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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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People often say that opposites attract, but for Chandler and David, their similarities are what drew them together. After meeting online and going on two dates within a mere six days, these two were inseparable. Their common beliefs and ability to see eye to eye fostered a love that quickly grew, and it carried them right through their premarital preparation and into their wedding day. When guest list challenges arose, Chandler and David focused on celebrating with those who loved them as a couple, and kept their focus centered on their relationship by viewing their wedding as “our day” instead of individually. The beautiful Lowndes Grove Plantation was the perfect place for everyone to enjoy their celebration–there was even a place for their tiny flower girl to squeeze in a quick nap!

Thank you kindly to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Virgil Bunao for sharing this sweet day!

I knew I wanted to do a girls trip for my bridal gown shopping, so arrangements were made for family and friends to join me in Charleston exactly one year prior to the wedding. I was joined by my mom, my sister, my sister-in-law, my maid of honor, and David’s mother. We went to two salons in the morning, and then after lunch, we moved on to Gown Boutique of Charleston. At GBC, I tried on about four dresses. I was getting a little frustrated and worried that I was going to be talked into a gown I didn’t love, before I finally put on the only dress I tried on in the store that I personally pulled off the rack. I knew as soon as I saw it that I loved it. I looked up and realized my mom was crying, so naturally, I started crying, and so did many of the other girls. We all knew this was the dress. Although not part of the original plan, I was glad I ended up wearing a veil. Initially, I was completely against the idea of wearing a veil, and committed to wearing a flower crown. At my fitting in March, my mom talked me into trying on a simple, cathedral-length veil, and I ended up loving it. Still committed to the flower crown, we ordered the veil and agreed that we would decide later about when each would be worn. After talking with David after the wedding, I was very happy that I was able to combine the flower crown I loved with the beautiful flowing veil that he had hoped for.

While rain on your wedding day is supposed to be good luck, after months of planning an outdoor ceremony, rain was anything but a welcome visitor on our big day. Therefore, when we learned about the Southern tradition of burying a bottle of bourbon to keep the rain away, we were all for it. We were so excited when we received a call from our planner saying we had the “okay” from our venue to bury the bourbon! We were blessed with beautiful sunny skies and temps in the 60s and 70s for our big day.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? I first heard “The Blessing of the Hands” in a wedding video I watched early in our planning process. We both loved the words of this poem, so we insisted on having David’s brother’s wife read it during our ceremony. My childhood minister, Dr. Hawkins, who guided us through premarital counseling, also officiated our wedding. Dr. Hawkins incorporated 1 John 4:16 and Colossians 3:12-17 into the service, and did a beautiful sermon on marriage. It was important to us that my maternal grandfather had a role in our wedding–he was a navy chaplain for many years, and officiated the wedding of my parents over 40 years ago, so it was special to us to have him read scripture during our ceremony. He read Ruth 1:16-17 and Mark 10:6-9, which David and I had chosen together.

Our favorite detail was definitely the venue– not only was it a gorgeous backdrop for our wedding ceremony and reception, but it made the events on the day of the wedding flow so easily. My bridal party and I spent the entire morning getting ready in the Lowndes Grove Plantation house prior to the ceremony. After the ceremony, the guests were able to wander around the venue and explore the house, property, and the dock that extends out into the Ashley River. The venue also allowed us to bring in a swing, which was hung from a tree by an attachment point designed by David so that it swiveled to face either the river or the house. We, and many of our guests, captured beautiful photos with loved ones on this swing. Since the swing is ours, it is memento that we can hang at our own home, so it will remind us of our wedding day for years to come. Later in the evening, the house was great for guests who wanted a quiet place to enjoy each other’s company. Our reception was on the back patio under a tent, and once the band started playing, this area got loud (in a good way!), but there was a ton of comfortable seating inside that many of our elderly guests were able to escape to as the night carried on. Our flower girl, who was 13 months old at the time, was even able to take a little nap during the reception on the second floor of the house, which I know her mother appreciated. David and I loved Lowndes Grove from the first time we saw it, but it was especially nice to see how well it accommodated our guests’ needs.

Although we would have loved to have our dog, Olsen, present at the wedding, we knew his playful, and sometimes rambunctious, personality would have never allowed it. At the wedding, David and I, on behalf of Olsen, had pink tennis balls and custom dog treats available for guests to take home to their four-legged friends. For weeks after the wedding, we received photos from friends and family of their dogs enjoying either the treats or their new pink tennis balls. We loved that these favors gave us the opportunity to incorporate our dog into the wedding, but it was also such a privilege to learn more about our guests’ beloved pets.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? One of the best things you can do is hire a wedding planner who fits your design style and personality, and is able to delegate tasks to family and friends who are offering to help. Ali was organized, assertive, responsive, pleasant to be around, and willing to be as involved as we wanted her to be. Ali and her team saved us an ample amount of money in the long run, not to mention, her team ensured the wedding planning process was always fun and not stressful.

