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While I know the state of Alabama is quite large, I always feel a kindred spirit to our sweet Alabama couples. I can especially relate to Rachel + Carl with their long distance relationship stints. While planning from afar can be a challenge, they chose to focus on sweet and meaningful details that truly reflected the importance of family and community. I love how they chose the same cake maker Rachel’s parent used at their wedding. While I could go on over Rachel + Carl carefully planned details, Rachel’s advice to future brides is so wise. She said “It amazingly all works out. As your wedding gets closer and closer, you realize that what is most important is getting married to the love of your life and being surrounded by family and friends as you do so.” Isn’t that the truth?!

Big thanks to White Rabbit Studios for capturing this lovely day!

Our venue was a beautiful Southern plantation in the middle of cotton fields, which set the perfect mood for a vintage, Southern wedding. The use of decorations like peaches and milk glass brought some of the Southern charm, while the community was filled with Southern hospitality and warmth.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my wedding dress was quite an adventure. On our first trip shopping, I took my mom, my maid of honor, and my matron of honor. We went through about four different stores and tons of dresses. I was beginning to feel overwhelmed. After looking back over pictures later, one dress seemed to stand out to everyone, except for my mom. She wasn’t willing to commit and wasn’t going to be satisfied until we tried on every dress we could find. I found myself constantly comparing every dress to the one I found the first day. Finally, my mom agreed to let me go try on the original dress again, and I brought along another bridesmaid this time. Once I slipped on the dress and stepped out for everyone to see, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that it was the one. My mom ended up being obsessed with the dress and will admit she doesn’t understand why she didn’t like it at first.

Seeing couples opt out of a “first look” for a moment of prayer still remains one of my favorite moments in a wedding day!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Carl and I debated over this many times. We ended up deciding to not do a “first look” and have the first time he saw me to be walking down the aisle. We felt like there was something sweet and special about that moment. We were also used to not seeing each other very often, so waiting didn’t seem like a huge deal. We did decide to pray with each other before the ceremony began, though. Our photographer and videographer led the two of us to a tree near our ceremony site with our eyes closed. They placed us on two different sides of the tree and made us face forward. We were able to hold hands and spend some time in prayer together. It was a perfect moment. It was nice to know what was going on in his head and finally be able to praise the Lord together for all his goodness. I just remember being overwhelmed with how good the Lord is. He had taken care of everything that day: the weather, the silly little details, and he had brought me the most amazing husband. I’m so glad we got that little bit of time to share together.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows. We wanted them to truly reflect the metaphor of how Christ loves his church and how that drives our relationship. One of my favorite parts was that we both ended up using the same phrase: “Knowing that God’s glory comes before all else.” I think if we can both really live by that phrase, knowing our relationship is not about ourselves, but about the glory of God, we can make it through any stage of life that comes our way.What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We did not have readings at our ceremony. Instead of readings or a special song, we invited our wedding party and parents to surround us in prayer. They all gathered around and prayed, as one groomsmen and one bridesmaid led a prayer aloud. Our community is something that is extremely important to us, and to know they were supporting us was a really meaningful portion of our ceremony.

Wedding flowers were an adventure for us. My mom had expressed interest in trying to do flowers ourselves because of the price, and I guess for fun. This made me really nervous. Where were we going to get the flowers, how do you make a bouquet, how do you keep flowers? So many questions made me worried. However, by doing it ourselves, they were able to be exactly how I had pictured them. We were able to get the flowers I desired, like peonies, and even at cheaper prices. The arrangements were filled with beautiful peachy, pinky flowers that really created the soft, romantic look I was aiming for. A family friend who had experience being a florist created all of the arrangements and boutonnieres. The morning of the wedding, the bridesmaids and I met with another family friend, who helped us create our own bouquets. I think the girls were really nervous about it at first, but they seemed like they really enjoyed doing it themselves, and the bouquets turned out beautifully.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was actually made by the same person who made my parents’ wedding cake. We decided to go with a classic white cake, but had it mimic the milk glass that was a large part of our decorations. We had originally decided we would just have it plain with no flowers, but about two weeks before the wedding, we realized having sugar flowers would make it so pretty. We had found a picture for inspiration, but our cake decorator did not think she would be able to make them. My mom found a Youtube video of how to go about making sugar flowers and showed it to a friend. With no cake decorating experience, our friend created stunning sugar flowers to add to the cake. I’m so glad she did, because I think it’s what really made the cake!

