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Southern Weddings Magazine

Author: Marissa

When two creatives marry, there is a good chance their wedding is going to rock everyone’s socks off! Alix and Dodd completely exceeded expectations by making their wedding day a reflection of their heritages, cultures, and their adventurous life together, with each of them feeling equally represented throughout the process. With the help of their planner Desiree Dawn Events, the performer (Alix) and the writer (Dodd) used their talents to welcome their guests to a weekend that included completely romantic vows, perfectly orchestrated music (pun intended!), and a ton of fun. There was even an elaborately choreographed dance number in matching pink suits! With every single room in the hotel taken by guests alone, the only way Alix could describe their wedding weekend was like “a giant slumber party for all our family and friends at the most elegant yacht club in South Florida. HEAVEN!” Doesn’t that sound amazing?

We’re so thankful Kat Braman was there to capture it all!

P.S. Be sure to read the adorable story about Dodd’s “moach”–y’all will absolutely love it!

We would always joke leading up to the wedding that my engagement ring served as something borrowed (the brooch and bracelet where the stones came from), blue (the sapphires), old (all the stones are from Dodd’s family and are over 100 years old), and new (the actual setting and design). But, I also borrowed my wedding veil (it was my sister-in-law’s from when she married my brother) and my aunt’s diamond earrings. I wore my late grandmother’s diamond necklace (old) and had a crepe flower hairpiece designed for me by my friend Joey Brooks (new). The blue still remained the sapphires in my ring.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I’m a performer by trade, so every dress I tried on, I felt like I was playing a different character–a different “type” of bride. After trying on 75 dresses from eight bridal shops in three states, I finally said, “Okay. This is the one.” I really liked it, but a text from my sister-in-law (and matron of honor) kept haunting me. She asked, “When you put it on, did you get that feeling like your heart just leaped, and you couldn’t help but cry?” I said, “I think??” On my way back to the store to actually purchase it, I stopped by another store to look at bridesmaid dresses. It was just me and my mom this time, and I thought, “Well, I might as well try a couple more dresses on if we’re here?” When I came out of the fitting room in a simple, elegant, silk organza Romona Keveza gown, I burst into tears–just like my maid of honor had predicted. When I saw myself in the mirror, I realized I shouldn’t be an actress wearing a costume on my day. I needed to just be me in a beautiful dress, and that was it.

We always knew we were going to have a first look because at a traditional Jewish wedding, the bride and groom sign a Ketubah, or marriage contract, as the very first part of the ceremony before the procession. We figured we were going to see each other anyway before we walked down the aisle, and we wanted some intimate moments together before officially embarking on this journey of becoming husband and wife. Our first look and Ketubah signing was one of my favorite moments–it was a quiet, reflective time to really take in the importance of that day.

The wedding was a wonderful hybrid of so many faiths, cultures, and traditions. We tried our best to be true to who we BOTH are, and it worked. We both felt equally represented and our guests learned even more about us throughout the process. Both of us had a mix of men and women in our parties, so the terms “bridesmaids” and “groomsmen” not only felt dated, it also wasn’t really accurate for us. Instead, we drew from my “Nawlinz” roots and called them krewes. These titles appeared in the wedding program and were immediately understood by my New Orleanian family, a clear take on the Mardi Gras Krewes of parades.

Describe your wedding flowers. Traditionally, the chuppah is made from wood from each of the two families, so we took that idea and ran with it. Our chuppah contained a eucalyptus branch from a tree in our front yard in Florida (which I had actually planted as a child), and an old wood ice axe that Dodd’s grandfather used in the 1950′s to break the world record for the highest mountain climb ever (he climbed Nanda Devi, before K-2 and Everest were summitted). We also had magnolias representing New Orleans and gardenias symbolizing my late grandmother (who grew them in her garden).

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Being a singer and musician my whole life, this was my absolute favorite part of designing the ceremony. A year before Dodd had even proposed, I turned on PBS, and there was a quartet playing the most interesting and gorgeous song I’d ever heard. I knew in that moment that I was going to walk down the aisle to that song. The song is called “Franz and the Eagle.” I knew finding the sheet music or transcribing the song was going to be very costly and time-consuming, so I contacted my old friend and pianist from the University of Miami, asking him if he knew of this song. He responded by saying he DID know the song, and he has JUST finished transcribing the entire thing, which had taken him three straight weeks, because he fell in love with it and wanted to play it with his violinist wife for some sort of special occasion one day!! What were the chances?!? It was meant to be. So, Dan and Ashley played all the songs for our entire ceremony. When Dodd broke the glass, the massive yacht behind us blasted its horn, Professor Long Hair’s “Go To The Mardi Gras” boomed through the speakers, and a full New Orleans second line broke out!

