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We’re lucky to get to know many of y’all through the sweet engagement season, and some of our favorite office moments are when we then get to gush over your weddings and keep in touch through your newlywed life! Y’all may remember the darling Sarah Jane from when she was a Southern Bride of the Month back in 2013, or when her and Brad’s elegant seaside wedding was featured in V6. We’re grateful to have kept in touch with these two over the years, and their insight also graced the pages of V7. Thanks to the meaningful role college football has played in Sarah Jane and Brad’s love story, we weren’t surprised at all to learn that one of their favorite dates is tailgating, so we couldn’t resist asking them to share in time for Cozy Fall!

Thank you so much to The Malicotes for snapping these fun photos of Sarah Jane and Brad for us!

By day: Brad is a real estate agent and I’m in medical sales.
Where they live: We live in Lexington, Kentucky, the horse capital of the world!! The Bluegrass State really is the most idyllic place to live, surrounded by rolling green hills and crisp black fences. One of the things we love most about living here is how young and vibrant it is–there is always something fun going on, regardless of the season.

Their love story: Brad and I met by what seems like coincidence, but we know in our hearts that it was God’s perfect timing that brought us together. From the first weekend we were introduced, we were practically inseparable.

Their wedding: Brad wanted to say his vows with sand in his toes, and my heart’s desire was to have a small, intimate, and joyful celebration. Both of our wishes came true in gorgeous Carillon Beach just off 30A in the panhandle of Florida. We gathered with 50 of our dearest friends and family to mark that one perfect day and the start of our lives together. We wanted to get married somewhere close enough to our home that we could visit frequently, and also make a part of our family vacation plans for years to come. (P.S. Find their big day in V6 and online here!)

Sarah Jane and Brad’s five favorite date ideas:

1. Tailgating at UK Football Games: Brad and I are die-hard collegiate sports fans, so it’s no surprise that football games and tailgating are a huge part of our weekends in the fall. The planning process is nearly as much fun as game day–we spend a couple of days before the weekend putting our heads together about menu options and details. There’s something about the incredible energy at the stadium and the opportunity to connect with our friends and fellow football fans that make these weekends so special. I love being able to translate something we both enjoy into a tradition that will be part of our family for years to come!

2. Cooking For Friends: Probably our hands down favorite thing to do is entertain our friends at home. Nothing makes us happier or more content than to have the kitchen packed with our closest pals, sharing great food and catching up on what’s going on in their lives. Everyone gets in on the preparation, and it’s not uncommon to have multiple people sharing the cutting board and stove. Occasionally, we will try to recreate a favorite dish from a recent trip once we get back home, and invite everyone to share it with us as a way to include them in our adventures. For example, on our last visit back to 30A, we stopped at the local fish market on the way home and picked up all the fresh ingredients we needed to make the seafood stew from Stinky’s Fish Camp for everyone the next evening. It was a huge hit!

3. Keeneland: One of the perks of living in horse country is having access to the most beautiful race track in the industry (I may be a touch biased). Keeneland embodies some of the things we love most: a sense of history and tradition, field stone and ivy, and beautiful horses. There is nothing like an afternoon date at the track, roaming the paddock to select our favorite picks then rushing to find a place at the rail as they sweep by on the way to the finish line. Trust me, nothing gets your heart pounding like the flashing of those bright jockey silks and the sound of hoofbeats! A bit of friendly competition always erupts between us over who made the most successful wagers–I have to admit, it’s usually Brad. I swear those Kentucky boys have it in their blood!

4. Live Music: While we were dating, our go-to nights out revolved around live music and local bands. During the warmer months, Lexington hosts “Thursday Night Live,” which showcases local acts at an outdoor venue in the downtown area. For us, a live show always brings back that giddy feeling we had while first falling for each other.

