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There are few things more Southern than a community coming together, which is one of the many reasons Erica and Daniel’s wedding was so magical! Their family and friends helped with everything from offering up their gorgeous property as a venue, to building and crafting reception details, to bartending and cutting the cake on the night-of. Getting married at a private residence is no easy feat, but with all hands on deck, Shiloh Farms certainly turned into the perfect home for this joyful celebration. Erica and Daniel also went out of their way to get to know their vendors on a personal level, so even the folks who started out as strangers became part of the community that made this day extra special!

Many thanks to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Anna Shackleford for sharing this day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went to my first appointment at Affordable Bridal, Inc. in Buford, Georgia. I had heard great things about the shop from friends who bought their dresses there. I arrived to my appointment with my mother, sister, and maid of honor, and was instantly greeted by two smiling women who respected my budget and went straight to picking out dresses in the style I had in mind. I tried on about ten dresses before finding the one. Once I put on that beautiful, lace, fit and flare gown with cap sleeves and a keyhole back, I knew it was going to be the dress that I married Daniel in, and so did the rest of the women there. Just when I didn’t think it couldn’t get any better, the stylist placed a cathedral veil on my head and I was done for. Not to mention, I was able to buy the dress off the rack and at an additional 15 percent off. It was the perfect dress, and I will never forget how beautiful it made me feel!

We decided to do a first look and I am so happy we did. We knew that with a wedding party and guest list as big as ours, we wouldn’t have that much alone time. Having a first look gave us an opportunity to enjoy each other, check each other out in our wedding attire, cry, laugh, and pray. We even took that time to read letters that we had written to each other. Afterwards, we washed each other’s feet as a sign of humbling ourselves before the other, serving one another for a lifetime, and loving each other just like Christ loves His church. It was the most intimate moment. The first look did not take away the anticipation of me walking down the aisle to Daniel. In fact, we think it made it that much better.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose to have our wedding at Shiloh Farms, the property of our dear friends who are like family to us. I stayed at the farm when I would visit Daniel over the course of our long-distance relationship. It is special to us because it is truly where our romance developed, as well as where Daniel proposed. We dreamed of having a wedding there and are blessed to have shared this simple, yet magical place with our family and friends.

Music is so important to Daniel and I. Daniel plays the guitar, bass, and piano, and he performs in the worship team at our church. I wouldn’t say I’m a professional, but I am a fan of musicians (obviously) and I love going to concerts. We knew that music had to be a key element in our wedding. Our friends and members of the worship team at our church sang during the ceremony while the bridal party walked down the aisle and during the communion. Here are the songs: “Take My Heart” by Emily Hackett feat. Will Anderson (Daniel’s song walking down), “Fall Afresh” by Bethel (bridesmaid and bridal processional), “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus” by All Sons and Daughters (communion), and “Brand New” by Ben Rector (recessional).

