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When it comes to the many things that make a wedding Southern, the most obvious one is the geographical location, of course! Kara and Philip had that in the bag when they chose to tie the knot at Colleton River Plantation on Hilton Head Island. Though a Pennsylvania native, Kara grew up traveling to her family’s vacation home on the island, so to her, it is a place “that signifies family, joy, memories, and endless beauty.” Kara and Philip worked with their planner, Embellished Events, to create an open-air party where no walls could block the beautiful views. I’m sure this day began a whole new chapter of joyful memories on Hilton Head for this sweet couple!

We’re sure happy Tim Will was there to capture this lovely day!

Describe your wedding flowers. My flowers were untamed and gorgeous! They had an English garden feel, and were full of peaches, sages, and pinks, grounded in soft whites and finished with ribbon I found during my travels to India. The ribbons were used in all the bouquets, garlands, and table arrangements. Branches on Hilton Head Island captured my vision so beautifully.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not; we chose to say the traditional vows instead. We felt these timeless words captured all we wanted to say.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had beautiful readings from the Bible. I particularly loved the Gospel reading from Mark, that included the verse, “They are no longer two but one flesh, therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Wow, those words have gravity!

On our wedding day, we surprised our guests with the sounds of local Gullah singers harmonizing with joy to “Oh Happy Day” as we departed the church. We also hand-dipped oyster shells in gold and embellished each with a pearl for our escort cards. Guests could take these home as a way to remember the place and the day.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I grew up traveling to my family’s vacation home on Hilton Head Island, so it has always been a place that signifies family, joy, memories, and endless beauty to me.

We chose to avoid the cost of a tent, and with the suggestion of my planner, Jennifer Leiti, we chose to have an open-air party under café lighting. We were so happy we did because the environment was the reason I picked this location. There were no walls to block the beautiful, expansive views of the sunset over the river. Thankfully, despite some early morning rain, we were blessed with good weather that day.

My wedding cake was a simple, white, tiered cake with ruffled fondant and some pretty flowers in the colors of my bouquet placed up each tier. The best part was really what was inside–it was decadent! Each layer had a different filling. Minette Rushing from Savannah Custom Cakes is a baking genius!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in college. We lived in the same dorm, and then in the same apartment building. Two years after college, only after a big separation, did we realize our friendship was actually love. This has been true ever since and will be for the rest of our lives!
Tell us all about the proposal! We first talked about getting married around a year or so ago while on a trip to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It was the first time Phil had ever been there, and I was overjoyed to be talking about our future marriage in this very special place. However, it was not until a very cold visit to Cape May, New Jersey that Phil decided to sneak a ring into my purse to be found at any time. We were sitting in a crowded bar and I was fishing around in my bag for something or other when I felt a little box…I think I knew what it was right away, and quickly looked up at Phil’s smiling face. I told him I wanted to move to our room for some privacy, where, conveniently, there was a bottle of champagne awaiting our arrival. Phil got down on one knee as I had always envisioned and the rest is history.
When did y’all get married? May 30, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my dress in a shop called Elizabeth Johns Ardmore, Pennsylvania, right outside of my home city of Philadelphia. The dress was designed by Lela Rose and I felt it reflected me and my style, and it would complement the beautiful surroundings and climate of my Southern wedding.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not. Seeing my soon-to-be spouse for the first time at the end of the aisle is a beautiful tradition we wanted to experience.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My shoes had blue soles, I wore a delicate strand of pearls that were given to me as a baby, I borrowed my sister’s wedding garter, and everything else was new.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Communicate with each other early and often, and don’t lose sight of what is important.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We would love to move to a new home, plant some deeper roots there, and start a family.

