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Category: Real Southern Weddings

We never get tired of the classics around here–there’s just something so sweet about knowing a couple will still love every detail of their wedding when they show the pictures to their grandchildren someday! Annemarie and Sean certainly fit that bill, and what is even more special about their celebration is how involved their community was in bringing it to life. The reception was held at Annemarie’s grandparents’ home, and friends and family members contributed their time, talents, and treasures to make every detail magical for the newlyweds. Be sure to read Annemarie’s interview for some of the special ways their loved ones contributed–it included everything from the catering, to the magnolia leaves, to their getaway car!

Thank you so much to Olivia Griffin for sharing this lovely day with us!

I went wedding dress shopping with my mom, grandma, and aunt at The Poinsett Bride in Greenville soon after I got engaged. I had a specific Steven Birnbaum dress with an illusion neckline in mind that I wanted to try. The bridal salon didn’t have the dress I was looking for, but they did have a very similar dress by the same designer. As soon as I put it on, we all knew it fit the timeless, classic look I was hoping for. The ladies at The Poinsett Bride were able to add a custom illusion neckline to the dress. I could not have been happier with the way it all came together!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We were married at First Presbyterian Church of Laurens, a lovely, historic church in my hometown. Choosing our reception venue was easy for me: most of our family gatherings center around my grandparents’ home. Many of my favorite memories, from birthday parties to family weddings, have taken place there, and I couldn’t imagine having the reception anywhere else.

We are so glad we did a first look. Olivia captured some of my favorite pictures from the whole day during it. We really enjoyed being able to spend some time alone together before the wedding, especially since it was an evening wedding. We also wanted to spend as much time as possible with our guests at the reception, so doing a first look was an easy decision for us.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? My grandfather is a minister, and he performed our ceremony using traditional vows. He married my parents as well, so it was very special to all of us to have him play such a meaningful role.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. My uncle sang “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need,” a beautiful Southern hymn that has been a family favorite for many years. My dad and I walked down the aisle to “Thaxted” by Holst and the recessional was “Toccata, Symphonie V” by Widor.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: One favorite detail was arriving at the reception in my uncle’s antique car, a roadster converted from a 1929 Ford Model A, but there were so many special details, it is very difficult to decide on just one!

We were very blessed by our generous family and friends who contributed their time and talents in countless ways. Family friends assembled the table arrangements for the reception, and my grandmother and several friends and family members prepared the majority of the food for the reception (which is an amazing accomplishment, considering the number of guests!). We also used a lot of items from our family instead of renting, like the silver pieces and the furniture at the reception.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Dear family friends generously gave us our cake as a wedding gift. It was a traditional, three-layer white cake with vanilla buttercream frosting and beautiful white roses cascading down the side. We also served homemade vanilla and chocolate ice cream made by my brother.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met our senior year at Clemson University and started dating that spring. After graduation, I began medical school and Sean moved to Atlanta for graduate school. Even with busy school schedules and a few hundred miles between us, we still saw each other as much as we could.
Tell us all about the proposal! We were both back in Clemson for a friend’s wedding. The evening after the wedding, Sean suggested we go for a walk on campus, which is something we enjoyed doing together frequently as students. We eventually stopped at a scenic place on campus where he asked me to marry him!
When did y’all get married? August 9, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 400
Describe your wedding flowers. The bouquets were made up of white garden roses and hydrangeas, accented with magnolia leaves. We used lots of magnolia leaves from my grandmother’s trees in the wedding. My mom made magnolia leaf garlands and wreaths for the church–the poor magnolia trees were starting to look pretty bare after she was finished with them! We used family silver pieces from my mom, grandmothers, and aunts as the containers for the reception table centerpieces.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my mom’s pearl earrings. The handkerchief I carried was monogrammed with blue thread. I wore my great-grandmother’s diamond ring and a new pearl bracelet from Sean.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our goal was to incorporate our families as much as possible. We displayed wedding pictures of our parents and grandparents at the reception. The menu also included several Southern family recipes, including my great-grandmother’s benne seed cookies and cheese biscuits made by great-aunts. My mom made her famous pecan pralines for the favors.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We loved having Olivia as our photographer; she also happens to be a member of my extended family! She has photographed several other weddings in our family, so I was very familiar with her incredible talent and had hoped that she would be our photographer for a while.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? After dating long distance for three years, we are thrilled to finally enjoy each other’s company on a daily basis. We are very excited to move to Charlotte, where I will start my pediatric residency training in June.

