. Somehow, we started emailing, very “You’ve Got Mail.” He came in town one weekend to celebrate his sister’s birthday and he took me on a date! We decided just to go for it and date long-distance, and we are so glad we did.
Tell us all about the proposal! Todd surprised me by coming into town one Friday afternoon. That night, we had a friend’s wedding to attend, and after the ceremony, we hopped in the car and Todd told me we weren’t going to the reception–instead, he had made reservations at Highlands Bar & Grill for “a late birthday celebration” for me. We had an incredible meal, then headed back to my parents’ home, where Todd had recruited my mom and sisters to decorate with lights and lanterns. Todd proposed to me under an arbor of lights in the front yard, while, unbeknownst to me, all of my friends and family were watching and waiting inside with cake and champagne to celebrate! It was truly magical.
When did y’all get married? April 19, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We did have one reading, Colossians 1:9-14. We had one of our dear friends read it, and it was really special. It was important to us for our ceremony to be reverent and focused on the Gospel, so the scripture reading was very important to us.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Todd was totally in charge of the music, and he did an amazing job! He sings and plays guitar, so that was the only part of the wedding he insisted on planning. I walked down the aisle to “Hoppipolla” by Sigur Ros, one of our favorite bands. The song is incredibly beautiful and moving and perfect. We walked back up (or rather, danced back up) the aisle to Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love” which was so appropriate for us as a couple! We love to dance. Our first dance was “Save You” by Matthew Perryman Jones, who is a really significant artist for us. We’ve been to several of his concerts together, and his lyrics are so sweet and romantic, perfect for a first dance.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. My friend and cake lady extraordinaire, Malinda Nichols, made our wedding cake! It was really fun to have her as a vendor on our big day. She made a traditional vanilla wedding cake with buttercream frosting that was to die for, and Laura adorned the cake with flowers. It was beautiful. We also had Coke cake cupcakes with buttercream frosting and sweet little cupcake flags instead of a traditional groom’s cake!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Trying to be budget friendly was definitely a challenge, but honestly, planning our wedding was a joy!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We chose to limit the alcohol served to wine and beer. That helped cut down on our costs! We also chose to have both our wedding and reception in the same place, which helped our budget as well.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We’ve really enjoyed the first months of our marriage. It has been so joyful and fun! We’ve loved being able to live in the same city. It is such an honor to walk alongside your best friend every day. We’re excited to see where God leads us next!

Photographer: Mandy Busby / Venue: The Donnelly House / Florist: Laura McCarty / Cake Baker: Malinda Nichols / Caterer: Happy Catering Company / Bride’s Gown: Robert Bullock / Bridal Salon: The White Room / Bride’s Accessories: BHLDN / Hair Stylist: Joanna Ballentine / Makeup Artist: Molly Stilley / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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