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If you follow our friend Emily Ley, you may might have seen work from today’s bride, Whitney. She’s a senior designer for Emily, and I have been eyeing her wedding plans and Instagram sneak peeks since she got engaged. Whitney has incredible taste, and I knew her wedding day would be fabulous! With Blue Ribbon Vendor the Mims House as the beautiful backdrop, Whitney and David celebrated their wedding day with a classic, Southern-meets-modern aesthetic. They intentionally chose a few well-placed statement pieces that added a peek into their personalities–I especially love the way they had their vows calligraphed and framed to be used as part of the reception decor! With a graphic designer bride, there surely wasn’t a bit of slack in the pretty details department. It’s so fun seeing all the little graphic touches around every corner!

Big hugs to Sara Logan for sharing Whitney and David’s wedding with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I sure did! My something blue was my Toms shoes (comfy enough to wear all night!). My something old was the buttons on my dress; they were the buttons from my mom’s wedding gown that we had sewn onto my gown. I loved having that little detail with me all day! My something new was my dress and jewelry.

The Mims House was the only venue we toured, and I fell in love from the moment we stepped under the magnolia trees outside. It perfectly combined my love for Southern history and the charm of a backyard wedding.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mom, sister, and I went to the BHLDN shop in DC. I asked to try on almost every dress they carried (when in lace-filled Rome, right?) and started with the ball gowns. Surprisingly, I didn’t have much of a reaction to any of the gowns with a full skirt, so my stylist asked if I wanted to try something entirely opposite: a solid matte silk mermaid gown. I will never forget the moment I turned around and saw myself in the mirror. All my life, I had tried to hide and downplay my curves, and this dress did completely the opposite of that. It made me feel beautiful, and when I walked out, my mom and sister had tears in their eyes. My gown was not the Southern ball gown that I had imagined, but it made me feel more confident and beautiful than I have ever felt before!

Our first look was one of my favorite moments of the wedding day! It was so wonderful to have time for just the two of us to calm some of those pre-wedding nerves. Bonus: we were able to check a lot of the photos off our list early, so we could enjoy our signature drinks at cocktail hour!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our wedding party walked down the aisle to “A Thousand Years” by The Piano Guys and I walked down the aisle with my dad to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” by Grace Churchill. I still get tears thinking about that moment before the doors opened up when I was holding onto my dad’s arm. For some reason, all of the emotions hit me in one huge wave, and he looked at me with that knowing and loving smile only a dad can give you and said, “Don’t worry, Whit, I know he’s the one.” Feeling how much my dad loved David combined with my love for all the people waiting outside made my heart pretty much burst with happy tears. At the end of the ceremony, David and I walked back up the aisle to “Halo” by Beyoncé. Partially because it’s beautiful, partially because it perfectly captures the joy we felt, and partially because wearing a fitted mermaid gown calls for a little Beyoncé. For our first dance, we chose “Angel” by Jack Johnson. Our first summer dating, David gave me the Jack Johnson live in concert CD, and we listened to it together on the way to the beach. When that song first played, I had to hold back tears as I thought, “This is the song I want us to dance to.” Five years later, in my fancy white dress surrounded by our favorite people, I had tears in my eyes again listening to that song.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows! We also had our vows beautifully hand-lettered by Lauren Heim Studio (and framed by Framebridge!) to bring our ceremony into the reception. My favorite line is “I vow to never stop pursuing my passions, and always support you in following yours.”

