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Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that not everything is going to be perfect at your wedding–however, there are moments that absolutely will be! For Audrey, that moment came as she was walking down the aisle with her father by her side, surrounded by their friends and family. Though the Marlsgate Planation and beautiful weather certainly helped, the best part was the realization that she was about to marry her best friend, Kasper. With sweet Southern details woven throughout their wedding day, Audrey and Kasper celebrated their marriage with a seated dinner that would make any Southern grandmother proud–it included fried chicken, collard greens, and cheese grits, just to name a few!

Gracious, I’m sure glad Amanda Watson shared this lovely day with us!

P.S. Can we please take a moment to talk about Audrey’s amazing Southern bump and custom Lea-Ann Belter gown? I positive this look just shot to the top of my list of classic Southern style favorites!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mother and sister met me in Dallas and we made a weekend of it! After a long, super exhausting (but fun!) day on Saturday, we narrowed it down to one dress at each boutique, but I still didn’t feel like any of them was “the one.” Our last appointment was at the Bridal Boutique in Lewisville, Texas, which I chose because they are the only boutique in DFW that carries Berta. The dress I had in mind was lace with long sleeves. After trying several of this style on, the store was closing and I still didn’t feel like I had found the right dress. Our stylist said “Hang on a minute, I have something in the back that you might like.” She brought out a fitted, dupioni silk dress with a trumpet skirt and a dramatic train. When I put it on, we all knew that it was the dress that I would walk down the aisle in. It was a one-of-a-kind design that they were sending back to the designer. Our stylist called Lea-Ann Belter in Toronto, and she agreed to design a custom dress just for me! It fit like a glove and was absolutely perfect!

We decided to do a first look in the English gardens beside the plantation house. We really wanted to have that moment together in private to see each other and soak in what the day was all about before the craziness began. Also, it made taking pictures so much easier, as we got all the group pictures over with before the ceremony and were able to go straight to the reception without holding up the dinner.

My most memorable moment was when my dad walked me down the aisle and I saw Kasper standing on the porch. The whole view of the plantation was perfect, the weather was perfect, the string quartet on the balcony was perfect, the wedding party looked amazing, and all of our friends and family were there. I couldn’t believe that it had all come together so perfectly and I was actually getting married to my very best friend. It was surreal and I will remember that forever.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail of the wedding was the event branding by my sister, Jessie Russell. Jessie is an art director with a Master’s degree in Communication Design from the Pratt Institute in NYC. She pulled the whole wedding together, from the invitations, to the programs, to the menus, and even the wax seal design that we used on the envelopes and the rice bags. We were truly blessed to have Jessie to make every detail cohesive.

Charlie Roberts designed the perfect cake for our big day. It was a classic and elegant, five-tiered cake with alternating flavors of strawberry and vanilla. It had white buttercream icing with a layered rake design. The base of each tier had a string of white edible pearls. It was topped off with beautiful flowers and the base was decorated with eucalyptus garland.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The Southern thread was woven all throughout our wedding. For starters, the venue was an old, Southern plantation that has been around since 1885. The reception was a seated dinner that comprised of a lovely watermelon/pecan spinach salad with pepper jelly vinaigrette dressing, bone-in fried chicken (the ultimate Southern dish), sautéed collard greens served in a mini mason jar, cheese grits, cornbread muffins, and sweet potato biscuits, with sweet tea to wash it all down! All of the guests were given mini bags of rice that were thrown during our send-off. My husband, Kasper, comes from a family of rice farmers, so the traditional rice had to be used.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in the fall of 2012 when we were introduced by our mutual friends. We went to dinner in Little Rock, Arkansas and ended up talking until the restaurant closed. The chemistry was undeniable and it was apparent to both of us that this was the beginning of something special.
Tell us all about the proposal! One Saturday morning in May 2015, Kasper took me to the farmers market in Fayetteville, Arkansas to walk around and listen to the music. We got coffee and then walked by these beautiful flowers in the middle of the town square. Kasper got down on one knee, and I was in such shock that all I remember is saying “YES!!!” and then turning around to see my brother, sister, cousins, Kasper’s sister, and several friends cheering and taking pictures. We all went to lunch together and celebrated for the rest of the day. It was the best day of my life, until the wedding, of course.
When did y’all get married? May 21, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had our wedding officiant read from 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, as well as Ephesians 5:22-33. He also read the seven things we love most about each other (our planner, Catherine Tapp, had us send them to her without us knowing what she was going to do with them). It was a fun surprise and the guests loved hearing them and seeing our reactions.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We wanted the ceremony to be very traditional. The John Jarboe String quartet sat on the balcony of the plantation and played Canon in D for the bridesmaids processional, the Bridal Chorus when I walked out, and the Wedding March for the exit. One special song that played was “Sunrise, Sunset” from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” That is one of my mother’s favorite musicals, so they played that for the seating of the parents. Of course, my mom cried the whole way down the aisle!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Kasper and I went to premarital counseling with his hometown preacher from the Jonesboro Church of Christ, Chris Harrell. We also did a couples devotional and listened to the wise advice that our parents shared with us.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are making our home in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Kasper is an attorney and I am a physician recruiter. We are looking forward to summer fun at the lake, relaxing evenings at home, cheering on the Razorbacks this fall, and holidays with friends and family.

