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We feature all kinds of gorgeous and meaningful Southern weddings, from chic, modern celebrations, to fabulous ballroom weddings, to casual, outdoor soirées…but weddings like Elizabeth and Tripp’s feel kind of like our bread and butter to me. After a first look, they exchanged traditional vows at a church that holds tons of meaning for Elizabeth’s family (don’t miss the story below!), and then invited their guests to a reception in Elizabeth’s parents’ backyard that featured Southern details, family heirlooms, and even a tent dedicated to Ole Miss tailgate favorites. Elizabeth said, “The most Southern thing about our wedding would have to be the tradition behind every detail” and while I think her elegant wedding day look may be a close second, there’s no doubt that the inspiration she and Tripp drew from their roots and their love story are what made this day so magical!

Many thanks to Ashley Upchurch for sending this sweet celebration our way!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mom and I were out shopping one day and decided to pop into a bridal salon, The Bridal Path, that has been in the Jackson area for as long as I can remember. I always knew that would be the place where I would find my wedding dress. After trying on about five dresses, I put on the sixth one and knew that it was the perfect dress for me. After I picked out my veil and tried the entire ensemble on, I knew it was exactly what I was going to get married in a short five months later.

Tripp and I decided early on that we wanted to have an intimate moment, just the two of us, before our wedding ceremony. It was a chance for us to take a breath, pray together, and soak in the fact that we were about to begin the happiest journey of our lives.

