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I’ll be honest, this wedding inspiration had me at “dogwood bouquet,” friends! Add in the gorgeous tulle wedding gown, the chic bridesmaid look (love those cap sleeves!), and the sleek gold accents, and I knew I had to share these photos with y’all. Big hugs to Hannah Lane for sending them over and to the sweet real-life married couple who posed as our bride and groom!

Photographer:  Hannah Lane Photography | Invitation Designer: Catharine Perry Design | Jewelry: Everistta Bridal | Hair and Makeup: Danna Breaux, Lashes and Lace; Hillary Parker; and Mirror | Mirror | Dress Shop: Ivory and Beau | Handmade Goods Designer: Lovely Retro Renos | Menswear: Menguin | Event Planner: Mingle | Cake Designer: Sablée | Linens and Coverings: Snyder Event Rentals | Event Venue: Sunshine Oaks Retreat | Floral Designer: The Purple Magnolia | Tulle skirts: Whimsy Luxxe

emily Written with love by Emily
8 Comments
  1. avatar Ann Cunniffe reply

    Thank you, Emily, for including us as an inspiration for spring weddings! Hannah’s photos are beautiful!

  2. avatar Hannah reply

    THANK YOU! This is such an honor and I’m so very blessed to have worked with all the incredible vendors involved :)

  3. avatar Stephanie reply

    Beautiful! Love Whimsy Luxxe skirts!!

  4. avatar Lindsay Everistta Bridal reply

    Thank you so much for sharing our beautiful Charleston shoot! Every detail was so gorgeous! I loved designing jewelry for this shoot.

  5. avatar Adrienna reply

    Thank you so much for featuring our gown!

  6. avatar Danna reply

    Thanks so much for this gorgeous shoot Hannah Lane!!!

  7. avatar Catharine Perry reply

    Thank you, Southern Weddings! It was so fun to contribute the invitations & laser cut signage to this beautiful shoot. :-)

  8. avatar Southern Spring Inspired Wedding | Charleston Wedding Photographer reply

    […] shoot with me. (I seriously couldn’t have done it without her). PLUS we were featured on Southern Weddings!!! Ahhh! You can check out that post […]

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I’m sure that none of our love stories happened exactly the way we may have grown up expecting them to, and in Elisa and Craig’s cases, Instagram certainly wasn’t where they imagined they’d someday meet their future spouse! When they finally met face to face, however, their connection was undeniable–Craig knew as soon as he asked Elisa to be his girlfriend that he’d someday ask her to be his wife. While these two are no stranger to the challenges of a long distance relationship, it made their Gatsby-inspired Chapel Hill wedding day all the more special and sweet…though their chocolate wedding cake, passed cupcakes, and milkshake shooters certainly contributed to the sweetness factor, too!

P.S. If Elisa and Craig look familiar, it may be because they’re gracing the back cover of V8! So fun!

