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Author: Marissa

Gracious alive, I think we hit the Southern wedding jackpot with Jennifer and Justin’s Virginia wedding! I could literally list each and every one of their details as the best part–I know Kristin would agree, considering their wedding is like a smorgasbord of our combined favorite things! While you must scroll down to completely understand, humor my list-making heart and let me share a few: monogrammed Jacks, pineapple centerpieces with magnolias, seersucker LulaKate dresses, hush puppies, and did I mention monograms galore? Yes, these two included so much Southern goodness in their wedding, and they did so with the best frame of mind: making their friends and family feel at home through sweet Southern hospitality and gracious love.

Hugs to Nikki Santerre for sending us this lovely day!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed was the pair of David Yurman pearl earrings my sweet new sister in-law lent me to wear on the wedding day. My something blue was my shoes, a pair of navy blue monogrammed Jack Rogers. My something old was my late grandmother’s handkerchief, which I carried around my bouquet. My something new kept up with our celebratory koozie theme. I asked all the girls to be bridesmaids with monogrammed koozies embroidered with “Will you be my bridesmaid?” so for my something new, my bridesmaid Heather, who does all my monogramming, surprised me with a matching monogrammed bride koozie. It was such a sweet keepsake and it fit perfectly in the pocket of my dress to save for the reception!

Describe your wedding flowers. The bouquets had pink peonies, which are my absolute favorite flowers, and white and green hydrangeas to go with our pink, green, and navy color scheme. We had the same flowers in half the centerpieces, and the other tables had pineapples with magnolias and Spanish moss on them.

Dear Sweet Tea Monograms, can WE be friends?

I am a huge history buff and loved the idea of having our wedding reception at one of the oldest and most historic plantation homes in Virginia. It was a great way to show our family and friends all the wonderful things the South has to offer. The Cathedral was important to us because the Monsignor that does weddings there also did my First Communion and First Reconciliation, so it was very fitting to have him marry us as well. It is also a historical landmark with beautiful architecture and intricate design.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It’s tough to narrow it down to just one because we tried to reflect our personalities and who we are as a couple in almost every aspect of the wedding, but we both agree the location and the weather really helped make the day. The Plantation’s view of the James River and the magnolia and weeping willow-lined walkways made quite the picturesque setting. We could not have asked for better weather–being outdoors in the summer in the South is always a gamble, but we lucked out with sunshine and low humidity, which made for a beautiful day.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We wanted our family and friends to experience a taste of Southern hospitality at our wedding. We served some of our favorite Southern foods including mac and cheese, chicken biscuits, Old Bay shrimp, and my personal favorite, hush puppies. We incorporated the Southern symbol of hospitality, the pineapple, along with magnolias in many of our decorations and details. Every Southern girl loves her monograms, and one of my bridesmaids has a monogramming company, so we put monograms on everything from our favors (koozies, of course), to our cups, to our corn hole boards. We utilized several Southern companies for our wedding party attire and our Firefly and lemonade signature cocktail. Plus, we rocked the dance floor with some of our favorite country and Southern rock songs.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in the summer of 2003. I was finishing up my freshman year of high school and got my first job working as a lifeguard at my neighborhood pool. Justin was finishing up his junior year at a neighboring high school, and was a veteran lifeguard who was assigned to the same pool. After a couple of dates, one of which included dinner at Arby’s and a movie, we have been together ever since! We dated all through college while we were both at James Madison University, stayed together when Justin went to grad school in Florida, then both ended up getting jobs back in Richmond, Virginia.
Tell us all about the proposal! Two of my best friends (and bridesmaids) live around Charleston. We love Charleston, so we could not wait to visit them. While we were down there for a long weekend, we planned a beach day on Sullivan’s Island. We were laying out on the beach looking out at Ft. Sumter and the Charleston skyline when my friends said they had to go back to the car real quick. Justin then asked me if I needed another drink from the cooler. When I turned around, he was on one knee with a koozie embroidered with “Will you marry me?” and my new married monogram on it. He had stuck the ring box in the koozie! Our friends were hiding getting pictures of it all. It was the perfect proposal for me because he made sure to incorporate all of my favorite things: monograms, koozies, the beach, my favorite Southern city, and even some Civil War history!
When did y’all get married? June 28, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went dress shopping with my mom, my future mother-in-law, and my future sister-in-law in Richmond. A few friends had recommended their bridal consultant from Bella Rosa, so I made an appointment with her. She was so helpful in working with what I knew I didn’t want, and helped me realize what I did want. We ended up narrowing it down to three dresses and I was so indecisive. However, I knew I had found the one when I tried it on and someone in my group mentioned it reminded them of something from “Gone with the Wind.” Extra bonus: it had pockets!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. We are pretty traditional when it came to wedding details and I always knew I wanted the first time Justin saw me on our wedding day to be when my father walked me down the aisle. I love a good surprise!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows. Again, in keeping with tradition, we thought there was something special about using the same wedding vows that have been used for generations!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? One of the biggest challenges of planning a wedding is staying focused and within budget. In this age of technology, there are so many distractions; with all of those ideas, it is easy to get wrapped up in all the little details and stress about having a “perfect” wedding. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you are married to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Our advice to couples currently planning a wedding is to TRY to relax and enjoy it. It all goes by so quickly, and the next thing you know, you’ll be back at work after the honeymoon wishing you could re-live it all again!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to settling into married life in the Richmond area and enjoying the rest of the summer with our dog, Stonewall. We recently built a house and can’t wait to finish decorating it.

