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Southern Weddings Magazine

Author: Marissa

As many of y’all know, I’m lucky to be married to my college sweetheart, so I always feel so akin to fellow college sweethearts! Madison and Brady’s story not only started at their alma mater, but their sweet proposal also took place right in front of the building where they first met! Gah, so romantic! And, can we talk more about romance for just a sec? Madison and Brady’s stunning ceremony backdrop at Mint Springs Farm makes my heart skip a beat! I can absolutely see why Madison couldn’t believe she got to marry the man of her dreams there!

Hugs to Kristin Sweeting for sharing this lovely day with us!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I was so thankful for all of them! But specifically, Mrs. Jan, the mother of one of my dearest friends and bridesmaids, Elizabeth, does incredible calligraphy and designed our wedding invitations and hand-addressed them, as well as designed our programs. They were absolutely stunning, and having her design them made them that much more special.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went to a little local bridal shop with my mom and my dad. Since my fiancé and I wanted a quick engagement, I was very afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to find my dream dress and have it be ready in time for the wedding. Amazingly, I found not one, but two perfect dresses. The ladies at the bridal shop were so sweet and offered me the sample of either dress! I picked my dress and had my first fitting that afternoon!

Describe your wedding flowers. They were so dreamy! We used lots of whites with delicate touches of pink and lots of greenery. I wanted the arrangements to look like traditional wedding flowers, but also to reflect our personalities. They turned out more incredibly than I could have ever imagined!

We loved the altar where the ceremony took place. The stunning flower arrangements that surrounded us, the white curtains billowing in the wind, and the wooden cross behind us were all so idyllic. The first time I saw it, I was so overcome with emotion and I kept thinking “I cannot believe I get to marry the man of my dreams here.”

My dad is the lead singer of Sawyer Brown. I joked with him since I was first engaged that he should write a song for our first dance. He claimed he didn’t write songs anymore, so my godfather, who is another member of the band wrote one for us instead. I was so touched. My dad also recorded the song “Down the Road” by Mac McCanally for the daddy/daughter and mother/son dance. He used to play it around the house when I was little, and it was always one of my favorites. However, after dinner, my dad was handed the microphone and said that he had lied to us and played us the song he had written for us. It was truly the highlight of the entire wedding.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Brady and I met our very first day of classes at Vanderbilt. I was walking to class behind a group of very tall boys and one of them turned around, asked if I was going to ethics class, and proceeded to introduce me to his friend, Brady. We sat next to each other every day in class and started dating around Christmastime. The rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! While I was at home in Nashville, Brady had one of my best friends (who still attends Vandy) invite me to visit with her one afternoon at our sorority house. She then tricked me into walking across campus “to meet a friend at her class.” Before I realized where we were, I was in front of the building where Brady and I had had that ethics class all those years ago. He (not our friend) walked out of the building and the rest was a complete blur. I was so surprised!
When did y’all get married? June 29, 2014
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? We were married at Mint Springs Farm. The first time I saw the venue was in a picture on Instagram, and I knew that it was exactly where I wanted to be married. It was so beautiful and matched our personalities perfectly.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. It was a four-tiered cake with three different flavors: white chocolate almond, caramel butterscotch, and key lime. It was an all-white cake with a lace pattern that matched the lace on my wedding dress. And of course, it had a big monogrammed “B” on it!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I feel that what made our wedding Southern was the importance we placed on our friends and family. We wanted to make sure that our friends and families felt how much we loved and appreciated them being with us on the best day of our lives. After that, all of the other details became added bonuses.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Do not sweat the small things! It was raining (pouring, really) the entire day of my wedding, but that didn’t matter. No matter how much rain there was, I was still going to be married to Brady at the end of that day. If you can keep laughing instead of worrying, the little things (like a massive bug crawling up the lace of your dress while taking pictures) become something to laugh at and remember instead of something to cry about.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We cannot wait to be in our first home in Florida!

Photographer: Kristin Sweeting / Venue, Planning, and Florals: Mint Springs Farm / Cake Baker: Signature Cakes by Vicki / Caterer: Chef Penelope / DJ: Snyder Entertainment / Paper Products: Jan Pruitt at Annabelle’s / Bride’s Gown: Pronovias / Hair and Makeup: Amanda Gros / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Morgan” in Petal by Donna Morgan / Men’s Attire: Black by Vera Wang

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Elaine {EventsbyElaine} reply

    Everything about this wedding is so sweet and charming. Of course, the venue is a wonderful backdrop for this love story.

