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If you’re anything like me, your handsome beau is a bit of a challenge to shop for. If you’re on the hunt for dapper gift ideas, then I’ve got just the thing for you. I am thrilled to share our that our fabulous Southern Weddings for High Cotton bow bow tie collection is 20% off with the code TIEDWITHABOW!!

This is the only time our Southern Weddings for High Cotton ties will discounted, so it’s the perfect time to snag a few for Christmas and/or get your gent’s groomsmen decked for your upcoming wedding. In their dapper blue and white stripped boxes, they make the perfect gift for all the fellows in your life who “don’t need anything!”

Now the hard part, picking which one to buy — which one is your favorite?

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    I can’t even find a way to start this post other than with the good ol’ Southern contraction – y’all! Seriously…y’all. Caitlan and BJ’s wedding stole my heart right from the very beginning. These two met through mutual friends and had a self-proclaimed “whirlwind romance,” FaceTiming until their phones died while dating long distance. On their wedding day, jeans and t-shirt-wearing Caitlan donned a gorgeous blush sequined gown from BHDLN that literally took BJ’s breath away. As he said himself, “For as long as I can remember, I have always wondered what it would feel like to have your breath taken away. The moment that Caitlan came into view, that feeling was realized. To watch her clasp onto her father’s arm, trying her hardest to force a smile through her tears of joy (hopefully joy) was the single greatest moment, of not only that day, but of my life.” Are you kidding me? While that’s a bit longer of a quote than we normally include in an introduction, when Lisa and I read it, we both bawled our eyes out, and knew we HAD to share it with y’all. Three words: Love never fails. Now wipe your tears because you don’t want to miss this amazingly sweet day!

    Thanks for sharing, Jen Dillender— you know the way to our hearts!

    I adore Caitlan’s ridiculously chic, but somehow, completely laid-back look!

    Frankly, I prefer jeans and a t-shirt over dressing up any day, so wedding dress shopping was the part of the planning process that I dreaded the most. I went into shopping knowing I wanted something plain with straps, and I HAD to go check out BHLDN. I made my appointment with one dress in mind, totally thinking it was going to be the one. I brought along my brutally honest mother and sister to help with the process. I tried on four dresses total, and the second dress ended up being the one–it’s a rare moment in which all three of us agree on something. The other dresses, including the one I had had my eye on, paled in comparison to the dress I chose. I left with a strapless, blush dress covered in sequins. I advise all brides to go into dress shopping with an open mind. You may surprise yourself!

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I’m a born and raised Texas girl while BJ is a Nashvillian by way of Oklahoma. We first decided that the wedding would be in Texas–there is nothing more beautiful than the Texas Hill Country, so I knew that was the backdrop I wanted. I had previously attended a wedding out at Camp Lucy, so it was an easy choice. They were just about to open a second venue (Sacred Oaks), and it had us at the mere sight of the oak trees that hung over the ceremony site. We knew that was where we wanted to say our vows.

    From Caitlan: Obviously, the moment I locked eyes with BJ was an unforgettable moment, but there was something about the moments leading up to that as I was standing arm-in-arm with my father. Aside from becoming BJ’s wife, walking down the aisle with my dad was my proudest moment. It was fitting to show my guests the man behind the woman I am today, as well as the man who set the bar incredibly high. It was an emotional walk down the aisle, and certainly something that I’ll never forget.

    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? This was the one battle my sweet husband lost during the wedding planning process. He has a way with words, while I tend to stumble over mine. Thankfully, our officiant (BJ’s best friend) came to our rescue with a heartfelt tribute to us, our love, and our future. It couldn’t have been more perfect and ended up being the highlight of the night to many of our guests. Well done, Trey!
    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Who needs readings when you have two of your bridesmaids singing? Two of my best friends busted out the guitar and their vocal chords for a pitch-perfect rendition of “Fire and Dynamite” by Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors. It added a beautiful and personal touch to our ceremony.

    Describe your wedding flowers. I wanted the overall look of the flowers to be very natural and a little messy with lots of green. The in-house floral department at Camp Lucy did a great job incorporating lots of green by using nonconventional greens, including brussel sprouts, cabbage, and kale. The groomsmen donned my favorite craspedia, which tied in perfectly with the bridal bouquet.

