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With Steel Magnolias at the tip top of my favorite movie list, you can imagine my excitement when Sarah and Nick’s “blush and bashful” wedding came through our doors! Sarah is one our delightful Blue Ribbon Vendors, so we were especially tickled to see her looking lovely with her handsome beau. Add in the absolutely adorable chapel at Northwest Forest and perfectly pink details created by fellow Blue Ribbon Vendor, Two Be Wed and I’m smitten! Best of all, Sarah and Nick’s wedding day was a reflection of their sweet relationship and exactly what they dreamed it to be. I’m sure Nicole would be tickled to see the gluten-free cookie favors!

Big hugs to Mustard Seed Photography for sharing this precious pink day with us!

I am a curvy girl, so I was super nervous to go dress shopping, but at Brickhouse Bridal, the consultant was so helpful and showed me what would look good on me. It ended up being the easiest day ever and I chose the fourth dress I tried on!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did decide on a first look. I am a wedding photographer, so I know it helps a wedding day flow better, and we are not superstitious, so that helped in the decision! Post-ceremony, we got to go right into our reception and have fun without making our guests wait an hour for us. I highly recommend first looks to anyone I can!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose our wedding venue because it was close to home and Nick’s grandmother used to work there–there is even an island on the lake there named after her!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We felt that a wedding ceremony with handwritten vows was perfect for us. The last year has been really hard for us, and writing our own vows was a way to tell each other and our guests how thankful we were to have each other to lean on.

Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers were one of the most important things to me. I looooove flowers! I had always wanted a spring wedding because I wanted peonies all over the place. Fawn was an amazing florist and we were lucky to have her!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We love cake, so of course, we had to have the best cake baker in Houston! Cakes by Gina was the one! Her cakes are just so tasty and her creations are amazing. The inside of my bridal cake was vanilla with raspberry cream filling and Nick’s cake was chocolate with chocolate filling.

For our favors, we made homemade cookies. My mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies were a must, as were my favorite cookie, macarons. Nick is half Hispanic, so his mom got Mexican wedding cookies as another option!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. After much thought and nudging from friends, we each gave online dating a try! I, Sarah, was on for about a year before we got “matched,” and Nick was only on for two weeks! I made the first move by telling him how cute his beard was. After a few weeks of emailing and texting, we met for our first date. We sat in the restaurant for about three hours before we realized how late it had gotten, and I remember thinking that I didn’t want to leave! When we hugged goodbye, he laughed and said, “Oh, I am definitely going to call you!” Well, he did, and now here we are!
Tell us all about the proposal! I had a wedding in Colorado over the 4th of July and flew back super early on Sunday morning. As I walked out of baggage claim, Nick was standing there holding my dog, Barkley, who wearing a plaid shirt, vest, and bow tie! I didn’t think anything of it, but about halfway to the car, I realized, THIS IS IT! He got down on one knee and popped the question with the ring around Barkley’s neck. It was truly the best surprise ever!
When did y’all get married? May 17, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 135
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge to overcome was the opinions. A lot of people have strong opinions about weddings, but it was important to us that we stayed true to ourselves. Our wedding was exactly what we wanted and we were glad we didn’t listen to anyone but each other.
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? Hire a wedding coordinator! They are the key to making wedding planning as stress-free as possible. Also, plan your wedding the way you want it. The day is about you and your spouse becoming one, not about anyone else.

Photographer: Mustard Seed Photography / Planner: Two Be Wed / Venue and Catering: Northwest Forest / Florist: F. Dellit Designs / Wedding Cake: Cakes by Gina / Rentals: Recollection Vintage Rentals and Rent Some Vintage / DJ: Jose of LG Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: Watters / Paper Products: Nib & Pixel / Hair and Makeup: Kara and Nastasia of Adorne Artistry / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Angelo / Groom’s Attire: Versione Houston / Groomsmen Attire: Al’s Formal Wear / Macarons: Macaron by Patisse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
11 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah McKenzie reply

    Ekkkkk thank you so much for featuring our wedding day!!! It was the best day ever and captured perfectly by Kat! xoxoxo

  2. avatar Kelly reply

    Hi! Would you mind sharing where those beautiful pink watercolor seating cards are from? Thank you!

  3. avatar liam smith reply

    beautifully shot, the dog bowtie is quality

  4. avatar Kat of Mustard Seed Photography reply

    Thank you so much for featuring this lovely wedding we had the honor of photographing this past May! Congrats to the happy couple!! XOXO!

    PS: Kelly, the pink watercolor cards were handmade by Nib & Pixel.

  5. avatar Mikkel reply

    Such great details! I love all the soft pink…and the bride and groom look so happy! Congrats to Sara and Nick and Mustard Seed Photography for capturing it so beautifully!

