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Bride Catherine shares her outdoor Charleston wedding!

Catherine and Thomas’s wedding was one of the first we accepted for our tenth-anniversary issue, and can I tell you a secret? It wasn’t even officially submitted! I happened to see it on Elisa Bricker’s website when she unveiled her redesign, and instantly inquired because I was so enamored with what I saw.

And can y’all blame me? Even though their wedding took place at the loveliest venue and not their family home the Father of the Bride vibes are unmistakable, and I am a forever fan of anything that reminds me of that beloved movie.

Of course, our bride and groom made their celebration their own, from the mint green details of Catherine’s dress, the inclusion of family heirlooms, and a unique route down the aisle. Friends, I think you will love this one! If you’d like to see even more detail, pick up a copy of our newest issue!

Tell us about your beautiful engagement ring and how your husband chose it. Thomas has a great eye and knew exactly what I would like. My mom has a friend in New York who is a jewelry designer who made it for me. I was so lucky to have someone who has amazing taste and a mom who could turn his ideas into reality.

We got married right outside of Charleston, SC in April. The weather in April in Charleston is perfect for an outdoor wedding. I’ve always wanted a Charleston wedding, and having been to many, we both wanted to find a venue a little different. The view of River Oaks really sold us on the location. The ceremony was at 5:30, which was perfect timing with the sunset at the beginning of cocktail hour and reception, and gave us a long time to celebrate with friends and family.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew I wanted to go shopping in New York. I went to a few boutiques but just couldn’t find what I wanted anywhere. I left New York disappointed and not sure what to do next, when the associate at Monique Lhullier emailed me to let me know they were having a trunk show for their new collection and if I found something that day I could have it in time for my wedding. I flew back up and it was the first one I tried on. I loved it immediately. I always said I wasn’t a sparkly wedding gown kind of girl, but as it turns out I am. I fell in love the second I put it on. My favorite part was probably the skirt. It poufed out just enough but it wasn’t heavy at all. And maybe also the mint green beadwork. The sun picked up the color and it was just beautiful.

Tell us about your wedding flowers. They were all white with lots of green. I wanted loose and natural flowers that looked like you could’ve just picked them from the garden. My bouquet was amazing, it was oversized and pouring over, loosely hanging. I tied an antique handkerchief with a broach from my Grandma on it.

The most special part was walking down the aisle. It’s kind of surreal. You plan for so long for this moment, and it’s crazy walking up to the person you’re going to marry when it’s time to say I do. My dad and I actually walked from the front of the guests instead of down a traditional aisle in the back and it was kind of a long walk. It gave me time to soak everything in and see everyone I love there.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? I love color and lots of it. But for some reason, for our wedding I really wanted to tone everything down and just let the beauty of River Oaks stand out. It’s such a beautiful property, we wanted to keep to greens and whites and let the scenery really stand out.
What was your favorite detail of the wedding? I can’t pick just one! The flowers, the band, the food, my family and friends!

Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used for your reception. We had so much greenery and flowers and natural elements. I loved the property itself so much, we played off of their landscape. We also did a different dance floor and floral back drop which were some of my favorite things, it wasn’t like a lot of other weddings I had been to.
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? A little bit of everything! Lots of shrimp, that was Thomas’s big request.

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. The wedding cake was beautiful and mimicked the lace on my dress. We also had cotton candy passed around later in the night because it’s my absolute favorite thing.

