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There are so many special moments on your wedding day, but I’ll tell you right now: some of the most memorable might not be the ones you would expect! That’s one of the things I love to read in our real wedding interviews–the answers are so different for each couple. Lauren and Kristian, two self-proclaimed “goofballs,” will never forget their first kiss as husband and wife. As Kristian romantically dipped Lauren, he accidentally ripped out her veil, creating their perfect first memory as a married couple. Y’all, I love this so much! While losing her veil could easily upset a bride, it only made these lovebirds laugh! Not everything will be perfect on your wedding day, but being able to take the hiccups in stride will help you focus on the most important part: marrying the love of your life.

Thanks to Blue Ribbon Vendor Amy Arrington for sharing this sweet day with us!

I met Kristian the night of our alma mater’s ball. Long story short, three days before the Ball, my Nashville boyfriend called to let me know he would rather go to a concert than take me to a college dance. I told a good friend of mine the upsetting news. Since I was not in a sorority, this was going to be my first Samford dance, and I was now dateless. My friend quickly found me a date, not telling me who it was. On November 13, the most attractive, respectful, tenderhearted, thoughtful, funny, sweetheart of a man showed up at my dorm with a rose in his hand, just like any Samford PiKap would do, and it was love at first sight. We danced the night away on November 13, 2010 and haven’t stopped since!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. For Mother’s Day, I went home to Atlanta to spend the weekend with my mom. We were driving around Atlanta doing random errands when we drove by Bridals by Lori. My mom and I both looked at each other and said, “Why not? We had no intention of buying a wedding dress that day, especially since none of my bridesmaids or grandmothers were with us, but then I fell in love with the ONE!!! Thankfully, Bridals by Lori has a live stream and I was able to text all my best friends and tell them to log on so they could tell me what they thought of the dresses I tried on. It was unanimous!

My mom told me about the Estate on Piedmont, and when Kristian and I looked it up online, we were blown away by its beauty. We both loved the style, urban feel, and intimacy that it offered.

We went back and forth on a first look. We talked to different couples who did and did not do one, and decided that for our day, there would be so much nervousness, excitement, emotion, and anticipation, that it would be best for us to do a first look. And we are so glad that we did! It was so nice to have those special few minutes with each other that day.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It is impossible to pick just one, but the cross that Legendary Events designed for us was perfect and everything we hoped it would be!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we wrote our own vows. Our favorite line was, “For many years, I prayed that God would lead me to His choice. I praise Him that tonight, His will is being fulfilled.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Ephesians 5:31-32 was read by my longtime mentor and friend, Adrienne Christian, who flew in from the Dominican Republic, where she is a missionary.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? My mom, wedding planner, and event coordinator were a great team! They worked very well together, making it easy for me to make decisions. This allowed Kristian and I the time to go to premarital counseling and do a premarital bible study! So worth it!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Having our wedding at an estate in the middle of Buckhead made the wedding feel very Southern, from the old hardwood floors, to the grand piano, to the chandeliers on the ceilings in the ballroom!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Cake? I was too busy looking at my new husband! I cannot wait to actually eat in when we are mailed a fresh one on our first anniversary!

Tell us all about the proposal! On the morning of Saturday, April 5, 2014, my doorbell rang. To my surprise, Shawn, one of mine and Kristian’s friends, was at my front door with a clue in hand. I was going on a scavenger hunt!! The clues brought me through a fun day full of my favorite things, with some of my best friends showing up at every place. The sixth destination was Red Mountain Park. When we pulled up, one friend told me that another friend and I would be hiking up the mountain. Kristian met me at the top of the mountain, which has a gorgeous view of ALL of Birmingham. It was so beautiful, peaceful, and romantic. After he said some of the sweetest things, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Once he proposed, we still had quite the hike back down the mountain, and I wanted to go slowly because I did not see why we needed to hurry anymore. At one point, I was walking so slowly, Kristian picked me up and started carrying me! It was not until I heard my mom scream that I knew why we were in a hurry! Once we got to the bottom, we were greeted by all of our friends and family!! It meant so much to have all of my close friends and family there to celebrate our engagement!
When did y’all get married? March 14, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Kristian and I decided that I would walk down the aisle to “Holy (Wedding Day)” by City Harmonics. We wanted our guests to not only see the story of Christ loving the church, but also hear it at our wedding. I thought we were never going to decide on our first dance song. A couple at our church told us that “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran would be easy to choreograph to, so we settled on that since I am not a talented dancer.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes, my something borrowed, old, and blue was my grandmother’s garter. My something new was a small, sweet picture frame with my dad’s picture in it that my mom put in my bouquet.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our first kiss. Kristian dipped me, and in the process, ripped out my veil. We are such goofballs. It was a perfect first memory as a married couple!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? If it is in your budget, hire a wedding planner! If not, find a close friend or family member who can help you. Enjoy your engagement!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? I am currently the Associate Minister to Students at CrossPoint Church. Kristian and I love serving the 6th-12th grade students! In May, Kristian will graduate with a nursing degree, and hopefully will begin working at Children’s Hospital.

