Southern Weddings

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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!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar kelly reply

    Oh I just love the Nancy Ray team’s work! Such a beautiful wedding with the hanging moss, that gown, and the meaning behind it all.

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    […] and Ben’s Rose Hill Plantation Wedding is featured on Southern Weddings Magazine! Yay!!! Alex was the lead filmmaker and editor for this gorgeous wedding and we are so excited for […]

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    […] and Ben’s Rose Hill Mansion Wedding Featured on Southern Weddings Photographer: Callie […]

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Allie and Tom shared with us that the most Southern part of their wedding was the tradition that was hidden in all the details–I simply love that! We all know how important tradition is here in the South, and finding a way to include those things in the sweet details of a wedding day makes them all the more special. Of course, when your family’s home is as beautiful and filled with memories as Allie’s aunt’s is, the reception venue is a no-brainer! Built in the 1850s by Allie’s ancestors, the two were married at the stunning plantation where her mother grew up, and where her parents had held their reception. I can’t think of a more romantic way to celebrate becoming husband and wife than under the twinkle lights and Spanish moss-covered trees that have been a part of so many important family milestones throughout the years!

Gracious, we’re happy Britt Croft shared this lovely day with us!

My something borrowed was the pair of earrings my cousin lent me. I had a small blue ribbon sewn onto my garter for my something blue. My something old was my great-grandmother’s wedding band that my grandmother gave me the day she met Thomas, because she already knew he was the one. I have worn it every day since. My something new was my shoes. I wore Toms for the comfort…and to have my husband’s name on the back of my shoes!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I distinctly remember the moment the doors to the church opened and I saw Thomas’ expression seeing me in my dress. His face lit up and I knew he felt the same way that I did. It was then that all the nerves disappeared and I was able to calmly walk down the aisle to marry the man made specifically for me.

I think the most Southern part of our wedding was the tradition hidden in all of the details. We were married in the same church as my parents and grandparents, and where my mother, brother, and I were baptized. We held the reception at my aunt’s house. This house has recently come into my aunt and uncle’s possession, but was originally built in the 1850s by my ancestors and is the home my mother grew up in. It was also the same place my parents held their reception. It is a beautiful plantation about an hour outside of Savannah, where the trees are covered by Spanish moss and the fireflies come out at night to dance.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The cigar bar. I had shared with my family that I planned to surprise Thomas with a cigar bar because he is very fond of smoking cigars on special occasions. My aunts heard my plan and decided to do it for me as a gift to us. They pulled out a sofa, two chairs, a coffee table, and a side table, all of which were vintage. They filled the table with cigars and hung a chandelier over it. My cousin’s wife even made a framed chalkboard sign announcing “Tom’s Cigar Bar.” It was probably the most popular spot of the entire reception.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My wedding planner was my savior. I rented all of my furniture from him and he was also my florist–quite the jack of all trades. He was very good about saying “We can use this furniture here at the ceremony and then here at the reception” or “We can use these pew markers again at the reception as table accents.” He knew that I didn’t want to be wasteful or spend money that wasn’t necessary, and he was very respectful of that and resourceful.

Our wedding cake was simple, yet elegant. The base was cream frosting and it had the same flowers as were in the bouquets cascading down the sides. We worked with a marvelous baker who let us pick unconventional flavors, like chocolate peanut butter and sweet peach. However, it was the groom’s cake that stole the show. Tom and I met at Auburn and wanted to pay tribute to this. The bottom layer of the groom’s cake was decorated in tiger stripes, the middle layer contained the “AU” symbol, and on the top was a fondant sculpture depicting the Toomer’s oak covered in toilet paper, with our initials carved in the trunk.

