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Our Southern Bride Blogger Brittany and Eric’s classic Texas wedding was absolutely lovely! From their vows in front of a plantation-style home to a barn reception complete with fried chicken and pie pops, there’s no doubt that their day was undeniably Southern. Beyond the details, however, was a sense of love and community that truly made their day special. On top of that, Brittany’s outlook on their wedding day has me all, “Amen, sister!” over here! She said she won’t remember the small snafus, but “I’ll remember my husband’s face as my dad walked me down the aisle. I’ll remember the tiny raindrops that fell from the sky towards the end of our vows. I’ll remember dancing the night away with the people who mean the most to us.”

Big thanks to Elizabeth Carol for sending Brittany and Eric’s wedding our way!

I was so nervous about wedding dress shopping that I put it off for the first several months of our engagement! When I decided that it was time to bite the bullet, I researched boutiques in the area and chose two to make appointments at. Before the shopping day, I went online and looked at the designers that each store carried, just to get a feel for the styles. While I was on one of their websites, I found a dress that was everything that I had pictured for myself. Being a little overeager, I called the shop to make sure that they had “the dress” available to try on–and they did! I took off work on a Tuesday and invited my mom, grandmother, and future mother-in-law to come with me. We were the first appointment in the store, and had the entire floor to ourselves. My consultant had pulled the dress from the internet before we got there, and we then picked a few other dresses to try on. I put on “my dress” first, and instantly knew that I was done. However, in order to make the most of the appointment, I tried on a few others. Once I put on the last dress that we had pulled, I knew that it was time to put “my dress” back on, but this time, with a veil. A few tears later, I had a wedding dress! We canceled our second appointment and finished the day by meeting Eric for lunch!

