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Sometimes when I sit down to write these posts, I see so many wonderful details that I don’t even know where to start! Jillian + Marcus’s wedding was lovely, combining unique touches with the tried-and-true details that we never fail to love over and over again. Hay bale ceremony seating? We always love it. But a flower girl in plaid and lace carrying a galvanized steel bucket? Double brownie points! Scroll down and you’ll see more images by Dave Lapham to fawn over — include the bride’s and bridesmaids’ bouquets and the sweet notes J + M left at each place setting.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I found the one the week after I was engaged! Don’t be tricked by the tears. I cried with my second try-on, but the reality of it all was just settling in! When I tried on my dress, I was all smiles and twirls. I never wanted to take it off! That’s how I knew!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? We couldn’t wait to see each other but we wanted the thrill of the reveal.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. Walking down the aisle, walking back up the aisle, first dance? Oh, I agonized over picking the perfect songs that were unique but appropriate! I ended up just picking my absolute favorite songs and it turned out so perfectly. I don’t know why that didn’t dawn on me sooner. The groomsmen/groom processional was to “I’ll Be Seeing You” by Billie Holiday, the bridesmaid processional was to “C’est La Mort” by The Civil Wars, my processional was to “Till Kingdom Come” by Coldplay (the most beautiful song ever!), the recessional was to “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys and our first dance was to “Forever and Ever, Amen” by Randy Travis. We were also VERY clear that “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins be played at least three times throughout the reception.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The most Southern characteristic was the pure atmosphere of celebration we wanted to create! We also had BBQ pork sandwiches with sweet potato fries served with homemade blackberry pie and sweet tea, a live band with string lights over the dance floor to encourage all night boogie-ing, and a ceremony with our friend and groomsman singing a hymn while our loved ones sat on hay bales.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Everything was so us. So many people at the wedding came up and just gushed about the fact that there was no denying that this wedding was ours! It had our name written all over it! From the wildflowers, the stripes and the glitter to the local and delicious buffet spread, kettle corn booth, and home-made pie, the day was definitely a celebration made for the people we love!
Describe your wedding flowers: They turned out SO beautifully, but boy was it a lot of work. Marcus and I picked up the boxes of uncut wildflowers from a wholesale florist on Thursday morning. By Thursday night, the middle of my apartment was converted into a full-fledged florist’s workshop with what felt like millions of flowers and mason jars to fill up! With friends, who are the hardest working angels in the whole world, we potted plants and arranged flowers ‘til the cows came home. We may or may not have danced a little, too.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: We decided to go nontraditional in SO many areas of our wedding and this was one. Wedding cakes can be such a huge part of the budget and we didn’t feel strongly that we even wanted it! Also, the whole shoving-cake-in-your-new-spouse’s-mouth thing baffled us. We wanted something yummy, inexpensive, and simple to serve, but still wanted it to feel special. There is an Amish bakery in our hometown that we both grew up on that literally makes every flavor of pie in the whole world. We decided to order a bunch of those and call it a day. They were such a huge hit that we didn’t even get to taste it!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We had been friends for a few years before it dawned on us that we were madly in love with each other. It happened when I was in my best friend’s wedding and he was in the audience. We couldn’t stop looking at one another! We haven’t stopped since :)
Describe the proposal. I had been expecting it to happen soon, but then when Marcus actually asked me it was so unexpected! We were walking through some gardens on our way to the downtown farmer’s market, our Saturday morning ritual. Marcus led me down a different path, but I was impatient to get to my coffee! When I turned around, he was on his knee and I was speechless! It is the most beautiful ring in the world and from the best man I’ll ever know. Obviously, I said yes.
In what month did you get married? March
How many guests attended your wedding? 175
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I am so bad with long term goals! We had a four and a half month engagement, but it felt like a lifetime to me! If it weren’t for our planner, Laura, I would have quit half-way through. By the end, there were multiple details that I simply deferred to Laura. Other than my short-sightedness, it was wonderful and smooth. I prayed a lot.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000 – $50,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? I really don’t feel like we splurged on anything! Every single thing was under budget when it came down to it. I tried SO hard to be realistic with all of the budgeting! The only thing I thought we splurged on was a live band. So many people go with a DJ because of the lower price, but it was so worth it! Every single person was on the dance floor by the end of the night. They were like pied pipers!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? So many great moments! My mom and I crying together when my pastor was praying before the ceremony, giggle-crying my way through our vows, our Footloose dance-off, the car ride home with us exclaiming, “Whoa!” and “That was awesome!” We had the time of our lives.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? So many people say to enjoy it, but really some people just don’t like planning weddings. That’s ok! There were so many aspects I enjoyed, but I am so glad I never have to do it again! My best advice is to keep sight of the reason for all of the decisions and hard-work! You are about to marry your best friend, the best man you know, and the person that will always love you and point you to Christ. It is the most exciting thing in the world! If everything fell apart and nothing went right, at the end of the day, Marcus would be my husband and I would be his wife. That kept me going and kept me calm!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are currently packing our apartment up and taking off to Australia for the next six months so that I can attend culinary school in Perth. We can’t wait to make adventures together!

