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As soon as Caitlin and Davis’ wedding photos arrived in Lisa‘s inbox, she knew I would fall head over heels. A classic Southern church wedding filled with monograms and magnolias? You can bet your bottom dollar she was right! Magnolias are my very favorite flower–I not only love how gorgeous they are, but also how they seem to honor the South with every bloom. For Caitlin and Davis, the use of magnolia leaves and flowers throughout their wedding weekend had an even deeper meaning that makes my heart so happy: it was their way of honoring Davis’ parents. On Davis’ parents wedding day, Davis’ father and groomsmen had cut down and arranged magnolia leaves and blooms found on a neighbor’s tree to create the decor, so decades later, it was only fitting that Caitlin and Davis included magnolias in their day, too. What an incredibly sweet family tradition in the making!

Thank you so much to Landon Jacob for sharing this beautiful day with us!

On the day Davis and I got engaged, my mother had a “wedding survival kit” prepared for the two of us, complete with various wedding magazines to browse. Too excited to sleep after our family dinner, I snuck into my television room and spent hours looking at the various dresses, hairstyles, bouquets, and wedding colors. I fell in love with a classic, silk dress, complete with an Audrey Hepburn-esque bow on the front, but it ended up not being quite right for me. Back to square one, we went ahead and made a few calls to bridal boutiques in Raleigh. We squeezed in an appointment at one boutique upon the recommendation of a friend, and I described what I was looking for: an a-line dress, free of tulle and beading, with perhaps a bit of lace–very classic and sophisticated lines. After trying on a few dresses, I noticed a dress on the racks that called out to me. It had tulle, beading, a full princess-like skirt–all the things I had said I didn’t want–but I just loved it! I tried it on, and knew instantly that it was the dress for me. It fit me like a glove from the first fitting to the wedding day, proving how perfect it truly was.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. When we first began to think about our wedding, I placed a lot of emphasis on Davis seeing me for the first time as I walked down the aisle. The more we got into the planning process, the more we realized how equally important time with our family and friends was to us, and how much we wanted to soak in as many moments with them as possible on our wedding day. Doing a first look allowed us to keep that special moment between the two of us, but also allowed us to spend more time with family and friends at the reception. It was the best of both worlds!

We chose three readings: Proverbs 3:1-6, Corinthians 13:1-13, and Colossians 3:12-17. The first is one of our parents’ favorite Bible passages. The second, though used often, is one of my favorite passages, and the third passage was one we found while looking for readings–it really spoke to how we want to live our lives together in marriage. As much as I loved each of our readings for various reasons, I also loved the Bible passage we used at the end of our program, as I thought it was a wonderful final thought to impart to our guests: “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else” (Thessalonians 3:12). Furthermore, it really speaks to our love not only for each other, but for our family and friends who were celebrating with us.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? St. Paul’s was my personal church after I converted to Episcopalian about two years prior to our wedding. We held our reception at Old Town Club, which is the club I grew up going to in town. It was extra special because I was the swim coach there for many years, and worked alongside Jeana McLean, the special events coordinator at OTC, for various swim team events. It was such fun for me to move from planning a hot dog dinner for the swim team to planning my wedding with her!

My mom and I ADORE flowers, and have admired Reggie’s work for years. We were so excited to find out he was available to help us on our special day. He came and met with us for hours, fine-tuning the look we were going for, and learning all of our favorites. Magnolias, peonies, roses, tulips, hydrangeas, and ranunculus are all favorite blooms, and we knew we wanted to do some type of hanging greenery element to create a one-of-a-kind look in our tent for dinner. We also wanted a clean and classic look with all whites and greens to create an elegant setting for our cocktail hour, dinner and reception.

One of the best parts of wedding planning was the food, wine, and cake tasting! We decided on a play off of the clean and classic look of the flowers and event as a whole, creating a plain white cake with pearled edges, an oversized bow (I have loved bows since I was little), and a gold-edged magnolia blossom. Our flavors were vanilla with strawberry, almond with raspberry, and chocolate with cookies and cream filling. A fun fact about the cake was that it was “fake cake” in the tent! Getting married in June and having a seated dinner in a tent, we were concerned about the hot temperatures and the cake falling. Chloe and Becca helped us develop the genius idea to have one slice of real cake to cut, marked off by ribbon on the cake’s platform, and the rest be a fondant, styrofoam creation. This way, our cake in the tent would look amazing, while our cake coming out of the kitchen would be fresh and delicious.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take time to soak in the small moments. I still vividly remember gripping my dad’s arm before walking down the aisle; we remember standing in the club’s office, hearing everyone buzzing outside before the confetti throw; and we remember the looks on my grandmothers’ and mother’s faces as they danced on stage with my bridesmaids and me. Pictures can say a thousand words, but we love having our personal memories too.

