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Category: Real Southern Weddings

I am a big believer in the idea that when it comes to the person you’re meant to be with, when you know, you know. Today’s beautiful bride and groom, Erica and Danny, are the perfect example of this. They met when they were kids, but they didn’t start their relationship till years later. When they finally got together, they both knew right away that they had found “the one” and committed wholeheartedly. I love how Erica described their first year together when she said, “We confidently jumped in head first and never once considered putting floaties on.” That takes courage, y’all, and as you can see here in their overflowing-with-love wedding pictures, it was completely worth it.

Thank you so much to Megan Thiele for sharing Erica and Danny’s wedding with us!

I put off wedding dress shopping for a year. I didn’t feel great about my body after being pregnant, but I was worried that if I waited any longer, I wouldn’t be able to get the dress of my dreams in time for the big day. To my surprise, I loved almost every dress I tried on. I planned to buy one of the dresses from the first boutique I went to, but my mom convinced me to try one more place. At the Wedding Gallery in historic downtown St. Charles, I tried on three dresses and again, loved them all. The dresses were now starting to run together, so my mom suggested trying something different than the lace mermaid gowns I had been trying on, and I agreed. The wedding dress specialist asked me what I envisioned I would look like on my wedding day. I laughed and said, “A princess, of course!” I told her I loved beaded dresses but was afraid that with a rustic venue and wedding, I would look out of place. She said, “I think I have something” and brought out a beautiful Martina Liana beaded and lace dress. I thought the lace gave it the vintage, rustic look I was going for, but the beads gave it a glamorous look too. I had my mom wait outside the room until I had the belt and veil on too. When she walked in, she didn’t say a word. My mom is not a crier, so I knew I wasn’t going to get any tears out of her, but I thought she’d at least have something to say about it, so I asked “Well, aren’t you going to say something?” She replied, “You look like a princess.” Needless to say, that was the dress I wore on my wedding day.

Mismatched navy dresses, cowboy boots, and some seriously gorgeous bouquets? This bridal party has style in spades!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Danny and I have known one another since we were kids, but the stars just never quite aligned — that is, until New Year’s Eve 2010. I truly believe we were always meant to end up together, just not until then. I believe it takes heartache and mistakes to learn what you want in a relationship and who you want to be in a relationship. I also think it takes knowing what “wrong” feels like in order to know what “right” feels like. With that being said, when Danny and I had started dating, we both knew right away, this was right. This was it. We confidently jumped in head first and never once considered putting floaties on. Within the first year of our relationship, we moved in together, bought and built our first home, got engaged, and brought a beautiful baby boy into this world.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There were two moments in particular that will most definitely stick with me forever. First was when Danny started to cry while reading his vows. In the many years I’ve known Danny and the three years we’ve been together, I have never seen him cry. I think everyone was shocked and it caused quite the chain reaction. The second one was when my dad said in his speech, which will make me cry writing this, “I love my daughter with all my heart and I know Danny does too, but nobody could possibly love her as much as that little blonde-haired, blue-eyed grandson of mine does.” Everyone knows how much I adore my little boy and Connor is most definitely a mama’s boy, but hearing my dad say that really tugged at my heart strings. I felt that my father was really proud of the person and mother I had become and that I was doing a good job as Connor’s mom.

If I had to choose one detail that was my most favorite, it would be the table design. I wouldn’t say it was one detail, but every part of it was so well thought out and detailed. We had navy linens on the guest tables, and on the head table, we used hemstitched tablecloths over navy linens. Each person had a chevron, polka dot, or stripe placemat with a rattan charger on top and a light blue linen napkin. Each place setting had a vintage mismatched flowered china plate, just like my grandma’s! The silverware was wrapped in twine and had a yellow billy ball and blue thistle tucked into it. My centerpieces were flowers in wood boxes or mason jars on top of wood slabs or wood pillars, and there were metallic candle holders all around them. Our guest sat in white chiavari chairs, and Danny and I each had an oversized wood chair with signs that said “Better” and “Together.”

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Susie G’s Bakery made us three simple but delicious wedding cakes. They were white cake with raspberry filling, covered with buttercream icing. Our dessert bar was much more elaborate. We had assorted cakes in mini mason jars and yummy chewies that were inspired by Danny’s love for turtles, provided by Susie G’s Bakery. We also had a variety of freshly baked cookies from Grandma’s Cookies, s’mores cupcakes from Sarah’s Cake Shop, and assorted fruit pies from Sugaree Bakery. At the end of the night, my wedding planner said she had never seen a dessert bar picked over as much as ours was. Both my family and Danny’s have a sweet tooth!

