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BDK and I chose very traditional vows when we got married–like many couples, we loved the history of saying those powerful words that so many generations have said before us. Vows are such an intimate aspect of any wedding, so I love when our couples share a little bit more about the ones they said with us. Lauren and Justin grew up together–meeting in sixth grade and becoming a couple in tenth. With such a vast history, I was so curious to know what they might have said to each other during their ceremony. Y’all, it’s even sweeter than I could have imagined! Together with their pastor, they customized vows that were perfect for them. Lauren vowed her “deepest love and unselfish devotion” and Justin promised his “protection and Godly leadership.” Swoon! Their favorite wedding detail makes these vows even more romantic: the arbor that they tied the knot under was built by Justin and his father. It will someday be kept in their backyard, so they can tell their future children the story of their wedding!

Big hugs to Kati Mallory for sharing this beautiful day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! Each of these items is so special to me. My something old was a diamond bracelet that my grandmother gave me. It was so beautiful and perfect for the occasion. For my something new, I picked out the perfect pair of Chinese Laundry shoes–they’re heels, but are thick enough that they worked in the grass for our outdoor ceremony. For my something borrowed, Justin’s godmother lent me a handkerchief that every woman in her family has carried when they were married. The handkerchief has each bride’s name stitched on it along with their groom’s name, their wedding date, and the location of the wedding. It was really special to see our names added to it. For my something blue, I wore my blue sapphire Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority pin inside my dress.

When I started looking for my dress, I really had no idea what I wanted. I browsed online to look for ideas, but knew that I was going to be indecisive. It was important to me to have my bridesmaids, sister, and mom there to help me. The day was filled with all kinds of beautiful gowns. I came to a conclusion that I wanted a sweetheart gown, but wasn’t yet sold on a particular dress. It was important to me not to settle, even if that meant leaving empty-handed. I went back two weeks later with my mom, grandma, and aunt. After trying on a few dresses, I came across one I had seen the last time, but hadn’t tried on. It had a low back that added more flair, and I kept wanting to put it back on! We added the long cathedral veil and I was sold. I loved the lace detail and lightness of the dress. I knew that I would feel beautiful in it on my wedding day.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. I had gone back and forth on it, but after talking to other brides and our photographer, Justin and I decided it would be the best thing for us. Not only did it help the day go smoother, it also allowed us a few moments alone before the wedding. It made the first time we saw each other more intimate and we shared our excitement with laughter, tears, and prayers.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose not to write our own vows, but instead, chose to say scripture-based vows that our pastor wrote specifically for us. They were related to each of us and laid out what we wanted our marriage to look like. We each began our vows by saying that we joyfully received each other as God’s perfect gift to us. I vowed my deepest love and unselfish devotion and to always be Justin’s helper, and Justin vowed his protection and Godly leadership. While our pastor was the one who wrote the vows, they were very personal and specific to our marriage.

My favorite wedding detail would have to be the arbor that Justin and his dad built. We were married underneath it at the edge of the lake and it was absolutely beautiful. We draped it with garlands of flowers that coordinated to the bouquets and it tied the whole look together. It was perfect and we can’t wait to put it in our backyard and someday tell our children the story of our wedding.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? By having the wedding on a farm, saying our vows by a lake, and transforming a working barn into the site of our reception, we gave the whole day a Southern feel. We tied in elegant accents with tall, dramatic centerpieces, white tablecloths, and chandeliers.

My wedding flowers were one of the more important details of my wedding day to me. I wanted a romantic, organic, whimsical look for my bouquets and arrangements. My wedding planner and florist took my vision and turned it into a reality. When I couldn’t describe what I wanted, they knew exactly (if not better) what I was picturing! We chose lots of greenery mixed with pops of pink and peach, and ended up with ranunculus, peonies, and David Austin garden roses, and added in silver dollar eucalyptus and other greenery.

