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Bride Emily’s classic wedding at The Taylor Grady House.

I hope you’re reading this from your iPad at the lake, but if you’re at work, we won’t tell! After all it’s almost the Fourth of July! And, boy, do I have something really great for you today. Meet today’s bride, Emily. Her favorite thing about wedding planning is making me so happy. She said, “it was just so fun!” Yes, Emily! We often say that we know planning a wedding can be stressful (and y’all, it definitely can!), but lest we forget, it can also be so much fun and filled with joy! We even named our wedding planner, “The Joyful Wedding Planner,” because we sincerely want your wedding planning journey to be filled with joy! So grab that extra slice of watermelon and start scrolling for Emily’s sweet, Southern wedding to Kevin.

Big SW hugs to our friend Anna Shackleford for capturing this pretty day!

I first saw my dress online and cried. The designer’s (Amy Kuschel‘s) designs are just so beautiful. The closest store that had the dress in the store was in Charleston. So when we were in Charleston I made an appointment at that store and bought it at once!

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Some of the flowers in my bouquet and the flower arrangements are actually from my mother’s garden, which was really special. Kevin and my brother had my grandfather’s handkerchiefs. I also wore a ring which was made from the diamonds and a pearl my grandmother had left me. Also, the lace on my veil was from my mother’s wedding dress.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we did. Honestly I thought I would be too emotional if I saw him for the first time while I was walking down the aisle. Also, it was nice to have that little alone time together before the ceremony started.

We knew we wanted to have our wedding in Athens, and I have always loved the Taylor Grady House. The grounds are just so beautiful, and I absolutely love the tree we got married under.

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Gosh it was all memorable. I think it was walking down the aisle and seeing Kevin’s face. He was smiling ear-to-ear, and he looked so handsome. I think that was my favorite moment.

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? The flowers! They were so amazing, especially the arrangements around the chandeliers.

Our venue was the epitome of Southern charm right down to the beautiful tent with the wrought iron chandeliers!

We had wedding cake but then for the groom’s cake we opted for banana pudding, which was amazing!

Our first dance song was “Into the Mystic,” which has always been my favorite song. I wanted a fun song as a first dance song. Nothing too formal.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We meet through mutual friends while I was in medical school and he was in law school, and we were long-distance before we finally got married five years later.
Tell us all about the proposal! The day we got engaged the whole Nance clan was at the lake house. I was told that we were going to have a Sunday brunch with the family at our favorite restaurant. Right before we were getting in the car to leave, Kevin suggested we take our precious pup Scarlett out. We walked down to the lake front and Kevin got down on his knee and asked me to marry him!
When did y’all get married? April 22, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 210.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? I feel like my mother and I got a lot closer planning this together. Plus, I got to meet so many wonderful people. Our wedding planner, Whitney, our florist, Christy, and our photographer, Anna, are easily some of my favorite people.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Planning a wedding while being an internal medicine resident who lives four hours away is just difficult, but my mom helped me so much with everything and was truly a lifesaver.
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? We had a buffet and did not go crazy with the linen napkins.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Take your time. I had a 16 month engagement, and I am so thankful I did, because it gave me the time to find the vendors I wanted and plan the wedding without feeling too rushed.

Photographer: Anna Shackleford | Videographer: Daniel Shackleford | Planner: Whitney Taylor Downs | Venue: The Taylor Grady House | Florist: Christy Griner Hulsey | Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Classic City Confections | Caterer: LRG provisions | Rentals and Lighting: Barrons Rentals | Chair and Table Rentals: Oconee Events Rentals | Linen Rentals: La Tavola | Band or DJ: Sonic Groove | Paper Products: Oconee Printing | Watercolor Signage and Calligraphy: Cami Monet | Watercolor Escort Cards: Britt Vasina | Map artwork: Natty Michelle Paperie | Bride’s Gown: “Dandelion” by Amy Kuschel | Hair Stylist: Stephanie Hollis | Makeup Artist: Eli Jana | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids | Menswear: The Black Tux

Anna Shackleford is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and The Black Tux is a wonderful Southern Weddings sponsor!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Csilla reply

    Very classy and romantic. Is amazing how she choose the perfect wedding dress. This is where some bride might go wrong. She kept simple but elegant. The photos are bright and influence the mood of the event.

