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Southern Weddings

Author: Marissa

Gracious, how absolutely Southern and stunning is Rosa? With her chic dark hair, classic Lela Rose gown, and WishPiece belt, she’s reminiscent of a modern Scarlett O’Hara! And that caplet? Le sigh! Beyond obsessing over her wedding day style, I am completely taken by the sweet details of Rosa and Vincent’s wedding, many of which were created by their friends and family. I especially love their ceremony arch–the wood was donated by their dear friends, then carefully constructed by the Vincent and his father, and finally, lovingly decorated with flowers by Rosa’s family. It’s no wonder Vincent wanted to place it in their home after the wedding!

Thanks so very much to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Gracie Blue Photography for sharing this sweet day!

My dress was the very first wedding-related purchase I made. I showed Vincent pictures of dresses from a particular designer I kept gravitating toward, Lela Rose, and he was really impressed by one in particular. One that, of course, wasn’t as exciting to me, but I figured I probably couldn’t afford any of her dresses anyway, so it didn’t matter. I looked up the only boutique in Georgia that carries Lela Rose dresses, and found out they were having a sample sale…that was ending in ONE day. Talk about pressure! I went to the boutique by myself and tried on all kinds of designers, styles, and silhouettes. Lo and behold, the dress my fiancé had picked out was not only at the boutique, but was the one that spoke to me the most when I tried it on. I went back the next day to try it on again and bought it, almost immediately feeling remorse. For months and months, I drove my fiancé nuts about my dress indecision. It wasn’t until a few days before the wedding, when it all came together after alterations and with the accessories, that I absolutely fell in love with all of it. My mom’s reaction helped seal the deal.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did. We both have large families, and we wanted to have some nice private time before the wedding to get good pictures in. We also wanted to have pictures of our reactions to one another. We anticipated it being pretty emotional, but it was actually quite the opposite. Our first look was literally a matter of me tapping Vincent’s shoulder, him turning around, us both exclaiming, “You look great!”, and giving each other high fives for putting together really excellent outfits.

Late in the evening, while we were dancing, the 4-year-old daughter of a friend was dancing nearby. I knelt and touched her hand to dance with her, and the moment I touched her, she squealed in total fan-girl excitement. There were a few little girls there who thought I was a “real princess.” It was absolutely hilarious and unforgettable!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: From Vincent: The ceremony arch. Some friends had some raw cedar logs laying in their backyard, which they generously donated. I hauled them to my parents’ house, and my dad and I spent an evening cleaning them up and figuring out how they would go together. My dad managed to put the cleaned and cut logs together into this beautiful, rustic arch, and then Rosa’s family and friends decorated it with flowers. Their hard work created a beautiful, memorable frame around us during the ceremony. It turned out perfectly. I sort of want it at our house.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We took a day trip all around North Georgia and all the way to Chattanooga to take a look at a few venues. We found a couple of contenders, but none seemed quite right. On our drive back home, we drove by a friend’s property in rural North Georgia, and the decision seemed so simple. Our friend’s property was just as beautiful as some of the venues we had looked at, and it provided the flexibility we wanted in terms of time and catering. We knew having our wedding there would be a HUGE undertaking, but my family was up to the challenge.

We ordered tiny wooden pencils with our wedding hashtag (#rosaplusvincent) embossed in gold. We put them at every place setting, along with a fill-in-the-blank card. We got to see so many wedding pictures on social media from our friends and family because of the hashtag. I’m glad we did it!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We cut costs in as many ways as possible. Almost every detail at our wedding was DIY, or made by friends and family, from the beautiful flowers to the arch. It was such a blessing to have so much help and support. One of the biggest ways we cut costs was by using a restaurant that we love and frequent in Atlanta for our food. We also bought salad greens and dressing in bulk at a wholesale food mart. We had enough food to feed 125-150 people and it cost us just under $1000.