  2. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    Love the color palette, really sweet combination. The reception with the large beams and balcony is beautiful (love the black and white shot with everyone watching their first dance).

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Sadly, yesterday marked the unofficial the end of summer (pack up your white pants and bring out your monogrammed scarf!), but the good news is that Tate and Davis’ cheerful wedding will make summer feel a little bit longer! While Tate and Davis only lived in Charleston for a year, their time spent on the Charleston Harbor made the Historic Rice Mill the perfect venue for a sweet celebration with their family and friends. I’d have to agree with Tate on her favorite element of their wedding–she loved their family-style meal because it reminded her of her favorite holiday, Thanksgiving! I know our own Kristin would be tickled, since she also had a Thanksgiving-inspired wedding day meal!

Big thank you’s and a pumpkin spiced latte to Aaron and Jillian Photography for sharing this wedding with us!

People fail to warn you how crazy stressful dress shopping can be! Trying on ill-fitting sample dresses to find the perfect one that makes your body look bangin’, fits your price range, is timeless, AND wins the approval of your family is super challenging. I wanted something a little different, but still classic, that wouldn’t dwarf my petite figure. My Wentworth Street gown by Carol Hannah was exactly that. I even got a discount because I asked to buy the sample.

While we are always so smitten with the father/daughter moments at weddings, I love this sweet father/son moment too!

We did a first look because I am not superstitious and I loved the opportunity for more photos. I think waiting to see each other until you walk down the aisle can be a little more stressful than it needs to be. Seeing each other beforehand ensured that we both stayed present during the ceremony.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Davis and I love Charleston! It is a wonderfully romantic city and holds a special place in our hearts. We lived in Charleston from 2011 to 2012 and spent our weekends and afternoons on the boat in Charleston Harbor. The Rice Mill, being right by the marina, was a perfect fit!

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 did design our own ceremony that was performed by my father. My favorite part of our vows was: “Do you pledge to help each other to develop your hearts and minds, cultivating compassion, generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiasm, concentration, and wisdom as you age and undergo the various ups and downs of life, and to transform them into the path of love, compassion, joy, and equanimity?”

We chose our reading from The Irrational Season By Madeleine L’Engle because it very much represents our relationship and how we view our marriage commitment. “But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature. To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take. If we commit ourselves to one person for life, this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.”

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Dodeline Design created a custom monogram that incorporated our initials and elements of Davis’ family crest. It looks kind of like a harp, and no one could really figure it out, but I thought it was kind of cool. We were also THRILLED about our joggling board guest book that is covered with the sweetest notes and sentiments from our loved ones. Joggling boards are so Southern and SO Charleston. I love the cool history behind them. One of our artsy friends even painted our monogram on it and made it exceptionally special!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite element of our wedding was the family-style meal. Enjoying a meal with your closest friends and family is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It also reminds me of Thanksgiving (my all-time favorite holiday) because it is a time you can tell your friends and family how grateful you are for them. I also liked the “thank you haikus” we displayed at each place setting. It was super dorky, but after thinking about it, we knew that if we were to thank our friends and family in letters, we could end up writing pages! Keeping our thank you notes to short haikus allowed us to say what we wanted with just enough words.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had the most fabulous pink ombre cake! I love pink and anything ombre, so the cake was a delicious dream with three layers of red velvet, lemon, and dulce de leche cake. I was a little nervous that Davis wouldn’t like it because it was on the girly side, but he said “it tasted really good!”

