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Navy gingham, the perfect amount of cotton bolls, and the sweetest couple! Lisa told me ahead of time that I’d love today’s wedding and interview, and boy was she right–Alyson and Nick are exactly the kind of people BDK and I want to be couple friends with! I adore everything from the way Nick asked Alyson to be his wife (“Alyson, will you do me the honor of changing your monogram?”) to Alyson’s advice on wedding planning (“Focus on the marriage and not the wedding. If you stay focused on that, everything will fall into place as it should.”) Now throw in meaningful details, like the cross Alyson’s father made for their altar out of wood from their family farm, to the corn hole boards Nick’s father made, and I’ve officially fallen in love!

SW hugs to Danielle Nichol for capturing all the goodness of this day!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Nick had conspired with my best friend and maid of honor to have her deliver notes from him to me throughout the day of the wedding. The first one came as soon as I woke up. It was a note that said the best day ever had to start with my favorite thing ever: donuts! It included a Dunkin Donuts gift card. The next note came after we got our hair done, and I remember crying in the salon because the note said he loved me just as I was, with or without makeup and fancy hair (#nofilter). But I think the most memorable moment of the day for me was when my best friend handed me the last note, a long, really sweet and sentimental one. While I was desperately trying not to cry and ruin my makeup, my best friend hugged me, pointed to the note, and said, “You get to marry that today.” All the nerves and anxiety disappeared in that moment. I was surrounded by my favorite people in the whole world and about to walk down the aisle and say “I do” to the man of my dreams. It was all excitement and happiness from that moment on.

I actually fell in love with my wedding dress about a year before Nick proposed. I was on J. Crew’s website looking for a dress to wear to a cousin’s wedding and happened to stumble across a beautiful silk chiffon gown with an illusion neckline and beautiful appliquéd flowers across the chest. It was the definition of understated Southern elegance and I immediately fell in love. However, I wasn’t engaged and had no idea when that might happen, so as tempted as I was to just buy it and wait, I couldn’t. A year or so later, when we got engaged, I hopped online to purchase the dress, and it was gone. I reached out to J. Crew’s customer service team to see if there was any way they had an extra one around somewhere. They had two in a warehouse–both of which were 4+ sizes too big for me. I ordered the smallest one and crossed my fingers that I could find a seamstress who could make my dress dreams come true. I took the gown to an incredible seamstress in Atlanta who made it fit like a glove. She was a miracle worker and I will recommend her to anyone for as long as I live!

We decided to do a first look for a couple of reasons. For one, our wedding was in early October and the days were beginning to get shorter and shorter, so we wanted to make sure we got enough photographs while it was still light out. Also, I knew we would both be a bundle of nerves, anxiety, and excitement, and that seeing each other and getting a chance to pray together before the ceremony would be something that would really calm our hearts.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I think it was all the little meaningful details that really made the day special. My father made our cross out of wood from our family farm, Nick’s father made our corn hole boards, the corn in the corn hole sacks was from corn grown on our farm, and one of my dearest friends designed all the paper elements for the wedding. I also loved our spin on a guest book. We bought cutting boards in the shapes of Florida and Georgia to represent where we met and where we got married and have started our life together, and we asked guests to sign them. We now have them hung in our new home along with the knot we tied during the ceremony.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but the vows we said were a little different than the traditional vows we’ve heard throughout the years. My favorite line was in my vows to Nick: “I promise God and I promise you that I will cherish you and respect you, I will love you with a Godly love, and I will serve the Lord with you.”

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Oh, there were so many. The venue alone was full of Southern charm and hospitality. Our reception was inside a beautiful barn and The Wheeler House has a rich history in North Georgia. The cotton throughout the wedding, rustic florals, gingham bow ties, gilded magnolia leaf escort cards, wood from our family farm, sugared and peppered pecan favors, and personal touches from family and friends is what made our wedding so Southern. I think that’s what living and growing in the South is all about–coming together as family and celebrating something in a genuine, heartfelt way, before God and each other.