5. Carillon Beach Walkover #7: We don’t get to do this one as often as we’d like, but on every trip to 30A, we make it a priority to spend one evening at the beach walkover where we had our wedding ceremony. I pack a bottle of bubbly and fancy champagne flutes (no plastic here, no sir!) and we cuddle up and watch the sun go down over the ocean. The surroundings take us right back to that one perfect day, and gives us a chance to reflect on all that has happened in our lives since. Part of the fun is not knowing who else will be there to share the sunset with us–last time, we met a couple who has been married nearly 50 years. It was truly inspiring to hear their story and imagine what our relationship will be like when we’ve spent that many years together!

Thanks so much, Sarah Jane and Brad! P.S. If you can’t make it to your favorite team’s stadium for game day, don’t miss Kristin’s tips for an at-home tailgate here.

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

    Go Big Blue!!! That is all. :) oh.. I need those cookies too… YUM!

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It’s no secret that football season is a pretty big deal in the Winchester household! While I love any chance we have to get back to Chapel Hill for a Saturday in the fall, our schedules are pretty full with other commitment (Go Knights!!), so we take advantage of long distance tailgating whenever we can. A few weeks ago, UNC actually played football on Thursday evening, so I took the opportunity to throw an “at-home tailgate.” I invited over a few friends, pulled out my favorite Carolina-themed dishes (some of my favorite wedding presents), and poof! We had our own little tailgate in the comfort of our living room.

Since we can’t all always cheer on our favorite teams in person, I wanted to share some of my favorite tips for hosting your own at-home tailgate. Lots of gratitude and hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Jacqui Cole for capturing our little party!

1. Opponent-Themed Menus: Mix things up from the usual burgers and hot dogs. Research your opponent and draft your menu from there! UNC was playing Pitt, so we had a sandwich fixing station, complete with fresh coleslaw and french fries, inspired by Pittsburgh’s Primanti Brothers staple. We also served Klondike bars, because they are native to Pittsburgh. Playing Kentucky? Hot browns would be great! Battling against UGA or GT? Don’t forget the pecan pie! I also asked my girlfriends to bring over a few sides to help complete the menu.

2. Game Time Menus: Early games are a great excuse for a breakfast menu. Make an egg casserole and have someone bring over some doughnuts. And don’t forget the mimosa bar! Mid-afternoon kicks are a good reason for a bits and bites menu, so stick to a few savory appetizers and some fun miniature desserts. By the time bowl season rolls around in late December, it’s normally chilly in most parts of the South (I’m looking at you, Florida). Have everyone bring over their favorite soup to share. Make sure you have mason jars on hand to divvy up the leftovers!

3. Festive Dishes: Since you’re at home, you don’t have to stick to disposable plates and plastic forks. I loved bringing out some of the serving pieces we got as wedding presents, especially some of our Carolina-themed dishes. Leave out some extra empty platters and dishes if you want to transfer the food your guests bring. And don’t forget that your tailgate gear can become potential decorations for the table (isn’t that UNC picnic basket the cutest?)–big hugs to my MIL for one of my favorite bridal shower gifts!

4. Team Spirit Décor: Chances are good that if you’ve tailgated at any point, you have some appropriately colored paper goods. If not, I am a big believer in stocking up on a few school color supplies that you can pull out for an impromptu game-watching party! We dug out our Carolina blue paper napkins and I snagged some fun re-inflatable letter balloons for some quick and easy decorations. We put out a giant ballon with fun Carolina blue and navy tassels on the porch to set the mood from the moment guest’s arrived, and once everyone was gathered, we brought it inside to add to the atmosphere. If you’re crafty, you can always make a team color garland with some tissue paper and twine. Or, pick up pre-made garland at your local craft store!

5. Stadium Snacks: Just because you’re not at the stadium for the game doesn’t mean you can’t serve concession foods, so pop some popcorn and bring out the peanuts! Serve the peanuts in the shells for an extra realistic experience (just make sure you have a empty bowl around to catch the shells). Get creative and think of ways you can bring the stadium experience to life in your home. How about Cracker Jacks or big pretzels for the second half?

