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Southern Weddings

Author: Marissa

After reading about how these two met at a college football tailgate and then got engaged at an Atlanta Braves game (be sure to read about this special nod to Keely’s late father), I knew Keely and Hill’s wedding would be sweet, Southern, and full of personal details. And, y’all, they did not disappoint! Together with their planner, The Graceful Host, Keely and Hill created a romantic wedding with blush pink and monogrammed details that any Southerner would be proud of. Keely said “Who we are and where we come from is something us Southerners take pride in,” and I couldn’t agree more!

Big hugs to Lauren Friday for sharing this lovely day with us!

My something blue was the blue monogram of my father’s tie that was sewn into the back of my dress with his initials and our wedding date. My something new was my Valentino peep toe shoes. My something old was my father’s tie, which happens to be the only “blush” tie in his tie box. My something borrowed was the cameo that belonged to my great-grandmother, which was worn by my grandmother and mother on their wedding days. I had it tied and wrapped up into my bouquet.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our wedding party! That’s a detail right?! I had ten of the most beautiful, giving, and carefree group of girls, while Hill had ten guys that were as dapper as they were funny. Together, they all made our whole entire wedding weekend so much fun.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided to keep it traditional. After the 1,000 decisions that we had to make, this was by far the easiest. While I was walking down the aisle, it was as if all of our guests had disappeared and the only thing that we could both focus on was each other! Even with 200 pairs of eyes on us, it still felt so intimate.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We both feel like there is nothing more romantic and beautiful than the sounds of Webber, Pachelbel, Wagner, and Handel coming from a live string quartet. Hill and I are fans of Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, and very seldom hear some of those pieces without shedding a tear! I kept it a secret from Hill that my first processional song would be “Music of the Night” by Webber. As I walked from the house down to the start of the ceremony chairs, it then transitioned into a more traditional sound, “Bridal Chorus” by Wagner. We choose “Hornpipe in D” by Handel in honor of Hill’s parents, who used it for their wedding recessional 48 years ago.

We treated our guests to a shrimp and grits bar, loaded potato bar, fried macaroni and cheese pops, and even served late night snacks of milk and cookies and mini pizzas in our signature monogrammed pizza boxes! Our monogram was EVERYWHERE. Who we are and where we come from is something us Southerners take pride in, so Deb at Olive Paper created a signature “H” monogram that was used on everything from our save The dates all the way to our custom koozies and pillows on the rocking chairs. Hill had actually gifted me my new monogram on a Moon and Lola gold necklace earlier that day, which I switched to wearing after we said our I do’s! Even Hill had his own special monogram–his late grandfather had left him his gold monogrammed cufflinks, and in his honor, Hill carried a buckeye, which you could always count on his grandfather having in his pocket every time you saw him!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Hill and I were introduced in 2011 by mutual friends at an Appalachian State University football tailgate. Immediately, there was a mutual attraction, but the timing with our ten-year age difference made it a little complicated at first! We lived two hours apart, and as you can imagine, our worlds were very different at the time! Our lives continued to go in different directions, but we remained in touch. During that period of time, I decided to pack my bags to live and work in Germany for a year. After countless emails from 4,558 miles away and many Skype calls, one thing was certain: we didn’t want to be without each other. In January 2012, Hill decided to take his first flight overseas to meet me in Vienna, Austria. We spent the most magical New Year’s Eve together and explored what would be the first of many European cities together! After my year in Germany ended, I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to finally be close to Hill.
Tell us all about the proposal! In June 2013, Hill decided to plan a surprise trip, which is nothing out of the ordinary–I hit the romance jackpot with this guy. He had planned a quick weekend trip down to Atlanta. Growing up, it was my dad’s “thing” to spend quality time as a family at Atlanta Braves games. For as long as I can remember, Atlanta has always held a special place in my heart for this reason, even after my father passed away when I was 13. After Hill and I enjoyed a Braves game, we headed back to get ready for dinner. As we walked out of the hotel room, Hill said “Wait a minute, I have something for you to wear tonight.” He went over to a box and pulled out a candy ring pop. I had always told him I didn’t care about a ring, and when the time was right, that a ring pop would do just fine. Bright, shiny, and cherry it was! He placed the ring pop on my finger and smiled. Before I could even speak, he laughed and said “Oh, that’s the wrong one.” He then dropped to his knee and pulled out the most gorgeous cushion-cut diamond I have ever seen. My jaw dropped as Hill asked me to be his bride, and somehow between the laughing and crying, I managed to get a yes in there! Later, I found out that Hill had asked my mother and my brother’s permission for my hand in marriage earlier that week, just like a true Southern gentleman should! It still gives me goosebumps to think about how much thought Hill put into making our proposal so special, and, most importantly, connecting it to my father.
When did y’all get married? May 31, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Aside from actually committing my love to Hill in front of our friends and family, finding my wedding dress was one of my favorite moments of our wedding process! My sister-in-law had purchased her gown from Monica at Bellissima of Salisbury a few years ago, and from the moment I walked into the store, I knew that I would be coming back for my dress someday! My first time trying on dresses was overwhelming because I fell in love with so many different dresses. I left that day knowing my dress would come to me; I just need some good ol’ fashioned “sleep on it” advice from my momma! During that time, Monica contacted me and asked me if I would be her model for a photo shoot she was doing for her Southern Weddings magazine ad! ;) Of course, I was honored and humbled! During that shoot, I started to gain a better understanding of what I liked, and Monica told me I would love the Kelly Faetanini gowns she had coming in soon. I had my eye on “Emmy” from browsing her gowns online, and the day that I went to try on the collection, I saved the best for last and knew “Emmy” was my girl!
Did you write your own vows? We like to stick to tradition! There is something to be said about saying the same vows our grandparents and parents used!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Hiring our wedding planner, Ashley of The Graceful Host. Having a wedding planner helped us put our money where it was most important to us!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding planner and don’t get caught up in the fluff of things. At the end the day, you are going to be married and that is the most IMPORTANT thing. Also, don’t skip the videographer just because you have the pictures covered! Hiring Shamus Coney, our videographer, was one of the best decisions we made throughout this process! You will not be sorry when you get those videos back! See ours here.

