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Southern Weddings

Author: Marissa

One of the questions in our company About Us interview is about our favorite college classes–mine, obviously, is the one I met BDK in. Though both Kristen and Chris were pursuing science degrees, they met in their just-because-I-love-it history class, so I’m sure they’d both agree that said class was their favorite! With a shared appreciation for history and tradition, it’s no surprise that they chose to vow their lives to each other at the beautiful Historic Smithfield Plantation in their college town of Blacksburg. Though rain tried put a damper on their plans, with the help of their planner, Ashley Baber Weddings, Kristen and Chris welcomed their family and friends from Philadelphia and Atlanta respectively with sweet Southern hospitality and a fun, Georgia peach-inspired theme!

We’re pleased as punch that Adam Barnes and Katie Stoops shared Kristin and Chris’ pretty day with us in our latest issue, V8!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? Thank goodness for my genius consultant at Kelly’s Closet who was smart enough to put me in my Lela Rose gown! I will say, it looks terrible on the hanger! However, my consultant knew that my wedding was outdoors, that I was going with a Southern theme, and that I wanted something classically elegant. I feel that my gown, “The Coast,” was all of that and more. It is a silk fit and flare style with an off-the-shoulder sleeve. I remember the moment I stepped out of the fitting room and felt the way the train swirled when I moved. I had never felt more glamorous in a gown. I did my due diligence and kept other appointments for the day, but in the end, came back for the Lela Rose gown. My mother could not have been happier with my choice, which was just the icing on the cake.

What was the weather like on your big day? Oh boy…well, I guess it ended up being better than it could have been! The day started off beautifully, but sadly, the weather was calling for flash floods later in the day. Chris had felt VERY strongly leading up to the wedding that he did not want to have a “first look,” and he wanted the first time he saw me to be when I was walking down the aisle. Fortunately, the weather changed our plans. Our planner let us know that if we wanted photos together outside, we needed to do them before the wedding. It ended up being the best thing we could have done! We were able to have time together just the two of us, and it really relaxed us and set the tone for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, it poured during our ceremony, so it had to be moved to under a pavilion. However, our guests described it as “romantic,” and in the end, part of me is glad it rained since I know it is supposed to be good luck! Before the ceremony ended, the skies cleared, the temperature cooled off, and guests were able to move to the tent and dance the night away.

We wanted our ceremony to be very personal. Our officiant was wonderful and sent us each a 10-page questionnaire to get to know us. She created our ceremony from that. It was a surprise for us both, and our guests raved about how personal and special our ceremony felt.

We chose to have our wedding in Blacksburg, on Virginia Tech’s campus, for many reasons. First, it is the place we met and the place we were engaged. Second, while there are so many BEAUTIFUL and historic venues in Philadelphia, none of them felt like us. In the end, we decided that no matter where we lived or where we were from, Virginia Tech is the place that both of us will always think of as home. I had always wanted to be a June bride, plus we knew that our guests would be able to enjoy the campus more if classes were out of session. I wanted to have my wedding at 5:00, but a coworker in Atlanta let me know it needed to start on the half hour, so that the hand on the clock would only go up, and therefore, so would the marriage. I loved that, so we moved the ceremony start time to 5:30 P.M. Smithfield Plantation was a natural choice for us as a venue. It is on the campus of Virginia Tech and is historic and beautiful with a gorgeous lawn and scenery. The rolling mountains, green fields, and history were right at your fingertips.

I had always wanted my favorite flowers, peonies and roses, to be a large part of my wedding day. I let my florist know this even before I hired her. Closer to the day of the wedding, Amanda and my florist, Amy, collaborated on an inspiration board, showing many of the flowers Amy planned to use. One thing I learned is that your bouquet is at the mercy of what flowers are in season and how many are available that year! As we neared the wedding, I really let go of special requests for my flowers. I knew that Amy and Amanda would make me the most beautiful bouquets and centerpieces that they could with the flowers available at that time, and it might be fun to be a little surprised. They certainly delivered! I absolutely loved my bouquet and every floral arrangement Amy created.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? Since my family is from Philadelphia, we live in Atlanta, and the wedding took place in Virginia, I really wanted to have fun with a Southern theme. I wanted my family to have the true Southern experience! My design inspiration came from the Georgia peach–the perfect muse for our theme.

