BDK and I chose very traditional vows when we got married–like many couples, we loved the history of saying those powerful words that so many generations have said before us. Vows are such an intimate aspect of any wedding, so I love when our couples share a little bit more about the ones they said with us. Lauren and Justin grew up together–meeting in sixth grade and becoming a couple in tenth. With such a vast history, I was so curious to know what they might have said to each other during their ceremony. Y’all, it’s even sweeter than I could have imagined! Together with their pastor, they customized vows that were perfect for them. Lauren vowed her “deepest love and unselfish devotion” and Justin promised his “protection and Godly leadership.” Swoon! Their favorite wedding detail makes these vows even more romantic: the arbor that they tied the knot under was built by Justin and his father. It will someday be kept in their backyard, so they can tell their future children the story of their wedding!
Big hugs to Kati Mallory for sharing this beautiful day with us!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! Each of these items is so special to me. My something old was a diamond bracelet that my grandmother gave me. It was so beautiful and perfect for the occasion. For my something new, I picked out the perfect pair of Chinese Laundry shoes–they’re heels, but are thick enough that they worked in the grass for our outdoor ceremony. For my something borrowed, Justin’s godmother lent me a handkerchief that every woman in her family has carried when they were married. The handkerchief has each bride’s name stitched on it along with their groom’s name, their wedding date, and the location of the wedding. It was really special to see our names added to it. For my something blue, I wore my blue sapphire Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority pin inside my dress.
When I started looking for my dress, I really had no idea what I wanted. I browsed online to look for ideas, but knew that I was going to be indecisive. It was important to me to have my bridesmaids, sister, and mom there to help me. The day was filled with all kinds of beautiful gowns. I came to a conclusion that I wanted a sweetheart gown, but wasn’t yet sold on a particular dress. It was important to me not to settle, even if that meant leaving empty-handed. I went back two weeks later with my mom, grandma, and aunt. After trying on a few dresses, I came across one I had seen the last time, but hadn’t tried on. It had a low back that added more flair, and I kept wanting to put it back on! We added the long cathedral veil and I was sold. I loved the lace detail and lightness of the dress. I knew that I would feel beautiful in it on my wedding day.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. I had gone back and forth on it, but after talking to other brides and our photographer, Justin and I decided it would be the best thing for us. Not only did it help the day go smoother, it also allowed us a few moments alone before the wedding. It made the first time we saw each other more intimate and we shared our excitement with laughter, tears, and prayers.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose not to write our own vows, but instead, chose to say scripture-based vows that our pastor wrote specifically for us. They were related to each of us and laid out what we wanted our marriage to look like. We each began our vows by saying that we joyfully received each other as God’s perfect gift to us. I vowed my deepest love and unselfish devotion and to always be Justin’s helper, and Justin vowed his protection and Godly leadership. While our pastor was the one who wrote the vows, they were very personal and specific to our marriage.
My favorite wedding detail would have to be the arbor that Justin and his dad built. We were married underneath it at the edge of the lake and it was absolutely beautiful. We draped it with garlands of flowers that coordinated to the bouquets and it tied the whole look together. It was perfect and we can’t wait to put it in our backyard and someday tell our children the story of our wedding.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? By having the wedding on a farm, saying our vows by a lake, and transforming a working barn into the site of our reception, we gave the whole day a Southern feel. We tied in elegant accents with tall, dramatic centerpieces, white tablecloths, and chandeliers.
My wedding flowers were one of the more important details of my wedding day to me. I wanted a romantic, organic, whimsical look for my bouquets and arrangements. My wedding planner and florist took my vision and turned it into a reality. When I couldn’t describe what I wanted, they knew exactly (if not better) what I was picturing! We chose lots of greenery mixed with pops of pink and peach, and ended up with ranunculus, peonies, and David Austin garden roses, and added in silver dollar eucalyptus and other greenery.
