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When planning a wedding, it can be seriously temping to get so caught up in Pinterest boards and magazine pages that you forget the most meaningful source of inspiration: yourselves! Every couple and love story is so unique, and turning to your own history for wedding ideas pretty much guarantees that your celebration will be a lovely reflection of what matters most to you. Lauren and Michael did a fabulous job of this–from travel-inspired details (I love their table names!), to meaningful readings, to subtle nods to Lauren’s favorite Disney movies, they weren’t afraid to fill their wedding with personal touches at every turn. As a result, their wedding a great reflection of them, and they also remember their engagement as an especially fun time!

Thank you so much to Meredith Sledge for sending this pretty day our way!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I actually found it at the very first shop I went into. I was in Chesapeake, Virginia visiting my family and thought it would be the perfect time to begin my search, instead of having to coordinate with all of them to come up to DC. I had my squad with me: my mother, father, younger sister (my maid of honor), grandmother, older sister, and one of my nieces. They helped me pick out seven different dresses, each one so different than the next, and all within my budget. I tried on each one to tons of “oohs” and “ahhs,” but all of that stopped when I tired on the last dress. Everyone, including me, was silent. We all knew! My dress was the only A-line I tried on. I never thought I would go for a fuller dress, thinking I wanted something more form fitting. This Mikaella dress made me feel like I was floating on the wedding clouds. (Side note, after I got home from buying the dress, I was looking back through my Pinterest account and realized that I had pinned that exact same dress the month before!)

We had always wanted to do a first look so we could have a more private moment together and use that time to take more pictures. Having spoken with other friends who have gotten married, they shared either how great having a first look was in saving time, or how they regretted not doing a first look because they felt rushed to take all of the pictures right after the ceremony. Something important to Michael and I was attending our cocktail hour. Since we did a first look and took our portraits and the bridal party shots then, we only had to do family pictures after the ceremony, so we were able to attend 30 minutes of the cocktail hour. Our first look pictures are my favorite pictures of the day. Getting to have that special moment for just Michael and I was the sweetest.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Michael and I live in DC but I grew up in Southern VA and he in California. We were not tied to any spot in particular since everyone would have to travel to the wedding, no matter where we had it. That left us with tons of possibilities! We did venue research online and picked out five that were in our budget and looked like our style (although we were still trying to figure that out!)–two in DC, and three in Charlottesville, Virginia. We liked certain aspects of each venue, but didn’t have our “aha” moment until Mount Ida Farm. It was the last venue we visited, and while we were there, we were told they were also building a brand new venue. We drove over to look at the construction, and all that was up was the main barn and one chandelier, but we knew. I loved the view of the mountains, the Restoration Hardware feel of the rough cut wood and glass chandelier, and the grove area that was going to be the ceremony area. Two days later, we signed the venue and construction was finished in November 2015.

Before the ceremony, we played covers of Disney songs. I am a huge Disney fan and had to incorporate Disney somehow without it being too cheesy. It was perfect and all of the guests noticed. When I walked down the aisle, my brother played the electric ukulele and sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” That song was played the morning after Michael proposed when we were in Hawaii at breakfast by the beach. When we were thinking of what song to play at the wedding, that was the first one we both wanted. It was made even more special by having my brother play it.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Michael and I wrote our own vows and read an excerpt from a poem together. Some of our favorite lines from Michael’s vows were, “If the last six years have taught me anything, I know that even the next 60 won’t be enough to show you how much I love you.” From mine: “There is something about you, an energy, presence, laugh, or smile that is electric. That is what drew me to you and hasn’t let me go. I love that you can walk into any room, make a friend, or win people over with your sweet dimples and charm. I always think to myself, wow, he is mine.” There was also a reading Michael and I said to each other before our vows, “Everything that happens is nicer with you” by Sandol Stoddard.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? The best way we planned was through being open and honest with each other. We regularly discussed all aspects of our relationship and being married. This included all of our finances, expectations, dreams, ambitions, goals, etc. Even if those discussions were uncomfortable or hard to get through sometimes, we knew it was for the best and would get to a spot where we need to be, now and in the future.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We brewed our own beer that had special labels of us from Oktoberfest on it. We had a caricature artist on hand the whole evening to give our guests an even more special experience. Our guestbook was a painting of us from the Disney movie “UP,” where could sign a balloon. All of the wine and champagne we chose was from wineries we have visited in Napa and Sonoma. Instead of traditional table numbers, we named all of the tables after different countries, and the escort cards were tickets/passports to the guest’s destination (aka table). Any friend or family member could walk into the wedding and know it was ours.

