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My favorite thing about Theresa and James’ wedding is that they look like they’re having so much FUN in every single picture! When I read their interview, it quickly became evident how these two were able to relax and enjoy their day so much–they prioritized the details that meant the most to them, and then left everything in the very capable hands of our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Sapphire Events, to pull it all off. I love Theresa’s advice for brides, because it certainly seems like they took it to heart themselves, and created so many special moments because of it: “Don’t immediately dismiss every seemingly silly/goofy/embarrassing idea you come up with. A lot of the time, the goofy idea that you propose as a joke is the one that best expresses you and your partner…a few silly details can become almost inside jokes between you and your significant other, remind you why this other weird person is your match, help you relax during a sometimes formal event, and become the things you will remember most years down the line.”

Many thanks to Marissa Lambert for sharing this fun day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I had quite a few “old” items, including a sixpence in my shoe, passed down through the family, an “add-a-pearl” bracelet that my grandmother had amassed growing up, and my engagement ring, which had been passed down from my great-great-grandmother. My earrings were both old and borrowed–I borrowed my mother’s diamond stud earrings, one of which was made from the original diamond from her engagement ring. I also borrowed my veil from a friend. My dress and shoes were new, and my toenails were blue.

I never had the “feeling” or the “moment” when dress shopping–but I also didn’t really expect to. I found my dress in the third store on the first day I went looking. Both my mom and future mother-in-law had flown in to shop with me, and they both had “the moment” when I put the dress on. It took me a few more shops and a few more visits to finally commit, but–in the end–I felt beautiful on my wedding day, which is what matters.

Describe your wedding flowers. James and I wanted to focus on greenery and herbs as much as (or more than) flowers. We were hoping for a lush, natural feel, possibly incorporating the sense of smell with the herbs, and we tried to emphasize that to the florist more than getting into particulars about types of flowers and plants. All flowers are pretty, and I trusted her to use what was in season. The actual bouquets ended up being some of the most aromatic, enticing things I have ever smelled! As for colors, I asked for whites, creams, and hints of blush for the ceremony florals, to keep the palette crisp, and then for bright berry tones to be mixed in for the reception florals. The various tones of greens we used throughout acted as a neutral.

We did a first look, largely based on the recommendation of our amazing friend/wedding planner, and partly because we didn’t want to waste precious celebration time after the ceremony. Instead of the typical first look, where the bride sneaks up behind the groom and taps him on the shoulder, we made sure James and I first saw each other from a few yards apart. That way, we each got to take in the full picture and were able to savor the expressions and anticipation as I made the walk to meet him. I think it drove our photographer a little crazy, since she couldn’t capture both of us at once at the exact “reveal” moment, but this way, we were able to feel as though we were first seeing one another from either end of the aisle, while still getting all of the formal photos done before the ceremony.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We used traditional vows, but we were lucky enough to have had a mutual friend, who knew us both individually before, as well as after we became a couple, act as our officiant. He was able to work in lots of personal details that made the ceremony feel tailored to us a couple.

As a nod to our Midwestern, Great Plains roots, we requested that the musicians play “Hoedown” from “Rodeo” by Aaron Copeland (the “beef–it’s what’s for dinner” song) as we walked back up the aisle. I’m not sure how many people caught it, but it was a detail that made us smile. Our first dance was to “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. James really pushed to pick something else, since “Wonderful Tonight” is such a popular choice, but he made the mistake of making it our song by singing it in my ear as we danced at the very first wedding I took him to.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose to do our first look and photos at the Latter Branch Library in New Orleans, which is was where we went on our first date. We did the ceremony and reception at a brand new venue in New Orleans, which came highly recommended by our planner. One of the things she knew we would love was that the venue has a library/lounge area. While we loved this detail in and of itself, we found out months later during one of the planning walk-throughs that all of the books used in the library had come from the Latter Branch Library!

