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Category: Real Southern Weddings

One of the best things about Southern winters is that they’re chilly enough to permit all things cozy–fireplaces, hot chocolate, and furry coats, for example–but not so cold that a winter bride and groom can’t hold their wedding outside! Hannah and Jeremy prioritized showing their guests true Southern hospitality, and from the blankets that were passed out at the ceremony to the s’mores station set up at the reception, we’re sure everyone felt so loved and welcomed!

Thank you so much to Perry Vaile for capturing Hannah and Jeremy’s day and sharing it with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. When I went to go look for my wedding dress, I was really nervous. When I went to the store, I told my bridal consultant that the only two requirements for my dress were sleeves and lace. When all of the tulle dresses she brought in did not work, I asked to browse the dresses in the showroom. I walked straight up to the dress that would soon be my bridal gown. It was covered in an amazing lace, but it did not have sleeves. I had a quick consult with the seamstress, who was able to construct the sleeves that I wanted, creating my dream dress.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. We made the decision to do so after considering how early the sun would go down in November, but even more so, we decided to see each other because we both felt it would calm our nerves. Having that moment on that day that only the two of us shared is something that we will never forget.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment from our wedding day was when our photographer took us off-location after our first look to take some photos of just the two of us. It allowed us to have a moment to ourselves away from all of the hustle and bustle of the wedding day. We were able to just chat and calm our nerves and really take in the moment. It was the only moment that day when we were really by ourselves.

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 chose a more modern version of wedding vows than the traditional ones. Our favorite phrase was “I promise to love you without reservation.”

There were hints of the South all throughout our wedding–the small town, the mason jars, the woodsy decor. The biggest Southern tradition that we wanted to portray, however, was our hospitality. Because our wedding was smaller, we were able to shower our guests with small tokens of our hospitality–blankets to warm them up during the outdoor ceremony, hot cocoa and apple cider, s’mores, and fireplaces, to name a few. We wanted to make sure each and every one of our guests felt comfortable and content, which is what each of them has done for us for the past six years of our relationship. It was the perfect time to honor them.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We would say that the most amazing vender we included in our wedding day was our photographer. Not only did our photographer help us to capture so many important moments, you could literally feel that she was creating magic behind that camera. It also seemed like she was everywhere at once. Every time I thought, “I’d love to have a picture of that,” there she was working her magic.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Jeremy and I met a little over six years ago at our university’s summer orientation. The girl I roomed with attended high school with a guy who played on the football team, and Jeremy was on the team as well, so we met through them. After orientation, Jeremy and I went our separate ways back to our hometowns. We officially started dating during the first month of college and have been together ever since.
Tell us all about the proposal! Jeremy created such an amazing proposal, it still doesn’t feel real sometimes. Unbeknownst to me (which is extremely rare, since I’m hard to surprise), Jeremy spent four months planning his proposal. On my birthday, he gathered all of our friends together to watch me open this amazing gift that everyone knew about and kept raving about. I thought for sure that it would be a ring. Instead, when I opened the box, I found tickets to see my favorite band, Mumford & Sons. In my excitement, I failed to notice where the concert was taking place–New York City, which is my favorite place. We were leaving two days later, so I started to freak out a little because I had work and arrangements to make before leaving, but Jeremy told me he had already taken care of everything with my work. He also told me to pack a really fancy outfit for one of the nights we were going to be there, so I thought that would be the night the proposal would take place. Once again, I was wrong. On the second day we were in the city, we ate lunch at a cute little pub in midtown Manhattan. After lunch, Jeremy said, “Let’s take a walk over to 5th Avenue and check it out,” to which I replied, “Nah, my belly is full. Let’s go nap in the hotel,” but he talked me into it. When we got outside of the pub, we noticed it had started to snow, which really made me want to nap, but I went along anyway. On the way over to 5th Avenue, we passed the LOVE sculpture, so of course I wanted a picture in front of it. Jer said, “Sure, let me get this random lady to take our pic.” While I waited in front of the statue, he switched the camera to video mode and came to stand next to me. Jeremy is super tall (6’9″), so when he got over to me, I told him, “Hey, you may need to duck down a bit so she doesn’t chop your head off in the pic.” He said, “Oh, you want me to duck down? Okay.” and proceeded to get down on one knee and pull out a ring. I, of course, flipped out and said “YES,” but it didn’t end there. After a few minutes of taking in the moment, I started to notice that there were two people with super nice cameras taking pictures of us. I asked Jer if he knew them, and he said he had hired them to be there. Not only that, but the random woman had taken a complete video of the entire encounter. And it STILL doesn’t end there! That evening was the evening for the fancy dress, which I thought at that point was just so we could go out and celebrate. As soon as I stepped off of the elevator at the restaurant, my jaw dropped. Straight across from me was a table of three of our closest friends, who had driven up from North Carolina to celebrate with us!
When did y’all get married? November 30, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 75
Describe your wedding flowers. We used succulents with splashes of blush flowers. We thought the succulent was a unique option for a fall/winter wedding.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. A family friend made our simple, but elegant, three-tier wedding cake. The top and bottom tiers were Jeremy’s favorite (carrot cake), and the middle tier was my favorite cake (lemon). The cake was covered in a smooth buttercream icing and was topped with a miniture LOVE statue replica, like the one in NYC that Jeremy proposed in front of.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did have something blue, old, and new. My something blue was a pair of antique earrings that my nana gave me, which are nearly a century old and are adorned with a single sapphire stone. My something old was the gold bangle bracelet that my nana was given on her wedding day by her husband. My something new was my beautiful lace wedding gown.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge Jeremy and I had to overcome during the wedding planning process was to learn what was really important to us. People may think we are completely insane when we say this, but from the time you get engaged to the time you get married, life is an absolute whirlwind. It feels like the two of you are sitting completely still and everyone and everything around you is moving in fast motion telling you, “Do it this way,” “Put that there,” “Stand here.” During that time, Jeremy and I had to stop and focus on what really mattered, which was not just planning a wedding that would last one day, but rather, a marriage that would last a lifetime.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take in each moment! We had so many people tell us during the planning process that the wedding day goes by so quickly. We found that if you have prepared yourself to take in each moment, it will go by at your own pace. I even had one of my bridesmaids remind me throughout the day to take in the moment. Tt was like a breath of fresh air every time she told me to take a mental picture, because it was so easy to get carried away and forget to seize the moment.