The most memorable moment of our wedding day was a moment Tripp and I shared during my vows. I always get emotional at weddings and knew that my own wedding would be no different. After each phrase of my vows, I had to take a short breath to keep from falling to pieces in front of my groom and the church full of our family and friends. At one point, Tripp winked at me and whispered “I love you” in the middle of me reciting my vows. He is in a constant state of calm and that moment was no different. Those three little words got me through the rest of my vows, but not without a few more tears!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My dad had recently restored the church that he and my mother were married in. The old sanctuary was built in the 1800s and was in horrible condition, so our church decided to tear it down and build a new sanctuary on the plot of land right beside it. My dad salvaged every possible thing from the old sanctuary, including the stained glass windows and exterior columns. It’s the most beautiful building in the world to me and I couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else. Our reception was held at my parents’ home, which is set in the middle of a pecan grove right outside the city limits of Forest, Mississippi. It has been my home since I was ten years old. It’s the place where Tripp first told me he loved me and where we’ve celebrated many holidays and special events with both of our families. We opened all of the French doors so guests were about to spend time both inside the house and outside around the pool and garden, where we had tents, food, and plenty of dancing.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? As guests entered my parents’ home for the reception, they were greeted by servers with trays of traditional mint juleps and blackberry lemonade. The food consisted of a seafood fountain of oysters on the half shell and tail-on shrimp! We also had individual servings of shrimp and grits. Since Tripp and I dated all through our time at Ole Miss, we had a Grove tent full of chicken on a stick, an individual slider station, corn dog nuggets, and more! Our favors were pecans that my MeMe and Great Aunt had picked from my parents’ pecan grove during the previous fall. My mom and I spent an entire day making them into delicious sugared pecans that we boxed up for our guests to enjoy! The most Southern thing about our wedding/reception would have to be the tradition behind every detail.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail would have to be the wedding cake topper that belonged to my MeMe and PawPaw. I would always play with it as a little girl, and my MeMe so graciously let us display it in a gold and glass container on the table that our wedding cake was on. Tripp’s favorite detail was an antique truck that belongs to my dad–a 1965 Ford that belonged to my PawPaw when my dad was in high school. It was the same truck that my dad drove on his first date with my mom. As a nod to Ole Miss, we had a Grove tent with all the tailgating food you could imagine. We parked the Ford beside the tent and filled it with galvanized tubs of beer.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was that I was planning a wedding from 900 miles away! Every weekend that I was able to travel to Mississippi was planned to the exact minute so that we were able to squeeze in all the planning we could. Thankfully, I have the most amazing mom and mother-in-law who made the process a lot less stressful than it could have been.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our story began when Tripp and I met briefly through mutual friends while we were in high school. After reconnecting in the spring of 2011. when Tripp was a freshman and I was a sophomore at the University of Mississippi, Tripp asked me to be his date to Old South–his fraternity’s spring formal in New Orleans, Louisiana. We danced the entire night away and ended the weekend eating beignets while watching the sunrise over the Mississippi River. We’ve been inseparable ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! I’ve always been a Daddy’s girl, and spending time with my dad is one of the things I miss the most about being close to home. So, when my dad suggested that we go on a father/daughter date while I was home over the Thanksgiving holidays, I was thrilled! My dad is a local building contractor in our small town in Mississippi, and over the past couple of years, had begun restoring an old, run-down building downtown called The Smith Building. It’s the most beautiful building with the best character. After spending our “date day” taking a dancing lesson, my dad and I headed home to practice what we had learned that afternoon. It was late November, so it was already dark by the time we arrived at the Smith Building, where we intended to practice. My dad made up an excuse that he needed to run home to get a stereo, so he left me to start the heat and turn all the lights on. The downstairs portion of the building was still in disarray, filled with tools and other materials, so I assumed we were practicing on the second floor, which was completely refinished. When I opened the door, I noticed that the steps were lined with pillar candles and white rose petals. In the distance, I could hear mine and Tripp’s song, “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray Lamontagne, playing softly in the background. After I walked up the steps and turned the corner, I found Tripp standing in a room filled with hundreds of candles and white roses. He had furnished the room with pieces that I immediately recognized: a red velvet couch that belonged to my grandmother, one of my favorite rugs that belonged to my mom, and more (he had obviously had some help from my three brothers!). Tripp had an entire speech prepared–he began at the moment he first saw me and ended at the moment he asked my dad for my hand in marriage. I had always joked that I wouldn’t remember anything he would say when he finally proposed, so he had thoughtfully set up cameras around the room to capture the moment from every angle. After many sweet words and lots of tears, Tripp got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. Afterwards, we drove to my parents’ house because Tripp said both of our families were there to celebrate with us by having a small family dinner. When we opened the door, however, 100 of our closest friends and family members were there to greet us with champagne and lots of love!
When did y’all get married? June 4, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 400
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Tripp and I decided to use traditional vows.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Music has always been a large part of both mine and Tripp’s lives. While I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, Tripp is a phenomenal singer (it’s one of the things I love most about him). We wanted to incorporate hymns that we both loved, while honoring the way each of us has grown up in the church. Our grandmothers were seated to “Amazing Grace,” a favorite of them all. The solo was “Be Thou My Vision,” which reduces me to tears by the time I get to the verse that reads “Heart of my own heart, whatever befall; Still be thou my vision, O Ruler of all” every single time I sing it. I walked down the aisle to the strings rendition of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” which has always and will always be my favorite hymn.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was a four-tiered masterpiece created by The Cake Diva, Maria de La Barre. The flavor of each tier alternated between creme brûlée and traditional almond wedding cake with champagne flavoring. Ivory and blush garden and spray roses cascaded from the top tier to the bottom. The groom’s cake was duck-hunting themed, a favorite hobby of Tripp’s since he was a child. It was a chocolate cake topped by a handmade edible duck decoy and antique shotgun shells. Tripp also had individual tiramisu on his cake table–his favorite dessert of all time.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Tripp and I spent a lot of time in prayer in the months leading up to our wedding. After moving to DC almost two years ago while Tripp was still in Mississippi in graduate school, we’ve spent the last couple of years making our relationship work through constant communication and making the most out of the moments we were able to be in the same place. We soaked up all the advice we could from family and friends and spent time in marriage counseling with my pastor, who also performed our wedding ceremony.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Tripp and I are settling into our cozy life as husband and wife in Washington, DC. Through work obligations and spending time with old and new friends in DC, we still take time to just enjoy each other’s company. We are most excited about sharing this wonderful city together and learning new things about one another every day.