James and I are not big cake people, so this was not a big focal point for us. We just wanted something that looked nice and tasted good for our guests. I had told him ahead of time that I was going to smash the cake in his face, but James didn’t believe me until it happened. We got into a full-out cake war–I’m pretty sure we have some photos with cake shoved up my nose! Laughing, goofing around, and going crazy with the cake is another of my favorite memories from the day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. In true New Orleans fashion, James and I met a few times through mutual friends before finally being stuck together waiting out a hurricane. A group of us decided to get together to weather the storm (and to eat everything in our refrigerators!), and during those couple of days, we decided we kinda, sorta liked one another.
Tell us all about the proposal! James picked me up from work on a mundane Tuesday night and took me around town on a progressive date under the guise of scouting out potential party locations for my birthday at the end of the month. I suspected nothing, even when he mentioned that one of the restaurants would be a great rehearsal dinner venue! When we finally got home that night, our house was completely filled with flowers. He dropped to his knee in our living room, just the two of us, surrounded by blooms.
When did y’all get married? September 19, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 175
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: James had organized a group of friends to compete in a charity barbecue competition called Hogs for the Cause. The year after we started dating and I joined the team, the team won the cocktail category of the competition with a drink called a Bourbon Missile Crisis. We decided to serve the Bourbon Missile Crisis to guests prior to our ceremony and during cocktail hour, and we set out the team’s trophy to hold paper straws. Because guests had drinks for the ceremony, our programs were printed on cocktail napkins. We also had personalized wayfarer sunglasses available to wear during the outdoor ceremony, and to take home as favors. For the reception, we had flower crown headbands for the guests. A group of close, generous, crafty friends all gathered at our house a month or so before the wedding to help me hand-make nearly 100 flower crowns. We saw a few of those flower crown favors resurface again for Mardi Gras!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding took place in New Orleans, Louisiana, where James and I met and are making our life together. We included a courtyard ceremony, a jazz band, and a brass band.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Along the way, someone advised us to make a list of our most valued aspects of the wedding, and to prioritize only those items. Nobody is going to remember every tiny detail, so splurge on one or two important things, and then make it work with the less important items.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t immediately dismiss every seemingly silly/goofy/embarrassing idea you come up with. A lot of the time, the goofy idea that you propose as a joke is the one that best expresses you and your partner. While you don’t want the entire wedding to feel unorganized, a few silly details can become almost inside jokes between you and your significant other, remind you why this other weird person is your match, help you relax during a sometimes formal event, and become the things you will remember most years down the line.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We’re looking forward to our blowout 50th anniversary vow renewal–and everything before and after!

Photographer: Marissa Lambert Photography | Planner and Rentals: Sapphire Events | Venue and Rentals: Il Mercato | Florist: Meade Wenzel | Cake Baker: Haydel’s Bakery | Caterer: Joel’s Catering | Lighting: Southern Hospitality Event Rentals | Bands: Harry Hardin, Joe Simon’s Jazz, and Paulin Brothers | DJ: DJ Mike Swift | Paper Products: Presse Dufour | Bride’s Gown: “Style 5911” by Stella York | Hair and Makeup: Kiss and Makeup Beauty Services | Bride’s Shoes: Valentino | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo, J. Crew, Donna Morgan, Amsale, and BHLDN | Groom’s Tuxedo: Luca Falcone | Busses: American Luxury | Save the Dates, Napkins, and Programs: Rudman’s

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Nicole reply

    Oooh I love how dreamy this is! And her dress is phenomenal!

  2. avatar Adrienna reply

    What a gorgeous wedding! Sapphire Events always put on such gorgeous affairs, with so much detail.

  3. avatar Meredith reply

    What a breathtaking day! Well captured, too!

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I love it when a tradition starts with only the bride or groom’s family, but then a wedding turns it into something that all their loved ones can enjoy. For Colleen and Nicholas, that’s Kiawah Island. Though Nicholas’ family had been vacationing there for years, after bringing Colleen along while dating, it became the perfect place for these two to celebrate their marriage. It didn’t hurt that as soon as they drove up to the Ocean Course on a post-engagement vacation, they knew it was the exact place where they wanted to share their love of Kiawah Island and each other with their friends and family! A clear-top tent, an abundance of beautiful blooms by Fox Events, and plenty of sweet Southern sunshine later, and I’m sure all the guests in attendance will be itching to create their own traditions on the island, too!

Thanks to Tim Willoughby for capturing this beautiful day!