Daydreaming about florals was actually one of my favorite aspects of the entire wedding planning process! I really wanted loose, lush, and organic looking arrangements with an ample amount of greenery mixed in. Since we were going with a more classic look, we stuck to blush pink and white flowers. Garden roses and peonies are my favorites, so we made sure to include those as well. The ladies at The Southern Table did an amazing job of bringing my vision to life, and I really think that the florals stole the show!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Stressing about the weather! When we decided on an April wedding date, we knew that the Texas weather would probably have some crazy surprises for us, but that didn’t stop me from checking the forecast almost daily two weeks out. We buried our bourbon, prayed a little, and knew that our wedding day would be amazing no matter what, but since almost everything was supposed to be outside, I became a little worried when the rain chances increased throughout the week. On the day-of, we all kept waiting for the rain to come, and although it sprinkled a little towards the end of our ceremony, it never did. I suppose God, and the bourbon, were on our side, because we woke up the next morning to a terrible downpour, and the rain continued for several days!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, and we actually used vows that we saw in the Southern Weddings Planner! Our favorite line was “I take you as you are, loving who you are now and who you are yet to become.” Since we started dating when we were 19 and 21, we have seen each other grow and change so much already, and I think that one of the most fun parts of marriage will be watching each other continue to do so–and loving the other no matter what.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our good friend, Daniel, read “The Art of Marriage” by Wilfred A. Peterson.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We were actually extremely lucky when it came to our ceremony and reception venues! When we first began wedding planning, our close family friends mentioned that they were building a sort of guest house/event center on their land, and that if we would like, we could host our wedding there. Throughout our engagement, we were able to watch everything be built from the ground up, and even help with projects along the way. This was extra special to us because we had the luxury of hosting our wedding party and closest friends all weekend.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We buried bourbon exactly one month out (and on the most beautiful day) in hopes that it wouldn’t rain on our wedding day. We were married in front of a plantation-style home, had dinner in a barn, and danced the night away under string lights and the Texas stars. We served fried chicken, and gave our guests caramel apple, peach, and blackberry pie pops as favors. The thing that was the most “Southern” though, was the love and community that we felt from everyone there. We were lucky enough to have our wedding party and closest friends stay with us in the house for the weekend, so it felt like one big slumber party. After the rehearsal dinner, we set up tables and chairs for the reception the following night. At one point I stopped and looked around at 25 of our closest friends and family who were all helping put our reception together, and I all but melted.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? No matter what happens, your day will be perfect. It sounds so cheesy and cliché, but when things don’t go exactly how you want them to, remember what it’s all about. I kept this close to my heart all through the wedding planning process, and I am so glad that I did. If something goes wrong, it can be fixed–and if it can’t, then chances are it won’t matter much in the end. After our ceremony, I realized that I had completely forgotten to put on my veil, and while that was slightly disappointing, it won’t be what I remember about our wedding day. I’ll remember my husband’s face as my dad walked me down the aisle. I’ll remember the tiny raindrops that fell from the sky towards the end of our vows. I’ll remember dancing the night away with the people who mean the most to us.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. While I was home on summer break from the University of Arkansas, I resumed my part-time job in the Employee Services Office at Six Flags Over Texas. A few weeks after returning, some of my coworkers convinced me to join the summer softball league, which Eric was also playing in. After one of the games, a few of my friends convinced me to go to a post-game party that Eric was throwing at his apartment. We met, bickered a little, and became fast friends. When I was home a few months later for fall break, we started dating. After two and a half years of being in a long distance relationship, I finally graduated and moved home to Texas, where we have been inseparable ever since.
Tell us all about the proposal! I had been planning on running the Tower of Terror 10-Miler at Walt Disney World for quite some time, and although I had convinced my mom and sister to make the trip with me, Eric couldn’t. A few weeks before we were set to leave, he told me that he had to go on a work trip during that time, and definitely would not be able to make it. On the day that we got to Florida, I hadn’t heard from him at all, but I still tried to enjoy my time with my mom and sister. We had tickets to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (where adults can dress up for Halloween too!), and although my mom and sister tried to convince me to wait, I put on my cat ears and eagerly went to the Magic Kingdom dressed as Toulouse from the Aristocats. We walked around the park, not doing anything for what seemed like hours, until my mom finally said that we should go take our picture in front of Cinderella’s Castle. As we were walking up to the rose garden, I noticed Eric standing there waiting for me. Thinking that he had come to surprise me, I ran up and started talking to him. He got really serious (which never happens), said some of the sweetest things, and dropped to one knee. After I said yes and finally came back to reality, I noticed that my dad was there too! Eric had arranged for my whole family to be there, and we spent the rest of the weekend celebrating at one of my favorite places on the planet, Walt Disney World!
When did y’all get married? April 16, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 75
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look and it turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the whole day! We knew that seeing one another before the ceremony would free up time after, which was something that we really wanted. We were unsure of how we would react when seeing the other for the first time, so we felt it was important to experience these emotions by ourselves, instead of in front of all of our guests.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We planned for our marriage by attending premarital counseling once a week for eight weeks. We were also gifted Getting the Love You Want and Making Marriage Simple, both by Harville Hendrix. We read these books and followed along with the workbooks that went with them. What really helped us prepare for marriage was having serious conversations about the future and what we want for our life together.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We knew from the beginning that we wanted a small wedding with just our closest friends and family, and although our decision had nothing to do with cost, it ultimately did help out quite a bit. Since we had a much smaller guest list, it became easier to put the emphasis on the quality of the experience rather than the quantity of guests in attendance.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? On our wedding day, Eric surprised me with a pair of Groom Mickey and Bride Minnie ears as a way of telling me that we are going to Disneyland this summer! We will also be traveling to a few other destinations before the year is over, and since a lot of our friends have started relocating across the country, it’s safe to say that these newlyweds will be spending quite some time traveling!

Photographer: Elisabeth Carol Photography | Month-Of Coordination: Borrowed and Blue Occasions | Venue: Thunder Creek Ranch | Florist: The Southern Table | Cake Baker: Sugar Bee Sweets | Caterer: Babe’s Chicken | Rentals: Celebration Event Rental | DJ: DJ Frank Young | Paper Products: Clara Doyle Designs | Bride’s Gown: Style 1959 by Mikaella | Bride’s Jewelry and Shoes: Kate Spade | Hair and Makeup: Tracy Melton Artistry | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Style 852 by Watters WTOO | Menswear: Express | Signage: Fox and Sparrow Design

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Elisabeth Carol reply

    Love!!! Thanks SO much for the feature! It looks amazing!

