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A big part of setting my own wedding date was which flowers would be in season, and while I don’t know if Ashley and Shane planned this from the beginning, with that criteria in mind, they couldn’t have picked a more magical weekend to become husband and wife! These two met, fell in love, and tied the knot in our nation’s capital, and their wedding date landed exactly when the iconic Washington D.C. cherry blossom trees were in full bloom. With the help of their planner, A. Dominick Events, and their florist, Amaryllis Inc., they fully embraced the opportunity to incorporate these seasonal blooms into their day. The results included one of the most incredible ceremony set-ups I have ever seen, as well as some of the prettiest portraits!

We were so thrilled to include Ashley and Shane in V8–thanks so much to Abby Jiu for sharing their special day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? My wedding dress was the first dress I tried on at the first bridal salon I visited! I had my dress customized by the designer, Modern Trousseau. I loved everything about it!

Our wedding was a spring wedding in Washington, D.C. It occurred the weekend that the cherry blossom trees were in full bloom. We held our ceremony and reception at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. It started at 5:30 p.m. and the attire was black-tie optional.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? We had a religious ceremony officiated by Reverend Jeff Mazal. We opted to use traditional vows, and reciting them was the most special part of the ceremony. We also had a wine box ceremony at our wedding, which we loved. Our guests seemed to enjoy it too.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? We had a string quartet, Pop Culture Strings, perform the music for our ceremony. For the processional, they played “What a Wonderful World.” I walked down the aisle to “Canon in D.” Our recessional song was “We Found Love” by Rihanna.
Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: The décor of the ceremony. The cherry blossom-lined aisle made walking down the aisle to Shane more magical than I could have ever imagined.

For the ceremony and reception decor, we chose to focus on modern elements with accents of lush, seasonal florals in shades of pink. The guests were greeted with an escort card display of lucite tables featuring pale pink roses, cherry blossoms, and orchids. The modern aspects of the lucite provided a striking contrast to the stone entryway of the historic venue. At the ceremony, we used lucite chairs, and a breathtaking aisle was created out of cherry blossom branches sitting on pale pink boxes. As the guests enjoyed cocktail hour, the ceremony space was transformed and transitioned to deeper shades of pink. The patterned navy linens tied back to the wedding invitations, while the pops of pink in the table arrangements and napkins brought a fun punch to the otherwise gray room.

Tell us about your wedding flowers. How did you choose them? What did you love about them? I was not a bride who came in with a list of the kinds of flowers that she had to have at her wedding. I knew that I wanted a lot of pink florals, but that was it! I really trusted our florist, Amaryllis, to create beautiful arrangements based on my taste. They did an amazing job! My bouquet was made of garden roses, peonies, ranunculus, lisianthus, and gloriosa lilies. The bridesmaid bouquets included softer colors than the bridal bouquet, and featured pale pink garden roses and a touch of dusty miller.

We had a sit-down dinner that started with a wonderful spring salad, follow by a surf-and-turf entrée. We served a petite filet mignon and a crab cake. Following dinner, we had dessert and cookie tables that guests were able to choose from. The caterers also passed around some late-night snacks, which our friends loved after working up their appetites on the dance floor. The late night snacks included french fries, beef sliders, and mini pizzas.