Our wedding cake was a traditional white wedding cake with white icing. It was a simple three-tiered cake, and I asked the florist to add a few clusters of flowers to it that coordinated with the centerpieces. It was exactly what I wanted and it was delicious! I added a gold “Mr. & Mrs. Eldridge” cake topper that we will be able to use for years to come! The groom’s cake was a chocolate cake with chocolate icing. I made the platform out of a piece of wood with a natural bark edge. To make it stand out, I added greenery around the base and accented it with deer antlers. There was also a surprise later on in the night–every year for Justin’s birthday, I make him his favorite dessert, Funfetti cupcakes. His birthday was two days after our wedding, so I surprised him with cupcakes, and our entire reception paused to sing Happy Birthday as he blew out the candles!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. After the ceremony was over, we walked back up the aisle to “You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates. We chose it because it’s so fun and made walking back up the aisle as husband and wife a blast. It is also a song we’ve been known to sing and dance around to–we even made a music video to it during our freshman year of college. Justin’s mom found it and played it at our rehearsal dinner, so that really tied it all together! Our first dance was to “You Are The Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne. It’s a fun and upbeat song, and we chose it because we could picture ourselves dancing to it we are old and gray!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Justin and I met in 6th grade at a church camp and instantly became friends. We went to different schools, so we would only see each other from time to time at youth group and church on Sundays. In 9th grade, our friends started becoming more mutual and we began spending more time together. Justin asked me to be his girlfriend in 10th grade and we’ve been together ever since. It really has been such a blessing and so fun to grow up together!
Tell us all about the proposal! The proposal was a complete surprise to me! While on vacation in Cozumel, Mexico, Justin and a couple of his friends went for a walk on the beach–I later found out that they had really gone to scope out a location for Justin to propose. They had walked down the beach to a private house, knocked on the door, and asked the group staying there if it would be okay for our friends to hide on their balcony and watch the proposal. They said yes and even volunteered to film and take pictures! Later that day, when Justin was ready to propose, his friends suggested that all of us go on another walk down the beach. As our friends started walking away, Justin said that he needed to go the bathroom first, and my friends told me to stay behind with him and then catch up. I was kind of concerned that my friends were okay with leaving me alone on a beach in Mexico, but luckily, I just went with it! When Justin came back, we started walking down the beach and talking about our future and how lucky we had been to grow up together. This was a normal conversation for us, so I didn’t think anything of it. We kept walking and I had no idea what was happening until Justin was down on one knee! He proposed, I immediately said yes, and he picked me and spun me around as our friends cheered from the stranger’s balcony! I was so surprised, and really have no idea how they pulled it off without me finding out. My friends know me way too well–when we started getting ready that morning, they even knew that if they dressed cute, then I would too! After the proposal, we all celebrated by going snorkeling, and Justin and I finished the day with a private dinner as our waiters sang “Happy Engagement to You!” It was the perfect day and we were so happy to share it with our closest friends!
When did y’all get married? April 25, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300+
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose two Bible verses that really expressed what marriage meant to us and the commitment we were making: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 and Matthew 19:4-6.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? It was really important to us to be intentional and plan for our marriage during the excitement of planning for our wedding. During the engaged chapter of our lives, we attended weekly premarital counseling and read several marriage books together. We also loved hearing insight from other married couples and learning about a marriage centered around God.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The first most memorable moment was our first look. I remember the exact look on Justin’s face when he turned around and saw me in my dress–we were both struggling to fight back tears! The second moment would have to be immediately after the ceremony. We chose to take a little time by ourselves while our guests were at our cocktail hour, so we went upstairs to the loft area of the barn, where a meal had been prepared for us. We ate, practiced our dance moves, and watched our guests from the balcony while we took in the moment! It was special to have time together and reflect on the vows that we had just made.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just moved into our house and are working on getting it fixed up. In the next year, we hope to travel, enjoy life and each other, and raise our puppy dog!

Photographer: Kati Mallory / Videographer: Betwixt Magnolias / Planner: Anne-Claire Allen / Venue: Hidden Valley Farm / Florist: Tipton & Hurst / Cake Baker: Patti Cakes / Caterer: Simply the Best / Rentals: Confetti’s Party Rentals / Lighting and DJ: Central Arkansas Entertainment / Paper Products: Hobart’s Printing / Bride’s Gown: Casablanca / Hair Stylist: Kristen Spann of Red Beauty Bar / Makeup Artist: Lauren Benet / Bride’s Shoes: Chinese Laundry / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Allure / Menswear: Paul Morrell Formalwear

Kati Mallory is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Kati Mallory reply

    Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful day with your readers! So, so good!

