Bride Hayley’s blackberry-inspired wedding at The Oaks Plantation.
Y’all, I’m thrilled for you to meet today’s bride, Hayley! Though she and Dillon are both Auburn alum, they did get married at the same venue where my own sweet sister-in-law (who went to Alabama) did, so I can’t help but adore them! Of course, The Oaks Plantation is a perfectly Southern spot (I can attest to this myself!) with beauty hidden in every nook and cranny, but I extra adore Hayley and Dillon’s attentiveness to their guests. She says, “we wanted our family and friends to feel welcome and loved and to sense that we considered them during all of our planning!” Based strictly on the big smiles beaming from their bridal party, I think they accomplished that and then some. Be sure to keep reading because you don’t want to miss Hayley’s favorite wedding detail (hint: her daddy made them)!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old was a monogrammed locket on my bouquet. My something new were my ExVoto Vintage earrings. My something borrowed was a handkerchief from my mother-in-law, and my something blue were the silk ribbons from Silk and Willow and Frou Frou Chic!
Describe your wedding flowers. My flowers were FABULOUS! They were created and designed by the amazing Lisa Thorne of Thorne and Thistle. She allowed me to travel with her to pick them out, and we focused on incorporating colors to complement the blackberry scheme I used. Our signature flower was a cafe au lait dahlia, such a breathtaking bloom. We incorporated some of the deep blackberry with fritillaria, freesia, and scabiosa, some lighter purple with lilac, and the blue with delphinium. I obsessed over the greenery involved as well and wanted a deep emerald green surrounding my colors.
Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I thought that it was a myth that I would “just know” when I put on the right one. It’s actually SO TRUE! I found myself making excuses for each dress, thinking each one could work, but they weren’t perfect. Then I went to J. Andrews Bridal in Peachtree City, GA, and tried on so many dresses there as well. When I put on “my dress” toward the end of my appointment, I knew. It was, and still is, GORGEOUS! It fit like a glove, made me feel beautiful, and I wanted Dillon to see me wearing it right that second!
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I had a hard time choosing where to hold our wedding. The moment we arrived at The Oaks and saw the long, oak-lined drive, I just knew. It was perfect! I wanted the wedding to be at a beautiful, intimate place with both the ceremony and reception easily transitioning from one to the other.
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? Oh, there were so many! If I had to pick, I would say the ceremony benches my dad built by hand for the wedding are my favorite. We decided at the last minute that we wanted to have benches at the front of the aisle, and he was more than happy to help! I designed the look and helped him draw out the shapes of the sides, and then, while my dad was at work, my sisters and I painted them. It was such hard work, but we came together as a family to put them together and finish them. They looked absolutely stunning under the oak!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We put so much thought into our song choices. My (now) husband is an incredible musician and LOVES music. He picked the song I walked down the aisle to, and boy did he pick a good one! While a violin and guitar played “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” by Christy Nockels, a family friend sang. We timed the verses to where I would walk down the aisle to the “Alleluia” chorus.
I knew the day would be long, and I didn’t want to spend the entire day hidden away from our family and friends. We put our main focus on the comfort of everyone present, so we knew that doing a first look would make the atmosphere more carefree and take a lot of the pressure off! It was so great doing a first look – we were able to hang out as a huge wedding party ALL DAY and just talk, laugh, cry, and take so many fun, candid shots.
What was Southern about your wedding? Oh this is my favorite part! My husband and I have lived in the South our whole lives, and we wanted to make our wedding uniquely representative of us. Of course, living in the South, there are bound to be some Southern details that must be included. The color scheme centered around blackberries and the many colors they turn throughout their growth. The muted blue, green, marsala, and deep purple were all meant to reflect this. I grew up picking wild blackberries (my favorite!) down from my house in southern Alabama, making this a fun memory to incorporate.
Tell us your love story. I met my husband the first day of our junior year of high school. We really thought nothing of each other for a while; we only had one class together, and our paths crossed every now and then during our show choir performances. It wasn’t until we were selected to emcee a dinner theater together that we each developed secret crushes on each other. Three months later, we were dating and practically inseparable! We knew after 8 months together that we would get married as soon as we finished college, and that we did!
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? The cakes were both made by Peggy McKinney of Montgomery, Alabama, and I designed them both! I knew the bride’s cake just HAD to have blackberry incorporated somehow, so I asked Mrs. McKinney to “paint” the cake with blackberry juice, to give it a watercolor look. She also added a blackberry cream cheese filling – it was divine! The groom’s cake is representative of Dillon, 100%. Mrs. McKinney is famous for her peanut butter chocolate cake, and, since Dillon LOVES peanut butter, we had to have that cake!