Perry Vaile is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Photographer: Perry Vaile Adams / Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Rudy Cox of Rudy C. Events / Flowers & Decor: Expressions of Love Florist / Cake Baker: Family Friend / Catering: The Garden on Millbrook / Rentals: Table Toppers, Inc. / DJ: Keith Waller / Bride’s Dress: "Scarlet" by Monique Lhuillier / Hair and Makeup: Lauren B. Goldsmith / Bride’s Shoes: "Kelly" in French Taupe from Sole Society / Bridesmaid Dresses: Donna Morgan / Groom’s Attire: Tommy Hilfiger / Groomsmen Attire: Wilke Rodriguez suit by Men's Wearhouse
lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    This wedding looks like it would have been so cozy to attend! Love the rich blue + ceremony florals!

  2. avatar Perry Vaile reply

    This absolutely made my day! It was such a privilege to work with and shoot Hannah and Jeremy’s gorgeous wedding day! I was THIS close to grabbing a seat and bundling up with a blanket and s’mores myself!!! :)

  3. avatar Stephanie reply

    Oh this wedding is gorgeous and so romantic! I love all of the winter details – and their proposal story is beautiful and so special!

  4. avatar Dana reply

    the photographer did an amazing job! love that last photo with the sparklers!

  5. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Love the outdoor touches for this wedding!

  6. avatar outdoor fireplace – rugged life | rugged life reply

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It’s been so funny to refer to today’s wedding in the office, because this handsome couple shares a name with my own marvelous husband and me! Yep, we’ve got another Emily + John on our hands. And if I had to choose a pair to share a name with, I don’t think I could do much better. I love the romantic fall details they planned with Atrendy Wedding (especially the hot drink bar at their ceremony!), but what struck a chord with me most was Emily’s thoughts on their first look: the whole morning while I was getting ready, I felt anxious that John wasn’t with me. He’s been with me for every important thing that has happened since we met, and it seemed so odd not to share those moments of anticipation with him. As soon as we were reunited at our first look, all my nerves immediately evaporated. It allowed us to really savor the wedding and reception, and it was one of the rare quiet moments we had together all weekend. My own John is definitely my best friend, and I felt the same way on our wedding day.

