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Southern Weddings

Author: Marissa

Though the majority of their relationship was long distance, Meredith and Ben were forever connected, starting from their very first lunch date. These two would travel to one another whenever they could, even if that was only once a month. While being away from your loved one can be challenging, these two used their dating relationship as a building block for their marriage and turned their engagement into a time of intentional planning and preparation. Their joyful celebration at Fearrington Village was filled with beautiful bright sunflowers and sweet family-inspired details, like the photo display that Meredith made with her dad. Filled with family members’ photos, it was a lovely symbol of two sides becoming one.

Big SW hugs to our friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor Graham Terhune for sharing this sweet day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Oh yes! I love this special tradition. My something borrowed was my grandmother’s ring. I was so honored to wear it. My something blue was my garter and my shoes. My something old were the forks with “his” and “hers” inscriptions on them that we used to eat our cake. My something new was a pearl beaded clutch that was given to me as a gift the day before the wedding.

Fearrington Village had everything we could ever imagine in a venue. We wanted an outdoor ceremony, and I wanted a barn setting for the reception. We also wanted our wedding to be close to Raleigh, near most of our family and friends. I have slowly fallen in love with the little village in Pittsboro, North Carolina.

Ben and I are very traditional and decided to see each other for the first time when I walked down the aisle with my dad. We did talk to each other back to back before the ceremony though. I loved being able to hear Ben’s voice and hold his hand. We talked, laughed, and prayed together. It was a moment of our wedding day I will never forget.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Ben and I chose to write our own vows. We wanted to say some of the same things to each other, so we brainstormed ideas and came up with our lifelong commitments to each other together. My favorite phrase was, “I vow to love you unconditionally and sacrificially as Christ has loved me. I vow to be your faithful wife, your biggest encourager, and your best friend.” Ben’s favorite phrase was, “I vow to be your faithful husband and the humble leader of our family.”
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Ben and I wanted our ceremony to reflect Christ’s love and how thankful we are for Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Walking down the aisle, we had the song “It Is Well” by Bethel Music played. The song “Lord, I Need You” was also played as Ben and I took communion and prayed together. It was a powerful moment as we prayed and asked the Lord to be with us and to help us remember that above all else, we desperately need Him.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The food we served was a homestyle Southern meal–we had fried chicken, pulled pork, potato salad, cornbread, peach cobbler, and much more. Our venue added to the Southern style of our wedding as well, since we had the ceremony outside under the pecan trees and the reception was in a barn.

I loved the special display of pictures we had of our family members, showing the different sides now becoming one. This was a project I made with my dad, and it was so nice to see it come to life.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ben and I were friends in high school, but we were two years apart in age. We reconnected over Christmas break during my sophomore year at East Carolina University and Ben’s senior year at Auburn. As Ben was getting ready to leave to finish his final semester of college, he told me after our very first lunch date at Panera that we would stay in touch! I have talked to Ben every single day since and we have always and will forever be connected with each other.
Tell us all about the proposal! The majority of our relationship was long distance, and Ben and I would travel to one another whenever we could. We saw each other once a month, at most. After finishing my junior year at ECU, Ben came home for Memorial Day weekend. I was very excited because it had been a little over a month since we had seen each other. Little did I know, it was about to be the best date night of my life! We tried a new restaurant in downtown Raleigh and then went for a walk around town afterward. We made it to the Capitol building, where we stopped, and Ben asked me to marry him right there in the very place where our love began. His sister was nearby and captured the moment on camera. We went back to his house and then mine to celebrate with our families. It was by far the most special date night we have ever had!
When did y’all get married? May 23, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew exactly what I wanted in a wedding dress, and that was lace. When I added the pearl belt with a bow in the back, I knew my dress was the right choice for me.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Ben and I planned for our marriage just as much, if not more, than our wedding day. We met with spiritual leaders in both of our lives for several weeks prior to our wedding. It was a learning experience that was difficult, but rewarding. We are currently reading the book, “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Do not focus too much on the specifics; instead, enjoy and celebrate the special commitment that you have chosen to make. It will be a perfect wedding day because it will be unique to you!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Ben and I just moved into our new apartment in Atlanta. We are loving decorating our home and filling our walls with many of our wedding pictures to help us remember our very special day! We are hoping to travel as much as possible in the next few years.

