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Southern Weddings

Author: Marissa

For Rachel and Cory, it seemed as though the timing was never quite right…but then, seven years after first meeting, it finally was. A cold night, two cups of hot chocolate, and a kiss in his pickup later, Rachel and Cory’s story was officially ready to start a new chapter. Their story played a significant role in planning their wedding, from the venue to the food they served. Since they fell in love while Cory was stationed in Florida, they knew that celebrating their wedding where they first exchanged the words “I love you” would be a sweet nod to their time there spent dreaming about their future. Though their wedding day was an important milestone, Rachel shared that “the ordinary days in marriage are just as important as the extraordinary, and that perspective has served us well.” Be sure to read their interview for the sweetest stories, and more sage advice. I might advise having a hankie nearby!

Thanks to Cassidy Carson for capturing Rachel and Cory’s 30A wedding!

After our fabulous photographer, Cassidy Carson, recommended doing a first look (for a few reasons), we decided it was the best choice for us. Cory and I hadn’t considered a first look because we weren’t sure how it would impact the magic of walking down the aisle. Ultimately, we did a first look because it was a way for just the two of us to spend time together and soak in the joy; it forced us to slow down and be present in the moment on an otherwise fast-paced day. It didn’t take away from walking down the aisle in the least. The weather for our first look was absolutely stunning, which was our saving grace, as not 30 seconds after our ceremony ended, thunder rolled and we were caught in a torrential downpour!

When we were choosing our wedding location, we made two things a priority: community (friends and family who would be present) and the location’s significance to our story. Cory was stationed in Florida for the majority of our dating life and we would spend hours upon hours playing in the waves and exploring Seaside on 30A. It’s where we fell in love, where we first exchanged those words, and where we spent so much time dreaming about our future. 30A is a critical part of our story and we wanted our celebration of marriage to be a reflection of that. Eden Gardens is a little hidden gem about ten minutes inland–a quiet, historic plantation home with beautiful oaks and dreamy Spanish moss. It was the perfect way for us to incorporate a Southern-style venue while hosting friends and family in a place that means the world to us.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our vows together. Some couples write them separately, but for us, it was important that we approached our vows as a team (we, not I), like we do the rest of our relationship. In addition to our own promises, we incorporated select bits and pieces of traditional vows as well. My favorite phrase from our vows has to be “I promise to speak my truth and honor yours; to seek forgiveness humbly and offer grace without condition.” Speaking truth and life in our home is a priority and we work hard to set boundaries to protect our bond and create a home where it’s safe to be completely vulnerable with each other.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? A lot of our premarital counseling was based on work by Brene Brown and John Gottman, so it was fitting for some of it to be weaved into our ceremony–specifically, the anatomy of trust, vulnerability, the art of boundaries, and empathy as they pertain to interpersonal relationships and the sacred bond of marriage. Being a couple who seeks to know Jesus and grow spiritually as individuals and as a couple, we included scripture readings at our ceremony as well (heavily from Ruth and Ecclesiastes).

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? The first thing we planned (before we booked a date or a venue) was our premarital counseling sessions. We contacted the therapist who helped me through the loss of my dad and planned out our bi-weekly sessions. She’s a therapist with the educational credentials and science to back it up, but she also loves Jesus; she was the perfect fit for us as a couple. Working through devotionals and books together, in addition to premarital counseling, was the best investment we could have made in our relationship. From the beginning, Cory and I were on board that while we were incredibly blessed to be able to afford a celebration of marriage (wedding), it wasn’t the only important milestone in our lives. The ordinary days in marriage are just as important as the extraordinary, and that perspective has served us well.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Cory and I were both born in the South and we carry it with us wherever we go; there’s no place quite like it. We knew we needed touches of Southern flair in our special day, starting with barbecue for Cory (his favorite food) and fresh lemonade (with a little somethin’ somethin’) for me. And how could we forget the yard games? Every good Southerner knows you must have corn hole boards and games on hand for company at all times–what better way to spend a Saturday in the South than football and a competitive game of corn hole? Apart from specific wedding details, Cory and I wanted our wedding weekend to embody the Southern host/hostess mentality: community. We intentionally kept our celebration under 100 people and only included those who love and support us in daily life.

