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Weddings are always special and beautiful, but they are also so, so much more than that. They bring families together and begin new ones. They join two people who have chosen each other, over anyone else in the world. And in the midst of suffering, they are a much-needed source of happiness and comfort. Joan and Matt fell madly in love on their first date, and after months of Matt planning a proposal, there was an unexpected tragedy in Joan’s family. Her family urged him to go through with his plan anyway, and he asked Joan to marry him. As you can see in these beautiful pictures from their wedding, sure enough, their beautiful day was full of Georgia sunshine and the sweetest joy. We are so inspired by their love story!

Thanks so much to Soli Photography for sharing Joan and Matt’s wedding with us!

Matt and I met while working at a newspaper in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was a reporter and he came to the paper to help run the magazine division. He had seen me around the office and was trying to find a way to meet me. He later told me he thought I had one of the most beautiful smiles he’d ever seen. When we ended up in a meeting together, he fumbled around with what to say and acted awkward, but I liked him anyway. We had a lot in common, and I was taken by his vivacious personality and style. I asked him if he wanted to get coffee and he said he wanted to get drinks instead. We went to sushi and he told me his whole life story before the check came. We didn’t want the night to end. So, we went to a historic riverboat on the Tennessee River and drank Jack Daniels until we couldn’t see straight. We made friends at the bar with a blind guy and two Scottish bikers. We fell madly in love that night and we haven’t been apart since.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my wedding dress at Boutique Couture, a wonderful designer shop in downtown Chattanooga. It was love at first sight on one of my first trips shopping. All lace, fitted, with a heart shaped neckline and a glamorously long train. My mom told me I would be crazy not to get it, so I did.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We went traditional and I don’t really regret it. When Matt saw we walking down the aisle, he cried and cried. It was such genuine emotion, and it felt so special on our wedding day. Matt just loves surprises, so having see me for the first time at the altar felt like the ultimate in surprises.

We wrote our own vows, and it was what most people said was their favorite part of our wedding. We listened to our pastor, who said we should say what we wanted, but that we needed to remember the traditions, too. In Matt’s vows, he told a beautiful story of when he first realized I would be his wife. Before I read mine, I told him I was shocked he had written his so well. I thought I was supposed to be the writer in our family.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The barn and the farm were our favorite elements. Matt grew up on a dairy farm and my family raised cattle. It meant a lot to us to have the wedding near animals and on scenic land. I dreamed my whole life of dancing under string lights in an open barn with the hay bales stacked above.

Our wedding shouted the South from beginning to end. We had horses and goats in the fields. The party was inside a traditional old barn. We hung lace doilies that my mother in law made. We used old depression glass and milk glass to decorate. We ate BBQ and country pies and danced to my favorite country music. I wore boots under my beautiful wedding dress. And I tried to be the kind of Southern bride my grandmother would be proud of. I went to every table and thanked every guest for their attendance.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a small wedding cake decorated with billy balls and succulents, as well as several country pies. The groom’s cake was chocolate peanut butter and comic themed. Our desserts were so popular that we didn’t even get a piece of anything.

Tell us all about the proposal! Matt had been planning the proposal for months when our family received tragic news: my sister Dalta had been killed in a car accident a week before Matt planned to ask me to marry him. He had just traveled to my home in Birmingham, Alabama to ask my sisters and parents for their permission. We were devastated, but he was my rock. My father told him to go through with his plan, despite the pain we were suffering. Just 11 days after my sister passed away, he got down on one knee in front of my entire family and a group of close friends. He had made signs to put along the road to lead me to him and had my family in on his plan. Each sign detailed a beautiful moment in our relationship. Then the last one said “The Most Beautiful Moment Ever” and the arrow pointed to him holding a sign saying “This Moment.” For the first time in days, I saw my parents smile again. It was bittersweet, but I was overjoyed that the man of my dreams was asking me for forever. I jumped on top of him when I saw the ring. It was huge!
When did y’all get married? April 13, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Over 200
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Music is important to me and Matt, so we wanted our selections to be songs that meant a lot to us. We love Peter Cetera because his songs are so dramatic and Matt loves “Karate Kid: Part Two.” Our first dance was to “Glory of Love.” We learned a ballroom dance to go with it. I also sang Garth Brooks’ “To Make You Feel My Love,” because I think it is one of the most wonderful expressions of true love.
Describe your wedding flowers. The flowers included garden roses and ranunculus in yellow, orange and light pink. The whole bouquets with greenery looked untamed, like they were just picked from a field.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The hardest thing about planning the wedding was trying to grieve the loss of my sister at the same time.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I am most thankful for our wedding planners, the girls at Homespun Weddings and Events, our photographer at Soli Photography, and our florist at The Daily Flower. They really brought our imagination to life and had fun in the process.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The best moment was standing beside Matt during the ceremony, seeing his excitement and joy, hearing his vows, and kissing him for the first time as his wife.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I would say go with your gut. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing or thinking. Stay true to your vision as a couple. Don’t get too caught up in comparing your wedding to other weddings. Things won’t go perfectly, but it will be the imperfections that bring humor to you later. Soak in every minute, because the day will speed by so fast.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Everyone told Matt and I that the first year would be terrible, but we are loving every minute. Right now, we are thinking about our career futures and where we want to live next. I am trying to talk Matt into getting a beagle puppy.

