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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • avatar Marissa reply

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

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This week marks one year that my boyfriend and I have been dating long-distance, so Brent and Graham’s story is extra special to me today! While I love reliving each real wedding we post through the pictures, the stories from the couple make the photos even more meaningful! Brent and Graham have the sweetest dating story, so be sure to read the story of how they met and how long they dated long-distance below. (Spoiler alert: it’s a lot longer than a year!) I’m positive I could learn a thing or two from this sweet couple on how to thrive in a long-distance relationship.

No amount of rain or chilly September air could hide the joy on their faces or the celebration in the air as you scroll through the photos below! I love how in the years ahead, the couple will be able to go back to Brent’s family’s home and relive their big day as their family grows!

Big SW hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Anna Routh for these images!

We went to Charlotte Latin School together from 5th grade onward, but hardly interacted until junior year of high school. We became good friends at the start of senior year and went on our first date the month before graduating. Because we like to make our lives *so* simple and easy, we began dating right after high school graduation – just days before he left for his summer internship in D.C. and the summer before we both headed off to separate colleges in separate states. Four years later, after racking up hundreds of Southwest Airlines miles to see each other on weekends, spending three summers in separate cities, and two study abroad semesters that resulted in us not seeing each other for six months, we both moved to New York City. Seven years and two months after we first began dating, Graham popped the question!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We recited standard vows during the ceremony; however, I made sure to write him all of my vows, both serious and not so serious, in the letter that I had delivered to him the morning of our wedding.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had two! We asked Graham’s mentor and good friend to read an excerpt from Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. My “other father”, the father of my best friend and maid of honor, followed with a reading from I John 4:7-8, 12. Our minister also gave a brief homily.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It’s so hard to choose! I’ll never forget the moment my dad and I had together right before we walked down the aisle. We were both teary, emotional, shaking, and overwhelmingly happy. To share in such an intimate moment together was so special. He kept whispering in my ear “this is so surreal!” as we walked down the aisle.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? From day one, we both knew we didn’t want to do a first look and I’m so glad we didn’t. The anticipation of seeing his face as the church doors opened and watching him as he watched me and my dad walk down the aisle was a moment I wasn’t willing to forfeit. It’s still one of the many decisions that I have absolutely no regrets about, and it’s a moment I’ll remember so vividly for the rest of my life.

I grew up in the North Carolina countryside with my parents’ house sitting on 344 acres of land, centered around a steeplechase course. It’s my home and such a beautiful and unique setting – there was no question that that’s where we would get married. We debated having the ceremony on the property as well versus in our church, but deep down I’d always wanted to be married in our church – Christ Church of Charlotte – which just so happens to be where Graham and I were both confirmed together in 8th grade.

Honestly, everything about the weekend was just so “us”. The flowers stood out to us as really bringing the venue to life and making it feel like the most magical place on a rainy, chilly evening in September. We also made an effort to add touches of our personalities everywhere, from “Please Don’t Take My Drink, I’m Dancing!” napkins that were distributed at the bars once the band started (there’s nothing worse than putting your drink down only to find an efficient waiter has removed it two minutes later!), to a map of our food stations so people knew where to go for what, to a lawn jockey hand-painted with our wedding logo on it to welcome our guests as they entered the reception.

All southerners know the importance of good (fried) food, so we incorporated Southern twists into our food stations. A few of our favorites were Deep South BBQ Eggrolls with Carolina BBQ inside and the Southern Pimento Mac n Cheese. We had Fried Chicken and Waffle Skewers as our passed late-night snack since a good southern hostess never lets her guests go home hungry.

My sweet tooth is unmatched, though I sadly can’t say the same about Graham’s. We knew we wanted a more traditional cake, and Kathy Allen is the woman to go to in Charlotte for elegant cakes with a twist. Ours was five tiers with alternating layers of Spice Cake and Almond Cake. At the end of the night, I gave each of my bridesmaids a sugar flower from the cake in a glass dome to remember the weekend by. We now have a few of the flowers displayed around our house and every time I walk by them, it makes me smile. I’m counting down the days until our first anniversary and I can tear open our top layer in the freezer!

