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Caroline knew her beautiful lace gown was the one for her as soon as she saw it in the window of Maddison Row while she passed the store on her way home from work. She also knew right away that since one of her favorite things about weddings is how couples incorporate special touches throughout their day (us too!), it was important to her that on her own wedding day, meaningful details were woven in. One of her favorites was the ranunculus halo worn by their flower girl–it had seven individual blooms on it in memory of their seven late grandparents who weren’t physically present at their wedding. We also love the sweet favors that Caroline and her mama canned themselves, using a family friend’s pickle relish recipe. I’m sure guests loved being able to witness a new chapter in Caroline and Luke’s life, and then take home a piece of their family history!

Big hugs to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Courtney Dox for sharing this sweet day with us!

During our engagement, I was working in downtown Charleston. Every day, I would take the same route home from work, and luckily for me, Maddison Row was on that route. I loved getting stuck at the Maddison Row intersection and inching my car up as close to the storefront as possible to see the three beautifully dressed mannequins in the window. On my way home one day, I spotted my beautiful dress, pulled out my iPhone, and snapped a picture! I called and set up an appointment with my photo in hand! I tried on several dresses during my appointment, but the beautiful Monique Lhuillier I had spotted was the one!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: One of my favorite things about weddings is seeing all of the special touches incorporated throughout, so I knew that was important to me for my own wedding. One of our favorite details was the ranunculus halo worn by our flower girl in lieu of a traditional flower basket. The halo had seven individual ranunculus flowers on it in memory of our seven late grandparents who weren’t physically present for our special day.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I grew up in a United Methodist Church, but my home church was too small for the wedding size we were planning, so we chose a beautiful United Methodist Church downtown for our ceremony. We chose Lowndes Grove Plantation for our reception because it is a gorgeous Charleston venue that encompassed all of the Southern charm we were looking for to make our wedding incredible!

The biggest challenge we had to overcome while planning our wedding was trying to figure out ways to maximize our budget. We had a large guest list and wanted to be able to include everyone without having to compromise on too many of the personalized touches we knew would make our wedding day so special. We quickly realized the big difference between want and need, and we were able to find a perfect balance to create an amazing day!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? The entire wedding planning process helped us plan for our marriage. We learned so much about how to talk to each other during stressful times and how to peacefully resolve differences. In the end, all we wanted was for the other to be happy on that day, and we learned early on to remember that point for the duration of our marriage.

Our flowers were absolutely incredible! We really wanted vibrant pinks and corals and romantic, trailing greenery. The bouquets and arrangements included beautiful peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, and other seasonal blooms, accented with succulents, maidenhair fern, and trailing jasmine vine. The groom, groomsmen, and ring bearer boutonnieres were made of succulents, and our flower girl wore a beautiful ranunculus and greenery crown.