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Those pies look delicious. I also love her amazingly sunny bouquet + those pretty bridesmaid dresses!

  2. avatar Mary reply

    Love her dress!! Maybe because it’s lunchtime, but my mouth is watering over those pies now! Such a beautiful wedding.

  3. avatar Dana reply

    this wedding has so many beautiful details! i love it!!

  4. avatar Featured: Matt & Joan – Southern Weddings | Soli Photography Featured: Matt & Joan – Southern Weddings | Chattanooga Photographer reply

    […] and Joan’s wedding was chosen by Southern Weddings Blog to be featured, oh my stars! I’m in love with the ladies at SWM and everything they’re […]

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My heart just about burst when I started scrolling through Kelsey and Clint’s wedding pictures. Everything from Kelsey’s cowboy boots to that dreamy Texas sky makes me miss my home state! Not only was Kelsey and Clint’s beautiful wedding such a celebration of the Lone Star State and the South, it was also full of details that celebrated their relationship and what matters most to them. Their rock “guest book,” for example, was a unique way for people to share their prayers and love, and now, Kelsey and Clint are encouraged by the messages on those rocks regularly. By focusing on faith and family, their wedding a truly meaningful beginning to married life.

Hugs to Taylor Lord for sharing Kelsey and Clint’s wedding with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? 
I borrowed Clint’s grandmother’s brooch for my bouquet, wore my tried and true Lucchese Boots for something old, and bought a gold bracelet with my new monogram for something new.

My family planned a trip to Park City, UT, and while I was preparing for a much-needed vacation, Clint was preparing for a sweet surprise. We planned on going climbing later in the week, but the anticipation was getting to Clint. On the very first morning, Clint proclaimed that we should hike that day due to the weather. My sister and brother-n-law backed out at the last minute due to an “injury.” I, being the inexperienced climber and gullible sister, bought every fib. During our assent, the signs began to appear “Are your hands swelling?” and “You should call your mom and let her know our ETA for lunch.” They were all minor questions that later revealed his secret. We rode the gondola lift to the peak and at the top sought out the perfect viewpoint. It was here, when Clint was fiddling with his GoPro camera to ensure that it was set perfectly, that I knew. Then, the sweet question followed. After tears, kisses and long embraces, Clint said there was one more surprise. Around the bend, my family was waiting for a sky-high celebration. Well done, Clint!

We love that Kelsey included the house party tradition in her wedding! Not familiar with house parties? Learn about this oh-so-Southern tradition here.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 
Our dear friend Kyle read Psalm 62:1-2, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you 
The wedding party took their seats to “Walk Down This Mountain” by Bebo Norman. Beyond the obvious title, my brother-n-law, Gabe Scott, is a musician and has played with Bebo for years. Plus, one of my best friend’s from college was our vocalist. It was sentimental on many levels. Being the amazing brother that he is, Gabe also composed an original piece on the hammered dulcimer for my bridal processional. During the ceremony, the entire congregation sang “Come Thou Fount” while Clint and I had a private moment of communion. Finally, for the first dances, we stuck with two Southern staples: George Strait and Alan Jackson.

We got married in the smallest incorporated city in the great state of Texas, Round Top (population: 91). My parents moved out to the country from Houston years ago, and now we call this charming town home. Even though it’s tiny, twice a year, Round Top transforms into one of the biggest antique destinations in the nation. The town square is home to the infamous Royer’s Round Top Cafe, small shops, Henkel Hall and a picturesque white church. I had two bridesmaids and the rest of my friends were House Party–one the best Southern traditions, in my opinion. The sound of our wedding was an ode to the South. My friend’s band, Brother of Pearl, played bluegrass and folk classics during cocktail hour. Then, the Westernaires polished off the evening with the sounds of steel guitar and fiddle, leading guests in a classic two-stepping evening. Our bar only served Texas beer and wine: Shiner and Becker Vineyards. Under the oak trees, we set up a game of washers. My dad used to judge the washer pitching tournaments at the Houston Rodeo, so no family gathering is complete without a game. Finally, Louie, our shepherd/lab mix, was an honorary groomsman and walked us down the aisle. He looked quite dapper in his bowtie. A true Southern gentleman.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Letting go of the details. Event planning is something that I love to do, but I constantly had to remind myself that people were there to help me. I surrounded myself with amazing talent: Taylor Lord, Gypsy Floral, Loot, my wedding coordinator Linda and of course, my mother.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
Rocks are an important detail in our relationship. Clint guides church groups up 14k mountains in Colorado and they ask the kids to find a rock that symbolizes something in their life to pray over. We wanted to incorporate this throughout our wedding. We had a display of river rocks for people to share blessings, thoughts, verses or encouragements. They now reside on our coffee table, and ever so often, I sort through them, finding one that speaks to me. Truly a blessing that we will carry throughout our marriage.

