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I was recently asked if Brandon and I have any anniversary traditions. At first, I said no, but then I remembered how much we love to reminisce about our wedding day each year! We talk about how much fun we had, and often share anecdotes the other might not remember. Like Sarah and Steven, we did not do a first look, and I also remember the exact moment the church doors opened. Sarah said, and I couldn’t agree more, that “I still get butterflies when I think about it. That memory will carry us through a lifetime of ups and downs.” I’m sure that was only the beginning, and that their intimate reception Coosaw Point RiverClub was filled with even more memories to be shared for years to come!

Thanks to Rach Loves Troy for sharing this sweet day with us!

I found my dress at a small boutique in Charleston with my bridesmaids, aunt, and mother. I tried on so many dresses, but none of them felt like me. Then, I put on this interesting two-piece dress, and that was it–game over. It was beautiful! The fitted underlay was stunning under the detailed overlay, giving the dress a very romantic feel while still showing off my figure.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It sounds so cliché, but everything really was perfect! Seeing everything finally come together was amazing. I think the flowers were our favorite detail–they were above and beyond beautiful, and really added a romantic feel to our bohemian-inspired wedding.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We went back and forth on this decision! Part of us wanted that private moment to enjoy each other and take it all in, but the other part of us wanted that grand moment when the doors opened and we could see each other for the first time in front of friends and family. We decided that it was too special not to have the big moment in front of those gorgeous wooden church doors! We could not have been happier with our decision to stay traditional.

We chose the historic St. Peter’s Catholic Church in beautiful downtown Beaufort for its Southern character and charm. The newly restored church is just breathtaking and has a very intimate feel, which was important for our small wedding! Our reception was held at the Coosaw Point RiverClub. We love this venue and the incredible views it offers. We knew the second we got engaged that the RiverClub was where we wanted to celebrate our big day!

For the reception, I went with a fun, fitted gown with a deep v-neck and ruffled straps. It was perfect for dancing the night away!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Thankfully, our venue was fully furnished and gorgeous, and the colors tied in so well with our color scheme that we didn’t need to do much! We kept everything very simple, not wanting to overwhelm the venue with too much detail. Flowers and greenery were really our only decorations.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance song was “Nothing Can Change This Love” by Sam Cooke. We went through so many different options for our first dance and would settle on one for a month or so until something else came along. We knew we didn’t want a really popular song–we wanted it to feel like ours. We came across this 1963 song by Sam Cooke and thought it was perfect–upbeat but slow enough to dance to, and everything we wanted to say to each other. The song I danced with my dad to was “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder, which was the same song my sisters danced to with him, so I thought it would be sweet to finish off the tradition! Steven danced with his mother to “Days like This” by Van Morrison. When his mother sent me this song, I melted! I really could not have picked a sweeter song for them.


Our cake was incredible–I must have eaten four or five pieces! It was a simple, whipped buttercream, three-tiered cake with a combination of chocolate and strawberry shortcake layers. It was nice to be able to give our guests a choice for their dessert that night.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in the summer of 2010 and talked a little, but it wasn’t until a few months later that we reconnected on Facebook. After a cheesy exchange online, he asked for my number. I was starting my first year at college and he was in his second year at another university. The following year, he transferred to the same school as me, and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! Steven planned a trip for our four-year anniversary to Mount Mitchell in North Carolina. We planned to visit tons of waterfalls and had the maps to all of them ready to go, but somehow, we spent most of the day riding up and down the mountain, getting lost! It was getting late when we stumbled across a beautiful waterfall in a secluded part of the mountain, which is where Steven asked me to be his wife! It was incredible!
When did y’all get married? June 4, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 80
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? In preparation for our big day, we went to a premarital counseling course. During the all-day session, we learned about each other’s love languages, talked about when we would want children, how we want to handle finances, etc. It was great to see that we were on the same page in so many of the important aspects of marriage.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Definitely the financial stress of planning a wedding. We tried really hard to be realistic about the cost of things, but weddings aren’t cheap! We would come to terms with the price of one thing only to be hit in the face with the price of another. Steven was amazing and just kept reassuring me that it would all be worth it. Don’t tell him I said this, but he was right!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Ashley Rhodes, our wedding planner! She planned both of my sisters’ weddings and it was really amazing to have her there to help marry off the last Gresham girl. There really are no words great enough for the job she did!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Easy–when the church doors opened and we finally got to see each other. I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything, I still get butterflies when I think about it. That memory will carry us through a lifetime of ups and downs.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? After almost six years together, we are excited about starting a family together!