When we got engaged, I decided to incorporate raw cotton stalks and bolls into the floral arrangements and decor, so my family went out and picked cotton! LOTS of it! I’ve also always loved the fullness of garden roses and the wild feeling of ranunculus, so I wanted to make sure they were incorporated as well. We didn’t want every table arrangement to be the same, so we decided to have a wood log arrangement on every other table. My father cut wood of varying sizes and heights from pine trees on our farm in West Georgia, and our florist arranged them with hydrangeas and cotton spilling around them and candles in mason jars sitting on top. It added a touch of home and created the perfect romantic ambiance for the tables.

Our first dance was to Michael Buble’s version of “Crazy Love,” a song that I fell in love with about the time we started dating. Nick heard me listening to it all the time, so he taught himself how to play it on the guitar. I think the moment I fell in love with him was when he played it for me–either then or the first time he cooked for me. :) The father-daughter dance was also a special moment in the day. Growing up, my father would always ask me, “Have I told you lately that I love you?” And I’d roll my eyes and say, “Yes, Daddy.” Now as an adult, I realize just how important it is to hear your daddy say “I love you.” My dad also took me to school every morning until I was old enough to drive, and we would often listen to oldies in the car. For our father-daughter dance, we began dancing to “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You,” which broke into “Chantilly Lace” by Big Bopper halfway through–that’s when I learned my dad can jitterbug! Nick’s family is from Louisiana, and his grandparents are Cajun dance instructors, so we couldn’t have a wedding without getting them out on the dance floor to show us all how it’s done. The DJ put on the song “Jambalaya” and the two of them immediately started two-stepping. About 30 seconds into the song, his grandfather pulled me in and the three of us danced together!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Nick and I met in a broadcast journalism class at Florida State University. He was behind the camera and I was in front of it. We were paired together to do a story on Christian Ponder, FSU’s quarterback at the time. Before our interview with him, Nick asked if I wanted to get together to talk about the project. I agreed, so he picked me up that evening and we went to Mellow Mushroom for dinner, where we proceeded to talk about everything EXCEPT our story on Christian Ponder. Afterwards, he paid for dinner and dropped me off at home, I told my roommates, “I think I just went on a date.” After we wrapped up the story, I told Nick he should buy me dinner again, so he did. After over four years of dinners, laughs, two cross-country moves, and many wonderful memories, he proposed on a trip to Charleston with some of our very favorite people there to celebrate with us. My favorite part of our story, though, is what I learned long after we started dating. Before we met, Nick was helping a friend of his in our college program with some video editing of a sports story. When I came into the frame to do my on-camera stand-up, he asked the editor who I was. When she told him, he said, “I’m going to marry her.” Not long after, we officially met when we were paired up on our story.
Tell us all about the proposal! We have some good friends that live in Charleston, and their daughter was turning one over Labor Day weekend. Nick and I, along with some of our best friends from Florida, headed over to Charleston to celebrate. On the second day of our trip, we spent the day walking around the city and then headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. Nick suggested we take a walk on the Battery and take a look at the park before we met up with everyone. I happily agreed, as it was on my list of things to do while in town and the weather was absolutely perfect. We walked around the perimeter of the park looking at all the gorgeous homes, and as we walked up to the large gazebo, I saw candles, flowers, and a sign lining the steps on each side. We were still too far away for me to see clearly what it was, and my first thought was, “Oh my gosh, it’s a shrine. Someone died.” So I told Nick that we should walk around it to be respectful. He insisted we walk right up to it, and as we got closer, I saw that it was a framed sign that read, “Alyson, will you marry me?” I instantly started crying tears of joy as he got down on one knee and said, “Alyson, will you do me the honor of changing your monogram?” He had recruited our friends to set up the romantic spot, and they were hiding behind trees taking pictures of the whole proposal. It was so nice being able to celebrate with loved ones on such a momentous occasion, and we laughed and celebrated the night away with all the oysters we could eat.
When did y’all get married? October 3, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 85
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our pastor suggested Ephesians 5:21-23 and we’re so glad he did. We love the message of love and respect, how God designed men and women to desire each of these things differently, and how He calls us to meet those needs in our partners.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Providing the cotton and wood logs for the floral and decor arrangements was one way we drastically cut costs. We also decided to do a big chalkboard program instead of purchasing paper programs. Our venue allowed us to provide our own alcohol, so we were able to cut out the middleman and save some money that way as well.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Keep your eye on the prize. Focus on the marriage and not the wedding. If you stay focused on that, everything will fall into place as it should. You won’t be nearly as worried about if it will rain, if the menu cards look just right, or if the cake plate arrives on time. And have fun!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We’ve moved into our new home and are enjoying the “nesting” process. I’m almost done with my MBA program and we’re looking forward to having more time to spend together on new adventures. Our photographer and friend expressed our sentiments towards marriage so well. She said, “Being married makes even the most mundane things fun.” It’s so true. Grocery shopping has never been more fun. :)