Photographer: Lauren Friday Photography / Videographer: Shamus Coney Films / Planner: Ashley Cash of The Graceful Host / Venue: Boxwood Estate / Florist: North Carolina New Creations Flower Company / Wedding Cake: Wow Factor Cakes / Caterer: Something Classic / Rentals and Lighting: Party Reflections / Band: Loose Chain / Bride’s Gown: “Emmy” by Kelly Faetanini / Bridal Salon and Veil: Bellissima of Salisbury / Paper Products: Olive Paper / Bride’s Jewelry: Kelly Faetanini at Nordstrom / Hair Stylist: Sara Mardis & Lisa Freeze / Makeup Artist: Sara Mardis / Bride’s Shoes: Valentino / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Monique Lhuillier at Bellissima of Salisbury / Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Koozies, Monogrammed Pillow, Cocktail Napkins: Mom and Pop’s Print Shop / Ceremony Music: Elegant Ensembles

marissa Written with love by Marissa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Charmaine reply

    These photos are beautiful love that wedding cake!

  2. avatar Ashley reply

    Thank y’all so, so much for featuring this sweet couple today! We absolutely adored working with Keely and Hill, and I’m so excited that the readers of SW Mag got to learn more about their beautiful love story … and to catch a glimpse of their gorgeous wedding day! XO

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    Keely is a gal after my own heart–peonies, Valentino bows pumps, and long curls? Bridal perfection in my book!

  4. avatar Breanna reply

    Those photographs are absolutely gorgeous! And I love what Keely said about not missing out on videography just because you have photos covered. That is such a tempting thing to cut when eying the budget, but there is something special about having that video too. The way Keely and Hill incorporated so many traditions and kept their parents weddings in mind when planning their own was so sweet! So much class and so much romance all wrapped up in this fabulous wedding.

  5. avatar 14 wedding themes and ideas | Rustic Folk Weddings reply

    […] Southern Weddings photography by Lauren Friday […]

  6. avatar Boxwood Estate Wedding – Keely & Hill – Featured on Southern Weddings » Lauren Friday Photography reply

    […] feature and read more about the details of their day (coordinated by the fabulous Graceful Host), click here!  How gorgeous and stylish is this […]

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After their first meeting played out more like a classic teen movie than a romantic comedy, Danielle and Chris’ relationship matured and grew into something special over nine years of dating, and their wedding was a true reflection of just that. With the help of their wedding planner, Amy Kristina Weddings, and their family and friends, these two created a wedding that was filled with meaningful details for their guests, as well as for each other. Y’all, the photos that Sam Stroud captured of them opening their wedding day gifts makes my heart skip a beat–be sure to read the story behind Danielle’s gift to Chris–and bring a tissue!

Such happy smiles!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I searched for dresses throughout Virginia and North Carolina, but I was having trouble finding a dress with the unique look I was craving. A friend told me about a non-profit shop called Church Street Bridal in Lynchburg, Virginia that sells donated designer gowns from bridal boutiques in NYC. I decided to check it out on a whim one day while my sister was in town. As soon as we arrived, we were shocked at the selection of beautiful gowns! We immediately called my mom, and within an hour or so, I said “YES” to the dress!! All of the proceeds earned at Church Street Bridal go to the local YWCA of Central Virginia, whose mission is to eliminate racism and empower women.

