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Bride Sarah shares her classic Cypress Trees Plantation wedding.

Please meet today’s bride, Sarah! Her South Carolina wedding to Dustin was filled with intentional details and lots of Southern charm – the perfect combination in my book! And as a matter of fact, Sara was voted “most likely to have a dream wedding” in high school. Something I’m sure her past classmates would confirm she absolutely accomplished! You’re going to want to keep scrolling to see more of Sarah and Dustin’s classic, blue and white celebration.

SW hugs to Jennings King Photography!

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your wedding? That’s a hard question, as I literally tried to make everything meaningful to us since we are a very sentimental couple! I was also voted “most likely to have a dream wedding” in high school, so I had a lot to live up to :) To start things off, I had some of my grandmother’s lace from her wedding dress and some of my mother’s lace from her wedding dress sewn on the inside of my dress with a patch. I had my seamstress make a handkerchief with my grandmother’s lace, my mother’s lace, and a little fabric from my dress, embroidered with “love always,” and gave that to my mom on the day of the wedding. My bouquet had part of my grandmother’s jewelry attached to it. I also had on a pearl bracelet my dad had given to my when I was twelve for confirmation at church. The white Bible used in the ceremony was my father’s that was given to him at birth. The cross that stood next to us during the ceremony traveled from my home church along with the preacher that officiated. The sweet grass basket the flower girl carried has been my Easter basket ever since I was little. The bagpipe songs were played at our college graduation. Our wedding cake was prepared by a family member. Lastly, our dog, Walker, and my parents’ dog, Jack, were able to visit us right before we took pictures with our wedding party.

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I visited three places to find my wedding dress and found my dress on the third try. While I loved just about every dress I put on, my main goal was to find a dress that “looked like me.” On our third trip, my mom and I picked several dresses to try on at Fabulous Frocks in Charleston. I chose my wedding dress particularly because I liked the fabric – crazy, I know! After trying on many dresses in the store, I narrowed it down to two. My dress had a skirt that was detachable, and attached with a removable bow. The sales consultant said, “That dress does have a bow that you can put with it, but most people don’t.” Little did she know that bows are my thing — I love them! The other dress I was considering had a blush undertone. I loved them both and couldn’t decide, so my mom and the sales consultant each wrote down her favorite, knowing that if my mom told me I would probably pick the one she said because that is just how I am. After thinking it through, I chose the bow gown — and it was the one my mom had picked, too! (Which made me so, so happy!) The dress was everything I wanted: simple, elegant, and classic.

Did you decide to do a first look? We did decide to do a first look, primarily to ease our nerves a bit. We were skeptical at first, but would highly recommend it now. Getting a chance to share that special moment in private is something we will always cherish!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? The venue was on Edisto Island, which is our favorite place! My parents have a beach house on Edisto, and Dustin and I go there religiously to relax and spend time with family and friends. I knew immediately when we stepped foot on Cypress Trees Plantation it was the one. Being so close to the water really made us feel the true beauty of God’s creation.

What was Southern about your wedding? We both grew up in the South and have held true to our roots, so most things were Southern about our wedding! There were Southern touches everywhere, from the shrimp and grits cake to the men’s Charleston sweet grass roses as boutonnieres. The tables at the reception had beautiful blue flowers and oyster shells as centerpieces, and we danced the night away to Motown and beach music songs. The shag, which is the South Carolina state dance, was danced by friends and family on the dance floor.

