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A month after their intimate ceremony on the beach, Morgan and Brian gathered their family and friends back home together for a fun, casual reception. Even though the design between their Florida ceremony and Oklahoma reception switched from beachy to rustic, the most important thing remained the same: it was a joyful celebration of the love Morgan and Brian share. Y’all please enjoy part two of Morgan and Brian’s wedding, full of gorgeous styling by Kylie Swanson, and captured by the talented Aaron Snow!

Our reception took place on an equestrian farm in Tulsa. The horses were such stunning creatures and made beautiful wedding guests. I love being outdoors, so I really enjoyed the natural touches of the wide open spaces and grassy fields. All of the wood features and tables brought great warmth to the reception, and the greenery along the tables were extra lovely.

What was Southern about your wedding? Farm tables, horses, and the great outdoors!

What kind of food did you serve? We served a combination of some of our favorite foods at both our wedding and our home reception. Both were served buffet-style and were very casual.

Being a bride who never really had a particular “vision” for my wedding day, I honestly left all of the design up to our planner and designer, Kylie Swanson. She really made it her mission to get to know Brian and I as a couple, and that affected the outcome of both our wedding and our reception back home. Aside from having her focus on our aesthetic as a couple, I was drawn to bright colors and I love anything with great natural light.

For our cake in Florida, we chose to stick with something classic, and Kylie adorned it with fresh blooms. Our cakes at our home reception also included flowers and were not only beautiful, but also extremely delicious!

Tell us about your grand exit. We ran through a tunnel of smiles and sparklers and into a vintage hot rod getaway car.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? It was probably the time crunch–we got engaged and married in four months. For couples with short engagements, I recommend hiring a wedding planner, for sure!
Tell us a bit about your first dance. Our first dance was to the original version of “Crazy Love.” It was soft, sweet, slow, and intimate. It felt like we were the only ones there.
Did you toss the garter or bouquet? We did both!
Tell us about a way or ways you saved money or cut costs while planning. Kylie not only created two incredible events in a short amount of time, but she was also invaluable in budgeting everything and brought everything together seamlessly. She supplied us with great vendor teams and we trusted not only her vision, but also those she chose to work with.
What’s next for you as a couple? Three months after our wedding, we moved to England to be missionaries.
What are you most looking forward to about marriage? We are simply looking forward to doing life together. One of God’s greatest gifts is getting to share your days with your best friend.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Wedding planning can be inevitably stressful, so always keep what your wedding day is really all about in the forefront of your mind! Brian says to make every decision fun and to celebrate when you get something accomplished.

Photographer: Aaron Snow / Videographer: Pen Weddings / Planner, Designer, and Stylist: Kylie Swanson / Ceremony Venue: Marriott Marco Island / Reception Venue: KJM The Farm / Florals: Isn’t She Lovely (Florida) and Poppy Lane Design (Oklahoma) / Catering: Marriott Marco Island (Florida) and Ludger’s (Oklahoma) / Cake Baker: Marriott Marco Island (Florida) and Amy’s Cakes (Oklahoma) / Hair and Makeup: Blo OKC / Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Bridal Salon and Veil: JJ Kelly / Bridesmaid Dresses: Dillard’s / Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic / Paper Goods: Gather & Co. / Rentals: Niche Event Rentals (Florida), Kahoy Studios (Oklahoma), and Marianne’s Rentals (Oklahoma) / Transportation: Tulsa Vintage Rides / Lighting: Zach Downing Productions

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Wendy reply

    Thank you so much for the beautiful feature. It was a honor to have Morgan and Brian celebrate their marriage at KJM The Farm! We wish the couple a very happily ever after!

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Laura and Jonathan’s Texas wedding is absolutely lovely, as you’ll see below, but what’s most inspiring about this couple is how much they prioritized what matters most during their three-month (yes, only three!) engagement. They left most of the details in the hands of Chrissie Stuntz and Branching Out Floral and Event Design, and spent their time as an engaged couple focusing on preparing for their marriage. Laura described their celebration as “casual and comfortable and good for the soul,” and from the looks of it, that is exactly what they achieved!

Thanks so much to Stephanie Brazzle for sharing this sweet day with us!

Describe your wedding flowers. Oh gosh, to be honest, I don’t have a clue what a single flower in there was called. All I know is that they were stunning! Debby Jewesson brought my dreams to life–beautiful greens and whites in a beautifully imperfect, but still elegant, combination. I remember explaining the vision for our wedding to her as “casual and comfortable and good for the soul.” She brought that to life in the best way.