Tell us all about the proposal! It was almost the proposal that didn’t happen! I was determined to get my haircut that afternoon but just two days prior, Graham called and said his parents wanted to do a family dinner that same evening to celebrate my birthday, which was a few days away. Not unusual or suspicious in the least but something I tried to get out of in order to make my desperately-needed haircut. On the day of the proposal, my lovely coworkers threw me a surprise birthday celebration late that afternoon, complete with massive ice cream sandwiches. Never one to say no to sweets, I happily partook, but was left feeling less than stellar. I called Graham once again and tried to get out of the dinner, this time claiming I really didn’t feel well and dinner was the last thing I could stomach (pardon the pun). He once again convinced me I had to come, so we agreed we would meet up and cab to Central Park together since the restaurant, The Loeb Boathouse, was in the middle of the park. The taxi dropped us off at the edge and we wandered in along the pathways until we came to the Conservatory Pond, one of our favorite spots in Central Park. Before I knew it, Graham was telling me how much I meant to him and I immediately blacked out. I got so caught up in the moment that I had to ask him later on if I had even told him “yes.” (I had!) After we soaked in the moment together, we continued on through the park to meet his family for dinner as I frantically tried to call my parents who, of course, weren’t picking up the one time I needed them to. When we got to the restaurant, not only were his parents and two brothers there waiting with champagne, but my parents had surprised me and flown up for the occasion as well!
When did y’all get married? September 26, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 284
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Walking down the aisle, back up the aisle, first dance, etc. In my piano-playing days, one of my favorite songs I played year after year was Canon in D by Pachelbel. Since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed about walking down the aisle to that song. Our processional songs were Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring and Trumpet Tune in D by Purcell. We walked back up the aisle to Hornpipe from Water Music by Handel – it’s so joyful and uplifting, perfect for the occasion! We both love Van Morrison so our First Dance was to “Into the Mystic”. I danced with my dad to “Carolina in My Mind” by James Taylor, which was fitting both because my dad shared with me his love for James Taylor from early on in my childhood, and because although I’d been a New Yorker for nearly five years, Carolina will always have my heart. Graham’s first dance with his mom was to Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”. My mom and I also shared a dance toward the end of the night to The Tams’ “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy”.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I found it helpful to make a dream “wishlist” of things, from special foods to flowers to specific materials you want to incorporate into the weekend, and see it all listed out in one place. From there, it’s easier to figure out what you can afford to let go of and what’s an absolute must-have. The vendors are experts so if there’s something you don’t want to compromise on but you don’t have the budget for, they likely have another idea on how to get the same point across for less money.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I think there’s a big misconception that as the bride, you’re supposed to be glowing, happy and reveling in every minute of the planning process from start to finish. It’s OK to feel stressed and to dread certain parts of the planning (I’m lookin’ at you, list making!). Do your best to take it all in stride, and don’t be afraid to confide in and vent to your loved ones, especially the ones that have been through the process. Also, don’t take the timelines you see in all of the wedding books so literally. We found that many vendors we thought we had time with actually booked up much sooner than we would’ve thought, so be aware and start your research early!

Photographer: Anna Routh Barzin | Planner: Dina Berg Blazek Events | Ceremony Venue: Christ Church Charlotte | Reception Venue: Brooklandwood | Florist: The Place For Flowers | Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Kathy Allen Cakes | Caterer: Queen City Catering | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | Lighting: Classic Party Rentals | Band or DJ: Black & Blue Entertainment through East Coast Entertainment | Invitation: Arzbergers | Save the Date: Lee Ann Clark Calligraphy | Bride’s Gown: Leanne Marshall | Hair Stylist: Jami Svay | Makeup Artist: Jami Svay | Bride’s Shoes: BHLDN | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale Bridesmaids Chiffon G787C in French Blue | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Loro Piana for J.Crew

Anna Routh and East Coast Entertainment are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
3 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah Elizabeth reply

    I love everything about this wedding! Especially that save the date & adorable picture of the flower girl & ring bearer!

