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We feature all kinds of gorgeous and meaningful Southern weddings, from chic, modern celebrations, to fabulous ballroom weddings, to casual, outdoor soirées…but weddings like Elizabeth and Tripp’s feel kind of like our bread and butter to me. After a first look, they exchanged traditional vows at a church that holds tons of meaning for Elizabeth’s family (don’t miss the story below!), and then invited their guests to a reception in Elizabeth’s parents’ backyard that featured Southern details, family heirlooms, and even a tent dedicated to Ole Miss tailgate favorites. Elizabeth said, “The most Southern thing about our wedding would have to be the tradition behind every detail” and while I think her elegant wedding day look may be a close second, there’s no doubt that the inspiration she and Tripp drew from their roots and their love story are what made this day so magical!

Many thanks to Ashley Upchurch for sending this sweet celebration our way!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mom and I were out shopping one day and decided to pop into a bridal salon, The Bridal Path, that has been in the Jackson area for as long as I can remember. I always knew that would be the place where I would find my wedding dress. After trying on about five dresses, I put on the sixth one and knew that it was the perfect dress for me. After I picked out my veil and tried the entire ensemble on, I knew it was exactly what I was going to get married in a short five months later.

Tripp and I decided early on that we wanted to have an intimate moment, just the two of us, before our wedding ceremony. It was a chance for us to take a breath, pray together, and soak in the fact that we were about to begin the happiest journey of our lives.

