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Southern Weddings

Author: Marissa

For Maggie and Jim, Charleston was the perfect place to celebrate yet another milestone in their story. Not only did they fall in love in the Holy City, they also felt that it embodied all of the qualities of the South that they hoped to share with their guests. With the help of their planner, Blue Ribbon Vendor A Charleston Bride, Maggie and Jim planned an elegant day that was filled with classic white florals and beautiful, neutral details that somehow made the Gadsden House even more lovely than it already is!

Big SW hugs to Ashley Seawell for sending along this chic, Southern day!

I found my dress after a 14-hour work day with one of my closest friends, totally on a whim. My dress ended up being the first one I tried on. After trying on about 50 more dresses over the next month or so, I went back and bought the first one. I loved how different it was.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? A Charleston Bride. Without their patience and knowledge of all things wedding, we would have been so lost. My planner (Lindsey) and the ladies of A Charleston Bride are worth their weight in gold! I did not have to worry about a thing the day of the wedding.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old was a pocket bible that has been passed down in my family at each wedding ceremony for 100 years. My something borrowed was a diamond tennis bracelet my father had given to my mother, and my something new was a gold bracelet my mother-in-law gave me while getting ready for the wedding. My something blue was an undergarment!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Carrying my grandmother’s bible. My grandmother is 103 years old and was unable to make the trip to Charleston for the wedding. Carrying the Bible that she carried and that my mother carried meant the world to me.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We had originally planned to do a first look, but decided about one month before the wedding not to do one. It seemed so special to have the first time my husband saw me on our wedding day be when I walked down the aisle to meet him.

Charleston, South Carolina has a lot of meaning to both of us. Charleston is where we dated and where we fell in love. It has all of the qualities that embody the South. It is about great food and drinks, and beautiful, kind people. We tried to pull little pieces of the South into all aspects of our wedding.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t worry about the small stuff. It does not matter if you get the perfect napkins or fabric, or even the perfect dress. The only thing that matters is that you have your closest friends and family there to celebrate the best day of your life with you. Because your wedding day is just that…the BEST day of your life.

Our wedding cake was my favorite part of the whole wedding (aside from winning the best groom). We had a local bakery make a three-tier wedding cake with three different flavors. The first layer was a coconut cake, the second was strawberry with fresh strawberries in the filling, and the top tier was pistachio. It was the best tasting wedding cake I have had, and you could really feel the baker’s passion for baking.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Jim and I met at a friend’s beach house on New Year’s Eve. I was newly single and in medical school, and Jim was in law school about two hours away. I decided that there was no better way to start a new year fresh than to spend New Year’s with a fun group of people I had never met. They had all known each other for years and I felt slightly awkward and out of place…until I met Jim. Jim is the kind of guy who makes everyone feel at home, and the sparks started flying almost immediately. We spent the remainder of the night stargazing on the dock over the creek.
Tell us all about the proposal! I was living in Dallas doing an OB/GYN residency and Jim was living in Columbia for medical school (yes, you read that correctly, he went to both). Seeing each other could be quite difficult with two very demanding schedules. One weekend in January when Jim came out to Dallas to visit, he brought a diamond along with him! I had planned a big dinner with a group of residents and friends at a great Mexican restaurant, and Jim was supposed to get in around 8. While waiting for the plane to leave, the conveyor belt ran into the gas tank on Jim’s plane and everyone was asked to evacuate. Jim was told there were no more flights out for the night and that his only option was to be put in a cab to catch a flight out of a nearby city (100 miles away). Jim got in a cab with two strangers and rode to Charlotte, North Carolina–he was a man on a mission! He ultimately got into Dallas around midnight, long after dinner was over. Jim casually said, “Let’s go up on the roof and have a drink and take the puppy.” We tried to go on the roof, but it was locked because it was after midnight. Instead, we decided to take the dog on a walk. I was in yoga pants and bedroom slippers when Jim got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I immediately started crying and dropped the dog’s leash in my excitement, and she took off running down the street! After I got myself together and said YES, we went and found the puppy sitting patiently outside of the dog park gate. It was the most special proposal for us.
When did y’all get married? May 21, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I grew up in South Carolina eating boiled peanuts like they were an entrée! We had several little buckets of boiled peanuts on the bar top. We also had several Southern touches on our menu. Cru Catering does a perfect job of making special little Southern dishes. We had little ham biscuits and pimento cheese spreads, as well as fried oysters served on a seashell.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently living apart finishing up our training. We look forward to being able to travel as a couple, and eventually settle down in the South to grow some roots and start a family.

