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I’ve often joked that I wasn’t much of a flower person until we did some foraging at our first team retreat. While I still am as dumb as a box of rocks when it comes to the different flower types, my appreciation for florals has certainly grown, and after seeing Emily’s stunning blooms, I think it might be moving into a full-blown love. Sarah at the White Oaks Barn took Emily’s inspiration and created bouquets full of marsala-hued dahlias, flowing greenery, and even some gold accents that ultimately became one of Emily’s favorite details of the day. I can surely see why! But, when it came to her favorite moment? She and Ben chose “the overwhelming feeling of love and support from everyone that was able to be there with us.”

Big SW hugs to Dash Photography for sharing this sweet day with us!

I wanted our florals to include LOTS of flowing greenery, plus flowers in creams, blush, and marsala. I showed our florist, Sarah Warner, lots of pictures for inspiration and she absolutely nailed it with my bouquet and my bridesmaids’ bouquets. My bouquet had marsala-hued dahlias and ranunculus, muted pink garden roses, dusty pink antique roses, cascading seeded eucalyptus, and amaranthus. She surprised me with some gold accents as well. It was big and beautiful and I could not have loved it more!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. As much as I hate to admit it, I can be quite indecisive when it comes to making certain decisions. My friends joked that I would try on one hundred dresses before actually picking one. You can imagine everyone’s surprise when I picked the first dress I tried on at the first boutique I went to! I think I tried on six dresses total that day. Everyone says to stop looking when you find one you love, so that’s exactly what I did!

Ultimately, we decided to do a first look because not only were we able to take a lot more pictures, but our reception was walking distance from the ceremony, so we wanted our wedding party to be able to enjoy the cocktail hour and reception right away. Wouldn’t want to waste any time getting the party started! Being able to see Ben before the ceremony was really nice and helped calm my nerves.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not. Instead, during out premarital counseling, Ben and I had to answer questions about each other and share our answers with our minister, Charlie. During the ceremony, Charlie surprised us by reading each of our answers to the question “What is the one thing you love the most about Emily/Ben?” It was a sweet, personal touch that meant a lot to us!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My cousin Jessica read Psalm 121, which talks about God and nature. It was perfect for our ceremony venue.

We chose the venue because of the scenery. The mountains are special to both of us and it’s also the place where I feel closest to God, so I always knew I wanted to get married outside. With the leaves all turning colors, the view was so incredible. It’s impossible to not be grateful that God put something so beautiful on the earth for us.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: How can a girl pick just one?! It is a tie between my bouquet and the lounge area on the covered porch. CRUSH event rentals created the most beautiful lounge around a big stone fireplace, providing a stylish, cozy corner for guests to sit down and have a drink while enjoying the outdoors.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The entire day is filled with so many special memories, but my favorite would have to be the overwhelming feeling of love and support from everyone that was able to be there with us. We are lucky to have people in our lives who often tell us they love us, but it is the most amazing feeling to be shown that love by seeing all of your family and friends come from near and far to be there to support you. Ben and I were obviously excited for our wedding day, but seeing everyone else genuinely happy to be there with us was the best wedding gift of all. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, my other favorite memory was getting behind the DJ booth to sing my lungs out to my all time favorite Celine Dion song! I’m a sucker for an open mic!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ben and I met at a mutual friend’s birthday party. Ben was late to the party, straight off of a flight from Vegas, and I will never forget seeing him walk through the front door. For those few seconds, it was like there was no one else in the room! He came up to me later and introduced himself. We hung out all night and, as I like to say, Ben was smitten. After a couple of months, his persistence paid off and we officially became a couple. That was 3 1/2 years ago and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! Ben’s family has a lake house in the Blue Ridge Mountains and it is one of my favorite places in the whole wide world to be. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s also where I started to fall in love with Ben, so it holds a special place in my heart! Ben and I hadn’t gone up there just the two of us in a while, so when he asked if I wanted to go, I couldn’t wait! In the back of my mind, I was secretly hoping he would propose that weekend, but little things here and there made me doubt that it was going to happen. We got to the lake house on Friday night and Ben told me he had made dinner reservations at a restaurant on the lake. We unpacked the car and then hopped on the boat to make it to dinner on time. On the way, I asked Ben if we could head home during the sunset so we could watch it from the boat (unbeknownst to me at the time, that was his plan all along). We finished dinner and practically ran back to the boat. The sunset was magical, and as I was taking pictures, like I always do, Ben pointed out a particularly pretty view. As soon as I turned around to snap a picture, the boat stopped…and so did my heart! I turned around and Ben was on his knee asking me to marry him! It was perfect. When we turned the corner back to the house, I saw all of our family and friends running outside to greet us. Ben had asked everyone to come to the lake to surprise me! The rest of the night was filled with so much love and joy–there were even fireworks! It was the best weekend ever!!
When did y’all get married? October 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was four tiers of vanilla almond and strawberry with a raspberry filling. Natalie from Cake Envy made the most delicious cake. The groom’s cake was a red velvet Georgia bulldog that looked amazing, and tasted great too!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Ben and I did premarital counseling with our wedding officiant, Rev. Charlie Marus. This really helped Ben and I understand one others’ expectations for our marriage, and it was a good way to make sure we were on the same page about things like finances, chores, and children, just to name a few!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My sister, Allison, is extremely creative and talented. She hand-painted all of the signs and decor at the wedding, including the Bible verse sign at the ceremony site, the bride and groom signs that hung on our chairs at dinner, and the “Abernathy” sign that had greenery draped over it. She did everything for free, so that was a huge help. We also ordered our wedding invitations through Minted, which was much more cost effective than hiring someone to design and address them!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take your time to make decisions that are important to you and try not to rush yourself. Don’t sweat the small stuff and, if you can, hire a wedding planner!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Ben and I are looking forward to enjoying our first holiday season as husband and wife! We will be spending time with our families, taking care of our precious golden retriever, Cooper, and going on a New Year’s trip cruising the British Virgin Islands!

