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Lisa and I always talk about how we knew we’d be friends even before she started working at Southern Weddings, and that we’d love to hang out and just gush over gorgeous weddings and epic love stories! Well, I feel that same way about Blakely, and I know Lisa would absolutely accompany me with sweet tea in hand to a front porch chat with her!

Not only is Blakely my kind of gal, but her and Curtis’ wedding was also full of sweetly crafted details and meaningful decisions that made their day a perfect reflection of their joy! Based on the gorgeous photo from Natalie Franke of the twinkle lights and the completely packed checkerboard dance floor, I can’t help but imagine how fun their wedding must have been. Be sure to read their adorable interview below for even more cuteness, like this line from their vows: “I promise to have a crush on you always, and to flirt with you even when we are old and wrinkly.” Gah, I love it!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Curtis and I both grew up on the Severn River in Annapolis, Maryland, but we did not meet until he was a junior and I was a freshman at the College of Charleston. I thought he was devastatingly handsome and completely out of my league. For fall break, I was driving back to Charleston from Annapolis with a friend, and Curtis was flying, so he met up with us so that we could drive some of his stuff back, but I had no idea. As soon as I pulled up, I swore to my mom that I couldn’t get out of the car–Curtis Little was there and I was wearing my “Saturday jeans” (my frumpy jeans). My mom forced me out of the car anyway. Curtis offered to help me carry some of my luggage, and on top of my laundry basket that he picked up was one of my paintings. He held it up and exclaimed, “This is amazing! Did you paint this?” “Yes,” I replied, “but you’re actually holding it upside down.” Mortified at the whole situation, I got into the car and decided to avoid Curtis for the rest of my life. Curtis says it was the first time he really saw me for me, a painter in my Saturday jeans. He decided that the next time he saw me, he would ask me on a date. And for two months, whenever I saw Curtis on campus, I walked the other direction, hid in an alcove, or delved into conversation with the nearest stranger. Finally, on a cold and grey day in December, I was walking out of the library when Curtis came flying down the street on his bike. The way Curtis tells it is, “Among all the black and grey winter coats, there was my girl in a red flower coat and turquoise high tops.” Curtis slammed on the brakes, hopped off his bike, and ran toward me. There, he asked me out on a lunch date. I’ve adored him ever since, and that painting that first made Curtis notice me is hanging in our dining room, upside down!

So darn cute!

I kept telling dress shops that I wanted something that looked like a white oyster shell or whipped cream, with no sparkles. I ended up finding a dress that I thought was the one, but after putting it on at my first alteration appointment, I realized that I did not like it anymore. I thought I would just have to fake it and pretend, but my mom looked at me and said, “I know you don’t like that dress, and you are only getting married once, so let’s find YOUR dress.” She was only in Charleston for one more day, so we searched and searched. We ended up at Bridals by Jodi in North Charleston. There, they had one section where you could you mix and match tops with bridal skirts. I fell in love with this skirt right away–it was a huge mix of tulle with no rhyme or reason. Our amazing seamstress, Nayada, took the skirt, helped me design a really simple top, and built it all into one dream wedding gown.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose two readings for our ceremony. The first was 1 John 4:16-19 and the second was Matthew 19:4-6. We wanted our whole wedding to show how our relationship with God is first and foremost. Without God’s love for us or our relationships with God, we would never be able to love one another. We felt those two verses truly captured how we wanted to put Christ at the center of our life and wedding, but still showed joy and fun!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I have always dreamed of having my wedding in our 100-year-old colonial-style home. We moved there while I was in elementary school, and it has weathered birthday parties, graduations, proms, and much more. On that back porch was where Curtis decided he loved me, and in our family room was where I decided that I loved him. It was perfect. I got ready in my parents’ room, where I could see guests arriving though the back window. We had the ceremony out back, overlooking the Severn River. Guests then moved to the front yard for lawn games, hor d’oeuvres, and cocktails. We rang the dinner bell that came with the house when it was first built, and guests then headed to the tent for dinner. Finally, we paraded to the backyard for dancing and dessert. The backyard had been totally transformed from ceremony site to dance floor, complete with twinkly lights. It was magical!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had a John Daly as our signature cocktail, which is a combo of Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and lemonade. We called it “A Little Southern Charm,” because I figured we should play up our last name, Little. Our other drinks were served out of a rowboat. We also had a brass band play through dinner, and they led a parade from the dinner to the dancing in our backyard. The backyard was transformed with a checkered dance floor, twinkly lights, and lanterns hanging off the porch. These elements combined to give us the fun, laid-back atmosphere that defines what we adore about the South.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. For our wedding cake, we did lots of little cakes on different shades of turquoise cake stands. They were all round, but were many different sizes and texture of frosting. My brother said it was the best cake he’d ever had, and admitted to having four pieces the next day. Curtis’ favorite thing in the world is ice cream, so we rented an ice cream cart filled with cookie sandwiches, Choco Tacos, Reese’s Ice Cream Bars, and more. The guests loved this little surprise. It was perfect for a summer night.