Photographer: Danielle Nichol Photography / Planner: Winey Blonde Events Co. / Venue: The Wheeler House / Florist: Tony Whitlock Designs / Wedding Cake: Cake Envy / Caterer: Coast to Coast Catering / Ceremony Musicians: Amber and Jared Humphries / DJ: Nice Guys DJ / Paper Products and Makeup: Ashley Brooke Designs / Bride’s Gown: “Violette” by J.Crew / Hair Stylist: Danielle Bianco / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Men’s Suits: Jos A. Bank / Men’s Shirts: Banana Republic / Men’s Ties: Brooks Brothers / Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan / Bow Ties: High Cotton Ties

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Sara reply

    Very creative idea using leaves as table placecards. Beautiful wedding, great details. Congrats!

  2. avatar Nick + Ally| Atlanta Georgia Wedding Photographer | Danielle Nichol Photography reply

    […] are two kindred hearts. All the sweet southern details (Southern Weddings featured it on their site here!), the perfect mingling of friends and family,loads of perfect October Georgia weather, ah. It was […]

  3. avatar Stacey reply

    Beautiful! Do y’all know where those bridesmaid dresses are from? They are so precious and classy!

    • avatar Alyson reply

      Hi Stacey! The bride here! The bridesmaid dresses are from a small bridal store in Roswell Georgia called Wedding Angels boutique. I’m not sure what the style name is or the designer, but I bet if you emailed them with one of these pictures, they’d be able to help you! :)

  4. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #166 – Floridian Weddings reply

    […] out this cute Florida-Georgia wedding and the awesome wooden state shaped […]

  5. avatar Uplighting Rental reply

    Love the rustic look, so classic and such great tone.

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I’m convinced that the South Carolina Lowcountry is one of the most magical places in America. The coastal views, the Spanish moss, the sweeping plantations–everything about this part of the South makes it a true gem, and of course, an incredible wedding location. Although Frances and Joe live in Richmond, Laurel Spring plantation was the perfect place for their elegant, oh-so-Southern wedding–the plantation has been in Frances’ family for years. Beautiful and sentimental? Y’all know we love that!

Thank you kindly to Ashley Seawell for sharing Frances and Joe’s big day with us!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? As a child, I would pull into the gates of our Laurel Spring and remember always feeling like I was home. I remember vividly the feeling of pulling into those gates being different that day. Not only was there the calming, home feeling, but I also had a feeling of excitement for what the day held for Joe, our families, and me. That feeling continued up until I rounded the corner and finally saw him for the first time. It was a double feeling of home that was pretty incredible.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The fact that the whole day could be spent in one of our most favorite places with our loved ones really was enough, but personally, I also really loved how the boutonnières turned out. They were perfect for the setting and really provided the right rustic elegant feel, as they were made of cotton, rice, and quail feathers: all aspects of the Laurel Spring experience and history.