Our favorite detail of the wedding was the cedarwood bar my dad handmade for the reception. He worked so hard on it for two and a half months. He will tell you that it was one of his favorite projects, and it was definitely a hit at the reception! He loved showing it off, and our guests loved hanging around it to enjoy drinks and conversation. It was such a special gift, and we now proudly display it on our backyard patio.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Daniel’s family is extremely talented and his sisters helped by making our wedding signs that were displayed during the ceremony and reception, as well as creating a design for each welcome bag that went to our guests staying at hotels. We created a DIY photo booth by borrowing furniture and picture frames. We asked friends to bartend during the reception and had two ladies offer to cut our cake so we didn’t have to pay a cake cutting fee. We decided not to have wedding favors to reduce the cost.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. When people ask how we met, we usually keep things simple and say “at a wedding,” but here is the real story. Daniel and I attended a wedding of mutual friends, separately. He saw me sitting at a table alone “in a red dress” (he likes to add), and due to unforeseen circumstances, we never actually talked at the wedding. However, Daniel found out who I was through a mutual friend and added me on Facebook later that night. Two weeks later, Daniel messaged me saying that he saw me at the wedding, and was wondering if he could get to know me over coffee. One thing led to another and Daniel made the grueling trek from Valdosta, Georgia to Atlanta, where we talked over coffee for three hours. On Labor Day, he drove up again for our first “real” date, where we went hiking, ate our favorite Italian food, and went to the movies. After that, I found myself making the trip down to Valdosta to visit Daniel for the first time. It was then when Daniel told me that he wanted to pursue me with the intentions of marriage. Since then, we have embarked on a whirlwind romance full of new adventures that ultimately led to me moving down to Valdosta to be with him. Our friends and family would agree that the crazy way our relationship has come about is truly God’s work at hand. We are full of immeasurable joy as we embrace this new chapter as husband and wife!
Tell us all about the proposal! On Labor Day, one year from when we went on our first date, we were at one of our favorite restaurants in town when Daniel mentioned that our friends, the owners of Shiloh Farms, wanted us to come see them. I was less inclined to go because I had to work the next day and needed to go to the grocery store. Daniel insisted that we go, saying we needed to pick up my kayak, which was at the farm. On the drive there, I was looking on social media, and at least three people I knew had gotten engaged. I kept going on and on about it and joked with Daniel that he would probably propose with a ring hiding in food since he loves food so much. We pulled up to the front of the house and I noticed flower arrangements sitting in their gazebo. I didn’t think twice about it and started to walk inside the house. Daniel grabbed my hand and said we should go check out the flowers. When we walked inside the gazebo, I noticed that there were rose petals on the ground. I felt Daniel take a step back, and when I looked to see what he was doing, I saw tears in his eyes…and that’s when I knew. Daniel got down on one knee and popped the question. My jaw dropped and I went through a process of being speechless and in shock to saying, “oh my gosh” and “is this real,” to finally saying “YES!” Afterwards, he turned and pointed back at the house to where his sister, Ashley, was hanging out of the second story window taking pictures of the whole thing. We literally could not stop smiling, freaking out, hugging, kissing, and laughing. It was the best, most surreal moment of pure joy and happiness.
When did y’all get married? April 23, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We decided not to write our own vows. We kept it traditional and we both found that they were just as powerful. We both had tears in our eyes, and I could hardly keep it together as he said, “For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Daniel’s sister, Alison, read Ephesians 5:22-31. Daniel and I found this scripture to be so vital during our marriage counseling and we wanted to incorporate it into our ceremony.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge we faced was adjusting the menu to feed 300 guests while staying within our budget. We went back and forth with our caterer so many times because of our guest list grew weekly. Thankfully, she was willing to work with us and did everything she could to give us want we wanted. We paid a little more than we had originally planned for, but it all worked out in the end and the food was a hit.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It takes a lot of time to plan a wedding on your own, especially at a private venue. If you have the money, I would suggest hiring a planner and selecting a venue that takes care of everything. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing about our wedding, but it just caused a lot of unnecessary stress. To the brides, be sure to include your groom in the planning. They may want something special that you wouldn’t have originally thought of. To the grooms, know that the special woman you are about to marry has probably dreamed of this day for a long time. Respect her during the stressful times and be there to listen and offer encouragement when she needs it. To the couple, understand that this is just one day. It is a very special day, but it goes by so fast. Enjoy the planning, but take time to go on dates and eliminate wedding talk.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Daniel and I are excited to be buying our first home together. I work as a nurse on night shift and he works as a general contractor, so with our crazy schedules, we are looking forward to a time of rest and enjoying each other in our home with our two dogs, Maddie and Cooper. We are looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us during our marriage, getting involved in ministry, being successful with our jobs, creating life-giving relationships with family and friends, and traveling to new places.