Photographer: Graham Terhune Photography / Videographer: Josh Sliffe Videography / Planner: Gilda McDaniel of Fearrington Village / Venue and Caterer: Fearrington Village / Florist: Mary Stevens / Cake Baker: Fearrington Village / DJ: Joe Bunn DJ Company / Special Details: Paisley & Jade / Paper Products: Val Marie Paper / Bride’s Gown: “8627” by Justin Alexander / Bride’s Veil and Belt: Alfred Angelo / Hair Stylist: J & F Gemelli / Makeup Artist: Bobbi Brown / Bride’s Shoes and Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Menswear: Tommy Hilfiger

Graham Terhune, Joe Bunn DJ Company, and Paisley & Jade are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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Whether it’s the church their grandparents were married in or where they spent their summers, I love learning about how our couples choose their wedding venues. Finding the place where you’ll celebrate the first few minutes of married life can range from easy-peasy to a grand adventure, as it was for Rebecca and David. Since David is from Alabama and Rebecca New York, they opted for a place in the middle. Their venue scouting adventure involved 12 venues in three states during a six-day road trip, and ultimately led to their perfect spot: Belle Haven! We’re big fans of road trips around here, so I especially adore how Rebecca and David elevated venue scouting from a simple task to a fun memory.

Big hugs to Sera Petras for sharing this beautiful barn wedding with us!

Tell us about your wedding flowers. Our flowers were the most beautiful arrangements I have ever seen. Jenn Pineauat, our florist, absolutely blew it out of the water. The colors were a mix of creams, whites, and light pinks with pops of turquoise and darker pinks. She also created the chuppah that we had for the ceremony and the decorations of vines and flowers around the hanging wheel in the barn where we had the dinner. It was beyond incredible.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went to about ten shops in NYC and Long Island with my mom over the course of a few weekends. I tried on a bunch of beautiful dresses, but none of them seemed to be “the one.” I went back and forth between two dresses, and thought I had made my decision. My mom said it seemed like I wasn’t thrilled, and she told me to look around one last time. I walked over to a rack of dresses, pulled out one last dress, and tried it on. That was the one!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we did. David is a bit more traditional than I am, so it took some convincing from me and Sera, our photographer. At first, he was not comfortable with the idea of seeing me before the ceremony, but Sera explained that a first look would make our first moment of seeing each other much more private. It also helped when I explained that this way, we could do many of the pictures first and then attend the majority of the cocktail hour and spend time with our family and friends. He was convinced, and we could not have been happier about that decision.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? David is from Alabama and I am from New York. We decided that we wanted to find a place that would be in the middle, so that one family would not have to do all of the traveling. We loved the idea of having a destination wedding and a weekend event so we would have as much time as possible with our friends and family. We flew down to Alabama to see his family for Christmas 2013, and then drove home to New York and stopped at 12 venues in three states during the six-day road trip. We stopped in Charleston, Asheville, Charlottesville, and surrounding areas in Virginia. We saw many beautiful venues, but when we came across Belle Haven in Scottsville, we knew that was the spot.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we wrote our own vows. My favorite line from my vows to David was a quote from The Alchemist, by one of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho: “I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.” My favorite line David said to me was: “You are my favorite. My love. My life. Today, October 11, 2014, and always, forever.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had Mariel, our mutual friend who introduced us, do the reading, which was “Love” by Roy Croft.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We opened up the ceremony having by the band play “Best Day of my Life” by the American Authors as our guests were seated. That led into Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” as our family and bridal party walked down the aisle, and that shifted into an acoustic version of Canon in D as I walked down the aisle. At the close of the ceremony, we walked back up the aisle to “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: One of our favorite details of the wedding was that we had our sisters, Rachel and Kim, officiate. They had only met the weekend of the wedding, and they didn’t rehearse their speeches, as we had written the majority of the wedding ceremony for them to say. They each gave the most meaningful, unforgettable speeches. They really blew us away, and it was something that we will remember always. We also had a sand ceremony, which to us, symbolized the blending of our different backgrounds and families. Our four sets of parents and step-parents, our sisters, brother-in-laws, three nephews, and our closest aunt and uncle each poured sand into a glass vase, and then all poured in different colors of sand to blend together. It was really special.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? The barn, where we had an intimate, family-style dinner after the cocktail hour, was adorned with a wagon wheel decorated in beautiful flowers, vines, and candles. We chose farm tables and vintage plates to decorate the room. We served quite a bit of bourbon, and of course, our band from Alabama played “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Wagon Wheel,” along with quite a few country favorites. Not to mention, half of the guest list was from Alabama!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I will never forget Marisa sneaking us a peek of the barn while everyone else was at cocktail hour. We were the first to see the culmination of all that we had put together over the last year. I felt like I was in a movie when I saw it! A very close second is when David got on stage with the band and the lead gave him the mic. He sang “Wagon Wheel” as the band played, and I went up alongside him and danced (awkwardly, I might add, because my heels were sinking into the gravel under my feet!), but it was the most fabulous few minutes of fun I have ever experienced.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? David, being in the hospitality industry, has many vendor relationships, and I have a friend who represents a wine company, so we were very fortunate that they were so generous and donated all of the wine and alcohol for our wedding. We have a lot of great friends who helped out by driving it all down to Virginia.

