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Every single day at Southern Weddings, the stories of couples who have fallen in love, overcome obstacles, and committed their lives to each other, and the images of the day they became husband and wife, move us. We are infinitely thankful for the couples who share with us, and the talented photographers who make us feel as though we were right there, witnessing these incredibly significant moments in a couple’s story–the moments that they will remember forever. Callie and Jamie’s wedding is extra special to me, because not only do I get to soak in their love and joy alongside y’all in V7 and in today’s post, I also got to witness it firsthand as a guest. And I promise you, their beautiful celebration at RiverOaks Charleston was every bit as magical and meaningful as it looks in these breathtaking images by Nancy Ray, who served as both photographer and bridesmaid on this very special day!

Jamie and I decided immediately that we wanted to plan more for our marriage than for our wedding. The main design inspiration for our wedding came from our prayer for our marriage: that The Lord would cultivate in us a marriage as strong as the oaks and as deep and wide as the sea. We wanted to create a meaningful event that pointed to the Lord and reflected who we are as a couple. We tried to make every decision with deep meaning, as this day was one that we had been looking forward to for so long, and one that we will share with our families for the rest of our lives.

All the jewelry that I wore were family heirlooms: my mother’s emerald and diamond earrings gifted to her on her wedding day from her mother-in-law (something borrowed), my great-grandmother’s diamond bracelet (something old), my great-grandmother’s ring and great-grandmother’s pin on my bouquet (something blue). My something new was my wedding dress and shoes. My mom sewed my great-grandmother’s ring into the inside back of my dress with blue thread, and I also carried my great-grandmother’s sweet pansy handkerchief down the aisle. Selecting gifts for my family as a thank you was an important detail for me, as I wanted to pick out meaningful gifts that would not only remind them of our wedding day, but would stay with them for a lifetime. A gold engraved locket for my mom, a gold engraved pocket watch for my dad, and shotgun shell cufflinks for my brother, along with handwritten letters seemed to be the perfect fit.

What was the weather like on your wedding day? By the Lord’s blessing, it could not have been any more perfect. We had asked so many people to pray for the weather, since everything would be taking place outside and we didn’t really have a back-up plan. I cried multiple times that day, just thinking about how those prayers were answered, and through the weather, the Lord was blessing our marriage. It was sunny, warm, and perfectly breezy.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? Although I had no idea what style I wanted, I knew that I wanted my dress to be timeless and elegant with a small twist. After trying on some dresses in Raleigh, my mom and I drove to Nitsa’s in Winston-Salem. After the fourth dress, I kept asking if I could put on the third dress again. Once I had it on, I didn’t want to take it off. After a few tears from both my mom and me, my mom asked me to list everything that I loved about this dress: the combination of soft lace with tulle, the unique peplum, and the delicate sweetheart neckline. She then looked at me and said “It’s perfect. If you love it, then you don’t need anyone else’s opinion.” In that moment, I promised her what she had been asking me to do, which was not to show anyone my dress except her, my brother, and my dad. It’s a bride’s dream to show off her dress to all of her family and bridesmaids, but this idea that I didn’t like at the time, but agreed to anyways to please my mom, ended up being one of the greatest decisions in my wedding planning process. My closest family, friends, and guests saw me in my wedding dress for the first time as I was walking down the aisle to my groom.

Tell us about your wedding ceremony. Our whole ceremony was thoughtfully planned out and we wanted it to move slowly, allowing us to take in each precious moment. We spent a lot of time with our officiant planning our ceremony and making sure that our main focus was not on us, but on Jesus. Jamie and I chose to have some of our close friends read two pieces of scripture in our wedding: Colossians 3:12-17 and Hosea 2:19-20. We felt these two verses truly captured the way that Jesus has loved us and the way that we hope to love each other: with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. We immediately knew that we wanted our best friend, Courtney Lancaster, to marry us. It was important to us to have someone marry us who truly knew us, separately and together, ugly and pretty, and who could stand up confidently share with our guests what we believed and why we had been called into marriage. Courtney has been my best friend since I was in sixth grade. She was my youth minister, Young Life leader, led Young Life with Jamie, and is the reason that I know Jesus the way I do today.

