While we aim to feature a range of wedding aesthetics in our annual print edition, an issue of Southern Weddings doesn’t feel quite complete without a celebration that can be best described as “classic Southern.” Well, friends, it doesn’t get much more classic Southern than Sarah Beth and Matt’s Senoia, Georgia wedding–just one look at her allover lace gown, that darling little white chapel, or the countless Southern traditions they included in their big day, and we knew we had found a couple after our own hearts! Sarah Beth handled lots of the plans with the help of her mama, but they also recruited Invision Events to help bring every charming detail together. In such good hands, she and Matt were able to be completely present on their special day–I think the joy on their faces in these pictures is evidence enough that they soaked every single moment in!
Thanks so much to Amy Arrington for sharing this sweet day with us for V9!
P.S. Want to learn more about many of the traditions Sarah Beth and Matt included in their wedding, like the cake pull and saber arch? We dove into them, plus many more, in our new Southern Traditions E-Book!
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your ceremony? We rented a bed and breakfast a block from the church for the bridesmaids and my parents to stay in for the weekend. It was so fun because it reminded me of slumber parties we had together growing up! My bridesmaids and I had an easy morning of sleeping in a little bit, and then we ate breakfast together at the bed and breakfast. It was the perfect Southern breakfast, with grits, pork tenderloin, eggs, fruit, bellinis, and biscuits! Y’all, those grits were something else! I’m big on sweets, so we celebrated with a cake pull and giggled at the bridesmaid who pulled the pacifier charm, which means a baby is on the way! We then started getting ready while listening and dancing to our favorite songs from high school! It was so fun!
I have always wanted a Southern spring wedding. Spring has always been my favorite season–not too hot, not too cold. The flowers are always beautiful and the air is crisp. I was unsure about locations, but Matt’s parents moved to Senoia, Georgia a few years ago and we fell in love with it! We actually did our first premarital counseling session there before we even decided on our venue. When I saw that old white church in downtown Senoia, we thought it was perfect! I’m not big on themes, but I wanted our wedding to exude Southern charm, and this church was the perfect fit. I asked Matt to wear his mess dress Air Force uniform because he looks so handsome in it. It’s so dressy that I thought it would be more appropriate for an evening wedding.
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? The most memorable moment of our wedding day was when we got to see each other before the ceremony. All of the wedding party went to the church and we had a few moments of quiet to ourselves before we made our covenant of marriage in front of our family and friends. It was so peaceful; we just took pictures and enjoyed each other’s company.
My favorite thing about finding my wedding dress was that my mom was with me. It was a really special moment for the two of us. My mom lost her own mom at an early age, so this was extra special. I went to Bridals by Lori in Atlanta and my bridal consultant, Meghan, was the sweetest thing ever! She let my mom and me shop and pick out dresses. My mom and I buzzed like bumblebees from rack to rack because we were so excited! I remember seeing the dress I ended up with on the rack and picking it to put in my dressing room. Meghan told me that it was her favorite dress in the store and it was the first one I put on. I tried about fifteen more dresses on after that one, and then put the first back on. Meghan put a veil on me and my mom and I both started crying! It hit me–I was not a little girl anymore, and I was getting married! It was one of the most exciting times in my life, besides getting pronounced husband and wife! My mom and I celebrated with a sweet prayer, sweet tea, and my favorite, Chick Fil-A! It was perfect.
Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? Our wedding ceremony was absolutely beautiful. The most special part to me was the songs that were sung, because they told the story of our faith. My friend from engineering school sang “What Love is This” by Kari Jobe before I walked down the aisle, which set the tone for the ceremony, as it talks about Jesus Christ and his unconditional love for us. Every time I hear that song, it makes me tear up a little bit and makes me feel so thankful. The other song we chose was “The Marriage Prayer” by John Waller. My husband’s good friend that had a band in college played this song on the guitar and sang with his little sister. It was probably my absolute favorite moment, other than saying our vows. My matron of honor read 1 Corinthians 13 and Matt’s groomsman read 1 John 3:18-24. My nephew was the ring bearer and my two nieces were the flower girls! They looked like little angels in their heirloom dresses and flower halos. Since they were so young, they walked down the aisle in their mothers’ arms (two of my bridesmaids).
Did you write your own vows? No, we didn’t write our own vows. The traditional vows describe the covenant of marriage so beautifully, and I wanted to vow to each other the same vows that our parents both had said to each other when they got married.
Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: I have so many favorites, so it’s hard to choose just one! But my favorite detail is my groom’s uniform he wore on our wedding day. He looked so handsome! Who doesn’t love a man in uniform?
Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: Her dress! It’s a pretty surreal feeling seeing the love of your life standing there in a wedding dress, and it’s a moment I will cherish forever. I was simply at a loss for words. It was the happiest day of my life! A close second would be the trolley ride from the church to the reception. It was so much fun having all of the groomsmen, bridesmaids, and family together, jamming out to music and drinking champagne before we had to be semi-responsible in front of the other guests.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? Matt and I did premarital counseling with our close family friend, the chaplain of the United States Armed Forces Mission. We talked about some not-so-easy topics, like finances, future kiddos, and family, but they were important to talk about before we got married. We also read marriage books and did devotionals together whenever we got the chance.
Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? Yes, we did! While we were taking pictures by the lake at the reception venue, we got to see our guests take pictures of us with their phones and enjoy the beautiful scenery, food, drinks, and each other’s company. We had mini chicken and waffles, mini fried mac and cheese bites, and mini shrimp and grits served to our guests during cocktail hour. We also had a groom’s signature drink, an Old Fashioned with a candied orange rind, and a bride’s signature drink, a Southern Georgia Peach Bellini.