Big hugs to Abby Grace for sharing these lovely photos with us!

From the minute I walked into Lovely Bride’s boutique in DC, I felt like I would find my dress there. We had been to a handful of shops that day, but nothing had stood out. When I tried my dress on, my first impression was that it was so incredibly comfortable. I loved the silhouette, the lace back, and the way it fell. I always thought I would design my own wedding gown, and I wanted to make a few changes, so I worked with the seamstresses at Green and Blue Studio to redesign the neckline. My dress was one part classic and one part glamorous, and most importantly, it felt like something John would recognize me in.

I wanted to avoid the Thanksgiving/fall look, so I opted for soft neutrals–mostly whites, with blush, peach and soft gray accents, as well as my favorite flower-I-had-never-heard-of: dusty miller. At the end of the night, my wedding planner arranged for a nonprofit called Petal Share to pick up the flowers and deliver them to hospitals, retirement homes, hospices, etc., which I thought was neat!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. John and I met in Fall 2009 during our first semester at Harvard Business School, where we were in the same section. John DJs as a hobby, and he DJ’d some of our section’s events that fall. I was the section photographer, and around the holidays, I was putting together a slideshow video for our school formal. I asked him to help me mix some music for the video, and we spent a whole day working on this project together. We went on our first date to a French restaurant called Aquitaine about a week later. The way John tells it, he knew I was the one by the end of that dinner. We’ve been sharing laughter and adventures ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! On Saturday, June 15, we were in Boston on a beautiful, sunny day. We were pulling up to check-in at the hotel where that formal had been held during our first year of school. Instead of going to the front desk, John gave me a love letter marked “#1,” and hailed another cab. We ended up going on a tour of places that were meaningful to our relationship, with love letters at each stop. He gave me Letter #3 on the Weeks Footbridge, which crosses the Charles River, took my hands, and dropped down on one knee. While this was happening, I heard a flurry of camera shutters clicking away. I had thought they were tourists, but they were actually there to photograph the proposal! They took us around Cambridge to do engagement photos before we continued on to stops #4 and #5, ending with lunch at Aquitaine, the site of our first date.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We started with traditional vows, but we personalized them so that each line really held meaning for us. My favorite line was one we added: “from this day forward, my home will always be with you”. To me, marriage has always been about finding an anchor and constancy in a life that is otherwise unpredictable and full of change. No matter what life brings us, all I need is John with me and we’ll be home.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? The Old Testament reading was from Tobit 8:4-8, which we chose for the final line, “… bring us to old age together.” That has always been our shared vision for marriage–that we would be hand in hand when we’re old. The New Testament reading was Colossians 3:12-17, which was also one of the readings my parents used at their wedding. The Gospel reading was John 15:9-12: “Love each other as I have loved you.” It can’t get more straightforward than that!

Mini grilled cheese sandwiches! And mini bottles of champagne to guide guests to their tables! Y’all know I am in heaven.

The things I love about the South revolve around family, tradition, soft colors and Chick-fil-A (I lived in Georgia for a long time…). I think the South is simultaneously casual and elegant, and that was the feel I wanted at our wedding. I loved the soft color scheme, the historic venue, and the combination of black tie in a totally relaxed atmosphere. We incorporated family heirlooms and tradition, and had my cousin officiate. We spent a lot of time thinking about how to best host our guests–most of whom traveled from out of town–and we planned things like the cider station, pashminas, welcome cocktails, and a farewell brunch for them. Finally, the red velvet groom’s cake was obviously a Southern touch, and the mini chicken and waffles during cocktail hour were my personal favorite.

I absolutely LOVED John’s groom cake. The pastry chef made a cake shaped like a DJ turntable, complete with a record saying “DJ Kos.” His cake was classic red velvet–the good Southern kind that’s actually cocoa-based, not just food coloring!

