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I’m convinced that the South Carolina Lowcountry is one of the most magical places in America. The coastal views, the Spanish moss, the sweeping plantations–everything about this part of the South makes it a true gem, and of course, an incredible wedding location. Although Frances and Joe live in Richmond, Laurel Spring plantation was the perfect place for their elegant, oh-so-Southern wedding–the plantation has been in Frances’ family for years. Beautiful and sentimental? Y’all know we love that!

Thank you kindly to Ashley Seawell for sharing Frances and Joe’s big day with us!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? As a child, I would pull into the gates of our Laurel Spring and remember always feeling like I was home. I remember vividly the feeling of pulling into those gates being different that day. Not only was there the calming, home feeling, but I also had a feeling of excitement for what the day held for Joe, our families, and me. That feeling continued up until I rounded the corner and finally saw him for the first time. It was a double feeling of home that was pretty incredible.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The fact that the whole day could be spent in one of our most favorite places with our loved ones really was enough, but personally, I also really loved how the boutonnières turned out. They were perfect for the setting and really provided the right rustic elegant feel, as they were made of cotton, rice, and quail feathers: all aspects of the Laurel Spring experience and history.

Describe your wedding flowers: We used peonies, white roses, and some greenery for the bridal bouquet and hydrangeas for the bridesmaids. Lots of greenery, flowers, vines, and cotton were used throughout the reception, with some quail feathers involved too. All simple, but very beautiful and fitting for the rustic, elegant plantation setting.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. It was not that we had anything against first looks, but we wanted to keep tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other until the ceremony. The boys got dressed and waited in the sunroom while the girls got dressed and waited in one of the master bedrooms. It was fun to be with our closest friends right before and really helped maintain the sanctity of the event, rather than forgetting the biblical reasoning behind the ceremony and the representation of the bride, groom, bridesmaids, and groomsmen.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but were married using the traditional Episcopalian order of service, and were married by my uncle, an Anglican minister. Being married by my uncle was such a special addition to the day, and he really did an amazing job of keeping the holiness of the service, even though we were not in a church.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We held the wedding at Laurel Spring Plantation, a home that has been in the my family for a very long time and was historically a rice plantation. We also included cotton, quail feathers, toile, and burlap for décor, a refreshment bar for when people arrived, including sweet tea made by Denita Simmons, the housekeeper and jack of all trades at Laurel Spring, a local, Lowcountry menu (shrimp, crab, duck, grits, candied bacon), and old dug-out canoes for holding the beer and water bottles. The setting included large live oaks draped in moss and a view of the old rice fields that are flooded with water–really beautiful. The ceremony was held under the live oaks with a large wooden altar adorned with a wooden cross made from wood of the Lowcountry.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: I have quite the sweet tooth, so we had an assortment of about ten different delicious cakes and cupcakes in the following flavors: banana pudding, sour cream pound cake, key lime, red velvet, carrot, coconut, lemon blueberry, strawberry, caramel, and chocolate. We also had a birthday cake because our wedding was on my mother’s birthday. In addition, we had a candy bar and some late night passed sweets (ice cream in waffle bowls and cinnamon sugar pretzel bites).