See Allie and Tom’s wedding video by Still Co. below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Thomas and I met in college. We attended Auburn University and spent our senior year falling in love. We were first introduced by two friends who were dating at the time, but initially, we had no interest in starting a relationship. We kept spending time together through our mutual friends, and eventually, we started to hang out just the two of us. After a year, we realized we had been dating for a while without even realizing it! He graduated and moved to Miami for law school, and we decided that long distance was worth it.
Tell us all about the proposal! I have visited Edisto Beach, South Carolina with my extended family every year for a week since I was born, and my mom has been every year since she was a little girl. In fact, this year was the fiftieth anniversary of the original trip! My parents recently bought a house on this beach, so Thomas and I decided to take a long weekend vacation to their house for our three-year anniversary. Before we left for dinner one night, we walked to the beach with a blanket and letters we had written to recap our three years together. The plan was to read the letters and then place them in a bottle and send them out to sea. As Thomas finished reading his letter, his closing remarks were “I am excited to see what the next three years hold, but more than that, I am excited to see what the rest of my life holds with you. Allison Victoria Filipowski, will you marry me?” I was so excited that as soon as I was done saying yes, I immediately started to run home to share the news with my parents, who were also staying at the house that weekend. To my surprise, both of our families were at the house to share in the celebration. And of course, we saved the letters, so there was no littering!
When did y’all get married? June 20, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 175
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look. Whenever I imagined my wedding, it had always been with the idea that the first time Tom and I would see each other would be as I was walking down the aisle. Our wedding was so set in tradition, I wanted to keep it that way. Also, I knew that if we did a first look, I felt like it would put a lot of pressure on Tom’s reaction to my dress, and that didn’t seem fair. His reaction when the doors of the church opened was perfect, and I am glad we made the decision we did.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows. However, instead of saying “I do,” we finished with “This is my solemn vow.” It felt very special for us to share how committed we are to one another.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Thomas and I had been dating for almost five years, and our engagement was a year and a half. We have really tried to take our time with every step of our relationship and savor each milestone. We took this time to discuss everything from where we want to raise our family to what values are most important and need to be passed along. We’re very lucky because we agree on almost everything. We’ve never come to a crossroad where we couldn’t find a compromise. The most important thing, we have found, has been communication. We are a very open couple, for better or worse.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Find a few key parts of your wedding that mean the most to you. Let those be the areas you focus on and let everything else work itself out. Everything will come together at the end and your memories will be of those few important details.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We hope to really take some time to savor being married and a party of two. We want a family, but we are going to take a few years to enjoy being just the two of us. We want to travel all around the globe!

Photographer: Britt Croft / Videographer: Still Co. / Planner, Rentals and Lighting: James Carlson / Ceremony Venue: Jerusalem Lutheran Church / Reception Venue: Family Home / Florist: JoAnn’s Florist / Caterer and Wedding Cake Baker: Savannah’s Hall of Cakes / DJ: All About You Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: “Danae” by Sottero and Midgley / Hair and Makeup: Taylor of 30 Volume Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Toms / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

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

    Beautifully done. It’s hard to find a more magical place than Savannah, GA for a stunning wedding. Southern charm in every photo! The video is really well done. I love the moss trees and plantation-style home!

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Lina knew that Mario was the one for her on their very first date, so it seems only fitting that choosing their wedding venue came down to love at first sight too. They were immediately smitten with The Glen Venue after attending a friend’s wedding there during their dating days, and once they were the ones with a wedding on the horizon, there was no question where their rustic, romantic celebration would take place. Lina and Mario loved it so much, they did their engagement session there too, adding one more layer of sweet memories to this special place!

Thank you so much to J. Layne Photography for sharing this beautiful day with us!

I chose to invite only my mother dress shopping, because I wanted the experience to be a special memory between her and I. I found my dress at The White Magnolia. My mom was the one who actually spotted my dress and made me try it on. Once I had it on, I knew it was the one! I remember not wanting to take it off, and feeling like it had been made just for me!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Plan your wedding according to what you both want! Mario and I were committed to that, and although we felt some tension along the way, we wouldn’t have had it any other way. It turned out to be the wedding of our dreams because we stuck to our guts. Prioritize the elements that are most important to you. We knew we wanted great flowers and great photographers, so those things were at the top of our list when it came to the budget.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look because we wanted an intimate moment between the two of us before the celebrations began. We loved getting a glimpse of one another before walking down the aisle, and some of our most favorite pictures of the two of us are from our first look!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our ceremony. Everything from walking down the aisle, to saying our own vows, to taking communion together for the first time as a married pair, to the blessing one of our pastors prayed over us. I remember the ceremony so clearly; it was as if time stood still. I was just so happy to finally marry the love of my life. Every worry and stressful thought disappeared the moment I started to walk down that aisle with my mother.

