Southern Weddings

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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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I have a little bit of a habit of calling dibs on introducing y’all to Texas weddings–from ranch celebrations to stylish downtown soirées, I love them all! Melissa and John’s wedding is certainly no exception, especially when I spotted Melissa’s gorgeous Amsale gown and read about the Tex Mex-inspired details she and John included in their day (a nod to the Cinco de Mayo party that kicked off their relationship). I love that, as a result, their wedding day was completely elegant, but undeniably fun–surely, a perfect fit for these Texan sweethearts!

Thanks so much to Elisabeth Carol for sharing this gorgeous day with us!

My something borrowed was a pair of Jude Francis earrings from one of my best friends. My something blue was my monogram stitched on a garter that also included the monogram of a best friend who was married in April 2014. We will continue this tradition until all our friends are married! My something old were pictures of my grandparents in framed charms. Both sets of my grandparents are no longer with me, and these charms were pinned to my bouquet. Lastly, my something new was my Jimmy Choo shoes. I can’t wait to wear them again on anniversaries and special occasions.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My sister-in-law sent me a picture of a dress she saw, and I instantly fell in love. My mom, sister, and I had plans to go dress shopping in Dallas the weekend before Thanksgiving, when we would all be together. The bridal department in Neiman Marcus agreed to ship the dress from their Chicago store, so we started there. It was the first dress I tried on, but I knew I wanted to try on lots more in various styles. After trying on twenty or so, I put the first dress back on and knew it was the one. We purchased the dress and cancelled the rest of my bridal appointments. Ironically, it was November 21, 2014 when I said “yes” to my dress. It was so fun knowing that in exactly one year, I would be wearing this dress down the aisle!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? This was one of the hardest decisions for me while wedding planning. I had always imagined the church doors opening and seeing my husband for the first time, but after a lot of thought, we decided to do a first look. The sun was going to set early on our November wedding date and I knew I wanted pictures together outside! Additionally, I wanted to remember our vows at the altar–I knew I would be too nervous if I waited until the ceremony to see John. The first look allowed us to spend a good amount of time together on our wedding day and share the true emotion with each other when seeing one another for the first time.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My childhood friend read Colossians 3:12-14. It was so special to include her in our ceremony, because we grew up together, attending the same church and church camp. She and her husband will be a special part of our marriage going forward, and a couple who will hold us accountable to the reading we selected for our ceremony.

We decided to get married in Houston because it was such a special part of our relationship over our four years of dating! It also simplified the wedding planning process to get married in the city we were living in. We got married at the church John grew up in because it was important to us to get married in the church we would eventually raise a family in. Because my family is not from Houston, I wanted all our venues to be close by, to make it easier on our guests. I loved the traditional setting and classic decor of the Houston Country Club.

Describe your wedding flowers. We had all shades of white and ivory with dark green and touches of lime. I chose loose and airy, garden-style arrangements with lots of texture. I also wanted flowers that went with the season. The flowers included hydrangeas, eskimo roses, polo roses, majolica spray roses, and tulips. For the touch of green, the florist added trick dianthus, viburnum, and magnolia leaves. She also included seasonal blooming branches and curly willow for some texture.