Thank you so much to Grain & Compass for sharing this gorgeous day with us!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I don’t think either one of us expected to meet in such a unique way. In 2013, my husband, Craig, and I met on Instagram, as crazy as that sounds. He was living in Los Angeles at the time and I was interning in New York City. We had one mutual acquaintance on Instagram, and from the follow, to likes, to comments, our interest grew. In fact, we still have the screenshot of our first exchange. After texting turned into phone calls and phone calls turned into “FaceTime dates”, Craig flew from Los Angeles to NYC to meet me in person and take me on our first real date. That weekend was its own fairy tale. Without a dull moment, we spent our days exploring museums, going to a Mets baseball game, kayaking on the Hudson River, and eating our way through the Big Apple. Craig asked me that weekend to be his girlfriend. I would later find out that in that moment, he knew he was going to marry me. After a year of dating 3000 miles apart, I finished school and moved to Los Angeles to be with him. Our long distance journey to marriage has given us such beautiful perspective, because we now know that simply being in each other’s company is a blessing to treasure each day we are together.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my wedding dress was something I had always imagined doing with my mom. However, my living across the country from her in Los Angeles did not make this easy, as traveling back and forth was not very ideal or cost-effective. Since we got engaged right before Thanksgiving, Craig and I spent the holiday in North Carolina and my mom was able to reserve just one bridal appointment at Tre Bella in Durham, an hour before our engagement session was to begin. At one point, I tried on the dress I had not pulled and was weary about, stepped out, and saw my mom’s face. This dress was so classic, elegant, and simple in comparison to what I has walked in thinking I would want. But from the classic silhouette, to the soft, flowing fabric, to the Gatsby-esque beading up the back and on the shoulders, I realized this was it. I never expected to find my wedding dress after only 45 minutes of looking!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We chose to do a first look and we wouldn’t have had it any other way! To be able to share an intimate moment before the wedding just talking, laughing, and treasuring the time leading up to becoming husband and wife allowed us to share the whole day together. It also allowed us to take most of our formal pictures before the ceremony, which gave us more time to sneak away after and share a quiet moment eating some small appetizers and sharing our first drink as a married couple together. It was perfect.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My mom handmade two amazing wreaths for the doors we stood in front of for the ceremony out of gold-painted magnolia leaves she collected from the yard. She put so much love and time into them and they were stunning!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I knew that I wanted to walk down the aisle to a song that pointed to the reason for our marriage and the importance of the covenant we were about to make. Craig’s talented groomsmen, Justin Gaston and Ben Schofield, performed the song “I am Set Free” by All Sons and Daughters. After the unity candle lighting, we had both families, as well as the bridal party, surround us in prayer. During this moment, Craig’s brother and sister-in-law performed Craig’s favorite hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” reminding us and everyone that our faithfulness to each other is based on how ever faithful God is to us. We were so thankful to have so many friends share their amazing musical talents with us to make our day so special.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Using my parents’ vows as a guide, we wrote our own version of their wedding vows. We really value those vows because we admire both sets of our parents’ commitment and love for each other, and also how their marriage points to their individual relationships with God. A line from our vows that I love is, “to give my life to you by listening and empathizing with you, encouraging and enabling you, believing in you and in what Christ is doing through you.”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We were both raised in the South–Craig in New Orleans and me in North Carolina. We really wanted a venue with rich Southern history and beautiful grounds for our guests to enjoy! With guests traveling from all over, many from LA, we also wanted to minimize any travel between hotels and venues. We decided on the most amazing place that has it all: The Carolina Inn. As soon as we stepped into the Old Well Room (after we booked it from LA, I might add–another win for pictures and my amazing mom!), we knew it really was perfect for our elegant, Gatsby affair!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Craig has an amazing friend and pastor from college who really walked us through the goal and meaning of marriage leading up to our wedding. We were challenged to identify how our parents influenced us, as well as our own experiences, habits, and expectations. The greatest thing we focused on was preparing to become a unified team founded on love and respect–when a wife is loved, she feels respected, and when a husband is respected, he feels loved.

Tell us all about the proposal! From Craig: I knew I wanted to create a really special moment for the proposal. We had been planning on going to a Christmas tree lighting at the Grove here in LA with a few friends when one of them mentioned that they do an epic fireworks show there, too. If anyone knows my wife, they know she LOVES fireworks. Since there was a group of us going, I told a few of our friends my plan: distract her for long enough to get in position, pull out the ring, and drop on one knee in front of everyone as soon as the fireworks started to go off. I knew this was going to be really tough because we would be hanging out for a while and I didn’t want anyone to break down and give it away–not to mention, being a wreck trying to keep the secret myself. The night came and went like a flash. Before I knew it, the tree was lit and it was time for the fireworks show. There I was, in the center of a sea of thousands with booming lights all around, asking the girl of my dreams to marry me. Several stutters later and not without plenty of iPhone photos and videos from both strangers and friends, I was an engaged man.
When did y’all get married? April 17, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Just under 200
Describe your wedding flowers. My vision for the day was a classic, elegant, Gatsby affair. We chose black, gold, and white as our colors–this made my husband and in-laws, who are from New Orleans, very happy, because they just so happen to match the New Orleans Saints colors. It was a win-win for everyone in my book! I knew I wanted to keep the florals elegant and simple, with light yellow and white bouquets and a touch of greenery.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I wanted our wedding cake to be classic and match our aesthetic, but most importantly, I wanted the inside to be chocolate! We designed a two-tiered cake with a hand-painted gold base and a white top, joined by a fondant black stripe and white geometric piping. In addition, we passed out plates and plates of chocolate and yellow cake cupcakes with white frosting and gold dust sprinkled on top, letting everyone know it was party time! Our love of desserts did not stop there–milkshake shooters and hot cookies were enjoyed by all to keep the sugar rush high and the feet on the dance floor!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my sister-in-law’s veil, as well as my bridesmaid’s earrings. I also had my grandmother’s diamonds with me. We had always talked about my wedding when I was growing up, and she passed away the day after my wedding.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Our greatest advice would be to trust the experience of the vendors you have chosen and give them freedom to shine in their skills. Our vision was clear for each selection that was made, but the results of our planning, decoration, hair, makeup, photography, florals, stationery, etc. was because we let our vendors run with our ideas instead of keeping them bound by only are ideas or concepts.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? For us right now, it’s building our life together in Los Angeles. We are both pursuing our passions and there’s no telling what the future holds. I’m sure there will be many trips back to our Southern roots in Louisiana and North Carolina, as well as abroad–we are excited for our 2016 trip to Europe!

