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With the hundreds of weddings we’ve featured online and in print over the years, one might think that we’d eventually forget about most of them. Well friends, I’d like to reassure you, that is definitely not the case! Even if the couple’s names escape us at first, I can’t tell you how many times the SW gals and I will say things like “the Texas wedding with the precious golden hour portraits” (this wedding) or “that really classic wedding Virgil shot with the striped Lilly bridesmaid dresses” (this one). One wedding that we can always quickly recall though? The colorful, coastal celebration that Blakely and Curtis threw in Blakely’s parents’ backyard. We remember their sweet love story just as well as we remember all of the fun details of their big day, and were so delighted to catch up with them for Southern Newlywed!

Thank you so much to Jeff Crain for these fun photos of one of Blakely and Curtis’ favorite dates!

The couple: Curtis and Blakely Little
By day: Curtis is a commercial real estate broker, and I am an artist.
Where they live: Charleston, South Carolina

Their love story: We both grew up in Annapolis, Maryland, but never met until we were in college in Charleston. We met through mutual friends, and while helping me unpack my car one day, Curtis caught a glimpse of one of my paintings. He held it up and exclaimed how much he liked it. I thanked him, but had to admit that he was holding it upside down. I found the encounter embarrassing and avoided him for months, while he found the encounter intriguing and decided to ask me on a date the next time he had the chance. Well, after three months of praying for the chance, Curtis and I finally ran into one another and we went on our first date. We fell in love in our little seaside town of Charleston, and made things official on June 7, 2014 back in Annapolis.

Their wedding: I wanted our wedding to encompass a few important things; the coast, the South, and the Lord. We had our wedding in the backyard of my childhood home. It sits up above the Severn River, which was an amazing backdrop for the beginning of our marriage. The evening was filled with turquoise details, a brass band parade, breathtaking florals, and all our favorite people. We hoped our guests would catch a glimpse of our joy in the Lord first, and our joy in one another second.

Blakely and Curtis’ five favorite date ideas:

1. Fishing trip: Living near the coast opens us up to many date night options, and one of our favorites is fishing. We have a tiny Boston Whaler that we cruise down the river in, and when the tides are right, we can catch some delicious fish! We usually bring some wine and takeout dinner to entertain us if the fish aren’t biting. I love it because we get to watch the sunset, and it feels like we are the only two people in the world. It can be either so romantic and quiet, or hilarious with fish flopping everywhere. Both are my favorite.

2. Biking to dinner: Curtis and I try to switch up our modes of transportation on date nights. Whether we are walking, biking, boating, or just riding with the windows down, it starts date night out in a fun way. We love that we can ride our bikes all around Charleston! We usually try new restaurants and order one appetizer and two entrees that we can split. This way, we get to try more of the menu! It’s hard not to become a “foodie” living in such a delicious city.

3. Activity swap: Sometimes, we swap activities. I’m an artist, and recently, Curtis and I did a painting night. We used all my materials and set up our own little painting areas. We drank wine and hid our paintings from one another until the big reveal. Curtis isn’t an artist, but the thought behind his painting for me was adorable–it might be my favorite painting ever! On the flip side, Curtis loves all sports. I have lots of fun tennis gear, but am still terrible at the game. We have a blast out there trying, and Curtis appreciates that I get out of my comfort zone to do something he really enjoys.

4. Recreating travels: One of our favorite things to do is travel, and since leaving the country isn’t always an option, Curtis and I have been known to create our own Italian dates! We go to an Italian restaurant for dinner, and follow it with gelato and then dancing in a piazza. It’s always fun to pick some of our favorite places we’ve traveled to and try to recreate our favorite evenings there–you really have to get creative!

5. Friend date: Last but not least, Curtis and I sometimes take out one of our favorite “third wheels.” Because we got married young, we still have mostly single friends. On some evenings, we recognize that one of our favorite people needs some loving, so we try to make the “date” about them! We love to take them to dinner at their favorite place, ask them intentional questions, and make sure they know how loved they are. It’s a fun way to bring our friends into our relationship, and it reminds Curtis and I that our relationship isn’t just about the two of us.

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Lindsay Colvin reply! Idea #5 is so sweet and thoughtful and so pertinent to mine and my husbands life right now, as we have a few single friends.

  2. avatar Emily reply

    I also LOVE number five! Especially in high school and college, including my younger sister or one of our friends in our date night was so much fun, and made some amazing memories! Y’all have inspired me to do this more!

