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Southern Weddings

Author: Marissa

When you combine the word “magnolia” with “plantation” and then throw in an adorable couple, it’s a very safe bet that I’m going to swoon over the wedding! And while I’m not a betting woman, maybe I should be, because McKenna and Matt’s wedding at Magnolia Plantation is the sort of Southern wedding sweetness I can’t get enough of. It might be partially due to their colorful blooms from Branch Design Studio, but while those are stunning, I’m pretty sure it’s their contagious smiles and how smitten they are with each other. I adore how head over heels in love these two are–just look at McKenna’s post-ceremony smile! Pure bliss!

Big hugs to Dana Cubbage for sharing this delightful day!

I found my beautiful wedding dress at J. Major’s Bridal boutique in Charlotte! I was with my mom and my sister, and it was my birthday weekend. I knew in my head what I wanted my dress to look like, but I tried on a few different styles as that was what I was told to do. When I explained what my vision was, CJ at J. Majors pulled the most perfect gown. It was the Dakota from Enzoani, and I LOVED it. I bought it on the spot…best birthday present ever!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we did! Our photographer highly recommended it for the timeline to go as smoothly as possible and she was absolutely right! My sweet hubby was so nervous as I walked up to him and tapped his shoulder…he said his knees were shaking! We both had immediate happy tears when we saw one another and it was one of the best moments of the day!

We love Charleston! I am from New Orleans, and Charleston has the historic charm and architectural beauty that reminds me of home. We fell in love with the breathtaking views at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. We truly wanted our guests to have a full experience at our wedding and this was the perfect venue for us!

Describe your wedding flowers. Perfect, stunning, classic, and elegant! I was absolutely obsessed. I even pressed all of the flowers from my bouquet so I wouldn’t have to throw them away! This was one of my splurges and I am so glad that I did….YAY for Branch Design Studios!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both attended UNC-Asheville from 2006-2010. He played baseball and I played soccer in college, and the athletes tended to stick together! We became friends freshman year and two of my teammates (and later bridesmaids) and I were always hanging out with him and his group of friends. I always seemed to have a boyfriend, and Matt patiently waited until February of our senior year in college when I was finally single, to ask me to dinner for Valentine’s Day. We have been together for five years since then, and I am so lucky that I was able to call Matt my best friend for nine years, my boyfriend for five, my fiancé, and now my sweet hubby!
Tell us all about the proposal! We were spending New Year’s and celebrating a late Christmas in Miami with Matt’s family, as we usually do. Part of my Christmas present from Matt was a trip to Key West because I had never been there before, and he knew I would love it. We planned to go the morning of New Year’s Day. We got on the road early and had a three-and-a-half hour drive. During that drive, I recapped the conversation of the night before, which revolved around people getting engaged and married and so on and so forth. I said, “We just aren’t like everyone else I guess–we aren’t a traditional couple! We will just probably get married later in life.” He quickly changed the subject to our amazing dinner we had reservations for at Latitudes on Sunset Key (because the ring was in the back seat and he was starting to sweat!). We had the best seat in the house at Latitudes–a table about 20 yards from the water, overlooking the sunset and the beautiful sailboats passing by…pure bliss! Matt asked our waiter to take some pictures of us with the sunset.The waiter even told me to fix my hair because it was “sorta messed up” (he knew what was about to go down, thank God!). We took three pictures, and Matt asked him to take just one more. I turned to pose, and when I turned back around again, Matt was on one knee with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen in my life, saying “Will you marry me?” I was in absolute shock! Then the tears came. Finally, he got off his knee and said, “So, is that yes?” I said YES and he put that ring on my finger as the restaurant cheered us on.
When did y’all get married? February 27, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I can’t pick, but I loved our oyster shell escort cards because my mother and I had painted them all!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my veil, which was made by my grandmother and worn by my mother and my sister–so special! I had my new monogram and wedding date sewed into my dress as a tag. I had it made with blue thread. All my jewelry was brand new, J. Crew perfection. For something old, I wore my favorite gold Target sandals–nothing special, but perfect for dancing!
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? I just started a new job! We are just soaking up being married and loving every minute of it!

