Google+ Marissa | Southern Weddings - Part 5

Southern Weddings

Author: Marissa

For every bride, there comes that moment when it hits you–you actually feel like a bride, and you’ll soon be marrying your best friend. I remember that moment so clearly during my own engagement, and for Kristen, it came during her dress shopping trip. I imagine that if having her family in tow while dress shopping was special, having 200 of her and Clay’s friends and family present to celebrate their wedding was just incredible! Together with their planner, Lauren Chitwood, Kristen and Clay turned Oxmoor Farm into the beautiful outdoor wedding Kristen had dreamed of, complete with a Lowcountry boil station during cocktail hour and yummy s’mores!

Big hugs to Amy Campbell for sharing this sweet day with us!

One of the most memorable parts of wedding preparation for me was shopping for the perfect dress. That was the day that it felt real, and I felt more like a bride than ever. It was important to me to have my close family with me to pick out the dress. I went shopping with my grandmothers, mom, and sister. At the second store we visited, I put a few dresses on, and then it happened. When I looked in the mirror, I could see myself walking down the aisle and saying “I do” to my best friend. It’s so hard to determine what everything is going to look like on your wedding day, once your dress actually fits and your hair and makeup is done. In the end, it was beautiful and I know I made a great choice.

Clay and I were in agreement that we did not want to see each other before our ceremony. We both wanted that moment to happen when I walked down the aisle and my dad gave me away. It would have been wonderful to have our pictures taken beforehand, but we went with what we felt was right for us.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? It took us awhile to find the readings that we felt were fitting for us. Finally, we agreed on the Irish Blessing of Hands and Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. We each chose one person to read; Clay chose his father and I chose my grandfather. Listening to each of them read on our wedding day was very special and is something that I’ll never forget.

Besides the Southern hot heat on the day of our wedding, the décor had many Southern touches, too. The Lowcountry boil station during cocktail hour was definitely Southern, as were the fire pits and s’mores–nothing says Southern evening like a fire pit and chocolate. Lastly, our venue is deeply rooted in Southern heritage.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Clay was wonderful about our venue–he didn’t really care where we did it, he just knew he wanted to marry me. I wanted to get married outside, and he was supportive of that. He has a huge family, so we also knew we needed a lot of space for a tent. Lauren, our wedding planner, suggested Oxmoor Farms, and after taking a tour of the property, I fell in love with it. I knew Clay would like it too, because he enjoys places with history. Later, I realized that I had actually played in soccer tournaments on the same field where we had our ceremony!

The wedding flowers were absolutely breathtaking. Before I started getting ready, I walked out to the reception area and was just blown away by how everything had come together. My wedding planner and floral designer used hydrangeas, garden roses, and seeded eucalyptus.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We decided on a small cake for us and our wedding party and cupcakes for everyone else. The choice to have a smaller wedding cake helped us save a little money. Our cake had a beautiful sugar flower that is still in our freezer–I’m hoping to re-use it in the future as we build our family!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met through mutual coworkers. A good friend I taught with had heard about Clay through her husband, who worked with Clay. Our friends helped us exchange phone numbers, and talked on and off, mainly through text messages. After about a month, we went on a blind date to dinner and a movie. The rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! Clay asked me to dinner early in the week, which was pretty unusual, since he’s more of a spur of the moment kind of guy, but I tried not to think too much about it. We went to dinner at a place called Game, and Clay was very excited. As we waited for a table, Clay was texting like crazy. He told me that he was texting his brother about an Xbox, which I later realized was not exactly the truth. We enjoyed a delicious dinner, and when we left the restaurant, it was cold and nasty outside, so Clay drove home like a mad man. When he got home, I opened the garage door to find something on the ground. As I turned the corner, I saw an entire path of rose petals and candles leading to the living room. Clay ended up dragging me into the living room because I felt like my feet were glued to the floor. He got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. I was in absolute shock! It couldn’t have been any more perfect.
When did y’all get married? June 21, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We discussed writing our own vows, but I knew I’d be too nervous to actually say them, so we decided against it. Looking back, I think I could have said my own vows, because it felt like it was just him and me standing up there. I’m sure I would have been super nervous leading up to it though, so I think we made the right decision!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? The best thing that we did to prepare for our marriage was meet with Father Chibundi. He talked with us about the ups and downs of marriage and shared some of his own experiences. He also gave us a questionnaire to fill out about our relationship. He read over both of our answers and discussed them in detail with us. We were then able to discuss some of the harder issues with one another to plan for our life together.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My most memorable moment is definitely when I locked eyes with the man that I was about to marry! It’s a moment I’ll remember forever.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Our next big steps will be to start a family of our own. I can’t wait to see Clay as a father and I am thankful that I have him to lean on for the rest of my life.