  2. avatar Dana reply

    the confetti!!! I love it!

  3. avatar Rachel Nordgren reply

    Oh, I have a soft spot in my heart for arbors! Hans built one for us to use as an altar on our wedding day as well. We love seeing it every day in the backyard! It’s a great way to incorporate bits of the wedding into married life :)

  4. avatar Judy Denio reply

    What a wonderful story-gift Lauren and Justin will be able to share as they move through a life filled with God at the forefront. I was a guest at the wedding and am so glad to learn about their journey that led them to an evening filled with family, friends, things they both love and a shower of blessings to their life together. Lauren’s God-Mother, Judy Denio

  5. avatar Lauren & Justin’s Elegant Barn Wedding » Kati Mallory Photo & Design reply

    […] thanks to Southern Weddings for featuring this wedding yesterday on their […]

  6. avatar Looking Back and Looking Forward » Kati Mallory Photo & Design reply

    […] photography workshop in Nashville – featured online on Bridal Theory blog – featured online on Southern Weddings blog and Facebook page – featured in print with Southern Weddings Magazine, Confetti Magazine, […]

  7. avatar Sandra | Wedding Handkerchiefs reply

    Love your entire article, especially the part of the wedding hanky. I love creating custom wedding handkerchiefs.

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After a serendipitous meeting on a cruise ship, Jeni and Adam knew there was something special between them. So special, in fact, that just three weeks after their vacations, Jeni flew to Oklahoma to see Adam, and they began a long-distance relationship. Over the next year, Jeni and Adam not only fell in love with each other, Jeni also fell in love with Oklahoma, so when given the opportunity, she decided to take a chance on what she and Adam had by moving cross country. A few years later, charming country details, a rustic venue, and plenty of hospitality gave Jeni’s family a lovely introduction to the Southern state Jeni and Adam had made their home, and the celebration couldn’t have been sweeter!

Thank you so much to our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Amanda Watson, for sharing this lovely wedding with us!

My mom flew out to Oklahoma City from San Diego to go dress shopping with me. We went to three different boutiques and had a great experience at each of them, complete with champagne and oversized mirrors, but by the end of the day, I become somewhat discouraged because no one dress seemed to be perfect for me. After I tried on the last dress that I had picked out, my stylist, Christina, said she had one more that may fit my desires. I wasn’t too impressed when I saw it on the hanger, but when I came out of the dressing room, we all knew it was the ONE!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I wanted to give my family (who is mainly from California) the perfect Oklahoma experience. We wanted a venue that was country, but also clean and romantic. We searched for weeks and visited so many, but when we pulled up to the Tatanka Ranch, we knew it was perfect. My whole family was able to stay on the ranch for the entire weekend, which made it feel like a family reunion. It was in a perfect central location in Oklahoma too, so none of our local guests had to drive more than an hour.

Our entire wedding had a rustic, country theme that highlighted the natural beauty of Oklahoma. The field we got married in, the boots we all wore, the oversized barn doors draped in white fabric, the homestyle food we served, the horses all around us…all of it made for the perfect Southern wedding.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy every minute, because no matter how long your engagement seems, time goes by so quickly. Also, spoil your bridesmaids and your parents–they deserve it.

Don’t miss Jeni + Adam’s wedding highlights by Glorious Day Films!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. In May 2011, my mom and I took off for the California coast for a “girls trip” to Cabo San Lucas and Puerta Vallarta. Along with his parents and older brother, Adam also set out on a trip to visit Los Angeles and Hollywood. After seeing the sights of Southern California, we boarded the same Carnival cruise ship. We were introduced to one another on the cruise ship deck (the seas of Mexico are quite romantic!). We spent the rest of the trip together, and started making plans to see each other afterwards–I was finishing school in Tucson, Arizona, and Adam in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Three weeks later, I took my first trip to Oklahoma, and after a year of long distance, I moved to central Oklahoma to pursue graduate school and love.
Tell us all about the proposal! We made plans to attend our first OKC Redhawks game of the season together. The day of the game, we walked around Downtown OKC Bricktown and had lunch at a local taco shop. With sunny skies above, we finished lunch and made our way to the Redhawks stadium across the street, but first, we stopped at the fountain to take a photo. After asking my brother, Jake, to take the picture, we posed and Jake counted to three. On three, Adam dropped to one knee and asked for my hand in marriage. Jake caught the whole experience on video.
When did y’all get married? May 17, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did do a first look because we wanted to maximize our time together on our special day. We don’t like hearing that first looks are “untraditional” because that time together really did ease our nerves out before the ceremony, and even more so, it gave us the most romantic time between the two of us, where our photographer captured some of our favorite photos. We were never rushed for time, we were able to enjoy each other all dressed up, and we were able to savor every minute.
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 were honest with vendors about our budget from day one. Every single one of them worked with us and found a package that fit our budget and needs. We were very blessed in that regard.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Growing closer to God, together. We are so excited about everything that comes along with being married and spending forever with one another–growing our family, setting and achieving goals, serving our communities, traveling, and making memories.