Our favorite detail of the day was the gift that I surprised Chris with before the ceremony. Sadly, Chris’ grandfather passed away eight months before our wedding. After that, Chris casually began searching for a vintage, Belgian-made Browning shotgun, like the one that his grandfather had willed to his father. With a little help from a couple of Chris’ friends and a few of our family members, I was able to track one down in Tennessee two weeks before the wedding. It was in perfect condition and I was so excited that I could barely keep the secret! When Chris opened his gift before the ceremony, he immediately knew the gun’s significance and was overcome with emotion. Luckily for me, I got to re-live this special moment when watching our wedding video!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Of course! I borrowed my grandmother’s engagement ring to wear for the day and my something blue was a monogrammed patch that my mother-in-law made, which was sewn into my dress. An old cameo that belonged to my great-grandmother was pinned to my bouquet, and my Kate Spade shoes were brand new!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose phrases we wanted to recite in our vows to each other. My favorite was “to value your opinions and grow with you.” Relationships inevitably evolve over time, and your willingness to grow with each other is crucial to the success of any marriage.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was one of the most meaningful moments of the night. We danced to “Hungry for Your Love,” originally by Van Morrison, but Chris and I love the mandolin-filled Sam Bush version. We had a local bluegrass band play for our ceremony and cocktail hour, and they also agreed to learn and play our first dance song. One of my favorite verses from the song states “You’re part of me now,” which I had engraved in Chris’ wedding band along with our wedding date.

During cocktail hour, our guests sipped moonshine out of monogrammed mason jars, sampled mini chicken n’ waffle hors d’oeuvres, and enjoyed a live bluegrass band, all while sitting on grandma’s antique furniture. Does it get any more Southern than that?

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was your classic teen movie plot: I was a freshman in high school and he was the senior I had a major crush on. On my way to class one day, I tripped and dropped my books in the stairwell. Luckily (or unfortunately), my handsome knight in shining armor was there to help me up and retrieve my books. I was mortified! He didn’t even know my name. A few years later, we were formally introduced by mutual friends and sparks flew immediately. Funny how things work out! After nine years of dating, we finally decided to tie the knot.
Tell us all about the proposal! Last June, we planned an adventurous road trip tour of California. We visited San Francisco, Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, destinations along Route 1, and Napa Valley. Four days into our vacation, after a long day of hiking and a beautiful sunset, Chris dropped down to one knee at the Tunnel View overlook in Yosemite and asked me to marry him. The next night, we celebrated in Carmel with delicious cocktails and an amazing dinner, while watching the the sun set over the Pacific. It was most definitely a trip we will never forget!
When did y’all get married? May 16, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I have been in love with our venue for years! Chris and I are both from the Roanoke, Virginia area and wanted our wedding to be close to home. Sundara had unbeatable mountain views and the perfect amount of Southern charm.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Homemade cakes and other delicious desserts are key to the conclusion of any great Southern meal. Many of our family members are known for their baking skills, so we saw this as the perfect opportunity to save money and add a bit of Southern swag to the dessert table. We served an assortment of homemade cakes, including strawberry, coconut, lemon pound cake, and cheesecake. We also had my personal favorite, pink cake pops dusted with edible gold glitter! All of the desserts were arranged on top of a vintage buffet that Chris and I painted mint and gold to match our wedding colors.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? One of my bridesmaids is a whiz at marketing and design. Luckily for me, she offered to design all of our wedding stationery! She created a custom monogram logo that we used to brand every single detail of our wedding–it was featured on everything from our programs to cornhole boards Chris made.

Photographer: Sam Stroud Photography / Videographer: Michael’s Videography / Planner: Amy McArthur of Amy Kristina Weddings / Venue: Sundara / Florist: Gloriosa / Caterer: Blue Ridge Catering / Band: Blue Moonshine / DJ: RSP Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: Bliss by Monique Lhuillier / Paper Products: Richelle Holland / Bridal Salon and Veil: Church Street Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Les Cheveux Salon and Day Spa / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Newbury Long” by Joanna August / Men’s Attire: Black by Vera Wang

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Leann reply

    Yay Sam! Congrats on the feature.

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I’ve always loved beach weddings, but I must admit, I didn’t truly understand their magic until I was a bridesmaid at one a few weeks ago and dinner was served literally inches away from the water. Now, I completely understand how unbelievably romantic it can be to have the sand beneath your feet and the ocean as your backdrop at your wedding! Alex and Joey’s wedding falls right into that magical category–with its old Florida feel and sweet and meaningful details (the ceremony benches were made from reclaimed wood from Alex’s parents’ home!), these two threw a celebration that was good ol’ Southern fun!