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. We had several cakes, including red velvet, of course, to go with our Southern theme! I absolutely loved the cake stand Paisley & Jade created for us. I had never seen anything like it and we received so many compliments on it.

Don’t miss Kristen and Chris’ wedding film by Shaking Hands Productions below!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Chris and I met in a history class. Once we got to know each other, we realized we had almost lived parallel lives to that point (creepy!) and one of the many things we had in common is that we were both in Virginia Tech’s Dual Degree program. We were both earning a Bachelor of Science degree in something else, but were also earning a Bachelor of Arts in history because we just truly love it. I’ll never forget the first time Chris walked into our classroom. I thought, “Finally! A tall guy! Just my type!” Little did I know how much of my type he would be!
Describe the proposal: Chris and I had recently moved to Atlanta, and with his birthday falling on July 5, I planned a short surprise getaway for us to Savannah to enjoy the history and scenery. Meanwhile, Chris had apparently been planning a surprise trip to Blacksburg for us the same weekend with plans to propose. I didn’t know it at the time, but Chris felt very strongly that Blacksburg was the only place he could propose to me because of how much the town means to us both. Enter my father, the only person who had talked to us separately about our plans and knew that we were both planning to surprise each other on the same weekend. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place! I knew he felt terrible, but with the weekend in question quickly approaching, he had to tell Chris that I had made plans for the two of us for his birthday. So, Chris and my dad hatched a plan they knew I would be defenseless against and. Two days before the weekend, my dad called me, CRYING, telling me how much he missed me and wanted to know if I would change my plans and meet him and my mother in Blacksburg for the weekend, as it was the exact halfway point (really, it is!) between his home in Pennsylvania and our home in Atlanta. Without question, Chris and I hopped in the car and set off to Blacksburg. That night, before my parents arrived in town (they were actually just circling the block), Chris took me out to the restaurant where we had our first date and, over dessert, asked me to marry him.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? Chris and I had been in a relationship for over six years and had lived together for three by the time our wedding day came. I honestly feel that our entire relationship was preparing us for the commitment of marriage. Our relationship has always been very strong, and every time we faced adversity together, we came out on top. We always discussed what marriage meant to us, and we are very much on the same page. We always felt that marriage was not something that we HAD to do, but rather, something that we WANTED to do. We believe in fighting for each other and fighting for our marriage. Not just for us, but for the family we plan to have together.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Intimate, magical, fun
How many guests attended your wedding? 150
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? My Wtoo bridesmaids dresses complimented my dress very well, and I loved the unique color, “Icing”. They were A-line silk taffeta gowns with a full skirt and–bonus–pockets! They photographed beautifully, too! Truthfully, they were not the style I originally had in mind, but when you take your three cousins shopping and they aren’t afraid to tell you how they really feel, they will put on what THEY like. In the end, all three of them fell in love with the dress, and I loved the smiles I saw on their faces. I remember leaving the bridal salon unsure since we hadn’t seen the gowns in the correct color, but my bridesmaids hit the nail on the head. I couldn’t have been happier with the finished product. I knew I chose them for a reason!
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? We kept to the very Southern theme and went with family-style dining. We had pulled pork barbecue, fried chicken, cole slaw, mashed potatoes, and everything in between. The food was great, and the family-style setting let everyone choose what they wanted and as much as they wanted!
Tell us a bit about your first dance. From Chris: It was very intimate, but I honestly couldn’t tell you much about the dance, as I was just looking at how beautiful and happy Kristen was. It went by so fast, and I was just trying to make sure I didn’t mess it up!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? There are so many things Chris and I are looking forward to in the future, and there are too many to list. In the shorter term, we are looking forward to more travel, both nationally and internationally, starting a family, and possibly even starting a business. Stay tuned!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Do a first look! Chris and I were very against it, as we wanted to see each other for the first time when I walked down the aisle. However, the weather left us no other choice, and it ended up being the best thing we could have done. The wedding day can be stressful, so seeing the smile and feeling the warm embrace of your best friend will only relax you and make the day even better.