Photographer: Anna Shackleford | Videographer: Lucas Hicks Video and Photography | Planner: Jamie Lea Shiver | Venue: Shiloh Farms | Florist: Hilary Colyer | Cake Baker: Pam Vickers | Caterer: Covington’s Dining and Catering | Rentals and Lighting: International Tent Inc. and Shindig | Decor: The Squirrel’s Nest | DJ: Tom Hochschild | Champagne Glasses and Cake Cutting Set: Oriental Trading Company | Paper Products: Shutterfly, Etsy, and Staples | Bride’s Gown: “Bronwyn” by Maggie Sottero | Bride’s Hairpiece and Veil: Affordable Bridal, Inc. | Bride’s Earrings: Steel’s Jewelry | Hair Stylist: Anna Beth Purvis | Makeup Artist: Claire Rice | Bride’s Shoes and Groomsmen Attire: JCPenney | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: The Dessy Group | Groom’s Attire: Nordstrom | Officiant: Brinson Barker | Acoustics: Event Point

Anna Shackleford is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Elisabeth reply

    I really love these bridesmaids dresses. Can anyone tell me what specific color or collection they’re from?

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There is something so incredibly sweet about Libbie and Alan’s Georgia wedding, and I think it all stems from the fact that they kept their guest list super small. Childhood friends-turned-sweethearts, I’m sure it would have been easy for them to invite anyone and everyone they grew up with, but instead, they kept their guest list to just extended family and eight close friends. This meant that every single person at the wedding knew the two of them well and was ready to play an active role in encouraging their marriage in the years to come. Especially with their own little belle on the way now, I can only imagine how grateful Libbie and Alan are for their loving community!

Thank you kindly to Eliza Morrill for sharing this special day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I looked and looked, found a dress, and then started having second thoughts. I’m a very whimsical/ethereal type of gal and the dress just didn’t fit the bill. My stepmother and I, with very little time to spare, stepped into an adorable wedding dress shop, Kelly’s Closet in Atlanta, and there it was…the most perfect dress. It fit like a glove–all we had to do was hem the bottom and add the bustle! It was fate!

My favorite detail was the flowers, because they were simply perfect, but another favorite was that our dog LB, aka Lady Blue, was there to spend the day with us. She is a blue pit/lab mix and was my something blue. She is the sweetest thing you will ever meet and knew this day was a special one to be a part of. She smiled like a good girl for the pictures and sat quietly with my best friends for the ceremony.

How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Four of my closest friends and four of his, and then just our aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmothers, and immediate family members! It was a very intimate wedding.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Both of our families had spent Thanksgiving at Barnsley Gardens on separate occasions and it is truly a magical place. We knew we wanted an outdoor, destination wedding and my stepmother even remembered me saying I wanted to get married there during our visit many years before. When we returned, I just knew it was the perfect place for Alan and I to be married–there were flowers upon flowers, beautiful trees, and rolling hills.

The wedding flowers were definitely one of my favorite details of the day–they were stunning. I carried a whimsical bouquet designed with all white and green blooms, which included ranunculus, white Veronica, white stock, Queen Anne’s lace, white larkspur, white scabiosa, mini green hydrangea, mixed succulents, Green Jade roses, and a variety of eucalyptus. My bridesmaid’s bouquets were smaller, but equally as stunning, using the same flowers. My flower crown (I wish I could wear it every day of my life!) was designed with small succulents, larkspur, ranunculus, and mixed greenery.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My father’s speech was so unbelievably heartfelt–he could barely get through it, he got so choked up. He said things he had been trying to say for years and spoke about my mother, who passed away when I was 13 and would have given anything to be there that day. He had the whole wedding party in tears. It was beautiful.