Don’t miss Caitlin and Davis’ wedding film by our Blue Ribbon Vendor Inkspot Crow below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I moved home to Winston-Salem, where Davis was in law school at Wake Forest University. I needed a roommate and, through friends, was set up to room with a childhood friend of Davis’, Ellery. Through Ellery and her boyfriend (now husband), Wes, Davis and I got to know each other. The greatest part about the start of our relationship was that we were friends first, and then began dating about seven months later.
Tell us all about the proposal! Once Davis graduated from law school, we dated long distance for about two years, as he got a job at a law firm in Raleigh. We often alternated travel between our two cities on the weekend, and we had already planned to spend the long Easter weekend together in Winston. I’m a teacher and often get to school early in the morning, but knew Davis was traveling to town, so I decided to take my time picking up the house and doing laundry before getting to school. Finally, I arrived, turned on the lights, set my coat down, and went to pull up my morning message on my white board. To my surprise, there was already a note written that read, “Will You Marry Me?” I stood at the board, pondering this message, wonder what student was playing a trick on me. I turned to head into the hall to find my trickster, when I heard a voice from the reading loft call out my name. Davis came down, flowers and ring in hand, got down on his knee, and asked me to marry him right there in my classroom. It was a special moment between just the two of us, but that special moment was made even sweeter when parents, colleagues, friends, and students celebrated with us in my classroom that day. The icing on the cake of our engagement day was Davis arranging a private dinner for both of our families at one of my favorite Winston restaurants. He spoke with the chef to create a personalized menu, ensured our siblings and grandparents could travel in from various parts of the country, and even had my favorite flowers arranged in the middle of the table. It truly was a perfect day!
When did y’all get married? June 20, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 340
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not. We thought we would be too nervous to remember them! :)
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was to “You are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne. We loved it while we were dating and it seemed fitting for our first dance as husband and wife. An additional special moment involving music was when our horns section of the band came down into the tent as a second line, playing “When the Saints Go Marching In,” to get people out of their seats and up to the dance floor. This second line moment was a surprise for Emily, Davis’ sister, who lives in New Orleans and loves the tradition of a second line. Tears welled up in her eyes as she mouthed her thanks to us, and joined the crowd processing upstairs. It was so fun for us to create special moments for not only ourselves, but also for our family members on our wedding day.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There were SO many elements of our day that we loved! However, probably most special was our use of magnolia leaves and blooms throughout our weekend. They were included in everything from our invitation suite and flowers to our embroidered cocktail napkins and cake decorations. Davis’ parents planned and executed all aspects of their own wedding, down to gathering and arranging flowers themselves. Days before their wedding, Davis’ father and groomsmen packed into a pick up truck and headed to a nearby neighbor’s farm, where they cut down and arranged many of the magnolia leaves and blooms found on the large trees in the yard. These were the only flowers for their special day, so we loved the idea of highlighting the magnolia in our design for our wedding day, too.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? While planning our wedding, we took part in premarital counseling. While we feel like we communicate well and have discussed many important elements of our future–such as finances and a future family–it was nice to have a third party bring up new ideas for us to consider. I also kept a journal for Davis for the entire year leading up to our wedding day, sharing quotes, Bible passages, funny stories, and things I was looking forward to as a married couple. This was a part of his wedding gift, and I gave it to him days before our wedding so he could read it and share in the excitement I felt before our special day. Davis still claims this as one of his most cherished possessions.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We have jumped into marriage head first! We are currently building a house and love going through the process. We have always heard about the stress it can bring, but we have truly enjoy making decisions and selections together. Beyond that, we look forward to continuing to travel and, someday down the road, having a family. We grew up with such wonderful examples of marriage and parenting in our own families, and can’t wait to hopefully set the same example for our children in the future.