Photographer: Dana Cubbage | Videographer: Anchor Films | Planner: Jessica Cruz | Venue: Magnolia Plantation & Gardens | Florist: Branch Design Studio | Cake Baker: WildFlour Pastry | Caterer: B. Gourmet | Rentals: Event Works | Lighting: AV Connections | DJ: EPIC | Bride’s Gown: “Dakota” by Enzoani | Bride’s Jewelry and Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew | Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls | Bride’s Shoes: Betsy Johnson and Target | Menswear: Menguin | Getaway Car: LowCountry Valet

marissa Written with love by Marissa

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Allison and Will may not be able to remember exactly how they first met, but I’m positive they remember exactly how they felt when their lives became one on their beautiful wedding day! I’m sure their family and friends won’t soon forget their generous Southern hospitality, either. Starting with their tradition-filled ceremony, right into their Kentucky-inspired reception celebration at Keeneland, Allison and Will made it a very important goal to anticipate needs and make sure their guests felt comfortable and special throughout the day. So sweet!

We’re so glad Lang Thomas was on hand to capture Allison and Will’s Kentucky day!

We decided to do a first look for two reasons. The first reason was because we knew it would be better for our timeline and our photos. We didn’t want to be rushed after the ceremony to get some shots because we wanted to spend that time with friends and family! The second reason was that we wanted to take away some of the nerves of the ceremony by talking with and loving on each other beforehand.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had two readings during our ceremony, 1 John 4: 7-19 and 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13. We chose the scripture from John because it helped us remember why we were able to love in the first place. As for the Corinthians verses, we were hesitant about sounding cliche; however, it was a passage we studied in our premarital counseling that became really meaningful to us.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to “Canon in D” by Pachelbel. It mimicked the way the moment felt perfectly–sweet and tender. During the ceremony, we had a friend’s mom sing “Be Thou my Vision” by Saint Dallan. Her daughter, who is a good friend of mine, was serving in ministry outside of the country, and we felt like it was a great message for all of us. (She made a surprise return just in time for the wedding that resulted in lots of happy tears!)

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our families felt like it was really important to be married in God’s house, so we followed tradition and got married in my church, Second Presbyterian Church. The reception was at Keeneland, a place that we both love and admire. My family is in the thoroughbred industry, and Will has come to love this emblem of our state.

When we think of what it means to be Southern, we think of hospitality. We were so thankful that our guests took time out of their weekends to come celebrate us, so we wanted them to feel comfortable and special. Our seated dinner was served in courses with synchronized service that was fit for a king. In the same room, we had lounge areas with couches so people who wanted a more comfortable place to mingle or didn’t feel like dancing could relax there. We tried to think of everyone’s wants and needs!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We wanted to embrace everything that being a Kentuckian embodies, and we loved the way it turned out! Keeneland Hospitality did an amazing job helping us realize our vision with the food and drinks. We put Kentucky bourbon in anything that was acceptable (including the salad!) and tried to hit the other notables, like Kentucky hot browns, pimento cheese with cornbread, and fried green tomatoes.

We had a local artist on site painting the reception as it occurred. This is typical to see in the paddock at Keeneland on a beautiful spring or fall day, and we thought it was a fun way to carry on the Kentucky feel in our reception. At Keeneland, patrons can buy the artist’s painting, but lucky for us, we got to keep this one. It hangs in our house today, and we love thinking about it being passed on through our family as the generations go by.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Will and I can’t really remember when we first met, but it was during our early years of high school. We both played competitive golf and trained at the same facility in Lexington. We knew of each other, but never really talked. Our moms were friends through Bible study fellowship, and Will’s mom volunteered him to play golf with me after school when my mom mentioned I needed a partner. We started dating in the summer of 2008 and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! It had been a whirlwind couple of weeks for me after graduating college, being in a friend’s wedding, and a beach vacation. I hadn’t seen Will in quite some time, and he came over to my house the day I got home. He had dinner with my family and me, and then we decided to go on a walk. I live on a horse farm, and we had started walking to one of the barns and feeding the mares some sweet feed. When we got to the barn, he got the feed, and when he handed me the bucket, the ring box was opened inside. It literally took my breath away! My brother was there to snap some pictures of the moment.
When did y’all get married? June 13, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 290
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I was a debutante a few years back and found my dress at Bridal and Formal with the most amazing consultant. I knew I wanted to go back to see her, and it just so happened that the shop had a dress I was very interested in. It was just my mom and I who went up to Cincinnati that day to look, and I ended up picking the first dress I snagged off the rack (and of course, it was not the one I went to the store for in the first place!).
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We really wanted our wedding to feel traditional, so we did not write our own vows.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Champagne cake with raspberry filling… yum! We decided to go with one flavor to avoid that awkward moment when the person sitting next to you has the cake you wanted instead of the one you were served!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes, and I was lucky enough to bundle borrowed, blue, and old into one! I wore my mom’s gorgeous sapphire and diamond ring that she received from my dad before I was born. My new was everything else, I suppose!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Having a lot of flowers can get expensive, but it really helped that our wedding designer and coordinator did flowers, as well! Since she was so involved, she knew exactly where we could reuse flowers from the ceremony in the reception without having to create a whole new arrangement.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It is so easy to get upset over the little things, whether it is not getting your first choice of a vendor or having a difference in opinion on the details of your wedding. My advice would be to often remind yourself the purpose of the wedding–so you can marry your love–and if it will matter after your date. If it won’t, then it’s probably not important enough to get worked up over!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are just so excited to be coming home to each other every day and experiencing day to day activities. Since we had not even lived in the same city before our wedding, it really is a treat.

