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Carolina bride Sarah Ann shares her monogram-filled wedding at the Merrimon-Wynne House!

Today’s wedding holds a special place in my heart because the bride and groom are dear friends of mine! Earlier this year, Sarah Ann and Blake said their “I do’s” in front of their family and friends on the mildest North Carolina July day I can ever remember (a weather home run thanks to some savvy burying of the bourbon!). And while the images are breathtakingly gorgeous and details are both plentiful and personal (all that blue and white!), I strongly encourage you to not miss a word of Sarah Ann and Blake’s advice to those of y’all who are actively wedding planning. I know she speaks from the bottom of her heart when she says, “make your wedding your own. We thought of each decision as an opportunity to reflect what makes our relationship special.”

I couldn’t agree more with this sage encouragement, and love how SAT + WBS’s relationship shined through every last detail of their wedding celebration. Now, without further ado, dig into one of the sweetest celebrations I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing. And yes, the back of Sarah Ann’s dress is all the heart eyes — I audibly gasped when I saw her. She was the epitome of a classic Southern bride.

Biggest hugs to Graham Terhune of Anagram Photo for these beautiful images and kudos to Rebecca Rose Events for pulling together all of the details!

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? My favorite detail from the wedding was the use of blue and white. Our invitation suite, with its ode to beach music, monograms, and grosgrain ribbon was a preview for all of the blue and white we used throughout the wedding. Seeing Gigi’s chinoiserie collection on full display was absolutely breathtaking. I’ve grown up in a house full of blue and white ginger jars and porcelain pieces, and having her collection there made the Merrimon-Wynne feel like home. Blake’s favorite detail from the wedding was our late night snack, Frito Pie and Topo Chico. The guys from Long Leaf Swine did an amazing job of using this dish to reference our shared love for the Lone Star State. We discovered Frito Pie in Texas, and we loved being able to introduce this Southwestern staple to our North Carolina loved ones.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Carolina girl returns home from Texas to start a new adventure and in reconnecting with her forever sweetheart, begins her greatest adventure yet.
When did y’all get married? July 29, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 155.

I wore something old (my pearls), something new (my dress), something borrowed (Blake’s grandmother’s brooch), something blue (a gingham, monogrammed label, stitched into my dress and a second one wrapped around my bouquet), and an extra special sixpence (marked with Gigi’s birth year) in my shoe.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Getting married in the city we’ve come to call home, Raleigh, was important to us. Our church and so much of our community is in the Oak City. We felt strongly that the Merrimon-Wynne mirrored our identity as a couple: understated, sweet, and deeply sentimental. In selecting a venue, it’s also worth noting that I gave tremendous consideration to my Mema. She is 93 years old and she is our only living grandparent who was able to attend the wedding. Having our ceremony and reception in one spot made transitions easier, and we have the fondest memories of her on the dance floor throughout the reception!

What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite part of wedding planning was identifying ways to pay tribute to the people we love and cherish the most. Blake and I are deeply sentimental and we looked at our wedding as a space for sharing our hearts for the people who continue to shape us. One of my favorite tributes was wearing my Mema’s wedding band. Her little band means the world to us. It means a Christ-centered marriage. It means making a daily commitment to my Papa Curtis’s patience and devotion and to my Mema’s grace and humility. It means honoring traditions, like green punch and homemade candy every Christmas. It means listening more than you talk. It means choosing love, faith, and joy.

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. It took two rounds of dress shopping before finding “the one.” For the first round, we went to a beautiful bridal shop in Wilmington, North Carolina. Gigi (my mother), my sister-in-law, Mamma Jan (Blake’s mother), and my soon-to-be sister-in-law were all in town for our engagement party. We were excited about finding the perfect dress, and Mamma Jan even brought champagne! Though I tried on a dozen or so dresses, we left feeling somewhat defeated. For round two, Gigi and Mamma Jan met me at a boutique in Raleigh. I arrived before they did, walked a lap around the store as I was waiting, and found the dress within minutes. I met them in the parking lot to share that I had found the dress. I tried on several other dresses first… but when I slipped on “the one,” I didn’t want to take it off… a phenomenon a dear girlfriend had shared would happen. It was all that I had hoped for… simple, so very chic, and y’all, it had bows!