Be sure to watch Drawn to the Image‘s film of Blakely and Curtis’ big day–it’s so very sweet, you won’t want to miss it!

Tell us all about the proposal! After Curtis graduated from CofC, he moved to DC. We started long distance and wrote to one another in a book. I expected to get engaged the next summer, and I wanted him to write about getting the ring, asking my dad, and on and on. Curtis had more ambitious plans to surprise me. I was studying abroad for my spring semester at an art school in Florence, Italy, so for my spring break, Curtis and I decided we would meet in Greece and visit Athens and Santorini. My family told us that it was unsafe for me to travel from Italy to Greece alone, so they were going to come along. When Curtis arrived in Greece, he made it very clear that we were going on a walk in the morning so that could could have some time alone, since we hadn’t seen one another in three months. That morning, we got breakfast and walked to the top of a cliff overlooking the most beautiful turquoise water I’d ever seen. I was raving about the water and the view, my art classes, and Europe itself, when I brought up the book we were supposed to be writing in. Curtis looked at me and said, “Blakely, I can’t write in the book about all those things because I’ve actually already done all those things.” I was extremely confused and thought he was joking until he pulled out the ring. He got down on one knee, told me I was the woman the Lord had made for him, and asked me to marry him. All I could do was scream with excitement!
When did y’all get married? June 7, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our own vows together about a week before the wedding so that we could practice and not sob through the whole thing. Curtis and I made our vows match in the beginning and ending phrases. In the middle, we made them personal to one another. One of my favorite lines that we both used was, “I promise to follow the Truth, and speak truth to you; to pray for you, and help you remain firm in your faith.” My favorite line that Curtis vowed to me was, “I promise to care for you and love you through color, through turquoise; I will laugh with you until it hurts and will always smile when I hear your sweet name.” Curtis’ favorite line that I said was, “I promise to live with you by the sea in a home overflowing with laughter and enthusiasm for life. I promise to have a crush on you always, and to flirt with you even when we are old and wrinkly.” I’m crying just rereading these!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I am super lucky to have a singer/songwriter as my best friend. Becky Kinder (her song “Taken” is actually written about Curtis and I!) sang “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” during the ceremony, and it brought everyone to tears. I could truly feel the Lord’s presence. Curtis and I danced our first dance to “You and Me” by Penny and the Quarters. We chose it because it throws you back in time and is such a sweet, feel-good song. My dad and I danced to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra because when I was young, I told everyone that it would be the song my future husband and I would dance to. Since my dad knew I loved it so much, he would always dance with me if it came on. Quickly, it became our song. My brother and I are really close, and he is an amazing dancer, so we had our own dance to “You Make Me Feel So Young” by Frank Sinatra, which was one of my favorite parts of the night. Finally, in honor of Curtis’ late grandpa, we finished the night with “New York, New York.” Curtis’ family are huge Yankees fans because of his grandpa, and after the Yankees win, they play “New York, New York” as the fans leave the stadium. I loved being able to look at Curtis as we were belting the song and say “WE WON! We get to keep each other forever! We really won!”
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The turquoise door! My mom is the most fun person you’ll ever meet, and one of her “things” is that she is always painting the color of our front door to match the season or event that we are holding at our home. It’s been red, yellow, coral, hot pink, and now turquoise! She and I picked the color to match the invitations, and I thought it looked perfect!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Curtis and I moved into a sweet little apartment in downtown Charleston. We are so excited to just be together! Learning to cook dinner and eating ice cream if it fails, loving those around us well and welcoming them into our crazy home, and just praying and holding hands. Curtis has been working as a commercial real estate broker here for about a year, which basically means he knows all the cool new spots in the area. I will be continuing my career as an artist in both my paintings at Blakely Made and in floral design at Charleston Stems.