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Davis and I first met at a friend’s concert in 2006–Davis grew up with the band’s lead singer (who was later a a groomsman in our wedding). The band would let Davis ham it up on stage and play the tambourine, while my friends and I loved “front-rowing it” (i.e. dancing as close to the stage as possible), so we inevitably ran into each other. We both attended North Carolina State University and share a love for the Wolfpack, adventures, and of course, our friends.
Tell us all about the proposal! Davis began shopping for the engagement ring three years before he proposed. In the spring of 2013, right before our seven-year anniversary, we took a last-minute trip to New York City, where Davis proposed early on a Thursday morning in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Needless to say, my girlfriends knew exactly why I was calling so early, before they even picked up the phone!
When did y’all get married? June 21, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 110
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We had a challenging time keeping our guest list small, because we knew our budget couldn’t handle a large party. Our rule of thumb was that if we could write each guest a letter telling them exactly why we wanted them to attend our wedding, then they would be invited–that idea is where our letter-style invitation came from.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I saved a lot on my wedding dress by buying the sample. We also didn’t get a fancy getaway vehicle because we preferred spending money on things that our guests would enjoy. We kept the contents of the welcome bags to strictly “consumables” (snacks and waters), because the last thing people need is extra “stuff.” I fell in love with a vintage consignment wedding band at Croghan’s Jewelry Box in Charleston–Davis actually purchased my wedding band months before he bought my engagement ring.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? After interviewing four other Charleston wedding photographers, we hired Jill and Aaron after an eight-minute phone conversation. We clicked instantly! They asked the right questions and really seemed to care about our event. Every interaction with them was extremely positive and fun! I would hire them again in a heartbeat.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Davis says our first look. I’d say the moments after the ceremony taking photos on the dock and dancing to Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” with all my best friends.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Always try to remember what is most important to you as a couple. The first thing Davis and I did when we got engaged was to make a list of the ten most important things we wanted in our wedding. When one of the 100+ random things that weren’t in the original budget came up, we could refer back to that list to help keep the budget under control. I would also recommend making a list of all the random things you want to do on the wedding day, because things move so quickly. Give the list to a trusted person who will be with you on the day of. For example, I planned to give my dad a gift and get a few father-daughter photos pre-wedding, but I never found the time to do it.

Photographer: Aaron and Jillian Photography / Videographer: Life in Rewind / Planner: Southern Protocol / Venue: Historic Rice Mill / Florist: Charleston Stems / Wedding Cake: Charleston Cakes / Caterer: Good Food Catering / Rentals: EventWorks / Band: Unkle Funkle / Paper Products: Dodeline Design / Bride’s Gown: “Wentworth Street” by Carol Hannah / Hair Stylist: Katherine Bailey / Makeup Artist: Stuart Laurence / Bride’s Shoes: “Gilda” by Kotur / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style 418″ by Wtoo / Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Southern Weddings Feature » Aaron and Jillian Photography reply

    […] featured on the fabulous Southern Weddings website today!  Seriously, over the moon!  Check out their SW feature HERE and their full wedding post on our blog HERE!  It’s filled with gorgeous bright florals, […]

  2. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    Her dress fits her beautifully and I love how it gathers at her hip.

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We all know that the weather here in the South is unpredictable, to say the least–especially in Florida! After it rained for two days straight, Victoria and Marcus’ outdoor ceremony and reception at the Pebble Hill Plantation had to be moved indoors. With Mother Nature throwing a wrench in your wedding plans like that, it can be easy to get bogged down and frustrated. But, what could have dampened (pun intended!) these lovebirds’ plans instead helped craft one of Victoria’s favorite wedding day memories! She said marrying the man of her dreams in the unpretentious and charming chapel, jam-packed with their family and friends, was both genuine and incredibly beautiful. I must say, their rain plan ended up mighty lovely!

Big thanks to Chelsey Boatwright for sharing such a sweet day with us!

Four generations of women in my family came with me to look for the dress–from my grandmother to my four-year-old niece, Cassidy. While we didn’t have any luck that day, I got a feel for what I was looking for. I began searching online and found a dress that was perfect! The only shop that carried it was in Jacksonville, a four-hour drive from my home in Tampa. I convinced my fiancé to make a pit stop on our trip to Savannah and sit in the car while I tried it on one Friday afternoon. I loved it so much that I had my mom drive from Tallahassee just to see it. The staff at the White Magnolia were absolutely wonderful to work with. Luckily for me, they decided to open a shop in Tampa soon after I ordered the dress, so all of my fittings were very close by!

Marcus and I decided not to do a first look. Our families are very traditional, and we didn’t want to take that moment away from those we love, who really wanted to see it. It was one of the best decisions we made for the big day. Everyone was on pins and needles when the church doors opened and I walked in. I looked at Marcus and he was in tears…along with the entire room, who was watching our moment together. It was priceless.

Describe your wedding flowers. We wanted something that looked romantic and timeless. My colors were white and gray, but our florist convinced us to use a bit more color. He came up with some beautiful, natural arrangements, and was an absolute pleasure to work with. He was very creative and took charge of decorating an entirely new venue, just two days before the wedding.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? The decision was pretty difficult, and ultimately, we chose Pebble Hill Plantation for its simple beauty. We planned to have the ceremony and reception outside by the stables, but God had other plans for us. It rained for two days straight before the wedding, so we moved the ceremony to a local chapel down the street, and the reception to Uno Barn on the Pebble Hill property. It turned out better than we could have ever expected.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Saying my vows to the man of my dreams. The chapel was very unpretentious and charming, and we had tons of friends and family crammed into it. It just felt so genuine and unassuming, while also being incredibly beautiful. It felt like we had stepped back in time.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t be crazy! Stay flexible, remember what is most important, and give people the space to do their jobs. I think that our wedding was so successful because we gave our vendors a vision without micromanaging them. We allowed them to use their creativity to do what they do best! With the rain situation, all of our original plans went out the window. I was so happy that we all kept our heads on straight and figured out how to make it work, without over-stressing about something we couldn’t help.