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Emily + Kevin

by in on

Leader

Intro

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We meet through mutual friends while I was in medical school and he was in law school, and we were long-distance before we finally got married five years later.
Tell us all about the proposal! The day we got engaged the whole Nance clan was at the lake house. I was told that we were going to have a Sunday brunch with the family at our favorite restaurant. Right before we were getting in the car to leave, Kevin suggested we take our precious pup Scarlett out. We walked down to the lake front and Kevin got down on his knee and asked me to marry him!
When did y’all get married? April 22, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 210.
Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I first saw my dress online and cried. The designer’s (Amy Kuschel‘s) designs are just so beautiful. The closest store that had the dress in the store was in Charleston. So when were in Charleston I made an appointment at that store and bought it at once!
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we did. Honestly I thought I would be too emotional if I saw him for the first time while I was walking down the aisle. Also, it was nice to have that little alone time together before the ceremony started.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? We knew we wanted to have our wedding in Athens, and I have always loved the Taylor Grady House. The grounds are just so beautiful, and I absolutely love the tree we got married under.
What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Some of the flowers in my bouquet and the flower arrangements are actually from my mother’s garden, which was really special. Kevin and my brother had my grandfather’s handkerchiefs. I also wore a ring which was made from the diamonds and a pearl my grandmother had left me. Also, the lace on my veil was from my mother’s wedding dress.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance song was “Into the Mystic,” which has always been my favorite song. I wanted a fun song as a first dance song. Nothing too formal.
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? We had wedding cake but then for the groom’s cake we opted for banana pudding, which was amazing!
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? The flowers! They were so amazing, especially the arrangements around the chandeliers.
What was Southern about your wedding? Well our venue was the epitome of Southern charm right down to the beautiful tent with the wrought iron chandeliers!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? It was just fun. I feel like my mother and I got a lot closer planning this together. Plus, I got to meet so many wonderful people. Our wedding planner, Whitney, our florist, Christy, and our photographer, Anna, are easily some of my favorite people.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Planning a wedding while being an internal medicine resident who lives four hours away is just difficult, but my mom helped me so much with everything and was truly a lifesaver.
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? We had a buffet and did not go crazy with the linen napkins.
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Gosh it was all memorable. I think it was walking down the aisle and seeing Kevin’s face. He was smiling ear-to-ear, and he looked so handsome. I think that was my favorite moment.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Take your time. I had a 16 month engagement, and I am so thankful I did, because it gave me the time to find the vendors I wanted and plan the wedding without feeling too rushed.

Photographer: Anna Shackleford | Videographer: Daniel Shackleford | Planner: Whitney Taylor Downs | Ceremony Venue: The Taylor Grady House | Reception Venue: The Taylor Grady House | Florist: Christy Griner Hulsey | Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Classic City Confections | Caterer: LRG provisions | Rentals and Lighting: Barrons Rentals | Band or DJ: Sonic Groove | Paper Products: Oconee Printing | Bride’s Gown: “Dandelion” by Amy Kuschel | Hair Stylist: Stephanie Hollis | Makeup Artist: Eli Jana | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids | Groom’s and Groomsmen’s Attire: The Black Tux

Anna Shackleford is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and The Black Tux is a wonderful Southern Weddings sponsor!