Photographer: Natalie Franke / Videographer: Patrick McNamara / Venue: Private residence / Florist: Charleston Stems / Wedding Cake: Debbie Kupfer / Caterer: Ken’s Creative Kitchen / Rentals: Rental Works / Bridal Salon: Bridals by Jodi / Paper Products: Sara Metzger Designs / Bride’s Belt: BHLDN / Makeup Artist: Bare Minerals / Bride’s Shoes: Banana Republic / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Men’s Attire: Macy’s / Alterations and Gown Top: Nadya D Custom Design & Alterations / Ice Cream: Scoops2u

Natalie Franke is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
20 Comments
  1. avatar Natalie reply

    Oh my goodness! It is such an honor to see my photographs on Southern Weddings today! Blakely and Curtis are two of the sweetest people you could ever imagine meeting… and I am so happy that you are sharing their love story!

  2. avatar Nicole reply

    Oh goodness, their vows almost made me cry at my desk!

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    Seriously, they could not be more adorable!! Love their story and how lovely and intentional their wedding was!

  4. avatar Stephanie reply

    Does anyone know where she got her mother of the bride’s dress? I love it!

    • avatar Blakely reply

      She got it at neiman marcus! It was a full length dress, which was beautiful too!

    • avatar Maghon reply

      Blakely, I have had your wedding pinned for months! I love every detail. Can you share where you got your canvas pennants? I love the white/natural ones and I want to find them for our wedding on May 22. I keep searching but haven’t had any luck! Thanks so much!

    • avatar Blakely reply

      Hi Maghon! Sorry I missed your comment. I actually made all the pendants. Sometimes you can find old DYI stuff on http://ruffledblog.com/recycle-your-wedding/

      Hope this helps!! Congrats on your wedding!

  5. avatar Alana Klein reply

    Beautiful story! It just made me so excited for me wedding, even though it’s 11 months away! Do you know where they purchased the flag with their initials? I am looking for something just like it!!

  6. avatar Sara reply

    I have to echo what Natalie said – it is an honor to have my invitations featured on Southern Weddings! It was one of the happiest moments of my life to be a part of their big day and celebrate my dearest friends.

    Alana, I designed the flag, but the mother of the groom had it made by Watermark, a company in Annapolis.

  7. avatar Laura reply

    I got the dress at Neiman Marcus. It was full length originally.

  8. avatar seaside maryland wedding. reply

    […] sky, and joy in the air, and I got to marry my dear Curtis! We were lucky enough to get featured on Southern Weddings Blog this week! There you will find all the details to our love story, and our wedding day + amazing […]

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    […] sure and check out the entire post on Southern Weddings and read about how they met, it is […]

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    […] vibrant seaside Maryland wedding {Southern Weddings} Shannon and John’s laid-back SoCal nuptials {Grey Likes Weddings} A […]

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  12. avatar Kristi reply

    I am curious about the invitations in this post. (blue with the compass at the top and water color map included) I love them and would be delighted to find them for a mountain wedding

  13. avatar Mallory reply

    where did she get her beautiful dress?

