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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
5 Comments
  1. avatar Linda reply

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

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Hi, friends! I am so happy to introduce our September Southern Bride of the Month, because she’s a regular around these parts! (In fact, her Ask the Experts question was featured here, and I know it’s helped many people since!) I hope you enjoy getting to know Lori and her fiance Sean even better — I know I did!

Hi! What’s your name?
Lori Caroline Moot (Soon to be Buck!)

What’s your fiancé’s name?
Christopher Sean Buck (He goes by Sean)

Are either of you on Twitter, or do you have a blog?
I do have a blog, which I started shortly before Sean and I were engaged. It has served as a great way to stay connected with far-away friends as well as share the adventures of wedding planning!

Photo by Summer Safrit of Real Promises Photography

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
Almost exactly two years ago, I was with one of my best friends and a couple other girls at a local outdoor concert. While we were awaiting the start of the main band, I noticed a group of guys standing nearby. One in particular, wearing jeans, boots, and a green button down shirt (which I learned later was termed a “fishing shirt”) caught my attention. I thought little of it, and returned my focus to our group of girls.

As the evening went on, my friend and I noticed the same group of guys making their way closer and closer to our group of girls. Before we knew it, they were standing beside us, striking up conversation. Sean (the one in the “fishing shirt”), immediately introduced himself, and we began talking. He was handsome, polite, and as Southern as they come! We talked on and off throughout the concert and discovered we had a lot in common. At the end of the night, he asked if he could call me, and I gave him my number, simply thinking it would be nice to get to know more people in Nashville.

Well, he called me the next week and invited me to attend a local charity event with him. I already had plans to go out of town and declined, thanking him for the invitation. The next week, he called and asked if he could take me to dinner. I cannot remember exactly why, but I again had to decline. I assured him I really would like to get together at some point, but was just busy with school and other commitments. Thankfully he was persistent, and asked a third time. We finally went on our first date almost three weeks after Sean asked originally. We continued to go on dates and knew pretty quickly we had something special. I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with my fishing shirt and boots-wearing boy!

Lori’s engagement ring! Photo by Summer Safrit

Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
It was perfect! Last year, near the beginning of October, Sean surprised me with a trip to Chicago for my birthday. Everyone (except me) was certain he was going to propose on the trip. We had been talking about marriage for several months, and had already looked at rings together. My only stipulation: I wanted to be surprised with the proposal. And I am impossible to surprise. Like sneak-peeks-at-my-Christmas-presents-at–the-age-of-26 hard to surprise. (True story. Sean, if you’re reading this, I advise you to never use gift bags to wrap for me again!) I always figure surprises out before they happen… or at least have a pretty good idea. Chicago, in my mind, was too obvious.

Fast-forward to a few weeks later (October 28, to be exact!) to a seemingly typical Thursday night. He asked me at the beginning of the week if I had plans on Thursday, and, if not, said he wanted to reserve the evening and cook dinner. I told him I had a few errands to run but would love to do dinner afterward. On Thursday, I called Sean as I finished up errands, and he said he was on his way home from the grocery store. As I knew he had tons of food in his refrigerator already, I was a little confused, and gave him a bit of a hard time about wasting perfectly good food (A little embarrassing to admit now, but hey, you asked to know alllll about it!). He told me to relax and not worry about it, and to hurry to his house. He also mentioned he needed to run to Green Hills to pick up something, but was very vague. Like I said, I always figure out surprises. My wheels started turning, and I immediately knew I had figured out “the surprise” for the evening: I had been talking about my favorite flavor of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory since our trip to Chicago! I drove to Sean’s house in hopes I was correct… but I had NO idea a ring would be on my left hand a few hours later!