When did y’all get married? November 16, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. John is a music fanatic, so we spent a lot of time thinking about this! We went fairly traditional with the ceremony music. Our first dance was to our band’s rendition of John Legend’s “Stay with You”; it’s a beautiful, soulful song. John and his mom danced to Rascal Flatt’s “My Wish,” and I danced with my dad to Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.” Both John and my dad are huge Dylan fans, and this particular song is one my dad and his late sister used to sing at family events, so it was a special way to honor her memory as well.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I went with a sweet and simple cake: three round tiers, textured buttercream, and a large beaded border. The cake was almond with strawberry meringue buttercream filling. The pastry chef put little chocolate crunchies in the center, which reminded me of the ice cream cakes we used to get for our birthdays growing up.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I did my own calligraphy on the invitations, escort cards, place cards, and signs. For the signs, I found all the frames on Etsy, and my mom figured out a way to turn the black chalkboards a soft gray color. I spent hours doing all the design and lettering by hand. I was also thrilled with the way our guestbook turned out–we had a photo booth, so our guests used their photos to make a scrapbook for us. It was so much fun reading it when we got back from our honeymoon.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! For my something borrowed, I wore my great grandma, grandma and mom’s original engagement rings on my right hand. For something old, I wrapped my flowers in lace from their wedding dresses. My mother-in-law gave me a locket passed down in her family to pin to my flowers as well. To me, this was like a good luck symbol to be carrying the strength and wisdom of all those long marriages with me as I started my own. My something blue was a monogrammed handkerchief I carried, just in case John or I teared up during the ceremony. My mother gave me a beautiful pearl and diamond bracelet as my something new.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The hardest thing for us was planning the wedding in five months from a different city during a busy period at work. I had one “super weekend” in Virginia where we booked the rehearsal dinner, hotel, and band, had the food and cake tastings, had my first dress fitting, and did hair and make up trials all in one. My wedding planner helped by recommending the vendors, but my mom was really the star. She did so much of the heavy lifting to bring my vision to life, including hand-making the ceremony decorations and helping with all the DIY elements.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I’m torn between my photographer and my wedding planner. As a photography fanatic, I was most excited for the photos, and Abby just did a superb job. It’s one of the few times in my life that the photos actually look the way I felt. But, having Pam and her team there on the wedding day to worry about everything so my mom and I could just relax and have fun was an incredible blessing.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Reading John’s letter to me before I got into my gown and went to meet him for our first look, and then finally seeing him and feeling like we could take on the world together. John says his favorite moment was catching a glimpse of me through the trees as my dad and I made our way down the brick path to the garden where the ceremony took place.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Let go of the need to make your wedding perfect. Our wedding was made perfect by all the little things that didn’t go according to plan that day, experiencing the love and support of our friends and family as they helped us resolve the mini fiascos, and laughing through it all.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Right now, we are really focused on our careers and getting settled in Chicago. We are getting ready to buy our first home!

Photographer: Abby Grace Photography / Planner: Pam Barefoot at Atrendy Wedding / Venue: River Farm / Florist: Toulies en Fleur / Cake Baker: Fluffy Thoughts / Caterer: Well Dunn Catering / Rentals: Party Rental Ltd and Rent-All Center / Band: Hipshack via Sam Hill Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: “Lauren” by Nicole Miller / Alterations: Green and Blue Studio / Paper Products: William Arthur and Minted / Hair Stylist: Bridal Artistry DC / Makeup Artist: Audrey at Bridal Artistry DC / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Dessy, After Six and Joanna August / Groom’s Attire: Balani Custom Clothiers / Photo Booth: Monumental Moments Photo Booth / Ceremony Music: Halley Schoenberg Jazz Trio

Atrendy Wedding is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
5 Comments
  1. avatar Emilia Jane reply

    So gorgeous Abby! That first image is perfection and the whole feature is too lovely <3

  2. avatar Matt reply

    Those are some beautiful pictures! And the wedding looks beautiful as well.

  3. avatar Abby Grace reply

    Thank y’all so, SO much for featuring one of my favorite couples ever! Pam from ATrendy is a wedding genius, so I knew John & Emily’s big day was going to be a vision. Thank you, thank you!!

  4. avatar Kyla F reply

    I absolutely love the care and thought that was clearly put into the details in this wedding, especially Emily’s hand-lettering (gorgeous!) and her bouquets.

  5. avatar Melissa reply

    I love the grooms cake and my groom is actually a DJ- can I ask where you got that cake?

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It may not have been love at first sight when Ann Carlisle and Ryan met, but when we first saw their wedding, it definitely was! These college sweethearts said “I do” at a working horse ranch in Virginia, and we love the way their fall-inspired wedding colors enhanced the natural beauty of the venue. Those bright garnet blooms at the ceremony are especially lovely, and Ryan’s dapper bow tie is the perfect accessory for a Southern groom!