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Joe had just graduated from Hampden Sydney College and I had just finished my junior year at Wofford College. We both headed out West to work on a guest ranch, A Bar A, for the summer. We met soon after arriving and began hanging out with each other, riding horses together, fishing, and just enjoying what Wyoming has to offer. When the fall came close, we decided to continue dating, but to see where life took us. He was considering living out West, and even thought about moving to Australia (thankfully, that did not happen!). I knew I would be at school. Five years later, after going back and forth from Charleston, SC, Spartanburg, SC, and Richmond, VA, we settled on Richmond.
Describe the proposal. In November 2012, Joe had been sitting on the ring for several weeks, though I did not even know he was thinking about proposing! Joe had been hunting all day, but since he thankfully did not kill a deer that day, he came home in time for dinner. He told me to pick a place to eat, so I chose a quaint little sushi restaurant we like, which is casual, but always delicious. We enjoyed a nice supper and went to go to a local wine and beer shoppe afterwards to listen to live music and enjoy some drinks. After staying there for a while, we went to my house so Joe could pick up our dog, Platte. While we were there, Joe pulled Platte into the room with us and started talking about things that were pretty deep for a Saturday night. Well, one thing led to another, and before I knew it, he was down on one knee asking me to marry him. I was so excited that I forgot to say yes! When I finally looked at the ring, I realized it was very similar to my mother’s (which I loved, because I had mentioned long ago in passing how much I loved her ring). We then proceeded to call our families, who were very surprised and excited to hear the good news. Two neat things about this though: Joe had actually asked my dad if he had his blessing way back in August while we were vacationing with them at Pawleys Island, but my dad had not said anything to anyone else, so it was a surprise to my mom and family. Also, our first date was at a sushi restaurant, so it was pretty amazing that we ended up at a sushi place for the night of our engagement.
In what month did you get married? June 8, 2013
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I have never been the girl to dream about my perfect wedding dress, or even wedding, for that matter. I just figured that when the time came, I would know what I wanted and it would be great. Well, that’s pretty much exactly what happened. My mom had come up to Richmond during my grad school Christmas break and we went to a dress shop in Richmond. At the first shop we went to, I tried on maybe six dresses. One I loved for the top portion and another I loved for the bottom portion and the lace. Fariba, the seamstress, said she could easily add the sweetheart neckline and two straps to the second dress, so we decided to go with that! It worked out perfectly for me to have the features of the first dress translated onto the second dress. It was the most comfortable thing ever, too!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Joe’s cousin read Genesis 2:18-24 and my good friend from college read 1 John 4:7-16. Both were meaningful and powerful verses that we thought applied well to the wedding ceremony.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. We had a friend’s bluegrass band play for the ceremony and for a cocktail hour following the wedding. During the ceremony, the band played a beautiful assortment of bluegrass music and hymnals.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The distance between Richmond (where we were both living) and South Carolina, where my family, Laurel Spring, and so many of our amazing vendors were, was really hard. It made things a little difficult to manage, being so scattered all over the place, but having Jimmilib and my mother as the ladies in charge really made it so much better! I really wish there had been a way to do more planning in person, but thankfully the internet and phone calls made things easier!
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? We made sure that we hired a band that really delivered–and they did! I do not think anyone left the reception not smiling from the performance that the band put on! Also, I really loved the gifts that I gave to my bridesmaids. They were handmade earrings or necklaces by one of the bridesmaids, Gabe Bratton for Gabrielle Jewelry. They were beautiful and delicate, and had the perfect amount of femininity for an outdoor wedding. I also had an artist friend, Claire Wall, create a print of a hydrangea to be given to all of the hosts/hostesses of parties, bridesmaids, readers, greeters, and helpers, as a symbol of our appreciation for their help and service. They turned out beautifully!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy each minute that you are in and don’t rush the process. The engagement, the wedding, and the honeymoon will seem like a blur in hindsight if you do not take the time to enjoy right where you are. Also, a word for the girls, as this was advice given to me by a very dear friend: make sure that everything that you talk about as a couple during the months of your engagement is not just the wedding. Remember that you have dated this person before there was talk of a wedding and it is possible (though it may not feel like it at times) to have conversations that don’t include anything about the wedding. I know from my experience that Joe did not want to talk about napkins, flowers, and serving pieces every night, so we made sure to pay attention to limiting the wedding conversation.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are currently living in Richmond, VA and are enjoying getting settled into our new home. I am in graduate school and Joe is working with BB&T Scott & Stringfellow as a financial advisor. While life seems to be a little hectic right now, we are trying to make sure we make time for each other, our precious lab Platte, and being with our family and friends. Life is good!

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

    I’m loving the bridesmaids dresses! And I love how thoughtful she was to have a print crafted, too… so sweet, and very meaningful!!

  2. avatar Jadzia reply

    Stunning all around!

  3. avatar Featured on Southern Weddings and Snippet & Ink! » ashleyseawellphotography.com reply

    [...] http://southernweddings.com/2013/10/30/lowcountry-wedding-by-ashley-seawell/ [...]

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    [...] http://southernweddings.com/2013/10/30/lowcountry-wedding-by-ashley-seawell/ [...]

  5. avatar Dana reply

    such an amazing, stunning venue. i cant even imagine how gorgeous it is in real life.

  6. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Frances and Joe’s wedding has me dreaming of a trip to the South Carolina Lowcountry. What a breathtaking place for a wedding! See it here. […]

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Kara grew up with a plantation at the end of her street and dreamed about having her own wedding in front of the cascading trees and white columns. So when it came to finding a venue, she couldn’t think of anywhere other than her hometown and on a plantation! What a great choice! Along with the amazing plantation, there is just something so classically glamorous about black and white checkerboard dance floors. Add in some sparkly linens, a dapper groom in a white smoking jacket, and top it off with their sweet pups, and you’ve got what we here in the SW office like to call “Southern glam.” Boy, did Kara + Jon do us proud! What makes us even prouder to share this wedding is Kara’s Sweet Tea Society-esque outlook on planning their day. She said, “As we realized after butchering our first dance, no one will know if something doesn’t turn out exactly the way you planned–in their eyes, it will still be a beautiful, breathtaking event, and ultimately, all they care about is sharing your joyous day with you.”

Thanks to Chrisman Studios for sharing K + J’s big day!