Michael’s favorite dessert is pie. It doesn’t matter what type of pie, just as long as it is a pie! We had three different flavors (gooey butter, peach bourbon, and strawberry mint). We also had Georgetown mini cupcakes. Michael and I live across the river from Georgetown and always love to go to Georgetown Cupcakes. We worked with the company to design all of the fondant toppers and select four delicious flavors. For our wedding cake, we chose a simple white cake with etched-on gold. We also used a gold topper that said “You’re My Favorite,” since we say that to each other all of the time. It was simple, sweet, and delicious (honey lavender-flavored), and the sheet cake we served alongside it was champagne-flavored.

Don’t miss Lauren and Michael’s wedding film by WhiteFlair Productions below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both went to James Madison University during undergrad, but didn’t meet until our senior year. I led an alternative spring break trip, and the fall leading up to it, I got to meet my co-leader. We started to hang out and he began inviting his roommates along too. One of those roommates was Michael. During our second meeting, I became bold and gave him my number, and the rest is history.
Tell us all about the proposal! To celebrate completing our Master’s degrees, Michael and I went to Maui, Hawaii with the Lee family. On June 3, 2015, we took a flight over to Kona for a night and did a five-hour night snorkel adventure to see manta rays. We were on the first part of the snorkel, when the sun was still out, and after 30 minutes or so, we began to swim closer to the boat and coral. I saw what I thought was a piece of trash on the reef and thought, wow, someone littered! I kept swimming until Michael had to ask what it was. I went back over to check it out, and on the paper was one word: “Lauren.” We swam down and got the paper, and on the back, Michael had written a note asking me to marry him. Overtaken with joy, I began to giggle and shout OKAYYYYYYYY! When we got back onto the boat, Michael gave me the ring.
When did y’all get married? April 16, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 166
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The only point of any contention while planning was the guest list. We both come from large families and have a number of friends, and we wanted to include all of them. However, due to the venue size restrictions, not everyone could be included. Working on the list and narrowing it down was a huge headache and pain in the side!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? A great feature of our venue was that we could bring in our own alcohol. Instead of doing an open bar with our caterer, Michael and I selected and bought all of the wine, champagne, liquor, beer, and specialty cocktails. Not only did this save money, but we were able to select top shelf and the drinks that we enjoy. What bottles we had leftover (since we definitely over-bought), we were able to return to Total Wine and Costco for even more savings.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? We both loved wedding planning because we made decisions as a team. Drink plenty of wine and planning becomes even more fun! I would also say, don’t worry so much about hurting others’ feelings. I say this not in a selfish sense, but you will find you are more concerned about how others will feel or react than you are about your own feelings. There is a time and place to be focused on yourself, and this is one of them.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are looking forward to enjoying every day as husband and wife. We also can’t wait to continue to travel the world and see and experience new things!

Photographer: Meredith Sledge | Videographer: WhiteFlair Productions | Planner: Two Byrds Events and Design | Venue: The Lodge at Mount Ida Farm | Florist: The Flower Box | Cake Baker: Arley Cakes | Caterer: The Local | Rentals: MS Events | DJ: Party Masters | Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas | Bride’s Gown: Style 1959 by Mikaella | Hair and Makeup: The Spot Beauty Shop | Bride’s Shoes: “Chrissy” by J. Renee | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Styles 7289L, 7372L, 7366L, and 7257 by Alfred Angelo, Styles F15782, F15928, and F15933 by David’s Bridal | Menswear: Tuxedo by Sarno | Caricature Artist: About Faces Entertainment | Cupcakes: Georgetown Cupcakes