Tell us all about the proposal! Dillon happened to be living in Savannah, GA, at the time he decided to propose. I planned a trip to visit him with four of our good friends, and we were all spending time in the city while he was working (or so I thought!). As we walked through Forsyth Park downtown, my friends began acting so strangely, walking behind me, stealing my coffee, and just smiling at me in a weird way. I suspected nothing! I happened to spot Dillon up ahead, but of course I was the last one to do so. I excitedly ran to meet him, while everyone else stayed behind. I thought it was so strange that none of them wanted to go and say “hi!” Then, it hit me. “NO!” “WAIT, right now?” “Are you sure, right now?” I was so shocked, I didn’t know how to be a normal human in that moment. Dillon got down on one knee and said the most beautiful things to me, promising me forever. We cried and hugged and hugged our friends, then went to a surprise brunch with our families and friends who had driven to be there with us!
When did y’all get married? May 14, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 220
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Dillon and I attended pre-marital counseling with the pastor who would eventually marry us. We had a wonderful time learning more about each other, because, even after five years, there is always more to discover! We learned more about our individual weaknesses and how those will affect our marriage, as well as how to humble ourselves to work through them. It was an awesome experience: I highly recommend pre-marital counseling!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I really looked for pieces I wanted to incorporate into our wedding, waiting for the best opportunities. I bought my shoes from Anthropologie on Black Friday, which was an incredible deal! We also ended up buying other things during promotions and deals, which did cut some of the cost.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I actually had two I couldn’t have lived without! Our photographer, Taylor, was so kind and just FUN to work with! She also shot our engagement photos, and traveled all the way to Savannah, Georgia, just to shoot at the locations we wanted! Her style is gorgeous, exactly what we envisioned! She captured my style and the little details I worked so hard on perfectly. Also, our florist, Lisa, helped me from day one! She immediately picked up on my style and what I liked and began helping put together a gorgeous event! She is always full of unique, beautiful ideas, which was exactly what I needed! She also took full advantage of my talents and helped me to create beautiful paper goods, painted signage, and more for the wedding!
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Dillon is a musician, but, since we’ve been in college for awhile, he hasn’t had the opportunity to perform in several years. Unbeknownst to many of the guests and a lot of our family, he planned several songs to perform with the band at the reception! He began by singing “The Way You Look Tonight” and “My Girl” to a roaring crowd, dancing and laughing the whole time! It made the day that much sweeter that he was able to do what he loves on such a special day. He closed the night with the band with “Piano Man,” one of his all-time favorites. Many of our friends had never heard him sing, since it was something he did more in high school, so it was so fun to see their reactions to his talent!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? START EARLY!!!!! Contact those you want on your vendor list the week you get engaged! It was so hard for me to figure out who I wanted to hire and then to actually hire them, simply because I had never planned a wedding before. Make sure you’re reaching out, even if you think that person whose style you’re in love with “might be booked or too expensive.” You never know! We also opened a separate credit card strictly for the wedding and connected it to a PayPal account. It made everything so easy!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently both still in graduate school at Auburn University. When we graduate in less than a year, (Dillon in mechanical engineering and me in speech-language pathology), we will be moving to the beautiful Savannah, Georgia! We can’t wait to start a home there and see where life takes us!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? YES! One of my favorite parts of the wedding was the tea party my bridesmaids and I had while getting ready! I am both a calligrapher and potter, and I made a custom tea set for the occasion. The tea tumblers used were part of the bridesmaids’ gifts, and I wanted us to be able to relax and enjoy some tea while spending some quality time together! I highly recommend incorporating a relaxing element to every wedding day!
Photographer: Taylor Dane Photography | Videographer: Collective Memories Video | Planner: Thorne and Thistle | Ceremony Venue: The Oaks Plantation | Reception Venue: The Oaks Plantation | Florist: Thorne and Thistle | Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Peggy McKinney Cakes | Caterer: Jennie Weller Catering | Rentals: Brendle Rentals | Band or DJ: Route 66 | Pottery: Redd Artistry | Guestbook: Velvet Raptor | Ring Box: The Mrs. Box | Silk: Silk and Willow and Frou Frou Chic | Paper Products: Redd Artistry | Logo: Laura McCarty | Bride’s Gown: Casablanca Bridal | Bride’s Earrings: ExVoto Vintage | Makeup Artist: the bride and bridesmaids! | Bride’s Shoes: Anthropologie | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Hayley Paige Occasions | Rompers: Old Navy | Groom’s and Groomsmen’s Attire: Belk | Getaway Carriage: Capitol City Carriages