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Any man who takes cooking lessons before a first date to impress a girl with his culinary skills sounds like a keeper to me! Claire clearly thought the same thing about Matthew, and two years after their delicious first date, they began planning an intimate beach wedding. Rosemary Beach, Florida is a favorite destination for quite a few of the SW gals (Marissa even chose it for our Dream Southern Summer Wedding series), and I love the elegant spin Claire and Matthew put on their beach destination!

Thank you kindly to Pure 7 Studios for sharing Claire and Matthew’s lovely wedding day with us!

My mother, sister, grandmother, mother-in-law, and I spent a day going from one bridal shop to the next in Birmingham. We found a dress that we liked at every place, but I couldn’t pull the trigger. The last place on our list was the White Room in Cahaba Heights, AL. We found two dresses I liked, but I chose the more simple dress for our beach wedding. When I picked it, my grandmother burst into tears, saying it was the one she had wanted me to pick. We were all so happy!!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. I wanted to see Matt’s face for the first time when I walked down the aisle. However, since it was a beach wedding, we did spend the entire morning together, which was a nice way to stay calm before the wedding. It’s hard to be stressed or nervous when you are lounging on the beach!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There was a full moon and a beautiful beach breeze blowing that night. We looked around at the reception and it sunk in that we had our family there helping us to celebrate our love for each other. We loved taking pictures on the beach after the ceremony–the setting sun on the beach was beautiful. Some of the people renting a bungalow near us sent me pictures they took of us that evening. One little girl even told her mom I looked like a princess. It was a magical night!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It’s so hard to choose! The menu provided by Townsend Catering for the reception was divine. Brian at Myrtie Blue created a perfect ambiance with flowers, candles and lighting, as well as an intimate seating arrangement. Music performed by acoustic guitarist, Kyle Lamonica, was wonderful. It really set the mood for the reception. Many beach tourists stood outside the garden reception on the cobble streets and sipped wine while listening to Kyle. Meanwhile, Jennifer Fischer from It’s A Shore Thing took care of all the details, so we didn’t have to worry about a thing!

The bride and bridesmaid bouquets were made of white cymbidium orchids and peonies, tied with white silk dupioni, created by Brian at Myrtie Blue. Flowers for the wedding and reception included centerpieces featuring white hydrangea, peonies and orchids with white knob glass and mercury glass, A backdrop for the Town Hall was made of fig twigs with lights and white hydrangea. It was so unique and dramatic.

Our first dance was to “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, played and sang by Kyle LaMonica, an acoustic guitarist who played at our reception. I danced with my dad to “Stand By Me” by Ben King, which is our favorite song. Matt and his mom danced to “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a three-tiered wedding cake covered in roses made of icing. It featured French vanilla fondant with alternating layers of strawberry cream and white chocolate. It was a work of art! It was so beautiful and tasted wonderful.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were both attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham to get our undergraduate degrees. I was studying mechanical engineering and Matt was a pre-med student. We had a mutual friend who was majoring in mechanical engineering and also going to med school. I used to go to our friend’s dorm before class to study, and Matt would be there hanging out with him and his roommates. For our first date, Matt made a special dinner for me: chicken in a wine sauce. He got his uncle to give him cooking lessons beforehand, just so he could impress me, and it definitely worked! We dated for two years before becoming engaged.
Tell us all about the proposal! Matt knew I wanted a more intimate proposal, rather than a public one. When I woke up one morning and walked upstairs for breakfast, I found Matt on his knee at the top of the staircase with the engagement ring. I’m sure he said something sweet, but in all honesty, I was crying so much from excitement, I have no idea what it was!
When did y’all get married? June 2, 2012
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 24
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We took bits and piece from different vows we had found on the internet, picking our favorite lines from each. My favorite line was simply, “Matt, I love you. You are my best friend.” Very simple, but the complete truth.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We did not have any readings at the wedding. We were supposed to have one, but between the heat and my fitted dress, I was feeling lightheaded, so I asked the minister to speed the ceremony up.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning a destination wedding is particularly difficult, because you are unfamiliar with local vendors. We hired wedding planners-Jennifer Warwick-Lewis and Jennifer Fischer from It’s A Shore Thing. They did an excellent job helping us select a venue for the wedding and giving us suggestions of local vendors that worked well for our wedding and budget. Making sure we handled the details for all of our guests was a challenge too. We had to find enough places for everyone to stay. Luckily, the Inn could accommodate everyone.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Pure 7 Studios did an excellent job capturing all of our special memories. Ultimately, many things are forgotten by the time the wedding is over, but Eric and Lindsey did a wonderful job! They took pictures for the wedding and fit in perfectly with our family.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to Matt completing medical school and beginning our family together!!

