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Southern Weddings

Author: Jess Metcalf

After a long bout of warm weather for the season, we’re kicking off December by stocking the SW office with tea and hot cocoa and turning up the holiday music! In that vein, I can’t think of a more perfect wedding to share with you today than Peyton and Tyler’s beautiful day. The combination of Peyton’s long lace sleeves, the deep red of her bridesmaid dresses, and the natural backdrop of RT Lodge all add to the cozy feeling. While it was a hard decision, opting for a smaller guest list allowed the two of them to spend more time focusing on celebrating with the most important people in their lives, and I must say, it certainly made their whole day feel a bit more special! Huge SW thanks to Finch Photography for sharing Peyton and Tyler’s beautiful day with us!

Tell us all about the proposal! I grew up in Maryville and one of my favorite things about my hometown is the Foothills Fall Festival. Knowing how much I love going to the concerts at the festival, Tyler came up with a plan to propose there. Finally, it was the day of the proposal and everything was in place. Tyler’s parents and my grandmother had come into town for the big event. Both families and some friends all piled into the car and went to church together before heading to the festival. I was very concerned that Tyler was sick or something because his hands were extremely sweaty, which quickly became a funny joke to all of those in the know! Once at the festival, I was so excited by all the booths, crafts, and food that it was nearly impossible to get me to go to our seats for the afternoon concert. In between concerts, an announcer came off the stage and started talking to different people in the audience. Tyler and I (just so happened…) to have seats next to the aisle and in the front. The announcer started talking to us, and then, he asked us to look up on the screen. There was a note written by me when I was little about how I had had the best time at the fall festival. Tyler then got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. I already knew that Tyler was the one, but when he proposed, I was so surprised that I didn’t answer and simply stared at him! The announcer reminded me to think long and hard about the decision, and I finally said yes!

I had a pretty good idea of what my dream dress would look like–I wanted long lace sleeves (a winter wedding must!), an A-line shape (my most flattering look), and I wanted it to make me feel like a princess. I actually found the perfect dress on Pinterest and then went dress shopping to find something similar, but, of course, had no luck. Then I happily realized that the dress I had pinned was from Alfred Angelo, and that they had a store nearby. I put on the dress, everyone cried, and I bought it! I absolutely loved my wedding dress–it really was my dream dress!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The guest list. Choosing who should be on the guest list and making cuts were the hardest parts. We wanted to include everyone we know and love, but it is just unrealistic with venue sizes and costs. We ended up having to invite only family and lifelong family friends. Also, we opted to have an adults-only wedding (minus children who had to travel with parents from out-of-town or that were in the wedding, for whom we offered child care during the reception). The guest list was difficult to make, but in the end, we felt like we had the people who meant the most to us there to share in our special day.

We did a first look. I was against the idea at first, based on tradition, but our wedding was at 4 P.M. and I was worried about getting pictures done with enough lighting after the ceremony. I am really glad that we did this! By the time the wedding day came, I was so anxious to see Tyler that I was glad it was before the ceremony so we could actually have a moment to see each other and talk. Tyler was so overjoyed and excited to see me in my dress that he stared to tear up the moment he saw me.

Tyler and I decided to write our own vows so that they would be promises from our own hearts. It was amazing how in-sync our vows ended up being, since neither of us heard or saw the other’s before the ceremony. My favorite part was that we both promised to keep Christ in the center of our relationship, and that no matter what, we were in this adventure together. During the ceremony, Tyler was incredibly sentimental and emotional during his vows, while I could not contain my joy and smiles as I made my promises. This was such a reflection of each of us and made the moment even more perfect.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We had both our wedding ceremony and reception at RT Lodge. This was the perfect location for us for so many different reasons. 1. I actually live less than two minutes from the venue. This was nice because it was so familiar to me! Growing up, my family used to take walks through the Maryville College woods past RT Lodge. Also, in the event that anything was left at home (which some things were!), it was easy for someone to go and grab whatever we needed. 2. The feel of the Lodge. There is something elegant, yet manly about the lodge, which fit both of us really well. Especially getting married in the winter, the lodge just fit the feel we were going for.

