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Hi belles! Our friend Stephanie Scholl is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Stephanie will be blogging for us every two weeks or so until her wedding in April. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

Goodness gracious, as of this week, we are a mere ten weeks away from our wedding day! As much as I feel like the time has absolutely flown by, Rob and I have also been intentional about savoring each moment, thoughtfully making decisions, and trying to stay present during a busy and exciting season of life. Now, all of our big tasks have been checked off, and it’s time to refocus on the small yet meaningful details, finalizing our ceremony, loving on our family and friends, and preparing well to become husband and wife!

One of the most exciting and wonderful days of our engagement was the day we took our engagement photos, which really and truly felt like a pinch-me moment. As silly as it sounds, that blissful, beautiful day was one of the best days of my life! Engagement pictures seem like such a rite of passage, a fun way to kick off the engagement season, and the perfect way to capture love and joy.

Rob and I are not used to being the ones in front of the camera, and I have to admit that I was a little nervous to be our photographers’ main subject (along with Rob, of course!). We selected Ally and Bobby as our wedding photographers for a myriad of reasons, including how comfortable we already were around them. I’ve now learned firsthand how important it is to really get to know your photographers and to get to work with them before your wedding day, and I cannot emphasize just how much FUN we had shooting our engagement pictures!

My engagement session advice to other brides-to-be is this: take advantage of your engagement session to get to know your photographers beforehand, get comfortable in front of the camera, and enjoy getting to snuggle and smooch your fiancé!

One of the other big decisions to make when planning your engagement session is deciding on your outfits! I was debating ordering or renting a long, flowy gown or statement gown for our engagement session, but the more I looked at dresses, the more I realized that this was just not me. Just because others have worn epic gowns does not mean that I need to!

One of the biggest takeaways I learned while planning out our engagement session was that I wanted these images and our day to be completely us. I didn’t want to worry about what others would want us to do or wear, or try to be something we are not! Once I stepped back and realized this, decisions were so much easier. I wanted to choose outfits that, when looking at our images in one year, ten years, and fifty years, we would look back on and still love.

Overall, I wanted to wear classic, timeless clothing in the colors Rob and I tend to gravitate towards the most: white, shades of blue, neutrals, and blush. We love High Cotton Ties, and this navy tie was a great addition to Rob’s dressier look. I’m so happy with how our look came together, but even more importantly, I love seeing how we smile at each other and how our love for one another shines through!

Another aspect of engagement session planning we had to tackle: where to have our session. If you’re puzzling out this question yourself, think about the places that are most meaningful to you and that make sense for the look you’re going for! We chose to have our engagement session on stunning Bald Head Island off the coast of North Carolina, and I cannot imagine a more gorgeous or perfect setting for our engagement pictures – it is like out of a fairytale! It’s only a few hours (and a quick ferry ride) from Raleigh, so Ally, Bobby, Rob, and I made a fun day trip of it. This island holds even more meaning for us now, and we are so grateful that we were blessed with a 70 degree, sunny, beautiful day in November!

I knew that we didn’t want any fancy, elaborate props and wanted to simply focus on images of just us. However, we made one exception, and it’s one of my favorite parts of our engagement session! We had our dear friend Alexa of Sage Paper Co. hand letter this truly stunning verse sign for us. In addition to being a part of our engagement photos, it will be displayed at our wedding, and we’ll have it hanging in our home forever. For us, it’s such a sweet reminder of what’s ultimately the most important part of our wedding and our marriage.

If you have engagement photos lined up, how are you incorporating personal touches to make your session unique to your love story? And if you have already had an engagement session, what is your favorite memory or best advice from the day? I would love to hear!

P.S. In case you missed a post:
The proposal
Venue and photography
The dress
Bridesmaid style

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar julie reply

    Amazing Blog…Thanks for sharing lovely blog..

  2. avatar julie reply

    Amazing Blog…Thanks for sharing lovely Blog….