Photographers: Adam Barnes and Katie Stoops | Videographer: Shaking Hands Productions | Planner and Designer: Ashley Baber Weddings | Venue: Historic Smithfield Plantation | Florals: The Arrangement Company | Caterer: Professional Catering | Cake Baker: Our Daily Bread Bakery | Bride’s Gown: “The Coast” by Lela Rose | Bridal Salon: Kelly’s Closet | Bride’s Earrings: BHLDN | Hair and Makeup: Avenue 42 | Groom’s Fashion: Brooks Brothers | Groomsmen Fashion: Jos. A Bank | Paper Goods: Rock Paper Scissors | Rentals: Paisley & Jade | Linens: Festive Fare | Transportation: Hooptie Ride and Abbott Trailways | Other: Skyline Tent Company

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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Becky says that she felt like she and Trevor had been planning for their marriage since long before they officially got engaged. Though BDK and I had not been together quite as long as their six-year courtship when we got married, I completely agree with this sentiment, and I love the thought so much. We talk often around the Southern Weddings office about the value of dating well before the engagement season of life and how important it is to lay the groundwork of a strong relationship. Like planning for their marriage, Becky and Trevor were so thoughtful in crafting a wedding at Veritas Vineyards that was romantic, beautiful, and enjoyable for all their guests. I’m positive the mac and cheese bites and Virginia ham biscuits they served heavily aided in that enjoyment!

Big thanks to our friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor Katelyn James for sharing Becky and Trevor’s wedding with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I looked all over, but ended up buying a dress from a little shop two blocks away from my parents’ house. I knew from the start that I wanted a dress with lace and sleeves, and when I put this one on, I knew it was PERFECT!!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes–it was the BEST! We had concerns about lighting after the ceremony, but we also wanted to get some of our nerves out beforehand.

We knew that we wanted to get married in Virginia (we are both from there), and we loved the idea of a vineyard venue. When we came across Veritas, we fell in love with it! It is such a romantic and beautiful location, and the team we got to work with was WONDERFUL. They made every detail perfect!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The groomsmen processional was the instrumental version of “Stand by Me.” The bridesmaid processional was an instrumental version of “Make You Feel My Love.” My processional was the Glasgow theme song from “Love Actually.” We wanted the processional songs to be soft and have no lyrics, so they weren’t overpowering. Our recessional was a different story–we chose Hall & Oates’ “You Make my Dream Come True” because we wanted to set the tone for the reception and get people ready to have some fun!

Describe your wedding flowers. My flowers were amazing!! We did mostly white with tons of greenery and succulents. We were really going for a soft, romantic feel and our florist nailed it.

We had a dessert bar with a number of different options, including mini cupcakes, cookies, rice krispie treats, and brownies. It was a hit! We also had a little wedding cake for us to cut that was delicious! It was a salted caramel cake, and I honestly wish I could eat it every day…YUM.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in college at Christopher Newport University!
Tell us all about the proposal! Trevor tricked me into planning his surprise birthday party, which turned out to be a surprise engagement party! He proposed in a park by my house, and then we went back to my parents’ house, where everyone was waiting for us!
When did y’all get married? October 17, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 185
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! My borrowed item was my mom’s veil (I actually almost forgot to put it on and remembered right before I was supposed to walk down the aisle!). My blue item was a bracelet that my grandmother had given to my mom when she got married. My old item was my wedding band–it was my grandmother’s. My something new was the beautiful bracelets that my maids of honor got me as a wedding gift. I wear them everyday!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We went for a somewhat rustic, romantic feel for our wedding, and gave our cocktail hour food a Southern feel. We served mac and cheese bites and Virginia ham biscuits!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Trevor and I had been together for six years by the time we got married, so I feel like we had been planning for our marriage since long before we got engaged.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Trying to make everyone happy without stepping on any toes! There is so much that goes into planning a wedding and there are always going to be a few bumps along the way, but Trev and I knew that when the wedding day came, it was all going to be worth it.
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? One of my favorite ways that we cut costs was on our invitations. We used Wedding Paper Divas, but found a promotion on gilt.com for 50% off! That was huge for us!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? That is so difficult! I think my favorite part of the day was right after we were married. The whole wedding party went to the bridal suite for our own little cocktail hour, and we had the best time! I will never forget it.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t get so lost in planning that you forget what you are planning for. Hug your fiancé and try and remember that, at the end of that tunnel, you get to marry your best friend and start your marriage! That thought always made the stress disappear, at least for a little while. :)
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right now, we are just enjoying our time together, but we are looking to buy a house!

