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Welcome back to the Emily Plans a Wedding series! Thank you so much for your thoughts on my last ceremony post – I loved reading through all of the comments! As promised, I’m back with a few more details about our wedding ceremony.

I think music is hugely important at wedding ceremonies, so John and I have had fun discussing which selections we might use! We haven’t come to too many final decisions yet, but I’m happy to share where we are in the process. Let’s run down the list from beginning to end, shall we?

Both images by Picotte Weddings

We’ll kick off our late-afternoon ceremony with prelude music from a string trio. I’m so excited about this, as I adore the sound of strings! I would have loved to hire a quartet, but a trio fit more neatly into our budget. One quick tip: Lots of wedding resources recommend hiring musicians from a music school, but for us, this would have been a more expensive option than the route we ended up taking (hiring professional musicians from the Coast Guard band). It might work out for you, but make sure to do your research! I believe our trio will be made up of two violins and one cello.

For parts of the ceremony the strings will be joined by a piano to lend a little more weight and variety. I’m super excited that my former piano teacher will be our pianist for the day! Rachel was also my high school choral teacher, and I think it will be fun to have one more familiar face greeting us on the big day. We’ll add piano to the strings for the processional, starting with the seating of our families. I think we’ll use Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” for the seating of our families – it’s so beautiful, and for me, those swells mean nothing other than that a wedding is going to take place!!

We’re considering “Morning Has Broken” for my ladies’ entrance – I really love the pace of the Cat Stevens’ version:

For the recessional, I think we’re going to go with “Ode to Joy” – it’s one of my absolute favorite hymns, and both my parents and my older sister and her husband used it for their recessionals.

Here’s the one I’m stuck on – my processional. I want something with good movement and that really makes me feel something, and so far, none of the more traditional options are doing it for me. We have the go-ahead from our pastor to use a secular selection, since the processional isn’t counted as part of the worship service (at least according to him; some pastors might feel differently!). The only problem is that John doesn’t really like my two top contenders! He says he’s happy to use whichever song I like best, but I want something that we both love – after all, it’s both of our moment!

We’ll also have music during the service, and we are so grateful that one of my best friends has agreed to sing for us! Depending on how the rest of our ceremony shapes up, we might have her sing during communion, or possibly as a stand-alone solo. Our top contenders for her are “Set Me as a Seal” and “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” If you haven’t heard the Sufjan Stevens version of “Come Thou Font,” you’re missing out!

Again, depending on how long our ceremony shapes up to run, we’d love to squeeze in a hymn that everyone sings, as well. Pretty much John’s favorite thing to do is sing hymns in church, so it would only be appropriate!

The last music-related question we’re pondering is whether to have a low undercurrent of music from the string trio while we recite our vows. I’m not sure about you, but the right instrumental music layered under words gets me nearly every time – I guess that’s the power of a soundtrack, you know? For example, whenever my church confirms young adults, they always play “Borning Cry” as the pastor moves down the line and the parents lay their hands on their children for the blessing. Oh my word, I cry every time, and I don’t even know any of these kids!!

So pros? It would likely heighten an already emotional moment. Cons? It would likely heighen an already emotional moment :) Also, one of my biggest pet peeves in all of weddings is ceremonies where you can’t hear the vows, so if we went this route, John and I would probably want to be mic’d (or have a handheld mic) so that the congregation could hear our vows over the music. Anyway, just something we’re considering, but I’d love additional thoughts from y’all if this is something anyone has tried!

Beautiful ring bearer bowls from Paloma’s Nest. We won’t have a ring bearer, but our friend Caroline (she and I grew up in the same town!) has kindly gifted us one of her creations! Now to decide what we’d like to put on it… (Photo on left by Jana Morgan and photo on right by A Bryan Photo)

Lastly, I’d love to tell you about our readings! We’ve already chosen our readers – a dear friend with whom we attended both high school AND college, one of the first friends we made as a couple, and one of John’s aunts – but have yet to assign them pieces. We’ll likely use one from the Bible, and we have several under consideration. Here are a few:

Philippians 2:1-5, RSV:
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my job by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”

Colossians 3:12-17, RSV,
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Austin Warnock via Southern Weddings

Romans 12:9-18, RSV:
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Proverbs 3:1-12, ESV:
My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom we delights.”