Describe your wedding flowers: We used peonies, white roses, and some greenery for the bridal bouquet and hydrangeas for the bridesmaids. Lots of greenery, flowers, vines, and cotton were used throughout the reception, with some quail feathers involved too. All simple, but very beautiful and fitting for the rustic, elegant plantation setting.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. It was not that we had anything against first looks, but we wanted to keep tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other until the ceremony. The boys got dressed and waited in the sunroom while the girls got dressed and waited in one of the master bedrooms. It was fun to be with our closest friends right before and really helped maintain the sanctity of the event, rather than forgetting the biblical reasoning behind the ceremony and the representation of the bride, groom, bridesmaids, and groomsmen.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but were married using the traditional Episcopalian order of service, and were married by my uncle, an Anglican minister. Being married by my uncle was such a special addition to the day, and he really did an amazing job of keeping the holiness of the service, even though we were not in a church.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We held the wedding at Laurel Spring Plantation, a home that has been in the my family for a very long time and was historically a rice plantation. We also included cotton, quail feathers, toile, and burlap for décor, a refreshment bar for when people arrived, including sweet tea made by Denita Simmons, the housekeeper and jack of all trades at Laurel Spring, a local, Lowcountry menu (shrimp, crab, duck, grits, candied bacon), and old dug-out canoes for holding the beer and water bottles. The setting included large live oaks draped in moss and a view of the old rice fields that are flooded with water–really beautiful. The ceremony was held under the live oaks with a large wooden altar adorned with a wooden cross made from wood of the Lowcountry.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: I have quite the sweet tooth, so we had an assortment of about ten different delicious cakes and cupcakes in the following flavors: banana pudding, sour cream pound cake, key lime, red velvet, carrot, coconut, lemon blueberry, strawberry, caramel, and chocolate. We also had a birthday cake because our wedding was on my mother’s birthday. In addition, we had a candy bar and some late night passed sweets (ice cream in waffle bowls and cinnamon sugar pretzel bites).

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Joe had just graduated from Hampden Sydney College and I had just finished my junior year at Wofford College. We both headed out West to work on a guest ranch, A Bar A, for the summer. We met soon after arriving and began hanging out with each other, riding horses together, fishing, and just enjoying what Wyoming has to offer. When the fall came close, we decided to continue dating, but to see where life took us. He was considering living out West, and even thought about moving to Australia (thankfully, that did not happen!). I knew I would be at school. Five years later, after going back and forth from Charleston, SC, Spartanburg, SC, and Richmond, VA, we settled on Richmond.
Describe the proposal. In November 2012, Joe had been sitting on the ring for several weeks, though I did not even know he was thinking about proposing! Joe had been hunting all day, but since he thankfully did not kill a deer that day, he came home in time for dinner. He told me to pick a place to eat, so I chose a quaint little sushi restaurant we like, which is casual, but always delicious. We enjoyed a nice supper and went to go to a local wine and beer shoppe afterwards to listen to live music and enjoy some drinks. After staying there for a while, we went to my house so Joe could pick up our dog, Platte. While we were there, Joe pulled Platte into the room with us and started talking about things that were pretty deep for a Saturday night. Well, one thing led to another, and before I knew it, he was down on one knee asking me to marry him. I was so excited that I forgot to say yes! When I finally looked at the ring, I realized it was very similar to my mother’s (which I loved, because I had mentioned long ago in passing how much I loved her ring). We then proceeded to call our families, who were very surprised and excited to hear the good news. Two neat things about this though: Joe had actually asked my dad if he had his blessing way back in August while we were vacationing with them at Pawleys Island, but my dad had not said anything to anyone else, so it was a surprise to my mom and family. Also, our first date was at a sushi restaurant, so it was pretty amazing that we ended up at a sushi place for the night of our engagement.
In what month did you get married? June 8, 2013
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I have never been the girl to dream about my perfect wedding dress, or even wedding, for that matter. I just figured that when the time came, I would know what I wanted and it would be great. Well, that’s pretty much exactly what happened. My mom had come up to Richmond during my grad school Christmas break and we went to a dress shop in Richmond. At the first shop we went to, I tried on maybe six dresses. One I loved for the top portion and another I loved for the bottom portion and the lace. Fariba, the seamstress, said she could easily add the sweetheart neckline and two straps to the second dress, so we decided to go with that! It worked out perfectly for me to have the features of the first dress translated onto the second dress. It was the most comfortable thing ever, too!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Joe’s cousin read Genesis 2:18-24 and my good friend from college read 1 John 4:7-16. Both were meaningful and powerful verses that we thought applied well to the wedding ceremony.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. We had a friend’s bluegrass band play for the ceremony and for a cocktail hour following the wedding. During the ceremony, the band played a beautiful assortment of bluegrass music and hymnals.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The distance between Richmond (where we were both living) and South Carolina, where my family, Laurel Spring, and so many of our amazing vendors were, was really hard. It made things a little difficult to manage, being so scattered all over the place, but having Jimmilib and my mother as the ladies in charge really made it so much better! I really wish there had been a way to do more planning in person, but thankfully the internet and phone calls made things easier!
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? We made sure that we hired a band that really delivered–and they did! I do not think anyone left the reception not smiling from the performance that the band put on! Also, I really loved the gifts that I gave to my bridesmaids. They were handmade earrings or necklaces by one of the bridesmaids, Gabe Bratton for Gabrielle Jewelry. They were beautiful and delicate, and had the perfect amount of femininity for an outdoor wedding. I also had an artist friend, Claire Wall, create a print of a hydrangea to be given to all of the hosts/hostesses of parties, bridesmaids, readers, greeters, and helpers, as a symbol of our appreciation for their help and service. They turned out beautifully!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy each minute that you are in and don’t rush the process. The engagement, the wedding, and the honeymoon will seem like a blur in hindsight if you do not take the time to enjoy right where you are. Also, a word for the girls, as this was advice given to me by a very dear friend: make sure that everything that you talk about as a couple during the months of your engagement is not just the wedding. Remember that you have dated this person before there was talk of a wedding and it is possible (though it may not feel like it at times) to have conversations that don’t include anything about the wedding. I know from my experience that Joe did not want to talk about napkins, flowers, and serving pieces every night, so we made sure to pay attention to limiting the wedding conversation.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are currently living in Richmond, VA and are enjoying getting settled into our new home. I am in graduate school and Joe is working with BB&T Scott & Stringfellow as a financial advisor. While life seems to be a little hectic right now, we are trying to make sure we make time for each other, our precious lab Platte, and being with our family and friends. Life is good!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Kat reply