I didn’t work super hard to make sure it would happen, but kind of hoped it would just come together. My something borrowed was my mom’s garter that her grandmother had made her for her wedding day. My something blue was the one I realized I didn’t have anything for the night before, so I ended up deciding to wear blue panties the day of so it would all be complete. My something old was my uncle’s vintage MG that we used for our getaway car. It was a car he and my grandfather had bought and worked on. It was also really special because my mom and dad left in another MG that my uncle and grandfather had worked on as their getaway car at their wedding. My something new were these beautiful opal earrings my parents gave me for graduation. I have always loved opals, especially since my grandfather gave me a pair when I was a little girl. Unfortunately that exact pair was nowhere to be found, so a new pair worked just as well.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Carl and I met in high school while on a mission trip to Honduras with our youth group, where it was easy to see each other’s true selves and hearts. We were both extremely involved in our church and had a strong passion for the Lord and others. Not long after we started dating, Carl began college at Auburn University. For two years, we navigated the ups and downs of a long distance relationship, getting by with many letters and four-hour drives. Eventually, I joined Carl at Auburn. We were finally able to enjoy the presence of each other and a true community of common friends. After graduating in psychology and interning for a year, Carl received a job in North Carolina as a youth pastor. We were obviously excited for the Lord’s blessing, but once again found ourselves in a long distance relationship.
Tell us all about the proposal! One weekend when we returned to Madison, Carl surprised me with a special date. On the hour drive there, I struggled with an internal battle over whether or not the proposal was happening. When we finally arrived I was excited to discover that we were at a county fair. I love the rides, atmosphere, and sweet charm of fairs. He knows me very well. My suspicion still snuck up as he offered to go all out on fair food, and even ride the dizzy rides that make him sick. However, I once again convinced myself it was not happening, because it would be too dangerous to have a ring in your pocket on those rides. Little did I know, the surprise was waiting for me at home. When we got back to my house, after forcing me to stay awake, he proposed at the same spot where he had once asked me to be his girlfriend over five years before.
When did y’all get married? May 26, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250-275
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our ceremony and reception music was one of our favorite parts of the wedding. For our ceremony music, we decided to do all Christian worship songs by artists like Bethel, Hillsong United, and United Pursuit Band. We used “Like Incense/Sometimes By Step” by Hillsong United for the bridal party and I to walk down the aisle. The way the song builds made a perfect, dramatic, and worshipful entrance. For leaving back down the aisle, we picked a more upbeat song called “This is What You Do” by Bethel. It was a perfect song to joyfully walk down the aisle to as husband and wife, and even caused my mom to dance back down the aisle. Our first dance and father-daughter dance were very special to us as well. Our bridal party included three of our friends who we had really wanted to sing, but knew it would be complicated for them to do so in the ceremony. We decided we would have them sing those first two songs instead. It was very sweet to not only be dancing with loved ones, but have loved ones singing, as well. For our first dance, we used an acoustic version of “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson, which was one of my favorite songs as a kid. Our father-daughter dance was an acoustic version of “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder, which was the perfect song for my dad and I to shag dance to.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It’s really hard to pick a favorite detail because overall, everything came together so perfectly. Although it was out of our control, we were so thankful and excited about the weather. It wasn’t raining, which was a huge plus, but it was also just the right temperature and lighting. Out of the details we could control, I think it would be a tough battle to choose between the flowers and the music. They both played such a vital role in creating the atmosphere that we desired.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? One of the biggest challenges for me was Carl and I being long distance while trying to plan the wedding. It was hard to make decisions together, since he could not be there to view the venue or the cake or other decorations. A lot of the decisions, I had to make on my own. I really wanted the wedding to be a good representation of the two of us, so I was worried it wouldn’t all come together. However, I think he probably enjoyed not having to be quite so involved.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We were extremely happy with our photographer and videographer, White Rabbit Studios. They were a dream to work with. Not only were they pleasant to be with all day, but the photos capture the day exactly how I remember it to be. We had such a wide variety of photos, from the decorative details to the candid emotions of the day.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I think one of the most memorable parts of our wedding day was going through the Burger King drive-through for icees with one of my maids of honor and the best man after leaving the reception. It was nice to finally sit down and enjoy a semi-normal moment with our best friends right before we headed off to the honeymoon.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It amazingly all works out. As your wedding gets closer and closer, you realize that what is most important is getting married to the love of your life and being surrounded by family and friends as you do so. Many details I fretted over before, I didn’t even notice or think about come the day of the wedding. Enjoy the day being surrounded by those you love and those who love you.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? After our honeymoon, I joined Carl in North Carolina, where we have really enjoyed just getting to be together and enjoy one life together instead of two lives apart. I have been working on starting a wedding invitation line, while Carl has continued to work in youth ministry. I think one of the things we are most enjoying in our marriage is doing ministry together. This summer, I’ve been able to help Carl out with his youth group through retreats, fun trips, and bible studies. It’s really neat to partner together in that and truly serve each other while serving the youth. We can’t wait to see what adventures come our way!