Photographer: Amy Campbell / Videographer: Antonio Pantoja/ Planner: Lauren Chitwood / Venue: Oxmoor Farms / Florist: Sarah Harris / Wedding Cake and Desserts: The Sugar Woods / Caterer: Dupree Catering / Rentals: All Occasion Event Rentals / DJ: SUP DJ Brent Rodgers / Bridal Salon: Rebecca’s Wedding Boutique / Hair and Makeup: Kristie Hicks Creative / Bride’s Shoes: Macy’s / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Twirl / Groom’s Attire: Rebecca’s Black Tie / Table Numbers: Sweet Carolina Collective

Twirl is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Amy Campbell reply

    Thanks so much for the feature! This was a gorgeous day and I’m glad we could share it with others!

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Last weekend, Lisa and I had a conversation about wedding photographs. BDK and I will be celebrating seven years of marriage this year, and I remember remarking to Lisa that when I look at the photos from my wedding day, they instantly give me a rush of those sweet feelings and memories. I’m sure Kalie and Bradford will feel the same way when they look back at these beautiful images, especially since their photographer, Annamarie Akins, is also a dear friend of the groom! Kalie said Annamarie “perfectly captured all the details and happiness of the day.” And what beautiful details there were–Stephanie at Viva L’Event turned the already lovely Merrimon-Wynne into the sweet celebration of Southern hospitality that Kalie and Bradford dreamed of.

Big hugs to Annamarie Akins for sharing this lovely day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My blue was my shoes, old was the diamonds in my wedding band (they were my great-grandmother’s), borrowed was a ring I wore during the ceremony from my matron of honor, and new was pretty much everything else!

I wanted the experience of finding my wedding dress to be a special one shared between just me and my mom. I had just under six months to get a dress ordered, so we drove down to Bridals by Lori in Atlanta the weekend after I got engaged. I knew I wanted my dress to be unique, but still very much feel like a wedding gown. Most importantly, I wanted the dress to have texture. It only took three dresses before I found the right one. I knew almost immediately, and by the time they added the veil and belt, I was certain.

One of the great things about having Stephanie as a wedding planner was that she was also my florist. She knew how to incorporate the flowers seamlessly into the overall design. I knew that I wanted the flowers to look soft and romantic, with a pop of color. We decided to go with lots of white and blush in my bouquet, and Stephanie added unique touches likes gold ferns, anemones, and ribbons. I couldn’t have been more thrilled!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. We are both pretty traditional, and one of the things I had always looked forward to most on my wedding day was the moment when we both saw each other for the first time. As it turned out, the look on his face as I walked down the aisle was absolutely priceless, and I am so glad we decided to wait.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Bradford surprised me during our ceremony by playing and singing a song called “Dancing in the Minefields.” He looked into my eyes, and I know I will never forget the sincerity with which he sang those lyrics. There may have been a lot of guests there, but in that moment, it was just the two of us.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I knew that I wanted the venue to have some Southern charm and a plantation feel, but I didn’t want to ask our guests to drive a long way from the city. The Merrimon-Wynne had everything I was looking for, and was perfectly located right in the heart of Raleigh. An added perk was that they had a space for the ceremony and reception, so I was thankful our guests wouldn’t have to get back into their cars and drive to another location.