I told y’all! All the heart-eyes!!

I adore my Daddy, and he gave the most beautiful toast. His thoughtful words not only produced an abundance of joy and laughter, but also moved us to tears. He shared anecdotes from my childhood, describing the catalyst for my childhood nickname, “Scooter” and detailing far too many memories that involved my hands on my hips. He described the tender moments wherein Blake has become a part of our family. And in wishing us well, he shared out my favorite poetic verse, reading from Rudyard Kipling’s the “Mary Gloster.” I will forever treasure the memory of him raising a glass to toast our new marriage.

Our pastor, Justin, did a beautiful job of leading our ceremony, and we are eternally grateful that he was a part of our special day. We loved that he threaded our story into the traditional Methodist service, speaking to our struggles and our commitments. We loved that he spoke directly to our guests, reminding them of the vows they were taking to stand by us in our marriage. We exchanged traditional vows and chose to include Colossians 3:12-19 and Romans 12:10-13. Our sister-in-law, Stephanie, and Blake’s step-sister, Brooke, read these verses, reminding us to daily choose to love one another and to thoughtfully serve others.

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? After the ceremony, Blake and I snuck away to the bridal suite at the Merrimon-Wynne House. There were plates of food waiting for us and we relished in that sweet, stolen opportunity to share a meal on our wedding day. We talked about getting ready with our dearest friends and our favorite parts of the ceremony. We peeked out of a second story window, catching a glimpse of our guests, all settling into the reception. Blake played our song and we danced. We couldn’t stop smiling.

My parents spoiled us and our guests with our favorite Southern fare, including pork BBQ and beef brisket, mac and cheese, potato salad, and chicken and waffles. Blake and I hope to continue in that tradition of welcoming and loving people well throughout our marriage.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? The most significant way we cut costs was by using Gigi’s blue and white porcelain throughout the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. Providing these vessels helped us to make the most of our floral budget. Many of Gigi’s pieces didn’t require flowers at all and when combined with candles and clustered together, they made for the sweetest centerpieces. Additionally, I opted to address each invitation. My handwriting is a small part of my identity and there was something really special about writing each guest’s name, requesting that they come and be a part of the celebration and blessing of our marriage. It was an opportunity for me to reflect on the impact that each person had made on our lives.

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? Here’s a hard truth. I don’t care for cake. In lieu of a wedding cake, we served Blake’s favorite dessert, blackberry cobbler. Blake is an N.C. State graduate and we surprised him with Howling Cow ice-cream. Though we didn’t serve cake at our wedding, there were the most special cakes served at the Bridal Luncheon and the Rehearsal Dinner. For the Luncheon, my Aunt Tammy included a cake pull. I had no idea that she had planned to incorporate this fun, Southern tradition, but I am so very thankful that she did. I loved seeing the charms that each of the bridesmaids pulled! For the Rehearsal Dinner, Mamma Jan and my sister-in-law worked together to design a three layer cake with some of Blake’s favorites, including Snickers, Coconut Key Lime, and Oreo. The cake celebrated his love for golf, Mario, and our beloved Texas Longhorns, along with a topper, “WBS + SAT – Hooked for Life.”

