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One of the “job hazards” of working at Southern Weddings is suffering from an occasional bout of wedding guest envy, and I could definitely say that today about Liz and Jim’s lucky loved ones! First of all, they seem like such a fun couple–just read about how they met (“As it turns out, if you ask the internet for an attractive, nice guy who likes the outdoors and wouldn’t mind dating a girl in the Army, you get Jim Perkins.”) or Jim’s equally sweet and amusing recount of his proposal. Second, their ceremony looks like it was so touching, from Liz being walked down the aisle by both her parents, to the personal vows she and Jim exchanged. And last but not least? Brunch, y’all. Any wedding with a biscuit bar, a waffle bar, AND syrup that was made by the groom’s family is alright by me!

Thanks so much to Elizabeth Fogarty for sharing Liz and Jim’s lovely celebration with us!

One of my bridesmaids allowed me to borrow the veil that her mother had made for her when she got married in 2013. As my something blue, I wore my mother’s diamond and sapphire earrings. For my something old, I wore a diamond cross that has been passed down through three generations of my family as a 16th birthday gift (first to my grandmother, then my mother, then me). Just before the ceremony, I gave gifts to my bridesmaids and my mother. My mom received a small David Yurman ring, and it turned out that she had called Jim ahead of time to find out what gift I was planning to give her. Just before the ceremony, she gave me a matching ring to wear on my right hand.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did! We had a very brief ceremony, but it certainly embodied our personalities and our love for each other. Jim’s favorite line from my vows was when I declared in front of everyone “You know me better than anyone else…even Mom.” My favorite line from his vows was when he used a phrase he says almost daily: “I will keep you safe, protected, and loved.”

Did you pull any wedding inspiration from memories you have together? Tell us about it! The trail mix bar was a symbol of our love of the outdoors. The idea for corn hole came up on one of our dates after we got engaged, when we played corn hole with some of Jim’s friends before a Seattle Sounders game. We have spent lots of time with family and friends and their children, so we chose to have a “kid parade” instead of flower girls and a ring bearer, in order to incorporate all the children who attended the wedding–there were 14 of them!

We chose to get married in DC because it was halfway between our families–mine is in North Carolina and Jim’s is in Connecticut. We knew we wanted to be outside, and the venue we chose was an Audubon Naturalist Society sanctuary. It was lovely for our May wedding–green and lush.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We kept our flowers simple, and did big signs written in calligraphy instead of programs and menus for every guest.

Our favorite detail was incorporating our parents’ recipes into the reception meal. We had both a biscuit and a waffle bar for our brunch reception. The biscuits were a North Carolina recipe perfected by my parents, and the syrup for the waffles was made by Jim’s parents in Connecticut. They also made maple leaf bottle favors of the syrup that served double duty as escort cards.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I have a thing for French macarons. Our caterer was able to make pink, white, and blue macarons for our wedding, along with a ceremonial cutting cake. We love that we got that classic cake cutting picture without having a real wedding cake.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. As it turns out, if you ask the internet for an attractive, nice guy who likes the outdoors and wouldn’t mind dating a girl in the Army, you get Jim Perkins. In other words, Match.com helped us find each other.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Jim: It’s not often that a man meets a woman and knows within six months that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. It’s possibly even rarer that this happens in long distance relationships. My company was scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in late April and my block leave was scheduled for late March. We planned a trip to Kentucky during that time to combine two things that we both, especially I, enjoy: rock climbing at the Red River Gorge and bourbon craft distilling around Lexington. This trip was set to be our last chance to see each other before Liz began her pediatrics residency and I started business school, so unless I wanted to propose to her at a nice brunch in Bethesda, this was my only chance to do it right. We planned to spend a few days in Raleigh en route to Lexington so that I could meet more of her friends and family, and this itinerary meant that we wouldn’t be able to drive to Lexington in a single day. We made the obvious choice to stop in Asheville for a night and I immediately knew that the Biltmore Estate would be the perfect spot to ask her to marry me. This likelihood must have been obvious to her as well, so I took extra care to act disinterested in the forced “lay-over.” As we pulled up to the Inn at Biltmore Estate, Liz began to sense that something was up. She was clearly expecting something as we rode the elevator to our floor and then opened the door to find an elegant room with a balcony, and even a bottle of wine waiting for us. Seeing this, I seized the opportunity to tease her–I poured some wine, handed her a glass, took a knee, and…helped her take off her boots. From that moment, I was dubbed “the boy who cried wolf.” I had fooled her enough and she wasn’t going to fall for it again. The next day, I slipped the ring box into my camera case and we drove over to the estate to begin the tour. As we passed through the garden, there were photographers taking pictures of all of the visitors. We finished our tour and went to pick up our picture. Liz thought it was nice, but I asked if we could get a photographer to take our picture with the house in the background. It “just so happened” that they had a “roving photographer” who could do it. We walked with him along the lawn and up the carriage ramps to a spot and chatted. As we got ready for the picture, Liz set down her purse. Pretending to set down my camera case, I knelt down and pulled out the ring. Before I could say anything, Liz looked down at me and told me to “Stop messing around, this guy is trying to take our picture!” I told her that this time, finally, I was serious, and asked her to marry me while our private photographer captured the moment.
When did y’all get married? May 16, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 115
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No first look for us. Not only did our morning wedding schedule not really allow time for it, we also wanted that moment seeing each other as I walked down the aisle. It definitely changed the time we had for portraits, but our photographer was amazing and she made it work.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My cousin became a Universal Life minister for the occasion. She wrote the ceremony and recommended a reading from E.E. Cummings, “I Carry Your Heart With Me.” One of Jim’s closest friends, who traveled all the way from Seattle for the wedding, did the reading. It was a very special moment for us.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Jim’s best man gave a really awesome speech–he created a PowerPoint similar to an Army mission briefing. It was funny, insightful, and truly touching.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are both Army officers. I am a pediatrics resident at Walter Reed hospital. Jim is an engineer officer currently earning his MBA at Georgetown. We have one more year in DC together before the Army takes Jim away for his next assignment. We plan to enjoy every minute.

