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Ceara and Nate’s wedding continued in beautiful style under a gorgeous tent set on her family’s land. More than the lovely details, though, there’s something that sticks with me about this wedding. From Ceara: “The whole weekend is etched in our minds as a profound celebration of life and love and family. Two weeks before the wedding, my father was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer. He decided not to tell anyone outside the family before the wedding, but we all had a heightened awareness throughout the weekend that this was time out of time. And it was. My father was his exuberant self and seized the opportunity to celebrate his family and friends on land that had always been sacred to him. We are all so grateful to have the incredible photos and film of him in his element.” That, my friends, is what weddings are all about — celebrating family, life, and love. Big thanks to Christian Oth Studio for sharing this beauty with us.

The weather on our wedding day was: Beautiful, but major storms were predicted for Friday night. Our rehearsal dinner was to be outside by our pond and we had tent coverage for dinner but not cocktails. At the last minute my planner, Jung, found some tents for the cocktail area, but I made her take them down as soon as they were up – they were filthy and ruined the beautiful view! Practicalities weren’t first and foremost in my mind. Heavy winds and a purple sky portended massive storms and Jung thought I was crazy, but obliged. Much to her relief and my delight the clouds cleared just as guests arrived and it turned into a perfect evening.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: On Friday night as we gathered by our pond for drinks a baby alligator joined us, sunning himself on the bank below. During the ceremony on Saturday an eagle flew overhead as we exchanged vows. Obviously these weren’t details we had any hand in arranging, but they added to our sense that we were marrying at the right time in the right place.
Funniest moment? In retrospect it is pretty funny, and somewhat surprisingly at the time we thought so too—the ceremony began at the exact late afternoon moment the gnats descended. I had just assumed spraying would be enough, but all of our local guests could time the insects’ arrival to the minute. Throughout the ceremony Nate and I gripped hands so that we wouldn’t scratch, but our many flower girls, ring bearers, and most members of the wedding party couldn’t keep still. If you look closely at the photos, there is a halo of gnats around all of our heads. I don’t think everyone thought it was so funny—some of our guests looked like they had the chicken pox for weeks! Luckily they all said the experience was well worth the scars.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Without a doubt, logistics. The first hurdle was planning the wedding from New York during my first year of law school, but we were both happy to use the wedding as an excuse to head down to Charleston on the odd weekend. Then there was the problem of hosting 200+ people on our rural land, where the only space open enough to fit a tent was a remote field once used to land airplanes. I have to credit Jung and Josh, our wedding planners, with pulling it off—they figured out a way to bus everyone in, throw up a tent, cook dinner for 225 guests and power a 10-piece band in a field in the middle of nowhere!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There is not just one moment — the whole weekend is etched in our minds as a profound celebration of life and love and family. Two weeks before the wedding my father was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer. He decided not to tell anyone outside the family before the wedding, but we all had a heightened awareness throughout the weekend that this was time out of time. And it was. My father was his exuberant self and seized the opportunity to celebrate his family and friends on land that had always been sacred to him. We are all so grateful to have the incredible photos and film of him in his element.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Natural, irreverent, magical.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are expecting a baby boy in July, leaving me just enough time to graduate from law school in May!

Written with love by Katharine
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  1. avatar stefanie reply

    Can you please help me find the bolero that Ceara is wearing in her wedding? I would like to treat my daughter-in-law to be…