After choosing to get married at a plantation, we took its Southern charm and ran with it! The most Southern aspect of our wedding was probably the menu, which started with a fried green tomato appetizer. Then we moved to the main course, which was fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, grilled pork tenderloin, roasted seasonal vegetables, and homemade biscuits with fig preserves and mayhaw jelly. Then, there were pecan bars for dessert!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met as freshmen at the University of Florida in 2007. Marcus, a new member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, volunteered to pick up a group of girls from the dorms one night for a party, and I was one of those girls. We quickly became friends, but it wasn’t until a few years later (and a great deal of persistence on Marcus’ part) that we began dating. We became inseparable and enjoyed everything from Gator game days and Greek social events to weekend beach trips and travel adventures.
Tell us all about the proposal! It was our three-year anniversary, and all I wanted was a romantic surprise date. Honestly, I wasn’t sure he was going to pull it off; little did I know just how surprised I would be! We started driving to the middle of nowhere, and when we pulled up, Marcus explained that we were at Swallowtail Farm, a farm-to-table restaurant in High Springs, Florida. We walked around the property, and I noticed a table for two in the middle of a gorgeous garden. I was shocked…and a little embarrassed that Marcus went through all of the trouble, just to fulfill my silly request for an over-the-top date night! It was absolutely beautiful. I didn’t realize what he had planned until he started pouring the champagne and I noticed his hands were shaking. Just as I was about to ask him what was wrong, he dropped to his knee and asked me to marry him. It was the most special moment of my life and I, of course, said yes! We laughed and hugged, and then I saw Lanier, Marcus’ sister, and a family friend, Brittany, waving from a barn. They had taken pictures of the whole thing! Then, Marcus told me he had another surprise. We walked along the trails of the farm and meandered over to the farmhouse. I assumed we were going to eat dinner, but then I realized that he had invited our family and close friends to celebrate with us!
When did y’all get married? March 29, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 220
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a small wedding cake (pound cake) as well as mini red velvet and chocolate peanut butter cupcakes and pecan bars. The groom’s cake was a giant alligator wearing a construction hat (we are Gator fans, and Marcus works in construction management).
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We chose not to give out favors. We wanted folks to enjoy the open bar, live music, great food, and safe transportation, and felt a parting gift was an unnecessary expense. $2 koozies for 220 people adds up fast!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? The dynamic Thomasville Trio: our florist, Ram Singletary, our caterer, Jeanie Bracey, and our day-of coordinator, Emily Beeson. They work with each other on a regular basis, and they made planning our big day so fun and easy. Ram’s passion for all things beautiful coupled with Jeanie’s energetic attitude and Emily’s attention to detail made our day stress-free and even better than expected. We also really enjoyed working with our photographer, Chelsey Boatwright. She was my childhood babysitter who was gracious enough to drive up from South Florida to be a part of our big day!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We have settled in together in Tampa, Florida and are looking forward to celebrating many of our friends who plan to get married soon. We are most looking forward to spending more time together and creating new memories with each other as a couple. I am also still excited about getting used to a new last name!

Photographer: Chelsey Boatwright / Videographer: Southern Blue / Planner: Emily Beeson / Venue: Pebble Hill Plantation / Florist and Lighting: Singletary’s Flowers / Wedding Cake: Sharyn Brown / Caterer: Janie Bracey / Rentals: Andrew Tent Co Inc. / Band: The Blues Factor Band / Paper Products: Sarah Anne Watson Design / Bride’s Gown: “Leah” by Modern Trousseau / Hair Stylist: Debbie Beers / Bride’s Shoes: Antonio Melani / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Watters / Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

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

    So excited to see this amazing wedding featured today!

  2. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #154 – Floridian Weddings reply

    […] a little in love with every bit of this Georgia plantation wedding from our Fave Chelsey Boatwright. Their story is a sweet reminder that you always need to have a […]

  3. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Love the bridesmaid dresses and the huge bouquets of baby’s breath!