  3. avatar Megan Costanzo reply

    I love these ideas! Last month, I surprised my husband by recreating our honeymoon in Thailand as a date – I made one of our favorite Thai dishes, picked up our favorite Thai beer from a local shop, and put our honeymoon photos on a slideshow while we ate. To top it off, I grabbed some of my husband’s honeymoon attire (he wore linen the. whole. time.) and hung it in the garage and told him he couldn’t come in until he had changed into the linen. I myself changed into a Thai-print jumpsuit and greeted him when he walked through the door with a wai (traditional Thai greeting) and a cold Thai beer! One of my favorite newlywed dates, to date!

  4. avatar Christine reply

    I really love all of these ideas! The common thread through them all is one of service and loving on others, which is exactly the core of what meaningful date nights should be. Thank you for sharing your inspiring and refreshing perspective! Emailing this list to my hubs now!

  5. avatar Emily reply

    As a single girl with mostly married friends, #5 put a HUGE smile on my face! And also, Blakely and Curtis’ wedding is my all time favorite from the blog and when I saw their names at the top of this post I immediately got excited. So good to hear from them agian.

  6. avatar Daniel Young reply

    Curtis and Blakely are HEROS.

    Jeff is good at pictures.

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We have something so fun to share with y’all today! Megan and Brandon’s wedding has such a unique story, and is a beautiful display of a community coming together in celebration. Megan and photographer Catrina Earls can explain this day better than I could, so I’ll let them take it away!

From Megan:

After getting engaged, we had gone back and forth on wedding plans. Our families were very spread out, so we weren’t quite sure how we would get everyone in one place and, to be honest, it was all very overwhelming. In a very quick decision, we decided that we’d just get married there that day and then plan something later. We were married in Raleigh at the Courthouse while Ace sat and watched. We found complete strangers to be our witnesses and, after we were done, we headed to the state fair! A few months ago, Catrina contacted me about doing a styled wedding shoot with her. We went to high school together, but hadn’t seen each other since, although we kept in touch through social media. Brandon and I both thought it would be fun, plus it would give us wedding pictures that we never had. We agreed and had set the bar low in terms of our expectation–we knew that, at the end of the day, this was Catrina’s shoot, so everything would go according to her vision. I was surprised when she would message me questions about what I would’ve wanted for my own dream wedding, and she sold it well as “Well, the models look the most comfortable when they’re happy.” I went along with it, explaining that I had always imagined a very ethereal, woodsy, elegant look. All we had to do was show up on March 29!

I drove to Charlotte to try on dresses with Catrina. We needed something that needed no alterations whatsoever, that I could literally just wear off the rack for the photo shoot. Our fingers were crossed that it would go with the vision. The dress fit like it was made for me, and looking at the pictures, I cannot imagine a better dress for that venue and entire vision. It was the one word I had repeatedly used to describe my dream wedding: ethereal. It was one of those meant-to-be moments.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? From Catrina: Since Megan had no idea about this day being an actual wedding day, I wanted her to have all the fun experiences that a bride has on her actual wedding day. To give them a little something fun to enjoy, I informed Megan we would do a first look to start off their photos! It was the sweetest moment. Brandon was standing under an oak tree by the hanging moss when Megan came around the corner of the house. Their three-year-old son Ace saw his mom and couldn’t hold back the awe. You could see the excitement in her eyes, even though she thought that it was just a styled shoot. When Brandon turned around and saw Megan his mouth dropped. He was just in complete awe of her, she was radiant! It was such a sweet moment.

After some portraits during the first part of the day, we took an afternoon break to eat lunch and thaw out (it was an unusually cold day), and then we were getting ready to do the “ceremony” pictures. I stepped outside to see my parents on the front porch (I’m getting teary eyed just typing this!)–they had come from New Jersey to be there for my special day. We walked down to the pews and I saw that, not only were Brandon’s parents also there from Maryland, but we were going to have our vows renewed. Catrina, Candace, and the rest of the vendors had, indeed, pulled off a very, very surprise wedding. We had our vows renewed, had our first dance, and then walked back to the table to have a sit-down lunch!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? From Catrina: Megan had always envisioned her dream wedding in a location that offered tons of large oak trees. We reached out to Sarah, the owner of Wingate Plantation, and when they agreed, we were over the moon. When Megan got there, her first words were, “I know I said oak trees and wow, you gave me trees!”