I was completely obsessed with my wedding flowers. My bridal bouquet was beautiful, made with lush, neutral blooms. My flower girls and maid of honor had some amazing flower pieces in their hair. We had logs covered with candles and flower petals leading down the aisle to our arch, which was adorned with flowers. At our reception, we had centerpieces that included deer antlers, which really was cool with the lodge atmosphere. Our flowers had a vintage, natural elegance feel that really captured the look we were wanting.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Since our last name is Camera, a camera-shaped groom’s cake was a definite must! Our guests thought this idea was so clever, and it was a huge hit. The bride’s cake was five tiers in simple textures with gold accents, which all came together into a simple, yet beautiful design. Both of the cakes were absolutely delicious!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? At the end of our reception, everyone was on the dance floor having a great time, singing and busting moves. Then, to Tyler’s and my surprise, everyone circled around us and sang “As Long As We’re Here” by Kristy Starling–an all-time favorite song of mine. It was such a spontaneous and special moment. We felt so loved being completely surrounded by our favorite people. Immediately after this moment, we headed to our sparkler send-off on the RT Lodge lawn. It was the perfect end to the perfect day!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Tyler and I met on August 30, 2013. It was the first weekend back at school and some friends invited me over to their house. I was sitting on a couch with a friend in the living room when Tyler walked through the front door and we instantly locked eyes. It was one of those moments when reality actually felt like a movie (Tyler even says that the second he saw me, he knew that I was going to be his girl). We basically maintained eye contact for the next ten minutes, until I realized he was shy and I was going to have to make the first move, so I walked over to him and introduced myself. We ended up talking for the rest of the evening and exchanged numbers before we left. The next morning, I woke up to a text from him asking when he could see me again. We ended up hanging out every single day for the next few months. He asked me to be his girlfriend on October 19 and then proposed exactly a year later.
When did y’all get married? December 19, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 325
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Two of the most special pieces of our wedding were the arch and the guest “log.” Tyler was so insistent on having a “power arch” (as he called it), and we were having zero luck. My papaw offered to build us exactly what we wanted, and it was so perfect! We are planning to put the arch in the backyard of our new home. For the guest log, we had everyone sign an actual wooden log. My papaw cut down the log from his yard and gave it to me. Following the wedding, he turned the log into a bench for us to put into our home.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We are both so fortunate to have parents who are still married. Tyler and I took time to sit and talk with our parents about the keys to having a lasting, successful, and blissful marriage. Tyler and I also participated in marriage counseling leading up to the wedding. We took the time to talk and pray together about the future, and continuously asked happy couples in our lives for advice.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Since the wedding, I graduated from college and we moved back to my hometown. Tyler and I are now starting our new life in the cutest, old, cottage-style home. We spend a lot of time having bonfires and celebrations with our friends and family. We are so excited to see what is ahead for us on this adventure together!

Photographer: Finch Photography / Videographer: Milestones / Venue, Planner, and Caterer: RT Lodge / Florist: Whimsical Gatherings / Wedding Cake: Cheryl McMillan Cake Design / Lighting and DJ: Ogle Entertainment / Paper Goods: The Happy Envelope / Bride’s Gown and Accessories: Alfred Angelo / Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Bangs and Blush / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: White Lace and Promises / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank

RT Lodge is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
3 Comments
  1. avatar Olivia reply

    What a beautiful wedding! We are getting married in January and love the fur stoles the bridesmaids are wearing. Where are they from?

  2. avatar Gosia reply

    I am not a fan of red, but after seeing this weeding I might change my mind!

  3. avatar The most wonderful time of the year… | ZsaZsa Bellagio – Like No Other reply

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When my boyfriend moved to a different state last year for his job, I insisted on buying him a guest book for his new apartment. He indulged me, and now there are pages full of notes from friends and family members (and me, of course!) recounting the memories made in his new city! When I mentioned that on a whim in a team meeting a few months ago, the team started sharing stories about guest books, and our newest product evolved from there.