From Vincent: I was most surprised by the fireworks during the reception. When friends of ours asked for our approval to buy fireworks, I thought that they meant sparklers or something. When that first burst hit the horizon, I was absolutely awestruck. All I could do was hold my bride’s hand and watch the lights explode and twinkle above us. It was a symbol to me of all the trouble and expense people had gone through on our behalf, and it was absolutely humbling.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at party at a mutual friend’s house. We instantly wrote one another off romantically–neither of us thought we were compatible! However, we’re both web designers, so we grew to be good friends over the course of a year or so. Eventually, we both realized we got butterflies when the other walked into the room! Neither of us had seen it coming. We started dating, and the rest is history.
Tell us all about the proposal! Vincent proposed a year after he told me he loved me on a blue bench in the town square. Unbeknownst to me, Vincent designed a ring, composed a song for me, and with the help of his family, maneuvered me onto that very same blue bench. He and his four brothers performed the song while I sat there with red roses in my lap, staring and laughing and crying. The song ended with Vincent on one knee.
When did y’all get married? May 3, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 115
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We walked away from our ceremony to Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams Come True”–it was such a fun little moment to leave the ceremony arch to one of the happiest love songs ever. It set the tone for the dance party later on that included dance hits from the 80′s and 90′s. For our first dance, we chose “This Will Be Our Year” by The Zombies. It’s a classic song that’s emblematic of our relationship and our lives. We’d waited awhile to find one another, but this was finally our year!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. The cake wasn’t a huge priority for us, but it turned out incredible. A friend of a friend put it together. It was a naked cake garnished with strawberries and white buttercream on top. While we didn’t get to eat any at the wedding, we took a piece with us and enjoyed it the following night at our cozy cabin.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The sheer volume of things we had to do. We didn’t hire a planner, and we had a pretty small budget, so getting everything done on time and on budget was a challenge. Planning a wedding with a demanding full-time job is no fun. Thank goodness for the friends and family members who helped along the way!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? It’s so hard to choose because we didn’t hire many things out, but the few things we DID hire out ended up being great decisions. Our photographer, Gracie Blue, was such a pro. We didn’t have a coordinator, and at times, she stepped in to make sure people were in the right place at the right time, especially if it meant getting the right shot (and often, it did). We hired her a year ahead of time, and it was a really great decision.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Rely on your support group–friends, family, and vendors. Do not try to do everything yourself; you will go absolutely nuts if you try to keep up with it all. Delegate, delegate, delegate! On the day of, please, just enjoy yourself. Don’t stress about last-minute to-do’s; let things happen as they happen. It’s a celebration, so celebrate!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? After over a year of planning and sweating details, it is so nice to just relax and be together, without wedding plans looming over our heads! We are looking forward to merging our skills as web and graphic designers and starting our own business together!

Photographer: Gracie Blue Photography / Videographer: Sam Nagele / Cake Baker: Cakes by Pinks / Catering: GIO’s Chicken / Rentals: Suburban Rental / Bride’s Gown: “The Boulevard” By Lela Rose / Bridal Salon: Kelly’s Closet / Bride’s Jewelry: BHLDN / Bride’s Sash: WishPiece / Hair Stylist: Mally Maglione / Bride’s Shoes: Nina / Groom’s Jacket and Shirt: Suitsupply / Groom’s Pocket Square and Pants: J.Crew / Groom’s Bow Tie: Penguin / Groom’s Shoes: Allen Edmonds / Tent Rental: Amerevent / Home-Brewed Beer: YayBrew

Gracie Blue Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    Beautiful photos! And her dress is just darling!

  2. avatar Charmaine reply

    Adore her wedding dress!

  3. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #159 – Floridian Weddings reply

    […] I'm pretty much swooning for every element in this elegant outdoor soiree, especially the bride and groom's southern swanky […]

  4. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] as romantic as it was chic. Danielle and Jonathan‘s Tennessee wedding has us ready for fall! Rosa and Vincent filled their wedding with details lovingly handmade by family and friends. Christine and […]

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If you weren’t already itching to pull out your riding boots, scoop up a #PSL and watch the leaves change, Danielle and Jonathan’s Tennessee wedding will easily have you ready for fall. I’m not sure if it’s the deep violet bridesmaid dresses or the dark wood accents, but it definitely got Lisa and I excited for the fall weddings that will start rolling in soon! After meeting while training for a triathlon (!), Danielle and Jonathan’s relationship grew through a shared love of the outdoors and active lifestyles. When they visited CJ’s Off the Square, they knew right away it was the perfect place for them to pledge their lives to each other!

Thanks to Brandon Chesbro for sending along this gorgeous day!