Photographer: Ashley Upchurch Photography | Videographer: Frameblender Films | Planner, Special Details, and Paper Products: Stella and Company | Ceremony Venue: Forest Presbyterian Church | Reception Venue: Private residence | Florist: Au Courant | Cake Baker: The Cake Diva | Caterer and Rentals: Pretty Presentations Catering and Event Rentals | Lighting and Tents: Great Southern Events | Band: The DMP Band | Bride’s Gown: “Eiran” by La Sposa | Bride’s Veil and Jewelry: The Bridal Path | Hair and Makeup: Jan Crowell | Bride’s Shoes: “Giana” by Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Anabel” by J. Crew | Menswear: Tuxes Too | Calligraphy: J. Graham Lettering and Design | Printing: Dement Printing Company

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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  1. avatar 15 wedding cakes that are almost too pretty to eat reply

    […] Light floral cake for an elegant backyard wedding. via Southern Weddings […]

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Many girls can probably say that their dog is one of their very best friends, but I imagine few can say their dog was also their matchmaker! Sure enough, it was Jennifer’s beloved golden, Maverick, who was responsible for her and Kerby’s meet-cute–y’all won’t want to miss the story below. Five years and a move to Charleston later, Jennifer and Kerby escaped to the idyllic Palmetto Bluff with their family and friends for their gorgeous spring wedding weekend. Along with dreamy floral crowns, fun pops of pattern, and details that nodded to their love story, Jennifer and Kerby’s celebration wouldn’t have been complete without Maverick in tow!

Thank you so much to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Perry Vaile for sharing this lovely day with us!

Kerby and I met five years ago in Washington, D.C. through my golden retriever, Maverick. I got Maverick when I graduated from college, and for many years, he was my rock during uncertain times of figuring out the next chapter in life. Little did I know, he’d also be the one to introduce me to my best friend and husband. I was going to a backyard birthday party for one of my mutual friends and brought Mav with so he could enjoy the festivities. After an hour or so, I spotted a cute boy rolling around on the ground with my dog. Naturally, I approached him and asked, “How do you know Maverick?” Kerby looked up and said, “I hung out with him the past two weekends while his owner was out of town. We’re best friends. Who are YOU?” And the rest is history.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My family and I grew up going to Hilton Head Island every summer, and it has always been a special place for me. Kerby grew up by the beach in Wilmington, North Carolina, so we figured somewhere near the water would be best for us. A friend of mine used to live in Bluffton, right outside of Hilton Head, and recommended that we look at Palmetto Bluff. We were swept off our feet from the first visit. The charm, natural beauty, and relaxed atmosphere–in addition to the convenience of Palmetto Bluff’s town square and cottages–could not be beat. We ended up moving to Charleston a month after our wedding, so we will be frequenting Palmetto Bluff for the rest of our lives!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Kerby and I initially disagreed on a first look. He wanted the classic, tearjerker scene of seeing his bride for the first time while standing in front of his family and friends. I knew I would be anxious the day of the wedding and wanted to see him before the ceremony so I could ease my nerves. After I explained that if we got pictures out of the way before the wedding, we could party longer afterward, Kerby quickly acquiesced.

We decided to write our own vows so we could feel like the ceremony was personalized to us. We decided on each writing “a few paragraphs,” and had my maid of honor read both ahead of time to make sure they worked well together. As I struggled to get through mine, Kerby held my hand and kept whispering to me to breathe. When I finished, he automatically went in to kiss me to make me feel better. Halfway there, he realized that wasn’t part of the plan and asked our minister, “Can we do that?” It got a good chuckle from the crowd.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We had a bar set up at the entrance of our ceremony serving Moscow mules and Dark and Stormys in copper mugs. We wanted our guests to feel comfortable and start the evening off on the right foot. It was a celebration, after all! We also made sure that Maverick was a part of every aspect of the wedding. Not only did he need to be celebrated for introducing us, but his presence helped us feel relaxed and at ease. His ears flapped in the wind as the bridesmaids did a motorboat cruise to the bridal luncheon at Marshside Mama’s. He rode in the golf cart with us to the rehearsal dinner, where he got in the way of corn hole and snuck pieces of barbecue. He walked down the aisle with my maid of honor and danced the night away with us under the tent. Palmetto Bluff allowed him to be the VIP he deserved to be!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Look for ways to personalize your wedding. Think about who you are as a couple, what you like to do together, and what’s most important to you, and try and incorporate that into everything you decide. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it is what ends up standing out to your guests and building that lasting memory in your mind.

Our flowers were GORGEOUS! Em Creative Floral did a wonderful job of combining neutrals with pops of coral, pinks, and reds. My favorite part was the baby’s breath crowns that were made for my bridesmaids. They looked like angels floating down the aisle.