We decided to forgo a traditional wedding cake and instead opted for piles and piles of fresh, locally made donuts from our favorite little shop in Alys Beach. When we asked our florist to “flower up” our donut cake, she didn’t miss a beat; large blooms and succulents adorned piles of sugary goodness, complete with a gold calligraphy topper proclaiming “Donuts for each other.” Hardly a day has passed when we haven’t risen from our slumber craving that donut cake. Smaller donut cakes were piled high with maple-glazed, applewood-smoked bacon donuts. Bless it.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Shortly after picking our September 2nd wedding date, we received word that Cory would be deploying in October, just weeks after we would say “I do.” We knew it could potentially happen, as he was eligible for deployment, but it wasn’t confirmed until after we had secured our date and venue. I’ll be honest, it’s a hard battle to hold onto your joy as you prepare for marriage and plan a wedding while knowing your love will have to leave shortly after you become newlyweds. As I write this, we’re a third of the way into deployment and almost four months into marriage. Being on this side of it, we can both honestly say that we’re able to own this as part of our story and use it to enhance and strengthen our marriage (not to mention I’m totally milking it for a second honeymoon when he returns–I’m only sort of teasing). I share this to let other brides know that there is never an ideal time for anything–surprises pop up and blindside your well-laid plans, but you cannot let it railroad your joy. Choose joy in the imperfection!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Cory and I grew up in the same town, but didn’t truly cross paths until winter break of our freshman year of college. A mutual friend was having a birthday celebration, and upon arriving, we immediately made eye contact and gravitated toward each other, spending the rest of the evening talking and laughing. When it was time to leave, he kissed my hand and we went our separate ways. Cory was earning his civil and environmental engineering degrees from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and I was attending the University of Georgia in Athens, a mere 1,400 miles apart. We kept in touch casually, but the distance was a lot for two 19-year-old kids. Fast forward a year, and my world was rocked. My dad was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer and he passed away a few short months later. Around this time, Cory migrated back into my life. I needed to face grief and embrace healing head on, and Cory knew it even before I could come to terms with it myself. It would be years before we would move back into each other’s lives. This time around, he was stationed in Florida and I was living in Georgia, and we went out for frozen yogurt while he was home visiting family before a deployment. Cory returned from his deployment the next January and asked me to have dinner with him. I was terrified! Timing hadn’t been in our favor over the previous seven years and I didn’t want to get hurt. We planned to have dinner on Thursday January 23, but then wouldn’t you know it, my niece was born that day and I had to cancel on him. We rescheduled for that Saturday. He picked me up for an early movie and then dinner at a sweet little local restaurant. We had time to spare before dinner and the weather was frigid that night. He pulled the truck over, sprinted through the freezing cold into a local coffee shop, and came back with hot chocolate and a grin that stretched a mile wide. Then he kissed me. And I was a goner. We spent the rest of the night at our little table, tucked away in the corner of the restaurant, laughing and catching up, completely oblivious to the world around us. It was finally our time.
Tell us all about the proposal! In the fall of 2015, Cory was picked up for Squadron Officer School in Montgomery, Alabama, spanning late October thru mid-December. On December 19, when Cory arrived at our home, he wanted to go to a nice dinner and then spend the rest of the night snuggled up beside the outdoor fireplace in our backyard. After dinner, we headed home and it was a balmy 20 degrees outside. Brrrrr! Not having a clue as to what was about to happen, I sprinted upstairs and changed into one of his warm sweatshirts, my favorite yoga pants, and fuzzy socks. Cory, however, did not change out of his dress clothes and I remember thinking, “Well, that’s strange.” I even offered him a sweatshirt with an emphasis on the temperature outside, but he declined. I still didn’t really sense anything was about to happen. I headed downstairs and waited for what felt like forever. He finally made his way downstairs and all but pushed me out the door into the backyard. We snuggled up with hot tea and blankets next to the fire and just enjoyed the fact that we were home together. Then, he turned to look at me and poured his genuine heart out for the next few minutes–about halfway through, I began to bawl my eyes out and thought, “This is everything a girl wants to hear from the man she loves–I think he’s about to ask me to marry him! If he doesn’t, I’m really going to be crushed!” Cory slid out of his chair and dropped to one knee in front of the fire. He asked me to be his wife with a grin a mile wide, and those dimples driving me wild, as per usual. I was crying too hard to verbalize a “yes,” so I nodded my head up and down like my life depended on it! I was holding onto him so tightly that he actually had to say, “Hey beautiful. I have a ring for you and I need you to let go of my arm for a second so I can put it on your finger.” I didn’t even realize he had a ring! And to be honest, I wouldn’t have cared. We laughed, he put the most beautiful ring on my finger, I continued crying, and we held onto each other tight. We ran out to grab champagne to celebrate–me in my sweatpants and fuzzy socks while he was still in his dress clothes. I nearly took out an end display of bubbly as I was distracted by my sparkly left hand. It was perfect. Sweatpants and all.
When did y’all get married? September 2, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 80
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? The little things don’t matter. Okay, let’s say that together now: the little things DON’T matter. Look at your partner. Have you been treating them with love and kindness throughout the wedding planning process? Now look at your friends and ask yourself the same question. If the vision of a perfect wedding is altering your behavior, take a step back and remember what matters. And I’ll let you in on a little clue: a perfect wedding doesn’t exist. Cory and I decided from the beginning not to have a bridal party or to adopt a lot of the traditions that can make weddings stressful and distract couples from the true purpose. Marriage is about you and your spouse committing to sharing life, not about your bridesmaids’ nail polish color or asking them in elaborate ways to be in your wedding. Don’t get me wrong, there are benefits to having a bridal party, but focus on what matters.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? First order of business when Cory returns home from deployment is to celebrate and take a mini-moon (second small honeymoon) to celebrate his homecoming and the gift of marriage. We love to travel and explore new cities, which we plan on doing a lot in 2017 (and beyond). But we’re also excited for the slow Saturday mornings of cooking breakfast together and enjoying our home with our sweet pup, Luna. Leaning into newlywed life, growing as a couple, and creating our own family traditions have both of us excited about what’s next.

