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Bride Melissa shares her dreamy Texas wedding at The White Sparrow.

I’m delighted to introduce y’all to today’s bride Melissa! She describes her blue and white wedding to Thomas as “a beautiful spring dream.” And, y’all, I could not agree more. Inspired by an abstract, watercolor bluebonnet hand-painted by her mama, their May wedding at The White Sparrow had me swooning as soon as we saw it. I love how each detail that was incorporated has significance to their story as a couple or their family heritage, but what I love most (besides that big ol’ bow on the back of her dress because!!) is Melissa’s advise to those currently planning a wedding. She said three simple things: “Pray, prepare, and relax.” Yes, girl! Now I sure know a lot more advise might be needed, but that sounds like the perfect place to start.

Big thanks to Apryl Ann for capturing such a lovely day in May!

We’re thrilled to have featured this wedding in our latest print magazine, be sure to head to the Southern Weddings Shop to see snag your copy.

Our wedding was inspired by Texas wildflowers, and I really started to see my vision after we took our engagement pictures. Our pictures were taken a field of wildflowers, and I loved how the printed blue dress I wore looked against the warm colors of the flowers. When it came time to design our invitations, my mother painted an abstract, watercolor bluebonnet, and it turned out to be the main inspiration for our entire wedding design. My mother is a talented artist and graphic designer, so it was so special to have one of her works incorporated into our wedding design. The bluebonnet painting was the background for our invitations and was eventually tied into all of the prints in the wedding.

Our wedding was on May 6, 2017 at The White Sparrow in Quinlan, Texas. The ceremony began at 5:30PM and our reception followed. I first saw The White Sparrow in a magazine and it immediately caught my eye. I initially dismissed getting married in a barn setting, but as soon as I saw the beautiful white building I began to change my mind. My first trip to visit the venue was in early January and it was a wet, bitterly cold day. Even with the dreary weather, the barn looked magnificent, and I knew it would only look lovelier on a spring May day. We had the pleasure of meeting the owner who told us the story behind the barn. She was a Mississippi native and said most of the materials used to build the barn were from the Magnolia State. It was perfect! The barn perfectly fit our desire to create a “Tex-sippinian” wedding. The White Sparrow has the most welcoming, traditional-yet-modern feel and is the perfect canvas for our wedding vision.

We chose to get married in May for many reasons. First, it is my favorite month of year! I love how the spring flowers are in bloom and the weather begins to warm with the promise of summer. Secondly, there is no football in May! I know this may sound silly to some, but Thomas and I come from families who plan their schedules around college football games and I did not want our wedding to interfere with any big games. Lastly, as if May wasn’t already the perfect month, my new initials are MAY (Melissa Austin Yoste). It was a sure sign, y’all!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? The journey to find my dress was quite long. I must have tried on at least 30 gowns before I found the one. There was a time when I became very frustrated and thought my dream dress was nowhere to be found. Luckily, I stumbled across a picture of a gown on Pinterest and knew I had to try it on! As fate would have it, Neiman Marcus Bridal Salon in Dallas had the dress in town for a few days at a trunk show so I was able to try it on with my mother, family friend, and maid of honor. I knew it was the dress for me as soon as I put it on. It was such a magical feeling, and I absolutely loved everything about the gown! Fun fact about the dress, it is by Sachin and Babi and is a part of their very first bridal gown collection! It truly is a beautiful piece of art.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. Our wedding ceremony took place under two large, beautiful trees in the lawn of the venue. Our ceremony was performed by Pastor Bo Thompson, our local pastor from Rhea’s Mill Baptist Church. Pastor Bo gave a beautiful message on marriage and led the guests in prayer. Thomas’s father performed a reading, and we were so glad that he played a role in our ceremony. Following the message, Thomas and I participated in a Unity Cross display which beautifully symbolized our relationship being rooted in The Lord.

We both agree that the reading of our vows was the most touching moment of our wedding day. It is easy to say, “I love you” to someone, but more difficult to explain WHY you love that person. Writing our vows gave us the opportunity to put our feelings into words and profess our love for each other in front of all our family and friends.

Did you have a cocktail hour? We had cocktail hour immediately following our ceremony on the porch and side lawn of the venue. As with the rest of wedding, we wanted the cocktail hour to be filled with small Southern comforts and hospitality. Our signature drinks, along with a selection of craft beer and cured wine list, were served at the cocktail hour. Our signature drinks included a Southern Mule and Margarita. To help create an inviting atmosphere, I curated a playlist of soulful, upbeat songs to be played during cocktail hour. Wendy had another piece custom-built to hang our escort cards from, which were watercolor flower petals with my mother’s bluebonnet design. Wendy also built a frame for guests to write us well wishes and insert into it – it was Anthropologie-inspired.

