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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!

Each bouquet was tied off with a combination of Silk and Willow and Frou Frou Chic silk ribbon in the shades of the groomsmens’ suits and bridesmaids’ dresses.

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

marissa Written with love by Marissa

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Wedding photographer and bride Lauren shares her Old Wide Awake Plantation wedding.

When you photograph beautiful weddings as your job, I can only imagine that it would become a bit challenging to narrow down all the lovely inspiration you’ve seen as you plan your own wedding day. That’s why I am excited to introduce y’all to our bride for today, Lauren! Not only is she a wedding photographer herself, but she knew exactly what she wanted! She says, “ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to get married on a plantation in Charleston. Once we stumbled upon Old Wide Awake Park and Plantation, we both just knew it was the perfect venue for us.” With friends and family traveling in from their home state of Maryland, she and Eddie knew they wanted to give their guests the full Lowcountry experience. After all, South Carolina is their new home! One other thing she also knew right off the bat: that she would wear that ever-amazing Hayley Paige gown! Two stellar choices I’d say. Keep reading to learn more about her sweet (and sparkly!) celebration.

Thanks to Natalie Franke for capturing Lauren and Eddie’s wedding!

Our welcome bags included treats that were local to the Charleston area in grit bags that read “Grits and Gratitude.” We wanted our guests to feel welcomed to our new home state the second they arrived! We also served Southern comfort food to our guests so they could have the full Charleston experience while they were in town: shrimp and grits, BBQ, pecan pie tarts… all delicious!

Since I am a wedding photographer, I had my eyes set on the Hayley Paige “Carrie” gown for quite some time. I had it all over my Pinterest board and even cut out of magazines hanging on my inspiration boards in my office. I knew that was the dress I wanted to get married in! The second I walked out of the dressing room, my mom started tearing up and my dad said, “Yep, that’s the one.”

Describe your wedding flowers. We wanted everything to have a just-picked-from-the-garden feel. Nothing rounded or tight, very organic feeling.

Eddie and I experienced a lot throughout our wedding planning process. It was filled with so many laughs and wonderful memories, but also some heartbreaking ones. Our wedding was rescheduled due to the hurricane, and we lost my grandfather two weeks before the wedding. Those experiences really tested our marriage before we were even married, and I can honestly say I couldn’t have picked a more understanding and kind man to do life with. This process strengthened us and I know we can get through anything together!

My first dance with my dad was Zac Brown Band’s “I’ll Be Your Man.” I am 100% a daddy’s girl (my dad even surprised me and took dancing lessons for our dance!), so it was extra sweet to dance with him to such a special song.

Eddie was so nervous but his vows were so beautiful. A verse from my vows: “Your kind heart, gentle smile, and unconditional love are things I adore endlessly. You always put others before yourself, can always see the positive in any situation, and are the hardest-working person I know. I always wanted to find a husband who had the traits of my father and with you, I know I have. I never knew someone could love me the way you do – without any hesitation and unconditionally.”