Tell us all about the proposal! Danny asked me to marry him on October 14, 2011. I was eight months pregnant and we had just built and moved in to our new home. I was a bit overwhelmed with everything, so although I knew a ring would eventually come, I definitely did not think it would come then. Danny and I were both born on the 13th and Connor was not only due on the 13th, but on my birthday. I had dropped a few hints that the 13th is a great day and it would be fun if all the important things in our lives happened on the 13th, hint hint. So, on October 13, Danny spent half the day trying to carve a pumpkin that said “will you marry me,” but since he couldn’t finish before I got home from work, he decided to throw the 13th idea out the window. On October 14, I came home from work to see the carved pumpkin surrounded by flowers and candy corn (great gesture for a pregnant woman). Like a gentleman, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. He said he didn’t just love me during our good times, but that he loved me all the time, even in the worst of times, and that he never wanted to see me sad or stressed. He said his goal in life was to always take care of our family, and promised that if I would be his wife, he would never stop working to make sure our family had everything they need.
When did y’all get married? June 8, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we did. Our ceremony didn’t start until 5 p.m. and I just didn’t think it made sense to be apart from my best friend for most of the day on one of the most important days of our lives.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, Danny’s vows were amazing from top to bottom, but my favorite part was when he said, “I am a major believer that everything that happens in life happens for a reason, and for some reason, the man upstairs has blessed me with a beautiful angel and the sweetest baby boy a father could ever ask for.” Danny’s favorite part of my vows was, “You and Connor are what make my heart beat and one lifetime with you could never be enough”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our good friends, Jamie and Andy Pusateri, each wrote an original reading for our wedding. We honestly couldn’t have asked two better people. Jamie wrote and read “Love Through the Eyes of Little Ones,” which was beautiful and extremely appropriate, as she knows exactly the love we have for our child. Andy wrote and read “Love Defined.” He memorized it completely and it was honestly the best reading we have ever heard at any wedding. We told him he really needs to consider having it published!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to the keyboardist and violinist playing David Grey’s “This Year’s Love.” The first time we heard it, it gave me chills. Danny and I had our first dance to Ingrid Michaelson’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” This song is the anthem to our relationship. I even based my vows around the quote “Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread” and ended them saying “but I just couldn’t help falling in love with you.” My dad and I danced to “My Girl,” by The Temptations. My favorite movie growing up was My Girl and I always told my friends that that would be the song I would dance with my dad to on my wedding day. It was a really hard song to slow dance to, but my dad and I took a dance lesson and practiced every morning in my living room until my wedding. Connor and I heard it on the radio the other day and he immediately started humming and dancing—he knew it was baba (what Connor calls my dad) and mama’s song!
Describe your wedding flowers. Tina Barrera did an unbelievable job on our flowers. I knew I wanted them to have a lot of pink and I wanted a rustic look, but without too much greenery or too many berries. The bridal bouquet consisted of coral peonies, white astilbe, hot pink ranunculus, ivory peonies, magenta stock, blue thistle, yellow billy balls and silver brunei berries hand-tied with lace. The bridesmaids’ flowers were the same as the bridal bouquet, except they had less white throughout and were wrapped in burlap instead of lace. All of the men in the wedding wore coral spray roses, hot pink ranunculus, billy ball and thistle boutonnieres. At our ceremony, we hung mason jars down the aisle filled with hot pink stock, coral roses, blue thistle, silver brunei, pink garden roses, yellow billy balls and white hydrangeas, which were also placed on wooden pillars of various heights on the head table. Throughout the reception venue, we used wood box centerpieces, mason jars on wood slabs, tin cans, and birch vases, filled with the same flowers that were spread throughout the venue. Upstairs, where we held cocktail hour, we had small clusters of all-white hydrangeas, stock and roses in small mason jars.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Everything! I may be from the city but I am a country girl at heart, and Danny is most definitely a country boy! For attire, Danny and the groomsmen all wore bow ties and vests and had matching navy and light blue striped socks. The bridesmaids and I wore cowboy boots. The ceremony was at a winery and took place outdoors near a pond, and the reception was in a big red barn. At the ceremony, they handed out signature wine slushies with monogramed straws. We had a lemonade and tea station, hay barrels with quilts around the dance floor, and a bonfire. We had an H monogrammed on the dance floor in chalk. Our ring bearers and flower girl came out in an old western wagon with tin cans attached and rustic signs that said “Here Comes the Bride” and “My Mommy and Daddy are Getting Married.” At our dessert station, we had tons of wicker monogrammed E+D and H signs, as well as burlap and quilt banners with cute sayings on them. Also, we were in the country, so the scenery was high grass, grape vines and corn fields. On the way there, you passed sheep and cows and other farm animals. And of course, we had mason jars galore, tin cans, wood slabs, birch vases and old wood boxes all over the venue.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something blues were my necklace and earrings. I wore Danny’s birthstone, aquamarine. My something old was my grandmother’s ring. It was passed down to her from her Grandmother and she passed it down to me! My something new was an earring of mine and Connor’s birthstone, from one of my maids of honor. I borrowed one of my mom’s rings, that included Danny’s birthstone, which I wrapped with twine around my bouquet.
What is the one details or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Katie Fogerty, owner of Kate & Co would be first. My wedding wouldn’t have been what it was without Katie. I am a complete perfectionist, and get anxiety about the smallest things not being perfect. Anything Katie and her crew were responsible for was perfect, and I couldn’t be more thankful. I also have to say my seamstress, Connie Simpson, owner of R & M Design. When I bought my wedding dress, I was still trying to get baby weight off and was also still nursing my son. By the time the dress arrived, I had lost all the baby weight, and then some. It didn’t even look like the same dress. Connie took it in six times and miraculously made me have some curves again (in the places I wanted them)! When I had my final fitting, I fell in love with the dress all over again. Also, my wedding photographer—she didn’t miss a detail and I can keep reliving the day over and over. Plus, she saved the day and drove the hubby and me to our ceremony when our trolley broke down!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Raising a baby while planning a wedding. I felt guilty focusing on the wedding and not giving Connor my 100 percent undivided attention. I didn’t think it was fair to him, so I did the timely stuff after he fell asleep or super early in the morning before he woke up. Anything that needed to be done during business hours, I did at nap time. I can’t even tell you how many of my vendors probably got emails from me at midnight.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? To do a same-day edit film, especially if you are doing pictures before the ceremony. It was extremely important to me that since we weren’t going to see each other for the first time when I walked down the aisle that everyone would be able to see our first look at the reception. It was the most beautiful short film I’ve ever seen and I’m not exaggerating when I say there was not a dry eye in the entire place. The staff was even tearing up! It started the night off just right, and those five minutes were worth every penny!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Expanding our little family. Connor is such a miracle and I hope God blesses us with more little miracles.

lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Lauren reply

    What a beautiful story! I love the beading on her dress and the contrast with the ivory of the gown.