    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. While I love to bake cakes, I don’t like to eat them. My husband, on the other hand, LOVES cake. We opted for a simple, two-tiered funfetti cake for him (because “love is FUN and FETTI sweet”) and a variety of cookies for me, thanks to the oh-so-delicious cookie delivery service, Tiff’s Treats. They never disappoint.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. BJ lived in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was good friends with my friend, Emily. We had spoken briefly in group texts and email chains, and it’s safe to say we were acquaintances. In summary: BJ needed dating advice. Caitlan offered her expertise. Caitlan checked in to see how things went/were going. Things hadn’t worked out. The rest is history–we dated long distance, as I was in Austin, Texas. We traveled many miles, used up hundreds (maybe thousands) of minutes on the phone, and, thanks to technology, spent hours upon hours staring at each other’s faces via FaceTime. It was a whirlwind romance, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Distance truly does make the heart grow fonder, and stronger.
    Tell us all about the proposal! We got engaged on September 14, 2013. Months prior, we had made plans to head to College Station, Texas for College Gameday (gig ’em). BJ was quick to suggest that we should just go to Houston to watch the game with my family, so we did Gameday, gave BJ a tour of Texas A&M, and then headed home to watch the football game with my family. After watching Johnny Football put forth his best effort, it was time to get ready for dinner. Beej randomly told me to go outside with him, so I did, and the next thing I knew, we were in my dad’s car and he told me to blindfold myself. At this point, I knew something was up. Given the turns he made, I knew we were at Elephant Park (a park I frequented growing up), where he led me out of the car and walked me to a bench, only to inform me that he “forgot something in the car.” Moments later, I heard our family dog, my sweet Bailey boy, panting. When I took off the blindfold, Bailey was in my lap with a note tied to a precious bow tie collar. After reading the sweet letter, I looked up to see my man on his knee with a GORGEOUS ring! I didn’t think the day could get any better, until: 1. I spotted one of my best friends in the woods, where she had been secretly snapping photos. 2. The world’s greatest brother flew in from Raleigh to surprise me. 3. I walked into my house only to be greeted by 20 of my closest friends throwing us an amazing engagement party. It was the most magical day! I found out later that BJ had flown in that Thursday night (when he was supposed to be at a 5th grade retreat) to ask my parents’ and grandfather’s permission.
    When did y’all get married? April 4, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 170
    Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Personally, my favorite part of a wedding is watching the groom’s reaction to his bride when he sees her for the first time. We opted out of a first look to allow our guests to be a part of our special moment. I couldn’t have been more happy with our decision. I knew he would be emotional, but I was shocked at just how emotional I got. Fact: we’re ugly criers.
    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We both agree that our favorite detail was the venue itself. The giant oaks that loomed above the ceremony site were enveloped with tiny lights. It was the perfect combination of rustic and serene.
    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? What’s more Southern than two born and raised Southerners getting married in the Texas Hill Country, eating fried green tomatoes/pimento cheese/biscuits, and washing them down with Shiner Bock and Lone Star beer?
    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning a wedding in Texas while living in Tennessee posed to be more difficult than I thought it would be. We used my parents’ house in The Woodlands, Texas as our “wedding headquarters,” and when it came time to head to Austin, we overestimated what we could fit into our cars. Thankfully, selfless friends and family members helped transport the goods to and from Austin.
    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I’m always looking for ways to save money! I used online paper vendors (Minted and Wedding Paper Divas) for all of our paper products and printed out our wedding programs myself. My mother and I tackled several DIY projects, including all of the rehearsal dinner decorations and the gift tags for our favors. We also reused flower arrangements from the ceremony as centerpieces at the reception.
    What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our photographer, Jen Dillender. Everyone told me that the wedding day was going to fly by, and boy, did it ever. We are beyond thankful to have the beautiful images that Jen captured to help us relive (and remember) our special day. She is a master of her craft and handles herself with the highest amount of class and grace. We love her, and all of our photos! Also, I have to mention that Camp Lucy is the greatest venue. For someone planning from a distance, their in-house catering and florals were a blessing in disguise!
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From BJ: For as long as I can remember, I have always wondered what it would feel like to have your breath taken away. The moment that Caitlan came into view, that feeling was realized. To watch her clasp onto her father’s arm, trying her hardest to force a smile through her tears of joy (hopefully joy) was the single greatest moment, of not only that day, but of my life. The opportunity to lock eyes with her on her walk down the aisle was the icing on the cake. She was the single most gorgeous thing I have ever seen.
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 1. ENJOY IT! 2. Stay true to yourselves. Don’t let other people’s weddings and opinions alter your vision. 3. Cherish the engagement/planning process and embrace those who offer a helping hand. I was blessed with parents who wanted to be there every step of the way. The wedding definitely wouldn’t have been the same without them.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life Currently, we’re settling into married life here in Nashville. We’re excited to see what life has in store for us. Hopefully, lots of puppies and cute kiddos :)

