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Bride Fabiola shares her plantation wedding to Richard!

Whenever we feature brides who work in the wedding industry themselves, I always wonder what that must be like! Today’s bride, a wedding photographer by trade, described the predicament you may be in if you’ve been to a whole lot of weddings, perfectly. “We really wanted our wedding to be ‘us.’ Being part of the wedding industry, I have seen and been to dozens of weddings and have seen so many gorgeous details that it was hard to really make our day uniquely us and not a cookie cutter wedding. I think the biggest compliment at the end of the day was hearing our guests say ‘Wow, this is so Fabiola and Richard.’ It made everything so worth it.” This sweet reminder to stay true to yourselves and your story is just about as good as the way Fabiola honored her mother!

Read on below to find out how, and don’t forget to pick up a copy of our Tenth-Anniversary Issue for much, much more goodness where this came from!

Thanks to Rach Loves Troy for these photos!!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. From long-distance in college, to businesses formed, career changes, moves, trials and tribulations, a lot has changed in seven years but we are and always have been each other’s constant.

Growing up in Charleston, I always had the vision of a wedding on the water under some magnificent oak trees dripping in Spanish moss. After going to about 10 different venues, Cassina Point Plantation was the last one we visited. From the moment I stepped out of the car I knew this was the place for us. I instantly relaxed, and felt like I was able to breathe. Ms. Tecla, the owner, who has since become like a grandmother to Richard and I both, talked to us for hours on that first visit. She told us the history behind the plantation, and my favorite part, she told me that it was where Dear John was filmed. Not only was it beautiful but it really was a place that felt like home.

Did you decide to do a first look? Yes!! Being a wedding photographer, I knew the importance of a first look. It was an absolute no brainer for Richard and I. Not only did we get more portraits, and a first look would help our timeline go a bit more smoothly, but I knew that I wanted those few moments alone with him. It was probably my favorite part of the day, and contrary to popular belief it didn’t take anything away from me walking down the aisle to him.

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I’m not super big on trying on clothes and have always been the type of person who knows right off the bat how something looks on me by seeing it on the hanger. We went into Bleu Belle in Savannah with my parents and one of my bridesmaids, where Courtney our consultant was the biggest help. I knew the moment I saw it that it was the one. Courtney made me try everything else on before I got to try on the coveted gown, so of course I was super anxious to put it on. It was simple, had straps so I knew it was comfortable, and had some gorgeous light fabric that was going to be easy to move in. I stepped in and the waterworks started. I always doubted that I was going to cry, but there’s just something about the moment that you step into that gown that you know your life is going to change in for the first time. It was the best experience.

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Being engaged for 3.5 years, you have a lot of time to think and to write. I’m a huge writer so I knew that I wanted to write my own vows. Without a doubt, my favorite vow that I spoke to Richard was “I promise to pray for you each day. No matter where we are in the world, I know your hands and arms are always a safe place to land.” Richard has been my safe place for 7 years, and I was so excited to tie in our faith and the fact that home is literally, wherever I am with him. One of my favorite parts of our ceremony was when Anna, one of my closest friends and sorority sister read scripture. She has always guided my faith, and throughout college constantly prayed over me and was always there no matter what so it was, so important and so special to me that she read at our ceremony.

What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? Richard’s and my favorite wedding part of wedding planning without a doubt were the tastings. We LOVE food so both our food tasting and cake tasting was one of the most fun parts! To be honest, every little part of planning was so great- after being engaged for so long you start to not care as much about the little details and just know that every decision is a decision closer to saying I Do!

What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Take it all in, and don’t let the little things overwhelm you. Looking back on it, we couldn’t have been happier about how everything went, and it really put things into perspective. All those stressful moments wedding planning didn’t matter at the end of the day. As long as you make it down the aisle and say “I Do” to your best friend, nothing else matters.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I was so excited to walk down the aisle to an instrumental “Thousand Years” by Christina Perri but to be honest, I was so nervous and excited that I couldn’t even remember them playing it! Our first dance was to the “Wedding Song” by Safetysuit. We had debated last minute between it and “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran before we decided on it. The Wedding Song really narrated our relationship over the last 7 years, from the chivalrous things that Richard has always done for me, to the things we will never stop doing for each other. Growing up in a military family with my dad always away, my mom, who we affectionately call “She-She” (her name is Sheila!), often had to play both parent roles. I surprised her after the father/daughter dance and we danced to “Mama’s Song” by Carrie Underwood. I don’t think I will ever forgot my mom’s face or that moment for as long as I live.