Photographer: Nikki Santerre / Ceremony Venue: Cathedral of the Sacred Heart / Reception Venue: Berkeley Plantation / Florist: Petals & Twigs / Cake Baker: Candy Valley Cake Company / Caterer: David Watson / Rentals and Lighting: Party Perfect Event & Party Rentals / DJ: Greg Haynes / Paper Products: Collins Printing / Bridal Salon: Bella Rosa / Hair and Makeup: Bombshell Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Jack Rogers / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Zoe” by LulaKate / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaid Richmond / Men’s Attire: Southern Proper / Men’s Attire Store: Natty Beau Richmond / Monogramming: Sweet Tea Monograms / Bridesmaids’ Earrings: Kate Spade

marissa Written with love by Marissa
11 Comments
  1. avatar Loverly reply

    Swooning over those seersucker bridesmaids dresses!

  2. avatar Nikki Santerre reply

    Thank you so much for featuring Jen & Justin’s wedding day! xoxo!

  3. avatar Heather reply

    Loved seeing this gorgeous wedding featured on the blog today! As one of Jennifer’s bridesmaids and good friends, this was such a special day for all of us! And YES let’s be friends! :) xo Heather from Sweet Tea Monograms

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  5. avatar AC reply

    I LOVE Jennifer’s dress!! Is there any way you could share the name of the designer or collection?

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi AC! Of course, we tracked down the dress info for you. It’s “Diana” Dress by Kathy Ireland Weddings in ivory, but Jennifer did have a few custom alterations made. Best of luck! xx

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    […] Madison and Brady fell in love with their charming farm venue from the first photo they saw of it. Jennifer and Justin filled their wedding with meaningful details that are oh so Southern. We couldn’t stop […]

  7. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    The church is stunning and the monogram details on everything are an adorable idea! It really makes the pieces special for that day.

  8. avatar Mer reply

    In love with the pineapple centerpieces – such a brilliant idea. And Stonewall is just a perfect name for a dog!! :)

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  10. avatar KMD reply

    Hi! Love love love the Virginia monogram koozies! Any chance y’all know where the couple got them? Thanks!

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As many of y’all know, I’m lucky to be married to my college sweetheart, so I always feel so akin to fellow college sweethearts! Madison and Brady’s story not only started at their alma mater, but their sweet proposal also took place right in front of the building where they first met! Gah, so romantic! And, can we talk more about romance for just a sec? Madison and Brady’s stunning ceremony backdrop at Mint Springs Farm makes my heart skip a beat! I can absolutely see why Madison couldn’t believe she got to marry the man of her dreams there!

Hugs to Kristin Sweeting for sharing this lovely day with us!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I was so thankful for all of them! But specifically, Mrs. Jan, the mother of one of my dearest friends and bridesmaids, Elizabeth, does incredible calligraphy and designed our wedding invitations and hand-addressed them, as well as designed our programs. They were absolutely stunning, and having her design them made them that much more special.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went to a little local bridal shop with my mom and my dad. Since my fiancé and I wanted a quick engagement, I was very afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to find my dream dress and have it be ready in time for the wedding. Amazingly, I found not one, but two perfect dresses. The ladies at the bridal shop were so sweet and offered me the sample of either dress! I picked my dress and had my first fitting that afternoon!

Describe your wedding flowers. They were so dreamy! We used lots of whites with delicate touches of pink and lots of greenery. I wanted the arrangements to look like traditional wedding flowers, but also to reflect our personalities. They turned out more incredibly than I could have ever imagined!

We loved the altar where the ceremony took place. The stunning flower arrangements that surrounded us, the white curtains billowing in the wind, and the wooden cross behind us were all so idyllic. The first time I saw it, I was so overcome with emotion and I kept thinking “I cannot believe I get to marry the man of my dreams here.”