To say I like bows would be a huge understatement–I LOVE them! From the beginning stages of planning our wedding cake, we knew there would be a bow on it. We wanted our cake design to be classic and more traditional in style, so we chose to have a solid white cake. The final product was exactly what we wanted: a four-tiered round cake with a simple quatrefoil pattern on the first and third tiers. The largest tier had a beautiful white fondant bow on the front of it. We had two different flavor options for our guests to choose from: chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and vanilla cake with passion fruit buttercream. Luckily for us, Patrick Properties sent us home with two slices of each flavor and an anniversary tier, so we were able to enjoy our tasty cake for many days following the wedding. We can’t wait for our first anniversary to enjoy it all over again!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. In July 2013, we had both recently relocated to the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina for jobs. Being single and knowing very few people in the area, we both decided to create online dating profiles on Match.com. I created my account on a Sunday afternoon, and shortly thereafter, David messaged me. After an email exchange, we agreed to meet in person for dinner in Durham at a small Italian restaurant called Piazza Italia. The connection was immediate. The conversation never stopped and we quickly realized that our personalities meshed perfectly. Before we knew it, the dinner was over, and not being ready to say goodbye, we headed across the street to James Joyce Irish Pub for drinks and trivia. Since we both had to work the next day, the night had to end earlier then we would have liked, so we planned a second date for that Friday. After two dates within a mere six days, we were inseparable and dating exclusively.
Tell us all about the proposal! Many of our friends and family members were speculating aloud that we were going to get engaged soon–even though we had only been dating for eight months. From these conversations, David had learned two important things: 1. I was confident my best friend Jillian wouldn’t know about the proposal ahead of time because she wouldn’t be able to keep a secret like that from me, and 2. I wanted an extended period of time together after the engagement to enjoy the moment (like a vacation or weekend). With that in mind, David knew that in order to surprise me, Jillian had to be involved and that the proposal needed to be on a weekday! On the morning of the proposal (April 24, 2014), Jillian, per the plan, called me and asked if we would like to join her and her boyfriend for a picnic dinner at Duke Gardens. Prior to this, David had told me he would be working late (in an attempt to throw me off) so I was hesitant at first because I didn’t want to be a “third wheel.” After hours of persuasion, Jillian convinced me to join her, at which point, David announced he no longer had to work late and would be available to come along. With the picnic basket (complete with the ring) in hand, Jillian was first to arrive at the bench where David was to propose. David and I found her waiting there, and after some quick “hellos,” Jillian announced she had to get her boyfriend from the parking lot. At this point, David suggested we enjoy some wine, pulled a bottle out of the picnic basket, and handed it to me. Etched on the glass wine bottle was “Will you marry me?”, my monogram, a sweet note. I was shocked and immediately began crying tears of joy. David was so excited he forgot everything he was going to say and ended up just reading the message on the back of the wine bottle instead of reciting his memorized speech, after which, he dropped to one knee and presented me with a beautiful engagement ring.
When did y’all get married? October 31, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 126
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I actually saw Lowndes Grove Plantation in a magazine years ago and thought it was so gorgeous. Since that moment, I have wanted to get married there. After we got engaged, David was on board with a Charleston wedding. Since we have family spread out all over the US and guests would be traveling from near and far, we wanted to pick a location that guests would enjoy spending a few extra days in, and Charleston definitely fit that criteria. David had planned a trip to Charleston for my birthday three weeks after we got engaged. During that time, we looked at four venues. We went to Lowndes Grove first and fell in love with it, but David was very excited about another venue in the Charleston area, so we wanted to check it out as well before we made any final decisions. All the venues we toured were beautiful in their own way, but just didn’t compare to Lowndes Grove Plantation.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Instead of writing our own vows, we decided to use traditional vows and write each other personal letters to be read prior to the ceremony in private.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We had many conversations that began prior to being engaged, during which we discussed many of the topics relevant to marriage. Having nearly identical viewpoints in so many key areas was a major contributing factor to us now being married. Our similarities and common beliefs only fostered the love between us. We also independently took the Prepare-Enrich premarital survey that measures a person’s perceptions on many critical aspects of life, such as finances, religion, family, children, etc. Our answers were used to highlight similarities and differences in our beliefs and was a part of our pre-marital counseling that was done by my childhood minister, Dr. Hawkins.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge to overcome with planning our wedding was putting together the guest list. At the end of the day, we ended up inviting those individuals who knew us and loved us AS A COUPLE. We viewed our wedding as OUR day rather than that of the bride or groom individually, so we wanted people there who had fostered and encouraged our relationship.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are thrilled to finally be married and to be able to move on to the next chapter in our lives, during which we will continue to build our relationship and learn how to conquer the challenges of life together. Memories we are looking forward to in the years to come are taking vacations together, starting our own family traditions, purchasing a house, growing our family with children and puppies, and fulfilling new roles as aunt and uncle. We are also looking forward to having friends and family over for dinner parties, special celebrations, and holidays.