What did you serve for your wedding cake? We served a delicious cake that was made by a family member. It was a four-tiered vanilla cake with chocolate-covered candies on each tier, placed on a wicker stand. We also served mini key lime pie tarts and gave everyone a sugar cookie with the outline of a Labrador retriever in honor of our dog, Walker.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Meeting my best friend and falling in love made my life complete.
Tell us all about the proposal! Dustin asked me to be his wife on March 17, 2017 on Edisto Beach! We had been planning to go to the beach for the weekend with my parents for awhile, but I had no idea what else was in store. Dustin bought the ring from Windsor Jewelers in Augusta, GA, which is just outside of my hometown of Aiken, SC — this is special, because Dustin asked my Mom to help him pick the ring out! The ring wasn’t scheduled to be ready until Friday the 17th, so Dustin arranged for my parents to pick it up before heading down to Edisto for our weekend together. Luckily (and with a lot of stalling by Dustin), my parents beat us down there and were able to hide the ring in a towel closet in the bathroom. When we got to the house, Dustin went to the restroom and then asked if I wanted to go out on the beach and see if my parents were out there. After taking just a few steps outside, Dustin proposed! It was all coordinated perfectly, as my hidden parents and brother were able to see and photograph the whole thing!
When did y’all get married? April 21, 2018
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a harpist and a bagpiper play music during the ceremony. The bagpiper played “Highland Cathedral” and “Scotland the Brave,” which were both played at our college graduation. Our first dance song was “With this Ring” by The Platters, because it’s fun and upbeat and we love oldies!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite thing about planning our wedding would be deciding on flowers, decorations, and our invitation suite — some of my easiest decisions! Those were places where we were able to add our special touches and display our personalities.

Photographer: Jennings King Photography | Videographer: Hart to Heart Media | Planner: Meagan Warren Weddings | Venue: Cypress Trees Plantation | Florist: Cote Designs | Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Family friend | Caterer: Southern Way Catering | Rentals: Ooh! Events and La Tavola Linen | Lighting: Ambient Media | Band: Men of Distinction via ECE | Paper Products: By Farr Design Studio |
Bride’s gown: Pronovias | Hair stylist: Hunter Gray at Gloss Salon | Makeup artist: Pamela Lesch Makeup | Bride’s shoes: Jack Rogers | Bridesmaid dresses: Lula Kate via Bella Bridesmaids | Menswear: Granger Owings of Columbia and Brackish Bowties | Ring bearer outfits and flower girl dress: Southern Belles | Live artist: Megan Carn

Meagan Warren Weddings, ECE, and By Farr Design are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Sara Dunn reply

    Oh my gosh, I LOVE the elegant white color palette of the bride & groom portraits. So classy! And the portrait with their dogs is adorable.

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With so many beautiful weddings in our print issues, it’s always hard to pick a favorite. However, when the bride emulates Jackie O’s elegant style, describes her wedding day look as “Kennedy-inspired,” and then calls their wedding day theme “Southern elegance” with personal touches, it’s hard not to choose it as my favorite! Lauren and John knew that fall in the South was just too pretty to pass up, so after consulting both the SEC football schedule and the Farmer’s Almanac weather projections, they decided it was the perfect time to celebrate with their family and friends. Their wedding at the Rye Patch pairs a beautiful and romantic color palette with the crisp air of fall in such a way that is as classic as Jackie O. herself! With the help of her sweet mama, a talented artist, Lauren incorporated hand-painted floral watercolors into their details that added even more beauty and meaning to their day.

Big SW hugs to Ashley Seawell for sharing her beautiful work with us in V8!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? I emulate Jackie O’s crisp, elegant style and wanted something structured and architectural. I knew lace or ruching (though beautiful!) was not me, and the “no ruche, no lace” rule left some boutiques with literally nothing to show me. The Amsale Jane dress caught my eye immediately at The House of the Bride in Augusta. It was the second dress I tried on, but being a “researcher,” I did not make the decision until after I hit the Boston boutiques. As I’ve learned, first loves are hard to beat! My Kennedy-inspired “simple with a twist” look was answered by the Amsale gown, complete with the classic bateau neckline and streamlined silhouette, and the unexpected organza train in the back made my heart flutter. I’ve always been a big shoe lover, so when I found my white Chanel shoes with white soles (and thick enough heels so as to not aerate the outdoor lawn location), the look was complete. I wish I could wear it again!
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? I let my bridesmaids select their own dresses, and I gave them guidance of a neutral color palette. They are each such beautiful, special women; I wanted to see those unique personalities come through in their dress selections and have them feel comfortable in a dress of their choosing. I loved the differing textures and colors, and each woman looked stunning! I couldn’t have picked out better dresses if I tried.