Stephen DeVries via Southern Weddings

There’s also a favorite excerpt of ours from C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity that will likely make the cut. I think this excerpt is interesting in that when I first read it several years ago, I really didn’t like it. Now, seven and a half years into a relationship, I think there is almost nothing more beautiful than this sentiment. Here it is:

“Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go. And in fact, whatever people say, the state called “being in love” usually does not last. If the old fairytale ending “They lived happily ever after” is taken to mean “They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,” then it says what probably never was nor ever could be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense-love as distinct from “being in love” is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be “in love” with someone else. “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.”

Lastly, since I was an English major with a concentration in poetry, I’d also like to include a more literary reading, but I haven’t come across the perfect one yet. Suggestions are welcome, and I’ll keep on the hunt in the meantime!

Whew! Thank you so much for reading along! Tell me: What readings are you having at your ceremony, if any? I LOVE hearing what readings others are using or have used, so please don’t be shy, and comment away!

In case you missed a post…
The main characters | Where we’re getting married | I go dress shopping | We choose a photographer | I ponder bridesmaid style | Mini food! | The music | We’re renting a tent! | We discuss bouquets + boutonnieres | We send out our save the dates | I gather hair and makeup inspiration | We talk cake and sweets | I introduce you to our videographer | We create a registry | We buy a tuxedo | We style a reception | I choose accessories | We take engagement photos! | We plan our ceremony

Stephen DeVries is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Liz reply

    A song suggestion for your processional – Marry Me by Train, the instrumental version. That’s what my bridesmaids walked down the aisle to and it was absolutely beautiful.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Liz! I LOVE the instrumental version of that song! So beautiful. If I wasn’t concerned it was perhaps a bit cheesy/overdone, I was/am seriously considering it for our first dance. Perhaps!

    • avatar Liz reply

      Emily: Yes, I hear you. We were married almost 2 years ago so it was the beginning of the “Marry Me” song trend in weddings… Whereas I think this might be the end. But I will say, not many people recognized it as the Train song since it was played on the harp. Also, a literary reading suggestion: there is a poem that begins “Understand, I’ll slip quietly / Away from the noisy crowd…” from “First Poems” by Rainer Maria Rilke. It’s beautiful – look it up! & Here’s to being an English major!

  2. avatar Ashley reply

    We are also looking at possible readings for our ceremony. I know I want one biblical reading and one literary reading (I’m a total bookworm. My fiance wouldnt be surprised if I brought a book to our wedding lol). One of our favorite excerpts is from Plato’s Symposium, but it’s kinda long:

    “Humans have never understood the power of Love, for if they had they would surely have built noble temples and altars and offered solemn sacrifices; but this is not done, and most certainly ought to be done, since Love is our best friend, our helper, and the healer of the ills which prevent us from being happy.

    To understand the power of Love, we must understand that our original human nature was not like it is now, but different. Human beings each had two sets of arms, two sets of legs, and two faces looking in opposite directions. There were three sexes then: one comprised of two men called the children of the Sun, one made of two women called the children of the Earth, and a third made of a man and a woman, called the children of the Moon. Due to the power and might of these original humans, the Gods began to fear that their reign might be threatened. They sought for a way to end the humans’ insolence without destroying them.

    It was at this point that Zeus divided the humans in half. After the division the two parts of each desiring their other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one. So ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two, and healing the state of humankind.

    Each of us when separated, having one side only, is but the indenture of a person, and we are always looking for our other half. Those whose original nature lies with the children of the Sun are men who are drawn to other men, those from the children of the Earth are women who love other women, and those from the children of the Moon are men and women drawn to one another. And when one of us meets our other half, we are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and would not be out of the other’s sight even for a moment. We pass our whole lives together, desiring that we should be melted into one, to spend our lives as one person instead of two, and so that after our death there will be one departed soul instead of two; this is the very expression of our ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called Love.”

