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I have butterflies of excitement in my stomach typing these words: V6 is only one week away!! Are y’all as excited as we are?

One of the most fun and rewarding parts of working at Southern Weddings is following along with our sweet brides as they plan their big days. That’s how most of our readers find us, after all, and from their proposal stories to their etiquette questions to their wedding pictures, we love it all! That’s why I was so excited about the fact that Justin proposed to Melissa aided by a video he made, which they graciously shared with us. I watched it before I even finished reading their interview, so by the time I got around to looking at the pictures from their rustic navy and pink wedding, they felt like old friends! P.S. You can also check out their wedding video here.

Thank you kindly to Crystal Stokes for sharing Melissa and Justin’s special day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had an idea of what I liked, down to every detail. My mother, bridesmaids, Rachel and Jillian, and I decided to go look at dresses at J Major’s in Charlotte, NC. I tried on SO many dresses. Rachel threw one into the mix that was completely unlike what I thought I liked. She told my mom, “I just really want to see what she looks like in this. What if she likes it?!” When I put it on, I KNEW it was the one. Funny how things work out sometimes!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Of course! My veil was my something borrowed. My garter was my something blue–it was made of ivory lace with a navy blue flower and pearls. My something old was my sapphire ring, which is very special to me. My dress, bracelet, and earrings were my something new. We also followed the rest of the rhyme, “and a sixpence in her shoe.” One of my bridesmaids, Lindsay, taped a coin to the bottom of my shoe!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. With the location of the wedding, the walk down to the ceremony was a very long walk and I would not have been able to see Justin’s initial reaction. I also knew I would be very emotional, and I wanted that to be a special, intimate moment for just us. It is now one of the sweetest and most memorable moments from our wedding.

Our wedding colors were navy blue and hot pink, so the flowers were all different shades of pink. We didn’t know much about flowers, other than that I love lilies, so we gave our florist creative liberty to do what she thought looked great. She went above and beyond our expectations!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We wood burned the words of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 onto slices of wood and hung them off of shepherd hooks to line the aisle of our wedding. The words are so special to us, and perfectly describe what we want to build our marriage on.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows. Our ceremony was conducted by my grandfather, who is a Presbyterian minister, so it was very traditional.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 1 John 4:8-10, 16-19. These were read by two of my cousins that are very close to me, and I will always remember them reading about how “God is love.” It was very sweet.

We exchanged rings and said “I do” RIGHT before the bottom fell out of the sky and it rained. It was one of the craziest and most exciting moments of our lives. The timing was truly incredible.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. This was one of our favorite things about our wedding! We had a two-tiered vanilla cake on a cake stand that was placed on an overturned tin wash tub. We also had cupcakes in a variety of flavors for our guests that were placed on the wash tub. They were so delicious, and our guests loved them!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Justin had just moved to Charlotte, North Carolina and didn’t know anyone. He became friends with his coworker, Tyler, who was dating one of my childhood friends, Lindsay. Justin and I met thanks to Tyler and Lindsay, while hanging out at Lindsay’s house in January 2010. I later learned that Justin was instantly interested in me, but was too shy to tell me. We became really good friends and talked all the time. On New Year’s Eve 2011, when we were hanging out with friends and celebrating the coming of the New Year, something changed. We just knew we should make the move from friends to dating. It was a whirlwind romance, and he stole my heart. A little over a year later, we were engaged.
Tell us all about the proposal! On February 2, 2013, it was just a normal Saturday night to me. We had decided to go out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants. While dining, being as impatient as always, I decided I was too excited to wait to give Justin his Valentine’s Day present. I asked, “Can we PLEASE exchange gifts tonight?!? As laid back as he is, he said yes. When we arrived back at his house, I ran to get my gift, and then waited on his couch while he told me awkwardly that he would be right back. It seemed like an eternity, but it was probably only a few minutes. When he came back, he had a shoebox of old stuff of his, and turned on his TV. He opened YouTube and played a video titled, “Awesome Video For Melissa.” It was a video he had made of pictures of us with words at the bottom of each picture, making up a letter to me describing all the reasons why he loved me. The song playing was “You Are The Best Thing,” by Ray LaMontagne. At the end of the song, he pulled a small box out of the shoebox of old stuff, got down on one knee and said, “Melissa, I love you more than anything in the world, and I would love to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?” Crying as I responded, I jumped and said “Yes!”
When did y’all get married? August 9, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Walking down the aisle, we used “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” by Ingrid Michaelson. The first time we heard the song, we knew it was the one for this moment. The words described how we felt so perfectly. Our walk back down the aisle was to “You Are The Best Thing,” by Ray LaMontagne. Justin always said this song reminded him of us, and he actually incorporated it into his proposal. We decided it was the perfect song for the recessional. Our first dance was to “The More I See You,” by Nat King Cole. I’ve always loved it, and since it is such a beautiful and classic song, we knew that it would be meaningful for us throughout our lives. We were supposed to have two of my cousins sing “The Prayer” during the ceremony, but since the rain was closing in, we decided to skip the song for that time and have it at the reception instead. They sang right before we ate, and it was the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? In true Southern fashion, we had an outdoor wedding on a farm, which also had a rock quarry. The vegetables served at our dinner were grown on the farm. The food was AMAZING! We incorporated mason jars throughout our whole wedding, from the save the dates to the drinking glasses and centerpieces. We had so much fun deciding how to do that! For our centerpieces, our florist found all different types of flowers and greenery to create a wildflower look. We also displayed my bridal portrait at the reception, which is a must in our family!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was getting things done in a reasonable amount of time while working with everyone’s schedule.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our favorite vendor was definitely our photographer, Crystal Stokes. She was such a joy to work with. She helped us with so many different things that we weren’t sure about, and she was always very quick to respond to my questions (something any bride can appreciate). My favorite details were all the mason jars that we incorporated throughout the wedding. They were all different sizes and colors, and really made it feel more Southern!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Work to get things done at the beginning so you don’t stress about the details at the end.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are mostly looking forward to being married and spending time with our best friend, and soon, we will begin building a family together!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Emily reply