Photographer: Ashley Vaughn from White Rabbit Studios | Videographer: Dustin Timbrook from White Rabbit Studios | Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Cedars 1859 | Kathy Grissom, Family Friend | Wedding Cake: Connie’s Creations | Caterer: Endless Catering | Rentals: All Needz Rentals | Band: The Purple Ravens | Bride’s Gown: Bella Couture, Allure Gown | Paper Products: Rachel Botts Design | Bride’s Earrings: Kohls | Bride’s Veil: Renaissance Consignment | Hair Stylist: Bridesmaid Ivy Tidwell | Makeup Artist: Bridesmaid Stephanie Kearns | Bride’s Shoes: Seychelles I Do Pump | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan Donna Dress from Weddington Way | Groom’s and Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Hand Painted Signs and Cake Topper: Emily Edwards | Guestbook: First Snowfall | Robes: Just Cottons 

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Shannon reply

    Her flowers are beautiful! Any idea where she ordered them through before putting them together DIY? (Such as an online retailer or a flower wholesaler)

  2. avatar Emily reply

    I love the little banner (that changed throughout the day!) on their getaway car! So cute!

  3. avatar Stephanie reply

    WOW!! Perfection. Loved being a part of this beautiful, God-filled and fun wedding :)

  4. avatar Mary Lynn reply

    Here is the scoop on the flowers. We purchased our peonies from a local grower that was listed on the Cut Flower Association website. You can search by flower and by state for local growers. The association website is:
    We bought the peonies from a grower in Kentucky, Ella King of Kings Country Gardens. They were beautiful and so much less expensive. The remainder we bought from a floral wholesale business; Davis Flowers. Even though they sell primary wholesale they sell to the public also. They got us fabulous garden roses at a great price. We consider buying from Fifty Flowers online, they are another good DIY source. If you have a particular flower in mind you need to check if it is available during the time of year of your wedding.

  5. avatar kathy grissom reply

    what a beautiful wedding.everything was perfect.only God knew how long you nana would live and it was just long enough to see her granddaughter get married and see the smile on nana face will always be one of my favorite memories,because we don,t know if we will be so blessed.she said after that beautiful night what a beautiful bride racheal was over and over the most beautiful bride i will never forget the look on her face when she told everybody that called .over and over the love you could see in her face and her voice.thanks for letting me share the love ,see yall soon love kathy grissom.

  6. avatar White Rabbit Studios » Fine Art Film Photography » Rachel & Carl: Southern Wedding reply

    […] Congrats to Rachel and Carl and thank you so much for entrusting the White Rabbit team to capture your wedding! Also, huge thanks to Southern Weddings for featuring Rachel and Carl’s extraordinary day! Read all about it here! […]

  7. avatar Jamie reply

    where did you find your bridesmaid dresses? I love the color!

  8. avatar Rachel reply

    The bridesmaid dresses were bought from and they are Donna Morgan dresses I believed called “Donna”.

  9. avatar Leigh Pearce Weddings Blog » Cake Topper Ideas | Asheville North Carolina Wedding Planner reply

    […] Southern Weddings […]

  10. avatar Planning a garden wedding: Decorations | ron&eileen reply

    […] so many different ways you can decorate these signages. Here are some of my favourites! As seen on SouthernWeddings, StyleMePretty and […]

  11. avatar Magaly reply

    I am currently looking for peach bridesmaids dresses and I cannot find any! Could you please tell me where your bridesmaid’s dresses are from? Thank you so much in advance!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Magaly! These adorable dresses are Donna Morgan via Weddington Way:

  12. avatar Lucy reply


    Such a beautiful wedding! Can you share where you picked up the groom’s bowtie? My cousin has the same exact color scheme as you, and I am struggling to help her find the bowtie.

    Thank you!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi Lucy! We’re not sure where Rachel and Carl picked up their bow ties, but we just launched a bow tie collection with High Cotton Ties that includes a peach chambray bow tie that could be perfect! You can find it here:

    • avatar Lucy reply

      Thank you Lisa! I will be checking out your collection!