I finally arrived at Sean’s and headed inside. He had the table set with wine and a salad. At this point, I was still unsuspecting, as he often made dinner for me or had wine waiting when I came over. He instructed me (a little bossily!) to sit down and have a glass of wine while he finished dinner, but refused to tell me what he was cooking. We had salads, and as I was taking my last bite, he cleared my plate and immediately brought out dinner: shrimp and grits – one of my favorites! I began to eat and could not have been more than two bites in when he said, “Make sure to save room for dessert.” A few bites later he again mentioned dessert and saving room. I laughed, and questioned whether I was eating faster than normal. Again, no sooner than I put my fork down and mentioned I was finished, he whisked away my plate. I suggested we have a glass of wine and wait for dessert. He was very insistent we immediately move to dessert (at this point I was 99.99% sure my hunch was correct about the cheesecake). He sent me to the couch with a glass of wine, and after a minute or two, instructed me to close my eyes and not peek. When he gave me permission to open them, he was down on one knee with cheesecake… AND a gorgeous ring (which I actually didn’t see for about ten minutes because I was so excited and crying uncontrollably)! He asked me to share my life with him forever and to marry him. I said yes and we spent the next few minutes eating cheesecake together and calling family and friends to share the big news.

Tell us about the ring!
I have my grandmother’s original engagement ring, and often wear it on my right hand. It is such a special piece of jewelry to me, as she and my grandfather just celebrated their 63nd wedding anniversary. When Sean and I went to look at rings, I took hers with me as a guide for the shape I wanted. My ring will always make me think of her.

When’s the big day?
October 15, 2011… It’s almost here!

The Belle Meade Plantation (photo by Betsy Butler)

Where might you two be tying the knot?
Our ceremony and reception will both be held at Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee. We are getting married in the garden and celebrating afterward in the carriage house.

How did you pick your ceremony and reception venues? What do you love most about each space?
Belle Meade Plantation was actually the first placed we looked. Sean had attended several charity events and weddings there previously, and recommended I take a look. We really wanted to find a location at which we could hold both the ceremony and reception. It was love at first sight! It is the epitome of Southern, and everything we wanted in a venue.

Unfortunately, they were booked until the next November when I initially went to tour. Sean and I had agreed we really wanted a fall wedding, and neither of us were willing to wait another year. We continued looking, and found other places that worked. We were close to making a decision when I got a phone call — Belle Meade had a cancellation for October 15, 2011! Sean and I scrambled and signed the papers within days.

Mason jars with monogram flags photo by Patricia Lyons via Southern Weddings, burlap flower arrangements photo by Three Lights Photography via Elizabeth Anne Designs

Who or what has been most helpful in the wedding planning process?
My friends and family have been amazing! From my mom volunteering to make all of the ruffled burlap runners for the reception, my friends spending countless hours sprawled out all over the townhouse working on various projects, to my grandmother and great aunts making buckeyes (buckeyes in honor of the Bucks! My mom gets all the credit) for our guest gifts, to friends volunteering to help with set-up on the day of, I have been so overwhelmed by everyone’s willingness to step up and help. We are so blessed to be surrounded by a group of such amazing people.

Which part of your wedding are you most invested in?
Hmmm… The first thing that comes to mind is the details! I’ve worked hard (along with my awesome wedding planner, Liz of Chic Nashville Weddings — love her!!) on planning and creating and am really invested in all of the little things coming together. However, ultimately I just want the evening to be an enjoyable and memorable time with our family and friends! It’s easy to get caught up in the details; of course I want my tables to look just the way I’ve imagined and want the food to be delicious and all of our candles to stay lit (yep, something I have legitimately thought about). But really, it’s about celebrating our life together and spending time with those we love (and love us!).

Custom coke bottles photo by Jen Huang

Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go? What will you be wearing on the big day?
Yes! And I cannot wait to wear it! It took a looong time for me to make a decision. I went back and forth between styles, and visited several boutiques several times. Finally, I went back one last time for a second (or third or fourth, really) look at a particular dress. I tried it on and loved the top, but the skirt was fuller than I desired. I tried on another that was similar with a less-full skirt. I casually commented that I would love to put the top of dress one with the bottom of dress two. The saleslady helping me stepped away for a couple of seconds, and came back quickly, informing me it was a possibility. I happened to have chosen two dresses by the same designer, and was able to pay a minimal fee for the pattern change. It’s simple, classic, and elegant. Everything I wanted!