Gypsy Floral did an incredible job bringing our vision to life. We wanted the flowers to accent and showcase the amazing venue in Round Top, Texas. My bridal bouquet was composed of white peonies, white ranunculus, Juliet garden roses, thistle and white scabiosa flower accented by dusty miller. The stem was wrapped in ribbon and closed with Clint’s grandmother’s knife and fork brooch. French flower buckets filled with cream and green florals framed the church staircase, while two lemon leaf garlands lined the handrails. During the cocktail hour, Loot Vintage Rentals created seating vignettes under the oak trees. Each included a gorgeous arrangement to make it feel like home. Centerpieces were arranged using Queen Anne’s lace, my grandmother’s favorite flower. Finally, over the wedding party table, the girls created a driftwood arbor that was beyond my imagination. Created from aged driftwood, angle vine and curly willow, they hung terrariums and lanterns down from the center. The piece was a beautiful anchor for the entire evening.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. 
Cakes by Cathy has been a friend of my husband’s family for years. When we got engaged, it was no question that we were using Cathy. I wanted simple buttercream frosting with soft pearl dots lining each layer. Cathy worked with the Gypsy Floral team to add a floral garland. The “H” monogram on top came from BHLDN. For the groom’s cake, we went with another obvious (and delicious) choice, Royer’s Round Top Cafe. Tara Royer created the most beautiful pie display, almost like you were walking into an old soda fountain shop. And what is pie without ice cream? Blue Bell Ice Cream is made in the next town over, and if you’ve never experienced this delight, make a trip to Texas! Needless to say, dessert was scrumptious.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. 
Clint and I met while working on a political campaign. He was the politician’s executive aide and I was the photographer. Needless to say, we spent many hours traveling together and our friendship quickly grew into something much more special.
When did y’all get married? 
March 16, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 
250
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. 
After ten bridal boutiques (yes, you read that correctly) we found the one! I guess you could say I’m an indecisive shopper. Amber from Julian Gold Bridal in San Antonio was amazing. She found all the elements that I had loved about other dresses in this one Christos gown. Lace, sweetheart neckline, straps, comfortable and most importantly, it looked great with boots! We switched out the belt for an Emily Riggs hand-beaded design, shined my boots and called it a day.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? 
How does one pick? I have to say, The Westernaires were a sweet surprise. Dancing is a big deal at weddings. It’s safe to say it can make or break the affair, so we took a risk with our old fashioned two-stepping tunes. The dance floor was full all night long! It was one thing Clint and I didn’t expect and were so excited to see happen.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? 
My husband’s dad is a pastor in San Antonio. Out of all the laughter, dancing and memorable moments, his marrying us is one that will always be near and dear to our hearts.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
Breathe. The time will fly, the wedding day will race by. Take a moment to enjoy what you planned. We left our wedding, made the block, and came back to keep on dancing. We didn’t want the night to end!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? 
Traveling together! We are planning trips big and small. Experiencing new cities and cultures is something we are both passionate about.

Photographer: Taylor Lord Photography | Videographer: Stephan Stephanian | Wedding Planner: Linda Brunson – Family Friend | Ceremony Venue: Haw Creek Church | Reception Venue: Henkel Hall | Florist: Gypsy Floral | Wedding Cake & Dessert Baker: Cakes by Cathy Young & Royer’s Round Top Cafe | Caterer: Royer’s Round Top Cafe | Rentals: Loot Vintage Rentals | Band: The Westernaires | Bride’s Gown: Christos (Style: Irina) | Paper Products: Colette Creative (Invitation), Inviting Affairs (Program) | Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: Emily Riggs Bridal (Belt), Kate Spade (Earrings), Etsy (Monogram Bracelet) | Hair Stylist: Morgan Stephanian, friend | Makeup Artist: Morgan Stephanian, friend | Bride’s Shoes: Luccese Boots | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo (Style: Nabi) | Groom’s Attire: Joseph A. Bank | Groom’s Bow Tie: Billy Reid | Groomsmen Attire: Joseph A. Bank | Groomsmen Ties: Billy Reid

Taylor Lord is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Kat reply

    Their rock guestbook is so unique and so meaninful to the couple – I love that! And that driftwood arbor?! By far my favorite detail of their day!

  2. avatar KELSEY + CLINT | round top wedding | AUSTIN WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER TAYLOR LORD reply

    […] light, yummy couple, YUMMY PIE! Thanks to Southern Weddings for their feature today of this adorable southern Round Top Texas […]

  3. avatar Ray Hadaway reply

    Kelsey and Clint: Thank you for including us in your wedding. All of us in The Westernaires had a great time! It was a treat to meet the governor of Texas and to join in all the festivities. Wishing you both the best in life and blessing on your new life together.

    Ray Hadaway
    The Westernaires
    Western Swing & Classic Country

  4. avatar Dana reply

    reception area is so beautiful! this is a perfect texas wedding!

  5. avatar Gypsy Floral reply

    Loved every moment spent with this lovely couple! The day was a true reflection of their love and we were so happy to be a part of it! Gorgeous photos by Taylor Lord.

  6. avatar tara royer steele reply

    fav wedding ever!! love y’all!!

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