Photographer: Pure 7 Studios / Planner: It’s a Shore Thing / Venue: Town Hall, Rosemary Beach / Florals and Lighting: Brian at Myrtie Blue / Cake Baker: Confections On The Coast / Rentals and Catering: Townsend Caterer / Band: Kyle LaMonica / Bride’s Gown: Watters / Paper Products: Gwins Stationery / Hair Stylist: Vivo Hair Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Bridesmaid Dresses: LulaKate / Men’s Attire: Jos A. Bank / Groom’s Bow Tie: Vineyard Vines

Myrtie Blue is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
24 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    I love that they have fond memories of interacting with casual beachgoers — sharing the joy of your wedding day with random strangers (and lots of little girls!) is one of the most fun things about a wedding day, I think!

  2. avatar Dana reply

    love his suit and her gown. perfect together!

  3. avatar erica reply

    The feature looks absolutely beautiful. We loved photographing this lovely couple and family. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. avatar Kyle LaMonica reply

    Enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane! It was a pleasure performing for Claire and Matt’s family back in June of 2012!

  5. avatar Mike reply

    We were at Rosemary Beach that weekend- it was the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen

  6. avatar Lori Finlen reply

    Claire & Matt had a beautiful wedding thanks to wonderful vendors and a magical night!

  7. avatar Emily reply

    It was absolutely perfect!!! And I am so glad we have all of these amazing photos. A wedding is such a beautiful thing to be a part of, esp my little sister’s, but you get caught up and can’t remember the details that made it so perfect, so these are a wonderful reminder of that day.

  8. avatar Best of 2013: Menswear – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] suit, bow tie, and orchid boutonniere | Claire + Matthew | Pure 7 […]

  9. avatar Betty reply

    The most beautiful weekend I have ever been apart of! Congratulations Matt and Claire!

  10. avatar Trey reply

    I love my beautiful sister and my new brother in law!! We were totally rockin the seer sucker suit!!!

  11. avatar Sarah reply

    What a beautiful wedding!!!

  12. avatar Jessica Albers reply

    Gorgeous! Love the centerpieces and the brides orchid bouquet!

  13. avatar caitlin vitale reply

    You guys look great!!!!!!

  14. avatar Susanna Carter reply

    These pictures are beautiful! Congrats to the happy couple!

  15. avatar Rachael reply

    I love the colors and orchids! Congrats!

  16. avatar Lauren V. reply

    Best Wishes to you both!!!

  17. avatar Brittney Ankersen reply

    So pretty! You made a gorgeous bride!! And love the seer sucker : )

  18. avatar Nida reply

    Your sister told me all about it! It sounded perfect!!

  19. avatar Claire reply

    Thank you all so much for all of the wonderful comments. Matt and I had an amazing day and we are so flattered to have been highlighted.

  20. avatar Carolyn T. reply

    I remember when you were a little girl sitting in my classroom and now your are married. Congratulations to you and Matt!

  21. avatar Steve and Susan reply

    It was stunning! We are so glad we could share that day with the bride and groom.

