Google+ Marissa | Southern Weddings - Part 3

Southern Weddings

Author: Marissa

We all know there is so much planning that goes into a wedding: the look, the details, and, especially in the South, making sure guests feel welcome and have a fabulous time. And, while I’m all for Southern hospitality, reading through Kelly and Austin’s sweet interview, I was most struck by how they felt. Your wedding day is filled with so many emotions and it goes by so quickly that it’s sometimes hard to remember everything, but reading that Kelly and Austin felt like the “luckiest people to be loved by so many incredible people” made my heart skip a beat. I remember feeling exactly the same way on my wedding day, and despite any snafus, marrying your best friend is always the best day ever!

Thanks to Alea Moore for capturing this beautiful day!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It’s hard to choose, because every time we turned a corner, there was something else to admire, but my favorite detail was probably my bouquet. I never imagined that I would have something so beautiful and special at my own wedding, so I seriously cried when I saw it.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? It was a hard decision because having a first look can make pictures a lot easier and save time during the wedding, but it just didn’t feel right for us. I explained to Austin that when I imagined seeing him for the first time on our wedding day, he was standing at the altar waiting for me. There is this really powerful moment when you see each other for the first time after all of the anticipation, and we wanted that moment to be a part of what made the ceremony special. Seeing each other in that moment is one of our favorite memories from the wedding.

We wrote our own vows, and it was the most challenging and meaningful thing we did for the wedding. When you have to sit down and really decide what you can promise to someone, you realize to a greater extent what marriage really is. We did’t hear each others vows until we were at the altar, and it was so powerful hearing what God had laid on our hearts separately as a vision for our marriage. There were so many similarities, it was pretty evident that He had already started preparing us to become one. This was my favorite line, adapted from Ephesians 3:20 “…today, I enter into this covenant with hopeful expectation that God will do immeasurably more with our marriage than all we could ask for or imagine, according to His power and not our own.”

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? The absolute best and most valuable thing we did while being engaged was going through pre-marital counseling. We got connected with a professional counselor through our church and spent six sessions with her trying to prepare for situations we would encounter in our marriage. Honestly, we went into the first session thinking “We’re a great couple… will there even be anything to talk about?”, but we were shocked when it ended and we still had so many things to talk through. We learned so much about each other, about ourselves, and about how to communicate through those conversations. When we finished the last session, we were actually sad that we wouldn’t get to go anymore, but we left feeling a million times more prepared for whatever marriage will throw at us.

We stumbled upon the Engine Room by chance during our venue hunt, and we knew from the moment we stepped inside that we would get married on those old wood floors, with natural light pouring in through the huge windows.

When we realized how much money it was going to be to cater a wedding for 240 people, we were in shock. We had to cut down the cost, so several friends suggested looking into food trucks, and that idea ended up saving us thousands of dollars! Since they don’t come with all of the extra staff, linens, dishes, etc., you are pretty much just paying for the food. To cut back on lines and add more selection, we got two trucks and had our own little food truck park for our guest to go up to and order their dinners. The trucks did’t just save us money, they also added a fun element to our wedding, and people have been raving about the food ever since.

We wanted simple cakes decorated with buttercream and fresh flowers. We couldn’t decide on a flavor, so we got several small cakes in different flavors from a cute bakery in Athens. The star of the show was this amazing tres leches cake that I still have dreams about eating.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? At the end of the wedding, we walked past all of our friends and family with sparklers, shouting congratulations and saying goodbye. Since we were moving away, it really was “goodbye” to so many of the people we love, which made the moment very bittersweet. When we got in the car and drove away, we were so overwhelmed that we barely had time to get out of the parking lot before we burst into tears. We got a few miles away and then pulled over the car and just cried together. We cried for how much our lives were about to change, for this scary new adventure, and mostly, for how every single aspect of our wedding was made perfect by all of the people we love and by the God who made it all possible. The only thing we could really say at that point was that we are the luckiest people in the world to be loved by so many incredible people, and that was by far the best day of our lives.