Photographer: Ashley Seawell Photography | Planner: Lindsey Shanks of A Charleston Bride | Ceremony Venue: French Huguenot Church of Charleston | Reception Venue: Gadsden House | Florist: Charleston Stems | Wedding Cake: Twenty Six Divine | Caterer: Cru Catering | Rentals: Snyder Events | Lighting: IES Productions | DJ: Natty Heavy | Paper Products: Sweet Magnolia Paper | Bride’s Gown: Rosa Clara | Bride’s Jewelry: Maddison Row | Hair Stylist: Lindsey of Blushing Brides | Makeup Artist: Megan Grant via Bobbi Brown | Bride’s Shoes: Loeffler Randall | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Natalie Deayala | Men’s Attire: Berlin’s

A Charleston Bride is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and Rosa Clara is a wonderful Southern Weddings sponsor!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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We feature our fair share of Southern weddings around here. ;) And while there are so many styles of Southern weddings, today’s would fall into my personal favorite subcategory…the classic Southern wedding! Hannah and Ryan chose to celebrate at the historic Rose Hill Mansion, surrounded by Spanish moss. Filled with elegance and history, it was the perfect place for Hannah and Ryan to achieve the romantic atmosphere they had envisioned. Vibrant pink paisley linens, sweet hospitality from the moment guests arrived in town, and time-honored traditions round out their magical Lowcountry wedding weekend. We’re sure glad Rebekah Senter was there to capture all the beauty!

P.S. Curious about the saber arch and other Southern traditions they included? Our e-book is here to help!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I was in eastern Maryland one weekend and my mother and brother were visiting so we could look at different styles together and get some ideas. My brother and I went to one boutique in Baltimore, Garnish Boutique, and waited for my mother to arrive. Unfortunately, it was pouring down rain and many roads were washed out, so my mother was late arriving to the store. We had the entire place to ourselves, so while we waited for her, my brother and I wandered around the store, just getting a general feel for the overwhelming number of styles they carried. We started making some selections to try on, just as my mother arrived and we kicked off what I expected to be a long afternoon. After I tried on Amsale’s “Troy” gown, the third dress, I was in love and knew it was the one for the big day! We ordered it right then and there.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No, we wanted the authentic reaction of seeing each other for the first time on the biggest day of our lives as I was walking down the aisle. It was one of my favorite moments from that day and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

We chose to have a string quartet play “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” from Cantata #147 by Bach for the bridal party processional, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” for the bridal processional, and “Hornpipe in D” by Handel for the recessional. We felt that these songs contributed to the classic environment we desired for the wedding.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We loved the idea of a classic Southern wedding. We looked around the Charleston area and fell in love with the Rose Hill Plantation House in Bluffton, South Carolina. The elegance of the historic mansion surrounded by the beautiful Spanish moss seemed like the perfect place for us to tie the knot.

We were always raised to be welcoming and hospitable, and I wanted to project that to our guests from the moment they arrived in town. We held a less formal, all-inclusive rehearsal dinner with all of our guests, and it really set the tone for the whole weekend by giving everyone a chance to meet before the big day. With most of the introductions and connections made on Friday, everyone could get right to celebrating on Saturday. However, I think the nostalgic look that the moss-covered oaks lent to the area was the most quintessentially Southern aspect of the weekend. There were decorations and adornments that defined the wedding all across the property, but somehow, those ancient trees provided an atmosphere that perfectly encapsulated the quiet and romantic setting I had always envisioned.

Describe your wedding flowers. Gorgeous! The ceremony had greenery across the back of the chairs with floral clusters on each aisle end. The centerpieces were vibrant with large coral charm peonies paired with eucalyptus and other floral elements to tie the design together. The long tables mimicked the ceremony design, with greenery that cascaded down the center and over the sides with pops of candles and bright florals. The cake, chandeliers, and escort card display also had floral accents. The bridal bouquet was incredibly lush and smelled amazing, thanks to those peonies!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Laughing our way through our first dance and looking around to see all of our closest friends and family together, celebrating our love and commitment to each other.