  2. avatar Dana reply

    what an adorable, happy family. i love what her dad said at the wedding!

  3. avatar Charissa reply

    What a darling wedding, love the brides white cowboy boots!

  4. avatar Joel reply

    Beautiful!

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    […] Image: Megan Thiele via Southern Weddings […]

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    […] Photo Megan Thiele  via Southern Weddings. […]

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It should come as no surprise that the wedding of For the Makers co-founder Janet was a perfect example of DIY-done-elegant — after all, through her genius business, this talented gal has subtracted the guesswork and multiplied the beauty of craft projects everywhere. (LOVE!) So even though her wedding to Collin was filled with DIY projects, from the dye-dipped napkins and table runners, to the watercolor invitations and custom wine labels, the chalkboard photo booth backdrop, Janet’s jewelry, and ALL the desserts, the end result is clean, sophisticated, and understated. Huge thanks to Julia Wade for capturing everything to perfection so we could share!

What a beautiful sentiment with which to start your wedding day!

Janet’s gorgeous necklace was actually featured as a DIY on For the Makers — find it here!

A lot of the music, both from the ceremony and reception, was really just songs that represent memories that we’ve shared. Many of the songs were later-year hits from the Beatles. I walked down the aisle to “Here, There and Everywhere,” and exited to “All You Need is Love.” We chose Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” as our first dance because we love the song and we were married on the first day of fall (just after a harvest moon).

So many happy faces in a row!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in college. He sat in front of me in Art History. I asked him for pencils. The whole semester, he would turn around to look at a clock behind me, even though we both knew that he couldn’t actually see it from where he was sitting. On the last day of class, I asked him out for coffee. He said yes (and that he had wanted to do the same but was too shy) and we’ve been inseparable since. That was ten years ago.

I saw a Vera Wang dress in a magazine and thought it would absolutely be the one. I booked an appointment at the showroom along with a few other places in NYC, and my mom came up from North Carolina to help me look. The Vera Wang dress turned out to be a complete disaster — I took it off just as fast as I put it on. At the next location, I pulled several dresses from the racks, and the second one I put on made my mom start crying. I loved its simplicity and subtle structure. I slept on it and we went back the next day and bought it. I wasn’t a fan of the flutter sleeve that it originally had, so we had them alter the shoulder for a more streamlined look. After that change, I loved it even more.

Describe your wedding flowers. Natural, loosely arranged in pretty pale tones. Both the ceremony floral arrangements and the table arrangements were stunning. Each one was different and in a different vase/vessel. We included fruit and lots of foliage. We wanted it to feel natural and fit in with the gorgeous venue.

Get ready for your mouths to water, y’all…

Instead of a cake, we opted for cakes. My mother, an excellent baker, crafted more than a dozen cakes, plus cookies, truffles and macarons. The specific cake that we cut was a three-layer white velvet cake with milk chocolate buttercream icing, wrapped with French vanilla buttercream. It was topped off with a poured dark chocolate ganache. And it was the best cake ever.

Tell us all about the proposal! It was my birthday. We spent the day wandering around the city, shopping, eating and drinking. Hours later, we went to my favorite restaurant and ordered my favorite meal. On the way out to catch a cab, he asked me if I felt like the luckiest girl in New York City and I said yes. Then he said “will you make me the luckiest guy in New York City”? I turned around and he had knelt down on the sidewalk looking up at me with a cute box in his hand. I said yes before he could even open it or say anything else. All I remember saying was “oh my God” over and over again. I was shocked. After nine years of dating, you just don’t expect it. He asked me if I liked the ring and I realized I hadn’t even looked at it. It was gorgeous and perfect. We got into a cab and drove off to midtown to catch a Broadway show we had tickets for. After that, we met up with friends for celebratory drinks. It was the perfect day.
When did y’all get married? September 22nd, 2012
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 170
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? No, neither of us wanted to. Collin said the first time he wanted to see me was when I walked down the aisle. I felt the same way.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite details really sprang from my DIY skills. My mother, my bridesmaids and I worked to create one-of-a-kind pieces that tied in with the overall theme of the wedding. From dye-dipped napkins and table runners to watercolored invitations and custom wine labels, the wedding really reflected the warm, personal feel of an idea that was hand crafted. The ultimate centerpiece was a huge chalkboard that doubled as a photo booth backdrop and giant wedding card.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! On the inside of my dress, we sewed in one of my late Grandmother’s blue silk hair ribbons that I borrowed from my mom. So that covers everything!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We heard it was good luck to bury a bottle of bourbon a month before the wedding so it wouldn’t rain. We did that. It absolutely worked. We had gorgeous weather and not one second after the last song ended, it started to rain. The next day, we dug the bourbon up and drank it, as all good Southerners would do.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenges when planning the wedding centered around our distance from the location. While the caterers, photographer, florists, and most importantly, our family members were busy planning and facilitating, we were hundreds of miles away in NYC. We both had fairly unforgiving schedules at the time, so finding our way down to meet and plan with all of the various folks that really pulled this day off proved to be incredibly challenging.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Hands down, Julia was the best photographer we could have ever asked for. She was so warm and professional that she truly felt like a part of the bridal party by the end of the week. While all of our vendors were amazing to work with and blew away our expectations, Julia still managed to shine.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We both agree that our favorite moment was the walk down the aisle. Everything was perfect. Neither one of us have ever smiled half as hard as we were in that moment.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Just more of the same. Please and thanks.