Tell us all about the proposal! It was November of my junior year of college, and it was the very first weekend in the semester that I didn’t have to work. While I wanted to sleep in and go watch the Gamecocks play, my mom and Richard convinced me to go home to Charleston since I hadn’t been that entire semester Richard told me I’d get to sleep in and we’d go to his Alma Mater, the Citadel, and watch their game. I got home to Charleston and was preparing for a relaxing weekend, but little did I know Richard had other plans. He woke me up bright and early that Saturday morning and told me to get ready for brunch. I threw on some comfy clothes and hopped in the car. I will never forget the look on Richards face as he said “Hey, we might not come back to your house before the game, so put on your game day outfit.” I was less than pleased that I had to go change but Richard to this day says he was relieved that he came up with that on the spot. I changed, and we headed to brunch but as we passed all of our usual brunch spots I became confused. We ended up driving an hour to Folly Beach, where Richard said we were meeting a few of his Citadel friends for brunch: which so happened to be the restaurant where we met and had our first date. Again, I thought nothing of it. We got to the restaurant, where they sat us in the same corner where we met, and had our first date. We laughed at the coincidence and Richard looked in his pocket and said “I left my wallet in the car let me go grab it quickly.” Again, I didn’t think anything of it. But then not only did his friends start coming in, but my sorority sisters started showing up. When the first one came in I thought it a coincidence, but when the 8th one came in, I knew something was going on. After about a dozen or so of our friends came in, Richard followed. I wish I could say I remember what he said but knowing him it was something well- thought-out and kind. He even grabbed the wrong hand as he nervously put the ring on my finger and it is probably one of my best memories ever. So while I didn’t get to sleep in, I said yes to my forever in one of our favorite spots.
When did y’all get married? March 25, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150.
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? We had a delicious four-tiered buttercream cake from Ashley Bakery here in Charleston. Richard, my mom, and I went cake tasting and we each picked a flavor that we loved! It was super simple with gorgeous blooms that Andraya from Flora expertly put on! Strawberry, Almond and Italian Cream were the winners and they were such a hit! Ashley Bakery made a gorgeous cake that tasted even better.
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? I think my favorite detail was all of the personal touches that Richard and I did. From the signage on custom cut glass to our invitations and koozies where my hand drawn sketch of the plantation home was placed, I think every detail was so perfectly “us.” Richard’s favorite detail was the music. From the ceremony to cocktail hour and to our reception, every note played really carried the energy of each moment.
What was Southern about your wedding? I think the most Southern thing would be the location: Spanish moss, plantation, live oaks. Our food was perfectly Southern and delicious: chicken and waffles, fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and barbecue all from B Gourmet. Our ceremony musicians had the most incredible banjos. It was a perfectly Southern soiree!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I have always been a very crafty, hands-on person so I did a lot of the signage on pieces of glass that I had custom cut. I also made each of my guests a custom print of their home (so a lot of Google Earth stalking was done), as well as used vendors that may not have had too many weddings under their belts but whose work and vision I trusted whole-heartedly.
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Our first look was probably the most memorable for me. Richard graduated from the Citadel and took a ton of pride in his Citadel ring which didn’t quite fit, so after he had opened his groom’s gift I had one last surprise for him at our first look. With the help of a great jeweler, I got his ring resized and surprised him with it during our first look. He was SO excited and that just sparked the start of the most memorable day of my life.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? I think one of the funniest parts of our day ties back to the advice I gave above. I had so meticulously picked “Ice Pink” linens for our cocktail tables that when they arrived from the rental company, my planner was afraid to tell me that some had come in another shade of pink. I laughed it off, told her it didn’t matter to me, and didn’t even think about it or notice it. I promise, don’t sweat the small things, those tiny details that no one else will even notice but you- it’s not worth the wasted energy!

Photographer and Videographer: Rach Loves Troy | Planner: Eden Ellis (Paraiso Event Design) | Ceremony and Reception Venue: Cassina Point Plantation | Florist: Flora (Andraya Northrup) | Wedding Cake Baker: Ashley Bakery | Caterer: B Gourmet | Rentals: Snyder Event and Eventhaus | Lighting: TEC Lighting | Band: Flashback the Party Band and Green Levels | Koozies: Twine Graphics | Paper Products: Bride’s custom design | Bride’s Gown: Pronovias from Bleu Belle Bridal | Bride’s Hair Accessories: Modern Trousseau | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Lashes and Lace | Bride’s Shoes: The “Filipa” from Bella Belle | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” by Jenny Yoo | Menswear: Jos A Banks | Men’s Socks: Southern Socks | Bar Service: Spike by Snyder

Written with love by Catherine
1 Comment
  1. avatar erin {a lowcountry wedding} reply

    obsessed with that ceremony site!

