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Tag: elopement

It is so special to see a couple who celebrates their marriage in a way that is a perfect fit for them, even if that celebration is less than traditional. Morgan and Brian are a lovely example–with the help of their planner and designer, Kylie Swanson, they said their vows by the ocean in Marco Island, Florida, surrounded by just 21 of their loved ones. A few weeks later, they also celebrated with family and friends back home in Oklahoma. We were delighted to share both parts of their wedding celebration in V7, and are equally excited to share them with y’all today, starting with their romantic seaside ceremony. We hope they inspire you to think outside the box and plan your wedding in the way that is most meaningful to you!

Thanks so much to Aaron Snow for sharing Morgan and Brian’s gorgeous wedding with us!

I have always adored the ocean, so choosing a destination wedding and getting married on the beach was a dream come true. Exchanging vows by the ocean was significant for Brian as well–when he was a teenager, he felt like God had told him that one day, he was going to wake up every day by the sea. Well, my name, Morgan, actually means “by the sea.” The symbolism is beautiful.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? My favorite part about my dress was its simplicity. The fabric was Spanish tulle and silk, so it was very lightweight. The design had a delicate, feminine, free-spirited quality that fit my personality. It was ideal for a beach wedding.
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? I let my older sisters choose a dress that they loved and felt beautiful wearing. It came in three colors: blue, blush, and mint. We chose mint!

Tell us about a date you’ll always remember. We will always remember our first date to a Tulsa Drillers minor league baseball game; Brian bought us tickets directly behind home plate. It felt as if we had the entire stadium to ourselves because there were so few people in attendance that night. It wasn’t a wildly extravagant date, but it was a precious and memorable one, filled with incredible warmth, happiness, love, and laughter. There’s something to be said about the simple things in life. All we wanted to do was spend time getting to know each other, and we truly cherished every single moment together. I pray that every moment is still deemed extraordinary, even fifty years from now. Life is made up of moments!

Exchanging our vows was the most special part of the ceremony. Those two simple words, “I do,” shaped the rest of our lives. Marriage vows are a covenant between best friends to love and cherish each other through thick and thin; they are promises to be lived out in each moment.

Did you try anything new or nontraditional? One thing in particular that stood out as nontraditional is that we decided to have everyone stand around us during the ceremony rather than bring out chairs. It made for a really magical moment.

Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? Everyone was special, but one person in particular traveled over 24 hours to celebrate with us! Brian and his parents flew my best friend, Natalie, into Florida from Zimbabwe to be a part of our special day. We surprised her with a bridesmaid dress in her hotel room, and it was a very tearful, happy moment for everybody.

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? We had a short cocktail hour at our wedding in Florida and it was a great transition for our guests while we wrapped up some portraits with Aaron.

We left the floral design up to Kylie, and after our initial meeting describing the type of design that I’m drawn to, I knew she would be able to pull together something incredibly beautiful. It was so surreal seeing my bouquet for the first time, because Kylie managed to pull together all of the colors and textures I loved and create something so spectacularly gorgeous.


Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? I don’t know if it was a family tradition necessarily, but Brian’s dad read a powerful blessing over the two of us and over every married couple present at our reception.

What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? Brian surprised me by serenading me after we exchanged vows. He sang “Happy” by The Daylights, which was “our song” during our entire engagement. It was amazing!!!

Don’t miss Morgan and Brian’s wedding film by Pen Weddings below!