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi Mallory! Blakely’s skirt was from Bridals by Jodi in Charleston, and the top was custom designed by Nadya D Custom Design and Alterations in Mount Pleasant, SC :)

  14. avatar Mother daughter wedding photo ideas to capture on the big day – Wedding Party reply

    […] Natalie Franke via Southern Weddings […]

  15. avatar Susanna reply

    I love your style! And right now I’m really interested in your bridesmaids’ dresses. Where’d you get them?

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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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As a December bride myself, I always feel a bit attached to fellow December couples, and I especially feel that way today. Maybe it’s nostalgia or possibly the elegant decor of holiday garlands and crisp white florals, but either way, Klaire and Carson’s wedding day roped me in from that first sweet photo of Klaire wiping a tear away, and kept me smitten all the way to their carriage exit. Be sure to read about their fun Atlanta Braves tribute before they hopped into said carriage!

Big thanks to Mark Williams Studio for sharing!

P.S. Fun fact! Does that gorgeous church look familiar? It’s the same church that was featured in the lovely Generations Past shoot from V6!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Of course! I borrowed my veil from my cousin/matron of honor, one of my garters was blue satin ribbon and ivory lace, I wrapped my Gram’s pearl rosary beads around the stems of my bouquet, and my dress and my pearl earrings (my wedding gift from Carson!) were new!

My wedding dress story is definitely not a typical one! I originally planned to wear my cousin/matron of honor’s wedding dress. When she found it, I was just as much in love with it as she was, so when she asked me if I would like to wear it, it was an obvious decision. I absolutely loved the dress and there was so much emotion and sentiment behind wearing it (not to mention, the price was right, right?!). Then one day, my mom called me to meet her at a local bridal store to help my aunt find a dress for the wedding. When I walked in, I saw a beautiful dress on one of the mannequins, but considering it was less than two months until my wedding AND I already had a dress, I ignored my instinct to go look at it. About 15 minutes later, I found myself walking over to it. I was apparently in awe because my mom walked up behind me and told me to go try it on. I was very hesitant, but with encouragement from my mom and aunts, I decided to try it. When I walked out of the dressing room, they all immediately started to cry. I walked over to the mirror to look at myself and started to cry too. For the first time, I felt like a “real bride” with my own dress. We called my soon-to-be mother-in-law and sister-in-law to come up for the final decision. When they walked in, they both cried too and said it looked like the dress was made for me. So, the decision was made and I ordered the dress. We were scared it would not arrive in time, but it came three weeks early. It was truly meant to be!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We knew that we would be living in Savannah after we got married, and we loved the idea of getting married during the most romantic time of year (Christmas) in such a romantic town. We wanted our venues to highlight the Southern charm and grace of Savannah. We had heard about the Whitefield Chapel of Bethesda, and after seeing it for the first time, we immediately knew it was the place that we wanted to exchange our vows. It was so intimate and quaint. The reception venue, Garibaldi’s, was the first place Carson and I had gone to dinner when he moved to Savannah. It is also the place where we had our first “marriage talk!” I even asked our waiter at dinner that night if they had weddings there. When we got engaged, my best friend researched venues for me, and when she mentioned Garibaldi’s, I knew it was the one!