Photographer: Cassidy Carson Photography | Day-Of Coordinator: Serene Occasions | Venue: Eden Gardens | Florist: Flowers by Milk & Honey | Dessert Baker: Charlie’s Donut Truck | Popsicles: Swell Pops | Caterer: Jim ‘N Nick’s | Rentals and Lighting: The Big Day Rentals | Ceremony Music: Top Hat Live | DJ: Rock the House | Custom Invitation Suite: Love Supply Co. | Bride’s Gown: BHLDN | Bride’s Veil: Paris by Debra Moreland | Bride’s Jewelry: Kendra Scott | Hair and Makeup: Lanna Bloodworth | Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Groom’s Attire: Awearness Kenneth Cole via Men’s Wearhouse | Gown Alterations: Rodica Lazarian

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Morgan reply

    I think this is my most favorite post to date and I have been a reader since 2011!!

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I adore each one of the weddings that we publish in our print issues, and while it’s sometimes hard to pick a favorite, there are always a few that I simply cannot get out of my head. Case in point, Callie and Sinclair’s amazing wedding at Cheekwood from Volume 9! There’s just something about their magnolia-filled wedding that is undeniably Southern and completely magical. For their spring celebration, Callie and Sinclair worked with the Social Office to create a wedding day that was, in Callie’s words, “exquisitely beautiful and tons of fun!” While I can’t personally comment on the fun level, I would absolutely agree on the exquisitely beautiful part. With the help of lots of draping, and just a few chandeliers, Dori and her team transformed a white party tent on the Swan Lawn behind the Cheekwood into a reception venue filled with classic details and bountiful florals.

We’re sure glad Kristyn Hogan was there to capture all the goodness, and that she gave us the honor of sharing it in V9!