  22. avatar Lauren reply

    your wedding looks beautiful Claire, i especially loved the colors you chose!

  23. avatar Helmig Clemonds Bash {Sneak Peek} | Shannon Gail Weddings and Events reply

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  24. avatar FEATURED FRIDAY| Pure7 Studios in 2013 reply

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Kelly + Corey’s wedding blows me away in so many ways. Yes, it’s indeed a lovely affair, but it came together under the sweetest but challenging situations. Kelly is in the Air Force and Corey is in the Army. Though their proposal was a very welcome and loving surprise, it also occurred right before Corey departed for his station in Korea! Despite the distance, K + C put together a wedding that boasts the most meaningful details and traditions (don’t forget to read about Kelly’s dress!) — and looks darn fun to boot! We are so grateful for Amy Arrington, who sent this lovely our way.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. 
My wedding dress was one of my favorite parts! My mom wore the same dress that my grandmother wore when she got married in 1960. I grew up saying I would never wear that dress! When it was my turn to get married, I was overcome with sentiment and knew that I was going to wear their dress. It didn’t quite fit me, so I took the dress to TK Designs in Atlanta and had the top of the dress remade. The skirt is still the original, and they used the same type lace from the skirt to create the top. I was so proud to wear my grandmother’s and mother’s 53-year-old dress and wouldn’t have had it any other way!

My bridesmaids were SO wonderful. They made my wedding planning process so easy, and my day-of so peaceful and calm. (They were running around like crazy people dealing with issues left and right! I had no clue!) They actually helped me do my own baby’s breath bouquets. They also decorated everything the morning of, while I was getting my hair done. The only flowers I had done professionally were two large ceremony arrangements and my bridal bouquet. I wanted something simple, green, and white. My florist did exactly what I had in my head and everything was simple, yet beautiful. I also wrapped an old family handkerchief around my bouquet for my “something blue.”

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Yes! At first, Corey and I wanted to do everything very traditionally. However our photographer told us reasons it may be beneficial. We thought about it and realized that it would create an easier transition to the reception by having pictures before. We also wanted to have that one moment alone on our crazy day. I am so glad we decided to have a first look because it truly did calm my nerves for the rest of the day!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. 
We did the traditional song for the entrance, Canon in D, then the traditional Bridal Chorus when my Dad and I walked in. When we walked out, the traditional Wedding March played! These were all very important to me since I wanted a very traditional church ceremony. However, to make it more personal, we had everyone stand and sing “In Christ Alone” together so that we would be a reminded to live out a Christ-centered marriage. We had our extremely talented friend Marleigh sing “Amazing Grace” to remind us of how powerful the grace that God has given us truly is.

Did you write your own vows? We did! This was probably my favorite part of the ceremony. Corey is a wonderful writer and much better with words than I. His vows were so romantic, poetic, and intentional. Mine were more light hearted and fun. It totally described our relationship and people got to see who we really were by doing this. At the end, Corey said, “You are my moon, my love, my life.” Our big thing has always been the moon since we have always had distance between us. We both know that no matter where in the world we are, if we look at the moon, the other person could be looking at the same moon. We carried this over to the reception and danced to Frank Sinatra’s, “Fly Me to the Moon” for our first dance.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 
We had our good friend Alix read Romans 12 because it is an important reminder of how to love as an action, always! The pastor who married us was my youth pastor in high school. He made the ceremony so light and fun. Everyone was laughing one second, then crying the next. It truly was such a personal ceremony and we received many compliments about how it was so “us.” That’s exactly what we wanted!