The most memorable moment of our wedding day was a moment Tripp and I shared during my vows. I always get emotional at weddings and knew that my own wedding would be no different. After each phrase of my vows, I had to take a short breath to keep from falling to pieces in front of my groom and the church full of our family and friends. At one point, Tripp winked at me and whispered “I love you” in the middle of me reciting my vows. He is in a constant state of calm and that moment was no different. Those three little words got me through the rest of my vows, but not without a few more tears!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My dad had recently restored the church that he and my mother were married in. The old sanctuary was built in the 1800s and was in horrible condition, so our church decided to tear it down and build a new sanctuary on the plot of land right beside it. My dad salvaged every possible thing from the old sanctuary, including the stained glass windows and exterior columns. It’s the most beautiful building in the world to me and I couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else. Our reception was held at my parents’ home, which is set in the middle of a pecan grove right outside the city limits of Forest, Mississippi. It has been my home since I was ten years old. It’s the place where Tripp first told me he loved me and where we’ve celebrated many holidays and special events with both of our families. We opened all of the French doors so guests were about to spend time both inside the house and outside around the pool and garden, where we had tents, food, and plenty of dancing.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? As guests entered my parents’ home for the reception, they were greeted by servers with trays of traditional mint juleps and blackberry lemonade. The food consisted of a seafood fountain of oysters on the half shell and tail-on shrimp! We also had individual servings of shrimp and grits. Since Tripp and I dated all through our time at Ole Miss, we had a Grove tent full of chicken on a stick, an individual slider station, corn dog nuggets, and more! Our favors were pecans that my MeMe and Great Aunt had picked from my parents’ pecan grove during the previous fall. My mom and I spent an entire day making them into delicious sugared pecans that we boxed up for our guests to enjoy! The most Southern thing about our wedding/reception would have to be the tradition behind every detail.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail would have to be the wedding cake topper that belonged to my MeMe and PawPaw. I would always play with it as a little girl, and my MeMe so graciously let us display it in a gold and glass container on the table that our wedding cake was on. Tripp’s favorite detail was an antique truck that belongs to my dad–a 1965 Ford that belonged to my PawPaw when my dad was in high school. It was the same truck that my dad drove on his first date with my mom. As a nod to Ole Miss, we had a Grove tent with all the tailgating food you could imagine. We parked the Ford beside the tent and filled it with galvanized tubs of beer.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was that I was planning a wedding from 900 miles away! Every weekend that I was able to travel to Mississippi was planned to the exact minute so that we were able to squeeze in all the planning we could. Thankfully, I have the most amazing mom and mother-in-law who made the process a lot less stressful than it could have been.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our story began when Tripp and I met briefly through mutual friends while we were in high school. After reconnecting in the spring of 2011. when Tripp was a freshman and I was a sophomore at the University of Mississippi, Tripp asked me to be his date to Old South–his fraternity’s spring formal in New Orleans, Louisiana. We danced the entire night away and ended the weekend eating beignets while watching the sunrise over the Mississippi River. We’ve been inseparable ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! I’ve always been a Daddy’s girl, and spending time with my dad is one of the things I miss the most about being close to home. So, when my dad suggested that we go on a father/daughter date while I was home over the Thanksgiving holidays, I was thrilled! My dad is a local building contractor in our small town in Mississippi, and over the past couple of years, had begun restoring an old, run-down building downtown called The Smith Building. It’s the most beautiful building with the best character. After spending our “date day” taking a dancing lesson, my dad and I headed home to practice what we had learned that afternoon. It was late November, so it was already dark by the time we arrived at the Smith Building, where we intended to practice. My dad made up an excuse that he needed to run home to get a stereo, so he left me to start the heat and turn all the lights on. The downstairs portion of the building was still in disarray, filled with tools and other materials, so I assumed we were practicing on the second floor, which was completely refinished. When I opened the door, I noticed that the steps were lined with pillar candles and white rose petals. In the distance, I could hear mine and Tripp’s song, “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray Lamontagne, playing softly in the background. After I walked up the steps and turned the corner, I found Tripp standing in a room filled with hundreds of candles and white roses. He had furnished the room with pieces that I immediately recognized: a red velvet couch that belonged to my grandmother, one of my favorite rugs that belonged to my mom, and more (he had obviously had some help from my three brothers!). Tripp had an entire speech prepared–he began at the moment he first saw me and ended at the moment he asked my dad for my hand in marriage. I had always joked that I wouldn’t remember anything he would say when he finally proposed, so he had thoughtfully set up cameras around the room to capture the moment from every angle. After many sweet words and lots of tears, Tripp got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. Afterwards, we drove to my parents’ house because Tripp said both of our families were there to celebrate with us by having a small family dinner. When we opened the door, however, 100 of our closest friends and family members were there to greet us with champagne and lots of love!
When did y’all get married? June 4, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 400
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Tripp and I decided to use traditional vows.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Music has always been a large part of both mine and Tripp’s lives. While I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, Tripp is a phenomenal singer (it’s one of the things I love most about him). We wanted to incorporate hymns that we both loved, while honoring the way each of us has grown up in the church. Our grandmothers were seated to “Amazing Grace,” a favorite of them all. The solo was “Be Thou My Vision,” which reduces me to tears by the time I get to the verse that reads “Heart of my own heart, whatever befall; Still be thou my vision, O Ruler of all” every single time I sing it. I walked down the aisle to the strings rendition of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” which has always and will always be my favorite hymn.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was a four-tiered masterpiece created by The Cake Diva, Maria de La Barre. The flavor of each tier alternated between creme brûlée and traditional almond wedding cake with champagne flavoring. Ivory and blush garden and spray roses cascaded from the top tier to the bottom. The groom’s cake was duck-hunting themed, a favorite hobby of Tripp’s since he was a child. It was a chocolate cake topped by a handmade edible duck decoy and antique shotgun shells. Tripp also had individual tiramisu on his cake table–his favorite dessert of all time.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Tripp and I spent a lot of time in prayer in the months leading up to our wedding. After moving to DC almost two years ago while Tripp was still in Mississippi in graduate school, we’ve spent the last couple of years making our relationship work through constant communication and making the most out of the moments we were able to be in the same place. We soaked up all the advice we could from family and friends and spent time in marriage counseling with my pastor, who also performed our wedding ceremony.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Tripp and I are settling into our cozy life as husband and wife in Washington, DC. Through work obligations and spending time with old and new friends in DC, we still take time to just enjoy each other’s company. We are most excited about sharing this wonderful city together and learning new things about one another every day.