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. We could not decide on just one flavor for our wedding cake, so we had three: carrot cake, a traditional buttercream cake, and chocolate truffle.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. When you ask either of us how we met, we generally reply with a chuckle and say “at a bar.” In 2010, Shane was working part-time as a DJ at a bar in the historic neighborhood of Georgetown in D.C. I was at the bar for a friend’s birthday celebration. Shane struck up a conversation and we hit it off immediately.
Describe the proposal: Shane knew only one thing about how he wanted to propose: he wanted it to be a surprise. He proposed on May 25, 2014. The weeks prior had been full of excitement–we spent a week in the Dominican Republic, Shane graduated from George Washington University, and almost all of his immediate family came to town to visit for his graduation festivities! I was hoping a proposal would happen at one of those events, but it didn’t. A week after Shane’s graduation, one of my best friends, Sara, came home for a visit. Sara wanted to spend some time outside of the National Cathedral (we both had attended and graduated from the National Cathedral School for Girls). I thought this was a great idea and tried to convince Shane to come along. He appeared to be a bit uninterested, but eventually obliged. We all spent about an hour walking through the Cathedral and pointing out our favorite stained glass windows, and walking around the grounds and down into the chapels. Our last stop was the Bishop’s Garden, which is one of my favorite places. By this time, I was ready to leave so we could get home to prepare for a cookout we were hosting that night. However, Shane insisted that we sit and enjoy the garden for a while longer, so we found a spot in the grass. It was then that Shane pulled the engagement ring out of his pocket and asked me to be his wife! Of course, I said yes!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Energetic, joyful, fun
How many guests attended your wedding? 250
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? Shane found it difficult to pick his most memorable or touching moment of the wedding day, but he would say it was a tie between walking back up the aisle with me after the ceremony and the toasts. For me, the most touching moment was when Shane recited our vows.
Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? All of the guests at our wedding are extremely important to us. However, our most special guest was my 90-year-old grandmother. It was such a blessing to have her share our special day with us.
What’s next for you as a couple? Shane is beginning graduate school in the fall. We are going to work to become established in our careers and build a strong foundation for our marriage.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? If it is in your budget, hire a wedding planner. It was the best decision we made and truly helped us enjoy the process.
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration: The best advice we received during the wedding celebration was to take a few minutes to appreciate and process what’s happening around us on our wedding day. It is one of the only days of your life when all of your friends and family will be in the same place. Enjoy it!

Photographer: Abby Jiu | Videographer: Blue Sky Films | Planner: A. Dominick Events | Venue: Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium | Florals: Amaryllis, Inc. | Caterer: Design Cuisine | Cake Baker: Kendall’s Cakes | Bride’s Gown: Modern Trousseau | Bridal Salon: Hitched Salon | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bride’s Jewelry: David Yurman | Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale | Hair Stylist: Decade Hair Design | Makeup Artist: Nour Kazoun | Groom’s Tuxedo: Alton Lane | Groom’s Shoes: Paul Parkman | Groomsmen Fashion: The Black Tux | Ties: The Tie Bar | Paper Goods: Cheree Berry Paper | Rentals: Party Rental and DC Rental | Linens: La Tavola | Transportation: Atlantic | Lighting: Frosting Lighting | Officiant: Rev. Jeff Mazal of Weddings by Jeff | Valet: MJ Valet | A Capella Choir: Hullabahoos | Pop Tarts: Ted’s Bulletin | Chocolates: Historical Chocolate Company | Champagne Splits: Personal Wine | Welcome Bags: Wedding Chicks | Cake Topper: Better Off Wed | String Quartet: Pop Culture Strings | Band: Sound Connections | Escort Cards: Lettering by Lynne

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah Chancey reply

    The cherry blossoms are to die for in this design, I love how they incorporated it in their photos outside and then brought it inside, genius! Also, how adorable is this couple?

  2. avatar April reply

    What a beautiful wedding! All of the details are carefully thought out. It’s almost as breathtaking as the bride herself.

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At Southern Weddings, we always say that the most meaningful source of wedding inspiration is your own love story and your personalities. Drawing from that rich well is a surefire way to ensure your guests will proclaim your day “so you”–something I think every couple wants to hear! As I read through Caroline and Shaun’s interview, I kept noticing subtle ways their own stories influenced their fall wedding, from the dress Caroline chose, to the song she walked down the aisle to, to the venue they invited their beloved guests to. I’m confident that surrounding themselves with things they truly love played a small role in their joy on this beautiful day, which is so evident in these photos by Whitney Wysong!

