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As y’all may know, every summer, we welcome a lovely intern to our office! Elizabeth has been a huge help to us with everything from photo shoot prep to packing up shop orders over the last few months. She fell heads over heels for Laurie and Brian’s gorgeous wedding, so we invited her to introduce them to y’all today! -Lisa

I have read quite a few real wedding interviews this summer and have loved every one of them, but Laurie and Brian’s story truly captured my heart. My love for their wedding is partially due to the fact that their initial relationship, jokingly referred to as “work husband and wife,” that turned into a romance is simply so sweet. However, I am also completely smitten by this wedding because Laurie and Brian incorporated so many details that I dream of having in my own wedding someday, many years down the road! I have always wanted to design my own wedding dress, and the dress that Laurie created with the help of a custom dressmaker is stunning, if I do say so myself. Laurie and Brian have spent their fair share of time in banquet halls throughout their careers, so they wanted something different for their big day–an outdoor Southern wedding at Southwood House, surrounded by dripping Spanish moss, was the perfect contrast.

Thanks so much to Cassidy Carson for sharing this charming day with us!

P.S. We were thrilled to see that Laurie’s Southern Weddings Planner made an appearance in these photos! Can you spot it?

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Tell us about finding your wedding dress. The search for the perfect wedding dress was one of the biggest challenges. We had a fairly short engagement, so any dress ordered from a boutique would have to be rushed and leave no time for alterations. I never found “the” dress, and most of the time, left the bridal boutiques frustrated and overwhelmed. While searching Pinterest, I found a custom dressmaker located in Brian’s hometown, Salt Lake City. As luck would have it, we were visiting his family the upcoming weekend, so I quickly made an appointment with Penelope and the rest is history. I had the best time designing my dress, and within three weekend visits to Salt Lake City, I had my wedding gown!

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I love almost any arrangement of fresh flowers, so I had the hardest time settling on just a few types of flowers! I wanted the bouquets to feel whimsical, but not so loose that they competed with the draping Spanish moss and greenery around our venue. Ultimately, we decided on David Austin and garden roses, peonies, hydrangeas, and succulents, as a nod to our life in California.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did do a first look. The majority of our guests traveled hundreds and thousands of miles to celebrate with us, and we wanted to soak up as much time with these friends as possible. Since most of our photos could be taken before the wedding, we decided a first look would allow for additional time to make this happen. Looking back, there are so many reasons to do a first look. Seeing each other before the ceremony calmed our nerves, and let us pray together and enjoy a few quiet moments before the celebration began!

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I love the theme song from Steel Magnolias and thought it would be a beautiful entrance for the bridesmaids. I searched high and low for a bridal processional, but never found a song better than the Steel Magnolias theme. Our talented string quartet created an arrangement that included a powerful crescendo for my grand entrance, and kept the song flowing until I made it to the end of the aisle. I think I had chills and tears the whole way.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our own vows, but mixed in a few lines from more traditional vows. I always seem to be fighting some sort of illness, so I joked with Brian that “in sickness and in health” needed to be included. On a more serious note, our favorite line was “With God’s grace, I promise to encourage and challenge you to become the person God has created you to be.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? One of my dearest childhood friends read 1 John 4:9-19. Her sweet pastor of a husband was our officiant, and together, they did an amazing job sharing the Lord’s meaning of marriage.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The only non-Southern detail about our wedding was the groom! Our ceremony and reception took place under the Southern oaks, our wedding favors were jars of local Tupelo honey, our menu consisted of a biscuit bar, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, shrimp and grits, and banana pudding, and my family provided the sweetest Southern accents to the evening!

With careers in corporate America, Brian and I have attended our fair share of events in banquet halls and ballrooms. We wanted the feel and ambiance of our wedding to be completely different. Since my family lives in North Florida, we decided a Southern wedding would be best. Our dream wedding included a ceremony under the oak trees and a family-style dinner, served as if you were at a backyard garden party. When we discovered Tallahassee’s Southwood House and Cottages, we knew it was a perfect fit. The property is filled with giant oak trees and provided plenty of room to host both our ceremony and reception. There is a beautiful, historic home located on the property that we used to host our cocktail hour (and provide a cool haven for our guests).

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Describe your wedding cake and dessert. We both love traditional yellow cake with buttercream frosting, so this decision was easy! The best compliment was when our photographer remarked, “That’s the best piece of wedding cake I’ve ever had. And that’s say somethin’.” We also served banana pudding for dessert, as well as chicken and waffles and chocolate-covered strawberries for late-night bites.