After three long days of dress shopping in Dallas, I found “the dress,” only to discover it hadn’t been released yet. The Vera Wang June was originally made in black and was the most fabulously over-the-top dress I’d ever seen. I decided to make the trip back to the Carolinas empty-handed to think about it. The following weekend, I went to Charlotte to try on some other dresses. I had previously called about “the one” and asked if they had received a sample…of course, they hadn’t. When I walked into the store, I saw it wrapped up, brand new, waiting for me. They explained that they had requested that it be shipped in after I called. I decided to give all of their dresses a look. The first dress I tried on, I fell in love with all over again, so much so that it turned into “the other one.” I went home to think it over, and after much deliberation, decided to call the store and buy the original “one.” I called, credit card in hand, and they were CLOSED! I took it as a sign that I shouldn’t buy it, and the next day, I went back to NC and purchased “the other one.” In retrospect, I couldn’t have made a better decision. The Lismora is classic, unique, and dramatic, without being completely over-the-top.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Of course I did! My fiancé had never heard of a first look, and the last thing I needed was for either one of us to be an emotional mess at the altar. Plus, we knew how great Ben and Erin (our photographers) were, and how amazing their photos would be as we looked at each other for the first time in our wedding garb. As expected, Ben and Erin took full advantage of the late afternoon light to capture some ridiculously awesome shots just before the twilight ceremony.

Describe your wedding flowers. The feel of the florals was very playful and romantic. To create that feel, our florist used a color palette that included pink, blush, cream, and gray. And thanks to the time of year, we had so many beautiful blooms! Peonies, garden roses, astilbe, anemones, and hydrangea, to name just a few. The white anemones with black centers gave the florals a really playful, fun look. My bouquet was very soft and romantic, but it still had a playful feel to it. My florist added an amazing pleated ribbon and lace detail–it was perfect! I wanted the bridesmaids’ bouquets to be simple, yet unique. I LOVE the look of pink astilbe, so we decided we would use that for the girls to carry. Our wonderful florist, Lesley, added ribbon streamers to those bouquets too.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We didn’t write our own vows, but we did choose two readings that meant a lot to us. The first was 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (“Love is patient, love is kind…”), which reminds us to love, respect, and above all, value the person with whom we choose to live our lives. The second was “How Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog” by Taylor Mali, which really captured our love for each other, our love of dogs (evidenced by the fact that all three of ours attended the ceremony in formal doggy attire), and the light-hearted spirit we wanted for our ceremony.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I wanted a simple cake, but I wanted the table to look stunning. Lesley picked out an amazing, rose-toned, ruffled linen for the cake table. The cake itself was very simple–four tiers with textured white icing, accented with ranunculus blooms in shades of blush and pink. It was set up beneath a beautiful crystal chandelier under a gazebo at the venue.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We planned our entire wedding around a massive oak tree on the grounds of Brandon Hall. I had looked for the perfect tree for months, and knew I wanted a fabulous tree with hanging lights and hundreds of candles, but had to find someone who could understand my vision and was creative enough to make it a reality. We had hundreds of candles, and the colored petals and candlelit aisle added so much to the ceremony. It was one of the most beautiful trees I had ever seen when it was all said and done. I looked back one last time after the ceremony and just stared at how beautifully lit up it was in complete darkness.