Photographer: Amanda Watson | Videographer: Jessie Swaffar | Planner: Catherine Tapp | Venue: Marlsgate Plantation | Florist: Carly Jones | Cake Baker: Charlie Roberts | Caterer: Simply the Best Catering | DJ: Ryan Thetford | Special Details and Photo Stylist: Lindsey Zamora | Paper Products: Jessie Russell | Bride’s Gown: Lea-Ann Belter | Bride’s Jewelry: Sissy’s Log Cabin | Hair Stylist: Sara Beth Leader | Makeup Artist: Bobbi Brown Cosmetics | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Angelo | Groom’s Attire: Walker Brothers | Groomsmen Attire: Generation Tux | String Quartet: The Jarboe String Quartet | Audio Visual and Ceiling Draping: Central Arkansas Entertainment | After-Party Venue: Little Rock Marriott Hotel

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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There are many things that can make a wedding Southern: the locale, the details, the traditions, you name it! I particularly love how Jennifer and Zachary chose to focus on sweet Southern hospitality! Vital to the heartbeat of the South, hospitality can turn any event into a meaningful celebration. With welcome boxes, wool shawls, hot hands, handkerchiefs, and more, I know that guests felt welcome and completely at home, just like Jennifer and Zachary had hoped. With friends and sorority sisters-turned-wedding vendors on hand, community is one more great aspect of the South that these two embraced on their beautiful wedding day.

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor, Amanda Watson, for sharing this gilded day with us!

We met in graduate school in Oklahoma City in 2010. At first, I didn’t really talk to Zac. I was very focused on school and sat toward the front of the classroom. Zac sat behind me and later told me he thought I was cute, smart, and motivated, but he was sure I was in a relationship. Once I was confident my grades were in order, I began to notice him. As the semester progressed, we started talking more and spending time together. One day before class, he blurted out, “Let’s go to the Thunder game.” That was our first official date!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we decided to do a first look. We wanted to be able to see each other before the wedding and have some time to enjoy the moment alone. We loved walking hand and hand in the gardens, taking in the beautiful evening light and the willow trees, flowers, and trails near the water.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The most Southern part of our wedding was the effort we made to make our guests feel welcome and at home, no matter where they came from. From welcome boxes to wool shawls, hand warmers to handkerchiefs, we focused on Southern hospitality.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows. Both Zac and I found comfort in hearing and repeating the vows that have been lovingly spoken by couples for hundreds of years,
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. My mother hired OCU’s string quartet for our ceremony. Zac and I did not want to walk down the aisle to anything traditional–we love to laugh and we wanted to make people smile. We decided to walk down the aisle to “Don’t Stop Believing.” After the ceremony, we walked back up the aisle to “We are the Champions.” It was great to watch everyone’s faces in the crowd as they recognized the songs.

I fell in love with Coles Garden the first day I went there. It had a gorgeous garden area for the ceremony and a wonderful indoor and outdoor reception area. I really wanted café lights and Coles provided the perfect place to dance under the stars.