Photographer: Tim Willoughby | Videographer: Hart to Heart | Planner: Embellished Events | Ceremony Venue: St. Gregory the Great | Reception Venue and Catering: Colleton River Plantation | Florist: Branches | Cake Baker: Savannah Custom Cakes | Rentals: Event Haus | Band: Fantastic Voyage Band | Gospel Choir: Voices of El Shaddai Ensemble | Bride’s Gown: Lela Rose | Hair and Makeup: Christine Stephens | Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    Emily and I couldn’t help but giggle at the story of how Elise and Paul met. Her first memory of him was when he walked up to her and her best friend…to invite her best friend to homecoming! Needless to say, Paul did ultimately come around, and he and Elise dated through the rest of high school and college, tying the knot a few weeks after Elise graduated. Since planning a wedding during such a busy season proved to be a bit overwhelming, the incredibly talented Ginny Au helped bring their vision of a romantic, classic, loft celebration to life. I’m sure y’all will agree, the result was completely lovely, and Elise and Paul’s joy is contagious!

    Thank you so much to Mandy Busby for sharing this beautiful day with us!

    I think our vendors are what made the entire wedding planning process so easy and fun. Our wedding planner, Ginny Au, introduced us to almost all of our vendors, who worked so well together. From the moment I met Ginny, I felt confident and comfortable with all of her ideas. Our calligrapher, Holly Hollon, was so personable and easy to work with. The way she designed our save the dates and invitations fit our style so perfectly, we looked for different ways to incorporate her work into our wedding day as well.

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I decided from the beginning that I wanted my wedding dress to be a secret from my friends, so just my mom and I went to find it. We had gone to one or two other places before we went to Diane’s Formal Affair. I didn’t really know what I was looking for, but I knew right away that my dress was the one when I put it on!

    Katie did a beautiful job with our flowers! She used olive branches, Claire de Lune peonies, Sarah Bernhardt peonies, white lisianthus, white tuberose, oak leaf hydrangea, viburnum, dusty miller, and a variety of garden roses. She tied them up in beautiful Frou Frou Chic ribbon. My bouquet was so heavy, my arm was sore the next day! It was definitely worth it because it was the most beautiful bouquet I’ve ever seen–not to mention, it smelled fantastic.

    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Paul and I chose not to see each other before the ceremony. Although we always thought we would have a first look, we changed our minds during the planning process. Ginny and Mandy both encouraged us to save the first look for when I walked down the aisle. It wasn’t as private as a first look would have been, but looking back, we’re so thankful we followed through with this tradition. It’s a memory filled with so much emotion, and we’ll never forget it.
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Instead of a first look, Paul and I met around a door to talk and exchange wedding day gifts before the ceremony. I remember feeling so nervous and giddy. I think this stands out as the most memorable moment because it was the last moment we shared before becoming husband and wife.

    If we had to choose one detail from our wedding that was our favorite, it would be our wedding video. Watching it for the first time was like reliving the whole day–I cried all over again! The Film Poets did such a wonderful job capturing the entire day. Parts of that day were a blur because we were so overwhelmed with happiness, and Matt and Pacey created such a special keepsake to help us relieve those emotions and memories every day!

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose to have our ceremony at Advent, which is where my family attends church. For the reception, Paul and I were looking for something with a loft feel, rather than a country club. I loved Bridgestreet because it had so much character. It was also close to our ceremony venue, so it worked out perfectly!