    Photographer: Jen Dillender Photography / Venue and Florist: Camp Lucy (Sacred Oaks) / Cake Baker: Bride’s Table / Cookies: Tiff’s Treats / Caterer: Whim Hospitality / Rentals: Whim Rentals and Bee Lavish / DJ and Lighting: Greenbelt DJ (Joel Giorgio) / Bride’s Gown and Veil: BHLDN / Save the Dates and Rehearsal Dinner Invites: Minted / Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas / Programs: Paint the Day Designs / Bride’s Jewelry: J.Crew / Hair and Makeup: Andrea Jaurez / Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden / Men’s Bow Ties: Amy2004Marie’s / Miscellaneous Decorations: Hobby Lobby / Favors: H-E-B

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    5 Comments
    1. avatar Emily reply

      As gorgeous as Caitlan’s gown is, her sweet groom’s words are even more beautiful! Always LOVE hearing the gents’ side of things!

    2. avatar Lisa reply

      She looks SO stunning, I’m not surprised she took BJ’s breath away! :) Also, totally jealous of guests who got those favors…I stock up on HEB coffee (San Antonio blend!) every time I’m in Texas!

    3. avatar Lisa reply

      Reading these types of posts always make my day brighter. I have to admit, though, that today’s post is making me tear up! If I wasn’t at work (shhh!) I would be ugly-crying myself! This is so well-written and such a beautiful recap of what must have been an amazing day. Best wishes to these two!

    4. avatar Lisa reply

      P.S. — I’m in LOVE with this bride’s dress! It is for sure stunning!

    5. avatar Bridget reply

      That little Swiss dot cake is the most precious thing ever!

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    We have a treat for y’all today–a Maryland wedding! This northernmost Southern state (it is technically below the Mason-Dixon, after all) was the perfect place for Whitney and Benjamin to gather their loved ones from Savannah, Washington DC, and everywhere in between. The pastel colors and flowers they chose were undeniably feminine, but I love that Whitney made sure to include Benjamin’s two wedding requests: a choir to sing “Oh Happy Day” as they left their ceremony (so fun!) and a fabulous live band at the reception. After reading through their sweet interview though, I can’t help but wonder if these two even noticed all of the lovely details at their wedding–they are clearly so smitten with each other and were totally focused on becoming husband and wife!

    Thanks so much to Karena Dixon for sharing this pretty day with us!

    My something blue was a pair of beautiful blue topaz earrings Benj gave to me as a gift on our wedding day. For something old, I carried a crystal clutch that was once my Grandma Honey’s, and I had a piece of my momma’s wedding dress and my Grandma Gretchen’s wedding headpiece wrapped around my bouquet. It was so nice to honor both of my grandmothers and my mother in that way! My shoes and perfume were my something new.

    From Benjamin: My most memorable moment of our wedding day was seeing Whitney for the first time on The Strand. I am usually tight with anticipation or anxiety about big moments, but when I saw her, everything washed away and I could not have been more relaxed. She looked drop-dead gorgeous, so I also realized that I was fighting way above my weight class. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that this journey was going to be incredible.

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose our reception venue first. We wanted our reception to be close to the water near Easton, MD (where I am from), and the Tred Avon Yacht Club fit the bill! They have great spaces and delicious food as well. We didn’t want our guests to have to travel too far after the ceremony, so we started looking at churches in Oxford. After attending a service at Waters United Methodist Church and experiencing feelings of warmth and fun among the congregation (their choir is great!), I knew we had found the spot. It was also less than a mile from the Yacht Club, so it was a perfect fit!

    Describe your wedding flowers. I LOVED my wedding flowers! I knew I wanted to combine the soft pastels of spring with romantic whites. I also knew I wanted to carry a full, lush, peony bouquet. The reception table arrangements alternated vases overflowing with white, pastel, peach, and pink garden flowers (hydrangeas, peonies, roses, football mums, and dusty miller), and candelabras with smaller satellite arrangements of the same pastel flowers. Everything was gorgeous!