Photographer: Ashley Upchurch Photography | Videographer: Frameblender Films | Planner, Special Details, and Paper Products: Stella and Company | Ceremony Venue: Forest Presbyterian Church | Reception Venue: Private residence | Florist: Au Courant | Cake Baker: The Cake Diva | Caterer and Rentals: Pretty Presentations Catering and Event Rentals | Lighting and Tents: Great Southern Events | Band: The DMP Band | Bride’s Gown: “Eiran” by La Sposa | Bride’s Veil and Jewelry: The Bridal Path | Hair and Makeup: Jan Crowell | Bride’s Shoes: “Giana” by Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Anabel” by J. Crew | Menswear: Tuxes Too | Calligraphy: J. Graham Lettering and Design | Printing: Dement Printing Company

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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When I hear the word “heirloom,” it’s hard not to imagine a very classic and traditional aesthetic. However, Dacie and Dennis’ bright and citrus-inspired wedding is anything but! It’s fun and youthful, but it’s also filled with family heirlooms and community treasures. Getting married in her parents’ backyard meant Dacie and Dennis got to tap into one of the best parts of the South: community. When her parents’ vines hadn’t quite grown enough to cover their ceremony arch, Dacie’s mom’s friends stepped in to supplement the vines with all sorts of greenery and flowers. Even her grandmother brought cosmos from her own garden! My favorite part of the decor, though? Dacie and Dennis’ table was layered with planks of wood from when her parent’ home was built, table runners sewn by her paternal grandmother, and topped with vases and candlesticks from her family’s collection. I can’t help but mention how fitting it is that Dacie found her beautiful dress at The Sentimentalist!

Thanks for sharing, Sarah & Ben!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. The dress was perfect! My sister has worked at wedding dress salons, so she is the family expert. She planned a weekend full of dress hunting in Atlanta–we had 5+ appointments scheduled. But, of course, I fell in love with the first store we went to (The Sentimentalist) and the first dress I tried on. I tried on a few more, but we all knew that the first one was exactly what I was looking for. Gabi at The Sentimentalist perfectly understood what I was looking for, and delivered just that! I had been afraid that dress shopping would be a stressful or uncomfortable experience, but instead, it was absolutely wonderful! I left feeling beautiful and even more excited to get married!

We got married in the backyard of my parents’ house. I grew up there and had dreamed of getting married on the river, where I had spent countless days kayaking and exploring. Dennis has also fallen in love with Palmetto and my parents’ house over many trips to Florida.

We were married under an arch that was full of the most beautiful flowers. My parents had planted some jasmine, bougainvillea, honeysuckle, and Florida vines to cover the arch for the wedding, but it had not filled in all the way, so my mom called on her friends to supplement the vines with all sorts of greenery and flowers. My grandmother brought cosmos from her garden, and someone clipped ground lilies from my neighbor’s yard. It was a community effort that resulted in the most amazing backdrop for the most perfect ceremony! I was thrilled when I walked out and saw the arch!!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our recession after the ceremony was an unexpectedly perfect moment. The ceremony had been perfect–emotional, happy, romantic, everything. As we walked back down the aisle after the ceremony, we were elated. Before we could turn the corner and get out of sight, we had to embrace and celebrate. I had mostly held it together during the wedding, so I burst into tears at that point, beyond overjoyed to be married to Dennis. We were quickly surrounded by our families and bridal party as it sunk in that we were finally married!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? We tried to focus on things that would make us happier on the wedding day. If it wasn’t going to affect how we felt on the day of the wedding, we tried not to worry about it (for example, we realized we wouldn’t care, or even notice, what the napkins looked like, so we just popped over to Party City a few days before the wedding and picked up some yellow paper napkins). That kept us from wasting time and stressing ourselves out unnecessarily.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We purchased all of the vases, glasses, and plates for the wedding. We were excited to have an eclectic collection of vintage plates with all sorts of designs, wine glasses for people to drink citrus water, wine, cocktails, etc. out of, and candlesticks and vases to make the table arrangements interesting and unique. In addition to the fun look of it all, each item was less expensive than if we had rented it. My mom set a strict budget for each plate/ glass/etc. so we wouldn’t spend more than it would have cost to rent. The effect was great, cost-effective, and it gave us dishes to hold on to as a fond memory!