    Dreamcakes did our cakes and they were delicious. Mine was their vanilla flavor cake with vanilla icing. It had four tiers and was tinted to match the blue color we used throughout the wedding. It was decorated with fondant flowers and our monogram. Paul did a chocolate cake with chocolate icing for the groom’s cake, which was decorated with chocolate shavings.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Paul and I met in high school. My first memory of him is from the lunchroom, when he walked up to my best friend and I to ask her to the homecoming dance. He doesn’t remember me being there, but I definitely was! We started talking in algebra class during our sophomore year, and made it official on May 23, 2008. He proposed to me in the spring of our junior year of college. We were married the next May, three weeks after my college graduation!
    Tell us all about the proposal! I’m not easy to surprise, so Paul knew his proposal would have to be well thought out. It took a couple of white lies, but he got me to his parents’ house and surprised me with a dinner on their back porch. It was set up exactly like our first (and my favorite) Valentine’s Day date, which had been in that same spot. After a delicious dinner, Paul went inside to get dessert. When he came back outside, the next thing I knew, he was on one knee, proposing! I was so surprised; Paul had a hard time understanding me through all my tears. Our families were anxiously awaiting the phone call at my parents’ house, where they had gathered to celebrate with us. It was a perfect night!
    When did y’all get married? May 24, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 325
    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We read traditional vows that followed the Book of Common Prayer in the Episcopal Church.
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Besides marriage counseling with our pastor, Paul and I spent our engagement reading “This Momentary Marriage” by Tim Keller. We would read it on our own and then spend time together each week to talk about what we read. Even though we thought we knew all there was to know about each other, Paul and I learned a lot about what the other expected in our marriage. It was a great time to talk and pray for our future as husband and wife.
    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge for me was probably all the change that was happening. May brought a lot of new adventures, including college graduation, getting married, and moving into our first home as husband and wife. It could be a little overwhelming!
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy every day! My mom and I had such a great time planning mine and Paul’s wedding, and I was truly sad when it was over. I look back on it and only have good memories of the whole process! My advice would just be to stay focused on the bigger picture. It is such a beautiful time in your life and you will never have it back!
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Paul and I have been living in Tuscaloosa, but are planning to move back to Birmingham this summer. I will continue to teach elementary school and Paul will finish up his undergrad at UA, where he is working to become a mechanical engineer. We are looking forward to year two of marriage and all that it brings our way!

    Photographer: Mandy Busby / Videographer: The Film Poets / Planner: Ginny Au / Ceremony Venue: Cathedral Church of the Advent / Reception Venue: Bridgestreet Gallery and Loft / Florist: Cloth of Gold / Paper Goods: Holly Hollon / Cake Baker: Dream Cakes / Caterer: The Happy Catering Company / Band: The Fountain City Players / Bridal Salon: Diane’s Formal Affair / Hair and Makeup: Holly Caffee / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    4 Comments
    1. avatar liam smith reply

      Amazing bridesmaid reaction shot

    2. avatar Lindsay Colvin reply

      Such a unique and beautiful cake, love it! Also, that bridesmaid shot is such a precious moment.

    3. avatar Emily reply

      Love the sweet decals they included at their reception venue! Such a small detail, but really lovely!

    4. avatar Laura reply

      Beautiful wedding! I love everything from the invitations to the florals to the bride’s dress.

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    Oh y’all, it feels good to be back “home” here on Southern Weddings! Some of you may have heard that my handsome BDK and I welcomed our first bow-wearing little lady into our lives in January. While she surprised us early, I’m so thankful for the sweet SW ladies for covering for me while I spent some time with EKK (and for all your kind wishes and prayers!).

    While I could refill your glass of sweet tea a bucket of times telling stories of her adorable sneezes and hilarious faces, we have a beautiful wedding to gush over! One of my favorite things about Alex and Eric’s big day is the simplicity of the colors. Classic white florals absolutely captured the romance of winter (one of Alex’s goals!), yet feel so warm and welcoming paired with layers of stacked candles. As for Ms. Alex in her grandmother’s vintage fur stole–stunning! Be sure to read about her something old/new too–it’s a good one!

    Big thanks to one of our darling Blue Ribbon Vendor members, Loft Photographie for sharing this beauty with us!

    My something borrowed was my grandmother’s fur stole. My mom gave me one diamond earring (the matching earring was lost) that my dad purchased for her when she was 30. She had a new one made to match the old, so the earrings served as my old and new.

    Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look after talking to our photographers and friends and family. It calmed me down so that I was able to take in the rest of the day after seeing Eric, and the pictures turned out great.

