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Since 95 percent of Hilari and Grant’s guests traveled from out of town for their wedding, they wanted to not only show their guests a true Southern celebration, but also make them feel loved and celebrated. To me, that is the definition of gracious Southern hospitality. From the ceremony under a magnolia tree (which is extra special to Hilari, as every house she’s lived in has had one in the front yard), to hand-delivered welcome bags, and even a giant Jenga game at cocktail hour handmade by Hilari’s grandfather, I’m sure that through each element of Hilari and Grant’s wedding at Belle Meade Plantation, guests loved being part of this new chapter of their love story.

Thanks to Rachel Moore for sharing this lovely day!

I knew finding my wedding dress would be something special for my mom and I to do together. She and I are absolute best friends and I thought it would be something really sweet we could share together, forever. Through our shared Pinterest board, I kind of had an idea of what I was looking for, but in all honesty, was completely open to anything as long as it was unique and completely out of the box. The wedding colors had been decided months before (black, white, and glittery gold), and I wanted a dress that fit our venue, theme, and overall style. One Sunday, we decided to start the process and stopped into The Dress Theory boutique in Nashville. As soon as I walked in the door, I spotted a beautiful gold, glittery dress. In that moment, I knew that was my dress. It fit all of my criteria and was better than anything I could have imagined. Paired with a pretty belt and a simple veil, it was perfect. We found out later that the dress I chose isn’t typically isn’t carried at The Dress Theory–Sarah Seven was having a trunk show that weekend, so we lucked out and happened upon it. It was meant to be!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We tried to incorporate so many Southern details into our special day. Belle Meade Plantation is the epitome of Nashville Southern living. The venue was the perfect backdrop for our wedding and celebration, and had such a historical factor that our out-of-town guests loved. We chose to get married under the magnolia tree in the gardens, and tied magnolias into the boutonnieres and tables decor. This was especially sentimental, as every house I’ve lived in has had a magnolia tree in the front yard. Our guests absolutely loved the biscuit bar, with toppings that included pulled pork, fried chicken, hot sauce, homemade jams and butters, sorghum and more. We had familial ties throughout the day as well, including signature drink recipes concocted by my dad, corn hole and giant Jenga handmade by my grandfather, and welcome bags carefully crafted and hand-delivered to our guests by me and my mom.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! I think this was one of the best decisions we made all day. It was a way for us to connect before the ceremony and truly soak in the magnitude of what was ahead. It gave us time to laugh, cry, reflect on our journey, and get really excited for the celebration ahead. I think we were both more nervous than we had anticipated, and this gave us the perfect opportunity to share in a special moment together, just us.

We chose Belle Meade Plantation for both our ceremony and reception because it was the perfect backdrop for our Southern wedding. 95 percent of our guests were traveling from out of town, and we wanted to give them a warm Nashville welcome and show them a truly Southern affair. It was the perfect size for our 125 guests and we were able to make full use of the gorgeous property. The ceremony was conducted under the big magnolia in the Boxwood Garden, then passed appetizers, signature drinks, and lawn games took place under the eaves. We dined under twinkle lights in the back tent and danced the night away in the Carriage House. Grant and I wanted our guests to feel loved and celebrated, and also introduce them to all things Southern!

Describe your wedding flowers. Where to begin? Our florist was incredible at bringing our floral dreams to life. We chose a gorgeous blend of whites, greens, and golds, and made sure to incorporate magnolias. The bridesmaid bouquets were white with pops of green, and my bouquet was white with gold accents to match my dress. The tables were adorned with gold-edged magnolias, candles, and gold vessels.

We opted for a small, two-tiered cake that was brought out to us at the head table. We cut it there and guests were served cupcakes with custom toppers and forks at the same time. My favorite flavor is funfetti and Grant’s is coconut. We were able to have a layer of each, and enjoyed the leftovers the next day (and still have slices in our freezer for whenever we want to revisit our special day!).