I had always known I wanted to wear a long-sleeved wedding dress. My grandmother and my mom both wore long sleeves for their weddings and I love the elegance a lace long sleeve adds to a wedding dress. It was the most important detail I wanted. I had a few appointments at some of the bridal boutiques around town, and went shopping with my parents and a few friends and relatives. The third dress I tried on was perfection. I loved the sleeves, I loved the keyhole back, I loved the material of the skirt, and the whole dress was covered in chantilly lace. I felt like it had a vintage look to it that matched my 1920s refurbished engagement ring. We cancelled all of my other appointments and went to brunch to celebrate finding “the dress” over a few mimosas!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We spoke to our pastor about our relationship a few times before the wedding. We talked about finances, family planning, and what to do when we get mad at each other. We both know now that when we get upset, we should take a little time away from each other to cool off so we don’t say anything hurtful. We were also instructed to talk other couples who have been married for different lengths of times and ask them what works for them and what doesn’t. That said, someone reminded us that it’s important to remember that every relationship is different, and what works for some people might not work for us. She told us to remember who we are and to always listen to each other before listening to other people’s opinions.

The most memorable moment for me was walking down the aisle with Shaun after the ceremony, and ringing the bell in the steeple of the chapel together as husband and wife. I thought it was the perfect way to kick off our marriage, and it was one of the happiest moments of my life.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I have always been an animal lover. I grew up riding and showing horses, so I spent all of my free time as a young girl at a barn. My family has always had at least three dogs, and we were always the people who had a knack for finding young and injured animals and nurturing them back to health. We had tons of baby squirrels, birds, rabbits, mice, snakes, and even a baby alligator at one point, when I was growing up. When I heard about Pine Knoll Farm, we went to check it out immediately. It is a working farm with a reception venue on the property. When we got out of the car, I was greeted by horses neighing–they have cows, goats, chickens, and a Great Pyrenese. The reception barn is gorgeous, with hand-welded light fixtures and a beautiful wooden stage built in. There isn’t a single detail about the venue that I didn’t love. It was the only place we looked at and we booked it that day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Shaun and I met while working together at a restaurant in west midtown Atlanta. I got a job there while I was studying to take my boards before I could begin working as a registered nurse. On my third day of training, I was pleasantly surprised to find out my trainer was a tall, cute guy who made me laugh the entire night. We started dating and were soon attached at the hip. We both enjoy traveling, so we started traveling together, and I loved wandering through streets of random cities with him, striking up conversations with strangers, trying weird food, and just laughing our way through Panama and Europe together. We not only fell in love, but also became best friends and life partners.
Tell us all about the proposal! On Saturday, December 20, 2014, I woke up and went for a run. Shaun and I had planned on running together that morning, but he was still sleeping and had been up working late the night before, so I decided to let him sleep in. Halfway through my run, I got a text from Shaun telling me to meet him in the big field behind Oakland Cemetery, where he was going to be letting our two dogs run around. Oakland Cemetery is a historic cemetery right across from the lofts we lived in. There is a huge, beautiful, open field behind the cemetery and we have been taking our dogs there to run around for years. People always laugh when I tell them we got engaged in a cemetery, but it’s one of our favorite places to go in Atlanta–we call it our hidden gem. When I walked onto the field, Shaun was standing there with our two dogs. When he got down on one knee, I immediately burst into tears, and, of course, said yes! After staying at Oakland for about an hour, Shaun told me he had arranged a brunch, and that we needed to head to one of our favorite places. When we arrived at Atkins Park, about 20 of our closest friends were there and ready to celebrate. It was by far one of the happiest and most exciting days of my life.
When did y’all get married? November 28, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. My wedding cake was a four-tiered ivory ruffle cake. The actual cake was lemon cheesecake with a lemon curd layer and italian buttercream icing. I had my florist put flowers on each layer of the cake. I loved it!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? To slow down and enjoy every second of it! It’s easy to stress over tiny details, but at the end of the day, none of those small details matter. Also, have someone make you a plate of food that night!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? For my bachelorette party, my bridesmaids asked Shaun some questions to answer without me knowing. The last question they asked him was “What are you most looking forward to in the future?” and I feel like his response was perfect: “In the future, I picture has having some awesome kids that we will raise and love and show them how to have fun. I picture us having our friends over with their kids and having cookouts and parties and going to Little League games. I am looking forward to expanding our blessed lives and keeping our network of friends and family close together.”

