Year after year, our sweet real wedding brides have proclaimed that their most memorable wedding day moments occur during their ceremonies. This year is no exception: from exchanging of specially written vows to walking back up the aisle as husband and wife, wedding ceremonies tend to hold treasured moments that are made even more special with sweet details. Everything from jaw-dropping ceremony backdrops to very special reserved seating for the parents of the bride. Our 2016 real weddings were overflowing with incredibly meaningful details and moments, and we’re excited to share ten favorites with you!
I couldn’t be more excited about today’s Southern Newlywed post, because the home we’re taking a tour of belongs to none other than one of the most beloved SW couples we’ve ever featured, as well as dear friends of mine! Callie and Jamie’s gorgeous RiverOaks Charleston wedding graced the pages of V7 almost two years ago, and since then, these two have been settling into newlywed life in a little yellow house that they’ve lovingly renovated and made their own. As was apparent through the way they planned their wedding, being intentional and thoughtful is a high priority for Callie and Jamie, and I’m sure you’ll see that clearly throughout their house as well!
The couple: Callie (25) and Jamie (25) Davis
Years married: Two years as of May 3rd
Where they live: Raleigh, North Carolina
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Jamie and I both grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina and went to the same high school (‘sko caps!) and college (go Wolfpack!). Callie is a film wedding photographer with Nancy Ray Photography and writes a personal blog at Call Me Callie. Jamie works in commercial real estate specializing in land acquisition. Together, we believe in deeply rooted relationships, that a joyful heart begins with thanksgiving, and that without Jesus, we are nothing. We love the meaning of marriage, the ocean, spontaneous dance parties, our local farmer’s market and travel.
Tell us your love story in one sentence. High school acquaintances who connected through mutual friends in college, dated for almost five years, and tied the knot under the oaks in Charleston, South Carolina. (I love our love story. Truth be told, when we started dating, never in a million years did I think that one day we would be married, but the Lord had a different plan and I am so grateful.)
Do you rent or own? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? Tell us a little bit about where you live. We own our little yellow house, as it was a gift to us from Jamie’s uncle. It is the most generous gift we have ever received and has forever changed the way that we view giving generously, living everyday with a thankful and humble heart, and why we feel so strongly about hospitality and allowing our home to be a place to serve others and The Lord. (You can read the full story here.) It was built in 1952 and we quickly realized it was a real fixer upper. Soon after we got engaged, we began dreaming, drawing, and planning some possible renovations for our little house. Two months after getting married, we moved into our newly renovated home. This house is so special to us after all the work that we put into it and I never want to leave, but I knew that when I married a man working in real estate that that wouldn’t be the case for us. Our future plans include buying another fixer upper or building a house from scratch and investing in rental properties.
What most makes your house feel like home? I think we could live anywhere as long as we were together. I know this to be true because when we first moved into our house, it looked far from this. We barely owned any furniture or decor, and it took two years to make our house look like the way it does in these pictures. I had frames that were hanging on our walls without pictures in them because I was too indecisive, and for awhile, we had a mismatch of seating in our family room, but that didn’t change the way that our house felt. Coming home to each other and maintaining a posture of open hands with our home is what matters most.
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? What are some of your favorite sources for home things? We decided to splurge on bigger pieces like our L-shaped couch and our bed frame, knowing that we will hopefully keep these pieces for years. Just like my grandmother has always taught me: you know you’re meant to have something if you leave it in the store and continue to think about it. I remember going into the store countless times and looking at pictures of these pieces online before making the purchases. I wanted to be 100 percent sure that I would love them for a long time if we were going to be spending more money on them! So far, they have been my favorite purchases! I love Home Goods, Target, West Elm, Ikea, and PotteryBarn.
Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? We love our everyday china from Crate and Barrel. I remember standing in the store contemplating whether or not to add the weird pasta low bowls to our registry. “We’ll never use those,” I remember saying to Jamie, but he thought otherwise, so we added them, and I’m so glad that we did! No matter what we are eating, we grab the pasta low bowls out of our cabinet over a plate or bowl almost every time! If you haven’t already, you should totally add these to your registry because they will change your dining experience :)
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Goodness, it’s hard to pick just one! The private moments throughout the day–praying around a door moments before our ceremony, our dockside dinner, and the boat ride after leaving our reception.