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? The Southern magnolia! After we got engaged, my mom and I started wedding Pinterest boards and both ended up pinning several magnolia photos, so it really started from there. I liked the Southern significance of using magnolias as a design element, but there were other fun reasons too. During middle school, my friends and I spent many fun hours hanging out in a huge magnolia tree in our front yard, where we had constructed a fairly sophisticated treehouse called The Fort. My family also traditionally uses lots of magnolia cuttings from our trees during the holidays or parties to decorate the house, mailboxes, and anything else we could think of. Maybe we have just always associated magnolias with good feelings and good times. The magnolia theme was used throughout all of our wedding events, beginning with our magnolia-imprinted save the dates and ending with a magnolia garland on our getaway car as we left the reception–and everything in between.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? I found my dress at Vera Wang in Chicago. Vera Wang salons have a very relaxed and calm atmosphere, which suits me and made the process very enjoyable. I wanted to find a gown that was somewhat traditional, but had a modern flair and would be appropriate for an outdoor Southern garden wedding. I ended up choosing “Leda” from the Vera Wang Iconic collection, a strapless dress with illusion lace and layers of floral lace that was perfect for the garden setting. It was so comfortable and easy to wear. I knew immediately when I tried it on that it was the right dress for me.

For both our ceremony and reception, we chose flowers in shades of white, blush, and pale peach, and used accents of magnolia throughout. Soon after we mailed our magnolia-inspired save the dates, we met with our longtime florist Mark O’Bryan to explain our vision. He came up with a design plan using magnolias as a foundation and our favorite flowers to add softness and color. We used mainly garden roses, tulips, ranunculus, and anemones. We ended up choosing David Austin Juliet garden roses as one of the main flowers, not only because we loved the more natural shape and scent, but also because Juliets happened to match to the blush ribbon on our save the date perfectly! Many beautiful flowers were used at our wedding and it was important to us that they not just go to waste afterwards. We commissioned Thistle Farms Studios to make beautiful notecards and journals using our wedding flowers in their handcrafted papermaking process. Thistle Farms produces bath products, candles, and handcrafted papers to raise money for their mission of providing safe havens to women survivors of abuse and human trafficking. It was a meaningful way for us to give new life and purpose to our wedding flowers, and we will forever cherish our beautiful journals for both memories.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. Our ceremony was held outdoors in the Wills Perennial Garden at Cheekwood. As guest arrived, they were greeted with live music and offered a glass of rose champagne or pink lemonade as they headed up the walkway to the ceremony site. Magnolia-covered pedestals with urns of blush wedding flowers guided guests along the path, where they were offered hand-embroidered linen hankies to catch “Tears of Joy” and “Keep Warm as they Wed” pashminas. Guests passed under an arbor of hundreds of beautiful pale lavender blooms, where they were given wedding programs and escorted to the seats. We wanted to include religious elements in our ceremony, so a large wooden cross with magnolia swags was created to frame our bridal party, and our minister used the lectern from my great-grandfather’s church. The most special part of the ceremony was standing together in front of our family and friends on the most important day of our lives and walking back up the aisle as Mr. and Mrs. Myers. Seeing everyone’s happy faces and all of the white rose petals being tossed in the air as we walked by is a moment we will never forget.

We got engaged in late summer and knew we wanted a spring wedding date, so we chose April 16, 2016, mainly because it had a nice ring to it. I had always envisioned an outdoor, Southern garden wedding, and Sinclair and I both wanted the ceremony and reception to be held at the same place, so Cheekwood became the obvious choice for us. I have always considered Cheekwood one of the most beautiful places in Nashville, and it also holds great sentimental significance to me since it’s located in the neighborhood where I grew up. I actually had my fifth birthday party at Cheekwood, and several of the same friends and parents who were guests then came back to celebrate my wedding 23 years later!

Who participated in your ceremony? Family members, friends? If so, what did they do? I had fourteen bridesmaids and Sinclair had fourteen groomsmen, all of whom are very special people in our lives, ranging from family to childhood and college friends. We also had other close friends, along with my niece and nephew, who participated as greeters. Todd Jones, our minister at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, officiated our ceremony and Chris Simonsen, a family friend, sang a beautiful solo of the “The Prayer.”

