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Crystal shares her sweet, meaningful wedding at Boone Hall’s Cotton Dock!

The weather at our office in North Carolina took a definite turn towards fall last week (hooray!), which had me anticipating all of the beautiful cooler-weather weddings to come! Crystal’s late winter/early spring celebration is a perfect one to share in this transitional season. Or really, any season: “It was really important to both Brandon and me that our wedding felt authentic to who we are as people and that it was a celebration of who we are every day,” she says. We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves :)

From their adorable meet-cute (grandmothers are involved!) to the gracious hospitality touch they included via their rentals, I loved learning more about Crystal’s sweet South Carolina celebration! Thanks to Taylor Rae for sharing!

We decided on a first look because we wanted plenty of time to take pictures, and we didn’t want to miss cocktail hour or pull guests in and out of cocktail hour to get in group shots. We both also knew that seeing each other for the first time was going to be emotional, so we enjoyed having our own moment together to feel all the feels before all eyes were on us.

Our dog Bingo was our ring bearer (Brandon’s little cousin walked him down the aisle). We found a service in Charleston that picked him up from our house a few hours before the ceremony, walked him around the plantation with us so that he could be in as many pictures as he would stay still for, sat with him through the ceremony, and then took him home! Brandon and I love Bingo probably a little too much, so having him there to celebrate and be in our photos was one of my favorite things that we were able to do.

Leading up to my first weekend of dress shopping, I was heavy on Pinterest trying to decide what I wanted. I texted a photo of a dress I really liked to my bridesmaid group text, and they all agreed it was totally fitting for my style. I found a store in Charleston that carried that exact dress, and that’s the one I ended up wearing!

We had a pretty traditional Jewish ceremony and that was very important not only to Brandon and me, but to our families, as well. Before the ceremony, both Brandon and I as well as our Rabbi and two witnesses (two of our groomsmen), gathered around a table and signed the Ketubah (Jewish marriage license) together. I started crying immediately, just thinking about how lucky Brandon and I were to have found each other, and to have such amazing friends and family surrounding us. That moment seemed so real and binding for me.

We framed our Ketubah once we got back from our honeymoon and we hung it right above our headboard in our room so we’re always reminded of what it says and of that moment.

Our ceremony took place under a chuppah made from driftwood. To cover the top of the chuppah, we used a tablecloth that my great-grandmother needlepointed as a special touch. The sides stay open to symbolize the home you are going to build together. My favorite tradition is that instead of sitting down, Brandon’s parents and my grandparents stood at the front with us beneath the chuppah, each one of them touching a corner of the structure. It symbolized the strength in family and the strength that they provided to us as we were growing up.

We walked back up the aisle to an instrumental version of “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. We found ourselves dancing our way up the aisle instead of just walking!

Our first dance was to “Overwhelmed” by Tim McMorris. I haven’t met a ton of people who know this song, but it used to be on a Sam Adams commercial (of all things) that aired when Brandon and I were still in college. The first time I saw the commercial I was like, wait, this song sounds really sweet! When Brandon came over that night we listened to it, immediately fell in love with it, and from that day on, it has always been our song.

Our table settings had mason jars instead of regular glasses, which I loved because we actually use mason jars instead of regular cups at our house! It was another detail that was authentic to us. We also used big wooden farm tables that we set without tablecloths, and arranged them in two long rows so everyone was sitting together. We left a few empty chairs at the ends of each table so people could move around and talk to each other easily.

