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The two words that kept coming to my mind as I was admiring Samantha and Ben’s Virginia mountain wedding were striking and simple. They didn’t fill their wedding to the brim with details–they just chose a beautiful, meaningful location (Ben’s grandparents’ property, where Ben’s parents had been married years before!) and focused on creating moments for their wedding rather than things. Don’t get me wrong, there was no shortage of DIY in this day, from the flowers to the tent decor, but the most special elements of Samantha and Ben’s wedding were their emotional letter exchange, sweet ceremony, and joyful dance party celebration!

We’re so grateful to our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Perry Vaile, for sharing this lovely day with us!

It is an old family tradition for the father to place a sixpence in the left heel of the bride’s shoe the night before the wedding for good luck, so my sixpence was my something old!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my dress eight days after we got engaged…yes, embarrassingly fast. My birthday fell on a Monday (my day off), so my mother took the day off with me and we decided that we should go “play” at David’s Bridal. We were definitely not intending to purchase anything that day. Long story short, the woman helping us found out that I was an “artsy, dancer chick,” so after trying on a few of my picks, she said, “I have something a little more unique that only one other bride has purchased, wanna try it on?” My answer was, “Duh! Put me in anything!” She pulled a White by Vera Wang tulle ball gown in a two-toned ivory and beige coloring. After trying on a few more dresses and coming back to the “artsy” choice, I took multiple laps around the store, eventually finding myself saying “I think this might be my dress.” I never thought I’d be one to cry over a wedding dress, but the look on my mother’s face and the simple thought that this dress represented the fact I had finally found Ben is what did it. As my mother was hunting down tissues and our consultant was going to retrieve her “found the dress” bell, the song playing on the overhead speakers caught my ears–it was the song that Ben and I had planned for our first dance on the big day. I am not one who believes in coincidence, so I took it as a sign, and made my purchase!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We both agree that our most memorable moment was our exchange of letters. Prior to the ceremony, we separately wrote letters for each other. Just before the ceremony, Ben was led to a bench in front of a beautiful tree in the backyard and was instructed to keep his eyes closed. I then joined him on the bench back-to-back, and without actually seeing each other, we were able to hold hands and share an intimate moment as we read each other’s letters.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We are both fortunate enough to have musically talented younger siblings, who prepared and performed several duets with their guitar and mandolin while people were being seated for the ceremony. We walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of the song “A Thousand Years” and back up the aisle to “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen.

We were married on Ben’s grandmother’s property nestled in the mountains of Virginia. The location is stunning–a cozy brick house on top of a hill, surrounded by beautiful mountaintops. I’ve also always wanted to be married outside in front of a big tree, and it just so happens that there are two gorgeous maple trees sitting side by side in the front of the property. Last but not least, it is also where Ben’s parents had their wedding. :)