Photographer: Rach Loves Troy Photography | Planner: Ashley Rhodes Event Designs | Ceremony Venue: St. Peter’s Historic Church | Reception Venue: Coosaw Point RiverClub | Florist: Creative Floral | Cake Baker: AMC Confections | Caterer: Southern Graces | Rentals: Amazing Rentals | DJ: Epic Charleston | Paper Products: Murrs Printing | Bride’s Gown: “Ti Adora” by Alvina Valenta | Hair and Makeup: Orchid Salon | Bride’s Shoes: Mark Fisher | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Cate Lyon | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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Settle into your seats this morning, y’all–we have an extra sweet love story to share! Ellen and Richard first met in middle school, and their friendship grew throughout high school. In college, after realizing there were sparks between them, Richard finally suggested they start dating, but Ellen resisted, afraid of losing such a close friend if things didn’t work out. The ultimate comeback? “Richard thought it might be problematic if, by not giving it a shot, we would both end up married to other people, and he would still want to call me every night to tell me about the funny things that had happened during the day!” Naturally, Ellen couldn’t argue with that, and a little ways down the road, these two friends-turned-sweethearts planned a fabulous celebration in New Orleans to kick off their marriage. Our Blue Ribbon Vendor Sapphire Events helped them pull the details together at the same hotel where Ellen’s parents had honeymooned years before, and from the traditional ceremony to the energetic second line, I can only imagine that the 350 loved ones in attendance won’t soon forget this joyful day!

Thank you so much to the talented Ryan Ray for sharing Ellen and Richard’s celebration with us!

My mom and I shopped all over Houston for three weeks for my wedding gown. I have always heard that I would just know it when I saw it. I was 99% sure I had found the perfect dress, so we decided to go back and try it on one more time before ordering it. When we walked into the shop, my mom, who knows me so well, said, “Now, Ellen, do not look to the left or right. Go straight to the fitting room.” Well…I looked to the right, and there it was: the dress of my dreams, which had not been there before. My mom cried when she saw me in it–I had found my dress!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? From the welcome bags that were filled with Mardi Gras beads, Zapp’s Spicy Crawtater chips, Aunt Sally’s pralines, and maps of things to do in the French Quarter, to the Cajun Creole dinner at the reception that included seafood gumbo, shrimp and grits, braised short ribs, and king cake, everything about the wedding was Southern! We also had a classic Louisiana “cake pull.” The pastry chef put ribbons with pewter charms tied to the ends in between layers of the bride’s cake. Each ribbon had a wish or fortune, such as “you will soon find love.” Before we cut the cake, 12 of my close friends, who were not bridesmaids, were asked by the band to go to the cake table. Each friend grabbed the end of a ribbon and pulled out her charm. In addition to getting to participate without having a duty, each lady had a special keepsake from the wedding.

After much discussion, and getting way too much advice, we did decide to do a first look. Since the wedding was in picturesque New Orleans and the ceremony was at 7:00 P.M., we had so many fabulous locations and daylight hours for photographs. We wanted to take advantage of that, so we met in the courtyard of the hotel. It was such a sweet, fun time, and it felt private, even though our wedding party and parents were watching from the surrounding balconies and french doors! The pictures of our first look are such treasures. Plus, having already seen each other, we were then able to walk around the French Quarter with our wonderful photographer, getting so many pictures out of the way before the ceremony, freeing us up to celebrate with our guests the rest of the evening! For us, the first look also calmed lots of nerves.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we did not write our own vows. We are both very traditional, and wanted to make the same vows our parents had made years ago. Our favorite pastor did a beautiful job officiating, using Scripture we had selected together, helping us begin our marriage with the solid foundation of our shared faith.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? One of our dear, lifelong friends read 1 Corinthians 13, the beautiful “love chapter” from the New Testament.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I was born in Mississippi and have many childhood memories of happy times in New Orleans. Both my maternal and fraternal grandparents, as well as my parents, spent their honeymoons there. As a matter of fact, Richard and I got married in the Grand Ballroom of the Royal Sonesta, the hotel where my parents honeymooned! My mom and dad had taken Richard and me to New Orleans a couple of years before we got married, and we did everything we could to make Richard fall in love with the city. It worked! When the time came to plan our wedding, New Orleans was the obvious choice. We wanted our guests to have fun! Everyone was so excited to spend the weekend in the French Quarter and celebrate with us.