Katie from Birdies, a fourth generation florist, designed my wedding flowers. I was on the dance team at OU with Katie, so she was the first person I thought of! We did a mix of ivory, white, and blush flowers with greenery for my bouquet, and I loved that it wasn’t too traditional. Our guests loved the details Katie used to create a casual, yet elegant, look at our reception. She hand-painted lanterns gold and designed wreaths to surround them, created a wall of flowers on the welcome table, and arranged vines and nosegays for the port bar and the sweetheart table.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. The cakes were made by my good friend and OU sorority little sister, Olivia. I really don’t like the taste of fondant, but I love how it looks on cakes. She came up with the idea to do displays with a cutting layer for my cakes, as well as sheet cakes with whatever icing I preferred. The main wedding cake was decorated with stunning metallic gold and ivory finishes and topped off with delicate paper flowers. The two groom’s cakes paid tribute to Zac’s loves of hunting and OU. Guests were served their choice of carrot cake with cream cheese icing, chocolate cake with buttercream and chocolate ganache, and vanilla bean cake with strawberry filling. For a late night snack, we had a s’mores bar designed by the caterer, complete with marshmallows on a stick, warmed chocolate, and crushed graham crackers. Guests were sent home with cake slices of their choice in gold boxes with whimsical wooden forks.

Tell us all about the proposal! Every year around Christmas, Zac and I go somewhere to look at the lights. The night we exchanged gifts, before we went to celebrate with our families, was an icy one. Zac’s first gift for me was had hand warmers–he said he had planned to take me on a helicopter ride over the city to look at the Christmas lights, but had just received a call that flights were grounded because of ice. He was upset, but I told him we could go out to dinner instead. We went to a restaurant by the lake, and after dinner, we walked out to the lighthouse, where he proposed. He said he was originally planning to propose while we were flying over the Christmas lights. I know he was upset it didn’t go as planned, but I still thought the night was magical! Even though we didn’t go on the helicopter ride, his proposal in front of the lighthouse in the rain was just as romantic.
When did y’all get married? November 1, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 130
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? I always loved that my 83-year-old grandparents still held hands. When I first read “The Art of Marriage,” by Wilfred Arlan Peterson, the words spoke to that kind of love: “In the art of marriage, the little things are the big things. It’s never being too old to hold hands.” Our officiant did a touching reading of the poem during the ceremony.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! For something borrowed, my mother gave me the lace trim from her wedding dress and we wrapped it around my bouquet. We then pinned on my grandfathers’ enamel police and military badges for my something blue. He is no longer with us, so that was my way of having him there with me in spirit. My parents gifted me with a new diamond necklace and a silver sparrow charm, designed to honor my close friend and bridesmaid who passed away unexpectedly before the wedding.
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 got our friends involved. As a wedding gift, one of my bridesmaids made our guest book. My sorority sisters and good friends made the invitations and cake. It was a great way to showcase my friends’ talents and build their portfolios, and we were both so proud of how well everything turned out. It was better than we could have imagined!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Relax! Planning a wedding should be fun, but it can get stressful. Try not to lose sight of what is important. It is easy for friends and family to chime in and suggest what they think you need to do or add to the wedding. Just remember that at the end of the day, the important thing is how you and your husband picture your wedding day.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We have enjoyed being a newlywed couple, and we are ready to start a family!

Photographer: Amanda Watson / Planner: Camden Chitwood / Venue: Coles Garden / Florist: Birdie Blooms / Cake Baker: Olivia Abel / Caterer: Catering Connection / Rentals: Marianne’s Rentals / Lighting: Innovative Event Solutions / DJ: BTP Productions / Calligraphy: Sooner Calligraphy / Illustrations: Lana’s Shop / Paper Products: Melinda Russell Designs / Bride’s Gown: Allure / Bride’s Veil: Toni Federici / Hair Stylist: Chelse Lasher / Makeup Artist: Blo Bar / Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden / Bridesmaids’ Dresses and Groomsmen’s Ties and Vests: Custom by Lihn’s Bridal / Groom’s Attire: Calvin Klein / Photo Booth: The SNL Photo Booth / Ceremony Musicians: Oklahoma City String Quartet / Cigar Roller: The Leaf 405 / Coffee Catering: Cafe Evoke

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Lana Effron reply

    What a beautiful, heartfelt wedding to get to be apart of. Thank you so much for the feature!

  2. avatar Jenn & Zac: Southern Weddings reply

    […] See more from this gorgeous wedding over on Southern Weddings! […]

  3. avatar Porschae reply

    I’m just wondering if you know how much the cake cost… I’m trying to budget out mine and love how that cake looks

  4. avatar wedding cakes with gold accents spark and shine your day reply

    […] with fresh flowers – Ashley Kelemen photography via 100layercake | glitter cake – southernweddings | ivory and gold cake […]

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After a serendipitous meeting on a cruise ship, Jeni and Adam knew there was something special between them. So special, in fact, that just three weeks after their vacations, Jeni flew to Oklahoma to see Adam, and they began a long-distance relationship. Over the next year, Jeni and Adam not only fell in love with each other, Jeni also fell in love with Oklahoma, so when given the opportunity, she decided to take a chance on what she and Adam had by moving cross country. A few years later, charming country details, a rustic venue, and plenty of hospitality gave Jeni’s family a lovely introduction to the Southern state Jeni and Adam had made their home, and the celebration couldn’t have been sweeter!