Photographer: Olivia Griffin Photography / Planner: Lisa Kirk / Ceremony Venue: First Presbyterian Church of Laurens / Reception Venue: Private residence / Florist: Rick Childers / Rentals and Lighting: Event Rentals / Paper Products: Reaves Engraving, Inc / Bride’s Gown: “Rosanne” by Steven Birnbaum / Bridal Salon and Accessories: The Poinsett Bride / Bride’s Shoes: Something Bleu / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “D627″ by Alfred Sung in Black Dupioni / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank

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

    Traditional, classic weddings are the best. So beautiful.

  2. avatar Loverly reply

    We always like when a bride really takes the time to include family traditions and recipes into her wedding! It makes the day truly special and one of a kind!

  3. avatar Chelsea reply

    Oh my goodness, I just love those Mr. and Mrs. chair ties- they look just like ones from one of the Southern Newlyweds home tours!

  4. avatar Sara reply

    Hi there! I love that the bride’s mother made garland and wreaths from magnolia leaves. We have some magnolias in our yard. How far in advance do you think you could make those before the wedding day?! Maybe I could prolong their shelf life with some misting? Thanks so much!!

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I’d have to agree with Kathie–being announced as Mr. and Mrs. your-new-last-name is one of the most memorable moments of a wedding (even if it’s pronounced wrong, like when you new last name is Kloess–pronounced “close,” by the way!). There is something so magical about it–it somehow solidifies in your mind that you’re going to spend the rest of your life with your best friend! Along with hearing those sweet words for the first time, Kathie and Matt also shared with us that seeing their stunning tent for the first time was one of their favorite moments of the day, and I can totally see why! They worked with the gals at Karson Butler Events to take the already lovely Inn at Perry Cabin and create a wedding day that was as beautiful as it was guest-friendly. They even provided an on-site nanny for their guests with littles ones–so thoughtful!

Big thanks to our friend Kate Stoops for sharing this wedding day with us for V7!

My bouquet was a lush, romantic, hand-gathered bouquet of beautiful flowers in shades of ivory and soft peach. Our florist incorporated a brooch that has been in my family since the 1800′s.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. The ceremony took place in a small, Catholic church in St. Michaels, Maryland. My brother and Matt’s aunt did the readings. It was very special to us because we had Matt’s family priest from Colorado marry us.
Were there any family traditions you included in the ceremony? No, but we did mention my cousin’s husband, who is in the Army and was overseas, as well as my mom, who passed away in 2007.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? That it took me 30 minutes to pick it out! It was the second dress I tried on, and I immediately fell in love with it.
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? I was not a high maintenance bride, so I let my bridesmaids pick their own dresses. As long as it was within my color scheme, I felt confident that my bridesmaids would pick something that would work for them and look great.

We started our reception with cocktail hour under gigantic trees decorated with string lights. A bluegrass band played in the background to keep the guests entertained while we took pictures. A silhouette artist made our guests their thank you gifts. Guests dined on finger foods, an antipasti bar, and signature drinks inspired by our home states.

We wanted the tent to feel romantic and warm. We used antique silver vases for the centerpieces and had lanterns and flowers hanging from the fabricated tree branches in the tent. Silhouettes of Matt and I hung behind our chairs. The cake stand was made to look like a tree stump with our initials carved into it. We also had couches and lounge chairs for guests to sit on.

What kind of food did you serve? Our appetizers were watermelon cubes with feta and aged balsamic, spicy tuna tartar, mini twice baked potato, Gougéres cups filled with truffled mac and cheese, coleslaw mix on mini potato rolls, shrimp wontons with Asian dipping sauce, and an Antipasto display. Dinner was yellow heirloom tomato gazpacho, pickled cucumber salad, roasted chicken breast, and pan-seared salmon.

Our cake was absolutely amazing. Maggie Austin did such a wonderful job–we couldn’t have asked for anything better. The cake was such a hit that our guests were asking for seconds, and we totally ran out!

Tell us about your grand exit. As the night died down, we left and looked back at our tent. The lights on the fabricated trees in the tent cast shadows, so when you looked at the top of the tent, you could see the shadows of the trees. It was beautiful, and a great way to end the night.