Describe your wedding flowers. My bouquet was a cascading arrangement of white garden roses, white gardenias, white lilac, white ranunculus, and white orchids. The flowers used throughout the evening were lush, imperfect combinations of beautiful white flowers and green foliage.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was probably the second line parade. This tradition descends from African American Jazz funerals. Led by a New Orleans jazz band, the newlyweds carry parasols and are followed through the French Quarter by family, wedding party, and guests. It is basically a huge street dance and block party! We had hankies with our names and wedding date on them for guests to wave as we all sipped champagne, celebrated, and danced our way a few blocks to and from the hotel. Crowds lined the streets, waving and cheering, with some even falling in line and joining the parade. It was such a festive experience for us, as well as our guests, many of whom had never witnessed a second line, much less joined in one. It also gave the hotel a chance to “flip” the ballroom for the reception.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Richard and I met in seventh grade when Richard transferred to the small private school I attended. We became close friends in tenth grade, but always dated other people. He was captain of the football team and I was the cheerleading captain. We spent a lot of time with each other, and even went to senior prom together! College found me at Baylor University and Richard at The University of Texas at Austin. Throughout freshman and first semester of sophomore year, we saw each other often, as friends. In February of sophomore year, Richard suggested that there might be something more than friendship between us. I agreed, but feared losing him as a friend if things were to go badly. Richard thought it might be problematic if, by not giving it a shot, we would both end up married to other people, and he would still want to call me every night to tell me about the funny things that had happened during the day! I couldn’t argue with that, so we started dating, running back and forth between Waco and Austin each weekend. We have never regretted going for it!
Tell us all about the proposal! From Richard: I graduated from law school in May 2014. One night in June, I picked Ellen up to go out to dinner. When we got in the car, I made up an excuse to run back to my house, and I suggested that she come inside. When we walked through the house, she looked into the dining room and saw the table set for dinner for two (which I had prepared), along with an open ring box containing the heirloom setting we had admired a couple of years before, with my grandmother’s diamond in the center. Ellen became a little hysterical, and kept asking, “What is going on? Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!” Yes, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She said, “Yes!” (For the record, I had taken her dad to lunch a few weeks earlier to get his permission!)
When did y’all get married? March 28, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Our hope was to have 300 guests. Amazingly enough, there were around 350 people in attendance!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Since we knew each other and each other’s families so well, we were already ahead of the game. We share so many of the same values, so a lot of the typical compromises and adjustments were not really necessary. We did attend a wonderful marriage prep class at our church, in addition to excellent premarital counseling with our precious pastor who conducted our ceremony.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Although our grandmothers would be horrified, we chose thermography over engraving for our invitations and save the dates!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy every minute. Do not let anyone steal your joy! This is the one time in your life when it is okay to be a little selfish. You cannot please everyone. You and your groom need to have it your way, as long as your underwriters (in our case, my parents) are fine with your decisions. When we got engaged, my parents told me, “This wedding is our gift to you and Richard. It is about the two of you.” What a great gift it was!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We have bought our first home and look forward to starting our family in the near future. I hope we will always remember to cherish the simple everyday things that really bond and unite us as a couple.

Photographer: Ryan Ray Photography | Videographer: Studio Vieux Carre | Planner: Sapphire Events | Venue, Catering, and Cake: Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans Grand Ballroom | Florist: Kim Starr Wise Floral Events | Band: Memphis Soul Revue | Save the Dates and Invitations: Crane & Co. | Custom Welcome Bag Packets and Wedding Programs: Bering’s Hardware | Bride’s Gown: Style 9215 by Alvina Valenta | Bridal Salon: Ivory Bridal Atelier | Bride’s Belt and Veil: Anne Barge | Hair and Makeup: Kiss and Makeup Beauty Services | Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Style 450049 by Monique Lhuillier | Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids Houston | Menswear: Perlis Magazine Street | Second Line Band: Storyville Stompers | Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Musicians: New Orleans Finest Musicians | Invitation Calligraphy and Custom Monogram: PenDance Calligraphy | Custom Stamp: Paper Gold Co. | Custom Map: Designs by Robyn Love

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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  1. avatar Richard King reply

    What absolutely beautiful work, Inspired!