My wedding cake was a four-tiered classic white cake with fresh flowers in between each layer. John’s groom’s cake was a chocolate square base with a replica of Texas A&M’s football helmets. The SEC logo was even included on his cake!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The Mexican fiesta flair we incorporated into our reception was a fun reminder of John’s first trip to Austin for my Cinco De Mayo party back in 2011. I got ready in a white Mi Golondrina dress, which was hand-stitched in Mexico. John and his wedding party wore colorful suspenders made in Mexico and South America. A mariachi band entertained guests during the cocktail hour of our reception. John’s signature drink was a Cuba Libra: rum and Coke with fresh lime. Colorful flower crowns and maracas were brought out to the dance floor when the dance party started–even the band’s female saxophonist grabbed one! Guests launched colorful confetti before John and I left in a golf cart decorated in bright Mexican paper flowers.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. John and I attended rival colleges. When we met, he had just graduated from Texas A&M and I had another year and a half at The University of Texas. John’s high school friend was dating my college best friend, and they invited us both to Galveston, Texas for a beach weekend! I can still remember the first time I saw John. We had such a great weekend with friends, but parted ways on Sunday. A year later, the same friends invited us both back to Galveston again, and this time, we really hit it off. Before parting ways on Sunday, John asked for my number and I don’t think we have gone a day without speaking since. John was living in his hometown of Houston, and I still had a semester left of college in Austin. We were unsure if anything would come of our relationship, due to the distance. My best friends devised a plan that I would host a Cinco de Mayo party at my house and we would invite John to Austin to visit. John accepted the invitation and came in for the weekend. We continued to visit each other, and eventually agreed to date long distance. I graduated in December 2011 and accepted a job in Houston. Both John and Houston became very special to me as I settled into adult life.
Tell us all about the proposal! John had planned to surprise me after work on one particular Friday night in October 2014. I almost ruined his entire proposal plan when I, unexpectedly, finished work early that day. John usually leaves the office an hour before me on Fridays, so I’m sure he was in full-on panic mode when I told him I was heading home. Once home, I decided to go for a run around my neighborhood. When I got back, John’s car was parked outside. I opened the front door, and there was John on one knee. I was so sweaty and so surprised! We spent some time soaking in the moment before calling our family and friends to share the good news. John had made reservations for us at a restaurant I was dying to try, and told me we would meet up with friends at our favorite bar afterwards to celebrate. After dinner, John insisted we go home and drop off the flowers that he surprised me with at dinner. I was anxious to meet up with my best friends, but agreed. We turned onto the street, and in the middle of it, our closest friends and family were standing there holding a huge sign that said, “Congrats John and Mel!” He had a planned an engagement party and thought to invite our closest friends and family. The next day, we headed to the beach with the couple that introduced us. It was so fun being back where it all started!
When did y’all get married? November 21, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? John and I instituted weekly date nights, which is something we want to have in our marriage too! Some weeks, it was just a quick, weeknight meal, while other weeks, it was a planned outing. We set a rule that we couldn’t talk about the wedding during this time. This was hard for me! Life will get busy and we hope weekly dates will help us slow down and enjoy time with just each other and no other distractions.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? The sweetest detail from our wedding was incorporating a special moment during our ceremony to honor John’s late father. When John and his brother walked their mother down the aisle to seat her, they first went up to the altar and lit a candle in his memory, which burned throughout our ceremony. John’s family could look past John and his brother, who was his best man, and see the candle burning behind them. It was a sweet reminder that his father was with us on our wedding day. We gifted John’s mother with a lantern to hold the candle after the wedding as a keepsake.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? So many to choose from! John and I would have to agree that our last dance of the night was the most memorable moment of our wedding day (probably because we were on the biggest high from the night)! While the guests were lining up for our reception exit, John and I shared a private dance together. I don’t think I have ever been so happy in my life or felt so loved. We had just danced the night away surrounded by our family and friends, and then having one last moment for just the two of us for a dance to the band’s encore was unforgettable.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We loved that the holidays fell right after our wedding. It was so fun making new traditions and holiday memories together. We plan to squeeze in as many weekend getaways we can throughout the year, but our calendar is packed full with engagement celebrations and weddings. We are looking forward to celebrating these wonderful friends in 2016.

Photographer: Elisabeth Carol | Videographer: Philip Harbuck | Planner: Sarah Bett | Ceremony Venue: Chapelwood United Methodist Church | Reception Venue, Florist, and Caterer: Houston Country Club | Cake Baker: Susie’s Cakes | Linen Rentals: Aztec | Chair Rentals: A Finer Event | Lighting: Intelligent Lighting Design | Band: Password Band | Save the Dates: Clara Doyle Designs | Custom Stamps: Zazzle | Invitations: October Ink | Calligraphy: The Southern Inkwell | Reception Signage: Little Carbao Studio | Monogram Designs: Mallory Hope | Bride’s Gown: “Lenox” by Amsale | Bridal Salon and Veil: Neiman Marcus Dallas | Hair Stylist: Albert Dominguez of The Hairdressers | Makeup Artist: Jennifer Aronson | Bride’s Shoes: “Isabel” in Champagne Glitter by Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Elena” in Silver Bells by Joanna August | Menswear: Jos. A Bank | Photo Booth: Texas Party Booth | Custom Water Bottles: Papellerie | Confetti Launcher Sticks: Flutterfetti | Wedding Programs and Welcome Boxes: Well Wish Tree Paper Goods | Favors: DGZ Chocolates