Our two biggest themes were “Southern elegance” and “personal,” so we wanted our fingerprints all over the wedding. The ceremony was one of the most intimate and important details to us. We wrote our whole ceremony together, and the judge John clerked for was the officiant. Since we wrote the ceremony ourselves and are both music lovers, we viewed the ceremony and the music as our readings. We borrowed a line from a Native American blessing that we still love, as it speaks both the individuality and plurality of marriage: “Now you are two persons, but there are three lives before you: his life, her life and your life together.” Judge Cothran also imparted words of wisdom to “always have fun,” and we bring up his advice to provide perspective when we need it.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you?The venue was very important to ensure our classic Southern theme would come to life. Since we both grew up in Augusta, we wanted to get married in that area. We established two criteria: an outdoor venue with live oaks for the ceremony, and the ceremony and reception sites being within walking distance, so people only had to park once. When my mom sent pictures of Hopelands Gardens and The Rye Patch, we immediately fell in love with the location. It was the perfect venue for us.

We wanted the menu to scream Southern, but also include some family recipes. We had a carving station with beef tenderloin, Augusta green jacket salad, charcuterie and cheeses, shrimp and grits, and grilled pimento cheese with tomato soup, to name a few dishes. Boiled peanuts were strategically placed outside on various tables for people to snack on.

Tell us about your wedding flowers. Karin Jeffcoat of Cote Designs has exquisite taste, and incredible vision and execution. I wanted organically shaped bouquets, maidenhair ferns, and the feel that the flowers had been plucked from a Southern grandmothers’ beautiful garden for an afternoon party. Even though it was a fall wedding, we wanted a soft color palette for the wedding: moss greens, pale peach and whites. In the reflecting pool at the ceremony location, Karin built floating magnolia leaf wreaths around lanterns that shifted when the wind blew — it was stunning. She nailed that natural, simply elegant look, accented with vintage gold, brass and cut glass vessels. My mom’s hand-painted watercolors of botanicals and flowers echoed this theme and added extra personal touches to our décor. All the boutonnieres had flies tied on by the groom, in honor of his favorite pastime of fly fishing.

Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: My mother is an artist, and she hand-painted watercolors of flowers/ferns/succulents to hang on the ceremony chairs and be placed at the reception tables. They also served as the artwork for the printed materials (gift bags and ceremony program), and the guests could take them as a parting gift. She also made pillows for the benches that screen grafted botanical prints. She’s incredibly talented, and I cannot thank her enough. My dad passed away from cancer in 2007. We celebrated him with meaningful details, which reminded me throughout the day that he is always with us: a surprise small framed picture in my bouquet so he could still “walk me” down the aisle, his famous mashed potato recipe served at dinner, and my brother and I’s dance to “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” by The Four Tops, which was my dad’s favorite song. My mom, Todd, and I all danced together and had everyone laughing. Finally, we made a donation to the American Cancer Society on behalf of guests “in loving memory of those who have fought and lost, in loving appreciation of those who have fought and won, and in loving support of those who are still fighting.”

