There are few things more Southern than a community coming together, which is one of the many reasons Erica and Daniel’s wedding was so magical! Their family and friends helped with everything from offering up their gorgeous property as a venue, to building and crafting reception details, to bartending and cutting the cake on the night-of. Getting married at a private residence is no easy feat, but with all hands on deck, Shiloh Farms certainly turned into the perfect home for this joyful celebration. Erica and Daniel also went out of their way to get to know their vendors on a personal level, so even the folks who started out as strangers became part of the community that made this day extra special!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went to my first appointment at Affordable Bridal, Inc. in Buford, Georgia. I had heard great things about the shop from friends who bought their dresses there. I arrived to my appointment with my mother, sister, and maid of honor, and was instantly greeted by two smiling women who respected my budget and went straight to picking out dresses in the style I had in mind. I tried on about ten dresses before finding the one. Once I put on that beautiful, lace, fit and flare gown with cap sleeves and a keyhole back, I knew it was going to be the dress that I married Daniel in, and so did the rest of the women there. Just when I didn’t think it couldn’t get any better, the stylist placed a cathedral veil on my head and I was done for. Not to mention, I was able to buy the dress off the rack and at an additional 15 percent off. It was the perfect dress, and I will never forget how beautiful it made me feel!
We decided to do a first look and I am so happy we did. We knew that with a wedding party and guest list as big as ours, we wouldn’t have that much alone time. Having a first look gave us an opportunity to enjoy each other, check each other out in our wedding attire, cry, laugh, and pray. We even took that time to read letters that we had written to each other. Afterwards, we washed each other’s feet as a sign of humbling ourselves before the other, serving one another for a lifetime, and loving each other just like Christ loves His church. It was the most intimate moment. The first look did not take away the anticipation of me walking down the aisle to Daniel. In fact, we think it made it that much better.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose to have our wedding at Shiloh Farms, the property of our dear friends who are like family to us. I stayed at the farm when I would visit Daniel over the course of our long-distance relationship. It is special to us because it is truly where our romance developed, as well as where Daniel proposed. We dreamed of having a wedding there and are blessed to have shared this simple, yet magical place with our family and friends.
Music is so important to Daniel and I. Daniel plays the guitar, bass, and piano, and he performs in the worship team at our church. I wouldn’t say I’m a professional, but I am a fan of musicians (obviously) and I love going to concerts. We knew that music had to be a key element in our wedding. Our friends and members of the worship team at our church sang during the ceremony while the bridal party walked down the aisle and during the communion. Here are the songs: “Take My Heart” by Emily Hackett feat. Will Anderson (Daniel’s song walking down), “Fall Afresh” by Bethel (bridesmaid and bridal processional), “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus” by All Sons and Daughters (communion), and “Brand New” by Ben Rector (recessional).
Our favorite detail of the wedding was the cedarwood bar my dad handmade for the reception. He worked so hard on it for two and a half months. He will tell you that it was one of his favorite projects, and it was definitely a hit at the reception! He loved showing it off, and our guests loved hanging around it to enjoy drinks and conversation. It was such a special gift, and we now proudly display it on our backyard patio.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Daniel’s family is extremely talented and his sisters helped by making our wedding signs that were displayed during the ceremony and reception, as well as creating a design for each welcome bag that went to our guests staying at hotels. We created a DIY photo booth by borrowing furniture and picture frames. We asked friends to bartend during the reception and had two ladies offer to cut our cake so we didn’t have to pay a cake cutting fee. We decided not to have wedding favors to reduce the cost.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. When people ask how we met, we usually keep things simple and say “at a wedding,” but here is the real story. Daniel and I attended a wedding of mutual friends, separately. He saw me sitting at a table alone “in a red dress” (he likes to add), and due to unforeseen circumstances, we never actually talked at the wedding. However, Daniel found out who I was through a mutual friend and added me on Facebook later that night. Two weeks later, Daniel messaged me saying that he saw me at the wedding, and was wondering if he could get to know me over coffee. One thing led to another and Daniel made the grueling trek from Valdosta, Georgia to Atlanta, where we talked over coffee for three hours. On Labor Day, he drove up again for our first “real” date, where we went hiking, ate our favorite Italian food, and went to the movies. After that, I found myself making the trip down to Valdosta to visit Daniel for the first time. It was then when Daniel told me that he wanted to pursue me with the intentions of marriage. Since then, we have embarked on a whirlwind romance full of new adventures that ultimately led to me moving down to Valdosta to be with him. Our friends and family would agree that the crazy way our relationship has come about is truly God’s work at hand. We are full of immeasurable joy as we embrace this new chapter as husband and wife!