  2. avatar Paige reply

    I would love to see the vows she referenced in their entirety! Would you mind sharing the rest of the vows that include “I take you as you are, loving who you are now and who you are yet to become.”
    Thanks!

  3. avatar Thunder Creek Ranch Wedding by Elisabeth Carol | Wedding Trends By Drawde reply

    […] post Thunder Creek Ranch Wedding by Elisabeth Carol appeared first on Southern […]

  4. avatar Celebration Event Rental reply

    Amazing photos and we were truly honored to be a part of this special day.
    Burying bourbon to help ward off a rainy wedding day? I LOVE it!
    Thanks for including us in the post and Best Wishes!

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At Southern Weddings, we always say that the most meaningful source of wedding inspiration is your own love story and your personalities. Drawing from that rich well is a surefire way to ensure your guests will proclaim your day “so you”–something I think every couple wants to hear! As I read through Caroline and Shaun’s interview, I kept noticing subtle ways their own stories influenced their fall wedding, from the dress Caroline chose, to the song she walked down the aisle to, to the venue they invited their beloved guests to. I’m confident that surrounding themselves with things they truly love played a small role in their joy on this beautiful day, which is so evident in these photos by Whitney Wysong!

I had always known I wanted to wear a long-sleeved wedding dress. My grandmother and my mom both wore long sleeves for their weddings and I love the elegance a lace long sleeve adds to a wedding dress. It was the most important detail I wanted. I had a few appointments at some of the bridal boutiques around town, and went shopping with my parents and a few friends and relatives. The third dress I tried on was perfection. I loved the sleeves, I loved the keyhole back, I loved the material of the skirt, and the whole dress was covered in chantilly lace. I felt like it had a vintage look to it that matched my 1920s refurbished engagement ring. We cancelled all of my other appointments and went to brunch to celebrate finding “the dress” over a few mimosas!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We spoke to our pastor about our relationship a few times before the wedding. We talked about finances, family planning, and what to do when we get mad at each other. We both know now that when we get upset, we should take a little time away from each other to cool off so we don’t say anything hurtful. We were also instructed to talk other couples who have been married for different lengths of times and ask them what works for them and what doesn’t. That said, someone reminded us that it’s important to remember that every relationship is different, and what works for some people might not work for us. She told us to remember who we are and to always listen to each other before listening to other people’s opinions.

The most memorable moment for me was walking down the aisle with Shaun after the ceremony, and ringing the bell in the steeple of the chapel together as husband and wife. I thought it was the perfect way to kick off our marriage, and it was one of the happiest moments of my life.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I have always been an animal lover. I grew up riding and showing horses, so I spent all of my free time as a young girl at a barn. My family has always had at least three dogs, and we were always the people who had a knack for finding young and injured animals and nurturing them back to health. We had tons of baby squirrels, birds, rabbits, mice, snakes, and even a baby alligator at one point, when I was growing up. When I heard about Pine Knoll Farm, we went to check it out immediately. It is a working farm with a reception venue on the property. When we got out of the car, I was greeted by horses neighing–they have cows, goats, chickens, and a Great Pyrenese. The reception barn is gorgeous, with hand-welded light fixtures and a beautiful wooden stage built in. There isn’t a single detail about the venue that I didn’t love. It was the only place we looked at and we booked it that day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Shaun and I met while working together at a restaurant in west midtown Atlanta. I got a job there while I was studying to take my boards before I could begin working as a registered nurse. On my third day of training, I was pleasantly surprised to find out my trainer was a tall, cute guy who made me laugh the entire night. We started dating and were soon attached at the hip. We both enjoy traveling, so we started traveling together, and I loved wandering through streets of random cities with him, striking up conversations with strangers, trying weird food, and just laughing our way through Panama and Europe together. We not only fell in love, but also became best friends and life partners.
Tell us all about the proposal! On Saturday, December 20, 2014, I woke up and went for a run. Shaun and I had planned on running together that morning, but he was still sleeping and had been up working late the night before, so I decided to let him sleep in. Halfway through my run, I got a text from Shaun telling me to meet him in the big field behind Oakland Cemetery, where he was going to be letting our two dogs run around. Oakland Cemetery is a historic cemetery right across from the lofts we lived in. There is a huge, beautiful, open field behind the cemetery and we have been taking our dogs there to run around for years. People always laugh when I tell them we got engaged in a cemetery, but it’s one of our favorite places to go in Atlanta–we call it our hidden gem. When I walked onto the field, Shaun was standing there with our two dogs. When he got down on one knee, I immediately burst into tears, and, of course, said yes! After staying at Oakland for about an hour, Shaun told me he had arranged a brunch, and that we needed to head to one of our favorite places. When we arrived at Atkins Park, about 20 of our closest friends were there and ready to celebrate. It was by far one of the happiest and most exciting days of my life.
When did y’all get married? November 28, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. My wedding cake was a four-tiered ivory ruffle cake. The actual cake was lemon cheesecake with a lemon curd layer and italian buttercream icing. I had my florist put flowers on each layer of the cake. I loved it!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? To slow down and enjoy every second of it! It’s easy to stress over tiny details, but at the end of the day, none of those small details matter. Also, have someone make you a plate of food that night!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? For my bachelorette party, my bridesmaids asked Shaun some questions to answer without me knowing. The last question they asked him was “What are you most looking forward to in the future?” and I feel like his response was perfect: “In the future, I picture has having some awesome kids that we will raise and love and show them how to have fun. I picture us having our friends over with their kids and having cookouts and parties and going to Little League games. I am looking forward to expanding our blessed lives and keeping our network of friends and family close together.”

