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We all know I’m a classic wedding kind of girl; I love big pink blooms and puffy dresses (yes, I even wore a tiara at my own wedding!) But, y’all! Completely juxtaposed with what I traditional fawn over, there is something so lovely about Morgan and Coty’s wedding day that I am obsessed with! I’m pretty sure it’s their exuberant joy, but the handmade details, including the campfire log benches-turned-ceremony pews has a little something to do with it too! When Morgan told us about their guests singing “You Are My Sunshine” as they danced in dripping wet wedding day clothes after the rainstorm, my heart jumped right out of my chest!

I’m sure we can all agree that big hug are in order for Michael + Carina for sharing this sweet day with us!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Coty saw me on my first day of high school as I strolled out onto the floor in my cheerleading outfit during a pep rally. Our eight-year dating anniversary actually fell three days after our wedding!

I made my bouquet the day before the wedding. I recommend that all brides go to a flower market so you can actually see what a bloom looks like in person, rather than just in a catalog. I knew I wanted a pastel color palette, since there weren’t any set colors for our wedding, and the David Austin roses were perfect for the romantic look I wanted to achieve. The flower market was out of dahlias, so I chose white football mums for a similar texture. Ranunculus and the sweet feverfew added the perfect touch of fun and wild. I finished the bouquet with ripped strands of white fabric.

We have been camping and kayaking at Shortbranch Farms since we were teenagers. For the past several years, we have loved to sit by the river and dream about what we each would do if we were to ever decorate it for our wedding. The owners are family friends, and it was such a blessing that they allowed us to get married on the land where we have so many memories!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I am in love with our ceremony benches. I looked and looked for something I thought was appropriate, cost-effective, and aesthetically pleasing for the simple ceremony we desired. I didn’t want aisle or alter decorations, so I needed something that would speak for itself. The owners of the farm had small log benches around their campfire at their cabin, so we asked him if he could create something similar to seat 130-140 people! They came out perfectly!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We are from Kentucky and we love our state! We had to include some Kentucky bourbon in our day, so Coty buried the bottle in his grandfather’s old ammo box, and he and his groomsmen dug it out the morning of the wedding for a toast. I have to say–it unfortunately didn’t keep away bad weather!

We live in a very rural area in the middle of the nowhere, Kentucky. We are an hour from a (small) mall and thirty minutes from the nearest grocery. One of our biggest challenges was finding vendors that offered what we loved in our tiny area. We ended up doing a lot of items ourselves–stationery, flowers, decor–and a lot of driving and ordering to get other items.

After the rain came, everyone grabbed a pie and ran to the covered bridge. Coty and I cut a soggy pie with our hands and fed it to one another. Everyone then sang “You Are My Sunshine” as we danced in our dripping wedding clothes. It was like being in a scene from a romantic movie.

Tell us all about the proposal! We met the amazing Alicia of Aesthetiica Photography in the woods for a frosty winter session in the middle of December. Coty and Alicia had brainstormed for weeks before and planned a secret cue for when he should pop the question. We cuddled up in the blanket for a few photos in the perfect light, and the photographer told me to throw the blanket off to the side. When I turned back around, Coty was on his knee!
When did y’all get married? August 23, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did, but believe it or not, our vows were in Coty’s pocket during the rain, and both papers were smudged beyond recognition. Make sure your wedding vows are backed up somewhere so you can read them in fifty years!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We chose to have a banjo player for the ceremony–we love listening to modern bluegrass music and it is such a big part of our state’s history. He began playing slowly as everyone entered the ceremony, and for our exit, he played a fast tune in a manner Coty calls “pickin’ and grinnin’.”
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? Less than $10,000
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? I didn’t look at the weather on the morning of the wedding–whatever happened was going to happen, and there wasn’t any amount of worrying that could change it. It started out in the mid-nineties, but I was just beaming from ear to ear that it wasn’t raining. At our reception, as we made our way to cut our pie, the heavens opened and the rain came flooding down. Everyone ran for the covered bridge and we all stood huddled together waiting for the rain to end. It didn’t. It rained 3.75 inches by morning. We had a blast playing in the rain, and although we wish everyone hadn’t gotten soaked–especially our sweet grandparents–we were married all the same.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Our newest adventure has been getting a golden doodle puppy! We actually had a dog when we got married, and now the two of them keep us busy and entertained!