Photographer: Amanda Coker / Venue, Planner, Caterer, and Florist: White Oaks Barn / Wedding Cake: Natalie Roth / Rentals: CRUSH event rentals / DJ: Kyle MacDonald / Special Details: Allison Brown / Invitations: Minted / Paper Products and Koozie Design: Kristen Polsinelli / Bride’s Gown: “Style 1504” Blush by Hayley Paige / Bride’s Veil: Wedding Angels Boutique / Hair and Makeup: Molly Todd / Bride’s Shoes: “Lyndee” Sandal by Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Angelina Faccenda / Menswear: “Parker” Tuxedo in Black by Ike Behar / Photo Booth: Robot Booth

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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In the middle of January, Samantha and Micah’s lovely Hilton Head wedding is a breath of fresh air! Inspired by Samantha’s family’s beach house, they set out to plan their Southern coastal wedding, complete with sentimental family heirlooms, lovingly DIY-ed details, and most importantly, an “outdoor church.” With a grove of trees covered in Spanish moss acting as the roof, Samantha and her family hunted down the perfect vintage doors and windows to display, creating an intimate space for the ceremony. Truly, every part of Samantha and Micah’s big day was a celebration of their love for God and one another!

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Amy from Amy Arrington Photography for sharing Samantha and Micah’s wedding with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my mom’s diamond necklace and earrings. I also used my sister’s veil (she got married four months before me!). For my something old, I wanted something from each of my grandparents with me on my wedding day. My mom’s mother gave me a ring she always wore, that she knew was my favorite. She also let me borrow her locket (featuring a picture of her and my grandpa inside). I also had an old cameo broach from my father’s mother that goes back four generations. I hooked the brooch and the locket on my bouquet. My something new was my dress and my lavender shoes! My favorite item was my getaway dress. My mother, sister and I redesigned my mother’s wedding dress, and my sister also used it for her wedding rehearsal dinner dress–I guess you can say it was old and borrowed! My something blue was my garter, but I also wore my mother’s garter from her wedding day!

My family has a beach house on Hilton Head, and Micah, my family, and I have been collecting driftwood for years. I wanted to incorporate the driftwood into the decor to give everything a low country, natural feel. Henry, the owner of The Flower Garden, understood my vision and made it happen! My bouquet was a mix of greenery, white flowers, and lavender. It was wrapped in a piece of lace from my mother’s wedding dress, finished with jewelry from my grandparents.

