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As you may know, we here at Southern Weddings have a little bit of an ongoing love affair with chickens. (Actually, all farm animals, to be perfectly honest!) So y’all know we just adore that Audrey + Zane tied the knot in her grandfather’s chicken house, and had a celebration made complete by feathered details galore!

Of course, we not only swoon for chickens in this office; we’re quite smitten with good ol’ Southern gentlemen, too! When meeting Zane for the first time, Audrey knew right off the bat he was a good one when he sweetly stood just-so to block the sun from her eyes. Way to go, Zane! For this farm-loving couple, it took just a few weeks after meeting to know they’d get married one day. Now, over four years later (yep, this one’s an oldie but goodie!), you can’t help but feel the love they have for each other right through the photos from Mark Elkins.

My sweet aunt is an amazing designer and seamstress, so I was so honored that she offered to make my dress! I wanted something a little unusual, and she was thrilled at the idea of using feathers to suit the feel of the wedding. We wanted to embrace the farm wedding, and since we were getting married in a chicken house, I thought feathers would be so fitting. My grandparents had had an egg business for years (they actually were the supplier for the first Chick-Fil-A!), so I wanted the dress to suit a farm girl! With several yards of silk dupioni and a down pillow, my Mom and I set off to South Carolina for a weekend of dress-making. My aunt, Evy Hawkins, designed and made my dress in a long weekend! It was absolutely perfect. I love the uneven textural earthiness of the ruched dupioni and the layers of feathers around the bottom. I’m so thankful my aunt volunteered her talent!

Describe your wedding flowers. 
Our wedding flowers were definitely a do-it-yourself project! We ordered yellow craspedia, white scabiosa, red gerrando daisies, and thistles. The boutonnieres were craspedia and feathers. We also gathered Queen Anne’s lace for arrangements at the reception. We planted wheatgrass in barnwood boxes my dad had made to go on the tables at the reception to tie in with the grass in the field. We planted a swath of red poppies along the side of the barn, and they were blooming gorgeously just in time for the wedding! A really special little detail to me was that in the sea of red poppies, there was one little sweet pink poppy that mysteriously came up. My Nannie (grandmother) had always planted those same pink poppies so it was like a little piece of her was there!

We did do a first look! We loved this! Our ceremony “aisle” wound across a ten-acre hayfield, so if we hadn’t done a first look, I wouldn’t have gotten to see the look on Zane’s face! We did a first look early that morning and I loved having that moment together, just the two of us, and our amazing photographer who captured it!

Y’all, aren’t these two just the cutest!?

Did you write your own vows? 
We had a good friend marry us, and he wrote most of the vows, with our input. He incorporated a song that was also sung at our wedding called “As Long as There’s You” by a bluegrass band called the Cluster Pluckers. They’re so meaningful to us because they really do capture how we feel.

Our wedding was all about life on a Southern farm, even down to the food. Since we had a morning wedding, we had a grits bar complete with various cheeses, bacon, green onions, tomatoes, etc, and biscuits with sausage, bacon, and assorted homemade jellies. We also had berries, watermelon, and homemade Southern spiced pecans from my great aunt’s trees and shelled by my great-aunts. There were mason jars in abundance, monogrammed table linens, and sweet tea of course! The favors were homemade Southern peach jam, made from local peaches from Hollandville, GA. Guests that were able sat on hay bales during the ceremony. Another detail that I felt is pretty Southern is that Zane wore khaki-colored seersucker.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? 
We are so thankful to my parents who went above and beyond and did so much work to get everything perfect! All of our vendors were amazing. I’m so thankful for the Elkins at Mark Elkins Photography. The pictures are an amazing reminder of our wedding!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
There were so many! My dad made chandeliers out of mason jars to hang in the reception barn that were amazing. I’m still using the barnwood boxes he made, too. I loved the feathers on my dress, and how we incorporated chicken feathers throughout — the flower girls threw chicken feathers instead of flower petals and when we left, everyone threw feathers instead of rice! We had some beautiful real chickens in a pen at the reception for kids to feed. Also, we had our rings placed inside blown egg shells and cracked them open when the time came to exchange them (much to the surprise of our guests!). It was nice to have a funny little lighthearted detail in the ceremony!