Photographer: Landon Jacob Photography | Videographer: Inkspot Crow Films | Planner: Rebecca Rose Events | Ceremony Venue: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church | Reception Venue and Caterer: Old Town Club | Florist: Reggie’s Flower Shoppe | Cake Baker: Cakes by Chloe | Lighting, Tenting, Chairs, China, Glassware, and Flatware: Party Reflections | Band: Big Swing and the Ballroom Blasters | Cocktail Hour and Dinner Music: Jazz Trio by Allegro Music | Paper Products: Rebecca Rose Creative | Bride’s Gown: “Amour” by Kenneth Pool | Bride’s Veil: Alexia’s Bridal | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Makeup for Your Day | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Style #740 in Navy by Bill Levkoff | Bridal Salon: J Major’s Bridal Boutique | Menswear: Jean Yves | Linens: La Tavola and Nuage Designs | Envelope Calligraphy: Elizabeth Porcher Jones

Rebecca Rose Events is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Sarah Chancey reply

    Everything Landon does is absolute gold, and this wedding is no exception. I love the clean lines and elegant floral installations. The navy bridesmaid gowns also pair well with this elegant affair!

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Just a few months before Caroline + John said “I do” at their garden wedding, Caroline’s sister discovered an old wedding announcement for their great grandparents which detailed their similar wedding venue, arched floral altar and silver heirloom pieces that Caroline planned for her own nuptials. I love how the bride’s family history played such a large part in the details of the big day, whether planned or not. “If we drew a family tree of my side of the family, we could point to every branch and talk about an heirloom that was included in the wedding,” said Caroline. They only made the day more romantic — and just the way I envision New Orleans weddings.

Like the bride, we fell head over heels for the paper goods and signage included in the big day that only make the details even more lovely and personal and the fun photos that resulted from their killer band! (Fun fact: Caroline found her calligrapher, Elizabeth Porcher Jones, through our Williamsburg Wedding editorial in V4!) We’re sending huge hugs to Magnolia Pair for sharing C + J’s lovely day with us.

Pure wedding day bliss! I love this photo of Caroline + John’s first look.

I had been buying Martha Stewart Weddings magazines for years (as I told John when he caught me with one when we’d only been dating six months – “If I did it before I even met you, it’s not weird that I do it now.”), but I had opinions about everything except the dress. I had no idea what I wanted. I tried on a lot (probably 30+) before I found “the one.” I liked a few mermaid-style dresses, but I ultimately chose a flowing, romantic and feminine dress with dainty cap sleeves. When else do you have an occasion to dress like a princess?

Describe the proposal. John was determined to catch me off guard with his proposal and knew I would immediately suspect something if he made a big thing of bringing me to an out-of-the-way romantic location. So last year, I walked into John’s house after a frenzied day of Christmas shopping to find John waiting with a big, goofy grin on his face. Before I’d even had the chance to put my bags down, he dropped to a knee (with a gorgeous antique engagement ring he’d picked out with one of my best friends!) and asked me to be his wife! I was elated and said yes right away but was sort of thinking, “Why did you just propose in your bedroom?” I thought he might have something else up his sleeve when he then suggested going for a celebratory cocktail at one of our favorite restaurants around the corner. When we walked into the bar of the restaurant, I found a horde of family and friends cheering their congratulations and pouring champagne. We celebrated there before heading back to John’s house, where my mom, whose family throws notoriously large and riotous tailgate parties at LSU, had a “tailgate” waiting just in time for us to watch the Tigers play (and beat!) Ole Miss. Perfection!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. Walking down the aisle, walking back up the aisle, first dance? I struggled with choosing the song for my entrance because I love, love, love Pachalbel’s Canon in D on strings, but I thought it was too “boring” for the bride’s entrance. In the end, I went with my gut, and I thought it was a lovely, romantic choice for our garden wedding. John chose our recessional song, “Christmas Jig” by Natalie MacMaster. It was one of our first wedding decisions! A couple of days after John proposed, we were listening to Yo-Yo Ma’s “Songs of Joy and Peace” album while we were cooking together, and John said “I love this song. Can we play this at some point in the wedding?” It’s this beautiful, hopeful medley for a fiddle, cello and harp. Our string trio began playing softly as the minister was pronouncing us man and wife and hit our favorite part when he said “You may now kiss the bride.” After we recessed, the trio went into the festive jig of the song as guests began exiting behind us. Harry Hardin with New Orleans Finest Musicians was a peach for accommodating my crazy requests to time the music to the action. Our first dance was to “A Wink and a Smile” by Harry Connick, Jr. – a playful melody by a New Orleans-born artist.

