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Southern Weddings

Author: Marissa

Now, while I grew up in the great state of Alabama, my adult years have been spent in quite a few Southern states, and one of the things I’ve found consistent across borders is the kindness and hospitality of Southerners — it makes you instantly feel at home, wherever you are! Caroline and Chandler chose to embrace these two Southern hallmarks at their wedding, creating a “close-knit and welcoming” environment for all of their guests. And don’t miss their rewrite of traditional vows – I loved that they pledged to fight for love instead of against each other!

Thank you to Erin Wilson Photography for this beautiful day!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I had recently decided to move to the town where my best friend and her husband were living, and started meeting their new friends. Chandler and I were both invited to celebrate my friend’s husband’s birthday. As most typical gatherings play out, all the girls were in the kitchen talking and all the men were in the living room watching a football game. During our time talking in the kitchen, one girl asked me a bunch of questions about my background and finally said, “There is a guy wearing a red jacket in the other room who is perfect, precious, and sweet. He loves his momma, and loves Jesus, and he will LOVE his wife.” HOW BOLD! I was not really interested in dating during my transition of moving and starting fresh, but I did peek into the next room and quickly said “no” when I saw the Duck Dynasty-esque beard he was sporting. The next encounter was after I visited their church’s service before Christmas; they had a reception afterward to help people connect and spend time together. It was then that I got to see his beaming smile through all the beard, so I left telling my best friend that he was in fact very cute. We still didn’t officially meet. The next time I came to town was the weekend before New Year’s, and our mutual friends were not going to let me leave town without officially meeting him. We did the awkward group lunch after church where everyone knows they are attending for the purpose of getting two people to officially meet. After a lot of convincing, I agreed to join the group for New Year’s Eve. That night, Chandler was very intentional–he was always near me and began asking me one-on-one questions that sprung off of what the group was discussing. I came back in to help my friend collect plates and cups while people still enjoyed the fire, and we found Chandler doing dishes in the kitchen and taking out the trash. It was then that I saw his servant heart. He boldly called a week later to ask me to coffee.

I wanted the flowers to be very lush and vary in color. Our original wedding colors were blush pink, gold, and dark wood grain. We decided to add variety in order for it to look very whimsical and not so structured. I love the round eucalyptus leaf greenery with pops of flowers, such as peonies, roses, some different daisies, hypericum berries and carnations.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! We wanted the photographer to have a lot of time for wedding party pictures without delaying the reception. We also wanted to be able to make sure the vows were not the first time we would talk to each other that day. It really made things run so smoothly! We had eight groomsmen and eight bridesmaids, and since we started the pictures with a first look, we got to take all sorts of creative pictures together with our favorite people.

We decided to rewrite traditional vows with our own special promises to each other. Our premarital counseling was great for real world advice and also helped us think of ways to set our marriage up for success and great communication. One of my favorite vows to him was, “I promise to respect you without condition.” This statement was also said to me this way: “I promise to love you without condition.” In our premarital counseling, we talked about how receiving and giving love to each other is interpreted differently by guys and girls. The second a man feels doubted or disrespected, they do not respond in love; for a woman, the second she feels unloved, she does not respond in respect. So for us, we always want to be on the same team, fighting for love and not against each other.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our ceremony. The pastor did an amazing job of telling our story and highlighting what God has done in our relationship. The weather was beautiful, the flowers were stunning, and the variety of wedding party attire came together so well. The reception was fun and full of loved ones reuniting, while some met for the first time, but the promises that were made and the love that was presented to everyone during our ceremony meant more to me than anything!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We wanted something outdoors and close to the vendors we had chosen. We have family who does amazing things with events and didn’t want distance to hinder their work! We luckily found Wagon Wheel Acres quickly and booked them as soon as we could get up there to look around. Their location is beautifully set on top of Lee Mountain overlooking the River Valley area. The rocks on the bluff were just stunning and the potential of their barn-like facility was a great canvas for my vision. They provided many small detail decor items here and there, as well as some antique tables that were just the right touch for our sweetheart and guest book tables.