Can I please move in? I promise to be neat and tidy!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was January 2011. I was headed to Cabo for a long weekend with friends, and found myself wandering around the Charlotte airport. Out of nowhere, a tall, handsome guy walked up next to me. He was carrying one of those oversized L.L. Bean bags that only sorority girls and dads carry. I thought it was quite odd, because he was very handsome, wasn’t wearing a wedding ring, and there were no baby or sorority letters in sight. Why was this guy carrying this super feminine bag? And, for that matter, how tall was this guy? Against my better judgement, I simply walked away, for fear of being rejected or, more likely, for fear of him pulling his wedding ring out of his pocket. I spent the long weekend in Cabo making up stories about the L.L. Bean guy, and feeling furious with myself for not speaking to him. A few weeks after I got back, I was set up on a date. Slash was in town playing a show (without Axl), and I thought that would be a perfect first date to weed out any duds. He (the guy, not Slash) came to the door to pick me up and I noticed that he was EXTREMELY tall and devastatingly handsome. I still vividly remember the moment when Jon went to get something out of his closet and I noticed a red L.L. Bean bag sticking out–I panicked!! Later, we put our timelines together and found out that it was Jon in the Charlotte airport that day, flying somewhere for work. Funny how things work out!!
Tell us all about the proposal! After a long work week in Jacksonville for work, I arrived back at the Charlotte airport to spend the weekend with Jon. He came to pick me up at the airport with all three of our dogs in the backseat and all of our bags packed. Obviously, something was up. He told me we were going to Asheville to get away for the weekend and that he had found a B&B (The Inn on Montford) that would allow the dogs to stay. The next morning, I awoke to heart-shaped toast and freshly-squeezed orange juice. We played around Asheville, stopping by Tupelo Honey (my favorite restaurant) and doing a little shopping around the square. We went back to rest and get ready for dinner later that night. We were all ready to go when I decided it was a perfect time for a family pic with the puppies, so I asked Jon to take a picture of us on the couch. He went to the other room to get the camera, then came out and dropped to one knee to arrange the scene. Meanwhile, I had prepared an Olen Mills-worthy backdrop on the couch, with all of the dogs and pillows perfectly placed. It was then that Jon asked “will you be my wife?”
When did y’all get married? April 20, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 165
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Choosing music for the ceremony was touch. We wanted to keep it somewhat traditional, but at the same time, traditional can get a little boring for guests. We chose “Bittersweet Symphony” by Richard Ashcroft for our recessional–it’s fun, different and unexpected. We had been practicing our first dance for four months with our dance instructor, but still managed to mangle it (luckily, none of our guests knew the difference). Music is VERY important to both of us, so the rules were: 1. no cheesy band, and 2. no clichés. We danced our first dance to “Love You Madly” by Cake, and the cha cha has never looked so uh-uh!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something new was the gorgeous (and totally reasonable) faux diamond necklace I wore with my gown. My something borrowed was my mother-in-law’s sapphire bracelet. Something blue was built into my BHLDN shoes.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I made sure to have bridal portraits taken months prior to our ceremony. One of my best friends is a photographer, so she and I spent a cold day in Natchez shooting bridals to put on display at the wedding. Another obvious Southern tradition was the simple act of having our wedding in Natchez, MS. I couldn’t have had my wedding anywhere other than my hometown and on a plantation. I grew up with a plantation at the end of my street and it’s something I’ve dreamed about for as long as I can remember. Our menu was also about as Southern as it gets–shrimp and grits, crabmeat mornay, and a variety of other goodies rounded out a truly Southern menu that may have blown a few Northerners’ minds! In addition, on the day of the wedding, our out-of-town guests had the opportunity to tour a variety of antebellum plantations in Natchez and visit the Natchez cemetery, which is home to many breathtaking monuments to the city’s forebears.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Narrowing all the amazingly beautiful options down to something specific. The beauty of planning a wedding in the internet age is the embarrassment of riches in terms of alternatives, but at the same time, it’s easy to get overwhelmed (and I speak from painful experience). The best way to address this challenge is to close your eyes and picture the single most important image in your imagination, then focus on making that a reality. Every other detail is secondary.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our wedding photographers, Ben and Erin Chrisman. All of our vendors were AMAZING, but without Ben and Erin, we wouldn’t have been able to capture timeless images of all our other vendors’ beautiful, inspired work. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of our vendors–we love you and couldn’t have had such a magical wedding without all of your contributions!!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Looking at each other during the first look. There were a million other beautiful, memorable moments, but nothing compares to that. San Francisco photographer, Danielle Fletcher, helped me with his wedding gift, which I gave to him before the first look. It’s always nice to see an even bigger smile on your groom’s face, courtesy of an eight-hour shoot with Danielle!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? As unrealistic as it sounds, try not to sweat the tiny details too much. As we realized after butchering our first dance, no one will know if something doesn’t turn out exactly the way you planned–in their eyes, it will still be a beautiful, breathtaking event, and ultimately, all they care about is sharing your joyous day with you.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are enjoying living in Dallas and being able to see friends and family in the North and the South, thanks to DFW’s status as an American Airlines hub. Plus, the BBQ in Texas is absurd. After an amazing honeymoon in Asia (Hong Kong, Bali, and Thailand), we look forward to a couple more memorable trips in the next eight months to celebrate Jon’s birthday in Bali and sail the Caribbean with friends between Christmas and New Year’s.

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

    uhmmm I love this wedding! His white dinner jacked with the pale blue shirt is pretty amazing…and I’m a sucker for a black and white dance floor…plus – sparkly linens are a win IMO :) very fun !

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Last week, I was honored to join a few fellow Southern gals on a panel with Lover.ly to chat about Southern weddings. A great tip discussed was exploring different venue options that truly mean something special to the couple and their family and then making them your own. I think Baylor + Daniel hit the nail on the head by choosing the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, which has been a retreat for four generations of Baylor’s family. They then used farm tables, lace-tied flowers and strawberry basil lemonade to create a sense of relaxed, easy-going Southern charm. Gosh, I love that!

Thanks to one of our delightful Blue Ribbon Vendors, Elaine Palladino for sharing this sweet day with us!

My something borrowed was my grandmother’s pearls, something blue was my mother-in-law’s garter, something old was a pearl bracelet given to me by my dad, and something new was my shoes.

Describe your wedding flowers. I wanted flowers arrangements that were romantic and reminiscent of a garden’s natural beauty. Our florist, Veronica, created various centerpieces of moss-covered boxes and terrariums filled with peonies, garden roses, jasmine, anemones, clematis, spray roses and succulents. The pink, coral and magenta flowers were so luscious, and the best part was that no two arrangements were the same.

We decided to do a first look to relieve some of the nerves before our ceremony. Seeing each other in a more private setting among our closest family and wedding party was a really special moment we will always cherish. By the time we walked down the aisle, we felt no anxiety–just pure joy.

Y’all, this doll-baby is way too cute! Would it be wrong if I actually pinched those cheeks?