On our wedding day, a massive tropical storm decided to come through. It was torrentially pouring on and off all day and I was so grateful that we had rented a tent for our outdoor ceremony and reception. After my dad walked me down the aisle, there was a MASSIVE tent-shaking clap of thunder right as I looked up to see David smiling at me. The rain and rumbling thunder continued through our ceremony and it felt as though we had God right there with us!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I absolutely loved all of our wedding food! Brooke and the team at Belle’s Catering created the most wonderful, Southern, locally sourced menu for the evening. For dinner, we even had a gourmet pizza bar because our first date was going out for pizza!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We tried to make sure that all of our decor was intentional and that we weren’t adding things just for the sake of adding them. We cut costs by incorporating well-placed statement pieces and renting vintage items. We also used a ticket system for our bar, where every guest was given three drinks and after that, they could purchase more (or use a friend’s ticket)! This was great because it allowed us to serve our guests while also having a budget and no surprises.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? One of the funniest parts of the day was the adventure that unburying the bourbon became. We thought we had a map to exactly where the bottle was… turns out that either we were awful map readers or the map was off. Oh, and it was monsooning while we were digging, so the guys got completely soaked and covered in mud! David and I followed in my family’s tradition and cut our wedding cake with my family’s heirloom Civil War sword. It is this gigantic, heavy, probably not food-safe sword, and we could not stop cracking up while trying to slice this darling, delicate, little cake. Boxwoods are my very favorite Southern greenery, so our ceremony backdrop and bar were entirely boxwood, and I had some sprigs of it in my bouquet.

We had a simple one-tier coconut cake for David and me, and a variety of cupcakes for our guests. Growing up, David’s mom made her famous coconut cake for him and his siblings’ birthdays, and we wanted that family favorite at our wedding.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. David and I met in 2005 at summer swim team practice. Through the years, I became close friends with his sisters, but he and I sort of just passed each other. I was the loud and spirited girl that quiet people like him tend to avoid. In 2010, we both got summer jobs coaching and lifeguarding at the same pool, and while we were forced to spend time together, we totally hit it off!
Tell us all about the proposal! One evening in early May 2015, David and I decided to go test my new camera at our favorite park. We walked down to an old bridge that cuts across the lake so I could practice different settings and we could admire the sunset. I was awkwardly crouched down, trying to get an “artsy” shot of the chain link fence in the sunset (in retrospect: why…), and when I turned around, there he was on one knee, with a humongous grin and a gorgeous ring. I was so surprised that to my embarrassment, my first response was, “Is this real?!?!” (immediately followed by a YES and a kiss and lots of selfies with the ring).
When did y’all get married? May 29, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Just over 100
Describe your wedding flowers. Alana, my florist, brought all of my floral dreams to life in one gorgeous, soft, and Southern bouquet! It combined peonies, garden roses, boxwood leaves, local blueberries, and tons of greenery.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? David and I attended premarital counseling with our ceremony officiant while we were engaged–something I highly recommend! It was really fun and helpful to prepare for things like combining finances.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Without a doubt, our biggest challenge was that about four months into wedding planning, I moved from North Carolina (where the wedding would be) to Florida. So everything that used to be just down the road became 12 hours away. It was quite a logistical challenge to balance DIY-ing things from another state!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Stop worrying so darn much and let your vendors do what they do best! Handing over the reins to my vendors was the single most freeing (and stress-relieving) part of planning.

Photographer: Sara Logan Photography | Videographer: Carly Rae Film | Day-Of Coordinator: Orangerie Events | Venue: Leslie Alford Mims House | Florist: Serendipity Designs | Wedding Cake: Sugar Euphoria | Caterer: Belle’s Catering | Rentals: Greenhouse Picker Sisters | Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas | Bride’s Gown: BHLDN | Bride’s Veil: BHLDN | Bride and Bridesmaids’ Jewelry: Kendra Scott | Hair and Makeup: LULA Hair + Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: TOMS | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN and David’s Bridal | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse | Engraved Hangers and Wood Cutouts: Delovely Details | Vows Print: Lauren Heim Studio | Custom Framing: Framebridge | Pizza Bar Sign Holders: Esselle | Wedding Maps: Fresh Cut Prints | Welcome Bags: Olive Paper Co. | North Carolina BBQ Map: EDIA Maps

The Mims House, Orangerie Events, Serendipity Designs, Sugar Euphoria, and LULA Hair and Makeup are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar All Of Our Wedding Photos! | Whitney Blake reply

    […] photos! Our photos (and a fun interview with me about planning and details!) are featured over on Southern Weddings today and I wanted to share my favorites here with […]

  2. avatar Allison reply

    I adore the fact that they walked back up the aisle to “Halo”! What a sweet but unexpected song. I’ve been listening to it on repeat since I read that!

