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Southern Weddings

Author: Marissa

Amber and Jordan met as camp counselors, and on the last night of the summer, they stayed up until 4 A.M. trying to figure out how to make their new relationship work long-distance. For a couple who took such care planning for their courtship, I’m sure they were equally as invested in planning for their marriage! From Jordan’s sweet post-proposal video of their family and friends sharing encouragement, to reading their personal wedding vows the day before their wedding, these two stayed focused on what matters most: their marriage and their community. Family was certainly a priority for Amber and Jordan, and I am smitten with the way they chose to display their family photos. What a beautiful nod to their loved ones!

Big hugs to our friend Emily March Photography for sharing this sweet celebration with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed and old was a pearl bracelet that my mother had worn on her wedding day. My something new was my dress and my jewelry that Jordan gave to me as a wedding gift, and last but not least, my something blue was my garter!

I went to Celebration Bridal Shop in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia and tried on several dresses. I only tried on a few before I figured out that I was looking for: a classic, timeless, and comfortable dress. My dress was a simple ball gown with a sweetheart neckline. It even had pockets! I added a beaded floral belt and an elegant lace bolero to top it off, because it needed just a little something extra to make it mine.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows; however, we said them to each other the night before and said traditional vows during the ceremony. We decided to do this because we thought it was important to express to each other what we expect in marriage and to promise to the other person what we are going to do to make it last. Because of my lack of public speaking skills, we thought reading our vows in private would be better than in front of 100 people.

We both agree that our most memorable moment from our wedding day was the seeing each other as I walked down the aisle. We also enjoyed the time we spent taking pictures together out in the wilderness!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding was held at a historic estate in Central Virginia. We included monograms and plenty of fresh flowers, country music, whiskey, sweet tea, and above all, two families that celebrated the marriage of their children in union with Christ! The groomsmen also all wore socks in the colors of their favorite sports teams.

Did you pull any wedding inspiration from memories you have together? Tell us about it! Our table numbers at the wedding were coordinates of memorable places in our relationship, such as where we met, where we had our first date, our church, where Jordan proposed, and where we grew up. I think it was memorable for our guests as well!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We saved a lot of money by doing DIY projects. Jordan made our centerpiece boxes and I painted them. I made the jewelry for the bridesmaids, my headpiece, the escort cards, our card box, the ladder picture stand, the table numbers, the monogrammed wreath on the front door, and all of the signage for the entire wedding!

My wedding flowers were so beautiful and I wish I could have preserved them forever! We used a mix of peonies, lamb’s ear, roses, and anemones. They were the perfect balance between soft, subtle colors and greenery. I was very impressed with Irvington Spring Farms and the work they did!

Our wedding cake was gorgeous, and it tasted amazing as well! Geisel Nye did an awesome job combining three different cakes that I liked into our perfect wedding cake! One layer was Boston cream pie and the other two smaller layers were banana cake with Nutella frosting and chocolate ganache.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in 2012 while working at a Christian summer camp, Shiloh Adventure Camp in Cocoa, Florida. We were the only two counselors that year who were crazy enough to take on the entire summer! After the kids had left on the last day of camp, we decided to relax together a little before the end-of-summer party at a local church. When we left the party, we ended up sitting in his truck until around 4 A.M., just talking and getting to know each other better. Even though we didn’t want that night to end, we had to go to bed, and Jordan kissed my forehead before I left. We got maybe two hours of sleep that night, and then had to tear down camp the next day. After that long day of work, we decided to go to the beach to hang out for a little bit before I started my drive back home. We ended up trying to figure out how to make a long-distance relationship work. Over the next two years, we dated long-distance, and while it was difficult at times, we trusted the plan God had given us and enjoyed every second. Jordan moved up to Lynchburg after graduating college at UCF in June 2014!
Tell us all about the proposal! Jordan cleverly worked with my roommates to create an amazing day for me! My roommates drove his truck down to Smith Mountain Lake, parked it by the water, and decorated the bed of the truck with flowers and blankets and pillows. All the while, Jordan and I were on our way to the lake for a charity home tour that we had wanted to do for a while. Right before we got to the dock to pick up the boat, he pulled off to the side of the road and told me to come for a walk, which I thought was weird because it was raining! He then proceeded to walk to a gate that clearly stated “No Trespassing.” I quickly said, “I don’t think we should be here.” Jordan laughed at my typical adherence to rules, and we continued to walk toward the water. When I saw the truck, I knew what was about to happen. He proposed on bended knee in the rain and mud with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen, and it was perfect! After the proposal, he washed my feet and made several promises to me. He then surprised me with a video that he had put together (with the help of his brother) starring our families and friends. They talked about when they knew we might get married and how we have changed for the better since meeting each other. It was better than I could have ever imagined. All in all, it was perfect and I could not have asked for anything better!
When did y’all get married? May 22, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided to keep with the tradition of not seeing each other before the wedding. I wanted the first time Jordan saw me to be when I walked down the aisle. I didn’t care about getting first look pictures or getting photos out of the way–I cared about Jordan and that special moment when we would first lay our eyes on each other on our wedding day. (However, I did get a few peeks at him through a window!)
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose West Manor Estate because even though we visited on a dreary, rainy day, we still loved the beauty of the grounds and the elegance of the inside of the house! I told myself that if I loved it this much on a cold, rainy day in October, how much more would I love it on a warm, sunny day in May?
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We read “Foundations Of Marriage” by Regina Hill.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We attended pre-marital counseling at our church. This kept us focused on our marriage instead of our wedding day! I believe this should be a priority for anyone getting married–it gave us the opportunity to take a step back from planning and focus on our relationship.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Just more of the same! We are looking forward to living life together, going grocery shopping, exercising, and watching our puppy grow up! What could be better than doing life with your best friend?