  13. avatar Save Your Budget on Weddings with 45 Baby’s Breath Ideas | Stylish Wedd Blog reply

    […] Credits: via Southern Weddings/via SMP/via Colin Cowie Weddings/via Happy […]

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    […] photo credit: via chelsayoderphotography / via southernweddings […]

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October 21, 2004 was my half birthday, and it also happened to be the day that was supposed to be my first date with my future husband. He was going to take me to the NC State Fair to eat cotton candy, nibble ham biscuits and visit the farm animals. Unfortunately, I woke up on that fateful Thursday morning with a dreadful 102 degree fever and a throat that felt as if I had swallowed a bucket of nails. One trip to student health later and a diagnosis of strep throat in hand, we spent our first “date” on my sofa, watching the state fair coverage on the news. He did bring me cotton candy and diet coke to make me “feel better,” and we managed a first date redo a few days later. The rest, as we now know, is history.

I am convinced that this next hint for a happy marriage is one of the most important, potentially the most fun, and likely the one that’s most easily pushed aside. Hint #4: Keep Dating. As in, continue to carve out dedicated, uninterrupted time to invest in one another; forever and ever, amen.

Y’all, dating is so important. You really got to know your sig-o by going on dates, having adventures and spending quality time together, right? It’s where you learned about his favorite foods, he learned about your love of all things monogrammed and the two of you started to form a bond stronger than pecans and sweeter than honey. Unfortunately, after marriage (and even while planning a wedding), life gets busy, and suddenly there doesn’t seem to be time to dedicate to uninterrupted quality togetherness. The pressure of life starts to overwhelm the calendar and that sweet regular date night is the first thing to go.

I would argue that you must make dating a priority because it’s a simple way to remind yourself why you started this whole marriage journey in the first place: a way to connect to your spouse and continue to get to know him and fall in love. Continuing to date, on purpose, gives you a chance to break away from the busy and focus on what really matters.

Dates don’t have to be fancy. They don’t have to be all-day affairs. They just need to involve you, your other half and limited unnecessary distractions (insert cellphones here). Certain dates and adventures become lifelong favorite memories just because they are with the one that has your heart, and the accumulation of those memories and experiences is what enriches a relationship over a lifetime.

Kyle and I both have busy careers and other important commitments, and we haven’t added the complication of littles to the mix quite yet. I can imagine this hint will only get trickier to execute with time, but continuing to date is something I am fiercely passionate about, and plan to fight tooth and nail to maintain no matter what life throws our way.

For us, date night is occasionally getting dressed up and trekking to our favorite Southern eatery tucked up a windy road from our house. They have great live music on the weekends, to-die-for grits of the day and provide a sweetly Southern atmosphere for an intimate and cozy dinner conversation. Other times it’s strolling downtown to grab frozen yogurt and snag a bench outside to sit and chat. No matter what we do, if we are doing it together, in an effort invest in each other and our relationship, it makes more difference that we can quantify. After all, why on earth would we stop doing something we LOVED doing before we got married?

I asked the SW gals about their favorite date memories (big or small). Lara loves visiting Fearrington Village and the beltie cows with Ari! Nicole’s most favorite date with her beau was an spontaneous Fourth of July adventure to the coast for a picnic and a day of catching rays. Marissa reminisced about a day spent playing hooky from school, riding roller coasters and giggling her way through Universal Studios with BDK. Lisa has the sweetest memories of her first camping adventure with her cute beau and his family. And Emily loves going to outdoor movies with John — they’re usually less than $5 per ticket (or free!), and they can bring along a picnic supper. From once-and-a-lifetime visits to amusement parks to regularly visiting the Fearrington cow, regardless of the details, the most important part is that memories are made and quality time invested.

So I am extending a challenge to each one of you. Join the Keep Dating movement. Take turns planning dates. Get creative and see what you can dream up. Make a date jar full of ideas and keep it on your counter. Be committed and block off your calendars. I promise that the time invested in planning and participating in the Keep Dating movement is so worth it!

Have a creative date idea to share? Spill the beans! Have a fun date memory? We want to hear about it!

P.S. Catch up on past hints here: #1, #2, #3!

P.P.S. Lovely session by Jo Photo, one of our Blue Ribbon Vendors! See more from this session in our Facebook Friday series!

kristin Written with love by Kristin
  1. avatar Samala C. reply

    I loved reading this! I could not agree with you more regarding setting that special time together. Having been married and divorced with 3 children, it was a lot harder when the kids came into the picture. But kids or no kids, making one another a priority will keep you both rediscovering why you grew to love one another, and give you more reasons to keep the love alive!