We met one lovely, crisp, fall evening–October 5, 2009 to be exact, at the historic Triad Theatre in New York City. We were individually invited by a mutual friend to an industry show. Dodd noticed me there, and after the show, he approached me and asked me to join the group next door. Once in the light, I immediately noticed the small red bicycle pin Dodd was wearing on his sport coat and said, “I like your pin,” to which Dodd responded, “You mean, my MOATCH.” “Your what?” “My moatch. My man brooch!” That made me laugh, and I knew that I had to talk to this guy some more. We left the group and began our first three-hour conversation at the bar, and in those moments, we knew the other was very special. Dodd took me home in a cab, 150 blocks out of his way. At my door step, he kissed me goodnight (it was absolutely the most perfect first kiss), and then took the train home. I walked calmly through my lobby and into the elevator. When when the doors shut, I threw my purse against the wall and yelled, “I’m in love!!” Thankfully, I was the sole passenger in this elevator!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Dodd had this idea for a long time that he wanted us to surprise our guests towards the end of the night with a fully-choreographed flash mob dance with us and our wedding krewe (and any other young friends who wanted to join in). Dodd has become known (or shall I say “infamous”) for wearing a bright magenta suit to many occasions all over the world, so I decided it was high time that I had my own “pink suit.” Right after the cake cutting and the bouquet toss, Dodd and I snuck off into a side room, changed into our matching pink outfits, and once we heard our song (an edited version of Beyonce’s “Partition”), we emerged from the room and strutted our way to the dance floor. Dodd and I then performed our relatively elaborate duet dance number, were tossed our second line umbrellas, and invited all our krewe members to join in with their umbrellas. During that dance, Dodd and I looked at each other and both knew what we were thinking: “WE DID IT! IT WORKED! THIS IS SO MUCH FUN! We will never forget this moment!”

Don’t miss Alix + Dodd’s video from Indie Atlantic Films!

Tell us all about the proposal! Dodd asked me if I wanted to go on a “chocolate tour” and visit different boutique chocolatiers one beautiful Saturday afternoon in NYC. Although it sounded touristy, I would never pass up the chance to eat gourmet chocolate. As the tour finished, I got a text from my best friend Brian (who would become my future man of honor) to meet him in Chelsea, right where we happened to be. We met up on The Highline, which is our all-time favorite park in the city. Since Brian was running late, Dodd and I decided to sit and wait by the huge window overlooking 10th Avenue at 17th Street. Soon, I noticed people down below us on the street with umbrellas hiding their faces, coming from all different directions. As more and more people with umbrellas congregated, Dodd took me closer to the window so we could get a better look, and I realized the group of umbrellas below us were like painted puzzle pieces. The 12 or so umbrellas moved and shifted, twirling and changing direction. Then, all the umbrella puzzle pieces suddenly fit together and formed a huge heart! People were whispering and telling their friends (and also me) that it was a proposal! But for who?! I honestly didn’t realize it was MY proposal until I turned to Dodd, and he was down on one knee holding a ring box…I LOST IT. Of course, I said yes! Dodd then pointed down below, and all the umbrellas in the heart suddenly closed, revealing ALL our closest family and friends from as far as California, DC, Florida, Philly, Maine…it was absolutely INCREDIBLE. I felt like I was dreaming! The 20 of us headed to the nearest restaurant for a champagne toast, and when I walked in, I saw a wall of 30 or so MORE umbrellas and 50 more of our friends lifting them, yelling “CONGRATULATIONS!” My surprise proposal mob was followed by a surprise engagement party! As a hidden camera crew revealed themselves, Dodd revealed that he had been wearing a wire the whole day. The YouTube video has over 21,000 hits now. :)
When did y’all get married? May 31, 2014
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? My mom has been working at Admiral’s Cove Yacht and Country Club since 1987, when I was the ripe old age of one, and it is the place where my family has held all our biggest events, including my bat mitzvah, my cousin’s wedding, my brother’s graduation party, and countless family birthday parties. What also made it so incredible is that Admiral’s has a boutique hotel at the club, so our 100 out-of-town guests made a total vacation out of our wedding week, which is exactly what we wanted. With every single room in the hotel taken by our guests alone, we held every event at a different venue on Admiral’s grounds each night. We basically had the entire country club to ourselves for the weekend which is SO rare, and the only way I can describe it is like throwing a giant slumber party for all our family and friends at the most elegant yacht club in South Florida. HEAVEN!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? From Alix: Dodd is actually a writer as well as a director and producer, so there was no question that we would write our own vows. (we also wrote our own Ketbuah, which is quite rare). My favorite thing about Dodd’s vows to me was that he started and ended with the concept that we have always been nice to each other and that we will continue to strive to always be nice to each other. From Dodd: One vow in particular that has stuck with me read: “I vow to love you fiercely–and embrace the fire that burns inside you and to never try to extinguish that.” To contextualize this vow, I am a hyper guy. At night, Alix is freezing bundled in all the blankets, and I lay next to her in only boxer shorts with perspiration on my brow. I went to see a doctor specializing in Eastern medicine, and after running a battery of tests on me, he said simply, “Your fire runs too hot.” This has been Alix’s mantra about me ever since. Alix and I are fundamentally different people–I run hot and she runs cold. In that moment, as she read that vow, I felt so completely understood. I was staring into the eyes of someone who KNEW ME completely.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I was committed to making oyster shell escort cards, because they felt so New Orleanian to me. Trying to locate 400 oyster shells in New York City is not easy, but after four visits to the PJ Clarke’s across from Lincoln Center, I loaded 400 nasty, rotten seafood-smelling oyster shells on my back and walked six miles home (I forgot my wallet!). I got home in the middle of the night, smelling like a dead man, and proceeded to scrub each and every shell over the next three days! Everyone took them home as a souvenir.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are back in New York City and are excited to travel the world together, hit milestones together, experience life in general together, and I have to say, I’m most excited simply to fall asleep with and wake up to my best friend every day for the rest of my life.