Photographer: Lang Thomas Photography | Videographer: Reel Special Productions | Planner, Florist, and Lighting: Refined Social Events & Design | Ceremony Venue: Second Presbyterian Church | Reception Venue and Caterer: Keeneland | Cake Baker: Martine’s Pastries | Rentals: Canvas Event Furniture | Band: Jimmy Church Band | Paper Products: Claudia Engle Lettering & Designs | Bride’s Gown: Eve of Milady | Hair and Makeup: Mickey Salon/Spa | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale | Menswear: Joseph Abboud | Bridal Salon and Veil: Bridal and Formal | Bride’s Earrings: Saks Fifth Avenue | Rings: Walter Childress

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Ryan + Brittany Worthen reply

    Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful wedding! Unfortunately the link above to our website is broken, but you can find us at Also, if you enjoyed these photos check out Will + Allison’s wedding video here:

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Jo and Ryan always knew they wanted to have a wedding day filled with their friends and family, but after a battle with skin cancer derailed their 10/10/10 wedding plans, they opted for a small wedding in Ryan’s parents’ backyard instead. The two continued to dream about a vow renewal or blessing of their marriage someday, but with the busyness of life and two sweet boys, it kept being placed on the back burner. When Jo realized their fifth wedding anniversary fell on a Saturday in 2015, she knew this was the time, and immediately staring planning the colorful Hill Country celebration we were thrilled to share in V8! With the help of Without Wax, Katy‘s beautiful blooms, including Jo’s favorite peonies, the JW Marriot in San Antonio came to life for a celebration we’re sure was worth the wait!

Big hugs to Jenna McElroy for sharing Jo and Ryan’s sweet day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? I first saw it on Pinterest after the 2015 Marchesa runway show pictures were posted. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it by chance when I went into Saks to see other dresses. It was even more exquisite in person! The tulle and beading are incredible.

When we got married five years prior, I didn’t have any bridesmaids, so I did feel like I missed that part of the experience. There is something special about bonds between sisters and girlfriends, so I did want to have some time with them to celebrate. Once I knew which girls were attending, I started figuring out dress options that would work for each of my best friends. Since my dress was blush, I decided to go with a mismatched look, and I specifically picked out a color and style for each girl once it was narrowed down. Everyone looked stunning!!

Tell us a bit about the ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? The entire ceremony was special to me! My childhood best friend, Alex, had recently gotten married to a wonderful man of God, and we were honored to have him create our ceremony for us. It was perfect!! Since the ceremony was about our five-year marriage and our baby boys, we all stood together during the blessing.

We had talked about a vow renewal or blessing of some sort over the first few years of our marriage. We moved from Danville to Katy, Texas in the beginning of 2011, when Ryan got a job in the oil/gas industry. Another big move put plans for a blessing on the back burner. In February 2012, we had our second son, Wyatt, and again, with life being so busy, didn’t talk about celebrating anytime soon! Before we knew it, it was summer 2014 and we were attending our friends’ wedding at the JW Marriott Hill Country here in San Antonio. The resort is incredible, so I checked dates for the next year, and when I saw that our fifth anniversary would be on a Saturday in 2015, I instantly started planning. The Hill Country part of Texas is beautiful! It has the spectacular views I am used to being surrounded by, having lived in Phoenix and the East Bay Area. We wanted all of our family and friends to come to Texas, because it is where we have built a life over the years.