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As you may know from a handful of Southern Weddings editorials over the years (like here and here), we have a soft spot in our office for classic Southern love stories. Our beautiful bride today, Calla, could say the same–and she has quite the Southern love story of her own to boot! After Calla and Thomas met in the hospital where they both worked, she followed him across state lines, and they got engaged at Boone Hall Plantation, where scenes from some of Calla’s favorite movies (The Notebook and Gone With the Wind!) have been filmed. There was no question that Calla and Thomas were going to honor their proposal story by tying the knot at this special place too, and with the help of Pure Luxe Bride, they planned an intimate celebration beneath Boone Hall’s Spanish moss-covered oaks.

We’re so glad Aaron and Jillian shared Calla and Thomas’ sweet Southern love story with us!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did a very non-traditional first look! We saw each other getting ready the day of our wedding. When it was time to get dressed, we separated, and Thomas met me in the courtyard to do our first look! I love looking at our pictures because you can feel the genuine happiness we felt when we turned around and looked at each other for the first time.

Thomas proposed to me at Boone Hall Plantation in South Carolina at their annual oyster roast. I had never been to Boone Hall Plantation before, but the Avenue of Oaks immediately captivated me. I am obsessed with the movies “The Notebook” and “Gone With The Wind,” and Boone Hall just so happens to be the backdrop for some of the most incredible scenes in those movies. Toward the end of the day I was ready to go home when Thomas asked me to go shuck just a few more oysters. At the oyster-shucking table, he handed me an oyster and said, “Shuck this one!” I did not think a thing about it. I went to open it and WHAM, there was my ring! He asked me to marry him in front of everyone there, and of course, I said yes! I also knew right away that we had to get married at Boone Hall Plantation!

Did you write your own vows? We did not write our vows. We read our vows after our priest recited “The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage” from the Book of Common Prayer.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Thomas and I both love classical music, and Thomas plays the violin. We hired the amazingly talented Micah Gangwer to perform solo violin before, during, and directly after our ceremony. We stuck with traditional classical music, and I walked down the aisle to “Here Comes the Bride.”

I found my wedding dress at London and Lace in Columbia, South Carolina. It was important to me to have a timeless, Southern wedding dress. I wanted the lace and I wanted the sparkle! I also wanted my dress to be conservative. I tried on several dresses during my first visit and nothing was for me. Later, I spoke with Lisa Kyzer, the owner, and she told me to come back, because she had another dress for me to try. It had a plunging neckline and was backless, which I worried wouldn’t be appropriate for a true Southern girl’s wedding, but I tried it on and fell in love! I was by myself, so I sent a selfie to my mom, who instantly approved!

I loved having Cru Catering as part of our wedding. We did not want a traditional sit-down dinner; we wanted to be able to mingle and speak with all of our guests on a personal level. Cru Catering provided a superb choice of heavy hor d’oeuvres that was just right!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Sablee in Charleston made our wedding cake, which was an almond cake with buttercream frosting and a fig-flavored center.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My personal favorite detail of our wedding was our chinois pots. Thomas’ family is originally from Taiwan, so I really wanted to include a touch of chinoiserie in our wedding. The white flowers and eucalyptus spilling over the blue and white porcelain was my favorite personal detail of the wedding.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Thomas and I met when he was in surgery residency and I was a nurse in the emergency department at a hospital in Tennessee. Several times, I worked assisting Thomas during traumas or with other patients who required emergent surgical intervention. I have to admit, I did find myself volunteering to be wherever Thomas was, hoping he would notice me. He asked for my number one day and we started texting. We fell in love really quickly. Unfortunately, a few months into dating, Thomas graduated from residency and was getting ready to move to South Carolina. I knew that once he started his new position, I would have to decide if I wanted to stay in Tennessee or move to South Carolina. The thought of moving was so scary to me, as I had never been too far away from my family before, so I was surprised that what scared me more was the thought of losing Thomas. I quit my job as a nurse in Tennessee and moved four hours down I-26 to South Carolina. The rest is history. That was over three years ago!
When did y’all get married? October 3, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 30
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had the epitome of a Southern wedding! Wedding ceremony and reception outside at a large Southern plantation, check! Thirty of our closest friends and family, check! Southern Lowcountry comfort food by Cru Catering, including roast, shrimp, and lobster rolls, check! Southern drinks including Coca-Cola, sweet tea, and a selection of fine wine/beer? Check!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable part of the day was standing at the altar and saying our vows to each other. I can play the moment over and over in my head. I loved the intimate feel of our wedding.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just got back from our honeymoon in Bora Bora! We look forward to our first year of marriage and the adventures it will surely bring!