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If you follow us on Instagram, you might have seen that we spent a good part of last week at our first-ever Southern Weddings Team Retreat. One of the many things we talked about was what each of us loves about the South. Well, I’m so happy Whitney and Nick’s wedding is the first one I get to write after returning back to the office, because it’s filled with so many of the things I personally love about the South: amazing location filled with heritage and Southern charm, a surprise groom’s cake representing collegiate roots, and complete dedication to honoring family. I could not love the way Whitney and Nick honored their family in their decor more–each one of the lanterns surrounding their ceremony represented a family member who had passed. Heavens, y’all pass me some extra tissues! We often talk about filling not only our wedding days, but our lives, with meaningful details, and that is such a sweet example.

Big hugs to our sweet friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor, Mrs. Nancy Ray!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? We wanted to make our guests feel welcome! Our welcome bags included lists of information and important addresses, plus a bag of Holy City Popcorn in the Lowcountry Boil flavor, pralines, benne wafers, waters, and Cheerwine!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went dress shopping three times. The first two times were with my mom, sister, and mother-in-law, and both times were a complete letdown. I did not like any of the dresses that I thought I wanted. I had always thought that I wanted an all-lace dress that was sleeveless, and I absolutely did not want a ball gown or a strapless dress. My sister talked me into trying on dresses that I had never thought of considering, including several ball gowns that I ended up really liking. Several weeks later, my mom and mother-in-law came to Charleston with me for a planning trip, and we decided to pop into Modern Trousseau of Charleston. The girls there were amazing! I ended up getting the Lisbon dress that day!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we did decide to do a first look! It was somewhat of a no-brainer for us. Since we were having the ceremony and reception at the same place, we wanted to have the majority of our pictures taken before everyone arrived to the venue. We knew that we would want to start mingling with all of our family and friends soon after the ceremony was over, and we didn’t want to feel rushed to get the pictures that we really wanted. It was also a good excuse to see each other before the ceremony!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We have several favorites, the first being the lanterns that we hung in the tree at our ceremony site. We had eight lanterns, and each represented a family member who had passed and was unable to be present. I loved the picture charm that held a picture of my daddy that I attached to my bouquet. We also hung boxwood wreaths on the front doors of Lowndes Grove, in honor of Nick’s late grandfather, who owned a boxwood farm.

The flowers were perfect! I told Elise that I loved large fluffy flowers and I wanted them be blush pink and white. She ran with my description and created some of the most gorgeous arrangements that I have ever seen! Leading up to the wedding, our budget was getting tight, so I had to cut the focal arrangement for the bar. The day of the wedding, Elise surprised me with the most beautiful and huge arrangement for the bar! I started crying instantly and gave her the biggest hug! I cannot sing her praises enough; she is a true gem!

We offered a “Southern hydration station” prior to the ceremony. We knew that having an outdoor wedding in June was risky and that it could be toasty the day of the wedding. We wanted our guest to be comfortable, so we served water and pink lemonade. The location was about as Southern as you can get–Lowndes Grove is a beautiful white plantation house that sits on the Ashley River. We served shrimp and grits with fried green tomatoes, along with some other great food, and we had amazing bar snacks. There were bowls of fried okra, cheese straws, and boiled peanuts sitting around the lounge areas for people to snack on throughout the night.