Our wedding was very traditional and Southern in almost every way. We got ready and took pictures in the Old South streets and squares, where trolleys and horses were on every corner. Carson and the ring bearers were true Southern gentlemen in their bow ties and suspenders. I wore my uncle’s mother’s vintage fur jacket from the 1950’s–she was quite the Southern lady. We got married in a chapel surrounded by winding oak trees and beautiful Spanish moss. My mom said the blessing for everyone before the food was served and celebration began. Our reception was celebrated in the heart of downtown Savannah. Magnolia wreathes with berries accented with tiny lights were on every window to bring out the Southern elegance of the winter season.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we loved the traditional vows.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our first reading was 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, the second reading was 1 John 4: 16-19, and the gospel reading was Matthew 19:4-6
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our ceremony music was very traditional and classic. We had two close family friends play the piano during the ceremony. My high school chorus teacher sang “Ave Maria” as Carson’s mom walked down the aisle. I came down the aisle with both of my parents to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” For the reception, our goal was to have a big party full of dancing! When the bridal party was introduced, they danced in to “I’ve Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas. When Carson and I were introduced, we came into “Sparks Fly” by Taylor Swift (my all-time favorite). Our first dance was to “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I loved how we tried to make each and every detail personal to us, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be our exit details. Carson and I are huge Atlanta Braves fans, so we had foam tomahawks made with our names and wedding date on them. They were handed to each of our guests as they walked out to form a tomahawk “chop line.” Everyone was “chopping” away and singing the Braves’ infamous war chant as we exited and got into our horse-drawn carriage. As we rode away in the carriage, we held up a wooden sign that said, “…and they lived happily ever after.” It was the perfect ending to a wonderful night.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was perfect. It was a three-tiered ivory cake with raised pearl dots. The second tier had our scripted monogram on it. Ranunculus and baby’s breath were arranged on the top and along the sides of the cake. It was very simple, classic, and elegant–definitely the look we were going for. Carson’s groom’s cake was one of my favorite parts of the wedding. Carson got to pick the flavor (chocolate), but he did not know what it was going to look like. Since Carson is in medical school and wants to be a surgeon, I designed an “Operation” cake. Each “operation piece” was specifically tied to him some way. For example, the heart piece said “Belongs to Klaire, 12.28.13” and the brain piece said, “Georgia on my mind, go Dawgs!” I got to show it to him at the reception and it was one of the most fun moments for us!

