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Based on details alone, it’s clear that Olivia and Scott threw a Southern soirée, but amidst the bow ties, pearls, and bourbon lemonade lies much more. Olivia imagined a day that felt like an effortlessly elegant Southern dinner party, so with the help of their planner, Blue Ribbon Vendor Leigh Pearce, they planned a wedding day that focused on serving their guests well as gracious hosts and honoring the traditions of their families. While lots of newlyweds struggle to fill their new homes with thoughtful pieces, I love the way Leigh encouraged Olivia and Scott to look for decor that could be easily reused after their wedding in their home. I bet those same pieces will go on to become heirlooms for future generations to cherish!

Big hugs to Anna Paschal Photography for sharing this dreamy day with us!

My experience finding a dress was one of epic fairy tale proportion. Along with my mom and sister, I traveled to Hayden Olivia in uptown Charlotte. The consultant encouraged me to pick at least one or two gowns that I had not pictured myself in–something outside my comfort zone. I began making my selection and was lured in by the youthful, uber feminine designs of Hayley Paige. I especially loved the cascading striped silk organza of the Guindon gown, and knew it had to be my wild card pick. After a few gowns, the consultant decided it was time I tried on my “just for fun” pick. The feeling I felt as I wore the gown was transformative–I felt more myself than I had ever been. Needless to say, Guindon became a pivotal inspiration piece for the entire wedding!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, Scott and I did decide to do a first look. At first, we were a little unsure if a first look would be right for us, but after talking with Leigh Pearce, Anna Paschal, and our rabbi, we decided it would be perfect fit. We wanted to spend as much time as possible with our friends, family, and loved ones after the ceremony. The first look also gave Scott and I an opportunity to create and share a special moment alone together prior to the ceremony.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I had always dreamed of an outdoor wedding. As we began looking for wedding venues, Scott and I wanted to find a place that felt refined, yet organic. We immediately fell in love with the expansive and stately oak trees found at one of the ceremony sites at Summerfield Farm.

I looked through various issues of Southern Weddings and selected a few of my favorite phrases to create my vows. My favorite lines were: “I, Olivia, take you, Scott, as you are this day, loving who you are now and who you are yet to become. I promise to listen to you and learn from you, to support you and accept your support. I will celebrate your triumphs and mourn your losses as though they are my own. I will love you and have faith in your love for me through all that life may bring. May my heart be your shelter and my arms be your home. With these words, and all the words of my heart, I marry you and bind my life to yours.”

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Do bow ties, pearls, and bourbon lemonade count? The whole design of our wedding was Southern. Southern design, to me, is understated elegance and effortless tradition. It is as if you went out into the backyard, gathered some flowers from your garden, went into the dining room and brought out the pressed linens and the Sunday china, grabbed the heirloom silver, whipped up a deliciously fresh meal, and lit a few candles, all while say to your guests, “Really, it was nothing. Glad you could make it”. The focus on our guests and our efforts to be gracious hosts were the most Southern parts of our wedding.

We chose a selection of small round layer cakes to accompany our main three-tiered round layer cake. The cakes ranged in flavors from strawberry buttercream, to raspberry lady cake, to chocolate mocha cake. The cakes’ decorations were very simple–we used white frosting with a beaded border around the bottom, adorned with real blooms.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Scott and I met in college in August 2008. We both remember the very first moment we laid eyes on each other, standing in the hallway of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house. Scott was a sophomore and I was a freshman. We instantly connected over whatever music was playing at the time and continued to connect over various topics in the weeks to come. However, it took Scott almost three years and a sort of happenstance meeting to officially ask me out on our first date. Our first date will forever be one of best memories, besides our wedding, of course. On both occasions, we danced and sang the entire night away.
Tell us all about the proposal! I can honestly say the proposal was a COMPLETE surprise and that it happened months before I thought it might! I grew up on a farm and have ridden and owned horses since the tender age of five. In third grade, as I started to grow not only in size, but in skill, as an equestrian, my parents gifted me with an American Quarter Horse named Sundance. I loved him from the moment I met him! In late fall 2013, as Sundance began to age and reach “old man” status (30 years old), I mentioned to Scott and my family how very much I would love to have my picture taken with Sundance as a sort of memento. On December 1 of that year, while Scott and I were visiting my parents for Thanksgiving, they surprised me with a professional photography session with Sundance. As Sundance and I neared the end of our photo shoot, the photographer suggested I turn the horse around and position Scott into one of the last frames. I turned Sundance around and came to spot Scott kneeling on the ground. I immediately asked him what he was doing, reminding him it was not safe to be on the ground around horses. Well…he pulled out a little box and a gorgeous diamond ring! He nervously uttered lots of sweet and meaningful words and I said “Yes!” The whole proposal was caught on camera.
When did y’all get married? May 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Scott and I planned for our marriage by meeting with our rabbi once a month during a large portion of our engagement. We have really come to cherish those monthly meetings, and they are one of the reasons we were able to create such a deeply meaningful ceremony.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Having a custom invitation suite and calligraphed envelopes was really important to me. The invitation is the first tangible piece of the big day guests will encounter. I always look at invitations as a suggestion of all the beauty yet to come. In order to stay within my budget for invitations and paper, I decided to forgo paper items like individual menus and programs. I also decided learn the art of modern calligraphy so I could address the invitations, create the place cards, and hand-paint the table numbers and signage myself. I walked away from my wedding day with the man of my dreams and a new skill to boot!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Leigh Pearce, my planner, and Anna Paschal, my photographer, obviously! Those ladies were such a blessing and I felt so fortunate to have found them. I am really glad that I listened to every piece of their advice, especially, when Leigh advised me to look for decor items that I could also use in my home after the wedding. Many of the pieces we used during our wedding have now become heirloom-quality decor in our home.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Beyond working to build a life together, I would have to say travel and adventure. On our honeymoon, Scott and I decided that each year for our anniversary, we would plan a special trip for the two of us. We are very excited to celebrate our first anniversary in St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands–we have made arrangements to stay in an eco-tent resort for the first leg of our trip. For the first time ever, we will be traveling with just a backpack filled with the bare necessities, and we simply can’t wait to see what exciting revelations come when traveling ultralight!