Photographer: Emily March Photography / Venue and Caterer: West Manor Estate / Florist: Irvington Spring Farm / Cake Baker: Geisel Nye of Cakeview llc. / DJ: Alan Dever Entertainment / Paper Products: A Paper Wedding / Bride’s Gown: Sophia and Camilla / Bride’s Veil: Belles Veils / Hair and Makeup: Spa4109 / Bride’s Shoes: Modcloth / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: RenzRags / Menswear: Giorgio Napoli

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

    Great photo-relation ! thx for sharing, the shots are perfect !

  2. avatar Arlene Bass Grandmother reply

    We are so happy for Amber and Jordan add hope they have lots of happiness in all the years to come. The wedding was so beautiful. This is such a special treat for all to see. Thank you. All our love for this special couple. All our Love and Kisses, Grandma and Granddad Bill. See you soon.

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Love the beautiful card box!

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Many of us girls dream about our wedding day for years, myself included! I personally always knew I’d wear the pearl bracelet my grandmother wore on her wedding day. Most grooms, on the other hand, may not have prepared for quite so long. :) However, it’s so important to view wedding planning as a preparation for your marriage, so sharing in decision-making is a great way to get your beau involved. Today’s sweet couple is a wonderful example of this in practice. Amy dreamed of a romantic, timeless, and luxurious-feeling wedding day, so she and her groom, Gabe, planned their special day at The Governor Thomas Bennet House. They chose to make decisions together and compromise often so that they both were happy with the details of their wedding, like their heartfelt ceremony and brightly-colored blooms. Amy said “It is through shared decision-making and communication that a strong marriage is built.” I could not agree more!

Big hugs to Kelly Dillon for sharing this Charleston wedding with us!

Gabe and I met in January 2012 at Trio, one of our favorite spots in downtown Charleston. We were there with a group of mutual friends and started talking, and then danced together the rest of the night. We went on our first date the next day and have been together ever since. After dating for eight months, I got an opportunity to teach in South Korea for a year. This was something I had always wanted to do, but I knew it would be hard on our relationship. Gabe was really supportive and wanted me to take advantage of this opportunity. We Skyped almost every day, and both feel that our relationship grew stronger during this time, even though we were half a world apart.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I tried on so many different dresses from almost every shop in Charleston. I wasn’t sure what kind of dress I wanted at first, but finally decided that I wanted a big princess dress with beading, lace, and some sparkle. I tried on a Justin Alexander dress at The Bridal House of Charleston, and loved the fullness of the skirt, the beautiful underlay of delicate lace, and the beadwork on the bodice. I decided to switch the high neckline to a sweetheart neckline, and added a tulle sash with a sparkly embellishment.

For the flowers, I chose various shades of pink with accents of gold for the vases and candle holders. The flowers were a mix of coral, blush, and bright pink peonies. We also included accents of dusty miller, pink spray roses, and white hydrangea. I loved the lush, summery feel of the flowers.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but we had a family friend be our officiant. She has known me since I was a baby, and it was very special that she was the one to marry us.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My grandmother gave a heartfelt blessing at the start of the ceremony. She is a very special person in my life, and it meant a lot to have her be a part of the ceremony.