We chose a tiered cake with four flavors: almond white on the base, banana on the next tier, coconut on the third tier, and almond white again on the top tier. It was delicious!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our story began in January 2008. We were both seasoned freshmen, yet strangers to each other, at Grassfield High School in Chesapeake, Virginia. Upon arriving to the first day of health class, our teacher assigned seats in alphabetical order. I walked past Ryan’s seat, immediately noticing how attractive he was, and silently prayed for him to not be weird. Class proceeded without a single exchange between us. The bell rang and we moved on to our next class, English. The students’ names were written on little sticky notes stuck to each desk–unsurprisingly, our teacher assigned seats in alphabetical order, which meant Ryan and I would spend the entire semester sitting next to each other in two classes. Two days passed without a single exchange or glance in my direction. After days of staring at the back of Ryan’s head, I finally got the ball rolling and introduced myself. We spent the next two years being “just friends” and dating each other’s peers before I agreed to go on a date with Ryan in the fall of 2009. We spent the remainder of our high school career living up our team-captaining, best-smile-winning, popular couple days. However, as graduation approached, we were unsure how our relationship would manage being several hours apart. In August of 2011, I went off for soccer pre-season at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Ryan joined the Corps of Cadets at Virginia Tech. Since the schools were only four hours away from each other, it was fairly easy to get away and spend weekends together. In 2012, Ryan was accepted at and transferred to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Despite the doubled distance, we both were determined as ever to continue to support each other’s dreams and grow even more in love. After knowing each other for eight years, Ryan (FINALLY) asked me to be his wife in August 2015. Throughout the past few years, we have worked hard at our respective goals, but we were ready to move towards the future together.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Ryan: I decided to ask on August 15, 2015, the last free Saturday of summer before I had to return to the Academy for my fall semester. Coming up with a location was difficult, but I kept going back to her home in South Carolina. I love the water, and Lake Murray seemed like the perfect spot! The first step was to find a way to realistically get my family down to South Carolina without ruining the element of surprise I desired. My brother and sister were responsible for asking Hannah if my family could come down for the last weekend of the summer. Hannah was delighted, as we had been talking about getting our families together at the lake for a few years, and it seemed like this year would finally be the one. However, her brother Patrick was going to be in Virginia, and I intentionally left it unclear whether I would be permitted to leave from my training in Maryland. Hannah grew increasingly frustrated with me until I sadly informed her that I would be unable to come down for the weekend. Hannah did not know Patrick was coming after all, so we capitalized on his surprise arrival to throw her off the scent. His surprise worked beautifully! He presented her with a beautiful dress, which she promptly changed into so they could all “go” to a downtown restaurant called the Oak Table. While everyone prepared to “go to dinner,” I hid on the bottom floor of the house with my parents, who had brought the ring. The last piece of the puzzle was figuring out how to get Hannah down in my direction. Right before they left for the restaurant, my mom claimed to have misplaced her camera lens. Poor Hannah was the last one to use the camera and promptly panicked. She remembered having used it on the dock, and ran downstairs to search for it. As soon as she stepped outside, Hannah saw me and realized what was happening. She froze, and tears began to roll down her cheeks. With a little shove from Patrick, she starting moving and made her way down to the dock. I, thrilled to have pulled off the element of surprise, could not stop smiling. For a few perfect moments, it was just Hannah and me on the dock. I will never forget them. On a flawless sunny afternoon on the lake with both of our families there to witness the big moment, I asked Hannah Lee Carlson to be my wife.
When did y’all get married? June 11, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! I combined my something borrowed and old and wore my grandmother’s ring on my right hand. I used my great-grandmother’s blue handkerchief as my something blue. My something new was my Paul Andrew heels.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We bought our own alcohol. Since we bought it wholesale, we received a massive discount and asked our catering staff to serve it during the cocktail hour and reception.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Ryan and I are starting our married life in Houston, Texas. We look forward to living together for the first time, strengthening our relationship with Christ, and starting a family with new traditions.