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The beautiful chuppah that my dad, cousin, sister and I built was my favorite detail. During the days leading up to the wedding, it meant a lot to have quality time spent with my family while sanding and staining the wood. They finished building it as I got ready and it was draped in ivory fabric and decorated with flowers. It was truly a labor of love and so meaningful to have as the focal point of our ceremony.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our guests traveled from all over the country to be at our wedding in Miami, so we wanted to make sure they truly felt a sense of locale and culture. To create this, we had a cigar bar, which included a local cigar roller, and a mojito bar serving two varieties: traditional and blood orange. These details were a huge hit with our guests and accomplished just what we had hoped–an authentic South Florida experience.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our cake was ivory and decorated in lace designs and flowers. Each tier was a different flavor–vanilla lemon, vanilla almond and vanilla rum–and all were delicious. We also had a dessert bar that included adorable mini key lime pies, macarons, eclairs and fruit tartlets. My mouth waters thinking about all the sweets!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were both planning separately to move to Colorado. Danny answered my ad searching for a roommate and we met for the first time two weeks before he moved in. We only made it three months as roommates before we started dating–there was just too much chemistry to ignore.
Tell us all about the proposal! We were living in Maui when Danny proposed. One spring weekend, we went on a little getaway to the mountains on the island of Lanai. Danny had been acting strange all weekend, and after we returned home, I confessed my disappointment, since I had anticipated a proposal. He said he was sorry for giving me the wrong idea and even suggested we weren’t ready yet! Little did I know, he already had the ring. I was folding laundry in our bedroom that evening when I walked out into the hallway to find Danny on his knee.
When did y’all get married? May 26, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. While my mom was visiting from Florida, we went dress shopping in Virginia. I tried one dress on that I couldn’t stop thinking about, but I continued my search. Six months and several dresses later, I went back to that first store and tried on the same dress–I knew it was “the one.”
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? With the help of Danny’s cousin, who was our officiant, we wrote our vows based on others that we had heard and read. My favorite part was hearing him say to me “I, Daniel Edward Knoll, take you, Baylor Guyton Young, to be my wife, my partner in life and my one true love…I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward, for as long as we both shall live.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My sister-in-law recited the Hands Ceremony and a friend of ours read an Apache Marriage Blessing, which ended in “may your days be good and long upon the earth.”
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our ceremony music was performed by a string trio and was absolutely beautiful. I decided to walk down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon” because the song has always made me so happy. Our first dance was “Crazy Love” by Van Morrison. It was romantic and relaxed, a feeling which seemed to perfectly represent our wedding and us as a couple.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The Biscayne Bay Yacht Club is one of the oldest members-only yacht clubs in the South and has been a retreat for my family for four generations. We enhanced the setting with farm tables, lace-tied flowers and strawberry basil lemonade with paper straws. Being out on the lawn at the water’s edge really helped to instill a sense of relaxed, easy-going Southern charm.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning a wedding from afar was a bit challenging. We got engaged while living in Hawaii and moved to Virginia to be closer to friends and family, but still found ourselves many miles from South Florida. We were only able to meet with our vendors in person a month before the wedding, and all other planning had to be done through phone and email.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My most memorable moment of the day was our first look. We had originally decided that we didn’t want to do it, but changed our minds, and I’m so glad we did! It was really special to be able to spend that time with Danny and take a moment to escape the chaos of the day. I’ll never forget the look in his eyes when he saw me in my wedding dress for the first time.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? If at all possible, make the dinner and dancing portion of your reception an hour longer. We had a typical five-hour reception that flew by. It’s worth setting up in advance so that you can enjoy the evening and don’t have to worry about paying your vendors to stay longer.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We recently returned from our honeymoon in Iceland and Spain. With all of the planning behind us, we are looking forward to simply spending quality time with each other and our families. We heard our first dance song at a friend’s wedding last month. All of the incredible memories of our wedding night came rushing back, and it was surreal for us to already be looking back on everything. It all goes by so fast.

Elaine Palladino is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    Love the succulent escort cards!

  2. avatar Amanda {Amanda Jayne Events} reply

    I love the centerpieces!

  3. avatar Caitlyn | The Aerialist Press reply

    Love that venue!!

  4. avatar Desiree reply

    Gah! Loving so much of this! What a gorgeous wedding and there are some seriously talented peeps involved! yay :)

  5. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #113 | Floridian Weddings reply

    [...] amazing things happen! We were instantly smitten by all the lovely details of Baylor and Daniel's nautical Miami wedding – including Anthology's stunning florals – that were brought together by Sugar(ed) Occasions and [...]

  6. avatar Ellen Williams reply

    Can you tell me where her blue shoes are from or who the designer is?

  7. avatar 2013 Featured Roundup | Elaine Palladino | Portrait and Wedding Photographer | Miami and the World. reply

    […] Weddings selected this shot from Baylor and Danny’s Biscayne Bay Yacht Club wedding as one of their favorite kids images of the […]

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I spent a large part of my childhood in Virginia, and to this day, I love going back to visit. Everything about Virginia makes me feel so peaceful, and just looking at Stephanie and John’s wedding pictures, I get a little twinge of that same feeling. After weeks of rain, this sweet couple was blessed with a gorgeous summer day, perfect for the romantic, outdoor wedding day Stephanie had always dreamed of. They filled the day with meaningful traditions and rustic Southern details–my favorite of which is that big red barn!