Photographer: Whitney Wysong Photography | Videographer: Tim Hunt | Day-of Coordination: Amanda Brewer of Boheme Concepts | Planner and Caterer: Events 2020 | Venue: Pine Knoll Farms | Florist: Sandra Burton | Cake Baker: A Piece of Cake Bakery | Bride’s Gown: Martina Liana | Bridal Salon: La Raine’s Bridal Boutique | Hair Stylist: Morgan Weathers of Tease Color + Hair Design Studio | Makeup Artist: Tabitha Ross | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” and “Willow” in Shadow Grey by Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Attire: Simon’s Formal Wear

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Cynthia McIntyre reply

    The church and reception location are exceptional! What a lovely wedding! Thanks for posting a true Southern wedding!

  2. avatar Gosia reply

    Stunning wedding! Bridesmaid dresses look fab!

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When a couple with a passion for organic farming ties the knot, you just know their wedding is going to be full of homegrown goodness. Josie and Shawn used plenty of local, seasonal foods and flowers at their wedding, but they also took the cozy feeling of home one step further–their venue was a farm where they, and many of their guests, had attended grade school functions over the years. The sentimental location was a natural choice, and the fact that it was a farm was a perfect fit for Josie and Shawn!

Thanks so much to Ashley Relvas for sharing this sweet day with us!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes. We had a Quaker ceremony and we entered together. Since we both work outside and have been farmers for a long time, we don’t get dressed up very often. We thought it would be fun for everyone to see the whole look all at once as a surprise! We were so glad we did it–it was exciting!

We knew we wanted to be married outside on a farm. Quailhill Farm is very special, as it has always been a part of our school community. Elizabeth and Peter were extremely generous in inviting us to have our wedding there! Elizabeth is the librarian at the school we grew up attending together, and their daughters went to school with us. Fun school-related events were often held at their farm, so it was a special place for a lot of people who attended our wedding.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, and one of our favorite phrases was, “I will accept you for exactly who you are.” We have practiced this in our six years of dating and will continue to through our marriage. We will work to accept and support each other even as we change over time.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding was all Maryland (yes, Maryland is technically the South)–the food and flowers were all grown, arranged, and prepared in Maryland! We were married on a working farm surrounded by mostly Marylanders, plus the occasional North Carolinian.