Thank you so much to Katie Nesbitt for sharing Ann Carlisle and Ryan’s wedding with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had a hard time finding my dress! I probably tried on at least 30 or so from different shops around Virginia. I really liked a lot of the dresses I was trying on, but I never got “that feeling” that everyone always talks about. But, it did finally happen, and after months and months of searching, I found THE dress. I fell in love with it instantly. I keep searching for reasons to wear it again!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we wrote our own vows. We promised to try and keep them within 150 words or less. Ryan tends to be a very flowery speaker, and can prolong a story that in reality can be told in five minutes (we love him for that). Sharing our personal vows to one another was our favorite part of the ceremony. Looking at each other while sharing our hearts made it feel like there was no one else in the room. There were definitely lots of tears shed!

What was Southern about your wedding? We got married on a working horse farm. How much more Southern can you get?

We were so lucky to work with AMAZING vendors. Our wedding day truly would not have been the same without them! From the food, to the flowers, to the photography, our day was absolutely beautiful and we are so thankful to each one of our vendors for making the day spectacular!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Honestly, the most memorable moment of our wedding day was when Ryan and his groomsmen serenaded me with a Justin Timberlake mash-up. Ryan created the playlist and the songs were arranged in a very creative way that expressed our relationship. It was amazing and absolutely priceless! Besides marrying me, I know that was probably Ryan’s finest hour. Shoutout to JT!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ryan and I met in college while working at Red Robin. It would be a true fairy tale to say that it was love at first sight, but unfortunately, this was not the case. After a failed attempt on Ryan’s behalf to get my number, it took a whole year and a random birthday night for the two of us to hang out for the first time. Ever since that night, I knew I should have given Ryan my number the first time he asked for it a year ago. We are true college sweethearts.
Tell us all about the proposal! We were vacationing in the Outer Banks with Ryan’s family. It was the first full day at the beach, and I had just started reading the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy. I was so engrossed with the book the entire day that I had no idea what Ryan had up his sleeve! Throughout the day, Ryan kept insisting what we take a walk on the beach right before sunset. After dinner, when it came time for the walk, I was almost finished with my book and tried to talk Ryan into going for a walk another night. After many pleas from Ryan, I finally gave in and we started walking. I was so sidetracked telling Ryan all about the book, that I had no idea what was about to happen!
When did y’all get married? 10/05/13
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 150
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we decided to do a first look. At first, Ryan was very adamant that he did not want to see me before the wedding, but after lots of convincing and bribery, I convinced him that it would be a very special and intimate moment between the two of us, and it would free up more time to enjoy the reception and spend with our guests. We absolutely LOVE our photos from out first look, and we are so happy that we decided to go with it!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? BREATHE! It will all come together. I wish I could say that wedding planning was extremely easy, but there were definitely times when I had minor freak outs. But in the end, all of your hard work really does come together, so enjoy it! And try not to second guess your decisions. You initially made them for a reason, so trust yourself!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Since we got married, lots of things have happened! Ryan got a new job, went off to training, and now we are relocating to a new city. We will both be starting new jobs and settling into a new area, and we are SO excited to embark on this new journey together as husband and wife. And hopefully we will have a new addition to the family soon… no, silly, another corgi!!

Photographer: Katie Nesbitt / Videographer: Paul Hairston Cinematography / Day-Of Coordination: Amanda Gray and Emily Strauss of Ashley Baber Weddings / Venue: Hermitage Hill Farm and Stables / Florist: Honey Bee’s Florist / Cake Baker: Buttercream Dreams, LLC / Caterer: Hanks Smokehouse / Rentals: CVR Rentals / Band or DJ: King Studios (Nathan King) / Special Details: Amanda Burnette, Into it Events / Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas / Hair Stylist: Jane Campbell / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mishka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Nordstrom, Macy’s, Francesca’s, Talbots / Men’s Attire: Express

Katie Nesbitt is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
9 Comments
  1. avatar Angela Newton Roy reply

    Beautiful wedding! Love the colors and Katie did a wonderful job telling their story!

  2. avatar Katie reply

    Yay! Thank you so much for featuring these two! They are truly a special couple, and their whole day reflected that. We were so thankful to have been a part of their wedding!!