Photographer: Whitney Wysong Photography | Videographer: Tim Hunt | Day-of Coordination: Amanda Brewer of Boheme Concepts | Planner and Caterer: Events 2020 | Venue: Pine Knoll Farms | Florist: Sandra Burton | Cake Baker: A Piece of Cake Bakery | Bride’s Gown: Martina Liana | Bridal Salon: La Raine’s Bridal Boutique | Hair Stylist: Morgan Weathers of Tease Color + Hair Design Studio | Makeup Artist: Tabitha Ross | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” and “Willow” in Shadow Grey by Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Attire: Simon’s Formal Wear

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Cynthia McIntyre reply

    The church and reception location are exceptional! What a lovely wedding! Thanks for posting a true Southern wedding!

  2. avatar Gosia reply

    Stunning wedding! Bridesmaid dresses look fab!

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In the Sweet Tea Society, we share a belief that simple is often better, and Rachel and Sam’s wedding day is a perfect example of this sentiment. They chose to honor God, their family, and their own love story at their sweetly simple wedding, reminiscent of Southern celebrations from times past. They held a morning ceremony at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where Rachel’s grandparents were married in 1950, followed by a brunch reception, complete with sweet tea and the buzz of good company to celebrate their day. I love how Rachel and her mom kept each other focused during their planning by asking “what kind of significance will this really have?” when considering details. What a poignant question to keep in mind.

Big SW hugs to my friend Brooke Glassford of Colorbox Photographers for sharing this lovely day!

I had originally decided that I wanted to wear my mom’s dress. It is a beautiful lace gown that I loved, but we knew there were a couple of things we would want to change about it. We went wedding dress shopping just to get ideas, but the girls at The White Room really did their job well! I ended up falling in love with an Anne Barge dress, and I was really torn about it, but my mom assured me that it was my dress. I am so happy with the choice. We ended up using some lace from my mom’s gown on my veil that she sewed herself, which ended up being even more special to me. It is something we will pass down for generations to come.

Our wedding was more like the Southern weddings in times past–it was at 11:00 in the morning and we served brunch with lemonade and sweet tea afterwards. We enjoyed the company of friends and family and didn’t have anything fancy going on other than the buzz of good company.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My grandparents were wed at St. Paul’s in 1950. It is the church that I grew up in and that my father grew up in and that my grandfather grew up in. It was very special to my family and to Sam and I that we were married in a place with such rich history and deep meaning.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? This is a hard one. I think the most memorable moment of our wedding day was saying my vows to Sam. That was the moment when everything started to really sink in for me. I also really loved this moment that after we were announced as husband and wife, we turned around to face our friends and family, and the whole church joined in to sing the Doxology. It was such a joy to get to see so many loved ones and to sing praise to the Lord with them!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? The main way that we planned for our marriage was through prayer for our future. We prayed for each other as well as ourselves in the new roles we were about to take on. Our main desire for our marriage is that the Lord be honored and glorified.