We couldn’t agree on a song for our first dance until one day when “Oh Girl” by The Chi-Lites came on my Pandora station, and I immediately knew it was the one! We thought it would be a perfect fit for our band and we loved the idea of a classic song that everyone in the crowd would know and could sway along to.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had a beautiful, traditional Southern wedding with the most picturesque setting and traditional Southern foods. One of my favorite Southern traditions we included was the guest favor passed at the reception–my mom and I made pear relish using a family friend’s recipe, packaged it in four ounce quilted Mason jars, and tied a tiny butcher’s twine bow around each lid. I loved the days spent in the kitchen canning with my mom to create such a heartfelt thank you to everyone who came to help us celebrate!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Luke began his pediatric residency in July 2011 at the Medical University of South Carolina, and my twin sister was working as nurse on the general pediatrics floor at the time. During his second year of residency, they were on an overnight shift and several people were chatting about significant others. Luke was asked if he was dating anyone, and when he said no, they immediately began brainstorming who they could set him up with. My sister mentioned she had a single twin sister and set us up on a blind date. We went out a few weeks later and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! On October 30th, 2013, I got off work early and arranged for afternoon manicures and pedicures with my sister. We went to our usual salon and had a fairly uneventful afternoon. When we got back to my house, my sister went home, and Luke was home from work, but acting suspiciously abnormal. He said he had made dinner reservations for us at one of our favorite restaurants for our weekly date night, so I went to my room to search for the perfect outfit for our night out. He came into the room and told me he’d surprised me and gone and picked up some new makeup I’d been wanting, and set it down on the dresser. He walked out of the room and I kept searching for clothes, only looking at the makeup several minutes later. When I opened the bag, there was a ring box inside and I yelled, “WHAT IS THIS?!” I quickly ran down the hallway to the living room, where Luke was waiting for me on one knee! I was so shocked, I threw the ring box at him, which he immediately opened and asked me to marry him! Of course, I said “YES!” to a man who not only knows what kind of makeup I wear, but also picks up hints that I’d been wanting new products and successfully surprised me with them!
When did y’all get married? May 23, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175-200
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? I absolutely love first look photos in wedding albums. The expressions and emotions are so genuine, and the excitement of the big day is captured forever! It was so hard for me not to want that moment captured for us, but we both strongly felt that we wanted our first reveal to be when I came down the aisle. I wanted the moment to be so pure that I even decided against bridal portraits, so my first time in my gown was on our wedding day.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we wanted to preserve the tradition of a United Methodist wedding and recited vows from the United Methodist Book of Worship.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Of course! My twin sister lent me her monogrammed handkerchief from her wedding two years prior. My paternal grandmother was the donor of something old, giving me her antique gold bangle bracelet to wear. My maternal grandmother passed 10 years prior to my wedding, but was there in spirit for my something blue, which was pale blue fabric from her wedding attire wrapped in lace from my wedding dress and wrapped around my bouquet. I considered my beautiful dress my something new!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We made decisions to select less expensive furniture options in some places, selectively place linens around the venue to provide optimal effect, and made other similar choices that would allow us to save small amounts across varying aspects of our wedding, adding up to bigger savings.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right now, we are just loving married life and building our life together! We want to see the seven wonders of the modern world and are looking forward to a little traveling before starting a family. We saw Chichen-Itza on our honeymoon and can’t wait for our next adventure!

Photographer: Courtney Dox / Planner: Ashley Wez of Boutique Planning / Ceremony Venue: Bethel United Methodist Church / Reception Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation / Florist: SYG Designs / Cake Baker: Jim Smeal Cakes / Rentals: Snyder Event Rentals and EventHaus / Lighting: Technical Event Company / Band: Heart to Heart / Paper Products: Studio R Design / Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Bride’s Accessories: Vera Wang / Hair Stylist: Christine Pointek of Allure Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Lula Kate / Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Event Design: JLV Creative / Transportation: ACW Limo and Absolutely Charleston / Linens: Nuage Designs

Courtney Dox and LulaKate are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    SO beautiful!! They are such a gorgeous couple, and that is a reception after my own heart–biggest heart eyes for that gray and white checkered dance floor and striped cake!

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In the Sweet Tea Society, we share a belief that simple is often better, and Rachel and Sam’s wedding day is a perfect example of this sentiment. They chose to honor God, their family, and their own love story at their sweetly simple wedding, reminiscent of Southern celebrations from times past. They held a morning ceremony at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where Rachel’s grandparents were married in 1950, followed by a brunch reception, complete with sweet tea and the buzz of good company to celebrate their day. I love how Rachel and her mom kept each other focused during their planning by asking “what kind of significance will this really have?” when considering details. What a poignant question to keep in mind.

Big SW hugs to my friend Brooke Glassford of Colorbox Photographers for sharing this lovely day!

I had originally decided that I wanted to wear my mom’s dress. It is a beautiful lace gown that I loved, but we knew there were a couple of things we would want to change about it. We went wedding dress shopping just to get ideas, but the girls at The White Room really did their job well! I ended up falling in love with an Anne Barge dress, and I was really torn about it, but my mom assured me that it was my dress. I am so happy with the choice. We ended up using some lace from my mom’s gown on my veil that she sewed herself, which ended up being even more special to me. It is something we will pass down for generations to come.

