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As soon as Caitlin and Davis’ wedding photos arrived in Lisa‘s inbox, she knew I would fall head over heels. A classic Southern church wedding filled with monograms and magnolias? You can bet your bottom dollar she was right! Magnolias are my very favorite flower–I not only love how gorgeous they are, but also how they seem to honor the South with every bloom. For Caitlin and Davis, the use of magnolia leaves and flowers throughout their wedding weekend had an even deeper meaning that makes my heart so happy: it was their way of honoring Davis’ parents. On Davis’ parents wedding day, Davis’ father and groomsmen had cut down and arranged magnolia leaves and blooms found on a neighbor’s tree to create the decor, so decades later, it was only fitting that Caitlin and Davis included magnolias in their day, too. What an incredibly sweet family tradition in the making!

Thank you so much to Landon Jacob for sharing this beautiful day with us!

On the day Davis and I got engaged, my mother had a “wedding survival kit” prepared for the two of us, complete with various wedding magazines to browse. Too excited to sleep after our family dinner, I snuck into my television room and spent hours looking at the various dresses, hairstyles, bouquets, and wedding colors. I fell in love with a classic, silk dress, complete with an Audrey Hepburn-esque bow on the front, but it ended up not being quite right for me. Back to square one, we went ahead and made a few calls to bridal boutiques in Raleigh. We squeezed in an appointment at one boutique upon the recommendation of a friend, and I described what I was looking for: an a-line dress, free of tulle and beading, with perhaps a bit of lace–very classic and sophisticated lines. After trying on a few dresses, I noticed a dress on the racks that called out to me. It had tulle, beading, a full princess-like skirt–all the things I had said I didn’t want–but I just loved it! I tried it on, and knew instantly that it was the dress for me. It fit me like a glove from the first fitting to the wedding day, proving how perfect it truly was.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. When we first began to think about our wedding, I placed a lot of emphasis on Davis seeing me for the first time as I walked down the aisle. The more we got into the planning process, the more we realized how equally important time with our family and friends was to us, and how much we wanted to soak in as many moments with them as possible on our wedding day. Doing a first look allowed us to keep that special moment between the two of us, but also allowed us to spend more time with family and friends at the reception. It was the best of both worlds!

We chose three readings: Proverbs 3:1-6, Corinthians 13:1-13, and Colossians 3:12-17. The first is one of our parents’ favorite Bible passages. The second, though used often, is one of my favorite passages, and the third passage was one we found while looking for readings–it really spoke to how we want to live our lives together in marriage. As much as I loved each of our readings for various reasons, I also loved the Bible passage we used at the end of our program, as I thought it was a wonderful final thought to impart to our guests: “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else” (Thessalonians 3:12). Furthermore, it really speaks to our love not only for each other, but for our family and friends who were celebrating with us.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? St. Paul’s was my personal church after I converted to Episcopalian about two years prior to our wedding. We held our reception at Old Town Club, which is the club I grew up going to in town. It was extra special because I was the swim coach there for many years, and worked alongside Jeana McLean, the special events coordinator at OTC, for various swim team events. It was such fun for me to move from planning a hot dog dinner for the swim team to planning my wedding with her!

My mom and I ADORE flowers, and have admired Reggie’s work for years. We were so excited to find out he was available to help us on our special day. He came and met with us for hours, fine-tuning the look we were going for, and learning all of our favorites. Magnolias, peonies, roses, tulips, hydrangeas, and ranunculus are all favorite blooms, and we knew we wanted to do some type of hanging greenery element to create a one-of-a-kind look in our tent for dinner. We also wanted a clean and classic look with all whites and greens to create an elegant setting for our cocktail hour, dinner and reception.

One of the best parts of wedding planning was the food, wine, and cake tasting! We decided on a play off of the clean and classic look of the flowers and event as a whole, creating a plain white cake with pearled edges, an oversized bow (I have loved bows since I was little), and a gold-edged magnolia blossom. Our flavors were vanilla with strawberry, almond with raspberry, and chocolate with cookies and cream filling. A fun fact about the cake was that it was “fake cake” in the tent! Getting married in June and having a seated dinner in a tent, we were concerned about the hot temperatures and the cake falling. Chloe and Becca helped us develop the genius idea to have one slice of real cake to cut, marked off by ribbon on the cake’s platform, and the rest be a fondant, styrofoam creation. This way, our cake in the tent would look amazing, while our cake coming out of the kitchen would be fresh and delicious.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take time to soak in the small moments. I still vividly remember gripping my dad’s arm before walking down the aisle; we remember standing in the club’s office, hearing everyone buzzing outside before the confetti throw; and we remember the looks on my grandmothers’ and mother’s faces as they danced on stage with my bridesmaids and me. Pictures can say a thousand words, but we love having our personal memories too.