Photographer: Katelyn James | Venue and Caterer: Veritas Vineyard and Winery | Florist: Blue Ridge Floral Design | Cake and Dessert Baker: Sweethaus | DJ: Dominion Wedding Entertainment | Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas | Bride’s Gown: Stella York | Bridal Salon: Ellie’s Bridal Boutique | Hair Stylist: Brianna B. Adams | Makeup Artist: Gohar Ayvazyan Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: J Crew | Menswear: Own Only

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Katelyn James reply

    We just love these two! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  2. avatar Pat Rowley reply

    Was overwhelmed by the deep love Becky and Trevor have for one another – the description
    of the event and their commitment are a testament to try meaning of Marriage!!!

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The South is chock-full of beautiful venues, so I always love when we see a wedding at a stunning, new-to-me space! With its dreamy, architectural details, and manicured grounds, Harwelden Mansion could not have made a lovelier setting for Lauren and Tony’s wedding. Originally a private home, the mansion provided an elegant, yet cozy, atmosphere where Lauren and Tony could celebrate with the ones they love. Ever Something‘s naturally beautiful blooms perfectly accentuated the romantic space with a freshly-picked-from-the-garden feel. In addition, Lauren’s mother and grandfather lovingly tended to rosemary and lavender plants all summer so they could supplement the table arrangements with their aromatic leaves–such a sweet touch that smelled just as pretty as it looked!

Big SW hugs to Fleckography for sharing Lauren and Tony’s wedding with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I’ve never been a girly girl, so although I admire fashion, I wasn’t very into the whole process. I did a lot of research online before ever setting foot in a store, and, even when I did, I was still considering non-traditional options in the back of my mind. I went to three stores in all, once with my mom, another time with my aunt, and the last solo. I’m glad I went to the final shop because I knew when I found my dress, it was the one for me. When the dress arrived, it needed some minor alterations, so I took it to Miss Jackson’s, a Tulsa landmark and one of the only department stores in Oklahoma specializing in high-end fashion. The process was so glamorous and the attention to detail was exquisite. I’m so glad I had the experience because only one week after our wedding, the store announced it was closing its doors after “105 years of style.”

Natural beauty was a big part of our aesthetic. I knew that Ever Something here in Tulsa would create arrangements that looked freshly picked from a garden, so I was not too concerned with the specific blooms. After giving Taylor and Katie the color palette, I mentioned I would like to incorporate fresh herbs, like lavender and rosemary. They did the rest! My bouquet was lush, complex, and smelled amazing. We also envisioned a greenery garland to hang over the entrance to the mansion, which was the backdrop to the outdoor ceremony. Another garland hung gracefully from a chandelier over the buffet table. On tables, we had small arrangements that were similar to my bouquet. My sweet family asked to help with decorations, so I suggested they help supplement table arrangements. My mom knew about my love of fresh herbs, so she and my grandfather lovingly tended rosemary and lavender plants all summer, just so we could use the leaves of those plants in votive candles throughout the reception area. It was such a nice touch and, like my bouquet, smelled wonderful.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Harwelden Mansion in midtown Tulsa was built in the 1920s and is a gothic tudor-style home on the National Register of Historic Places. The original architectural details are still in beautiful condition, and the house and grounds lend themselves to a dreamy, vintage setting. Harwelden was originally a private home, so we loved the idea of having a wedding that felt simultaneously elegant and cozy.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? This was my favorite part of the ceremony. We chose several quotes and readings from Carl Sagan, Ekhart Tolle, Mark Twain, and Jim Henson. We created our own concept around how rare it is to find your soulmate, the person you love most, in the midst of such a vast universe. Our friend performed the ceremony and he wove them together so beautifully that people asked us for copies.