My dad is the lead singer of Sawyer Brown. I joked with him since I was first engaged that he should write a song for our first dance. He claimed he didn’t write songs anymore, so my godfather, who is another member of the band wrote one for us instead. I was so touched. My dad also recorded the song “Down the Road” by Mac McCanally for the daddy/daughter and mother/son dance. He used to play it around the house when I was little, and it was always one of my favorites. However, after dinner, my dad was handed the microphone and said that he had lied to us and played us the song he had written for us. It was truly the highlight of the entire wedding.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Brady and I met our very first day of classes at Vanderbilt. I was walking to class behind a group of very tall boys and one of them turned around, asked if I was going to ethics class, and proceeded to introduce me to his friend, Brady. We sat next to each other every day in class and started dating around Christmastime. The rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! While I was at home in Nashville, Brady had one of my best friends (who still attends Vandy) invite me to visit with her one afternoon at our sorority house. She then tricked me into walking across campus “to meet a friend at her class.” Before I realized where we were, I was in front of the building where Brady and I had had that ethics class all those years ago. He (not our friend) walked out of the building and the rest was a complete blur. I was so surprised!
When did y’all get married? June 29, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We were married at Mint Springs Farm. The first time I saw the venue was in a picture on Instagram, and I knew that it was exactly where I wanted to be married. It was so beautiful and matched our personalities perfectly.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. It was a four-tiered cake with three different flavors: white chocolate almond, caramel butterscotch, and key lime. It was an all-white cake with a lace pattern that matched the lace on my wedding dress. And of course, it had a big monogrammed “B” on it!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I feel that what made our wedding Southern was the importance we placed on our friends and family. We wanted to make sure that our friends and families felt how much we loved and appreciated them being with us on the best day of our lives. After that, all of the other details became added bonuses.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Do not sweat the small things! It was raining (pouring, really) the entire day of my wedding, but that didn’t matter. No matter how much rain there was, I was still going to be married to Brady at the end of that day. If you can keep laughing instead of worrying, the little things (like a massive bug crawling up the lace of your dress while taking pictures) become something to laugh at and remember instead of something to cry about.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We cannot wait to be in our first home in Florida!

Photographer: Kristin Sweeting / Venue, Planning, and Florals: Mint Springs Farm / Cake Baker: Signature Cakes by Vicki / Caterer: Chef Penelope / DJ: Snyder Entertainment / Paper Products: Jan Pruitt at Annabelle’s / Bride’s Gown: Pronovias / Hair and Makeup: Amanda Gros / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Morgan” in Petal by Donna Morgan / Men’s Attire: Black by Vera Wang

marissa Written with love by Marissa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Elaine {EventsbyElaine} reply

    Everything about this wedding is so sweet and charming. Of course, the venue is a wonderful backdrop for this love story.

  2. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    Love the color palette, really sweet combination. The reception with the large beams and balcony is beautiful (love the black and white shot with everyone watching their first dance).

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Sadly, yesterday marked the unofficial the end of summer (pack up your white pants and bring out your monogrammed scarf!), but the good news is that Tate and Davis’ cheerful wedding will make summer feel a little bit longer! While Tate and Davis only lived in Charleston for a year, their time spent on the Charleston Harbor made the Historic Rice Mill the perfect venue for a sweet celebration with their family and friends. I’d have to agree with Tate on her favorite element of their wedding–she loved their family-style meal because it reminded her of her favorite holiday, Thanksgiving! I know our own Kristin would be tickled, since she also had a Thanksgiving-inspired wedding day meal!

Big thank you’s and a pumpkin spiced latte to Aaron and Jillian Photography for sharing this wedding with us!

People fail to warn you how crazy stressful dress shopping can be! Trying on ill-fitting sample dresses to find the perfect one that makes your body look bangin’, fits your price range, is timeless, AND wins the approval of your family is super challenging. I wanted something a little different, but still classic, that wouldn’t dwarf my petite figure. My Wentworth Street gown by Carol Hannah was exactly that. I even got a discount because I asked to buy the sample.

While we are always so smitten with the father/daughter moments at weddings, I love this sweet father/son moment too!

We did a first look because I am not superstitious and I loved the opportunity for more photos. I think waiting to see each other until you walk down the aisle can be a little more stressful than it needs to be. Seeing each other beforehand ensured that we both stayed present during the ceremony.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Davis and I love Charleston! It is a wonderfully romantic city and holds a special place in our hearts. We lived in Charleston from 2011 to 2012 and spent our weekends and afternoons on the boat in Charleston Harbor. The Rice Mill, being right by the marina, was a perfect fit!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but we did design our own ceremony that was performed by my father. My favorite part of our vows was: “Do you pledge to help each other to develop your hearts and minds, cultivating compassion, generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiasm, concentration, and wisdom as you age and undergo the various ups and downs of life, and to transform them into the path of love, compassion, joy, and equanimity?”