Our venue was very Southern, and that charm was one of the things that immediately drew me in. Our food was delicious and Southern-inspired–during cocktail hour, guests enjoyed country ham biscuits, crab cakes, and a few other yummy choices. We did stations for dinner, which gave everyone so many options. We had a macaroni and cheese bar, shrimp and grits, pecan-crusted chicken, and beef tenderloin.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Annamarie was not only our amazing wedding photographer, she has also been one of Bradford’s good friends since high school, and her husband was a groomsman. Having her there photographing our wedding day was extra special. I loved that she was there to both take photos and to genuinely partake in all the joy that day held. The photographs she took are incredible and so perfectly capture all the details and happiness of the day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were introduced by a mutual friend. She was a co-worker of mine and attended the church where Bradford led worship. Bradford and I had only talked briefly when he asked me to dinner. Our first date was full of laughter and great conversation, and by the time we finished our frozen yogurt, we both knew that this was something special.
Tell us all about the proposal! Bradford surprised me one Saturday with a trip to the aquarium. I had a wonderful time, but looking back, I realize how nervous Bradford was–I’m sure he wasn’t enjoying it nearly as much as I was! Later in the afternoon, we walked down to a pond a little ways from the aquarium. After some walking, we sat down at a picnic table nestled in some trees. It only took a few words before I knew what was happening. After I said yes, I was surprised to find out that my future sister-in-law and good friend had been there all along, taking pictures. We headed back toward home, where Bradford had gathered all our family members and friends to celebrate with us. It meant the world to me to get to share that special time with so many of our favorite people!
When did y’all get married? November 15, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 165
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Bradford is a musician, so the music was extremely important to both of us. He actually wrote the music that I walked down the aisle to, which was one of my favorite details of the wedding and something I will always cherish. He titled it “Mentre Aspetto,” which means “As I Wait” in Italian. We walked back up the aisle to “White Dress” by Ben Rector, which felt very appropriate for the moment. Our first dance was also to a Ben Rector song, “Forever Like That.” Bradford recorded a version for our first Valentine’s Day together, and it just made sense that it would be the first song we danced to as husband and wife.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We are extremely blessed to have incredibly supportive family and friends and to be a part of a wonderful church community. We looked to them for advice and guidance, and we worked through a premarital book together. We also made sure that we took time to step away from all the wedding planning and events to focus on us, as that would be what mattered long after the wedding was over.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? For now, we have settled down in Durham, North Carolina with our sweet pup, Harper, and have been loving the first few months of married life. We are eager to see what is next for us, and there’s comfort and excitement in knowing that whatever is next, we’re in it together.

Photographer: Annamarie Akins / Planner and Florist: Stephanie Cisko of Viva L’Event NC / Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Merrimon-Wynne House / Cake Baker: Edible Art Bakery / Caterer: Beau Catering / Rentals and Lighting: CE Rental and Party Reflections / DJ: Mitch Woodward of Joe Bunn DJ Company / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Gown: “Bijou” by Amsale / Bridal Salon and Bride’s Veil and Belt: Bridals by Lori / Bracelet: Kate Spade / Earrings: Nadri / Hair and Makeup Stylist: Makeup by Ashley Mooney / Bride’s Shoes: Tory Burch / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bill Levkoff / Menswear: Jos A. Bank

Joe Bunn DJ Company is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    Thank you so much for the beautiful feature! This was such a perfect day!

  2. avatar Bradford Mitchell reply

    Thanks for featuring our wedding! You had typed that my wife’s name is Katie. That’s my sister’s naming funny enough. Also. I would not have agreed to a navy and pink wedding. Kalie told it was blush? She must have tricked me. She’s a devious one that Kalie.

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Thank you both so much for sharing your love story and your beautiful wedding with us!
      P.S. So sorry for the typo–it’s been fixed! :)

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Y’all have no idea how excited I am to share Molly and Eric’s wedding with you today! I just adore this couple–Molly owns a super chic bridal salon, so you know the fashion at their wedding was on point, down to Eric’s custom Olia Zavozina tux and gold pin dot bow tie! While that was so lovely, Molly and Eric spoke straight to our hearts when they felt led to scratch planning a big wedding. Instead, they decided to move up their date and keep things as simple as possible, making their wedding a reflection of their love story and a time for friends to be with their loved ones. I also can’t help but love that they chose their first dance song (“Have a Little Faith In Me”) because of their “imperfect love story,” and as a reminder “to fight the good fight together.”

We’re so glad Annabella Charles shared this beautiful day with us in V7!

P.S. Lisa and I may have shared an ugly cry session after watching their proposal video–I highly suggest watching it, but grab your tissues first!