My wedding cake was five layers with alternating vanilla (our favorite), chocolate, and strawberry cakes, all with white buttercream icing. I described to them a rough, iced cake with gold accents throughout. I decided on flowers instead of a topper of any kind to continue the whimsical theme.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Southern, to me, is close-knit and welcoming. In the South, there is a polite sense of belonging with those who uphold traditional kindness. I think that’s what was present at our wedding. Whether people knew both of us well or just one of us, there was a sense of relaxed comfort to all who attended.

Tell us all about the proposal! We had talked marriage many times after a few months of dating, and had even come up with some good dates to consider around the months his sister would be in the country! About five months after we started dating, he began looking at rings and quickly decided to go with a local company who would allow him to design his own. One evening, he told me he had band practice and instead traveled to my hometown to meet with my family. He took them all out to dinner and, when they returned to my house, Chandler had a talk with my dad that ended with both of them in tears. Their love for me is so sweet. My dad gave his blessing, and Chandler officially purchased the ring not long after. He went to visit my hometown several times to time the sunset and get the lighting right for all that he wanted. Chandler built a beautiful dark wood bench and about eight frames to put our pictures in from throughout dating. He got candles and fabric to set all along this overlook by the lake. My family planned a “family dinner” night that Chandler would “have to be late for because of work.” My family and I got all ready for a nice dinner at our local country club…or so I thought. On the way out of our neighborhood (which is right by the lake), my dad mentioned something he needed to look at on the door of the lake conference center. My whole family got out of the car to “look at the sunset while he looked at the door.” Little did I know, waiting around the corner was Chandler and his crew of people documenting! I was shocked.. and then speechless when I realized there were two people filming and a photographer! He had set everything out and even somehow coordinated his shirt with my dress. He got down on one knee and I said, “Of course I will!” We then immediately took our engagement pictures. My family had then left me to get to the after-party Chandler had planned with myy family, his family, and our closest friends! It was so sweet!
When did y’all get married? April 2, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 200
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Our marriage was what we started planning long before wedding details came together. We knew we wanted to do premarital counseling to prepare our hearts and minds for challenges and the realities of married life. Both of us have divorced parents, so we wanted to set up patterns in our marriage that would help us continue to fight more for our marriage instead of against each other. The couple we met with had us read the books “Love and Respect” and “Sheet Music.” These were so very helpful and led to many discussions about how our pasts had molded us to believe things about marriage that we either had to begin changing or agree to be truths. We prayed A LOT and also asked for advice from many close friends.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We were blessed to have family that does event decorating, cakes, catering, etc. It was a huge help to be able to rely on my family to make this special day come together. I definitely went the “cheap” route with as many things as possible to make sure money was spent on my favorites: flowers and photography! I did all my own calligraphy for the invitations, programs, chalkboard, signage. I am a graphic designer, so I designed my invitations and save the dates as well!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I definitely would advise those planning their own wedding to prioritize the details that are most important to you (for me, it was flowers and photography). Budget for those first! Also, look for a venue that goes with your theme–the garden party look I wanted wasn’t going to work in a church building or a conference room. Then, choose things like attire for all of your wedding party, yourself and your groom carefully, since that is what will be seen, photographed, and focused on most. It’s sometimes hard to get dresses/suits ordered in a timely manner, so find these vendors first to prevent scrambling at the last minute for all the right sizes.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We took a small honeymoon, but are planning our first married vacation for the end of the summer! We only dated a little over a year before getting married, so we are excited about traveling together and we are always seeking adventures! We decided on no pets for now, just so any day could be an adventure without the worry of burdening others with upkeep while we are away! After getting married, we moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas where Chandler got a new job, so everything is new to us. Once I graduate from cosmetology school, I will be getting a job in Hot Springs, which is luckily known as Spa City!

