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I knew I was going to love Jessica and Nick’s wedding as soon as I started reading their interview–their day was completely packed with some of our very favorite things! A meaningful location full of family history? Check. Details inspired by their love story and pulled together/created by family and friends? Check. Plenty of Southern traditions and cuisine? Check! Nick even built their beautiful sweetheart table, which now lives in their new house for them to enjoy their meals at every single day. Wedding details that can literally become part of your newlywed life are so special–not only are they a great way to remind you of your wedding in the years that follow, they can also help you focus on all the good that is to come when you’re in the midst of planning. Be sure to read J+N’s interview–I wouldn’t want y’all to miss a single sweet thing!

Thank you so much to Annamarie Akins for sharing this special day with us!

One of my bridesmaids lives in Charleston, and while visiting her, we had set up an appointment to look at bridesmaid dresses. I ended up trying on wedding gowns at the same time, and completely fell in love with one! The dress fit my style so well, and embodied everything I wanted my wedding to be: classic, modern, casual, and a little bit nautical! It was such a special moment with my bridesmaid, and there was no pressure or stress–that really helped me to know I was making the right decision. The salon was kind enough to ship the dress I loved back to Virginia so I could try it on with my family; once it was dad-approved, the decision was made! I was able to meet with the designer on our next visit to Charleston, and together, we customized a few details of the dress. I was thrilled to be able to purchase a gown from a Southern designer who was just launching her wedding gown line.

Describe your wedding flowers. I am so fortunate to have a mother-in-law who happens to be a fantastic floral arranger! Nick’s mom is an active member in the local garden club, and she organized for her garden club friends to come over to the house on Friday morning to make all the arrangements for the reception. Women I had never met were bringing flowers from their own gardens to help make our day beautiful–it doesn’t get more special than that! A local florist and family friend of the groom, who had provided flowers for my now-sister-in-law’s wedding, also provided gorgeous bouquets for the bridal party. I knew I wanted a relaxed, garden-style arrangement with natural colors of predominately white and green. The florist was also able to incorporate magnolia from my parents’ house in order to make my Alabama (my home state)-meets-Virginia (groom’s home state) vision come true in a magnolia and cotton wreath for the church doors.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a string duet play at the church for the ceremony, and they put together “The Book of Love” specifically for Nick–it’s one of his favorite songs! I walked down the aisle to “Canon in D,” the song that my mother had walked down the aisle to. We chose to sing “Be Though My Vision” as a congregation during the ceremony. A traditional hymn, this song is special to my family because we had just sang it at my sister’s wedding a year prior. Perhaps it will be a new family tradition!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose to say traditional vows. There was something special about speaking the same words that our parents and grandparents vowed to one another so many years ago.

The most memorable moment was arriving to the reception by boat and seeing all our family and friends, drinks in hand, cheering and waiting for us to celebrate with them! Nick and I were so happy, and we couldn’t wait to get up to the yard and spend time with everyone. It was such a great feeling to have people from all walks of life standing in our favorite place, experiencing why we love this part of Virginia.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Nick and I spend most of our free weekends during the warmer months down on Gwynn’s Island, a remote area on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. Both sets of grandparents have a history there, my parents own a summer house on the island, and Nick’s parents live a short drive away. The house has a way of drawing us all together, no matter where we are in life, to watch the sunset and share meals together on Saturday nights. We knew immediately that we wanted to share this region with our family and friends. Nick’s family is a member of a stunning historic brick church where Nick was baptized, and it was so special to have our ceremony there! The river house and the church were natural choices to meld traditions from both our families.

My favorite detail of the wedding was the sweetheart table. Nick started hand-crafting our wooden table with his dad a few months before the wedding, and it was stunning! He searched for weeks for the perfect plans and images to create the table that we now use in our dining room of our new house. It’s so special to have a handmade piece of the wedding in our everyday lives!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. This was a no-brainer for us! I have been known to eat pie for breakfast on multiple occasions, so we had an assortment of apple, pecan, and chocolate pies from our favorite Richmond bakery, Ukrops. We also had a small cake made of funfetti, the groom’s favorite! I hand-painted some oyster shells I found on the beach near the house and arranged them on top of the cake the morning of the wedding with my bridesmaids.