My something borrowed was a pair of pearl earrings that my friend had worn in her wedding. My something old and blue was a heart cut from my dad’s old blue work shirt that was sewn into my dress.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my dress at The Bride Room in Nashville with my maid of honor. I chose a lace trumpet-style gown from the Monique Lhuillier Bliss collection. It was only the third dress I tried on! My mom lives in Florida, so she came a month later to see it. When I tried it on for her, we both cried. I definitely knew it was the one.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a string quartet play the processional, ceremony, and recessional music. “Canon in D” played when I walked down the aisle. Our first dance was to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. We loved the song and meaning. The father-daughter dance was “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole. As a baby, my parents had a toy in my baby crib that played that song. I actually forgot about the toy and the significance of the song until my mom gave it to me a few weeks before the wedding. We both cried.

We said traditional vows, but also included a personal message to each other. My favorite part of Jonathan’s message was that I brought him closer to God.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? CJ’s Off the Square was the first location we looked at in person, and we absolutely fell in love with it. It was an intimate setting that we felt was perfect for our wedding day. We didn’t even look at another venue after that!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? It was an outdoor wedding in downtown Franklin, Tennessee, so that’s pretty Southern to begin with! The food included beef and grits and fried green tomatoes, and we served local craft beer. Our décor included vintage furniture, old whiskey barrels, and burlap and lace table linens.

Describe your wedding cake. Our cake was three tiers with white fondant and raffia around each layer. Two wooden birds that we bought on Etsy, engraved with our wedding date and initials, sat on top of the cake.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Since my family has a dairy farming background, we served cookies and milk as a late-night snack.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in July 2011 at the Vanderbilt University pool. We are both triathletes and were training for the Music City Triathlon in Nashville at the time.
Tell us all about the proposal! We got engaged on September 7, 2012. It was simple! We were at home one night, sitting on our couch, and I had an eyelash on my cheek (which worked out perfectly for Jonathan). He asked me what my wish was. I had been wanting him to propose to me for months, so I said, “I don’t want to say my wish out loud.” Jonathan replied, “Just close your eyes and say it.” So I said in a quiet voice, with my eyes closed, “I wish you would propose.” When I opened my eyes, he was down on one knee in front of me with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen.
When did y’all get married? October 19, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
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? Since CJ’s off the Square is in an all-inclusive venue, we didn’t have many other vendors. Outside of CJ’s, our photographer, Brandon Chesbro, was amazing and so talented. He captured our wedding day and emotions perfectly.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? We are big fans of the all-inclusive venue experience. It simplified the planning process and allowed us to focus on our love for each other and looking forward to our wedding day. I wouldn’t say planning a wedding is “stress-free,” but our venue certainly made it as stress-free as possible. We planned our entire wedding through 2-3 visits with our planner.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Two weeks after the wedding, we raced the Ironman Florida Triathlon as a kick-off to our honeymoon. We look forward to continuing an active lifestyle that we both enjoy, supporting each other in our careers, and having kids in a couple of years.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? As a wedding gift, Jonathan gave me a journal that he wrote in daily for five months prior to the wedding about how we met, our dates, significant events, and wedding planning. My gift to Jonathan was a personalized leather-bound Bible with our wedding date and a prayer I wrote for our marriage.

Photographer: Brandon Chesbro / Videographer: Brian Johnson / Planner: Amy Parman of CJ’s Off the Square / Venue, Catering, Cake, and Lighting: CJ’s Off the Square / Florist: Enchanted Florist / Rentals: Southern Events Party Rental / DJ: Jason Middleton of Premier DJs of Nashville / Bride’s Gown: “BL1208″ by Monique Lhuillier Bliss / Bride’s Hair Accessories: Augusta Jones / Hair and Makeup: Amy Lynn Larwig / Bride’s Shoes: Tory Burch / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “G558C” by Amsale / Men’s Attire: Vera Wang

CJ’s Off the Square is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Laura reply

    I love the decor of the reception. You can’t go wrong with mercury glass and baby’s breath.

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    Such a gorgeous wedding! I love the flowers they chose–just fall-like enough!

  3. avatar Hallie Deyton reply

    I thought this wedding was very tasteful. Everything from the venue, to her wedding dress, to her bridesmaids shoes was perfection. Love this wedding and the venue space! The flower centerpieces at the table were not overdone and I loved that. It added to the rustic feel of the venue.