Since I had a very long aisle, it was important to me that my mom be able to see me walking down the aisle with my dad, so our officiant also asked our guests to wait for my mom to stand before they did. This was such a sweet moment not only for my mom, but also for me when we locked eyes and she watched my dad walk me down the aisle.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our own vows together, promising each other the same lines with a tiny bit of variation. My favorite lines were “By God’s grace, I will affirm and challenge you in becoming all that God has purposed you to be, and will serve Him together with you as one, giving Him the glory and honor.” In our ring vows, “I promise from this day forward, you will not walk alone. With these words, and with all my heart, I marry you and bind my life to yours.”

Our cocktail hour was held in the front of the RiverOaks house while their team transformed the backyard from the ceremony to the reception. Our passed hors d’oeuvres included Southern treats such as Lowcountry fried green tomatoes topped with pimento cheese, applewood smoked bacon-wrapped shrimp, and smoked maple leaf duck breast. We also served two signature cocktails: a Gulf oyster shooter and Charleston Cosmopolitan.

Jamie and I chose to do a private dinner on the dock so that we could enjoy our delicious meal together and alone before the party began. The view was incredible, and it was one of our favorite moments of the day. When planning our wedding, Jamie and I wanted to be intentional with planning specific times where we could be still with each other and take in all of the moments of our day. We did this at our private dinner, as well as during the communion in our ceremony and at the end of the night when we rode away on the boat before driving to our hotel. After we were finished eating, we joined our family and bridal party at the head table for the remainder of the meal.

Tell us about a way or ways you saved money or cut costs while planning. Flowers for sure! We repurposed the bridesmaids’ bouquets and ceremony florals as centerpieces at the reception and chose to decorate the tables with broken oyster shells instead of large floral arrangements. Because we decided to have our guests seated at long rectangle tables, it was important to us to have low and clean table decorations, in hopes that our guests would be able to have conversation instead of being blocked and distracted with large floral arrangements.

As a wedding photographer, one of my favorite moments of a wedding is the bride and groom’s exit, so I knew that I wanted to make mine extra special! Our exit started at the reception with the last song on the dance floor. We asked the band to play “Last Dance” by Donna Summer and had gold and white confetti shot over the dance floor. I then went and changed into a sparkly getaway dress and we walked through one very long and exciting line of sparklers onto the dock. Jamie and I climbed up in the tuna tower and exited on a beautiful sport fisherman boat. As we drove away, fireworks were shot in the sky!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your love story! Although Jamie and I went to high school together, we were not close friends, but we did have many mutual friends including my best friend, Mary Courtney. It wasn’t until the summer after my senior year (Jamie’s freshman year of college) that we started to spend more time together. When the summer had ended and it was time for me to go to the University of South Carolina for my freshman year of college, Jamie admitted to me that he liked me and wanted to know if we could continue to talk while I was gone. I said yes, and we talked almost every day, continuing to get to know each other. Soon enough, we started dating. After a year at the University of South Carolina, I felt that the Lord was calling me back to Raleigh, so I transferred to NC State. Jamie and I continued to grow closer to the Lord and each other, and the rest is history.
Tell us all about the proposal! After I got off work on Sunday, August 11, 2013, Jamie took me on a surprise date to the NC State Arboretum. We had been there a couple of times together and had been recently talking about going again, so I didn’t think anything of it. As we walked through the gardens, Jamie seemed a little rushed, but he’s normally always on a mission (much like me), so I politely asked him to slow down and walk with me. We walked aimlessly (or what I thought was aimlessly) through the gardens and stopped in the rose garden. He walked us over to “the spot,” turned me around with the biggest smile on his face, and said “Callie.” Immediately, I knew what was happening and began sobbing, saying “Is this really it?” Jamie and I had been dating for four years and had never said the words “I love you” (instead, we would say “I like you”), so I knew this moment was going to be one that I would remember forever. After saying many sweet words and telling me that he loved me and has loved me for a long time, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said YES! Jamie then told me that there was another surprise, and I turned around to see Nancy and Will Ray jump out of the bushes with their cameras. After many hugs and more tears, they took us around the garden to do a mini session as an engaged couple. It was probably one of the hottest days of the summer, but we didn’t care, because we were finally engaged! After we left the Arboretum, Jamie told me we were “going to get dinner,” but then, he took me back to my parents’ house, where all of our closest friends and family were, to celebrate!
When did y’all get married? May 3, 2014
Tell us all the basics of your wedding! Why did you choose these things? Did any of these details hold special meaning for you as a couple? Since I am a wedding photographer in Raleigh, NC, I am very familiar with all of the wedding venues and have worked many of them multiple times. I wanted to get married somewhere that I didn’t consider “my office” and that would be particularly special to us. I grew up and lived in Charleston for a brief time, and the water and beach have always been a special place to both Jamie and me, so when I texted him one day telling him “It would be a dream to be married in Charleston” and he responded with “I will marry you anywhere,” I knew we could make it happen. We began researching wedding venues in Charleston and through a friend’s recommendation, we found RiverOaks Charleston. From their website, it perfectly matched the vision in our minds–beautiful mossy oaks, the river, outdoor space, and a design process that allowed us to create something from scratch. It was the only venue I looked at, but I knew that it was where I wanted to marry Jamie. We wanted to cultivate real relationships with the people that we would be working so closely with on our most important day, and with Marianne and her team at RiverOaks, we had just that.
How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about marriage? Jamie and I will be living in Raleigh with our new silver lab puppy in our newly renovated home and continuing our dream jobs! Since we got engaged, Jamie and I have been most excited about living together, doing life together, reading the bible and praying together, and not having to part ways at night. Now that we are married, these are our favorite things about marriage! We are truly a team and each other’s biggest support!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Remember that your marriage is more important than your wedding. Make all of your wedding decisions together from deep within your heart. All of our wedding details and plans were thought through with deep meaning, which we believe made our event as special as it was. Lastly, journal throughout your engagement. I decided to keep a journal where I would write to Jamie periodically telling him how I was feeling and why I want to marry him. After nine months of filling that journal, I gifted it to him on our wedding day. It fills my heart with great joy when I come into the kitchen and see Jamie sitting at our kitchen island, reading his Bible and my journal early in the morning.