What has been the best part of wedding planning? The worst part?
Best: Planning a day reflective of all things us! It’s been so much fun to pick out foods (a shrimp and grits bar in honor of our engagement), drinks (we’re serving each of our favorite cocktails at the reception), and entertainment (a fun-loving band and a cornhole set on the porch) that are meaningful to us.
Worst: All the decision making about the details… I am ready to be decision-free for at least a month! As in, don’t even ask me what I want on my hamburger… I’d rather take my chances with the toppings you choose!

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

What has been the biggest challenge so far in wedding planning?
Soon after Sean and I sent out our save the dates, just two months away from our wedding date, we found out we would be paying for almost the entirety of the wedding. We knew from the beginning we would be paying for bits and pieces, and were completely willing to do so, but most of the cost was to be covered by others. Due to unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances, the news was broken to us that we were essentially on our own with the cost. Talk about a challenge! We had been very conscious of our budget from the start, but we were not fiscally prepared to pay for it in full. Of course, by this point we had already placed deposits on almost every vendor.

We discussed our options, and decided to proceed with our original plan. We reassessed our budget and cut back as much as we could, and are almost there! Though I would not wish this challenge upon anyone, it has been positive in many ways. Sean and I have had to have some pretty serious budget talks in the process, tears have been shed (me!), and frustration has been verbalized (both of us!), but we have grown and matured as a couple from the challenge.

What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
First, I cannot wait to see Sean. We are going to do a “first look” before our ceremony, and I can only imagine what it will feel like to walk down the aisle to meet him. I am looking forward to spending a few quiet moments together before what I can only imagine will be a wonderfully exciting but whirlwind of an evening! Secondly, I am looking forward to my mother helping me into my dress and being alongside me as I get ready. I would not be where I am today without her and am so blessed by our close relationship.

Any advice you’d like to pass along to fellow brides?
First of all, start all of your DIY projects EARLY! Those cute monogrammed flags you want to make for your straws? They will take more than an hour or two to create, print, cut, and attach. I speak from experience! Secondly, enjoy every single second of your engagement. There are times I have wished time away because I was so ready to be married. Three weeks out, I wish I could slow the clock, because I want to enjoy every bit of life as an engaged couple!

Now it’s your turn to ask for advice – is there anything you’d like to poll the SW readers on?
What is your best advice for the day of the wedding? Also, this is broad, but I’d love for you to share what you would do differently OR exactly the same!

Thank you so much for playing along, Lori! Readers, if you’d like to apply to be a Southern Bride of the Month, check out this post for all the details! If you’ve already emailed me, you’re still in the running for future months!

The Southern Bride of the Month header was designed by our Assistant Art Director Sierra, with illustration by Curious & Company!

emily Written with love by Emily
7 Comments
  1. avatar Joon reply

    I’m so lucky to know Lori in real life- she is the epitome of a Southern Belle so she deserves this more than anyone I know! Loved reading this! Everyone tells me to savor every moment the day of… that it goes by so fast. Take mental snapshots of every detail!!! SO EXCITED TO COME TO THE WEDDING!!!

  2. avatar Ashley, Indie Atlantic Films reply

    Belle Meade Plantation. AWESOME choice! Nashville is such an amazing city! Love your ring, too, by the way!

  3. avatar Emily @ Southern Weddings reply

    So happy to have you on here today, Lori! Love your navy Lilly dress, too! :)

  4. avatar Lisa reply

    If there’s anything better than a proposal, it’s gotta be a proposal with cheesecake! :) Loved reading your story, Lori, and can’t wait to see your wedding!!

  5. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up | Gift Registry News reply

    […] Southern Bride of the Month, Lori told us all about her upcoming nuptials with her hubs-to-be, Sean. Her favorite part of wedding planning? Thinking of all the details that represent their relationship and personalities! […]

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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