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Bride Liz shares her romantic mountain garden wedding!

The more Tenth-Anniversary Issue real weddings we share here, the more I realize what an embarrassment of riches we have in real wedding beauty! I must admit, though, that I’m partial to the ones from my neck of the woods. This Virginia lovely is another reminder of how lucky we are to call the mid-Atlantic “home.”

While Liz works in event planning, her best advice to brides-to-be is to hire a wedding planner! It is always so satisfying to hear (and see!) that a bride’s dream vision for her wedding came true. But Tim took the reigns in our interview to share his favorite detail of the wedding and steal the show. His favorite part? “How it was literally a perfect day. And Liz looked incredibly beautiful.” (AAAAAAAAW!)

Big hugs to Liz Fogarty for these gorgeous images!

We got married in the summer, at a bed and breakfast turned into a venue. The venue was in Waterford, Virginia, and it’s gorgeous. The ceremony has the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background. We had also always imagined an outdoor wedding with a big tent for the reception and our planner helped bring our dream to life.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had brought my mom, my future mother-in-law, my maid of honor, matron of honor, and one of my bridesmaids with me the first time I went dress shopping. The boutique let all of them wander around and pick out dresses they thought I might like. I had always envisioned a huge, poofy princess wedding gown, and I could imagine getting married in all of the dresses I tried on. But when I tried on my wedding dress, I could tell all five of the ladies were in love. They saw that it was perfect for me before I realized it myself!

We wrote our own vows. Tim is the more talented writer of the family, and one of my favorite lines from his vows was, “I promise to cherish you and pursue your laughter, to be the shoulder for you to cry on, to care for you when you are sick, to rejoice in your health, and to be your best friend…I pledge to say ‘I love you’ every night, and I vow to love you from here to the moon, sun, stars and back.”

What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? I had a total of seven bridesmaids, and Tim involved them all in a series of my most memorable moments. He had written me eight letters and they were given to me by each of my bridesmaids starting from the rehearsal day. The first letter came after we had gotten our nails done the day before, then it was during our rehearsal dinner, when I had given my ladies their gifts in the hotel room, while we were driving to the venue the wedding morning, while I was getting my hair and make-up done, when I was opening the present he had gotten me, and the second to last one right before I was going to walk down the aisle. He gave me the final letter himself, and it was on the back of the vows he had written.

We imagined our guests wandering all around the beautiful property, moving guests from one area to another but with it all flowing together flawlessly. We wanted our guests’ experience to be spectacular! The reception was elegant but also had a wonderful garden feel to it. After the ceremony overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains, guests moved to cocktails around the lawn and by the pool, then for dinner they walked through beautiful flags to get to our Sperry tent. After dinner, guests were passed popsicles as they gathered to watch our cake cutting. Then we ended the night with dancing by the Carriage House with a fantastic band and string lights, all under the stars!

What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Hire a planner! Whether it’s a full-service planner or a month-of planner, it is completely necessary and makes all the difference in the world! We hired Pam Barefoot from Atrendy Wedding as our full-service planner (I called her three days after we got engaged) and it made our wedding planning and engagement experience so lovely!

We had our cocktail hour all around the house and by the pool. We brought in a huge built-in wooden bar, which had cascading florals and lanterns all around it. There was also lounge furniture all around the lawn and around the pool. We even rented two faux lampposts that were by the pool. The lampposts next to this beautiful blue couch were definitely one of my favorite touches!

The funniest moment was definitely when we were on the dance floor and three of Tim’s groomsmen start dancing in the middle of the circle and unbuttoning their tux shirts. After some hilarious dancing, they revealed matching shirts with Tim’s face on them! We could not believe they had those shirts hiding under there all day!

Tell us about your grand exit. We had a sparkler exit with a vintage Rolls Royce waiting to whisk us away to our after party. One of our favorite moments of the night was sitting in the Rolls, looking out the back window and seeing all of our friends standing there with sparklers sending us off. I remember looking at Tim and telling him to take a mental photo of it. It was so picturesque and the perfect way to end our wedding day. I can still remember it exactly and the image always brings tears to my eyes!