Our wedding flowers were gorgeous! Our friend Jackie from De La Tierra Gardens in Carroll County, Maryland grew and arranged them for us. We knew we wanted lots of texture, whites, greens, and little pops of color. She really blew us away. She used a beautiful mix of whites and greens with poppy pods, dusty miller, hydrangea, peonies, and so many other beautiful and seasonal flowers. They really made the tables special. Her dad even made the cedar boxes that the table arrangements were in!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We made all the favors, place cards, signs, and other details for the day. We used hay bales that the farm already had for ceremony seating–we just had to help get them out of the barn and set them up! We decorated the ceremony with flowers in cheap metal bins from the hardware store and the caterer was able to provide cushions for the bales for a really low price per cushion. We only served beer and wine, and we were able to get a discount on both since we were working directly with the brewery and winery. Lastly, the dancing was going to go on for longer than the caterer was supposed to stay, so we had them put the beer and wine in a cooler and pack up on time so we didn’t get charged overtime for their staff! It worked out really well!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in middle school when we were 11 years old. We were good friends for all those years and went to separate colleges, but kept in touch on holidays back home in Maryland. After college, just before Shawn went into the Peace Corps (two and a half years in Morocco!), we started seeing a lot more of each other. We wrote a few letters back and forth the first year he was gone, and during the second year, we picked up the pace. I went to visit him for two weeks in May 2008 and we’ve been together ever since. Throughout our long-distance first year together, we sent a journal back and forth that we called “The Book,” where we wrote journal entries, letters, drew pictures, made collages, added photos and stickers–it was such a great way to stay close through all that time apart. When he returned, we apprenticed on a couple of organic farms together (spending as much time together as possible!) and we’ve both been in agriculture and farm education since then.
Tell us all about the proposal! We had recently moved and had been hoping for months to go on a camping trip. We finally got a date on the calendar to go for a hike in the mountains a few hours north. As we approached the peak, Shawn kept checking the map to make sure we were in the right place–which should have been a clue, since we usually just go with the flow! I kept saying, “I’m sure we’ll find it, we’ll just keep going up!” When we made it to the view he had in mind, we stood close to each other, side by side, just taking it in. He put his arm around me, held out the ring, and said, “What do you say we get married?” I saw the ring and my mind started racing–it was my grandmother’s engagement ring! How did he have it? When did he get it? That meant my parents knew! With my hands over my mouth, I looked up at him and said “WHAT??” He chuckled and went on to say so many nice things about me and us and how amazing it would be to get married after five years of dating and almost 20 years of friendship. We hugged, cried a little, jumped up and down, and I eventually remembered to actually SAY yes. After we bounced down the mountain on our way to celebrate, we signed out of the log book with the time and “We’re engaged!!”
When did y’all get married? June 14, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 150
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew the neckline and waistline I was looking for and found something affordable on Etsy! I had it fitted shortly after receiving it and I loved it!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? During a Quaker ceremony, there is a period of silence after the couple says their promises where guests can share messages. We asked our mothers to end the ceremony with a reading or message that they wanted to share. They were both so special and meaningful, and they both quoted Wendell Berry (one of our favorite authors)!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was to Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am.” Not only does this song speak to the part of our promises I mentioned before, but we also passed this song back and forth while Shawn was in Morocco, so it is a little bit nostalgic for us.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had pies made with seasonal fruits, strawberry rhubarb and blueberry crumb. There was also a chocolate pie for folks who don’t love fruit pies. They were delicious!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It was a beautiful day with a bright blue sky and a cool breeze. The most memorable moment of this perfect day was sitting down after we finished exchanging promises and rings during the ceremony, and we looked around to see all our friends and family surrounding us. It was so exciting and comforting to have everyone there.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We recently moved to Brooklyn and both have jobs working with urban farms and gardens. We are looking forward to settling into our new lives here, but we miss our family down South!

Photographer: Ashley Relvas Photography / Venue: Quailhill Farm / Florist: De La Tierra Gardens / Catering and Pies: Ridgewells / Rentals and Lighting: ABC Party and Tent Rental / DJ: Josh Rhett of My Deejay / Invitations: Paperless Post / Bride’s Shoes: Modcloth / Groom’s Attire: J. Crew

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

    LOVE their Quaker marriage certificate! We had one at our wedding and it’s my favorite!

  2. avatar Ashley Relvas reply

    Thank you ladies so much for the beautiful feature!!

  3. avatar Mandy Volpe reply

    Love the chicken as a part of the wedding pictures! Love their take on the wedding vows “as you are” is a beautiful reminder of the change that happens in a marriage!

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