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Ashley! I’ve never come across that reading, but it’s really lovely!

    • avatar cathy steiner reply

      Nice ashley…that reading is long but meaningful and pretty…just cut out some of the usual stuff you could do without to make room for it during the ceremony. I’m having a guitarist play & sing “More than Words” by extreme. We’re not religious so hymns won’t play a big role for us, although my aunt is saying a short blessing in spanish, and my sister in law will read a poem by an ancestor of mine, helen steiner rice…looking forward to it :) good luck everyone on your choices :)

  3. avatar Laura reply

    I love your music selections! For our congregational singing, we’re going to have Come Thou Fount too (one of my all-time faves) and during communion, Be Thou My Vision. For mine and the wedding party’s processional, we’re walkind down to Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring. You know at the end, when the music swells so majestically? That’s when the door’s open and I’ll start walking down. I get chills even thinking about it! I’ve been trying to think if I wanted to have any kind of reading but couldn’t really find anything I liked (and that hadn’t been done a million times before) but I love that Mere Christianity quote! Even if we don’t have it read during the ceremony, I’ll have to incorporate it somewhere!

  4. avatar Laura reply

    I’ve also always loved this quote by St. Augustine “Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”

  5. avatar Kristen reply

    Wow! Love all of these reading ideas, both in your post and in the comments.

    I walked down to the instrumental version (we had organ and strings) to “Let All Things Now Living,” the secular version of which is called “The Ash Grove,” my great-grandmother’s favorite tune. It was so very special to me and my family. I suggest something that means something to you.

    The words to “Let All Things Now Living” is a wonderful hymn of thanksgiving, perhaps it could be an idea for your hymn (and it’s fun to sing, which is always a plus!). We had a hymn sung during our ceremony that my Mom picked out – “Go My Children With My Blessing.” We didn’t realize until we coordinated with the church musicians that the hymn as an optional wedding verse:

    “In this union I have joined you husband and wife.
    Now, my children, live together as heirs of life.
    Each the other’s gladness sharing,
    Each the other’s burdens bearing.
    Now, my children, live together as heirs of life.”

    To me the ceremony was my most favorite part to plan. Have fun putting it all together! I still get choked up thinking about all of the meaningful details of our ceremony.

  6. avatar Katie O’Keefe reply

    I love your song choices! We were blessed to have Chris Cleveland of Stars Go Dim sing and play piano at our ceremony. He sang and played “Come Just As You Are” for the bridesmaids and before I walked down the aisle. I had a lot of guests say how that gave them chills especially since we were wed at night in a little chapel…it made them feel like it was a real spiritual experience, which is what I wanted and what to me, a wedding ceremony is – spiritual. I also love your readings. We too used the C.S. Lewis quote with some Bible verses. You’ve made some beautiful choices, it’s fun to see this all come together!

  7. avatar Kori reply

    I am also struggling with what music to use in our ceremony especially the processional! I have also always love the Sufjan Stevens version of Come Thou Fount. I’m trying to decide where to use it! I’m glad to hear other brides wanting to include a hymn in their ceremony. I haven’t seen it much but I agree that the wedding ceremony is still a worship service. I think yours will turn out beautiful whatever you decide!

  8. avatar Anne reply

    I love that C. S. Lewis quote! Definitely one of my favorites. My husband and I used this passage from Donald Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz in our ceremony (actually, we based our vows on it):

    I will give you this, my love, and I will not bargain or barter any longer. I will love you, as sure as He has loved me. I will discover what I can discover and though you remain a mystery, save God’s own knowledge, what I disclose of you I will keep in the warmest chamber of my heart, the very chamber where God has stowed Himself in me. And I will do this to my death, and to death it may bring me.
    I will love you like God, because of God, mighted by the power of God. I will stop expecting your love, demanding you love, trading for your love, gaming for your love. I will simply love. I am giving myself to you, and tomorrow I will do it again. I suppose the clock itself will wear thin its time before I am ended at this altar of dying and dying again.
    God risked Himself on me. I will risk myself on you. And together, we will learn to love, and perhaps then, and only then, understand this gravity that drew Him, unto us.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Wow, Anne! That is incredible. Definitely going to look into this quote further!