Our thought was that if one cake is good, 10 is better. We wanted the look of handmade treats brought in by many people, so we had several cakes, both naked and frosted, in different flavors. Cote Designs made sweetgrass pedestals and also placed some in bell jars. Coconut cake was the main cake, and displayed a topper from John’s parents’ wedding. We also served red velvet, seven-layer caramel as the charm pull cake, a German chocolate torte, pound cake with fresh berries and cream (John’s favorite), and my grandmother’s famous chocolate cake recipe.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. In 2000, before heading to high school soccer practice in our hometown of Augusta, John approached me on the tennis court to introduce himself. At that moment, a 15-year road started. We reconnected as a couple in 2010 during a trip home to Augusta. We survived long distance between small town South Carolina and small town New Hampshire, until John made the ultimate romantic gesture: taking the Massachusetts Bar. That is probably the first and only time the Massachusetts Bar exam has been described as being romantic! John very graciously took his second state law exam so I could pursue my career in health care in Boston. After three wonderful years (and an engagement!) in New England, we moved back to Charleston the week before our wedding for John’s new job at a law firm downtown. Through our decade and a half of adventures, we have come to believe in the old saying: “Good things come to those who wait.”
Describe the proposal: In September 2013, John took me on a “mystery trip” (an activity we try to surprise each other with a few times a year) to Woodstock, Vermont. Woodstock is a classically charming New England town that has a special place in our history, as we visited for dinner and skiing several times during his visits to see me in business school. September in Vermont meant beautiful foliage–the perfect backdrop for a very memorable day. We went for a walk after breakfast, and John asked me to marry him in front of a classic Vermont covered bridge. After sharing the news with friends and family, we went for a hike and had dinner at our favorite spot, where (knowing how sentimental I am) he had pre-selected handmade wine glasses ready for us to enjoy during the meal and take home as a keepsake. We are still enjoying those glasses at dinners at home in Charleston.
Tell us all the basics of your wedding! On October 11, 2014, we had outdoor ceremony in Hopelands Gardens and a reception at the Rye Patch in Aiken, South Carolina. The 4:30 P.M. ceremony and beautifully sunny day took us into a gorgeous, dance-filled night under the stars (no tents! Which was a nervous gamble, but it paid off when the weather cooperated!). Both being huge SEC fans, I always joked that no self-respecting Southern woman would get married on a Saturday in the fall…which I promptly did anyway because the time of year for an outdoor wedding was too good to pass up. When picking a date, we consulted both the football schedules and the Farmer’s Almanac weather projections. In retrospect the “not too bad” game weekend ended up being closer/bigger than we had originally thought, but people were too busy dancing the night away to be missing the Dawgs or Crimson Tide too much!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Personal, Southern, elegant
How many guests attended your wedding? Approximately 170 of our favorite people from all over the country gathered in Aiken for the weekend. We were able to rent out The Willcox, a historic, charming inn less than a mile away from Hopelands for most of our family and wedding party to stay in.
Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: Having the judge John clerked for and remains close to officiating was very personal and special to both of us.
What was the design inspiration for your reception? The Rye Patch is a historic estate maintained by the city of Aiken. I wanted our reception to feel like it was a backyard reception at an elegant Southern grandmother’s home. The natural landscape and the pristine interior were a stunning backdrop, to which Karin at Cote Designs and my crafty mom added special details throughout. We risked it and went no-tent (not going to lie, that did cause a lot of anxiety in the days leading up to the event!), but the layout helped transition from sunset into the nighttime dancing. It was a magical garden dinner and dancing party under bistro lighting hanging from the huge oak tree. We loved it!
Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? We included family recipes and favorite dishes into the menu, including my dad’s famous mashed potatoes, John’s favorite cake, and my grandmother’s frosting recipe. We also had the wedding pictures of our parents and grandparents near the parting birdseed and vintage postcards that served as our guest book.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Moving 1,000 miles from Boston to Charleston the week before the wedding and John starting a new job meant a lot of exciting change in October. We are looking forward to exploring our new hometown of Charleston, finally being within driving distance of family in Augusta, and enjoying our time as husband and wife.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? If you are having an outdoor wedding, the rental costs for the space can be lower, but don’t forget about all the rentals you have to bring in (chairs, tables, linens, lighting, etc.). Don’t forget to check how much power you’ll need for lighting and a band…you may need an extra generator at the last minute!
Who was your favorite vendor and why? My mom is the MVP–she was incredibly patient, creative, and dedicated. We could not have had the wedding of our dreams without her support and love. Thank you to her, all our vendors, and to all our friends and family who made this day so special for us.

Photographer: Ashley Seawell | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Florals and Event Design: Cote Designs Floral and Event Designs | Ceremony Venue: Hopelands Gardens | Reception Venue: Rye Patch | Caterer: Tastefully Yours, LLC | Cake Baker: Donna Jannik | Bride’s Gown: “Jane” by Amsale | Bridal Salon and Veil: House of the Bride | Bride’s Shoes: Chanel | Hair Stylist: Hair by Robbin | Makeup Artist: Alexandria Taylor | Groom’s Fashion: Brooks Brothers | Rentals: Goodwin Events and All Star Events | Vintage China, Flatware, and Glassware: Southern Vintage | Linens: Nuage Designs and Cote Designs | Transportation: Lewis Bus Line | Videographer:Cinema Couture | Strings Ceremony Music: The Henrys | Gospel Trio: The Pinckney Sisters | Reception Music: The ATL Groove Factory | Bride’s Bouquet Ribbon: Silk and Willow | Rings: Boston Platinum | Calligraphy: Ann Erickson