We got married in a rose garden so I wanted our flowers to look textured and loose, like they could have been picked from the garden. My bouquet included peach Juliet roses (my favorite), pink garden roses and plum ranunculus and was wrapped with antique handkerchiefs from each of my grandmothers’ mothers. All of the vessels that held flowers at the wedding were antique family pieces. The summer before my wedding, I ventured into my parents’ attic and found a ton of silver water pitchers, champagne buckets and trays that my mom had inherited from both sides of the family. She couldn’t part with them but had no more room in the house to display them all. A wedding was the perfect excuse to polish them all up.

Caroline’s timeless taste is New Orleans perfection, y’all. Candle-lit banquet tables with a gorgeous garland running down the middle? I adore it.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? If we drew a family tree of my side of the family, we could point to every branch and talk about an heirloom that was included in the wedding — the antique handkerchiefs in my bouquet from great grandmothers, the vases we used for the flowers and several silver-plated trays engraved to commemorate things like Rotary Club honors and international dog show awards. John and I cut our wedding cake with a cake knife from my mother’s side that was engraved with a date in 1835 from the first wedding where it was used. It was really special to incorporate these pieces from my family’s history into our day. A few months before we got married, my youngest sister Laura was looking through online newspaper archives as part of a project for her summer internship. She found my great grandmother’s wedding announcement in a 1930 Vicksburg Evening Post and sent it to me. After choosing our ceremony site and deciding that I wanted to say our vows under a floral arch, I read that my great grandparents also married in October in a garden – at the home of the bride’s grandmother – beneath an “improvised altar decorated with arches of flowers.” The article, which amusingly called the affair “an outstanding event of the month,” went on to describe the décor at the reception, including a “table set with a handsome lace cover and decorated with crystal and silver appointments.” My great grandmother might have had the exact same crystal and silver pieces holding flowers at her wedding. She passed away when I was only two, but I must have inherited a little of her taste and sense of style.