When did y’all get married? May 29, 2014
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.We were introduced while hundreds of miles apart–Brian was finishing his college education in Mississippi and I was studying in Missouri. We met for the first time in person on May 19, 2013 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after a month of long-distance courting. We would Skype for several hours every day, sharing our hearts on just about everything: hopes, dreams, desires, and fears. We discussed our strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and anything in between. Most of all though, Brian and I talked about our mutual love and passion for the Lord. All of our conversations–no matter how brief or lengthy, casual or serious–pointed to God. Beyond our compatibility, we both were deeply devoted to our faith and pursued the heart of God above all else. We honestly fell in love with the reflection of Christ that we saw in each other. We were inseparable that summer. Brian says that when he saw me for the first time, he knew I’d have his heart for the rest of his life. After six months of dating and a lot of prayer, Brian proposed. We got married a year and ten days after meeting.
Tell us about the proposal! In January 2013, Brian’s parents took us to Israel to tour the Holy Land with our church. Brian decided that there was no better place to ask me to join him as “one” than the very spot where Jesus asked to be one with us: the Garden of Gethsemane. Standing at the base of the Mount of Olives, Brian read to me from John 17, dropped to one knee, and proposed. I said YES! Along with a sparkly new engagement ring, Brian gave me a heart carved from olive wood. Olive trees hold incredible symbolism, and we were surrounded by them during the proposal. The olive tree thrives under great heat and is known for its tenacity. They live, grow, and bear fruit in any and every condition: hot, dry, cold, wet, fertile, rocky, or sandy. It is said that you can never kill an olive tree–even when cut down or burned, new shoots emerge from its roots. Like the evergreen olive tree, we pray that our marriage will withstand anything.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: It was joyful, vibrant, and blessed!

How many guests attended your wedding? 21
Who was your officiant? Why did you choose him/her? The officiant was Jason Cook, a former NFL player. He was Brian’s mentor at the University of Mississippi.

Did you try anything new or nontraditional? A fire dancer performed at the end of the night!
Did you take a honeymoon? If so, where? Since we got married in Florida, we thought it would be a great idea to start out our marriage in the Keys. After getting married in Marco Island, we rented a car and drove to Islamorada. We spent about four days at the beautiful Cheeca Lodge and Spa and stayed in a really delightful little bungalow. After our time in the Florida Keys, we drove to Miami and flew out to Turks & Caicos for eight days. We stayed at the Seven Stars Resort. The Caribbean was breathtaking!

Photographer: Aaron Snow / Videographer: Pen Weddings / Planner, Designer, and Stylist: Kylie Swanson / Ceremony Venue: Marriott Marco Island / Reception Venue: KJM The Farm / Florals: Isn’t She Lovely (Florida) and Poppy Lane Design (Oklahoma) / Catering: Marriott Marco Island (Florida) and Ludger’s (Oklahoma) / Cake Baker: Marriott Marco Island (Florida) and Amy’s Cakes (Oklahoma) / Hair and Makeup: Blo OKC / Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Bridal Salon and Veil: JJ Kelly / Bridesmaid Dresses: Dillard’s / Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic / Paper Goods: Gather & Co. / Rentals: Niche Event Rentals (Florida), Kahoy Studios (Oklahoma), and Marianne’s Rentals (Oklahoma) / Transportation: Tulsa Vintage Rides / Lighting: Zach Downing Productions

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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  1. avatar 365 Days of us. | Morris Ministry reply

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  2. avatar Dan Biggins Photography reply

    In a word, swoon! I dream of photographing a beach wedding, but don’t get much chance living in the UK! Beautiful photos, couple & wedding :)

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There’s nothing more special than when a couple celebrates their marriage in a way that is completely true to them as a couple–upholding the traditions that are important to them, and not being afraid to let go of the rest. For Hanna and Nick, they chose to wait until Hanna walked down the aisle before seeing each other, Hanna thoughtfully selected something old, new, borrowed, and blue, and the newlyweds enjoyed a sweet first dance. On the other hand, they decided that an intimate elopement, with just the two of them and their parents, was the way they wanted to begin their marriage, so they forewent a traditional big wedding in favor of an intimate ceremony and dinner at the Aldredge House. Wendy Kay of Birds of a Feather Events helped them pull the details together in just 44 days, and the result was as lovely as it was meaningful!

Thank you so much to Charla Storey for sharing this unique celebration with us!