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    It’s really a joy to get to introduce y’all to a new set of Blue Ribbon Vendors each month, because I just know any one of them would be a joy to you if you choose to work together! This time around, we’re introducing you to a few of them through their answers to some of our favorite BRV interview questions. Click through to their listings to find out more about them!

    Name: Amanda Day Rose Paperie
    Where you call home: Richmond, Virginia
    Favorite thing about weddings in the South? Southern weddings are so rich with family, friendship, Southern culture, and memories. I love how I can see a little piece of my own family background and culture in each and every Southern wedding I’ve worked on.

    Name: Candace Nelson Photography
    Where you call home: Troy, Alabama
    Early bird or night owl? I guess I have to say early bird. I get up almost every morning at 4:30 to workout – commitment and dedication, right there!!

    Name: Cote Designs
    Where you call home: Aiken, South Carolina
    Favorite thing about weddings in the South? The elegant and understated charm of each event.

    Name: Dannon K. Collard
    Where you call home: Charleston, SC
    Favorite part of a wedding day? Everything! I feel like I’m part of the family the moment I walk in the door. I get to hear the bridal party reminisce on the good ole days, see the bride read the letter from her groom, watch the mother of the bride help her daughter into her dress… it’s so emotional, and I thank God everyday that I get to be a part of it!

    Name: Ever Thine Events
    Where you call home: Augusta, GA
    How I got into weddings: I was always a lover of antique and vintage things. I rented vintage for my wedding three years ago and I became enamored with the idea. I started collecting and renting pieces out of my garage. From that point it was just a slow evolution from the rentals to what now is a full service styling/planning/floral design company!

    Name: Green Bee Floral Designs
    Where you call home: Winston-Salem, NC
    Favorite thing about weddings in the South? Great outdoor wedding weather! We squeeze a little more warm weather out down here… which means more tea-sippin’, fan-waving, biscuit eat’n, outdoor wedding goodness!

    Name: I Do I Do! Wedding Planning
    Where you call home: Birmingham, AL
    Favorite thing about weddings in the South? I love all the personal details we incorporate into weddings here – the custom monograms, special paper details – I love it all. I also think, in the South, the guest experience is very important. Southern hospitality is of utmost importance to our couples.

    Name: Jacqueline Dallimore Photography
    Where you call home: New Orleans, LA
    Favorite part of a wedding day? My favorite part of the wedding day is the bride and groom’s first dance. I often find myself tearing up behind the camera!

    Name: Jeff Hall Photo
    Where you call home: Greenville, SC
    How I got into weddings: I’m really a documentary photographer at heart. I gravitate towards authentic images that have meaning. Weddings offer me the opportunity to make something that means something to my clients and their families. Wedding photos are priceless by nature, and having the chance to capture something both momentary and invaluable is thrilling as a person and a photographer.

    Name: Jen Dillender Photography
    Where you call home: Austin, TX
    How I got into weddings: There are three things my husband and I love: Jesus, each other, and (being true Southerners) college football. Shortly after we got married, I wanted to pursue photography, but being newlyweds, we couldn’t afford a nice camera. My husband and my brother ended up making a friendly bet on a football game (Texas A&M vs. Baylor), and if our beloved Aggies won, my brother would buy us the camera I’d been eyeing. If Baylor won, we’d name our firstborn after him. As luck would have it, the Aggies pulled out a victory, I had the camera a week later, and the rest is history!

    Check out all of our favorite vendors in the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory! I also wanted to mention that we’re working particularly hard to expand some of our areas of slim pickings – namely, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. If you would like to recommend someone (or nominate yourself!) for any of these states, please email emily at southernweddings.com!

    emily Written with love by Emily
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