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How fabulous are these flowers and delightful details!? Be sure to visit photographer Tine Hofmann’s {BLOG} for more of Melissa + Ryan’s gorgeous {Claxton Farm} wedding. Cake by {Cakes by Jane} . Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Favorite design element of your big day: The table decor. Our florist used all kinds of old vintage glass bottles for single cut flowers, sheet moss, and small potted trees. She sprinkled dried peas around the tables. Every table was different and there was so much to look at. At the end of the night, our guests got to take home the potted trees. We also put together a candy bar with candy apples, rock candy, marzipan, maple candy, lollipops, etc. I used vintage pink glassware my grandmother had given me. It was such a pleasing sight and the guests devoured it all.
Describe your wedding cake: Our cake blew me away. It was far above my highest expectation. It was southern cream cheese pound cake. We had two different flavors: raspberry cake with chocolate filling and almond cake with strawberry filling. It was so thick and chewy. Definitely the best cake I’ve every tasted. The icing was butter cream and the dogwood flowers were hand-painted sugar gum paste, which we saved and are beautiful in our china cabinet. We used green ribbon on the cake, same as on the tables and candy bar.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The week before the wedding I wasn’t comfortable with our contingency plan if it rained. We added the tent and then I had to find six brown couches to put under it after the ceremony, so it wouldn’t be an empty tent once the chairs were moved into the barn for dinner and then it could be used during the cocktail hour, etc. I made about 20 phone calls and found a wonderful company that rents furniture for events all over the East coast, American Furniture Company.
Funniest moment? I have seven young nieces and nephews, and the boys were break-dancing the whole night. They were so funny, flipping over one another and getting dirty.
What were your something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue items? My something old was my mother’s add-a-pearl necklace she had as a little girl, my new was a conflict-free diamond eternity band Ryan gave me as a gift the night before, my mother’s pearl earrings were my something borrowed, and my blue was on my garter that my mother handmade from Sicilian lace and blue ribbon. My mother had saved some old sixpence for both Ryan and I to put in our shoes. I also carried a handmade handkerchief of Belgian lace with my new initials.
What attracted me to my husband was: No matter what, he always makes me laugh and he always listens to me and helps me. He has incredible blue-green-yellow eyes too! He’s my best friend.
What attracted me to my wife was: She cares about my individuality. She lets me do what I need to do to feel good with myself. She’s freethinking, passionate, strong-minded, and absolutely beautiful.
Why do you love your husband? Because he understands me and I him, and we do all we can to continue to deepen this understanding.
How was your wedding different than the way you’d always imagined it would be? The rain. I always imagined it would be sunny.
Three adjectives that describe the day are:
Sincere, refreshing, fun.
Did you write your own vows? Yes. We had always planned to do it, but we didn’t actually sit down to write them until 2 days before the wedding. They ended up conveying exactly what we wanted them to.
Any do-it-yourself items that you created for your big day? Yes! I did as much as I could to personalize our wedding. I made all the table name cards (we named the tables after trees), the leaf escort cards on the bird’s nests, little signs for the escort card table and candy bar, the menu card, the CD favors. I also made a guest “book” that was a painting for our guests to sign so we can frame and hang it in our home. I cut fabric squares for guests to write their advice on with permanent marker that a friend of ours is going to make into a quilt. I also made welcome bags for all of our guests that were placed in their hotel rooms full of flower seeds, cookies, maps, a schedule, bubble bath and salts, and more. Practically every detail was personalized.
What advice would you give to someone planning their wedding?
A bride has to accept now that it might rain on her wedding day and it doesn’t have to mean that it will ruin the day. I would say to plan on it raining. I wish I would have known it would have been just as perfect in the rain while I was planning. Let everyone else know you are perfectly fine with it raining, so no one will be upset beforehand, including you.

Congratulations, Melissa + Ryan! We wish you a lifetime of love and pure joy!

Written with love by Southern Weddings
  1. avatar Tara reply

    I don’t know what to say…Thank you, thank you! I give Melissa and Ryan all the credit for such a phenomenal wedding!!