Photographer: Erin Wilson | Videographer: Kyle and Capillya Uptergrove | Planner: Fe Barton | Florist, Cake Baker, Caterer, and Rentals: Dover Supermarket Inc. | Venue: Wagon Wheel Acres | Guest Book: Shutterfly | Paper Goods: Caroline Tedder and Posey Printing Inc. | Bridal Salon and Veil: Low’s Bridal | Bride’s Gown: “Style D1702” in Champagne by Essense of Australia | Bride’s Earrings: Francesca’s | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Miriam Alvarez | Groom’s Attire: J. Ferrar

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

    Wow! This made me tear up. Very well said. How and when can we buy copies of this magazine. We would like the Issue that has this story.
    Thank you

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Becky! I’m so glad you loved this wedding! Caroline and Chandler’s big day is an online-only feature, but our next issue will debut in November 2016!

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Even before their engagement, Katie had already envisioned her dream setting for her and Scott’s wedding, and when she spotted Murray Hill in a local magazine, she knew it was the perfect place to carry out that vision. With the help and guidance of their planner Grit & Grace, plus stunning blooms by Holly Heider Chapple, Katie and Scott welcomed guests to an understated, yet completely beautiful, wedding celebration. And, while their wedding cake was the focal point of their dessert buffet, how fun is it that they had “his and her favorites” up for grabs, including cookies and dairy milk for Scott and mini cannoli and French macarons for Katie? Personalized touches like that are always so special!

Big hugs to our friends and Blue Ribbon Vendors Jodi and Kurt Photography for sharing this sweet day with us!

I was absolutely in love with my wedding flowers. Holly was so spot on with her floral design. We wanted to include subtle shades of green, white, and yellow, with pops of coral poppies. Unfortunately, the time of year made poppies a bit harder to find, so Holly warned me early on that she would do her best but couldn’t guarantee that she would be able to get them. However, the day of, when I received my bouquet, it was overflowing with poppies. Holly had managed to find them from a local grower, and they couldn’t have been more beautiful.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We did premarital counseling with Scott’s brother, who officiated the wedding, and his wife. The premarital counseling was very helpful for us, as we were able to continue to learn more about each other and how we approach life and faith.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows. We both struggled with finding the perfect words to describe our love for each other, but knew that we both wanted to try to use our own words in front of our family and friends. Scott’s favorite line of my vows was when I promised to continue to listen to country music as long as it wasn’t too twangy (I didn’t like country music prior to meeting Scott, but now am a huge fan!). My favorite part of Scott’s vows was, “From the first time we met in the parking lot of a softball field, I knew that you were going to be someone very special to me. Your laugh, your smile, your eyes, and your yoga pants all told me I had finally found the partner I had been longing for.”

On our way home from getting engaged, Scott had already downloaded a local wedding magazine on his iPad for me to look through. I already had a vision in mind for the setting, and while flipping through the pages, I stumbled upon one of the real weddings featured in the magazine that fit my vision perfectly. It was a barn wedding with Edison string lights that were simple, understated, and so beautiful. I immediately told Scott that that was where I wanted to have our wedding. The following week, we visited Murray Hill and fell in love with the property and it’s owners, Peggy and John. With a ceremony location overlooking the Potomac River, a beautiful garden and reflecting pool for the cocktail hour, and a whimsical stroll through the woods to get to the three-sided barn on the property, they had everything that we had envisioned for our special day. We knew we didn’t need to look any further and booked our wedding date that same day.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Without a doubt, our wedding would not have been as big of a success without Megan Pollard from Grit and Grace. We had looked into several other vendors in the area, but, by chance, interviewed Megan first. We left that first meeting with Megan and cancelled all other interviews with other planners. She was exactly who we were looking for. Megan was there day and night to provide her professional (and personal) opinion on anything and everything we needed. She understood what we wanted and knew how to make it happen. As our big day came to an end, marking the end of our professional relationship with Megan, we texted her as we rode away from the venue to ask if we could be friends now. She simply replied, “I’m glad you feel it too.”