My dress was actually one of the first ones I tried on. I was so excited to try on wedding dresses, so my mom and I went to Saks right away, just for fun! We weren’t expecting that I would find my dress so quickly, but as soon as I put it on, I absolutely loved it. I went to a few other appointments just to make sure, but ended up coming back to the first one I loved!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We had a really hard time deciding if we wanted to do a first look, but we ended up doing one. We were so happy we did! It was really special to have our first moment together on our wedding day be for just the two of us (and our little yorkie, who made an appearance for some pictures). It gave us the opportunity to take a lot of our pictures before the reception so we could enjoy as much of the celebration as possible, and also made us much less nervous for the ceremony.

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 had one of our close mutual friends officiate our wedding, which added a special and personal touch to the ceremony.

Nick has been going to Kiawah with his family since he was a kid, and we all went there together a couple of times when we started dating. We were there on vacation a few weeks after we got engaged and decided to look at some venues. As soon as we drove up to the Ocean Course, we knew that’s where we wanted to get married! It was so much fun to be able to share one of our favorite places with all of our friends and family for the weekend.

The one thing I knew I wanted at our wedding was tons of flowers! We went with a neutral palette of white and light pink with some pops of blue and lots of greens. Our wedding planner also did all of our flowers–she and her team did an amazing job! When Nick and I walked into our tent for the first time, we were so happy with how beautiful it looked.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? All the dancing. Our wedding band, ATL Groove Factory, was absolutely amazing and had everyone on the dance floor the entire night! For our after-party, a good friend of ours from NYC who is a DJ kept the dancing going. We had so much fun with everyone!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Nick and I both went to Cornell, but somehow never met, even though we have a ton of mutual friends. After college, we were both living in New York, and I went to a 4th of July party in the Hamptons that ended up being at a house Nick and his friends were renting that summer. After we spent the day together, Nick asked me to go out again the next day in the city. After that, we were pretty much inseparable!
Tell us all about the proposal! A couple of summers ago, we were spending a week out on the North Fork of Long Island. We made a nice dinner to have outside at sunset, but I noticed Nick wasn’t eating anything. He said he needed to go inside and grab some balsamic vinegar to add to the food, but instead, he came back outside, got down on one knee, and proposed!!
When did y’all get married? October 10, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 190
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There are so many little details, but one of the best were the two big swings we had on the edge of the dance floor. They looked beautiful and everyone had so much fun on them! I also loved the chandeliers that we hung from the top of the tent.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did. My twin sister let me borrow the sapphire and diamond earrings she wore for her wedding day, and I wore blue satin shoes to take care of my something borrowed and something blue. My mother and my mother-in-law both provided pieces of lace from their wedding dresses that were wrapped around my bouquet as something old, and I wore a bracelet Nick gave me the morning of our wedding as something new.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The most difficult part of getting married on Kiawah Island was figuring out transportation for all the guests, since there wasn’t one main hotel where the majority of guests were staying. Somehow, our wedding planner and our families managed to figure out where everyone was staying and get everyone to the wedding on time.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our wedding planner, Lauren Fox. We knew planning our wedding in Kiawah from NYC would be a little more difficult, but Lauren made everything so much easier. I always say I would re-plan our wedding all over again because that’s how enjoyable Lauren made the whole process!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just moved to a new apartment in Brooklyn, so we’re just enjoying married life in our new neighborhood. And we’re hoping to grow our family soon!

Photographer: Tim Willoughby | Videographer: Hart to Heart | Planner and Florist: Fox Events | Venue and Caterer: The Ocean Course | Wedding Cake Baker: Jim Smeal | Rentals: Snyder Events and Ooh! Events | Lighting: Technical Event Company | Band: ATL Groove Factory | Paper Products: Studio R Design | Bride’s Gown: “Cora” by Austin Scarlett | Bride’s Jewelry: Zoe Chicco | Hair Stylist: Charlotte Belk, Wedding Hair by Charlotte | Makeup Artist: Pamela Lesch | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale in Navy Blue | Menswear: J. Crew

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar elaine reply

    Where is her reception dress from?!? Amazing!

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When I married my darling husband over seven years ago (!), we opted not to do a first look. We’re a very traditional couple, and we’ve never regretted that decision. Well, never might not be the best word, y’all. Between Hudson’s joyful tears after seeing Carley for the first time and her ear-to-ear smile, I might be reluctant to use that word again! Their first look under a 200+ year old magnolia tree is not the only thing that has my heart smitten. Carley and Hudson’s love and gratitude for their family, friends, and the South is evident from their large bridal party, ceremony location, and fabulous exit, complete with a Mardi Gras bead toss! It’s safe to say, I’ve got a serious crush on today’s wedding!