    I’m loving the bridesmaids dresses! And I love how thoughtful she was to have a print crafted, too… so sweet, and very meaningful!!

  2. avatar Jadzia reply

    Stunning all around!

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    […] /2013/10/30/lowcountry-wedding-by-ashley-seawell/ […]

  5. avatar Dana reply

    such an amazing, stunning venue. i cant even imagine how gorgeous it is in real life.

  6. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Frances and Joe’s wedding has me dreaming of a trip to the South Carolina Lowcountry. What a breathtaking place for a wedding! See it here. […]

  7. avatar A country gentleman | PosyRosy reply

    […] buttonholes • shoes • bridesmaids top and bottom and wedding […]

  8. avatar P J reply

    Where were the bridesmaids dresses purchased from? Gorgeous.

  9. avatar Fall Wedding Flower Ideas by colour,What flowers are in fall? reply

    […] hydrangea – Jessica Watson Photography | light blue –  | Ashley Seawell via southernweddings | hydrangea with berries –  photo by Trentième […]

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Oh y’all, you know a Real Wedding is going to be gorgeous when you’ve already swooned (multiple times) and you’ve only seen the first three photos! It’s even better when you’ve also cried while reading the bride’s interview! Be sure to check out Mary Simm’s most memorable moment below — I know you’ll love it, too!

Mary Simms + Alex’s sweet South Carolina wedding was filled with family traditions, like the prayer her grandfather said before every meal, and handmade details like the amazing cross Alex made for their ceremony. When asked what was Southern about her wedding, she replied, “What wasn’t Southern about it!?” A girl after my own heart!

We SW gals are sending Jennings King some big ol’ hugs for sharing this lovely day with us!

Well hello, you beautiful sparklers! Mary Simms is giving the Duchess of Cambridge a run for her money!

Keep an eye on that monogrammed beauty there — it will make its debut later in the evening!

I found my dress at the first place I tried gowns on. However, I wasn’t quite ready to commit… finding THE one is a big deal, plus trying on all these beautiful dresses was beyond fun! My mother and I went to four other stores and I tried on probably 25 other dresses before returning to the first place.