Julia Wade is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Photographer: Julia Wade / Ceremony Venue: Ayr Mount Historic Site / Reception Venue: Ayr Mount Historic Site / Flowers & Decor: The English Garden / Catering: Durham Catering Co. / Rentals: Big Sky Rents & Events / Lighting: Big Sky Rents & Events / DJ: Joe Bunn / Photobooth backdrop: DIY / Photobooth Equipment: Classic Carolina Photobooths / Bridesmaid Dresses: Suzanne Neville / Bride's Necklace: DIY / Bride’s Shoes: Alexandre Birman / Bridesmaid Dresses: J. Crew / Groom’s Attire: J. Crew / Groomsmen Accessories: The Tie Bar / String Trio: String Trio / Rentals: American Party Rentals
emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Sara Velordi reply

    I love this – that dessert table is simply incredible! And I LOVE “For the Makers!

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I couldn’t help but smile when I read Laura and John’s love story. After he offered to help her carry boxes up five flights of stairs (she refused!), they didn’t get to know each other until a year later, when he stopped her in the hallway in search of googly-eye stickers! This unconventional conversation-starter led to a beautiful relationship, a surprise proposal, and ultimately, a delightfully Southern wedding. Since Laura and John met in Oregon and he grew up in Indiana, this Alabama bride sure had her work cut out for her! The azaleas were in full bloom by the time they held their deeply meaningful ceremony in her parents’ backyard, followed by a reception full of Southern foods and treats. I can only imagine how many of their Northern guests fell in love with the South that night! Just like Laura and John’s adorable love story and beautiful wedding, it’s easy to love, don’t you think?

Many thanks to Kelly of Spindle Photography for sending Laura and John’s wedding our way!

John was the first guy I met when I moved to Portland, Oregon. He was the only person (besides a fireman) who offered to help my friend and me move boxes up five flights of stairs to my new apartment. I stubbornly turned down his offer to help. I later found out that he lived down the hall from me, but our schedules were pretty different and I barely ever saw him. A year later, fate and googly-eye stickers brought us together. One night, when I returned home from dinner with my friend, John approached us in the hall and asked if I had any googly-eye stickers that he could use for a model he was building for a science class. Oddly enough, I did. He invited my friend and I over to his place that night (where she quietly told me that she thought he might like me), and we’ve been side-by-side ever since.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my wedding dress was such a special experience. My parents flew me back home to Alabama the summer before my wedding so that I could find my dress with my loved ones by my side. The first place I visited was The White Room because two of my older sisters had had their beautiful dresses perfectly altered by Carolyn Kelley, the owner. I searched around for something unique and picked out a variety of styles to try on. The first one I put on was perfect, and it was floor sample in perfect condition! I tried on about ten more dresses after that, but kept thinking about that first one. Also, my dad (who has impeccable taste) kept saying, “That’s pretty, but I’m not sure that it’s as special as that first one.” Finally, I put the first dress back on. We added a very simple veil and everyone in the room teared up—it was definitely THE dress. Then, on top of everything going so well that day, my amazing grandparents surprised me by purchasing my dream dress. It was just one of those incredibly lucky and lovely days.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. I really felt like it would be more special to see each other that day without a crowd of people watching (though my sisters and bridesmaids were stealthily watching from a distance). Plus, I knew that if I saw him for the first time while walking down the aisle, I would have been so overwhelmed by emotion that I probably would have cried through the entire ceremony (which I basically did anyway, but it would have been more intense). It was so comforting to see him, and so sweet to see him see me. I’m glad that we set aside time to do that and let that moment sink in.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had three readings. John’s mom read an excerpt from “The Bridge Across Forever” by Richard Bach. My step-mom read “A Marriage” by Mark Twain. Then, I had our officiant (who is also one of our best friends) read an excerpt from a letter my mom wrote me before she passed away about finding real love.

This picture might be my favorite out of all of them. They look like they just adore each other!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? It was really important to me that I married John in my hometown. He grew up in Portland, but most of his family is from Indiana, so I wanted to make sure that I showcased the charms of the South for all of our Oregon and Indiana guests. Fortunately, Mother Nature cooperated with us and our spring wedding showed off Alabama’s most gorgeous time—my parents’ backyard was filled with blooming azaleas! Of course, we made sure to highlight Southern food: candied pecans, sweet tea, mint juleps, shrimp and grits, crab salad and fried green tomatoes were some of the highlights.