Tell us about your flowers. I love peonies, so that was the one flower I knew I wanted the most! I made sure Katy knew the colors I loved, and she created breathtaking arrangements! For my girls, I wanted to do something a little different to make sure they stood out amongst everyone else, but I didn’t want to do the traditional “bridesmaid” thing. Along with coordinating the colors of their dresses, I had flower hairpieces made that they could wear instead of carrying a bouquet.

We did three single-tiered cakes on individual stands. The cakes were red velvet, lemon, and chocolate, and were decorated with the same flowers that were used in our arrangements. We also shared my two go-to treats with our guests: bite-sized cupcakes by Baked By Melissa, and my favorite macarons from Dana’s Bakery.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met through our mutual friend, Nick. I grew up with Nick and Ryan met him when he started at ASU.
Describe the proposal: Ryan was back in Danville to celebrate Christmas in 2009 with his family, while I spent it in Phoenix with mine. We had discussed an engagement because Ryan was enrolled in the MBA program at St. Mary’s near his hometown, which was set to start in January of 2010, so I was planning to go with him. He had a ring designed and brought it back to Phoenix when he came home after Christmas. He asked me to marry him on New Year’s Eve when we were alone in his house before going to dinner and out to meet friends to ring in the New Year. The sweetest part was that he surprised me and included my parents and sister in our dinner plans.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? I had many serious health issues quickly surface once I moved to Danville, so our wedding plans changed and we bumped everything up. Initially, we planned a 10/10/10 wedding back home in Scottsdale, but then I found out I was expecting, and had skin cancer, which needed surgery immediately. The skin cancer was stabilized in time for us to have a small, but beautiful, wedding in my in-laws’ backyard vineyard. I continued to go through some scary health issues with my pregnancy towards the end, but thankfully, everything ended up being okay for both the baby and me. After our first son, James Ryder, was born, I had radiation for my skin cancer, and the bells palsy I had gotten started clearing up. We just needed to do what was best for the moment in our lives, and always said that one day, we would celebrate with all our family and friends!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Colorful, family-filled, dreamy
How many guests attended your wedding? About 120
What did the groom wear? We didn’t follow tradition with the groomsmen thing at all, so when it came time to take photos, my husband gathered his best friends that were near us. We got some great shots of them all just being themselves!
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? After going through the complications and scares I had with my health and during pregnancy, I was just thrilled to be able to have this moment five years later with all our family and friends together.
Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used: I wanted lots of flowers! We also had some gorgeous china plates for each table setting and some beautiful vintage furniture to create more seating for our guests.
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? We wanted a buffet-style meal so everyone could get what they liked and as much as they wanted of it! We had a macaroni bar, a meat carving station, a salad bar, and chicken and waffles.
What is the one thing that made your wedding different from anyone else’s wedding? I think what was most special about what Ryan and I did was that we blessed our marriage of five years and our two beautiful boys with the people we love the most.

Photographer: Jenna McElroy | Videographer: Jason & Daris | Planner, Designer, and Florals: Without Wax Katy | Venue, Catering, and Cake: JW Marriott Hill Country Resort San Antonio | Macarons: Dana Bakery | Mini Cupcakes: Baked by Melissa | Bride’s Gown: Marchesa | Bridal Salon: Saks Fifth Avenue | Bride’s Shoes: Valentino | Bride’s Jewelry: Roberto Coin | Bride’s Clutch: Nancy Gonzalez | Bride’s Rings: David Yurman | Bridesmaid’s Dresses: BCBG Max Azria, Jill Stuart, and Jenny Yoo | Streamers: Studio Mucci | Candy: Sugarfina | Sugar Cookies: Jolie Delights | Hair and Makeup: Maitee Miles Hair & Makeup | Groom’s Fashion: Suit Supply | Paper Goods: Stationery Bakery | Cake Plates: Layla Grayce

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

    I’m absolutely, completely obsessed with this wedding, loving the bold use of color and obvious joy!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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