    I love how they used 1 Corinthians in their ceremony decor!

  2. avatar Emily reply

    That rock quarry is STUNNING!!!!!

  3. avatar Dana reply

    this location is stunning! what an awesome place to have a wedding!

  4. avatar Deedie reply

    Thank you for featuring this wedding!!! It was truly beautiful!! and celebrated the union of a beautiful couple!! Thank you so much, Southern Weddings/Lisa, for taking the time to feature it!! I love your blog as well as the magazine!!!! Definitely one of my favorites!!!

  5. avatar Southern Weddings feature | Erin Ashley reply

    […] Hi y’all!!  It has been forever since I have blogged…simply because there hasn’t been time!  But there are so many things I need to share from the past few months so I will be doing so in future posts!!  Now on to this exciting news…My lovely bride Melissa’s wedding (captured by Crystal Stokes Photography ) was blogged by Southern Weddings!!! We are so excited!–We got to work with some amazing vendors on this wedding and it is so fabulous to see it published!  Check it out here: /2013/11/05/carrigan-farms-wedding-by-crystal-stokes/ […]

  6. avatar Engagement Photos – What you need to know | Sunny Slide Up reply

    […] Ok – 3 months is a minimum when choosing your photographer.  The fabulous lady I decided to go with, Crystal Stokes, is booked out a year from now.  A year… that is crazy, so find who you like and get on their schedule.  I looked at styles of photography, price points and the personality of the photographer and made a quick decision!  I believe that this is one of those “you will just know” situations.  I saw one of her photos and booked her – I mean look at that photo!  Here is that photo and the rest of the photos from that night can be seen here […]

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Caroline + Chaz love picnics and couldn’t think of a better way to spend time with their nearest and dearest than by recreating the summer activity. It was especially appropriate (and downright sweet) for Caroline, whose grandmother was a quilting pro and even had one of her creations presented to Eleanor Roosevelt! We are absolutely in love with the laid back atmosphere, delicious boxed meals and adorable lawn signs reserving quilts for the Mr. and Mrs. After enjoying the dining experience on the lawn, guests partied the night away (yes, even with a special playing of “Call Me Maybe”) until the newlyweds made their getaway in Caroline’s dad’s antique Porsche.