Photographer: Michael and Carina Photography / Venue: Shortbranch Farms / Florist: Import Flowers, bouquet by the bride / Caterer: Brothers / Chairs: Brown Paper Bag of Kentucky / Band or DJ: Otis / Favors: The Succulent Source / Bride’s Gown: “9MK3576” by David’s Bridal / Hair Stylist: Riley Eskridge / Bride’s Shoes: “Jaxxon High-Back” by Gianni Bini / Groom’s Suspenders: No Slip Suspenders / Groom’s Bow Tie: Clip a Bow Tie / Groom’s Wood Wedding Band: Cool Natural Jewelry

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

    That bridesmaid breakfast looks like so much fun!

  2. avatar Erin | Elizabeth Anne Designs reply

    If I needed any more reasons to love Michael and Carina! This wedding is so fun and filled to the brim with the most gorgeous whimsy and perfectly rustic details. xo!

  3. avatar Michael and Carina reply

    Thank you so much for sharing one of our favorite weddings of 2014! Morgan and Coty are such a sweet couple and it makes us so happy to see their photos on here! xoxo M+C

  4. avatar Bonnie & Lauren reply

    My southern heart <3's Kentucky. Beautiful details (those watercolor invites!), and what a gorgeous, creative couple!

  5. avatar Michael and Carina reply

    Thank you for featuring our photos of this wonderful couple! <3 xoxo

  6. avatar Styled by Kyla: A Bountiful Pastel Farm Wedding | Kyla Mary reply

    […] by Graham Terhune via Southern Weddings, Pie bar captured by Michael and Carina Photography via Southern Weddings, Jam by Sidehill Farm captured by 822 Weddings via Snippet and Ink, Event design (ribbons) by Hey […]

  7. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    There are so many wonderful details like the groom’s red pants and suspenders and the natural stone stage. I can’t get over their invitations, though! The watercolor and customized picture is adorable.

  8. avatar Weekly Weddings Favorites No. 7 | Kyla Mary reply

    […]   Photos by Michael and Carina Photography via Southern Weddings […]

  9. avatar Styled by Kyla: A Bountiful Pastel Farm Wedding reply

    […] by Graham Terhune via Southern Weddings, Pie bar captured by Michael and Carina Photography via Southern Weddings, Jam by Sidehill Farm captured by 822 Weddings via Snippet and Ink, Event design (ribbons) by Hey […]

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    […]   Photos by Michael and Carina Photography via Southern Weddings […]

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We loved Erin + Michael’s lakeside wedding from V5 as soon as we saw it. But we had no idea until we saw the full disc of images from Melissa Schollaert, how much work and how many details went into creating their big day. For two designers who own their own company called hi note, the wedding was a way for them to showcase their lives together as well as their talents and passions.

Aside from the many details, I’m in love with the venue E + M chose for their big day: Erin’s family’s lakeside home. “We both have fond memories of weekends spent on the water and wanted to share that experience with all of our friends and family,” said the groom. “The home was designed and built by Erin’s parents so that they have a panoramic view of the sunset. We knew it would be the perfect setting for our ceremony. All of the guests sat on hay bales covered with heirloom quilts and blankets overlooking the water. One of Erin’s close family friends, Tricia, played ceremony music that the three of us chose together. It was a very personal and intimate ceremony, but relaxed at the same time.”

Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: The laser-cut wood veneer invitations were definitely my favorite part of the whole experience. Erin and I put a ton of time into making each guest feel like they were getting a personalized, custom invite that reflected on the experience to come.

Finding my wedding dress was the first and quickest decision I made while planning the wedding. I knew I wanted something very organic and natural to suit the overall aesthetic of our day but I also wanted to feel elegant and beautiful. I tried on dresses at several salons but ultimately found the perfect designer, Claire la Faye, on Etsy. My mom and I sketched out some ideas and sent them to Claire. She created a custom gown for me by combining two of her existing dress designs and then added the strap and train detail that my mother and I came up with. It turned out even more beautiful than I ever dreamed, and it was really comfortable too!

Both my bouquet and my maid of honor’s bouquets were created by my mom and made up of brooches that my closest friends and family members contributed, as well as some thrift store finds. My creative mother, who is also a talented jewelry designer, made the boutonnieres out of old fishing lures, bird feathers, ribbon and burlap twine.