Planning for our marriage was absolutely the priority for Jon and me. We prayed for our marriage–a lot. We worked hard to make sure the actual wedding took a backseat to our relationship. We read books that older, wiser couples recommended to us. We went to professional premarital counseling and had the opportunity to talk through our communication and conflict styles, our expectations, and other difficult topics, such as budgeting and families. We really recommend it!

Our vows were a hybrid of the traditional wedding vows and vows written by a pastor at Living Hope Church in College Station, Texas. I really love every line, but I will share just a few here! From Jonathan’s, “By God’s grace, I will love you and lead us towards Christ. I will provide for you, pursue you, and keep you safe.” From mine, “I will encourage you, support you, and in all things, fight to put your needs before my own.” From both, “I will never leave you, because God commands me, and because I love you.”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I love trees and Jonathan loves anything outside, so I immediately started looking for a giant, majestic tree to host our ceremony in front of. I didn’t realize that most of the trees that serve as wedding venues are located a bit outside the city. After a LOT of searching, we found the Cooper Hotel and Fitness Center right in the middle of Dallas. We were able to have the ceremony and the reception outdoors at Cooper, so it was the perfect choice for us.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The food! Blue Bell ice cream, brisket, quesadillas, and cornbread. There is nothing like Southern cooking, and we enjoyed sharing these traditions with Jonathan’s family, who came from all over the country. Also, the fact that we had an outdoor wedding in late October was quite Southern–you can’t do that in the North!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Sitting down at dinner next to Jonathan and looking around to see everyone he loves and everyone I love together in one place, eating and laughing and enjoying the evening. These are the people who will stand by us through every hard thing, whose relationships we cherish, and in that moment, we were able to look around and remember “Every person here is a gift to us. We are thankful.” I will never forget that!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I met Jonathan in India during our intern year at International Justice Mission, an NGO that protects the poor from violent injustice. We had both just graduated from college and moved across the planet to begin this work that meant so much to us, and we were initially a bit annoyed to find a really incredible, relatable, and distracting member of the opposite sex working in the department next door. We hesitated to begin a relationship for a lot of reasons, but after several months, Jonathan asked me to dinner at the nicest restaurant he could find. We fell in love over French-pressed coffee and chicken tikka masala, while driving his scooter through the streets of a city so dear to us, and constantly learning something new about our good and gracious God.
Tell us all about the proposal! Jonathan COMPLETELY surprised me, which is impressive because I was on high alert! Back in the States, I flew home from meeting his family in Milwaukee. We had a tearful goodbye, and I had no idea that he was totally faking it and jumping on the next plane to follow me to Dallas! I was walking through the Arboretum with my best friend Kellie, when there he was, this incredible man, asking me to be his wife. I said YES!
When did y’all get married? October 25, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 170
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our timeline! We wanted a three-month engagement, so we didn’t have the luxury of shopping around. Fortunately, we had Chrissie Stuntz (the greatest wedding planner of all time) to lead the way–she knew everyone and everything, and with her connections, we were able to make bookings very quickly!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We used a LOT of greenery, which was far more affordable than flowers and just as beautiful. We lined all our own envelopes and e-mailed out our save the dates. Cooper Hotel let us bring in our own alcohol, so we bought all the wine and beer at Costco. We also used Uber for our getaway car, which I highly recommend!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Make a list of things that you and your fiancé really, deeply care about including in your wedding. Stick to those priorities regardless of what challenges them. Take a deep breath and LET GO of everything else. Two other random suggestions: 1. Take an AdvilPM the night before your wedding so that you actually sleep, and 2. Give a bridesmaid the specific job of looking you in the eye about every hour or so and saying something like “Stop. Look around. Remember and give thanks for this moment.” I wish I had remembered better to stop and be so grateful for the incredible people surrounding me all day, and for all they were doing for Jon and me.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Jonathan and I are enjoying the cozy apartment life in our completely new city of Madison, Wisconsin (brrrrr!). We start law school (Jon) and graduate school for social work (me) in the fall. We loved living in India and are certainly open to moving back, but until then, we are learning how to be married and enjoying the American life–cheeseburgers, coffee shops, and baseball games included. :)