There were 44 days from the day Nick proposed to the day of our wedding, so that is all the time I had to find the perfect dress. Needless to say, I was terrified! The Lord was on our side because on my second day of shopping, I fell in love with the first dress I tried on! The ladies at Lulu’s Bridal Boutique in Dallas were extremely accommodating. After they got over the initial shock of the time crunch we were in, they began working their magic. Two ladies were pulling dresses for me and others were on the phone or computer making sure that we could get the dresses on time. It was truly an amazing experience and I didn’t have to settle on a dress that I wasn’t in love with.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided against a first look because we wanted to experience that magic moment of meeting at the altar. My favorite part was the the anticipation leading up to seeing my groom for the first time. Focusing on him as I walked down the aisle was the most magical and romantic moment of my life. I will never forget the look on his face and the love that I felt! The moment was so perfect, and I feel like it would have been diluted had we already seen each other that day.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was that we were actually able to experience and enjoy every detail! Having an elopement that only included both sets of parents allowed us the freedom to truly focus on each other and not attend to anyone or anything else. We didn’t have to rush around or worry about what we needed to do next. We were able to notice the little things and embrace every moment.

Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers couldn’t have been more perfect! They were a mix of simple white blooms and beautifully textured greens. My bouquet was tied with hand-dyed indigo streamers that accented the flowers perfectly. Maxine Owens at The Southern Table captured my vision of natural and airy better than I could have expected.

The biggest challenge was keeping everything a secret. We wanted to surprise our family and friends by throwing small “engagement” parties and using the pictures and video to announce that we got married. It was so much fun seeing the shock on our loved ones’ faces! Everyone was extremely supportive of our decision and loved how unique it was. Even though it was difficult sneaking around, I wouldn’t change a thing! Our day was intimate, simple, and everything we hoped for.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We indulged on blueberry galettes, baked honey and walnut pears, chocolate mousse cake, and gold and indigo macaroons. Our cake had a blue watercolor wash on the bottom tier and the top two tiers were dipped in gold. Everything was divine–I am still dreaming about the blueberry galettes!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Nick and I met during our junior year at Tarleton State University. He was working on his coaching and education degree and I was working on my elementary education degree. We found ourselves in three of the same courses, and there was an instant connection. The more time we spent together, the easier it was for us to see that we had something special. Falling in love was easy!
Tell us all about the proposal! Many girls dream of a big, elaborate proposal with a flash mob, a photographer, and everyone under the sun cheering the couple on. I was not that way. I wanted something genuine, intimate, and simple, and Nick met my expectations in every way! He proposed at our home on December 6, 2014, after we finished decorating our first Christmas tree. I was taking pictures of our hard work when I turned around to find Nick on his knee, ready to propose. It was perfect and I was completely surprised!
When did y’all get married? January 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 4
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. As I walked down and back up the aisle, we had a guitarist, Noah Galaviz, play “Fields of Gold” by Sting. I chose “Fields of Gold” because it has always been one of my favorite songs and I knew it would fit perfectly with the feel of our ceremony. Our first dance was to “Your Song” by Elton John, also played by Noah. We wanted a timeless song that we knew we would always love. The lyrics are simple, romantic, and really relate to our relationship.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! For my something borrowed and something blue, I wore my mother’s sapphire ring. I also wore my grandmother’s wedding ring as my something old, and my dress was my something new.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? Less than $10,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Our largest money saver was deciding to elope. We saved on every aspect of the wedding with this decision.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We couldn’t have done it without the help of Wendy Kay from Birds of a Feather Events. I was blown away by how easy it was for her to bring our vision to life. The flowers, the tablescape, the music, the food, the venue–everything was intimate and exactly what we wanted. Wendy made this experience so easy and enjoyable.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Stay focused on what you and your spouse want. It’s your wedding, do what you want and have fun with it! It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to make everyone else happy but this is the one day that you and your spouse need to be spoiled and treated like royalty.