Aside from saying “yes” to my groom, choosing the dress was one of the easiest decisions in all of wedding planning. I didn’t even try it on before deciding it was, without a doubt, the one for me. Amahlia, designed by Maggie Louise designer, Rivini, was a part of Rita’s spring 2014 collection and embodied everything I had ever dreamed of wearing. I felt the top of the dress resembled my style, classic and more on the simple side, and the bottom matched Eric, who is more of a risk-taker and modern in his taste. When it walked down the runway that spring, we both looked at each other and knew it was everything I had hoped for.

What did the groom wear? Eric wore a custom tuxedo that he designed alongside Olia Zavozina, a wedding gown designer at Maggie Louise and a dear friend of ours. She took all of his ideas and created a masterpiece! Eric didn’t tell me a single detail about the tux and kept it a secret until the day of the wedding. The tux was solid black with modern twists. He chose a black bowtie with gold pin dots, my favorite detail!

We got engaged in September and originally began planning our wedding for October of the following year. After a few long discussions, we both knew that honoring God in our commitment to each other was far more important than a wedding day that would take us over a year to afford and plan. It was then that we decided to move up the date and keep things as simple as possible! We knew we wanted an outdoor ceremony at Acre, so with the Southern heat in mind, we ruled out the summer months quickly, and landed on April 4, 2014. Our venue, Acre Restaurant in Memphis, is an older home that has been revamped into a very organic, rustic, chic restaurant venue. We knew we wanted our wedding day to be a reflection of our love story, and we wanted a ceremony that glorified God (not us). We didn’t fuss with having a bridal party or costly details. We simply wanted our friends to come with their loved one and let the night be a reminder of the love they share, all while enjoying a great meal, a few cocktails, and cutting loose for a bit. We began our Friday night at with a cocktail hour in the courtyard where we were getting married. As the ceremony approached at 6:30 P.M., our coordinator simply parted the sea of loved ones. Our families were escorted to the front and I walked down the cobblestone aisle on my father’s arm to “Til Kingdom Come” by Coldplay. After the ceremony, we kicked off the party with our first dance under the outdoor tent behind Acre, and spent the rest of the night getting smooth with Yacht Rock Revue.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. From Eric: Our officiant was Andy Savage from Highpoint Church in East Memphis, Tennessee. Andy “does a great wedding” (his famous quote), but an even better pre-marriage class. We graduated with honors. A special part for me was when he asked us to turn around at the beginning of the ceremony and gaze at how many friends/family came to support us. Man, that was a cool moment.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? We allowed the beautiful venue to naturally set the tone for the design of our wedding. In order to keep everything under budget, this worked perfectly with our individual and non-traditional wedding styles.

The food was by far one of our favorite parts in all of wedding planning. Andrew Adams, the chef at Acre, spent months designing a custom menu for our wedding day that told the history of who Eric and I are and where we come from, including my family’s Southern roots from the Mississippi Delta and Eric’s Italian heritage reigning from Chicago. In our efforts to keep the night as fun and simple as possible, we felt it was key to let all of our vendors have fun with doing what they do best. Andrew went above and beyond to create the perfect menu for our night. Although we decided to forgo many wedding traditions, I couldn’t bear to pass on the cake cutting moment. A local cake designer and friend of mine, Laura Jackson (owner of The Flour Garden), surprised us with a small cake on the wedding day, and it was nothing less than a masterpiece. Eric and I cut it before the ceremony so I could have a few of those traditional, yet priceless, images.

Our first dance was to John Haitt’s “Have a Little Faith In Me,” sung by a dear friend of ours, who happened to serenade everyone the night of our engagement as well. I came across this song a few years ago and have always felt it was such a beautiful reflection of us. Eric and I have always been open books about our imperfect love story. Over the last four years of our dating relationship, we did a lot of growing both individually and as a couple. Even on the days when it wasn’t easy, we continued to place faith in the Lord and each other–which is all we need in order to fight the good fight together!