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was having to reschedule our wedding due to Hurricane Matthew. Our wedding date was originally October 7, 2016, but we cancelled everything the Tuesday before. My heart was broken and the tears wouldn’t stop flowing. We had been planning the most incredible day to begin our marriage, and in a matter of hours, it had been completely rescheduled to a month and a half later. Thankfully, we had incredible wedding vendors and one incredible planner (thank you Margaret!). Everything was taken care of and our wedding day was unbelievable!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail from the wedding would have to be the cigar boxes that were used at the cigar bar. They were my grandfather’s, who passed away two weeks before the wedding, so it was very special that we could incorporate him and his memory into the wedding.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy the process! I always tell that to my brides! It goes SO fast, especially the last four months, so take time to slow down and enjoy each day together! It’ll be wedding day before you know it!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to “A Thousand Years” being played by live violinists. It’s always been such a classic wedding song, and it always makes me cry at weddings, so I knew I wanted to have that same experience at our own wedding. Our first dance was Dan and Shay’s “From the Ground Up.” The first time we heard this song together, we knew it was perfect for us.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was a simple one tier cake for Eddie and me to share. It was a vanilla cake with wildberry whipped filling and a blackberry drizzle.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Eddie and I met through mutual friends at a local bar called The Greene Turtle in our hometown of Westminster, Maryland. After that night out, we randomly kept running into one another, and finally he had the courage to ask for my number. The rest, as they say, was history!
Tell us all about the proposal! We moved to South Carolina at the end of 2015, when Eddie accepted a job that would let us live five minutes from the beach. In March of 2016, the day before Eddie proposed, he woke me up before the sun was up and said, “We are going to the beach to watch the sunrise.” Since we had never gone to watch the sunrise, I knew something was up and I got so many butterflies. Once we got to the beach, he laid out our towels, had our favorite coffee and bagels ready to share, and I could tell he was acting differently. We sat there for about an hour and watched the most incredible sunrise… Then before I knew it, we were packed up in the car and headed home! He never proposed because he got so nervous! The next morning, he told me to get dressed up for dinner that evening because we would be going down to the Marshwalk for dinner and drinks. After we had a glass of champagne at our favorite place, we decided to walk down to the marsh to watch the sunset. As we were walking down, Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” started playing over the speakers and when we reached the edge of the pier, he got down on one knee and proposed! So even though his plan was to propose at sunrise the day before, it turned out to be absolutely perfect!
When did y’all get married? November 26, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 75
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided on doing a first look! As a wedding photographer, I always love capturing first looks so I knew it was something I wanted to incorporate into our wedding. I also knew Eddie would be super nervous for our ceremony, so I thought us seeing each other before the ceremony would help calm some of his nerves – I was right!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We did this blessing of the hands: “These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy. These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children. These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.”
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? I didn’t! Ah! What was I thinking?!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We did a buffet-style dinner which definitely helped with the cost of the food!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Oh my gosh… I was incredibly happy with ALL of my vendors. I have to say though, I did fly two of my vendors in from Maryland, and I was so appreciative that they made the haul to Charleston for us. Natalie Franke (our photographer) and Jacob Jensen (our DJ): these two MADE our wedding absolutely everything I dreamed of. My planner, Margaret, truly made sure everything was taken care of and that I didn’t have to worry about a single thing the entire day – such an incredible and sweet lady!!!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? When I danced with my mom, brother, and aunt to honor my grandfather’s life. It was a beautiful moment that I surprised them with – I know he would have loved it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We have another fun year of traveling planned, and Eddie will be joining me as an assistant for some of my destination weddings! I’m also looking forward to slowing down at some point and making more memories here in SC. We are definitely not ready for babies yet, but the idea of little Eddies running around does make me happy!

Photographer: Natalie Franke Photography | Second Photographer: Madison Short | Planner: Margaret McKenzie | Venue: Old Wide Awake Plantation | Florist: WildFlowers Inc. | Wedding Cake: Ashley Brown Cake Design | Caterer: Hamby Catering and Events | Rentals: EventHaus and Snyder Rental | Officiant: Christy Loftin | Ceremony Music: Bob Williams Duo | DJ: Jacob Jensen of District Remix | Paper Products: Shine Wedding Invitations | Bride’s Gown: “Carrie” by Hayley Paige | Bridal Salon: Coastal Knot Bridal | Bride’s Engagement Ring: Shipley’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry | Wedding Bands: Kay Jewelers | Hair and Makeup: Ash and Co. | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale from Bella Bridesmaids | Getting Ready Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Men’s Attire: Vera Wang from Men’s Wearhouse | Transportation: ACW Limo | Favors: Mr. and Mrs. Match Boxes from For Your Party

marissa Written with love by Marissa

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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Bride Anna shares her homespun Alabama wedding at The Brick Church.

I’m delighted to introduce y’all to our bride for today, Anna! Her Alabama wedding to Ben is filled with so much sweetness and charm that it was almost impossible for her to choose her most memorable moment from their wedding day. She says, “trying to choose just one, though, I think I would pick the weather.” A strange choice, I thought at first, until I read why! You see, the forecast called for rain on their wedding day, but it only drizzled during their ceremony (which was indoors, thank heavens!) and just a bit after, creating a lovely memory! “It was still sprinkling a bit so we ran off and hid in a local coffee shop, where had tea. It soon stopped raining, so Ashley took Ben and me off to the lovely town of Mooresville where we were able to hold a newborn lamb.” Add in tea as husband and wife and snuggles with a newborn lamb, and I totally get why the weather ended up being her most memorable moment! Keep reading for more details on their big day (and a peek at said newborn lamb!).