Tell us all about the proposal! John was determined to surprise me, which was a difficult undertaking since we designed my engagement ring together. Actually, I had been anticipating a proposal for almost three years when the time finally came. He had a few elaborate plans that involved us being outdoors, but each fell through due to many strings of rainy days. After a handful of failed attempts at creating an ideal situation, he came up with a low-key plan. He told me one weekend morning that he had to go down to Eugene for business (which isn’t unusual). I kissed him goodbye and went about my day fixing up things at the house. Many hours later, as I was taking a nap, John came through the door with a nervous look on his face. At first I was startled because I didn’t expect him and was half asleep. Then, he got down on one knee, took out the ring (a beautiful combination of two family heirlooms) and told me why he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I was stunned! I quickly realized that I was so stunned that I did not hear his proposal, and I asked him to propose to me again, which he did. Obviously, I said yes. We spent the rest of the day together doing things we love doing and being totally excited.
When did y’all get married? April 13, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 75
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we did. My favorite part about our vows was that we wrote them separately, but they ended up being very similar. My favorite line from both had to do with our desire to help each other fulfill our dreams.
Describe your wedding flowers. My wedding flowers were gorgeous! I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted, but I found a vendor I could really trust (thank you Mandy and the HotHouse team) and left most of the decisions up to her. I told her what colors I wanted, and that I wanted ranunculus and poppies—the rest was up to her and her team. I didn’t ask for roses, but I’m so glad they included them since John and I live in The City of Roses.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Much of my wedding was focused on highlighting things that I love about the South. I knew that I wanted several regular cakes instead of one large one, so we chose a couple of uniquely Southern cakes (strawberry and coconut) and a beautiful chocolate cake (because you have to have chocolate). I also included two cheesecakes because John isn’t really into regular cake.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail is that we had an intimate ceremony in my parents’ backyard. When I asked John what his favorite detail was, he said, “My bride.”
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Distance! Planning a wedding from nearly 3,000 miles away comes with many challenges. Luckily, I have lots of awesome family members and friends in Alabama that stepped up to the plate and really made the wedding possible.
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? I was happy about pretty much everything involved in our wedding, but our photographer, Kelly Cummings, was exactly what we needed throughout the day. She made sure the whole day flowed the way it should, and ended up being the person I turned to for just about everything. Also, she has given me the most beautiful photos that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Our wedding really would not have been the same without her.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment was probably the fire. Right as we were leaving, one of the sparklers set the guest book tablecloth ablaze. We were already in the car, but watching that happen and seeing all the guests scramble to save the guest book (which was heroically saved—thank goodness) was an interesting and memorable end to an eventful day.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t try to live up to anybody’s expectations—make the day about you and your husband. At the end of the day, you aren’t going to have a perfect wedding or meet everyone’s expectations of what it should have been. Though, if you let go and make decisions that feel right, y’all will have a happy day to look back on. For some more practical advice: get that guest list hammered out as soon as possible! Putting together that list with all the correct details was one of my biggest hurdles. Also, don’t fret over little details. As long as you have vendors you trust and respect, all the details will come together in a beautiful way.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to so many things. Mostly, we are looking forward to future travels, but we are also very excited to start looking for a house to call our own. The thing we look forward to most about being married is growing together and starting a little family.

Photographer: Kelly Cummings of Spindle Photography | Ceremony Venue: Bride’s parents’ backyard | Reception Venue: The Avondale Villa | Florist: Mandy Majerik of Hot House Design Studio | Wedding Cakes: Edgar’s Bakery | Caterer: Yellow Bicycle Catering | Bride’s Gown: Christos Eloisa | Paper Products: Paper Source | Hair Stylist: Mark Hyde at SalonU | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew Louisa in Dusty Shale | Groom’s Attire: J.Crew | Groomsmen Attire: J.Crew shirts and Forever 21 ties

Spindle Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    That puppy! And how funny that Laura asked John to propose a second time — I’ve read so many proposal stories where the bride doesn’t remember a word the groom said, so I’m glad she asked for a repeat :)

  2. avatar Morgan Trinker reply

    SO gorgeous! Kelly captured this one perfectly. Love Laura and John’s style, and love their story even more! :)

  3. avatar Dana reply

    the picture with the bridesmaids all petting the puppy is such a great shot! what an interesting venue too!

  4. avatar Katie reply

    I think Laura’s wedding was gorgeous. So ram tic and well done! I would love to know where her earrings came from! I’m in love with them!

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Y’all, I’m not going to lie! I literally went from laughing out loud to crying seconds later while I just read about Lisa + Eric’s nautical-inspired big day. You don’t want to miss Eric’s clever proposal story or Lisa’s dress adventure!

Once I started looking at the photos from Kristin Moore I loved seeing all of Lisa’s DIY projects she wrote about come to life with the help of her family and friends. And to top it off? Lisa + Eric are not only dog people, but rescue dog people! My favorite kind, because as you know I firmly believe that #rescuedogsarethebestdogs!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something blue was my toes, which are always painted blue, probably since I was in college! I had two “borrowed” items: the beautiful pearl jewelry from my Aunt Lori, and the veil that my Matron of Honor, Christa, had worn at her wedding. My something old was the penny in my shoe that my Grandma Sue gave me as I was getting dressed for the ceremony—it has been passed down in the family for several generations. And my something new? I guess everything else—the shoes, dress and garter!

We had very simple arrangements. We ordered our flowers from Rappahannock Florist. They put together all our bouquets, boutonnieres, and wrist flowers. My bridal bouquet was big sunflowers and blue hydrangeas, and it was absolutely perfect. We also ordered over 100 sunflower stems from them. My wonderful friends helped cut the stems and put together simple, elegant mason jars of sunflowers for both our ceremony aisles and table centerpieces. Lovely!

A pre-first look bride myself, I love hearing about couples who opt not to see each other before the ceremony!