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? Yes, cocktails were served in the Wisteria Arbor and a cocktail tent located at the entrance to the dinner tent. Guests mingled and nibbled on appetizers such as mini BLTs and lamb crostini and sipped signature cocktails named “The Blushing Bride” (Veuve Clicquot rose champagne garnished with lemon and lavender) and the “Oh Happy Day” (a Tennessee whiskey slush). The Wisteria Arbor is one of our favorite Cheekwood spots–it has a breathtaking view of Tennessee’s rolling hills. We chose the Wisteria Arbor for some of our engagement photographs, and for my bridal portraits. This was also the time that we used to sneak away for a private first meal and a quiet moment for the two of us before joining family and friends at the reception.

Overall, our reception had a very elegant, Southern look, but it was also very important to us that we created an upbeat and lively atmosphere so guests could have fun and enjoy themselves. The reception was held in a tent on the Swan Lawn behind the Cheekwood mansion, and the space was so flawlessly designed and executed by Dori and team that the tent appeared to be an extension of the Cheekwood mansion. It was amazing to see the transformation of a cavernous, plain white party tent into what appeared to be a beautiful Southern mansion ballroom.

What was your reception like? Most of our friends love to dance, and once Big Swing and the Ballroom Blasters came on, I don’t think we ever left the dance floor. The entire evening was just what we wanted: exquisitely beautiful and tons of fun!

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. We had a six-tier cream cheese pound cake with raspberry filling decorated with cascading magnolia flowers and white icing. The cake was displayed on a glass chandelier table with magnolia leaves underneath the glass.

After the last song of the evening, a Dixieland-style brass band led an exit parade for the guests as they lined the walkway to our getaway car. A few minutes later, we ran down the steps and out the front door, past all of our family and friends as they showered us with what seemed to be mountains of confetti! Our getaway car was a white vintage Bentley decorated with a Just Married sign and, of course, a magnolia garland on the back.

How did the two of you meet? From Sinclair: We first met in Nashville through mutual friends. I had my eye on Callie for several months before she finally agreed to a dinner date in July 2013. We have been together ever since!
Describe the proposal: From Sinclair: I proposed to Callie on August 26, 2015. I had planned to keep the proposal a surprise from Callie, but let our families in on the secret so they could be in town to celebrate with us. Things got more complicated than expected when I realized Callie was a bridesmaid in an out-of-town wedding on the weekend I had planned to propose. After some quick rescheduling, I caught Callie off-guard a few days later than planned with a traditional on-one-knee proposal when I was picking her up for dinner at our favorite restaurant. Afterwards, Callie was anxious to share our news and couldn’t figure out why no one was answering her calls or texts, until we arrived at the restaurant and everyone was waiting for us with raised glasses of champagne in a special, flower-filled private dining room. It was a great night of happiness, hugs, and celebratory toasts.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? We met with our minister for premarital counseling. We were also not shy about asking questions and taking advice from our married friends and our family members.
How many guests attended your wedding? 330 of our most favorite people in the world!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Children are the next big plan, but not for a while. We are just enjoying married life and building a home together. We could not be happier!

Photographer: Kristyn Hogan | Videographer: Eugene + Heather | Planner and Designer: The Social Office | Venue: Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art | Florals: The Tulip Tree | Caterer: Kristen Winston Catering | Beverages: Lipman Brothers Inc. | Wedding Cake: Dessert Designs | Bride’s Gown and Veil: “Leda” by Vera Wang | Bride’s Shoes: Rene Caovilla | Bride’s Ring: Harry Winston (borrowed from mother) | Bride’s Jewelry and Accessories: Kleinfeld Bridal | Bridesmaid Dresses: Various full-length chiffon dresses in Graphite by Amsale | Hair Stylists: ELAN Hair | Makeup Artist: Daniel Cole Collection | Men’s Fashion: Street Tuxedo | Paper Goods: Tenn Hens Design | Rentals: Please Be Seated, Visual Elements, Nuage Designs, Beachview Event Rentals, Liberty Party Rental, and Music City Tents and Events | Linens: Nuage Designs and Graceful Tables | Favors: Grace Rojas Designs and Riverside Wine and Spirits | Transportation: Matchless Transportation | Lighting: Bright Event Productions | Music: Sam Levine and Big Swing and the Ballroom Blasters | Welcome Baskets: The Dotted Line

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Marilisa | Martel Event reply

    WOW!! How heavenly are those bouquets!? I wish there was a scratch + sniff function through my computer so I could smell the bride’s bouquet :) And the magnolia leaves are perfectly timeless. Love it all!!