Photographer: Anna Pachal Photography | Planner: Leigh Pearce Weddings | Venue: Summerfield Farm | Florist: The Farmers Wife | Cake Baker: Maxie B’s | Caterer: Fresh. Local. Good. Food Group | Rentals: Party Makers Event Rentals | Lighting and DJ: K2 Productions | Paper Products: Four Things Paper | Bride’s Gown: “Guindon” by Hayley Paige | Bride’s Earrings: Haute Bride | Bride’s Custom Sash: Davie & Chiyo | Bride’s English Net Veil: Tessa Kim | Hair and Makeup: Carla White | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “D468” by Alfred Sung | Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers and Canali | Bow Ties: The Tie Bar | Groomsmen Attire: Brooks Brothers and Michael Kors

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

    Love her description of the reception as a Southern dinner party. Now it makes me want to throw a dinner party of my own!

  2. avatar Brooke Paris reply

    This story is SO similar to my own; it is my own Hayley Paige dress is serving as inspiration for the general look and intimate details of the reception we are planning- my groom just doesn’t know that everything comes together so well quite yet ;)!

    I have been searching for swiss dot details EVERYWHERE- do you know where those fabrics are from?

  3. avatar Leigh Pearce reply

    Thanks for the feature SW!! I just loved working with Olivia and Scott. A pair of true sweethearts!

    Brooke, email me at [email protected] and I will see if I can hunt down that fabric source for you. Olivia’s mom sourced and created the chuppah draping. It was one of my favorite details!! xoxo

  4. avatar Greg Coltman reply

    Lovely detail! Great shots

  5. avatar Doting on Dots, Part Two: People & Parties – The Dandelion PatchThe Dandelion Patch reply

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I’ve often joked that I wasn’t much of a flower person until we did some foraging at our first team retreat. While I still am as dumb as a box of rocks when it comes to the different flower types, my appreciation for florals has certainly grown, and after seeing Emily’s stunning blooms, I think it might be moving into a full-blown love. Sarah at the White Oaks Barn took Emily’s inspiration and created bouquets full of marsala-hued dahlias, flowing greenery, and even some gold accents that ultimately became one of Emily’s favorite details of the day. I can surely see why! But, when it came to her favorite moment? She and Ben chose “the overwhelming feeling of love and support from everyone that was able to be there with us.”

Big SW hugs to Dash Photography for sharing this sweet day with us!

I wanted our florals to include LOTS of flowing greenery, plus flowers in creams, blush, and marsala. I showed our florist, Sarah Warner, lots of pictures for inspiration and she absolutely nailed it with my bouquet and my bridesmaids’ bouquets. My bouquet had marsala-hued dahlias and ranunculus, muted pink garden roses, dusty pink antique roses, cascading seeded eucalyptus, and amaranthus. She surprised me with some gold accents as well. It was big and beautiful and I could not have loved it more!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. As much as I hate to admit it, I can be quite indecisive when it comes to making certain decisions. My friends joked that I would try on one hundred dresses before actually picking one. You can imagine everyone’s surprise when I picked the first dress I tried on at the first boutique I went to! I think I tried on six dresses total that day. Everyone says to stop looking when you find one you love, so that’s exactly what I did!