6. Tailgate Games: Don’t let dust gather on your favorite set of corn hole boards or ladder golf just because you’re not at the stadium! Set them up on the yard and play during halftime or before the game starts. Part of the fun of going to a football game is the whole game day experience. Nothing is stopping you from a few games of corn hole between the first and second half!

Even if your party is just for you and your beau, cheering on your favorite team is always worth a little celebration. So pull out your favorite stadium blanket, pop some popcorn, and get cozy! Have fun and go team!!

P.S. Are you an expert tailgate-at-home party thrower? Have a great idea for how to cheer on your team from your sofa? Share your ideas below!

kristin Written with love by Kristin
  1. avatar Erin Phillips reply

    This is adorable and great inspiration! We’re doing the same thing next weekend to cheer on our Clemson Tigers from afar when friends come to town to visit.

  2. avatar Carol A. Osnes reply


    Love, love, LOVE your spirit and beauty!! You are so creative and such an incredible host. You give me inspiration for my next gathering of friends.

  3. avatar Christina L. Frederick reply

    I am in LOVE with that basket! Any chances your sweet MIL was willing to share her source? :)

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College football kicked off two weeks ago, which means life for the Winchesters is upside down until December! It’s safe to say that we fully embrace the good ol’ Southern tradition of college football around our house. KPW works in college athletics (Go Hokies!) and our first public photo was taken at Kenan Stadium after a Carolina victory (Go Heels!). Given my love of college sports and my deep passion for marriage, my heart explodes into a million bits of happy when I see a nod to an alma mater during a wedding day. I love the idea of incorporating your heart (and allegiance) into your big day – we served our champagne toast in stadium cups during our reception, which our guests got to keep as a favor! Clearly, I couldn’t let Marissa and her beloved SEC Football have all the fun. Without further adieu, welcome to the ACC – Southern Weddings style!

Want more ACC inspiration? Be sure to check out last year’s post!

Julia Laible Photography, unknown, Emily Gilbert, 35 Atlanta Photography, Blue Mountain Photography. Thanks to the Clemson Girl blog for many of these photos!

Clemson University
Nickname: The Tigers
Mascot: The Tiger and the Tiger Cub
Colors: Clemson Orange and Regalia
Location: Clemson, South Carolina
Joined the ACC: Original member (1953)

Begrudgingly, let’s travel up I85 from Clemson to Durham:

Becci Ames, unknown

Duke University
Nickname: The Blue Devils
Mascot: The Blue Devil
Colors: Duke Blue and white
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Joined the ACC: Original member

Let’s head down South to FSU:

Red Fly Studio via Southern Weddings, Woodland Fields Photography, Red Fly Studio, Set Free Photography via Southern Weddings, Meg Baisden

Florida State University
Nickname: The Seminoles
Mascot: In addition to Osceola and Renegade (see below), Cimarron the horse
Colors: Garnet and gold
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Joined the ACC: 1991

Fun Fact: FSU lays claim to what might be the most dynamic tradition in college football (in fact, it’s almost too dynamic-sounding to be believable, but it is!) At every football game at Doak Campbell Stadium, a student portraying the famous Seminole Indian leader, Osceola, charges down the field riding an Appaloosa horse named Renegade and plants a flaming spear at midfield to begin every home game. Whoa! FSU graduate Bill Durham envisioned the idea of Osceola and Renegade while still a student and sought and obtained the approval of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Osceola’s regalia is designed by the tribe, and Durham and his family supply the beautiful Appaloosa horses who portray Renegade. Make sure you YouTube this one if you’re not familiar with it!

Up next: the Ramblin’ Wreck in the heart of Atlanta!