Don’t miss Kelly + Austin’s highlight film from Imagine Video Productions!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Austin and I lived just minutes from each other in Woodstock, Georgia without crossing paths for almost 18 years. When we finally did meet, we spent most of the summer together, becoming close friends. At the end of the summer, Austin left for his second year at UGA, and I prepared to start my first semester at Georgia Tech. To me, Austin was the older guy who had everything he needed in Athens, but for some reason, he showed up at Georgia Tech almost every weekend over the next couple of months. Little did I know, Austin had started liking me over the summer, and had been patiently waiting all of those months to ask me on a date when I was ready. Finally, Austin came to Atlanta and told me that he really liked me, but I needed to “stop leading him on” if I wasn’t interested…and if I was interested, he’d like to take me on a date. I replied with a “maybe” and made the poor guy wait a MONTH before officially accepting his offer, but his patience paid off. After a year of dating long distance, Austin decided to join me in Atlanta and there was no looking back. I began to realize that the crazy love that Austin had for me and the things he was willing to do for me paled in comparison with the lengths that God is willing to go to show me His love. When being with someone teaches you that, you know that they’re a solid choice for a husband.
Tell us all about the proposal! In his fourth year of school, Austin was offered an internship with Boeing in Charleston for the upcoming summer. When he accepted that internship, Austin forwarded me an email they had sent him that was an invitation to a weekend in Charleston to get to know the city and his future managers (all expenses paid!), so he invited me to accompany him. On our second day, we went over to Middleton Plantation from our hotel, and spent the morning walking through the beautiful gardens and taking video footage (because Austin wanted a montage of the trip, obviously). At one point, Austin sent me down between the ponds overlooking the marshes as he set up the camera for another shot. As he walked down to meet me, he had the biggest smile on his face, said he had something to give me, and pulled out a letter. It was when I opened it that I realized that this was no ordinary letter. It began with “To my fiancé…” and as I read the rest (with tears in my eyes), he explained all of the reasons why I was the woman he had been praying for. I finished the letter and Austin got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Obviously, I said “yes,” and we just stood there in the freezing rain, crying and laughing and enjoying the moment. Austin then explained to me that the entire Boeing trip was a big lie! After asking my parents for their blessing, Austin had spent months designing my ring, sending me fake itineraries, and even helping me pick out a “business appropriate” outfit for the meeting with his managers. Since we didn’t have any meetings to get to after all, we spent the rest of the weekend calling friends and family with the big news. It was something I will never forget!
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 240
Describe your wedding flowers. The flowers at our wedding were heavenly. Lindsay Coletta did everything without much guidance from me and on very short notice, but somehow, the florals were better than I could have even imagined. She did lush greenery down the long guest tables, whimsical arrangements for the head table, and the most amazing bridal bouquet I’ve ever seen. Because of my smaller budget, I asked for quality over quantity. That was the best decision I made, because having a smaller amount of flowers that were breathtaking was way better than having a ton of flowers that were just blah.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our location was definitely a very Southern aspect of our wedding. Monroe is a tiny, charming town, kind of out in the middle of nowhere. The venue itself is an old cotton mill that is brimming with Southern charm and history. Bistro lights over the dance floor, s’mores by the fire pit, and a ton of people dancing gave our big wedding a hint of that casual backyard feel that makes the South such a great place to call home. And we can’t forget one of the best elements, a food truck entirely devoted to macaroni and cheese.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? After our wedding, we moved to the charming city of Charleston. Austin works for Boeing as a Database Administrator, and I am preparing to apply to Physician Assistant school. We’re really looking forward to getting to know this city and making it feel more like home. We hope to spend the next few years going on adventures, eating gelato, and taking advantage of living at the beach.

Photographer: Alea Moore Photography / Videographer: Ryan Lindsay / Planner: It Takes Two Events / Venue: The Engine Room at Monroe Cotton Mills / Florist: Lindsay Coletta / Cake Baker: Cecilia’s Cakes / Caterer: Happy Belly Food Truck and Mac the Cheese Truck / Rentals: I Do Linens / DJ: Mike Zarin / Paper Products: Allee Rodenbaugh and Minted / Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Hair and Makeup: Megan Neary / Bride’s Shoes: J. Crew Factory / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: RenzRags / Groom’s Attire: “Napoli” by Suitsupply, “Clifton” by Allen Edmonds, J. Crew Factory, H&M, and Daniel Wellington / Groomsmen Attire: J. Crew Factory / Photo Booth: Classic Photo Affair / Bartender: Lyght House Cocktails / Engagement and Wedding Bands: Solomon Brothers

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar carolyn reply

    I love that this bride ROCKED her glasses on her special day :)

  2. avatar Yours Truly Wedding Albums reply

    Gorgeous choice of colors and I love the location!

  3. avatar Loverly reply

    We are loving this bride’s bouquet! Great color combo.

  4. avatar Amy reply

    Just beautiful – perfect pictures, gorgeous wedding. Enjoyed it all.

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Getting married in the same church where your parents did is such a sweet way to honor your family, but that’s not the only reason I am smitten with Blythe and Ryan’s wedding! We are wedding date twins (BDK and I were also married on December 13!), and their ceremony was held at my very favorite church! I grew up attending the amazing Cathedral in downtown Mobile, and I not-so-secretly wish BDK and I had tied the knot there. The columns alone will make you weak in the knees! Add a classic lace Lela Rose gown, stunning all-white blooms, and a yummy menu at the Mobile Country Club, and you’ve just jumped onto the list of my favorite weddings we’ve featured!

Thanks to 509 Photo for sharing this lovely day with us!