Photographer: Amanda Watson Photography / Videographer: Glorious Day Films / Venue, Catering, and Lighting: The Tatanka Ranch / Florist: Emerson Events / Cake Baker: Rosebeary Design / Rentals: Marianne’s Rentals / Music: Xcell Productions / Paper Products: Unhinged Designs / Makeup Artist: Regina Rodriguez / Bride’s Shoes: Old Gringo Boots / Men’s Attire: Perry Ellis

Amanda Watson is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Jeni & Adam – Southern Weddings reply

    […] What better way to kick off the new blog than with a featured wedding?! We were so blessed to be a part of Jeni & Adam’s big day and are proud to have it featured over on Southern Weddings, see the feature here: http://southernweddings.com/2014/09/25/oklahoma-wedding-by-amanda-watson/ […]

  2. avatar Loverly reply

    Love the green truck! It adds such a great vintage element!

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Confession: I have been wanting to see Katie and Josh’s wedding ever since I caught a sneak peek of it on Instagram, so you can imagine how excited I was when I found out that they had graciously shared their big day with Southern Weddings! There are few things more lovely than spring in North Carolina, and I love how these two embraced the natural beauty of their venue (an SW favorite, Fearrington!), while also incorporating a healthy dose of glamour and gold. While their reception was exquisite, they clearly put so much love and thought into planning their ceremony as well, and it shows in these beautiful pictures by Callie Davis of Nancy Ray Photography!

I found my wedding dress at Alexia’s Bridal in Raleigh, and it happened to be my first time shopping for a gown. I had always dreamed of wearing a Monique Lhuillier gown, and to my surprise, Alexia’s was holding a trunk show sale on the same day as my bridal appointment! The first time I tried on THE gown, I immediately fell in love with the light organza fabric and detailed rose pattern on the skirt. Finding my dress was actually the first thing checked off of my wedding to-do list!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! YES! The most special was my something blue: my grandmother’s sapphire diamond bracelet, gifted to her by my grandfather. All of my girl cousins have worn it on their wedding days, and it has become a family tradition. It’s our way of remembering our dear grandfather, who loved all of us unconditionally.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose Fearrington because of its rustic, yet elegant, charm. I knew that the gardens would be blooming with spring flowers in May, and I had heard that Chef Bedford’s cooking was exquisite. I am originally from Northern Virginia and Josh is from Michigan, so we wanted to give our guests a little taste of classic Southern comfort.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Make your ceremony special. Oftentimes, couples overlook planning special things for the ceremony because they figure they will only be there for 30-60 minutes. I love looking back at the pictures of our beautiful pews, chandelier, and bureau table. After all, the ceremony is the most important and intimate part of your whole wedding!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? For the ceremony, we decided to rent old doors and white distressed pews to make the ceremony feel more church-like. I think the Fearrington Barn’s tree branch chandeliers were the icing on the cake.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Choosing a color palette and theme. It started out rustic, but we slowly incorporated more gold tones and spring flowers. Eventually, everything came together, but for a few months, I was having a difficult time envisioning the look of the wedding. Kaitlin Holland helped us pull it all together.