Tell us all about the proposal! On Labor Day, one year from when we went on our first date, we were at one of our favorite restaurants in town when Daniel mentioned that our friends, the owners of Shiloh Farms, wanted us to come see them. I was less inclined to go because I had to work the next day and needed to go to the grocery store. Daniel insisted that we go, saying we needed to pick up my kayak, which was at the farm. On the drive there, I was looking on social media, and at least three people I knew had gotten engaged. I kept going on and on about it and joked with Daniel that he would probably propose with a ring hiding in food since he loves food so much. We pulled up to the front of the house and I noticed flower arrangements sitting in their gazebo. I didn’t think twice about it and started to walk inside the house. Daniel grabbed my hand and said we should go check out the flowers. When we walked inside the gazebo, I noticed that there were rose petals on the ground. I felt Daniel take a step back, and when I looked to see what he was doing, I saw tears in his eyes…and that’s when I knew. Daniel got down on one knee and popped the question. My jaw dropped and I went through a process of being speechless and in shock to saying, “oh my gosh” and “is this real,” to finally saying “YES!” Afterwards, he turned and pointed back at the house to where his sister, Ashley, was hanging out of the second story window taking pictures of the whole thing. We literally could not stop smiling, freaking out, hugging, kissing, and laughing. It was the best, most surreal moment of pure joy and happiness.
When did y’all get married? April 23, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We decided not to write our own vows. We kept it traditional and we both found that they were just as powerful. We both had tears in our eyes, and I could hardly keep it together as he said, “For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Daniel’s sister, Alison, read Ephesians 5:22-31. Daniel and I found this scripture to be so vital during our marriage counseling and we wanted to incorporate it into our ceremony.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge we faced was adjusting the menu to feed 300 guests while staying within our budget. We went back and forth with our caterer so many times because of our guest list grew weekly. Thankfully, she was willing to work with us and did everything she could to give us want we wanted. We paid a little more than we had originally planned for, but it all worked out in the end and the food was a hit.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It takes a lot of time to plan a wedding on your own, especially at a private venue. If you have the money, I would suggest hiring a planner and selecting a venue that takes care of everything. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing about our wedding, but it just caused a lot of unnecessary stress. To the brides, be sure to include your groom in the planning. They may want something special that you wouldn’t have originally thought of. To the grooms, know that the special woman you are about to marry has probably dreamed of this day for a long time. Respect her during the stressful times and be there to listen and offer encouragement when she needs it. To the couple, understand that this is just one day. It is a very special day, but it goes by so fast. Enjoy the planning, but take time to go on dates and eliminate wedding talk.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Daniel and I are excited to be buying our first home together. I work as a nurse on night shift and he works as a general contractor, so with our crazy schedules, we are looking forward to a time of rest and enjoying each other in our home with our two dogs, Maddie and Cooper. We are looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us during our marriage, getting involved in ministry, being successful with our jobs, creating life-giving relationships with family and friends, and traveling to new places.
Photographer: Anna Shackleford | Videographer: Lucas Hicks Video and Photography | Planner: Jamie Lea Shiver | Venue: Shiloh Farms | Florist: Hilary Colyer | Cake Baker: Pam Vickers | Caterer: Covington’s Dining and Catering | Rentals and Lighting: International Tent Inc. and Shindig | Decor: The Squirrel’s Nest | DJ: Tom Hochschild | Champagne Glasses and Cake Cutting Set: Oriental Trading Company | Paper Products: Shutterfly, Etsy, and Staples | Bride’s Gown: “Bronwyn” by Maggie Sottero | Bride’s Hairpiece and Veil: Affordable Bridal, Inc. | Bride’s Earrings: Steel’s Jewelry | Hair Stylist: Anna Beth Purvis | Makeup Artist: Claire Rice | Bride’s Shoes and Groomsmen Attire: JCPenney | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: The Dessy Group | Groom’s Attire: Nordstrom | Officiant: Brinson Barker | Acoustics: Event Point
Anna Shackleford is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!