Photographer: Aaron and Jillian Photography | Planner: Pure Luxe Bride | Venue: Boone Hall Plantation | Florist: Miele Events | Wedding Cake: Sablee Patisserie | Caterer: Cru Catering | Rentals: Snyder Rental | Violinist: Micah Gangwer | Blue Chinois Pots: The Enchanted Home | Bride’s Gown: Style 3558 by Lazaro | Bride’s Ring: Buccellati | Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Groom’s Attire: Hickey Freeman | Velvet Sofa: 428 Main Vintage Rentals

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Rachel Wells reply

    This wedding is beautiful! I absolutely love their linens. Such beautiful work by Aaron & Jillian!

  2. avatar julie reply

    wow…Amazing Blog…Thanks for sharing lovely blog….

  3. avatar Joy – Newborn Photographer reply

    Beautiful Wedding! Amazing details and absolutely love her dress :)

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to:

I’m pretty convinced that at Southern Weddings, we get to feature the sweetest couples in the South–not only because they do such a beautiful job planning their weddings, but also because of the heart and intention they pour into their big days. Alex and Cole are a perfect example of this, and I had so much fun poring over the details they shared with us in their interview! These elementary school friends-turned-high school sweethearts have an adorable love story, a huge heart for the South, and style for days (can we call that the trifecta?), so it’s an honor and a delight to share the day they became husband and wife at Magnolia Plantation today!

We’re so glad Landon Jacob Photography was on hand to capture every magical moment!

Cole and I decided we wanted to get married in Charleston pretty soon after we got engaged. Charleston has always held a special place in my heart. My family has owned a small beach cottage on Isle of Palms since I was a little girl. I have some of my fondest memories with family and friends in our sweet home. Once Cole and I began dating, he started coming along with us on random trips, which ended up including each summer for July 4th. It became a really fun tradition that we both looked forward to each year! Once we began looking at venues, I immediately was drawn to the idea of a beautiful plantation wedding. I grew up going to Easter sunrise service at a plantation in Charleston and have always loved the aesthetic and beauty there. I called Magnolia after falling in love with their website, and they had one Saturday left! My mom, being the greatest momma in the world, drove to the plantation without me, toured the property, FaceTimed me, and booked the venue right then and there! A few months later, we both went back and walked through it again and I knew it was a perfect fit!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I was so anxious about finding my wedding dress! I set up an appointment at Alexa’s Bridal in Raleigh for a Saturday in July. I had my mom, both of my sweet grandmas, and my mother-in-law with me. I began trying on very simple, spaghetti strap dresses. They were gorgeous, but I just didn’t feel like a bride when I had any of them on. I was a bit discouraged, but my sweet stylist was so encouraging and walked through the store with me. That is when I found a perfectly timeless and Southern detailed dress. From the quarter-length sleeves to the bow around the waist, and even the beautiful ivory material, it was exactly what I wanted! Even more, I loved that Cole would never expect me to wear something like it, but I knew he would absolutely love it! It only took me six dresses and about 45 minutes to find the perfect one for me!