A month before the wedding during my bachelorette party, my bridesmaids and I went out to the wedding site at Boone Hall and buried a bottle of bourbon under a tree. (This is an old Southern tradition that if done correctly (the bottle must be buried completely full and upside down) means it will not rain on your wedding day.) Not a drop of rain on March 29th, so it’s safe to say I am a believer!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Honestly, everything. Every little detail was made with love. One detail that we really enjoyed was our getaway car. It was a 1952 light green Ford pick up truck appropriately named Sweet Pea and it was used for so many things throughout the night. It was set up next to the Cotton Dock with the tailgate down. We had burlap-wrapped buckets with water bottles and cans of champagne in them for our guests. After the ceremony, Sweet Pea became the backdrop for our photo booth. It certainly made for some GREAT pictures! At the end, Alex and I sat on the back of the truck while a driver drove us off into the night.

For our wedding favors, Alex and I made 200 cotton angels that we tied strings to so they can be used for ornaments. We love to travel, and we always bring home a Christmas ornament from every place we go, so we thought the cotton angels would be a personal touch for all of our guests to keep. Alex picked the cotton himself from a family cotton field and we spent many nights gluing on halos and wings.

We did not write our own vows, but we made them custom to fit us. My favorite line from our vows was, “I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, loving you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face together.” My favorite verse from the God of Love Prayer was, “Bless this husband. May he so live that she may find in him the heaven for which her heart truly longs. Bless this wife. Give her the inner beauty of soul that never fades, that eternal youth that is found in holding fast to the things that never age. God, give them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them human, enough failure to keep their hands tightly clenched to yours, and enough success to make them sure they walk with you God.”

We didn’t do a first look either. Alex didn’t know anything about my dress or how I would wear my hair, and he wanted it to be that way until the moment he saw me walking down the aisle. As much as we wanted to see each other before, we knew the surprise factor would make it much more exciting for us. The second I saw him standing in front of me at the end of the aisle was the best second of my life. It was such an amazing and overwhelming feeling and I will never ever forget it.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy every minute because it all happens in the blink of an eye. Soak it all in and remember that at the end of the day it’s about the two of you. After your ceremony, have a friend or family member make you a plate of food and eat it! You will be so busy talking to everyone and dancing that it is easy to forget to eat. Also, a piece of advice that my photographer Jennings gave me a few days before the wedding: Try to take a moment or two away from everyone during the reception, just the two of you. Say I love you, take a few deep breaths, and enjoy your first moments as a married couple.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a round, three-tier cake with a bead border around each tier. Each tier was a different flavor: the bottom tier was white chocolate, the middle tier was hummingbird with a cream cheese filling (my absolute favorite!) and the top tier was chocolate Kahlua (which we have in our freezer!).