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Some of our favorite details of our wedding were our table numbers and guest book. Each table was the name of a city that Scott and I were fortunate enough to travel to over the course of our relationship. To tie into the travel theme, our guest book was a vintage atlas with a sign that said “Eat Well & Travel Often–Let Us Know Where We Should Go.” We wanted our guests to show us their favorite spots in the world and give us some ideas of where we should travel to in the future.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We both are big bourbon lovers. Our signature cocktail during the cocktail hour and reception was Woodford Bourbon and Ginger Beer. Although, in true Southern style, we spent most of the evening enjoying the Woodford on the rocks!

During our first few weeks of dating, Scott was set on convincing me to like country music. He kept sending me lists of songs to listen to and I kept putting it off until he finally sent along Hunter Hayes’ “Wanted.” He said next to it “I think you’re really going to like this one.” When I finally listened to it, I realized all the lyrics perfectly described my feelings for him…I was hooked. I knew at that moment that that would be our song. The father/daughter dance was to The Cranberries’ “Dreams” (acoustic by Katey Sweeney and Jonathan Padden). The first concert I ever went to was with my dad to see The Cranberries on my 10th birthday. The concert was unforgettable and such a special moment for me and my dad that I wanted to honor it by having one of the songs for our dance. I also spent months trying to convince my son, Malcolm (10 years old), to dance with me at the wedding. He was a little shy and said he didn’t know how to slow dance. I said that it didn’t have to be a slow song and that he could even choose a country song if he wanted. Malcolm decided on one of his favorite country singers, Luke Bryan, and had an absolute blast dancing that night. It was the perfect way to start off the party and invite our guests to come join us on the dance floor.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Scott and I met through mutual friends while playing co-ed softball. Scott was new to the Northern Virginia area after growing up in Virginia Beach. The softball team was short a few players one Saturday morning, so his roommate invited him to come out and play. The first person Scott met as he strolled onto the field was me! After a few more softball games and a trip to a wine festival, we realized we had a connection, and the rest is history.
Tell us all about the proposal! I joined Scott at a business conference at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota, Florida. After coordinating with the hotel staff and his co-workers, the stage was set for the big event. The backdrop would be the hotel’s beach club at sunset, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Using a book we had been working through, “101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged,” Scott began to go through questions he had created to set up the big question. The final question Scott asked was, “Will you marry me?”
When did y’all get married? May 30, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 187
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding a wedding dress was a lot harder than I had anticipated. I am more of an independent dresser–not one to go out and shop with others because I hate the pressure. Having a slew of people join me as I picked out one of the most important garments of my life was a little overwhelming. I bought a dress that was beautiful and timeless, but it wasn’t me. When it came in nine months later, I realized I made a mistake. I quickly started researching other options and stumbled upon Nicole Miller’s Janey Gown from BHLDN and fell in love. It was everything I wanted in a gown, and had a quick turnaround time so it arrived just in time for the big day.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Scott and I decided not to do a first look, since we had both always dreamed of that moment when you turn the corner and see your husband/wife for the first time as they walk down aisle. We were a little more traditional in that sense and feared we would regret missing out on that opportunity. However, in hindsight, that is one aspect of our wedding we had wished we had been more open to. I was able to do a first look with my dad and son, and the pictures we captured from that moment were some of my favorites from the day. It also would have probably helped to calm my nerves to see Scott beforehand.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 and Ephesians 5:21-33
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. While we had a wedding cake, the focal point was our dessert buffet. Scott grew up in a household where–to this day–his family receives milk from a milkman who delivers directly to their home. He and his brothers had a ritual every night of having Oreos with dairy milk. I, on the other hand, have a deep love for cannolis and macarons. We decided for our wedding day that the desserts would speak to “his and her favorites,” including chocolate chip and Oreo cookies with shots of dairy milk, mini cannolis, French macarons, and sugar cookies in the shapes of softballs and baseball bats.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We were able to save money by purchasing our own alcohol for the wedding. It was a little extra work to coordinate amounts and make sure it got to the venue, but in the end, it was worth it for the money we were able to save.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? At one point during the reception, everyone was on the dance floor and “Wagon Wheel” came on. Everyone started singing in unison and then all of a sudden, Scott, Malcolm, and I all got hoisted up on people’s shoulders and were sitting above the crowd watching all the happiness and joy around us. We felt completely supported (both physically and emotionally) by all our loved ones and were absolutely elated.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t forget about the real reason you’re getting married; you love your partner and want to spend the rest of your life with them. Wedding planning is filled with deadlines, stress, and compromise. At the end of the day, always realize being married and planning a wedding are two different things, with one distinctly more enjoyable than the other!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Since our big day, we’ve added a four-legged friend to our family. Harper is a beagle/lab mix that we rescued from South Carolina. She is a Southern belle at heart, but won’t hesitate to enjoy a good pair of leather shoes from time to time. We will continue to travel and eat our way through our bucket list of vacation spots.