The flowers were happy and colorful, just as we had dreamed of. We wanted bright flowers, citrus, and lots of greenery. We cut the ferns from my parents’ yard for the florist to incorporate into the bouquets and arrangements, which turned out beautifully! The table arrangements had several layers. There were table runners that my paternal grandmother had generously sewed for us. On top of those were planks of wood from when my parents’ house was built in 1948. On top of the planks were hundreds of crystal vases and candlesticks–some were family heirlooms, while others my mom and maternal grandmother collected from thrift stores for the wedding. Each vase had beautiful flowers from the florist and from the cutting garden that my mom had grown with some of my favorite flowers for the wedding, including gerbera daisies, zinnias, cosmos, glads, snapdragons, nasturtiums, and more.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The most Southern element of our wedding was the food. The food was primarily prepared by friends and family, and it was a major highlight of the wedding. My parents host a 4th of July party each year, and some of my dad’s friends always bring a fryer to make fried fish and hush puppies. They were generous enough to agree to fry fish, shrimp, and hush puppies for the wedding. The fish and shrimp came from a local fish market that I have always loved eating at. We also offered cheese grits that my mom’s friend cooked. Her secret recipe is unbelievable, and she created the best cheese grits that anyone had ever tasted! We also had a corn on the cob bar. We had grilled corn with a ton of toppings (like cheese, butter, spices, and sriracha) that people could add to their corn as they desired. It was a total hit!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was the first week of college, and there were so many new names and faces, I accidentally stopped listening when people would tell me their names. Then “get to know your neighbor” turned into “introduce your neighbor to the entire group” without warning. Of course, I had forgotten (or never listened to) my neighbor (Dennis)’s name, so I found myself introducing my “new friend from Delaware who has a brother who went to Yale” to the group. I felt so absolutely horrible, so I tried to become Dennis’ friend, always saying hello and remembering his name. As it turned out, we got along pretty well, so we quickly became the best of friends! We spent late evenings chatting in my dorm room, and we shared many many meals in the Davenport dining hall. Over the next four years, our friendship blossomed and became all the more important to each of us. He met my family and even came to Palmetto for spring break a couple of times. (He might have fallen in love with Palmetto before he fell in love with me. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t find love at first sight with Palmetto?) By the time senior year rolled around, Dennis and I both began realizing that we really didn’t want to be without one another (at least in spirit, since we were already committed to be in different states). After long talks and Dennis’ realization that “we’re probably going to get married,” we decided to give it a go. Before we knew it, we graduated and spent the summer traveling before we landed in Durham and Boston.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Dennis: After asking for Dacie’s parents’ blessing, I found a beautiful spot at the National Arboretum (just outside of DC) where I wanted to propose. I developed a plan with one of Dacie’s best friends, Chelsea, for her to casually suggest it as a fun weekend activity when all three of us were out at dinner together. I would find a last-minute excuse to bail, and then I would surprise them at the arboretum. But when Chelsea brought it up, I apparently agreed “too enthusiastically” because the next morning, Dacie woke up in tears saying “I didn’t want to, but I think I accidentally figured out when you’re going to propose!” To throw her off, I came up with an excuse that would put me out of town on the day that I was “supposed to” propose. I even created a fake email address posing as one of my company’s investors and sent myself an email insisting that I come to New York that weekend. I had a fake email conversation with myself and everything…I showed these email to Dacie, and she totally bought it. This time. the conversation was, “You’re really not proposing this weekend? This was the only possible weekend before August! I have to wait at least another five weeks?” So here I am, the night before I’m about to propose, denying that I’m proposing tomorrow, while simultaneously telling her that we’ll be engaged before she knows it. I’m glad I never have to try pulling that off again. At 6 A.M. the next morning, I left the apartment to catch my fake train to NYC for my fake meeting. I sat at a coffee shop for five hours before heading to the National Arboretum, accompanied by my friends, who had agreed to take photos of the occasion. We found our spot and just waited for Dacie and Chelsea to get there. The entire time, I was getting texts from Dacie, asking how my meeting went. When Dacie turned a corner and saw me in front of her, she was totally speechless. (Crushed it!) I immediately forgot everything that I had planned to say, and just babbled for a bit before getting down on one knee and asking her to marry me. She was so emotional and so happy–it was the best moment of my life. We then explored the Arboretum for a couple hours and drove back into the city for dinner at a restaurant called Marcel’s. At the end of the night, I had one final surprise: both of our families and a few close friends waiting at our apartment to celebrate the occasion with us. The day couldn’t have gone any better.
When did y’all get married? May 7, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 220
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to Canon in D. Early on in our engagement, Dennis and I were walking through the Duke Gardens with a wedding going on nearby, and this song began to play. I totally lost it and began sobbing, overwhelmed by joy and excitement that we would be married soon. From that point on, every time I heard that song, I was overcome with happy tears, so Dennis was excited to see me walk down the aisle to it. When he was younger, Dennis was hired to play the violin at weddings pretty often, so he had some favorite songs that he wanted the string quartet to play during the other parts of the wedding. Our first dance song was to “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. When we were freshmen in college, Dennis and I went to a Jason Mraz concert with two of our friends, so we have always enjoyed listening to him together. When we started dating after three and a half years of being best friends, this song feels like the anthem of our relationship.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! For my something old, my mom had some old jewelry melted down and turned into bangles for my sister, herself, and me. One piece of jewelry was a ring that my dad got her for Mother’s Day when she was pregnant with me. My mom surprised me with the bangles as I was getting dressed for the wedding! For something new, we wrapped the scraps from my new wedding dress around my bouquet. I had not really thought through something blue, but my bridesmaids had my back. When they realized I did not have anything blue, they gave me several options. I opted for the understated blue bobby pin that I wore in my hair. A friend of mine who was recently married had purchased an extra garter set, so I borrowed that from her. I actually forgot to wear it on the day of the wedding, but I think it still counts!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are so happy to be married. The week after the wedding, I graduated from law school and we moved to a new city. We are just excited to settle into our new lives and apartment together! Many adventures await!