Our first dance was to an acoustic version of “Mean to Me” by Brett Eldredge. My dad had chosen our father-daughter dance song many, many years ago, long before I met Nick. It was so special to finally dance to “I Loved Her First” by Heartland with him after picturing this day as a little girl!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Nick and I met at Virginia Tech during our senior year; despite having many mutual friends, our paths hadn’t crossed before. We found out we lived a block apart from each other behind the football stadium, so Nick would walk his dog during the day hoping to catch me on my way to class. My big sister in my sorority had been dating one of Nick’s fraternity brothers for a while, and encouraged me to take Nick up on his offer to go to a pumpkin patch with the group on a Saturday morning. I had no idea it was a couple’s event and we would be paired up, but we had a blast, and Nick invited me over for a home-cooked meal later that week. I promptly called my dad, who works for the FBI, to get some advice (and a background check), and he gave me the thumbs up over the phone. Nick cooked a fantastic meal and we watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on the couch–probably one of the best dates we’ve ever had!
Tell us about your proposal! The nearby town of Urbanna hosts an annual oyster festival, and our tradition is to attend with family and friends and then host a chili dinner, courtesy of my dad’s secret recipe. Nick and I had taken time off to celebrate our four-year anniversary by heading down on Friday to relax before the festival. We grabbed some beer and oysters at our favorite “rivah” oyster shack, Merrior, and headed back to the house for the sunset. It had started to drizzle, but Nick still wanted to take a walk out towards the water. It was then that I saw his handwriting in the sand, “Will you marry me?” Nick’s dad was hiding in the bushes to snap a few photographs, and later that evening, Nick had arranged for many of our friends from Washington D.C. to surprise me by arriving at the house to attend the festival with us the next day! It was so special to have our family and friends together for a river weekend to kick off a wonderful engagement.
When did y’all get married? June 20, 2015
How many people attended your wedding? 155
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? There were so many Southern touches to the wedding; it’s hard to them narrow down! Nick and I love to cook and eat, especially Southern food. We sat down together and made a list of all the foods we love to eat, and then handed the unorganized list to our caterer. They turned it into an amazing, Southern Virginia-inspired menu, including Virginia ham biscuits, pimento cheese, shrimp and gouda grits, scallop succotash, honey chicken, pulled pork, fried okra, and a biscuit and cornbread bar. Our signature drinks were named after our home states, a Virginia Beau and a ‘Bama Belle. During cocktail hour, we had a champagne and oyster bar from Merrior, the oyster shack Nick and I ate at the day we got engaged. True to Southern tradition, we gifted our bridal party with monogrammed gifts galore–mason jars, seersucker shorts for the gals, and fishing shirts for the gentlemen (their monograms were disguised as nautical flags!). My mother-in-law hosted my bridesmaids and house party for lunch the day before the wedding, and I surprised everyone with a delicious pound cake with cake pulls! My mother-in-law read everyone’s fortune out loud as they pulled their charms. Thank goodness we buried a bottle of bourbon (that Nick had engraved with our wedding date!)–the rain held out until the end of the reception, and as soon as the last sip of moonshine was gone, the skies opened up! The most Southern thing about our wedding though? Having all our family and friends help us work on the house and yard to prepare to host the wedding. The months and weeks before the wedding were spent with our hands in the dirt planting flowers, and my bridesmaids accompanying me to the beach to search for the perfect-shaped oysters for the place cards. The true beauty of the venue came from all the hands that tended to it; it almost brought me to tears!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge we had to overcome was the remoteness of my parents’ house and limited vendors nearby. With a background in design, I knew exactly how I wanted everything to look, but when you’re in the country, sometimes you take what you can get!
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? Strive for a joyful and gracious attitude throughout your engagement, and into your marriage! There are always things that might not go according to plan.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are starting our lives in Richmond, Virginia! We moved from Washington, D.C. to be closer to our families and embrace the smaller, slower city life. I will continue to work for my D.C.-based architecture firm (while writing a blog and pursuing graphic design and residential design on the side!), while Nick has started a new job in the medical information technology field. We are thrilled to live together in the downtown Fan neighborhood of Richmond and can’t wait to explore this Southern city!

Photography: Annamarie Akins / Second Shooter: Nikki Santerre / Ceremony Venue: Ware Episcopal Church / Reception Venue: Private residence / Florist: The Wild Bunch / Bride’s Gown: Kate McDonald Bridal / Cake Baker: Cakes by Graham / Catering: The White Dog Bistro / Band: JB and the Get Down Browns / Hair and Makeup: Bombshell / Rentals: Paisley and Jade, Grand Rental Station, and Distinctive Events / Coordination and Styling: Ruie and Grace / Bridesmaid Dresses: BHLDN, J. Crew, LulaKate, Nordstrom, and Revolve / Bride’s Shoes: J. Crew and Jack Rogers / Menswear: Jos A. Bank and Bull + Moose / Raw Oyster Bar: Rappahannock River Oyster Company / String Duet: Strings and Things

Lula Kate, Kate McDonald Bridal, and Paisley & Jade are all delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Annamarie reply

    Thank you so much for sharing one of my all time favorite wedding days!