Thank you to Lucy of Lucy O Photo for sharing Stephanie and John’s wedding with us!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I met John in college and from the start, I knew we had something special. His all-American charm is just one characteristic I fell in love with during our first years together, so it is fitting that we are now building our life together in Alexandria, Virginia, right outside of Washington, D.C. We spent a few years doing long-distance because John graduated a year before me and moved back to the D.C. area. I continued school in Texas, then took a job offer in Boston right after graduation. After some time searching, I was lucky to find a job in Baltimore, which finally put John and I in the same area. From that moment on, I knew we were meant for each other after all of the distance that kept us apart, and we fell more deeply in love while finally being in the same city.

It was a regular weekday night and John and I took our dog, Henry, for a walk. John mentioned a new route to this beautiful park I had never been to before and off we went. John suggested we take Henry to a spot in the park away from the public to play fetch, and after I threw the first stick for Henry, I turned around to find John on one knee! Henry hurried back to us as I excitedly said yes! It was the perfect moment because John knew I did not want anything elaborate–it was just our little family together in a beautiful Virginia park! Simple, but amazingly romantic!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look, as I wanted our “first look” to be when I walked down the aisle. Although we did not get married in a church, I wanted some of the traditional elements incorporated into our day.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? First Corinthians

As a little girl, I always dreamed I would be married outside, where the landscape would be a picturesque backdrop to my fairytale love story. And my dream came true! The details were simple, elegant, and personal, exactly as I envisioned. Everything from the rustic doors used on the tables, to the hand-stained crates and the mason jars, to the burlap, chalkboards, and koozies were labors of love that helped us make our vision a reality. After many weeks of rain before the big day, the sun shined down on our wedding day and it turned out to be more amazing than we had ever dreamed!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The Southern details included the farm venue, the burlap table runners and programs, the rustic farm decor (such as the wine barrels used for our altar pieces), the mason jar vases, the chalkboards used to display messages for guests, the custom-made koozie favors, the pies as dessert instead of a traditional wedding cake, the bar stocked with local Virginia beer and wine, the wild flower arrangements, and our dog’s seersucker bow tie collar and matching leash.

Instead of a traditional wedding cake, we wanted to go the route of pies. Pies are a Southern summer dessert that fit our venue well. There were nine pies filled with a variety of summer fruit flavors with different crust designs on top. John and I cut an apple pie because that is our favorite flavor.

When did y’all get married? 6/22/13
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 90
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Picking my wedding dress was like finding John. I knew it was the one from the moment I laid eyes on it–in a magazine! I found a local bridal boutique that carried the dress, and once I tried it on, everything was solidified. It had the simple elegance I was looking for and was as perfect as I had imagined!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I had dreamed of walking down the aisle to Canon in D since I was a little girl, so I did just that. For the recessional, I wanted to use something romantic, but also upbeat and sweet, such as Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” Our first dance song was chosen because John introduced me to Van Morrison when we first met. He thought the song “Crazy Love” was fitting for our long-distance relationship and the passion we felt for each other.
Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers were designed to be wild flower-esque using mason jars, small bud vases, and galvanized buckets to arrange them. We used a combination of peonies, hydrangeas, ranunculus, hypericum berries, Queen Anne’s lace, and a variety of roses, all in the color scheme of pink, coral, and white. They turned out perfectly and ended up being one of my favorite details!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed and old was my mom’s diamond tennis bracelet, my something blue was my mom’s sapphire and diamond bracelet, and my something new was my earrings.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge I overcame while planning our wedding was balancing all of the suggestions and input from family and friends. I appreciated the help that was offered, but it did become difficult to manage all of the opinions. I had a certain vision in mind, so I had to delicately pass on some of the suggestions.
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? The venue, The Inn at Westwood Farm, is owned by a couple (Jay and Elizabeth) who went above and beyond their duties as the venue owners. As part of our wedding package, the Inn sleeps ten people and is reserved for the wedding Friday through Sunday. Also included in our wedding package were the tent, dance floor, lighting, tables, chairs, and linen rentals, so I did not have to go to separate vendors for these items. It was a huge life saver! On top of the wedding planning assistance, Jay and Elizabeth made every element during our wedding weekend intimate and special in unique ways, such as fresh flowers matching our color scheme throughout the inn and rooms, a bottle of local Virginia wine for each inn guest, champagne and chocolates for John and I, specific drinks on site for my family (who stayed at the Inn), and an engraved silver bottle opener as a wedding gift. I highly recommend this venue for all brides in Virginia! It will not disappoint!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment about our wedding, besides saying our vows, was taking a step back after the ceremony concluded and realizing everything I dreamed had come together in the most perfect way.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t lose sight of what the wedding is all about: you and your soon-to-be husband! Sometimes, the planning can become stressful, but never forget the end goal: marrying the man of your dreams!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Relaxation! The planning process was quite a whirlwind and now we are ready to settle into a normal routine and enjoy our time together. High on our list is traveling to places neither of us have been to before and creating new memories!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
9 Comments
  1. avatar Lucy Taylor reply

    YAY! Stephanie and John were such an amazing couple to work with— thank you so much for featuring their wedding ladies! What a day it was!! :) :)

  2. avatar Emily reply

    SO many beautiful portraits! And I love her bow and bouquet!