Date of your wedding: August 24, 2014
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Matt was working for a woman running for Congress in Colorado, and my family and I pledged to donate money to that campaign. Before an important fundraising deadline, Matt was required to drive to donor houses to pick up checks, including my house. We met and he picked up my check, and the next day, he called and asked me out on a date. I was supposed to be set up on a blind date through the same person running for Congress, but Matt asked me out first! We dated for six years before getting engaged.
Describe the proposal: Matt took me on a surprise overnight trip to the Inn at Little Washington. We arrived in the late afternoon and decided to have tea before heading up to our room. Normally, Matt would have wanted to take his time, but he kept asking if I was done and if we could go back upstairs. I finally gave in, and as I was getting ready for dinner, he turned to me, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him with my late mom’s engagement ring. It was a complete surprise. I, of course, said yes, and the Inn at Little Washington helped us celebrate.
Tell us about your beautiful engagement ring and how/why your husband (or the two of you!) chose it: My engagement ring was my mom’s. She passed away in 2007. The ring means a lot to me, and it means even more that Matt understands how important she was and is in my life. Wearing her ring reminds me daily that she is still with me.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Memorable, fun, and exhilarating
How many guests attended your wedding? Approximately 60
What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moments for me were the father-daughter dance, our first look, the dancing, looking at the tent for the first time, and being called Mr. and Mrs. Kazan.
Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? My father and I danced to one of my late mother’s favorite songs, “Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.
What’s next for you as a couple? We just had a daughter, so we are looking forward to being parents.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Your wedding needs to be guest-friendly. We provided a nanny service for all of our friends who have small children, so they could enjoy the night knowing their children were close by and safe. Taking care of our guests was an important component of our wedding. Even though it’s your wedding, your guests (family and friends) need to be celebrated–without them, you would not be able to have such an amazing wedding.
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration: “Walk slowly back up the aisle after the ceremony is over to take it all in.”

Photographer: Katie Stoops / Planner and designer: Karson Butler Events / Ceremony venue: St. Michael’s Chapel / Reception venue and catering: Inn at Perry Cabin / Florals: Amaryllis, Inc. / Cake baker: Maggie Austin Cake / Bride’s gown: “2073B” by Watters / Bride’s shoes: Badgley Mischka / Hair stylist: Julie Jackson Stylists / Makeup artist: Amie Decker Beauty / Men’s attire: Brooks Brothers / Bow ties: Thomas Pink Ties / Paper products: The Dandelion Patch / Calligraphy: Meant to Be Calligraphy / Tent and lighting: Sugar Plum Tent / Rentals: Party Rental Ltd. / Linens: La Tavola Linen / Silhouettes: Marie Cheek / Transportation: Sunny Limo / Cocktail hour band: Chester River Run-Off / DJ: Michael Bell of My Deejay / Babysitting service: Nannytainment

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Malou reply

    Lovely shoot!

    Loves Malou

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Emily and I, along with our lovely spring interns, had the pleasure of visiting The Merrimon-Wynne House a few weeks ago, and we have been raving about it ever since! Words like “photographer’s dream” and “perfectly Southern” have floated around our office while describing it to the other ladies, so you can imagine our delight when Sarah and Cam’s beautiful wedding came our way. Sure enough, every nook and cranny of this historic Raleigh home was a perfect fit for these high school sweethearts’ summer celebration. Sarah worked with Orangerie Events (one of our Blue Ribbon Vendors!) to bring her sweet, elegant wedding vision to life, and from the family photo display in adorable mint frames (such a fun place to bring in a pop of color!), to the Cheerwine bottles guests grabbed for the road, the love and graciousness these newlyweds exuded is inspiring!

Thank you so much to another Blue Ribbon Vendor, Robyn Van Dyke, for sharing Sarah and Cam’s special day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! For something borrowed, I wore my cousin’s veil. For something blue, I wore turquoise wedges (super comfortable, I danced in them all night long!). For something old, my mom pinned her gold cross charm to the inside of my dress, and for something new, I wore diamond and green quartz earrings that Cam had bought for me as a wedding gift.

We decided to stick with tradition and not do a first look. This was one decision Cam felt strongly about–he loved the idea of seeing me for the first time when I was walking down the aisle. Although we did not see each other before the ceremony, we shared a sweet moment of prayer that I will never forget. I loved being able to hold Cam’s hands and give God praise and glory for preparing the way for us to be united as husband and wife!

Describe your wedding flowers. My amazing florist took all my scattered pins, emails, and text messages and made the bouquets works of art. He included things I had not thought of, and they turned out more beautifully than I had ever envisioned! I loved how the jasmine vines and eucalyptus gave it an effortless look. My favorite flowers from my bouquet were the coral garden roses–I still daydream about them!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The ceremony music is still one of my favorite memories about our wedding. Our church recorded the entire ceremony and I love going back and listening to the music from that special day. We chose several hymns to be played while guests and family were being seated, including “In Christ Alone,” “Be Thou My Vision,” “How Deep the Father’s Love,” and “Come Thou Fount.” I walked down the aisle to a popular wedding piece, Pachelbel’s Canon in D. There is something so special and beautiful to me about that song played on a piano and violin; I knew growing up that it would be the song that I would walk down the aisle to. We included “Rising Sun” by All Sons and Daughters during a moment of prayer, and our recessional song was “You are My Vision” by Rend Collective.