We had a simple, three-tiered vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and fresh strawberries between the layers. My florist added flowers cascading all the way down the cake. Honeymoon Bakery in Rome, Georgia hit it out the park! I could eat this cake for every meal, and I am counting down the days until our first anniversary!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Eliza Morril Photography, for sure–we went to school together since we were very young, played soccer together, and our big brother were great friends! She did an outstanding job, and as someone who hates posing for pictures, she actually made it pretty fun!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We went to school together since we were six years old and have always been such great friends. However, we didn’t start dating until about two years ago, and the minute we stared dating, we just knew it would last forever.
Tell us all about the proposal! He put the ring under his family’s dog’s collar and said “LuLu has a present for you!” She was so excited, it was like she knew she was delivering something very special. He then said, “I have loved you since the fifth grade and have known I wanted to marry you since the moment we started dating.” The ring he gave me was my deceased mother’s wedding ring and it is the most beautiful thing I own. Wearing it every day is an honor. I get to carry a piece of her with me for the rest of my life.
When did y’all get married? April 17, 2016
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The string quartet played as the bridesmaids and mothers walked down the aisle to different songs by The Beatles, and I walked to “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard. We walked back up the aisle together to the upbeat part of “Hoppipolla” by Sigur Ros. It was all simply perfect!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The groom’s best man was his father, which is just about as Southern as you can get! The location of the wedding, Barnsley Gardens, is also right in the heart of Southern Georgia.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My stepmother is a woman of many trades; she cut the little birchwood place holders for the reception, sewed the burlap tablecloths for the reception, made the wedding programs, made the dog’s flower collar, and sewed the junior bridesmaid dress herself!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t let the details stress you out too much, and take things day by day. The vendors know what they are doing, so let them help you and trust them!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We have a baby coming soon, so we are now planning for her arrival! We are also moving to Nashville in September!

Photographer: Eliza Morril Photography | Videographer: Peerless Films | Planner: Heather Rabinowitz | Venue, Catering, and Rentals: Barnsley Gardens | Florist: Bloom | Cake Baker: Honeymoon Bakery | DJ: Gresham Cash Trip | Bride’s Gown: Modern Trousseau | Hair and Makeup: Claudia Mejerle | Bride’s Shoes: Nine West | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN and Donna Morgan | Menswear: Collared Greens

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    Those pictures in the flowers, omg!!!! And the doggy :)

  2. avatar Catherine reply

    Love her gown! Beautiful!

  3. avatar Elle reply

    That dress is to die for!

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Classic, elegant, and rooted in place are a few words I often use to describe my favorite “type” of wedding, so I was delighted when I saw that Erika and Kenny’s Savannah celebration hit all of those nails on the head. Even though their 11-month engagement was a particularly stressful time in their lives, they pulled off a day that truly celebrated their love for one another, their families, and the traditions and culture of the South. It’s so evident that even in the midst of moving, house hunting, and more, when it came to their wedding, Erika and Kenny worked hard to be intentional and hospitable. I can only imagine their marriage will be marked with those same sentiments!

Thanks so much to Brian Flint for sharing this lovely day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had a few details of the wedding planned out in my head, but a wedding dress was not one of them. I just knew I wanted something timeless and true to myself. My first appointment was at Ivory & Beau in Savannah. After trying on only eight dresses, I went with my gut and chose a beautiful, lace Elaya Vaughn dress by Kate Pankoke. I was in and out of the store in under an hour! Easiest shopping trip ever.

A first look logistically made sense, but we never considered doing one. Every time we imagined our wedding day, our thoughts would jump to the moment when we would lock eyes as I walked down the aisle towards him. Even though I cried my way down the aisle, we have no regrets! It was such a happy and surreal moment!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a harpist at our ceremony and he was great! He played “How Great Thou Art” for the seating of the parents and grandparents and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” for the bridal party entrance. The harp music plus the waterside setting made it so enchanting!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? A family member graciously offered to let us host our ceremony in his yard, overlooking the marsh on Wilmington Island. This site has hosted many shrimp boils, oyster roasts, and celebrations. The moss-draped oak trees and the marsh at high tide provided us with a magical and romantic backdrop for our ceremony. We rented trolleys to transport guests from the ceremony to the reception, which was in downtown Savannah at the Knights of Columbus. We wanted an indoor reception that was convenient to all the downtown amenities. We had many out-of-town guests, and it was important to us to show them all of our favorite parts of Savannah.