  2. avatar Jen M reply

    Beautiful wedding! My husband and I were married at Royal Sonesta in 2013…lots of amazing memories! Wyeth was a joy to work with and she is such a sweet, sweet lady. Best Wishes to you both!

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As a young girl, Sam never imagined her wedding, but she did spend hours on her grandparents’ peanut farm, daydreaming about moving to a big city and falling in love. When that dream came true, she and Jamie chose Hidden Valley Farms as their wedding venue–it combined their appreciation for the city that brought them together (Nashville) with Sam’s childhood dreams. Their venue was not the only meaningful detail–Sam and Jamie’s goal was a wedding celebration that represented “our heritage and our hearts.” Isn’t that the most precious way to combine two so very important aspects of life? There is so much more beauty than meets the eye in this lovely wedding, from decor collected from family, the most incredible something borrowed (don’t miss that story!), and florals inspired by Sam’s late grandmother.

Gracious alive, I’m glad Rachel Moore was there to bring it all to life for us through these photos!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I wore my grandmother Bobbie’s pearl earrings and diamond tennis bracelet as my something old, and my dress and veil were new. My something blue was a keepsake box that belonged to my great-grandmother, and my new sister-in-law gave me a silver sixpence for my shoe. My something borrowed was such a surprise. On the morning of our wedding, my aunt and my grandmother came by to share a piece of family history with me, and they let me borrow several trinkets, including my great-great-grandparents’ copper wedding rings. My great-great-grandparents immigrated to the United States from Italy in the mid-1890s, and they were madly in love, but had to come overseas at different times for financial reasons, so they were married by proxy. One of the rings says “Amore” which means love in Italian. I felt so honored to pin those rings to my bouquet along with the other family heirlooms.

Finding my wedding dress was such a special experience. I had just finished writing all of my final papers for graduate school when my mom and my two younger sisters traveled all the way to Nashville to go dress shopping with me. After several stores and several dresses, we went back to see the third dress I had tried on at the first store. I felt so effortlessly “me” as soon as I put it on, and knew it was what I was looking for. My dress was classic and comfortable, while also being unique and romantic, which is very much in line with my style.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look and we were glad that we did. We are both pretty private people and I don’t like to be the center of attention, so as the day progressed, I became a bit anxious. Right after we saw each other, it felt like everything else disappeared in an irreplaceable moment that just the two of us shared, and it is a memory we will cherish forever.

We decided to recite traditional vows. I was not expecting to be so emotional when my eyes locked with Jamie’s as we were joined as husband and wife, but I’ll never forget him wiping away my tears while I said my vows. We had so many guests comment on how sweet and reverent our wedding ceremony was, and that was our main objective.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? As a young girl, I never really imagined what my wedding day would be like; instead, I would spend hours on my grandparents’ peanut farm, looking up at the blue sky over hundreds of acres of land, while imagining what it would be like to one day move to a big city and fall in love. We had our wedding on a middle Tennessee farm to combine our appreciation for the city that brought us together with my childhood daydreams of falling in love on my grandparents’ south Alabama land.

Our flowers were picked to honor my late grandmother Bobbie, who was an Alabama Master Gardener and my hero. She could find beauty in any flower growing wild on the side of the road, and her perennials still blossom every spring, so I carried her small garden spade in my bouquet to have a piece of her with me. We worked with a farmer florist to pick the most elegant and natural flowers that were in season. All of our flowers were locally grown and free flowing, just like I wanted them.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail might be the one hundred candles we had in the barn. The brass candlesticks were a last minute addition and they not only took our breath away, but also added such an intimate and cozy feeling to the rainy day.