  3. avatar Ermenegildo Conte reply

    Wow! Nice pictures!
    I really love the ideas of the colored bands.
    This is an idea that i will pass on as a wedding photographer, whenever I meet brides that enjoy horseback riding. Keep it up!

  4. avatar Corinna Hoffman reply

    Florida State University colors!! Love it :) Beautiful wedding!

  5. avatar Wedding Rental Supplies reply

    Beautiful wedding! Loved the pretty color combinations for the theme. Also the wedding venue is so pretty.

  6. avatar Kyla F reply

    Her dress is stunning, especially the neckline! I adore the photo right before their first kiss. It captures their elation perfectly – it melted my heart for a moment.

  7. avatar Dana reply

    this wedding made me smile! so sweet!

  8. avatar Kellye reply

    May I ask where the wedding bands are from please?

  9. avatar ERIN reply

    Hello, Can you tell me where these wedding bands were purchased? They are just beautiful and I would like to find out because I want them. Thank you! -Erin

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To all our sweet readers who are stressed out while wedding planning right now, take a deep breath and scroll through Sarah and Clint’s big day. Their summer brunch wedding was a joyful celebration of their love for God and each other, from the meaningful Bible readings they selected, to the mix CDs from throughout their relationship that played at their reception. I love all of their pictures in the Tennessee countryside, but my favorite is the last one in this post–it’s not a fancy detail or perfectly-posed portrait; rather, it’s a moment that gave me butterflies of excitement for that same moment at my wedding!

Thank you so much to Alex Bee for sharing Sarah and Clint’s lovely wedding with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. After a day of trying on every dress in Knoxville, I was beginning to lose hope. I wanted something simple, flowing, and comfortable for our hot August wedding. One of my bridesmaids follows J. Crew online, and she forwarded an email for a 24-hour wedding gown sale. I saw one that I knew would work, and bought it instantly! Within a week, it arrived at my house. It all happened so fast!

Clint’s wish was to wait to see me when I walked down the aisle with my dad. We did, however, meet to pray before the ceremony. I stood behind a screen and we held hands at the edge. We were able to get a lot of tears out of the way then, and we still had our classic wedding tradition. We also had plenty of time for pictures after the wedding!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes. It was a joy to share our handwritten vows with our guests. We both wrote and spoke a bunch of special promises, but one in particular I remember was that we promised to always be present and engaged every time we are together.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our officiant and friend read from 1 Corinthians 13 to demonstrate Jesus’ love for his church as an example of our giving our lives to each other. We know that as long as we put love for God first in our lives, we will bless each other as companions in marriage.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had a morning brunch wedding to beat the August heat, but we still gave each guest a fan to cool themselves off with. You could see Mt. LeConte of the Great Smoky Mountains from the field where we were married. We decorated with framed engagement pictures that we took in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The reception theme was burlap, maps, mason jars, trees, and flowers. We ate banana pudding, and I baked my Great Aunt’s snickerdoodles to pass out to our guests.

Describe your wedding flowers. I wanted white, green, and purple, so the florist showed us each flower they had in those colors. I trusted my florist, and they made a beautiful mix. My favorite flower is the Tennessee Iris, so I had a few in my bouquet.

Our wedding cake was simple and elegant. Because we both love trees, the icing was delicately shaped to look like the bark of a tree. It was decorated with hydrangeas and placed on a slice of a tree stump. We topped it with a “W” made of twigs. Clint’s favorite dessert is banana pudding, so I surprised him with that instead of a having a groom’s cake.