Our wedding was more like the Southern weddings in times past–it was at 11:00 in the morning and we served brunch with lemonade and sweet tea afterwards. We enjoyed the company of friends and family and didn’t have anything fancy going on other than the buzz of good company.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My grandparents were wed at St. Paul’s in 1950. It is the church that I grew up in and that my father grew up in and that my grandfather grew up in. It was very special to my family and to Sam and I that we were married in a place with such rich history and deep meaning.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? This is a hard one. I think the most memorable moment of our wedding day was saying my vows to Sam. That was the moment when everything started to really sink in for me. I also really loved this moment that after we were announced as husband and wife, we turned around to face our friends and family, and the whole church joined in to sing the Doxology. It was such a joy to get to see so many loved ones and to sing praise to the Lord with them!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? The main way that we planned for our marriage was through prayer for our future. We prayed for each other as well as ourselves in the new roles we were about to take on. Our main desire for our marriage is that the Lord be honored and glorified.

Our wedding flowers were beyond gorgeous! The day before our wedding, I had to run by the church and ended up walking into the reception venue. I was immediately in tears because of how beautiful everything was, and because of the people who blessed me with the talent they have been blessed with. Two women who have had a big impact on my life, and especially on my walk with the Lord, were in charge of all of the flowers. They, along with a team of family and friends, created more than I could have ever asked for. The flowers certainly pointed to the beauty of the Lord and the brilliance of what He creates.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Sam and I met in kindergarten. Although we “dated” from 7th-12th grade, we say that we truly started dating our junior year of college after we became Christians. We know that it is only because of the Lord’s great mercy on our lives and His great love for us that we are able to love each other.
Tell us all about the proposal! October 10, 2014 is one of my most favorite memories. It was just a normal Friday, and a close friend of ours had invited us over to eat with their family at their cabin, about 30 minutes outside of Auburn. I didn’t think twice about it, even though Sam came up with a thousand excuses for why the Sheils were coming to the cabin after us. He was basically on one knee the second we stepped out of his truck and onto the porch. He recalled lots of things that had happened over our 11 years together and talked about wanting me to be his wife. I was completely shocked and so excited that I didn’t say anything for a while! He then prepared a delicious meal for us and we sat on the porch for hours, excitedly talking about our future together and thanking the Lord for allowing it all to really happen as we had always wished.
When did y’all get married? July 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 250
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. We really wanted to have that moment to ourselves to soak in the day before all of it moved too quickly to remember. Seeing him at the end of the aisle waiting for me was still just as special and exciting as I had always dreamed it would be.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 1 Corinthians 13 was read during our ceremony by our officiant, Sam’s dad. He talked about how our home needed to be built on Godly love in order for our home to be sustained.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I think the biggest challenge for us was our guest list. We knew we wanted a more intimate ceremony, and although 250 guests doesn’t seem very intimate to some people, in our small, Southern town, it is! Cutting down the guest list was definitely challenging for us.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My parents asked me to choose three things that were really important to us for our wedding. We chose three big, important things and tried to cut corners on everything else. My mom and I would stop each other and ask, “Is this really that important?” Or “What kind of significance will this really have?” It made the planning process a lot more enjoyable.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My advice is to enjoy the process! It is something you will never have the opportunity to do again, and it’s neat to think that the Lord planned this specific time just for you. Praise Him for it, thank Him for it, and give it up to Him. Planning seemed like a breeze because I knew I wasn’t doing it alone.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right after we got married, we moved to Tuscaloosa from Auburn. We both just started new jobs here and are looking forward to getting plugged into a local community in this new place.

Photographer: Brooke Glassford of Colorbox Photographers / Videographer: David Haygood / Venue: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Carlowville / Florals: Catherine Gilmer and April Lane / Caterer and Cake Baker: Granny B Catering / Rentals: Encore Rentals / Paper Products: Kadie Smith / Bride’s Gown: “Pembroke” by Anne Barge / Bridesmaids’ Hair and Makeup: Amber Todd / Bride’s Shoes: Toms / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: David’s Bridal / Menswear: Jim Massey Formals / Ties: Landisun

marissa Written with love by Marissa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Stephanie Scholl reply

    I love, love, love the heart and simplicity behind this wedding! It’s so refreshing to see a wedding these days that evokes the feel of weddings of the past… less focused on the details and the party and more focused on simplicity, family, community, and love. Thanks for sharing this one – it sure it gorgeous & is one to remember!