We decided not to do a first look. We might have had more time to enjoy the cocktail hour, and get more photos after the ceremony if we had done a “first look.” But, when I came around the corner in front of all of our closest friends and family and saw my husband’s face light up and literally tear up at the sight of me, I knew that we made the right choice. Nothing could beat that moment! My husband was actually amazed to see me in a true wedding dress. After all of my complaining about wedding dresses, and hints about cutting half the length off, etc., I am not sure what he thought was going to come down the aisle, but I know he was knocked off his feet!

Seriously? I want to love on Alice’s sweet face! P.S. Don’t let BDK know that, he’s already ready for a bunch of new rescue pups!

The BIG hit of the wedding was the bourbon bar set up on the beach! My uncle planned and set that one up, and it was the most popular spot. It was decorated with an old trunk, driftwood, and duck decoys, and offered several types of bourbon to taste. There was a crowd around the bourbon bar and fire pits all night long. The location on the beach, under the stars, was magical.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our venue itself is full of history. We rented Pop Castle, located on the Rappahannock River, as a vacation home rental for three nights. It is a registered Virginia Historic Landmark and on the National Registry of Historic Homes because of its rich history—it was the site of a Civil War battle, and took gunfire from British gunboats during the War of 1812. We tried to include many aspects that would honor the area we were in. We had a big crab feast the night before our wedding, open to all our guests. Our wedding ceremony and reception were all outdoors on the back lawn of the house, under two big oak trees. My dad made our arch, built from two wooden white shutters. Our centerpieces included sea glass and driftwood we had collected at a nearby beach. We made the burlap runners and yellow gingham napkins for each table ourselves. We had many activities for guests to enjoy, which created a great, casual atmosphere: corn hole and ladder golf in the grass, a tree swing under an oak tree, dancing under the stars, and fire pits and drinks on the beach. We also had a sweets buffet that was on a beautiful old table with crab pots, sunflowers, and driftwood for décor. We had orange and maroon popcorn to pay homage to Virginia Tech. I created a sign with Johnny Cash’s lyrics “The taste of love is sweet when hearts like ours meet.”