  3. avatar Stephanie and John featured on Southern Weddings! – Lucy O Photo Blog reply

    [...] day! Stephanie and John’s lovely summer wedding at the Inn at Westwood Farm is featured on Southern Weddings today! Go give them some [...]

  4. avatar Elizabeth reply

    These photos are beautiful! I wish I could get married all over again just so Lucy O Photo could shoot my wedding.

  5. avatar Inn at Westwood Farm reply

    It was such a pleasure working with Stephanie and John throughout the entire wedding process. It was truly a wonderful wedding and Lucy captured the day perfectly! We look forward to Stephanie and John returning to Westwood! Elizabeth and Jay

  6. avatar Emily O’Connor reply

    What a beautiful way to celebrate a marriage! The stunning photos have not only captured the beauty of John & Stephanie’s wedding day, but somehow communicate their joy too! Beautiful!

  7. avatar laurel reply

    What a beautiful wedding!! Such wonderful photos – really captured the sweetness of the day!

  8. avatar Caitrie Kulick reply

    Oh my gosh, these photos are soo soo beautiful! Let’s see more, Lucy O!!! Love them.

  9. avatar Deirdre Goulard reply

    The photography captivated the moment so well. And loved the southern decor! It’s so much fun seeing wedding with the old fashion red barn.

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Today’s wedding is close to our hearts because the SW gals know the bride and groom personally. Emily was an intern at Southern Weddings three years ago and our shop manager earlier this year. She couldn’t wait to marry Brendan, and it was clear to us why. Brendan is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet and they both share big hearts, big dreams and a great sense of humor. Their wedding took place just down the road from the SW offices and Caroline Joy did an amazing job at capturing the celebration and the commitment that marked E + B’s big day. We are so grateful that we can share them with you today!

We were both pretty traditional about doing a first look, and Brendan was adamant about not seeing me until I walked down the aisle! We did pray together before the ceremony and exchange notes, which was one of my favorite parts of the whole day.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my mom’s veil. My shoes were blue(ish). My right hand ring was my grandmother’s before she gave it to me several years ago. It was pretty fun to show it to her again at the wedding. And I bought myself a pretty little cross bracelet a few weeks before the big day!

My dad’s only request for my wedding was that he walk me down the aisle to Pachbel’s Canon, so I found a really beautiful acoustic guitar version that now makes me cry! The bridesmaids processed to “Better” by Jess Ray, and Brendan and I also washed each other’s feet as a sign of serving each other in marriage while two of our close friends played guitar and sang “You’re Beautiful” by Phil Wickham. My dad and I danced to “Piano Man” by Billy Joel since that’s always been a favorite song of ours.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes! We really tried to incorporate as much of the Gospel into our vows as possible. Our ceremony was rooted in our faith, so it was very important for us to express our belief that we only love each other because God loved us first. From there, we added in little things that were fun or specific to us. I vowed to make him cookie dough whenever he pleases and he vowed to stop and let me photograph something as often as I want!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Ephesians 5:22-33

I love this moment!! It was one of Emily’s most memorable from the day and we can tell how giddy they both are to finally be married!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had touches of the South throughout the day. We gave guests little fans to keep them cool in the summer heat and had corn hole to play during the cocktail hour. I’m sure most of our guests were pretty stuffed with biscuits, BBQ and sweet potato casserole by the time they left too. We also sent everyone home with little jars of honey.