Photographer: Rebekah Senter Photography | Planner and Florist: Eventi Floral & Events | Venue: Rose Hill Mansion | Wedding Cake: Ronnie’s Bakery & Cakes by Lou | Caterer: Downtown Catering Company | Rentals: Snyder Events | Lighting: JLK Events | DJ: Henry Race via JLK Events | Paper Products: MLC Designs | Bride’s Gown: “Troy” by Amsale | Hair and Makeup: Eye Do Makeup & Hair | Bride’s Shoes: Paul Andrew | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Leah” in Blush by Jenny Yoo | Flatware and Vintage Glassware: Ooh! Events | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Vintage Car: FX Limousine

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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  1. avatar Bri A reply

    I’m so glad I saved this post until I had time to read through it. This wedding is a DREAM. Each photo made me think “this is my favorite piece” and then the next one topped it. (Although, the picture of the groom holding her bouquet might have been the best part! But, also…the beautiful proposal!)

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us, Hannah and Ryan!

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With a wedding as lovely as Elizabeth and Patton’s it’s hard not to get lost in the details…especially the magical florals that Oxford Florals created and the fun yellow front door of the ACRE Restaurant. In fact, said front door set the tone for the entire theme of Elizabeth and Patton’s decor, from the bridesmaid dresses to the cake! They wanted their wedding day to embody that same feeling of “home” that they instantly felt when they visited ACRE for the first time. Looking at their photos, I was already smitten, but after reading their interview, there was so much more that I fell in love with about their wedding. My favorite detail was that Elizabeth grew up picturing her grandfather officiating her wedding. He was not only able to do just that, but he did so in the church she grew up in!

Thanks to Cameron Reynolds for being on hand to capture such a sweet day!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? A September wedding was a natural fit for our timeline. Not only was the church available, but my grandfather was also free. My entire life, I had always imagined my grandfather, a retired Presbyterian minister, marrying me in my home church in Memphis, Tennessee. While my ideal reception venue, taste in wedding colors, and dream wedding dress have changed throughout my life, my desire to be married by my grandfather and walk down the aisle of Second Presbyterian Church has always remained a constant. Once the church was set, the rest of the details began to take shape. After exploring many options, we decided to have our wedding reception at ACRE Restaurant. Not only was ACRE conveniently located close to the church, it immediately felt like home. I found the neutral interior colors soothing to my soul. As I walked around to each dining space, I could envision the evening of our wedding reception, and the atmosphere seemed perfect. But my most favorite part of ACRE was the bright yellow front door! The contrast of the yellow door against the dark gray house and lush green landscape set the tone for the entire theme of our wedding. The flowers, wedding paper, bridesmaid dresses, cake, and many other details would soon be created to embody that same touch of home.

Every girl dreams of her perfect wedding dress, and my dress did not disappoint! I knew I wanted a classic lace dress with cap sleeves, but it was not until I put on this dress that I knew I had found my dream dress. I felt beautiful and classy. Since we decided months earlier not to have a first look, I couldn’t wait to see Patton’s face when he saw me for the first time as I walked down the aisle.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Of all the things that brought Patton and I together, the most important thing that holds us together is our faith. Patton and I wanted our wedding to be a worship service, so each song we selected was specially picked for that purpose. A string quartet welcomed our guests, and Patton actually played the prelude since music is one of Patton’s greatest passions. He has enjoyed playing instruments for most of his life, so I knew I wanted to weave that into our day. The mothers and grandmothers walked in to “Be Thou My Vision,” which is a tradition that goes back for three generations in my family. The bridesmaids walked in to “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” one of my favorite hymns! I also gave each of my bridesmaids a framed calligraphy print of this hymn to thank them for being part of our special day. I walked in to “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” and the entire congregation sang “To God be the Glory.” Once Patton and I were announced husband and wife, the congregation rejoiced by singing “The Doxology.”

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! A special pocket was made on the inside of my dress to hold a four-leaf clover that has been worn by many generations of women in my family when they got married. My grandmother, mother, aunts, and sister have all carried this special heirloom on their wedding days. I was honored to carry this good luck charm as my something old and something borrowed on my special day too! My something new was my wedding dress, and I wore a blue diamond-studded ring as my something blue.

