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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  2. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

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A bride whose nickname growing up was Miss Scarlett, who has her wedding at an antebellum plantation, serves beignets, and puts “Roll Tide” in her interview? I think I might have found a new BFF (sorry KNW!)! Jessica and Thomas are absolutely my kind of folk! Southerners through and through, these two planned their wedding day with a “Gone With the Wind-meets-modern-elegance feeling” that I think turned out divinely! From their Alabama-inspired welcome baskets to mama-made praline favors, each detail was not only a nod to the South, but to their families and the traditions they had grown up with.

Big thanks to Ms. Leslie Hollingsworth for the gorgeous photos of their lovely day!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Our wedding was definitely full of DIYs! My mom made the delicious praline wedding favors, and we had a very sweet family friend who designed the adorable stickers for the praline bags. My best friend/maid of honor/official matchmaker did the calligraphy for our save the dates and designed our wedding koozies. My mother-in-law and mom made most of the delicious goodies in our welcome bags. My mom and dad went above and beyond the “DIY call-of-duty” by re-covering lounge furniture and pillows so that I could have the lounge seating area I had always wanted!

As soon as we had our wedding venue booked, I knew I wanted to find my wedding dress. I am the most indecisive person on the planet, so I wanted to give myself plenty of time to make the decision! I made two appointments in Birmingham one Saturday with my mom, future mother-in-law, maid of honor, and my bridesmaid. At the first salon, I was so convinced that I had found the one, we almost didn’t go to the second appointment! We decided to go anyway, just to make sure. I am so glad we did because the last dress I put on absolutely took my breath away. I, along with the rest of my group, was in tears, and I didn’t want to take it off! I still loved the first dress, but there was definitely something very special about this second dress.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. As we started planning, we both realized that we were probably going to be nervous wrecks on the day of the wedding! We decided that it would help us relax to see each other beforehand, and I am so glad we did. It was such a special moment that we got to share alone during the craziness of the day, and seeing his face as I walked down the aisle was still one of the most wonderful moments of my life.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Thomas and I are Southerners through and through, so I knew our wedding had to be as Southern as possible! From day one, I knew I wanted to get married outside at an antebellum plantation under live oak trees, and have a reception in a beautiful white tent. Nottoway Plantation had everything on my wish list! One of our favorite parts about Nottoway was the fact that our ceremony, reception, and guest accommodations were all in the same place. This took so much stress away from us and our guests! Nottoway is also very close to New Orleans, one of our favorite places. We decided to make the whole weekend a getaway for our family and friends, starting with the rehearsal dinner in New Orleans that Friday night.

Describe your wedding flowers. I did not have a specific vision for flowers, but I knew I wanted them to be neutral with hints of blush. Kali at The Plantation Florist did such a wonderful job turning my vague vision into a beautiful reality! She used mostly white, ivory, and blush pink flowers with hints of greenery and dusty miller. My bouquet was mostly ivory and blush peonies. I cried the first time I saw it because it was so beautiful! We incorporated succulents into the reception flowers to add a little something different to the arrangements, and we wrapped all of the bouquets in gorgeous ivory and blush French silk ribbon from Frou Frou Chic.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Thomas and I are two of the biggest sweets lovers you will ever meet (and so are both of our families), so the wedding cakes were extremely important to us! After two different tastings, I finally chose a sour cream pound cake with layers of cream and fresh strawberries in between the layers, covered in a traditional buttercream frosting. Thomas chose a chocolate cake with chocolate icing covered in chocolate ganache, and needless to say, there wasn’t much left of it afterwards! As a nod to his love for hunting, he topped his cake with a fondant wood duck next to a sign that read, “The Hunt is Over.”