Don’t miss their wedding film trailer by Andrew Clark Films!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both grew up in Columbus, Georgia. Our families are friends, we went to the same high school for a year, and we had the same social circle. It was not until Carson returned home after graduating from UGA that our relationship started. We went on several dates, but nothing too serious. A few months down the road, while Carson was studying intensely for his MCAT, I made him a care package to take to his test. I realized that maybe I cared about him a lot more than I wanted to admit…and turns out, those feelings were mutual. From that day on, we started dating, and it did not take long before we knew that we had both found our perfect match!
Tell us all about the proposal! Carson planned a “birthday trip” for me to Chateau Elan in Braselton, Georgia. It was also his medical school spring break, so I really did not suspect anything. On the day of the proposal, Carson planned a tour around the winery and a fun wine tasting. As we were walking to the hotel to head to our dinner reservation, we stopped by the lounge. I sat down and Carson remained standing as he ordered two glasses of champagne. He then told me that we were not going to be sitting there, and the hotel staff escorted us to one of the balconies on the side of the hotel. On the door to the balcony, it said “Reserved for a Private Party.” I was immediately very hesitant and told Carson that we could not go in. He then told me that the “private party” was for us. He opened the door, and at the end of the balcony, I saw a table set for two. Tears immediately started to flow. There were rose petals leading the way, and two glasses and a bottle of wine from the winery labeled “Klaire & Carson, April 27,2013” on the table. We went to sit down, and the next thing I knew, Carson was telling me how much he loved me, and then got done on one knee and said, “Klaire Jennings Kirkland, Will you marry me?” I, of course, cried and said YES! As I looked over, Carson’s parents walked out of the back room. They had been taking pictures of the proposal, and they also had a videographer there filming the whole thing! The final surprise came when we made it to our dinner reservation, and all of our family and best friends were there to celebrate. Carson seriously thought of everything to make our engagement so perfect.
When did y’all get married? December 28, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 135
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? No, we did not. We decided to wait to see each other for the first time when I walked down the aisle to Carson. Carson and I dated for about two years before we got married, and one year of that was long distance. He had started medical school in Savannah, and I was still working at my job in Columbus, and we decided is was important to wait to live together until after we were married. During the time of living apart, envisioning Carson’s face as I walked down the aisle was what got me through the weeks of not being able to see each other, so it only seemed right to wait to see him until I walked down the aisle. It was so worth it–everything I could have ever dreamed of and more!
Describe your wedding flowers. My wedding flowers were very soft and simple. I wanted all creams, whites, ivories and blushes. My bouquet had zinnias, peonies, Juliet garden roses, ranunculus, and with a hint of winter gray dusty miller and brunia berries. The stems were exposed, wrapped in ivory satin ribbon and my grandmother’s pearl rosary beads. My bridesmaids carried hydrangeas, Juliet garden roses and babies breath, accented with dusty miller and brunia berries, wrapped in lace ribbon and pearl beads. The groom and groomsmen wore simple freesia flowers tied with gray brunia berries and dusty miller. The reception flowers were similar, but we used eclectic glass vases and small flower jars for variety throughout each table.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Staying within budget! As we all know, weddings can get expensive really quickly!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My wedding planner and designer, Two Peaches Design, did all of my flowers and floral design. We were able to pay for our flowers at wholesale prices, which saved a lot of money!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our photographers, Julianne and Marielle of Mark Williams Studio. They were so focused on every detail, which was so important to me, and they were so fun and easy to work with. I truly feel that having good photographers is one of the most important parts of a wedding. They were beyond wonderful!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Hands down, the most memorable part of my wedding day was when the chapel doors opened and I saw Carson standing at the end of the aisle, knowing that we were about to become husband and wife. We both radiated with happiness and true joy. It was the best feeling and moment of all time for me!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Wedding planning can be very stressful. When you start to feel that stress, remember the meaning of your wedding day and what it is all about… you and your soon-to-be husband! This time goes by fast and it only happens once, so cherish it. Have fun planning with your mom, family, and best friends. Be thankful for all the love and support that is surrounding you and your fiancé during this time. No matter what, at the end of your big day, you get to be married to the love of your life…it doesn’t get any better than that!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We will be in Savannah for the next few years until Carson finishes medical school. We look forward to continuing to grow together as a husband and wife, and we are very excited to see what God has in store for us…we definitely see little baby Stricklands in the future (when that time is right)! Until then, we are having fun just being together, watching lots of Braves games, and cheering for the Georgia Bulldogs come fall. Go Dawgs!

Photographer: Mark Williams Studio / Videographer: Andrew Clark Films / Planning and Florals: Two Peaches Design / Ceremony Venue: Whitefield Chapel of Bethesda / Reception Venue and Catering: Garibaldi’s / Cake Baker: Tier Luxury Cakes / Band or DJ: All About You Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: Oleg Cassini / Paper Products: Everly Calligraphy / Bride’s Veil: J Andrews Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Andrea Nay / Bride’s Shoes: BCBGeneration / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bari Jay / Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Wooden Signs: Michele Campbell of M. & Co. / Foam Tomahawks and Koozies: Collins Marketing

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

    I love this wedding! So elegant! Almost everything is given credit at the bottom — but I was wondering if there was any way to find out where the bride got her robe (and bridesmaid’s robes)? I’ve seen a lot that look similar in my search, but these are perfect!

    • avatar Klaire Strickland reply

      Hey Janine! Thanks for your sweet comments! I got my robe and the bridesmaids’ robes off of “The Knot’s” website/store. They were perfect and the monogram was the perfect touch. Hope this helps!

    • avatar Janine reply

      Thank you so much!

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Their reception space looks so cozy + joyful!

  3. avatar Inna Olimpiyuk reply

    Loved this story, cried in many spots, very touching!

  4. avatar Christine reply

    We are considering Savannah for our wedding spot too. Thanks for sharing. So many great ideas and very beautiful.

  5. avatar Michelle reply

    love all the winter-themed decor! they really kept it appropriate to the South in winter rather than going over the top with it.

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