I love lace! Love it! And Tara’s fabulous Monique Lhuillier gown completely makes this wedding, photographed by Sean and Mel McLellan of McLellan Style. While I’m still more than a little distracted by the bride’s dress, Emily’s already oohing and ahhing over the rustic, farm-inspired details of Claxton Farm in Weaverville, North Carolina. The bridesmaids’ J.Crew frocks are the perfect shade of brown for such an organic wedding and, like Tara, we really like that the bouquets and flower arrangements from Kaylynne’s Briar Patch look freshly-picked and oh-so natural. We have some amazing shots of the authentic barn reception we can’t wait to share with you, so be sure to check back soon for more of Tara + Andrew’s North Carolina shindig.
Describe the proposal: Andrew actually brought up the subject of marriage pretty early on in our relationship, but it wasn’t until nearly a year later that he finally popped the question. We had planned a trip to Sedona, AZ, so I had a feeling that he might use the opportunity to his advantage. I was right! The second day we were there, we got up early to hike to the base of one of the red rock formations called Cathedral Rock. It is beautiful out there, very different from the green forests here on the East coast. Just before we came to the river, he knelt down under a tree and pulled out the ring from his camera case. I was thrilled, and, obviously, I said yes! We have some amazing pictures from that trip!
A date we went on that we’ll always remember: Our first date is definitely the most memorable. We jokingly call it the middle school date, even though we were both in our mid-twenties at the time. We had spoken on the phone before, but had never met in person. So, when we finally saw each other for the first time, it was exciting and awkward all at the same time. He had just finished his third semester of graduate school and was visiting his parents for the holidays, near where I was living at the time. We ended up playing a round of putt-putt, then going to his parents’ house to make a pizza and play wii. I ended up meeting his mom, and she showed me a bunch of pictures of him when he was a kid. It’s sort of embarrassing to admit, but it’s our story.
The weather on our wedding day was: Unusually hot for the mountains
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? We honestly didn’t have to design much, as the venue itself is inspiring. The rustic barn opened out onto a grassy field and was surrounded by the beautiful Appalachian Mountains; it was such a picturesque backdrop. We kept things simple, letting the beauty of the place shine through. We did add some elements that we felt would make it a true Southern wedding though, like the mason drinking jars, jam favors and pies.
Favorite design element of your big day: The barn was really the best design element. It’s a 100-year-old tobacco barn, so it’s very weathered, worn and imperfect, which is what I loved about it! It really made us feel like we were on an actual, working farm and not just at an event space made to look like one.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I actually ended up changing my dress just two months before the wedding, and I’m so glad I did! I had an idea of what I wanted when I was dress shopping (lace, slim silhouette, and not strapless) but couldn’t seem to find it in any of the bridal salons. My mom and I ended up buying a dress at a sample sale that was close to what I thought I wanted, but after I took it home something just didn’t feel quite right about it. So, silly me kept looking, and it didn’t take me long to figure out that there was one designer I kept coming back to. The only problem was there was no way I could afford one of her gowns new. Then, just a couple months before the wedding, I found a girl in my area who was selling her gorgeous pre-owned gown from this designer –in my size! I wanted to try it on, but I still felt a little guilty about having already purchased a dress with my mom. I actually remember telling Andrew that I was going to try on this gown, that it wouldn’t look good on me, and that I would finally be able to forget about all the dress insanity. Well, he must know me better than I know myself because when I came back he said “It looked great, didn’t it?” It did. So, I bought it. I was worried that my mom would be upset that I changed my mind, but it turned out that she never really liked the first dress either and was only pretending to like it for my sake. She said the second dress was so much more me, and I had to agree. It was perfect!
Describe your wedding flowers: I knew I wanted peonies in my bouquet, but I honestly didn’t know what types of flowers I wanted to use elsewhere. All I knew was that I wanted everything to have a fresh and organic feel, as if they had just been picked from the garden. I pretty much fed that exact line to my florist and told her to run with it. I think they turned out just lovely.