  9. avatar Laura reply

    Hi Emily!

    This may not fit the bill of “literary reading” entirely, but it is one my favorites. I have to give credit to Sarah Tucker’s blog for bringing it to my attention:

    And I totally agree with Kori with Sufjan Stevens. He’s awesome. You may want to also look into Bifrost Arts- they have some beautiful stuff. I’m torn on the music during the vows- I feel like the words will be profound enough to tug at the heartstrings. My suggestion is to leave them be for the ceremony, and let the videographer pull in music for the video. :)

  10. avatar NatalieG reply

    Hey Emily :) I love all of your ideas!!! I am also using a violin and cello, it will just be a duet. Stephanie Immordino’s version is gorgeous!!! Stings and a piano!!!! :) You’ll love it!!!

  11. avatar katie reply

    Beautiful choices! Your memory of the confirmation services at your church reminds me of a special addition we made to our ceremony. Towards the beginning, after the declaration of intention, we had a parents’ prayer. The pastor invited our parents forward to lay hands on us
    A friend sang my parents’ wedding song (There Is Love) for our guests to hear while our parents prayed over us and blessed us as a new family. It was such a sweet time. The photographer captured me sneaking a peek at my husband during the prayer and dabbing at his tears wth my handkerchief. Love! As for a poetic reading, there’s always e.e. cummings “I carry your heart with me.” It’s been done but oh so lovely!

  12. avatar Cynthia reply

    May I suggest you listen to a song called Ashoken Farewell. We played it in orchestra in middle school so it is not too complicated to find nor to learn. It was written for strings though you can also hear versions of it strictly on piano. It would sound lovely with the musicians you have chosen. It might also be befitting considering you’re quite the southern belle getting married in CT: Ken Burns used it as the underscore for his Civil War documentary. The pace of it would be good for walking down the aisle or underscoring your vows.

  13. avatar Tiffany reply

    I LOVE this! I’m on a fairly short timeline and so the little precious details are more difficult to include because there isn’t as much time to mull them over. Your ideas are super helpful in that area because you can tell it was so thoughtful!! Thanks for sharing.

  14. avatar Jessica Revell reply

    Many days have passed and I doubt you’ll ever see this, but I wanted to thank you for introducing me to the reading from Romans. It’s absolutely lovely. We’ll probably be borrowing it this June.

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What is it about farm tables that make us love them so much? I think its the sense of heritage and family. Most farm tables were handmade after all, and then passed down through the generations. I love that Ellie + Breck made the splurge on those tables, cutting down in other places in order to achieve the perfect aesthetic and homey vibe. We also love how E + B showed their appreciation for friends and family who traveled in from all over the globe by packing their wedding weekend full of fun events in order to spend more time together. Big thanks go out to Laura Gordon who shared this lovely wedding with us!

One thing that made our wedding planning tricky was that the wedding was in Southern Virginia. My parents live in DC, we live in Chicago, and I travel every week for work. Planning to meet up with my mom to shop for dresses was very difficult! I scoped things out that I liked online and made a few quick visits to boutiques with friends but I knew that I had to make my selection in a whirlwind day with my mom. She met me at the tail end of a work trip one week, and we were lucky enough to find the dress 12 hours later. Although it could have been stressful, it ended up being a great time and a good excuse for my mom to visit me.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did – one of the most important goals for us when wedding planning was to plan a fun weekend for our guests and to find a way to actually spend time with friends and family during the wedding. You hear stories about people saying the wedding went by so fast that they barely saw the people that mean the most to them, and we were determined not to let that happen. Doing a first look was a great way for us to carve out more time to visit during cocktail hour and the reception. And I think it did wonders to calm my slightly nervous groom.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We took several ceremonies that our family friend (a judge) had previously used, and we personalized and combined of few of them into one ceremony. If I had to pick a favorite quote it would be this one, “Today, you dedicate yourselves to one another formally. Tomorrow and each tomorrow thereafter, you dedicate yourselves to one another by each act, each word, each thought.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had “A Marriage” by Mark Twain and “Union” by Robert Fulghum.