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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    I already knew I was going to love Catherine and William’s wedding when Emily snuck me a peek of Catherine’s custom Heidi Elnora ball gown, their snowy portraits, and their twinkling opera house reception, but all of my expectations were blown out of the water when I read Catherine’s interview. I think she said it best when she wrote, “I think what makes a wedding Southern is how a couple thoughtfully incorporates faith, family, tradition, and hospitality in meaningful ways throughout the day to celebrate their love story and the people who brought them to where they are.” Catherine and William stuck to this sentiment so thoroughly throughout their engagement, and with the help of Catherine’s talented mama, every moment and detail of this Missouri celebration expressed their love story and their hearts. Even after all of the magic of the day, one of Catherine and William’s favorite moments was the end of the night when they poured a glass of champagne at their hotel room and excitedly recapped the entire wedding. I’m positive that with their sweet attitudes and their hearts for what matters most, there are so many more celebrations in Catherine and William’s future!

    Thank you so much to Mike Cassimatis of MNC Photography for sending this sparkly day our way!

    P.S. Y’all, I just HAVE to mention this…but how perfect is it that Catherine and William incorporated a few nods to their British heritages into their wedding, AND they share names with the beloved royal couple? Clearly, they were meant to be ;)

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were both law students at Vanderbilt, but we hadn’t met yet my first semester (or so I thought). Fortunately, we both had friends who convinced us at the last minute to come back to Nashville early for a New Year’s Eve party at a mutual friend’s house. When Will started talking to me, I thought it was rude that he didn’t properly introduce himself. Well, as it turns out, we had already met at a Christmas party at the same house, but I didn’t remember him! I left to go to another party, got on a friend for “giving my number out to random guys,” and told Will I couldn’t go out with him because my mom was coming into town on the 2nd for a girls’ week. Well, folks, I underestimated Will’s determination and found myself sipping an Old Fashioned with him at Whiskey Kitchen the very next night. A Tim McGraw sing-a-long later, and on the 2nd, I was telling my mom what a nice guy I had met!

    My something borrowed was my favorite piece of my grandmother’s jewelry, a diamond bangle my grandfather gave her on their fifteenth wedding anniversary. My something old was a fur my grandfather on the other side gave my mom years ago, and my something new was my brand new Heidi Elnora dress. I was supposed to wear a blue garter but forgot to put it on!

    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did. We wanted to have that private moment between just the two of us, and we wanted to be able to relax and celebrate after the ceremony. It was really nice to see each other for the first time without any distractions, and we had so much fun spending our wedding day together with our wedding party!

    My mom and I planned an epic dress quest across the South with appointments in Nashville, Huntsville, Birmingham and Atlanta. I tried on so many beautiful gowns, but with each one that got close, I kept asking, “Can we change the lace?” or “Can we add a bow?” or “Can we lower the waistline?” Nothing seemed exactly right. We walked into the Heidi Elnora Atelier at the very end of the day, exhausted and not expecting much until Heidi herself came out and changed everything! She is such a sweet, strong, spunky Southern woman. She started from scratch asking me about my vision and nailing down a silhouette. From there, we created a custom gown that was so very me! It was my favorite part of the wedding planning process by far, and I cherished my trips to Birmingham to visit with Heidi and her team and watch my gown come to life. The first thing Will said when he saw me in the dress was, “It’s so you!”

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I’m a farmer’s daughter originally from a very small town in Southeast Missouri, but I always knew I wanted to get married in St. Louis and take photos at my alma mater (Washington University). We both love tradition and any excuse to dress up, so we dreamed up a classic (and sparkly!) black-tie evening with British touches to reflect both of our family heritages. I was initially disappointed to hear that we couldn’t get married at the church I attended during college, but when we heard Memorial Presbyterian was available, we couldn’t believe how perfect it was. It is next door to Wash U, is our denomination, and had the perfect grand, Gothic ambiance for our English-inspired ceremony.