Joann’s Florist did such a great job with our flowers! We used a lot of seeded eucalyptus, dusty miller, cream cabbage roses, white ranunculus, white hydrangeas, and white veronica sprigs. Garlands lined the tables and hung over the mantle of the fireplace. It really transformed the reception space! We saved some of the flowers to dry and frame for our house, but the rest were taken to a local nursing home so that they could continue to be enjoyed.

Our wedding cake was from Publix and we couldn’t have been happier! It was pretty, delicious, and affordable! Instead of a groom’s cake, we opted for a flaming donut bar. Our caterer, Savannah Event Catering, fried a Krispy Kreme donut, poured bourbon in the middle, lit it on fire, and extinguished the flames with a Coke. He topped it with pralines and served it with ice cream. Amazing and so entertaining!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met while we were living in Atlanta. Kenny made the first move and invited me to coffee. I let him choose the location and, to my surprise, he chose my favorite coffee shop. It was such a beautiful day and we sipped our coffee next to the river while enjoying great conversation. It really was perfect. We’ve been together, drinking coffee, ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! Traveling is one of our favorite things to do together, so I didn’t think twice when Kenny suggested that we take a relaxing weekend trip to Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. Daufuskie is a charming little island between Savannah and Hilton Head that can only be reached by boat. A local artist told us about a great place to watch the sunset, so that night, we rode our golf cart over to the point. Kenny balanced his iPhone on the golf cart to take a timed photo of us. After a few seconds, he turned to me and started saying sweet things as we were taking in the beautiful scenery. What I thought was a special moment turned into a REALLY special moment when he dropped to one knee. I was so surprised! I didn’t believe him until I saw the ring. He then told me his iPhone had been taking a video, not a timed photo. He captured the moment for us and we were able to freeze shot pictures from it. It was beyond perfect!
When did y’all get married? March 5, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: This is tough because everything came together in such a lovely way. We both really loved our hurricane lamps, though. My dad believes every house should have one (or ten). It was one of the first things my parents gave Kenny and me when we bought our first house. We were able to use my dad’s collection at the reception and it was beautiful. It added just enough light and charm to the space.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? A week after we were engaged, Kenny’s work transferred him to another city. Our engagement was 11 months long and included wedding planning, house hunting, job searching, and moving. It was an eventful, emotional, and often challenging 11 months. We grew so much during this season of change. We learned how to effectively communicate, tackle our challenges together, and keep our relationship God-centered.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was definitely the guest list. We both come from big families and have lived in multiple cities. We could have easily invited 500 people, but we wouldn’t have been able to have the wedding we wanted with that many guests. Cutting the list was a long and painful process, but I think it worked out well.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? With a design background, I knew exactly what I wanted for the invitations. The only issue was the cost, so I decided to take them on as a DIY project. I purchased my beautiful, deckle-edged, homemade paper off of Etsy and my dear and talented friend, Lauren Walker, designed my invites in her beautiful calligraphy. I completed the look with a monogrammed gold wax seal. It was a lot of work, but the outcome was exactly what I wanted.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Prioritize. Figure out what you would consider a successful wedding and plan accordingly. Spend your money on things that will help you reach that vision and save money in the areas that don’t matter as much. It varies couple to couple but it is the best way to figure out where to cutback and where to splurge.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We look forward to working on our historic home, spending a lot of time on our porch swing, continuing to travel the world, and experiencing life together.

Photographer: Brian Flint Photography | Planner, Rentals and Florals: Carlson Premiere Events | Ceremony Venue: Private residence | Reception Venue: Knights of Columbus | Florist: Joann’s Florist | Cake Baker: Publix | Caterer: Savannah Event Catering | Band: A Nickel Bag of Funk | Bride’s Gown: Elaya Vaughn Bridal by Kate Pankoke | Hair and Makeup: Beyond Beautiful by Heather Ferguson | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo, Bari Jay, and Joanna August | Alterations: Stitch | Calligraphy: Lauren Walker with Caroline & Fitz Design Co.

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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