Photographer: Elizabeth Fogarty / Planner: Natalie Schlosser of Atrendy Wedding / Venue: Woodend Sanctuary / Florist: Toulies / Caterer and Dessert Baker: Corcoran Caterers / Rentals: Paisely and Jade / Band: Brad Kolodner / Special Details: Just Write Studios / Paper Products: Dandelion Patch / Bride’s Gown: “Violet” by Matthew Christopher / Bridal Salon: Love Couture Bridal / Hair Stylist: DryBar / Makeup Artist: Lauren Jaber / Bride’s Shoes: Nine West / Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss / Rings: Tiffany & Co.

The Dandelion Patch, Paisley & Jade, and Atrendy Wedding are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Dana reply

    biscuits, waffles, and syrup <3 <3 <3

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It’s been so funny to refer to today’s wedding in the office, because this handsome couple shares a name with my own marvelous husband and me! Yep, we’ve got another Emily + John on our hands. And if I had to choose a pair to share a name with, I don’t think I could do much better. I love the romantic fall details they planned with Atrendy Wedding (especially the hot drink bar at their ceremony!), but what struck a chord with me most was Emily’s thoughts on their first look: the whole morning while I was getting ready, I felt anxious that John wasn’t with me. He’s been with me for every important thing that has happened since we met, and it seemed so odd not to share those moments of anticipation with him. As soon as we were reunited at our first look, all my nerves immediately evaporated. It allowed us to really savor the wedding and reception, and it was one of the rare quiet moments we had together all weekend. My own John is definitely my best friend, and I felt the same way on our wedding day.

Big hugs to Abby Grace for sharing these lovely photos with us!

From the minute I walked into Lovely Bride’s boutique in DC, I felt like I would find my dress there. We had been to a handful of shops that day, but nothing had stood out. When I tried my dress on, my first impression was that it was so incredibly comfortable. I loved the silhouette, the lace back, and the way it fell. I always thought I would design my own wedding gown, and I wanted to make a few changes, so I worked with the seamstresses at Green and Blue Studio to redesign the neckline. My dress was one part classic and one part glamorous, and most importantly, it felt like something John would recognize me in.