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It is a close tie between our wedding cakes and the photo booth. Our cakes were unbelievably delicious, and I definitely had more than one slice of each! We ended up adding the photo booth at the last minute, and I am so glad we did. It has been so much fun to look back at the pictures of our friends and families having fun at our reception, and seeing some of our guests in a much different light than usual!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? What wasn’t Southern about our wedding?! A spring outdoor wedding at a beautiful antebellum home outside of New Orleans with a traditional ceremony is about as Southern as it gets! My nickname growing up was Miss Scarlett, so I knew I wanted the wedding to have a Gone With the Wind-meets-modern-elegance feeling. From my lace off-the-shoulder gown to our traditional Second Line dance at the end of the reception, everything about the wedding was quintessentially Southern. One of the most important parts of the wedding to us was having food with a Southern vibe, because we did not want our guests to leave hungry! We began the weekend with welcome bags full of mini king cakes, cheese straws, and elephant candy (ROLL TIDE!), all handmade by my mother and mother-in-law. For the reception, we served some personal favorites, like shrimp and grits and red beans and rice. We also had a sandwich station where guests could make their own barbecue sandwiches, topped with goodies like fried green tomatoes. We ended the night with mini corn dogs, sweet potato fries, and fresh beignets! As wedding favors, we passed out my personal Southern favorite: pralines handmade by my wonderful mother.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Thomas and I were introduced during our freshman year of college by our mutual best friend, Mary Meigs (my maid of honor!). Thomas began his college career at Auburn University while I was at the University of Alabama, but he came back home to Tuscaloosa to visit his friends regularly. Mary Meigs casually staged a “run-in” between us one weekend–little did I know that Mary Meigs and our other mutual friend Catherine (another future bridesmaid!) had been talking me up to Thomas via Facebook! We ended up going our separate ways shortly after we met, but I never forgot about him. He returned to Tuscaloosa for good that summer and began his quest to win my heart over (again). After over a year and a half, I finally agreed to go on a first date with him (again), and we have never looked back after over five years together!
Tell us all about the proposal! I spent the majority of last summer studying for the Alabama bar exam, while Thomas spent the majority of last summer trying to cheer me up while I was studying! When I got back from taking the bar, Thomas (still trying to cheer me up) suggested that we head up to Birmingham that Saturday to have a celebratory dinner and do some shopping. Deep down, I wondered if he was planning to propose, but I put it out of my mind because he seemed WAY too calm to be planning anything sneaky, and my mom was out of town that weekend and would have killed him if she wasn’t there for our proposal. As I was getting ready, his mom invited us to meet her and Thomas’ niece and nephew by the Black Warrior River for some yogurt on our way out of town–they knew I couldn’t resist ice cream and babies. When we got there, Thomas suggested we walk down to the river to wait for them, since they were running late. Well, instead of getting ice cream, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife! His wonderful sister-in-law captured the whole thing on camera, and when we headed back to his parents’ house for some champagne, he surprised me again by having my parents there waiting for us. It was absolutely perfect!
When did y’all get married? March 29, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 110
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We had a traditional Episcopalian ceremony, which we think is one of the most beautifully written ceremonies. Since we were not married in a church, it was very important to us to have a traditional Christian ceremony to keep God as an integral part of our wedding. Tradition is very important to us, and reciting vows that have been in our church for hundreds of years held a very important significance for us.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose three traditional scriptures for our ceremony and had each of our sisters-in-law to read them: Song of Solomon 2:10-13, 8:6-7; Colossians 3:12-17; and John 15:9-12.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to Trumpet Voluntary–my heart swells every time I hear it, and I have always dreamed of walking down the aisle to it! Our first dance was “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” by James Taylor. Thomas told me the day after we got engaged that he always thought of us when he heard that song, so it was a no-brainer for our first dance. I chose “The Way You Look Tonight” for my first dance with my dad. It is one of my favorite wedding songs, and the Frank Sinatra version was a perfect fit for my dad and me.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Of course! My something new was a beautiful cross necklace that Thomas gave to me the night before our wedding. For my something borrowed, I pinned the pearl drop that my dad gave to my mom on their wedding day on my bouquet. I wore a lace garter with blue ribbon for my something blue, and the ribbons for my bustle were also blue. For my something old, I carried my great-great-grandmother’s handkerchief and a dime in my shoe. The dime belonged to Thomas’s maternal grandmother and has been worn by his mom and both of his sisters-in-law on their wedding days!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? It definitely wasn’t easy planning a wedding in Louisiana while I lived in Tuscaloosa and my mom lived in Mississippi. Thankfully, we were able to do so much over the phone and through email, and only had to make a few trips to Louisiana during the planning process. Thomas did not see our venue in the daylight until two weeks before the wedding! My mom and dad also live relatively close to New Orleans and Nottoway, and they were so sweet to take a few trips over there for us when we couldn’t get away!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? This is an absolute no-brainer: Leslie Hollingsworth! Leslie went above and beyond her job as photographer the entire weekend, and we were so lucky to have snagged her. There were definitely some tense and stressful moments that day, but Leslie was always there to calm me down and cheer me up. She made me feel like a rock star all day! Our pictures could not be more gorgeous and they perfectly captured the happiness and joy that Thomas and I felt on our wedding day. Brides, if you are in need of a photographer, book Leslie immediately before someone else does!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy every minute! I was very fortunate to have two families and a wonderful fiancé who enjoyed helping me plan, so the whole process was a lot of fun for us. Soak up every precious moment because it is such an exciting time in your life, and it passes by way too quickly!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We bought a house in Tuscaloosa and are having so much fun decorating and making it our own. And our dog, Scarlett, is enjoying having her mom and dad under the same roof finally!