  2. avatar Nick & Jess reply

    […] images can be seen as featured on Southern Weddings last […]

  3. avatar Daniel reply

    Stunning photos, love the boat picture!

  4. avatar Shore Thing | Creative Cake Toppers | Maine Wedding Venues, Photographers, Planners reply

    […] Painted oyster shells add an elegant touch to this simple white cake.  [Cakes by Graham  / Annamarie Akins via Southern Weddings] […]

  5. avatar Megan reply

    Just wondering if you could provide the name of the designer of the dress? I love the striped silk! I love the cut! Its so pretty.

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While they might have hit a little bump in the road when they first met (be sure to read their interview to get my silly pun!), Monica and Jerrod’s wedding day was as sweet as their amaretto cake. Together with their planner, Meagan Warren, and the talented team at Fern, Monica and Jerrod took the blank space of 701 Whaley and turned it into a pretty, preppy celebration full of pink dogwoods and puffy peonies. I love the juxtaposition of the renovated industrial building and the feminine details!

Thanks to Joshua Aaron for sending this striped day our way!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met on St. Patrick’s Day in Five Points (a local festival in Columbia, South Carolina) through mutual friends. After chatting that evening, Jerrod offered to drive me home. We were sitting at a traffic light talking when Jerrod leaned over to give me a kiss–just as he accidentally took his foot off the brake and bumped into the car in front of us!! After that, we did not see each other for several years, and one night, Jerrod liked a photo I put up on Facebook. I had not seen or spoken to him in so long, so I sent him a message asking him how he was doing. We ended up going out and catching up, and from that night on, we have been together, having fun and creating memories. And there have not been any more fender benders! :)

I went dress shopping in Charleston, South Carolina at a place called Maddison Row. After a couple of dresses, I tried on “THE” dress, and I loved it immediately. I loved the buttons that went down the back of the dress. The fact that my father loved the dress as well sealed the deal!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a bagpiper play “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven when I walked down the aisle with my dad. When Jerrod and I walked back up the aisle, he played “Highland Cathedral” by Roever and Korb along with the organ.

We were married at Mt. Horeb United Methodist, which is the church that Jerrod’s mother’s side of the family attends. Our reception venue was 701 Whaley–I really liked the open floor plan and the uniqueness of the renovated building. We could really make it our own.

Describe your wedding flowers. My wedding flowers were beautiful and colorful. There were pink dogwoods in large vases on the tables at the venue. I love peonies, and had the most beautiful peonies at the wedding. I wanted a colorful palette, and it was beyond what I could have imagined.

Describe your wedding cake. The wedding cake was four tiers in amaretto and lemon flavors, and it had real flowers cascading down the side. It was so good, we only had a few pieces left to take home.

Tell us all about the proposal! I am a nurse and I was coming home from a day shift at the hospital. I usually talk to Jerrod on the way home from work to let him know I’m on the way home. When I pull up to the house, he is usually sitting out on our front porch with my dog, a french bulldog named Bella. Bella always runs to greet me when I am getting out of the car. Just like every other day, Jerrod and Bella were outside and Bella ran to greet me. Jerrod was standing on the porch and came walking towards me. We hugged each other and he said “Say hey to Bella.” As I turned around to look at Bella, the sun hit something on her collar. I then realized what it was and turned around to see Jerrod on one knee. He asked me if I would marry him, and I, of course, said yes!!
When did y’all get married? April 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? A little more than 200
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My old and blue item is very special to me. My Aunt Tina made a garter belt for me out of an old blue tie of my Opa’s (which means grandpa in German). He passed away a few years ago and he was definitely there in spirit at my wedding. I borrowed my mom’s diamond tennis bracelet and I had new earrings that were made especially for me.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had koozies made for our guests. We served fried green tomatoes and corn dip, which was amazing. We all sang along to “Family Tradition” by Hank Williams, Jr.–I don’t know if it gets more Southern than that!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I would suggest hiring a wedding planner if you are able. This takes so much stress off of you and lets you enjoy the wedding planning experience!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Our home is being built and we will be moving at the end of summer 2015. We are also looking forward to expanding our family and having children.