Our wedding flowers were beyond gorgeous! The day before our wedding, I had to run by the church and ended up walking into the reception venue. I was immediately in tears because of how beautiful everything was, and because of the people who blessed me with the talent they have been blessed with. Two women who have had a big impact on my life, and especially on my walk with the Lord, were in charge of all of the flowers. They, along with a team of family and friends, created more than I could have ever asked for. The flowers certainly pointed to the beauty of the Lord and the brilliance of what He creates.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Sam and I met in kindergarten. Although we “dated” from 7th-12th grade, we say that we truly started dating our junior year of college after we became Christians. We know that it is only because of the Lord’s great mercy on our lives and His great love for us that we are able to love each other.
Tell us all about the proposal! October 10, 2014 is one of my most favorite memories. It was just a normal Friday, and a close friend of ours had invited us over to eat with their family at their cabin, about 30 minutes outside of Auburn. I didn’t think twice about it, even though Sam came up with a thousand excuses for why the Sheils were coming to the cabin after us. He was basically on one knee the second we stepped out of his truck and onto the porch. He recalled lots of things that had happened over our 11 years together and talked about wanting me to be his wife. I was completely shocked and so excited that I didn’t say anything for a while! He then prepared a delicious meal for us and we sat on the porch for hours, excitedly talking about our future together and thanking the Lord for allowing it all to really happen as we had always wished.
When did y’all get married? July 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 250
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. We really wanted to have that moment to ourselves to soak in the day before all of it moved too quickly to remember. Seeing him at the end of the aisle waiting for me was still just as special and exciting as I had always dreamed it would be.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 1 Corinthians 13 was read during our ceremony by our officiant, Sam’s dad. He talked about how our home needed to be built on Godly love in order for our home to be sustained.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I think the biggest challenge for us was our guest list. We knew we wanted a more intimate ceremony, and although 250 guests doesn’t seem very intimate to some people, in our small, Southern town, it is! Cutting down the guest list was definitely challenging for us.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My parents asked me to choose three things that were really important to us for our wedding. We chose three big, important things and tried to cut corners on everything else. My mom and I would stop each other and ask, “Is this really that important?” Or “What kind of significance will this really have?” It made the planning process a lot more enjoyable.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My advice is to enjoy the process! It is something you will never have the opportunity to do again, and it’s neat to think that the Lord planned this specific time just for you. Praise Him for it, thank Him for it, and give it up to Him. Planning seemed like a breeze because I knew I wasn’t doing it alone.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right after we got married, we moved to Tuscaloosa from Auburn. We both just started new jobs here and are looking forward to getting plugged into a local community in this new place.

Photographer: Brooke Glassford of Colorbox Photographers / Videographer: David Haygood / Venue: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Carlowville / Florals: Catherine Gilmer and April Lane / Caterer and Cake Baker: Granny B Catering / Rentals: Encore Rentals / Paper Products: Kadie Smith / Bride’s Gown: “Pembroke” by Anne Barge / Bridesmaids’ Hair and Makeup: Amber Todd / Bride’s Shoes: Toms / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: David’s Bridal / Menswear: Jim Massey Formals / Ties: Landisun

marissa Written with love by Marissa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Stephanie Scholl reply

    I love, love, love the heart and simplicity behind this wedding! It’s so refreshing to see a wedding these days that evokes the feel of weddings of the past… less focused on the details and the party and more focused on simplicity, family, community, and love. Thanks for sharing this one – it sure it gorgeous & is one to remember!

  2. avatar Brooke Glassdord reply

    Thank you SO much for featuring this wedding! It was an honor to capture AND an honor being featured by SW!

  3. avatar Southern Weddings feature: Sam + Rachel » Colorbox Photographers reply

    […] Weddings for featuring Sam + Rachel’s summer morning wedding on their blog today! Click here to see the […]

  4. avatar Jehnel Oboza-Davison reply

    Seriously, seriously beautiful wedding. I am so in love with the central focus of love, family, and God in this wedding. This reminds me of looking through your grandparents’ old wedding albums and it was just chock-full of happy pictures; a blushing bride and a dapper groom. So beautiful. Let’s return to this again, y’all!

  5. avatar Donna Harrison reply

    I watched this couple grow up…It was indeed a great day!!! A glorious day!

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