I think our favorite details of the wedding was the overall mix of really eclectic, vintage details. We had mismatching flower arrangements, wine in burlap sacks as table markers, antique style card catalogs holding our seating cards, and a vintage map with photos of us during all of our travels as a couple. The mix of all those details was what I loved.

Our wedding colors were blue, grey and yellow. With that in mind, most of our flowers were a mix of hydrangea, ranunculus, garden roses and freesia with accents of dusty miller and wild flowers. I am really against anything too “matchy” so all of our tables had slightly different arrangements with antique-looking jars and vases of all shapes and sizes. It had a very rural, “just picked from our garden and thrown together from a flea market” feel.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We’ve both moved around a fair amount, yet we feel at home in Gwynn’s Island. It was important to both of us to hold the wedding there. We really made an effort to include local elements. We had local seafood (crabs, oysters, and clams), corn pudding, locally made cheese, and mint juleps. It was a very Southern meal. Some of our guests from the West Coast tried their first ever soft shell crabs!

What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? The farm tables and the chandeliers. The wooden farm tables were more expensive than the normal table rentals, but they really added to the rustic aesthetic and they looked great mixed in with the traditional round tables. We also purchased the chandeliers that hung in the tent – otherwise it would have been simple globe lighting. We found a great deal for the chandeliers on Ebay. It was definitely worth the extra time to get the look and feel that we wanted in our tent. I also want to share our biggest non–splurge: the band. Our band, the Blue Tips, was absolutely amazing! They are a young, up-and-coming band in the region. They came in nicely under budget, but you would never have known that from listening to them. It actually sounded like we had found a way for Stevie Wonder to play at our wedding! People could not stop dancing.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story: We originally met the first semester of college in a history class. I sat in the front row and listened attentively. Breck usually came in late and sat in the back. I was unimpressed, to say the least, by his behavior. Fifteen months later, our paths crossed again at a leadership retreat. We bonded over their mutual boredom at the event and began to get to know each other. I mercifully laughed at Breck’s jokes, and he learned to appreciate my attitude. Over the years, we’ve moved around the country, each chasing the other to a new destination from Texas to Switzerland, Miami to Indiana, and DC to Chicago. If you can make it work across all those locations, you can make it work anywhere.
Describe the proposal: (From the groom) We had planned to spend Memorial Day weekend in Gwynn’s Island, Virginia with our families. Usually Ellie figures me out, but this time she thought it would just be a normal weekend on the Chesapeake Bay. On Saturday morning, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. to speak with Ellie’s parents. After receiving their blessing, I waited all day for the perfect moment. Right before dinner, a giant rainbow appeared in the sky. Sensing the moment was right, I asked Ellie if she wanted to take a walk along the dock. Joined by her pesky dog, we walked to the end of the dock. The proposal was delayed a few minutes as Ellie obliviously chatted with a family friend while I fiddled with the ring in my pocket! Eventually the friend left, and I finally got to pop the question. We returned to the house and enjoyed champagne with everyone. We find it particularly special that we married at the same place where we got engaged.
In what month did you get married? May
How many guests attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. I walked down the aisle to “What a Wonderful World” and “Here Comes the Sun.” We walked back up the aisle to “Daydream Believer.” We planned our first dance to “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” (that is where Breck proposed, after all) and the mother-son/father-daughter dance to “Into the Mystic,” the band at the reception got confused and reversed our songs. It was totally fine though – we just had a good joke and laughed throughout most of our dance.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I think our biggest planning challenge was logistics. All of us who were planning were spread out across four different states. My family home is also in a very rural location with no nearby hotels. The nearest B&B or hotel was still 30 minutes away! Figuring out busses and transportation for all our guests was very tricky. We could not have done it without Lindsay Averette, our wedding planner.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? (From the groom) Immediately following the ceremony, our whole wedding party and family had a few minutes of peace and relaxation behind the house after the recessional. The caterers brought us a tray of soft shell crabs and mint juleps – it was the perfect way to breathe and enjoy the fact that we were just married and ready to celebrate. Plus, it gave Ellie an excuse to share with family and friends the embarrassing story of how I once tried to make mint juleps with flour instead of sugar (not recommended).
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Pick what matters the most to you at the very beginning and then remember to prioritize that through the whole process. For us, it was having a whole weekend of events to spend time with friends and family. We purposefully planned a weekend full of wedding events. There were welcome drinks at my parents’ house Friday night, a cookout on the beach before the wedding, the wedding and reception, and a bluegrass and BBQ party the next day. In the end, I really got to spend time with my friends who had traveled from all over the country and the world to the wedding. Several of them told me the weekend felt like a vacation to them. That was the biggest compliment I could have ever received.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? (From the groom) We are packing up and moving to Connecticut for Ellie to begin business school at Yale. We’re excited about a new adventure and a new city! But before that, we are stopping in Thailand for our honeymoon. That will give us one more travel picture to add to our map.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Featured on Southern Weddings!: Today is a good day! » Laura Gordon Photography reply