We fell in love with The Governor Thomas Bennett house because of its old Southern charm and history. It was built in 1825 and has been completely restored and beautifully furnished with period pieces. I was immediately enamored with the free-standing staircase, the only one of its kind in Charleston. We also loved the Southern feel of the large live oak tree that spread over the garden where the ceremony would be held. Once we saw the house, it was an easy choice. I didn’t want to get married anywhere else.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I wanted the wedding to have a romantic, timeless, and luxurious feel. To get that feel, we hung a chandelier from the live oak near the ceremony site and three chandeliers in the reception tent. This added so much to the old Southern charm of our venue.

Tell us all about the proposal! We got engaged at the end of January 2014. Gabe is a pilot in the Air Force, and he had just gotten back from a two-month deployment. It was so exciting to be back together after what felt like forever. The day we got engaged was unseasonably warm for January, so we decided to take a walk on the beach at Sullivan’s Island. We walked all the way down to the point where you can see Fort Sumter. He stopped, turned to me, and said, “A lot of amazing history has happened in this spot, and I’m excited to make more amazing history with you. I love you so much. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.” He then got down on one knee and asked, “Will you marry me?” It was a very sweet moment. I was so happy a bystander got a picture of the moment we got engaged.
When did y’all get married? June 6, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look. Gabe and I didn’t want to lose the excitement of seeing each other for the first time at the altar, and we love the tradition of waiting. We were very happy with our decision.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We chose to use traditional songs for the ceremony: the bridal party walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and I entered to “Here Comes the Bride.” For the first dance, Gabe and I danced to “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran, which has been our song since it came out. My dad and I danced to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. This was special for us because Gabe and I are moving to Hawaii at the end of August, since he is being transferred to an Air Force base in Honolulu.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My dad lent me a blue diamond ring that is a family heirloom, and I wore my sister’s veil. My dress and shoes were new.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We made many decisions together and compromised to make sure we were both happy with each aspect of the wedding. It is through this shared decision-making and communication that a strong marriage is built.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We shared some rental items with the wedding that was held the night before.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Gabe said his most memorable moment was seeing me walk down the aisle. I would have to say my most memorable moment was our first dance, and walking down the aisle and seeing Gabe with tears in his eyes. It was also so much fun getting ready with my beautiful bridesmaids in the gorgeous house.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are moving to Hawaii and are hoping to have many adventures there!

Photographer: Kelly Dillon / Videographer: George Street Photo / Planner: Cory Winn Lambert / Venue: The Governor Thomas Bennett House / Florist: Branch Design Studio / Cake Baker: Artistic Cakes by Linda / Caterer: Hamby Catering / Rentals: EventHaus Rentals / Lighting: Thomas Smith / DJ: Epic Charleston / Bride’s Gown: Justin Alexander / Menswear and Bride’s Jewelry: Ralph Lauren / Hair and Makeup: Lashes and Lace / Bride’s Shoes: Betsy Johnson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Mori Lee

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Charleston Wedding Videographer reply

    Absolutely gorgeous! The Thomas Bennett House is an amazing venue!

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For Jana, a wedding photographer herself, finding her dream gown posed to be a bit more challenging than she had initially expected. With the help of the sweet ladies at Blue Ribbon Vendor bridal salon Coast Knot Bridal, she was able to find exactly what she was looking for…as well as 63 runners up! However, having gowns in waiting turned out to be helpful when working through her and Bailey’s decision to do a first look. The week of the wedding, Jana made a last-minute decision to wear her reception dress to their first look instead of her “real” wedding gown! It was a sneaky way to compromise by calming their nerves with a first look, while still preserving that special moment of Bailey seeing her for the first time in her wedding dress when she was walking down the aisle. I love seeing a couple use the tools that are needed in marriage during their wedding planning–compromise is a perfect example!

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Cynthia Rose for sharing this sweet coastal day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. This was no easy task. Being a wedding photographer, I was searching for a dress that not only fit well, but that would photograph well. 63 dresses later, I finally found my perfect dress at Coastal Knot Bridal Boutique. I could never thank the girls there enough for all of their patience!

For our flowers, we chose a mix of greens and creams, and added a hint of color with parrot tulips and David Austin roses. I loved how they complemented the linens on the tables, as well as the colors used for the bridesmaid dresses. Hands down, they were one of my favorite details from the day!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Kinda. I wanted to do a first look, Bailey did not. After finally talking him into it, I changed my mind the week before by choosing to wear my reception dress to our first look instead of my ceremony dress. To me, it was the prefect way to get all the nerves out without spoiling the surprise of my actual wedding dress.