We chose to have our ceremony at our church, Church of the Apostles, because we did not want to worry about rain, wind, or heat disrupting our ceremony, the most significant part of the day! For our reception, the Merrimon-Wynne House was an absolute dream. We loved the outdoor garden feel of the tent and with the gorgeous interior of the home.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The Merrimon-Wynne House exuded Southern elegance. Our guests enjoyed Southern cuisine all night long, including biscuits, shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese, peach cobbler, and of course, banana pudding.

At first, we were just going to have mini treats for dessert, but my dad joked, “You can’t have a wedding without a wedding cake,” so a few weeks before the wedding, we chose a simple chocolate and vanilla cake with buttercream icing. We also had the most delicious mini desserts, including berry crisp, peach cobbler, s’more bites, and banana pudding.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We enjoyed reading “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller during premarital counseling. This passage is so beautiful and so true: “Marriage has the power to set the course of your life as a whole. If your marriage is strong, even if all the circumstances in your life around you are filled with trouble and weakness, it won’t matter. You will be able to move out into the world in strength.”

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. 
We met when we were sophomores in high school and I had just transferred to Cam’s high school. The summer before our junior year of high school, Cam was dating one of my friends and I was dating one of Cam’s friends, but we both secretly had crushes on each other. Both of our relationships fizzled, and it wasn’t long before Cam asked me on a date. We were high school sweethearts and I could not imagine being apart. However, God had different plans. We broke up at the beginning of our freshman year of college, and although I was devastated and heartbroken, I knew it was what the Lord wanted for us. Fast forward two years, and God weaved our paths back together when Cam called and asked if he could treat me to ice cream. The rest is history and we were engaged two and a half years later!
Tell us all about the proposal! 
Cam surprised me with a scavenger hunt around Raleigh. The hunt ended with me being blindfolded and brought to N.C. State’s Court of Carolinas, where Cam read scripture, prayed over our relationship, and popped the question!
When did y’all get married? June 14, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We had to learn to make quick decisions and be confident in what we decided, since we only had six months to plan the wedding.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Instead of ordering custom name cards, programs, and menus, we printed our own. Also, our florist decorated the tent chandeliers with magnolia leaves from my family’s front yard!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We loved all our vendors, but I am especially thankful for Priscilla of Orangerie Events–my family did not have to worry about a thing on the wedding day, thanks to her and her team! Also, Robyn Van Dyke captured our wedding day beautifully!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? By far, our most memorable moment was praying together for the first time as husband and wife. God’s presence was so tangible during those precious moments after our vows. I sobbed happy tears the whole time!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? After we got married, we moved into our first place together! I am finishing up graduate school for Speech-Language Pathology and Cam is working full time in Raleigh. Our favorite part about marriage is knowing we have our best friend to come home to everyday!

Photographer: Robyn Van Dyke / Videographer: Oak City Studios / Planner: Priscilla Erwin of Orangerie Events / Ceremony Venue: Church of the Apostles / Reception Venue: Merrimon-Wynne House / Florist: Brides & Bouquets / Cake: Whole Foods / Catering and Desserts: Belle’s Catering / Rentals: Party Reflections / Linens: CE Rental / Band: Swingin’ Richards / Paper Products: Corie Designs / Bride’s Gown: “1317″ by Monique Lhuillier Bliss / Hair Stylist: Heather Clark of Primp Salon / Makeup Artist: Benefit Cosmetics / Bride’s Shoes: Lucky Brand / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew in Dusty Shale / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank / Ties: Ralph Lauren / Robes: JCPenney / Custom Signs and Cake Backdrop: Jennifer Erwin / Ceremony Pianist: Brian Warring Music

Robyn Van Dyke and Orangerie Events are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar featured: southern weddings » Robyn Van Dyke Photography Blog reply

    […] We are so honored to have Sarah & Cameron‘s gorgeous summer wedding featured on Southern Weddings today! It was an absolute dream shooting at the Merrimon-Wynne and working with Priscilla of […]

  2. avatar Michelle reply

    Amazing photos and a beautiful wedding !

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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