I believe that in the South especially, we have such a pride for our military. The fact that we had such a traditional and military wedding is what I believe made it a Southern affair. We had a traditional saber arch that we walked through, and all the military men wore their dress blues. The ceremony was at the oldest Methodist Church in Savannah and the reception was at the Savannah Yacht Club right on the bay. These two venues truly encompassed Southern charm. We also had a trolley bring all of our guests back downtown after the reception to continue the fun! Savannah, Georgia, is one of the most charming and quaint towns you’ll ever visit. There was no way our wedding wouldn’t be a Southern celebration having it there!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? 
Corey is in the Army, and I am in the Air Force. Anyone who knows anything about the military knows this causes for some issues with being able to see each other. I was finishing up nursing school during the planning process and Corey was living in Korea. He saved up enough leave to take a month to come home, get married, and return to finish his tour. I would say my biggest challenge was not having Corey physically there to help with things. He proposed to me and then left for Korea one week later!

Corey and I are not huge fans of cake and pretty much put the task on the bottom of our list. I actually just went to Publix and asked them to create two cakes, one vanilla and one chocolate. We could not have been happier with that decision and we saved a ton of money by doing so! The cakes really turned out beautifully and tasted great, too! No one could believe that they were from Publix! We also included a Korean tradition in our cake toppers. In Korea, when a couple gets married, they receive wedding ducks that resemble peace, fertility, and faithfulness. Apparently ducks are one of the few animals that mate for life and never take a second partner. We loved adding in something from the culture where Corey is currently living.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. 
Corey and I met through the best man at our wedding, Mark. Mark and Corey were roommates in college. Corey visited Mark one summer and I got to know Corey better that week. We decided we liked each other and continued talking. I was quite non-committal but that summer when I went to my ROTC boot camp, Corey pursued me through the most beautiful, eloquent letters and I knew then that there was something different about this guy!
Describe the proposal. 
Corey had just finished flight school and was getting ready to leave for his first assignment in the Army in South Korea. As excited as we both were about this endeavor, it was also very sad since we would be separated. I was convinced we were not going to get engaged before he left, but one week before his departure date, he did it! We were visiting his parents in Savannah, Georgia, and he decided to take me on a walk on the beach. We had our first kiss at a certain lifeguard stand two years prior (almost exactly to the day!) where he got on one knee and pulled out the most beautiful ring! My best friends were hiding in the sand dunes taking pictures and ran out and surprised me afterward! Corey also had a big engagement party planned back at his parents’ house where all my college roommates and friends and my parents were waiting to surprise me again! It was a wonderful day.
In what month did you get married? 
March
How many guests attended your wedding? 
250
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
There were so many things I loved! One thing I loved was surprising Corey with an ice sculpture of the helicopter he flies, the Chinook. Corey is more than obsessed with planes and loved this! Another detail that truly made Corey and I feel like we were a prince and princess was having the Model A driven by my grandparents as our getaway car. My grandparents collect Model A’s, and ever since I saw those cars, I knew I wanted one in my wedding. They hauled the car all the way from Oklahoma to Savannah and made my wedding day complete! It was so wonderful to get in the car after the ceremony and drive around downtown Savannah and have all these people wave at us like we were royalty! It was a dream come true for sure!
What range did your wedding budget fall into? 
$25,000-$50,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? 
One of the most important things to Corey and I are people. We love being around people and we both are very social. I knew that having a lot of guests come to the wedding would mean that I couldn’t spend as much on decorations or other things. I really do think that having all our friends and family be invited was more important than anything else I could have spent money on. The other thing that was important to us was the photography. I couldn’t have asked for a better photographer and am so happy to have spent the money on Amy Arrington! (She and her husband are incredibly talented and actually very reasonable for what you receive!)
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? 
It is so hard to choose just one moment. We had the most unique and hilarious speeches from our bridal party. My maids of honor did a rap that was so funny! Corey’s best man, Mark, had one of the greatest speeches of all time. We really have such talented and funny friends. Corey and I go on and on about how much we loved seeing all of our friends and family enjoying time with one another. The DJ was so great, and the dance floor was covered the whole night! We saw pure happiness in so many people and realized how blessed we are to have such wonderful, supportive people in our life.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
Have fun! I actually miss the planning process because it really can be so fun! Choose things that you really care about and focus on those. Find a cheaper and easier way to handle things that aren’t as important so that you can spend more on the other things! Stay organized and rely on your mom or bridesmaids to help you, especially with day-of events. I was made fun of for this, but actually had schedules for each person with where they needed to be at what time. I didn’t have or need a wedding planner because of the help I got from all my girls and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? 
Corey and I are mainly excited about living in the same time zone! I am stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. Corey will be stationed at Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs starting in July. People think we’re crazy for getting married when we knew we would be apart, but it’s what was meant to be! We believe we have a love that can conquer anything and if this is the hardest thing we have to deal with then I think we’re doing OK! We look forward to the time we actually get to live under the same roof. Until then, there’s lots of traveling in our future!