Our wedding cake was a big white coconut cake with strawberry jam filling. We wanted something Southern and also something to go along with the feel of the wedding. What’s more southern than an old fashioned coconut cake? Our baker used large-shredded coconut that looked feathery like my dress as well! She put a nest on top, and in it we put two pottery chickens my cousin handmade for us.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. 
My cousins had grown up with Zane, so I had always heard about him but had never actually met him until we were 17 and 18. The moment we met, I was sitting on a bench with my cousin and he very sweetly stood so the sun wouldn’t be in my eyes — a real Southern man! It was just a few weeks before we both knew we would get married one day. We dated (long distance the whole time!) for four and a half years.
Tell us all about the proposal! 
It was over Christmas break and we were at my parents’ house (down the road from my grandparents’ farm). Early one morning, Zane asked if I wanted to go for a walk out in the field. I was really tired but he was so intent on going on a walk, so I went. We walked through the beautiful dew-covered fields to a big oak tree that I have always loved. He had hung several vintage lanterns in the tree and they were gently swinging in the breeze. As we neared the tree, I knew it was about to happen. Then he turned around, got down on one knee, and pulled a little white box out of his pocket and asked me to marry him. It was the perfect moment! We had openly talked about getting married and we knew we would get married, but he still made the proposal special. I was so glad we got to tell my Nannie that we were engaged! She passed away a couple of weeks later. She had always said Zane was easy to love! We ended up getting married near the site of the proposal on my grandparents’ farm in their hayfield with the reception in their old chicken house, the barn.

When did y’all get married? 
May 16th, 2009 at 9:30 am

How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding? 
About 200

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 
No readings really. We were thankful that one of our ministers said a prayer and our friend officiating the ceremony said some really nice things.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them.
Planning the music was Zane’s department! I thought he did the best job of it and made it so special. We really didn’t use any traditional wedding music. He found songs that fit us and the feel of the wedding beautifully. The wedding party walked in to Norman Blake’s “Fields of November” and the recessional was “Greenleaf Fancy,” both of which were played at Zane’s parents wedding as well! We are thankful to know some really talented musicians. My uncles and cousin, as well as Zane’s sisters and brother-in-law all performed. My dad and I walked in to Jerry Douglas’ “A Tribute to Peador O’Donnell,” which I think is one of the most beautiful and moving instrumental songs there is! We had a really meaningful hymn printed on the program that all our guests sang together. Zane’s sisters and brother-in-law sang, “As Long as There’s You” by the Cluster Pluckers. We looked for a long time for the perfect wedding song and when we heard that, we knew it was the one! I think they did a beautiful job. We also included cards in our invitations to all of our musically inclined friends to bring their guitars, dobros, fiddles, and mandolins for the reception and had some bluegrass picking under the trees.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? 
Our biggest challenge was definitely finding the time to get it all done! Zane and I were both in our last year of college — we graduated one weekend and got married the next weekend. With finishing school, finding jobs, moving 600 miles away, and wedding planning, we had a lot going on in a few short weeks, especially for a predominantly DIY wedding! Thank goodness for my amazing parents who did so much work to get everything done!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? 
There were so many! The whole day was amazing, but I think we most remember the feeling of walking back down the aisle and actually being married!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
Our advice is without a doubt to do what’s “you!” If traditions are meaningful to you, by all means do them. If they aren’t meaningful to you, create your own traditions! Don’t do anything just because “that’s how it’s done.” You’ll be happiest (and your guests, who love you, will be thrilled too) if your wedding is an expression of you as a couple. We love all things farm-related, so we went with that because that’s where we are the happiest. Some of our friends love skeet shooting, so at their wedding we threw (empty) shotgun shells instead of rice — I loved that because it was so “them!”

What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? 
After our wedding, we honeymooned in the mountains of Montana (which is so gorgeous in the spring!). Zane had found a job in Virginia Beach, VA, so we moved up here. We are now living in Portsmouth, VA and have two sweet kids, Camden and Lark. We live in the city now, but hope to live on a farm again one day!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Lauren reply

    The yellow and the red is so gorgeous together. I love how feathery her dress is and that she carried it through into the cake. What a beautiful wedding.

  2. avatar Sharon Alexamder reply

    This was one of our all time favorite weddings! The bride’s gown had feathers around the bottom that set the design/tone for the event. Such fun details and great couple!

  3. avatar Alexis reply

    I’ve a WordPress blog with Arras theme. This site strangely shows different on different computers. On some computers, I see all 3 columsn, on other PC, I see only 1. On other PCs, some wiered things. Please somebody help me..

  4. avatar Lauren reply

    Where is this venue located? Is it a private residence or can it be rented?

  5. avatar Lance reply

    What venue is this?