Photographer: Nancy Ray Photography / Videographer: Heart Stone Films / Venue, Planning, and Design: River Oaks Charleston / Design and Paper Goods: Rebecca Rose Creative / Florist: River Oaks Charleston and Deborah Gibson Design / Caterer: Cru Catering / Tent: Sperry Tents / Bar Service: Squeeze on Site / Wedding Cake Baker: Twenty-Six Divine / Bride’s Gown: “Confection” by Monique Lhuillier / Bridal Salon and Veil: Nitsa’s / Bride’s Shoes: Joie / Bride’s Bouquet Ribbons: Froufrou Chic / Bride’s Getaway Dress: French Connection / Bridesmaid Dresses: “Nadia” in Peacock Silk Chiffon by J. Crew / Hair Stylist: Hilary Mansell of Visage Salon / Makeup Artist: Elina Mille of Bellelina / Groom’s Tuxedo: Jos A. Bank / Groom’s Marlin Cufflinks: GameKeepersGifts / Groomsmen Suspenders: Hold Up Suspender Company / Suspender Monogramming: Monograms Inc. / Shotgun Shell Cufflinks: OruAka / Vintage Tabletop Rentals: Polished / Standard Rentals: Eventworks / Lounge Seating: Out of Hand Rentals / Specialty Linens: La Tavola / Calligraphy: Jill Velez Calligraphy / Rock Candy: Nuts.com / Transportation: Lowcountry Valet / Reception Band: Atlanta Pleasure Band / Ceremony Painter: Meredith Haake / Boat Transportation: Full Circle

Nancy Ray Photography, Heart Stone Films, Rebecca Rose Events, and RiverOaks Charleston are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Lacoya @ Hello Love Events reply

    Oh. My. Word – this is just precious! I love all of the heartfelt details like the handwritten vows, the journal, the fireworks (who doesn’t want fireworks?!). I especially love how they were bold about letting their guests know that their wedding day and, ultimately, marriage would be rooted in the spirit of the Lord. God bless you, both. Lovely wedding! XO

  2. avatar Classic Wedding Invitations reply

    Such a gorgeous wedding!

  3. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    Callie and Jamie’s day is my favorite wedding that I have ever seen. I am inspired by the way that they put the focus on Jesus, glorifying Him in all of it. Their intentionality in soaking up the day and being present is so wise, too. From the broken oyster shells to the beautiful bouquets, monogrammed suspenders, and peacock J. Crew gowns, I am smitten with every detail and am so glad y’all featured them!