We didn’t want it to be a big fancy day where people felt like they had to sit or go where they were told, but like they were just at home with their family. We also made sure the food matched our Southern venue: fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese biscuits, mashed potatoes… all the good Southern staples!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. I think Brandon and I were destined to be together since the moment we met on the horseshoe at USC, after our grandparents plotted to get us together by asking him to give me a tour of campus when I was trying to decide where to go to college.
Tell us all about the proposal! Brandon and I moved to Charleston, SC together after I graduated college and after two years of being long distance. On our first night in Charleston after a full day of moving, we decided to stop for take-out on the way home from a Target run. We stopped at Shem Creek Park where there is a long dock that runs out into the ocean, and we walked to the end. It was so beautiful, and I remember that we just kept saying how glad we were to be back together in the same city and in such a beautiful place. A few months later, Brandon proposed at that same dock.
When did y’all get married? March 26, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 110
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? Why did you choose it? We served a wedding cake for our dessert – it was four tiers, two of lemon cake with vanilla frosting and lemon curd (my absolute favorite) and two of vanilla cake with raspberry frosting and chocolate ganache (Brandon’s favorite). It was iced as a naked cake and had fresh sugar berries on it. It was beyond perfect and exactly what we wanted!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite thing about wedding planning was how much it brought everyone together! Both of our families and all of our friends were so excited to take a trip to look at dresses or even come visit us and help us put stamps on all of our invites, and we loved how happy everyone was to be a part of our planning process. It was also really fun when we finally got to the big day to see all of the hard work come together. You picture it in your mind over and over, so getting to the end and finally being able to share it with our friends and family was really fulfilling.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We didn’t hire a videographer which I don’t regret at all, as well as using a DJ instead of a live band. Our favors were little wine bottle corkers that had our initials and wedding date etched into them – they were from Etsy and really affordable. We also didn’t go too crazy on the flowers and table arrangements. The Cotton Dock at Boone Hall is a work of art even when there’s absolutely nothing in it, which is one of the things we loved most about it. We wanted decor that would complement that, not completely take it over. At the end of the day, it’s not the flower arrangements or the number of tea lights or how expensive our favors were that we wanted people to remember. We wanted the focus to be on all the love and light that comes from all the people who are important to you gathering in one spot to watch you devote yourselves to each other.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Remember what your wedding is actually about. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the things other people want for your wedding and all the details that you have to choose, especially if you’re planning it yourself. When it gets overwhelming, I’d say that’s the perfect time for a date night with your hubby, turn off your phones, don’t talk about the wedding, and just spend time with each other. Every time Brandon and I did that, that’s when the planning became fun again because my focus would be on celebrating that I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend instead of what color the napkins should be. Also, make sure you at least get a day-of coordinator! The day goes by so quickly, you don’t want to be worrying about the schedule or the glass someone dropped on the dance floor. It’s so worth it to have someone there to make your day as easy as possible!

Photographer: Taylor Rae Photography | Day-of Coordinator: Natalie Knox at Boone Hall Plantation | Venue: Boone Hall Plantation | Florist, Rentals, and Lighting: Ooh! Events | Wedding Cake: WildFlour Pastry | Caterer: Cru Catering | DJ: Austin Haney via Pinnacle Charleston | Bride’s Gown: “The Magnolia Tree” by Lela Rose | Bridal Salon: Maddison Row | Hair Stylist: Chris Piraino of Studio Piraino | Makeup Artist: Jonny Cosmetics | Bride’s Shoes: “Hamptons Sandal” in Platinum by Jack Rogers | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” in Seaglass by Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Tuxedo: Indochino

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Jessica Downs reply

    I love this! Would love to know what vendor they used for the dog as we’re hoping to do the same thing, but don’t want to make it the responsibility of someone we’d like to have with us for all of the festivities.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Jessica! I’m not sure which service Crystal used, and she may very well chime in, but I just stumbled across a Charleston-area service which advertises “wedding nanny” services: Dog Tired! dogtiredsc.com Might be worth checking out :)

  2. avatar Rachel Nordgren reply

    Oh my goodness! I love that Crystal and Brandon included Bingo in the celebration. Yay dogs! My husband and I have a dog named Banjo, and he and Bingo look like they could be twins :)

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My home is light, airy, and quite colorful. And I love it! But, like clockwork, as the calendar flips to fall, I start craving deeper colors and comfier textiles to up the cozy factor in our little nest. The intentional decisions about what we choose to bring into our homes can make such a difference in how we feel when we’re there, in our relationships, and how we feel when we go out into the world, can’t they?