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? My groom actually took charge of this one and he didn’t fail us! It was so Southern and yummy–exactly what I was looking for! We had a tender brisket, tasty chicken marsala, and Southern trout that was to die for! We also had broccoli and cheese casserole and Southern-style green beans with bacon. I also wanted to serve my momma’s rolls, so the caterer made the rolls using her recipe!
My momma and I went to several cake tastings, and let me tell you, there is nothing wrong with that! The more cake, the better, if you ask me! We ended up choosing one of the sweetest cake bakers in Auburn, Alabama to make our cake. This was a process because Matt asked that he have a fighter jet on the top of his cake. Not only did we want our cake to taste good, but we wanted the fighter jet to look as realistic as possible. I think it turned out pretty wonderfully! I’m pretty traditional, so I wanted all white and ivory on my cake. It was a white cake with white buttercream and ivory piping. On each layer, we had a different pattern of piping, which was beautiful. It was topped with beautiful flowers to match my bouquet. Matt’s cake was a devil’s food cake with milk chocolate buttercream. It was delicious–you can’t go wrong with chocolate!
We had a sparkler exit because it was pretty dark on the farm and I wanted to be able to see our exit in pictures. If we had chosen lavender, rice, or bubbles, I don’t think we would have been able to see anything! Running between two rows of golden sparklers was like a dream!
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. This story is always a little embarrassing for me! We met at a local bar in downtown Auburn and were introduced by a mutual friend. I’ll never forget him saying “Oh, you’re that cute girl in engineering!” He asked for my number and I said “Don’t you know this isn’t how this works? But, you can have mine if you’d like!” The next day he asked me out to lunch, and I hesitatingly obliged. We went to lunch, and what was supposed to be a one-hour lunch turned into a three-hour date filled with nervous giggles, stories, and laughter. After that, we both knew we didn’t want to spend another day without each other in our lives.
Describe the proposal: I’ve always wanted to go to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and see the Christmas lights, but the year before we got engaged, we waited until the last minute and the tickets sold out. The next year, Matt surprised me with tickets, and I was so excited! When we got there, we got some yummy hot chocolate, walked the winding paths of the garden, and enjoyed the lights. Matt wandered a little bit behind me the whole time, and I asked him, “Matt, why don’t you walk with me?” He responded, “I just like to watch you and I want to take it all in.” I didn’t think twice about it. As we got to the end of the gardens, Matt looked at me and said, “Let me take your hot chocolate.” I said, “Why?!” He responded, “I need both of your hands to talk to you.” I looked into his eyes, and I knew exactly what was about to happen. He got down on one knee and asked, “Will you marry me?” Of course, I said yes!! We went to his parents’ house afterwards and he surprised me with my parents, some close family friends, and my favorite–my doggy. I’ll never forget it.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Southern, classic, joyful
How many guests attended your wedding? 150
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? I have always been drawn to feminine, classic details, but Matt and I also wanted it to be Southern and relaxed so our guests could feel like they were at home. This design was special to us as a couple because it showed our friends and family our love story and our love for each other, and our guests got to see our personality unfold as they experienced our wedding day.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge I faced during the wedding planning process was listening to myself, rather than family and friends. I felt the urge to please others and let it cloud my opinions about things, but it is ultimately you and your groom’s wedding day. Be respectful to friends and family, but listen to yourself and your groom.
Tell us about your wedding flowers. How did you choose them? What did you love about them? I have an obsession with flowers and so does my mother. My florist was a DREAM to work with. She is as sweet as the smell of peonies, and her work is amazing. I wanted flowers that smelled wonderful and achieved the color combination we were looking for: a mix of peaches, pinks, creamy ivory, and white. I also wanted to use my mother’s favorite, roses, and my dad’s favorite, gardenias. We also used rosemary as a nod to my mother’s name, Rose Marie. For me, we chose to do an all-white bouquet with a twist. We used a mixture of roses, garden roses, peonies, hydrangeas, tulips, white anemones, ranunculus, veronica, hyacinth, and gardenia foliage. My bouquet was wrapped in the baby bonnet that I wore when I was brought home from the hospital after I was born.
Did you toss the garter or bouquet? I did! I didn’t want to do either at first, but I am glad I did! Our guests had fun trying to catch the bouquet and garter, and it made for cute pictures!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Spending our lives together! Matt and I were long distance for four years before we got married, so we look forward just to being together and seeing each other every day.
Photographer: Amy Arrington Photography | Videographer: Imagine Video Productions | Planner and Designer: Julie Bunkley of Invision Events | Ceremony Venue: Senoia United Methodist Church | Reception Venue: Diastole Farms | Florals and Reception Bar Sign: Southern Posies | Caterer and Linens: It’s Your Day Catering | Wedding Cake: Sonshine Cakes | Bride’s Gown: “Emma” by Matthew Christopher | Bridal Salon: Bridals by Lori | Bride’s Shoes: “Thora” by Badgley Mischka | Bride’s Earrings: Elizabeth Bower | Bride’s Bracelets: Gause & Son Jewelers | Bride’s Veil: Matthew Christopher | Bride’s Garter: Nordstrom | Bridesmaid Dresses: Various styles in Bellini by Amsale | Hair Stylist: Lynsey Richardson | Makeup Artist: Rachel Griffin | Groomsmen Fashion: The Modern Gent | Paper Goods: Linen & Leaf | Rentals: The Event Group | Ceremony Draping and Lighting: Unique Event Elements | Favors: Totally Wedding Koozies
Amy Arrington and Invision Events are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!