    xo,
    Marilisa

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If you follow our friend Emily Ley, you may might have seen work from today’s bride, Whitney. She’s a senior designer for Emily, and I have been eyeing her wedding plans and Instagram sneak peeks since she got engaged. Whitney has incredible taste, and I knew her wedding day would be fabulous! With Blue Ribbon Vendor the Mims House as the beautiful backdrop, Whitney and David celebrated their wedding day with a classic, Southern-meets-modern aesthetic. They intentionally chose a few well-placed statement pieces that added a peek into their personalities–I especially love the way they had their vows calligraphed and framed to be used as part of the reception decor! With a graphic designer bride, there surely wasn’t a bit of slack in the pretty details department. It’s so fun seeing all the little graphic touches around every corner!

Big hugs to Sara Logan for sharing Whitney and David’s wedding with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I sure did! My something blue was my Toms shoes (comfy enough to wear all night!). My something old was the buttons on my dress; they were the buttons from my mom’s wedding gown that we had sewn onto my gown. I loved having that little detail with me all day! My something new was my dress and jewelry.

The Mims House was the only venue we toured, and I fell in love from the moment we stepped under the magnolia trees outside. It perfectly combined my love for Southern history and the charm of a backyard wedding.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mom, sister, and I went to the BHLDN shop in DC. I asked to try on almost every dress they carried (when in lace-filled Rome, right?) and started with the ball gowns. Surprisingly, I didn’t have much of a reaction to any of the gowns with a full skirt, so my stylist asked if I wanted to try something entirely opposite: a solid matte silk mermaid gown. I will never forget the moment I turned around and saw myself in the mirror. All my life, I had tried to hide and downplay my curves, and this dress did completely the opposite of that. It made me feel beautiful, and when I walked out, my mom and sister had tears in their eyes. My gown was not the Southern ball gown that I had imagined, but it made me feel more confident and beautiful than I have ever felt before!

Our first look was one of my favorite moments of the wedding day! It was so wonderful to have time for just the two of us to calm some of those pre-wedding nerves. Bonus: we were able to check a lot of the photos off our list early, so we could enjoy our signature drinks at cocktail hour!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our wedding party walked down the aisle to “A Thousand Years” by The Piano Guys and I walked down the aisle with my dad to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” by Grace Churchill. I still get tears thinking about that moment before the doors opened up when I was holding onto my dad’s arm. For some reason, all of the emotions hit me in one huge wave, and he looked at me with that knowing and loving smile only a dad can give you and said, “Don’t worry, Whit, I know he’s the one.” Feeling how much my dad loved David combined with my love for all the people waiting outside made my heart pretty much burst with happy tears. At the end of the ceremony, David and I walked back up the aisle to “Halo” by Beyoncé. Partially because it’s beautiful, partially because it perfectly captures the joy we felt, and partially because wearing a fitted mermaid gown calls for a little Beyoncé. For our first dance, we chose “Angel” by Jack Johnson. Our first summer dating, David gave me the Jack Johnson live in concert CD, and we listened to it together on the way to the beach. When that song first played, I had to hold back tears as I thought, “This is the song I want us to dance to.” Five years later, in my fancy white dress surrounded by our favorite people, I had tears in my eyes again listening to that song.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows! We also had our vows beautifully hand-lettered by Lauren Heim Studio (and framed by Framebridge!) to bring our ceremony into the reception. My favorite line is “I vow to never stop pursuing my passions, and always support you in following yours.”