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Y’all, you’re not always going to agree with your beau when it comes to wedding planning (or in your marriage!)….and that’s okay! Communication and compromise are incredible tools to combat these little tangles. For today’s darling couple, choosing a venue might not have been a disagreement, but it did take a bit of time for Evan to fully understand Hannah’s venue preference. Hannah had always dreamed of getting married in the historic chapel on her boarding school campus, and while Evan may not have shared her vision at the beginning, it only took one visit to Saint Mary’s before he was on board, telling Hannah “I totally get how special this chapel is to you now, and I’m excited to share a memory with you here.” And share they did! These two lived out one of my very favorite pieces of wedding day advice: stick together! Hannah and Evan vowed their lives to each other on their wedding day, but also promised not leave one another’s sides the whole day after the ceremony, helping them to experience their special day together and share the same memories. BDK and I also used this simple technique, and I cannot support it more!

Thank you to Almond Leaf Studios for being on hand to capture this beautiful day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I’m a decisive girl, but would much rather have five things to pick from than twenty. I went wedding dress shopping with my mom, my sister, and my maternal grandmother in Charlotte, where I grew up and these ladies live. We went to a great boutique downtown called Hayden Olivia and I ended up finding my dress that day! I walked in and told the Hayden Olivia girls that I was not a fan of lace…and then, lo and behold, I walked out with a full lace dress. The way that I knew I had “the dress” was that when I put it on, I felt completely confident and like myself.

I went to an all-girls high school in Raleigh, North Carolina for boarding school and have always dreamed of getting married in the historic chapel on campus. My sweet groom was so patient through the whole planning process, and when I described how special Saint Mary’s is to me, he was on board with being married there. When Evan finally visited the chapel on one of our planning trips to Raleigh, he hugged me and whispered “I totally get how special this chapel is to you now, and I’m excited to share a memory with you here.” Saint Mary’s agreed to let us have our reception on campus too, since the girls were out for summer break. It ended up being perfect and so convenient for us, our bridal party, and our guests!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Unbeknownst to us, our officiant asked our parents and grandparents to write a short piece of marriage advice for us, which she read during her homily. It was so special and completely a surprise!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? It’s hard to pinpoint what was specifically “Southern” about our wedding because Southern is just who we are, but there are a few things that stand out. We served ham biscuit and chicken and waffles passed hors d’oeuvres with mojitos and sangria during cocktail hour. Our cocktail hour entertainment was a bluegrass trio, which is pretty darn Southern. We served Jack Daniels and craft beers from Tennessee and North Carolina, each of our home states, during the evening. The grandmothers and mothers wore corsages. Our reception entertainment was a movin’ and shakin’ soul band out of Atlanta called Evolution Party Band.

Evan and I vowed not to leave one another’s sides the whole day after the ceremony, and that was the best decision we made that day. It meant that all of the memories that we made on our wedding day were made together and in the same moment. A wise man gave me the advice that when it’s all said and done, this day is about your newly declared obligations to your spouse and your spouse’s to you. Greet your guests, have fun with them, but don’t forget to make all of the memories together with your new spouse. That’s the most important person on your wedding day and for the rest of your life.

We wanted our whole day to be reflective of us, so I chose wedding flowers that felt very natural and organic. We used lots of greens, whites, and some blush colors in loose arrangements. Gregg of Brides & Bouquets even incorporated some fresh herbs and blueberries into the arrangements, which was way cool!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I think the most important thing to think about is that you’re not planning a wedding–you’re planning a marriage. The dress and frills are great and all, but at the end of the wedding day, you should really be thinking about the fact that you entered the ceremony as individuals and left the ceremony a new family. That happens in a mere matter of minutes and that’s pretty darn amazing. It’s really important not to lose sight of that. Also, if you have room in your budget, hire a wedding planner! Even if just for the day, it’s nice to have someone be “in charge” so you, your mama, and your bridal party can just enjoy the wedding.

