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Category: Real Southern Weddings

Classic, elegant, and rooted in place are a few words I often use to describe my favorite “type” of wedding, so I was delighted when I saw that Erika and Kenny’s Savannah celebration hit all of those nails on the head. Even though their 11-month engagement was a particularly stressful time in their lives, they pulled off a day that truly celebrated their love for one another, their families, and the traditions and culture of the South. It’s so evident that even in the midst of moving, house hunting, and more, when it came to their wedding, Erika and Kenny worked hard to be intentional and hospitable. I can only imagine their marriage will be marked with those same sentiments!

Thanks so much to Brian Flint for sharing this lovely day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had a few details of the wedding planned out in my head, but a wedding dress was not one of them. I just knew I wanted something timeless and true to myself. My first appointment was at Ivory & Beau in Savannah. After trying on only eight dresses, I went with my gut and chose a beautiful, lace Elaya Vaughn dress by Kate Pankoke. I was in and out of the store in under an hour! Easiest shopping trip ever.

A first look logistically made sense, but we never considered doing one. Every time we imagined our wedding day, our thoughts would jump to the moment when we would lock eyes as I walked down the aisle towards him. Even though I cried my way down the aisle, we have no regrets! It was such a happy and surreal moment!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a harpist at our ceremony and he was great! He played “How Great Thou Art” for the seating of the parents and grandparents and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” for the bridal party entrance. The harp music plus the waterside setting made it so enchanting!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? A family member graciously offered to let us host our ceremony in his yard, overlooking the marsh on Wilmington Island. This site has hosted many shrimp boils, oyster roasts, and celebrations. The moss-draped oak trees and the marsh at high tide provided us with a magical and romantic backdrop for our ceremony. We rented trolleys to transport guests from the ceremony to the reception, which was in downtown Savannah at the Knights of Columbus. We wanted an indoor reception that was convenient to all the downtown amenities. We had many out-of-town guests, and it was important to us to show them all of our favorite parts of Savannah.

Joann’s Florist did such a great job with our flowers! We used a lot of seeded eucalyptus, dusty miller, cream cabbage roses, white ranunculus, white hydrangeas, and white veronica sprigs. Garlands lined the tables and hung over the mantle of the fireplace. It really transformed the reception space! We saved some of the flowers to dry and frame for our house, but the rest were taken to a local nursing home so that they could continue to be enjoyed.

Our wedding cake was from Publix and we couldn’t have been happier! It was pretty, delicious, and affordable! Instead of a groom’s cake, we opted for a flaming donut bar. Our caterer, Savannah Event Catering, fried a Krispy Kreme donut, poured bourbon in the middle, lit it on fire, and extinguished the flames with a Coke. He topped it with pralines and served it with ice cream. Amazing and so entertaining!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met while we were living in Atlanta. Kenny made the first move and invited me to coffee. I let him choose the location and, to my surprise, he chose my favorite coffee shop. It was such a beautiful day and we sipped our coffee next to the river while enjoying great conversation. It really was perfect. We’ve been together, drinking coffee, ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! Traveling is one of our favorite things to do together, so I didn’t think twice when Kenny suggested that we take a relaxing weekend trip to Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. Daufuskie is a charming little island between Savannah and Hilton Head that can only be reached by boat. A local artist told us about a great place to watch the sunset, so that night, we rode our golf cart over to the point. Kenny balanced his iPhone on the golf cart to take a timed photo of us. After a few seconds, he turned to me and started saying sweet things as we were taking in the beautiful scenery. What I thought was a special moment turned into a REALLY special moment when he dropped to one knee. I was so surprised! I didn’t believe him until I saw the ring. He then told me his iPhone had been taking a video, not a timed photo. He captured the moment for us and we were able to freeze shot pictures from it. It was beyond perfect!
When did y’all get married? March 5, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: This is tough because everything came together in such a lovely way. We both really loved our hurricane lamps, though. My dad believes every house should have one (or ten). It was one of the first things my parents gave Kenny and me when we bought our first house. We were able to use my dad’s collection at the reception and it was beautiful. It added just enough light and charm to the space.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? A week after we were engaged, Kenny’s work transferred him to another city. Our engagement was 11 months long and included wedding planning, house hunting, job searching, and moving. It was an eventful, emotional, and often challenging 11 months. We grew so much during this season of change. We learned how to effectively communicate, tackle our challenges together, and keep our relationship God-centered.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was definitely the guest list. We both come from big families and have lived in multiple cities. We could have easily invited 500 people, but we wouldn’t have been able to have the wedding we wanted with that many guests. Cutting the list was a long and painful process, but I think it worked out well.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? With a design background, I knew exactly what I wanted for the invitations. The only issue was the cost, so I decided to take them on as a DIY project. I purchased my beautiful, deckle-edged, homemade paper off of Etsy and my dear and talented friend, Lauren Walker, designed my invites in her beautiful calligraphy. I completed the look with a monogrammed gold wax seal. It was a lot of work, but the outcome was exactly what I wanted.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Prioritize. Figure out what you would consider a successful wedding and plan accordingly. Spend your money on things that will help you reach that vision and save money in the areas that don’t matter as much. It varies couple to couple but it is the best way to figure out where to cutback and where to splurge.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We look forward to working on our historic home, spending a lot of time on our porch swing, continuing to travel the world, and experiencing life together.