I wanted to avoid the Thanksgiving/fall look, so I opted for soft neutrals–mostly whites, with blush, peach and soft gray accents, as well as my favorite flower-I-had-never-heard-of: dusty miller. At the end of the night, my wedding planner arranged for a nonprofit called Petal Share to pick up the flowers and deliver them to hospitals, retirement homes, hospices, etc., which I thought was neat!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. John and I met in Fall 2009 during our first semester at Harvard Business School, where we were in the same section. John DJs as a hobby, and he DJ’d some of our section’s events that fall. I was the section photographer, and around the holidays, I was putting together a slideshow video for our school formal. I asked him to help me mix some music for the video, and we spent a whole day working on this project together. We went on our first date to a French restaurant called Aquitaine about a week later. The way John tells it, he knew I was the one by the end of that dinner. We’ve been sharing laughter and adventures ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! On Saturday, June 15, we were in Boston on a beautiful, sunny day. We were pulling up to check-in at the hotel where that formal had been held during our first year of school. Instead of going to the front desk, John gave me a love letter marked “#1,” and hailed another cab. We ended up going on a tour of places that were meaningful to our relationship, with love letters at each stop. He gave me Letter #3 on the Weeks Footbridge, which crosses the Charles River, took my hands, and dropped down on one knee. While this was happening, I heard a flurry of camera shutters clicking away. I had thought they were tourists, but they were actually there to photograph the proposal! They took us around Cambridge to do engagement photos before we continued on to stops #4 and #5, ending with lunch at Aquitaine, the site of our first date.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We started with traditional vows, but we personalized them so that each line really held meaning for us. My favorite line was one we added: “from this day forward, my home will always be with you”. To me, marriage has always been about finding an anchor and constancy in a life that is otherwise unpredictable and full of change. No matter what life brings us, all I need is John with me and we’ll be home.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? The Old Testament reading was from Tobit 8:4-8, which we chose for the final line, “… bring us to old age together.” That has always been our shared vision for marriage–that we would be hand in hand when we’re old. The New Testament reading was Colossians 3:12-17, which was also one of the readings my parents used at their wedding. The Gospel reading was John 15:9-12: “Love each other as I have loved you.” It can’t get more straightforward than that!

Mini grilled cheese sandwiches! And mini bottles of champagne to guide guests to their tables! Y’all know I am in heaven.

The things I love about the South revolve around family, tradition, soft colors and Chick-fil-A (I lived in Georgia for a long time…). I think the South is simultaneously casual and elegant, and that was the feel I wanted at our wedding. I loved the soft color scheme, the historic venue, and the combination of black tie in a totally relaxed atmosphere. We incorporated family heirlooms and tradition, and had my cousin officiate. We spent a lot of time thinking about how to best host our guests–most of whom traveled from out of town–and we planned things like the cider station, pashminas, welcome cocktails, and a farewell brunch for them. Finally, the red velvet groom’s cake was obviously a Southern touch, and the mini chicken and waffles during cocktail hour were my personal favorite.

I absolutely LOVED John’s groom cake. The pastry chef made a cake shaped like a DJ turntable, complete with a record saying “DJ Kos.” His cake was classic red velvet–the good Southern kind that’s actually cocoa-based, not just food coloring!

When did y’all get married? November 16, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. John is a music fanatic, so we spent a lot of time thinking about this! We went fairly traditional with the ceremony music. Our first dance was to our band’s rendition of John Legend’s “Stay with You”; it’s a beautiful, soulful song. John and his mom danced to Rascal Flatt’s “My Wish,” and I danced with my dad to Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.” Both John and my dad are huge Dylan fans, and this particular song is one my dad and his late sister used to sing at family events, so it was a special way to honor her memory as well.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I went with a sweet and simple cake: three round tiers, textured buttercream, and a large beaded border. The cake was almond with strawberry meringue buttercream filling. The pastry chef put little chocolate crunchies in the center, which reminded me of the ice cream cakes we used to get for our birthdays growing up.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I did my own calligraphy on the invitations, escort cards, place cards, and signs. For the signs, I found all the frames on Etsy, and my mom figured out a way to turn the black chalkboards a soft gray color. I spent hours doing all the design and lettering by hand. I was also thrilled with the way our guestbook turned out–we had a photo booth, so our guests used their photos to make a scrapbook for us. It was so much fun reading it when we got back from our honeymoon.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! For my something borrowed, I wore my great grandma, grandma and mom’s original engagement rings on my right hand. For something old, I wrapped my flowers in lace from their wedding dresses. My mother-in-law gave me a locket passed down in her family to pin to my flowers as well. To me, this was like a good luck symbol to be carrying the strength and wisdom of all those long marriages with me as I started my own. My something blue was a monogrammed handkerchief I carried, just in case John or I teared up during the ceremony. My mother gave me a beautiful pearl and diamond bracelet as my something new.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The hardest thing for us was planning the wedding in five months from a different city during a busy period at work. I had one “super weekend” in Virginia where we booked the rehearsal dinner, hotel, and band, had the food and cake tastings, had my first dress fitting, and did hair and make up trials all in one. My wedding planner helped by recommending the vendors, but my mom was really the star. She did so much of the heavy lifting to bring my vision to life, including hand-making the ceremony decorations and helping with all the DIY elements.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I’m torn between my photographer and my wedding planner. As a photography fanatic, I was most excited for the photos, and Abby just did a superb job. It’s one of the few times in my life that the photos actually look the way I felt. But, having Pam and her team there on the wedding day to worry about everything so my mom and I could just relax and have fun was an incredible blessing.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Reading John’s letter to me before I got into my gown and went to meet him for our first look, and then finally seeing him and feeling like we could take on the world together. John says his favorite moment was catching a glimpse of me through the trees as my dad and I made our way down the brick path to the garden where the ceremony took place.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Let go of the need to make your wedding perfect. Our wedding was made perfect by all the little things that didn’t go according to plan that day, experiencing the love and support of our friends and family as they helped us resolve the mini fiascos, and laughing through it all.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Right now, we are really focused on our careers and getting settled in Chicago. We are getting ready to buy our first home!