Our families and friends were so generous with their time. Having their help with everything from moving chairs and tables to solving a pre-ceremony sewing emergency was vital. It wouldn’t have been the same without them, and those are the gifts we’ll remember.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We are lucky enough to be involved professionally with a lot of vendors. The nonprofit organization I work for owns the venue we used, and Tony’s company (that same restaurant where we met) catered the reception. A friend sold us wine at a discount, and our beer was donated by a local brewery who worked with Tony frequently. Being able to craft a beautiful day with vendors we knew personally was amazing, not only because it saved us a lot of money, but because we got to work with our friends!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at work! I was making ends meet during my time at the University of Tulsa by waitressing at an Irish pub downtown. Tony was bartending at the bar next door, but he moonlighted once a week at the pub. My first day happened to be on the day of his weekly shift. The first thing he said to me was, “Don’t bother remembering my name, you won’t see much of me.” We managed to get to know each other regardless! I was drawn to Tony’s charm, his sense of humor, and his love of music and books. We spent the next several years in Virginia, ultimately returning to Oklahoma. We clicked immediately and have been filling each other’s lives with laughter ever since.
Tell us all about the proposal! He always surprises me on my birthday, December 23, and I celebrated my 30th in 2014. I knew we were going to a nice dinner, and when we arrived at the restaurant, there were my best friend and her husband from out of town! I thought the surprise ended there, but after dinner, we walked a few blocks to a city park that has beautiful lights around the holiday season. My best friend’s husband, Todd (an amateur photographer), wanted to “test out his new camera” on the lights. We posed for a few photos, and the next thing I knew, Tony was down on one knee and Todd was snapping away. After spending eight years together, It turned out to be the best Christmas gift we could have given our friends and family, and my favorite birthday yet!
When did y’all get married? October 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 50 at the ceremony and 150 at the reception
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We fell in love over music, so it was important to us to incorporate it into our day. It ended up being one of my favorite details! Tony was in charge and chose a 1960s-themed soundtrack. At the ceremony, we played all Beatles and Beach Boys songs. I walked down the aisle to M. Ward’s instrumental cover of “You Still Believe in Me,” a Beach Boys original. The reception was a party from the start–we played all 1960s R&B. People loved it, especially our parents’ generation! Our first dance was to Sam Cooke’s “Nothing Can Change This Love.” I danced with my dad to Buddy Holly’s “True Love Ways.” Music was also the theme for our party favors. Keeping with a DIY sensibility, Tony curated a mixtape, and I designed the cover art. We made and printed every detail. During those long days of wedding projects, we found that listening to and talking about possible tracks was a great way to relax and spend time together.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? After being together for eight years, we started the wedding planning process with a firm commitment to each other. Advice from family and friends kept us grounded, but planning the wedding together taught us a lot about our shared vision. Our friend married us and was great about pre-wedding sessions, so it was a fun experience to relive our relationship as we discussed the ceremony with him.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We both have family members with physical limitations, so our timeline had to accommodate people who may not be able to stand for long periods of time, or who needed to leave early. We made it work by communicating with specific vendors and making the plans for group photos and other moments early in the planning process.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Stick to your guns, but be graceful. If you have a difference of opinion, you’ll most likely be disagreeing with someone you love very much. It’s important to honor them and listen, but to be fair to yourself. If someone wants to help, delegate! Most of all, remember to have fun. At the end of the day, the details fade in comparison to the feeling of being surrounded by so much love all at once.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? For now, we are enjoying our time as newlyweds, cooking each other extravagant dinners and spending time together. We are also looking forward to future travels as a married couple!

Photographer: Fleckography | Venue: Harwelden Mansion | Florist: Ever Something | Cake Baker: Ann’s Bakery | Caterer: McNellie’s Group Catering | Rentals: ABCO Rents Tulsa | DJ: Hank Hanewinkel III | Paper Products: Tortoise Belly | Bride’s Gown: “Rosemary” by Sottero & Midgley | Bride’s Hair Accessories: Kathy Johnson | Hair Stylist: First Ward | Bride’s Shoes: “Sofia” in Blue by Betsey Johnson | Groom’s Attire: Beshara’s Formal Wear

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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