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We were married outside in a small, Southern, mountain town in Virginia, and we were surrounded by all of our friends and family. We both come from very large families, and everybody came together to help us set up our DIY wedding–from friends putting flowers together for the bouquets to aunts and uncles draping fabric throughout the tent, it was a grand production that everyone wanted to be a part of. Our meal was made in a homemade Southern style, and included pecan-crusted chicken, mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar, and peach sweet tea.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our very closest friends/cousins, Carlee and Adam, helped to set us up. Carlee likes to think of this set-up as “paying it forward” since my mother was the matchmaker for her parents. Months before I met Ben, she informed me that there was a guy in Adam’s medical school class that I “just had to meet”–Ben and Adam were at Duke together and hung out in the same circle of friends. At a Duke medical school function, Carlee and I found ourselves chatting on the far end of the restaurant when I spotted this handsome guy across the way. I noticed that he was talking with another girl who looked very interested in him, when Carlee pointed and shouted “Ooooh! That’s him! That’s Ben, Sammy!” Lo and behold, who does she point to? The guy I’m already checking out. Eventually, we made our way back to a group of Adam’s friends. We were standing in a circle discussing some medical procedure that, of course, went in one of my ears and out the other, when Ben walked up to me, extending his hand, and asked confidently, “Can I introduce myself to you?” He proceeded to hold my hand for another minute (supposedly, unbeknownst to him) while he had a conversation with the guy next to him. I stood there stunned, staring at our intertwined hands, laughing to myself, thinking “This guy has moves.” To this day, when we recall the night we met, Ben states that he had no idea he had held my hand for so long!
Tell us all about the proposal! About a year before Ben’s proposal, he surprised me with the best birthday present ever: two tickets to go tandem skydiving! After we touched down, we realized that it was still super early in the day, so we asked the owner what there was to do “’round these parts.” He, like a true Southern gent, told us that there was a vineyard two minutes up the road! After an afternoon of touring the stunning, Italian-inspired Raffaldini Vineyards, tasting an array of wines and purchasing a bottle or two, we ended up on a bench that overlooked the grounds. It was there that Ben first told me he was falling in love with me; I, of course, reciprocated the feeling. A little less than a year later, we planned a trip to the mountains to get away and see my brother. On our way home, we ended up at Raffaldini Vineyards again. We spent the evening reminiscing and trying their newest wines, ending up back on the same bench where we first said “I love you.” That’s where Ben got down on one knee and asked if I would be his “teammate” for life.
When did y’all get married? May 17, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Really step back and appreciate all of the people who have gathered to support you and help you throughout your engagement and into your marriage. It is very easy to get stressed out over all the little details and get upset or be short with people close to you. You have to keep in mind when planning a do-it-yourself wedding that there are lots of hands and minds involved, and with that comes a lot of emotions. It is so much more enjoyable to be a relaxed bride, even when things aren’t going as initially planned. Also, something that a friend told me shortly after Ben and I got engaged was to make sure that the week before your wedding, and especially the day before the wedding, you should find some time to sneak off and share some time alone. This is harder than it seems, and we are so glad we did it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Just a couple of weeks after getting married, we moved out of our home state and started our new jobs in a fresh new city. Ben graduated from medical school a week before our wedding, and he has started up as a resident in Internal Medicine at a great institution. I was fortunate enough to quickly start a job at a terrific Pilates studio and have begun dancing with a local non-profit modern dance company. We have also become the proud new parents of two adorable kittens!

Photographer: Perry Vaile Photography / Venue: Private residence / Florist: Whole Foods / Caterer and Wedding Cakes: Deb’s Catering / Rentals and Lighting: Cook’s Rental / Invitations: Michaels / Bride’s Gown: “Ombre Tulle Ball Gown VW351157” by White by Vera Wang / Bridal Salon: David’s Bridal / Hair Stylists: Debra Davis and Sandy Wilson / Makeup Artist: Merle Norman / Bride’s Shoes: Tahari / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Long Strapless Chiffon Dress F15555” in Champagne by David’s Bridal / Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

Perry Vaile is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Loverly reply

    The photo of the couple laughing at the altar is too cute! Great shot by Perry Vaile!

  2. avatar {EventsbyElaine} reply

    That dress is truly amazing. I love how it changes shades from beige to blush depending on the light. Of course, the photos of the couple under the tree are so sweet.

  3. avatar Emily reply

    I love this bride – she’s so expressive and full of joy!

  4. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    That two tone dress was definitely the right choice! The brooch on it is also the perfect detail. Beautiful wedding!

  5. avatar Laura Nelson reply

    Beautiful, Perry! Love her gown and how happy they are together!!!

  6. avatar Dana reply

    this is beautiful! I love how they met!

  7. avatar Cecilia Iliesiu reply

    Such a wonderful love story! I wish you both all the best in the world. You don’t deserve any less.

  8. avatar Pasha Belman Photography reply

    the film photography is just wow.

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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Oh y’all, you’re in for a real treat today! Even the title of this post had me excited! Then as I scrolled through the gorgeous photos from Pasha Belman I not only fell in love with April + Nick’s gorgeous design details, but their sweet demeanor and love for each other that seems to pour right out of the screen!

Yes, there are beautiful pink silhouette and monograms details. Yes, there is woodwork handcrafted by April’s father and his brothers, and yes, April’s something borrowed was their wedding date, that was the same as her late grandmother’s birthday. So sweet! And while traditionally, I would mention how adorable it is that April’s favorite part of their wedding film is her 6 foot 8 groom on his tip toes to see her come down the aisle, we all know what we’re staring at! THAT dress!

April absolutely dropped jaws in Ian Stuart’s Libertine seersucker gown! She found her dream dress in none other then Southern Weddings V4! We simply love hearing that, and I still do this day say that the Paper, Cotton, and Flour shoot in which we used the gown is one of my favorites features to date!