  2. avatar Madi Reid Sanders reply

    Sig-O! Love it! Great post Kristin!
    Sending BIG southern hugs!

  3. avatar Stephanie Huxter reply

    GREAT post Kristin!! Oh we are so passionate about this subject! Life is busy for all of us, but dating our spouse really does need to be a BIG priority! It’s the way we stay connected, in love, and on the same page. When your marriage is happy and good, other priorities in life seem to fall in place. Our favorite date night – having a fire pit in the back yard with a bottle of red wine! All of our life, dream, funny conversations seem to happen there! Cheers to the Keep Dating Movement!

    • avatar Kristin reply

      Stephanie! Am I allowed to invite myself (and Kyle) over for a double-date in your backyard? It sounds dreamy!!

  4. avatar Brittany Lott reply

    This is so sweet and absolutely 100% true! It is so important to invest quality time and effort into your marriage.

    • avatar Kristin reply

      Brittany!! Yes, yes, yes! I couldn’t agree more. Quality time is so important.

  5. avatar keep dating | Piwo z Lody reply

    […] am not married, duh, but read this “tip for a happy Marriage” that said to keep dating.  I thought that it was sweet. I […]

  6. avatar Jessie at Gramercy Studio reply

    I loved reading this post & totally agree. Dating (and engagement) are really special times not to be rushed through. It is easy when you know you found the one to neglect this time – but it is really precious and should be enjoyed. I believe taking the time to work through things and learn about each other when dating relieves a lot of tension and fear when you do get married.

    Lovely post and VERY lovely photographs. You are stunning!

  7. avatar Hints for a Happy Marriage: Get Away – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] rejuvenate you. Put some of those past hints in action: laugh out loud, put down your cellphone, go on a date. The WHOLE point of this hint is to recharge your batteries and to take time AWAY from the daily […]

  8. avatar Hints for a Happy Marriage: Take a Deep Breath – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] I, and even for our future children. I long for dinners eaten at our table (more on this later), date nights, and the occasional lazy Saturday morning sipping coffee in our pajamas. So, I try my hardest to […]

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The first hints of fall are in the air here in North Carolina, so I’m definitely in the mood for some pretty fall weddings, just like Alyson and Brian’s! Even though their love story started in New York City, it began with a bow tie, which is just about as Southern as it gets. They were married in a gorgeous church ceremony, and then celebrated with Southern foods galore, navy and orange details that are so lovely for fall, and a rather epic last dance of the night! Alyson is a perfect example of a bride who did an amazing job selecting her vendors–planning a wedding from afar is no easy task, as many of y’all know, and Alyson and Brian had to go through Hurricane Sandy on top of that. Despite it all, her enthusiasm for the team she worked with is infectious, and clearly, they did an amazing job!

Hugs to Leigh Webber for sharing Alyson and Brian’s wedding with us!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Brian and I had overlapping circles of friends and ran into one another a few times at a local NYC haunt, where we both had a tendency to spend too much time. One Halloween, we both happened to end up there. I was coming from a charity costume party and Brian from a charity black-tie party. In typical, late-night Brian fashion, he had untied his bow tie and left it hanging around his neck. Like the annoying girl I am, I requested to wear it; I thought it might add a certain flair to my sailor girl Halloween costume. He obliged and tied it around my neck (He maintains to this day that it was the only time he has been able to tie a bow tie on a person facing them–there are a number of wedding pictures of Brian standing behind people tying on their bow ties for them to further prove this point). We chatted all night and then went our separate ways. I awoke the next morning, and found, much to my surprise and embarrassment, that I had made off with the bow tie. Being the modern-day woman I am, I reached out to Brian via a Facebook message to let him know I had the tie safe and sound in my possession. Alternately, being the traditional old soul I also am, I would not give it back without a proper date. He realized this after making multiple attempts to swing by my apartment to pick it up and I just never happened to be there. We met one early November evening at a wonderful wine and pizza bar for the exchange. I brought the bow tie and he bought the wine. The date lasted hours (my best friend thought I was kidnapped) and as they say, the rest was history!

