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Now, while I grew up in the great state of Alabama, my adult years have been spent in quite a few Southern states, and one of the things I’ve found consistent across borders is the kindness and hospitality of Southerners — it makes you instantly feel at home, wherever you are! Caroline and Chandler chose to embrace these two Southern hallmarks at their wedding, creating a “close-knit and welcoming” environment for all of their guests. And don’t miss their rewrite of traditional vows – I loved that they pledged to fight for love instead of against each other!

Thank you to Erin Wilson Photography for this beautiful day!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I had recently decided to move to the town where my best friend and her husband were living, and started meeting their new friends. Chandler and I were both invited to celebrate my friend’s husband’s birthday. As most typical gatherings play out, all the girls were in the kitchen talking and all the men were in the living room watching a football game. During our time talking in the kitchen, one girl asked me a bunch of questions about my background and finally said, “There is a guy wearing a red jacket in the other room who is perfect, precious, and sweet. He loves his momma, and loves Jesus, and he will LOVE his wife.” HOW BOLD! I was not really interested in dating during my transition of moving and starting fresh, but I did peek into the next room and quickly said “no” when I saw the Duck Dynasty-esque beard he was sporting. The next encounter was after I visited their church’s service before Christmas; they had a reception afterward to help people connect and spend time together. It was then that I got to see his beaming smile through all the beard, so I left telling my best friend that he was in fact very cute. We still didn’t officially meet. The next time I came to town was the weekend before New Year’s, and our mutual friends were not going to let me leave town without officially meeting him. We did the awkward group lunch after church where everyone knows they are attending for the purpose of getting two people to officially meet. After a lot of convincing, I agreed to join the group for New Year’s Eve. That night, Chandler was very intentional–he was always near me and began asking me one-on-one questions that sprung off of what the group was discussing. I came back in to help my friend collect plates and cups while people still enjoyed the fire, and we found Chandler doing dishes in the kitchen and taking out the trash. It was then that I saw his servant heart. He boldly called a week later to ask me to coffee.

I wanted the flowers to be very lush and vary in color. Our original wedding colors were blush pink, gold, and dark wood grain. We decided to add variety in order for it to look very whimsical and not so structured. I love the round eucalyptus leaf greenery with pops of flowers, such as peonies, roses, some different daisies, hypericum berries and carnations.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! We wanted the photographer to have a lot of time for wedding party pictures without delaying the reception. We also wanted to be able to make sure the vows were not the first time we would talk to each other that day. It really made things run so smoothly! We had eight groomsmen and eight bridesmaids, and since we started the pictures with a first look, we got to take all sorts of creative pictures together with our favorite people.

We decided to rewrite traditional vows with our own special promises to each other. Our premarital counseling was great for real world advice and also helped us think of ways to set our marriage up for success and great communication. One of my favorite vows to him was, “I promise to respect you without condition.” This statement was also said to me this way: “I promise to love you without condition.” In our premarital counseling, we talked about how receiving and giving love to each other is interpreted differently by guys and girls. The second a man feels doubted or disrespected, they do not respond in love; for a woman, the second she feels unloved, she does not respond in respect. So for us, we always want to be on the same team, fighting for love and not against each other.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our ceremony. The pastor did an amazing job of telling our story and highlighting what God has done in our relationship. The weather was beautiful, the flowers were stunning, and the variety of wedding party attire came together so well. The reception was fun and full of loved ones reuniting, while some met for the first time, but the promises that were made and the love that was presented to everyone during our ceremony meant more to me than anything!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We wanted something outdoors and close to the vendors we had chosen. We have family who does amazing things with events and didn’t want distance to hinder their work! We luckily found Wagon Wheel Acres quickly and booked them as soon as we could get up there to look around. Their location is beautifully set on top of Lee Mountain overlooking the River Valley area. The rocks on the bluff were just stunning and the potential of their barn-like facility was a great canvas for my vision. They provided many small detail decor items here and there, as well as some antique tables that were just the right touch for our sweetheart and guest book tables.

My wedding cake was five layers with alternating vanilla (our favorite), chocolate, and strawberry cakes, all with white buttercream icing. I described to them a rough, iced cake with gold accents throughout. I decided on flowers instead of a topper of any kind to continue the whimsical theme.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Southern, to me, is close-knit and welcoming. In the South, there is a polite sense of belonging with those who uphold traditional kindness. I think that’s what was present at our wedding. Whether people knew both of us well or just one of us, there was a sense of relaxed comfort to all who attended.

