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When Dave and I saw the pictures from his proposal, my favorite thing about them was being able to see the exact reactions, expressions, and details that we had already forgotten about in all of the excitement (I SWORE the couch in the room where Dave proposed was green–it was coral and white. Ha!). We absolutely love seeing your proposal pictures (send yours to me at lisa@southernweddings.com if you want to appear in our next Engaged Reader Round-Up!), but there is also something so incredibly special about a proposal video, where every word and movement is captured forever, to be re-lived again and again. When Philip James Films shared this beautiful proposal at Wrightsville Beach with us, we just knew y’all would love it as much as we did!

See our wedding films here!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar tammy reply

    Oh my goodness that was so precious!

  2. avatar We’re published! | Philip James Films – Wilmington, North Carolina Wedding Videographer reply

    […] We are very excited to announce that Southern Weddings has featured our recent film of Brad and Marcie’s Wrightsville Beach proposal!  We love Southern Wedding’s blog and magazine and consider it an honor that our first online publication was with them!  Head on over to the Southern Wedding’s blog and see what they said about our work: southernweddings.com/proposal-film-philip-james-films/ […]

  3. avatar We’re published! – Philip James Films – Blog reply

    […] an honor that our first online publication was with them!  Head on over to the Southern Wedding’s blog and see what they said about our work: southernweddings.com/proposal-film-philip-james-films/ […]

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With our own long distance relationship experiences, Lisa, Kristin, and I can all relate to Sarah and Mike’s love story. We know too well the challenges being far away can cause, but also, the incredible growth it can produce in relationships! Distance absolutely can make the heart grow fonder, and these two are a wonderful example of that. Being apart from family can also be a tough, so I especially love how Sarah and Mike included their family members throughout their wedding day by including loved ones’ signature desserts on the sweets table, as well as tying the knot just around the corner from where Sarah grew up. Magnolia leaf details and hay rides around Summerfield Farm during cocktail hour round out this sweet Southern day!

Big hugs to our lovely Blue Ribbon Vendor, Robyn Van Dyke for sharing this beautiful day with us!

I wore my sister-in-law’s veil as my something borrowed. My mom’s handkerchief that she had used on her wedding day was my something blue, since it had a blue flower detail. My Maw Maw’s diamond earrings were my something old, and my something new were my shoes!

This prayer photo is so sweet, I smile every single time I scroll past it!

Y’all may not catch this “I spy,” but that adorable blonde third from the right is Mrs. Callie Pitts Davis, our friend Nancy Ray’s associate photographer!

Describe your wedding flowers. We used a wonderful florist, Stacy at The Farmer’s Wife. We were given her name by word of mouth–the only advertising they use! She was wonderful to work with and helped me make a lot of decisions along the way. Our colors were white and green, so we used hydrangeas and magnolia leaves. There were also some berries in the bouquets that added some grey/blue tones.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We both agree that our first look was the most memorable part of the day. Being able to see each other for the first time and being able to talk about how we were feeling was special. Plus, I loved being the only one who got to experience Mike’s reaction! The day goes by so fast and can be overwhelming, and those few quiet moments with the person who matters the most were the best.

After looking at several different venues all over North Carolina, my parents told me that if I got married in Greensboro, they would make sure I got a Maxie B’s cake! I started looking in my hometown, and by chance, found our venue. At the time, they were starting to do renovations, so I had no real idea what it would look like on our wedding day. I knew it was going to be special though, because it was a few miles away from everything I knew growing up–my parents’ house, the schools I attended, and lots of loved ones. Plus, my dad loved the idea of treating guests to a hay ride during cocktail hour!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose to say traditional wedding vows, keeping the ceremony simple for the two of us! I had our wedding vows written in calligraphy to display on a table in our reception area and now in our home.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We each chose a reading for our ceremony. I chose Jeremiah 17:8 and Mike chose Philippians 2:5-11. Both verses were meaningful to our relationship and what we hope for in our marriage.

Growing up in Greensboro, you have to love Maxie B’s. My high school friends and I spent our nights eating cake and talking about life in the little corner of Maxie B’s, so I knew my wedding cake would come from them. We did a pumpkin chocolate chip cake for the base and their fresh strawberry cake for the top layer. I also have some wonderful grandmas who make amazing cakes, so I asked them if they would each make their signature cakes for us and they agreed. My Maw Maw made a strawberry cake and a blackberry cake, and my grandma made a coconut cake and pound cake. More family members then offered to make their signature desserts, and it all added up to one of the most delicious dessert bars!