Photographer: Virgil Bunao | Videographer: Siegel Films | Planner: A. Caldwell Events | Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Florist: Tiger Lily Florist | Cake Baker: Jessica Grossman | Caterer: Fish | Rentals: Snyder Events, EventWorks, and 428 Main | Lighting: Innovative Event Services | Band: The Mighty Kicks | Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Musicians: Charleston Virtuosi | Save the Dates: Green Tie Studio | Invitation Calligraphy, Navy and White Wedding Signage, Welcome Sign, Hors d’oevures Cards, and Place Cards: Mason Dixon Designs | Artwork and Calligraphy for Table Numbers, Programs, Menus, Invitations, and Welcome Letters: Cass Deller Design | Paper Goods Formatting and Printing: Ply | Bride’s Gown: Eugenia Couture | Bridal Salon and Veil: Gown Boutique of Charleston | Bride’s Earrings: Bailey’s Fine Jewelry | Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls Wedding Hair and Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: Elehandmade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: LulaKate | Men’s Suits: The Black Tux | Men’s Shirts, Ties, and Tie Clips: J. Crew | Bridesmaid Robes: Talbots | Custom Dog Treats: Treat Dreams Dog Bakery | Koozies: SplendidSips | Welcome Bags: Welcome Bags Weddings | Cocktail Napkins: Memorable Wedding | Monogrammed Corn Hole Bags: The Lakeside Woodshop | Coral Quatrefoil Pillows: Pillows by Janet | Bride and Groom Chair Signs: Host and Toast Studio | Custom Corn Hole Board Decals: WG Cornhole | Monogrammed Chevron Swing Pillow: Peppermint Bee | Transportation: Lancaster Tours

Virgil Bunao is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    Yay! Congrats Chandler + David! Working with you both was such a wonderful experience! Your globetrotting stationery :) will forever hold a special place in my heart! So happy for you both!

  2. avatar Ali reply

    AW! We LOVE YOU TWO!!! What a fun experience this was and we are so blessed to have worked with two amazing individuals with such a deep love for each other and God! Hands down one of my favorite weddings to-date! XO

  3. avatar Zookbinders Wedding Albums reply

    Such a lovely bride! Gorgeous wedding!

  4. avatar Blavou Photography reply

    Wow, lovely wedding and inspirational photography!

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I’ve often joked that I wasn’t much of a flower person until we did some foraging at our first team retreat. While I still am as dumb as a box of rocks when it comes to the different flower types, my appreciation for florals has certainly grown, and after seeing Emily’s stunning blooms, I think it might be moving into a full-blown love. Sarah at the White Oaks Barn took Emily’s inspiration and created bouquets full of marsala-hued dahlias, flowing greenery, and even some gold accents that ultimately became one of Emily’s favorite details of the day. I can surely see why! But, when it came to her favorite moment? She and Ben chose “the overwhelming feeling of love and support from everyone that was able to be there with us.”

Big SW hugs to Dash Photography for sharing this sweet day with us!

I wanted our florals to include LOTS of flowing greenery, plus flowers in creams, blush, and marsala. I showed our florist, Sarah Warner, lots of pictures for inspiration and she absolutely nailed it with my bouquet and my bridesmaids’ bouquets. My bouquet had marsala-hued dahlias and ranunculus, muted pink garden roses, dusty pink antique roses, cascading seeded eucalyptus, and amaranthus. She surprised me with some gold accents as well. It was big and beautiful and I could not have loved it more!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. As much as I hate to admit it, I can be quite indecisive when it comes to making certain decisions. My friends joked that I would try on one hundred dresses before actually picking one. You can imagine everyone’s surprise when I picked the first dress I tried on at the first boutique I went to! I think I tried on six dresses total that day. Everyone says to stop looking when you find one you love, so that’s exactly what I did!

Ultimately, we decided to do a first look because not only were we able to take a lot more pictures, but our reception was walking distance from the ceremony, so we wanted our wedding party to be able to enjoy the cocktail hour and reception right away. Wouldn’t want to waste any time getting the party started! Being able to see Ben before the ceremony was really nice and helped calm my nerves.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not. Instead, during out premarital counseling, Ben and I had to answer questions about each other and share our answers with our minister, Charlie. During the ceremony, Charlie surprised us by reading each of our answers to the question “What is the one thing you love the most about Emily/Ben?” It was a sweet, personal touch that meant a lot to us!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My cousin Jessica read Psalm 121, which talks about God and nature. It was perfect for our ceremony venue.