Big SW hugs to Ashley Vaughn of White Rabbit Studios for sharing their special day with us!

The third dress ended up being the one. I had a feeling from the moment I saw it on the hanger in the boutique, but knew it from the first time I tried it on. My mom and I went to a handful of other shops and boutiques but I couldn’t stop thinking about the two-piece embroidered gown.

Did you decide to do a first look? I’ve always wanted to do a first look! Ben and I both found it important to have a bit of a calm before the storm. We weren’t sure how to go about it, and our photographer, Ashley, had the idea for her to capture our first look, and then give us some alone time in the church. We took her up on that!

A Southern detail that was important to me was a theme of “generations.” Family has always been so important to me, and I took extra care in having my late grandparents and Ben’s late grandmother honored in small ways, such as having their wedding pictures at the wedding reception and by using my grandmother’s earrings and sheet music to walk down the aisle to.

How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? At the Brick Church, there was a fire marshal code that only 120 people could be in the church! The attendance for the reception was around 220.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Yes! My dad, Joel McWhorter, loves history and is like a walking book of history (especially regarding Alabama). When my brother and I were little, he took us to Mooresville one Saturday and told us the history of the Post Office there, and the little Brick Church (where I ended up getting married)! I remember, even though I couldn’t have been more than seven years old, wanting to get married in that beautiful church. I’ve always loved old churches rich with history and community, and having it be so close to my hometown of Decatur it couldn’t have been more perfect!

What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Ben and I have worked so hard for five years to get married, we can’t believe it actually happened! We look forward to sharing our love of Christ through our marriage and helping each other to become better people by building one another up and lovin’ on each other. We so look forward to traveling, making new friends, and getting a puppy! Sadly, the puppy is not in the near future, but we so look forward to having a bigger family together!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Rather than buying many small items for those perfect details, I ended up making a lot of them myself or using things around my parents’ home! We used cigar boxes and books on the reception tables, and I hand made signs out of my grandmother’s old picture frames and old postcards my mom and I have been collecting over the years! Not only did it help save money, but it was SO much fun! I loved being able to hand make some of the decorations for my wedding! It definitely made the wedding seem so much more like Ben and me!

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? Why did you choose it? My wedding cake was a three-tier vanilla funfetti cake with light pink buttercream frosting! Ben’s and my first date ever was to The Chocolate Crocodile, and we split an apple pie apple! It seemed only appropriate that we would choose it for the groom’s dessert, so the groom’s “cake” were apple pie apples from The Chocolate Crocodile!

“The Girl” has always been such a special song for Ben and me throughout our relationship, and we spent no time deciding on that being the song we would dance our first dance to.

Ben is my God-given gift, my very best friend, my counsel, my protector, and the person who has made me laugh the most. There is no doubt that we had been made a pair since before we were born. I had been praying for so many years that God would send me someone who would unconditionally love me and my family, and put God first. It is an understatement to say I’ve been blessed with Ben. He is the hardest-working, and smartest man I’ve ever met.