Don’t miss Sarah + Mike’s highlight film by Jeff Brewer!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met during our freshman year of college at NC State through Young Life. We were eventually placed on the same Young Life team and became great friends. At the end of our senior year, we admitted that there were some feelings there, but since we were going to continue to be leaders on the same team, we could not date until the end of the next school year. After we finished our time as Young Life leaders, we went on our first date, which was the rehearsal dinner of two of our close friends. We began dating that summer, and in September, Mike accepted a job and moved to Napa, California. We made trips to see each other about every other month. It was really hard being in different time zones and so far apart, but we made it work with lots of FaceTiming and emailing!
Tell us all about the proposal! Mike was back from Carolina for two weeks during Christmas, and before he got home, we talked about taking some day trips to spend time together. When he mentioned a trip to Washington D.C on New Years Eve, I thought nothing out of the ordinary. We left early and spent our day sightseeing, even though it was so cold that day. As we neared the end, Mike told me he really wanted to see the Jefferson Memorial and I disagreed–I was ready to sit in the warm car! I even said, “This had better be worth it!” as we began walking over! Once we got to the memorial, Mike sat me down to tell me he was ready to begin talking about getting married and making a plan for what our future might hold. After our conversation, he prayed for us and asked if I wanted to take some pictures. While I was turned around taking a picture, I heard Mike say my name, and when I looked over, he was down on one knee. He asked me to marry him and I said yes! We had a long car ride home full of calls to our family and friends to tell them we were engaged!
When did y’all get married? November 9, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: One of the most meaningful details was our guest book. William Mangum is a local artist who lives in Greensboro, and he paints beautiful watercolors of North Carolina. He had a book called “North Carolina Beautiful” full of images familiar to both Mike and I of the state we know and love. We made a table of contents so that our friends and family could find and sign pages that were significant to them as well. There were pictures from all over the state and it was such a wonderful piece to take with us to our new home in California. Plus, William Mangum wrote a message and signed it too!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We both have family in the wine industry, so we were able to save a lot of money stocking our bar. Our florist also made great strides to make sure we stayed within budget. I made all of our place cards and programs.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t compare. With social media, blogs, and Pinterest, there is so much out there that can help or harm the wedding planning process. Our story was so different and it was so easy to compare it to what others have. I am so grateful that I married a man who does not care about all the little details and reminds me of the real truth of what our marriage means!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are now living in Napa and are happy that we are finally living our lives together. It has been challenging, but also rewarding, to live a life where we are far away from everything we know, and it has been really fun to explore the West Coast together!

Photographer: Robyn Van Dyke / Videographer: Jeff Brewer / Day-Of Coordination: Melissa Lewkowicz / Venue: Summerfield Farms / Florist: The Farmer’s Wife / Wedding Cake: Maxie B’s / Caterer: Fresh. Local. Good. Food Group / Band: JAVA / Calligraphy: Rachel Velasquez / Bride’s Gown: “5802″ by Liancarlo / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Accessories: Nitsa’s / Hair Stylist: Amy Gooch / Bride’s Shoes: Born / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Custom by Maura Stewart / Men’s Attire: Jos. A Bank

marissa Written with love by Marissa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    I’m in love with those bridesmaid dresses–what a perfect color for a fall wedding, and so perfect with the magnolia leaf details!

  2. avatar featured: southern weddings » Robyn Van Dyke Photography Blog reply

    […] so honored to have Sarah & Mike‘s gorgeous wedding featured on Southern Weddings today!! Hooray!! Big hugs as always to all the lovely ladies at our favorite wedding blog and […]

  3. avatar Laura reply

    I love that guest book idea! What a treasure to keep for years to come! And as a Greensboro transplant, I definitely understand the need for Maxie B’s cake!

  4. avatar Chelsea reply

    Love love love the magnolia leaf accents! That rich green with the white hydrangea is just gorgeous!

  5. avatar Melody reply

    This is my beautiful niece and her handsome husband. The wedding was wonderful and a special day to us all. Sarah & Mike are such a sweet couple. What a surprise to see it posted and shared with others.

  6. avatar 14 Fabulous Wedding Trends for Fall 2014 | Ask Wedding Planning reply

    […] 7. emerald bridesmaid dress (link) […]

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As much as we love biscuits, sweet tea, and seersucker, there are few things we love more than our lovely readers! Sharing meaningful weddings, epic marriages, and our office life with y’all is so rewarding, which is why we jump at any opportunity we can find to get y’all more involved in the Southern Weddings world. We have so many fun things going on this summer, and we don’t want you to miss a single one, so here’s a little refresher!

Our Best Ever Southern Summer Giveaway is appropriately named–from Jack Rogers monogrammed sandals, to Southern Living summer cookbooks, to $500 cash for a weekend getaway and more, the winner will certainly be ready to finish out summer in style! There is only one week left to enter, so be sure to do so here.