Since we live in New York I knew that if I couldn’t find my dress here, it probably didn’t exist. My mom flew up for a super fun girl’s weekend and we went on a marathon shopping expedition. I tried to be very pragmatic through the process by not obsessing over dresses I saw on other people, in magazines, or online. I knew I just had to wait and see how different styles, shapes and materials looked on me and not rule anything out going in. However, going into it, I announced a slight bias toward dresses that were not strapless. We had such a wonderful weekend; I loved trying on all the different dresses, I could have dragged it out for days. On a visit to Wedding Atelier, I put on an Alvina Valenta that was everything I could have wanted and more. It had a lace-covered top with a one-shoulder tulle overlay—technically not strapless, my one quasi-rule. The skirt had cascading layers of tulle with horsehair trim to give them a bit of body and structure. It was traditional with a twist, just like me! My mom knew it was the one even before I did–I was still obsessing about a dress I tried the day before that just so happened to be strapless. She just looked at me and said, you didn’t want strapless and this dress is just SO you. You know what they say, mom is always right, and I am glad I listened to her and picked the Alvina. I can’t picture myself being married in anything else.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! My something new was my dress. My something old was a handkerchief hand embroidered by my great grandmother I had wrapped around my bouquet for the ceremony. My something blue was my blue embroidered dress tag with my maiden monogram and our wedding date. And my something borrowed was my best friend and maid of honor’s Kappa Kappa Gamma badge (we pinned it just below the monogrammed dress tag).

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not. I will always remember the homily from our priest though. He flew in from New York and knows us both well, so it was very touching and personal.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had traditional scripture readings from the Old and New Testament.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail was all the paper items. After looking around for what seemed like months for a save the date, I made a terrible little doodle of what I wanted. Katherine then referred me to Sarah of Dodeline Designs. She took this rudimentary and frankly hideous sketch of mine and made us the most charming save the date. I had such a great time collaborating with Sarah for the save the date, we enlisted her to do the remainder of the paper items for the wedding. For the invitations, we got Elizabeth from Hardink Calligraphy (funny side note, we learned that Elizabeth and my mom are neighbors in Nashville during the process) on board to pen some of the wording and address the envelopes. Between the four of us, we came up with the invitation of my dreams. It was traditional, but a tad whimsical (confetti!) and had fun little touches throughout. We then carried the confetti theme from the invitation into the day-of paper by incorporating it into the guest book sign and escort cards. Possibly one of the most unique paper items we had was the gold and ivory paper placemats we used in lieu of chargers/seating cards. They had different patterns and included the guest’s name and a fun conversation starter. Brian’s favorite detail was the outdoor lounge seating arrangements. He had so much fun relaxing (for a very brief moment) with friends, kicking his feet up and enjoying his scotch and cigar in style and comfort. My mother also made all the throw pillows, a few of which we have incorporated into our apartment décor. They are such a fun reminder of the day.

Describe your wedding flowers. Our flowers were amazing, if I may say so myself. As an event planner, I spend a good deal of time every year brainstorming and working with florists on table concepts. God Bless Ann and Katherine, because they were both so patient with my OCD PowerPoint presentation of design direction and inspiration, and together, our collaboration produced the flowers and decor of my dreams. We used navy, ivory and persimmon clothes on the tables with a gold ribbon overlay as the the piece to tie all the tables together. We then had three takes on centerpieces that alternated around the room. It is really hard to pick my favorite, but I really loved the one with the external magnolia leaf wrap, tied with satin ribbon and a bow. All the tables had votive holders with gold details on them. The colors were mostly greens and deep saturated orange (persimmon). My bouquet was pretty simple–ivory flowers with a small amount of greenery. The girls carried flowers in the saturated oranges tones, which popped beautifully against their navy dresses.

The cake, OH the CAKE! There were a few moments in working with Katherine where she would send me a G-Chat that would say, “What do you think about…” and would lay out a scenario or send me a link. My reply was always just a ton of exclamation points; you might say we just got each other. The cake was exactly one of those “what do you think about…” moments. She sent me a link to a cake covered in multi-colored sprinkles and a giant bow. I wished it worked with our color palate, it was so fun. Then she said, “We can do this, hear me out. We will use gold dragees in place of the sprinkles and add a bow or a flower.” Well, I was sold. We then got Molly from d’lish on board to flawlessly make our concept a reality. It not only looked amazing, it was outrageously tasty as well! Aside from cake, we had one other sweet I insisted upon. Brian and my dad love to smoke cigars together, so it was important to them to have a scotch and cigar bar outside during the reception (Brian actually asked my dad for his permission to marry me on a trip to the cigar shop). I therefore thought this entitled me to use a bit of the lawn as well, and The Creek Club was so wonderful to set up a S’MORES bar for me. This was truly the only food I went out of my way to eat the entire night.