Essentially, we built an outdoor church. My mom, sister, and I hunted through flea markets to find the perfect doors, and then refinished them while my father constructed a frame for them so that they opened and closed functionally. The wreaths on the doors were made in memory of my deceased grandfathers, decorated to honor their military service and personal interests. There were six church windows specifically place along the aisles to represent our outdoor church setting, and the beautiful Spanish moss-filled oak trees acted as our church roof. The cross at our altar was made from 100+ year old wood and designed by a local artist.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look. We are pretty traditional in that way and wanted the first time we saw each other to be when I walked down the aisle! Honestly, I’m so glad we did it this way. I did, however, have a “first look” with my father. It was so special and a moment I will never forget!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We didn’t write our own vows; it was important to both of us to say traditional vows. However, my uncle and Micah’s cousin officiated out wedding. They told stories about us as a couple and made the whole ceremony personal and Christ-centered. It meant so much to us to have family as our officiants!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose two readings, Mark 10:7-9 and Colossians 3:12-13. These two verses really stood out to us during our premarital sessions with our officiants. We thought both of these verses displayed the love and the kind of relationship Micah and I strive for.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our ceremony underneath beautiful oak trees with Spanish moss set the tone for our Southern coastal wedding. The historical venue dated back 300 years. Each guest was given a welcome package with sweet tea or lemonade and a few of mine and Micah’s favorite goodies. The reception food was also very Southern–we served dishes such as shrimp and grits and pecan-crusted chicken.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I found inspiration for our wedding cake from a picture in a magazine, and our baker made the cake look ever better than I could have imagined! We had two flavors–Micah chose white chocolate cake with raspberry filling and I chose vanilla cake with strawberry filling. The outside had an awesome buttercream frosting decorated with fresh olive branches and lavender.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met on the first day of our freshman year in religion class at Presbyterian College. Micah was the smart, cute guy who sat behind me. As we got to know each other, we started to spend more time together and became close friends. However, we didn’t make it official and actually start dating until our junior year.
Tell us all about the proposal! Micah: I came home from law school in Virginia for fall break, having planned with the Thomas/Black clan that this would be the weekend I would propose. My mom planned to cook an elaborate celebratory dinner for our families after I popped the question, but she needed time to prepare for everything without Sam becoming suspicious. So, I decided to take Sam to Table Rock Mountain to hike for the afternoon. I should mention, it’s a very difficult hike and I made Sam do it with a torn meniscus. After our hike, we returned home to my family’s farm, and went to the dock overlooking our pond. While we “waited on my mom to finish cooking dinner,” I tried to hide my nerves as we talked. As we began to leave, I told Samantha that I loved her and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I got down on my knee and asked her to marry me. Of course, she didn’t believe this was really happening, because I may or may not have done several “fake proposals” during our five years together. However, when she saw the ring, she realized I was serious. Both of our families were waiting on us at my house, and we had a wonderful evening celebrating together.
When did y’all get married? October 5, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had visited several bridal shops with my mom and sister looking for “the dress.” After having a pretty bad experience at one of them, I felt a little discouraged. However, Wedding Angels in Roswell, GA was fantastic! I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted and the wonderful staff members helped me find the perfect dress. I knew it was the one the moment I stepped into it and my mom started crying!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I didn’t want traditional wedding songs, but I love the elegant sound of the cello! Our cellist worked with me to come up with contemporary Christian music that sounded awesome on the cello. My bridesmaids walked in to “A Thousand Years,” the same song my sister had her bridesmaids walk down the aisle to. I walked down the aisle to “Never Once.” I loved the lyrics and the meaning behind the words. A sweet friend sang “10,000 Reasons” as Micah and I lit the unity candle. This was one of my favorite parts of the day and it was special to have her singing for us. Our first dance was to “Keeper of the Stars.” Choosing the mother/son and father/daughter songs were the easiest decision of the whole wedding–we had both known what we wanted for years! Micah danced with his mother to “Landslide” and I danced with my dad to “My Girl.”
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? My sister and I got married four months apart, and neither of the weddings took place in our hometown. Obviously, that comes with a lot of added coordination, but the biggest challenge for Micah and I was being so far apart from each other. Micah was awesome, and whenever I asked his opinion on different things, his response was pretty much always the same: “whatever makes you happy.” That being said, it’s hard to plan a day all about the two of you when when your other half is states away.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? One would be our officiants: my uncle and Micah’s cousin. They both did a great job making our ceremony God-centered and so personal to us. My other favorite vendor had to be Amy Arrington Photography! Amy and Brandon also shot my sister’s wedding, so they are beginning to feel like family! We loved their focus on lighting and their laid-back personalities. They are both so sweet to work with and we couldn’t have been happier with the incredible pictures they took!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Samantha: My most memorable moment was lighting the unity candle while a very close friend sang. It was the first time that I was able to take a few moments to breathe and just focus on Micah and I. Micah: My most memorable moment was saying the wedding vows to my wife. Looking at her and telling her on our wedding day that I would love and support her for the rest of my life, no matter what, will always stand out in my mind from that day.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Have your wedding reflect the two of you as a couple. If you are really creative and like to do things yourself, do that. But if that’s not your thing, don’t stress yourself out. Think about the things that make the two of you unique and incorporate those things in your day. It helps make wedding planning fun and special instead of stressful.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We have had a long distance relationship for the past three years as Micah went to law school in Virginia and I got my Master’s degree in Atlanta. We love just finally being together and starting our marriage in a new town in South Carolina. We are looking forward to building a family together and creating a God-centered marriage!