Photographer: Sarah & Ben | Planner: Jennifer Sayko | Venue: Private residence | Florist: Kings Wholesale Florist | Cake Baker: Matt & Dom’s | Rentals: All Event Rentals | Band: Strings Attached | DJ: Luke Stultz | Bride’s Gown: “Mademoiselle” by Sarah Seven | Bridal Salon: The Sentimentalist | Hair and Makeup: Salon Linnea | Bride’s Shoes: Jack Rogers | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Ann Taylor Loft | Groom’s Attire: Blank Label and Gap | Groomsmen Attire: Gap

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

    what a stunning wedding ! best wishes to this couple

  2. avatar Jess reply

    This wedding makes me oh so happy!!

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  4. avatar Victoria reply

    Love the use of color at this stunning wedding!

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Jessica and Travis wanted their guests to feel like family, which was pretty easy for them considering their parents grew up together! Both Jessica and Travis come from long lines of Floridians, so when it came to choosing where they’d say “I do,” Jessica’s family’s orange grove was a natural choice. Especially with her sister’s beautiful yard just 100 yards away, these family properties combined to become the perfect backdrop for a classic backyard party! Under thousands of twinkle lights, hung by Jessica and her father, these two celebrated with a Southern affair complete with seersucker, shrimp and grits, and a banjo to boot! Though their celebration took place at Jessica’s family’s property, I love the way they incorporated pine branches from Travis’ family’s ranch into their decor as well–such a sweet sign of the joining of two families.