Photographer: Jodi and Kurt Photography | Planner: Grit & Grace | Venue: Murray Hill | Florist and Lighting: Holly Heider Chapple | Caterer, Cake, and Dessert Baker: Ridgewells Catering | Rentals: DC Rentals | DJ: Premier DJ Services | Signs: Sweet Carolina Collective | Paper Products: Brave Creative Design | Bride’s Gown: “Janey” by Nicole Miller | Bride’s Headpiece and Earrings: Ayajewellery | Hair and Makeup: Claudine Fay | Bride’s Shoes: Seychelles | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew | Menswear: Jos. A. Banks | Dance Floor, Chalkboard Escort Card Board, and Furniture: Revolution Event Design & Production | Tent: Capital Party Rentals | Welcome Bag Cookies: Fresh Bakes | Ceremony Musicians: St. Charles String Quartet | Floral Linens and Cocktail Tables: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Invitation Suite: Haute Papier | Custom Koozies: Christine Meahan Designs

Grit & Grace and Jodi Miller Photography are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Jane Nash reply

    What a beautifully written piece perfectly describing my daughter, Katie and son-in-law, Scott’s wedding! It was an absolutely magical day filled with so much happiness, joy and LOVE! Great attention to every detail created a true weekend that all of their guests truly enjoyed. We are so fortunate to live in Loudoun County with an abundance of highly artistic, experienced and professional wedding providers. From the venue, the gorgeous flowers, the dresses, delicious food and cake, music and so much more, it was an extraordinary and special wedding event always to be remembered leaving memories to be celebrated year after year! Congratulations on your upcoming 1st wedding anniversary, Katie and Scott!

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The weather is starting to warm up around these parts, and I don’t know about y’all, but it’s already heavily affecting my wardrobe choices! Spring has most definitely sprung in the South, so we thought it might be helpful (and fun!) to round up some options for all those upcoming weddings. While I am always a fan of the classic little black dress, when we gathered a few of our favorite spring wedding guest dresses for this post, we included scallops, fun florals, and a little bit of glitz for good measure.

1. Lilly Pulitzer 2. Kate Spade 3. Loft 4. Camilyn Beth 5. ASOS 6. Slate & Willow 7. Anthropologie 8. Kate Spade 9. Anthropologie 10. Donna Morgan 11. Erin Fetherston 12. Eliza J 13. Shoshanna 14. Parker 15. BHLDN

Which one is your favorite? Personally, I’m smitten with that pretty pink Camilyn Beth!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Nos. 5 and 9 are my favorites!

  2. avatar Nicole reply

    I LOVE the butterfly print in #11!

  3. avatar Kristin reply

    I’m with Nicole, I wish I could open up my closet and find #11 (or #7)!

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