  6. avatar Recent Publications » Mustard Seed Photography reply

    […] Sarah + Nick on Southern Weddings […]

  7. avatar Sarah and Nick | Northwest Forest Conference Center | Cypress, TX » F Dellit reply

    […] http://southernweddings.com/2014/07/30/blush-and-bashful-wedding-by-mustard-seed-photography/ […]

  8. avatar FIORI IN CASSETTA | Wedding Therapy reply

    […] | Style me Pretty | Planning it all | Etlofte  | Style me pretty | Flowers we love | Southernvweddings | CreaMariCrea| The basket bike girl |Bhg | Love my dress | Noton the high street | The pretty […]

  9. avatar Thomas reply

    This is very romantic reception and beautiful stunning pictures and gorgeous couple! Love it!

  10. avatar Henry Gray reply

    This is such a beautiful wedding! This wedding is so pretty. A perfect example of the use of a pastel colour palette.

  11. avatar Jennifer reply

    Beautiful! Where is the venue? Very interested. And yes Cakes by Gina is the best!

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Laura’s been a long-time Southern Weddings reader, so we were thrilled when we saw that this sweet North Carolina wedding with the loveliest pops of red was hers and Geoff’s! I absolutely love how Laura + Geoff incorporated old traditions and little tributes to family (y’all must read about their cake, which Laura baked herself!). Laura’s favorite detail from the big day is one that so perfectly describes how the pretty things can be the ones closest to our hearts. “My favorite detail was being able to finally wear my mother’s pearls. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I would wear my mother’s pearl necklace on my wedding day. It is the same necklace that my grandmother had given to my mother on her wedding day 30 years ago. Now they are mine to pass on to my future daughter.”

Just thinking about that piece of family that Laura carried with her totally changes the way you’ll see this wedding. Okay, I admit it won’t change the way you react when you see how gorgeous their budget-saving flower decision turned out, but it will make your heart full and happy! Big thanks and hugs to McDorman Photography who shared this with us.


I really wanted the bouquets to have an organic autumn feel. I found a picture of a centerpiece in a magazine, showed it to Denny and Debbie at our first consultation and said that it was exactly what I wanted. My bouquet ended up more beautiful than the picture. It was absolutely gorgeous (and heavy!). I loved how the bridesmaids’ bouquets gave a great pop of color to their neutral dresses.


I have been a reader of wedding magazines and blogs for years, so by the time I actually got engaged, I had a pretty clear idea of the kind of dress I wanted: something simple, classic, and timeless. A few months before Geoff proposed, I saw a dress that I loved in a wedding magazine and it seemed like I kept seeing the same dress popping up on different blogs. I knew it was the dress for me. The weekend after we got engaged, I met my Mom at a local bridal store that carried the dress. I tried on a couple of other dresses first just to make sure that there wasn’t one I liked better, but when I finally tried on my dream dress, my Mom and I both knew that it was “the one.” It took all of 45 minutes! Other than saying yes when Geoff proposed, choosing a wedding dress was the easiest decision I had to make in the whole wedding process.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? 
Yes, we did decide to do a first look. As many other couples can attest, it really didn’t take anything away from the ceremony and seeing each other as I walked down the aisle. By seeing each other before the ceremony, we were able to relax and catch our breath before the craziness of the day began. As my wonderfully practical husband pointed out, by being able to take a majority of the pictures before the ceremony, we were able to spend more time with our guests at the reception. I’m so glad we decided to have a first look, the pictures that we took before the ceremony ended up being some of my favorites.

Did you write your own vows? We stuck with the traditional vows. Neither one of us would ever claim to be eloquent, so we knew there was no way we could do a better job at finding the words to adequately express the solemnity of the covenant that we were entering into.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 
We were blessed to be able to have each of our mentors do a reading during the ceremony. Dave read Ephesians 2:4-9 and Mrs. Carol read Philippians 2:1-5. We really wanted to put an emphasis on grace; the grace that Christ bestowed on us and the grace that we will have to bestow on each other throughout our years of marriage.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. Our processional was one of my all-time favorite orchestral pieces, “Simple Gifts from Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copeland. This piece is so beautiful and has always conveyed a sense of hope and happiness to me — perfect for our wedding. In the program, I included a verse from the song that perfectly summed up how we were feeling, “’Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free ‘tis the gift to come down where we ought to be, and when we find ourselves in the place just right, ‘twill be in the valley of love and delight.” I also wanted to make sure that congregational singing was included in the ceremony. We chose to have “Come Thou Fount,” and then during communion, “Be Thou My Vision.” During these songs, my former piano teacher played and my brother accompanied her on the acoustic guitar. I will admit that it took us a really long time to agree on which song we were going to walk back up the aisle. A week before the wedding, we finally decided on “How Sweet It Is” by James Taylor.