How do you remember your wedding in your home? (Pictures, mementos, etc.) As a wedding photographer, I believe you can never have enough wedding pictures displayed in your home! In the everyday hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to forget that joyful day, and we recently decided that we want a daily reminder of the commitment that we made to each other as we walk through the rooms of our home. We also have things throughout our home from our wedding day–hemstitch cocktail napkins on our bar cart, the x-back chairs that our guests sat in in our dining room, lanterns that lined the dock by our fireplace, our cake server and knife in our china cabinet, and our guest book Bible that floats throughout our home as we read it in different rooms.
Who cooks dinner? We love to cook together! Jamie usually handles the meat and anything on the grill, while I usually handle the sides.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? Our go-to weeknight meal is tacos. We almost always have ingredients on hand that can be transformed into tacos. Whether it’s planned ahead and we do shredded chicken in the crockpot or blackened shrimp, we love tacos in all shapes and forms! Our go-to weekend meal is probably something on the grill–burgers or chicken. We love to entertain and have people over to our house, so it’s an easy thing to fix, and it can be paired with any potluck sides that people bring!
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? This year, Jamie and I acknowledged that we’re not the best when it comes to following recipes. To be honest, I’m somewhat of a picky eater and we always end up modifying the recipes that we try. We do better when we try to recreate something we’ve eaten in a restaurant or just pull things together based on what we’ve got in our fridge. However, this month, we tried a week of Hello Fresh and it was really fun!
Tell us about the process of moving in together. Do you have any tips for blending your two styles? Moving in together after we got married was really fun. When we got married, we were in the middle of renovating our little house. Believe it or not, when we got back from our honeymoon, my parents picked us up from the airport and we moved right in with them! It wasn’t ideal, but it was a major blessing. Our house still had two months until it was going to be complete, and with both of our parents living in Raleigh, it felt silly to try and find a place to rent for only two months. When we finally moved into our renovated house, it immediately felt like home. After two years of decorating, finalizing projects, and making it ours, it still feels like home. What we have learned most through this project is that stuff doesn’t make a house a home. Blending our two styles was really fun and easy because knowing what we know, we didn’t take it so seriously. After planning a wedding together, we had a good understanding of each other’s style and what we wanted our house to look and feel like. We wanted to fill our home with things that we love, or that remind us of what we love. We both love the ocean, which is why our home is filled with images and a color palette that reminds of us it–neutrals mixed with bold textures and cool colors. We also both love to be outside, which is why we tried to bring outside in as much as we could–yes, I’ve become an indoor plant lady and I love it! I believe that there are no rules when it comes to designing or decorating your home. Fill it with what both of you love! Mix patterns and textures and play around with a color palette until you make it work! The effort is worth it for both of you to come home to place that feels like a place of rest and comfort.
What is your favorite part of being married? Our friendship. We love to spend time together, whether it’s on vacation exploring somewhere new or cuddling up on the couch to watch Netflix. Jamie makes me laugh harder than anyone else–think dance parties while brushing his teeth, talking to me in funny accents, making up lyrics to songs, and neverending selfie videos of him singing. He makes our life so light and fun. I love that we get to a be a team, cheering each other on through the ups and downs, and working together toward a common goal. I love that we are becoming sanctified by being together.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? Before we were married, I knew that our life together would be a big adventure, but what I didn’t realize is just how much we would enjoy the simple things–coming home to each other after a long day of work, cooking dinner together, walking our sweet pup, tending to our garden, and doing yard work.
What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities (work, personal time, extended family, etc.)? Invite each other in. Whether it’s your work, your hobbies, or your goals, invite your spouse into those things and do them together. Jamie and I have discovered this year what this means for us and our marriage. We made time in our busy schedules to train for and run a half marathon together and spent tons of time in our backyard building a chicken coop from scratch. We’re not perfect, but we constantly strive to prioritize each other.
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? Jamie: Asking Callie, “How can I serve you today?” Callie: Texting Jamie during the day to tell him that I love him and ask how his day is going.
Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? If you know me, you know that one of my dreams is to live on a farm or a large piece of land. Although we can’t make that dream happen right now, we decided to bring a little bit of farm life to our urban backyard by building a chicken coop! Jamie and I built our backyard chicken coop from scratch in August (it was quite the adventure!) and added five hens to our family! In a couple months, we should be getting fresh eggs every day and we are so excited!
A little reminder: we’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – not just folks who write blogs (though we love them, too!), but also your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!
Y’all, as I was reading through Abigail and Ben’s interview, I kept nodding my head and thinking “Yes! That’s it right there!” Everything about their wedding day was filled with intention and joy, from their venue choice (inspired by Abigail’s upbringing on a plantation surrounded by oak trees) to their advice for couples currently planning a wedding. They not only prepared for their wedding day, but prepared their hearts well for their marriage–Abigail said, “We wanted to be intentional with every detail, giving it great meaning to who we are together, but also who we are in Jesus.” From the looks of it, I’m sure guests would agree that they did an brilliant job!
Gracious, we’re thankful Callie Davis of Nancy Ray Photography was on hand to capture their sweet day!
Believe it or not, my dress was the first dress I ever tried on. I wasn’t certain what style I wanted, but I knew I wanted my dress to be timeless and elegant. I met my mom and grandmother in Raleigh to begin our search. At our first appointment, at Lana Addison Bridal in Cary, I showed the consultant a few different pictures of what I thought I may like. She brought me four different dresses. I tried the first dress on and could not stop smiling and twirling around. I looked at my mom and grandmother and said, “I think this is it.” They encouraged me to try the others on just to be sure. I tried them all, but didn’t feel like they were me. I tried on the first dress again and still loved it, but I began to second guess myself and ended up going to our second appointment. I tried on three other beautiful dresses there and got a bit overwhelmed. We decided to call it a day, and as soon as we walked out of the store, I looked at my mom and said, “We have to go back to Lana Addison, it has my dress.” I fell in love with it all over again–from the high neck line, to the combination of the soft lace and tulle, to the beaded waistline, it was perfect. I made the decision that I was only going to let my mom and grandmother see my dress. It made finding my dress and sharing that experience with two of the most special women in my life even sweeter, and I didn’t want to be swayed by the opinions of others. I wanted the first time my family, closest friends, and guests would see my dress to be when I was walking down the aisle to my groom.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Ben and I decided not to do a first look. We both wanted the first time we saw each other to be when I was walking down the aisle to marry him. We did, however, find a time before the ceremony to grab hands and pray with one another.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had one of our closest friends read 1 John 4:18-19. We chose this verse because it centered the entire day around Christ and we believe that without Christ loving us first, we would not be able to love one another. Another verse that is very important to us, Philippians 1:9-10, was on our dinner cards. We asked that our guest pray this verse over us and with us as we entered into marriage together.
We both liked the traditional vows, but also wanted to make them more personal and meaningful to us. We promised the same things to each other: “In the presence of God and according to his will I, Ben, take you, Abigail, to be my wife. I promise to love you, I promise to serve you, I promise to cherish you, as a testament to Jesus and his death on the cross, I give you my love.” We also wanted to affirm together the vows of having a Christian home. We were given this idea by our pastor and we loved it. “Depending upon God for strength and wisdom, do you both solemnly pledge yourselves to the establishment of a Christian home? Will you together, constantly seek God’s will and honor Christ in your marriage?”
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I knew I wanted to be married in my hometown, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and I knew I wanted it outside. I grew up on a plantation that is surrounded by the most beautiful oak trees and I always envisioned them in my wedding someday. When I told Darlene (a dear friend and my wedding planner) what I had envisioned for my day, she said she knew just the place, and told me about the Rose Hill Mansion. I looked it up and fell in love immediately. It had the oak trees with the beautiful hanging moss, enough space to create what we wanted from scratch, and we could have the reception there. I knew it was where I wanted to marry Ben and I booked it without even having seen it myself in person.