We were so excited about our wedding cake. It was beautiful on the outside, three tiers with blue and yellow ribbon, and a beautiful sunflower on it. But the inside was our favorite part—almond flavored funfetti! It was a hit with all our friends and family too. Hope it’s as tasty on our one-year anniversary!! The wedding cake was displayed on an old dresser that my aunt refinished for us, and we now use it as a front entry table in our home.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in college at Virginia Tech, during my senior year of undergrad, while he was finishing a master’s program. We spent most weekends together hiking, loyally attending Virginia Tech football games, going out for drinks, dinners, or movies and more during that first year of dating. We weren’t sure where it was headed after graduating in 2006, and we were both a bit commitment-phobic, but continued to let things grow naturally. We traveled together, spent holidays and vacations with each other’s families, kept going to Virginia Tech football games, moved into an apartment together, adopted our dog together. Seven years after first meeting, we are fully committed and can’t imagine life without each other! :-)
Tell us all about the proposal! Eric asked for my parents’ “blessing” the week before Memorial Day 2011 without my knowing. We spend each Memorial Day weekend in the Northern Neck of Virginia, where my Aunt Lori and Uncle Steve have a beautiful house on Indian Creek. My parents, grandparents, and aunt and uncle were all together on the porch after lunch, when Eric came out with a sheet of paper with a Pictionary-style puzzle on it. It is a tradition on our family weekends in the Northern Neck to come up with silly rhyming picture puzzles. This one was a picture of a grill, a shoe, a berry, and a bee — which rhymed to translate to “will you marry me”! At the same time, our dog, Alice, came out with a large napkin ring diamond on her collar! We picked out the official ring together later, but I still have the napkin “ring” in my jewelry box! We sat on the hammock overlooking the creek while we called the rest of our friends and family to tell them the news. We had a close-knit family celebration for the rest of the weekend. It was wonderful.
When did y’all get married? September 15, 2012
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I hate shopping for clothes! I hated shopping for a wedding dress even more. I didn’t want something heavy, and all the dresses I tried on at the first store felt heavy and suffocating! I didn’t even know the difference between white and ivory when I walked in…drop waist? Sweetheart? –WHAT?! That trip didn’t go well. The second place was a place called “I Do, I Do,” which offers secondhand wedding dresses. I went with my mom, Kathy, and my aunt, Lori. By then, I knew I wanted a dress that had some kind of straps, and a shorter length, because we were planning an outdoor ceremony. I wanted something I would feel comfortable in and be able to move around in the grass in! Tea-length dresses I tried on made me feel like an oompa loompa because I am on the shorter side, and the dresses floofed out a lot. It didn’t take me long to find a dress, because I knew what I wanted, and I wasn’t looking to spend hours searching. After trying on about three dresses, we found a beautiful “sweetheart” dress that had a halter-style top and small beaded accents all over. The only problem was that it was a full-length dress. The woman at the store said I could get it altered to be a shorter style. It was perfect. We ended up getting it altered to mid-length, a few inches below my knees and it turned out to be comfortable, light, pretty, and best of all, perfect for ME!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows. We ended up finishing them up just the day before the wedding! Eric sat on the end of the dock on the river to write his, and I sat under a beautiful oak tree to finish mine. Eric promised to “always be the last one out of bed in the morning!”—and he has remained true to that one! I said “Together, we’ll make every experience into an adventure.” Of course, we both mentioned our dog, Alice, in our vows as well!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose readings that were light-hearted, yet full in the message of love. We had two readings in our ceremony, read by our closest friends and family. One of my best friends, Sumita, who I have known since I was four, read, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulgham. My now sister-in-law, Karen, read, “How Falling in Love Is Like Owning a Dog” by Taylor Mali. Since we are dog people, and obsessed with our rescue dog, Alice, it was very fitting.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Originally, we wanted Violin String Quartet’s cover of Paradise, by Coldplay for the aisle walk (our DJ couldn’t get the song to play). Instead, I walked down the aisle to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which did end up being a nice selection. However, it was almost “Love and Marriage,” which our DJ played right beforehand! (NOT on our play list!). Our DJ was a last-minute choice when our other DJ didn’t work out. Although he wasn’t able to do any of the songs on the playlist we had created (which we had spent hours needlessly creating!), people still danced all night! Our first dance song was Michael Buble’s “Everything.” We wanted something light and sweet, and we have seen Michael Buble in concert and really enjoy his music. I am not a dancer, so I was dreading this part of the night, but we made it short and sweet, and made it through!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: All the DIY and found items from friends and family! My aunt searched high and low for mason jars, apothecary jars, crab baskets, string lights, duck decoys, and more at thrift shops and yard sales. The burlap table runners were made from the leftovers of another person’s wedding. We hand made all the decorative elements, from the centerpieces, chalkboard escort cards, guest book, and wood direction signs, to the ceremony programs and arch! Those elements made our wedding unique and personal, and guests remarked on how “us” it was!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was that we did everything essentially on our own. We rented a house meant as a vacation rental, so we had to figure out all the logistics on our own—renting the fancy port-a-potty trailer, beverages, moving chairs and tables, lighting candles, figuring out what to do with trash and recycling—all on our own. We were so lucky to have gracious friends and family who jumped in to help with many wedding projects beforehand, as well as with set up and clean up the day of! We would have been lost without them! Having a DIY wedding without a wedding planner or coordinator still seems crazy when I look back, but somehow, it did end up working! We also fretted about the weather leading up to the day and rented a tent just in case, but the experience would have been totally different with bad weather. We completely lucked out.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our photographer, Kristin Moore, was phenomenal. So many guests commented on how much they enjoyed her and thought she did a good job. She caught all the little details of our wedding, which captured the work of so many of our friends and family. Although I am very uncomfortable in front of a camera, she made me feel so at ease! Half the time, I didn’t realize she was taking photos of me, so she caught very real moments in time. She even stood knee-deep in the river to get photos of us on the dock, nearly falling all the way in!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My mom passed away three months after our wedding, while we were away on our honeymoon. So the most memorable thing about our wedding day was that my WHOLE family was together and got to share so many wonderful moments together, even just getting ready for the wedding, and the morning of the wedding—a memorable breakfast with just family on the dock on the river. With family spread out into North Carolina and Canada, we are so lucky that our wedding provided the opportunity for us all to be together. Bottom line—the time spent with family and friends really can’t be topped. It all goes by so quickly, but what I remember most is the flashes of moments with different friends and family just laughing, dancing and sitting in the sand by the fire pits. It was a celebration not just of us, but of all the people who brought us together.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My advice is enjoy it and don’t stress out! It will go by SO. FAST. Even when our not-so-awesome DJ played “Love and Marriage” moments before I walked down the aisle, instead of the music we had picked out, it has made for a very memorable story and a good laugh. Take everything in stride, because the parts that matter—your vows to each other, and the people who are there supporting you—nothing can muff those parts up! Also, accept the support and help from your family and friends! With a very DIY wedding, we couldn’t have pulled it off without so many people chipping in and helping prepare the weekend of the wedding, and beforehand. The fact that our wedding was created by so many hands made it more special. We can look at all the elements of the day and know that it was truly about our family and friends coming together and being a part of it all with us. Also, do not wait until the last minute for those details that you “think” you will have time to do or finish. You won’t have time. Oh man, that is a big one!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are taking a second honeymoon this year (our last one was cut short). We are headed to Colorado to explore Rocky Mountain National Park, Aspen, Denver and more! We are very excited. We moved into our first house last year, a few months before our wedding—very hectic! We are looking forward to working on our house now, and making it our home. The next room we are working on is a cozy, magical, and, of course, romantic retreat for our master bedroom! We are also enjoying that things have slowed down now, so we can enjoy many more happily married adventures together, like traveling, continuing to work on our new house, and spending time with friends and family, and our dog Alice, every chance we get.

Photographer: Kristin Moore | Ceremony Venue: “Pop Up Castle” in White Stone, VA | Florist: Rappahannock Florist and Gifts | Wedding Cake: The Cake Man Bakery | Caterer: Willaby’s Cafe and Catering | Rentals: Rappahannock Rentals Inc/Party Line | DJ: Disc Jockeys Now | Bride’s Gown: I Do I Do Wedding Gowns | Paper Products: Smarty Had A Party | Hair Stylist: Heads Up Hairworks | Makeup Artist: Merle Norman Cosmetics with Jennifer Bishop | Bride’s Shoes: Touch Ups by Benjamin Walk Corporation | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: David’s Bridal, Horizon Blue Color |  Groom’s and Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank

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

    Thank you so much for this lovely feature. Lisa and Eric’s wedding was incredible and it was so touching to read through their story!