If you live in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, we would love to see you at Fearrington this Friday morning for our Summer Meet-Up! We can’t wait to spend the morning with y’all chatting about life, weddings, marriage, and more. Don’t forget to RSVP by commenting on this post!

How are you doing on your Summer #SouthernDoin checklist? We want to follow along on your adventures around the South, so don’t forget to download your printable checklist here and then use the hashtag on social media!

Here’s to making the most of the rest of summer! What are your plans for enjoying the last week of July?

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] his turn at sharing about life as a Southern Weddings gent. Catch up on what’s going on this summer at SW–only a few days left to enter our best giveaway ever! Stop what you’re doing and […]

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When one of your first encounters with someone involves frantic email exchanges involving highly-secret public proposal plans, you know they’re not afraid to dive right in and become one of the team. Such is the case with Dave, Lisa’s fiance and one of our newer Southern Gents. He’s been gung-ho and encouraging about all things Southern Weddings since Day One, and we love him for it! Please join me in welcoming Mr. Dave Kirk to the blog this morning…

Ryan Ray

Name: David Kirk
What do you do for a job? Financial analyst
Your Southern Weddings gal: The lovely Miss Lisa Janel Olson
How and when you became a Southern Weddings gent: Y’all may have read Lisa’s version on the blog, so my shortened version is: we met studying abroad in Austria four years ago, tried not to fall in love, lost touch, reconnected early last year, (quickly) fell in love, (quickly) got engaged, and we are getting married in May!

What is your favorite SW memory? Aside from the obvious, asking Lisa to marry me while at an SW event, it was incredible hearing from Lisa on the phone the day she got her dream job. That was a really special moment and I could not have been more proud of her!
What is the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of SW? While this wasn’t in the name of SW, I proposed at the V6 Launch Party… I’d say that’s as crazy as it gets.
What contributions have you made to SW that people may not realize? I conveniently manage to show up to shoots/events just in the nick of time to move furniture around. I hope this experience pays off in married life. Also, I make the spreadsheets for all our wedding planning, so I’m hoping to contribute some excel templates to the blog at some point.

What is something you shouldn’t know about weddings, but do, thanks to SW? I can correctly pronounce Monique Lhuillier and can identify a Sperry tent within seconds.
Have you ever been recognized by a stranger because of SW? I am still waiting for that special moment.
What percentage of your social media followers come from SW? Less than half, but I’m hoping this post will make it grow.
What is the best thing about being an SW gent? Being able to be a part (by a small degree of separation) of such an incredible small business whose mission is so noble. There are few things in this world as important and sacred as faith, marriage, and family, and to have my fiancée work for an organization that holds these things in such high regard is inspiring.
What is your least favorite thing about being an SW gent? You never know when something is going to wind up on Instagram. See me car singing here.

If given the chance, would you become a Southern Weddings employee? Of course.
Favorite Southern food? I’m a Yankee by birth, so being recently introduced to Southern foods has been the best year of my life. My favorite is probably biscuits, closely followed by fried chicken. If you put them together, that’s another favorite.
Anything else you want to add? I’m relatively new to the exclusive SW Gents club, but I can say that the SW ladies are truly passionate about what they do and they are amazingly talented at how they do it. The result is a magazine whose mission permeates the pages, content that inspires so many, and weddings that would make even the bravest men tear up (myself included… Lisa and I are a perfect match).

Catch up with the other SW gents!
Ari
John
Brandon
Taylor
Kyle

emily Written with love by Emily
6 Comments
  1. avatar JessicainFlorida reply

    Ok, so the obvious question is, “Does Dave have a brother?” Or cloning technology? What a sweet, articulate, gracious guy. I don’t know Lisa but I’m just so happy for her after reading this post. He’s a keeper for sure!

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    He’s the best :)

  3. avatar Lisa Hays reply

    I hope he has a bunch of brothers! The world could use more gents like him.

  4. avatar Dana reply

    my fave SW gent!!

  5. avatar Nancy Ray reply

    Definitely a stand up guy, that Dave. Even though you are from the North, you’ve definitely got the charm of a Southern gentleman! Loved this post!

  6. avatar Jennifer Rose Smith reply

    Great interview! It’s been such fun to watch Lisa and Dave’s story unfold online. He seems so supportive and sincere and open-minded. A great match for Lisa! Can’t wait for the reveal of the big day… xoxo

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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When your girlfriend describes y’all’s first date as a “fairy tale,” figuring out how to propose must be quite a tall order! After reading Chelsea and Will’s sweet story, I am positive that Will couldn’t have planned it better (be sure to read their interview below!). After the proposal, it was Chelsea’s turn to plan, and they created a wedding that they both loved. It included amazing pink blooms, a very emotional first look, and meeting in the middle of their respective home states for an outdoor wedding at the gorgeous Castleton Farms!