Thank you so much to our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Amanda Watson, for sharing this lovely wedding with us!

My mom flew out to Oklahoma City from San Diego to go dress shopping with me. We went to three different boutiques and had a great experience at each of them, complete with champagne and oversized mirrors, but by the end of the day, I become somewhat discouraged because no one dress seemed to be perfect for me. After I tried on the last dress that I had picked out, my stylist, Christina, said she had one more that may fit my desires. I wasn’t too impressed when I saw it on the hanger, but when I came out of the dressing room, we all knew it was the ONE!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I wanted to give my family (who is mainly from California) the perfect Oklahoma experience. We wanted a venue that was country, but also clean and romantic. We searched for weeks and visited so many, but when we pulled up to the Tatanka Ranch, we knew it was perfect. My whole family was able to stay on the ranch for the entire weekend, which made it feel like a family reunion. It was in a perfect central location in Oklahoma too, so none of our local guests had to drive more than an hour.

Our entire wedding had a rustic, country theme that highlighted the natural beauty of Oklahoma. The field we got married in, the boots we all wore, the oversized barn doors draped in white fabric, the homestyle food we served, the horses all around us…all of it made for the perfect Southern wedding.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy every minute, because no matter how long your engagement seems, time goes by so quickly. Also, spoil your bridesmaids and your parents–they deserve it.

Don’t miss Jeni + Adam’s wedding highlights by Glorious Day Films!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. In May 2011, my mom and I took off for the California coast for a “girls trip” to Cabo San Lucas and Puerta Vallarta. Along with his parents and older brother, Adam also set out on a trip to visit Los Angeles and Hollywood. After seeing the sights of Southern California, we boarded the same Carnival cruise ship. We were introduced to one another on the cruise ship deck (the seas of Mexico are quite romantic!). We spent the rest of the trip together, and started making plans to see each other afterwards–I was finishing school in Tucson, Arizona, and Adam in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Three weeks later, I took my first trip to Oklahoma, and after a year of long distance, I moved to central Oklahoma to pursue graduate school and love.
Tell us all about the proposal! We made plans to attend our first OKC Redhawks game of the season together. The day of the game, we walked around Downtown OKC Bricktown and had lunch at a local taco shop. With sunny skies above, we finished lunch and made our way to the Redhawks stadium across the street, but first, we stopped at the fountain to take a photo. After asking my brother, Jake, to take the picture, we posed and Jake counted to three. On three, Adam dropped to one knee and asked for my hand in marriage. Jake caught the whole experience on video.
When did y’all get married? May 17, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did do a first look because we wanted to maximize our time together on our special day. We don’t like hearing that first looks are “untraditional” because that time together really did ease our nerves out before the ceremony, and even more so, it gave us the most romantic time between the two of us, where our photographer captured some of our favorite photos. We were never rushed for time, we were able to enjoy each other all dressed up, and we were able to savor every minute.
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 were honest with vendors about our budget from day one. Every single one of them worked with us and found a package that fit our budget and needs. We were very blessed in that regard.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Growing closer to God, together. We are so excited about everything that comes along with being married and spending forever with one another–growing our family, setting and achieving goals, serving our communities, traveling, and making memories.

Photographer: Amanda Watson Photography / Videographer: Glorious Day Films / Venue, Catering, and Lighting: The Tatanka Ranch / Florist: Emerson Events / Cake Baker: Rosebeary Design / Rentals: Marianne’s Rentals / Music: Xcell Productions / Paper Products: Unhinged Designs / Makeup Artist: Regina Rodriguez / Bride’s Shoes: Old Gringo Boots / Men’s Attire: Perry Ellis

Amanda Watson is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Jeni & Adam – Southern Weddings reply

    […] What better way to kick off the new blog than with a featured wedding?! We were so blessed to be a part of Jeni & Adam’s big day and are proud to have it featured over on Southern Weddings, see the feature here: http://southernweddings.com/2014/09/25/oklahoma-wedding-by-amanda-watson/ […]

  2. avatar Loverly reply

    Love the green truck! It adds such a great vintage element!

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