Photographer: Kat Braman / Videographer: Indie Atlantic Films / Planner: Desiree Oftedal / Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Club at Admiral’s Cove / Florist and Lighting: Robyn Von / Cake Baker and Catering: Chef Tod Feit at Admiral’s Cove / Band: The Headliners / Special Details: Ready Go Wedding Co., LLFarm, MisterandMrs, Confetti Design Shop, lilimandrill / Paper Products: Make Merry Events / Bride’s Gown: “L213″ by Romona Keveza / Bridal Salon: Boca Raton Bridal / Bride’s Hair Accessories: Elle & Jae / Hair Stylist: Eve Verduga / Makeup Artist: Taryll Atkins / Bride’s Shoes: Nina / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Keira,” “Charlie,” and “Cori” in Luxe Chiffon and “Olivia” in Crinkle Chiffon by Jenny Yoo / Groomsmen Attire: The Dessy Group / Photo Booth: Sideshow Booth Co.

Desiree Dawn is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Desiree reply

    Thank you for sharing this sweet and sincere day with your readers! I absolutely adored working with this couple – all of their goals for their wedding day proved challenging and the result: I’m a better planner for it now. I can’t thank them enough for their trust! The team we composed to execute their day was a dream come true. I’m blown away by everyone’s professionalism and awesome personalities! Congrats A&D! xo

  2. avatar Morgan Moore reply

    Dodd and Alix’s wedding sounds like such a wonderful celebration! I love all of their personal touches.

  3. avatar Jalyn Souchek reply

    What a lovely wedding and proposal story! I’m obsessed with the pinstriped suits!

  4. avatar Maureen R. Goldman (@SheisMoments) reply

    I love the bride’s face as she walks down the aisle. Pure joy!!!!

  5. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Love it all! The colors are so pretty!

  6. avatar Kat Braman reply

    I’m so thrilled to see Alix and Dodd’s love story featured on Southern Weddings! It was such an amazing day to be a part of and I love how this feature came together. xo

  7. avatar Alix Loomis reply

    Thank you for featuring our wedding! It was obviously the best day of OUR lives but it was also incredibly special for all 200 guests and our wonderful creative team made it all happen- this whole experience including this article has been absolutely spectacular, unique, emotional, and transcendent. THANK YOU!

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After envisioning her wedding gown ever since she and Josh started talking about marriage, Christy chose to make her own. Together with her mama, they started with her mother’s wedding skirt as a base and added everything to it for a finished product that was as meaningful as it was gorgeous! Christy’s dress wasn’t the only thing that was a labor of love. Everything from their eclectic mix of chairs collected from their families, to the plethora of specialty deserts made by close family and friends were carefully planned to help Christy and Josh’s wedding feel like a big ol’ family get-together!

Big SW hugs to Jennefer Wilson for sharing this sweet day with us!