  4. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #174 – Floridian Weddings reply

    […] stealing this couple's idea of a private dockside dinner before the reception, plus their modern black, white and teal stationery bits are gorg, […]

  5. avatar Inspiration No. 4 (Shades of Green) reply

    […] Sources from Left to Right: Getaway Car, Emerald Bridesmaids, Classic Green Tie, Magnolia Escort Cards, Candlelight Fireplace, Mint Juleps, Shaded Bridesmaids, […]

  6. avatar Callie’s Advice: Getting Your Wedding Published | Nancy Ray Photography reply

    […] you so much for featuring our wedding and telling our love story. Be sure to see our blog feature here and the magazine […]

  7. avatar Tatyana Lee reply

    Love the color of the bridesmaids dresses!

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Lara may have already tied the knot to the man of her dreams, but that couldn’t stop me from dreaming up a romantic bridal shower for her and Ari. It is so much fun to plan out some bridal shower inspiration for each other and it may serve as inspiration to some of y’all as well! Also, a little bird mentioned that Ms. Casey is considering a vow renewal, so maybe a little party inspiration will be just what she needs…

Lara grew up on the Florida panhandle, so I couldn’t think of a better place for this bridal shower soiree than a white-washed beach house overlooking the ocean. We would mingle on the porch, eating scrumptious mini key lime tarts (perfect for a Florida celebration!) and chit-chatting away.

Image credits, clockwise from top left: porch photo by Erica George Dinas via Atlanta Homes Magazine; gold presents photo by KT Merry via Style Me Pretty (styling by Aisle Candy); key lime tarts photo by Jessica Lorren via Southern Weddings; teal invitation photo and design by Marta Harding via Inspired Bride; glass bottle centerpiece photo by Millie Holloman via Style Me Pretty (styling by Salt Harbor Designs); lemon and mint favors from Martha Stewart Weddings; bike photo by Veil and Bow via Southern Weddings; mint and gold outfit photo by Nicole Warne from Gary Pepper Vintage via Chictopia

Lara’s favorite color is a light and relaxing shade of teal, so I knew that we had to incorporate that lovely shade into the party. Comfortable teal pillows would line the porch swings and bottles of sea glass would line the tables.

Guests, dressed in their finest beach attire, would cheer to Lara and Ari’s continued happiness. Their dearest friends and family would give toasts to the couple.

Lara adores Luna Bars, and I momentarily considered setting up a Luna Bar dessert table, but I figured that light macaroons and zesty key lime desserts might be a bit more fitting. Guests would also enjoy refreshing mint juleps and champagne.

I’d love to have photos of Lara and Ari and their families and friends set up around the porch, and there would be plenty of candles to light the space after the sun went down. At the end of the evening, we would all hop on bicycles and peddle home along the beach after we said our farewells.

Get to know Lara here and here!

What do you think? Is this beach bridal shower your dream shower too? Let us know what your dream bridal shower would look like below!

P.S. For the next post in our shower series, Lara will dream up a bridal shower for Emily! Keep your eyes peeled!

KT Merry, Jessica Lorren, and Millie Holloman are all fabulous members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by Whitney
4 Comments
  1. avatar Plum Pretty Sugar Loungerie reply

    Sooooo refreshing! Love, love the colors!!!

    xo

  2. avatar Ashley {Ashley Daniell Photography} reply

    I love this Whitney! It suits Lara perfectly!! I’d love to photograph a party like this! LOL

  3. avatar Whitney reply

    My dream shower is happening next weekend :) my maids of honor are throwing with a Bridal Soirée, Kate Spade themed! Round gold confetti, bright pinks and red’s everywhere. Super preppy, playful and girly!! Kate Spade sayings throughout the house and tulle poms everywhere. I can’t wait to see how they put it all together! I’m such a lucky bride!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Whitney! That’s so fun! ESPECIALLY since I am currently planning a Kate Spade shower in real life!! I’m sure yours will be awesome!

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So, is Ashley + Steve’s reception at the Oaks Plantation as lovely – and Southern! – as we promised? We sure think so! And what about that trio of styled cakes from Cake Designs (334-288-6900), with stands from Sarah’s Stands? Even the sugar addict in me has to agree these sweet treats are simply too beautiful to eat. Emily’s favorite detail? The monogrammed mason jars, which leave us asking, Where can we find some of our own? I see a future Fab Find in the works, folks… A big thanks to Vue Photography for sharing!