What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? (From the groom) Since our wedding was late in the evening, our photographer scheduled our portraits before the ceremony. Melissa arranged it so we could have a “first-look” moment with one another in the field where she shot our engagement photos. It was extremely special for the two of us to be able to see each other for the first time on our wedding day, privately, and really embrace the moment.

Of course Erin + Michael’s dear pup Otis had to be involved in the festivities! We like that he cleaned up with a snappy bow tie for the event.

How delicious (and convenient) is this refreshments station? Like Michael, I love that the laser-cut wooden signage gives every detail a personalized touch.

The venue was our initial inspiration for the wedding. As an interior designer and now stationery designer for weddings and events, I always try to honor the natural aesthetic of a venue. When we decided to have the wedding at my parent’s home, we knew it needed to be casual, fun and relaxed — just like lake life. We also wanted to reflect on the fact that it was the place I grew up and now a place we visit as adults, which is why we chose to make the decor at every table different, serve family recipes and have our favorite childhood candy as a midnight snack to evoke that feeling of “home.” (From the groom) The other inspiration was just ‘us’: our story, who we are and where we are from. Every single detail, from colors, graphics, decor and food, was a reflection of who we are as individuals and as a couple.

The family tree display in front of the ceremony area was a lovely (and a tad punny) idea.

Who participated in your ceremony? One of our close friends officiated the ceremony, my maid of honor was my cousin Dana and the best man was Scott, Michael’s brother. We wanted our family to be a direct part of our ceremony, so we had our parents and grandparents seated next to us as part of the wedding party.
Did you write your own vows? Yes, we did write our own vows. Michael stole the show with his opener, “When I met you, your nickname was Bob and you lived in a trailer…” Yup, he really said it, and it’s totally true! I lived in a trailer in college and had a boy’s nickname. Even the guests who didn’t know the backstory still got a really good laugh. It even took me a moment to regain composure!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met at Auburn University and were friends throughout college. We both got jobs in Atlanta and reconnected seven years after we met. The rest is history.
What is a date you will always remember? September 15, 2010 – the day we got engaged!
Describe the proposal: (From the groom) Our first big step as a couple came when we adopted a rescue dog together. Otis is such a huge part of both of our lives, and one of our favorite places to take him is a park near our house with a huge field for him to play. I thought this would be the perfect place to propose to Erin, but I also wanted be sure we could capture the moment. I asked our friend and wedding photographer Melissa to call Erin and ask if she wanted photos taken of Otis. Erin had wanted to have portraits taken for some time, so Melissa and I thought this was the perfect way to surprise her. We were taking some candid shots of us walking Otis, and I mentioned that he was really looking forward to our trip. Erin, not knowing what trip I was referring to, was obviously confused. I then explained that we were flying to Denver the next day to see one of our favorite bands play live, and that it would be the perfect way to celebrate our engagement. I then got down on one knee and proposed! Denver was a place we both wanted to visit, so were able to enjoy a long weekend celebrating our engagement. Erin was definitely caught off guard, but said yes, and it was all caught on camera.
Tell us about your beautiful engagement ring. The two things I knew I wanted in my engagement ring were a yellow diamond and a vintage aesthetic to the setting. We browsed at rings, but I must admit, I got a little overwhelmed with all the choices. Michael ended up finding the diamond in New York (where he is from) and the setting in Alabama (where I am from). He did a great job — it suits me to a T.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Personal, nostalgic, graphic
How many guests attended your wedding? 100

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
11 Comments
  1. avatar Kate Collison reply

    I think this is gorgeous! Sweet and romantic, but “poppy” and fun. How beautiful! Congrats to the couple!

  2. avatar Melissa Schollaert reply

    Thanks so much SW for featuring this lovely wedding! Hope that your readers love it. I’m so happy that I was a part of Erin & Michael’s wedding and captured it for them. They are so talented and I just loved everything that they came up with. If you LOVE this wedding, you must checkout Hi Note, they are more than just stationery designers and really come up with some cool concepts.

  3. avatar Erin reply

    Thanks so much SW for featuring our wedding! It was such a labor of love and are so glad you think so as well!