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Marilisa + Taylor’s Georgia wedding was plantation perfection that takes gingham to another level! I love that the groom and his men rocked the gingham shirts and big belt buckles. Their adorable yellow bow ties were the perfect shade to pop against the pattern and accent the ladies’ wildflower bouquets. Marilisa’s ‘maids look positively darling in their mismatched frocks and colorful shoes, but of course they didn’t outshine the bride, who looked effortlessly beautiful in a flowing Amy Kuschel gown, cowboy boots, and a pretty updo. I love the view of the Fair Havens Plantation that stretched behind Marilisa + Taylor’s altar and the big celebratory hugs, post-ceremony. Big thanks to Matt Miller of Our Labor of Love who caught the moment and shared this wedding with us.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Taylor and I both grew up in the Northeast and met when we were 12 at a summer church camp in New York. My family moved to Georgia right before I started high school, but he and I stayed in touch over the years and reconnected after he moved to Athens for school. We developed a great friendship, which only deepened the following year when I moved to Athens to attend the University of Georgia. Taylor and I would go on jogs or work out together and usually end up eating somewhere and talking about God. Having such a strong spiritual connection really caused the sparks to fly! During the summer of 2008, we worked together at a church camp and by the end of the summer, we were dating.
Describe the proposal. (From the groom) For about two years I knew that I wanted to propose at dusk, under a perfect sunset, out in a field, far removed from anyone. Thus, the search began for the perfect spot. Last July, I drove by an open field off Route 53 in Watkinsville, Georgia and instantly knew I had found where I wanted to propose. I found the owner of the property and told him that I wanted to use his property to propose to my best friend. After receiving his blessing, all that was left was for the ring to arrive and for time to pass. Early in the afternoon, my brother and I loaded a table made from wood from an early 1800s smokehouse into a friend’s truck, drove it out to the field and left a bunch of yellow daisies on it. All that was left was for me to pick up Marilisa for what she thought was a dinner date with friends. As we drove out to the field, I tried to enjoy the moment and remember the speech I had been practicing. We got out of the car and walked towards the table and as we walked, I told Marilisa that the Hebrew word for “helper” in Genesis could be translated as “lifesaver” and that I felt this perfectly described how I saw her role in my life. I got down on one knee, pulled out the ring and asked her to marry me and she said yes! It seriously felt like we were the only people on the planet (until this kid drove behind us on an ATV). We left Athens and drove back to Atlanta to celebrate with her family and then flew to Connecticut to be with mine.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Relaxing, glorious, and one-big-crazy reunion!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: A few weeks after the proposal, I was on OnceWed and the main page featured a beautiful San Francisco wedding with the bride in a stunning Amy Kuschel gown. I immediately searched her site for the dress style (Margherita) and discovered the designer only sold her gowns to one store in Georgia, Kelly’s Closet. I made an appointment with the boutique and planned a weekend for all my bridesmaids to come with me. It was the first dress I tried on there and all my girls fell in love immediately! The soft fabric felt so dreamy and I knew it was the perfect style for our rustic outdoor wedding!
Describe your wedding flowers: I wanted the flowers to look as if someone had just plucked them from an open field and our florist did a fantastic job capturing that vision. My bouquet consisted of white peonies, roses, blue thistles, green buttons and craspedia. Flowers for the other bouquets and decorations included monte casino, solidago, seeded eucalyptus, and millet.

Photographer: Matt Miller of Our Labor of Love // Venue: Fair Havens Plantation // Florist: The Garden Gate Florist // Wedding Cake Baker: Brett’s // Caterer: Brett’s // Paper Products: Three by The Quill Penn // Bride’s Dress: Amy Kuschel via Kelly’s Closet // Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil: Sara Gabriel via Kelly’s Closet // Bride’s Shoes: Frye // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bridesmaids’ own // Accessories: Earrings from Aurum

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    What a stylish bunch!! Those gingham shirts are amazing, and I love the mismatched bridal party…and of course, the bride and groom are gorgeous! :)

  2. avatar Plum Pretty Sugar Loungerie reply

    Such soft and pretty details! Lovely!


  3. avatar Emily reply

    Hmmm looks like mix and match bridesmaids strike again! Perfect after yesterday’s post! :)

  4. avatar Shannon Fitzpatrick reply

    I almost jumped out of my socks after I read this proposal story!!! I go to Gainesville State College in Watkinsville, Ga and when I saw that he proposed in one of the nearby fields, I almost fainted! I drive by those beautiful fields every day on my way to school and daydream about having a wedding in one.. Being proposed to must have been so beautiful! I can tell you first hand how vast and gorgeous they are. Props to the groom!!!

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  6. avatar Sydney reply

    I have never seen gingham in a wedding before. I am in love. When was the wedding? Like, during what month?

    • avatar Nicole reply

      Hi Sydney! Isn’t the gingham bright and fun? The wedding was in May. Marilisa and Taylor even painted their initials and wedding date on their corn hole boards!

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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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