I was not interested in our flowers in the least until I consulted with Briley from Oh Deery Florals. Her passion for what she does and the organic, earthy, effortless look of her work drew me instantly. She created spectacular bouquets of peach garden roses, coral charm peonies, light pink dahlia, white astilbe, succulents, seeded eucalyptus, dusty miller, and white ranunculus, in addition to a special toss bouquet of lavender. The boutonnieres were made up of a succulent, white ranunculus, and seeded eucalyptus. She also created centerpiece collections that we combined on tables with the succulents we gave as favors.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Christy: For me, it was our first look and the time we got alone together. After setting up and getting ready all day, Josh was the only person in the world I wanted to be around. My joy in that moment cannot be put into words; we were so overwhelmed with joy! From Josh: My favorite moment of the wedding was the first look. Not seeing her that whole day and the anticipation building made for an amazing moment where I looked upon my wife-to-be, and for the first time, it actually hit me that I was about to marry the prettiest girl I had ever seen.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail was the group of mismatched chairs we used for the ceremony and reception. That was one aspect of the wedding I wouldn’t budge on, and I’m so glad I didn’t. So many guests said it was their favorite detail of the wedding too, and it gave the decor such a relaxed and cozy feel.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we wrote our own vows. Writing to each other has been a large part of our relationship, so we wanted our vows to be in our own verbatim. We didn’t use mics to say them–we only wanted our bridal party and our families sitting in the first few rows to hear them because we know they will be the most active in keeping us accountable to our vows.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? To me, one of the biggest aspects of the South is hospitality. We wanted our wedding to feel like a large and comfortable family get-together in a relative’s backyard. Our venue, Penn Farm, was thick with Southern charm and contributed greatly to our backyard feel, thanks to its farmhouse, barn, windmill, and overhanging trees. An eclectic mix of chairs that we collected from family and rented contributed to our homey, backyard feel. We had close family and friends bring a plethora of specialty desserts to create a Southern dessert potluck for our dessert bar. At the reception, we had a number of backyard games for guests to enjoy.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were in the same small group during our welcome week of college, but God knew we both still had a lot of growing to do. We reconnected a few years later when Josh worked in the fine arts office of our university, and since I was a music major, I went into the office often. I soon noticed he was a lot friendlier to me than the other students who would go into the office, but since I had a boyfriend at the time, I avoided him for the rest of my college career. Then, I found myself seated two seats away from him at graduation. I wasn’t dating anyone by then, and I found myself really enjoying my conversation with this guy I had avoided for years. Lo and behold, we found out through Facebook that we would be at the same conference in Atlanta a few weeks later, and we were able to meet up there. It wasn’t until I heard him open up at the conference about his passion for church planting that I thought we could have a future together. We went on a date the day after we got back to Dallas, and a few short months after that, I knew Josh was the man I wanted to love for the rest of my life.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Josh: Christy always used to tell me about a field that she had always wanted to run through. She had driven past it for years, but never stopped. I had planned to take her to the field on a Saturday to propose, but she figured it out. So instead, the day before that Saturday, we went to the field and I proposed. She was so surprised!
When did y’all get married? May 31, 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? Getting married outside in a field under a large, shady tree was my dream. Finding a venue became a family effort–both of our families searched everywhere for the perfect “wedding field with a tree” for us. After one long day of field searching, my family and I went to Cedar Hill State Park, which I thought was an unlikely candidate, but I was growing desperate. As we rounded a bend for Penn Farm, I started crying when I saw the field in front of me. (The same way most girls cry when they see their wedding gown. I know, weird.) We later found out that Penn Farm also has the most picturesque white clapboard farmhouse and wooden barn that we used to house the reception.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Josh’s dad officiated our ceremony, and he read from 1 Corinthians 13 and Ruth 1:16-17.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Josh’s grandmother baked our wedding cake: her famous chocolate chip pound cake. Neither of us even got a piece because we forgot to cut the cake, but we ate plenty when we went to visit her later that summer.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We really wanted a DJ, but after finalizing other details that were more important to us, we realized it wouldn’t be in our budget. We decided to use a few Spotify playlists for different styles of reception and dance floor music, and we couldn’t have been more pleased! It was free, and played any songs we wanted.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? I am most excited about combining my life with my best friend. Getting to live every day with Josh is the greatest gift. Josh: The thing I look forward to most about married life is being able to build a new life with Christy. We have a clean slate, we can go anywhere, and we can do anything. The adventure that that brings is so exciting, and I can only imagine what the future will hold.

Photographer: Jennefer Hutto / Ceremony and Reception Venue: Penn Farm, Cedar Hill State Park / Florist: Oh Deery Floral / Catering: Mudleaf Coffee / Rentals: Rent My Dust, Rental Stop / Favors: San Pedro Cactus / Paper Products: Remember November Shop / Makeup Artist: Beloved / Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden / Groom’s Attire: ASOS / Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Warehouse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Such a sweet wedding! I love all of the fashion, but especially the menswear!

  2. avatar Loverly reply

    Such a wonderful story behind the gown. Every element of this wedding is perfectly suited to the couple, absolutely inspiring.

  3. avatar Britni Ramsey reply

    AHHH!!! You guys look so awesome!! So happy for the two of you! Great job Jennefer, as always :)

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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
4 Comments
  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
5 Comments
  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
4 Comments
  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 […]

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