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Y’all might be surprised to find out that I actually worked in Miami for over five years after college! It’s true, I donned black suits, and spiked heels everyday as a corporate executive before trading that in for Jack Rogers and gorgeous bouquets. One thing I learned in that time was that while the deep South will always have my heart, there is something so nostalgic and chic about the art deco and colorful architecture of Coral Gables, especially the Biltmore Hotel! Those arch ways, that green wall, heavens I could go on! When I opened Tiffanie + Pierre’s lovely wedding, I couldn’t help but swoon over how they seamlessly brought the South to life with food and hospitality while keeping the fabulous Miami flair alive!

Big hugs to Captured Photography by Jenny for sharing this pretty peach day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew I wanted an all-lace gown from the start. I went looking with my mom and stumbled on a gown similar to the one I wore. What was really awesome was that I was at a dress designer on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables without knowing it, so my dress was actually custom made. I chose the material and the design, and they made it just for me.

Monogrammed cufflinks + grey suits + peach plaid bow ties? All the makings of a dapper Southern gent!

I borrowed the veil from my sister. My something blue was my engagement ring. For my something old, I carried an old picture of my grandfather and I on my bouquet, so I would have him with me. For my something new, Pierre gave me peach-colored pearl earrings that I wore.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes. We wanted to be able to celebrate the whole time with our friends and family that came from all over the world. We also wanted to see each other without anyone else around. It was so perfect and intimate.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No. We are very traditional.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We didn’t have any. We wanted our ceremony to be nondenominational and more intimate. My brother-in-law, who has been married to my sister since I was 14 and is very close friends with Pierre, married us. He got notarized to do so. He was very funny and mostly spoke about our college rivalries (UF and UGA) and why we are meant for each other.

We used a lot of country music. We are both huge country music fans and it has been something that we really share. Our first dance was to our song, “Honey Bee” by Blake Shelton. Our favorite song though, was what I walked down the aisle to, “Overwhelmed” by Tim McMorris. We also used Philip Philips for the procession and recession.

Could these little fellows be any cuter? I highly doubt it!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The food. The music. The decor and flowers—the tables were covered in burlap and I walked down a burlap aisle runner. The groom.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The guest list
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My coordinator. She made my life much easier!

Describe your wedding flowers. They were perfect! Our colors were peach, gray and ivory. My bridesmaids wore bright peach dresses and had ivory bouquets to contrast. My bouquet was full of beautiful roses in different shades of peach with some dusty miller for the gray effect. Our centerpieces were a lot like my bouquet. They were low to the tables and full.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. The cake was simple with just a little lace effect and our initial on it.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The food. We didn’t go with the traditional wedding food. We wanted our food to be Southern cuisine. Our passed hors d’oeuvres were fried green tomatoes, pulled pork sliders and bacon wrapped peaches. For dinner, we served a wedge salad, corn bread, bourbon-braised beef short rib, New Orleans BBQ shrimp, and truffled mac-n-cheese, served family style.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met on Match.com. :) We messaged back and forth for about a month and then decided to meet in person. We had our first date on a Saturday night and then pretty much became inseparable. He is everything I ever wanted in a man. It’s hard to find a nice Southern boy in south Florida, but Match made it happen.
Tell us all about the proposal! We took a long weekend vacation to Long Boat Key Beach. On the drive up, Pierre told me he was ready to start looking at rings. It was a successful effort to throw me off. The next night at sun down, we sat at a private beach where the only people there were us and a man listening to classical music (coincidence). Much to my surprise, Pierre got down on one knee, took out the most beautiful sapphire and diamond ring, and proposed. All of our family and friends were in on it, but luckily no one spoiled the surprise.
When did y’all get married? March 16, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 170
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The first look.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? In the end, all of the stress and craziness is worth it. It is the best day of your life and it is a wonderful feeling seeing everything and everyone come together.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We just returned from Europe. We had wedding celebrations (little parties) in Spain and France for our families who couldn’t make it to our wedding. My family is from Spain and Pierre’s family is from France. So that was really big and important to us. Next on our list is working on our house and hopefully having babies.

Photographer: Captured Photography by Jenny | Planner: A Classic Appeal by Paula Jackson | Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Biltmore Hotel | Florist: Parrish Designs | Wedding Cake: Todo Dulces | Caterer:  The Biltmore Hotel | DJ: Entertainment Management Group | Bride’s Gown: J. del Olmo Bridal | Hair Stylist: Minna Rautio from Toni Marie Makeup | Makeup Artist: Toni Marie from Toni Marie Makeup | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Dessy | Groom’s and Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

Captured Photography by Jenny is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Love her bouquet and the sweet bridesmaids at the ceremony! :)

  2. avatar Nicole reply

    How pretty is that venue?? I also love that Tiffany borrowed her sister’s veil, especially because I have my eye on my sister’s veil, too :)

  3. avatar Lauren reply

    Absolutely LOVE her dress. That gorgeous lace dress is so perfect for her.

  4. avatar Lisa reply

    The bougainvillea-covered wall makes such a stunning ceremony backdrop! The picture of their kiss in front of it is my favorite. So romantic!

  5. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze | Floridian Weddings reply

    [...] of peach details, peach details for me…in [...]

  6. avatar Recent Features » Captured Photography by Jenny reply

    [...] And Pierre & Tiffanie’s southern Biltmore wedding was featured on Southern Weddings. Head on over there to see it! [...]

  7. avatar Alexis reply

    Can you tell me where the invitations are from? I love both the save the dates and the invitation!

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