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The whole ceremony! Our pastor gave a beautiful charge about God’s purpose for marriage, and at one point, asked us to turn and face the congregation. The room was glowing with loved ones’ faces. We just smiled at each other and soaked in that coziest, happiest moment.

    We chose a brass quartet for the ceremony music because Will grew up playing the trumpet, and we thought it would be fun to bring his love of brass into our wedding day! For the ceremony music, we decided to stick mostly to our favorite classic hymns. I walked down the aisle to “O God Beyond All Praising,” which we sing all the time at our church in Nashville. The congregation sang two hymns during the ceremony (thanks, friends!), “Be Thou my Vision” and “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” A bagpiper played through the snow as we exited the church in traditional British fashion

    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? As my poor friends and family can tell you, I was an absolute mess stressing out about snow and ice, starting around Thanksgiving. The weather in St. Louis can really be anything anytime, and I was completely convinced that a huge blizzard would befall us and no one would make it to our wedding. I tried to convince Will and my mom that we needed to move the date, and when that failed, that we needed to make a special trip to St. Louis to bury the bourbon. They just shook their heads, so I had my small group praying for the weather for weeks! Well, when the sparkly snowflakes started to fall during our photo shoot, I laughed and exclaimed, “Thank you, Jesus, for the snow!” I could not imagine a more romantic finishing touch for our winter wedding, and the snowy photos are my absolute favorite reminders that God’s plans are better than mine. It made me think of how much I love the way snow slows life down and gives you time to just be still, which is how I wanted our wedding day to feel. Sure, our antique getaway car became an SUV, and guests’ flights home were canceled on Sunday, but boy did the snow look beautiful coming down out the windows of our reception!

    For our reception, it was important to us to find a space with character and significance that wasn’t exclusively a reception venue. We joked that if each of us could choose our favorite non-geographical location, Will would choose a courtroom and I would choose a theater. (I was a theater major in college and worked in theater management in New York before law school.) Naturally, I won, and the 1934 Peabody Opera House was a dream! We fell in love with its opulent ceilings, gilded accents and cozy-but-stately feel. It screams black-tie winter wedding!

    What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? A detail that was so special to me was that once the dancing got underway, I changed into the 1981 Priscilla of Boston gown my mom married my dad in. The only alteration we made was to remove the train, and it was perfect for dancing! I added a flower crown to look just like she did, and it was a really special moment. My dad was thrilled, and other relatives enjoyed telling me “I know that dress!” Some little details that I thought really added to the day included the strung lights that added ambiance over our reception, the couches that lined the dance floor for guests to take a break without leaving the action, and the band that had our guests dancing all night long!

    Our décor was mostly ivory and gold, so we wanted to bring in some subtle blush pinks with the flowers. My favorite flowers are hydrangeas (which Will wrote down very early in our relationship), so we used a lot of them, along with roses, snapdragons, garden roses, and ranunculus. Our florist created an amazing canopy of elevated flowers hanging above our 34-person head table!

    We had a traditional tiered cake with alternating layers of vanilla and caramel decorated with gold, and a groom’s cake with alternating layers of chocolate and red velvet, which is Will’s favorite. For a late night treat, we served my favorite St. Louis specialty: Ted Drewe’s Frozen Custard!

    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I’m not going to tell you not to stress about wedding planning, because let’s be real, it will inevitably be stressful. However, try to spend the weekend itself focusing on the people around you who love you enough to be there on your special day (and maybe even stand outside with sparklers at 11:00 P.M. in the snow!). All those people will never be in the same room with you again, and spending time with them is so much more important than the little details that go awry.