The wedding cake was a three-tiered round cake covered in vanilla buttercream. One layer was a lemon cake with key lime filling, and the other two layers were almond cake with vanilla buttercream and raspberries. So yummy! I surprised Nick with a groom’s cake designed to look like Carter-Finley Stadium, with all of the State students holding up signs that spell Wolfpack. Around the sides of the cake, there were various pictures of us throughout the years at different games. The cake was red velvet and devil’s food cake. Laney from Delicious Desserts was amazing to work with and had such great ideas. I had never seen someone so excited when we had our brainstorming meeting!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Whitney: It is crazy how vividly I remember the wedding day, and there are so many good memories! I think the most memorable to me was when I jumped the gun and said “I do” before it was time! I was so nervous and so excited, I just had to get it out! From Nick: I also loved when Whitney jumped the gun and said “I do” before it was time. I also enjoyed when everyone danced to “Shout,” and at one point, everyone was on the dance floor!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in September 2007 while at a NC State football game. We had several mutual friends who had met up while tailgating. Nick was standing off to the side being quiet, and our friends didn’t think to introduce the two of us. I took matters into my own hands, introduced myself, and offered him a Cheerwine! We are both from the small town of Cleveland, North Carolina and we went to the same high school, but since Nick is a little older, we had never met before.
Tell us all about the proposal! March 2013 had been a rough month for me, as I had lost my daddy suddenly to a heart attack the same day I started my career as a physician assistant. Nick and I had been looking forward to getting out of town the weekend of March 30, 2013 for one of our friend’s weddings in Charleston. For several weeks prior, we had been attending a Bible study that also doubled as a training course for a 5K. We had planned to squeeze in a run on Saturday morning and then meet up with several friends for breakfast. Nick planned out a route that would take us to Battery Park and to the pineapple fountain. He had been fighting a cold for most of the week, so I kept asking if he was sure he wanted to go, but he was very adamant. I even tried to get him to change the route so he wouldn’t have to run as far, but he just said, “Whitney, we are running to Battery Park.” Once we got to the park, we sat down on a bench. Then, he started saying sweet things and got down on one knee! I, of course, said yes and giggled a lot! Nick could not have timed the engagement any better; I needed the excitement to help take my mind off of losing my daddy.
When did y’all get married? June 7, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My Aunt Kathy read 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. It has always been one of my favorites! I actually had “love never fails” engraved in Nick’s ring as a surprise.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! My something borrowed was my sister’s veil. My something blue and new were one and the same–I had a blue monogram patch with my new initials sewn into my dress. My something old were the pearls that I wore around my neck during the ceremony. My daddy had given them to my momma for one of their anniversaries, and my sister also wore them on her wedding day.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I have two vendors who I could not have gone without! I don’t even see these ladies as vendors; I see them more as friends! The first is Sara Hosch, our wedding planner. She had this way of knowing exactly what I wanted or what I would like before we even talked about it! The other vendor is the talented Nancy Ray! I have followed Nancy’s blog for a long time, and when I met her for the first time, I was starstruck! She is one of the nicest people I have ever met, but she gets the job done like nobody’s business! I also loved that she instantly called me “Whit” during our engagement session!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I know everyone says this, but enjoy every moment! Wedding planning can have its moments of stress, but just know that it will all be worth it in the end! When else in your life will all the people you love be in one place? So seriously, enjoy EVERY moment!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are settling into our everyday routines and enjoying each other’s company. We are most looking forward to all the fun adventures and trips that we will take as a couple. Also, I am sure we will have a few kids along the way.

Photographer: Nancy Ray / Planner: Sara Hosch / Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation / Florist: Elise Nuckols of Charleston Stems / Caterer and Wedding Cake: Fish / Groom’s Cake: Laney Cowan of Delicious Desserts / Rentals: Snyder Events / Lighting: AV Connections / Band: Java Band / Paper Products: Scotti Cline / Bride’s Gown: “Lisbon” by Modern Trousseau / Bride’s Earrings: Swell Caroline / Hair and Makeup Artist: Sabra Mizzell of Willow Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Sam Edelman / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style 154″ by Bill Levkoff / Men’s Suits: Jos. A. Bank / Men’s Bow Ties: Brooks Brothers

Nancy Ray is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and Scotti Cline is a delightful SW sponsor!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Whitney & Nick Wedding | Nancy Ray Photography reply

    […] for their wedding came from one of our favorite wedding blogs here in the NRP studio, and today the Southern Weddings Blog made one Southern bride (and her photographer!) very happy for featuring her wedding. Thank you for […]

  2. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Always love the classic look of blue and white!

  3. avatar Claire Cowman reply

    Oh, wow! I love the whispiness of that cake’s icing! Beautiful photography and feel to the whole wedding, love the use of light in all of these photos!

  4. avatar Matthew Rycraft reply

    Looks like a great day. Really like the grooms evening outfit!

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Of course, y’all know I love this wedding because it’s super Southern, ultra-feminine, and perfectly classic, but when you add in a baseball stadium reception, you’ve especially got me hooked! Hayley is a girl after my own heart–she can talk sports with the boys, and still has a perfect Southern bump! Sound like anyone y’all know? Ahem! ;) With all of the stress that can sometimes accompany a wedding day, we all know how important it is to focus on the moments that have deep meaning, but I also agree with Hayley and Barton about the importance of having fun! When the bride and groom surprise their guests with face paint – yes, face paint – at their reception, I can only imagine how much fun their wedding must be!

Thank you so much to Mustard Seed Photography for capturing this blast of a big day!