P.S. Can we talk about Blythe’s getaway style? That dress + that fur–B, let’s be friends, okay?

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was our sophomore year at Alabama and I was on my way home for the weekend when I got a call from my friend, begging me to turn around and come back to Tuscaloosa, so I did! That night, we went to dinner with a girl who had just transferred from Georgia and did not know many people. After dinner, we went to to DKE house to hang out and meet her boyfriend and his roommate, Ryan. Little did I know, Ryan and I would end up getting married five years later!

I flew to Birmingham one weekend to meet with our planners, and stopped by Ivory and White to look at dresses. I had seen a Lela Rose dress online that I liked, but I did not know how it would look in person. I tried it on and LOVED it, but then I tried on another Lela Rose dress and loved that one too!! One was more classic and the other was a little edgy, and in the end, I decided to go with the more classic dress.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not! Ryan is very superstitious, so the first time we saw each other was at the altar!

I grew up Catholic and always wanted to get married in the Cathedral downtown. It is such a beautiful church and my parents were married there years before on December 12, so our anniversaries are a day apart! We are members at the Country Club of Mobile, so it was a natural choice for our reception. We loved that the back room opened up to the outdoors!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The wedding party took a trolley ride from the church to the reception, and it was so much fun having everyone together!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? All of the food served was inspired by the South! From the grilled oysters, to the boom boom shrimp, to the Chrissy’s, to the groom’s cake (complete with a Texas flag)!, we loved it all!

Tell us all about the proposal! I hate New Years Eve–I think it is so overrated, and I would much rather stay at home and have pizza and wine! Ryan made reservations for us at a restaurant called Steele near my apartment, and we planned to meet his parents and friends for drinks beforehand at the Katy Trail Icehouse. For some reason, Ryan wanted to walk there on the trail–he usually never wants to walk! When we got to the trail, I saw candles lit and roses all over the stairs leading up to the trail. I started walking right past it (thinking, “Oh great, someone’s getting engaged and it’s not me–again!). Then, Ryan grabbed me, got on his knee, and popped the question. Of course, I said yes! We then headed to the Icehouse, where all of our friends and family were there to celebrate! It was such a special night and I will never forget it!
When did y’all get married? December 13, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I live in Dallas and the wedding was in Mobile, so it was very hard to not be there and plan everything in person!

Photographer: 509 Photo / Planner: Mariée Ami / Ceremony Venue: Cathedral Basilica Of The Immaculate Conception / Reception Venue and Caterer: Country Club Of Mobile / Florist: Elizabeth’s Garden / Cake Baker: Couture Cakes / Band: Musical Fantasy / Bride’s Gown: “Spring” by Lela Rose / Bridal Salon and Bride’s Accessories: Ivory and White / Hair Stylist: Jason Chambers / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale

Ivory and White is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Michelle reply

    Beautiful pics !

  2. avatar Stephanie Scholl reply

    What a classic, romantic, and gorgeous wedding this is! I’m loving all of the details, including the black & white photos!!

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There are many things that can make a wedding Southern: the locale, the details, the traditions, you name it! I particularly love how Jennifer and Zachary chose to focus on sweet Southern hospitality! Vital to the heartbeat of the South, hospitality can turn any event into a meaningful celebration. With welcome boxes, wool shawls, hot hands, handkerchiefs, and more, I know that guests felt welcome and completely at home, just like Jennifer and Zachary had hoped. With friends and sorority sisters-turned-wedding vendors on hand, community is one more great aspect of the South that these two embraced on their beautiful wedding day.

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor, Amanda Watson, for sharing this gilded day with us!

We met in graduate school in Oklahoma City in 2010. At first, I didn’t really talk to Zac. I was very focused on school and sat toward the front of the classroom. Zac sat behind me and later told me he thought I was cute, smart, and motivated, but he was sure I was in a relationship. Once I was confident my grades were in order, I began to notice him. As the semester progressed, we started talking more and spending time together. One day before class, he blurted out, “Let’s go to the Thunder game.” That was our first official date!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we decided to do a first look. We wanted to be able to see each other before the wedding and have some time to enjoy the moment alone. We loved walking hand and hand in the gardens, taking in the beautiful evening light and the willow trees, flowers, and trails near the water.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The most Southern part of our wedding was the effort we made to make our guests feel welcome and at home, no matter where they came from. From welcome boxes to wool shawls, hand warmers to handkerchiefs, we focused on Southern hospitality.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows. Both Zac and I found comfort in hearing and repeating the vows that have been lovingly spoken by couples for hundreds of years,
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. My mother hired OCU’s string quartet for our ceremony. Zac and I did not want to walk down the aisle to anything traditional–we love to laugh and we wanted to make people smile. We decided to walk down the aisle to “Don’t Stop Believing.” After the ceremony, we walked back up the aisle to “We are the Champions.” It was great to watch everyone’s faces in the crowd as they recognized the songs.