This next photo makes me so happy! Those cheerful pops of red throughout Lauren + Geoff’s tent are actually paper flowers!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Geoff says it was when I walked down the aisle. He says that the combination of the music and the doors opening dramatically and the sun streaming in — it was like something from a movie and he’ll never forget it. For me, I just remember how beautiful the day ended up being. October in North Carolina can be unpredictable. One day might be in the 80s and then the next day you could wake up with frost on the ground. We had prayed for months and months for the weather to be nice. With 10 days out, there was a 60% chance of rain. But the day ended up being gorgeous. We literally could not have asked for a more beautiful day. To God be the glory!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? 
Family played a huge part in our wedding, from wearing my Mom’s pearls, to having a family photo table at the reception. Of course the food was definitely Southern! Gracious, we had pimento cheese sandwiches, country ham biscuits, chicken salad sandwiches, moon pies, and about seven different other kinds of pie. And as every North Carolinian knows, October means fair time, so we had kettle corn (my favorite fair treat) during the “cocktail hour.” And of course every North Carolina shindig has to include Cheerwine and corn hole!

Describe the proposal. 
We had been dating for almost three years and we had talked about marriage and the future. I knew a proposal was eventually on its way, but I had no idea when it would actually happen. It was a beautiful Saturday in April and we had a full day of fun planned. It included a trip to the Farmer’s Market, a picnic lunch, and planting flowers that afternoon. It was a wonderful day, but by that evening, I was exhausted. I took a quick shower, changed into my sweats, threw my hair up in a messy bun and was looking forward to a relaxing evening of TV viewing. I came into the living room but Geoff was nowhere to be found. I looked through the house and still couldn’t find him. As I was headed to the garage, thinking that maybe he was working on something in there, I could see what looked like candlelight coming from the back deck. Immediately I felt my knees go weak and I thought to myself, “This is it! This is it!” My second thought was, “I don’t have a lick of makeup on my face, my hair looks awful, and I’m in sweats!” But I headed outside anyway where Geoff had set up a newly purchased table and chairs (I had told him months earlier that I thought it would be nice to eat outside on the deck when the weather was nice) with candles all around. When I sat down, Geoff started chatting about nothing in particular, just shooting the breeze! It occurred to me that maybe this wasn’t it, that maybe he was just being sweet and romantic. Fortunately, before I could do too much second-guessing, Geoff was kneeling in front of me and proposing. Of course I said yes, sweats and all!


We had a dessert buffet filled with mini-cupcakes, pies, mini moon pies, and my Mom’s homemade pumpkin bread. Instead of a large cake, we decided to have a small cutting cake for the two of us, which I made, called an “Appalachian Stack Cake.” The history behind these kinds of cakes is that when the mountain people of Southern Appalachia gathered for weddings, because cakes were so expensive, neighboring families each prepared a layer of the ginger and molasses cake to donate to the celebration. The bride’s family was responsible for cooking the dried-apple butter to spread between the layers. It is said that the number of layers in a cake was a measure of the popularity of the hosting family. Although I didn’t make our guests each bring a layer of cake, I thought this would be a nice tribute to Geoff’s family who are originally from the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. 
I had lived in Greensboro, NC for about a year but was having difficulty meeting new people outside of work. My mom suggested that I try the singles group at a nearby church. I was a little wary of the idea since I always thought “single’s group at church” was a euphemism for “trying to find a husband,” which I wasn’t trying to do. I had come to terms with my single life; I just wanted to make some friends. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try it out. I remember meeting Geoff that first Sunday and he seemed nice enough, and he was pretty cute, but he was kind of quiet and reserved — not really my type (not that I was looking!). As the most eligible bachelor in our group of mostly girls, I didn’t expect that he would take any particular notice of me anyway. But as the months went by and we started to get to know each other better, I realized that regardless of my initial impression, he was actually quite funny, but more importantly, he was a godly man. I remember emailing my friends and telling them about this guy Geoff, saying that “I don’t expect that anything will happen between us, but I know that he is the kind of man that I would like to marry one day.” Geoff says that my cheerfulness and sense of humor attracted him. We got to know each other even better through phone conversations that would last until the wee hours of the morning and eventually, we started dating. My mom claims full credit for us getting together since she was the one that suggested I visit the church in the first place.
In what month did you get married? 
October
How many guests attended your wedding? 
125
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
Geoff’s favorite detail was the Coke and Cheerwine in the glass bottles. My favorite detail was being able to finally wear my mother’s pearls. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I would wear my mother’s pearl necklace on my wedding day. It is the same necklace that my grandmother had given to my mother on her wedding day 30 years ago. Now they are mine to pass on to my future daughter.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? 
Finding a reception venue. We had found a church that we loved, but there wasn’t an adequate reception venue within 15 miles. After weeks of searching, my Mom finally suggested the idea of having the reception on the lawn of the church. It took a while to work out the logistics and we had to increase our budget, but I’m so pleased with how it all turned out. It ended up being exactly what I wanted.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? 
Less than $10,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? 
The tent. It wasn’t in the original budget, but it really helped to achieve the look and feel I was wanting for the reception. It was totally worth the extra expense and I would do it again for sure.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
Sit down and each make a list of the things that are most important to you for the wedding. It’s almost inevitable that you won’t be able to have everything you want, but by making the list, you can at least try and first take care of the things that are most important to you both. And remember, regardless of everything else, the most important thing is that you are married at the end of the day.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? 
We’re enjoying being newlyweds and working on some DIY home projects. We’re also talking about having some little ones in the next year or two. Even though my wedding is over, I can’t seem to give up my passion for weddings. I’m hoping that I can someday start working in the wedding industry.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
5 Comments
  1. avatar Laura reply