How did the two of you meet? Thomas and my sister went to college together, so we met at a party for my sister’s grad school graduation. I was actually moving to New York the following Monday, so it definitely wasn’t something either of us thought would work out. After about a year, it just felt right to move back to Charlotte to be with him.
Describe the proposal! We were set to go on this amazing vacation, to Antigua, where I had a feeling he was going to propose. A few days before, we met at our house (we had just started to renovate and it was pretty gutted inside) to see what it looked like. It was dark and chilly and Thomas stood in front of me talking about the future that this house would have for us. That’s about all I remember, other than fussing at him about getting dirt and mud all over his pants if he knelt down. It was, to me, very us. No big production, just us.
How many guests attended your wedding? 225
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? Getting everyone on the same page. Thomas and I really wanted most of the same things, and he trusts my style enough that it wasn’t an issue between us. I think between my mom, wedding planner, and myself it was hard for me personally to stay organized.
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? There were so many! One of our favorites was that one of my best friends was due any day and wasn’t able to make it. When we were walking down the aisle as husband and wife, I saw her mom and she was facetiming her and it was just a random sweet moment that she could be there!
Tell us a bit about your first dance. It was so stressful! I hate being in front of crowds, and I’m not a great dancer. Thomas is an awesome dancer so that took a little stress off of me.
What were some of the highlights of the reception? Just all the dancing. Our band was spectacular. At the end, because we had a later noise ordinance, Marianne asked if we wanted to keep going and I almost cried and said yes, thank you! We didn’t want the night to end.
Tell us about your grand exit. I always loved the idea of Chinese wish lanterns and seeing them floating off as we leave. We chose to do those and sparklers (in case of bad wind). We ended up with both, which was kind of crazy but it was so fun. The look on everyone’s faces watching the lanterns float away was pretty special. And to top it off, as a total surprise from my wonderful planner Marianne and her husband, as we were pulling out there were fireworks. We were so surprised, it was really sweet.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Enjoy it, and don’t let the pressure from other people get to you. It’s supposed to be fun

Photographer: Elisa Bricker | Planner: Marianne Caldwell | Venue: River Oaks Charleston | Florals: Blossoms Events | Caterer: Cru Catering | Wedding cake: Wedding Cakes by Jim Smeal | Bride’s gown and veil: Monique Lhuillier | Bride’s shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaid dresses: Lela Rose | Hair stylist: Modern Salon and Spa | Paper goods: Feast Fine Art and Calligraphy | Rentals: Ooh! Events | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Transportation: Charleston Style Limo

Elisa Bricker is a lovely member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor directory.

emily Written with love by Emily
4 Comments
  1. avatar Pixie Wedding Websites reply

    Love the simplicity of this wedding, just beautiful. The detail on the brides dress is stunning!

  2. avatar Megan reply

    Did they have a videographer? I’d love to see all of this in motion!! 😍

  3. avatar Elisa reply

    Thanks so much for sharing. This wedding, and the feelings and memories it created, is one of my favorites! xo

  4. avatar Introducing Alder: modern botanical wedding invitation inspiration – Bella Figura reply

    […] setting | wedding dress | flowers | cake | boutonniere | rings | greenery […]

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Bride Kara shares her Virginia Wine Country wedding.

Kara and Ryan’s Virginia winery wedding has such a storybook, romantic ambiance that it didn’t surprise me at all that Ryan proposed using a copy of Pride and Prejudice. (Much like my favorite editorial!) It only seems fitting that a warm, countryside celebration would result!

This beautiful day, full of thoughtful touches and efforts to incorporate family history, was a labor of love that ultimately served as a vehicle for quality time. Kara shared that, “Wedding planning really brought our families together. It’s extremely time-consuming, and being able to spend that time with Ryan and both of our families was the best part.” If you’re in the midst of a similarly time-consuming wedding planning process, may this serve as a sweet reminder that while your wedding is only one day, this engagement season is full of opportunities to celebrate and grow closer to your fiance and his family along the way.

Thank you to Erika Brown for these gorgeous images!

When did y’all get married? April 29, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140.

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I had thought about this day since I was a little girl. I went with my mom, and I knew the second she zipped up the fifth dress of the day that I had found the dress of my dreams. I instantly fell in love with the beautiful lace, the full train, and the plunging sweetheart neckline. I couldn’t wait for Ryan to see me in it.
Did you decide to do a first look? Yes, and Looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. Ryan calms me; he always has. I knew I would be emotional enough that day, and we wanted to share a moment together before the ceremony to just be with each other.

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Seeing Ryan, as I was walking down the aisle with my dad. The emotions were everything I ever dreamed they would be. There is truly nothing like it.

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? The florals! Our wedding coordinator, Cody, went above and beyond to bring my whimsical romantic wedding vision to life!
What was Southern about your wedding? We had wedding portraits displayed from our parents and grandparents’ wedding days, honoring their love and traditions.