    Tell us all about the proposal! We were in the middle of finals when Will suggested that we go for a hike before church the next morning to watch the sun rise over downtown Nashville. I thought it was a little suspicious when he kept changing the time that he wanted to pick me up, but with his hardest exam on Monday, I thought it would be the last day he would pick to propose. As we climbed the steep hill to Love Circle, I saw a picnic blanket with roses, photos of us, and my favorite breakfast sandwiches. I didn’t know what to do! Of course, I started crying, and as the sun rose behind us, Will took my hands and said a bunch of nice things I don’t remember until he got to “Catherine Elizabeth Moreton, will you marry me?” Our friend Ellen was there to capture the whole thing, and it was so much fun to share our news with our wonderful Nashville church family and then celebrate with worship and Sunday brunch.
    When did y’all get married? February 28, 2015
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but we did memorize our vows! We wanted to make the same commitments that so many great couples before us have made to each other, but we also wanted the vows to feel more personal, so we bravely opted not to repeat after our pastor. Thankfully, we remembered them!
    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I think what makes a wedding Southern is how a couple thoughtfully incorporates faith, family, tradition, and hospitality in meaningful ways throughout the day to celebrate their love story and the people who brought them to where they are. I hope we accomplished that, because we tried! To start, my beautiful bridesmaids wore gold sequins to look similar to my gold sequined New Year’s Eve dress that caught Will’s eye the night we met. Our signature drinks were a “Make-her-Marks” Old Fashioned, because that is what we had on our first date in Nashville; and “Seaside Bride” champagne, because we went to Seaside for our honeymoon. One of the reasons for the date was that we met and fell in love in the winter. We tried to bring as much of our lives in Nashville into the day as possible, starting with having our pastor from Nashville marry us. That was a nice way to bring our church home to Missouri. We also served shrimp and grits at the cocktail hour, and included Will’s darling cousins from North Carolina to hand out programs and be our flower girl and ring bearer. Our invitations were hand-pressed at the Hound Dog Press in Louisville, Kentucky, where my mom and I had a great weekend designing everything with Nick on his antique machines. The gifts exchanged during the day also had a lot of Southern touches and meaning to us. On Friday night, my uncle gave Will his name carved out of wood to hang up with all the rest of the family names that hang on the porch of our lake house in Kentucky. I gave Will a journal I had been writing in to him since 2002. On our wedding day, he gave me a signet ring with my new monogram engraved on it, and I gave him a family Bible with our wedding as the first entry (as well as an in-progress needlepoint belt that is, unfortunately, still a work in progress). I gave my mom an engraved frame thanking her for everything, and my dad and brother got embroidered handkerchiefs.
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We had great marriage counseling meetings with our pastor in Nashville, and we had marriage books all over our apartments, on tape in the car, everywhere! Tim Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage” is such a blessing, honestly. We also had a great workbook that helped us talk through our plans and ideas about what we want our marriage to look like. We had fun with endless “1,001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married” types of books, especially on road trips!
    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We enlisted the talents of my incredible mama! She is a wedding coordinator and calligrapher, so we didn’t have to hire either. I knew the macro-level planning was in good hands with her at the helm, and she lovingly addressed all 250+ save the dates and 250+ invitations.
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Besides the ceremony itself, Will and I both agree our favorite moment of the day was when we got back to our suite at the Ritz, collapsed onto the couch, poured a glass of champagne, and rehashed the entire day. Questions included: “Were you freezing waiting for me for the first look?” “What was your favorite part?” “What were you thinking when I was walking down the aisle?” It was our first moment of normalcy as a married couple, and we will never forget how thrilled we were!
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are so excited to deck our Arlington, Virginia apartment out for Christmas (multiple trees!) and establish some Marks family Christmas traditions!