Photographer: Joshua Aaron / Planner: Meagan Warren / Ceremony Venue: Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church / Reception Venue: 701 Whaley / Florist: Fern / Cake Baker: Parkland Cakes / Caterer: Southern Way / Rentals: Party Reflections / Lighting: Ambient Media / DJ: Jason Book with Party Time DJs / Paper Products: Byfarr / Bridal Salon: Maddison Row / Hair Stylist: Keri Bailes / Makeup Artist: Daniel Price / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah Svendsen reply

    What vibrant colors! I’m in love with the teal blue bridesmaid dresses and how the bride mixes in the coral flowers. I also love the asymmetrical dresses, though I’m partial (I had similar bridesmaid dresses but in nude at my own wedding) :) Great work, SW!

  2. avatar Meagan Warren reply

    Thank you for showcasing one of my FAVORITE weddings we have planned! Loved working with Monica and Jerrod… dream couple to work with. Thank you Southern Weddings and Joshua Aaron Photography! xoxo, Meagan Warren
    Meagan Warren Weddings

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Katie is a girl after my own heart! She’s a bit addicted to monograms, believes pockets in a dress make everything better, and wanted to create a wedding full of love and sweet Southern hospitality. Katie and David were married at the beautiful Governor Thomas Bennett House in front of 225 of their very favorite people in the world! I must admit I am completely smitten with their pretty preppy day, including fun pops of color, gold pineapples (and a pineapple bow tie!), and monograms galore! But, the very best part, in my opinion, is how many of the details were made my Katie’s mama, godmother, and aunt — it makes them just that much more special.

We’re so delighted Blue Ribbon Vendor Dana Cubbage was on hand to capture their sweet celebration!

Since I worked for Lilly Pulitzer for years, I am accustomed to LOTS of bright colors! We went for bright pink peonies, yellow ranunculus, light pink sweet peas, garden roses, pink astilbe, and dusty miller. We also had pineapples spray painted gold to use as candlesticks and mini pineapples added into the florals on the tables!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. We went EVERYWHERE! We shopped in Charleston twice and all over Charlotte and the surrounding area. Finally, we went to J.Majors, the bridal salon less than a mile from my house. There was one dress that I tried on and everyone said I was smiling from ear to ear when I walked out of the fitting room. It was so simple, classic, and HAD POCKETS! (Pockets in a dress just make everything better!) After swishing around for a bit, we were told it was called the “Mimi” dress. Cue the tears! My grandmother, Mimi, who had passed away 15 years before, loved wedding planning and it was the sign we all needed to stop looking.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! And it was the best decision we made! It took a little convincing for David, the traditionalist, but I was totally on board from the beginning! With a little help from our photographer and a friend of David’s, we finally convinced him. We didn’t feel rushed and actually got to spend some time together during the day. We couldn’t stop smiling and laughing the whole time!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? We definitely wanted to have a Southern-style Charleston Wedding, so we looked at just about every venue in Charleston. We finally had it narrowed down to the last few when one of my maids of honor, Kacie, mentioned the Governor Thomas Bennett House. It had everything: a beautiful semi-circle garden, a large covered porch (with a blue ceiling, of course), ivy-covered arches, spiral staircases, a large oak tree with Spanish moss (a MUST for me!), a secret garden, and more!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but took our favorite lines and verbiage from different traditional religious vows and combined them in our own way. David was very adamant on not saying the word “death” on our wedding day, so at the conclusion of our vows we made sure to use “as long as we both shall live.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 1 Corinthians. We both know that it is used all the time, but it made us feel like we were REALLY getting married! (Plus, it reminds us of our wedding when we hear it!)
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. The bridal party walked down to Vitamin String Quartet’s version of “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers, followed by a guitar and string version of “Here Comes the Bride.” Once we were announced as husband and wife, we walked up the aisle to “This will be (an Everlasting Love).”

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? So many, including pineapples (a sign of welcome and hospitality), monograms (we own a family monogram business, after all)!, and Southern cooking (including fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, a mac and cheese bar, shrimp and grits, and late-night chicken and waffle sliders with french fries!).