Photographer and Videographer: Grain and Compass / Planner: Erin McLean Events / Venue and Caterer: The Carolina Inn / Florist: Barbara Long / Cake Baker: Once in a Blue Moon / Rentals: CE Rental / DJ: The Local DJ / Paper Products: Alissa Bell Press / Bride’s Gown: “Selia” by St. Patrick / Bride’s Hair Accessories: Yes Dear & Co. / Hair and Makeup: Lula Hair and Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: Nina / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Sleeveless Lace Cocktail Dress” by Aidan Mattox / Menswear: “Slim Fit Tuxedo” in Black by Calvin Klein

Erin McLean Events and Lula Hair and Makeup are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    The Carolina Inn looks like the perfect venue for a Gatsby inspired wedding!

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Since 95 percent of Hilari and Grant’s guests traveled from out of town for their wedding, they wanted to not only show their guests a true Southern celebration, but also make them feel loved and celebrated. To me, that is the definition of gracious Southern hospitality. From the ceremony under a magnolia tree (which is extra special to Hilari, as every house she’s lived in has had one in the front yard), to hand-delivered welcome bags, and even a giant Jenga game at cocktail hour handmade by Hilari’s grandfather, I’m sure that through each element of Hilari and Grant’s wedding at Belle Meade Plantation, guests loved being part of this new chapter of their love story.

Thanks to Rachel Moore for sharing this lovely day!

I knew finding my wedding dress would be something special for my mom and I to do together. She and I are absolute best friends and I thought it would be something really sweet we could share together, forever. Through our shared Pinterest board, I kind of had an idea of what I was looking for, but in all honesty, was completely open to anything as long as it was unique and completely out of the box. The wedding colors had been decided months before (black, white, and glittery gold), and I wanted a dress that fit our venue, theme, and overall style. One Sunday, we decided to start the process and stopped into The Dress Theory boutique in Nashville. As soon as I walked in the door, I spotted a beautiful gold, glittery dress. In that moment, I knew that was my dress. It fit all of my criteria and was better than anything I could have imagined. Paired with a pretty belt and a simple veil, it was perfect. We found out later that the dress I chose isn’t typically isn’t carried at The Dress Theory–Sarah Seven was having a trunk show that weekend, so we lucked out and happened upon it. It was meant to be!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We tried to incorporate so many Southern details into our special day. Belle Meade Plantation is the epitome of Nashville Southern living. The venue was the perfect backdrop for our wedding and celebration, and had such a historical factor that our out-of-town guests loved. We chose to get married under the magnolia tree in the gardens, and tied magnolias into the boutonnieres and tables decor. This was especially sentimental, as every house I’ve lived in has had a magnolia tree in the front yard. Our guests absolutely loved the biscuit bar, with toppings that included pulled pork, fried chicken, hot sauce, homemade jams and butters, sorghum and more. We had familial ties throughout the day as well, including signature drink recipes concocted by my dad, corn hole and giant Jenga handmade by my grandfather, and welcome bags carefully crafted and hand-delivered to our guests by me and my mom.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! I think this was one of the best decisions we made all day. It was a way for us to connect before the ceremony and truly soak in the magnitude of what was ahead. It gave us time to laugh, cry, reflect on our journey, and get really excited for the celebration ahead. I think we were both more nervous than we had anticipated, and this gave us the perfect opportunity to share in a special moment together, just us.

We chose Belle Meade Plantation for both our ceremony and reception because it was the perfect backdrop for our Southern wedding. 95 percent of our guests were traveling from out of town, and we wanted to give them a warm Nashville welcome and show them a truly Southern affair. It was the perfect size for our 125 guests and we were able to make full use of the gorgeous property. The ceremony was conducted under the big magnolia in the Boxwood Garden, then passed appetizers, signature drinks, and lawn games took place under the eaves. We dined under twinkle lights in the back tent and danced the night away in the Carriage House. Grant and I wanted our guests to feel loved and celebrated, and also introduce them to all things Southern!

Describe your wedding flowers. Where to begin? Our florist was incredible at bringing our floral dreams to life. We chose a gorgeous blend of whites, greens, and golds, and made sure to incorporate magnolias. The bridesmaid bouquets were white with pops of green, and my bouquet was white with gold accents to match my dress. The tables were adorned with gold-edged magnolias, candles, and gold vessels.