We added the live painting as a last-minute decision, so our guests could experience something a little different during our ceremony and cocktail hour. It is one of our most treasured items from our wedding, and while I love photographs, I am excited to have a piece of custom art for our new home!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Documentation of our wedding day! This was, hands down, our priority from the beginning. Our wedding day was such a whirlwind. While we remember bits and pieces of it, just seeing our pictures made us realize that we didn’t really remember as much as we thought. Bailey did not originally see the importance of having a videographer, but the second we walked away from our ceremony, his exact words were, “I am so glad you made us get the video, because I don’t remember anything I just said!”

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our logo and branding! We worked with our designer, Elizabeth, for almost a year and a half, and we couldn’t be happier with how things turned out. From our invitations to our bar signage, our life logo really added a personal touch to our wedding day. We are excited to still be using it throughout our thank you cards and additional paper products.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We buried the bourbon! You are supposed to do this a month before the wedding, but we did it the night before. In honor of Bailey’s grandfather, I had a handkerchief made from his shirt to give to Bailey at the wedding. It was embroidered with his initials and our wedding date. We also used heirloom silver pieces from Bailey’s great grandmother for our communion during our ceremony.

Choosing desserts for our wedding was a no-brainer. After eating wedding cake almost every weekend, I knew it would be hard to find one that would stick out to me. All of our wedding pound cakes were made by my aunt Gina. Her chocolate pound cake has always been my favorite, so I knew that would be the one we actually cut into! The pies were provided by our caterer, and they were absolutely divine.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Bailey and I met at my 16th birthday party. As we joke, he showed up uninvited and never left!
Tell us all about the proposal! We got engaged at the Biltmore in August 2013. As a wedding photographer, my schedule limits our vacations together to either the extreme hot or cold months, and boy, was it hot! After walking around the entire property, Bailey convinced me to hike to the highest point, overlooking the house. He asked me to marry him there, and, of course, I said yes!
When did y’all get married? May 16, 2015
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? The trees and the Southern charm! We knew Litchfield was everything we had ever envisioned for our day, and I liked that we had the house for the entire weekend.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We danced to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra. There was no sentimental meaning behind this for us; however, it is a classic and we knew we wanted something that would never go out of style!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Honestly, the budget and more specifically, the guest list. These two secretly go hand in hand. We had many, many people RSVP telling us that they were attending, and then they did not show up. For each person “attending,” you have to consider the cost of renting a chair, silverware, plates, a ceremony chair, glassware (usually three per person), a napkin, and then food and drink. Most people don’t even consider these things when building a guest list, or as a guest responding to an event. Choose your guests wisely if you want the wedding you have always dreamed of.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Do your research and fully look into your venue before booking. While we loved our venue and wouldn’t change it for the world, we were not fully prepared for some of the costs that we didn’t know about when we booked it. Before touring any venue, research images of past weddings there and ask questions about them. Hidden cost can throw a huge bend in any wedding budget, so it’s better to know upfront and be able to adjust your budget accordingly.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are excited to finally settle into our new home, which we purchased two weeks before our wedding. We are excited to finally have a place of our own!

Photographer: Cynthia Rose Photography / Videographer: Low Country Wedding Films / Planner: Kelly Catron of Gigi Noelle Events and Elizabeth Curl of Palmetto Pearl Designs / Venue: Litchfield Plantation / Florist: Blossoms Events / Caterer and Dessert Baker: Art Catering / Rentals: Hotz Rentals and Eventworks / Lighting: MC Sound Light and Video / DJ: Paul Matthews / Logo, Branding, and Paper Products: Palmetto Pearl Designs / Custom Shell Wreaths: Simply Shells Rentals / Bride’s Gown: Pronovias / Bridal Salon and Accessories: Coastal Knot Bridal Boutique / Hair Stylist: Emette Tedder of Hair FETish Salon / Makeup Artist: Tiffany Long / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Stephanie” in Spearmint by Donna Morgan / Menswear: Calvin Klein / Live Painting: Kelly Bollman / Harpist: Becky Nissen / Rings: Robisons Jewelers / Officiant: Rev. Wesley Peyton

Coastal Knot Bridal Boutique and Cynthia Rose are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Rachel Wells reply

    Wow- I’m obsessed with the oyster details!! So pretty!

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