We had a three-tiered wedding cake with red velvet, vanilla buttercream, and carrot cake layers to cover all of our favorite flavors. We placed two gold “love birds” as toppers on the cake because Jamie’s nickname in his family is J-Bird, and his nephews call him Uncle Bird. We also had an incredible pie table with pumpkin, coconut cream, key lime, and blueberry pies. At Thanksgiving, my great-aunt Betty always has a quaint pie table that my family gathers around after the meal to enjoy time together, and I loved having a subtle nod to this tradition.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both joined Teach for America as corps members in 2011 and were placed in Nashville. We met the day we moved and spent that summer in the Mississippi Delta teaching summer school and becoming friends. We tried to stay just friends, but we couldn’t deny that there was something special between us for very long. On one fateful August afternoon, Jamie was going to the Nashville Public Library to do some work for school and asked me if I wanted to go, too. The two of us have been a happy pair and by each other’s sides ever since that first “date” at the library.
Tell us all about the proposal! After celebrating three years of dating, Jamie proposed on August 22, 2014. His birthday fell on a Tuesday, so I kept telling him to pick out a restaurant to go to for a nice Friday night dinner. Friday came and he hadn’t picked a place yet, but he called me that morning to say that we had reservations at one of our favorite little cafes in Sylvan Park. When I came home later that day to white rose petals on my front steps, I certainly suspected a proposal. I walked in and there he was, holding a colorful bouquet in the candlelight. He said the most beautiful words and got down on one knee in the kitchen. Before he could even finish the question, I exclaimed the happiest “Yes!” with the happiest tears. We decided that we wanted to wait to call our families until a little later in order to take in the moments of only us knowing. As we walked up to the restaurant, all of a sudden, I heard a group say “Congratulations!” I looked closer to see my sisters, Jamie’s brother and sister-in-law, and both sets of our parents, all of whom had never met each other before that night. It was the perfect private proposal on a regular Friday afternoon, and then the most charmed evening with our closest loved ones.
When did y’all get married? October 3, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? When a North Carolina groom marries an Alabama bride, it is bound to be inherently Southern. Aside from that, we wanted our wedding celebration to represent our heritage and our hearts. We collected old photographs to showcase our beautiful families. My grandfather Sammy worked tirelessly for months leading up to our wedding to cut down a dying oak tree on his farm to make the wood slabs for our reception centerpieces, and my uncle let us borrow bottles that he had collected for decades to sit atop the wood. We had a very Southern menu of barbeque, macaroni and cheese, shrimp and grits, veggies, and biscuits, served with local jams and honey. Sammy is an important person in my life, so it was an honor to have him say the most touching blessing before our reception meal. It felt just like home.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? With all of the anticipation leading up to our wedding day, we knew that laying the foundation for a strong marriage was the most important part. We read books together, prayed together, and attended premarital counseling courses together. We genuinely enjoyed the season of engagement because we viewed it as a time to prepare for marriage.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Looking at each other during the ceremony and reciting our vows was the most memorable moment. We had the dreariest weather on our wedding day, but only joyful tears came down my cheeks during our intimate ceremony. Although our outdoor ceremony was quickly moved indoors, we could have been anywhere in the world, and all that mattered was that we were publicly committing our lives to one other in the presence of God and everyone we loved.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Breathe before and on the day of your wedding; be completely present and take in both the small and monumental moments. Understand that the best is yet to come, but do your best to savor the time that is fleeting.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right now, we are soaking in being newlyweds and we love it. It still blows us away that we get to spend the rest of our lives together. We love coming home and just being married, as simple as that sounds. We are currently saving up to buy our first home. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for us!

Photographer: Rachel Moore Photography | Planner: Modern Vintage Events | Venue: Green Door Gourmet at Hidden Valley Farms | Florist: Basil and Bergamot | Caterer and Cake: Whole Foods Catering | Rentals: Southern Events Party Rentals | Lighting: Bright Event Productions | Band: 24/7 | Paper Products: Marked | Bride’s Gown: Ti Adora Style 7451 by Alvina Valenta | Hair and Makeup: Katie Russo Beauty | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank | Musicians: Mockingbird Musicians | Getaway Car: Matchless Transportation

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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  1. avatar Nashville Wedding Planners: Sam + Jamie’s Tennessee Farm wedding | Modern Vintage Events reply

    […] heartfelt and beyond lovely. We were thrilled when their wedding was chosen to be featured by Southern Weddings Blog. Congratulations again, Sam and Jamie and here’s to many beautiful years […]

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