Gracious, we’re glad Sarah Becker shared this sweet day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went to my second appointment of the day at I Do Bridal Couture with my mom, sister, aunt, and cousin. I tried on my second dress and knew looking in the mirror that there was something special about it, but it wasn’t quite right. Before I knew it, I had the skirt of another dress over my head and around my waist, lace pinned as makeshift sleeves, and a sash tied in a bow. I looked in the mirror and to my family and we all started crying. It was beautiful! And then we all shared a laugh at the sight of my “perfect” wedding dress full of pins and extra fabric. I am so thankful to the Liancarlo team for creating the custom gown of my dreams.

We both agree that our favorite moment of the day was the first look. I walked out of the doors of Dunleith toward a stunning, 200+ year old magnolia tree, where Hudson was anxiously waiting. As we faced each other, we were able to react in full vulnerability with happy tears, loving embraces, and giant smiles. On the most important day of our lives, we were thankful to have some time to ourselves to soak it all in.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We are grateful for all of our vendors and loved the intentional details we incorporated throughout our wedding. However, when your cousins come in from Montana with carloads of exquisite flowers to create bouquets, boutonnieres, garlands, and arrangements of your dreams, you just have to throw your arms around them and say thank you! Katalin has a true gift and we were honored to be recipients of the beauty she creates. I am also thankful for our photographer, Sarah. Several years ago, I saw her work featured on Southern Weddings and instantly adored her story and spirit. She shared in our joy, made us feel at ease, and was an essential part of the day.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose to say traditional vows. It was surreal speaking those words I came to know as a little girl when attending weddings.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 4: 11-19, read by my aunt and one of Hudson’s former coaches. “We love because he first loved us” was a verse that guided Hudson and I through our engagement. We wanted to take the time to practice gratitude for the ultimate, unfailing love of Christ. When we put our focus on His love, we are able to love each other with greater grace.