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? As a classic Southerner, Benj insisted on wearing a cream dinner jacket and a custom made houndstooth tie and cummerbund set. More importantly, we both agreed that keeping our guests limited to close family and friends would be central to our ceremony and celebration. The church felt like a giant hug and our reception was a huge party. No one celebrates like the South and very few places put so much emphasis on a family-based upbringing. Many of our guests were true Southerners, either by location or by heart, and that resonated throughout the weekend through everyone’s love and support.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. From Benjamin: I met Whitney in our freshman dorm at James Madison University in the fall of 2005. We immediately became great friends and partners in crime throughout our college years. Our relationship blossomed further when both of us moved to the Washington, DC area. As a native of Savannah, GA, this was quite a change of pace for me, so it was welcome news to hear that I would have my buddy in town. Eventually, we were hanging out with each other five nights a week, but we never saw each other much on the weekends, because Whitney had friends in Baltimore and Annapolis that she would visit regularly. As our relationship slowly turned into something that was more than friends, I finally convinced her to give me a weekend and go camping with me. When she started calling me “Ben” instead of “my friend, Ben,” her family knew the jig was up after months of telling her (rightfully so) that she was in love with me, and I had the same feelings.
    Tell us all about the proposal! At 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, December 18, 2012, Benjamin woke me up saying it was time to go to the beach. I obviously protested, but my excuses didn’t work and we were out the door by 7:15. When we got to the beach, Benj pulled out a bag he had packed with blankets to lay on and get warm. We found a nice spot and sat there to watch the sunrise. As the sun peeked over the Atlantic, Benj suggested we take a walk to the water’s edge, where he got down on one knee in the early morning light and opened a box containing a gorgeous sparkling ring. I didn’t give him the chance to say anything before I emphatically said “YES!” He then got to say what he had planned, which was heartfelt and perfect, and I again gave him my answer. We returned to our blankets, popped a tasty bottle of champagne he had packed, and spent the next two hours alone with the excitement of our future life together before announcing it to our friends and family. It was a wonderful day!
    When did y’all get married? May 18, 2013
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my dress was actually a LOT easier than I thought it would be! I was sure I would be indecisive and not find “the dress” on my first trip. I was in Maryland for my friend’s bridal shower the weekend I bought my dress, so many of my bridesmaids were able to come with me. We went to Betsy Robinson’s Bridal in Baltimore, and surrounded by my momma and five of my best friends, I found my dress after only trying on about six! The choice was clear when I walked out and the tears started flowing from my companions, along with the comment “You look like a BRIDE!” I knew I had found the dress I would wear walking down the aisle.
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. One of Benj’s only requests for the wedding was to have a choir sing “Oh Happy Day” as we walked out of the church, so that is what we did, and it was amazing! For our first dance, we danced to Etta James’ “At Last” sang by our band. We have always loved that song and felt it spoke to our story as a couple. We had a very spirited first dance and the band was incredible!
    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? To save money, I kept one question in mind when making decisions: “Would I REALLY regret not having ___ for our wedding?” If the answer was not a definite yes, I moved on.
    What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We were so happy my Grandma Gretchen could be at our wedding. She passed away over Christmas and always said she wanted to live to see her only granddaughter walk down the aisle. We are so thankful she was not only able to be there, but also to dance and enjoy our wedding with us.
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My most memorable moment was right before dinner, sitting at the head table and taking in everything around me. I was sitting next to the love of my life at a table with our younger brothers and best friends, surrounded by both our families and family friends who have watched us grow into the people we are today. Behind us was the river I grew up on and the band was playing some soft tunes that sounded incredible. I felt so fortunate and blessed in that moment, it still gives me chills to this day!
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Try to incorporate both of you into the wedding! Benj’s only requests were for a choir at the ceremony and a large live band. Being able to see how happy he was with both of those things made the day even better for me too!
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We just bought our first house! We are excited to make it our own and live and grow in it together. I asked Benj this question and he said, “I am looking forward to growth. I look forward to growing as a person, as a friend, as a husband, and eventually as a father. My wife helps me every single day to become the best version of myself. I look forward to continuing to be able to look in the mirror and see someone that is worth the woman that God brought into my life. I look forward to teaching our kids how to fish, water-ski, and sail. I look forward to continuing to be happy with what I have been blessed with; now, today, and tomorrow. I do not look forward to losing my hair.” Who wouldn’t love this guy?!

    Photographer: Karena Dixon / Planner: Kari Rider Weddings and Events / Ceremony Venue: Waters United Methodist Church / Reception Venue: Tred Avon Yacht Club / Florist: Monteray Farms / Wedding Cake: Julie Bakes / Rentals: Eastern Shore Tents and Events / Band: The XPD’s / Bride’s Gown: “Mimi” by Watters / Bridal Salon: Betsy Robinson’s Bridal / Paper Products: La Paperie / Hair Stylist: Serendipidy / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Carol Hannah, Saja, Amsale / Custom Crab Mallets: Bay Imprint

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    6 Comments
    1. avatar Laura Radniecki reply

      What a BEAUTIFUL day!!! Ahhh, everything was truly picture perfect!

      All of this southern talk makes me [a born and bred Minnesotan] want to become a southern belle! :)

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