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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As a young girl, Sam never imagined her wedding, but she did spend hours on her grandparents’ peanut farm, daydreaming about moving to a big city and falling in love. When that dream came true, she and Jamie chose Hidden Valley Farms as their wedding venue–it combined their appreciation for the city that brought them together (Nashville) with Sam’s childhood dreams. Their venue was not the only meaningful detail–Sam and Jamie’s goal was a wedding celebration that represented “our heritage and our hearts.” Isn’t that the most precious way to combine two so very important aspects of life? There is so much more beauty than meets the eye in this lovely wedding, from decor collected from family, the most incredible something borrowed (don’t miss that story!), and florals inspired by Sam’s late grandmother.

Gracious alive, I’m glad Rachel Moore was there to bring it all to life for us through these photos!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I wore my grandmother Bobbie’s pearl earrings and diamond tennis bracelet as my something old, and my dress and veil were new. My something blue was a keepsake box that belonged to my great-grandmother, and my new sister-in-law gave me a silver sixpence for my shoe. My something borrowed was such a surprise. On the morning of our wedding, my aunt and my grandmother came by to share a piece of family history with me, and they let me borrow several trinkets, including my great-great-grandparents’ copper wedding rings. My great-great-grandparents immigrated to the United States from Italy in the mid-1890s, and they were madly in love, but had to come overseas at different times for financial reasons, so they were married by proxy. One of the rings says “Amore” which means love in Italian. I felt so honored to pin those rings to my bouquet along with the other family heirlooms.

Finding my wedding dress was such a special experience. I had just finished writing all of my final papers for graduate school when my mom and my two younger sisters traveled all the way to Nashville to go dress shopping with me. After several stores and several dresses, we went back to see the third dress I had tried on at the first store. I felt so effortlessly “me” as soon as I put it on, and knew it was what I was looking for. My dress was classic and comfortable, while also being unique and romantic, which is very much in line with my style.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look and we were glad that we did. We are both pretty private people and I don’t like to be the center of attention, so as the day progressed, I became a bit anxious. Right after we saw each other, it felt like everything else disappeared in an irreplaceable moment that just the two of us shared, and it is a memory we will cherish forever.

We decided to recite traditional vows. I was not expecting to be so emotional when my eyes locked with Jamie’s as we were joined as husband and wife, but I’ll never forget him wiping away my tears while I said my vows. We had so many guests comment on how sweet and reverent our wedding ceremony was, and that was our main objective.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? As a young girl, I never really imagined what my wedding day would be like; instead, I would spend hours on my grandparents’ peanut farm, looking up at the blue sky over hundreds of acres of land, while imagining what it would be like to one day move to a big city and fall in love. We had our wedding on a middle Tennessee farm to combine our appreciation for the city that brought us together with my childhood daydreams of falling in love on my grandparents’ south Alabama land.

Our flowers were picked to honor my late grandmother Bobbie, who was an Alabama Master Gardener and my hero. She could find beauty in any flower growing wild on the side of the road, and her perennials still blossom every spring, so I carried her small garden spade in my bouquet to have a piece of her with me. We worked with a farmer florist to pick the most elegant and natural flowers that were in season. All of our flowers were locally grown and free flowing, just like I wanted them.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail might be the one hundred candles we had in the barn. The brass candlesticks were a last minute addition and they not only took our breath away, but also added such an intimate and cozy feeling to the rainy day.