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For the seating of the mothers and the wedding party processional, we used my late grandmother’s favorite hymn, “In the Garden” and Gigi’s longtime favorite, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” These selections were a surprise to Gigi and she still talks about how much having them played meant to her. I walked down the aisle to “Short Trip Home.” During the ceremony, we included a congregational hymn, “Come Thou Fount.” We printed song cards with a watercolor blackberry print for every guest. I am having one framed to hang in our bedroom. Our recessional was Blake’s favorite song, “This Must Be the Place.” I will never forget the look of joy on his face when he registered that the string quartet was playing his personal anthem. For our first dance, we shagged to an old Temptations song, “Lady Soul.” I danced with my Dad to the Dells’ “My Life is So Wonderful.” Blake danced with Mamma Jan to the Tams’ “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy.” Also, in planning the wedding, my Daddy made very few requests. Among them, he asked that he get a solo dance with Gigi. They danced to Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You.” It was one of the most special and romantic moments of the wedding.

Tell us all about the proposal! Blake and I met as two small-town teenagers, what feels like forever ago. Since we first met, we’ve chased after college dreams, pursued careers and degrees, and conquered new cities. When I moved back to North Carolina from Texas, we prioritized our relationship. One quiet weekend, Blake asked if I’d like to go “look at jewelry,” inviting me to try on engagement rings. Shortly after, he made a special trip home to Mount Airy to ask my Dad for my hand in marriage, and my precious Daddy (without hesitation) told me on the very same day that Blake had sat down with him. Still, I had no clue that Blake was planning to ask when he did. Not more than a week after sitting down with my Dad, that rascal, Blake, used a date night out with friends as a diversion and ultimately took me to one of my favorite places in all of Raleigh- the North Carolina Museum of Art. A mentor of mine serves as a docent at the museum, and I’ve made several big decisions in that very space. Blake knew as much. We walked through the park at the museum and when we came upon Thomas Sayre’s “Gyre,” Blake dropped down to one knee, pulled out the prettiest piece of “jewelry,” and asked me to marry him. A dear friend was there capturing each moment with a camera. Blake’s sweet smile was my favorite part.
Did you decide to do a first look? We did not do a first look. I wanted Blake to see me for the first time walking down the aisle, and Blake is mildly superstitious. We did, however, exchange notes and gifts. He gave me a stunning bracelet, and I gave him an N.C. State needlepoint wallet with a note in the postscript, “You’ve earned this gift… for wearing Carolina blue today. Thank you from the bottom of my Tar Heel-loving heart.”
What was Southern about your wedding? It made our hearts swell when one of our family friends commented that our wedding was the “the epitome of Southern charm.” I hope our guests found Southern charm in our commitment to traditions. We buried the bourbon and were blessed with the most mild July day. And we all had one big, shag dancing party with our favorite beach music band, Jim Quick and Coastline. I especially loved that our reception cards included lyrics from one of my favorite beach music songs, “Now it’s a drag if you can’t shag, you better learn how to move your feet.” There was also charm in the aesthetic and the look of our wedding. Bows and monograms abounded, our family photos and heirloom collections peppered the house, and our linens were a fun blend of buffalo checks, ginghams, and ticking stripes in pinks and blues. I loved seeing my bridesmaids’ in seersucker and I was thrilled that Blake’s mom had saved his navy, linen Eton suit from when he was little and that our nephew Holden, was able to wear it as a ring bearer. Beyond the tradition and the aesthetic, the hospitality of our loved ones was the most Southern part of our wedding. We put together the most darling surcees for our out-of-town guests, including my sister-in-law’s delicious homemade cheese straws and artwork created by our incredibly talented family friend, Sidney Hunter.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? The first most difficult part of wedding planning was building our guest list. We developed a few ground rules for building the list, including an agreement that neither Blake nor I would be meeting someone for the first time on our wedding day. Identifying our shared values around who would be present helped tremendously. The next most difficult part was carving out time for wedding planning amidst the whirlwind of life. I travel a great deal for my job, Blake was wrapping up graduate school work, and together we were transitioning from temporary housing to home ownership. Throughout all the busyness, Blake reminded me to take deep breaths and to savor in the season. He grounded me in the best possible way.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? In reflecting on our wedding, Blake and I would offer these five pieces of advice. 1. Make your wedding your own. We thought of each decision as an opportunity to reflect what makes our relationship special. 2. Set aside time for just you and your partner on your wedding day. Sneaking away, just the two of us, after the ceremony proved to be one of our most beloved parts of the day. 3. Give as much thoughtfulness to preparing for marriage, as you to do preparing for wedding. Our time with our minister helped us to learn about replacing judgment and pride with understanding and humility, about serving and celebrating one another at every opportunity, and about continually modeling grace. 4. Graciously accept the contributions others are eager to make. Our family and friends were excited to pour into us throughout our engagement season and especially during our wedding weekend. They found creative ways to love us well, preparing wedding day snacks, transporting luggage, and staying late to do a sweep of the venue. We had one set of family friends that had to go plates and a basket full of our favorite goodies waiting for us in our hotel room at the end of the night. 5. Give strong consideration to partnering with a planning and design firm. Working with the women of Rebecca Rose Events allowed both Blake and I, as well as our families, to be fully present in the celebration of our marriage. We are deeply grateful for their commitment and their contributions to the most meaningful and joyous day of our lives.