Photographer: Brian Flint Photography | Planner, Rentals and Florals: Carlson Premiere Events | Ceremony Venue: Private residence | Reception Venue: Knights of Columbus | Florist: Joann’s Florist | Cake Baker: Publix | Caterer: Savannah Event Catering | Band: A Nickel Bag of Funk | Bride’s Gown: Elaya Vaughn Bridal by Kate Pankoke | Hair and Makeup: Beyond Beautiful by Heather Ferguson | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo, Bari Jay, and Joanna August | Alterations: Stitch | Calligraphy: Lauren Walker with Caroline & Fitz Design Co.

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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Now, while I grew up in the great state of Alabama, my adult years have been spent in quite a few Southern states, and one of the things I’ve found consistent across borders is the kindness and hospitality of Southerners — it makes you instantly feel at home, wherever you are! Caroline and Chandler chose to embrace these two Southern hallmarks at their wedding, creating a “close-knit and welcoming” environment for all of their guests. And don’t miss their rewrite of traditional vows – I loved that they pledged to fight for love instead of against each other!

Thank you to Erin Wilson Photography for this beautiful day!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I had recently decided to move to the town where my best friend and her husband were living, and started meeting their new friends. Chandler and I were both invited to celebrate my friend’s husband’s birthday. As most typical gatherings play out, all the girls were in the kitchen talking and all the men were in the living room watching a football game. During our time talking in the kitchen, one girl asked me a bunch of questions about my background and finally said, “There is a guy wearing a red jacket in the other room who is perfect, precious, and sweet. He loves his momma, and loves Jesus, and he will LOVE his wife.” HOW BOLD! I was not really interested in dating during my transition of moving and starting fresh, but I did peek into the next room and quickly said “no” when I saw the Duck Dynasty-esque beard he was sporting. The next encounter was after I visited their church’s service before Christmas; they had a reception afterward to help people connect and spend time together. It was then that I got to see his beaming smile through all the beard, so I left telling my best friend that he was in fact very cute. We still didn’t officially meet. The next time I came to town was the weekend before New Year’s, and our mutual friends were not going to let me leave town without officially meeting him. We did the awkward group lunch after church where everyone knows they are attending for the purpose of getting two people to officially meet. After a lot of convincing, I agreed to join the group for New Year’s Eve. That night, Chandler was very intentional–he was always near me and began asking me one-on-one questions that sprung off of what the group was discussing. I came back in to help my friend collect plates and cups while people still enjoyed the fire, and we found Chandler doing dishes in the kitchen and taking out the trash. It was then that I saw his servant heart. He boldly called a week later to ask me to coffee.

I wanted the flowers to be very lush and vary in color. Our original wedding colors were blush pink, gold, and dark wood grain. We decided to add variety in order for it to look very whimsical and not so structured. I love the round eucalyptus leaf greenery with pops of flowers, such as peonies, roses, some different daisies, hypericum berries and carnations.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! We wanted the photographer to have a lot of time for wedding party pictures without delaying the reception. We also wanted to be able to make sure the vows were not the first time we would talk to each other that day. It really made things run so smoothly! We had eight groomsmen and eight bridesmaids, and since we started the pictures with a first look, we got to take all sorts of creative pictures together with our favorite people.