Our wedding cake was a simple white cake with gorgeous, fresh flowers. In order to incorporate more flavors, we served cupcakes as well. One of my favorite pictures from that day is of me feeding Maverick a piece of the cake with Kerby looking on. He deserved to be a part of the wedding in every sense!

Tell us all about the proposal! After dating for four years, I had an inkling that Kerby would pop the question sometime soon. My family has a tradition of going to Orlando every year for Braves spring training, and Kerby was coming along–his first trip to Disney World! I figured this was it. However, by the end of the trip, we only had one night left, and we were spending it on a drinking tour of the different countries at Epcot. I knew Kerby wouldn’t do it then (in public, at a theme park, after drinking, no chance!), but I had to check his pockets on the monorail anyway. Empty. We started with a beer at a pub in England, then walked over to Canada. Kerby steered me to the replica of Niagara Falls (romantic!) and dropped to one knee. I was so shocked and embarrassed that he was doing this in public at Disney World that I started pulling him to get up. Once I saw the ring, reality took over and I happily said yes! We were then able to celebrate with a few drinks in different countries (like champagne in France!) and fireworks with my parents. It was a dream proposal that I never would have planned.
When did y’all get married? May 16, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 206
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I have a simple, relaxed style and, for some reason, always pictured myself in a simple, sleeveless, trumpet gown. I began going to stores in D.C. with my girlfriends and thought I found the ONE. When I went to try it on for my mom at a high-end boutique in Atlanta, I realized I didn’t feel like myself in it. My mom and I drove to Kelly’s Closet and instantly felt at ease with the girls there. We were so inspired by all the flowy, unique, timeless gowns. I tried on every Jenny Packham dress they had and ultimately fell for the “Esme” because of its open back and gorgeous beading.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had an acoustic guitarist for the processionals and recessional. We love the casual and relaxed feel that only a single guitar can provide. The bridesmaids walked down to “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and I walked down to “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz. Our processional was to “Home” by Edward Sharpe. Our first dance was to Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby.” We wanted a song that was completely different than most first dance choices. Neither of us are great dancers and we just wanted to go out and have fun. We never practiced, but had sung the song at the top of our lungs many times before. It helped that everyone in attendance knew every lyric and was able to sing along with the band! My dad and I danced to “Carolina Girl,” and Kerby and his mom danced to “Circle of Life,” which ended up with half our friends out on the dance floor, embracing in a swaying circle of Lion King enthusiasts.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? It was a real treat to have our officiants be ministers from the church my family attended growing up. We were able to meet with them a few times in Atlanta before our wedding for marriage counseling sessions. It was comforting that we had already openly discussed many of the issues that we knew we could face throughout our lifetime of marriage.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our wedding day, as everyone says, flew by way too quickly. What stood out to us were the moments that Perry, our photographer, pulled us aside to take pictures. She had us sit by the water to stop, breathe, and take in the moment.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are looking forward to soaking up our new, more relaxed lifestyle in Charleston. We recently made an addition to our family with another golden retriever–this time, a blonde female we named Sully after Sullivan’s Island.

Photographer: Perry Vaile | Videographer: Hart to Heart Media | Planner: Ashley Rhodes | Ceremony Venue and Caterer: Palmetto Bluff | Reception Venue: Private residence | Florist: Em Creative Floral | Band: The Atlanta Showstoppers | Paper Products: Low Country Paper Co. | Bride’s Gown: “Esme” by Jenny Packham | Bridal Salon: Kelly’s Closet | Hair Stylist: Alicia Stafford | Makeup Artist: Bride’s Side Beauty | Menswear: Bonobos

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Perry Vaile reply

    I adored this wedding, thank you so, so much for featuring it and sharing their story! Hands down, this wedding day was one of my very favorites to capture – their ease with each other and their guests was so refreshing, and the trust they put into my as the photographer meant the world! It was also kind of amazing to see Maverick the entire day! haha! I even dedicated a folder in their wedding gallery to just Maverick images because we had so many! Best Dog, for sure!

  2. avatar Kate reply

    This wedding is absolutely stunning! Love all of the details including the beautiful calligraphy on the napkins and wedding ceremony program board! The photo of the groomsmen on the bikes might be one of my all time favorites though :)

  3. avatar Dana reply

    omg I love their meet-cute! Sweet dog

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