Photographer: Leslie Hollingsworth / Videographer: One Louder Productions / Venue and Catering: Nottoway Plantation / Florist: The Plantation Florist / Cake Baker: Sweet Impressions Bakery / Band: Rewind / Bouquet Ribbon: FrouFrou Chic / Bride’s Gown: Martina Liana / Bridal Salon and Veil: Ivory & White / Paper Products: Kyle Fine Stationery / Hair and Makeup: The Salon at Nottoway / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: After Six / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Sash Bridesmaid Boutique / Groom’s Attire: Jos A. Bank

Leslie Hollingsworth is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Abby reply

    wow!! what a stunning venue!!! Beautiful wedding! Congrats Jessica and Thomas!

  2. avatar Wedding Rental Supplies reply

    Gorgeous wedding! Loved the beautiful details and unique theme of this wedding. Also loved the pretty colors used.

  3. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #140 | Floridian Weddings reply

    […] elegance perfection (we wouldn't expect anything less!) from our Fave, Leslie Hollingsworth, at this plantation wedding in […]

  4. avatar Jessica & Thomas’ Nottoway Plantation Wedding | Leslie Hollingsworth, New Orleans Wedding Photographer | reply

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  5. avatar Danielle reply

    i am really interested in the green bridesmaid dresses how do I go about purchasing them? Please help many thanks Danielle

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi Danielle! The bridesmaid dresses are by After Six. You can find them here: http://www.dessy.com/bridesmaid-dresses/aftersix :)

  6. avatar Rachel reply

    I love the koozies. Where did you order them from?

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In honor of Halloween, we have a slightly-eery, Southern Gothic inspiration board for you today!

Credits, clockwise from top left:

Wedding dress with black sash photo by Julie Lim via Southern Weddings; black and white striped bouquet from Martha Stewart Weddings; key ring shot by Erin Hearts Court; “Gloria” dress from Vera Wang Fall 2011; jeweled hairpiece by Elsa Corsi via Style Me Pretty; Spanish moss; candelabra centerpiece photo by Bryan Johnson via Southern Weddings; paper suite by Martha Stewart Weddings via Ritzy Bee

P.S. Last year’s Halloween board

emily Written with love by Emily
5 Comments
  1. avatar desiree reply

    this is right up my ‘idea alley’ of doing a Twilight photoshoot or wedding! nice work

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    Ahh, that Spanish moss! So beautiful and mysterious. Happy Halloween, y’all!

  3. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] happy to present to you this week’s Round-Up! In honor of Halloween, Emily put together a Southern Gothic inspiration board with the perfect combination of elegance and the eerie Old […]

  4. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up | Gift Registry News reply

    […] honor of Halloween, Emily put together a Southern Gothic inspiration board with the perfect combination of elegance and the eerie Old […]

  5. avatar Southern Weddings Color Palette Finds: Southern Gothic « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Emily’s Southern Gothic inspiration board was made in honor of Halloween, its dark and muted color palette and slightly eerie quality are the […]

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