For our first dance, Clint surprised me with one of our favorite songs, “All I Mind is Losing You,” by The John Butler Trio. Clint recorded his own version in which groomsman Clay played the guitar while Clint sang. It was such a sweet moment. Throughout our relationship, I made Clint mix CDs of songs that I thought described how we felt about each other. We borrowed a sound system from our church, and played that variety of our love songs throughout the reception.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t let this day or the planning be stressful, and trust in the ideas of others. All that matters is that you are marrying the love our your life, and the people that you love the most in the world will be there to witness and celebrate it with you.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in French class on the first day of college at the University of Tennessee. We were also in the marching band together, so we had plenty of time to get to know each other. We became best friends instantly, and we officially became a couple on New Year’s 2008. We traveled to Tampa, Florida for a bowl game and watched the New Year’s fireworks on the beach. Right after, Clint asked if I would be his. :)
Tell us all about the proposal! Clint wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t know when or how he would ask, so his idea was for it to start like a normal day. We were having a picnic at the University of Tennessee’s Botanical Gardens after church, and then we went on a walk. The trees in the garden were beautiful with fall leaves, and the weather was perfect. We were casually talking about our lives and love, and then he stopped, knelt down, and asked me to honor him by becoming his wife. It was so simple and sweet, and the ring was so elegant and antique. I started crying when he told me he had asked my mom for my grandmother’s engagement ring. I didn’t even know it existed, and it was perfect!
When did y’all get married? August 10, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Because we had met in the marching band, we have several friends who can play instruments. Clint played the French horn, and he asked two of his friends to play for the ceremony. He selected a few hymns that we both love. During the ceremony, we wanted to take a moment to praise God. We printed the words to one of our favorite hymns, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” and put a copy on each chair. Our officiant, a long-time family friend of Clint’s, led us and our guests in singing.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We both loved the large oak tree that we were married underneath. It was the perfect setting–so majestic and elegant on its own.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I was away completing an internship in Washington, D.C. during the spring, so I had to trust my fiancé and my parents to make most of the decisions. In a way, it was a blessing. We had such a stress-free wedding planning experience, and I am so grateful for that.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? Less than $10,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My photographer! Alex Bee has an eye for capturing emotional moments. This is a much better way to remember your wedding day: with photos of the joy of the day, rather than something posed.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Saying a prayer together before the ceremony, and the moment immediately after the ceremony! So much love and excitement!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are both graduate students, so our next big goal is to graduate! But the best thing about being married is tackling it all together!

Photographer: Alex Bee / Second shooter: John Shim / Venue: The Riverdale School / Florist: Powell Florist / Cake Baker: Jane Monday, friend of the bride’s family / Caterer: Billie Bounds, Catering on a Shoestring / Bride’s Gown: J. Crew /
Paper Products: The Groom / Paper Fans: Accent the Party / Bride’s Shoes: Dillard’s / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Target / Men’s Attire: L. L. Bean

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    i love her sweet flower crown!

  2. avatar Stephanie reply

    I love this wedding so much, as this couple absolutely radiates joy and love! Some of the best weddings that you see aren’t the ones where the budget is sky-high but instead is one when the couple so clearly celebrates what really matters – their love, their faith, and their family!

  3. avatar Sarah reply

    Brings tears to my eyes…
    It sounds and looks so sweet and so beautiful. They all look gorgeous.
    I just can’t help it but to be so touched by a couple who share their love for God together!

  4. avatar Kyla F reply

    I love that this wedding was centered around what matters most. Sarah and Clint’s joy and love for each other is so apparent in every photo. I adore that sunflower field picture the most!

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We know lots of y’all are wedding nerds (welcome to the club–we are too!), but I must say, there’s always something refreshing about a laid-back bride. Audrey and Ryan focused on the things that only they could do, like choosing meaningful music for their ceremony and reception, and left the rest up to the team at Le Rae Events and Design. As you can see in these pictures by Blue Ribbon Vendor Leslie Hollingsworth, everything came together so beautifully. I especially can’t stop admiring all of the pretty pastel blooms!

Thank you so much to Leslie Hollingsworth for sharing Audrey and Ryan’s wedding day with us!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We knew each other for several years before our actual first date, thanks to our interests in soccer. At the end of my freshman year of college, one of my friends came over to my apartment, and we got on Facebook. I don’t remember exactly how Ryan popped up, but when he did, I told my friend how good looking I thought he was. She proceeded to act like she was me on my Facebook and Ryan asked me on our first date. After our first date, I got scared and backed out, but we kept in touch throughout the next few years. Once I graduated and moved back home, we went on our second first date. We have been inseparable ever since.

My mom and I went to a store in Jasper, Alabama to go dress shopping. I knew the moment I tried my dress on that it was the one. It was just what I had dreamed of: form-fitting, not too big of a train, sleeveless, and lace, with just enough sparkle. Plus, it was comfortable!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment for me was during the ceremony. I could not stop crying, and seeing one of the groomsmen crying in the background made me cry even more. I remember Ryan looking at me with watery eyes and smiling as he wiped my tears off my cheek. Everyone aww-ed in the background, and Leslie took a picture of the memorable moment!