My something borrowed was my matron of honor’s delicate silver bracelet, which she received on her own wedding day. My something blue was my delicate blue lace garter from BHLDN. My something old was the diamond earrings I wore, which belonged to Barton’s grandmother. My something new was my brand new Jimmy Choo pumps!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. The wedding dress I ended up getting was exactly what I had always envisioned: all lace, strapless, mermaid style. It was simple, classic, and timeless. I went into the process knowing exactly what I wanted, so it was an easy decision as soon as I tried on the Romona Keveza dress. I added a crystal sash from BHLDN, a beautifully delicate diamond headpiece from a bridal boutique in Houston called Mia Bridal Couture, simple nude Jimmy Choo peep-toe pumps, and a dramatic cathedral-length veil. I knew Barton would love the look, but more importantly, I felt like myself.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look, and it was a very mutual decision that we felt strongly about. We wanted to fully experience that sweet, priceless moment of him seeing me for the first time as the church doors opened up and as I was walking towards him to finally become his wife. There was something so precious, special, and innocent about that moment for us. We loved our decision and feel that it made our day that much more special.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I absolutely adored the twenty minutes Barton and I had to ourselves after the ceremony, right before the reception. During this time, we retreated to our own private room at the reception venue, where we were able to eat some of our delicious food, sip on one of our signature drinks, and simply revel in the precious moments together. It was exactly what we needed right before we were formally introduced to everyone as Mr. and Mrs. Simmons, and it was a great little breather before we danced the night away with all of our friends and family.

We selected Christ Church Cathedral because, in our opinion, it was the most beautiful church in all of downtown Houston. The stained glass windows and gorgeous outdoor courtyard made a perfect backdrop for our special day. As for our reception venue, we chose Union Station at Minute Maid Park for so many reasons! First, it’s also located in downtown Houston, and we wanted our guests to be able to experience the heart of the city and all that Houston has to offer. Union Station is connected to Minute Maid Park, where the Houston Astros play baseball, which is a prestigious landmark in Houston. It made for a pretty cool cocktail hour (our guests were able to venture out onto a balcony that looks over Minute Maid Park), but most importantly, it’s an absolutely breathtaking space! Our venue had huge, soaring ceilings, elegant arches, exquisite white and marble columns, and an open, airy feel. It was beautiful on its own, yet it still provided so much opportunity for us to add our own personality through delicate, pretty, personal touches.

We absolutely adore seeing how y’all use products from the Southern Weddings Shop in your weddings, and H + B’s showcase absolutely did our prints justice!