When Mario and I were dating, we attended a friend’s wedding at The Glen Venue. I immediately fell in love with it and knew that it would be the place where we would get married someday. We loved how naturally beautiful it was. We knew we wanted an outdoor, rustic, romantic wedding, and our venue brought that vision to life. There was also a large wooden deck surrounded with lights, which made for a dreamy reception setting. We loved our venue so much that we even had our engagement session done there.

We had such an incredible baker. We couldn’t make up our mind on one flavor, so we decided to have five different cakes, all of which were organic! Our main cake was a two-tiered Key lime cake (our favorite flavor). The rest of the cakes were ginger carrot cake with maple cinnamon buttercream, red velvet cake with white chocolate buttercream, vanilla bean cake with light almond buttercream with fresh lemon curd and raspberry preserve filling, and lastly, dark chocolate cake with hazelnut buttercream.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at our local church while serving on the worship team. We began spending a lot time together with friends, and we immediately sensed a strong connection with one another. Group dates turned into dates between the two of us, and on February 11, 2011, we began our relationship. We dated for three years before Mario proposed. Although I was pretty restless about not being engaged in our three years of dating (I knew I wanted to marry him on our first date!), looking back now, I appreciate all of the seasons that Mario and I went through, because they prepared us for this beautiful gift of marriage.
Tell us all about the proposal! We took a trip to Savannah to celebrate our anniversary on February 16, 2014. Our plan that day was to eat, shop, and take a few pictures of the town. When we arrived at Forsyth Park, Mario decided that he was going to show me a few simple photography tips. I was in a full “photographer stance” when he asked me to focus the camera in on his hand. I was about to take another picture when I saw the most beautiful engagement ring on the palm of his hand through the camera lens. I was in such shock that he had to repeatedly tell me to stand up. I stood, and he got down on one knee and asked me the question that I had been obsessing over for the past few years: “Will you marry me?” I immediately said yes, cried my eyes out, called my mom, and continued to cry, all while feeling like the happiest and luckiest girl in the world.
When did y’all get married? November 7, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 150
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We went through marriage counseling with the pastor who married us. We also did a pre-marital workbook that brought up a lot of great topics for us to talk through.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We paid for most of the wedding ourselves, so it became very stressful at times. We just trusted that everything was going to work out and tried to be intentional about our spending.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Our venue came with tables as well as wooden benches, which shaved off a large amount of rental money! Another thing we decided on was to forgo a videographer and invest in amazing photographers. I think this was a great decision! Although we don’t have a video to look back on, we have hundreds of amazing images that still take me back to that day as if it was yesterday. I am forever grateful to our incredible photographers for doing such an outstanding job.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are looking forward to traveling, buying our first home together, starting a family, and living our lives while always supporting each other’s dreams.

Photographer: J Layne Photography / Venue: The Glen Venue / Florist: Aime Peterson Flowers & Events / Cake Baker: Sweet N’ Flour / Caterer: Tres Leches Eatery / Rentals: Aime Peterson Flowers & Events /
Band: Who Rescued Who / Chalkboard Art and Invitations: Ashley Purser / Bridal Salon: The White Magnolia / Bride’s Gown: “Jacinda” by Watters / Bride’s Veil: Love Bridal Boutique / Hair Stylist: Jessica Rowe / Makeup Artist: Jill Bogers / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “650I” by Wtoo and “Annabelle” by Jenny Yoo / Groom’s Jacket: Daniel Cremieux / Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan / Groomsmen’s Jackets: Men’s Wearhouse / Bow Ties: The Tie Bar / Table Numbers and Reserved Signs: Sixpence Press / Cake Topper: Host & Toast Studio / Bride’s Dress Hanger: BHLDN

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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  1. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #194 – Floridian Social reply

    […] were totally smitten with the mix of rustic, romantic, elegant and organic at The Glen Venue captured by J. Layne Photography. Lina and her 'maids were stunning, as were the […]

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