See all the photos from Ashley + Steve’s wedding in their Real Wedding Gallery!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I set a date in April for my mom, dad, and twin sister to spend the weekend in Atlanta to go dress shopping. My sweet sister called and made 3 appointments at various places for that Saturday. Our first stop was Bridals by Lori. I had only tried on 2 dresses that we’d picked out when the consultant said she had just the dress for me. I tried on her selection she’d picked for me and when I came out to show my mom and sister, tears started rolling down their faces. That’s when I knew I had found the dress!
Describe your wedding flowers: My bouquet consisted of white Hydrangea, peach and cream stock, sand, versailles and timeless roses, white Lisianthus, Berzelia berries, seeded Eucalyptus and lambs ear. Flowers for the ceremony and reception were a combination of textures and pale flowers which included Italian ruscus, seeded eucalyptus, dusty miller, white hydrangea, cream and peach stock, roses in champagnes, peaches and butter colors, white lisianthus and antique spray roses. Curly Willow and Italian ruscus and seeded eucalyptus were greeneries used for accent.
Describe your wedding cake: The cake table included a trio of cakes. All of the cakes were placed on antique white cake platforms and the center cake was trimmed in celedon ribbon with a saffron sugar flower accent. Jill Sampson hand-painted the paper flowers used on the side cakes to make a beautiful display of handcrafted design. The cake flavors included Italian crème cake with cream cheese filling, Lemon cake with raspberry filling and chocolate cake with mocha filling.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We both felt like the most memorable moment was seeing each other for the first time that day at the boathouse – nobody else was around except for the two of us soaking in the special moment.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are looking forward to finally living in the same city after commuting back and fourth every weekend for the past three years, traveling as much as we can and starting a family of our own one day.

Written with love by Katharine
13 Comments
  1. avatar Rachel – theWeddingVine reply

    The chair bows are so cute!

  2. avatar Sally Geer reply

    Ya’ll we gotta find out who did those monogrammed mason jars! My wedding is in April and my calligrapher just did the most amazing monogram for me. I am just thinking how good my signature drink “Dixie Tea” (sweet tea, southern comfort, peach schnapps , lemons ) would taste in those things. Must have….i am about to start googling now….please post if ya’ll find out!

  3. avatar Audrey reply

    I love the mason jars with the candles in them! It is such a classic look, yet a unique idea! The photographer did a great job!

  4. avatar Ashley Foote reply

    Well of course I love this post because my wedding is the one being featured!

    I noticed some of you loved the monogrammed mason jars and I just want to say I’m a lucky lady because my pops is a jack of all trades. He hand carved our monogram into the mason jars for our wedding. I just spoke with him and he said he’d be more than happy to start making them and selling them to anyone interested. He does not have a website as of yet but if you’d like to email me at baileae@gmail.com we’d be more than happy to work with you!

    • avatar victoria reply

      Ashley Foote: I love the etched mason jars and would love to have them for favors at my wedding. Can you tell me if your dad still is willing to make them and sell them or how he did it?

    • avatar Stacey reply

      Ashley Foote: Who did your paper designs? Everything is fantastic!

    • avatar Anne reply

      Ashley Foote: Hey Ashley, love the mason jars. I have a similar monogram. How did you make your stencil? I was going to do it out of contact paper but didn’t know if there was a more sturdy material you used. Thanks!!

  5. avatar Sara Beth reply

    How gorgeous! I feel so blessed to have been at Ashley and Steve’s wedding, sharing in their special day. Truly stunning and an evening to remember!

  6. avatar Natalee reply

    The napkins with the joint monogram are adorable too! I would love something like this for my cocktail hour. Did you have a calligrapher create the monogram or can I find these somewhere?

    • avatar Lauren reply

      Natalee: Yes please Id love to know who did your monogram? perfect! thank you!

  7. avatar Lauren Hall reply

    Does anyone know how to reach Ashley? I would love to have her father make my custom mason jars, and to find out who did her monogram….thank you!!!!!!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Lauren! I believe Ashley designed her own monogram. So talented! I’ve put in an email to Ashley with your contact information, so I’m hoping she’ll be in touch with you soon about the mason jars!

    • avatar Lauren reply

      Emily: Thanks SO much! I hope she does too! Shes is very talented, Id love for her to do mine. :)

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