In lieu of individual menus, we placed printed thank you notes to our guests and vendors at each place setting. Also, we had decorated sugar cookies in the shape of our favorite southern states NC, AR, SC, and GA. The tag on the cookies read, “Once upon a time an Arkansas boy fell in love with a North Carolina girl. He proposed to her in Savannah, Georgia. Then, all of their favorite people were invited to celebrate at their South Carolina wedding! Thank you for being a part of their fairy tale.”

April, you did us proud!

My something old was a peacock lapel pin from my grandmother, Dorothy Jane Smith. My something new was my wedding gown. I borrowed April 7, the birthday of my late grandmother, Thelma Smith Pridgen, for our wedding date. My something blue was a label sewn into my wedding gown that read: “I found the one whom my soul loves. Song of Solomon 3:4”. The sixpence in my shoe was a gift from my Grandma Dorothy.

Before we went dress shopping, my mother bought several wedding magazines and passed them on to me. I found an amazing dress in Southern Weddings: The Libertine by Ian Stuart. I called my mom as soon as I saw it and told her I had found my dress. She asked me to describe it and said, “When I saw that dress, I knew it was the one for you.” I called several stores trying to locate a sample in blue and we went to see it a few days later. Since I had chosen such a distinctive dress, I decided to keep it a secret from everyone except my parents until the big day. On the morning of our wedding, I had the photographer and videographer capture my bridesmaids’ reactions to my dress.

How cool is that! I love the idea of an Adventure Book for your marriage, what a sweet way to join bucket lists, and create a life of complete adventure (excuse the pun!).

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail was the arbor for the ceremony, a gift from my father, Randy Keith Pridgen, built using woodworking skills lovingly passed down to him from his father, the late Ernest Dixon Pridgen. My father and five of his brothers still work together in the commercial millwork company my grandfather started in 1948. Daddy’s brothers all helped him to perfect the arbor design in the weeks before the wedding. The metal hearts used to decorate the arbor and the reception were salvaged from a bus shelter built by the late James Ernest Watts, so that his little girl, my mother, would never have to wait out in the rain. He passed away when I was two and although my memories with him are limited, my mother has kept the love he had for us alive with her stories. I felt like he was present and gave us his blessing when the black cab that picked us up to depart the ceremony was named James. James also was the name of the man who took our engagement photograph in Forsyth Park. Photography is a passion that Nick’s father, Bobby Joe Dyer, has shared with him. The arbor was decorated with pictures to commemorate family memories and to honor those who could not be with us to celebrate our marriage. We incorporated our parents’ wedding photos onto the arbor as well as pictures from our childhood. The sign on the arbor read, “Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.”

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided to stick with tradition and not do a first look. I am glad we made that decision because my favorite part of our wedding video is seeing my 6’8” husband stand on his tiptoes trying to see me above the crowd before I walked down the aisle.

After Nick and I became serious, I held back on monogramming items in anticipation that my monogram would soon change. Our wedding was the perfect opportunity to showcase our new monogram. Instead of having Flower Girls, Nick’s niece, Makayla, and my cousin, Callie, were our Monogram Attendants. They walked down the aisle carrying gray wooden monograms. Callie carried my maiden name monogram and sat on the bride’s side. Makayla carried Nick’s monogram and sat on the groom’s side. After the ceremony was over and we were pronounced husband and wife, the monogram attendants presented a monogrammed banner with our new couple’s monogram before we walked back down the aisle. For a Southern girl, getting married does not just entail changing your name, it means a new monogram! Our guests traveled a long way to share in our big day, so we did not want anyone to leave empty-handed. Our wedding favors were Cokes in glass bottles decorated with little silver bells and bags of roasted North Carolina peanuts. They were placed on a table with a sign that read, “Some things just go together.”

Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers were soft and romantic. Beth LeonGuerrero of Wild Flowers designed a hand-tied bouquet of spring florals including pink peonies, garden roses, lisianthus, blushing bride protea, astilbe, caliycina, phlox and blue centered anemones with nestlings of dusty miller, scabiosa pods and ostrich drab feathers, wrapped in grey. My bouquet was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. I decided to have it preserved after the wedding.