    Thanks so much for featuring our wedding! This is a dream come true!

  2. avatar Shelby reply

    And I thought I had heard of every Southern tradition in the books! I love the Appalachian Stack Cake. Such a great back story, and looks delicious to boot!

  3. avatar Kat reply

    Her bouquet is simply stunning!! I love the texture and soft fall colors. Beautiful wedding!!

  4. avatar NC Wedding Planner – Orangerie Events reply

    The red color throughout ties everything together beautifully. The tradition behind some of the decor is great! Thank you for sharing.

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If the sight of a glowing sperry tent in the middle of a manicured lawn doesn’t already knock your socks off, then maybe the bright and flowing linens will do the trick. Or maybe the rows of farm tables topped with blue Ball Jars full of wildflowers? Whatever detail of Alex + Paul’s wedding makes your heart skip a beat, there’s no denying there are plenty to choose from. Courtney Spencer of Merriment Events worked with the couple to create a springy and oh-so-Southern reception. In addition to being delighted with fun pinwheels and a gorgeous tablescape, guests took full advantage of the dessert bar, full of pies, cookies, coffee, and biscotti. Big thanks to Don Mears Photography for sharing this with us!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Since many of our guests came from out of town, we threw a welcome party the night before our wedding, in lieu of a rehearsal dinner. Many of our guests had never visited Richmond, so it was exciting for us to use our wedding weekend to show them the city. The welcome party was at the 2300 Club, in historical Church Hill, which was a great introduction into the history of Richmond. The reception was held at Maymont Park, a sprawling estate in the heart of Richmond. In late May, it was the perfect time of year for the local flora to be a part of the scenery of our wedding. And we can’t forget the Southern pies we served for dessert!
Describe your wedding flowers: We collected over 300 blue Ball Jars from Ebay and hand washed and wrapped each. Kristi of Flower Girls was great to work with and listened to our requests. We wanted a relaxed home feel with the colors of spring. We let her use her artistic talent to create a beautiful landscape.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: In addition to the pies, we had a dessert table offering six assorted cookies, coffee, espresso and biscotti.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our event planner, Courtney Spencer of Merriment Events, helped us figure out what details meant the most to us and our guests, and then took care of the rest.
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Our band, The Edge.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Seeing each other for the first time.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t sweat the small stuff! Hire people that you trust and give them the freedom to do their jobs.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We’ll be taking on the Big Apple for a couple years for job opportunities and look forward to moving back to the South after.

Photographer: Don Mears Photography // Planner: Courtney Spencer // Ceremony venue: St. Bridgets Catholic Church // Reception venue: Maymont // Florist: Flower Girls // Wedding Cake Baker: Sweetest Thing Bakery // Caterer: A Pimento // Rentals: Tent from Skyline // Linens: La Tavola, napkin rentals from Classic Party Rentals of Virginia, other rentals from Beehive Events and Festive Fare // Bride’s Dress: Matthew Christopher // Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade // Paper: Reception calligraphy by Ginny Rogan // Makeup: Stephanie Parker

*Merriment Events is a Southern Weddings sponsor.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
6 Comments
  1. avatar Tim Duncan reply

    Wow, the details of this wedding is just gorgeous! I’m love the table decorations – the flowers are perfect!

  2. avatar Joyce Racanelli reply

    Don Mears and Courtney, from Merriment were amazing to work with. The caterer, Gay and her staff were terrific! We all felt so confident in their work, it helped us enjoy the day to the fullest.
    The Mother of the Bride

  3. avatar Vintage Style Wedding Cakes | Heart Love Weddings reply

    […] source […]

  4. avatar Colorful Old Edwards Inn Wedding by Gina Zeidler, Part II « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] colors from this wedding? Check these out: Alex + Paul’s outdoor garden-like wedding here and here Tara + Steve’s pink and orange wedding here and here xo Nicole January 19, 2012 | view […]

  5. avatar Valerie Feathers reply

    Where did you find the teal mason jars?

  6. avatar Flores de Boda en tarritos de cristal | Holamama blog reply

    […] Imagen […]

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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