Ultimately, we decided to do a first look because not only were we able to take a lot more pictures, but our reception was walking distance from the ceremony, so we wanted our wedding party to be able to enjoy the cocktail hour and reception right away. Wouldn’t want to waste any time getting the party started! Being able to see Ben before the ceremony was really nice and helped calm my nerves.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not. Instead, during out premarital counseling, Ben and I had to answer questions about each other and share our answers with our minister, Charlie. During the ceremony, Charlie surprised us by reading each of our answers to the question “What is the one thing you love the most about Emily/Ben?” It was a sweet, personal touch that meant a lot to us!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My cousin Jessica read Psalm 121, which talks about God and nature. It was perfect for our ceremony venue.

We chose the venue because of the scenery. The mountains are special to both of us and it’s also the place where I feel closest to God, so I always knew I wanted to get married outside. With the leaves all turning colors, the view was so incredible. It’s impossible to not be grateful that God put something so beautiful on the earth for us.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: How can a girl pick just one?! It is a tie between my bouquet and the lounge area on the covered porch. CRUSH event rentals created the most beautiful lounge around a big stone fireplace, providing a stylish, cozy corner for guests to sit down and have a drink while enjoying the outdoors.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The entire day is filled with so many special memories, but my favorite would have to be the overwhelming feeling of love and support from everyone that was able to be there with us. We are lucky to have people in our lives who often tell us they love us, but it is the most amazing feeling to be shown that love by seeing all of your family and friends come from near and far to be there to support you. Ben and I were obviously excited for our wedding day, but seeing everyone else genuinely happy to be there with us was the best wedding gift of all. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, my other favorite memory was getting behind the DJ booth to sing my lungs out to my all time favorite Celine Dion song! I’m a sucker for an open mic!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ben and I met at a mutual friend’s birthday party. Ben was late to the party, straight off of a flight from Vegas, and I will never forget seeing him walk through the front door. For those few seconds, it was like there was no one else in the room! He came up to me later and introduced himself. We hung out all night and, as I like to say, Ben was smitten. After a couple of months, his persistence paid off and we officially became a couple. That was 3 1/2 years ago and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! Ben’s family has a lake house in the Blue Ridge Mountains and it is one of my favorite places in the whole wide world to be. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s also where I started to fall in love with Ben, so it holds a special place in my heart! Ben and I hadn’t gone up there just the two of us in a while, so when he asked if I wanted to go, I couldn’t wait! In the back of my mind, I was secretly hoping he would propose that weekend, but little things here and there made me doubt that it was going to happen. We got to the lake house on Friday night and Ben told me he had made dinner reservations at a restaurant on the lake. We unpacked the car and then hopped on the boat to make it to dinner on time. On the way, I asked Ben if we could head home during the sunset so we could watch it from the boat (unbeknownst to me at the time, that was his plan all along). We finished dinner and practically ran back to the boat. The sunset was magical, and as I was taking pictures, like I always do, Ben pointed out a particularly pretty view. As soon as I turned around to snap a picture, the boat stopped…and so did my heart! I turned around and Ben was on his knee asking me to marry him! It was perfect. When we turned the corner back to the house, I saw all of our family and friends running outside to greet us. Ben had asked everyone to come to the lake to surprise me! The rest of the night was filled with so much love and joy–there were even fireworks! It was the best weekend ever!!
When did y’all get married? October 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was four tiers of vanilla almond and strawberry with a raspberry filling. Natalie from Cake Envy made the most delicious cake. The groom’s cake was a red velvet Georgia bulldog that looked amazing, and tasted great too!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Ben and I did premarital counseling with our wedding officiant, Rev. Charlie Marus. This really helped Ben and I understand one others’ expectations for our marriage, and it was a good way to make sure we were on the same page about things like finances, chores, and children, just to name a few!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My sister, Allison, is extremely creative and talented. She hand-painted all of the signs and decor at the wedding, including the Bible verse sign at the ceremony site, the bride and groom signs that hung on our chairs at dinner, and the “Abernathy” sign that had greenery draped over it. She did everything for free, so that was a huge help. We also ordered our wedding invitations through Minted, which was much more cost effective than hiring someone to design and address them!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take your time to make decisions that are important to you and try not to rush yourself. Don’t sweat the small stuff and, if you can, hire a wedding planner!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Ben and I are looking forward to enjoying our first holiday season as husband and wife! We will be spending time with our families, taking care of our precious golden retriever, Cooper, and going on a New Year’s trip cruising the British Virgin Islands!

Photographer: Amanda Coker / Venue, Planner, Caterer, and Florist: White Oaks Barn / Wedding Cake: Natalie Roth / Rentals: CRUSH event rentals / DJ: Kyle MacDonald / Special Details: Allison Brown / Invitations: Minted / Paper Products and Koozie Design: Kristen Polsinelli / Bride’s Gown: “Style 1504” Blush by Hayley Paige / Bride’s Veil: Wedding Angels Boutique / Hair and Makeup: Molly Todd / Bride’s Shoes: “Lyndee” Sandal by Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Angelina Faccenda / Menswear: “Parker” Tuxedo in Black by Ike Behar / Photo Booth: Robot Booth

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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