The wedding cake was a classic white three-tiered cake embellished with buttercream flowers and white buttercream peacock designed by Jim Smeal. The white peacock design was inspired by the birds of Magnolia Plantation.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Nick and I met on February 4, 2011, at a Fayetteville Young Professionals meet-up at Riverside Steakhouse and Oyster Bar. We both had noticed one another from across the room and luckily, a mutual friend introduced us! A few days later, we went on our first date, and we have been inseparable ever since. You always wonder how you will know when you have met the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, but it is like everyone says, “You just know”.
Tell us all about the proposal! Nick proposed to me in front of the fountain in Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia on May 17, 2012. It was my birthday and we were on vacation in our favorite city. While we were standing in front of the fountain, Nick hugged me and said, “Do you remember the night we met? My heart skipped a beat when you walked into the room. I think now that this was God’s way of telling me you are the woman I am supposed to spend my life with.” Then, he got down on one knee and asked, “Will you marry me?” Around this time, a bystander started yelling, “Look, they are getting engaged!” and came over and asked if he could take our picture.
When did y’all get married? April 7, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 160
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We spoke traditional vows. However, since our ceremony was outside, we decided to do a handfasting ceremony instead of lighting a unity candle. My favorite line from this ceremony was, “These are the hands that even when wrinkled with age will still be reaching for yours, still giving the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.” It was a reminder of the permanence and comfort marriage brings to a person.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? “There is no moment of my life when you are not a part of me; you hold my heart; you guard my soul; you guide my dreams so tenderly and if my will might be done, and all I long for could come true, with perfect joy I would choose to share eternity with you”. –Robert Sexton
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Instead of walking down the aisle after the chiming of the hour, my cousin, Katelynn, walked down the aisle ringing a bell and announced,“Let the wedding begin!” The Palmetto Strings Trio played during our wedding ceremony and at the reception. Nick is an avid Beatles fan, so our bridal party walked in to “In My Life.” We both enjoy indie music and are fans of Vampire Weekend, so we had our string trio compose an arrangement of “M79” for our recessional.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The most Southern things about our wedding, aside from being on a beautiful plantation in Charleston, were monograms and hospitality.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge I faced was coordinating everything to match my wedding gown. The Libertine looks blue in photographs and gray in person. With the help of Francesca from Pure Luxe Bridal Consultants and Beth, I was able to pick suits, bridesmaid dresses and flowers that looked nice with both colors. Nick had no idea that I had chosen a non-traditional fabric, so he had a difficult time understanding why I would not agree that he should wear a seersucker suit.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We were blessed to have a dream team of vendors! They had amazing professional talents and all worked together to create a day that exceeded our highest expectations. I would highly recommend all of them! One detail we both loved was the cornhole boards decorated with our silhouettes in the wedding colors, which my mother gave us as a pre-wedding gift. We were able to purchase the silhouette designs and use them throughout our wedding and reception.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our favorite moment was seeing each other for the first time on our wedding day! I tried to soak in every moment as my Daddy walked me down the aisle to Nick. A close second was the emotion that our ceremony evoked from our family. I could tell that the details and our desire to remember our grandparents really touched everyone.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Before you plan anything, think about your priorities for the wedding. You want to contract with the best vendors, but you also need to decide on the emotion you want people to feel when they are at your wedding. Our must-haves were a fabulous wedding dress, classic bowties, and our awesome photographer, Pasha Belman. Those things aside, we wanted our families to feel as if they were being celebrated for loving us and shaping us into the people we are today. The biggest compliment we received on our wedding was that it was very sweet and sentimental. Seeing and hearing about how our wedding details touched our families was an amazing feeling.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to starting new family traditions and building a happy home together. We hope to travel and adopt pets. Most of all, we cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives making new memories with our best friend!

Photographer: Pasha Belman Photography | Videographer: Hart to Heart Media, Inc. | Planner: Pure Luxe Bridal Consultants, LLC | Ceremony Venue: Magnolia Plantation | Reception Venue: Magnolia Plantation Carriage House | Florist: Wild Flowers | Wedding Cake Baker: Jim Smeal | Caterer: B. Gourmet | Rentals: Event Works | Band: Palmetto Strings | Bride’s Gown: “Libertine” by Ian Stuart, purchased at Anjolique Bridal | Paper Products: Pomp Creative | Hair Stylist: Matthew Melino of Six Salon in Raleigh, NC | Makeup Artist: Codylnn Hatcher of Perfect Reflections in Myrtle Beach, SC | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Lula Kate | Men’s Attire: Bernard’s Heather Gray Moda Suit

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Plum Pretty Sugar reply

    Goodness! So much prettiness! Adore!