  4. avatar Kati reply

    What a sweet proposal story! Made me cry at work! We also did an all-inclusive venue and it really does make things so much simpler (especially because we were planning from another state.) Best wishes to the happy couple!

  5. avatar Taylor Smith reply

    I love the Bible gift she gave him! What a beautiful idea! The pictures are gorgeous and it looks like it was a wonderful day for a sweet couple!

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When it comes to mixing decor genres, I believe Southern and nautical make the perfect pair! Throwing some British inspiration into the mix could have made it more than interesting, but for Heather and Eric, with the help of their planner and florist, Crystal at Southern Posies, incorporating all the different strands of their heritage came together in an absolutely lovely day! I’m officially obsessed with the oyster shell table runner and the story behind Heather’s single magnolia bloom bouquet (be sure to read below)!

We’re sending bug hugs all the way to Austin to Mrs. Caroline Joy for capturing this pretty day!

My something borrowed was my late grandfather’s tie pin that my grandmother lent me; my grandfather was the beloved patriarch of our entire family, and we lost him just a few years ago, so I just had to have him there with us somehow. My something blue was an evil eye charm that a stranger pinned on me when I was a baby–he told my parents that “I would need it,” as they are supposed to protect the wearer from evil thoughts. My something old was my antique sapphire ring that my parents found when we lived in England. My something new turned out to be a solitaire teardrop sapphire necklace that Eric gave me on our wedding day. I also had a sixpence in my shoe that my brother’s best friend brought me over from England when he came for the wedding to surprise my brother!

The décor was an odd mix of Southern, nautical, and a little British (my family and I lived in England when I was in high school). My planner and florist, Crystal, and I picked out soft blooms in cream and blush to complement everything, and anemones, succulents, and dusty miller really brought out the nautical elements. After Crystal and I had designed a beautiful bridal bouquet, Eric and I were having a hard day with a difficult, very personal family issue. Driving into my neighborhood, I saw that the magnolia trees were in bloom, and seeing them cheered me up, so I asked Eric to stop so I could pick one. I’ve always loved magnolias, so I apologized to Crystal and asked her to change my bouquet–I carried a single magnolia bloom, and Eric’s boutonniere was a magnolia seed.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, going with tradition. We did write promise notes to each other though, and our favorite promises were to never stop working on our marriage and to always speak kindly to each other, no matter what. That’s a promise we live by now.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I made an appointment at Ivory and White in Birmingham and showed my consultant, Molly, several pictures of dresses. She laughed and told me that all my pictures were of the same dress, and she had it in the store! I tried it on and just loved it. My momma, however, really didn’t like it. Even though it made me sad that my mom wasn’t in love with it like I was, I just didn’t see another dress I liked. We found out the designer was having a trunk show at the store in a few months, so we waited until then to purchase the dress. The day my mom, my mother-in-law, and I went to buy the dress, I tried on lots of trunk show dresses, just for fun. My mom really liked one of them, and when I put it on, I realized it had everything the first dress had, and more. The only thing this dress didn’t have was a train, but Molly told me the designer could add a train to the dress. It was perfect!

Short of the British pub table outside the church, I am not sure what wasn’t Southern about our wedding. All of the food was Southern–sweet potato fries, oysters, green beans, fried chicken, prime rib, mashed potatoes, cornbread, collards, and chicken tenders and mac and cheese for the kids. The pound cake and red velvet cake are both Southern favorites. A lot of the details included seersucker and grosgrain. We included our love for Auburn–guests signed a framed and matted print from Auburn that says “from family grows tradition,” and I had a garter from Tiger Rags. We are the fourth generation in my family to be married in June. My favorite Southern details were the hand-sewn heirloom dresses we gave to the bell ringers, because they turned out to be the prettiest ones I have ever seen. And of course, our favorite Southern tradition was our receiving line.

I really love classical music, and being a ballet dancer, visualizing things to classical music comes easily to me. When I listened to the wedding pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty, I could just see all of those walks up and down the aisle. The music is so, so beautiful and romantic and just lent itself perfectly to our wedding.