Evan gave me my (now our) dog, Honeybee, in college. My parents weren’t totally on board with me having a dog in college, but my dad is a beekeeper and I decided that naming the dog “Bee” would surely win my parents over. Cha-ching, it worked! The honeybee kind of became a theme at our wedding, thanks to our dog being named Bee, the outdoorsy feel of the wedding, and my dad’s honey from his latest harvest being our favors. We decided that having a cake that looked like a beehive would be a neat way to tie everything together. It looked amazing and tasted even better! We had one tier of lemon, one tier of almond, and one tier of confetti cake. We cut into the confetti cake tier–so fun!

Don’t miss their wedding film by Heart Stone Films below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Evan and I met during our freshman year of college at the University of Tennessee. Mutual friends organized a backpacking trip in the Smoky Mountains and invited both of us along. After a weekend of camping, hiking, no showering, and sleeping on the ground, Evan still wanted to take me on a date! We returned from our backpacking trip on Sunday and Evan took me on our first date on Monday evening. Seven years together passed before our wedding day! To this day, being outside together is still our favorite pastime.
Tell us all about the proposal! After college, Evan and I both decided to pursue our dreams together, but apart. He worked on a boat in the Bahamas and I worked in an art gallery in London. To make things even more convenient, we were accepted to graduate schools in different states. When he started dental school in Memphis Tennessee, I started graduate school for art education in the mountains of North Carolina…a fun eight-hour drive apart! Evan asked my dad (and siblings) for their blessing over Christmas break of 2013, knowing that being all the way in Memphis meant that he might not see my family again for a long time! Nine months later (the secret nearly killed my sister), Evan flew out to Western North Carolina to visit me for a weekend in October 2014. We decided to go for a hike with my dog to enjoy the perfect fall weather and take in the changing leaves. We got to our summit spot on the hike and sat for a little picnic. After we ate lunch, Evan popped the question. I did not see it coming and was totally surprised! The best things about the proposal were that it was reminiscent of the way that we met, and we got to enjoy the moment all to ourselves for a few hours as we hiked back down the mountain!
When did y’all get married? June 20, 2015, nine months after the proposal
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 200
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No first looks. We decided to keep it traditional, and the tears in our eyes when we saw each other made the wait totally worth it.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a guitarist and a violinist as our ceremony musicians. They played “What a Wonderful World” during the seating of the mothers and grandmothers, “Here Comes the Sun” during the bridesmaid processional, “Water is Wide” when my dad and I walked down the aisle, and “Oh Happy Day” when we left the chapel. We had a bluegrass trio to entertain during the cocktail hour and an larger band during our reception.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Sure did. I borrowed my mom’s veil, had my new monogram stitched into my dress in blue thread (and my bridesmaids wore blue!), the diamond in my ring was Evan’s grandmother’s, and my dress was new. I also wore a handmade lace garter that has been worn by women on my mother’s side of the family for several generations. We even remembered to rub a sixpence in my shoe before the ceremony, another family tradition, for good luck!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We will be in Memphis until Evan finishes up dental school, so I’ll be painting and teaching, and then who knows. To infinity and beyond!

Photographer: Almond Leaf Studios | Videographer: Heart Stone Films | Planner: Orangerie Events | Ceremony Venue: The Chapel at Saint Mary’s School | Reception Venue: Saint Mary’s School | Florist: Brides & Bouquets | Wedding Cake: Sugar Euphoria | Dessert Baker: Sweet Water Ices | Caterer: Belle’s Catering | Rentals: Party Reflections and Paisley and Jade | Lighting: Get Lit | Band: Evolution Party Band of East Coast Entertainment | Special Details: One and Only Paper | Paper Products: Little House Shoppe | Bride’s Gown: Modern Trousseau | Bridal Salon: Hayden Olivia | Hair Stylist: Studio Etica | Makeup Artist: Makeup for Your Day | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank | On-site Painting: Ben Keys of Wed on Canvas

Heart Stone Films, Orangerie Events, and Sugar Euphoria are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Paisley & Jade reply

    We absolutely love this wedding! The Orangerie styling of our chalkboard bar is gorgeous and our London Doors as a popcorn bar?! Just awesome. Thanks so much for featuring Hannah and Evan’s beautiful day!

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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