  2. avatar erin {a lowcountry wedding} reply

    this is gorgeous! that bouquet is amazing. Great job, Pure Luxe!

  3. avatar Jamie Williamson reply

    Amazing wedding and amazing couple!

  4. avatar Emily reply

    What a beautiful wedding! I wish I had the guts to wear a seersucker gown… you go April!

  5. avatar Lisa reply

    That gown makes my heart skip a beat! Also loving their Up-inspired adventure book–so precious!

  6. avatar Kat reply

    Ooohhh I just love those cookie/state favors – what a fun idea to tell guests their love story :)

    • avatar Arianne Autaubo reply

      Such a beautiful wedding to be a part of!!!
      We are the company responsible for the sugar cookies shown in the blog and truly enjoyed lending our couture custom cookies to the lovely day!!!
      We can be found at
      – Cookies are the New Cupcake!

  7. avatar Bleu de Toi reply

    Thanks for including our customized guestbook artwork in your special day! What a beautiful wedding in every way. The guestbook fingerprint tree from Bleu de Toi Handmade was a fitting touch.

  8. avatar Heather reply

    Hi! What a beautiful wedding. I absolutely adore your dress. Quick question – we are including bell ringers also and have been in search of bells. Where did you find yours? They are very beautiful. Congratulations on your marriage!

  9. avatar Leigh Pearce Weddings Blog » Inspiration Monday | Winston-Salem North Carolina Wedding Planner reply

    […] from left: Southern Weddings | Anna Paschal Photography | Etsy | Southern Weddings | Southern Weddings | Etsy | Southern […]

  10. avatar Real Luxe Wedding: April + Nick at Magnolia Plantation and Carriage House | Pure Luxe Bride reply

    […] It was recently published in Southern Weddings Magazine Blog- you can read the full post here. But lucky for you, we have the inside scoop on all of their wedding day deets as well as extra […]

  11. avatar Up Adventure Book reply

    Thank you for allowing me to make this Adventure Book for you. I wish you and Nick a lifetime of awesome Adventures!
    Pam at Album Options

  12. avatar Southern Etiquette: Monograms – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] from top left: Blair + Brian (Justin DeMutiis), April + Nick (Pasha Belman), Kristin + Kyle (Martha Manning), Sarah + Nick (Pure 7 Studios), Sarah + Gabe […]

  13. avatar Patrick reply

    Where did you get the bow tie?

  14. avatar Kolor przewodni wesela w sezonie letnim reply

    […] Q. Photography, Wedding Chicks /The Overwhelmed Bride/ 100 Layer Cake/ Pasha Belman Photography, Southern Weddings/Jen Wojcik Photography, Wedding […]

  15. avatar Mer reply

    I am dying to get a monogrammed banner, but I cannot find one! Where was yours from? It was beautiful!!!

  16. avatar Aubrey @ The Paisley Box reply

    Wow! That gown is amazing. I would have never thought of seersucker for a wedding dress but this one is absolutely gorgeous! The wedding looked lovely from the pics.

  17. avatar 2017 Top 8 Trendy Elegant Wedding Invitations – Stylish Wedd Blog reply

    […] Credits: Happy Wedd | Pasha Belman Photography via Southern Weddings | Pinterest | Angelica Glass via […]

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!

Reply to:

Maybe it’s my affinity for all things coral-colored, or maybe it’s my unending desire to have a boat party, but Sally + Dave’s wedding just makes me happy. The bright and springy colors are a surprising (but welcome) palette for their winter wedding. But y’all know that here in the South, winter ain’t no thang — especially if you’re celebrating it on the Southernmost part of the United States: Key West. We must give out big hugs to Kat Braman who shared this wedding with us.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: Shortly before we got engaged, my mother moved to Las Vegas. It was important to me that she be there when I try on dresses, so I ended up flying to Vegas. My grandmother, who lives in Southern California, also made the trip. It was so wonderful to have 3 generations there for the experience.
Describe your wedding flowers: We went with the flowers I love that are available in December: roses, calla lilies, and hydrangeas. I hired a florist to make the arrangements that marked our ceremony spot, but for the personal bouquets and reception centerpieces, I bought bulk wholesale flowers. I got my bridesmaids together with a big bucket of ribbons, pins, shears, and tape, and we made our own bouquets. It was important to me that my bridesmaids’ individual personalities came out in the wedding. For the boutonnieres, I had a wonderful Etsy seller custom make them out of vintage maps that she tinted to match my color scheme.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? One of the most memorable moments was when I finally made it down the aisle and a big gust of wind took the veil right out of my hair! If that wasn’t surprising enough, the veil went into one of the tiki torches, singeing a little piece of it. The moment actually broke the serious mood and lightened things up.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? No, we didn’t do a first look. Though we are not typically superstitious people, both Dave and I felt that we shouldn’t see each other before the ceremony. Though we knew how practical it is to take pictures before the ceremony, we felt like doing that would somehow diminish the emotion we had when we first saw each other at the ceremony.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we designed our entire ceremony and write our own vows. Dave’s were completely off the cuff, so we don’t have lines from it. I began mine with “for almost 15 years I’ve watched you become the man I’m so proud to be marrying.” I also included one of our favorite Star Trek quotes from Spock (Yes, we are Trekkies!), “I have been, and always shall be, your friend.”

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We actually met when I was in high school and Dave had just graduated. We went to different high schools, but were introduced by a mutual friend with whom I was on the cheerleading squad. We had instant chemistry and started dating almost immediately, but after I graduated and went away to college, we spent several years apart. We reunited in 2007 when Dave asked me out over Facebook, and it was like we had never been apart.
Describe the proposal. We traveled to Roanoke, Virginia, to visit some friends for New Year’s Eve. I had an inkling that it would happen during this trip so I took extra care to look great for our New Year’s Eve dinner and other events. The proposal didn’t happen that night, but I forgot all about it as we were having such a good time. The next evening, our friends took us sightseeing to Mill Mountain, which has a large, illuminated star near the top. Since we were on our way to watch a hockey game, I was in my Capitals hockey jersey, totally unsuspecting, but Dave proposed to me right there under the star.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Joyous, relaxed and colorful.
In what month did you get married? December
How many guests attended your wedding? 44
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: Since we were having a reception on the water, I thought cupcakes would be the best bet. We had three different flavors of cupcakes, all iced in white buttercream so that I could embellish them with fun details. I found cute wrappers online and used my die-cutter, glue gun, and lollypop sticks to create the toppers. We also had a small cake so that Dave and I would have something to cut.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was striking a balance, both in planning and spending. First, it was difficult to balance my budget with my imagination. I found out quickly that there are many more expenses involved than I ever imagined. The many wedding blogs and sites internet were a huge inspiration and help to me, and I was able to figure out how to DIY some things while splurging on others. Second, striking the balance of pleasing guests while following our own vision was, by far, the hardest part of the wedding planning. We ultimately overcame this issue by making sure that the guests would have a great time despite some of the trade-offs that we insisted on (like no kids – not great for a boat reception!).
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Photography!!!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Make lots of lists! I made excel spreadsheets to track our expenses, guest lists, and the like. There are so many online tools now to take advantage of, like wedding websites that let guests RSVP online, which we loved. Also, I really feel that both parties should be involved; if the groom doesn’t want to take on tasks himself, you should at least have regular discussions where you update him on the major decisions you’re making. Even though grooms may be uninterested during planning, they will be expected to be a key participant in all the wedding events and trust me, you will both have a much better time if he knows what to expect and has been given opportunities to participate in decisions. I did most of our planning, but I was able to give Dave some discrete, simple tasks, like setting up transportation for our guests, getting rental cars, etc.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We actually moved three hours away from our old home in Northern Virginia to Roanoke, just a month after the wedding. It was a hectic time, but we went from a small condo to a house with a yard, and now I can see the mountain and star where Dave proposed every day.