Photographer: Amy Arrington Photography / Videographer: Connor Wagner / Venue: The Estate / Florist, Caterer, and Wedding Cake: Legacy Events / DJ and Lighting: Chris Watson / Paper Products: Village Press / Bride’s Gown: Style #120747 by Bliss by Monique Lhuillier / Bridal Salon and Veil: Bridals by Lori / Hair Stylist: Bailie Rangel / Makeup Artist: LuLu / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bari Jay / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

Amy Arrington is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Stephanie Scholl reply

    This is one of my favorite weddings to date! Her bouquet is exquisite, and I filed that away immediately!! I love how sincere, down to earth, and cute this couple is, and their wedding day abounds in the most beautiful and meaningful details.

  2. avatar Piedmont Estate and Gardens Wedding : Lauren + Kristian reply

    […] you SOUTHERN WEDDINGS for featuring their […]

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Last weekend, Lisa and I had a conversation about wedding photographs. BDK and I will be celebrating seven years of marriage this year, and I remember remarking to Lisa that when I look at the photos from my wedding day, they instantly give me a rush of those sweet feelings and memories. I’m sure Kalie and Bradford will feel the same way when they look back at these beautiful images, especially since their photographer, Annamarie Akins, is also a dear friend of the groom! Kalie said Annamarie “perfectly captured all the details and happiness of the day.” And what beautiful details there were–Stephanie at Viva L’Event turned the already lovely Merrimon-Wynne into the sweet celebration of Southern hospitality that Kalie and Bradford dreamed of.

Big hugs to Annamarie Akins for sharing this lovely day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My blue was my shoes, old was the diamonds in my wedding band (they were my great-grandmother’s), borrowed was a ring I wore during the ceremony from my matron of honor, and new was pretty much everything else!

I wanted the experience of finding my wedding dress to be a special one shared between just me and my mom. I had just under six months to get a dress ordered, so we drove down to Bridals by Lori in Atlanta the weekend after I got engaged. I knew I wanted my dress to be unique, but still very much feel like a wedding gown. Most importantly, I wanted the dress to have texture. It only took three dresses before I found the right one. I knew almost immediately, and by the time they added the veil and belt, I was certain.

One of the great things about having Stephanie as a wedding planner was that she was also my florist. She knew how to incorporate the flowers seamlessly into the overall design. I knew that I wanted the flowers to look soft and romantic, with a pop of color. We decided to go with lots of white and blush in my bouquet, and Stephanie added unique touches likes gold ferns, anemones, and ribbons. I couldn’t have been more thrilled!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. We are both pretty traditional, and one of the things I had always looked forward to most on my wedding day was the moment when we both saw each other for the first time. As it turned out, the look on his face as I walked down the aisle was absolutely priceless, and I am so glad we decided to wait.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Bradford surprised me during our ceremony by playing and singing a song called “Dancing in the Minefields.” He looked into my eyes, and I know I will never forget the sincerity with which he sang those lyrics. There may have been a lot of guests there, but in that moment, it was just the two of us.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I knew that I wanted the venue to have some Southern charm and a plantation feel, but I didn’t want to ask our guests to drive a long way from the city. The Merrimon-Wynne had everything I was looking for, and was perfectly located right in the heart of Raleigh. An added perk was that they had a space for the ceremony and reception, so I was thankful our guests wouldn’t have to get back into their cars and drive to another location.