Photographer: Abby Grace Photography / Planner: Pam Barefoot at Atrendy Wedding / Venue: River Farm / Florist: Toulies en Fleur / Cake Baker: Fluffy Thoughts / Caterer: Well Dunn Catering / Rentals: Party Rental Ltd and Rent-All Center / Band: Hipshack via Sam Hill Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: “Lauren” by Nicole Miller / Alterations: Green and Blue Studio / Paper Products: William Arthur and Minted / Hair Stylist: Bridal Artistry DC / Makeup Artist: Audrey at Bridal Artistry DC / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Dessy, After Six and Joanna August / Groom’s Attire: Balani Custom Clothiers / Photo Booth: Monumental Moments Photo Booth / Ceremony Music: Halley Schoenberg Jazz Trio

Atrendy Wedding is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
9 Comments
  1. avatar Emilia Jane reply

    So gorgeous Abby! That first image is perfection and the whole feature is too lovely <3

  2. avatar Matt reply

    Those are some beautiful pictures! And the wedding looks beautiful as well.

  3. avatar Abby Grace reply

    Thank y’all so, SO much for featuring one of my favorite couples ever! Pam from ATrendy is a wedding genius, so I knew John & Emily’s big day was going to be a vision. Thank you, thank you!!

  4. avatar Kyla F reply

    I absolutely love the care and thought that was clearly put into the details in this wedding, especially Emily’s hand-lettering (gorgeous!) and her bouquets.

  5. avatar Melissa reply

    I love the grooms cake and my groom is actually a DJ- can I ask where you got that cake?

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    Stunning wedding, all details so looked after. Love the shot with the mini grill cheese sandwiches, the groom cake and all blackboard details. Best from Australia!

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There’s something innately dramatic about the classic bridal white and tuxedo black pairing, and though most weddings have a hint of that palette in the stars of the show, I love when something so simple and sophisticated gets extended across an entire celebration. That’s why we’re so happy to have the ladies of Atrendy Wedding here today with some gorgeous B&W Southern details for us to swoon over!

To begin with, isn’t that polka dot pocket square dapper?

The lovely bride’s gown is “Mika” by Modern Trousseau, and all of her accessories, except the necklace, are from Erin Cole, while that gorgeous statement piece is by Desla Couture. Everything was picked out and sourced by Hitched!

Wouldn’t this idea be so fun in a reception powder room? I think a huge part of wedding details is creating little surprises and delights for your guests throughout the day, and this lipstick and pearls station would definitely qualify!

Not to be outdone, the gents have their own station, complete with bow ties for those who might be lacking and a few reminders on gentlemanly behavior.

I love this idea so much. Weddings are all about celebrating family, and while I always enjoy a good photo display at any celebration I attend, I often wish I knew a little bit more about the people in the photos! Little signs (try place card holders for the stands) would clear things up in style.

A few more sweet details to finish us off, beautiful captured by Nessa K Photography:

Check back later this week, because we’ll be sharing a Texas real wedding that seems inspired by this very shoot!

Atrendy Wedding is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
10 Comments
  1. avatar Sherry Donnelly reply

    Love to see a black and white wedding done in gorgeous style….hope this inspires many!

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