Big thanks to Rodeo and Co for sharing these dreamy photos with us!

See! Absolutely dreamy!

My mother and I were in Burlington, Vermont when we decided to see what Sewly Yours Bridal had. I knew I wanted a vintage dress, but I only saw one that I wanted to try on. It fit perfectly! A week later, I tried it on again for my sister to see. This time, one of the ladies working there asked, “Can you see yourself getting married in this dress?” I started crying because I knew the answer was yes!

Describe your wedding flowers. My bouquet was made of Juliet garden roses, light peach roses, pink Sophie roses, white majolica spray roses, white hydrangeas, and white ranunculus. The bridesmaids carried bouquets of light peach roses and white majolica spray roses. Joey’s parents grew roses when he was younger, so we wanted to have lots of roses at our wedding.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My mother, stepfather, and brother made our ceremony benches using floor boards from my parents’ in Fort Myers house that they’re remodeling. I loved the lounge area my mother created with four love seats, ottomans, and a bamboo table. There was a fish detail on the flatware and we used ocean blue glass plates. My grandmother’s large crystal bowl was filled with roses on the entry table.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I was born in Fort Myers, Florida and most of my family still lives down there. We decided to have the wedding right on Fort Myers Beach. My uncle, Les Morgan, who is a minister in LaBelle, Florida, performed the ceremony. We had a very Southern dinner that included a shrimp and grits station. We also served pulled pork, three-cheese macaroni, collard greens, black eye peas, sweet corn bread muffins, and buttermilk biscuits with berry jam. It was so good! I highly recommend Gwendolyn’s Café and Catering in Fort Myers.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Being the fifth generation in Fort Myers, Florida, I wanted the wedding to have an old Florida, romantic feel. We’re very laid back and wanted everyone to enjoy themselves, so the beach was perfect for that. When I saw the Stella-Maris, I fell in love with its historic charm.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. A mutual friend secretly wanted us to meet. At first, neither of us thought anything of it, but by the end of the night, Joey was walking me to the train and kissing me goodnight. We’ve been together ever since.
Tell us all about the proposal! I had a feeling he was going to propose soon because he kept getting up early on Saturday mornings, saying he was going shopping, but he never came back with anything! A couple of weeks later, we were in his hometown of Rochester, New York, and he drove us to Mendon Ponds, where there is a big open field next to the water. It was very pretty, and our dog, Danger, was running around, all happy. The next thing I knew, Joey was on one knee with a beautiful ring, asking me to marry him. I said yes! We celebrated that evening with his family.
When did y’all get married? April 27, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 95
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We were planning to write our own vows, but then I came across some traditional vows that said everything I wanted to say and more. I tear up every time I read them.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed was my mom’s vintage coral earrings. My something old was my vintage 1920′s dress. My something blue was the ribbon my sister-in-law used in the garter she made for me out of the extra fabric from my dress. My something new was my Marc Jacobs sandals.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We didn’t hire a DJ–instead, we made one continuous playlist for the whole event, from the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, dance party, and late night. We also bought our own beer and wine.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Rodeo and Co. Photography. Meg is my sister’s best friend and she did such a great job capturing the love and happiness of our wedding day. My sister was a second shooter for her (as well as my matron of honor) and I can’t thank them both enough! Sometimes, we forget how amazing family is, but I will never forget all the help we had for our wedding!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I loved seeing Joey standing up there looking so calm and handsome, just waiting for me. The look on his face when I stepped out onto the aisle was priceless. That made everything worth it.

Photographer: Rodeo and Co. Photography / Planner: Monica Johnson / Venue: Stella-Maris / Florist: Libby’s Flowers / Cake Baker: Publix / Caterer: Gwendolyn’s Café and Catering / Rentals: Caloosa Tent & Rentals and Creative Events & Rentals / Lighting: Caloosa Tent & Rentals / Bridal Salon: Sewly Yours Bridal / Calligraphy: Laura Lavender / Bride’s Hair Flowers: Libby’s Flowers / Hair Stylist: Esterra Spa / Bride’s Shoes: Marc Jacobs / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: ModCloth / Matron of Honor’s Dress: Chic Wish / Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

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

    everything about this day was magical & full of love…I feel so grateful that I was able to document it for them {plus, knowing alex since she was a little girl…it made it extra special for me} thank you for putting this together so beautifully! xo

  2. avatar Bridget reply

    An absolutely beautiful wedding! I am so happy to see the bride in a vintage gown from Sewly Yours in Vermont – I’ve known the owner Debbie Wells for about 20 years, and she restores original vintage dresses like no one else :)

  3. avatar Dana L reply

    love love love! so beautiful!

  4. avatar The Wedding Printer reply

    Beautiful wedding! Love the photo of the groom swinging the bride around…so cute!!

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