emily Written with love by Emily
0 Comments

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Sonia + Nate

by in on

Tell us your love story in one sentence. You fall in love with the most unexpected person at the most unexpected time.
Tell us all about the proposal! Nate was born and raised in Kentucky, and I was born and raised in Colorado. In August 2015, Nate’s parents, sisters and nieces, Genna (10) and Gabby (6), visited us from Kentucky for a weekend of Colorado fun and celebration. My family hosted a barbecue for the families to meet on my 23rd birthday. The little girls made made me a special gift: a fairytale storybook, written by Genna and illustrated by Gabby. The story featured me as a princess and told of all those who traveled to see me on my birthday and how much they loved me. It then read, “One person loved her the most. His name was Nate. He had a very important question to ask her…” The story ended with Nate on one knee and me in shaky tears as he popped the big question!
When did y’all get married? October 8, 2016.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 84. It was the perfect number for us to feel connected to our guests and still have a full dance floor!
Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I had the honor of wearing my Granny Doris’s (my dad’s mom’s) wedding gown. She purchased the gown in 1954 when she married my PaPa in Virginia. My Aunt Lori, her daughter, wore the gown in 1976 for her Colorado wedding. It created such an amazing bond between the three of us ladies, and my dad was so proud. He fetched the gown from the cedar chest my Granny stored it in in her basement the day I first asked about it! I knew immediately that it was the dress for me. I had been searching for a way to bring my family into our Kentucky wedding and it was the perfect way to do so. In the foyer of the Opera House we had displayed photos of my Granny and Aunt Lori in the gown on their wedding days. It was so sweet to hear and see folks’ reaction when they realized it was the same one!
Did you decide to do a first look? Yes, we did! At first, our reasoning was for logistics. We wanted to enjoy every moment of our reception with guests and thought it would be nice to get the pictures done during the day with good lighting. As our wedding planning progressed we were so grateful we had made that decision! We both looked forward to that moment of pause.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? As mentioned before, Nate was born and raised in Kentucky. He grew up in a cabin built by his father on the land his grandparents owned in Fleming County. His upbringing was so unique and the reason he is the man he is today! We determined that our wedding was the best opportunity to share this amazing place that we both love with my family and the people closest to us. I researched every venue in Kentucky before we found The Winchester Opera House. The location was perfect – easy for folks to travel to from local airports and centralized for our wedding week activities. But more than that, it fit our vision perfectly. Southern, regal, and much more “derby” than “country.” After meeting with the venue owner, Vanessa Ziembroski, we were so impressed by her knowledge and experience. Her business offered so many services, and that was such a comfort to us since we were planning the wedding out of state.
What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Nate’s father, Barry Bainum, was our officiant, and that was such an amazing experience. He is a Certified Lay Pastor in the Presbyterian Church and put so much thought and sincerity into our ceremony. It was very traditional, and we loved that it encouraged participation from our guests. He asked them, “Do you give your blessing to Nathan and Sonia and promise to do everything in your power to uphold them in their marriage?” It was so important to us that they knew they were invited for that reason: to help us, guide us, and love us in our marriage together. They were a part of it with us by being our witnesses. It was beautiful and joyful and we will never forget when Nate forgot “of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” when saying his vows! Barry was happy to help him along through it. Our nephews who were at the wedding were our ring bearers. We had them carry a gold horseshoe for good luck! Nate’s nieces, Genna and Gabby (who helped with the proposal), walked Nate down the aisle to his spot to wait for me. My dad walked me down the aisle, of course! We had to walk down a flight of stairs to make it there! I was so nervous to do so in my heels, but he did the perfect job guiding me down. Looking back at the photos, I have never seen either of us so happy. It was sheer bliss.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. As our guests arrived to the ceremony and when we walked back up the aisle, my brother-in-law played acoustic guitar. He played the tune from the movie Crazy Heart, “The Weary Kind.” Nate and I are big Ryan Bingham fans! The lyrics aren’t extremely romantic, but instrumentally it is so beautiful. We liked the imperfections in its story and thought it was fitting for us. Walking down the aisle, Jarrod played the instrumental version of our first dance. The song is “Diamonds and Gasoline” by the Turnpike Troubadours. I knew Nate would immediately recognize the tune and know I was on my way! Again, the lyrics weren’t typical for a wedding, but it was a song that we loved when we were discovering our love for each other. My dad picked out the song for our Father-Daughter dance, “I love you Because,” which is a duet between Lisa Marie Presley and her father, Elvis. My dad and I LOVE Elvis and he does the best impersonation. He sang to me in his Elvis voice while we danced. So many emotions! Nate chose to surprise his mom with the song for their Mother-Son dance, “Ripple” by the Grateful Dead. This song is loved by her whole family. It was played at both her parents’ funerals. It was such a sweet moment for all of the “Montana Hippies,” the DeWeese side of the family. My mom and I had a special dance together to “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard. She sings this song to me a little too often ;)