Photographer: Amy Arrington Photography / Videographer: Artifice Films / Venue: Coastal Discovery Museum / Florist: The Flower Garden / Wedding Cake: Frankie Cakes / Catering and Wedding Coordination: Celebrations Catering / Lighting: Hilton Head Event Lighting / Band: The Vistas / Bride’s Gown: Wedding Angels /
Invitations: Coppia Creativa / Programs: Papel Custom Design / Napkins: With Love and Ink / Hair Stylist: The Hair Designers / Makeup Artist: Kiah from Skinzin / Bride’s Shoes: Bandolino / Bridesmaids’ Dresses Bill Levkoff / Men’s Attire: Jos. A Banks / Ties: Saks Off 5th / Bridesmaids Jewelry and Robes: Anchor of Hope Designs (the bride)

Amy Arrington is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Kyla F reply

    Samantha and Micah’s venues were breathtaking! The doors were a really neat idea, especially with Mark 10:9 painted beautifully onto the piece. I think it is so special that they found a way to incorporate a traditional church setting into the outdoors – wonderful job!

  2. avatar Faith reply

    Wow!!! Absolutely beautiful!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Such gorgeous portraits. And their ceremony set-up reminds me of Natalie + Wade’s — so pretty + meaningful!

  4. avatar Dana reply

    the outdoor church is so awesome!

  5. avatar mary thomas reply

    As mother of the bride it is difficult to be objective how beautiful Samantha & Micah’s wedding was. Amy Arrington was so great to work with and captured the day perfectly. Looking at these pictures makes me relive the entire day all over. Thank you Lisa for presenting it in such great style, we so appreciate Southern Weddings for this fine presentation.

  6. avatar Taylor Rae reply

    As the sister of the bride I’m not objective in the slightest, but Samantha and Micah are such a wonderful couple! This wedding was so much fun to be apart of! Love it all!

  7. avatar outdoor chapel with scripture | Amy Arrington | reply

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    […] I love seeing beautiful and unique wedding ceremony ideas. How beautiful are these rustic looking doors that open to the aisle and your future husband? Photographer: Amy Arrington Photography | Hilton Head wedding on Southern Weddings […]

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  13. avatar Natalie reply

    I really love your bridesmaid dresses! I’ve been trying to find dresses in the exact same color and styles. Where did you get them from?

  14. avatar Emily Bostaph reply

    My partner and I are planning our wedding for next fall and are trying to find the perfect venue! We both want to get married under the spanish moss trees. I was wondering what the name of this particular venue is? If it’s privately owned, would it be available for rent, for the big day?

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Emily! This is the Coastal Discovery Museum, which is available to rent for events! I’ve been there myself, and it’s beautiful! The link is in the credits above :)

  15. avatar loves {31} | Lovestruck Events reply

    […] Place Setting via 100 Layer Cake Outdoor Ceremony Entrance via Southern Weddings Mercury Glass + Ranunculus Arrangement via Style Me Pretty “Hooray” Cake Topper via […]

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