Photographer: Stephanie Brazzle / Planner: Chrissie Stuntz / Venue and Catering: Cooper Hotel and Conference Center / Florist: Branching Out Floral and Event Design / Cake Baker: Romano’s Bakery / Rentals and Lighting: Taylor’s Rental Equipment Co. / Band: Inside Out / Special Details: Destiny Foundation / Paper Products: Minted / Bridal Salon: Bridal Boutique of Lewisville and Olivia Caballero / Hair and Makeup: La Bichette / Bride’s Shoes: Vans / Bridesmaids’ Dresses and Groom’s Attire: J.Crew / Groomsmen Attire: J.Crew and Banana Republic

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Lee reply

    I love how you incorporated your Kappa pin! I am also a Kappa and have been trying to find a way to “wear” mine and my sisters’ pins as part of my something blue or something borrowed. This is a beautiful wedding!

  2. avatar Martha reply

    Such a great wedding story. Loved reading it! Any chance we could get the details on the designer and style of that gorgeous dress?? I absolutely LOVE it!

  3. avatar Featured: Southern Weddings » Dallas Wedding Photographers – Stephanie Brazzle reply

    […] If you missed out check out Laura and Jon outdoor wedding on Southern Weddings […]

  4. avatar Marisol Arguello reply

    Beautiful pictures and Beautiful wedding.

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We look at hundreds of weddings a month at Southern Weddings, but no matter how many we see and share, there are some couples, stories, and celebrations that stick out in our memories, even years later. In the case of Emily and Josh’s Tennessee wedding, it’s all three. No one in the SW office will soon forget the story of their meant-to-be wedding venue–a true testament to Southern hospitality and friends who are more like family. We’ll always remember the prayerful ceremony that united Emily and Josh as husband and wife, and the latte bar at their cocktail hour that nodded to the beginning of their love story. And most of all, we’ll remember the sweet joy and pure love that radiated from them in their first moments as newlyweds. What a beautiful reminder of what a wedding is really about!

Thank you so much to Amanda K for sharing this incredible day with us in V7!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? Finding my wedding dress was overwhelming, but definitely so much fun. The first day I went to try on dresses, I went to a little shop in downtown Atlanta called The Sentimentalist. It was so darling! My mom and sister came with me and there were definitely some tears shed. Though I didn’t end up getting my dress there, it was the best time I had trying on dresses. I went to quite a few other shops and even ended up choosing a dress at one of them, feeling like I was running out of time! But all the while, I had my eye on a delicate dress from Rue de Seine and couldn’t get it out of my head. I emailed them, expecting them to not be able to make or get me the dress in time (they’re based in New Zealand), but they were so accommodating! I’m so happy I went with my gut and took the risk of ordering online, because my dress was perfect! It did take some alterations to get it just right, but the lady who helped me was the kindest woman and truly made it perfect.

Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? All the girls have amazing style, so I felt confident letting them pick their own dresses, with some hints and suggestions of what I liked, of course. I gave them the guidelines of cream and soft pink, and gave them the okay when they found something they liked. I wanted their personalities to show through what they wore, and I wanted them to feel beautiful! In doing that, they added a bohemian edge to the wedding that I loved—it really reflected who we are!

Tell us all the basics of your wedding! We got engaged in April 2013 while I was abroad and it was absolutely beautiful. I was still in school till December, so we decided to wait until the next spring to get married, to remind us of the season we got engaged in and to give me enough time to plan the wedding! It just so happened to work out that the last Saturday in April was the 26th, and since our dating anniversary is the 26th of March, April 26 seemed to be the perfect date for us. Additionally, it was Josh’s parents’ 39th wedding anniversary, which made this date extra special!

Tell us about the ceremony. The ceremony was very important to us, because at the heart of the whole thing, it’s that small moment in time when you promise yourselves to each other that matters the most. We wanted that moment to be special and to honor Christ. We asked Josh’s cousin, Matt Smallbone, to officiate our wedding, as we respect him as a man of God, the head of a wonderful family, and as a pastor. He made the ceremony very special by telling our story and sharing some funny memories of Josh as a kid, but he also led an inspiring message about the journey of marriage. We included a hymn for worship, and then we included a ceremonial foot washing and a tree planting. Both of these were very meaningful; for the tree planting, we both poured soil from each of our parents’ gardens into the plant, and the foot washing was a time for us to humble ourselves before each other. I started bawling during the foot-washing ceremony! One of my English professors would read “The Prayer of St. Francis” before every class; it became one of the most important prayers in my life. We had the prayer read over us by one of Josh’s brothers during the ceremony as a reminder of what the hope of our heart should be as a married unit. We read the prayer together now, and it is such an encouragement.