When we told Ms. Rose Pollman, the wedding cake designer at the Staple bakery in Mobile, that we wanted a traditionally decorated cake, she was over the moon. Too funny! She made the most delicious cream cheese pound cake that we served with strawberries.Eric’s groom cake was red velvet, and the cake topper on it held special significance to us. On a road trip, we passed two horses on opposite sides of a fence that were nuzzling necks as close as they could get. We just knew they loved each other! The nuzzling birds now always remind us of those horses and to love each other, no matter what fence is in the way.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. The summer after my junior year at Auburn University, a friend invited me to go downtown one night. There, I met all of his friends, including Eric. We were instantly attracted to each other, and were pleasantly surprised to find out that we were both majoring in engineering. We started to hang out more and more, and not long after we met, Eric brought up talk of a relationship, which I didn’t quite respond to the way he had hoped, and apparently, I didn’t talk to him for two weeks. As fate would have it, magic was in the air that fall, and we grew closer with each date and exciting football game. A few months later, a friend of a friend blatantly asked us, in front of a lot of people, if we were “like, together?” to which Eric furiously shook his head and said that was not the case. I thought his response was a little too quick–I guess it was his revenge for the alleged “two weeks of silence,” because when I asked him if that wasn’t a possibility, he said it was possible. The next morning, on his birthday, I remember waking up so happy because I was thinking of him. I told him later that I had a birthday present for him–that if he wanted to talk about a relationship, I wouldn’t freak out. It took us six months from when we first met to put aside our stubbornness, but we’ve pretty much been inseparable ever since.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Eric: It was December, and I picked the ring up on Saturday morning with a reservation at Hamilton’s Restaurant that night to “celebrate her performances in The Nutcracker Ballet.” After dinner, I convinced Heather to go on campus with me instead of going to see her family, who were in town for her ballet performances, at a nearby restaurant. After some nerve-wracking conversation, we finally walked over to the swing where we had gone to talk after our first date. After reminiscing about that date, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. After a noticeable and, once again, nerve-wracking pause, she started to cry, so I tried to lighten the mood and said “Please?” She said yes!
When did y’all get married? June 7, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 200
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We cut having a videographer pretty early on, which is actually something I really regret–I wish we had taken a longer look to cut out other things that weren’t lasting. We used a lot of our own décor, which cut down on flower costs and rentals. Also, my planner and the awesome lady who designed our paper suite are both just starting out in the industry, so their costs were not as high as most other vendors. They were both fantastic and attentive and so personable to work with, and their work turned out more beautifully than I could have imagined!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I’m a crier, and I surprised myself the entire day by not crying. I was just so happy all day! But then, we started saying our vows, and tears just started streaming down my face. The most memorable moment for me was when Eric wiped my tears away.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are just happy to be living together and having quiet days to ourselves. We are definitely looking forward to building our home, traditions, and family together!

Photographer: Caroline Joy Photography / Planner and Florist: Crystal Strickland from Southern Posies / Ceremony Venue: Fairhope United Methodist Church / Reception Venue and Catering: Steelwood / Wedding Cake: Pollman’s Bakery / Band: The Voltage Brothers through EastCoast Entertainment / Paper Products: Kara Anne Paper / Bride’s Gown: “Katarina” by Vera Wang / Bride’s Second Gown: “Sweet Dreams” by Ivy and Aster / Bride’s Veil: “Leda” by Vera Wang / Bride’s Earrings: Kate Spade /Hair Stylist: Joanna Ballentine and Molly Stilley from Morgan Ashley Salon / Makeup Artist: Celine Russell / Bride’s Shoes: “Chantilly Booties” from BHLDN / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Niceties Dress” in French Grey from BHLDN / Men’s Attire: Black by Vera Wang from Men’s Wearhouse / Bow Ties: J. Hilburn / Cufflinks: Bullet Cufflinks / Girls’ Getting Ready Robes: BHLDN

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Heather’s magnolia bouquet is perfect, and I love their all-calligraphy invitation!

  2. avatar Hallie Deyton reply

    I loved this article! I absolutely loved her dress and hearing about all of her personal details she put into the wedding. I think that’s what a wedding should be about – the little personal details. My favorite part was her bouquet – that is something she will definitely remember for the rest of her life!

  3. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    Even the church doors match your nautical inspiration! The dress looks beautiful and I love that long dark wood table with the string of lights in the background. Rustic, comfortable, and intimate.

  4. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Brittany and Robert loved celebrating their marriage with 650 dear friends and family members! Heather and Eric incorporated all different pieces of their heritage into their classic wedding. Jeni and Adam loved […]

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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