I love that Mary Simms changed from a white sash at the ceremony to this fabulous monogramed Tiffany blue sash at the reception!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. The night after a mutual friend pointed out we had a lot in common and should go out Alex asked me to go to dinner with him on Folly Beach. I ordered the tuna and asked for it to be cooked rare, and from that moment on Alex says he knew he was going to marry me one day. We in fact did have a lot in common (including our love for a good piece of seafood) and have had many dates since then!
Tell us all about the proposal! A few of our close friends had already booked a Mediterranean cruise and had been begging us to join them for months. Although Alex and I had just got a new puppy a week before, we decided that we just could not pass up this offer. We booked our spot on the cruise along with our plane tickets the very next day. Getting ready for the long journey across seas, I was nervous and excited all at once: not only was this my first time going to Europe, but we were also going to be there for my 25th birthday! Our itinerary said we would be in Rome for two days, the first of which would be on my birthday. On July 18th, Alex and I and our friends decided that we would tour the city of Rome, beginning with a tour of the Vatican. There is a strict dress code for the Vatican, where men have to wear long pants and women should not have their shoulders or knees showing. Needless to say, it got a little hot walking around the city in 80 degrees after the tour of the Vatican was over. We all decided to walk over to the famous Trevi Fountain to toss in our good luck coins before breaking for lunch. During the walk over, I noticed Alex wasn’t talking very much and seemed like he was trying to catch his breath. He assured me nothing was wrong, that he was just hot and would be fine soon. We made our way through the crowd, down the steps and to the bottom of the Trevi Fountain where my best friend Gina told Alex and I to face her as we tossed our coins in so she could get a picture. It was then, as I was grinning from ear to ear, tossing my coin over my shoulder at the same time Alex was, that Gina screamed, “Oh my Lord! Mary Simms!!” I had no idea what she was shouting for until I turned my head to look at Alex, who was down on one knee proposing. It was hands down the best moment of my life. I was in a beautiful city known for its romance, surrounded by my closest friends, and the man of my dreams asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. I said yes, and the entire crowd began clapping. It was magical, to say the least.
When did y’all get married? March 2013
How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. A trio including a flutist, a trumpet player and a violinist played music before the ceremony started. We used “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” for the seating of the mothers, “Trumpet Voluntary” for the processional, Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” for my processional, and Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” for our recessional. Our first dance was “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” by Van Morrison and our father/daughter dance was to “I’ll be there” by Jackson 5.
Describe your wedding flowers. Our flowers were absolutely beautiful: pink peonies, white roses, cherry blossoms, and white hydrangeas in large and small vases. Since our wedding was two days before Easter, we wanted our decor to be soft, but elegant.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? What wasn’t Southern about it!? We were married on an old dock on a historic, breathtaking Southern plantation surrounded by live oaks with hanging moss, cotton fields, oyster beds, and salt water. We also had a family prayer that was said before the food was served: “Lord, Bless us and Bind us, Put our Sins Behind us, and Hide us where the Devil can’t Find us!” My grandfather would say this before every meal, and it has been passed on to every family member. Alex built the cross we used as our backdrop on the dock. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. My aunt hand-sewed my new initials into the handkerchief that I used to wrap around my bouquet. We had a direction sign of our favorite places that we have traveled to over the years. The special thing about the sign was that each of my bridesmaids painted an arrow.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It was all very memorable, but the one moment that I will cherish for a lifetime was when I arrived at Boone Hall in the car with my maid of honor. We were waiting for the go ahead from my wedding planner that we could get out of the car when I saw one of Alex’s groomsmen running down the road toward us. I had no idea what was happening, or why on earth he was not with Alex and the other groomsmen. The ceremony was supposed to start in less than five minutes! He motioned for me to roll down my window, and when I did, he handed me a folded up piece of paper and said, “This is from Alex. He says he loves you to the moon and back times a million and he can’t wait to see you.” (Alex and I say that to each other all the time). The tears were already starting to roll, and I contemplated for about a second whether I should read the letter or not, because I didn’t want to be a complete mess walking down the aisle. But I pulled my self together and read aloud the sweetest letter I have ever received. All of my wedding jitters were suddenly gone, and I couldn’t wait to get out of that car!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Alex and I are most excited to start building a life and a family together. We closed on our first house two weeks after the wedding, and are now getting all settled in. We have plans to travel as much as we can and continue to enjoy every day that God gives us.

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marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    The only thing sweeter than this beautiful Southern wedding is the story behind it! I love their proposal story and her most memorable moment of the day!

  2. avatar Jennings Cornwell King reply

    You ladies know how to even make a photographer cry after looking at my images all over again, I love your detailed survey! It helps with all the story telling that I as the photographer can’t always express. THANK YOU Southern Weddings! phenomenal post!! – Jennings King

  3. avatar Julia reply

    Simply stunning!!!

  4. avatar Kat reply

    Oh I love her dress and that pretty blue reception sash! And you can’t beat a pickup named Sweet Pea!! Beautiful wedding :)

  5. avatar Elmira reply

    What a well-deserved honor for Jenning the photographer who caputered it all, Julia the MOB who planned it all, and Mary Simms…the beautiful bride who glowed through it all! What a special wedding and I am so happy it is being shared with so many through Southern Weddings!

  6. avatar Megan reply

    These pictures and ideas are fantastic!

  7. avatar Katie reply

    Do you know where they bought their custom koozies from? Loved all the ideas.

  8. avatar Amy reply

    Oh I love her garter… do you know where it’s from???

  9. avatar Jessica reply

    Who made your dress?? It is absolutely GORGEOUS!

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