Being from Texas, I absolutely wanted our wedding to give our out-of-town guests a taste of the South! We had white wedding cake, thick ribbons tied into big bows around the gold chiavari chairs, roses in mason jar-style vases, straw cowboy hats for all our guests to wear while dancing, and the most adorably Southern prints from the Southern Weddings Shop, which we framed in antique white wooden frames and placed around the venue. We made sure our guests’ welcome bags were super Southern too, and combined both mine and Barton’s home towns of Texas and Tennessee: Texas Hot Sauce, Texas-sized jelly beans, Tennessee-made GooGoo Clusters candy, and tiny Tennessee Jack Daniels bottles. One of our favorite Southern touches was the plates of Shipley Do-Nut holes we passed around as a little treat sometime after 10 p.m., when the party was in full force. Shipley’s Do-Nuts is a staple in Houston and I grew up eating them for breakfast as a little girl.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. For the brides’s cake, we had a five-tiered traditional white wedding cake with buttercream filling. The design alternated smooth and quilting designs with gold candy dots and gold fondant ribbon, with all-white shimmer icing. The groom’s cake was designed to look like the Yale football field, since Barton played football at Yale. It was a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling, covering in green icing and accents in navy and white fondant (Yale colors). We added a little football helmet with Barton’s name and football number painted on it, which he loved.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Barton and I first met very briefly in June 2010 through mutual friends. We introduced ourselves and shook hands, but I didn’t think anything of it, mostly because he was wearing a neon bandana wrapped around his forehead and a T-shirt with the sleeves ripped off (don’t ask). Little did I know, blindingly neon colors and strange headgear would soon become a constant in my life. Fast forward more than a year later, to August 2011. I had just been asked to write a column for a new sports website called Outkick the Coverage. As soon as my article was published, I immediately had both a Facebook friend request and Twitter follower request sitting in my inbox from Mr. Simmons himself. He had met me over a year ago, yes, but I didn’t truly catch his eye until I started talking about sports on the Internet! Without even realizing it, I had accidentally found the keys to his heart: sports and social media. After I accepted both of his friend requests, he Tweeted at me the next day, asking me to hang out over the weekend. We ended up going on our official first date, and exactly two years later, he proposed!
Tell us all about the proposal! Barton and I took our dog Milo for a walk around Barton’s neighborhood before dinner on Friday, July 26th. Barton, the self-professed leader of our walks, strayed from our usual route and started directing us down a path we hadn’t been down since a walk we took when we first started dating. Barton ended up leading me to a quiet path on the outskirts of the neighborhood. He stopped me in the middle of the deserted road and had me hold Milo’s leash as he took out a piece of paper, on which he had written a poem. I had been begging Barton to write me a poem for at least a whole year (and he hadn’t), and now here he was, standing in front of me reading the poem he’d written for me. When he finished the poem, he got down on one knee and proposed. Milo was the only one who witnessed it all. After that, we went straight to the best surprise party EVER–all of our close friends and family were waiting for us at an intimate dinner. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect night.
When did y’all get married? May 10, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Approximately 200
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance song was “I Like To Be With Me When I’m With You” by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors. We chose this song because of its simple message: we love that we can be ourselves with each other. Every lyric in that song is so sweet. One line says, “If I could live on the moon, I’d rather stay in Tennessee with you,” which was fitting since we both live in Nashville, Tennessee!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? One way we saved money was by adding a fake layer to the bride’s cake! No one noticed and we still had plenty of cake left to go around.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Do it together! While I did the majority of the planning, Barton was definitely vocal about many of the decisions. It was so fun hearing his ideas (ahem–the face paint), and I valued his input. We loved spending evenings together playing song after song after song, searching for the perfect first dance song (and practicing dancing with each other to each tune). We also did a lot of food menu research together, as we consider ourselves amateur foodies and both had a ton of cuisine ideas. He also pleasantly surprised me by having opinions on things I wouldn’t expect, like his preference to not do a first look and what to do for our send-off (we ended up doing these fun poppers with metallic streamers). While weddings are typically touted as the “bride’s day,” I knew this day was equally as important to Barton and I wanted him to be happy with it, too. I truly loved getting to embark on the planning journey with him by side.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Honestly, as exciting and exhilarating as planning this wedding was, we were most looking forward to just getting back to normal life! (And I’m pretty sure Barton was most looking forward to getting OFF of the wedding diet, which didn’t allow for our beloved pizza nights). In our hearts, we already felt like we were married, and just couldn’t wait for it to be official. Another ridiculously fun part of married life is getting your wedding photos back, printing them out, and framing them around your house, to always have a reminder of that incredible day! Our living room walls may or may not already be covered in wedding photos, not leaving room for much else…but what else do you need?!

Photographer: Mustard Seed Photography / Videographer: Green Leaf Films / Planner: Sharon Leahy / Ceremony Venue: Christ Church Cathedral / Reception Venue: Union Station at Minute Maid / Florist: The Bloom Room and The Senter Piece / Wedding Cake: Edible Designs by Jessie / Caterer: Greg Herbst at Houston Astros Hospitality Group / Rentals: Avalon Event Rentals / Linens: Over The Top Linen / Lighting: J&S Audio Visual / Band: In10City Band / Candle Votives and Vases: BHLDN / Champagne Glasses and Cake Servers: Kate Spade / Prints: The Southern Weddings Shop / Thanks Y’all Sign: Z Create Design / Paper Products: Darby Cards / Bride’s Gown: “L216″ by Legends by Romona Keveza / Bride’s Headpiece: Mia Bridal Couture / Bride’s Veil: B.Hughes Bridal / Bride’s Belt: BHLDN / Hair and Makeup: Glam Studio by Misty Rockwell / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style 776″ in Petal Pink by Bill Levkoff / Groom’s Attire: Tom James / Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Love pink and gold for a wedding! Beautiful and the groom’s cake is awesome!

  2. avatar Loverly reply

    That cake looks gorgeous!

  3. avatar Sara Dodd reply

    I absolutely LOVE this weeding! The love between Barton and Hayley is so powerful. You can totally see the love between them both! Does y’all have any recommendations on where to buy those amazing poppers with the metallic streamers??!!

  4. avatar Maria @ The Good Life reply

    That Yale Bulldogs Groom’s cake is excellent! Beautiful wedding.

  5. avatar Mikkel reply

    Stunning details everywhere! LOVE the “bang” silver streamers. So fun! And the “thanks y’all” is another favorite. Awesome dance floor dip photo too. :-) Congratulations to Hayley and Barton and Mustard Seed Photography!

  6. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    The diamond headpiece is one of my favorite accessories I’ve seen! I love all the fun touches like the football cake and the chalkboard the ring bearer held.

  7. avatar Recent Publications » Mustard Seed Photography reply

    […] Hayley + Barton on Southern Weddings […]

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