Thanks for sharing, Sarah & Ben!

My mom, sister, mother-in-law, and I went dress shopping in Winter Park, Florida. I was adamant that I did not want a strapless dress, but the romantic, illusion neckline dresses that I had coveted in the magazines were not at all flattering on me. My sister picked my dress on a whim and told me to just try it on. When I put it on, it felt perfect. The lace applique, cathedral-length train made from layers upon layers of tulle, and wispy tulle layer at the neckline made it feel like much more than just a strapless lace gown. My seamstress, however, would not believe me that I planned to go barefoot in Vera Wang–she was horrified!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Preparing for our marriage was the most important part of planning the wedding. We both felt strongly that it was important to understand our vows before we recited them to each other. Travis’ family’s pastor, who married us, offered premarital counseling as part of the preparation. He has a wonderful, soft way of giving advice.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The pine cross at our ceremony. Travis and I gathered old heart pine branches from his family’s ranch. We used a draw knife to scrape off some of the old gray exterior and expose the beautiful dark red wood, and Travis cut notches in the branches and bolted them together. Travis hung the cross from the big pine tree where the ceremony was held, and the florists decorated it with very natural arrangements that echoed the flowers in my bouquet. The process of making the cross with Travis, and bringing in natural elements from his ranch, was such a meaningful experience.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 1 John 4-17 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. Although 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 is read at many weddings, this was especially meaningful to us. A friend of ours told Travis that if we live by the words in this scripture, we will always have a strong marriage. Before we were married, Travis printed it out, highlighted it, and put it on my refrigerator as a reminder to us both. We don’t always live by this scripture, but when we do, our bond is stronger.