    Photographer: Mike Cassimatis / Videographer: Lovebird Studios / Planner: Nancy Moreton (Bride’s mother) / Ceremony Venue: Memorial Presbyterian Church / Reception Venue and Caterer: Peabody Opera House / Florist: Lisa Molitor / Cake Baker: Sarah’s Cake Shop / Rentals: Amerevent Group / Lighting: Exclusive Events / Band: Griffin and the Gargoyles / Signage: Buffy Weddings / Party Favors: Trophy House Treasures / Paper Products: Hound Dog Press / Bride’s Gown and Veil: Heidi Elnora / Hair Accessories: Jennifer Behr and Enchanted Atelier by Liv Hart / Hair Stylist: Christy Parsons / Makeup Artist: Emily Miller Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Blouson Bodice Sequin Mesh Gown in Gold by JS Collections / Attendant Dresses: Alfred Sung / Bridesmaid Furs: Tulip Bridal / Groom’s Attire: The Knot Standard / Flower Girl and Ring Bearer Attire: J. Crew / Getting Ready Location: The Ritz Carlton / Ceremony Musicians: Clarion Brass / Girls’ Getting Ready Robes: Just Cottons / Custom Invitation Design: Sarah Hanna / Wedding Logo Design: Folisi Design Studio / Photo Booth: Photography and Video Innovations / Late Night Snack: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    11 Comments
    1. avatar Alexandra reply

      Wow oh wow! This is such a beautiful wedding! I love all the personal touches throughout — it seems so personal. Thanks for sharing.

    2. avatar Meredith Sledge reply

      WOW! Phenomenal images!!

    3. avatar Bubbling Brides reply

      The sparkle accents are amazing. The sequin bridesmaid dresses are the best!

      XoXo,
      The Bubbling Brides Team
      Bubbling Brides

    4. avatar kelly reply

      oh i agree, this interview hands down is one of the very best!

    5. avatar Catherine reply

      We’re so honored to be included in the Southern Weddings family, and it was so fun to relive the day! Thank you so much Lisa and Emily!

    6. avatar Dana reply

      This is quite the royal looking winter wedding!

    7. avatar Wedding Wednesday No. 1: Our Proposal Story – Classic Catherine reply

      […] Once that nerve-wracking bit had passed and the surreal feeling of being engaged started to set in, everything comes back into sharper focus in my memory. Then, of course, it was time to check out that ring! I LOVE SPARKLY THINGS. […]

    8. avatar Baby’s First Snow! – Attention to Darling reply

      […] both featured on Southern Weddings. So happy she did! See their GORGEOUS winter wedding here and our home feature here. Finally, just for perspective, here’s a before picture […]

    9. avatar Big News, Big Praise, and Big Gratitude: I've Joined the Southern Weddings and Cultivate What Matters Team! – Classic Catherine reply

      […] Fast forward to sometime in the spring of 2015 when I received my wedding photos and asked our photographer if I could submit them to Southern Weddings for consideration for publication. I knew it was a very long shot, as Missouri is not technically one of the states included in SW’s list of Southeastern states (reeeeally tempted to throw my plug in here, but this post is going to be too long already), but to my surprise, Emily emailed me right back to accept! […]

    10. avatar Jules reply

      What a stunningly beautiful wedding.

    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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    We love when our couples include beautiful, meaningful details in their weddings, but we also know how stressful it can be trying to make the day go perfectly. When I got married, I remember doing everything I could to ensure exactly that, and then I had a hole front and center in the lace of my gown. Crazy and unexpected things happen, y’all! This makes me love Rachel Lee and John’s favorite detail of their wedding all the more. Their wedding is gorgeous, we can all see that, but their favorite detail was completely unplanned: the beautiful sunset that evening over the Watercraft Center. “This detail was something we never could have planned, and it was truly breathtaking. It reminded us of our marriage: we know that much in life will be unexpected, but the important thing is being together to share it.” Amen to that!

    Big hugs to one of our brand new Blue Ribbon Vendor members, Cynthia Rose, for sharing such a lovely day with us!

    I had always said a big dress was not my style, but in the end, my childhood dreams of a large, Gone With the Wind-inspired dress won. I love my dress and wish I could wear it all the time. It was a beautiful, rum pink-colored silk with large French lace on the bodice and bottom of the skirt. I spent a ton of time with the designer and Debbie at Enchanting Moments to create a custom lace jacket, modeled closely after Grace Kelly’s wedding gown.