On our wedding day, a massive tropical storm decided to come through. It was torrentially pouring on and off all day and I was so grateful that we had rented a tent for our outdoor ceremony and reception. After my dad walked me down the aisle, there was a MASSIVE tent-shaking clap of thunder right as I looked up to see David smiling at me. The rain and rumbling thunder continued through our ceremony and it felt as though we had God right there with us!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I absolutely loved all of our wedding food! Brooke and the team at Belle’s Catering created the most wonderful, Southern, locally sourced menu for the evening. For dinner, we even had a gourmet pizza bar because our first date was going out for pizza!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We tried to make sure that all of our decor was intentional and that we weren’t adding things just for the sake of adding them. We cut costs by incorporating well-placed statement pieces and renting vintage items. We also used a ticket system for our bar, where every guest was given three drinks and after that, they could purchase more (or use a friend’s ticket)! This was great because it allowed us to serve our guests while also having a budget and no surprises.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? One of the funniest parts of the day was the adventure that unburying the bourbon became. We thought we had a map to exactly where the bottle was… turns out that either we were awful map readers or the map was off. Oh, and it was monsooning while we were digging, so the guys got completely soaked and covered in mud! David and I followed in my family’s tradition and cut our wedding cake with my family’s heirloom Civil War sword. It is this gigantic, heavy, probably not food-safe sword, and we could not stop cracking up while trying to slice this darling, delicate, little cake. Boxwoods are my very favorite Southern greenery, so our ceremony backdrop and bar were entirely boxwood, and I had some sprigs of it in my bouquet.

We had a simple one-tier coconut cake for David and me, and a variety of cupcakes for our guests. Growing up, David’s mom made her famous coconut cake for him and his siblings’ birthdays, and we wanted that family favorite at our wedding.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. David and I met in 2005 at summer swim team practice. Through the years, I became close friends with his sisters, but he and I sort of just passed each other. I was the loud and spirited girl that quiet people like him tend to avoid. In 2010, we both got summer jobs coaching and lifeguarding at the same pool, and while we were forced to spend time together, we totally hit it off!
Tell us all about the proposal! One evening in early May 2015, David and I decided to go test my new camera at our favorite park. We walked down to an old bridge that cuts across the lake so I could practice different settings and we could admire the sunset. I was awkwardly crouched down, trying to get an “artsy” shot of the chain link fence in the sunset (in retrospect: why…), and when I turned around, there he was on one knee, with a humongous grin and a gorgeous ring. I was so surprised that to my embarrassment, my first response was, “Is this real?!?!” (immediately followed by a YES and a kiss and lots of selfies with the ring).
When did y’all get married? May 29, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Just over 100
Describe your wedding flowers. Alana, my florist, brought all of my floral dreams to life in one gorgeous, soft, and Southern bouquet! It combined peonies, garden roses, boxwood leaves, local blueberries, and tons of greenery.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? David and I attended premarital counseling with our ceremony officiant while we were engaged–something I highly recommend! It was really fun and helpful to prepare for things like combining finances.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Without a doubt, our biggest challenge was that about four months into wedding planning, I moved from North Carolina (where the wedding would be) to Florida. So everything that used to be just down the road became 12 hours away. It was quite a logistical challenge to balance DIY-ing things from another state!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Stop worrying so darn much and let your vendors do what they do best! Handing over the reins to my vendors was the single most freeing (and stress-relieving) part of planning.

Photographer: Sara Logan Photography | Videographer: Carly Rae Film | Day-Of Coordinator: Orangerie Events | Venue: Leslie Alford Mims House | Florist: Serendipity Designs | Wedding Cake: Sugar Euphoria | Caterer: Belle’s Catering | Rentals: Greenhouse Picker Sisters | Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas | Bride’s Gown: BHLDN | Bride’s Veil: BHLDN | Bride and Bridesmaids’ Jewelry: Kendra Scott | Hair and Makeup: LULA Hair + Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: TOMS | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN and David’s Bridal | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse | Engraved Hangers and Wood Cutouts: Delovely Details | Vows Print: Lauren Heim Studio | Custom Framing: Framebridge | Pizza Bar Sign Holders: Esselle | Wedding Maps: Fresh Cut Prints | Welcome Bags: Olive Paper Co. | North Carolina BBQ Map: EDIA Maps

The Mims House, Orangerie Events, Serendipity Designs, Sugar Euphoria, and LULA Hair and Makeup are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar All Of Our Wedding Photos! | Whitney Blake reply

    […] photos! Our photos (and a fun interview with me about planning and details!) are featured over on Southern Weddings today and I wanted to share my favorites here with […]

  2. avatar Allison reply

    I adore the fact that they walked back up the aisle to “Halo”! What a sweet but unexpected song. I’ve been listening to it on repeat since I read that!

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