Tell us all about the proposal! We had talked marriage many times after a few months of dating, and had even come up with some good dates to consider around the months his sister would be in the country! About five months after we started dating, he began looking at rings and quickly decided to go with a local company who would allow him to design his own. One evening, he told me he had band practice and instead traveled to my hometown to meet with my family. He took them all out to dinner and, when they returned to my house, Chandler had a talk with my dad that ended with both of them in tears. Their love for me is so sweet. My dad gave his blessing, and Chandler officially purchased the ring not long after. He went to visit my hometown several times to time the sunset and get the lighting right for all that he wanted. Chandler built a beautiful dark wood bench and about eight frames to put our pictures in from throughout dating. He got candles and fabric to set all along this overlook by the lake. My family planned a “family dinner” night that Chandler would “have to be late for because of work.” My family and I got all ready for a nice dinner at our local country club…or so I thought. On the way out of our neighborhood (which is right by the lake), my dad mentioned something he needed to look at on the door of the lake conference center. My whole family got out of the car to “look at the sunset while he looked at the door.” Little did I know, waiting around the corner was Chandler and his crew of people documenting! I was shocked.. and then speechless when I realized there were two people filming and a photographer! He had set everything out and even somehow coordinated his shirt with my dress. He got down on one knee and I said, “Of course I will!” We then immediately took our engagement pictures. My family had then left me to get to the after-party Chandler had planned with myy family, his family, and our closest friends! It was so sweet!
When did y’all get married? April 2, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 200
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Our marriage was what we started planning long before wedding details came together. We knew we wanted to do premarital counseling to prepare our hearts and minds for challenges and the realities of married life. Both of us have divorced parents, so we wanted to set up patterns in our marriage that would help us continue to fight more for our marriage instead of against each other. The couple we met with had us read the books “Love and Respect” and “Sheet Music.” These were so very helpful and led to many discussions about how our pasts had molded us to believe things about marriage that we either had to begin changing or agree to be truths. We prayed A LOT and also asked for advice from many close friends.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We were blessed to have family that does event decorating, cakes, catering, etc. It was a huge help to be able to rely on my family to make this special day come together. I definitely went the “cheap” route with as many things as possible to make sure money was spent on my favorites: flowers and photography! I did all my own calligraphy for the invitations, programs, chalkboard, signage. I am a graphic designer, so I designed my invitations and save the dates as well!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I definitely would advise those planning their own wedding to prioritize the details that are most important to you (for me, it was flowers and photography). Budget for those first! Also, look for a venue that goes with your theme–the garden party look I wanted wasn’t going to work in a church building or a conference room. Then, choose things like attire for all of your wedding party, yourself and your groom carefully, since that is what will be seen, photographed, and focused on most. It’s sometimes hard to get dresses/suits ordered in a timely manner, so find these vendors first to prevent scrambling at the last minute for all the right sizes.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We took a small honeymoon, but are planning our first married vacation for the end of the summer! We only dated a little over a year before getting married, so we are excited about traveling together and we are always seeking adventures! We decided on no pets for now, just so any day could be an adventure without the worry of burdening others with upkeep while we are away! After getting married, we moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas where Chandler got a new job, so everything is new to us. Once I graduate from cosmetology school, I will be getting a job in Hot Springs, which is luckily known as Spa City!

Photographer: Erin Wilson | Videographer: Kyle and Capillya Uptergrove | Planner: Fe Barton | Florist, Cake Baker, Caterer, and Rentals: Dover Supermarket Inc. | Venue: Wagon Wheel Acres | Guest Book: Shutterfly | Paper Goods: Caroline Tedder and Posey Printing Inc. | Bridal Salon and Veil: Low’s Bridal | Bride’s Gown: “Style D1702” in Champagne by Essense of Australia | Bride’s Earrings: Francesca’s | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Miriam Alvarez | Groom’s Attire: J. Ferrar

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

    Wow! This made me tear up. Very well said. How and when can we buy copies of this magazine. We would like the Issue that has this story.
    Thank you

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Becky! I’m so glad you loved this wedding! Caroline and Chandler’s big day is an online-only feature, but our next issue will debut in November 2016!

  2. avatar Nicole Oliveira reply

    Where did she get the shoes????? I HAVE to have them!!

  3. avatar Chelsea reply

    I’m obsessed with your wedding shoes!!! Where did you get those?!

  4. avatar Robyn reply

    Where did u get your shoes?? Those are just what I’m looking for

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It’s always so much fun to see sweet people in the wedding industry tie the knot! Kara (of Kara Anne Paper) knew from the day that she and William carved their initials into a tree at her father’s lake house that they’d be married there someday. Sure enough, it proved the perfect place to become husband and wife nine years later. Family is clearly so important to this couple, and I love the way they went back to their roots and the very beginning of their love story for their Alabama wedding!