I absolutely adore flowers–I swoon at the sight of them no matter where I am! I really wanted bright, bold pinks and a touch of maroon with some elongated, whimsical, flowing pieces. I wanted my bouquet to be big! I was torn on what to do for my bridesmaids, but went with small bouquets for them, which I ended up loving! And even more, my honorary bridesmaids held one big peony with ribbon! It was gorgeous! I decided to add ivory ribbon to the bouquets to add some more texture against the dresses and the bouquets, and I loved the look.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look on our wedding day! Cole really wanted to do one from the beginning but I was a little more torn at first. I had always dreamed about the moment I would walk down the aisle and Cole would get to see me for the first time in my wedding dress. I was afraid doing a first look would take some of that “magical” element away. I was SO wrong! We decided to do a first look for a few reasons. First, to help calm any nerves we may be feeling. Second, to have some time to ourselves where we could enjoy each other and soak in the fact that it was finally our wedding day! Third, we recognized that it didn’t matter where we were in that moment because it was going to be the most magical part of the day. We decided we really wanted that special time to be between just the two of us. It was such a blessing! On our day, I was nervous! Cole was the only person I wanted to see and get a big hug from, right before we committed to years of love, laughter, hardships, and memories in front of all of our closest family and friends. I am so thankful for that time during our first look on our wedding day and would not change it for the world!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows! That was something that was extremely important to Cole and me. We really wanted our vows to be personal to us. They were short and sweet, but by far the sweetest part of the service! One of Cole’s vows was, “Sharing my life with you has brought down the walls I took so long to build, and you have transformed my heart in a way only true love can comprehend.” And mine was, “I pray the Lord will teach me to love you without condition, remind me to honor and support you always, encourage me to challenge you and to be a listening ear.”
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. When it came time to pick out our wedding music, Cole gave me full rein on choosing, so I began googling and searching for music to use. I wanted to find songs that were meaningful to Cole and me, but also to our families and friends. Our ceremony was such a special, spiritual, and emotional time, and I wanted the music to reflect that. I chose four songs because the words meant so much to me and said much more than I could say that day. First, I have such a “Good, Good Father” for giving me my family. They have shaped me and made me into the person I am today. Next, I picked “O, Come to the Altar” for our bridal party processional not only because Cole and I were walking up to the altar, but also because our friends were too. They were there to support us in making this amazing covenant. Third, I chose “Jesus I Come” to play while I walked down the aisle to my sweet Cole because I felt those words in my soul. It was so important that Jesus was, and is, the center of our marriage, and I wanted every moment, but especially the moment before my precious daddy gave me away, to shine with His love. Last, I picked “I’ve Always Loved You” because Jesus knew Cole and me long before we knew each other and had this incredible day planned for us long before we could have ever fathomed it. Knowing that and how much He loves us was the greatest gift He could ever have given us. Cole picked out our first dance song, which was so special to me! He was so sure he wanted our song to be Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” so that is exactly what we danced to! It was perfect.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I think the biggest Southern detail was the wedding being in Charleston. The moss-covered trees, the river, and the gorgeous plantation are exactly what I envision when I think of the South! My other favorite detail that was subtly included in most of my wedding was a pineapple. I had the pineapple on our wedding invitations and in a lot of our table decor, including the centerpieces. Lastly, I had to have monogram! I was so excited about my new monogram, so I put it on my Jack Rogers that I wore for our wedding. It was a perfectly subtle detail!