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We have so many fond memories of our special day, but one that stands out is a sweet moment during the reception. Before the wedding, we decided to make sure we spent as much time on the dance floor as possible. We knew guests would follow our lead, and we wanted everyone to have a good time! At one point in the evening, I noticed that the dance floor was not packed, and I immediately felt the need to get the party going again. But then I took a moment to look around and soak it all in, and it was the prettiest sight! I saw our friends and family chatting away, enjoying their desserts, and socializing with old and new friends. Everyone seemed so genuinely happy to be celebrating with us–it was exactly what I dreamed for our wedding day!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Brian and I met while working as consultants for a Los Angeles media and entertainment company. Over two years of traveling and working together, we became close friends. In fact, our coworkers joked that we were “work husband and wife!” After finishing our consulting project and no longer seeing each other every day, we both made an effort to keep hanging out. It was not long before we realized our friendship was the foundation for something more. Overall, I am pretty open-minded; however, three of the things I’ve always said I’d never do included living in LA, dating a guy that has the same occupation as me, and specifically, dating a guy as boring as Brian James. As each of these things became very true, I am convinced God has a great sense of humor. Luckily, I realized Brian is not as boring as I had originally thought–in fact, I kind of think he’s the best!
Tell us all about the proposal! From Brian: I really wanted the proposal to be a surprise. We had spent plenty of time discussing marriage in the months leading up to the proposal, so any sign of a plan would be an absolute giveaway. To keep the element of surprise possible, I did not make any plans that would seem out of the ordinary. We went on one of our favorite hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains. From the top, there is an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean and the beaches of Malibu–it’s definitely one of our favorite places in the world. No other place seemed more appropriate to drop to a knee and ask Laurie if we could spend the rest of our lives together. We followed the hike with drinks at a beachside restaurant to privately celebrate before letting our family and friends know the good news!
When did y’all get married? May 30, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 165
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed and old was the Bible my dad gave my mom when they were dating. My something blue was a gold ring with an aquamarine stone gifted to me by my two older sisters. The ring was a Christmas present I received during middle school–it was the “real” (in other words, not from Claire’s) piece of jewelry I owned. My wedding dress, shoes, earrings, and bracelet were all new.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? In the months before our wedding, we both read through “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller. We had individually read it before our engagement, but reading it again together allowed us to talk through the key points of the Lord’s purpose for marriage and what story we want our marriage to tell.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning a wedding in six months was a bigger challenge than I had originally expected. Several venues and vendors we inquired with were already booked. However, the biggest challenge turned out to be the wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses. Every bridal boutique gave their “shock face” when I told them our wedding date. Luckily, we found a dressmaker who was able to make a gown in a short amount of time, and J.Crew had gorgeous options for bridesmaids dresses (and great sales, too!).
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We adore our photographer and were so grateful to have her as a part of our wedding! Since we live in California and she lives in Tennessee, we were pretty sure we would not meet until the day of the wedding. Luckily, Cassidy made a trip to Southern California with her husband to visit family, and we decided to meet for an engagement photo session and dinner in Malibu. It was love at first sight! Cassidy has the ability to make you feel at home as soon as you meet her, a perfect character trait for a wedding photographer. Our photos are filled with natural smiles and laughs because we felt so comfortable with Cassidy snapping away on our wedding day.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? There are so many decisions involved that, at some point, the wedding planning will become overwhelming. On the days when it seems less enjoyable, step away and head out to do something fun. We spent time at the driving range, a great way to soak in some fresh air and forget the wedding planning woes. Also, never forget the real reason for the wedding–the beginning of your marriage. Even without flowers and a pretty dress, that is a beautiful thing!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are having the best time being newlyweds! We spend a lot of weekends traveling around the West coast and exploring this beautiful part of the country. While we definitely hope to start a family in the near future, right now, we are working on the stories for our grandkids!