We decided to rewrite traditional vows with our own special promises to each other. Our premarital counseling was great for real world advice and also helped us think of ways to set our marriage up for success and great communication. One of my favorite vows to him was, “I promise to respect you without condition.” This statement was also said to me this way: “I promise to love you without condition.” In our premarital counseling, we talked about how receiving and giving love to each other is interpreted differently by guys and girls. The second a man feels doubted or disrespected, they do not respond in love; for a woman, the second she feels unloved, she does not respond in respect. So for us, we always want to be on the same team, fighting for love and not against each other.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our ceremony. The pastor did an amazing job of telling our story and highlighting what God has done in our relationship. The weather was beautiful, the flowers were stunning, and the variety of wedding party attire came together so well. The reception was fun and full of loved ones reuniting, while some met for the first time, but the promises that were made and the love that was presented to everyone during our ceremony meant more to me than anything!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We wanted something outdoors and close to the vendors we had chosen. We have family who does amazing things with events and didn’t want distance to hinder their work! We luckily found Wagon Wheel Acres quickly and booked them as soon as we could get up there to look around. Their location is beautifully set on top of Lee Mountain overlooking the River Valley area. The rocks on the bluff were just stunning and the potential of their barn-like facility was a great canvas for my vision. They provided many small detail decor items here and there, as well as some antique tables that were just the right touch for our sweetheart and guest book tables.

My wedding cake was five layers with alternating vanilla (our favorite), chocolate, and strawberry cakes, all with white buttercream icing. I described to them a rough, iced cake with gold accents throughout. I decided on flowers instead of a topper of any kind to continue the whimsical theme.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Southern, to me, is close-knit and welcoming. In the South, there is a polite sense of belonging with those who uphold traditional kindness. I think that’s what was present at our wedding. Whether people knew both of us well or just one of us, there was a sense of relaxed comfort to all who attended.

Tell us all about the proposal! We had talked marriage many times after a few months of dating, and had even come up with some good dates to consider around the months his sister would be in the country! About five months after we started dating, he began looking at rings and quickly decided to go with a local company who would allow him to design his own. One evening, he told me he had band practice and instead traveled to my hometown to meet with my family. He took them all out to dinner and, when they returned to my house, Chandler had a talk with my dad that ended with both of them in tears. Their love for me is so sweet. My dad gave his blessing, and Chandler officially purchased the ring not long after. He went to visit my hometown several times to time the sunset and get the lighting right for all that he wanted. Chandler built a beautiful dark wood bench and about eight frames to put our pictures in from throughout dating. He got candles and fabric to set all along this overlook by the lake. My family planned a “family dinner” night that Chandler would “have to be late for because of work.” My family and I got all ready for a nice dinner at our local country club…or so I thought. On the way out of our neighborhood (which is right by the lake), my dad mentioned something he needed to look at on the door of the lake conference center. My whole family got out of the car to “look at the sunset while he looked at the door.” Little did I know, waiting around the corner was Chandler and his crew of people documenting! I was shocked.. and then speechless when I realized there were two people filming and a photographer! He had set everything out and even somehow coordinated his shirt with my dress. He got down on one knee and I said, “Of course I will!” We then immediately took our engagement pictures. My family had then left me to get to the after-party Chandler had planned with myy family, his family, and our closest friends! It was so sweet!
When did y’all get married? April 2, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 200
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Our marriage was what we started planning long before wedding details came together. We knew we wanted to do premarital counseling to prepare our hearts and minds for challenges and the realities of married life. Both of us have divorced parents, so we wanted to set up patterns in our marriage that would help us continue to fight more for our marriage instead of against each other. The couple we met with had us read the books “Love and Respect” and “Sheet Music.” These were so very helpful and led to many discussions about how our pasts had molded us to believe things about marriage that we either had to begin changing or agree to be truths. We prayed A LOT and also asked for advice from many close friends.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We were blessed to have family that does event decorating, cakes, catering, etc. It was a huge help to be able to rely on my family to make this special day come together. I definitely went the “cheap” route with as many things as possible to make sure money was spent on my favorites: flowers and photography! I did all my own calligraphy for the invitations, programs, chalkboard, signage. I am a graphic designer, so I designed my invitations and save the dates as well!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I definitely would advise those planning their own wedding to prioritize the details that are most important to you (for me, it was flowers and photography). Budget for those first! Also, look for a venue that goes with your theme–the garden party look I wanted wasn’t going to work in a church building or a conference room. Then, choose things like attire for all of your wedding party, yourself and your groom carefully, since that is what will be seen, photographed, and focused on most. It’s sometimes hard to get dresses/suits ordered in a timely manner, so find these vendors first to prevent scrambling at the last minute for all the right sizes.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We took a small honeymoon, but are planning our first married vacation for the end of the summer! We only dated a little over a year before getting married, so we are excited about traveling together and we are always seeking adventures! We decided on no pets for now, just so any day could be an adventure without the worry of burdening others with upkeep while we are away! After getting married, we moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas where Chandler got a new job, so everything is new to us. Once I graduate from cosmetology school, I will be getting a job in Hot Springs, which is luckily known as Spa City!