  2. avatar Brooke Glassdord reply

    Thank you SO much for featuring this wedding! It was an honor to capture AND an honor being featured by SW!

  3. avatar Southern Weddings feature: Sam + Rachel » Colorbox Photographers reply

    […] Weddings for featuring Sam + Rachel’s summer morning wedding on their blog today! Click here to see the […]

  4. avatar Jehnel Oboza-Davison reply

    Seriously, seriously beautiful wedding. I am so in love with the central focus of love, family, and God in this wedding. This reminds me of looking through your grandparents’ old wedding albums and it was just chock-full of happy pictures; a blushing bride and a dapper groom. So beautiful. Let’s return to this again, y’all!

  5. avatar Donna Harrison reply

    I watched this couple grow up…It was indeed a great day!!! A glorious day!

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I feel a special connection to today’s beautiful couple, Nina and Nick–their story started in Singapore, where I spent part of my childhood too! If there’s one thing I learned growing up abroad, it’s that the world is so small–you never know when you might cross paths with someone again. That was exactly the case for Nina and Nick, who reconnected in college at SMU, and started falling in love before the school year even started. Four years later, they began planning their Texas vineyard wedding with the help of Elixir Events, being careful to only include details that really meant something to them. As a result, the whole day was focused on their love and the joining of their families. What a perfect way to begin married life!

Thanks so much to Tracy Enoch for sharing Nina and Nick’s wedding with us!

The weekend after Nick proposed, my mom was in town, so we decided to take advantage of this trip and go wedding dress shopping. With no intention of finding my perfect dress yet, we set off to just have some fun. Browsing the racks of the Blushing Bride Boutique, we picked up a handful of dresses for me to try. After many vetoes, my eyes turned to what the boutique called the “vine dress.” Although it was beautiful, it was not the silhouette I had imagined myself in. I slipped into the dress, not overly enthused, and turned to stare at myself in the mirror…and this was the one, I knew it! Instead of breaking down and bawling, I was surprisingly calm, thoughtful, and logical. My mom couldn’t believe it! I knew it was the right dress because I made my decision in the calm, logical way that Nick would have. That is when the tears started rolling, because it wasn’t until then that I realized how much this man had impacted me for the better.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look. It was very important to both of us that we saw each other for the first time when I was walking down the aisle. We wanted to feel that magic!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We think that having our wedding outdoors added a Southern element. We also had both a bride’s and groom’s cake. All of the bridesmaids wore a simple gold necklace with a pearl that I gave each of them, and Nick’s aunt hosted a bridal luncheon for me and the ladies closest to me.

Everyone says it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day–well, we got extra lucky! The morning of our wedding day, the rain came down hard and we ended up having to move our ceremony to a different area of the vineyard. At the time, it was hard for me to gain perspective after we had been planning for so long, but in the end, it could not have worked out more perfectly. It ended up being more than we could have hoped for–we say it was meant to be!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Mitas Hill made such a good first impression on us that we both immediately felt it was meant to be. It is such a rarity to find a vineyard in North Texas, and it was perfect for our outdoor wedding.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We saved money by keeping things simple. We thought about what was really important to us, and then let everything else fall away. We wanted our wedding to be all about the joining of our two families and celebrating our love, and that is exactly what it was!

We really struggled to find a song that would be appropriate for our first dance. Finally, a week before the wedding, my angel of a sister shared the song “Forever Like That” by Ben Rector. It couldn’t have been more perfect–the words spoke to us, and it has become so special to us.