We had a three-tiered wedding cake with red velvet, vanilla buttercream, and carrot cake layers to cover all of our favorite flavors. We placed two gold “love birds” as toppers on the cake because Jamie’s nickname in his family is J-Bird, and his nephews call him Uncle Bird. We also had an incredible pie table with pumpkin, coconut cream, key lime, and blueberry pies. At Thanksgiving, my great-aunt Betty always has a quaint pie table that my family gathers around after the meal to enjoy time together, and I loved having a subtle nod to this tradition.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both joined Teach for America as corps members in 2011 and were placed in Nashville. We met the day we moved and spent that summer in the Mississippi Delta teaching summer school and becoming friends. We tried to stay just friends, but we couldn’t deny that there was something special between us for very long. On one fateful August afternoon, Jamie was going to the Nashville Public Library to do some work for school and asked me if I wanted to go, too. The two of us have been a happy pair and by each other’s sides ever since that first “date” at the library.
Tell us all about the proposal! After celebrating three years of dating, Jamie proposed on August 22, 2014. His birthday fell on a Tuesday, so I kept telling him to pick out a restaurant to go to for a nice Friday night dinner. Friday came and he hadn’t picked a place yet, but he called me that morning to say that we had reservations at one of our favorite little cafes in Sylvan Park. When I came home later that day to white rose petals on my front steps, I certainly suspected a proposal. I walked in and there he was, holding a colorful bouquet in the candlelight. He said the most beautiful words and got down on one knee in the kitchen. Before he could even finish the question, I exclaimed the happiest “Yes!” with the happiest tears. We decided that we wanted to wait to call our families until a little later in order to take in the moments of only us knowing. As we walked up to the restaurant, all of a sudden, I heard a group say “Congratulations!” I looked closer to see my sisters, Jamie’s brother and sister-in-law, and both sets of our parents, all of whom had never met each other before that night. It was the perfect private proposal on a regular Friday afternoon, and then the most charmed evening with our closest loved ones.
When did y’all get married? October 3, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? When a North Carolina groom marries an Alabama bride, it is bound to be inherently Southern. Aside from that, we wanted our wedding celebration to represent our heritage and our hearts. We collected old photographs to showcase our beautiful families. My grandfather Sammy worked tirelessly for months leading up to our wedding to cut down a dying oak tree on his farm to make the wood slabs for our reception centerpieces, and my uncle let us borrow bottles that he had collected for decades to sit atop the wood. We had a very Southern menu of barbeque, macaroni and cheese, shrimp and grits, veggies, and biscuits, served with local jams and honey. Sammy is an important person in my life, so it was an honor to have him say the most touching blessing before our reception meal. It felt just like home.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? With all of the anticipation leading up to our wedding day, we knew that laying the foundation for a strong marriage was the most important part. We read books together, prayed together, and attended premarital counseling courses together. We genuinely enjoyed the season of engagement because we viewed it as a time to prepare for marriage.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Looking at each other during the ceremony and reciting our vows was the most memorable moment. We had the dreariest weather on our wedding day, but only joyful tears came down my cheeks during our intimate ceremony. Although our outdoor ceremony was quickly moved indoors, we could have been anywhere in the world, and all that mattered was that we were publicly committing our lives to one other in the presence of God and everyone we loved.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Breathe before and on the day of your wedding; be completely present and take in both the small and monumental moments. Understand that the best is yet to come, but do your best to savor the time that is fleeting.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right now, we are soaking in being newlyweds and we love it. It still blows us away that we get to spend the rest of our lives together. We love coming home and just being married, as simple as that sounds. We are currently saving up to buy our first home. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for us!

Photographer: Rachel Moore Photography | Planner: Modern Vintage Events | Venue: Green Door Gourmet at Hidden Valley Farms | Florist: Basil and Bergamot | Caterer and Cake: Whole Foods Catering | Rentals: Southern Events Party Rentals | Lighting: Bright Event Productions | Band: 24/7 | Paper Products: Marked | Bride’s Gown: Ti Adora Style 7451 by Alvina Valenta | Hair and Makeup: Katie Russo Beauty | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank | Musicians: Mockingbird Musicians | Getaway Car: Matchless Transportation

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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  1. avatar Nashville Wedding Planners: Sam + Jamie’s Tennessee Farm wedding | Modern Vintage Events reply

    […] heartfelt and beyond lovely. We were thrilled when their wedding was chosen to be featured by Southern Weddings Blog. Congratulations again, Sam and Jamie and here’s to many beautiful years […]

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