  4. avatar Emily reply

    Gorgeous! I love the colors in this wedding, and I adore their literal family tree! :)

  5. avatar Dee Shore reply

    The day I get married, I’m going to be a big ole copy cat, because this… this is just my dream in photos.

  6. avatar David reply

    Great job capturing the Mike and Bob wedding experience. I had the pleasure of attending this grand event, the pictures are great but don’t do it justice. The attention to deatil was astounding, after some of Nila’s margaritas and more then a couple Coor’s Light I couldn’t help myself from telling everyone around us that we were, in fact, attending a wedding that you read about in a magazine, sure enough – here it is. Mike and Bob are increditably talented, passionate and dedicated to what they do. Again, great article – this couple will go far in both life and love. My only unbiased complaint is that hi note (yourhinote.com) wasn’t around 8 years ago when I married my wife.

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  8. avatar Rachel reply

    I know this is a weird question but I am having an outdoor wedding at my family’s cabin. We have accommodated 60 people for Thanksgiving in the past. With around 75 guests and only 1 bathroom, any suggestions on what to do? Did you have this concern? Thanks!

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There’s nothing like coming home, don’t you agree? Though Sarah + Nick live in Indianapolis, Nick strongly encouraged Sarah to have the wedding in Chattanooga, her second home. According to the bride, “Getting married beneath Lookout Mountain, a place that was close to my heart even before Nick proposed to me there, was priceless. To me, “Southern” is a relaxed setting where you can enjoy the time with your loved ones in a beautiful setting — no need to decorate God’s creation! You know when everyone’s at Mom’s house, they gravitate to the kitchen, because that’s where the people are, where life happens, where the food is. That’s what the setting of the Barn at High Point Farms gave us. Our focus on heritage brought in reminders of generations past, well-loved and much missed.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Judging from these images by Austin Warnock, we think it feels just right.

Julianna Chapman (my cousin and maid of honor) is an amazing floral designer. She works at a floral design studio in Chattanooga, TN, but did the wedding flowers herself with the help of my cousins and another bridesmaid. Since I was in Indiana and she was in Tennessee, we exchanged ideas via Pinterest and had some long Skype sessions. I had no doubt that Julianna would be able to capture my vision and take it to another level. I wanted lots of creams and texture, loosely bound, not overly structured. I wanted cream with some light blue accents in my bouquet to tie in with the color of Nick’s shirt. For the bridesmaids’ bouquets, I wanted creams with strong accents of yellow/marigold pops of color. The boutonnieres had simple, natural elements, and also brought in the yellow accent. As for the buffet area, full creative credit goes to Julianna and my sisters. They took over planning and decorating the buffet when my creative juices ran low during the last month of wedding planning. I was so blown away with the sweet details, draped lace tablecloths, family serving ware, and fresh flowers. Julianna incorporated mason jars of flowers around rusted old milk crates from my sister’s farmhouse, pictures of me and Nick, tree trunk rounds, and bird houses.

Doesn’t the photo below just pull at your heart strings? I love the moment when guests first see the bride walk down the aisle — all that anticipation!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Between me and Nick, we have 8 nieces and nephews. We wanted all of them involved, letting kids be kids. So, we had a wedding parade! They all went down the aisle with bells, flags that Nick and I made, and flowers. The littlest ones were pulled in a wagon. I wanted the kids to be relaxed, and was perfectly fine if we had some last-minute mishaps or outright revolts – but they all had a great time!