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It depends who you ask! We both agree that we met during our senior year at Vanderbilt, but my side of story doesn’t start until February 4. I lived off campus at the time and had a very busy schedule with nursing school. On that Saturday night, I was in my PJs, had a glass of wine ready, and was just about to start watching The Bachelor when my phone rang. It was my friend wanting me to join her at a party she was headed to, and I decided to head over, which is totally out of character for me once I’m settled in. I figured I’d stay for just a little bit. That all changed when I walked in the door…and there was Grant. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I asked my friend, “Who IS that and why haven’t I met him yet?!” She said, “You actually have!” After some awkward introductions, Grant and I start talking. We had so much in common and could have talked forever, but I figured this Southerner would want nothing to do with my Yankee self. Come to find out, Grant was the one who had really wanting me to come to the party in the first place! Two minutes turned into two hours, which turned into the rest of the evening. The rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! It all started when I got home and Grant was there waiting for me dressed up, which was unusual because we were about to go for a walk. He told me to get in the car–no questions asked! After a few minutes of detouring around the city, we finally arrived at Love Circle, the location of one of our first dates, which has a gorgeous view of Nashville. Grant had a picnic basket packed full of our favorite snacks and we walked up the hill. As soon as we spread out the blanket, Grant was on one knee and proposed. Of course, I said yes! With a champagne toast and a bunch of sweet treats, we celebrated while admiring the most amazing view of Nashville!
When did y’all get married? May 16, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. “Hey Pretty Girl” was Grant’s choice for our first dance because he says it reminded him of when he met me, and it always brings a smile to both of our faces. My father-daughter dance was to “My Girl”–I am a daddy’s girl through and through. My dad picked the song that was playing in the delivery room when I was born–it brings tears to his eyes every time, and was the perfect song for us.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Planning for our marriage was just as important, if not more, as planning for our wedding. We participated in a premarital course offered through a local church. This provided a place to talk about many things we had touched on previously, and allowed us to dive further into our values, goals, and hopes for marriage. We also made sure to have date night once a week to regroup on our life outside of wedding planning and make sure we were on the same page. This was essential in planting the seeds for a fruitful marriage.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I think the most memorable moment was sitting at our table, listening to my parents’ toasts, and looking around at the culmination of our celebration. Everyone we loved was in one place, under one tent, laughing, chatting, and becoming one big family. Love and relationships fire me up, and it was the perfect way to begin our journey together.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Prioritize. Make a master list (yes, it will be long!) and categorize each task into priority level. What is a “must do?” What can wait until most of the details are in place? Understanding your list in terms of priority level will help make the planning process less stressful, and will help you make time for what matters most. Also, have fun! This is such an exciting time! Don’t forget to celebrate, laugh, create memories, and live in the moment. It goes by so fast! One more tip: take a few days before leaving for your honeymoon. We left a week after the wedding, and it was so relaxing. During our wedding weekend, we could live in the moment and soak in every memory. Once we got home, the honeymoon packing and anticipation could begin!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are excited about settling into our new, married routine, and growing more deeply in love as the days, months, and years progress. We plan to travel, focus on laying the groundwork for a successful marriage, and make the most of each day together. Eventually, we want to start a family and create a happy haven for our children, a place for them to grow in a loving, supportive, and encouraging home.

Photographer: Rachel Moore Photography / Videographer: Needle + Thread / Planner: A Delightful Day / Venue: Belle Meade Plantation / Florist: Brocade Designs / Cake Baker: Wolfe Gourmet Cakes / Caterer: G Catering & Events / Rentals: Southern Event Rentals / Lighting: Bright Event Productions / Bands: Silver Strings and The Respectables / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Gown: Sarah Seven / Bridal Salon and Veil: The Dress Theory / Hair Stylist: Sarah Page / Makeup Artist: Nicole Diamond / Bride’s Shoes: Tieks / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse / Additional Vendors: Sucre Shop, Sugar Paper, You’re That Girl Designs

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Linda reply

    Such beautiful wedding photos. The bride is so smiley. :)

  2. avatar StudioWed Nashville | A Delightful Day Event Planning : Blush and Gold Wedding reply

    […] If you are searching for a wonderfully talented event planning company, look no further! This wedding was executed by our very own, A Delightful Day Event Planning Company! We could not be more thrilled! Especially considering that this is their second feature this Month! This time A Delightful Day was featured in Southern Weddings! […]

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    […] Rachel Moore Photography | Southern Weddings […]

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    […] in a full wedding recap? Southern Weddings shared more […]

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    […] can catch a glimpse of our day here and here. And watch a snippet […]

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We love our Blue Ribbon Vendors! They are some of the best in the best in the South, and we hope you’ll take a minute to check out their portfolios! Here, a few of our favorite new additions…

I love the name A Delightful Day, because when you hire Mary Alice and her team, you’re almost guaranteed a delightful wedding day! They are based in Nashville.

I kind of love that Catherine Ann is a former Disney World cast member — meaning, as she puts it, that she excels in “making dreams come true and capturing memories that will last a lifetime.” She is based in Tampa, FL.

Five Dot Design loves good stories, so it’s no surprise that Kristen fell in love with wedding stationery: the beginning to every big day’s story! She is based in Kentucky but works with clients from all over.