We got married in my parents’ orange grove on the Indian River lagoon, where I grew up. Both of us come from a long line of multi-generational Floridian families, so we knew that we wanted to get married in Florida. When it came to picking a venue, it was an easy choice, as my family is blessed to have the perfect set up for a waterfront wedding venue. The ceremony was held under a hundred-year-old pine tree adjacent to my parents’ house. After the ceremony, the guests moved to my parents’ backyard for cocktail hour, and then to my sister’s backyard for the reception, which is conveniently only 100 yards away. My dad and I spent countless hours putting up thousands of white twinkle lights, he also hung giant white paper lanterns across my sister’s yard. My parents, sister, and brother-in-law are some of the most warm, hospitable people I know, and they helped make our wedding day truly special.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We wanted our wedding to feel like a classic, Southern, backyard party, where everyone felt like family, which was relatively easy since our parents grew up together and share many loved ones. It was dressed up, but not stuffy, which to me, is very much a Southern tradition. Of course, the seersucker, linen bow ties, and banjo didn’t hurt either.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in the Okefenokee Swamp Park in South Georgia, where we had both gathered with friends and family to support the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition–a 100-day, 1000-mile trek across Florida from the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp as part of a campaign to raise awareness about the need to connect and protect a green belt stretching across the state of Florida. Travis was there to support his brother, a wildlife photographer, and I was there to support a good family friend, both of whom had participated in the Expedition. Travis’ black labrador, Molly, introduced us. She sought me out as the person most likely to throw a pine cone for her to retrieve, and she didn’t leave me alone until her dad finally came looking for her. Travis now claims that he had his dog well trained. About a year later, we went on our first date. It was a romantic, rainy evening at Travis’ family cattle ranch in Limestone, Florida. It also just so happened to be the end of hunting season, so eight of Travis’ muddy, camouflage-clad hunting buddies were there to witness the magic. The rain eventually stopped, the hunting buddies actually went hunting, Travis made a campfire, and we spent time under the stars. It was the perfect beginning to our love story.
Tell us all about the proposal! The weekend before my birthday in November 2014, we had decided to camp in my backyard. Travis set up a tent and a campfire and pulled my T.V. outside so we could watch college football while eating dinner. After dinner, I went inside to put cookies in the oven, while Travis panicked and hid the ring under a napkin. When I came back, he sat there staring at me until I picked up the napkin. He got on one knee, and I cried while he proposed. His brother, sister-in-law, and their toddler got in their car and drove over with a bottle of champagne. I have no idea who won the game, and I burned the cookies, but it was a perfect night.
When did y’all get married? May 2, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 325
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No. We are both fairly traditional and we wanted the moment when I walked down the aisle to be special.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. At the ceremony, we had a string quartet, which included a banjo player to give the music a very slight, but not overwhelming, bluegrass feel. Travis and I had a great time picking out three 80s and 90s ballads for them to play while guests were being seated. I don’t know if anyone recognized Journey “Don’t Stop Believin'” or Mr. Big “To Be With You,” but we thought the idea was hilarious. My middle name is Sunshine and many people still call me that, including my parents. I surprised my dad by having the musicians play “You Are My Sunshine” for our walk down the aisle. The string quartet played it beautifully with just a hint of banjo. When my dad heard the song begin, he teared up, looked at me, and we both started singing. Several people in the crowd joined in. It was a moment that I will never forget. During the ceremony, we had everyone sing Doxology. This song always reminds me of my days at Camp Merrie-Woode, where we would sing it before Sunday supper. Travis and I walked out of the ceremony to a beautiful old hymn, “Blessed Assurance,” by Fanny J. Crosby and Phoebe P. Knapp. It’s one of my all-time favorite hymns! We had a hard time narrowing down our choices for our first dance. We both love music, so this was a big decision! We had asked Travis’ best friend, a musician named Zach Ashton, to play our first dance song, whatever it may be. He came over to our house one evening about a week before the wedding to help us select a song, and ended up playing us a song he wrote called “The Ceiling.” We both immediately knew it was the perfect choice. On our wedding day, Zach belted out the most beautiful acoustic version of his song and, thanks to him, our first dance was an amazing, surreal moment that made me wish I had decided to hire a videographer.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Neither of us really appreciate wedding cake, so we opted for blueberry cobbler and vanilla ice cream. I thought my mom was going to disown me when I told her I didn’t want a wedding cake, but she eventually decided to let me get away with this break from tradition.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Since we got married in my parents’ backyard, we had to arrange for all vendors to come to us. Merritt Island, Florida is beautiful, but it isn’t exactly close to a major metropolitan area. We had vendors from all over the state! Getting married at a private home is wonderful, but it certainly adds a lot of extra work to the planning.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take time to remember what your wedding is really about. It is so easy to get caught up in having the perfect wedding with all the perfect details but, in the end, the perfect flowers, food, and groomsmen attire are not what you will remember. At one point during wedding planning, I became obsessed with having linen napkins in the perfect blue hue. I spent hours trying to find perfect napkins (that weren’t the price of a small wedding) until I finally realized how crazy I was acting. No one noticed that their napkins were a poly blend, but so many people told us how much they felt the love between us.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are expecting a baby in October, which I know will be the biggest adventure of our lives!

Photographer: Sarah & Ben | Planner: Kelly Hancock Event Planning | Venue: Private residence | Florist: Eau Gallie Florist | Caterer: Arthur’s Creative Events and Catering | Linens: Kate Ryan Linens | Reception Chairs and Tables: A Chair Affair | Ceremony Chairs, Stage, and Dance Floor: Kirby Rentals | Band: Derek and the Slammers | Paper Products: Decoratifs | Bride’s Gown: “Leda” by Vera Wang | Bride’s Veil: Vera Wang | Hair and Makeup: Collective Creations | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Lilly Pulitzer | Suits: Jos A. Bank | Tie and Bow Ties: High Cotton Ties | Ceremony Music: Music by Pegge

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar published: southern weddings » Sarah & Ben I Tampa Wedding Photographers reply

    […] Go relive every picture perfect moment (and crush on Jessica’s stunning Vera Wang gown all over again!) over on the Southern Weddings Blog! […]

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