Our reception was a beautiful spring dream. From the moment you stepped into the main room at the venue, you were met with stunning florals and inviting guest tables. With the room filled with all of our closest family and friends, Thomas and I felt surrounded by love and warmth. We wanted our wedding to an event where people felt comfortable and at home. We spent the evening saying hello to old friends, dancing with our wedding party and soaking up every moment of our special day. The design for our reception stemmed again from the bluebonnet print and wildflower inspiration. The main room at The White Sparrow is absolutely stunning and the tall, white walls truly gave us the perfect blank slate for our vision. I really wanted to include lots of prints in our reception design. Since the space is all white, I loved how the mix of different blue printed tablecloths and paper goods added depth and dimension to the space. The pop of warmth from the flowers gave the room life and a touch of spring.

Having a Southern wedding was very important to us because it is who we are. We wanted our guests to feel the hospitality and warmth from the moment they were greeted with welcome bags at the hotel to the time they received Whataburger fries and Dr. Pepper as a wedding favor at the end of the night. We wanted our wedding to be event where people felt welcome, comfortable and like family. Every detail had meaning and significance to us.

What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Pray, prepare, and relax. My most important advice for future brides would be to pray for guidance, patience, and strength. Every morning I began my day with prayer and it allowed me to see more clearly and handle the stress of planning with ease. Also prepare for marriage with your fiancé by completing pre-marital counseling. Thomas and I met with our pastor for several weeks, and it was one of our favorite parts of the planning process. It allowed us to grow as a couple and remember to focus on what truly matters, our marriage! I would also tell future brides to relax! I know it is easier said than done (and this is coming from a very type-A, worrisome bride) but it will all work out in the end! Make sure you take some time for yourself and not think or talk about the wedding for a while. It will ease and refresh your mind.

One of the Southern traditions we did was burying the whiskey. Following with tradition, we buried a bottle of whiskey in ground on a picture-perfect May day in hopes that our wedding weather would be just as great. Since we were getting married in early May, which is storm season in Texas, I crossed my fingers that our whiskey bottle would bring us some luck! Sure enough, our wedding day had the most picture-perfect weather and we dug up the bottle of whiskey after cutting the cake. To this day, I believe the whiskey bottle was truly magical.

Tell us a bit about your first dance. Early on in our relationship, Thomas and I made playlists for each other. It was a way of staying connected when we lived eleven hours apart. Ever since then, there have always been a few songs that made me think of him and our time together. Because of this, I was very selective in the songs we chose for our wedding. Our first dance song was difficult to choose because we had so many favorites! We ended up choosing “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton, because it’s a song that has a lot of meaning to us. My father-daughter dance was to “Mr. Bojangles” by Jerry Jeff Walker, and it may sound like an odd choice, but it was the song my dad first taught me how to dance so it brought back childhood memories. I also shared a sweet moment with my dad dancing to “Melissa” by the Allman Brothers, which is actually the song I was named after. Beers were raised and boots were stomped when the DJ played “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks for our last group party song. After the guests exited the venue for the send off, Thomas and I danced to one of my all-time favorite songs “Coming Home” by Leon Bridges.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met on a blind date! We were set up by mutual friends and went bowling for our first double date. To be completely honest, I was very hesitant to go on the date (I thought blind dates were cliché) but my friend Lisa gave me the extra push, and I am so glad she did! After the first date with friends, Thomas made sure to reach out to me and set up a date just for us at a local sushi restaurant. We spent the evening getting to know each other and we were both surprised with how easy and comfortable our conversation flowed. By the end of the night, I knew Thomas was special. The sushi date led to many others in the course of two weeks, and before we knew it, it was time to return to our schools for fall semester. Hours before I left for Austin, we met at a park, decided to date long distance (me in Austin, TX and Thomas in Oxford, MS), and the rest is history! The years of long distance were difficult and filled with countless hours of driving (Austin and Oxford are 11 hours apart!), but the distance solidified our relationship and love for each other.
Describe the proposal. Thomas asked my parents permission for my hand in marriage in October 2015 and he decided to propose in December when all of our family would be together for the holidays. I am a University of Texas graduate and love Austin so he decided the city would be the perfect location for a proposal! Thomas concocted a plan which included inviting my brothers and cousins to spend a day in Austin doing some of my favorite activities. He played it off as my Christmas gift so that I would not become suspicious. After eating breakfast at Walton’s Fancy and Staple restaurant, visiting Blanton Art Museum, walking around Rainey Street and grabbing donuts at Voodoo, we capped the day off with a trip to the Texas State Capitol Building. We explored the beautiful building and when we reached the center of the infamous rountunda, Thomas got down on one knee and proposed! It was a perfect moment and what made it even better was the fact that my best friends were on the third floor of the building capturing pictures of the proposal from above! Following the proposal, we got celebratory drinks at Moonshine Grill and then headed to what I thought was going to be a small dinner with our parents. To my surprise, we arrived at Abel’s on the Lake filled with ALL of our friends and family! It was the perfect ending to a fantastic day and I was so glad Thomas included our loved ones in the special occasion.
What was the weather like on your big day? Absolutely stunning! My number one concern while planning our wedding was the weather. May weather can be a toss up in Texas, since it is normally the wettest month of the year. However, our whiskey bottle magic worked and we were blessed with the most beautiful day! Our day was filled with clear skies, lots of sun, perfect temperatures and just the right amount of breeze. God was looking down on us that day.
How many guests attended your wedding? 185.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? Thomas and I both agree that the hardest part was deciding on the guest list. We both come from very large families and we wanted everyone to attend! However, it was not realistic to have a guest list of 300 people so we had to make some difficult decisions.
Did you try anything new or nontraditional? Our wedding party included eight bridesmaids, eight groomsmen, two honorary groomsmen and four ushers. I had two maids of honors in my bridal party, because both girls mean so much to me and are such valuable people in my life. Thomas had two honorary groomsmen for close friends that have passed away. Including these men in our ceremony was very important to Thomas and we included their names in memory in our ceremony program.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? We included soft, acoustic songs in our ceremony. I wanted to set a romantic, emotional tone for the ceremony. “In My Life” by Jake Shimbukuro played while our grandparents and parents were escorted down the aisle. The bridesmaids walked down the aisle to Canon de Pachelbel by Guitar Duo and I followed with “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” by The O’Neill Brothers Group. The recessional song was “Wildfire” by John Mayer. It is one of my favorite songs, and it has such a happy and upbeat vibe, which made for the perfect ceremony exit song.
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? During our cocktail hour, we served chili lime grilled shrimp on tortilla chips, smoked gouda pimento cheese with ham on masa shortbread and fried green tomatoes with a red pepper aioli. During the ceremony, we had a selection of food stations that included a Southern Biscuit Bar, Taco Bar and Avocado Bar. We wanted to really tie in our “Tex-sippian” theme in our menu with a combination of both Southern comfort food and Tex-Mex staples. We also wanted to encourage our guests to get out of their seats and socialize while gathering their meal and is why we chose to have food stations.
Who was your favorite vendor and why? (Our wedding planner) Wendy!! Wendy was able to take my abstract and vague ideas for our wedding and turn them into stunning reality. She was with Thomas and me every step of the way during the planning process and was always available for questions or concerns. My mother and I talked so frequently with Wendy in the months leading up to the wedding that afterwards we really missed our weekly email chats.
What’s next for you as a couple? We look forward to enjoying married life while living in downtown Dallas. We are settling into our apartment and love being able to make a little home for ourselves. We are also dreaming of getting a dog someday, but will wait a few years much to Melissa’s dismay. We also look forward to traveling to new places, visiting friends and of course attending University of Texas and Ole Miss football games in the fall.