We chose the venue because of the scenery. The mountains are special to both of us and it’s also the place where I feel closest to God, so I always knew I wanted to get married outside. With the leaves all turning colors, the view was so incredible. It’s impossible to not be grateful that God put something so beautiful on the earth for us.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: How can a girl pick just one?! It is a tie between my bouquet and the lounge area on the covered porch. CRUSH event rentals created the most beautiful lounge around a big stone fireplace, providing a stylish, cozy corner for guests to sit down and have a drink while enjoying the outdoors.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The entire day is filled with so many special memories, but my favorite would have to be the overwhelming feeling of love and support from everyone that was able to be there with us. We are lucky to have people in our lives who often tell us they love us, but it is the most amazing feeling to be shown that love by seeing all of your family and friends come from near and far to be there to support you. Ben and I were obviously excited for our wedding day, but seeing everyone else genuinely happy to be there with us was the best wedding gift of all. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, my other favorite memory was getting behind the DJ booth to sing my lungs out to my all time favorite Celine Dion song! I’m a sucker for an open mic!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ben and I met at a mutual friend’s birthday party. Ben was late to the party, straight off of a flight from Vegas, and I will never forget seeing him walk through the front door. For those few seconds, it was like there was no one else in the room! He came up to me later and introduced himself. We hung out all night and, as I like to say, Ben was smitten. After a couple of months, his persistence paid off and we officially became a couple. That was 3 1/2 years ago and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! Ben’s family has a lake house in the Blue Ridge Mountains and it is one of my favorite places in the whole wide world to be. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s also where I started to fall in love with Ben, so it holds a special place in my heart! Ben and I hadn’t gone up there just the two of us in a while, so when he asked if I wanted to go, I couldn’t wait! In the back of my mind, I was secretly hoping he would propose that weekend, but little things here and there made me doubt that it was going to happen. We got to the lake house on Friday night and Ben told me he had made dinner reservations at a restaurant on the lake. We unpacked the car and then hopped on the boat to make it to dinner on time. On the way, I asked Ben if we could head home during the sunset so we could watch it from the boat (unbeknownst to me at the time, that was his plan all along). We finished dinner and practically ran back to the boat. The sunset was magical, and as I was taking pictures, like I always do, Ben pointed out a particularly pretty view. As soon as I turned around to snap a picture, the boat stopped…and so did my heart! I turned around and Ben was on his knee asking me to marry him! It was perfect. When we turned the corner back to the house, I saw all of our family and friends running outside to greet us. Ben had asked everyone to come to the lake to surprise me! The rest of the night was filled with so much love and joy–there were even fireworks! It was the best weekend ever!!
When did y’all get married? October 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was four tiers of vanilla almond and strawberry with a raspberry filling. Natalie from Cake Envy made the most delicious cake. The groom’s cake was a red velvet Georgia bulldog that looked amazing, and tasted great too!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Ben and I did premarital counseling with our wedding officiant, Rev. Charlie Marus. This really helped Ben and I understand one others’ expectations for our marriage, and it was a good way to make sure we were on the same page about things like finances, chores, and children, just to name a few!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My sister, Allison, is extremely creative and talented. She hand-painted all of the signs and decor at the wedding, including the Bible verse sign at the ceremony site, the bride and groom signs that hung on our chairs at dinner, and the “Abernathy” sign that had greenery draped over it. She did everything for free, so that was a huge help. We also ordered our wedding invitations through Minted, which was much more cost effective than hiring someone to design and address them!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take your time to make decisions that are important to you and try not to rush yourself. Don’t sweat the small stuff and, if you can, hire a wedding planner!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Ben and I are looking forward to enjoying our first holiday season as husband and wife! We will be spending time with our families, taking care of our precious golden retriever, Cooper, and going on a New Year’s trip cruising the British Virgin Islands!

Photographer: Amanda Coker / Venue, Planner, Caterer, and Florist: White Oaks Barn / Wedding Cake: Natalie Roth / Rentals: CRUSH event rentals / DJ: Kyle MacDonald / Special Details: Allison Brown / Invitations: Minted / Paper Products and Koozie Design: Kristen Polsinelli / Bride’s Gown: “Style 1504” Blush by Hayley Paige / Bride’s Veil: Wedding Angels Boutique / Hair and Makeup: Molly Todd / Bride’s Shoes: “Lyndee” Sandal by Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Angelina Faccenda / Menswear: “Parker” Tuxedo in Black by Ike Behar / Photo Booth: Robot Booth

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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