Ashton Events is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
16 Comments
  1. avatar Madelynne Moulton reply

    I love that bouquet and the lavender!!! The striped ribbon is SO fab. I love her dress and I love the decor hanging from the trees. What a sweet and personal wedding! I can’t believe they planned it in such a short period of time! Very impressive!

  2. avatar C. Lapham reply

    Love the photos – Proud Dad

  3. avatar C. Lapham reply

    David – Great settings and original looks.

  4. avatar DC Wedding Photographer reply

    AMAZING! Truly inspiring images!

  5. avatar Kelly reply

    GORGEOUS. I love love love the pie tin signs, the striped ribbon, his gingham shirt… I could eat this wedding up!

  6. avatar naomi reply

    This wedding is just adorable. I love the programs, and the centerpieces are just perfect! Not one detail was overlooked. So lovely!

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  12. avatar Krystal reply

    This is BEAUTIFUL!!! I would love to get a hold of J&M Ranch (where the venue is, right?) but I can’t find any contact info! Do you have any? Planning a country wedding for next November :) Thanks!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi Krystal! Congratulations on your engagement! :) I couldn’t find the venue’s contact information either, so I emailed Laura from Ashton Events to see if she has it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to find it soon and get back to you!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi again! Laura just let me know that J&M Ranch is privately owned and no longer rents to the public. If you’re looking for some other great ranches in Central FL though, Laura said she’d be happy to recommend some! You can email her at laura@ashtonevents.com. Hope this helps! :)

    • avatar Krystal reply

      Lisa: Thanks so much! I will E-mail her :)

  13. avatar Chic Barn By Ashton Events And Dave Lapham Wedding | Wedding Idea Spot reply

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This. Wedding. Rocks! Mariangelix + Steven look like such a fun couple, don’t they? Their outdoor wedding was inspired by the 1940s Southern plantation style that we all know and love from The Notebook. M + S even asked their guests to come dressed in WWII-era garb! In addition to the fun theme, M + S’s wedding was full of amazing color and fun surprises! Their bowling alley reception was kept a surprise until right after the ceremony and guests were treated to adorably-wrapped socks. Love! Biggest thanks to Michelle March who shared this wedding with us.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: Finding my wedding dress was a tricky adventure. I began the search with my mom, knowing exactly what I wanted: a mermaid shape, ivory lace, cap sleeves and a key hole back. Monique Lhuillier’s “Scarlet” has always been my favorite dress, but it was not in my budget. After weeks and weeks of searching, my best friend was in town and we just decided to stop by a shop where I found my dress! I didn’t have that “Aha,” crying moment that people describe, but I just knew that it was meant for me. It couldn’t have been more perfect!
Describe your wedding flowers: COLOR! This was one of the most important details of my wedding. I treated my flowers as if they were a part of my outfit. I did my own flowers and I used all of my favorite ones, including purple tulips, blush pink peonies, red ranunculus, billy balls, black & white anemones, purple anemones, white hydrangeas, and red pin cushions. I tied it with black and white striped ribbon and finished with a light pink cameo brooch given to me by my mother-in-law. It really was spectacular, the colors were breathtaking!