Heba Salama lives around the corner from our office, and we can testify that her personality is as warm as her photos! I love that she can capture color and joy as easily as quiet, sweet moments. She is based in Chapel Hill, NC.

Heirloom for Hire rents out their cherished collection of antique china, silver, glassware, and flatware for weddings, showers, and other happy events that need vintage flair! They’re based in Wilmington, NC, and their prices are wonderfully competitive. I love their sentiment: “We would love to add your event to the stories our dishes tell!”

I love the story of ivory sparrow: a mother in law created a set of wraps and robes for her daughter in law’s wedding, and their collection took off from there! These beauties make great personalized bridesmaid gifts.

Kim Starr Wise Floral Events
is based in New Orleans and creates designs known for their lovely combination of heavenly blooms, textural elements, and organic elegance.

Roberts & Co is based in Washington, DC, and has all the efficiency you’d expect from a group used to working with busy professionals, but I love that their designs are fun and colorful, too!

If Teresa of Simply Couture Weddings is half as enthusiastic about her clients’ weddings as she was in our emails, I know y’all are in good hands! She and her team love your love and details, and it shows. They are based in Palm Beach.

Tres Chic Southern Weddings is based in Orlando, and specializes in creating an overall wedding design that brings old family traditions to life!

Still on the hunt for your perfect Southern vendors? Check out our whole crop here! Vendors, if you’re interested in applying, please fill out this form and we’ll be in touch!

emily Written with love by Emily

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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If Lara hadn’t just replenished my office candy supply with Easter goodies galore, I’d be jonesing for a major sugar fix right about now. Sarah boasted the highlight of their festive reception at the Belle Meade Plantation had been the lavish dessert bar, and she wasn’t kidding! Dessert Designs provided the three-tiered confection that doubled as the couple’s wedding cake and the sweet spread’s main event – yum! Emily loves the fact that Sarah + Tyler wed in a real life horse barn and celebrated in the adjoining carriage home, complete with hay bales and mounted bridles. (I’ll spare you the obvious bridle/bridal pun, because I’m awesome like that.) Hats off to photographer Brion Hopkins for this rustic Tennessee wedding!

Describe your wedding flowers: My bouquet was filled with narcissus, white sweet peas, star of Bethlehem and blue privet berries, surrounded by magnolia leaves and tied with a striped burlap wrap with pearl buttons. I adored it! To me, it was an ideal mix of earthy/elegant, high/low elements.
Describe your wedding cake: Our wedding cake was just one item on our dessert table, which included cookies, carrot cake cupcakes (Ryan’s favorite), caramel and candy apples (my favorites), bags of caramel corn and horseshoe-shaped chocolates, so we chose a relatively small three-tiered cake. The cake was covered in ivory fondant icing and decorated with a simple sugar magnolia.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Finding time to do everything! Ryan and I both have busy careers, and, I admit, I’m a bit of a control freak, so I did not exactly delegate any wedding planning tasks. I do not, however, regret any of the countless hours I spent shopping for perfectly mismatched accessories for the bridesmaids, scouring antique stores for picture frames to turn into chalkboards, rubber stamping burlap sacks to hold dessert table treats, etc., because our wedding truly reflected our personalities and style. Plus, I actually enjoyed every moment of it!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Aside from saying our vows to one another, my favorite moment was walking down the aisle with my father. The stables looked almost magical, I was surrounded by my family and closest friends, and I was moments away from marrying the man of my dreams. I remember thinking, “This is the happiest day of my life.” Ryan says that his most memorable moment is when he first saw me in my wedding dress. Yeah, he’s a keeper.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we wrote and memorized our own vows, and did not say or read them to one another until the ceremony. My favorite line from Ryan’s vows to me was his opening: “For years you were just a dream and a prayer. Now that I have you, I will never let you go.” Ryan’s favorite verse was when I said, “Where you go, I will go. Who you become, I will become the complement.” We’ve placed our vows at the very front of our wedding album and plan to repeat them to each other every year on our anniversary.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Right now, Ryan is interviewing for his fellowship in hematology/oncology, so it is exciting to see what possibilities that will bring. Other than that, I’m hoping to start referring to myself by my married name on a more consistent basis. Some habits die hard, I suppose!

Written with love by Katharine
  1. avatar Sarah + Ryan | December 4 reply

    […] event.   The amazing Southern Weddings blog featured this chic affair; check it out here […]

  2. avatar Southern Bride of the Month: September 2011 | Gift Registry News reply

    […] Photos by Brion Hopkins at a Belle Meade wedding (see more from this wedding here!) […]

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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