  2. avatar Rhiannon reply

    This looks like the church sweet Em Thomas got married in. What a stunningly classic soiree!

  3. avatar Mary Kay reply

    What a beautiful wedding! I also appreciate Brent’s honest advice!

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Though we like to think that gals from around the world can pull inspiration from any of our features, the truth is that many of the details we dream up are very specific to the area of the South where we shoot them. That’s on purpose, of course — we love exploring what makes every corner of our beautiful home unique! — but it does make it extra important to create editorials in a variety of Southern states. One such state that we hadn’t had the pleasure of visiting before Southern Weddings V8 was Kentucky. Having the chance to craft a story involving the Bluegrass State, traveling to Louisville, and meeting so many wonderful readers and vendors in KY was one of our very favorite parts of #MakingSouthernWeddings this year, and we hope y’all (Kentuckians and otherwise!) love the result!

Biggest hugs to photographer Whitney Neal and stylist and florist Jaclyn Journey for working with us on Our Kentucky Home!

We were so happy to have Rachel Fisher Calligraphy on hand to create paper details as the shoot unfolded, including escort cards and signage. She did make our beautiful invitation suite ahead of time, however!

Some of you may recognize that smiling face — it belongs to Kayla, who was one of the bridesmaids on V7’s cover! We adored working with her so much that we asked her to return as a model for this issue, this time with her sweet husband!

Jaclyn created the most amazing wildflower- and bluegrass-inspired bouquets for our ladies. Blue is not always an easy color to work with in flowers, but she pulled together a gorgeous handful of scabiosa, delphiniums, Queen Anne’s Lace, bachelor’s buttons, sweet peas, stock, and grasses that was a perfect fit.

There were so many fun fabric patterns to play with in this shoot! From the gingham groomsmen shirts to the coordinating flower girl dresses and mix and match bridesmaid tops, we were inspired to incorporate all shades of blue in the attire.

Jaclyn’s talented husband built our ceremony arch! It looked right at home paired with rustic white pews from the Pew People.

One of my favorite photographs from this issue — I think everyone who’s been married can remember the joy of walking (or running!) back up the aisle as husband and wife!

There’s nothing like down-home favorites at a wedding reception, and Wiltshire Pantry knocked our socks off with their spread of delicious (and beautiful!) Southern food! I may have been partial to those deviled eggs, but skillets of mini hot browns were a non-negotiable for this Kentucky-themed editorial.

We couldn’t resist wrapping up the evening with a little bluegrass music — we were in the Bluegrass state, after all! Local couples, take note: we adored working with the talented gents of Fresh Cut Grass! They would be a perfect complement to any cocktail hour!

If you haven’t already, pick up your own copy of Southern Weddings V8 here, or on newsstands across the South! This is the last editorial to share from this issue, but check back in the new year to see more from our featured weddings!

Photographer: Whitney Neal Photography | Film processing: Richard Photo Lab | Planner, stylist, props, and florals: Jaclyn Journey Event and Floral Design | Venue: Farmington Historic Home | Caterer: Wiltshire Pantry | Dessert: Wiltshire Pantry and Kentucky Woods Bourbon Barrel Cake | Hair stylist and makeup artist: Carley Randall Beauty | Paper goods: Rachel Fisher Calligraphy | Pew rentals: Pew People | Farmhouse table: Louisville Farm Tables | Glassware: 12th Table | China: Lancaster Court, LLC. | Bluegrass band: Fresh Cut Grass | Bride’s gown: “Lafayette” by Sarah Seven | Bridal salon: The Dress Theory | Bridesmaid fashion: Anthropologie | Jewelry: Dress & Dwell | Floral bow tie: Lord Wallington | Striped and gingham bow ties: High Cotton

Whitney Neal and Jaclyn Journey are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    Love the blues and all the patterns! Beautiful styling!

  2. avatar Lindsay C. reply

    The food in this shoot looks DELICIOUS!

  3. avatar Drawing Inspiration from Southern Weddings V8 – Kyla Mary reply

    […]  I especially love the pie bar, the mismatched groomsmen, and their bowties. View the original post here. […]

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