Photographer: Erin Wilson | Videographer: Kyle and Capillya Uptergrove | Planner: Fe Barton | Florist, Cake Baker, Caterer, and Rentals: Dover Supermarket Inc. | Venue: Wagon Wheel Acres | Guest Book: Shutterfly | Paper Goods: Caroline Tedder and Posey Printing Inc. | Bridal Salon and Veil: Low’s Bridal | Bride’s Gown: “Style D1702” in Champagne by Essense of Australia | Bride’s Earrings: Francesca’s | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Miriam Alvarez | Groom’s Attire: J. Ferrar

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Becky Beavers reply

    Wow! This made me tear up. Very well said. How and when can we buy copies of this magazine. We would like the Issue that has this story.
    Thank you

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Becky! I’m so glad you loved this wedding! Caroline and Chandler’s big day is an online-only feature, but our next issue will debut in November 2016!

  2. avatar Nicole Oliveira reply

    Where did she get the shoes????? I HAVE to have them!!

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Even before Christy had a boyfriend, she remembers telling her mama that she would someday be married at Reynolds Plantation…and a little ways down the road, she and Jake made that dream come true! Inspired by the beautiful landscape of Christy’s family’s summer home, Christy and Jake chose to say the vows they wrote to one another right in front of the lake before adjourning to Sandy Creek Barn for the celebration. Not even temperatures in the triple digits could keep the newlyweds and their dearest family and friends from enjoying a gorgeous tented dinner and the wild dance party that followed!

Thank you so much to the talented Melissa Schollaert for sending this dreamy day our way!

I knew from the very first moment of the process that I wasn’t going to try on more than 20 dresses–I knew I would find one that day. My mother, my oldest sister, and my two very best friends went shopping with me in New Jersey. After the first bridal shop, where I almost bought the third dress I tried on, we went to Elizabeth Johns in Morristown, New Jersey. I tried on a few dresses that I had my heart set on prior to visiting the store through online research, but ultimately decided upon a beautiful blush, all-lace Romona Keveza gown. I had it in my head that I would never have a strapless dress, nor did I ever want a blush dress, but this one felt right and made me feel beautiful!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We worked together on all aspects of the wedding. There was not one detail I didn’t run by Jake–he knew it all and definitely had more of an opinion than most grooms. I knew that working together and getting through any differences during the wedding planning process would help us grow as a couple.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we did! I wanted to see Jake beforehand and have a special moment together before the excitement of the day really started happening. We met down by the water of our venue and had a few nervous giggles together. We also took a moment during the sunset and stepped away from the reception to just be with one another and reflect on the day.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our own vows! Our ceremony was very much about us and our love for one another. Our vows were reflective of us a couple–there were a lot of laughs, tears, and reflections.

My parents built a summer home on Reynolds Plantation while I was in college. Ever since my first visit, I told my mom (even before I had a boyfriend) that it was where I wanted to get married. It was beautiful, peaceful, and my dream come true! The Ritz Carlton Lodge on Reynolds Plantation had various beautiful venues we could chose from, but we ultimately chose Sandy Creek Barn. The Barn is located across the lake from the hotel and has the most beautiful landscape with acres of fields and trees. We could party into the morning without disturbing anyone for miles! We had our ceremony down by the water, our cocktail hour inside the barn, and our reception took place in a beautifully decorated sailcloth tent adjacent to the barn.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding was hot as all get out! Everyone knew they were in the South with those temperatures! We also incorporated a lot of Southern touches with antlers and music. My husband was reluctant at first, but we had some great country music playing at our wedding!