Our venue was very Southern, and that charm was one of the things that immediately drew me in. Our food was delicious and Southern-inspired–during cocktail hour, guests enjoyed country ham biscuits, crab cakes, and a few other yummy choices. We did stations for dinner, which gave everyone so many options. We had a macaroni and cheese bar, shrimp and grits, pecan-crusted chicken, and beef tenderloin.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Annamarie was not only our amazing wedding photographer, she has also been one of Bradford’s good friends since high school, and her husband was a groomsman. Having her there photographing our wedding day was extra special. I loved that she was there to both take photos and to genuinely partake in all the joy that day held. The photographs she took are incredible and so perfectly capture all the details and happiness of the day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were introduced by a mutual friend. She was a co-worker of mine and attended the church where Bradford led worship. Bradford and I had only talked briefly when he asked me to dinner. Our first date was full of laughter and great conversation, and by the time we finished our frozen yogurt, we both knew that this was something special.
Tell us all about the proposal! Bradford surprised me one Saturday with a trip to the aquarium. I had a wonderful time, but looking back, I realize how nervous Bradford was–I’m sure he wasn’t enjoying it nearly as much as I was! Later in the afternoon, we walked down to a pond a little ways from the aquarium. After some walking, we sat down at a picnic table nestled in some trees. It only took a few words before I knew what was happening. After I said yes, I was surprised to find out that my future sister-in-law and good friend had been there all along, taking pictures. We headed back toward home, where Bradford had gathered all our family members and friends to celebrate with us. It meant the world to me to get to share that special time with so many of our favorite people!
When did y’all get married? November 15, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 165
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Bradford is a musician, so the music was extremely important to both of us. He actually wrote the music that I walked down the aisle to, which was one of my favorite details of the wedding and something I will always cherish. He titled it “Mentre Aspetto,” which means “As I Wait” in Italian. We walked back up the aisle to “White Dress” by Ben Rector, which felt very appropriate for the moment. Our first dance was also to a Ben Rector song, “Forever Like That.” Bradford recorded a version for our first Valentine’s Day together, and it just made sense that it would be the first song we danced to as husband and wife.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We are extremely blessed to have incredibly supportive family and friends and to be a part of a wonderful church community. We looked to them for advice and guidance, and we worked through a premarital book together. We also made sure that we took time to step away from all the wedding planning and events to focus on us, as that would be what mattered long after the wedding was over.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? For now, we have settled down in Durham, North Carolina with our sweet pup, Harper, and have been loving the first few months of married life. We are eager to see what is next for us, and there’s comfort and excitement in knowing that whatever is next, we’re in it together.

Photographer: Annamarie Akins / Planner and Florist: Stephanie Cisko of Viva L’Event NC / Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Merrimon-Wynne House / Cake Baker: Edible Art Bakery / Caterer: Beau Catering / Rentals and Lighting: CE Rental and Party Reflections / DJ: Mitch Woodward of Joe Bunn DJ Company / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Gown: “Bijou” by Amsale / Bridal Salon and Bride’s Veil and Belt: Bridals by Lori / Bracelet: Kate Spade / Earrings: Nadri / Hair and Makeup Stylist: Makeup by Ashley Mooney / Bride’s Shoes: Tory Burch / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bill Levkoff / Menswear: Jos A. Bank

Joe Bunn DJ Company is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
11 Comments
  1. avatar Annamarie reply

    Thank you so much for the beautiful feature! This was such a perfect day!

  2. avatar Bradford Mitchell reply

    Thanks for featuring our wedding! You had typed that my wife’s name is Katie. That’s my sister’s naming funny enough. Also. I would not have agreed to a navy and pink wedding. Kalie told it was blush? She must have tricked me. She’s a devious one that Kalie.

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Thank you both so much for sharing your love story and your beautiful wedding with us!
      P.S. So sorry for the typo–it’s been fixed! :)

  3. avatar Viva L'Event NC reply

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    What is wrapped around the cocktail tables as the gold band?

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    […] Credits: Wedding Reception: Annamarie Akins via Southern Weddings,  Dresses: Amy & Jordan Photography via Style Me Pretty, Moscow Mule […]

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