Both of our families have attended the First Presbyterian Church for generations. My great-grandmother worked at the church for more than 20 years and my parents were married there. Hudson and I agreed that the presence of God and many loved ones before our time would be surrounding us at our ceremony. For our reception, we wanted to share the beauty of Natchez with our guests, so we chose Dunleith Historic Inn, a stunning expression of the South. It was also the surprise dinner location when Hudson asked me to be his girlfriend and after he proposed, so it seemed fitting that we would celebrate our wedding there too.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We wanted our wedding weekend to celebrate our deep roots in Natchez, Mississippi and to reflect the love we shared. We hosted events at historical Natchez homes and gave the bridesmaids a special champagne toast and tour of Longwood, an antebellum home stopped short of completion because of the Civil War. I gifted my bridesmaids monogrammed mint julep cups to serve one of my favorite cocktails during hair and makeup. Traditions included a cake pull and a larger-than-life bridal party. To honor Mardi Gras weekend, we left our reception through a second line and guests throwing beads. However, the greatest depiction of the South was the easygoing joy and love that surrounded our wedding day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I was a studious sophomore and Hudson was a senior football captain at our high school in Baton Rouge. He saw pictures of me on a trip to Natchez with friends for the annual historic pageant and ball. Natchez is a small town, so he messaged and asked me if I had family there. We came to find out that his grandmother was the court reporter for the judge, my great-grandfather. Our families had known each other for years! It took us a few years to get things right, but after my freshman year of college, we decided our future would be together. The next few years would consist of a lot of Skype calls to ease the difficulty of long distance, and lots of road trips to Mississippi and Texas while Hudson pursued his dream of coaching football and I finished college in Louisiana. We wouldn’t have had it any other way!
Tell us all about the proposal! Football season puts a hold on most dates or any weekend trips, so we always try to see family and spend a special weekend together after the bowl game. We traveled to Natchez to see his grandmother, but Hudson said he had something special planned for us as well. That morning, Hudson went hunting with his cousin. Little did I know, they also went to buy dozens of roses, taking off the petals one by one in preparation for that evening. When he returned, we decided to take our chances with the nearby storm clouds and went for a run downtown. As we were starting up a giant hill, it started to rain, and then pour! We trudged up the hill and laughed so hard as we stood at the top, soaking wet and out of breath. After spending the rest of the day around town and getting caught in a few more storms, we headed home to get ready. Hudson was insistent that we try to see the sunset before dinner, even though the rain continued. We walked along the bluff, looking at the Mississippi River, until he suggested we go under the gazebo. Hudson grew quiet as he led me up the steps and took me to the center, where we were surrounded in rose petals. He spoke heartfelt words as he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I said yes, of course! We shared a romantic dinner at the restaurant behind Dunleith, just the two of us, basking in our love and excitement. The next day, when we arrived to church, I saw my family standing on the steps. Sweet Hudson planned the extra surprise, followed by brunch with both of our families who had come into town to celebrate.
When did y’all get married? February 6, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I chose a four-tiered white cake with alternating caramel layers, decorated with cascading flowers. It was classic and delicious! Hudson’s grooms cake was red velvet (his favorite) and was decorated with the logos of the football programs where he had played and then coached. Fun fact: I began gifting Hudson vintage pennant flags when he started coaching. We used them around his cake, including a handmade pennant with our last name that I surprised him with on our wedding day.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We hosted my bridesmaids and many of our family at Dunleith for the wedding weekend. Overall, that was the greatest detail because we were able to enjoy the history of the home and explore the beautiful grounds (the greenhouse was my favorite!). At the reception, guests were greeted with champagne as they walked up to giant columns and a wraparound porch. When you walked into the home, it was like taking a step back in time. We couldn’t go wrong with letting the details of an antebellum home serve as decor!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed was a handkerchief embroidered with the names of each married friend. I am so happy to pass it on to my next dear friend on her wedding day! My something old was an antique brooch I pinned to my bouquet that had belonged to my great-great-great-grandmother. My first something blue was gifted by my mom, a prayer shawl knitted by the healing ministry of my church. Our family received one when my dad was in the hospital after a life-threatening accident. In our belief that we should pray through joy and pain, love and sorrow, my bridesmaids laid their hands on it and prayed with me before I walked down the aisle. The second was a diamond and sapphire ring I wore that belonged to Hudson’s great-grandmother. My something new was my dress and shoes.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Our pastor graciously worked around our long distance relationship and the football season to plan premarital counseling sessions that focused on values and communication. We read The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller (a must read for anyone!). We also decided that preparing for marriage would not stop at the wedding. We continue to read books that sharpen our relationship and we plan to take marriage classes at our Fort Worth church.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We currently live in Fort Worth, Texas and love sharing life in the same city, along with our new puppy, Biscuit. We are both driven to pursue our dreams, so it’s wonderful to share ideas and offer support to each other daily. We aren’t quite sure what the future holds but we are excited for our journey together. This year, we look forward to hosting dinners for guests, deepening relationships with new friends, and the 2016 football season. Go Frogs!

Photographer: Sarah Becker Lillard | Videographer: Charity Robinson | Ceremony Venue: First Presbyterian Church | Reception Venue: Dunleith Historic Inn | Florist: Katalin Green | Cake Baker: Edna’s Cake Creations | Band: Phat Hat | Paper Products: MADdesign | Bride’s Gown and Veil: Liancarlo | Hair and Makeup: INDē Salon | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Dessy Collection | Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse | Ceremony Programs: Wiregrass Weddings | Bridesmaids Robes: SilkandMore | Welcome Basket Gift Tags and Other Personalized Details: GraciousBridal

marissa Written with love by Marissa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah Becker Lillard reply

    Thank you so much for featuring Carley + Hudson’s wedding! They seriously are made of gold and such a perfect fit for SW not just stylistically but because their hearts line up with y’alls mission so well! Thank you thank you!

  2. avatar Danny Wandelt reply

    Lovely location!

  3. avatar Doree reply

    I love the book with the crest on the front! Where is that from?!

    • avatar Carley reply

      Hi Doree! Sorry just happened to see your comment. If you are speaking about the picture with the jewelry around the crest, that was our wedding program! We ordered them from WiregrassWeddings on Etsy. She creates beautiful work.

  4. avatar Hochzeitsfotograf reply

    Gorgeous bride, beautiful dress and amazing photography!

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