Early Mountain Vineyards was the first venue we visited, and we both knew the second we entered the tasting room that it was perfect for us. Ryan and I share a love of wine, and the romantic elegance of the venue was perfect!

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? We chose to have assorted cupcakes from a local Charlottesville bakery, Sweethaus. We wanted the Charlottesville charm to show through on our special day, so we chose to keep all the vendors local.

Tell us all about the proposal! It was January 21, 2016. I was getting ready for what I thought was a birthday dinner to celebrate my parents’ January birthdays. I walked down the stairs of our Baltimore row home and saw a bottle of champagne and a Pride and Prejudice book with a single rose laying next to it. Ryan stood up, opened the book, and I saw that he had carved out a heart with a black velvet ring box laid inside. He took the box out, and beneath it, he had highlighted the word “engagement” from the text of the book. He then got down on one knee and proposed. We enjoyed a glass of champagne while we called our parents and told them the good news. We ended the night with a romantic dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, McCormick and Schmick. It was the perfect night.
What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Ryan is a beautiful writer, so he wrote the entire ceremony himself. It meant so much to me that he wanted to make our day so personal. We chose the Irish Wedding Blessing as our reading, to honor my family’s Irish heritage. (I wanted bagpipes, but marriage is all about compromise right?)
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to Landon Austin’s “Once in a Lifetime.” I first heard it in a wedding video Ryan and I watched the night we got engaged. It brought a tear to my eye, and I knew I had to incorporate it somehow. Ryan chose our first dance song, William Michael Morgan’s, “I Met a Girl.” He wanted it to be a song about me through his eyes. I loved it!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? How much time and energy it demands, while working full-time. It truly is exhausting, and I couldn’t be more grateful for everyone that helped us out throughout that year.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We made a list of things that were important to us and things that we didn’t care too much about, then we budgeted more for the important things. It helped keep us from getting carried away and going over budget by too much.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding planner! Even if you think you’re the best planner in the world, they are professionals for a reason, and they are lifesavers!

Photographer: Erika Brown | Planner and Florist: Amore Events by Cody | Ceremony and Reception Venue: Early Mountain Vineyards | Wedding Cake Baker: Sweethaus | Caterer: The Local | Rentals: MS Events | DJ: King Studios | Paper Products: Paperwhites Press | Bride’s Gown: Allure Romance | Hair Stylist: Something Blu (Jayme Eipperle) | Makeup Artist: Emily Marcellino | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale | Menswear: Jos A Bank

Written with love by Catherine
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Bride Lauren shares her classic wedding–the first to be held in OU’s Great Reading Room!

I will never turn down an opportunity to explore a college campus, and if there’s anything I love more than a leafy quad, it’s a gothic library reading room. So as you might imagine, this on-campus marriage between two college sweethearts had me weak at the knees from the first peek. But then Lauren explained that the Great Reading Room was one of her favorite places to study in college and that, “if our future children choose to go to OU someday, I can’t help but think how cool it will be for them to study in the same spot their parents were married.” Be still my heart.

Lauren and Austin’s connection to their wedding venue doesn’t even stop there, as Austin is currently a law student on campus! As a law school grad married to a lawyer myself, I could certainly identify with Lauren’s strategically-timed wedding DIY projects. That kind of consideration on her part, coupled with his willingness to put the books down whenever possible, sounds like a great foundation for a lawyer marriage! (And their focus on their families doesn’t hurt, either!) But I’ll scoot aside and let our bride take it from here.

Many thanks to Emily Ann Hughes for sending this beauty our way!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Austin and I both graduated from the University of Oklahoma, so choosing to get married on campus was especially significant, as it was the place our love story began. We are so lucky—and honored—to be the first couple to ever be married in the Great Reading Room. When searching for a venue, we wanted something that was unique, historic, and the opposite of “cookie cutter”. OU offered us all of that (and more!) and we will be forever grateful for the rare opportunity. As a college student, the Great Reading Room was one of my favorite places to study, but I never imagined that I would marry the love of my life in that same room. If our future children choose to go to OU someday, I can’t help to think how cool it will be for them to study in the same spot their parents were married. Additionally, the historic ballroom on campus has held celebrations since the 1920s and was the perfect spot for our reception.
Did you decide to do a first look? We went the traditional route and chose not to do a first look. In our experience, forgoing a first look really added to the excitement and anticipation of the day. Not just for Austin and me (no matter what, we would have been excited!), but for our family and wedding party. The whole day felt like Christmas!