“The Shout” was perhaps one of the most epic moments of our entire reception. The song (and dance) is a tradition among Brian’s group of friends, dating back to fraternity parties at Duke. Every wedding or large party/gathering always culminates in a huge dance party and massive 20-plus person “Gator” and our wedding was no exception. The band played it as the last song, so we really ended on a high note. We made sure to warn Leigh what was going to happen, and she got some amazing shots. It was such a riot! I love looking at the reactions of the guests in the pictures who didn’t know what was coming.

Tell us all about the proposal! We moved into our first joint apartment in late May 2011. We had just come home from a friend’s birthday party and I was washing my face getting ready for bed. I heard such a loud commotion in the kitchen and yelled to him to make sure everything was okay. Brian requested I “come here and see,” and as I rounded the corner, he met me on one knee with the most beautiful ring. We then toasted with a spectacular bottle of vintage champagne that Brian had snuck into the wine fridge earlier that day (he had purchased two bottles so we could have another one to toast our next big life occasion). It was so nice to have the sweet, special moment in our new home together. The often untold version of this story is that Brian had a grand plan for our engagement on Saturday, two nights later, and had told all our friends and family about it. He decided on Thursday night that he just couldn’t wait another second and did it right then and there. Lucky for me, all the celebrations went on as planned Saturday night!
When did y’all get married? November 10, 2012
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We sure did! We knew seeing one another would be a great nerve-calmer. We also wanted to have plenty of time to get all our photos in. Since the wedding ceremony was at 5 p.m. in November, we knew it would be was dark when the ceremony was over. We used the time between first look and the ceremony to walk around Charleston and take a ton of beautiful photos with the wedding party and family. This also got us to the cocktail reception just after our guests, and got all the family and bridal party to the church on time (or early!).

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Since all of our guests were traveling from out of town to be with us in Charleston, we wanted to give them a very authentic Southern dining experience. All the passed options during cocktails were traditional Southern fare; pimento cheese, ham biscuits, oysters, deviled eggs. The dinner also features shrimp and grits as one of the courses!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest general challenge I would say was distance. Being in New York required us to put a ton of faith in our vendors (who were all spectacular and left no reason to worry) and accomplish all the planning in two marathon trips to Charleston. I was so thankful for Katherine; she was really our boots on the ground and always left me feeling like everything was very well taken care of. Our biggest specific challenge was Hurricane Sandy. The storm hit about nine days before we were scheduled to fly to Charleston. We were without power for about five days after the storm. I will never forget having to walk down 30 flights of stairs in our apartment building, getting into a taxi that ultimately picked up two additional random passengers off the street, sitting in traffic for close to an hour to get to Brian’s office, which thankfully had power, to charge our phones and finish/email our seating plan to the venue. I suppose the silver lining of the whole situation was it kept me from stressing about small, silly, last-minute things related to the wedding, because I was more concerned about where I was going to shower and where we could sleep to avoid having to walk back up those 30 flights of stairs to our apartment.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Katherine was truly there with us every step of the way. She was such a huge part of the biggest moment in our lives that I can’t imagine our wedding or lives without her.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Aside from becoming husband and wife, if we MUST pick just one, it would be our first dance. We boogied to “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall and Oates. I think everyone was a little surprised by our choice of song but it really fit our personalities perfectly.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a professional planner! I can’t stress this enough. Wedding planners have wonderful relationships with vendors (that can often save you money), they have shortcuts, they are totally immersed in the wedding world and are up on all the trends, and they have wonderful tricks of the trade. I think almost all the stress and despair people feel planning a wedding could be alleviated with the help of a planner. Knowing that not you, not your mom and not your crazy second cousin who has a tendency to drink too many jack and cokes is in charge and handling every little detail is a huge relief. The vendors call the planner when something is wrong, not you. They keep things on time. Things just seeming to magically happen and unfold without you even having to think twice or worry is a wonderful gift. Wedding planners are truly worth their weight in gold!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Our plan is to continue to build our lives and careers here in New York, and we are looking forward to taking on a few hobbies now that we have some free time!

Photographer: Leigh Webber | Videographer: Siegel Films | Planner: Katherine Miller Events, now with Yoj Events | Ceremony Venue: St. Mary of the Annunciation | Reception Venue and Caterer: Creek Club at I’on | Florist: Charleston Stems | Cake Baker: d’lish desserts | Rentals: BBJ Linens and La Travola | Lounge Seating: Event DRS | Band: Momentum | Bride’s Gown: Alvena Valenta | Paper Products: Dodeline Designs | Calligraphy: Hardkin Calligraphy | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Blushing Brides | Bride’s Shoes: Butter Bridal | Men’s Bow Ties: Collared Greens | Transportation: Trolley and Limos for Less

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Dana reply

    she did navy and orange beautifully!