    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment was walking down the aisle to meet Eric. He couldn’t hold back the tears, and I had such joy and excitement to meet him at the end.
    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? One of Eric’s childhood friends is a pastor and officiated the ceremony. It was very important to us that the heart of Christ be represented in the ceremony message, and he did a great job speaking to the covenant of marriage.

    Having our wedding in Austin, Texas was a no-brainer. We have a lot of family that lives there, and it’s our favorite city in Texas. We fell in love with the chapel because it has an intimate feel, and the pavilion at Barton Creek Resort provided the rustic elegance that we wanted. It was also nice to have our guests stay at the resort, because we got to spend time with them the entire weekend.

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The handcrafted wood details and the sweetheart table! From the seating chart, to the entrance signs, to the wood centerpieces and more, Sweet Sunday Events went above and beyond to produce beautiful pieces that added such a unique element to our wedding.

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The food! Eric and I love to eat, and we both grew up on the finest Southern cuisine prepared by our mothers and grandmothers. We served fried chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, collard greens, biscuits and gravy, and macaroni and cheese. It was a hit! My cake was red velvet with cream cheese frosting, which is my absolute favorite. Eric went to Texas A&M and is a diehard Aggie, so I surprised him with an A&M-themed groom’s cake. He still talks about it to this day!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Eric is from a small town in West Texas, and naturally, everyone in that neck of the woods knows each other. One of my best friends grew up with Eric, and she introduced us after college in Dallas, Texas. I thought Eric was cute, but I was dating someone else at the time. About six months later, I was single, and Eric asked me out on our first date. I remember admiring his strength, kindness, and faith. We dated for about three years, and the rest is history.
    Tell us all about the proposal! I grew up in Louisiana, and Eric decided he wanted to take a trip to see my large extended family. While we were there, he asked to see the church where I was baptized. I really didn’t think anything of it. We walked in to the dimly lit church, and Eric got down on one knee in front of the altar and asked me to marry him. It was such a joyful moment! He made sure all of our family was at the house when we got back, and we had a big catfish fry to celebrate, Louisiana-style!
    When did y’all get married? December 7, 2013
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My wedding dress was simple and classic. It was the third one I tried on. I fell in love with Jim Hjelm’s lace a long time ago, and knew my dress was the one as soon as I tried it on.
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. A friend of ours, who is also the worship leader at our church, sang two songs at our ceremony. He sang “In Christ Alone” and “How He Loves.”
    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was staying within the budget. It was easy for me to keep adding here and there, but everything added up very quickly. It helped to start carrying my spreadsheet in my purse!
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
    What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? How can I pick? Sweet Sunday Events made my wedding dreams come true–Katy and Rachel listened to my discombobulated ideas and made sense out of it all. Loft Photographie made me feel comfortable and were a joy to work with. Jason at Elixir Entertainment captured our wedding perfectly. His video creations are like no other. He takes time to tell your story, and creates something everyone will enjoy watching.
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It is easy to get wrapped up in all the details and to-dos and lose sight of what the wedding is all about. Enjoy the planning (it’s so much fun!), but remember that most importantly, you are planning for this beautiful new season in your life.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are excited for the growth that comes through marriage. We cannot wait to see how God uses us and shapes us. We are looking forward to living together, sleeping in on the weekends, serving, having kids, traveling, and soaking up the moments together.

    Photographer: Loft Photographie / Videographer: Elixir Entertainment / Planner: Anna Leeker at Barton Creek Resort / Ceremony Venue: Smith Family Chapel / Reception Venue: Pavillion at Barton Creek Resort / Florist and Special Details: Sweet Sunday Events /Cake Baker and Caterer: Barton Creek Resort / Rentals: Loot Vintage Rentals / Band: Royal Dukes Band / Bride’s Gown: Jim Hjlem / Paper Products: Stationary Bakery / Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Angie Williams / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Dessy / Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

    Loft Photographie is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

      The white and wood details are so pretty together! Love their sweet first dance photo too :)

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