Don’t miss Caitlin and Davis’ wedding film by our Blue Ribbon Vendor Inkspot Crow below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I moved home to Winston-Salem, where Davis was in law school at Wake Forest University. I needed a roommate and, through friends, was set up to room with a childhood friend of Davis’, Ellery. Through Ellery and her boyfriend (now husband), Wes, Davis and I got to know each other. The greatest part about the start of our relationship was that we were friends first, and then began dating about seven months later.
Tell us all about the proposal! Once Davis graduated from law school, we dated long distance for about two years, as he got a job at a law firm in Raleigh. We often alternated travel between our two cities on the weekend, and we had already planned to spend the long Easter weekend together in Winston. I’m a teacher and often get to school early in the morning, but knew Davis was traveling to town, so I decided to take my time picking up the house and doing laundry before getting to school. Finally, I arrived, turned on the lights, set my coat down, and went to pull up my morning message on my white board. To my surprise, there was already a note written that read, “Will You Marry Me?” I stood at the board, pondering this message, wonder what student was playing a trick on me. I turned to head into the hall to find my trickster, when I heard a voice from the reading loft call out my name. Davis came down, flowers and ring in hand, got down on his knee, and asked me to marry him right there in my classroom. It was a special moment between just the two of us, but that special moment was made even sweeter when parents, colleagues, friends, and students celebrated with us in my classroom that day. The icing on the cake of our engagement day was Davis arranging a private dinner for both of our families at one of my favorite Winston restaurants. He spoke with the chef to create a personalized menu, ensured our siblings and grandparents could travel in from various parts of the country, and even had my favorite flowers arranged in the middle of the table. It truly was a perfect day!
When did y’all get married? June 20, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 340
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not. We thought we would be too nervous to remember them! :)
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was to “You are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne. We loved it while we were dating and it seemed fitting for our first dance as husband and wife. An additional special moment involving music was when our horns section of the band came down into the tent as a second line, playing “When the Saints Go Marching In,” to get people out of their seats and up to the dance floor. This second line moment was a surprise for Emily, Davis’ sister, who lives in New Orleans and loves the tradition of a second line. Tears welled up in her eyes as she mouthed her thanks to us, and joined the crowd processing upstairs. It was so fun for us to create special moments for not only ourselves, but also for our family members on our wedding day.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There were SO many elements of our day that we loved! However, probably most special was our use of magnolia leaves and blooms throughout our weekend. They were included in everything from our invitation suite and flowers to our embroidered cocktail napkins and cake decorations. Davis’ parents planned and executed all aspects of their own wedding, down to gathering and arranging flowers themselves. Days before their wedding, Davis’ father and groomsmen packed into a pick up truck and headed to a nearby neighbor’s farm, where they cut down and arranged many of the magnolia leaves and blooms found on the large trees in the yard. These were the only flowers for their special day, so we loved the idea of highlighting the magnolia in our design for our wedding day, too.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? While planning our wedding, we took part in premarital counseling. While we feel like we communicate well and have discussed many important elements of our future–such as finances and a future family–it was nice to have a third party bring up new ideas for us to consider. I also kept a journal for Davis for the entire year leading up to our wedding day, sharing quotes, Bible passages, funny stories, and things I was looking forward to as a married couple. This was a part of his wedding gift, and I gave it to him days before our wedding so he could read it and share in the excitement I felt before our special day. Davis still claims this as one of his most cherished possessions.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We have jumped into marriage head first! We are currently building a house and love going through the process. We have always heard about the stress it can bring, but we have truly enjoy making decisions and selections together. Beyond that, we look forward to continuing to travel and, someday down the road, having a family. We grew up with such wonderful examples of marriage and parenting in our own families, and can’t wait to hopefully set the same example for our children in the future.