Photographer: Kat Braman // Photo booth: JHunter Photography // Planner: We’ve Got the Keys // Ceremony venue: Fort Zachary Taylor State Park // Reception venue: Fury Water Adventures // Florist: Love in Bloom, wholesale flowers purchased from Fifty Flowers // Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Key West Cakes // Caterer: Great Events Catering // Paper Products: Designed by bride’s sister, letterpressed by Mercurio Brothers Printing, liners and envelopes from Mountaincow, programs and menu cards made by the bride // Bride’s Dress: Wtoo by Watters // Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil: Erica Koesler // Earrings: Vivian Tamayo // Bride’s Shoes: Wedges from Very Volatile, boat shoes from Hunter // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Dessy // Accessories: Sash and hair flower from David’s Bridal

Kat Braman is a fabulous Southern Weddings sponsor.

Love this wedding? You might love these, too:
Kiley + Tim’s Florida beach wedding here and here
Christine + Iaan’s blue and pink wedding here and here

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Kat Braman reply

    Thank you so much ladies for featuring this very special wedding. I followed (translation: stalked) Sally’s wedding board on Pinterest for months. She did such a beautiful job pulling it all together. Plus you know Key West on big catamaran with people in love. How much better can it get?

    • avatar brittany anderson reply

      Kat Braman:
      Love Love Love this wedding! When I shot a Key West Wedding this past November, the couple had the same artist play during their ceremony. Did he play “Somewhere over the Rainbow”?

  2. avatar shannon reply

    Amazing wedding and details and an incredible photographer! You can feel the love!

  3. avatar Laura Leslie reply

    This looks like my kind of wedding. The details are great and the last frame made me do a double take! Great as always Kat.

  4. avatar Weekly Wrap Up | Tallahassee Wedding Planner – Shannon Reeves Events reply

    […] Sally and Dave, a super cute couple who are friends of friends were featured on the Southern Weddings blog yesterday! This is how to do a wedding in December! […]

  5. avatar We’ve Got the Keys reply

    Not only was the wedding beautiful it was one of the most fun! :) Thanks for letting us be a part of it. Kat – the picutres are great!

  6. avatar Tim Duncan reply

    Love love love the pink and baby blue colors! Such a cute wedding! :)

  7. avatar Martha reply

    Hi! I love the colours in this wedding. I’m just curious, are the colour of the bridesmaid dresses “firecracker” from Dressy?

  8. avatar Friday Flowers: Calla Lilies | Elizabeth Anne Designs: The Wedding Blog reply

    […] {white and aubergine calla bouquet by Narcissus Florals, photo by Maggie Harkov Photography via Style Me Pretty; nautical key west inspired bouquet by Love in Bloom, photo by Kat Braman via Southern Weddings} […]

  9. avatar Stephanie Black reply

    Hi im renewing our vows Key West August 16 2013 and was wondering where I can rent beach cart the bride and groom had for this wedding.?????? your blog was very informational thank you it made me so excited for our big day!!

  10. avatar Sally reply

    Hi, I just saw these questions, hope it’s not too late. The dresses are firecracker from Dessy, yes. Also, the car we had was rented by my sister, so I don’t know the exact place, but there are several small vehicle rental places in Key West that rent bikes, scooters, etc.

  11. avatar Lauren Stroming reply

    where are those bridesmaid dresses from? I love that color!

  12. avatar Inspiration boards | Turquoise wedding | Eventi e Wedding P. – The Wedding Planner reply

    […] | Le vernis by Chanel | Cake via The Knot | Mini Cupcakes via Pinterest | Row 2 Bride via Iloveswmag Photographer Kat Braman // Photo booth: JHunter Photography // Bride’s Dress: Wtoo by […]

  13. avatar Coral Beach Wedding Flowers ~ Jessica’s Inspiration Board | Wedding Blog reply

    […] Bouquet Details} These trendy coral and turquoise beach wedding bouquets via Southern Weddings are recreated with{Top} Creamy White Calla Lilies & Roses, and Cream Calla Lilies with Light […]

  14. avatar Sponsored Post: Virginia Beach – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Sally and Dave‘s wedding, photographed by Kat Braman 10. Keep guests comfortable. Southern hospitality is always a priority to us! Along with a few of the things we typically recommend having on hand for outdoor weddings (namely water bottles and bug spray), we also suggest stocking up on sunscreen, fans, or even sunglasses for your guests to use. This is where thinking through your wedding as a guest comes in handy–what would you need to be comfortable if you were attending? […]

  15. avatar Liz reply

    I love the color of your bridesmaid dresses and have been searching everywhere for this color. What does Dessy call the color and how can I find them?

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