You see, we don’t create products for the sake of creating products. In everything that we do–the content we create, the products we design, the conversations we have with our readers–our hope is to provide couples with purposeful information and inspiration to celebrate their story through dating, engagement, wedding, and their marriage!

With that, and from my own story, I’m tickled pink to introduce our Welcome Home Guest Book!

The Welcome Home Guestbooks come in coral, blue, and natural linen, and each is foil-stamped with hand lettering from Hand Lettered Designs. There are 100 lined pages to fill with guest names, dates, and happy memories! The biggest question now? Which color to choose!

Our guestbook is the perfect vessel to hold all of your memories with the loved ones who will fill your home over the coming years. Like Nicole, my favorite part of this guestbook is that it’s something you can start together, whether you’re dating or have been married for years. It also makes the perfect gift for your loved ones!

We can’t wait to see how you fill each line! Grab your Welcome Home Guest Book to start recording the memories of the days and years to come today!!

P.S. Head to the Southern Weddings Shop to grab the Welcome Home Guest Book in Linen as part of the Ultimate Southern Bride Bundle during our Holiday Sale for only $99!

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
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It’s safe to say that I’m a sucker for a good bouquet or floral arrangement, and my office bulletin board is covered in some of my favorites from past volumes of Southern Weddings. However, not even a 15 pound (!!) bridal bouquet could distract me from how beautiful Courtney looked in her gown and gushing over the joy on Courtney and Kyle’s faces throughout their day! My favorite part? The way Courtney and  Kyle worked so thoughtfully to weave their families into their ceremony! Be sure to read the story behind why they chose to forgo a traditional unity candle and what they chose instead. It’s the perfect keepsake from their wedding day that they will cherish for years to come!

A big thanks to Cody Hunter Photography for sharing Courtney and Kyle’s beautiful day with us!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our first look was amazing. We were under a canopy of oak trees with a cool breeze blowing. It was just our photographer, the videographers, and my sister who were there with us. It was so sweet and sentimental. Kyle and I both teared up when we saw each other, but we loved those quiet moments together.

I thought I knew what type of dress I wanted, and had a very specific look in mind, but wasn’t finding it anywhere. At our last stop, Laura Jacobs Bridal, I tried on a few that were gorgeous but didn’t feel like “the one.” Finally, I went with the consultant to the back of the store, where we both eyed a dress at the same time, and knew I had to try it on. It was literally the OPPOSITE of what I was picturing. When I came out, my mom, sister, grandma, and best friend were speechless. It was the one and we all knew it!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We wanted to be married under a big oak tree, somewhere that was very natural and had a story behind it. Buckingham Farms couldn’t have been a more perfect place! We loved that it was a working family farm and all of our food was truly farm-to-table. Kyle’s dad is a third-generation cotton farmer, and I grew up playing in the Florida landscape, so plants and growth signify so much to us. Instead of unity candles, we had a unity tree–our moms brought dirt in jars from our homes where we grew up, and we poured them into the base of a tree and watered it together. It was so special and we are still growing it today!

I walked down the aisle to “Turning Page (Instrumental)” by Sleeping at Last, one of our favorite songs and one that I have loved and played on the piano for years. The lyrics to the song are so incredible, but we wanted the instrumental version so the lyrics wouldn’t distract. My dad listened to the song for months in advance to prepare, just because it brought back so many memories of me playing at home. Since I was moving away and the first to get married in my family, it was very emotional for him! One of my best friends, Lauren, played guitar and sang “Holy Spirit” by Bryan and Katie Torwalt while our parents prayed over us and we did the unity tree. That song has always been one we want as a prayer over our lives and marriage, so it was such a sentimental moment.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We focused intently on preparing for marriage over the wedding. We were so excited for the wedding, but even MORE excited to just do life together side by side. We had weekly marriage counseling, read books, and did devotions together in preparation. It really was such a sweet season of life!