I absolutely loved the natural look of ACRE and I wanted our wedding flowers to take on this same look. A simple green and yellow watercolor was the backbone of our paper details, and I wanted the flowers to incorporate this theme. The flowers scattered throughout the wedding and the reception took on the loose, natural look of ACRE, and each flower detail incorporated the butter yellow and green colors of the watercolor we used for our paper details. My favorite flower detail was the flower guitar that adorned the mantle above the groom’s cake.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? While the details are important, the most important detail is the marriage that the wedding represents. That is the true gift! As a bride, I wish I had remembered to take a step back and breathe more. If you are planning a wedding, remember that the perfect day pales in comparison to the gift you will receive in marriage. After all, the wedding details are simply memories. Life will go on… you will be married! However, in the meantime, enjoy the process. The real party has just begun!

Music is one of Patton’s greatest passions. He has enjoyed playing instruments for most of his life, so I knew I wanted to weave this into our day. During the prelude at the ceremony, Patton played the piano, but I also wanted to surprise him with something special at the reception. With the help of both the Flour Garden and Oxford Floral, a room at ACRE was designed just for Patton. He was not only surprised by the groom’s cake that looked exactly like his banjo, but the reaction on his face was priceless when he noticed that the stone mantle above the cake was adorned with flowers made to look like his guitar. We also handed out blow-up banjos and tambourines on the dance floor, so that our guests could actively enjoy the music of the evening with us. Our wedding cake was also beautifully designed by the Flour Garden. It was a simple five-tier white cake. Each layer was either buttercream or coconut cake, and the cake tasted as good as it looked! The cake was adorned with beautiful yellow and green sugar flowers that were made to match the flowers scattered throughout the reception. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought the sugar flowers were real.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Patton and I met during out freshman year at Ole Miss. We were friends for the first couple of years of school, but things turned to more than friendship during our junior year.
Tell us all about the proposal! It happened on February 4, 2016 in the parking garage of my office in Birmingham, Alabama. I walked out of work to find Patton on one knee with a ring in his hand. Completely surprised, I was overjoyed to say yes!
When did y’all get married? September 10, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 350
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Patton and I decided not to do a first look. We wanted our wedding to be very traditional, so seeing each other for the first time when the doors of the church swung open seemed fitting. I wanted to see Patton’s genuine reaction as I walked down the aisle towards him. His reaction was perfect!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My dear friend Sarah read Ephesians 3:14-21, and my grandfather gave a homily on a passage that has been very special to Patton and me throughout our relationship: Romans 8:1-11.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Guests traveled from near and far to support us, and I wanted each person to have a token of our gratitude. Gift boxes filled with water bottles, caramel corn, and cookies were waiting at the hotels upon their arrival. The cookies were in the shape of Mississippi and Tennessee, and little red hearts were placed over Patton’s hometown of Jackson and my hometown of Memphis.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The perfect ending to the perfect beginning was driving away from our smiling family and friends in a 1957 FORD Thunderbird… I can’t imagine a better way to start my life as a Ford! From getting ready at my childhood home to the ceremony being performed by my grandfather at my home church, September 10th was an absolute dream. As I reflect back on my wedding day, I feel like I have been given the most amazing gift. So many people worked extremely hard to make every detail perfect, and I will forever be thankful.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Our next chapter is going to be filled with adventure! After dating long distance for the past couple of years, we are thrilled to begin our lives together in Jackson, Mississippi.

Photographer: Cameron Reynolds Photography | Videographer: Caitlin Colcolough Films | Planner: Audrey Hurst Weddings | Ceremony Venue: Second Presbyterian Church | Reception Venue and Caterer: ACRE Restaurant | Florist: Oxford Floral | Wedding Cake: The Flour Garden | Rentals: 12th Table | Lighting: White Door Events | Band: The Soul Shockers | Paper Products: Sue Corral Ink | Bride’s Gown and Veil: Maggie Louise Bridal | Hair Stylist: Annie Shackelford of Juve Salon | Makeup Artist: Makeup by Kendrick | Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN | Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank

12th Table is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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