Amy Arrington is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
12 Comments
  1. avatar Savannah, GA Wedding : Corey + Kelly reply

    […] you SOUTHERN WEDDINGS for featuring their […]

  2. avatar Shelby reply

    This has got to be one of the happiest weddings I’ve ever seen. The couple just exudes joy!

  3. avatar Kat reply

    I’m in awe of the great love they have in one another to get married and live in different states! I can’t imagine what that must be like & I really respect & value what they’re doing both for our country and each other. Thank you for your service :)

  4. avatar Lilian reply

    Ah! I love it! I am doing my own baby’s breath bouquets too! Just placed my order with Blooms by the Box this month! I hope mine turn out just like these!

  5. avatar Sarah Sommer reply

    What is the name of the color of these bridesmaids dresses? Gorgeous

  6. avatar Kelly reply

    I am also wondering what the color is of these dresses, it is beautiful.

  7. avatar Linda reply

    What a beautiful wedding. Sometimes I wish that I lived in the south so that I could photograph weddings with such beautiful backdrops like this. I love the vintage car. Very chic.

  8. avatar Carly reply

    I absolutely love this wedding! This is the post that first introduced me to the work of the lovely Amy Arrington. This wedding popped up on my RSS feed one morning and I emailed her THAT DAY! I can’t wait for her to photograph our October wedding in Charleston– re-visiting this post just reminds me how lucky I was to find her! :)

  9. avatar Best of 2013: Ceremonies – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] sword arch | Kelly + Corey | Amy […]

  10. avatar Best of 2013: Photography – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] groom’s serenade | Kelly + Corey | Amy […]

  11. avatar Michelle reply

    Gorgeous wedding! Nice to know you can use the wish lanterns at the Savannah Yacht Club – they look beautiful and I have yet to see them used here in Savannah.

  12. avatar diana reply

    I am in search of grayed jaded or sage bridesmaid dresses and can’t find the perfect color! You’re dresses are the perfect color! What brand and color is that?

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Sweet Tea Society Sundays No. 2

by in Main on

Hello, belles + beaus! This is the second installment of a new feature that will run on most Sundays. We’re choosing images that show what the Sweet Tea Society is all about – getting back to the root of weddings, remembering why they happen, and celebrating the emotion and love that drives them. Enjoy!

Peacock Photography

From Emily, the bride:

I had so many emotions running through my head that day! I am the oldest of three girls, and the second in my family to get married (my sister was married the year before in Florida). I always dreamed of having a church wedding, and my father was on board with everything from the beginning. This picture of the two of us was taken just before the ceremony was about to begin, on the steps of the church. I was so nervous, with butterflies and all, but my father told me “not to worry about anything, because in the end, you will be married to the man of your dreams.” In the end, he was right — I married my true love, and everything was perfect.

P.S. Isn’t Emily’s dress gorgeous? Since I know y’all will ask, it’s by Priscilla of Boston, from her Vineyard Collection, and was purchased at the Atlanta store before it went out of business (sniff sniff).

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Karen Barrett reply

    I personally know the Bride an she is just as beautiful on the inside as the outside. Emily Anne was a true Southern Bride.

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