We went with a simple and elegant design for the bride’s cake, and incorporated beautiful vines to accent the vineyard around us. The groom’s cake, on the other hand, was inspired by one of our favorite TV shows, Game of Thrones. It was amazing!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. From Nick: Our paths first crossed in Singapore. We had been living internationally for most of our lives due to our parents’ careers, and it just so happened that we both ended up at the Singapore American School at the same time. Most people would assume our relationship started there, but we were both too afraid to make a move. Circumstances brought us together again, however, with each of us deciding to attend Southern Methodist University one year apart. We officially met at SMU, and I, in an act of uncharacteristic social prowess, managed to score a date with Nina before the school year had even begun. This headstart proved unnecessary, as our relationship quickly blossomed into a whirlwind romance. From Greek formals and SMU Boulevards, to music festivals and road trips, we quickly grew to be more than just great friends, and realized we shared a lot more than a common history of growing up overseas. Four years later would be the real test of our relationship upon my moving after graduation. However, distance, as they say, makes the heart grow fonder, and in this case, showed us what was truly important: each other.
Tell us all about the proposal! For almost a year after his graduation, Nick and I maintained a long distance relationship, with him living in Houston for his job while I finished my degree at SMU. Nick was visiting for one of his long weekend trips, and that Saturday morning, while I thought he was hanging out with his best friend and nursing a hangover, he was actually putting in motion the plan to ask me to spend the rest of our lives together. Towards the end of the day, he told me to make my way back to the Tri Delta sorority house for a belated surprise, as my birthday had been earlier that week. Waiting for me was one of my dear friends, who helped me get ready before I was whisked away to the first of many destinations. I first stopped in front of the Sig Ep house (Nick’s fraternity), where we had first made eyes at each other four years before. There, I was handed a letter written by Nick, which, among the heartfelt and romantic thoughts, gave me my first clue as to where to start the scavenger hunt down memory lane. After following the clues to places that hold special memories for us, I finally found Nick waiting for me at White Rock Lake, where he had planned a sunset picnic for Valentine’s Day just months before. I couldn’t breathe as I drove up in my little red Jeep. There he was, the man of my dreams, standing in the middle of the small bridge overlooking the lake. I finally caught my breath and made my way to his side. Taking my hands, Nick reminded me of memories from our four years together. After a deep breath, he got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of our lives together! It was the best day of my life!
When did y’all get married? June 13, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 220
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose 1 Corinthians 13:4 because both of our parents had used this reading at their weddings.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There were so many amazing moments from our wedding. For us, the most memorable were the quiet moments we were able to share together amongst the craziness. When we were able to take even just a few seconds to look into each other’s eyes and acknowledge exactly what was happening around us and how much we loved each other, that was the best!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? We didn’t have the luxury of being together during our engagement–we were over 3,000 miles apart. Don’t take one second together for granted. Enjoy every little detail and moment you have, because you only get to do this once. Don’t let the little things stress you out. Remember what the day is really about and the person you will get to spend the rest of your life with!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Next for us is saying goodbye to the USA and hello to St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Nick has already been living there for about a year, and now, it’s my turn to pick up and move to be with my guy. Having both lived overseas, we know our adventures are just beginning, and we can’t wait!

Photographer: Tracy Enoch Photography / Videographer: Landon Whinery / Planner, Florist, Rentals, Lighting, and Special Details: Elixir Events / Venue and Caterer: Mitas Hill Vineyard / Cake Baker: Flour Child Cakery / Music: Peter Nicholas / Paper Products: The Magic Pen and Party / Bride’s Gown: Lillian West / Bridal Salon and Accessories: The Blushing Bride Boutique / Hair Stylist: Reah Meier of Be Youtiful Hair Designs / Makeup Artist: Hannah Baylong / Bride’s Shoes: Michael Kors / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Andrew Adela / Menswear: Vera Wang

lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Nina Lesiuk reply

    Lisa,
    Thank you so much for helping us share our love story. It is just incredible that you lived in Singapore too, it really is such a small world!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      It’s our pleasure! I couldn’t believe it when I read your interview–such a small world! Thank you for sharing with us and our sweet readers! Xoxo

  2. avatar liam smith photography reply

    beautiful photographs Tracy

  3. avatar Tracy reply

    Thank you so much for featuring this sweet couple and their wedding!!

  4. avatar Dana reply

    they are darling! love the cake!

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