How much do you love these dapper little gents and their fun sign?

Did you decide to do a “first look”? No, we didn’t do a first look mainly because Steven wanted to keep things more traditional. He wanted to look forward to seeing me walk down the aisle for the first time. I was happy with the decision, it was really sweet!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. Our wedding was 1920s-1940s-themed and very inspired by The Notebook, therefore our song choices were connected to our theme in some way, as well as a reflection of us. We had an amazing pianist, Adlan Cruz, playing our songs on a grand piano. It was incredible! Before the bridal party walked down the aisle, he played “I’ll Be Seeing You.” The bridal party walked down the aisle to The Notebook’s theme song and then my dad and I walked down to “What a Wonderful World.” For the father-daughter dance, we played “Unforgettable”

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I feel like our ceremony had a Southern plantation feel to it, especially since it was inspired by The Notebook. I always wanted an outside wedding, so we held it on a piece of land that was on the property of our church. It was perfect! A blue vintage car dropped me off at the end of the aisle, which was elevated just enough so everyone could see. We had benches for our guests to sit on and purple rose petals mixed in with the green grass gave the aisle a nice touch! We gave everyone glass Coke bottles as favors after the ceremony and we played old jazz in the open air, while the wind blew and the sun was shining brightly. It was magical! Another Southern detail, which I treasure dearly, is my 1920s art deco estate ring!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: I had two wedding cakes. We designed both sets of cakes to fit the theme and reflect us in different ways. The first one was at the small reception right after our ceremony. It was a set of three Puerto Rican cakes with sweet mint green frosting. It was delicious! They were displayed on a red vintage desk with wooden hearts as toppers. The second cake was a bit more artsy. The five-tier masterpiece was the same style of cake as the first one, but with black, mustard, plum and mint colored fondant. The base and top tiers were black and white striped and the middle tier had a beautiful lace design. It was topped off by a set of wooden figurines that I made to resemble drawings that I make of us. Both cakes were made by my aunt, who is an amazing baker and artist in the Central Florida area.

