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Ever since they met, Milena had been asking Jake to write her a song. During his sweet proposal, he shared that he had finally written one for her… but it was only half-finished. When their wedding day arrived, they opted to pray together around a corner before their ceremony. This is always emotional, but it proved to be even more so when Jake surprised Milena by playing his newly finished song for her! It was a sweet moment I am sure neither of them will ever forget. A few more things I’m sure they’ll always remember from their wedding at Foxhall Stables: having both families together in one place, Milena’s first look with her daddy, and the ceremony cross Milena’s daddy made from wood recycled from her great-great-grandfather’s cottage.

Thanks to Sarah Ingram for capturing so many of these magical moments!

Tell us all about the proposal! After meeting in Florida, we both relocated to California for school/work. During our visit with family for Christmas 2015, Jake asked me if he could take me on a date. This was odd considering we NEVER see our families and I thought, we can go on dates whenever we want–why now, why here? I asked my mom what we were going to do the day after Christmas and to my surprise, she replied that she was going to be “busy” with my dad, so I agreed to go out for a date with Jake. He surprised me by taking me to the Harry P. Leu Gardens, a place where we had one of our first dates in 2012. Ever since we first met, I’ve bothered him to write me a song. Turns out, he finally wrote (half) of that song. I held back tears as we sat on the same picnic blanket we had four years ago and he played it. Then, he went to put his guitar away and pulled out a box with a ring he had designed with my dad from jewelry his Nana had given him. It was beautiful and perfect.

I did do a first look with my father, but Jake and I decided we didn’t want to see each other until I walked down the aisle–we felt there is something magical about the moment when the doors open and the bride and groom see each other for the first time during the ceremony! We did agree that our nerves would be tense and we’d be anxious, so it would be wise to pray together before the ceremony, but without seeing one another. This is also when Jake played the song he wrote for me when he proposed, only this time, the song was finished! This was emotional for us–Jake could hardly play his guitar and sing as I sobbed on the other side of a stable door!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We didn’t have any special readings besides what our pastor preached, but we did have Sara, our photographer, make us a banner that hung in our ceremony that said Psalm 91:4: “He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings, you will find refuge.” This represented Christ covering our marriage. To tie in with the verse, our precious flower girls threw petals and white feathers from their baskets.

Jake has always wanted to be married in a church, and I have always wanted to be married outside. We originally agreed to search for a glass chapel, since that would serve both of our visions. After chatting with Lauren, she gave us so many beautiful options, but Foxhall had the all-in-one venue which made it easy for our family members who were coming from all over. Foxhall also had outdoor games, which was on our list, and the venue just seemed like us. To give it more of a chapel feel, we rented church pews and my dad made us a cross from wood recycled from my great-great-grandfather’s cottage.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Almost every detail exceeded our expectations! We loved our custom coffee bar, our invites, the painting my dad did for us, and the dancing! But I guess what it all comes down to is that Jake and I have lived far away from our families for the past five and a half years, so having both our families together in one place was seriously magical and meant so much to us.

Describe your wedding flowers. I was so nervous about my flowers, considering I’d never met any of the girls from Petaline in person before. But they nailed it! They even added lavender and mint to my bouquet, which made it smell so great!!

I wanted donuts and Jake wanted cake, so Lauren was wonderful and threw both into our wedding design! We had classic white cake with vanilla frosting, and blueberry cinnamon donuts! They were all tasty!

When did y’all get married? August 6, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 120
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We really prayed that our wedding would be Christ-centered–as Christians, we believe that a wedding is a foreshadowing of the real wedding when Jesus (the groom) returns for the church (His bride). That being said, Jake chose “Divine Romance” by Phil Wickham for the bridal party and himself to walk down the aisle to. I chose to walk down the aisle to the piano version of “It is Well.” Most people may think of this as a sad song, but I chose it because of the hope it portrays not only in our marriage, but in the marriage of Christ and His church. As we left together, we lightened it up with a song from our favorite Disney movie, Wreck It Ralph: “When Can I See You Again” by Owl City. Later at the reception, our first dance was to the classical guitar version of “So This is Love” from Cinderella. My dad and I could not pick just one song, so we used two: “What a Wonderful World” (we used this song at a daddy-daughter dance when I was a little girl) and “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The food!!! We served chicken and waffles, strawberry bruschetta, caprese salad, sliders, fried chicken, steak medallions, a mac and cheese bar, and a chicken fajita bar. So yummy!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We both agree it was definitely when Jake played the song he wrote me before our ceremony.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Get a planner, especially if you are planning a wedding from a different state. This saved hurting family members’ feelings and so much stress. I also believe she saved us money! Planners literally do weddings all the time, and Lauren was also able to sort through my realistic and unrealistic expectations for our day! ;)
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We look forward to Jake finishing college and traveling as much as we can before we start a family!