Photographer: Cassidy Carson Photography / Videographer: SugarPop Films / Planner: Shannon Reeves Events / Venue and Lighting: Southwood House and Cottages / Florist: Missy Gunnels Flowers / Cake and Dessert Baker: Debbie at Hopkins Eatery / Caterer: Andrew’s Catering / Rentals: Terri Smith Details, In Tents Events, and Silver Lining Linens / DJ: Greg Tish of GT Entertainment / Paper Products: Feathered Heart Prints / Bride’s Gown: Penelope’s / Hair Stylist: Jenny Dease / Makeup Artist: Melissa Peters Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: Loeffler Randall / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Heidi Long Dress in Silk Chiffon” in Misty Rose by J. Crew / Menswear: The Black Tux / Ceremony Music: Katie Fair of Shaker Lakes Chamber Players / Officiant: Derek Casseaux / Guest Favors: Smiley Honey / Reception Music: Kyle LaMonica

Written with love by admin
8 Comments
  1. avatar Wedding venues reply

    Perfect wedding cake love it!

  2. avatar Cassidy Carson reply

    Thank you ladies for such a wonderful feature! Laurie and Brian’s wedding was definitely one of my favorites. And that moss!!!

  3. avatar Richard_1 reply

    Beautiful people and a great set of photos! The whole wedding great. The kind of wedding little girls always dream of.

  4. avatar Rachel reply

    AAA this looks so perfect it’s unreal. Someday i’ll have my dream wedding just like this lucky couple!

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  7. avatar Isha reply

    Hi, are any of your bridesmaids looking to sell their dresses. I need 2 more of the heidi long dress in misty roses sizes (0,4 or 8) to complete my bridesmaids look.

    Regards,
    isha

  8. avatar Wedding Flower Favorites: Eucalyptus – Budget Friendly Beauty reply

    […] on Southern Weddings and photographed by Cassidy Carson […]

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In the era of Pinterest, Instagram, and wedding blogs, it can be hard to remember that in many cases, simple is best. I love the way Rebecca and Drew chose to focus on a few incredibly meaningful and beautiful details at their wedding–Rebecca’s heirloom Belgian lace veil and their stain glass-covered chapel, to name a few–and kept everything else simple and lovely with layered neutrals and rustic textures. It made those really special details stand out all the more, and never distracted from the real reason everyone was gathered to celebrate that day!

Thank you so much to Cassidy Carson for sharing Rebecca and Drew’s wedding with us!

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Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My veil was both borrowed and old–it was Drew’s aunt’s veil that she got in Belgium while traveling, and she wore it for her wedding. It ended up being one of my most cherished parts of my wedding look. For another something old, I pinned a delicate emerald and diamond pin that belonged to my grandmother to the ribbon that wrapped my bouquet, and I carried my great aunt’s handkerchief in the pocket of my dress. My dress and shoes were my new and my undergarments were blue!

For our florals, I wanted a natural and airy look with tons of greenery and an unexpected combination of flower varieties. I wanted to stay true to the season and loved including hellebores, creamy majolica roses, and white tulips in our arrangements. I had a great time learning about flowers during the planning process. Katie McDaniel of Cloth of Gold, Mary Ann Gilchrist, Cindy Rogers, my mother, and I all collaborated to get the end result. I had a ball making my sweet bridesmaids’ bouquets the Thursday before the wedding. It was such a joyful little moment to see them carry them on our wedding day.

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How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? After asking my youth minister to marry us, we met with him to start premarital counseling and to prepare our hearts for marriage. We both read one of Gary Chapman’s books, “Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married.” I would highly encourage couples to read books on marriage together! It can bring up points of discussion that you had never considered. I am now reading “You and Me Forever” by Frances Chan. One of the best things I took away from our counseling was the power of prayer in marriage. My sister gave me some great advice: to pray for Drew each time I look at my engagement ring/wedding band, which is about one hundred times a day! To constantly be praying for your partner is such an amazing thing.

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We decided, after much agonizing, to do a first look before our ceremony. I am traditional and sentimental, so I loved the idea of waiting until I walked down the aisle, but it really came down to the photos we wanted to help us remember our day. We knew the light would be better and the photos would be more relaxed if we did them ahead of time. I wanted the entire afternoon and evening to flow smoothly, and I didn’t want our wedding party to be itching to head to the reception instead of standing to take photos! Now, Drew and I both consider our first look one of our most treasured moments of the day. I will never forget his facial expression when he turned around to see me for the first time. It was such an intimate and beautiful experience. We are so thankful to have had that time together and to have it documented so well.