Describe the proposal! After work that Friday, my best friend Brianna had asked me to coffee with her. First of all, it was really weird because a) I don’t drink coffee and b) she refused to have dinner with me too, just coffee. After our lovely coffee date, I drove home, and when I opened the door, Tim had transformed my entire house. He had put up draping and string lights leading from my front door to the back deck. The draping and lights had created a tunnel of sorts and pinned on the draping were chronological photos from the 5 years we had been dating. He had recorded a message for me on an iPad, which was sitting by the front door, and I was sobbing by the time I had finally walked to my back deck. I think he got too excited because the video we have shows me walking outside and him immediately getting down on one knee and proposing. He had a photographer hidden outside and my closest friends and his brother hiding upstairs watching a live stream of our engagement. It was perfect and more than I could’ve imagined!
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? First, we went through a series of pre-marital lessons through our church, then we met with the pastor who would be marrying us. We did our actual pre-marital counseling with a couple from our church, and the counseling lasted about four months. The couple who led us through our engagement period were incredible, and they really helped us focus and prepare us for not just the actual wedding day, but for the rest of our lives as husband and wife.
How many guests attended your wedding? 200.
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? I had previously worked at Main Event Caterers, who catered our wedding. I knew all of my favorite food items and knew exactly what we would want to serve our guests.
What were some of the highlights of the reception? Our dinner was under a beautiful Sperry tent, and our planner had made flags that resembled the ones on the top of the tent. The billowing flags lined the walkway leading to the tent. After dinner, butlers were lined up alongside the flags with trays of popsicles for our guests. As the guests enjoyed their popsicles, they watched us cut our cake under a huge tree, which had florals going up the tree. Then we danced the night away under string lights and the stars. It was exactly like we had imagined.
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration? Two pieces of advice for the day-of that were given to us before our wedding day that we really appreciated: 1.) Don’t forget to slow down, take it all in, and take mental snap shots of everything. The day passes by incredibly quickly and you want to be able to look back and remember smells, feelings, emotions, and the people you celebrated your wedding day with. 2.) Do not leave each other’s sides the entire day (if you can help it)! The day is meant to celebrate you two and your union together, but it’s easy to wander off to try to spend time with different groups of friends, but it’s even more precious when you spend those moments side-by-side.

Photographer: Elizabeth Fogarty | Videographer: Sok Vision | Planner and designer: Pamela Barefoot Events and Design | Venue: Blue Hill Farm | Florals: Toulies en Fleur | Caterer: Main Event Caterers | Wedding cake: Fancy Cakes by Leslie | Ice cream cart: King of Pops | Bride’s gown: ìStyle D2174î by Essense of Australia | Bridal salon: Betsy Robinson’s Bridal Collection | Bride’s shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bride’s earrings: Blue Nile | Bride’s veil: Blanca Veils | Bridesmaid dresses: “Fleur Dress” in Blush by BHLDN | Hair and makeup: Amie Decker Beauty | Groom’s fashion: DC Custom Clothiers | Groomsmen fashion: National Tuxedo Rentals | Paper goods: Brooke Lauffer | Tent: Sugarplum Tent Company | Rentals: White Glove Rentals | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Ceremony music: Harpist via Bialek’s Music | Band: Six Stylez via Sam Hill Entertainment | Transportation: Chariots for Hire | Vintage car: Vintage Limos | Restroom: U.S Mobile Kitchens

Pamela Barefoot Events and Design is a lovely member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor directory!

Written with love by Catherine
1 Comment
  1. avatar Pamela Barefoot reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful wedding! We love this couple and designing their special day was such a dream!

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Bride Mariana shares her bright, fun, and fabulous San Antonio wedding!

I’m delighted to introduce you to today’s bride, Mariana! While her pretty pink and red wedding is the perfect Valentine’s Day inspiration, she and Mac’s big day was actually inspired by another celebration: “Fiesta!” According to Mariana, Fiesta is an annual event in San Antonio where the whole city comes together for a week of parades and parties. She said, “The bright colors, the parties, and the feelings of overall happiness and fun: we really wanted to channel that for our wedding.” How fun!

To see more of this gorgeous day, pick up a copy of our Tenth-Anniversary Issue!

Thanks to Jen Dillender for capturing this fabulous day!

We were married at 7 o’clock in the evening at the San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio with our reception at the Southwest School of Art. Only I am Catholic, but it was important to both of us to be married in the church. We wanted our wedding to have a classic San Antonio feel so we really focused on a downtown wedding at historic venues. We picked the cathedral because it was so beautiful and historic and just felt like the right church for us. The Southwest School of Art was a great fit because it was another historic location and we fell in love with the gorgeous patio that backed up to the River Walk (an iconic attraction!).