    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. This ended up being my favorite part of wedding planning! I opted for a trumpet, organist, and violinist. The mothers were seated to “Ave Maria” and the wedding party was seated to “Canon in D”–my favorite! The bridal processional was “Wedding March” by Mendelssohn. Apparently, this isn’t usually used for a processional, but my gut told me to go with it, so I did!

    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed was my mother’s veil. It was such an honor to wear it. My parents’ 40th anniversary is this year, and when wearing it at 18, I bet my mother never would have dreamed that her daughter would wear the same veil in 2014!

    Our wedding day was so special because everything took place in the town of Beaufort, North Carolina. My family has lived in and around this area for generations, and the town has always had a special place in my heart. Beaufort has become a place that John loves as well, and I wanted our friends and his family to enjoy this beautiful, quaint, Southern coastal town. I can’t wait to bring our kids here, just as my parents did while I was growing up in Raleigh.

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We served traditional coastal Southern foods, like shrimp and grits, crab cakes, stuffed mushrooms, sweet potato biscuits with country ham, and grilled Mahi Mahi (not a fish you find in eastern NC, but you get the idea!). We also served sweet tea, and Pepsi (which was born in New Bern, about an hour away from Beaufort).

    Our favorite detail was the beautiful sunset that evening at the Watercraft Center. Our venue had a dock with cocktail tables, so folks could stand outside on the water and watch the sunset. This detail was something we never could have planned, and it was truly breathtaking. It reminded us of our marriage: we know that much in life will be unexpected, but the important thing is being together to share it.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in college during our freshman year. My best friend and John went to high school together, and she introduced us. After about a year of being just friends, we decided to make it official in January 2007. We stayed together for about nine months, and then decided to take some time apart when I was studying abroad. I don’t think either of us knew that after just a few weeks, we would realize how much we missed each other. I returned home in May 2008 and surprised him! We have been together ever since, through graduation, long distance, living at home, starting new jobs, and much more.
    Tell us all about the proposal! We were on a trip to Folly Beach near Charleston with some friends. We decided to take a day trip to Charleston, since I had not been there since I was little. We had a great day of touring and shopping, and had planned to go to dinner in town and then drive back afterwards. While shopping, we walked into the beautiful lobby at the Charleston Place hotel. I mentioned how breathtaking their double rounded staircase was and he responded, “I’m glad you like it because we are staying here tonight.” I thought he was joking, but quickly realized he was not. I said, “That’s so sweet, but I don’t have any clothes or contact solution.” He quickly responded with, “I packed a bag for you.” I hugged him and noticed he was shaking. I realized how likely it was that in the next twenty-four hours, he would propose, and I got really nervous too! We checked in and went to our room. When I walked to the window to open it, he came up behind me, hugged me, turned me around, and told me so many wonderful things. He then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I hugged his neck so hard, and he gave me the most beautiful ring with my grandmother’s diamond in the center. Afterwards, we had the most amazing meal at Hall’s Chop House in Charleston. Some friends called in and got us the best table, and had champagne there waiting for us. We will always remember that meal and how special it was.
    When did y’all get married? October 18, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 115
    Describe your wedding dessert. Our desserts were a lot of fun! We did pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, carrot cake, and apple pie. Our catering was done by Beaufort Grocery, a staple in Beaufort. They are known for their amazing food and carrot cake!
    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was that our engagement was fairly long, so it got hard to wait and be patient when I just wanted to move forward!
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? When we were pronounced husband and wife, we kissed, and the entire sanctuary broke out in applause. For an older, more traditional church, this was a surprise, but a wonderful, heartfelt gesture of love from all the people around us.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We have been enjoying marriage and a more calm life! Having our weekends free to hang and be with friends has been wonderful.

    Photographer: Cynthia Rose Photography / Ceremony Venue: Ann Street United Methodist Church / Reception Venue: The Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center / Caterer and Dessert Baker: Beaufort Grocery / Bridal Salon: Enchanting Moments / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: LulaKate

    Cynthia Rose and LulaKate are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    1 Comment
    1. avatar Julia reply

      Ah Beaufort, so near and dear to my heart! I love this, and her dress is stunning!

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