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This wedding was captured by Shawn Connell of Christian Oth Studio and planned by fete, who also did the decor and flowers. Take a look at the stunning Valentino gown that Ceara wore — I love the detailing on the sleeves! Those who liked the yellow bridesmaid dresses will be happy to know they are from the Jenny Yoo collection.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met as freshmen in college but did not start dating until our junior year. A few friends of mine were joining me at my family’s property south of Charleston for spring break, which also happens to be turkey season. I always knew Nate would love our place, as he grew up in northern Minnesota and was already an avid fisherman and hunter. I coyly mentioned my spring break plans to him one night and happily he invited himself before I had to. He was the first to arrive and within 24 hours he had bonded with my father, a fellow hockey defenseman, and crashed our Suburban. A few days later he got his first turkey and before the end of the week we were together.
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? We immediately wanted the wedding weekend to be about the location – the marshy wetlands and diverse bird life of our land and the spirit of the house, which my late grandmother had decorated in sunny yellows and oranges. These inspirations were drawn upon to create a natural, elegant and light-hearted atmosphere. The paper products set the tone, all incorporating birds and the color yellow in some way—the invitation was the most formal, designed to open like an old-fashioned hand-written note. The ceremony was outside in a huge field dotted with hay bales (we found square ones for the guests to sit on). Mozart’s Magic Flute then greeted us in the dinner tent, which had a maze of long green silk-draped tables with silver candelabras and a peacock feather on each plate. After dinner everything shifted to the other side of the tent, which had a Moroccan feel—large elephant palms, mercury balls clustered above the dance floor and lots of cozy chaises.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I tried on dozens of gowns. When I first saw my dress on the rack I thought it was crazy—an explosion of lace and silk flowers. My fashion-forward little sister insisted I try it on and the moment I did I was in love, but worried it was not the easiest gown to wear. Over time I began to have visions of the beautiful lace train with its big, silk flowers against the grass of the field we would be married in. In the end there was no question that it was the dress.
Describe your wedding flowers: I wanted all of the wedding flowers to be natural and organic, like they had been plucked that morning and (skillfully!) thrown together. Jung and her team at Fete captured my vision perfectly and pushed it in new directions, suggesting sunflowers for the ceremony and bridesmaids’ bouquets to pick up the yellow of their dresses. For the dinner tent we sought a gracious, old-world feel, and the predominantly white arrangements worked beautifully.

Written with love by Katharine
2 Comments
  1. avatar stefanie reply

    Could some one please let me know more information on the bolero…My son is getting married in November and I would love to treat my daughter-in-law to be to this beautiful accessory!

  2. avatar Victoria reply

    What are the names of the flowers used in the bridesmaids bouquets, besides the sunflowers!? Please!