What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? You know, I was one of those people who thought weddings were just a formality. A “great-to-have” type of thing, but that’s it. Our wedding has really changed us. We finally got to celebrate ourselves as a couple, the journey we have taken together, and the path that lies before us. We have enjoyed each other and our marriage more than ever since our “wedding 2.0.” We were blessed enough to have been sent on a honeymoon to Mexico two weeks after the ceremony, and since then, we have settled back into life, our sweet family of three. It is amazing the peace that comes from realizing you have found the person to spend your life with.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail of the wedding was ALL of the details. There were so many personal touches throughout the entire day, thanks to Catrina and Candace. Monogrammed napkins, a hand-painted cake…even down to picnic boxes with quotes on them, some of which Catrina had pulled from my own Instagram posts! Every single detail was there and it was all so, so beautiful.

Rhiannon from Sweet Rhi created a delicious two-tiered cake, and a local artist, Blakely Made, hand-painted one of her beautiful Charleston landscapes on it. It was also adorned with florals provided by Stephanie from Sweet Grass. Rhiannon also provided delicious mini pies, two which were detailed with “Mr” and “Mrs.” Candace from Mingle provided vanilla ice cream in little mason jars.

We were finishing up for the rest of the afternoon and I couldn’t figure out why we were all waiting around outside when Catrina casually mentioned we were doing “a cool exit or something.” Just when I thought the day was over and all the surprises were through, we ended up leaving on a helicopter. (As an avid fan of The Bachelor, you can only imagine my excitement). As we were flying over the venue and everyone was waving goodbye, I just thought, “I cannot believe this is my life right now. I can’t believe the kindness of friends and strangers.”

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met five years ago on We were both living in Baltimore and had joined as a way to meet people outside of our circles of friends. We went on our first date shortly after I joined and realized, of course, that we had mutual friends! Our first date was very casual and low-pressure. We sat and had drinks at Hudson Street Stackhouse and just talked each other’s’ ears off. We both knew right away that this was something very special. We still refer to it as the BDE–best date ever! Our love story is not a traditional one, but it is so very much ours. We met that February and I gave birth to our beautiful son the next year. We have had ups and downs, but ultimately, couldn’t picture our lives without each other. I am a big believer that not all love is effortless. In fact, I am a bigger believer in “messy love”–love that is flawed, sometimes broken, and requires work, but is irrevocable. You work at it because you know this love was meant for the two of you.
Tell us all about the proposal! Brandon proposed to me in late August 2013. We had dinner in downtown Annapolis, and the entire time, Brandon was fussing about the weather. It was a beautiful summer night, albeit a bit cloudy. Never in my life had I heard him utter a word about the weather, so I had no idea what he was so worked up about. As it turns out, he had planned on proposing as the sun set by the water, but it was totally covered by clouds! Plan B: we walked around the city, took the ferry across the water, and just really enjoyed the time with each other. Keep in mind, we had a 2-year-old at home, so any time we got to go on a date alone was special in itself! At the end of the night, he proposed.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Well, technically, everything was borrowed! I wore blue earrings for part of the shoot from the stylist, Brooke. My parents gave me a beautiful new embroidered handkerchief to wrap around my flowers. Most importantly, my “old” was a heart ring made up of the stones from my grandmother’s wedding ring, that I wore on my right hand. It made me feel like a part of her was there that day.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? Brandon and I continue to be completely overwhelmed with gratitude for the amount of time, effort, and talent that went into this day. We have wracked our brains trying to figure out how to repay all of these people–or even how to thank them, but truthfully, there are no words to fully express our feelings regarding our wedding 2.0. Catrina told me afterwards, “I just feel like every girl deserves their special day.” I think she, ultimately, made a lot more people believe in the power of love.

Photographer: Catrina Earls Photography / Videographer: Whitewash Films / Planner: Candace Hightower of Mingle Events and Vintage Rentals / Venue: Wingate Plantation / Florist: Sweet Grass Events by Stephanie Gibbs / Cake Baker: Sweet Rhi / Caterer: Catering by Corey / Rentals: Event Haus / Band: Chris Crosby Band / Paper Products: Kristen Henderson Calligraphy / Bride’s Gown: “Jacinda Gown” by Watters / Bride’s Hair Accessories: “Downton” Headpiece by Carol Hannah / Bride’s Jewelry: Adriana Orsini / Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls Hair + Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: “Kelsey Metallic Sandal” by Jimmy Choo / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse / Stylist: Brooke Williams / Artist: Blakely Made / Minister: Kate Perry / Catering Props: Leboxboutique / Hangers and Thank You Banner: Black Label Decor / Welcome Sign: Buffy Weddings / “To Have And To Hold” Print: Paper and Honey Shop / Helicopter: Lowcountry Helicopters

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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  1. avatar How To Get Your Wedding Photos Published | Engaged Asheville reply

    […] Films’ breathtaking video of Brandon and Megan’s surprise (yes, the bride had no idea!) Charleston wedding vow renewal!  Tissues highly […]

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