Kristin + JJ had just two and half months to plan their wedding, but for a couple who has spent most of their relationship long distance, it was the perfect amount of time to pull together the details and say “I do.” The newlyweds filled their outdoor ceremony and reception at the Whitford Plantation with old Southern hymns and sentimental bluegrass. It was the Avett Brothers’ music, after all, who helped Kristin + JJ fall in love. We’re sending out big hugs to Scott Piner who shared this wedding with us!
Since we had only 2.5 months to plan the wedding, I knew I would not have much time to find a dress and that I would have to buy my dress right off the rack and cross my fingers for a very quick seamstress to do any needed alterations. No pressure. While calling many bridal salons in the Raleigh area, my girlfriend and I encountered many shops that would not even consider having me look at their dresses because of my time constraint. Almost defeated, we called one of our thought-to-be long shots and to our surprise, the shop manager answered and graciously welcomed us to come and see their sample dresses that day. The first dress I tried on was an ivory Chantilly lace gown by Vera Wang. I tried on several dresses after, but none compared with the first gown’s blend of the vintage ivory lace with contemporary lines. So I purchased that flawless sample dress for less than half of the marketed price because it was from a previous year’s collection.
How cool are those feather bouts? They were made in memory of Kristin’ grandfather and in celebration JJ, the family’s newest hunter.
Did you write your own vows? No way!! We both felt the same way when we asked each other about the possibility of writing our own vows. We both know how we feel about one another and there was no way either of us could verbalize those thoughts when we were so emotionally charged.
Describe the proposal. We had just finished lunch when I was making brownies for JJ to bring to work. I overheard JJ playing the guitar in the office. I put my brownies into the oven walked with my coffee in hand to sit by JJ and listen to him serenade me. He began to play and sing my beloved ballad by the Avett Brothers; and by this time I had begun to harmonize with his handsome voice. After we finished the song, he crawled over to me and we embraced. The moment was perfect, except that I felt his heart pounding very hard in his chest. As I withdrew to ask him if he was okay, I saw him holding a box out to me and then he asked me. I said yes and we embraced again. I love that our story was low key and involved all my favorite things: baking, coffee, music and my love.
I’m crazy for the antique vases and blue bell jars filled with delicate flowers that K chose as centerpieces.
My most favorite flower is the hydrangea. I have admired them since childhood, when I used to watch my grandmother water and tend to her huge hydrangea bushes in New Jersey. Instead of ornate arrangements we wanted an understated, fresh look. We chose to use a mixture of hydrangeas in blues, greens and whites along with drosophila for added texture and bells of Ireland for height all arranged in the colored canning glass jars JJ and I collected over the two months leading up to the big day.
Describe your wedding cake: Originally, I found myself drawn to the texture and structural designs of a fondant cake, but we were unwilling to sacrifice flavor for design. Our baker, Ali, helped us attain both with a very simple design of a smooth European buttercream frosting while getting the desired texture with simple dots of all sizes and rows of beading.
A sparkly dress and loose hair definitely spell “magical getaway” style to me!
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Our relationship was a subject of much prayer, faithfulness of true friends and grace of the Lord. Two and a half years ago, we met through our married friends Lindsay and Bryan. And what do any two married people do when they have two single friends? Try to get them together. Unfortunately at the time, JJ lived in Lake Tahoe and only came home to visit periodically. We met at a couple of times at laid back dinner gatherings with bunches of friends, not getting much time to speak one on one. In fact, one of the first times I really spoke to him was when I was drilling a hole in his nail that he crushed in the garage door the morning prior. Shortly after this, JJ left for a voluntary deployment overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan with the Coast Guard. He emailed me once in the first part of his deployment to fill me on his well-healing nail bed and then returned home during his mid deployment break. During his break, I saw him a couple times at Bryan and Lindsay’s, and we actually were able get to know each other a little better. He returned for the rest of his deployment for the next five months and we exchanged emails getting to know each other. We became and remained friends alone, though. I did not see him until four months after he returned from his deployment, but even through life’s twists and turns, we still ended up at a very familiar place — in Lindsay and Bryan’s backyard laughing and talking by the fire. One night, the boys were playing some familiar songs on the banjo and guitar when JJ started to sing and play my favorite love ballad by the Avett Brothers. Listening to him play and having learned his heart, I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him by my side.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Fresh, serene and intimate.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I couldn’t really name just one detail of the wedding that I could call my favorite. Rather, all the crafts that we incorporated into the ceremony and reception truly made our celebration personal. Some of those crafts included the colored glassware we collected, the fan programs, the votive favors made with sea glass from beaches in Hawaii and sand from Atlantic beach, the Chinese lanterns that JJ and our crew hung the day of the wedding, boutonnières I made from duck feathers that JJ and Bryan had captured together, the veil that I bedazzled by gluing 300 Swarovski crystals onto, the flower girl basket I made and decorated, the wreath that hung on the front door to the plantation, and finally, the family pictures of both our parents and grandparents that we displayed at the entrance.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Both JJ and I tend to migrate to a style that seems to be a marriage of contemporary lines with a vintage feel. It was only natural for that to be tone of the wedding. With my affinity for my mom’s antique aqua canning jars, I chose to use a mixture of them for the centerpieces with simple hydrangeas, wild flowers and candles for the centerpieces. In memory of my beloved grandfather and in celebration of the new addition of a hunter to my family, we used of duck feathers for all the gentlemen’s boutonnieres. Even the music reached into the Southern pocket. The ceremony music was a collection of old Southern hymns played on an acoustic guitar, while the first song JJ and I danced to as a married couple was a folk bluegrass favorite by the Avett Brothers. Another Southern touch was the fans we made and gave to guests to cool themselves with during the course of the outside service. One of the largest Southern elements was the backdrop for our wedding ceremony and reception, the beautiful Whitford Plantation. The plantation is a beautifully grand and historic structure with spacious grounds that were owned by a Confederate colonel John Nathaniel Whitford.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our biggest challenge for sure was planning the wedding in 2.5 months. This was mainly due to finding an available venue. Our families are of utmost importance to us and we wanted to make sure that all our families were going to be able to come and be a part of our celebration. Looking back, we both would not want to do it any differently. I believe we would literally pull our hair out if we had to spread planning a wedding over any kind of extended period of time.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I think the most memorable moments of the wedding day were all the little times of respite between JJ and I, when we had a second to take in the fact that the day was actually here.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are looking forward to being in the same town. Our relationship, including the first two and half months of marriage, has been long distance. We have been commuting three hours to see one another, so it will be awesome just to be able come home to one another.