What was Southern about your wedding? Between the folk music, the food, the scenery, and the prayer, there was no escaping how Southern our wedding was. Even though Josh is Australian at heart, he is just as much Southern at heart. And me? I’m full-blown Southern. Our wedding centered around food, God, and family! Good cooking and good hosting is the Southern way to show love and celebration, and it was so important to us that we provided this to our guests.

We joke about our wedding location being heavenly and magical, but in truth, it really was! One day, before we were even engaged, when Josh and I were going for a drive in Franklin, we came across a hilltop that had a structure peeking through the trees. We indulged our curiosity, and having no idea whose property it was, we trespassed up on the hill. After experiencing the breathtaking scene, I looked at Josh and said, “Let’s get married here!” By the time the wedding planning finally came around years later, we had completely forgotten about this finding. It wasn’t until we were at our wits’ end looking for a location in our price range that someone asked us if we had looked at Josh’s doctor’s property that he had built for his daughter’s wedding. It turned out to be the same structure we had seen peeking through the trees that day! Josh’s doctor was kind enough to say that he doesn’t lease out the property, but only lets family use it, and he considers us family! Being married in Franklin was very important to us because it is not only where we met and fell in love, it’s where both of our families are, and it truly is where we feel at home. It was so fitting to be outside, breathing in the fresh green air with a view of the rolling hills of Tennessee. Cows and fields and farms surrounded us, and it felt completely like us and completely like home.

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? We did, but we did it a bit differently with Mexican Cokes, a latte bar, and some yummy basil lemonade. We spent a lot of time arranging the hour before dinner; we wanted this time to be fun for the guests while we left the site for our photos. We had lawn games, a photo booth, henna tattoos, and even Australian lollies (candy) for all of Josh’s Aussie relatives! We heard back from everyone that they had such a fun time during this part of the wedding.

What was the design inspiration for your reception? We went with a natural look for the reception. We just added a little greenery to the farm tables, some candles on tree stumps around the fireplace, and some flowers here and there, and it was beautiful! My dad chopped tree branches into tiny slices for me to write everyone’s names on for their escort cards, which added a nice touch.

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. Our wedding cake was not only gorgeous, but also absolutely delicious! Lucy made two cakes for us: a massive chocolate cake and a medium-sized vanilla cake. She nailed the “naked cake” look and decorated it with beautiful flowers. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a delicious cake in my life, but maybe I’m biased? We were nice to each other and didn’t smash the cake in each other’s faces, although I did manage to smear some icing on him!