Photographer: Graham Terhune Photography (now Anagram Photo) | Videographer: Heart Stone Films | Planner and Florist: Rebecca Rose Events | Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Merrimon-Wynne House | Caterer and Dessert Baker: Longleaf Swine | Rentals and Lighting: Party Reflections | Band: Jim Quick & Coastline | Paper Products: Rebecca Rose Creative | Bride’s Gown: “Nazar” by Rosa Clara | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Lula Hair & Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Coren Moore | Linens: La Tavola | Vintage Furniture: Greenhouse Picker Sisters | Watercolor Illustration: Sidney Hunter | Ceremony Musicians: Arioso Strings

Graham Terhune from Anagram Photo, Heart Stone Films, Rebecca Rose Events, Rebecca Rose Creative, and LULA Hair and Makeup are all lovely members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor directory!

kristin Written with love by Kristin

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Bride Lilly shares her Charleston plantation wedding to Bobby!

One of my favorite wedding details to check out is how the bride and groom choose to create a guest book! I’ve seen some pretty creative keepsakes, but never had I heard of Lilly and Bobby’s idea! “Instead of doing a typical guest book, we decided to collect post cards from places that we traveled throughout our engagement and have guests write little notes or advice on them. My mother-in-law has them all and she is sending them to us throughout the whole first year of our marriage. It is a great way to extend the wedding fun throughout the whole year and we love being reminded of all the fun memories when we get one in the mail!” I absolutely love this idea! Not only are the postcards themselves keepsakes from their travels, but now they are full of love and advice from their wedding guests!

I’m so thrilled to hand it off to Lilly to share all the meaningful details of their day, and I know you’ll especially love the wedding favor that is now a family tradition!

Thanks to Rach loves Troy for these lovely images!

When did y’all get married? April 15, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 143.

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I knew that I wanted to shop for my wedding dress at 1-2 places in Charlotte, NC and that I wanted to only bring my mom and my best friend to keep from having too many opinions. The first stop was Hayden Olivia and I thought it was such a beautiful spot – we felt so special! I tried on 7 or 8 dresses, but I knew I wanted a dress that had lace sleeves and I ended up choosing the 2nd or 3rd dress I tried on. I didn’t cry at first, but as soon as we put the veil on, I looked at my mom and started crying and we all knew it was the one!

My something new, borrowed, old, and blue: My something new was the earrings my husband gave me on our wedding day, my something borrowed was my mom’s pearl bracelet, my something old was the lace from my mom’s wedding dress that I wrapped around my bouquet, and my something blue was my mom’s garter from her own wedding.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look in order to save time after the ceremony for celebrating and mingling with our guests that had come from near and far to share our special day with us. We are so happy that we did this because it really helped to calm our nerves and it even gave us some extra time to take a few cute pictures with our sweet dog!