What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My parents were so eager (in the best way possible!) and happy to be involved in the planning process—it made everything so easy and fun! Since we lived in different states, I talked to them on the phone for over an hour almost every single night. We would go over RSVPs, discuss vendor meetings and options, and talk through all of my crazy ideas. It was such a wonderful bonding experience and I’m so thankful for all the special moments we shared together throughout the wedding planning process. From dance lessons to dress fittings, they were there for it all. I will carry those memories with me for the rest of my life.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Austin was in his first year of law school while we were planning our wedding, so I was mindful of his school schedule (papers, mid-terms, finals, etc.) when talking about our wedding. I used finals week to start most of my DIY projects and weekends to talk about guest lists, budgets and timelines. And despite his hectic schedule, he made every effort to attend all vendor meetings and walk-throughs.

When did y’all get married? June 24, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We are college sweethearts who have known each other since we were eleven-years-old.
Tell us all about the proposal! Austin proposed on an unsuspecting walk with our dog, Honey. I was in leggings and a t-shirt, so it’s safe to say I was taken completely by surprise, which is exactly what Austin always hoped for. We celebrated that evening with our families (our parents are actually neighbors!) in our hometown of Flower Mound, Texas. The next day we drove up to Norman, Oklahoma to tour the University of Oklahoma College of Law (where Austin is currently a 2L). After our tour, we stopped in for a drink at the dive-bar where we had our first kiss almost eight years ago!

I went wedding dress shopping for the first time with just my mom and dad. I have a close relationship with my dad, and I wanted him to be there to experience that special moment with me. All along I thought I knew exactly the type of dress I wanted, but after a few fails, the stylist at Bridal Boutique in Lewisville suggested I try something simple. She pulled a stunning Enzoani gown (which totally had Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy vibes!), and I absolutely fell in love. I had never pictured myself in something like it, but it totally fit my timeless and classic style. We paired it with a Lee-Ann Belter lace jacket and I was sold. The following weekend I returned to the boutique with my mom, sisters, and future mother-in-law and sisters-in-law (5 of us in total and 2 were there via Face-Time) and officially said yes to the dress. I truly had the best experience and was lucky to be able include all of the people I love!

If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? One of my dear friends designed our invitations, programs, place cards, and welcome box details. It was fun to be so involved in the process! We exchanged about 100 emails, so I’m very thankful for her patience and kind heart. I also printed everything locally, which was really cost effective. We took on a lot of DIY projects, too. My dad and I built, stained, and painted all the wood signage for the wedding, and he constructed and hung the garden lights on the patio. I also re-purposed a lot of items from discount stores and antique shops.

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? From the black and gold tiled floor to the dramatic windows, the swinging leather doors, the old books on display, and all the ornate architectural elements, I’ll forever be in awe of all the beautiful details of the Great Reading Room. We added minimal decor, as the space didn’t need a lot. But the arrangements at the altar, the candles, the greenery on the tables, and the string quartet really made the room feel wedding-like. It was beyond my wildest dreams.
What was Southern about your wedding? Both our ceremony and reception were located on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, in buildings that were both built in the 1920s. I think historic buildings and details add a simple and elegant Southern flair. Additionally, we sipped on Southern Comfort (Austin’s favorite!) and Shiner Light Blonde all night long and line-danced to “Copperhead Road.” We also incorporated our “crest” on our wedding cake, invitations, programs, custom-made cups, and signs—and my dad even drew it in chalk along the pathway to the ceremony. We plan to incorporate it in our home someday, too!