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? We had a simple wedding cake, just two layers of white cake with white buttercream. In addition to this, we served carrot cake. While we wanted the tradition of cutting the cake, this wasn’t the most important thing to us. We wanted most of all for our guests to have a great seated dinner and an open bar. At the bar we served three signature drinks: The Winchester – Ale81 (Kentucky’s own soft drink) and bourbon, Le Petit Chou – named after our pug and Sonia’s preferred cocktail, vodka, sprite, and soda water with lemon, and The Augustus McCrae -named after our German Shorthair Pointer (who is named after the Lonesome Dove character, Gus) and Nate’s preferred cocktail, double Eagle Rare bourbon on the rocks.
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? This is so hard to choose! But we have narrowed it down to two. The ’61 Mercedes Benz in the photos (named Josephine) originally belonged to my Papa, who bought Josephine while he was in the Airforce. My Papa and Granny drove their four children all over Europe and the US in that car! In the 80s, my Papa gave the car to my dad who loved it just the same. He restored Josephine to her original blue color, white wall tires, and red interior. She looked like new! He drove her in a trailer to Kentucky all the way from Colorado just to have her as my “something blue.” I have so many great memories of that car… and this one tops them all. In lieu of a guestbook, we created bourbon cocktail-themed postcards. We asked our guests to write us a note, kind thought, or marriage advice during our wedding reception. Throughout the first year of our marriage, Nate’s mom has been sending us the postcards randomly. It has been the most amazing reminder of our love and the support they promised us! The postcards always seem to arrive at the perfect time and are so meaningful to us. We read them together every time we receive one.
What was Southern about your wedding? My dress! The lace sleeves, off-the-shoulder neckline, and the train! It was so Southern and so perfect. Also, having the wedding in Kentucky exuded the hospitality and celebration of the South. We so enjoyed sharing Kentucky’s charm with our guests. Nate’s parents and sisters hosted a welcome dinner on their farm the Wednesday before the wedding where we ate a traditional Kentucky meal with hot brown casserole, BBQ, and bourbon. On Thursday, our guests had lunch in the little town of Midway, KY before touring the Buffalo Trace Bourbon Distillery. On Friday, we attended the opening day of the Fall Horse Race Meet at Keeneland followed by our rehearsal dinner at the Jefferson Davis Inn. It was exactly what we had hoped for in sharing Nate’s home. Our vision for the decor was simple and elegant. We wanted greenery to be most prevalent in our flower arrangements to represent Kentucky’s beautiful green scenery. We chose to have garlands and wreaths of greenery throughout the decor to represent the culture of the horse races in the area. Nate’s custom tux jacket had “Kentucky Nate” embroidered in it. That is what his buddies call him. His vest had our wedding date embroidered in it.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? The life planning that developed with our wedding planning was our favorite thing about it all. Dreaming of our wedding week spent in Kentucky and discussing the things we loved about it most brought it into a different perspective for us. Ultimately, it lead to our realization that Nate’s “Old Kentucky Home” was where we want to be and to raise our future family. We plan to move to his family farm this fall to plant our roots!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Planning from afar! It was difficult to book vendors and trust their judgment and reliability from a different state. We were so blessed to find the Winchester Opera House – they offered so many services that it really reduced our workload.
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 chose to have white garden chairs rather than gold chiavari and to have standard silverware rather than gold. We also chose not to have a videographer, and I learned to do the calligraphy on all of our personalized items: invitations, escort cards, table numbers, signs, etc. And Nate and I made all of the tassels on the 75+ champagne confetti poppers for the ceremony. Mostly me, but he helped ;)
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? We both agree that our first look was the most memorable moment. Nate remembers the note and gift I had delivered to him just before. It referenced his grandparents and our goal to love the way they loved each other. And for me, I never felt more treasured by him. We cherished that moment of pause to embrace the impact of the day.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Have a day-of coordinator! We were so grateful for ours! It allowed us to truly enjoy the day. I didn’t worry about what the groomsmen were up to, and Nate knew they were right on schedule. The staff of the Winchester Opera House made the perfect environment for our wedding day, and that is so important!

Photographer: Brooke Bailey of On A Whim Photography | Planner: Vanessa Ziembroski and Natalie Johnson of The Winchester Opera House | Ceremony and Reception Venue, Caterer, Rentals, and Lighting: The Winchester Opera House | Florist: Neal Linville of The Winchester Opera House | Wedding Cake Baker: Stacey Maslin, The Cake Lady | DJ: DJ Kevin Croucher, Wed Laugh Love | Paper Products: Minted | Bride’s Gown: Vintage Redesign by Donna Beth Creations | Bride’s Veil: Donna Beth Creations | Jewelry: Kendra Scott Earrings | Hair Stylist: Erika Evans, Something Blu Lexington | Makeup Artist: Tamika Holifield, Something Blu Lexington | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade New York | Groom’s Attire: Custom Joseph Abboud | Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Champagne poppers: Oriental Trading Company | Garter: made by bride and sister | Handkerchief: embroidered by bride | Bride’s Rings: Tacori | Groom’s Ring: Sather’s Jewelers, Fort Collins, CO

emily Written with love by Emily
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Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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