We opted for a small, two-tiered cake that was brought out to us at the head table. We cut it there and guests were served cupcakes with custom toppers and forks at the same time. My favorite flavor is funfetti and Grant’s is coconut. We were able to have a layer of each, and enjoyed the leftovers the next day (and still have slices in our freezer for whenever we want to revisit our special day!).

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It depends who you ask! We both agree that we met during our senior year at Vanderbilt, but my side of story doesn’t start until February 4. I lived off campus at the time and had a very busy schedule with nursing school. On that Saturday night, I was in my PJs, had a glass of wine ready, and was just about to start watching The Bachelor when my phone rang. It was my friend wanting me to join her at a party she was headed to, and I decided to head over, which is totally out of character for me once I’m settled in. I figured I’d stay for just a little bit. That all changed when I walked in the door…and there was Grant. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I asked my friend, “Who IS that and why haven’t I met him yet?!” She said, “You actually have!” After some awkward introductions, Grant and I start talking. We had so much in common and could have talked forever, but I figured this Southerner would want nothing to do with my Yankee self. Come to find out, Grant was the one who had really wanting me to come to the party in the first place! Two minutes turned into two hours, which turned into the rest of the evening. The rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! It all started when I got home and Grant was there waiting for me dressed up, which was unusual because we were about to go for a walk. He told me to get in the car–no questions asked! After a few minutes of detouring around the city, we finally arrived at Love Circle, the location of one of our first dates, which has a gorgeous view of Nashville. Grant had a picnic basket packed full of our favorite snacks and we walked up the hill. As soon as we spread out the blanket, Grant was on one knee and proposed. Of course, I said yes! With a champagne toast and a bunch of sweet treats, we celebrated while admiring the most amazing view of Nashville!
When did y’all get married? May 16, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. “Hey Pretty Girl” was Grant’s choice for our first dance because he says it reminded him of when he met me, and it always brings a smile to both of our faces. My father-daughter dance was to “My Girl”–I am a daddy’s girl through and through. My dad picked the song that was playing in the delivery room when I was born–it brings tears to his eyes every time, and was the perfect song for us.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Planning for our marriage was just as important, if not more, as planning for our wedding. We participated in a premarital course offered through a local church. This provided a place to talk about many things we had touched on previously, and allowed us to dive further into our values, goals, and hopes for marriage. We also made sure to have date night once a week to regroup on our life outside of wedding planning and make sure we were on the same page. This was essential in planting the seeds for a fruitful marriage.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I think the most memorable moment was sitting at our table, listening to my parents’ toasts, and looking around at the culmination of our celebration. Everyone we loved was in one place, under one tent, laughing, chatting, and becoming one big family. Love and relationships fire me up, and it was the perfect way to begin our journey together.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Prioritize. Make a master list (yes, it will be long!) and categorize each task into priority level. What is a “must do?” What can wait until most of the details are in place? Understanding your list in terms of priority level will help make the planning process less stressful, and will help you make time for what matters most. Also, have fun! This is such an exciting time! Don’t forget to celebrate, laugh, create memories, and live in the moment. It goes by so fast! One more tip: take a few days before leaving for your honeymoon. We left a week after the wedding, and it was so relaxing. During our wedding weekend, we could live in the moment and soak in every memory. Once we got home, the honeymoon packing and anticipation could begin!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are excited about settling into our new, married routine, and growing more deeply in love as the days, months, and years progress. We plan to travel, focus on laying the groundwork for a successful marriage, and make the most of each day together. Eventually, we want to start a family and create a happy haven for our children, a place for them to grow in a loving, supportive, and encouraging home.

Photographer: Rachel Moore Photography / Videographer: Needle + Thread / Planner: A Delightful Day / Venue: Belle Meade Plantation / Florist: Brocade Designs / Cake Baker: Wolfe Gourmet Cakes / Caterer: G Catering & Events / Rentals: Southern Event Rentals / Lighting: Bright Event Productions / Bands: Silver Strings and The Respectables / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Gown: Sarah Seven / Bridal Salon and Veil: The Dress Theory / Hair Stylist: Sarah Page / Makeup Artist: Nicole Diamond / Bride’s Shoes: Tieks / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse / Additional Vendors: Sucre Shop, Sugar Paper, You’re That Girl Designs

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

    Such beautiful wedding photos. The bride is so smiley. :)

  2. avatar StudioWed Nashville | A Delightful Day Event Planning : Blush and Gold Wedding reply

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  3. avatar 6 Ideas para que los Pajes de tu Boda sean muy Originales | El Blog de una Novia reply

    […] Rachel Moore Photography | Southern Weddings […]

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