Our venue has a rich Southern history. It is an old cotton plantation and the mansion on the property has many antique artifacts to peruse inside. You can actually tour the mansion with the onsite staff and learn a lot about the history of the property and the people that lived there. It is an incredibly unique spot.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Flowers and decorations for sure! Jana Qualey and Bridget Short, who are dear friends to me, have their own side business called Little Vase Events, and let me tell you, they are the best of the best! We repurposed bridesmaids flowers and went out and collected all the oyster shells that we used on the tables. Our gold and white stripped napkins were made by Bridget and Jana themselves!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Keep things in perspective. Your wedding is one day, your marriage is for the rest of your life. When you get overwhelmed, step away and do something fun. Don’t lose your joy in what is such a sweet time of your life, or your sight on what is most important. I started journaling during our engagement, writing down my thoughts and feelings, memories, and all the reasons I love Ben and wanted to marry him. I gave it to him the week of our wedding and I love looking back at it and reliving those days and seeing him read those pages for the first time.
Don’t miss Abigail and Ben’s wedding film by Heart Stone Films below!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ben would joke and say it was somewhat of an arranged marriage. Our brothers and Ben’s younger sister, who is also my best friend, had been trying to get the two of us together for years. Although I knew Ben’s whole family, it wasn’t until our sophomore year of college that we met for the first time at a mutual friend’s wedding. We crossed paths again a year later at Ben’s older brother Will’s wedding. This was the night Ben asked me to dance. I tease him now because he never called me after that night! Last year, I got a call from my friend to come visit with her in Greenville for a long weekend. I was living on Hilton Head Island at the time and I jumped at the chance to go and see her. I was unaware that only a few weeks before, Ben had moved to Greenville. I spent the whole weekend with them, and finally, Ben asked me out. When I had to head back home, Ben asked if he could still pursue me. I said yes, and we continued to talk and get to know each other. Soon after, I got a job in Greenville and made the move. Ben and I continued to grow closer to each other and the Lord, and now the rest is history.
Tell us all about the proposal! My family has a house in the outer banks of North Carolina that has been in our family since before I was born, and it is one of my favorite places. My family typically goes there over the 4th of July, so this time was no different, except Ben would be there. Every morning I woke up while we were there, I had a letter slipped under my door. I didn’t think much of this, only because of how thoughtful Ben always is. On July 4th, Ben asked if I would take a walk out to the dock with him. We sat down at the end and talked for awhile. When we got up, Ben grabbed both my hands with the biggest smile. I knew what was happening and said to him, “Is this really it?!” After saying many sweet words, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. And I said YES! As soon as he was up and we were hugging, my brother ran down the dock with his phone (he was FaceTiming with Ben’s brother and his wife) to celebrate with us. My sister-in-law was snapping pictures and the rest of my family, who had been watching from the house, came out to hug us. Ben planned breakfast for dinner that night, my favorite. We made our way back to Greenville the next day and Ben told me there was one more surprise. When we got back home, we went to his brother’s house, where all our closest friends and family were waiting to celebrate with us!
When did y’all get married? November 14, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Ben and I decided soon into our engagement that we wanted to prepare more for our marriage than our wedding. The most important thing for us while planning our wedding was to create a beautiful and meaningful event that glorified the Lord and reflected who we are. We wanted to be intentional with every detail, giving it great meaning to who we are together, but also who we are in Jesus.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My day would not have been the same without Callie Davis with Nancy Ray Photography. I can not sing their praises enough. Having Callie and Olivia there to capture our day honestly added even more joy to an incredibly joyful day. They took the time through the whole process to pour into me and make sure that everything was perfect and ready to go for my wedding day. I gained two sweet friendships.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Well, we’re getting a puppy in two months and can’t wait to have a furry friend in our family. We look forward to lots of adventures, learning new things about each other, and just getting to do life with each other. Ultimately, having children and raising them together excites us the most about our future. We aren’t ready yet, but our biggest dreams usually involve a house full of children.
Photographer: Callie Davis of Nancy Ray Photography | Videographer: Heart Stone Films | Planner: Darlene Cranston | Venue: Rose Hill Mansion | Florist: Little Vase Events | Cake Baker: Ronnie’s Bakery & Cakes by Lou | Caterer: Downtown Catering Company | Rentals and Lighting: Amazing Event Rentals | DJ: Will Krause | Paper Products: Swoozies | Bride’s Gown: Theia | Bride’s Accessories: The Poinsett Bride | Hair Stylist: Amber White at Kaleidoscope Salon | Makeup Artist: Bride’s Side Beauty | Bride’s Shoes: Sam Edelman | Menswear: Jos A. Bank
Nancy Ray Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!