Thinking of what you’ll want and need in your home through each season is a great way to structure your wedding registry and make sure you’re not missing anything. Today, we’re sharing a few favorite picks from Crate and Barrel (where I registered six years ago!) to help build a comfortable, stylish home no matter the season – but especially in the cooler months :)

1. Aiden velvet apartment sofa | 2. Brenner velvet pillow | 3. Lakin recycled teak sideboard | 4. Garbo leather wingback chair | 5. Twig standing coat rack | 6. Siesta blanket | 7. Birney round grey rattan basket

Don’t be afraid to register for a few larger items, like a sofa or beautiful wooden piece – your guests might want to go in on them together, or your parents or grandparents might be looking for the perfect larger gift!

Like I mentioned, I was a Crate and Barrel bride six years ago. I love their clean, warm, and exclusive collection of housewares and furniture; their style is flexible, and a perfect fit for so many homes. I also loved that instead of a one-time registry discount post-wedding, they offer 10% off anything in store and online (even furniture!) for six months after your event, for as many shopping trips as you want! You can read more about their registry benefits here.

1. Marin white dinner plate | 2. Couture copper place setting | 3. Stainless steel cocktail shaker with copper finish | 4. Set of Roscoe platters | 5. Artesia bread baskets| 6. Heritage serving boards | 7. Welcome mug | 8. Laguiole olivewood cheese knife set | 9. Le Creuset French oven | 10. Crawford serving bowl | 11. Gabriel taper candle holder

Registering can be both a very fun and very pressure-filled part of your engagement. (It was hard for me to narrow down the pieces for this post, and they’re not even going to end up in my home!) At Crate and Barrel, creating a registry is a celebration, starting with their Private Registry Events where you can get one-on-one attention and advice from registry experts and get a free gift. Find one near you here!

Ready to get cozy? Create your Crate and Barrel registry right now! And tell me: do you have a seasonal nesting urge like I do? :)

This post is sponsored by Crate and Barrel, a brand we’ve loved for years. Thanks for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
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Classic bride Rachel shares her wedding at James Monroe’s Highland!

Rachel may have been surprised to find her wedding dress at her very first appointment, but from just a quick glimpse at her wedding photos and getting to know what matters most to her and Vince through her interview, I have to say, I’m not too surprised! I could have guessed that a classic lace gown with a full skirt and big bow would have been just her style, and sure enough, that’s what she ended up with.

These two did such a beautiful job weaving together timeless style and uniquely personal details for their Virginia wedding – I think y’all will love taking a peek. Thanks to Shannon Moffit for the lovely photos!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Our blind coffee date turned into a 10-hour first date, and the rest was history.
Tell us all about the proposal! We recreated a camping and hiking trip we had taken two years before in the George Washington National Forest. We fell in love with this mountain because of the view at the top which consists of a grassy meadow surrounded by a 360° view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Vince surprised me with a proposal at the top of the mountain. He acted like he had to get something out of his first aid kit. I was so oblivious I was walking around taking pictures, but quickly realized what was happening. We spent the rest of the weekend celebrating in Charlottesville.

I never thought I would be one of those brides who would find her dress early, but I fell in love with my dress at Modern Trousseau Savannah during the very first appointment. After trying on several dresses and narrowing them down to two, I fell in LOVE with my custom dress when the stylist overlaid a lace top to bring everything I wanted to fruition. Lace top, long silk train, a bow, and a veil to bring it all together – this dress was truly the dress of my dreams!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes. As an aspiring wedding photographer, I really valued the extra time afforded for portraits and bridal party pictures before the ceremony. It also provided an intimate time for just the two of us to spend together before the craziness of the evening began. We were able to enjoy half of our cocktail hour with our friends and family because we decided to do a first look, and we are so happy we had that time to enjoy with our guests.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We live in Washington, D.C. but fell in love with Charlottesville and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Being able to visit the wineries and go hiking and camping in the area is a nice escape from city life. When we found James Monroe’s Highland, we knew we had a very special venue for our ceremony and reception. This beautiful slice of land is nestled at the bottle of the Blue Ridge and offered several areas to utilize that really brought the vision for our wedding day to life.

Our guests were welcomed to Charlottesville with gift bags full of Virginia goodies, but we had to make one exception! Though we live in D.C. and adore Charlottesville, the bride is a Tar Heel and the groom is a Florida Gator, so we had to make sure we paid tribute to our roots! My sister made state-themed cookies for the welcome bags and they were a huge hit!