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  2. avatar Nine Photography | Dallas Wedding Photographers reply

    love, love loooooove the long wooden tables! Beautiful wedding!

  3. avatar Jennifer reply

    I am planning a wedding in Virginia and I can’t seem to find farm tables to rent. Where did you rent yours from? Thanks!!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Jennifer! These farm tables were rented from Classic Party Rentals of Virginia!

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To me, nothing screams summertime quite like a good barbecue, cookout or picnic. You know everyone else is thinking the same thing when you walk outside and smell charcoal and sizzling burgers. Barbecues are all about taking advantage of the warm weather to gather your friends and family outside for one the most basic acts of community and caring: breaking bread.

Image credits: Row 1: Luxe and Lillies, Oh Darling! via Southern Weddings, The Happy Couple via Brides; Row 2: Gabe Aceves via Southern Weddings, Jonathan Ong via Eat, Drink, Chic; Row 3: (Once Like a Spark) Photography via Every Last Detail, Green Wedding Shoes, Bella Grace Studios via Southern Weddings

Whether you’re planning a casual rehearsal dinner, engagement party or just trying to get some good grub on the table, the basics are the same. Ditch the fancy china and head outdoors — just don’t forget a sunhat and some bug spray!

A. Grab a blanket and pop a squat on the grass. We love this tablecloth for its summery berry pattern, but also because spilled barbecue sauce blends right in!

B. Ain’t nothin’ we love more than an adorable koozie! Keep your hands warm and dry while sporting your monogram.

C. Gingham basket liners are perfect for catching cole slaw drips and corralling hush puppies.

D. Leave the fancy ceramic berry baskets at home. These cute wooden baskets are ideal for passing around strawberries and blueberries.

E. No one wants a fly in their drink! These mason jar sippers keep a top on your drink while sporting a straw for easy hydration in between games of cornhole or frisbee.

F. Pull your hair back (and away from dripping barbecue sauce!) with this fabric headband.

G. A handy kitchen towel goes a long way for the grill master. We like the cheeky reminder on this option.

H. Versatile, biodegradable and fun-sized, these sporks are the only utensil you’ll need for baked beans and strawberry shortcake.

I. Dress up your outdoors a bit with sunny patterned bunting.

J. We know barbecues are finger-lickin’ good, but don’t forget the moist wipes for those extra sticky fingers. Find a site to customize them for extra fun.

K. Y’all know no gathering’s complete without a pie! Bring your mama’s best recipe in this fluted dish.

What are your summer barbecue essentials?

Looking for more Summer in the South? Check out our last post: A Day at the Lake.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole

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