How did the two of you meet? We met in high school. We had similar friends and knew of each other for a while before we started dating. We ended up having the same class my last year of high school and got to know each other. The last day of class before Christmas break, I happened to be leaving school early and he was skipping class. So, that was the first time we officially hung out and after that, it was a wrap! 8 years later, here we are!
Describe the proposal. Our proposal was magical! Michelle March actually had something to do with that as well. She had asked to shoot us a few times before, whenever she was in town, but it never seemed to work out, especially because Steven is not really the most photo-loving guy out there. This time, though, he ended up saying yes! “Just to get me off his back!” So, he ends up contacting my best friend and Michelle and they come up with this grandiose plan. We get some really nice shots in France and then Michelle says, “I want some ice cream,” their code word for the proposal. Of course I had no idea, so I say “Ooh, I want some ice cream!!” However, Michelle goes back to her position and keeps snapping away. About a few seconds later, Steven starts saying all these nice things to me and I think he’s joking (because he’s a jokester) so I tell him to stop playing! Then he gets on one knee and says, “This is real! Will you marry me?” I was so surprised, I started bawling like a little baby! As soon as I said yes, all I heard was clapping from all of the people that were around. It was the most beautiful thing ever! The pictures were beyond amazing and I was just so surprised! The night ended with a private view of the fireworks show on a balcony in the Italy pavilion. Disney really is where dreams come true — it was surreal!
In what month did you get married? March
How many guests attended your wedding? 200+
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I have to pick three!
1. Since it was a themed wedding, we asked our guests to wear attire from the 20s, 30s, or 40s. We didn’t think that so many of our guests would actually participate and it was a great turnout. It was such an amazing feeling when I saw all of those people dressed up right before I walked down the aisle. It was exactly as I imagined it! I felt like I was on a movie set!
2. Our reception! We had our reception at a bowling alley and it was a surprise to everyone! We kept our reception details a secret until the actual wedding day. All of the guests received the details right after the ceremony. They were so surprised and had a blast. It was really awesome to see them enjoy themselves! We wanted our wedding to be FUN as well as a reflection of us entirely. Plus, what’s better than taking your guests bowling?! Our favors were socks, because, of course, we knew they wouldn’t be ready!
3. Balloons and confetti! As we were walking back up the aisle, our guests threw confetti at us from little bags that were placed on the benches. Right before we departed to the reception, we gave everyone a red balloon and they let them go as we drove away. It was phenomenal to see the clear blue sky filled with red balloons as a celebration of our marriage!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was keeping the bowling alley reception a secret. The only people that knew about it were our parents. We really didn’t think that we could do it, but we did! It was a great surprise!
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Steven’s custom-made suit! He is a pretty fashionable guy, so he always said he wanted a double-breasted suit. The only problem was finding it. We found a custom tailor in town to help us, which allowed Steven to be able to pick everything from the buttons to the lining and the pattern of the suit. It really was a neat experience. Steven always said that if there is any time when a man should splurge on his outfit, it should be on his wedding day! His whole entire combination was brilliant and he looked so dapper! I did not get to see the suit until the day-of and it was a really nice surprise!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment was walking back up the aisle with my husband as everyone was throwing confetti at us. It was like a dream!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Be you! Think outside the box and don’t worry about what everyone else is going to think. Our wedding was truly a reflection of us and we didn’t have to break the bank for it. Sometimes wedding visions are way bigger than your budget, so be realistic and think of every possible way that you can do everything you want with the amount that you have. Prioritize your wants and it will all fall into place. Do as many DIY projects as possible. Additionally, don’t get caught up in so many traditions. You can do things your way if you want to! We wanted fun, so we went to a bowling alley! It was memorable for us and for our guests. Don’t let the planning stress get to you. Try to embrace every moment. This day is about you and your groom, so do as you please!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? That’s a really exciting question! We are recently taking my event design business to the next level and we are ecstatic! Finally we are doing something greater with my passion with Peplum Events & Design. We are excited for the opportunities, dreams and goals that we have for this business. I look forward to growing as partners and building a stronger marriage each day. Kids and those will show up someday! In the meantime, we are passionate about each other’s dreams and desires.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
23 Comments
  1. avatar Amber Lewter reply

    Very original! I love how each member of the wedding party has their own look, so personal and well thought out. Beautiful wedding!

  2. avatar Adeline reply

    These photos are beyond gorgeous! What a beautiful couple with an amazing concept!

  3. avatar Nine Photography | Dallas Wedding Photographers reply

    This wedding stopped me in my tracks! Best bridesmaid outfits ever!!!! Love this couple for being so creative and fun with their details. :)

  4. avatar The Friday Fresh Squeeze | Floridian Weddings reply

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  5. avatar mandy reply

    Where did those fabulous garters come from?!

  6. avatar Kristin Hubbard reply

    This wedding is fabulous! From the outfits, to te decor, and even the bowling alley at the reception– this wedding rocks!!

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  22. avatar Photo Booth Rental Florida reply

    Wow! Really like the picture with the socks and the guys very very cool. And also like your picture with the car in the background.

  23. avatar Uplighting Rental reply

    Wow, love the pictures some really great moments on your blog. Thanks for sharing!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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