I fell in love with Coles Garden the first day I went there. It had a gorgeous garden area for the ceremony and a wonderful indoor and outdoor reception area. I really wanted café lights and Coles provided the perfect place to dance under the stars.

Katie from Birdies, a fourth generation florist, designed my wedding flowers. I was on the dance team at OU with Katie, so she was the first person I thought of! We did a mix of ivory, white, and blush flowers with greenery for my bouquet, and I loved that it wasn’t too traditional. Our guests loved the details Katie used to create a casual, yet elegant, look at our reception. She hand-painted lanterns gold and designed wreaths to surround them, created a wall of flowers on the welcome table, and arranged vines and nosegays for the port bar and the sweetheart table.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. The cakes were made by my good friend and OU sorority little sister, Olivia. I really don’t like the taste of fondant, but I love how it looks on cakes. She came up with the idea to do displays with a cutting layer for my cakes, as well as sheet cakes with whatever icing I preferred. The main wedding cake was decorated with stunning metallic gold and ivory finishes and topped off with delicate paper flowers. The two groom’s cakes paid tribute to Zac’s loves of hunting and OU. Guests were served their choice of carrot cake with cream cheese icing, chocolate cake with buttercream and chocolate ganache, and vanilla bean cake with strawberry filling. For a late night snack, we had a s’mores bar designed by the caterer, complete with marshmallows on a stick, warmed chocolate, and crushed graham crackers. Guests were sent home with cake slices of their choice in gold boxes with whimsical wooden forks.

Tell us all about the proposal! Every year around Christmas, Zac and I go somewhere to look at the lights. The night we exchanged gifts, before we went to celebrate with our families, was an icy one. Zac’s first gift for me was had hand warmers–he said he had planned to take me on a helicopter ride over the city to look at the Christmas lights, but had just received a call that flights were grounded because of ice. He was upset, but I told him we could go out to dinner instead. We went to a restaurant by the lake, and after dinner, we walked out to the lighthouse, where he proposed. He said he was originally planning to propose while we were flying over the Christmas lights. I know he was upset it didn’t go as planned, but I still thought the night was magical! Even though we didn’t go on the helicopter ride, his proposal in front of the lighthouse in the rain was just as romantic.
When did y’all get married? November 1, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 130
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? I always loved that my 83-year-old grandparents still held hands. When I first read “The Art of Marriage,” by Wilfred Arlan Peterson, the words spoke to that kind of love: “In the art of marriage, the little things are the big things. It’s never being too old to hold hands.” Our officiant did a touching reading of the poem during the ceremony.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! For something borrowed, my mother gave me the lace trim from her wedding dress and we wrapped it around my bouquet. We then pinned on my grandfathers’ enamel police and military badges for my something blue. He is no longer with us, so that was my way of having him there with me in spirit. My parents gifted me with a new diamond necklace and a silver sparrow charm, designed to honor my close friend and bridesmaid who passed away unexpectedly before the wedding.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We got our friends involved. As a wedding gift, one of my bridesmaids made our guest book. My sorority sisters and good friends made the invitations and cake. It was a great way to showcase my friends’ talents and build their portfolios, and we were both so proud of how well everything turned out. It was better than we could have imagined!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Relax! Planning a wedding should be fun, but it can get stressful. Try not to lose sight of what is important. It is easy for friends and family to chime in and suggest what they think you need to do or add to the wedding. Just remember that at the end of the day, the important thing is how you and your husband picture your wedding day.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We have enjoyed being a newlywed couple, and we are ready to start a family!

Photographer: Amanda Watson / Planner: Camden Chitwood / Venue: Coles Garden / Florist: Birdie Blooms / Cake Baker: Olivia Abel / Caterer: Catering Connection / Rentals: Marianne’s Rentals / Lighting: Innovative Event Solutions / DJ: BTP Productions / Calligraphy: Sooner Calligraphy / Illustrations: Lana’s Shop / Paper Products: Melinda Russell Designs / Bride’s Gown: Allure / Bride’s Veil: Toni Federici / Hair Stylist: Chelse Lasher / Makeup Artist: Blo Bar / Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden / Bridesmaids’ Dresses and Groomsmen’s Ties and Vests: Custom by Lihn’s Bridal / Groom’s Attire: Calvin Klein / Photo Booth: The SNL Photo Booth / Ceremony Musicians: Oklahoma City String Quartet / Cigar Roller: The Leaf 405 / Coffee Catering: Cafe Evoke

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Lana Effron reply

    What a beautiful, heartfelt wedding to get to be apart of. Thank you so much for the feature!

  2. avatar Jenn & Zac: Southern Weddings reply

    […] See more from this gorgeous wedding over on Southern Weddings! […]

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