Oh I love this photo of Emily and her dad! The father-daughter dance is one of my favorite wedding traditions and I love that they had a bit of fun with theirs.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Delicious! While I only ate what Brendan smeared on my face, I’ve had Edible Art’s almond amaretto cake several times before, and it’s SO GOOD! We had it surrounded by all of our favorite desserts, from Girl Scout Thin Mints to mini banana pudding cups.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I’m a big collector of trinkets, so the tables were filled with tiny antique bottles and mismatched china. I loved collecting all those little bottles with my mom, and it’s fun having them around our new home now! Oh and the twinkly lights–magical!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Brendan and I knew each other a little throughout college at UNC-Chapel Hill, but we never actually had a real conversation until I think our senior year. We always seemed to be running into each other, and within a month, we were dating. When we got engaged, we both admitted to knowing that we’d get married after the first date!
Tell us all about the proposal! Brendan’s proposal took all day! He proposed on our one-year anniversary after a full-day adventure. To finish our date, he took me on a little stroll through the UNC’s arboretum, then led me around a corner to this beautiful vine-covered walkway, my favorite spot on campus. I was so confused, to be honest! Right as we walked in, there was a big sign that said “Emily, I love you because…” and my immediate reaction was “Oh hey, there must be another Emily around here!” But when I saw the 100 tiny cards hanging from the walkway’s ceiling and Brendan’s huge smile, I knew it had to be for me. As we walked, Brendan explained each card to me and all the different reasons and ways he loved me. (Yes, he is certainly a keeper!) These cards led out of the walkway, up the street, and past UNC’s Old Well to the bench where we had our first kiss, which was in the rain, no less! The last card said “because I have chosen to,” and after me briefly saying that I was still really confused, Brendan asked me to stand up. He got down on one knee and told me that those 100 things about me were great, but that if they all disappeared tomorrow, he’d still choose to love me forever. With that, he popped the question, and I literally collapsed in his arms! I’ve never been so overwhelmed with joy and gratefulness! I have a bunch more written on my blog here.
When did y’all get married? June 1, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. It was the first one I tried on! I’m incredibly indecisive, so that’s actually pretty incredible! It went through quite a few alterations to get it just right, but I remember literally twirling and dancing around the store with my mom and one of my bridesmaids after one of my fittings. My mom made her own wedding dress and used the leftover bits of lace to make the detailing on the belt, which made my dress even more special.
Describe your wedding flowers. I basically told our florist to have fun! I showed her a bunch of pictures of bouquets that I thought were pretty and she took it from there. It was a mix of garden roses, ranunculus, peonies and succulents. We ordered bulk flowers from them as well, and my awesome bridesmaids did all the table arrangements the day of the wedding.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Praying fervently that we’d have good weather since every bit of our wedding was outside. A rain plan was not easy to put together. And since I was also planning everything on my own, it was definitely a challenge coordinating all the details and vendors.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Oh, Caroline certainly lives up to her middle name! I was so excited to be photographed by a woman whose work and business I admire so much.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Oh it’s so hard to choose! I vividly remember the moments before I walked down the aisle (and actually seeing Lara and Grace!) because that’s when I saw the reception set up for the first time. I wish I could bottle the giddiness I felt right before we were pronounced man and wife. I loved dancing with my dad under all those twinkly lights. I just remember everything being so magical and better than I ever imagined.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? At the end of the day, as long as you say “I do,” nothing else really matters. It’s easy to get caught up in a bazillion details that make a wedding pretty, but the fact that two people love each other enough to commit their lives to each other is what makes a wedding beautiful. Take a deep breath, remember why you’re getting married, and everything will fall into place.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? A lot! I’m a wedding photographer, so I’m excited to know how my brides feel and serve them even more on their wedding day. Brendan is a second year medical student at UNC-Chapel Hill, so he’ll be getting even smarter than he already is and working to become the best doctor ever! We’re also having a blast finding new ways to love each other and have fun together. So far, building a fort in our living room has been my favorite!

Caroline Joy, Heirloom Vintage China, and Hot Dog! Photo Booth are all delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Photographer: Caroline Joy Photography / Videographer: Good Earth Films / Venue and Catering: The Aqueduct Conference Center / Flowers & Decor: Tre Bella Florist / Cake Baker: Edible Art / Rental Furniture: Party Reflections / Lighting: Get Lit Special Event Lighting / DJ: DJ Dichotomy / Vintage China: Heirloom Vintage China Hire / Bride’s Dress: Jim Hjelm / Invitations & Stationery: Smitten on Paper / Hair and Makeup: Yvette Cannas of Bacio Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Seychelles / Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Express / Groomsmen's Ties: Tux and Tulle / Photo Booth: Hot Dog!
nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
12 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Emily is SO beautiful and I love, love, love their joy!!

  2. avatar Mary reply

    LOOOOVE her wedding dress! Caroline Joy’s work is always so beautiful

  3. avatar Sara reply

    Love this!!

  4. avatar Emily Payne reply

    Y’all are just the sweetest! Thank you so much for sharing me and Brendan’s big day! :)

  5. avatar My Wedding » Emily March Photography Blog | Chapel Hill Wedding Photographer reply

    [...] beauty and joy of my wedding day. I’m so honored that my wedding is being featured today on Southern Weddings, so be sure to hop over there and see [...]

  6. avatar Faith reply

    Such a beautiful couple & wedding! Emily, you were a stunning bride!!! :)

  7. avatar Rachel reply

    Oh my goodness this wedding made me tear up a few times! Such great photography to capture those moments.

  8. avatar http://southernweddings.com/2013/10/24/mint-north-carolina-wedding-by-caroline-joy/ | Heirloom Vintage China Hire reply

    [...] entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged FacebookPages, IFTTT by admin. Bookmark the permalink. Proudly powered by [...]

  9. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up | Southern Weddings reply

    [...] We were so excited to share our sweet friend Emily and her now-husband Brendan’s charming North Carolina wedding! See it here. [...]

  10. avatar James Gould reply

    Emily and Brendan, what an amazing couple! Me and my wife Alex had such a beautiful time filming their wedding. I just thought I would share their wedding preview film. It makes me happy every time I watch it! http://vimeo.com/79485652

  11. avatar Wedding Theme Inspiration – Hemlock Pantone Report SS14 – You Mean The World To Me : You Mean The World To Me reply

    […]  Image: Caroline Joy via Southern Weddings […]

  12. avatar kelly stein reply

    soooo cute!!!! loved it!!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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