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Real Wedding: Amy + Ben

by in Main on

Have we got quite the southern wedding for you today!  Not only does it include a southern gentleman groom, a wedding theme of “southern funky formal” and southern cuisine, but a tornado the day before and a venue change a month before the “I do’s”.  Got your interest right? Read on to hear from Amy about the venue change and the tornado that hit Jackson, Mississippi.  The couple was married at {St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church} with a reception at {Providence Hill Farm}.  The bouquets, table arrangement and flowers were all done beautifully by {Garden District}. The Southern cuisine was created by {VIP’s Grand Events} with the wedding cake by {The Cake Diva}.  This southern soiree was planned by the amazing Shanna of {A Southern Affair}.  Like the bling Amy wore? All from {Adorn  Brides}.  This wedding was captured by {Kevin Beasley Photographer Inc.}.  Check out Kevin’s blog post to see all the photos {Ceremony Post}, {Reception Post} and {WE TV Post}.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Ben and I meet in ninth grade at a friend’s house. I thought he was your typical jock type with an attitude. I introduced him to a friend as “Ben Bolton” he was quick to correct me. I thought ‘What a jerk’ and didn’t speak to him for ten years. While rooming with two guy friends after college this guy kept crashing on our couch. I was upset when I found out it was Ben but he hung around and asked me out. That was five years ago, and we have been together ever since.
Describe the proposal: Ben asked me to be his wife among the ruins of St. Andrew Cathedral on a cliff overlooking Scotland’s North Sea. It was a long time coming but, totally worth the wait. It was the most perfect romantic wedding proposal I could have ever dreamed of.
What attracted me to my husband was: His dapper good ole southern boy looks with the charm of a Southern gentleman. Plus he makes me laugh!!
Why do you love your husband? He is a true Southern gentleman with a heart of gold.
What attracted me to my wife was: She was beautiful, but she was just one of the guys. I can be myself around her.
A date we went on that we’ll always remember: Ben and I disagreed on a lot of things at first, but one thing we did agree on was the blues. We went to a blues club once and I started singing the song aloud and Ben looked at me and said “You know the blues.” I said “I love the blues.” We go to blues clubs together as much as we can and dance the night away. Those are always some of my favorite dates.
The weather on our wedding day was: Overcast. We had one of the most damaging tornados that has ever hit Jackson, Mississippi storming on the day of our wedding.
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Southern Funky Formal.
Favorite design element of your big day: The “Southern influence” throughout every detail
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I could not find anything that I was just totally in love with. So I put several wedding gowns together and a local wedding dress shop, {The Bridal Path}, had it made. {Adorn Bride} provided the jewelry I wore, which was magnificent!
Describe your wedding flowers: Cymbidium orchid sprays, orange French tulips, pink peonies and green hydrangeas.
Describe your wedding cake: Four-tired square cake features hand-painted cherry blossoms and branches reaching toward the top tier boasting a bouquet of sugar cherry blossoms.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: All the touches of our favorite things. From the Southern cuisine of raw oysters, fried catfish and lobster ravioli to our signature Southern drink of mint juleps. The music was good old Southern blues, which is mine and Ben’s favorite.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We originally had our wedding reception booked at another venue and they would not let us film for the {WE TV}. They were putting stipulations on everything, and I did not want anyone telling us what we could or couldn’t do on our wedding day. So our fantastic wedding planner {Shanna Lumpkin} proposed {Providence Hill Farms}. There had never been a wedding out on the privately owned farm, but she called and rushed us out there the next day. It was wet and freezing, but it was breathtaking. It had Ben written all over it with the gorgeous outdoor landscape and the laid back atmosphere. I loved the architecture and the way you felt like you were on a resort somewhere, but you were still in Jackson, Mississppi. We decided to move it to Providence Hill Farms (it was meant to be once we saw it) so we changed venues a month out and reprinted over 500 invitations.
Were there any special family traditions you included in the wedding? I carried a blue rosary around my bouquet for a symbol of my Catholic upbringing. I also wore my grandmother’s wedding ring.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It was all so much fun and beautiful, but the moment we saw each other for the first time was pretty surreal. Of course the fact that our wedding was also being filmed for national television was pretty memorable as well.
Funniest moment? We lost our entire wedding party for about an hour during pictures. Someone had told them to load on a bus, and they were driven about 20 minutes away from the location. We still don’t entirely understand what happened.
Hardest decision you made in planning? To switch venues so close to the wedding, but I knew in my heart it was what I needed to do.
The most unexpected event on our wedding day was:
The devastating tornado that came through the day before. We had guests flying in from all over and none of the hotels or our homes had power. Roadways were shut down and it took hours to get anywhere.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Grateful, Loved, Perfect, Unbelievable, Magical. Wait, that’s more then three.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase/verse/or line? We did not write our own vows but did say a prayer asking God to give us the strength to be good partners to one another and to be good parents.
What advice would you give to someone planning their wedding? To remember what your wedding day actually is. It is a celebration of your love for one another, and for the people coming out to support that love. It is not a contest or production.
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration. Enjoy your day!! Take it all in and remember every moment!
Who was your most honored guest at the wedding? Everyone who attended this occasion was an honored guest. We wanted for everyone to have a fun time and walk away with an everlasting memory of a Southern wedding.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Well we moved right on to the next step in our life about two days into the honeymoon! We welcomed a healthy baby boy on Christmas Eve 2008. Benjamin Jackson Boteler II. He is an absolute joy and definitely the best thing that has ever happened to us. Life has been one grand experience after another for the both of us, but it is much better having the love of your life to share it with.

Congratulations to Amy + Ben.  We wish you the best as you enjoy newlywed life and the wonderful moments you’ll share as new parents!

lara Written with love by Lara Casey
3 Comments
  1. avatar Nicole-Lynn reply

    They were on Platinum Weddings, this couple/wedding was beautiful!

  2. avatar wedding chicksd reply

    love the colors they chose! so adorable.

  3. avatar PreppyGirl reply

    I saw them on Platinum Weddings! Beautiful wedding, very lavish and unique!

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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