The flowers were unbelievable. We wanted a very natural and organic look, but left it up to our florists to pick the flowers. My bouquet probably weighed about 15 pounds (shoutout to my sister, the maid of honor, for holding it the whole ceremony!). We couldn’t have done it without Isn’t She Lovely Florals. I met with those ladies so much to dream up what the wedding would look like, and they are absolutely incredible with their vision and execution. People still tell me to this day how amazing all the hanging greenery was!

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? It truly was such a sentimental wedding. Our guests said over and over how special our ceremony was and how truly touching it was. That was important to us. We value the significance of marriage and didn’t want to take it lightly and blow through the ceremony. That, to us, was the best part.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I am a Florida girl and he is a Texas boy. We met at the one and only Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Though we were both on Liberty’s track and field team, we had nothing to do with each other at first. (Partly because I liked another guy at the time and partly because he was very shy when it came to girls. Adorable, right?) As time went on, we slowly got to know each other and became interested in each other’s quirks and charm. Our relationship was built on little notes to one another, surprise dates, and always being open and honest with each other. We spent the long summers apart, but knew it would only help us grow closer and strengthen our communication. I knew Kyle was the man I wanted to marry early on, so I began journaling about every date and all our little moments together. That is one of my most cherished possessions to date and something we will show our kids for years to come.
Tell us all about the proposal! We were flying to my parents’ house for our big New Year’s Eve party on the beach, but a HUGE snow storm canceled our flight. Many, many flights later, we ended up flying out of Dallas and made it to Florida at 2 A.M. on January 1, 2015–proposal day! Kyle was totally himself and it was a normal day. When we got home, I went in to shower and get ready for the “nice dinner restaurant” we were going to. Kyle greeted me at my door and asked if he could give me one last Christmas present out on our dock. I went with him and he gave me a big elephant blanket (my favorite animal) and I proceeded to explain that we should get going. He was acting strange and said, “Can we make a fire? I promise, it’s a special one.” I agreed (semi-reluctantly), and as the sun went down, he made a fire in our dock fire pit. I didn’t know what was going on until he started to read parts of 1 Corinthians 13 that he had written on the fire starter sticks. Once there was a roaring flame, he came over to where I was sitting and tearfully said, “I want Christ to always be the center of our relationship. If we continue to be rooted in His word, the flame of our love will only grow stronger.” He had me close my eyes, and when I opened them, he was holding a lit-up sign he had made that said “Marry me?” I was speechless! Then, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, holding the most gorgeous ring I had ever seen. I, of course, said “Yes!” and my family came running out in celebration.
When did y’all get married? October 17, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our own vows a few nights before the wedding. It was such a sweet, sweet time together. We wrote separate vows and read them to one another. We are very active and love being outside and traveling, so one of the vows I wrote for him said, “I vow to always adventure through life with you, never lacking the sense of wonder you stir in me.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our pastor (my uncle) read aloud our life verse, that is our prayer for each other and our marriage: Philippians 1:9-11. It says, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.”
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We LOVE traveling. We are currently planning a trip to Hawaii, as well as preparing to bring home our golden retriever puppy, Bear. We are so excited to be parents to a little pup!

Photographer: Cody Hunter Photography | Videographer: Phos Media | Planner and Florist: Isn’t She Lovely Florals | Venue and Caterer: Buckingham Farms | Dessert Baker: Show Me Love Confections | Rentals: Niche Event Rentals | DJ: DJ Jorge via Stereophonic DJs | Invitations: Artifact Uprising | Place Cards: Sophia Loves Letters | Bride’s Gown: Martina Liana | Hair Stylist: Kristy Connley | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Angelo | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
3 Comments
  1. avatar Peggy Fields reply

    This is one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever seen!

  2. avatar Foldable flats reply

    So beautiful couple look .. nice sharing post

  3. avatar Greg Coltman reply

    Great use of lighting!

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