Tell us your love story. I have known Ben since I was in 4th grade, but I didn’t became friends with him until I was in 10th grade. We had a mutual friend set us up on a double date then (when I was in 10th grade and he in 11th), but neither of us were very interested in a romantic relationship at the time. We have a lot of fun looking back on that, especially how neither of us thought we would end up dating, let alone get married! That next year, however, we ended up having a study hall together, where, as Ben puts it, “we didn’t get much studying done.” I asked him to sit by me as soon as he walked into the class and we ended up spending that hour talking about anything and everything (with the occasional homework here and there). We ended up becoming really close friends being able to spend that time together everyday! I still can’t recall a specific date when I realized I liked him more than a friend. Our relationship had always been so natural. After spending every day during 6th period together (and sometimes 7th and after school), Ben finally asked me out on March 20th, 2012!
Tell us all about the proposal! Ben proposed to me on September 30th, 2016 at Falls Mill in Tennessee. This was always a very special date spot we would go to when we had a free day in the week! Lunches we would take there would always taste better by the water mill (even when the bugs were bad in the summers)! He took off work that Friday, picked me up and took me to The Brick in downtown Decatur for lunch and then off to Falls Mill. After he had proposed, he drove us back to our hometown where my mother hosted an engagement party with all of our families there to celebrate! It was a perfect day!
When did y’all get married? March 25, 2017!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? I had these poems read: “[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]” by e.e. cummings and “It’s all I have to bring today” by Emily Dickinson. And these scriptures were read: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 and Song of Soloman 2:8-17. The wonderful man that read them is a dear, dear friend of mine named Eugene Banks!
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? There are so, so many details of the wedding that were favorites and so special to me. Having to pick one, I would have to pick the sheet music that my wedding party walked into the church to, and I walked down the aisle to. For a little backstory, my mom’s mother, who I called Nanny, passed away three years ago. She was the most delightful woman: full of laughter, full of fun, and full of Jesus. When I started taking piano lessons around nine years old, she gave me a piece of sheet music with a sticky note on it. I remember taking it home, poking around at the notes on the piano and putting it in the piano bench, completely forgetting about it. Sure enough, a few months before the wedding I was digging through all of my piano music trying to find what I wanted to walk down the aisle to. The sheet music that Nanny gave me was marked in pencil, “Martha Eckard March 25, 1948” (March 25th is my wedding day)! The music was THE WEDDING MARCH! How wonderful is that?! Having her recital music played from when she was a little girl made me feel like she was able to be there at the ceremony. My piano teacher from when I took lessons played it on the pump organ in the Brick Church.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! My something borrowed were the earrings I wore. They belong to my dad’s mother, who I call Grammy, and they were a prized gift my grandfather bought for her. My grandfather died when I was young, so it meant the world to me to be able to wear a gift from him to my grandmother. It made it feel like he was a part of the wedding too! My something blue was a handkerchief that I carried down the aisle that belonged to my Nanny when she was a little girl. My something old was a penny in my shoe (the same one my mother wore in her shoe in her wedding)! My something new was my wedding dress.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Dr. Steve Bateman, the head pastor at First Bible Church in Decatur, ordained Ben and me for our wedding. A prerequisite of his marrying us was that we go through marriage counseling with him. He recommended Timothy Keller’s, The Meaning of Marriage and spoke with us on what it means to be married and how relationships work. My favorite thing we did in the counseling was Ben named five ways in which he feels respected by me, and I named five ways in which I feel loved by him. I will forever cherish these things.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Having the wonderful vendors that we had made the day perfect! From the wedding planner, sweet Lori Bateman, listening to all my ideas and wishes and making them come true, to having a reception coordinator, Emme Long, making sure everything went according to the plan, to having a phenomenal, artistic florist making everything look gorgeous, to the most wonderful photographer to capture every detail! It wouldn’t of gone as perfect as it did if it weren’t for these wonderful ladies working so hard and having so much fun with it!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? The best advice I have for anyone planning a wedding is how important it is to surround yourself with people that are organized and level-headed! Planning one of the most exciting, expensive, and beautiful celebrations can become so overwhelming and stressful! Having vendors, friends, and planners that were all organized and calm was so important in making the day and the planning run smoothly. Don’t be afraid to be vocal about what you want your day to look like, and most all people working on your wedding are so happy to make your vision come to life!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? I cannot give enough credit to the wonderful wedding planner, Lori, for how hard she worked and how sweet she was in making everything that I wanted happen! She took extra care in having the details I asked for come to life! The day wouldn’t have been nearly as perfect as it was if it wasn’t for her! Love you long time, Lori!

Photographer: Ashley Vaughn of White Rabbit Studios | Planner: Lori Bateman (family friend) | Ceremony Venue: The Brick Church | Reception Venue: Woody + Lyla’s Dance Hall | Florist: Simpson’s Florist | Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Molly Moo Cakes | Caterer: Curry’s on Johnston Street | Rentals: Mullins Special Occasions | Band or DJ: Andrew Hodge + Matthew Sasser (childhood friends of the bride) | Special Details: 1951 Chevy Truck provided by Family Friend | Paper Products: Minted in Wanderlust Wreath | Bride’s Gown: Odylyne the Ceremony from Finery | Bride’s Veil: Sara Gabriel from Finery | Bride’s Shoes: Phoenix Suede Booties from Forever Soles | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Darccy Frill Layered Maxi Dress from ASOS | Groom’s “Cake”: The Chocolate Crocodile

marissa Written with love by Marissa

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