The most memorable moment would probably be our last dance to Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” In college, my sorority sisters and I would all sing and dance around together every time it played, and if I wasn’t out when it played at a bar, I would get late night voicemails from my friends singing the song to me – at least this was a favorite move of my friend, Taylor. Deacon John had the dance floor packed all night so when he announced the last song, John and I were surrounded by friends and family. Our guests formed a circle around us as the band started to play “Sweet Caroline” and everyone was so into it! It was so fun jumping in circles and dancing with John and my mom (who had somehow gotten her hands on a tambourine…again) and sisters and mother-in-law and friends. There’s a great shot of my mom giving me a hug during the song, and my friend Taylor is right behind us wiping a happy tear from her eye. It was the perfect send-off!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I’d have to say all of the signage. I fell in love with Elizabeth Porcher Jones’ traditional but loose calligraphy when I saw the signage featured in the V4 Williamsburg photo shoot on Southern Weddings. I eagerly contacted her to create our wedding invitations, which turned out to be even more beautiful than I had hoped, and I asked her to create some small pieces for the wedding day. I think her beautiful hand written touches added to the casual elegance we were hoping to create at our garden wedding. We carried the artful, hand-drawn style to John’s chalkboard ice cream bar menu. I tracked down the chalk artist who does these amazing menus each week at Tiny Boxwood’s, a delicious café in Houston where John and I love to go on dates. I asked him to create something sort of fun and whimsical, and he nailed it. We now have the sign hanging in our kitchen!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. John moved in with my best college guy friend, Trey, at the beginning of our junior year. That fall, we started having regular Sunday night dinners at the guys’ house. I’d cook and bring friends, and they’d provide the wine. I always thought John was nice and cute and smart, but sort of quiet. Senior year, I had a light course load for the spring semester so I tried to convince Trey to take a swing dancing class with me. Trey’s schedule conflicted, but John surprisingly told me he’d sign up. The weekend before the class started, I got my first law school acceptance letter and a bunch of us, including John, went out to celebrate. Though John and I had been casual friends for a couple of years, that was the first night I had a meaningful one-on-one conversation with him. We sat in a corner of the bar and talked all night about how I was excited but nervous about going to graduate school so far from home and about John’s plans for after graduation. I went home that night and announced to my roommates “I think I have a crush on John Wells!” After two weeks of dance classes, I was completely smitten. And after the fourth week, John asked me to his fraternity’s formal in New Orleans, where we danced all night and shared our first kiss! We’ve been together since. The first wedding vendor we booked was Deacon John and the Ivories – our wedding band and the band that played the night of that first date!
In what month did you get married? October
How many guests attended your wedding? 250
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Yes! John and I highly recommend it! It was really special to have an intimate moment with John before the wedding, but I was even happier that we did it when I saw Holly’s incredible pictures. She captured gorgeous, relaxed and natural photos we’ll cherish for a lifetime. I especially love the ones where John is making me laugh! Practically speaking, if you have an evening wedding, it will likely be too dark to catch those beautiful, light-filled images together after the ceremony. And after the ceremony, we were ready to laugh, eat and dance with all of our guests! We probably would have rushed through the photos to get to the reception. Taking photos with John and family before the ceremony meant that we could move right on to the party!
Did you write your own vows? No. In this regard, we’re both pretty traditional and we chose to use the vows that had marked the beginning of so many wonderful marriages before ours.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Two of my close friends read passages from Ephesians 3: 14-19 and Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12. We also included Mark Twain’s “A Marriage” on the back cover of our ceremony programs.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: Our wedding cake was a traditional, tasty almond vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, but we were most excited about John’s dessert! As John is a huge fan of ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s “Chubby Hubby” in particular) we did an ice cream bar in lieu of a groom’s cake. Creole Creamery, an amazing New Orleans ice cream shop, let us choose from their hundreds of incredible flavors and even concocted a replica of John’s favorite flavor, which we dubbed the “Chubby Groom” for the occasion – an innocent play on words at which my marathon-running husband feigned offense! The ice cream bar was a huge hit with our guests. John likes to say that at one point, he looked around the room and saw that the dance floor was packed and there was a long line at the ice cream bar, and he thought, “This is awesome!”
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? My job. I’m a corporate lawyer in Houston, and Big Law and bridal don’t mix. Planning a destination wedding from out of town while being a first-year associate definitely meant I was spread a little thin. Being the perfectionist that I am, I tried to handle every detail myself at first. As the wedding got closer, I realized I had to let go and ask for help. Luckily, my mom loves throwing parties so she handled a lot of the logistics, and I focused on the décor and details. Divide and conquer!
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? The band! Deacon John was a little more than we wanted to spend but totally worth it. He’s a New Orleans legend, and the dance floor was never empty.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Be ready to roll with the punches. A dear family friend told me the day before the wedding, “Something will go wrong, and you’ve got to be ready to brush it off because you’re marrying a wonderful man and the rest is just details.” I had to remind myself of this more than a few times on the wedding day. Our ceremony started late because half of the buses carrying our guests got lost, and then, just as I walked up the aisle and joined hands with John, I heard the not-so-distant sound of a marching band. It turns out that there was a high school football game starting in the immediate vicinity of our ceremony site. The band continued to play within earshot throughout our entire ceremony. I wanted to cry. But if you stop to pout at any moment during the wedding, you’ll miss it. The day goes by in a flash, and you don’t want to waste one second of it moping or being angry. I just kept telling myself, “You can’t see the sounds of drums and horns in pictures.” Holly’s beautiful photos from the day almost make me forget about this glitch…almost.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We’re just enjoying being married! Being engaged was fun, but kind of stressful. Now I get to wake up next to my best friend on Saturday mornings with a day full of possibilities that don’t involve wedding planning in front of us. We love to cook and have friends over so we’re looking forward to hosting more dinner parties with the aid of all of the new cooking gadgets and lovely entertaining pieces we received as wedding presents.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
12 Comments
  1. avatar Shelby reply

    Beautiful! love the family incorporation & how can you not melt over the calligraphy? The rose petal envelope is my favorite!

  2. avatar Bellenza Wedding Bistro reply

    The entire wedding setup looks so fresh and pristine! And all the florals are just gorgeous!

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  4. avatar Rose {Rose and Ruby Paper Co.} reply

    This is all just beautiful!
    x

  5. avatar Published : Southern Weddings | Magnolia Pair reply

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  6. avatar Plum Pretty Sugar reply

    Sooo pretty and sweet! Love, love the late night treats idea!

    xo

    http://www.PlumPrettySugar.blogspot.com

  7. avatar FaceForward Weddings reply

    This wedding was beautiful and so much fun and I absolutely love how Caroline thought of ways to incorporate her family heirlooms into the decoration! Thank you for letting me share your special day with you!

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