Photographer: Landon Jacob Photography | Videographer: Inkspot Crow Films | Planner: Rebecca Rose Events | Ceremony Venue: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church | Reception Venue and Caterer: Old Town Club | Florist: Reggie’s Flower Shoppe | Cake Baker: Cakes by Chloe | Lighting, Tenting, Chairs, China, Glassware, and Flatware: Party Reflections | Band: Big Swing and the Ballroom Blasters | Cocktail Hour and Dinner Music: Jazz Trio by Allegro Music | Paper Products: Rebecca Rose Creative | Bride’s Gown: “Amour” by Kenneth Pool | Bride’s Veil: Alexia’s Bridal | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Makeup for Your Day | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Style #740 in Navy by Bill Levkoff | Bridal Salon: J Major’s Bridal Boutique | Menswear: Jean Yves | Linens: La Tavola and Nuage Designs | Envelope Calligraphy: Elizabeth Porcher Jones

Rebecca Rose Events is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Sarah Chancey reply

    Everything Landon does is absolute gold, and this wedding is no exception. I love the clean lines and elegant floral installations. The navy bridesmaid gowns also pair well with this elegant affair!

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Christina and Matt met in the city of Ouagadougou in West Africa while volunteering for the Peace Corp–talk about an adventurous courtship! For their October wedding, they were inspired by their mutual love of the color green, and they wanted an aesthetic that was built around nature and inspired by leaves, trees, wood, and flowers. The talented Tara Guérard took the already gorgeous Lowndes Groves Plantation, and boy, did she up its game! She even brought the beauty of the great outdoors right inside their stunning tent. I would be remiss not to mention that Christina and Matt’s officiant included a few words of wisdom from that “great Southern philosopher,” Forrest Gump, in their ceremony. I know the whole congregation must have been tickled to hear that!

Thank you so much to Liz Banfield for sharing this stunner with us in V7!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Matt and I met in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso in West Africa, as Peace Corps Volunteers. I lived in Burkina and Matt lived in the neighboring country of Togo. The day we met–January 2, 2009–we had both been traveling with friends. My friends and I had plans to take a bus to Togo the next day. Matt gave me advice about where to go and what to do, and I invited him and his friends to join us for dinner, drinks, and dancing. Many hours later, in the early morning outside of a night club, Matt and his friends announced that they had decided to cut their vacation short and would join us on the bus to Togo. Matt escorted us all the way to his city, Lomé, and took care of us all week. While my friends spent an overnight in Ghana, I stayed behind and spent 48 hours with Matt. That was our unofficial first date. Eight months later, I moved to Togo and became a third-year volunteer in the town next to his. Until years later, he had no idea that I had done it for him. The day I arrived, we spent hours together in a group enjoying the festivities. At the end of the night, I went to my hotel room and closed the door, fretting about whether I had made the right decision, and if he was still interested in me. A few minutes later, there was a knock at my door. I opened the door and it was Matt. He took my arm, said “Christina,” and then kissed me. He finished his sentence before disappearing into the night: “See you tomorrow.”

I loved the way my dress maintained its dramatic shape whether I was walking, spinning, or standing still! It looked great from every angle and was unmistakably a wedding dress.

Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? Rose Kpomblekou, of Peace Corps Togo, traveled all the way from West Africa to attend the wedding!

Who was your officiant? The pastor who married us is a close friend of Matt and a true Southern gentleman. He had tears in his eyes (and streaming down his kind face!) throughout the ceremony, and we were married with words of wisdom from that great Southern philosopher, Forrest Gump. He made everyone laugh while sharing his gifts as a spiritual and loving man.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. We had a string quartet playing songs we loved from Lord of the Rings, Braveheart, and some of Matt’s favorite video games. The ceremony was outside under a huppah of green leaves and a beautiful tree. Guests were facing a river and sitting on a mixture of chairs and pew-like benches. My dad and I emerged dramatically from the stunning Lowndes Grove mansion and had a nice long walk across the lawn to the center aisle–plenty of time for one last father-daughter chat before the I do’s!

No matter where we held the wedding, our families would have to travel. My family comes from in and around the New York Tri-State area, whereas Matt’s family lives in South Carolina and Florida. Elegant and cozy Charleston, South Carolina was the perfect location–not only because it is one of Matt’s favorite places in the world, but it was also a place that my family came to know and love through Matt’s eyes.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? I gathered fantastical images from Lord of the Rings and magical-looking forests. We both love the color green and wanted an aesthetic that was built around nature themes: leaves, trees, wood, flowers, etc.

What were some of the highlights of the reception? We LOVE to dance and the band was phenomenal. I danced to every song at our wedding except three: I missed two because of impromptu pictures and one because I was out of breath from jumping around with my brother. The speeches couldn’t have been more touching, funny, and apropos. The food was delicious and the service was flawless. Our sweetheart table experience turned into a surprise romantic dinner for two in the middle of our wedding!