Did you have a cocktail hour? Right after the ceremony, Chaz and I went to take some sunset pictures, which we LOVE, while everyone else went to cocktail hour. We served some Southern classics: spiked Arnold Palmers, mini cucumber sandwiches, mini pimento cheese sandwiches, and mini BLT’s. Maybe one of our favorite parts of the whole day was that during the beginning of cocktail hour we got to eat dinner, just the two of us. Our planner had set up a table in a building adjacent to the Plantation Home where cocktail hour was taking place. We got the opportunity to talk about the wedding ceremony and everything that had happened that day. It was wonderful to get to spend time just the two of us, and I would highly recommend it to any couple!
What was the design inspiration for your reception? We really wanted something casual, Southern, and fun. We actually had never seen a picnic reception before, so this idea shockingly wasn’t from Pinterest. Boxed dinners were cheaper than a seated, plated meal, so everything worked out perfectly! We did provide enough tables for everyone in case people weren’t comfortable on quilts, but we were so glad that, although untraditional, most people joined in!

The one aspect of our wedding that we’ve never seen anyone else do was the picnic reception. It was exactly what we wanted: delicious, casual, and budget-friendly! It was also very special to me because my grandmother on my dad’s side was a quilting pro! She worked on a quilt with some women in Kentucky that won the 1933 World’s Fair Sears Quilt contest. The quilt was sent to the White House and presented to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt to keep, and there is now no record of it. Before she died, she recreated the quilt and we are so proud to have it in our possession. The quilts on the grounds of Carnton reminded me so much of her!

Tell us a bit about your first dance. While our first dance didn’t go at all how I had planned, it was definitely the most hilarious moment of our wedding. We told the DJ, who was wonderful in every other aspect, that we wanted to dance to “At Last” by Etta James. When we got out to the dance floor for our first dance, this crazy version of “At Last” starts playing. It’s not even Etta James, it’s some horrible live version. I think Chaz realized that I was horrified, so he made it his ultimate goal to make me laugh. We were cracking up our entire first dance. It wasn’t the moment I was expecting to create, but it is definitely a fun and memorable one!

What kind of food did you serve during the cocktail hour, dinner and dessert? For dinner, we decided to have a picnic. All throughout the grounds were quilts that my mom and our families collected from friends, laid out for people to picnic on. We had boxed dinners that were delicious! They had gourmet fried chicken, grilled veggies, a tri-bean salad, potato salad, and a fruit skewer. To drink, we offered fruit tea, a Nashville favorite, sweet tea, water and then a Nashville beer called Yazoo Pale Ale. Maybe the most Southern thing at our entire wedding was the biscuit bar. Our caterer made so many delicious mini biscuits: buttermilk biscuits, cheddar biscuits, herb biscuits, and sweet potato biscuits. She also brought tons of different toppings: fresh creamery butter, honey butter, apple butter, strawberry preserves, apricot preserves, and raspberry jam.

Describe your wedding cake: Our cake was alternating layers of a very light lemon and amaretto Italian wedding cake. It was out of this world. When you cut into the cake, it made yellow and white stripes, just like everything else at our wedding! We wanted to have a special “cake” for Chaz because his birthday was the day before our wedding. He decided on another Southern classic: banana pudding. We put all of the little individual banana puddings in my grandmother’s old pie safe. My loving parents lugged it all the way to the plantation just for this moment. I loved it because it felt like my grandmother got to be there. And it was adorable!