  2. avatar holly hatam reply

    This is one of the most beautiful weddings I have seen, it is exactly how I envision my own wedding :)

  3. avatar Rick Bucich reply

    Not sure what my favorite part of the piece is. The photography is outstanding, the journalism is moving…that cake is a work of art

  4. avatar Vanessa *markessaxo* reply

    What lovely details! This wedding looks like it was a BLAST :)

  5. avatar maria @ {ritzy bee} reply


  6. avatar Becky reply

    Wow, the photography is beautiful. I love the cake!

  7. avatar laura kay photography reply

    i love this wedding! it is so fun! i love the southern feel and warmth. amazing!

  8. avatar Cindy Wagner reply

    Tine is a truly amazing photographer! Definitely a world class talent.Melissa & Ryan were lucky to have her for their beautiful wedding.

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I. love. this. wedding! Photography by the fabulous Tine Hofmann of {TM Photography}, Planning and Design by {Weddings with Tara}, Floral Design {The Bloom Room}. This is a double feature week for Tara and we are thrilled to feature her again. From Tara… “I loved the personalized details of Melissa and Ryan’s wedding. The guests kept commenting all night long how amazed they were how much they ‘saw of Melissa and Ryan’s passion and love in every part of the wedding’. That is an incredible compliment to the couple and all the hard work they put it to making their own. Melissa and Ryan did everything possible to make their guests feel comfortable and welcome. Despite the rain, everything turned out beautifully, and Melissa got her dream of being able to dance under the stars. Melissa was unbelievably organized and so creative..she made my job so simple! It was an honor to be a part of such an amazing union. Melissa looked stunning, and they could not have been any happier!” Thank you so much Tine and Tara for sharing this fabulous wedding with us!  Melissa + Ryan are such a beautiful couple with a strong love and amazing outlook on life.  Their interview was so inspiring to me.  Thank you for sharing your love story with us!  Without further ado… Melissa + Ryan~