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Saying our vows to each other in front of our closest friends and family will always be the moment that shines the brightest in my memory. We put a lot of thought into our ceremony, and every detail was a perfect representation of everything Austin and I love, value, and cherish.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Save everything! I’m such a pack rat for sentimental items I even saved all my to-do lists (there were hundreds), because I know one day I will love to look back and remember all the hard work we put in. Our guest room closet is now dedicated to anything that was remotely wedding-related. Additionally, hire a planner and a really good photographer. (For us, that was Blair Sims Events and Emily Ann Hughes Photography!) Trust me, it makes a difference. After that, just enjoy the experience. And always remember to be grateful during the happy times and graceful during the stressful times.

Although Austin and I are not really the mushy-gushy type, we always knew we wanted to write our own vows. We heard from so many guests that they were some of the most emotional vows they’d ever heard! My hope is that it helped our friends and family understand our hearts just a little bit more. We had our hometown church pastor marry us, who also led our pre-marital counseling sessions, too. We both felt so comfortable in his presence and it made our ceremony that much more intimate and personal. We spent our honeymoon in Italy and decided to re-read our vows to each other while we were in Rome. (We were both so nervous standing up in front of everyone that it was hard to remember every single word the other said!) Hearing them again felt as special as it did the first time. That ended up being one of the most special parts of our trip. Here’s a line from Austin’s: “No matter what we plan, or what life throws at us, I will do whatever it takes—no matter how hard—to make you feel loved. A person as amazing as you deserves nothing less than that, and I am the luckiest man in the world to be able to give that to you.” And here’s a line from mine: “Today, as I stand here in front of you, I am still captivated by your selfless, humble, caring and respectful nature as I was the day I fell in love with you. Your heart is the biggest I know. It loves unconditionally and without hesitation. It is forgiving and kind. It always seeks to find the beauty in my madness, and most of all, it loves me for me.”

One of the sweetest moments of the day was when our nieces and nephews screamed, “We’re officially cousins now!” Austin and I are both crazy lucky that our families have grown so close over the years, and on our wedding day it really felt like we were all one big happy family. Both of our parents were beaming with happiness and it made our wedding day that much more special seeing their smiling (and sometimes crying!) faces.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had both a string quartet for our ceremony and a live band for our reception. We kept it pretty traditional for the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and we recessed to Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.” There is just something about those recognizable songs that just tug at your heart strings. We entered the reception to “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates (one of my all-time favorites!). Our first dance was “Tupelo Honey” by Van Morrison. We both felt like that was a song we could see ourselves dancing to in the kitchen when we are both old and grey. It is such a classic song that I’ll never get tired of hearing. For our last dance, we chose “If I Should Fall Behind” by Bruce Springsteen.
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? For our five-tier wedding cake, Austin and I chose traditional white wedding cake, lemon cake, strawberry cake, and coconut cake with decadent buttercream frosting. For Austin’s groom’s cake he chose chocolate cake with chocolate ganache. We wanted there to be a little something for everyone! I often make sugar cookies for holidays and parties, so I thought it would mean a lot to our guests to make some for the wedding. I made 150 iced sugar cookies in the shape of the state of Oklahoma as a take-home gift (and included a print out of my recipe, too!). As stressful as it may sound, it helped take my mind off of things the week of the wedding—even if it was just for a moment.

Photographer: Emily Ann Hughes Photography | Videographer: Glorious Day Films | Planner: Blair Sims Events | Ceremony Venue: The Great Reading Room in Bizzell Memorial Library | Reception Venue: Molly Shi Boren Ballroom at the University of Oklahoma | Florist: Poppy Lane Design | Wedding Cake: Amy Cakes | Caterer: The University of Oklahoma | Rentals and Lighting: Mood Party Rentals | Band: Drive | String Quartet: Norman String Quartet | Bride’s Gown: “Janessa” by Enzoani from Bridal Boutique | Jacket: “Luna” by Lee-Ann Belter | Bride’s Veil: Alisa Brides | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Chelsey Ann Artistry | Bride’s Shoes: “Barby” by Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” in Mayan Blue by Jenny Yoo | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank

Written with love by Catherine
1 Comment
  1. avatar Morgan reply

    How did you get in contact with someone to get married in the great reading room ? That’s my friends dream and I would love to help her fulfill it! Your wedding was gorgeous!

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