Date of your wedding: April 4, 2014
Tell us about yourselves! From Molly: I was raised a Mississippi girl and moved to Memphis for college. I fell in love with the city and decided that it was, without a doubt, the place for me. I worked for 7.5 years in the photography industry with Allison Rodgers Photography and fell in love with all things bridal behind the lens throughout the years. I graduated from the University of Memphis in 2010 with a business degree in Marketing and Management. Aside from living out my dreams at the bridal boutique, my lists of “hobbies” are short, but I love food, music, a good glass of wine, and traveling with my new husband. From Eric: My boss is on the cross. I’m proudly a janitor/handyman at Maggie Louise on off-days. I love to exercise, cook healthy, and keep my ducks in a row. I bake 15-minute chocolate chip cookies for 10 minutes. I hope you never get injured, but I would love to be your doctor one day. This is my first wedding questionnaire.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met seven years ago via a mutual friend at a bar on Beale Street, Silky O’Sullivan’s. I still remember the night, December 20, 2007, like it was yesterday–where I was sitting, the second I saw him, even down to the outfit I was wearing. We hit it off immediately and hung out periodically throughout college, but didn’t make it official until three years later. In May 2010, a few weeks before we both graduated from the University of Memphis, Eric said something along the lines of “I’m ready to be your boyfriend”… I said “No way,” of course. Obviously, I caved, and we’ve been together ever since!
Describe the proposal: We got engaged on September 7, 2013. Every year, Eric throws an outdoor party at his mom’s house–an all-day affair that is the adult version of every kid’s dream-come-true, complete with a homemade slip-and-slide, volleyball, jell-o wrestling, and a belly flop contest. The day went as planned and we spent the afternoon surrounded by our family and friends, enjoying the summer heat and shenanigans. At sundown, Eric’s mom asked me to ride with her to pick up dinner for all of our guests, and I reluctantly agreed, hesitant to leave behind all the excitement and loved ones. When I returned, I saw an enormous projector screen with Eric’s face and everyone holding champagne in their hands. The video began to play, and it was filled with flashes of family and friends holding signs that said “Say Yes,” and then Eric saying he wanted to spend his life with me. At the end of the video proposal, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his bride. Here is the video!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: From Eric: Honest, holy, honorable.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? From Eric: Throwing a memorable, yet affordable, party for all of our friends to enjoy. I have champagne taste on a beer budget, and she has Jimmy Choo taste on a Target gift card budget.
Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. We bypassed serving the traditional wedding cake and let Andrew have some fun with his culinary skills for the desserts. He came up with unique, homemade ice cream sandwiches and an assorted donut bar. The ice cream sandwiches included dark chocolate brownie with cookie dough ice cream, strawberry cheesecake ice cream stuffed in a candied croissant, and ice-cream-filled chocolate éclairs. The donut creations were blueberry cake donuts with lemon-vodka glaze, Reese’s Pieces donuts, cereal milk donuts topped with Frosted Flakes, and apple cider fritters.
What are you most looking forward to about marriage? Seeing God’s plans for us unfold throughout our lives together. There is so much unknown as to what is in store, but that is what makes everything so exciting. Eric has plans of going to medical school and living out his dreams as a surgeon. I’m thrilled to see where the Lord takes us and how he uses us, both individually and as a couple.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Don’t sweat the small stuff!! Set your priorities together and don’t lose sight of them or the big picture. It is so easy to get caught up in the material aspects and expectations, but at the end of the day, people will remember seeing the happiness between you both.

Photographers: Allison Rodgers Photography, Annabella Charles Photography, Amy Dale Photography, and The Studio J / Videographer: 22 Magnolias / Coordinator: Simply Perfect Weddings & Events / Venue, caterer, and desserts: Acre Restaurant / Bride’s bouquet: Beth’s Flowers / Floral archway: Haute Horticulture / Wedding cake: The Flour Garden / Bride’s Gown: “Amahlia” by Rivini / Bridal salon: Maggie Louise Bridal / Bride’s veil: Erin Cole / Hair and makeup: Jena Bruback of Headlines Salon / Groom’s tuxedo: Olia Zavozina / Ceremony music: Jacob Zachary / Reception music: Yacht Rock Revue and Charvey Mac / Paper products: Kendyl Mounce

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Hannah Browning reply

    Wow! What is not perfect about this wedding? HER DRESS. Love

  2. avatar Debra Seger reply

    I dont know what pulled me to stop my busy life and read this beautiful story…..Im a grown woman crying of happiness for two people I have never met. Thank you for sharing, simply a beautiful story that inspired my day. Wishing you a continued life of joy!

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