I went super simple for our wedding cake! I fell in love with some handmade flamingos as cake toppers, so I went with a three-tier, traditional white buttercream cake with striped frosting. The flamingos were super fun, so I wanted those to be the center of attention! I then did two non-traditional one-tier cakes on either side of the main one (to have more flavor options, because who doesn’t love cake?). These had flowers on the top of them. I loved the aesthetic of the height differences and the pops of color!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Cole and I have known each other since first grade at Wesleyan Christian Academy. It seems we always had crushes on each other. One of my favorite things to do is look through my elementary school diary and see his name pop up every once in a while! In third grade, Cole gave me a valentine asking if I would be his girlfriend (I still have it!). We became best friends in eighth grade and started dating after he asked me to homecoming our freshman year of high school. We have had the privilege of growing up together and it has been the most exciting adventure! I would never trade falling in love through the awkward stages and getting to know each other so closely over these past eight years. It has been the sweetest experience and we feel so blessed that the Lord has put us on this awesome journey together!
Tell us all about the proposal! From Alex: My sweet Cole got an awesome internship at Idaho National Lab near Idaho Falls, Idaho for 13 weeks over the summer. I had a job in Greensboro and the flights to and from Idaho were expensive, so we didn’t think we would be able to see each other at all. Luckily, my aunt, uncle, and cousins were headed to Pray, Montana and brought me along! On June 13, 2015, Cole insisted that I go hiking with him. After a few hours, as we began packing up, Cole reached down to put the supplies into his bag, and when he turned back around, he had the most beautiful ring on his pinky finger. I think I did a double take three times before realizing what it was because I was so shocked! I could hardly believe it! I was so excited! Cole got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. I was elated with joy and immediately said YES to forever with the guy I had been loving for almost seven years!! From Cole: I was beyond ready to get out to Idaho for a summer internship that I hoped would be full of learning, outdoor adventure, and overwhelming experiences. At the same time, I was trying to figure out how in the world I am going to propose to Alex in the timeframe I had planned in my head so long ago. It was almost time to head across the country, and I still hadn’t asked Ricky for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Of course, Alex was utterly convinced that I would have to wait until I returned home at the end of the summer. In a moment of desperation, I realized I could just stop through Charlotte on my way out of the state to speak with Ricky and Kelly. After a few weeks in Idaho, I was as ready as ever to give the rest of my life to Alex when she came to visit in Montana. I will never forget the day I got down on one knee in front of her. I’d never seen someone so elated. I had managed to surprise her against all odds! I could not have been happier!
When did y’all get married? May 29, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Cole and I had the privilege of being engaged between our junior and senior years of college. Call us crazy! I was in Winston-Salem at Wake Forest and Cole was in Raleigh at NC State. Luckily, the process of planning our wedding became prep for planning our marriage. It takes sacrifice, communication, and lots of meeting in the middle (literally and figuratively!). The biggest part of planning our marriage was making premarital counseling with our pastor a priority. Cole had a very rigorous schedule at school and our pastor was in Greensboro, but we both agreed that it was a priority for both of us. We spent about three hours one Saturday with our pastor and his wife, and it was one of the most life-giving, fun-filled learning experiences for both of us!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Jessica Rourke. My wedding planner was the sweetest! She was organized, calm and reassuring, and always there when I needed help or had a question. The day of my wedding, there was supposed to be a hurricane and I was so nervous! Jessica found a tent, had plans A, B, C, and D, and was ready to go! She called me and reassured me how wonderful everything was going to be, and that was the most precious gift she could have ever given me. I am beyond grateful for her and for her heart. The Lord blessed me in so many ways when crossing our paths! I also absolutely adored working with Jessica of Simply Jessica Marie on our paper goods! They were one of my favorite elements. I went a bit non-traditional and had so much fun dreaming up different ideas and pieces with her. The best part of working with her was becoming friends along the way! I can’t wait to hang our invitations in our new home!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Soak it all in. It is hard to explain how special of a time engagement is. It goes by so fast! Most of all, stay organized! I have helped coordinate a handful of weddings and even considered planning mine myself, but I can’t stress enough how much I recommend a wedding planner, even if it is just a day-of coordinator. I was still just as involved in the design planning, but I had organizational and logistical help that would have been a lot of work for me, especially on my wedding day.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are living in Raleigh and absolutely loving it! I am working at Baker Roofing Company and assisting coordination with Gather Together Events on some weekends. Cole is getting his PhD in Nuclear Engineering at NC State. We just moved into our first home and it is a dream! I am so looking forward to starting new family traditions. We want to start traditions now that we can continue once we have our own kids one day. We also absolutely adore traveling and can’t wait to start planning our next big adventure!

Photographer: Landon Jacob Photography | Videographer: Almond Leaf Studios | Planner: Jessica Rourke | Venue: Magnolia Plantation and Gardens | Florist: Fern Studio | Wedding Cake: DeClare Cakes | Caterer: Beyond Expectations | Rentals and Lighting: Ooh! Events | Band: 17 South Band | Paper Products: Simply Jessica Marie | Bride’s Gown: Rosa Clara Bridal | Hair and Makeup: Lashes and Lace | Bride’s Shoes: Jack Rogers | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “The V-Neck Cinch Gown” in Azalea by Natalie Deayala | Groom’s Attire: Liles Clothing Studio | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux

lisa Written with love by Lisa

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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