Photographer: Sarah Ingram | Planner: Lauren Emerson Events | Venue: Foxhall Stables | Florist: Petaline | Wedding Cake: Sweet Creations by Candi Pittman | Caterer: Simply Catering | Custom Illustrations: Dave O’Connell | Paper Products: Pirouette Paper | Hair Stylist: Katie Hensley | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Attire: Calvin Klein

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Milena carter reply

    Hello there, Thankyou so much for featuring my wedding, seriously what an honor! I think some details may have gotten lost though in translation though. My shoes were actually not heals I felt wearing heels all night would be beautiful but I went for comfort and my maid of honor bought me Kate spade white sparkling shoes that were sneakers. And I’d never change that I wore them, I’d honestly strongly suggest them to other brides because of how comfy they were and that they were different then traditional wedding shoes. Although the invitations y’all featured were beautiful our invitations were actually custom made by my Father& my dear friend kaylyn at pirouette paper company. They both put So much love and work into them from my dads custom illustrated map of fox hall & character drawing of Jake and myself. To kaylyns beautiful handwriting and watercolor work on our envelopes. They were such a precious detail that ment so much to Jake and myself. They just tied many other details of our wedding together too! Again I’m so flattered by yalls feature! Xoxo

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Milena! Thank you so much for letting us know. We love the idea of wearing sneakers for your wedding day. What a fun detail. We’re honored to share your wedding day! xx, Marissa

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For Southern Weddings V9, we asked a few of our wisest, most creative, and just plain fun friends how they celebrate their anniversaries. From simple takeout dinners served on wedding china, to trips back to honeymoon destinations, and everything in between, their ideas spanned every timeframe, budget, and tradition we can think of. Whether you’ll be celebrating your first anniversary or your fifteenth this year, we hope these ideas inspire you–we’ll be sharing a new one each Sunday!

Jen Dillender

With two little ones, it’s difficult to make a long, extravagant, kid-free trip happen to celebrate our anniversary. Instead, last summer, we took two mini kid-free weekend getaways to celebrate our fifth anniversary, and it was so much fun! We road tripped to new cities with zero agenda, and filled them with lots of sleep, relaxation, great food and drink, and uninterrupted conversation! It was the best way to celebrate five years.
– Laura Kashner of Southern Weddings, married 5 years

Written with love by admin
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About two years ago, we reached out to our friend, photographer Anna Shackleford, about doing a home tour for our Southern Newlywed series. We went back and forth for a little while working on the logistics, but then the hustle and bustle of wedding season put our plans on hold. When I reconnected with her to pick up where we left off, she replied with something along the lines of “I’d love to, but we’re actually about to sell almost everything we own, renovate a camper, and spend the next year or two on the road, so I don’t know if you would still want to feature us!” My response? Heck YES, we do! We were so excited to hear about Anna and Daniel’s unique new living situation, they inspired the Southern Newlywed “Home Sweet Home” feature in V9, in which we profiled different types of newlywed homes. I hope you love this peek at their “on the go” home as much as we did!

The couple: Anna and Daniel Shackleford
How many years have you been married? Four years!
Tell us a little bit about your unique living situation. We are currently living on the road full-time in a 28-foot travel trailer that we pull with a truck. We’ve always dreamed of traveling together, and after many discussions and prayers, we decided that we couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this. We were in the perfect season of life to pursue the adventure: newlyweds, without children, without a mortgage, and in careers that provide relatively flexible schedules. Before we moved in to our travel trailer, we repainted the entire interior, reupholstered the furniture, and decorated it like we would any other house. It’s a cozy little space that we love calling home.

Tell us about the process of moving from a house to a camper. How did you decide what to bring with you, store, or get rid of? We first thought about the type of life that we wanted to live together. We knew we wanted to live more simply, spend more time with friends and family, and explore the outdoors. Once we nailed down the life that we wanted, honestly, picking the items that we wanted to bring with us was easy. The downsizing process was incredibly freeing. When you know you only have 225 square feet to live in, it gets pretty easy to make decisions about what is necessary and what is not. We stored a few pieces of heirloom furniture, photos, and paintings, but other than that, we sold almost everything that we owned. Getting rid of all of the clutter gave us clarity about what was truly important.

What most makes your camper feel like home? Bella, our sweet, eight-year-old golden lab that we absolutely adore. Having her with us on the road is just the greatest thing ever!

What are the biggest challenges of being on the road? We had both thought that moving into such a small space would be the biggest challenge, but oddly enough, that has been one of our favorite parts. Everything has a place and it’s clutter-free! We wouldn’t think that in 2016 finding reliable Wi-Fi would be an issue, but it has been a big challenge for us!

What is your favorite part of being on the road? It’s hard to choose just one thing! Seeing all of the diversity that the US has to offer across different landscapes has been incredible—we especially love spending time out west. But honestly, this experience has taught us to trust others more than we ever have before. There are so many good, kind people in this world, and we’ve loved getting the chance to meet so many of them along our journey.

What are some of your dreams and plans for where you live over the next five years? We want to explore as much of the US and Canada as we can while we are living on the road. We plan to continue living on the road for at least a few years, but we have major baby fever, so who knows how that will impact our travels!

Photography: Anna Shackleford

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

    How wonderful! I love how the camper looks like a real house — so many are not well designed. I would love more details on where the furnishings/paint/decor came from

  2. avatar Elizabeth Burns reply

    I LOVE this! It’s great how all different types of housing are highlighted in this series, not just single family homes. And that sweet pup!!! <3

  3. avatar Lyndi and Jason Redfern reply

    This is beautiful! It’s surprisingly spacious and so well laid out that it’s hard to believe it’s a camper!

  4. avatar Bri A reply

    Oh my goodness!! I couldn’t believe these photos were from a camper – how gorgeous. I’m not sure I could live on the road like they are, but these sweet pictures made me want to give it a try!

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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