David was an integral part of the planning process. His friends started to call him groomzilla at one point, poking fun at how involved and detail-oriented he was. Being in the hospitality industry, he knows what looks, feels, and tastes best, and he knows how to put it all together. We are both very passionate about making the people around us and those we love feel comfortable and happy. That was our goal, and we feel confident that we achieved it. We can honestly say we would not have changed one thing about that day!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. David and I were introduced by a mutual friend at the Royalton Hotel in NYC, where David was the Food and Beverage Director. The two of us had been friends for years, but when David first started working at the Royalton, he was dating someone else. She waited patiently for that relationship to end, then gave David my number. He asked me to dinner and we had our first date on October 30, 2011. The following month, he came to Thanksgiving dinner and met my family. In December, I went to Alabama for Christmas and met his family. We moved in together the following September.
Tell us all about the proposal! David told me that we had an opportunity to go with friends of ours to Greece. I didn’t really ask many questions about the trip because I was also in the middle of a big office move that I was running for work. The move was complete on September 25, and we left for Athens three days later. We spent the day in Athens and went back to the airport that night for our flight to Santorini. As soon as we hit the runway in Santorini, he turned to me and said that he had a surprise for me–we were going to be spending the week in Santorini, and our friends were not coming. He had a car waiting to pick us up at the airport, and 20 minutes later, we arrived at the most beautiful spot on the cliff of Santorini, where he sat me on the balcony and told me to wait. He came back with a bottle of champagne and a ring box in his hand, and then got down on one knee. He proposed, and then told me that he had asked my dad about six months prior and all of our family and closest friends already knew. It was the most amazing and beautiful proposal I could have ever imagined!
When did y’all get married? October 11, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
Describe your wedding cake. Our wedding cake was a three-tiered cake with a black and white striped layer and a huge dahlia on top. The best part was the groom’s cake that I surprised David with: an “A” for the Alabama football team on top of a crimson cake!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! For my something borrowed, my wonderful jeweler let me borrow beautiful diamond earrings from her collection to wear for the wedding. My something blue was supposed to be the nail polish on my toes, but it didn’t match my shoes very well, so I opted for my back-up something blue, which was blue lace underwear. My mother-in-law gave me David’s grandmother’s beautiful handkerchief, which I wrapped around my bouquet as my something old. I was going with the dress as my something new, but during our first look, David surprised me and told me that he purchased the earrings from our jeweler as a wedding gift for me, so that became my something new. My something borrowed became a necklace that my best friend, Jen, lent me. I was also given a sixpence by a good friend and colleague, Melissa, which I wore in my shoe.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? To be honest, the entire process was, in hindsight, full of learning and compromise. We also had many talks about religion, being from different backgrounds, and what that meant for us moving forward. We also learned more about each other’s values as we wrote the ceremony and planned the weekend.