What else was Southern? We had a monogram made for our wedding which carried through the invitation suite and details during the wedding day. We also used a monogrammed Sasha Nicholas champagne bucket as our card repository. I wore my grandmother’s pearls as my something old. The boys looked dapper in their blue suits and green bow ties. Of course, we had a menu of upscale Southern cuisine with some of our favorite dishes such as barbecue, collard greens, and grits – all with a refined twist.

Vince and I tried to weave meaningful details throughout the day that truly represented us as a couple. When preparing for our marriage, we read the book “The Meaning of Marriage” by Timothy Keller. One of the main themes of the book is from 1 John 4 – that we love each other because Christ first loved us. We used this as our reading during the ceremony, and Vince had this engraved in my wedding band. Also, the book discussed marriage vows and how this promise is not only a covenant to our spouse, but part of our marriage covenant with Christ. As such, we used traditional vows in our ceremony. Our officiants were also very special to us. We chose our pastor and a close friend and mentor to co-lead the ceremony.

Our favorite detail had to be the al fresco dinner. The tables, chairs, place settings, and florals all came together in the most perfect intimate setting. One of our favorite memories of the day was at the end of cocktail hour when we were able to sneak away and take in the view of the tablescapes with the candles lit before guests were seated. We knew we wanted to have a family-style dinner with all of our closest friends and family around the table. Having that dinner in the special setting, watching the sunset by candlelight, was a dream that we will never forget. I also have to add that I LOVED the place card display. The wax seals had our wedding monogram engraved in them, and each table was named after a president since we were married at a former president’s estate :)

We had a string trio perform for our ceremony and reception. We chose Ben Fold’s “The Luckiest” as our first dance song for several reasons. It is such a beautiful song that is really deep and such a metaphor for true love when you really listen to the lyrics.

Two tiers of our wedding cake were chocolate, and the largest tier was called “Jazzy Razz,” lemon cake filled with raspberry puree topped with buttercream. The flavors offered something for everyone, those more traditional or adventurous. The flavors even tasted great together – who doesn’t love chocolate and raspberry?

When did y’all get married? May 6, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 110
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? One way we managed to cut costs for our wedding was sourcing vendors not directly in the hot wedding market that is Charlottesville. Finding reputable vendors that offered the quality and aesthetic we were looking for from nearby areas was one way of saving us a lot of money.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? We would definitely recommend using vendors who already have a working relationship. It really helps the wedding day go so much more smoothly!! For example, our planner and photographer are friends and work together frequently, so coming together for our big day to manage timelines and ensure all of the details were perfectly captured made everything run seamlessly. We would definitely recommend working with a planner, and having the planner recommend vendors with which they have established relationships. Many brides don’t understand how much tension can happen behind the scenes when vendors are not on the same page, so this is definitely one way to help eliminate that stress!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? Our wedding band, E3, was such a huge hit. Formally known as “Everything,” they were a big hit in the ’90s with their song “Who’s Got the Hooch.” Rachel loves rosé and that was something that carried throughout the day. It was the star of her signature cocktail, “Virginia is for Lovers.” Vince’s favorite drink is a Pimm’s Cup, which we appropriately re-named “Vin’s Cup” :D

Photographer: Shannon Moffit | Planner: Luxe and Luna | Venue: James Monroe Highland | Florist: Petals and Hedges | Wedding Cake: Pearl’s Bake Shoppe | Caterer: Garnish | Rentals: Paisley and Jade and MS Events | Bands: The Classical Hillbillies and E3 via Sam Hill Entertainment | Paper Products: Empress Stationery | Bride’s Gown: Custom “Whitney” Gown by Modern Trousseau | Bridal Salon and Veil: Modern Trousseau Savannah | Hair Stylist: Top Knot Studio | Makeup Artist: Gohar Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” and “Nyla” by Jenny Yoo | Men’s Attire: Dobell | Bow Ties: The Tie Bar | Calligraphy: Letterlyn | Watercolor Vows: Hey Bernadette | Rings: Shah and Shah Distinctive Jewelers

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Wedding Pixie reply

    Stunning wedding and what a fabulous dress, love the bow at the back, so pretty!

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