Photographer: Apryl Ann Photography | Videographer: Marc Roberts Videography | Planner and designer: Birds of a Feather Events | Venue: The White Sparrow Barn | Florals: The Southern Table | Caterer: Gil’s Elegant Catering | Wedding cake: Sugar Bee Sweets Bakery | Bride’s gown: “Olivia” by Sachin and Babi | Bridal salon: Neiman Marcus | Bride’s shoes: NearlyNude Sandal by Stuart Weitzman | Bride’s earrings: Ross-Simons | Bride’s veil: Jurgita Bridal | Bride’s hair clips: BHLDN | Hair and makeup: Beauty and the Blush Artistry | Bridesmaid dresses: “Inesse” in Ciel Blue by Jenny Yoo | Men’s suits: Jos. A. Bank | Men’s ties: The Tie Bar | Groom’s cufflinks: College Elegance | Paper designs: Tammy Grimmett | Calligraphy: Cleggraphy Designs | Paper printing: Edwards Printing Service and Kathy Benson | Rentals: Top Tier Event Rentals | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Entertainment and lighting: LeForce Entertainment

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    This might have been my favorite V10 wedding…those linens! The bouquets! THAT DRESS!! So, so lovely, and they seem like the sweetest couple!

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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. avatar Andraya Northrup reply

    Such a beautiful recap of a stunning day! Fabiola was one of the most thoughtful brides I’ve had the pleasure of working with. She deserved every beautiful bloom!
    Cheers to Fabiola + Richard!

  2. avatar erin {a lowcountry wedding} reply

    obsessed with that ceremony site!

  3. avatar notCY reply

    Very useful and interesting.Thanks

  4. avatar Williams reply

    I am very much glad to visit your site. The entire atmosphere looks lovely . It’s really a great work .

  5. avatar F + R | Cassina Point Plantation | B. Gourmet Catering reply

    […] made this reception even better..? Being featured in Southern Weddings! What an absolute honor it has been to have been featured in not only one, but two weddings this […]

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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. 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!

  2. avatar Tented Virginia Summer WeddingElizabeth Fogarty Photography reply

    […] these two were on the latest Southern Weddings Magazine! […]

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