The weather was: Rainy. It was the kind of rain you don’t expect in the heat of the summer. Everyone kept telling me, if it rains, it will be a quick thunderstorm and be over. The rain came in around noon and continued a light drizzle through our ceremony at 4 pm. I was hoping it would stop right before the ceremony so we could have the wedding out in the field as planned, but we had to move it under the tent. I was disappointed. As soon as it began however, I knew it was perfect. The soft sound of the rain was so soothing, and the temperature was absolutely perfect the entire day. No one was hot. The rain stopped just in time for pictures and dancing under the stars.
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Nature. We wanted it all to reflect our love of nature and birds, then we added in rustic and vintage aspects. We did everything possible to make it a full-blown eco-wedding.
What colors did you choose? At first, I didn’t want any uniform colors, but it naturally happened as we planned more and more. We used chocolate brown, pinks, and greens.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I went with my mother, grandmother, sister and niece. It was a special day for me and we all had a wonderful time. But I hated every dress I tried on and began to panic thinking I would never find something I liked. I didn’t want anything that was busy, but I wanted something unique. But I found one. I knew the dress would be my wedding gown after they put the veil on me. I didn’t want to wear a veil, but I fell in love with it. My dress was designed by Marisa and was 100% ivory silk, such a luxurious fabric, and I have to say it was an extremely reasonable price. A friend of mine made the most gorgeous bustle.
Describe your wedding flowers: The florist used all my favorite flowers. Peonies, orchids, fiddle heads, greenery, lilies of the valley, bells of Ireland.
How did the two of you meet?
We met through mutual friends and then bumped into each other at a bookstore and talked for hours. From that day on we were inseparable.
Describe your engagement: Ryan planned the entire day as a surprise. I had no idea where we were going, but he made me get up at 6 A.M. and we drove for two hours. He took me to the top of Linville Gorge and we were standing among thick white cloud that hadn’t lifted yet. It was so quiet and peaceful. He got down on one knee and presented me with a ruby ring. I love rubies. He had photocopied some of my drawings and had a hand craftsman jeweler design it based on my drawings. It is so unique. We spent the rest of the day doing things Ryan planned to represent our relationship. We went to the waterfalls, caverns, and Grandfather Mountain, where we saw deer, eagles, mountain lions, and bears, not to mention breathtaking views.
A date we went on that we’ll always remember: A friend was having a gathering at their house and we stared into each other’s eyes there like never before. Later that night we had our first kiss.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My sister made a chuppah for us. We are not Jewish but we really identify with certain Jewish beliefs and traditions. We designed the chuppah together and she made it all with ribbon and silk. It was beautiful and such a gift.
Special details: We wrote our entire ceremony together. Our Reverend let us take his written ceremony and use parts of it, while we wrote what was important to us around his words. We included many traditions that were important to us. I went to a Moravian college, so we gave a Moravian love feast (a serving of bread) to our parents and grandmothers to show them our love, loyalty, respect and appreciation. We had unconventional readings, such as The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. We also had an altar of the four elements, including a small Hawthorne tree we planted together. We watered it during the ceremony, and in the program we let guests know that we had had a tree planted in each of our guests’ names through the American Forest Organization. We also had four of our close friends make a Mandela out of leaves and petals before the ceremony in the aisle. A Mandela can represent many things, but is meant to dissipate quickly underfoot of passersby or in the wind. It is meant to represent the impermanence of life, youth, and beauty. When we walked through it, the design was destroyed, signifying the completion of the Mandela. We also used part of the Buddhist wedding vows. We used our program to explain the many traditions we celebrated. We had a wonderful local band, the Snake Oil Medicine Show that played the liveliest music. Everyone danced! They were so talented. We wanted the cake stand to reflect the setting, so we had a local man cut a tree trunk from an already fallen tree to place our cake upon. My sister was my only attendant and she didn’t want to carry a bouquet. She wanted a floral bracelet of green orchids, so she could hold my bouquet comfortably. She wore it all night and enjoyed those orchids. My flower girl carried a root basket of petals, and the ring bearer carried a real bird’s nest I had found in my mother’s yard years before. We also designed our wedding bands ourselves, made from renewed metals and conflict free stones, and had them engraved with “Ubi tu Gaius, ego Gaia,” which is Latin for “Where thou goest, I shall go.” Ryan walked down the aisle too with the procession with both his parents, as I walked with both my parents. We just did everything our own way. We made it our own, so everything felt meaningful and full of thought.
Were there any special family traditions you included in the wedding? We gathered together our family’s old wedding photos, had prints made, and hung them on lines with clothespins. I also wore my great-grandmother’s wedding band, over 100 years old, and I had my grandfather’s photo in a small frame attached to my bouquet. We drank wine from the common cup in our ceremony, which is traditionally a part of the Greek Orthodox ceremony, part of my family heritage.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? During the ceremony, our best friend sang and played “Sweet Thing” by Van Morrison. It was so beautiful and gave Ryan and I a chance to stare into each other’s eyes without looking away. It was so powerful.

Check back later for Part II of Melissa + Ryan…

Written with love by Southern Weddings
  1. avatar [email protected] reply

    Absolutely beautiful!! I love it!!!

  2. avatar carmen reply

    I’m so glad to see Tine featured on your blog. Her work is so fresh & original. She deserves to be recognized out side of good ol’ midwest Ohio. This wedding was a phenominal combination of all involved. Beautiful work ladies!

  3. avatar lucky designs reply

    Tine’s work is amazing. We are lucky to have her in Cincinnati!

  4. avatar Curious reply

    Does "Weddings with Tara" do any work outside the southeast. I would love to have her do ours in NYC. What amazing touches!

  5. avatar Melissa Bickey White reply

    Thank you so much for featuring us on your wonderful blog! It means so much to Ryan and I.

  6. avatar steve z. reply

    Tine is an amazing photographer. One of the best in the midwest.

  7. avatar Woodward + Rick Photographers reply

    Beautiful images! Tara and the good folks at Claxton Farm always do such a great job!

  8. avatar Eva Bryant reply

    I adore the personality of this wedding! I stumbled upon this while searching for a venue for our own Tennessee wedding. Where was this held I wonder???!!!

  9. avatar Kristen Hansen reply

    It was at Claxton Farm north of Asheville, NC. It was an AMAZING day for 2 wonderful people.

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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