We described the fiesta theme we were aiming for with our wedding, and our florist brought us some ideas. When she showed us bougainvillea, my mom and I were sold. My mom is from Peru and we always see bougainvillea there. It felt like a way to incorporate my heritage into the wedding and it’s so gorgeous! Mac also felt like it perfectly fit the fiesta theme.

What songs did you use for your ceremony? We had the Ave Maria sung as the families were seated. I love hearing the Ave Maria at Catholic weddings and so I really wanted it incorporated into ours. I walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of “The Servant Song” which I’ve sung in church for years and always found to be so beautiful.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. The most special part of the ceremony was the second reading, which was done by our friend Emily. It’s hard to describe, but she read the passage so beautifully that everyone was very moved. The priest even commented at the end of our ceremony how she had really brought the passage to life!

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Our inspiration was centered around a “Fiesta” theme. Fiesta is an annual event in San Antonio where the whole city comes together for a week of parades and parties. Growing up in San Antonio, I love fiesta! The bright colors, the parties, and the feelings of overall happiness and fun: we really wanted to channel that for our wedding. Our wedding planner, Melanie, did an amazing job of making our inspiration come to life with her designs and creative vision.

What was your favorite detail of the wedding? (Mariana:) The mariachi band during the cocktail hour. Our out-of-town guests were especially delighted by the band, and it was definitely a San Antonio touch! (Mac:) The sombreros and coronas that were handed out on the dance floor. There’s nothing like a lively dance floor full of Fiesta colors.

Tell us your love story. We were surreptitiously set up by a mutual friend. She invited us both to a party where she introduced us. A few weeks later, Mac worked up the courage to ask me out, and we’ve been together ever since.
Describe the proposal! (From Mac) It was a surprise trip to Cancun, Mexico. Mariana is the trip planner in the family, so it was my first time to handle the entire process on my own – all while keeping it a secret. Somehow, despite my best efforts to ruin the surprise (There was a text with the full details intended for her sister that went to Mariana. Luckily, the text was deleted before she could read it.), I was able to book the entire trip and make it a Christmas surprise. The rest of the trip was sun, fun and near-constant anxiety as I had planned the big moment for our last day there. (Pro tip, fellas: If you propose on a trip, do it the first day. Trust me). On that fateful day, unbeknownst to Mariana, a photographer was waiting on the beach ready to capture the moment. It only took a bit of cajoling to talk her into take a stroll on the chosen spot. And, in a what is still a blur today, I got down on one knee and asked the most important question of our lives.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? This might make us seem a bit odd, but we did a lot of our “wedding prep” during the four years before we were engaged. Early on we discussed the less romantic details of lifelong courtship: finances, kids, etc. We did make sure to talk about our hopes and dreams, but we were almost painfully pragmatic. It was worth it though. Having those conversations early on helped us develop the communication skills needed to survive wedding planning. Otherwise, I think we would still be deciding on tablecloths.
How many guests attended your wedding? 120.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I actually ended up finding my dress at Nordstrom. I had popped in with my mom and sister, and we just happened to see it on a mannequin in the bridal suite. An appointment had been cancelled, so they let me try it on then and there. It was a happy accident! My favorite thing about it was the lace. We even ordered extra lace to add to my veil so it would match.

Photographer: Jen Dillender Photography | Film processing: Photovision Prints | Planner and designer: Mayhar Design | Ceremony venue: San Fernando Cathedral | Reception venue: The Southwest School of Art | Florals: Clementine Botanical Art | Caterer: Page Barteau Catering | Wedding cake: Bakery Lorraine | Monogram cookies: Campbell Cookies | Bride’s Gown: “Vanderbilt” from the Blue Willow Collection by Anne Barge | Bridal salon and veil: Nordstrom | Bride’s shoes: Sam Edelman | Bride’s jewelry: Banana Republic | Bridesmaid dresses: “Aria” in Crimson by Jenny Yoo | Hair stylist: Vanessa Rios | Makeup artist: Mistique | Paper goods and calligraphy: Whitney Farnsworth | Band: The Royal Dukes | Linens: Marquee Event Group and La Tavola Linen | Mariachis: Mariachi Espuelas de Plata

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Megan reply

    I’m totally not a pink person, but I LOVE all of these colors! Beautiful!

  2. avatar Mac & Mariana, A Fiesta-Themed Affair in San Antonio » Jen Dillender Photography, Austin TX Wedding & Lifestyle Photographer reply

    […] Also, I wanted to extend a huge thank you to Southern Weddings for featuring M&M’s wedding in the 10th Anniversary edition of Southern Weddings Magazine as well as their blog today! You can grab a copy of the magazine at Target and other major news stands and see more on their blog HERE! […]

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