My cousin, David Johnson, is a songwriter and musician, so we asked if he would perform one of his songs at the wedding. He came back to us a week later with a brand new song entitled “Face to Face,” which instantly became our song. The lyrics were as special to us as the songwriter, so we asked Dave and his son to perform it for our first dance. They were awesome and Matt and I had a blast dancing to this perfect song.

Describe the proposal: Matt and I were looking to buy a house, and finally, we found the one. We put a bid on it, and then found ourselves in a bidding war with another buyer, which we eventually lost. I was so disappointed, but nothing could be done about it. Matt left on a last-minute work trip and continued to be very busy for a while. Turns out, his “last-minute work trip” was really a train ride to visit my parents in New Jersey to ask for permission to marry their daughter, and to ask my mother to take him ring shopping. On the night he planned to propose, we had scheduled dinner with friends. My mom had been in town, but left on the morning of the dinner to take care of “taxes” in New York. On the way to the restaurant, Matt took a detour onto the street with the house. “Why would you take this street? It’s depressing!” I told him. I didn’t want to see the house that we had lost. He slowed down next to the house and pulled into the driveway. I asked him what he thought he was doing. “We’re trespassing,” I told him, “and we are late for dinner.” He replied, “I lied to you. We’re home. We got the house.” Inside, the living room was covered in red rose petals and 200 candles. A throw rug near the garden window was piled high with long stem red roses perched over a card. I knelt down to open and read the card, which said, “I love you so, so much. Turn around.” He was kneeling with the ring and proposed. The real estate lady was hiding in the bushes with the paperwork for the house. We signed on the dotted line and left to celebrate over dinner with our friends!
When did y’all get married? October 26, 2013
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Elegant, comfortable, euphoric.
How many guests attended your wedding? 180
Did you try anything new or nontraditional? I only have one sibling, so instead of choosing a maid of honor, I choose my brother to be my “man of honor,” and he truly filled the role to the fullest! My girlfriends all love him and were delighted to follow his lead–even through planning the bachelorette party! He gave a once-in-a-lifetime speech at dinner, and if I were ever unsure, I know how very much he loves me.
What was the funniest moment? What was the scariest? The funniest moment was when the pastor explained how when Matt and I met and some of his first words to me were “You smell good.” This was a huge compliment while serving in the Peace Corps!
Tell us about your grand exit. We drove off in a gorgeous, vintage getaway convertible while the guests cheered us into the night with sparklers.
What was Southern about your wedding? We incorporated Southern cuisine, hospitality, and sensibilities.
Did you take a honeymoon? If so, where? We went as far away as possible to New Zealand, a magical land of fjords, mountains, glacial lakes, diverse flora, and hobbits.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Prioritize taking care of your guests and don’t assume responsibility for any details on the day-of. A bride’s job is to be the joyous chief of the party!!

Photographer: Liz Banfield / Videographer: Artistic Eye Productions / Planner, Designer, and Florist: Tara Guérard Soirée / Venue, Caterer, and Bar Service : Lowndes Grove Plantation / Cake : Wedding Cakes by Jim Smeal / Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Music: Charleston Heartstrings Quartet for Debut, Inc. / Bride’s Gown: “Laetitia” by Anna Maier / Bridal Salon: Hitched Salon / Bride’s Shoes: “Isabel” by Jimmy Choo / Bride’s Earrings: “Elsa Peretti Pearls by the Yard Drop Earrings” from Tiffany and Co. / Bride’s Veil and Hair Accessory: Hitched Salon / Bridesmaid Dresses: #839 in Fern by Aria / Wedding Day Dresser: Cacky’s Bride+Aid / Hair Stylist: Kristy Cuthbert / Makeup Artist: Kori Mahoney / Getaway Car: Matt Buero / Men’s Attire: Grady Ervin & Co / Ice Sculpture: Ice Age Ice Sculptures / Paper Goods: The Lettered Olive / Rentals: Snyder Event Rentals / Linens: Immediate Tablecloth / Band: Big Swing and the Ballroom Blasters / Transportation: Absolutely Charleston and Marquee Limo / Lighting: Production Design Associates and Tara Guérard Soirée / Ceremony Director: Lori Lethco

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Anastasia reply

    OH I LOVE THIS. this is probably my favorite wedding published in a while. i love their adventurous and individualistic relationship and also their love of LOTR and natural beauty. perfect!!

  2. avatar Laura reply

    That proposal story brought tears to my eyes, so sweet!

  3. avatar Ally reply

    I completely agree with her advice – take care of your guests! Any time you invite people to celebrate (even if they are celebrating you!), it’s always gracious to keep them comfortable and happy!

  4. avatar kate h. reply

    this is incredible.

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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