Describe your centerpieces: The quilts didn’t require any centerpieces, they were beautiful on their own! Each table had an ivory linen and a burlap square on top. Most of them had antique books that were both in our color scheme and whose titles were about love. We also included blue mason jars with flowers, and milk glass with flowers. Some tables just had these huge apothecary jars full of lemons and then a ribbon tied around them with a label that I designed that said, “Chaz and Caroline, June 16, 2012.”
What were some of the highlights? Chaz and I love nothing more than dancing with friends, and it was so much more fun dancing at our own wedding. I specifically remember watching Chaz dance his heart out to the songs “Scrub the Ground” while getting lower than I’ve ever seen him go before. I also requested some songs for particular friends, like this summer’s classic “Call Me Maybe” for one of my best friends, Vasilisa. One thing that we did differently than most is we had a last dance. Since we were going to Mexico for our honeymoon and we love the band Jump Little Children, our last dance was called “Mexico.” All the couples got to join us on the dance floor to close it off right before our final send off.
Did you try anything new or untraditional? The picnic idea was both new and untraditional. So was the biscuit bar and the banana pudding.
Did you toss the garter or bouquet? I tossed the bouquet, but after talking about it, both of us weren’t looking forward to the awkward “finding of the garter” (where did this tradition come from?!), so we decided to skip it.
Tell us about your grand exit. Our exit was SO fun! We started at the front of the house and walked amidst trees and people lining the walkway all the way to my dad’s antique Porsche. It’s always been my dream to drive away in his Porsche that we rode in as kids. I’m glad Chaz could drive it (this stick shift in particular is near impossible to navigate) because he worked for years in high school as a valet.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when planning your wedding? My parents were really generous to us with the wedding. They gave us a budget, and said that if we wanted to spend less than that, we could save the rest. Since we’re currently paying for Chaz’s medical school (not a cheap route), we tried to cut as many corners as we could. While this was probably the biggest challenge we faced, it was almost like a game. We continually checked to make sure that we couldn’t shave off any money anywhere. I am glad that even though we were very budget-conscious, we made sure to include all of the things that were important to us.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? It’s been a huge time of transition for us. I just graduated from college, we got married, and then we headed to Savannah for Chaz’s medical school rotations. We have a lot to look forward to both individually and as a couple. I just started a new job at Southpoint Media, a web design and development firm here in Savannah. I’m also starting a new paper line for invitations and stationary, Caroline Fausel Paperie, while also free-lancing as a graphic designer and continuing my music career in Savannah. Chaz had really enjoyed his rotations so far and is looking forward to graduating medical school soon. We’re excited to see where Chaz’s residency program takes us, and are hoping to get the opportunity to explore a new city in the Southeast.
What advice would you give to someone planning his or her wedding? Pick the top things that are important to you about your wedding day. Plan your budget around those things. The most important aspect about the planning is attitude. We kept saying to ourselves and each other, “If at the end of the day I’m married to you, I’m happy.” In the end it’s not the small details that matter, but the fact that you’re getting married!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Inspired by This Blog reply

    Love the banner over the dessert table!

  2. avatar miranda t reply

    I NEED to know what dress the lady holding the biscuits is wearing. im in love with it.

  3. avatar Dee Shore reply

    I’m in love with this reception! Truly unique. May “borrow” the idea lol

  4. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze | Floridian Weddings reply

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  6. avatar Caroline Fausel | Caroline Fausel Paper Co. reply

    Thanks, Dee! Did you end up borrowing it? So glad you liked it- I hope the idea spread :)

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Bethany + Caleb’s reception in an open air pavilion in Freedom Park was a well-suited follow-up to their nuptials under a willow tree. Handmade details, like the vases the two made together and the burlap table numbers, adorned tables throughout the space. Guests were treated to breakfast for dinner with Southern staple, grits and then topped off the feast with a lovely cream cheese-frosted cake. The newlyweds took their first dance (in the rain!), partied with guests until nighttime, and then made their getaway. Special thanks again to Susan Dean for sharing these sweet images.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The handmade vases we made together.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Breakfast for dinner!
Describe your wedding cake: Cake Lady Jill is the best! Our first layer was vanilla butter cake with lemon curd and raspberry jam and cream cheese icing, our second layer was vanilla butter cake with cream cheese icing and fresh strawberries, and our third layer was toasted almond with cream cheese icing.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? A three-month engagement! It’s a lie that you need at least 6 months to a year to plan!
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $15,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? My photographer and videographer!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Caleb pulling me into the pouring rain for our first dance to “Flightless Bird” by Iron and Wine.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes! I forgot my paper with what I had wrote so it truly was all from the heart. “I knew from the start that I’d forever be yours.”

Photographer: Susan Dean // Videographer: Adam Hobbs // Day of Planner: Favor Me Events // Venue: Freedom Park // Florist: Gallery of Flowers // Wedding Cake Baker: Cake Lady Jill // Caterer: Chef Henry Catering // Bride’s Dress: Claire Pettibone // Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil: butterfly from Hobby Lobby // Bride’s Shoes: Hong Kong Vintage, shoe clips from BHLDN // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: handmade

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Allison W reply

    I love that little shoulder wrap/shawl you wore over your dress! Where is it from?

  2. avatar black reply

    your concept in the post is really brilliant and i admire to you. i like your post and will share with my friend. support!!!

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