Describe your wedding flowers. I honestly have no clue about flowers, so I just told Rae from Le Rae Events that I liked wildflowers and pastel colors, and she did the best job picking them out! They were beautiful!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding was at a beautiful barn with a deck that overlooked a pond. My mom bought mason jars and used black chalkboard paint to paint mustaches on the jars for the men, and pink chalkboard paint to paint lips on them for the women. We also had a cute food truck that served hamburgers, wings, and french fries.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. My cousin, Adam Nichols, bakes for a living, so I told him I just wanted the cake to taste like my favorite candy: a Reese’s peanut butter cup. The cake was dark chocolate with Reese’s and a peanut butter layer inside. It was the best cake I had ever tasted! My dad got a tree stump to set the cake on, and Adam carved a heart with our names inside, which was so beautiful and went well with the theme. Adam also made some pastel flowers to place on top of the cake. For the groom’s table, we bought pies from Red’s Little School House, a local place that catered the wedding, and they were delicious!

Tell us all about the proposal! One day in March, about a year after we started dating, I had a feeling deep inside me that I could not shake, so I went to a jewelry store and picked out a ring that I knew Ryan would like. However, I decided to leave without it and wait patiently for him to ask in his own time. As the day wore on, that feeling would not go away, so I went back to the store and bought the ring. I then cooked Ryan a fantastic dinner, got down on one knee, and asked him to spend the rest of his life with me.
When did y’all get married? September 21, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 200
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look, and I am very happy that we did. I wanted to capture the moment Ryan first laid eyes on me, and what better way to do that than a first look?
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I did not want to walk down the aisle to the traditional wedding march. When I heard “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, I knew that was the song I wanted. However, I also wanted everyone to hear the beautiful words, so I asked my cousin to sing (with the piano and cello in the background) while my bridesmaids walked down the aisle, and when it was my turn, the piano and cello beautifully took over. I am a Beatles girl, so I could not walk back up the aisle without “All You Need is Love” playing. Our first dance was to Eric Clapton’s “Beautiful Tonight.” I just love that song, and thought it was the perfect song to dance to with my new husband. We also asked the band to to play “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire. Since our wedding date was September 21, the lyrics were so perfect: “Do you remember the 21st night of September? Love was changing the minds of pretender while chasing the clouds away. Our hearts were ringing in the key that our souls were singing as we danced in the night, remember how the stars stole the night away.”
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Having everyone there to celebrate the most special day of our lives with us. Our day would not have been as special without our friends and family by our side.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I am a pretty laid back person, so I did not have many challenges. It definitely helped to have someone there to plan the wedding and get all of the details that I did not want to worry about together. I do not know what I would have done without Rae!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? How can I pick just one detail? The whole day was full of details and our vendors did everything they could to make sure our day was the best. Le Rae Events did an amazing job moving an outdoor wedding inside, and created a beautiful aisle and backdrop. Leslie did a fantastic job capturing our precious moments of the day! I am so happy to of had them both by my side, creating and capturing my fairy tale.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Do not stress out over your day, because at the end of it, no matter what crazy situations may come, you will be married to the love of your life. Nothing other than that truly matters.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to becoming parents. We are expecting a little girl, and could not be happier. We can’t wait to raise our family and grow old together.

Photographer: Leslie Hollingsworth / Videographer: Sylvester Folks / Planning, Flowers, and Lighting: Le Rae Events and Design / Rentals and Linens: Brendle Rentals / Venue: The barn at Pisgah Hill / Cake Baker: Adam Nichols / Caterer: Red’s Little School House / Band: The Syndicate Band / Bride’s Gown: Allure / Bride’s Hair Accessories: Prattville Bridal Boutique / Hair and Makeup: Carmen Darden / Bride’s Shoes: Antonio Melani / Bridesmaid Dresses: ModCloth

Leslie Hollingsworth is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Their food truck is too adorable! Love it!

  2. avatar Amber reply

    Everything is so beautiful!

  3. avatar Laraine reply

    So sweet and warm

  4. avatar Rae Culver reply

    Tears…….Seriously! What a confirmation of why we love what we do! As if being on here isn’t enough, but then the sweet words by our gorgeous bride! Day made! :)

  5. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #122 | Floridian Weddings reply

    […] + a barn + the most gorg flowers… such prettiness from one of our Faves, Leslie […]

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