Music can make or break the party–it’s worth it to splurge on a wedding band. Our guests, young and old, are still raving about how much they enjoyed a night filled with dancing!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met through mutual friends while I was a senior at East Carolina University. One of my girlfriends convinced me to go out with her to hang out with a guy she was interested in. Josh had already graduated from ECU, but was working in Greenville and happened to live at the house we were going to. Josh and I hit it off immediately–his friends always tell me that the day after Josh met me, he admitted, “I love her, I love her, and I don’t care who knows it!” We were inseparable for two weeks after meeting, until he found out that he had landed a job in San Diego. I figured we would attempt the long distance, but just assumed it wouldn’t work. The next thing I knew, we were flying out to see each other almost every other month! Josh left his job as soon as I graduated and moved back to Northern Virginia with me, even though we had only been dating for eight months.
Tell us all about the proposal! Josh planned a trip to California for us to visit his brother, who lives in Laguna Hills, and we also planned to spend a night in San Diego. Josh and I decided to go to our favorite restaurant in Ocean Beach to indulge in some of the best fish tacos we’d ever eaten. Before going into the restaurant, we took a quick walk out onto the pier nearby to take a couple of pictures, and before I knew it, Josh was on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I’m usually a difficult person to surprise, but Josh really got me, considering we didn’t even go ring shopping together. We headed into the restaurant, where I planned on calling my family to tell them the good news, but then I saw them all waiting for us inside! There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Huge props to Josh on this one!
When did y’all get married? May 17, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 165
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? No, we decided to go the traditional route. My favorite part of any wedding is seeing the groom’s reaction the first time he sees his bride.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We saved a lot of money when it came to the tiny details. My family is full with DIY-ers who went out of their way to help. My future sister-in-law and her mom made and canned all of the peach preserves that were given as favors, along with all of the wooden ceremony signs and chalkboard signs. My dad built the mailboxes that were used to hold the programs. Luckily, my parents own a security printing company, so any of the tags/card stock that we used for escort cards, party favors, and programs came from their printing plant!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? The owner of Simply Put Vintage, Kaitlin Holland! My mom and I originally did not think we would need a wedding planner, but then we both started getting tied up with school and work. Kaitlin was our saving grace. My mom met her at the SPV warehouse to check out the old doors we wanted for our ceremony, and was so impressed with the collection that she asked Kaitlin to style the wedding. I was so overwhelmed with emotion when I saw the set-up of the ceremony for the first time–it was simply perfect.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? I will be graduating from UNCG with my second degree in Nutrition and Dietetics in Spring 2015 and hope to pursue a career as a registered dietitian. Josh is currently working for a start-up company as a business development manager. Kids are definitely next for us! Josh and I adore our nieces and nephews. We have been living together for almost three years now and just purchased our first home in May 2013, so we are ready to expand our family in the near future.

Photographer: Callie Davis of Nancy Ray Photography / Videographer: Innerloupe / Planner: Kaitlin Holland Creative / Venue and Catering: The Fearrington / Florist: Mary Stevens of Fearrington / Wedding Cake: Maxie B’s / Rentals: Simply Put Vintage Rentals and CE Rentals / Band: Elegance / Bride’s Gown: “1206” by Bliss by Monique Lhuillier / Paper Products: The Dandelion Patch / Bride’s Veil: Jennifer Leigh / Bride’s Crystal Sash: Monique Lhuillier / Hair and Makeup: Makeup For Your Day / Bride’s Shoes: Ann Taylor Bridal Collection / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids / Groom’s Attire: Baroni Prive / Groomsmen Attire: Gordon’s Menswear Rentals / Pews: Carolina Rustic Rentals / Strings: Arioso Strings

Nancy Ray Photography, Simply Put Vintage Rentals, and The Dandelion Patch are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Loverly reply

    Every part of this wedding is absolutely stunning! We are swooning over the bride’s gown and loving the different colors and styles of the bridesmaids dresses!

  2. avatar Featured! | Nancy Ray Photography reply

    […] and Josh's Fearrington Wedding Featured on the Southern Weddings Blog Photographer: Callie […]

  3. avatar gorgeous ceremony set-up | Nancy Ray Photography #wedding… – Best Home Decorating Ideas reply

    […] Source: southernweddings.com […]

  4. avatar Celebrating Southern Weddings | Nancy Ray Photography reply

    […] Katie and Josh’s Wedding on the SW Blog Whitney and Nick’s Wedding on the SW […]

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