  2. avatar Jackie reply

    I am so glad to see Alyson and Brian’s beautiful wedding featured – such a lovely couple and perfect Southern Wedding!

  3. avatar Desiree reply

    Y’all KNOW I love these colors…this wedding is awesome. All the texture is fab, too – leather, patterned linens, silks…yum!

  4. avatar Tied with a Bow: Links I Love reply

    […] Photo by Leigh Webber on Southern Weddings […]

  5. avatar Jamie reply

    Who made the bridesmaids dresses?

    • avatar Alyson reply

      Jamie: They were from Emma Graham Designs, but they appear to have taken their website down. I know Lula Kate has some very similar styles though!

  6. avatar Leigh Webber Photography reply

    […] was such a thrill to see Alyson & Brian’s wedding featured last week on the Southern Weddings […]

  7. avatar Kristin reply

    Hi! You guys do know that your posts in Feedly are cut off on the right side, right?

    • avatar Emily reply

      Thanks for the heads-up, Kristin! Nicole and I both use Feedly and just checked our accounts, and everything looks okay for us, but we’re going to investigate!

    • avatar Kristin reply

      Emily: Okay, maybe it’s different screen resolutions then bc I always have to click through to see the post. Good for you guys for more clicks, but it does mean I don’t always read each post. :) Thanks!

  8. avatar moodboard monday | Paper Tiger Press reply

    […] Flower crown photo via Bridal Musings. Middle Row: Orange bouquet via Pinterest, Boutonnières by Charleston Stems. Bottom Row: Orange and sage sangrias via Pinterest, Peach and orange cake from Wedding Chicks, […]

  9. avatar Peach Boutonnière { Wedding Inspiration } » Modern Weddings Hawaii Destination Bride Inspiration Hawaii Wedding Vendors reply

    […] This autumn North Carolinan wedding encompassed exquisite details that amazed us! We’re loving how these peachy rose boutonnières {those flower pins the groomsmen are sporting} accents the deep blue of the bridesmaids’ gowns! The brightness of the peach and gold against the dark satin dresses and sleek black tuxedos adds the perfect color compliment to a darker and more sophisticated color scheme.  Even the paisley pattern on the gold handkerchief in the groomsmen’s jacket pockets adds the perfect ounce of lavish beauty. See the full post over at Southern Weddings. […]

  10. avatar LulaKate : Blog Lovin’: Southern Wedding in Navy reply

    […] Southern Wedding in Navy and Orange! […]

  11. avatar Elizabeth reply

    Please help!
    I must have one of these something blue dress monogram labels for my wedding dress! Where can I find this item?

    • avatar Alyson reply

      Hi Elizabeth, I purchased mine from Etsy. The vendor was Monde Design:

  12. avatar Orange & Navy Wedding Flowers ~ Renee’s Inspiration Board | Wedding Blog reply

    […] Bouquet Details} This orange and cream bouquet via Southern Weddings can be recreated with Creamy Beige Roses & Peonies, Coral Roses, Orange Orchids, Golden Yellow […]

  13. avatar Southern Etiquette: Monograms – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] from top left: Marenda + Jonathan (Anna K), Cameron + Evan (Virgil Bunao), Alyson + Brian (Leigh Webber), Eddie + Jordan (Harwell Photography), Angelica + Colby (Jake Holt), Celie + Shane […]

  14. avatar Sponsored Post: Jewelers Mutual – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Alyson + Brian | Leigh Webber […]

  15. avatar Kathleen reply

    Hi! I am absolutely in love with your engagement ring and would love to more details about where your husband bought it/ size of the centre stone etc! Hoping to get one similar as my engagement ring!

    Thank you so much in advance!


    • avatar Alyson reply

      Hi Kathleen,

      It came from a small diamond broker in NYC where many of our friends bought rings before us. Center stone is cushion (old mine cut) and about two and a quarter carets the baguettes are tapered and it is set in platinum. Hope this helps! Best of luck :)

  16. avatar Liz reply

    I absolutely love Alyson’s engagement ring! I’d love to know where she bought it or had it made. Cheers!

  17. avatar Planning Your Wedding – A Savannah Nite Limousine Services reply

    […] Navy blue is actually an excellent accent color for a fall wedding. The blue provides a lovely contrast to all of the oranges associated with autumn, making the colors in your pictures pop. If you don’t choose blue for your dresses, you can add little touches of blue to your bouquets and table settings to get the pop that you are looking for. For example, you can use a navy blue ribbon to tie your bouquets. […]

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