I loved pouring energy and thought into the wedding ceremony. One of our favorite details was having my youth minister and Drew’s pastor perform the ceremony together. They each shared personal details that they knew about us growing up and how that translated into our love story now. I think guests really left feeling that they knew us, our love for one another, and our love for Christ even more so than when they arrived. We loved how personal and Christ-focused our ceremony was. I will always treasure hearing Drew’s pastor describing Drew and his passion for life, and how that would carry into our marriage.

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What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? For our reception, we found a lovely barn with plenty of space. We loved using long farm tables and enjoying lots of candlelight, yummy food, and celebration. In true Southern fashion, we blended the “country” setting of the barn with decor that was a bit more elegant. Another of my favorite Southern details was serving chocolate gravy and biscuits at our reception. This is one of my family’s favorite recipes that I grew up eating! We ended up deciding on a whole biscuit bar to accompany the chocolate gravy, and included local Alabama honey and preserves that our guests loved!

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What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I cherish the few quiet moments before Drew and I went into our reception. We stole just a bit of time to really soak up the goodness of being married (and to eat!). As we headed in to greet our guests, I could not help but feel humbled and overwhelmed as I realized how many loved ones had made a point to join in celebrating this special day with us. Those precious moments affirmed all of the time and energy we had put into planning our wedding weekend.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Drew and I met through my sister when I was home for summer after my junior year of college at Ole Miss. They had been friends for years! Drew did not miss a beat pursuing me after we met that night–he called a few days after we met, just to ask how my day was going. For our first date, he asked me over to his parents’ house for dinner for his birthday celebration. From that point on, I knew he was different than any guy I’d ever met!
Tell us all about the proposal! Just short of our two-year anniversary, Drew proposed while we were on vacation with my family! We had slipped away for an evening to get dinner during one of the first nights of the trip. Afterwards, we asked a stranger to take our photo. Drew asked her to take one more, and in the midst of her following his instruction, he dropped to one knee. Floating on cloud nine and surrounded by tons of strangers, I’ve never felt a more intimate moment.
When did y’all get married? March 28, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Drew and I both grew up in Birmingham, and immediately after getting engaged, we knew that it was where we wanted everyone to gather for our wedding weekend. To keep our ceremony very personal and Christ-centered, we chose the church from our childhoods. We wanted minimal décor in the sanctuary, and loved letting the old stained glass windows and hymns stand out as the highlights of the worship service.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows together! Without a doubt, my favorite line was, “You are my greatest earthly gift from our Heavenly Father, and I will spend my days here on this earth being the best possible steward of this precious gift, and helping you to draw closer to Him.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had several scriptures woven throughout our ceremony. Some of my favorites were from Isaiah 10, Romans 12, and John 15:16-17. Our pastor did an amazing job of helping us choose several unexpected verses that we really connected to and that helped paint a picture of a Christ-centered marriage.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are looking forward to some much needed down time after the hustle and bustle of our engagement! We absolutely loved every moment, but isn’t it nice to just do nothing on occasion? Knowing us, we won’t be able to stay too relaxed for long. We are already in the beginning stages of renovating our first home together, and are currently dreaming up travel plans for the coming year.

Photographer: Cassidy Carson / Ceremony Venue: Shades Crest Baptist Church / Reception Venue: The Barn at Shady Lane / Florist: Cloth of Gold, Mary Ann Gilchrist, and Cindy Rogers / Cake Baker: Pastry Art / Caterer: Happy Catering / Rentals: Aabco Rentals / Band: The Jeff Otwell Band / Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic / Paper Products: Annabelle’s / Bride’s Gown: “Julia” by Stephanie Allin / Bride’s Earrings: Erin Cole / Hair and Makeup: Joanna Ballentine / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Lela Rose / Menswear: Mr. Burch Tuxedo / Bow Ties: Remon’s Fine Clothiers / Calligraphy: Jan Pruitt Calligraphy

lisa Written with love by Lisa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah Elizabeth || SEDiva Abroad reply

    So, so beautiful. Thanks for sharing xx

  2. avatar Cassidy Carson reply

    I love Drew and Rebecca so much! Their wedding was so lovely and meaningful. Thank y’all so much for sharing!

  3. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Classic elegance! Just beautiful!

  4. avatar weddingnature reply

    Beautiful!

  5. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings reply

    […] Catherine’s childhood dream by marrying at the chapel on her family’s property. Rebecca and Drew focused on a few meaningful details at their Birmingham wedding. Julia and David may be from the […]

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