Photographer: Sera Petras Photography / Videographer: Nate Braeuer / Planner: Marisa Vrooman of Orpha Events / Venue: Belle Haven on the James / Florist: Sugar Magnolias and Nature Composed / Cake Baker: Paradox Pastry / Caterer: A Pimento / Rentals: Festive Fare, Allied Portable Toilets, Virginia Tent Rental, Real Southern Accents, and Stonegate Event Rentals / Lighting: Blue Ridge A/V and Lighting / Band: The Brandy Brothers / DJ: Steve Miller / Paper Products: Powerhouse Paper / Bride’s Gown: “#SZ380ZZ/ZP” by Martina Liana / Bride’s Veil: Wedding Atelier / Bride’s Jewelry: Designs by Joi / Hair and Makeup: Daphne Latham / Bride’s Shoes: “Randall D’Orsay Pump” by Badgley Mischka / Groomsmen Attire: Jack Silver Formal Wear / Men’s Shoes: Converse / Transportation: Albermarle Limousine and Wahooptie Van Rental

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

    Insanely gorgeous!

  2. avatar Marisa reply

    I love the video of this wedding, captures Rebecca & David’s personalities so well – check it out here: http://www.orphaevents.com/#!video/cx7i

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  6. avatar Rebecca reply

    I was just wondering where you got your beautiful wedding bands! I’m looking for some bands for my engagement ring, and those are beautiful!! Please let me know:)

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With the help of gorgeous blooms (like those amazing Juliet rose garlands!) from Thistle Floral Design, Hannah and her mama took the completely blank canvas of The Filter Building and created a beautiful reception. They collected vintage milk glass for unique centerpieces, added glittering gold details, and even tossed in a few tiny nods to Hannah and Eric’s Parisian proposal. (It involves the famous “Love Lock” bridge and her family — you won’t want to miss it!) While their decor may be “fancy,” they decided to just go with the good stuff when it came to their dinner: fried chicken, pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, biscuits, and cornbread, oh my! I’m sure guests left with a full heart and a full belly!

Thanks to Ben Q Photography for sharing Hannah and Eric’s wedding day with us!

Last June, my mom and I were visiting my sister in Paris, France. My dad flew in for the last week that we were there, and on his first day, we went to do a little sightseeing. On our way to lunch, we were walking past the famous “Love Lock” bridge where couples put padlocks with their names written on them on the railing and throw the keys into the Seine. While my family wrote their names on their padlocks, I saw Eric standing on the other side of the bridge (looking dapper as ever, I might add!). I walked over to him, and he immediately got down on one knee, said some wonderful things, and asked me to be his wife. Not only was this the best surprise (EVER!), but we also got to spend the next week exploring Paris together to kick off our engagement!

When searching for my gown, the stylist pulled a Watters gown that fit most of my criteria–it was a simple, strapless, taffeta gown with a sweetheart neckline and hidden pockets. I added a pearl and lace belt and faux buttons all the way down the back of the dress. By the end of it, I had combined all of the elements from the photos I’d collected to create a dress that was unique and perfect for me!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My mom monogrammed our wedding date in blue onto a piece of Eric’s late grandmother’s wedding dress, and then sewed it into the hem of my wedding gown (old, borrowed, and blue!). She also his late grandfather’s wedding tux to make Eric a handkerchief. My something new was my Christian Louboutin wedding shoes!