We danced to a mashup of “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” by Elvis and “All of Me” by John Legend. Josh’s many siblings are all extremely musically talented, and they actually played and sang live as a group with just a guitar. It was lovely. We had practiced and gone to dance lessons, yet we were kind of a disaster! But in that moment, we didn’t even think about the lessons; we just slow-danced naturally while thinking about each other and the day. It was beautiful to be dancing underneath the pavilion’s chandeliers and string lighting.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Looking back, we were so young! It didn’t feel like it then though. I was fifteen and Josh was seventeen. I was working at a little coffee shop just a few blocks away from my house. Josh came in one day and ordered a smoothie, so we struck up conversation and realized we had many mutual friends. After that, we saw each other everywhere! He started coming into the shop pretty often. Since I was fifteen, I didn’t have a license and couldn’t drive to and from work, so Josh would come in right before close and nonchalantly offer to drive me home. This friendship carried on for about a year before we actually decided to become boyfriend and girlfriend, the first time for both of us to call anyone that. Josh was gracious and patient when I moved three hours away for three years, and even when I moved to France, where he followed me and asked me to be his wife!
Tell us about the proposal! I have always had a little bit of an obsession with all things French, so when the opportunity arose to study painting abroad for a semester in the south of France, I started booking my ticket. Little did I know, Josh was booking his ticket too. He traveled to France and surprised me near the end of my two months there by sending a taxi to come pick me up and take me to a hilltop in Pujols, about fifteen minutes from where I was! I was dropped off by a rose petal trail and a sign that said “Follow this trail for an adventure.” I followed it to where Josh was on his knee with a ring in hand. He asked me to marry him (in French!), and I said yes. We cried and enjoyed a perfect picnic that Josh had set up, complete with wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, and French cheese.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Heavenly, intimate, joyful.
How many guests attended your wedding? 155
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? The scenery of the venue was our greatest design inspiration. Everything from the wedding invitations to the farm dinner tables to my bouquet were chosen and designed to reflect the true, genuine, timeless beauty of nature. We love to spend our time together doing things like hiking up to lookouts, going for scenic drives, or stargazing at the beach. We search for and find the truest form of beauty in the nature all around us, so we wanted our wedding to reflect that beauty!
Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? Josh’s family has a tradition that at every family dinner, they have apple cider and long speeches, which of course had to happen at our wedding as well!
Did you try anything new or nontraditional? From Josh: I have four brothers and since I didn’t want to pick a favorite, I made them all my best men. What was unique was that they all got up during the best men speech and each shared a word.
Tell us about a way or ways you saved money or cut costs while planning. My dad built our arch and the doors we walked through. He also helped gather wood for all kinds of things in the wedding, including tree stumps, which helped save a ton of money! We also had friends and family cover all the music. The main way we saved money was by making things ourselves, like the favors, and by assigning jobs and asking for help from family and friends. People want to help with weddings in any way they can, you just have to ask them!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? The wedding industry is amazing, but it can also be a little jaded! Don’t let any wedding vendors take the joy out of the planning process. It’s not realistic that everyone can plan their wedding a year in advance or buy their dress six months before the wedding, and that is what some people seem to expect. If someone makes you feel bad for that, don’t let them bring you down. It is hard work to put together a great wedding, but it’s also such a joy; don’t get bogged down in the details!
What’s next for you as a couple? From Josh: We are living in east Nashville, right near downtown. We plan to stay in Nashville as we settle into our new life and home, near both of our families and our nieces and nephews. We are both working to pay the bills and saving up for the future, whatever it may hold! We learned during the wedding planning process that we make a great team. Em is a great dreamer, creator, and visionary, and I am a great logistics, make-it-happen person. We long to work together and find something we can do where we can partner together each day. We’re not sure yet if that’s starting a company together or moving out of the country to be missionaries!

Photographer: Amanda K Photography / Videographer: Anchor Heart Films / Designer, Rentals, and Reception Decor: Megan Proby of 12th Table / Venue: Private residence / Florist: Lauren Atkinson / Caterer and Wedding Cake: Lucy’s Kitchen / Bride’s Gown: “Eve” by Rue De Seine / Bride’s Shoes: Klub Nico / Bride’s Jewelry: Consider the Wldflwrs and Anthropologie / Bride’s Veil: Custom by Muna Couture / Bride’s Hair Accessory: Lauren Atkinson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Empire Mesh Lace Dress” by Free People, “Embroidered Fable Dress” by Free People, and “Eagan Beige Silk Embroidered Maxi” by Joie / Hair Stylist: Jordan Byers / Makeup Artist: Jordan Byers and Rachel Shepherd / Groom’s Fashion: Zara / Groomsmen’s Fashion: Top Man / Paper Goods: Chelsea Petaja of Oh My Deer / Lettering: Jessie Early / Transportation: A Better Bus / Lighting: Matt Brady / Sound: Ralph Rivera

lisa Written with love by Lisa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Anastasia Kristina reply

    OH wow, this is probably my favorite real wedding that has been posted on here! I love everything about this, and a lot of the ideas I have already planned on using in our wedding in June! Also I love Franklin, and I love that they live in East Nashville, where we are almost weekly – maybe we will run into this lovely couple!!!!!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Love hearing how much you love this wedding! It holds a special place in our hearts, too :)

  2. avatar Katelyn reply

    Beautiful wedding. Love the boho vibe of it all! Do you know where the groom’s tie was purchased? I love the personalized monogram (and that it’s a skinny tie)!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Yes! It is from a great Southern company, Otis James: http://otisjames.com/

  3. avatar S Stanton reply

    I was blessed to be a guest at this wedding as beautiful as the pictures and the words in the story are nothing can compare T feeling of love and joy and intimacy that Josh and Emily shared with all of us that day.

  4. avatar Alok Sahu reply

    nice your wedding story is very beautiful and all the photos are also very beautiful.

  5. avatar Allister Freeman reply

    Stunning photography. The colours, tones and compositions are beautiful.

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