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Did you write your own vows? (If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line?) Have any special readings, traditions, or participants? Our ceremony felt so magical because it was set in the middle of the Avenue of Oaks with all of this beautiful moss blowing in the wind – it was such a peaceful setting. We both felt it was really important to write our own vows so that we could really make them unique to us as a couple. My favorite line from his vows was: “I will forever be your biggest fan, supporting your passions and desires, because I know that the world is a better place with you by my side.” His favorite line from my vows was: “I promise to build a home and a family with you that is full of laughter, patience, acceptance, and love so that our children can witness firsthand how wonderful life can be if you have your best friend by your side.” My cousin also gave a beautiful reading of “The Art of Marriage” by Wilferd Arlan Peterson. We thought the words really served as important lessons and reminders of the type of marriage we wanted to create together.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Instead of doing a champagne toast for all of our guests, we brought a few bottles of champagne to have the bartenders hold on to just for us and our wedding party to use during the toasts. This was a great way to save money because often whenever the toasts start, people already have a drink in hand and the champagne goes to waste. But of course as the newlywed couple, we still wanted to have a little champagne on hand to celebrate!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? There were a few reasons that we thought Legare was the perfect spot for us. I am from North Carolina and Bobby is from New Hampshire, and we live in Boston now. I grew up vacationing in Charleston and it really felt like my home away from home. Once Bobby and I started dating, he would visit Charleston with me and he fell in love with it too. I knew I wanted to have a Southern wedding, and we wanted to share one of our favorite places with all of our friends and family. As soon as we saw Legare Waring House with its beautiful landscape and stunning oak trees, we knew we had found the perfect place!

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? My favorite memory is the feeling I felt when we were all seated at dinner and the light was just turning to dusk, and I saw all of our family and friends talking and laughing. Having my new husband by my side and seeing all of our favorite people in the same place getting to know one another was a feeling and a memory I will never forget.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We met our freshman year at UNC on my birthday (of all nights) and our friendship eventually turned into something more because we were always seated next to each other in classes (both our names begin with H), and we also played on the same intramural soccer team. It was fate!
Tell us all about the proposal! Bobby proposed on a beautiful fall day in October 2015 when we were in town for UNC’s homecoming football weekend, which we’ve been going to every year since we graduated. We live in Boston now, and I had actually flown down early on Friday to meet up with a friend and have lunch on campus. I didn’t think he was arriving until later that night because he had been gone all week on a work trip. My friend and I were walking around campus and as we approached the Old Well, he came up behind me and surprised me! He proposed in front of the Old Well and I can barely remember anything he said because I was so surprised. The best part about it (other than the proposal) was that my parents and a lot of our friends were in town so we had the whole weekend to celebrate with them!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The songs that we used for the ceremony and first dances were really important to me because I wanted them all to have sentimental value. For the seating of the grandmothers and mothers, the musicians played “Your Song” by Elton John. I loved this choice because my dad used to play that song for my mom on the piano when I was growing up. I walked down the aisle to “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol (a personal favorite) and for the recessional we chose “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles because it had a great lively beat to it which indicated to our guests at the end of the ceremony that it was time to celebrate! For our first dance, we danced to “You and I” by John Legend which my husband suggested and I absolutely loved. And for the father-daughter dance, we picked “My Girl” by the Temptations. I’ve been dancing with my dad to that song all my life after seeing “Father of the Bride” with him and it only made sense to dance to it together on our wedding day!
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? Why did you choose it? For our wedding cake, we wanted something classic, Southern, and a little unique. One of my favorite Southern desserts is banana pudding so when our cake baker offered that flavor as one of our choices, we had to say yes! It had real bananas and vanilla wafers inside it and was absolutely delicious. And the presentation of the cake could not have been more lovely with its classic white icing and beautiful sugar magnolia blooms. It was perfection!
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? My favorite detail was the favors for our guests. My mom baked homemade pecan chewies for each of our guests with the pecans from my great-uncle’s pecan farm. This was a nod to my great-grandmother who gave my mom and dad homemade pecan chewies on their wedding day as they were leaving for their honeymoon “so that they wouldn’t go hungry.” So we wanted to pass that same sentiment and tradition on to our guests!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite thing about wedding planning was all the special moments I got to share with my parents and my in-laws. Putting on my wedding dress for the first time with my mom, practicing the first dance with my dad, and making welcome bags with my mother-in-law were truly wonderful memories that I will always treasure. My husband and I also took dance lessons and it was a great way for us to make time as a couple during our busy week and just have fun together!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? The hardest part of planning our wedding was having to do it from afar. Since we live in Boston and the wedding was in Charleston, SC, we really had to rely on our planner and our family to help us stay organized and get through all of the logistics. We even picked out our venue by having my parents visit it and take videos – we didn’t see it in person until 10 months into the planning process!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? It is very easy to get caught up in the details of planning a wedding and forget why you’re getting married in the first place. Make time for yourself, your family, and your significant other because those are the people that make this special time so memorable. Your wedding day goes by in the blink of an eye, and what you end up remembering the most are the moments you shared with all of the people you love and care about – not the little details that go into planning a wedding.