I walked down the aisle to the Bridal Chorus and we walked out to Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.” They fit perfectly with the venue and gave us the perfect traditional church wedding that we were going for. For our first dance, we danced to a cover of Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” by The Once. Eric loves classic rock and I’m more of an acoustic-and-coffee-house type of person, so this song was perfect for us.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our first look was our most memorable moment. At that point, our adrenaline had kicked into full gear and the excited nerves had set in! It was so nice to be able to just get away from everything and see each other before the biggest moment of our lives. We both agree that we had never felt happier than at that very moment. It was something we will never forget.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We saved money by not hiring a wedding planner. I did all of the searching, planning, budgeting, and timelines on my own. My mom is an incredibly creative person, so she was my partner-in-crime as far as the decorations and centerpieces went. Between us and her best friend, who was our day-of coordinator, we had every minute and detail planned! We also saved money by doing all of the set-up, decorating, and clean-up by ourselves.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? Each centerpiece at the reception was made up of different clusters of vintage milk glass that my mom and I found during the months leading up to the wedding. Another Southern aspect of our wedding was the food. We opted out of having “fancy” food and decided to just go with the good stuff–fried chicken, pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, biscuits, and cornbread!

Rather than doing one large wedding cake, we had five different cakes displayed on a wooden farm table. The cakes each incorporated different aspects of the details of our reception–a hand-painted Rifle Paper Co.-inspired design, gold lettering, lace and satin covered buttons, and milk glass hobnob, all topped with fresh flowers. They were each on top of pastel cake stands and were surrounded by glass milk vases and bowls filled with hand-painted macarons, a nod to our French engagement.

Don’t miss Hannah and Eric’s wedding film by Turquoise Video Productions below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at a fraternity party during our sophomore year at the University of Arkansas. During our junior year, we randomly ran into each other in New Orleans when Arkansas was playing in the Sugar Bowl. We spent the night hopping between different places on Bourbon Street, and the rest is history!
When did y’all get married? February 21, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We wanted a traditional church wedding, so we chose Perkins Chapel on the SMU campus for our ceremony. We fell in love with the pretty pews, hardwood floors, shutters, and white and gold detailing of the chapel. We also loved the fact that they have an in-house organist! For our reception venue, we chose the Filter Building on White Rock Lake. I loved the overall feel of the building–the exposed brick, the steel beams, and the cafe lights strung outside on the lakeside patio. The best thing about the venue was that it was a completely blank canvas!
Did you pull any wedding inspiration from memories you have together? Tell us about it! Since Paris will now always have a special place in our hearts, we wanted to include a few tiny Parisian details in the reception, like the macarons on the cake table. We also found an Eiffel Tower ring holder that we used to take photos of our wedding bands on.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t strive for perfection. There is so much unnecessary pressure placed on your wedding day–to be in perfect shape, to find the perfect dress and tux, to have the perfect venue, and have every tiny detail of the day be absolutely PERFECT. Well, it’s not going to be! Things are going to go wrong, but those things end up being the fun details of your wedding story. Embrace the obstacles that come up along the way, because at the end of the day, you get to spend the rest of your lives together, and that is the best part.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Since the wedding, I have joined Eric in Philadelphia. We miss our families, Texas, and all things Southern in general, but we are loving this phase of our life as newlyweds in the Northeast!

Photographer: Ben Q Photography / Videographer: Turquoise Video Productions / Ceremony Venue: Perkins Chapel / Reception Venue: The Filter Building / Florist: Thistle Floral Design / Cake Baker: Layered Bake Shop / Caterer: Celebration Restaurant / Rentals: Posh Couture Rentals / Lighting: Absolute Entertainment / Band: The Dan Quinn Band / Paper Products: Paper Source / Bride’s Gown: Watters / Bride’s Accessories: Stardust Celebrations / Hair and Makeup: Tracy Melton Artistry / Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Mori Lee / Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss / Groomsmen Attire: Calvin Klein

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

    The Happily Ever After sign behind their Sweet Heart table is adorable. Adding it to my wedding DIY list!

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  3. avatar Stacy reply

    can you give me a resource for the wonderful, large chalboard?

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