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Dana Cubbage is the BEST! She was able to capture every moment and every detail of the wedding. She was so relaxed the entire day, which made me extremely relaxed, too! She was always an arms distance away to grab a photo and was all over the dance floor snapping away. The next day, our family and friends couldn’t stop talking about how amazing she was! We cannot wait to find another excuse for more pictures! Also, Meredith and her team were behind the scenes the entire day. I know I only know a small percentage of everything they went through, which means a ton! She would sneak in at the last second to save the day by taking David’s sunglasses out of his pocket before our first dance, making sure we had a fresh glass of champagne for toasts, offering dryer sheets for when the bugs came out at night, and putting my getaway tote in the getaway rickshaw!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I would make a list of the things that are truly important to you and your fiance. If it’s food and band, that is great. If it’s open bar and a DJ, that is great, too! Definitely learn where you want to make cuts and which things you have your heart set on! Also, there are so many ways that you can get the look but at a fraction of the cost! We made our own table runners for less than 1/3 of the original cost. We also reused the bridesmaid bouquets at the reception and aisle markers on cocktail tables!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a three-tiered red velvet cake with buttercream icing as our main cake. The aqua bow had our married monogram! We also had two mini cakes that were white chocolate with buttercream icing and a groom’s cake with a VT logo on top and vintage camo sides – a great surprise!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. One of my co-workers went on a blind date with David and texted me at the end of the date saying that I needed to meet this guy. So the next few times they hung out, I was invited to tag along, as well. After a few weeks went by, I was encouraged to reach out to David, so I did! (VERY unlike me!)
Tell us all about the proposal! On December 24th, David woke me up super early! He convinced me to go on a walk with our Golden Retriever, Shelby, in the park across from our house. Begrudgingly, in sweats, Uggs, no makeup (and friends joke – no monograms) we went on our early morning walk. I knew something was up, but I had expected something to happen later on in the day when our two families would all be together. Almost all the way around the lake, he talked about the first time he knew he fell in love with me, caught in a rainstorm, hanging out underneath a tree, walking Shelby. At that, he was down on his knee! (Shelby was pawing at the ring, too!) I freaked out and apparently never actually said yes!
When did y’all get married? March 14, 2015 (3.14.15!)
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 225 of our favorite people in the world!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! YES! Borrowed: my gold Claddagh Ring borrowed from my sister. I also borrowed a pearl necklace from my mom. Blue: I wore aqua Jack Rogers to match the bridesmaids and not sink into the grass! Old: The monogram on my sash (my maiden monogram) was my something old. It was also the last time I would be able to wear my maiden monogram! New: my new dress, earrings, and shoes!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? While planning for our wedding, we definitely had opportunities to talk about our faith, our beliefs, and our family values. We also had challenges and were able to work through our wedding budget together, as well. Also, halfway through the wedding planning process, we got a puppy! (While it might not seem like the best idea, it was great to “practice” our paternal roles, as well!)
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I would have to say the ceremony. We were so relaxed going into our ceremony (where I thought I would be stressed and nervous) because we had a “dance party” with the entire bridal party and then the music went off and we were sent down the aisle! Once we made it down the aisle (which is a bit of a blur) I don’t know if I have ever laughed so hard in my life! David’s cousin was our minister and was able to tell our story in a way that had everyone laughing.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? My uncle Dom made us a Beautiful Bench,made from the wood of my grandfathers work bench, for us to use as our “guest book!” Mom & Aunt Mo painted a monogram on it & the guest were able to sign it in gold & navy sharpies! We cannot wait to find a special place in our house to display it!

Photographer: Dana Cubbage | Planner: Meredith Tanton from Sweetgrass Social | Venue: The Governor Thomas Bennett House | Florist: Branch Design Studio | Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Ashley Bakery | Caterer: Cru Catering | Rentals: Snyder Events and Event Works | Lighting: Technical Event Company | Band or DJ: Jim Bowers | Monogrammed items: It’s a Girl Thing | Invitations: Blue Glass Design | Signage: Bride’s Godmother | Bride’s Gown: “Mimi” by Wtoo | Bridal Salon, Veil, and Earrigns: J.Majors Bridal Boutique | Bracelet: Beads Inc. | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Shayla with Paper Dolls | Bride’s Shoes: Jack Rogers | Bridesmaid Dresses: Coren Moore from Bella Bridesmaids Charlotte | Groom’s Attire: Nordstrom | Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A Bank | Bow Ties: High Cotton

Dana Cubbage is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Zookbinders Wedding Albums reply

    Wow! This is a beautiful wedding! Love the color

  2. avatar Kirsti reply

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE everything about this wedding!! I love the southern prep theme and of course, the pineapples!!

  3. avatar Real Wedding: Katie + David | Sweetgrass Social reply

    […] To see more of Katie and David’s wedding, check out their feature on Southern Weddings! […]

  4. avatar Real Wedding at Thomas Bennett House in Charleston, SC – Sweetgrass Social reply

    […] To see more of Katie and David’s wedding, check out their feature on Southern Weddings! […]

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