Photographer and Videographer: Rach Loves Troy | Planner: A.Caldwell Events | Venue: Legare Waring House | Florist: Tiger Lily | Wedding Cake: Sugar Magnolia Cake Boutique | Caterer: B. Gourmet Catering | Bar: MIX Bartending | Rentals: EventWorks | Lighting: Innovative Event Services | Ceremony Music: Classical Charleston | DJ: DJ Josh via OtherBrother Entertainment | Invitation Suite: Scotti Cline Designs | Bride’s Gown: “Estelle” by Modern Trousseau | Bridal Salon: Hayden Olivia Bridal | Bride’s Veil: Jennifer Leigh Couture Veils | Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” in Ciel Blue by Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Tuxedo: Loro Piana from Julian Style | Groom’s Shoes: Tom Ford | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Getaway Car: Lowcountry Valet and Shuttle | Wedding Nanny for Dog: Dog Tired

Written with love by Catherine

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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Bride Molly shares her playful oceanfront wedding to Austin!

Today’s wedding is just a breath of beachy fresh air full of playful, glam details, and I couldn’t love it more. That’s why I’m so excited to introduce you to today’s bride, Molly, whose beau, Austin, proposed in a pink library on the same darling island where they hosted their wedding. Fittingly, their big day was full of touches of pink complemented by gorgeous watercolor paper goods, tassel details, and lots of blue and white ginger jars!

Everything about these photos is just plain fun, which is why it doesn’t surprise me that not even a power outage could dampen the mood. Molly says, “A huge storm rolled through as we were all on the dance floor that caused the power to go out. It ended up getting resolved, and we had power soon after, but even without lights and music, our guests were still having a blast.” Read on to see the rest of this oceanfront fete!

Thanks to Shannon Kirsten for these lovely photos!

When did y’all get married? May 13th, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 190.

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. My mom, one of my sisters, and two of my best friends joined me on the hunt. I am very particular, so when I saw my dress, I knew it was the one. It ended up being a pretty easy task for me!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Our wedding fell on Mother’s Day weekend so florists were few and far between. We ordered our flowers from Fifty Flowers and our amazing day-of planner (who also doubles as a florist) was able to create all of the floral arrangements the day before. Also, the wedding cake. Since we went simple, it kept the cost down.

What was Southern about your wedding? I loved the traditional children’s wear that we used for the ring bearers and flower girls (all 7 of them) and monogramming anything we could get away with.

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? I loved walking down the aisle with my veil over my face and having my father lift it up once I met Austin at the end. I also loved the cross that was the backdrop of our ceremony, representing faith in Jesus as the foundation of our marriage.