I love that Sarah + Nick’s cake topper now sits on their windowsill at home! It’s such a great way to be reminded of their wedding. The cupcakes came in seven flavors: red velvet, cappuccino, Italian cream, cinnamon swirl, german chocolate, groovy, and grasshopper.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We were set up by a mutual friend soon after I moved from Chattanooga to Indianapolis for a job. Whether by instinct or indigestion, my friend Derrick was convinced that I should meet his friend Nick. Knowing that I was not interested in being set up, Derrick pestered me and lied to me, saying he had no hidden intentions, until we got something on the calendar. Nick knew full well that it was a set-up all along, and over a take-out pizza, we met. Both of us were a little shy, a little curious, and thankful for Derrick’s boisterous steal-the-spotlight presence. We could have gone without the questioning each time the other left the room — “So?? What do you think?!?” A week later, Nick and I had our first date (without Derrick) at a local pub.
Describe the proposal. As the summer days grew longer, I was getting more and more curious about what Nick was scheming. He kept his lips tightly sealed, and thoroughly enjoyed tormenting me with the fact that I was NOT in control! In early August, my cousin Julianna called me to ask if I’d be able to come down to Chattanooga as soon as possible to meet her certain someone and that it would be fun if Nick could come too. Little did I know, Nick had arranged it all with Julianna. We drove down to Chattanooga and Saturday morning, got up early for a hike to Sunset Rock on Lookout Mountain. After a brief jaunt from our parking spot, we reached the overlook. I scrambled to the edge, thrilled with the morning view, as our companions set off in the other direction to look at some plants. I turned around once to make sure Nick was paying attention to the view, and turned around again to find him on one knee, holding my great-grandmother’s engagement ring. The world went quiet, and he asked a simple question. I answered with the words that had echoed in my heart for months: “A thousand times, yes!”
In what month did you get married? April 2012
How many guests attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I didn’t daydream about dresses or stash away bridal magazines before getting engaged, mostly because I was nervous about what style would work for me – I’m often hard to fit being under 5 feet tall! A week after getting engaged, I wanted to test the dress hunting waters and made an appointment at David’s Bridal with a soon-to-be-married friend. Setting aside any “princess poufiness,” we found a few options which I tried on again later that weekend for my mom and sister. I knew I’d found the one when I didn’t want to take it off. I loved my dress – it wasn’t “just another strapless”, it didn’t overwhelm my figure, and I could move around so easily at our outdoor wedding.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? I’m so glad that we did! With it being “our day,” we wanted to share more of it together and knew that it would help calm nerves. On the practical side, we knew it would make the day go smoother if we could get bridal party and family pictures done prior to the ceremony. Our reveal took place in a tree grove near the barn. The setting was beautiful and the moment remains one of Nick’s favorites of the day. However, I was a little distracted by the family members who appeared out of nowhere to sneak a peek – especially my Dad and brother on ladders in the trees nearby, stringing white lights!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? For our vows, we combined several elements of traditional vows. My favorite part was for the exchange of rings when I said, “Nick, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am and all that I have, I honor you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” It’s a whole-life commitment. Our vows reach into every part of our lives, for the rest of our lives.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. I walked down the aisle to “Lion Song” by Jason Harrod and walked up the aisle to “But For Those Who Fear My Name” by The Welcome Wagon. Our first dance was to “Songbird” by Eva Cassidy. The father/daughter dance was to “Moonlight Serenade” by Glen Miller Orchestra and the mother/son dance was to “You’ve Got A Friend” by Carole King.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? It was a very DIY wedding, which helped us cut costs, but took a LOT of time and planning — from wedding planning and catering to set-up and decorating. I think the biggest challenge was knowing when to stop gathering new ideas, to shut the laptop and stop looking at Pinterest.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000, close to $10,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Photography. We were advised early in the planning process to set aside as much as we could afford for photography – pay for the quality, and figure out where to cut the budget elsewhere. I’m so glad we did. Austin Warnock Photography was amazing to work with, and we’re thrilled with the results.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Sneaking away for a quick minute during our evening reception to take a look at the starscape, seeing the barn lit up behind us, filled with our loved ones, happy blurs of music and light.

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

    Such a pretty wedding – so many thoughtful details!!! Can you tell me where they got the cake topper – it’s super cute and I would love to have it for my wedding! Thanks!

    • avatar Nick reply

      Lauren: We got the cake toppers off of Etsy – http://www.etsy.com/shop/vintagegreenlimited?ref=seller_info.

  2. avatar Madelynne Moulton reply

    OMG around 10k?? This wedding looks SO expensive and has SO much personality! I LOVE it! So deliciously southern and elegant.

  3. avatar Laura reply

    First off, I love this wedding because I love Chattanooga. I went to college near-by and it is such a cool city with such good memories for me.

    But I also absolutely love the portion of your vows that you shared, the words are so simple, but so powerful. I just might have to borrow them for my own wedding :)

  4. avatar Stephanie reply

    Such a beautiful wedding! Amazing photos! Can you tell me where you purchased the cupcake stand? We are getting married in September and have been looking everywhere for one this size! :-)

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