We chose our reading from The Irrational Season By Madeleine L’Engle because it very much represents our relationship and how we view our marriage commitment. “But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature. To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take. If we commit ourselves to one person for life, this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.”

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Dodeline Design created a custom monogram that incorporated our initials and elements of Davis’ family crest. It looks kind of like a harp, and no one could really figure it out, but I thought it was kind of cool. We were also THRILLED about our joggling board guest book that is covered with the sweetest notes and sentiments from our loved ones. Joggling boards are so Southern and SO Charleston. I love the cool history behind them. One of our artsy friends even painted our monogram on it and made it exceptionally special!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite element of our wedding was the family-style meal. Enjoying a meal with your closest friends and family is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It also reminds me of Thanksgiving (my all-time favorite holiday) because it is a time you can tell your friends and family how grateful you are for them. I also liked the “thank you haikus” we displayed at each place setting. It was super dorky, but after thinking about it, we knew that if we were to thank our friends and family in letters, we could end up writing pages! Keeping our thank you notes to short haikus allowed us to say what we wanted with just enough words.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had the most fabulous pink ombre cake! I love pink and anything ombre, so the cake was a delicious dream with three layers of red velvet, lemon, and dulce de leche cake. I was a little nervous that Davis wouldn’t like it because it was on the girly side, but he said “it tasted really good!”

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Davis and I first met at a friend’s concert in 2006–Davis grew up with the band’s lead singer (who was later a a groomsman in our wedding). The band would let Davis ham it up on stage and play the tambourine, while my friends and I loved “front-rowing it” (i.e. dancing as close to the stage as possible), so we inevitably ran into each other. We both attended North Carolina State University and share a love for the Wolfpack, adventures, and of course, our friends.
Tell us all about the proposal! Davis began shopping for the engagement ring three years before he proposed. In the spring of 2013, right before our seven-year anniversary, we took a last-minute trip to New York City, where Davis proposed early on a Thursday morning in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Needless to say, my girlfriends knew exactly why I was calling so early, before they even picked up the phone!
When did y’all get married? June 21, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 110
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We had a challenging time keeping our guest list small, because we knew our budget couldn’t handle a large party. Our rule of thumb was that if we could write each guest a letter telling them exactly why we wanted them to attend our wedding, then they would be invited–that idea is where our letter-style invitation came from.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I saved a lot on my wedding dress by buying the sample. We also didn’t get a fancy getaway vehicle because we preferred spending money on things that our guests would enjoy. We kept the contents of the welcome bags to strictly “consumables” (snacks and waters), because the last thing people need is extra “stuff.” I fell in love with a vintage consignment wedding band at Croghan’s Jewelry Box in Charleston–Davis actually purchased my wedding band months before he bought my engagement ring.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? After interviewing four other Charleston wedding photographers, we hired Jill and Aaron after an eight-minute phone conversation. We clicked instantly! They asked the right questions and really seemed to care about our event. Every interaction with them was extremely positive and fun! I would hire them again in a heartbeat.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Davis says our first look. I’d say the moments after the ceremony taking photos on the dock and dancing to Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” with all my best friends.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Always try to remember what is most important to you as a couple. The first thing Davis and I did when we got engaged was to make a list of the ten most important things we wanted in our wedding. When one of the 100+ random things that weren’t in the original budget came up, we could refer back to that list to help keep the budget under control. I would also recommend making a list of all the random things you want to do on the wedding day, because things move so quickly. Give the list to a trusted person who will be with you on the day of. For example, I planned to give my dad a gift and get a few father-daughter photos pre-wedding, but I never found the time to do it.

Photographer: Aaron and Jillian Photography / Videographer: Life in Rewind / Planner: Southern Protocol / Venue: Historic Rice Mill / Florist: Charleston Stems / Wedding Cake: Charleston Cakes / Caterer: Good Food Catering / Rentals: EventWorks / Band: Unkle Funkle / Paper Products: Dodeline Design / Bride’s Gown: “Wentworth Street” by Carol Hannah / Hair Stylist: Katherine Bailey / Makeup Artist: Stuart Laurence / Bride’s Shoes: “Gilda” by Kotur / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style 418″ by Wtoo / Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Southern Weddings Feature » Aaron and Jillian Photography reply

    […] featured on the fabulous Southern Weddings website today!  Seriously, over the moon!  Check out their SW feature HERE and their full wedding post on our blog HERE!  It’s filled with gorgeous bright florals, […]

  2. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    Her dress fits her beautifully and I love how it gathers at her hip.

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