What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? I loved the design aspect and seeing everything coming together from beginning to end. From the invitation suite, to the centerpieces, to the welcome bags and paper products…making sure it all fit the look and feel we were going for.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? I’ve always loved the Boca Bay Pass Club as a venue. The beautiful Gulf of Mexico in the background, the blue & white chinoiserie wallpaper in the bathroom, the green lawn where we pitched our reception tent…the list goes on. It was perfect for us. We also loved the fact that it felt like a “destination” wedding even though it’s not far from where we are from.

Our first dance was to Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love.” Austin and I love Van Morrison’s music and always knew we wanted to use one of his songs for our first dance. The lyrics of this song are so sweet and meaningful. It was perfect for us. The father-daughter dance was to James Taylor’s “How Sweet it is to be Loved by You.” My dad and I had so much fun dancing to this song. At one point he picked me up and twirled me in his arms. The mother-son dance was to Van Morrison’s “Days like This.” Austin and his mom are both great dancers and love this song.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Austin and I were high school sweethearts that went our separate ways (but stayed friends) during college and then immediately following my college graduation, we knew we were “the one” for each other.
Tell us all about the proposal! Austin asked if I wanted to go to Boca Grande, FL for the weekend. Since that’s one of my favorite getaway spots, of course I said yes. On Saturday, I was in my bathing suit and cover-up ready to hit the beach, but Austin had different plans. He rented a golf cart for the day and asked if I wanted to take a ride around the [adorable] island. Sounded good to me. We made a little stop at what I’ve always told him was my favorite library. It’s painted pink with huge front doors made of coral with a lush courtyard in the back. We took a stroll through the library, and before I knew it, he was on one knee. of course I said yes, so we popped some champagne and spent the day basking in our excitement and spreading the news. That night Austin took me to my favorite restaurant on the island, The Temptation (aka “the temp”), and low and behold our parents were nestled up in a cozy round booth in the corner of the restaurant. He had invited them down to dinner to help us celebrate!
Did you decide to do a first look? We went back and forth on our decision but ended up doing a first look. I am so happy we did. It was a special moment [and one of the only moments] we had with just us. Plus, it gave us more time to celebrate with everyone at our wedding and more time for pictures.
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? Dessert wasn’t a huge priority of ours so we kept it easy and went with a simple wedding cake from Publix. It was vanilla with a strawberry cream filling and cream cheese icing…delicious!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Don’t worry about everyone’s opinion, because everyone will want to share theirs. Whether it be positive or negative. Focus on the positive and that your best, most fun and special day ever is right around the corner!

Photographer: Shannon Kirsten Photography | Planner and Florist: Caroline Ruth Designs | Additional Planning: Sarah Tucker | Venue and Caterer: Boca Bay Pass Club | Flowers: Fifty Flowers | Wedding Cake Baker: Publix Bakery | Lighting and Rentals: US Tent Rental | Specialty Linens: La Tavola | Farm Tables and Vintage Furniture: The Reserve Vintage Rentals | Band: The Atlanta Funk Society | Paper Products: Shannon Kirsten | Bride’s Gown: “Teresa” by Hayley Paige | Earrings: Ann Taylor | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Ali Pullen & Heather Jo Herman from Acqua Aveda Salon | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Lauren,” “Newbury,” “Lacey,” “DC,” “Lolo,” “Riggs,” and “Amber” in “Going to the Chapel” by Joanna August | Groom’s Attire: Mr. Porter and Burberry | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux

Written with love by Catherine
  1. avatar Priscilla Henriques reply

    Wow, what a stunning wedding! Amazing wedding for an amazing couple! Honored to have been a small part! – Priscilla (The Reserve Vintage Rentals)

  2. avatar Lucy Clarke reply

    A fun and special day indeed for Molly and Austin! Love how all the details came together to create a light, fun and breathtaking moment!

  3. avatar Shannon Kirsten reply

    My favorite wedding thus far! Thank you for featuring us! – Shannon Kirsten

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