Flip Photography, Anna & Spencer, Anna & Spencer, Andrew Thomas Lee

Georgia Institute of Technology
Nickname: The Yellow Jackets
Mascot: Buzz the yellow jacket and the Ramblin’ Wreck
Colors: White and Old Gold
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Joined the ACC: 1979

Fun Fact: The Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech is the 1930 Ford Model A Sport coupe that serves as the official mascot of the student body. The Wreck is present at all major sporting events and student body functions, and its most noticeable role is leading the football team into Bobby Dodd Stadium, a duty which the Wreck has performed since 1961. The Ramblin’ Wreck has been the target of several pranks perpetrated by rival schools — the University of Tennessee once provided the Wreck with an unsolicited new paint job, and the University of Georgia has stolen the Wreck on at least two occasions. The official Ramblin’ Wreck is considered the only “true” Wreck, and no backups or replacements exist.

A hearty Southern welcome to the ACC’s newest member, Louisville!

Conrhod Zonio Photography

University of Louisville
Nickname: The Cardinals
Mascot: Cardinal Bird
Colors: UofL Red and black
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Joined the ACC: 2014

Let’s head back to Florida – this time to sunny South Beach and “The U”!

The Majestic Vision, Ricky Stern via Floridian Weddings

University of Miami
Nickname: Hurricanes
Mascot: Sebastian the Ibis
Colors: Miami Green and Miami Orange
Location: Coral Gables, Florida
Joined the ACC: 2004

From sunny Florida, we head to Chapel Hill, a Southern slice of heaven, and home of my beloved Tar Heels:

Martha Manning, Renee Sprink, Renee Sprink, The Burks

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Nickname: The Tar Heels
Mascot: Rameses, a live Dorset ram. A stuffed ram makes appearances as well :)
Colors: Carolina Blue and white
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Joined the ACC: Original member

Continuing east down I40 to NCSU.

Anna Paschal, Aaron & Jillian, Renee Sprink (x3), Nicole Faby

North Carolina State University
Nickname: The Wolfpack
Mascot: Mr. and Ms. Wuf, who are stuffed wolves, and Tuffy, a live Tamascan dog
Colors: Red and white
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Joined the ACC: Original member

Now it’s time to head to the mountains (and my current residence): Virginia Tech

Laura’s Focus

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Nickname: The Hokies
Mascot: The HokieBird, a turkey-like bird that grew out of the former Fighting Gobbler mascot
Colors: Chicago Maroon and burnt orange
Location: Blacksburg, Virginia
Joined the ACC: 2004

Continuing on our tour of Virginia, let’s travel to UVA:

Mykkah Photography

University of Virginia
Nickname: Cavaliers (also referred to as the Wahoos)
Mascot: Cavalier
Colors: Orange and blue
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Joined the ACC: Original Member

And our last stop: Wake Forest!

Ellis Photo Studio

Wake Forest University
Nickname: The Demon Deacons
Mascot: Demon Deacon
Colors: Old Gold and black
Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Joined the ACC: Original member

Tell me: Where does your alliance lie? Have you been to or will you be representing your alma mater at your wedding? AND – next week we’ll be doing our last Southern football schools round-up. Who should we be sure to include? I know there are some UT fans out there! :)

kristin Written with love by Kristin
  1. avatar Lisa E reply

    James Madison University! We had Duke Dog at our reception and a Wilson Hall groom’s cake! to show our alliance!

  2. avatar Bridget reply

    First of all, thank you for explaining what a Hokie is – I’ve been wondering forever! Love this whole feature…especially the tiny Ramses pin on the bridal bouquet.

  3. avatar maghon walker reply

    LOVE this post Kristin!! I will be borrowing so many ideas from the UNC Section in May! Go Heels!

  4. avatar Amy S. reply

    Sorry to point out the obvious, Kristin, but you spelled our “NCSU” wrong before our school shout-out! Small, forgivable error or thoughtful sabotage by an opposing Tar Hell fan? :)

  5. avatar Whitley reply

    Yay for ACC love! Go Hokies!

  6. avatar Elizabeth L. reply

    Love this post! Go Deacs!

  7. avatar Amanda + Chris’ University-Infused Fall Wedding reply

    […] can also check out a cameo appearance from their wedding in this post from Southern Weddings – can you spot their details […]

  8. avatar Robert Winston reply

    Gorgeous wedding! Could you let me know who made your adorable cake topper figures?

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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