Photographer: Charla Storey / Videographer: Heartstring Films / Planner: Wendy Kay of Birds of a Feather Events / Ceremony Venue: The Aldredge House / Florist: Maxine Owens of The Southern Table / Cake Baker: Layered Bake Shop / Caterer: Food Glorious Food / Band: Noah Galaviz / Paper Products: Southern Fried Paper / Bride’s Gown: “Melanie” by Maggie Sottero / Bride’s Shoes: Sam Edelman / Groom’s Attire: J. Crew

lisa Written with love by Lisa
7 Comments
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  2. avatar Wendy Kay reply

    Thank you so much for this lovely feature, I loved planning and designing this wedding, it was a winderful way to kick off 2015! I also want to give a shout out to Crystal with Harts and Quills for providing the calligraphy!

  3. avatar Bloomwood Photography reply

    Such a beautiful wedding
    Lovely flowers, cake, couple & venue

  4. avatar Bailey reply

    I love that Hanna and Nick had the exact type of wedding that was right for them as a couple, and I so appreciate that Southern Weddings features weddings of all shapes and sizes.

  5. avatar Asheville Wedding Inspiration in the Blue Ridge Mountains | Hey Wedding Lady reply

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  6. avatar Maxine reply

    Thank you for featuring, Southern Weddings! This couple was too sweet, and the team headed by Birds of a Feather was amazing to work with!

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The simplicity and spontaneity of an elopement can help to strip away some of the “stuff” that surrounds weddings, leaving just the essence of a marriage: committing yourself to the one you love in front of the people who matter most. For this editorial, we imagined a couple who wanted to elope in Charleston, but still celebrate with their very closest family and friends. Though we tucked in lots of special details focused on hospitality, whether you have five or 500 guests in attendance, gracious hospitality can always by the centerpiece.

Big hugs to the supremely talented KT Merry for these photos and to the ladies of A Charleston Bride for pulling together the details. Purchase your copy of V7 (and her BFF, our brand new wedding planner!) here!

To shy to exchange personal vows in front of your guests? We love the idea of writing each other promises in letter form to exchange the morning of the wedding or at your first look. Having a calligrapher letter them for you makes for a beautiful keepsake.

Charleston City Hall was the perfect spot for these beautiful, light-filled photos! They’re some of my favorites in the magazine!

This editorial was inspired in part by one of our friend Kathryn’s inspiration boards. She imagined the scene set at the William Aiken House, and we agreed that the venue’s yellow walls could not have been more perfect to bring this scene to life!

Special glassware can instantly transform a table. We loved the combination of sleek black wine glasses and vintage tumblers!

Photographer: KT Merry | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Designer and Florals: A Charleston Bride | Venues: Charleston City Hall and the William Aiken House | Caterer and Baker: Fish | Cake stand: Country Kitchen SweetArt | Rentals: Snyder Rental, Ooh! Events, Event Haus | Ticking napkins: Un Original Americain | Flatware: West Elm | Hair and makeup: Carrie McLeod of Paper Dolls | Getaway car: Charleston Rickshaw | Invitations and stationery: Smitten on Paper | Calligraphy: Blue Glass Design | Custom sewing: Behind the Seams | Palm fans: Favors and Flowers | Wrapping paper: Sugar Paper, Ann Page, Snow & Graham, Linda & Harriet | Welcome bags: A Signature Welcome | Bass player: Other Brother Entertainment | Bride’s gown: “Lucille” by Monique Lhuillier | Bride’s cuff: Modcloth | Bride’s shoes: Nina | Bride’s clutch: Mar y Sol | Other jewelry: Perfect Details | Menswear: J. Crew | Bow tie: TieMart | Bridesmaid dresses: Rent the Runway and Modcloth | Pineapple dress: Townsen | Overnight bag: Mark & Graham

emily Written with love by Emily
7 Comments
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  2. avatar Nancy Ray reply

    Love this shoot so much. I must say, the image of the man with the standup bass in the grass caught my eye. The light, the composition – just beautiful. All of the images are stunning, but it’s always fun to see one unexpected image stand out. Beautiful work as always, KT!

  3. avatar Winifred Paper reply

    That tablescape is absolutely to die for!

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  7. avatar Tyra reply

    This is beautiful! Anyone know if you can actually get married in Charleston City Hall? Thanks!

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