Kelly + Will know how to make a Southern fete gorgeous and approachable. Their April “I do’s” took advantage of the colorful blooms and gorgeous skies in Louisiana — making their outdoor wedding a joyful occasion. We just love that Kelly’s most memorable part of the day was the ceremony “It was fabulous from the moment I walked down the aisle with my dad (who was teary eyed unbeknownst to me) and the moment Will and I tripped back up it (our faces were hilarious).” I think it’s the best summation of their sweet, charming and fun wedding day. Big thanks to Ashleigh Jayne for sharing these photos with us!
I found the dress on my first shopping trip at a local boutique in Baton Rouge. It was the week of my engagement party and my best friend who lives in North Carolina was in town. It was important for me to look while she was there so she could share the moment with me. I went with a small crowd (my mom, grandmother, two sisters, and two best friends). When I found one I loved, I decided to take a leap and go with it. I can be very indecisive so it was good to get that very big decision out of the way early on.
Describe your wedding flowers: Abundant. I am definitely a flower person. I love real flowers, fake flowers, flower prints, flower everything. Our florist made colorful wild flower arrangements. It was breathtaking and exactly what I wanted. The bridesmaids’ bouquets were more vibrant like the flowers on the tables. My bouquet was colorful as well, but a little more muted than the rest. It had ranunculus, billy balls, garden roses, ferns, and some other wildflowers. The bouquet was wrapped in lace from my mother’s wedding gown and was so thick my hand barely fit around it!
Marissa and I have a special place in our hearts for little puggies, so I about squealed when I saw this photo! Kelly + Will’s pup, Rosie served as their ring bearer and the couple loved being able to share the day with her.
There were so many really amazing details that I have two favorites: I loved that we got to share our day with our pug, Rosie, who was the flower girl. She is our baby and we were very happy we were able to include her. My second favorite detail was our tying the knot ceremony. Instead of lighting a unity candle, we literally “tied the knot.” My parents used to race sailboats in the Gulf of Mexico. We tied a knot in a rope that they used on their boat back in the day. A very dear friend of ours spoke and then Will’s sister sang. It was definitely one of my favorite parts of the day.
Did you write your own vows? Yes both of us did. I was very surprised at how eloquent Will was. He is normally very laid back and somewhat reserved but his vows were amazing. Usually I am the talkative and expressive one, but he pulled out all the stops and even overcame his fear of public speaking to tell me how much he loved me and to promise that he would love me always in front of our family and friends. Practically our entire wedding party was crying. It was close, but I held it together thank goodness!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our wedding ceremony was not very traditional but the pastor did read the popular verse I Corinthians 13: 4-7. That Bible verse is pretty much wedding-perfect.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The venue. We got married at the beautiful Windrush Gardens at the LSU Rural Life Museum in Baton Rouge, LA. There were lots of Southern flowers and huge mossy oaks. We had a big wedding party of nine groomsmen, nine bridesmaids, and two ushers. It was huge, which I think is definitely a Southern thing. Good ol’ Southern hospitality was abundant. Our wedding reception was a cocktail reception with lots of room for mingling and dancing and plenty of refreshments like our signature drinks (strawberry beer and strawberry margaritas). We also used gingham. Will was wearing a gingham bowtie and the groomsmen wore gingham shirts, which definitely added some sweet Southern charm.
We went the nontraditional route with cakes. The wedding was a cake ball cake from a local shop here in Baton Rouge. Will’s brother made the cake topper and it sat on an old suitcase that belonged to Will’s mother. It had two different flavors: some balls were tiramisu cheesecake and other balls were strawberry. The groom’s cake was modeled in the shape of Will’s favorite car: a 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa. Half of it had Oreo filling and the other half was filled with chocolate and peanut butter. The cake was a surprise for him. I wanted it to be all of his favorite things in one.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We first met at a wedding in November 2007. Will was a groomsman in the wedding and I attended the wedding as the date of my coworker, Lisa. While Lisa and I were having fun at the reception, we were approached by Kyle, another groomsman. Will came over soon after to see who Kyle was talking to and Will and I hit it off. We made plans for our first date the next day and made it “official” on December 9, 2007. After over three years of dating, Will proposed on the levee of the Mississippi River at the edge of Louisiana State University on May 11, 2011.
Describe the proposal. Will proposed to me during my last finals week at LSU on the same day the ring arrived. I had been studying all day at the apartment for my employment law final that evening. Will’s parents came over for a little bit around dinner time and Will and his dad went downstairs to “look at something on Will’s car.” Instead of looking at the car, Will’s dad was actually giving Will the engagement ring that had arrived at their house a few days before. The four of us went for a quick bite to eat, and then Will dropped me off at my final on campus. Will says that once he had the ring, he couldn’t wait even a day to propose. After I finished my final, Will picked me up in his car and suggested that we check out how high the water was against the Mississippi River levee. (The water had just reached record heights). When we arrived, I thought Will was acting a little strange because he kept trying to steer me away from the other people on the levee. I knew something was going on, so I let him lead me away from the crowd. I even gave Will a hug and “accidentally” brushed Will’s jeans pocket, which caused a big enough reaction that I was pretty certain he was proposing. (I am one of those girls that cannot stand to be surprised. I have to know everything all of the time.) Due to my shameless attempts at ruining the surprise, Will gave up at trying to be stealthy and got down on one knee. I have no clue what he said afterwards, I just responded with “Are you serious?” and then, “Yes, let’s get out of here before people notice you just proposed!” (I was in finals wear and didn’t want an audience.)
In what month did you get married? April
How many guests attended your wedding? Approximately 200
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we did a first look. Getting great shots of the two of us together in our wedding day finery was very important to me. Everyone warned me that you barely see each other at the reception, so we made sure we had time to be alone on the day. The first look was the perfect time for that. Plus, we got some really great pictures that will last forever!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. Wedding party processional was to “Beautiful Day” by U2, performed by the fabulous Gabe Jacobs (a family friend). The bride’s processional was to “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, also performed by Gabe Jacobs. Our ceremony song was “Dream” by Priscilla Ahn, performed by my new sister-in-law. Our recessional was to “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles. For our entrance to the reception, we played “We Are Young” by Fun. Our first dance was to the acoustic version of “Calling You” by Blue October. The f-daughter dance was to “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns & Roses and the mother-son dance was to “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. For our last dance, we played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Losing a bridesmaid dress! In January, we shipped a dress to my bridesmaid that lives in North Carolina and she didn’t receive it until after the wedding! It was a disaster because the designer that we used for the bridesmaid dresses went out of business so they couldn’t send us a replacement. We ended up getting a dress online that was not the same but very similar. Thank goodness for J.Crew!
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? My wedding planner, Elyse Skansi of Tying the Knot Wedding Coordination. She was invaluable. I cannot say enough good things about her. She completely understood what we wanted our wedding to be like and helped us make it the best day of our lives. Everyone tells me how unique my wedding was and how it felt like us. I even had a few people tell me that it was the best wedding they have ever been to!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? If I were to give any advice to a future bride and groom, it would be to forget about what everyone else does or chooses. Find your inspiration and make your wedding about you as a couple and what makes you happy together.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Currently, we are looking for our dream home which is very exciting. We are outgrowing our one bedroom apartment rapidly with all of the wedding gifts we received. After that, we are looking forward to some pre-baby traveling (I’ve never been to Europe). Then, our plan is to start a little family.