We’re so glad Kara’s friend Kim Box Photography was on hand to capture every special moment of this day!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at a pool party at my father’s home in Pike Road, Alabama. It was the summer of William’s senior year and my junior year of high school, and it was love at first sight. We carved our initials into a tree that overlooks the pond, where we would stand nine years later to exchange vows. After high school, we continued to see each other throughout college and over many miles. With William off to school on the West Coast and me staying in-state, we agreed we never wanted to be apart from each other again, and decided to make Alabama our home.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always dreamed of having a simple, beautiful, backyard wedding at the home where I grew up swimming, fishing, and riding horses. William and I met at a pool party there one summer and the rest was history. When we carved our initials into one of the trees right in front of the dock that overlooks the pond, I knew that it would be the place where we would one day exchange our vows.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? From the beginning of the planning process, I knew I wanted to stay true to our Southern roots! We had a backyard ceremony in front of the pond and dock, with our horses grazing in the background. A white fence lines the property of the Southern-style home, and we had ferns hanging on the front porch. It doesn’t get any more Southern than that!

I loved working with our florist, Crystal Strickland of Southern Posies. After lots of inspiration boards and late night emails, Crystal made my vision come to life! We had soft, whimsical arrangements filled with lush greenery, white and pale blush and coral flowers, and a hint of bright pink in my bouquet and at the reception. One of my favorite things she created were the beautiful ferns that hung on the fence post around the pool area and on the front porch. We also placed ferns all around the island of the pond.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Kara: My most memorable moment was when William recited his vows. The love and emotion was so powerful and evident that everyone was in tears! It was truly the most special moment I’ve ever experienced. From William: My most memorable moment was seeing Kara at our first look. I was so careful not to see any pictures of her in her gown or even the gown itself, so I was truly surprised, and her beauty was amazing.

We were so pleased with our wedding vendors! Being in the wedding business, I have formed many great relationships with others in the business. I was fortunate to get to work with my good friends! It was so special to have Kim Box Photography, the 1717 Wedding Cinema team and the girls from Southern Posies with us on our wedding day. Hiring people I trusted and who shared my vision allowed William and I to sit back, relax, and just enjoy our wedding day!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to “Moonlight Mile” by The Rolling Stones. I really love the instrumental version, and we had a classical guitar and violinist play the procession. Our first dance was to Van Morrison’s “These are the Days” because the lyrics really connected with us. My dad and I danced to Bruce Springsteen’s “When you Need Me.” My father is a huge Springsteen fan, and again, the lyrics really captured our relationship–my father is always there for me.

Tell us all about the proposal! Our family is the most important thing in our lives and we wanted to make sure they were included in the moment. Surrounded by family and friends, William decided that dinner at the country club on his birthday was the perfect opportunity for him to pop the question. He stood up during dinner to thank everyone for being there and began to speak about the importance of family. He then asked if I would join him in starting our life as a family together! Of course, I said “yes!” My grandparents were in town and William even flew in my twin sister and mother, who live in Pennsylvania, as a surprise.
When did y’all get married? May 2, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did our first look before the ceremony. William’s back was turned at one end of the dock. As I walked closer to the pond, he turned around, and we met in the middle of the dock for a big hug and a kiss! It was the perfect moment! We wanted to have a private first look so we could take all of our pictures before the ceremony. After the ceremony, it was time to party!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! My something borrowed was my mother-in-law’s beautiful pear-shaped diamond earrings. My something old was a lace embroidered handkerchief that my great-grandmother gave me as a gift. My something new was the beautiful wedding shoes that my mother gave me the day of the wedding. They were so elegant and the perfect touch!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I am in the custom paper and stationery business, and I specialize in wedding designs. I was able to save on design fees for our paper goods, as well as work out deals with other vendors in the business with whom I have working relationships.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My advice is to hire professionals! Having vendors who know what they are doing is so important! It will allow you to relax and know that everything is in good hands. Don’t stress over the small things. Even if you think they’re a big deal, I can promise you that others will never even notice! The week of the wedding gets really busy, so try your best to have all errands done and all the little things finished by Wednesday before the wedding–that way, you can relax and just enjoy your friends and family!

Photographer: Kim Box Photography / Videographer: 1717 Wedding Cinema / Planner and Florist: Southern Posies / Reception Venue and Caterer: Wynlakes Country Club / Wedding Cake Baker: Vickie Kyser / Rentals: Brendle Rentals / Lighting: Elite Ovations Lighting and Southern Posies / Band: The Main Attraction Band / Special Details: Custom Flag and Details / Paper Products: Kara Anne Paper / Bride’s Gown: Essence of Australia / Hair Stylist: Erin Ryser / Bride’s Shoes: Klub Nico / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “G834U” in Ice by AMSALE / Groom’s Attire: Marvin Harrell at MH Custom Clothiers / Custom Shirtings: John Armstrong Clothiers / Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank

lisa Written with love by Lisa
10 Comments
  1. avatar Ashton Dreyer reply

    The flowers are stunning!

  2. avatar Nina reply

    Kara is completely amazing. Not only does she have flawless taste with her design work, but flawless taste in LIFE! Congratulations, my sweet Kara! You deserve it! XOXO

  3. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    So pretty! I love the bridesmaid dresses!

  4. avatar Dana reply

    the seating paintings are amazing! and her invites are beautiful!

  5. avatar Christina reply

    Love the monogrammed flag! Where can I get that?

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