Our wedding cake was a traditional white wedding cake with white icing. It was a simple three-tiered cake, and I asked the florist to add a few clusters of flowers to it that coordinated with the centerpieces. It was exactly what I wanted and it was delicious! I added a gold “Mr. & Mrs. Eldridge” cake topper that we will be able to use for years to come! The groom’s cake was a chocolate cake with chocolate icing. I made the platform out of a piece of wood with a natural bark edge. To make it stand out, I added greenery around the base and accented it with deer antlers. There was also a surprise later on in the night–every year for Justin’s birthday, I make him his favorite dessert, Funfetti cupcakes. His birthday was two days after our wedding, so I surprised him with cupcakes, and our entire reception paused to sing Happy Birthday as he blew out the candles!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. After the ceremony was over, we walked back up the aisle to “You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates. We chose it because it’s so fun and made walking back up the aisle as husband and wife a blast. It is also a song we’ve been known to sing and dance around to–we even made a music video to it during our freshman year of college. Justin’s mom found it and played it at our rehearsal dinner, so that really tied it all together! Our first dance was to “You Are The Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne. It’s a fun and upbeat song, and we chose it because we could picture ourselves dancing to it we are old and gray!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Justin and I met in 6th grade at a church camp and instantly became friends. We went to different schools, so we would only see each other from time to time at youth group and church on Sundays. In 9th grade, our friends started becoming more mutual and we began spending more time together. Justin asked me to be his girlfriend in 10th grade and we’ve been together ever since. It really has been such a blessing and so fun to grow up together!
Tell us all about the proposal! The proposal was a complete surprise to me! While on vacation in Cozumel, Mexico, Justin and a couple of his friends went for a walk on the beach–I later found out that they had really gone to scope out a location for Justin to propose. They had walked down the beach to a private house, knocked on the door, and asked the group staying there if it would be okay for our friends to hide on their balcony and watch the proposal. They said yes and even volunteered to film and take pictures! Later that day, when Justin was ready to propose, his friends suggested that all of us go on another walk down the beach. As our friends started walking away, Justin said that he needed to go the bathroom first, and my friends told me to stay behind with him and then catch up. I was kind of concerned that my friends were okay with leaving me alone on a beach in Mexico, but luckily, I just went with it! When Justin came back, we started walking down the beach and talking about our future and how lucky we had been to grow up together. This was a normal conversation for us, so I didn’t think anything of it. We kept walking and I had no idea what was happening until Justin was down on one knee! He proposed, I immediately said yes, and he picked me and spun me around as our friends cheered from the stranger’s balcony! I was so surprised, and really have no idea how they pulled it off without me finding out. My friends know me way too well–when we started getting ready that morning, they even knew that if they dressed cute, then I would too! After the proposal, we all celebrated by going snorkeling, and Justin and I finished the day with a private dinner as our waiters sang “Happy Engagement to You!” It was the perfect day and we were so happy to share it with our closest friends!
When did y’all get married? April 25, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300+
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose two Bible verses that really expressed what marriage meant to us and the commitment we were making: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 and Matthew 19:4-6.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? It was really important to us to be intentional and plan for our marriage during the excitement of planning for our wedding. During the engaged chapter of our lives, we attended weekly premarital counseling and read several marriage books together. We also loved hearing insight from other married couples and learning about a marriage centered around God.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The first most memorable moment was our first look. I remember the exact look on Justin’s face when he turned around and saw me in my dress–we were both struggling to fight back tears! The second moment would have to be immediately after the ceremony. We chose to take a little time by ourselves while our guests were at our cocktail hour, so we went upstairs to the loft area of the barn, where a meal had been prepared for us. We ate, practiced our dance moves, and watched our guests from the balcony while we took in the moment! It was special to have time together and reflect on the vows that we had just made.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just moved into our house and are working on getting it fixed up. In the next year, we hope to travel, enjoy life and each other, and raise our puppy dog!
Photographer: Kati Mallory / Videographer: Betwixt Magnolias / Planner: Anne-Claire Allen / Venue: Hidden Valley Farm / Florist: Tipton & Hurst / Cake Baker: Patti Cakes / Caterer: Simply the Best / Rentals: Confetti’s Party Rentals / Lighting and DJ: Central Arkansas Entertainment / Paper Products: Hobart’s Printing / Bride’s Gown: Casablanca / Hair Stylist: Kristen Spann of Red Beauty Bar / Makeup Artist: Lauren Benet / Bride’s Shoes: Chinese Laundry / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Allure / Menswear: Paul Morrell Formalwear
Kati Mallory is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!
Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful day with your readers! So, so good!
the confetti!!! I love it!
Oh, I have a soft spot in my heart for arbors! Hans built one for us to use as an altar on our wedding day as well. We love seeing it every day in the backyard! It’s a great way to incorporate bits of the wedding into married life :)
What a wonderful story-gift Lauren and Justin will be able to share as they move through a life filled with God at the forefront. I was a guest at the wedding and am so glad to learn about their journey that led them to an evening filled with family, friends, things they both love and a shower of blessings to their life together. Lauren’s God-Mother, Judy Denio
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Love your entire article, especially the part of the wedding hanky. I love creating custom wedding handkerchiefs.