One of my absolute favorite details of my wedding was the flowers. I was blown away by my florist, Kent Duffy of Designs by Kent. I am not tied to any particular flower, but only knew I wanted something that felt light, rustic, and classic. Our farmhouse tables were a mix of round, square, and long, and we decorated them with antlers, succulents, touches of gold, and metallic. I was not tied to any color, but it all just blended in beautifully with the landscape of the barn. He went above and beyond my expectations.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had cake and an array of desserts. The more the merrier was our attitude! I am a chocolate girl and Jake loves fruity desserts, so we decided to have both! Our actual wedding cake was a naked cake, which was designed by the pastry chef at the Ritz Carlton. It was exactly what I had envisioned.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at a Halloween party in 2010! He was a farmer and I was dressed as what was supposed to be a hippie. We both had B- costumes and laughed it off. What started as innocent conversation that night led to a first date over wine and mussels at the Mermaid Inn in NYC. We knew from that first date we were meant to be! We go back every year to order the same thing and sit in the same seats.
Tell us all about the proposal! Jake’s sister, Amy, is an incredibly talented singer/songwriter and was performing at Rockwood Music Hall in the Lower East Side. It was a Saturday night and we had plans to go to the show, and then afterwards, we would head to “a nice dinner” (as Jake put it when I asked what to wear) with his family. Jake was extremely nervous in the car ride to the show and was latching on to his sunglass case for dear life (turns out, the ring was hiding in there the whole time!). After we arrived to a full crowd, Amy did a few songs, and toward the end, she did a cover of Ray Lamontagne’s “Hold You in My Arms.” In the middle of the performance, she invited Jake up to the stage, where he made the cutest speech (that I am not sure I would have remembered given my emotional state if it wasn’t recorded), and then proceeded to propose. While all of this was happening, our family and friends–unbeknownst to me–were watching it all through a projector from the other room. After being surprised by them all, we headed to a a party Jake had put together with all of my closest friends and family!
When did y’all get married? July 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Roughly 200
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We covered all the bases with music–pop, country, hip hop, and typical wedding songs! I walked down the aisle to a “500 Miles” cover by Sleeping at Last, and for our first dance, Jake’s sister did a beautiful cover of “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” We strayed from typical wedding songs during our procession and ceremony, and wanted it to be fun and light to reflect our personalities.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I can’t name a favorite detail, but one thing that turned into being the most memorable was how HOT it was. It was about 100 degrees at 5:30 P.M.–the start of our wedding. I was a nervous wreck! We extended our cocktail hour to cool people off inside the barn and I had extra fans and generators brought in for the tent. The fans ended up being “misting fans” and the dance floor at night turned into a slew of people who were soaking wet from the mist, but dancing their hearts out! It was absolutely hilarious and one of my favorite memories.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? When we took a moment to ourselves down by the water while the sun was setting and the reception was in full swing. Our closest friends and family had just been a part of the best day of our lives, and we were officially husband and wife. It was such a special moment that we will never forget.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We have a 10-month-old puppy who is our best buddy! He makes us a family of three and we are hoping to become a family of four in the next few years! We are looking forward to traveling, spending more time with our family and closest friends, and supporting each other as we progress in our careers.

Photographer: Melissa Schollaert | Videographer: Anchor Heart Films | Planner: Ashley Scott of The Ritz Carlton | Venue: Sandy Creek Barn at Reynolds Plantation | Florist: Designs by Kent | Caterer, Cake and Dessert Baker: The Ritz Carlton Lodge, Lake Oconee | Band: Band of Gold | Paper Products: Sideshow Press | Wooden Signs: Country Bliss Designs | Bride’s Gown: Romona Keveza | Hair Stylist: Kathryn Yearwood, Zapien’s Salon | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew | Groom’s Attire: Tom Ford

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Paperlust Wedding Invites reply

    Absolutely love those letterpress wedding invitations, what GSM are they?

  2. avatar Kale Inspired Wedding Colors Ideas for 2017 Spring & Summer | Stylish Wedd Blog reply

    […] Credits: via The Brides Cafe/via Southern Weddings/via Glamour/via Urban Style […]

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