Big SW hugs to Katherine Birkbeck for sharing this wedding with us!

My something borrowed was my sister’s hair barrette from her wedding! My something old was my grandmother’s hand-knit hankie–my aunt gave it to me with a letter that she wrote and signed “Aunt Sherry and Grandma Wanda.” It was like a little gift from heaven. My something blue was my garter and my something new was my jewelry.

My flowers were gorgeous. I wish I could have kept them forever! My groom vetoed pink for wedding colors, so I had to have my pink flowers instead! The bouquets were filled with pin roses, calla lilies, and hydrangeas. We had two enormous flower pots filled with gorgeous, fresh hydrangeas on either side of the altar, and flowers hanging from chairs down the center aisle.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we did! I loved all the first look pictures that I had seen and really wanted to capture this reaction. Since we had our ceremony and reception at the same venue, we also wanted to get all of our pictures done ahead of time so our guests wouldn’t have to wait. Lastly, our first look definitely helped with the nerves. I was nervous before I walked down the aisle (in the best of excited ways), and I can’t imagine how much more nervous I would have been without the first look. It helped a lot, and I am so glad that we did it.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I wanted to get married in Saint Louis, and Will wanted to get married in South Carolina. We couldn’t choose, so we decided to meet in the middle–Tennessee! I love the outdoors and flowers, so I knew I wanted to get married surrounded by nature’s beauty. When I found Castleton Farms, I knew that it was the perfect place. Everything was Southern, sweet, and elegant. It was perfect for us.

Our first dance was to “Forever Like That” by Ben Rector, who is one of our favorite singers. We saw him in concert twice while we were dating. Will actually picked this song out for us, which made it that much more special.

I am a four-year alumni of the Carolina Girls Dance team at USC. As part of a wedding gift to me, my coach choreographed a dance with all of my teammates and Will. The dance started with the girls dancing to some of our favorite songs, and then they formed two straight lines. All of a sudden, Will starting dancing down the aisle and it became a whole production. It was absolutely amazing.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. My friend, Taylor, lived in the same hall as me during out freshman year at the University of South Carolina. Taylor and Will were old family friends, and she introduced us at church. Will asked me out, and on our first date, he took me to a cute restaurant in an old train station. Then he took me to the Horseshoe on campus, which is a huge lawn (in a U shape, of course) with giant old oak trees. When we got there, there was a blanket with candles on each corner, where we sat and talked. It was the sweetest first date ever, like a fairy tale!
Tell us all about the proposal! It was March 15, just two days after my 21st birthday. We were supposedly going out for my birthday when Will took me back to the Horseshoe (where we had had our first date). We walked up the brick pathway, and I saw candles and rose petals on the ground. He stood me in the middle of them, got down on one knee, and asked for my hand in marriage. I said yes, of course, and he gave me a gorgeous diamond ring. I called my parents (who were supposed to be in Saint Louis, where I’m from) to tell them the news. All of the sudden, I saw both them and Will’s parents come out from behind one of the buildings. I was so surprised to see my family there. It was all just so wonderful!
When did y’all get married? June 14, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we did! My favorite phrase was, “We will strive to put God first in or marriage, before all else.” God is the most important part of our lives, and we really wanted to show that through our wedding.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? One thing that I thought was particularly sweet was that Will’s dad was his best man. In Missouri, I hadn’t seen anyone do that, but I found out that it is quite a Southern tradition. I loved having my father-in-law standing on the altar with us to celebrate our special day!
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? We didn’t serve alcohol. We decided to cut it because: 1. It saved a ton of money. 2. We wanted everyone to remember this special day. 3. To get to the venue, you have to take very windy backroads that are dangerous even without the slightest bit of alcohol. 4. My husband is studying to be a pastor, so it seemed appropriate. Those who wanted to drink just went out after the wedding because our reception ended at 11.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We lived in different states for a year, so we are just enjoying being together right now. We love cooking together, going to the beach, and dancing!

Photographer: Katherine Birkbeck / Videographer: Orange Leaf / Planner: Darla Walker / Venue: Castleton Farms / Florist: Sam Franklin / Cake Baker: Mag Pies / Ice Cream: Buttermilk Sky / Caterer: All Occasions Catering / Rentals: All Occasions Party Rentals / Bridal Salon: Simply Elegant Bridal / Paper Products: Pickle Prints / Bride’s Jewelry: MEG Jewelry / Hair and Makeup: Bang and Blush / Bride’s Shoes and Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal / Men’s Attire: Jos. A Bank

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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