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When your father is a cotton farmer, and your groom works at the farm too, there might not be a more perfect venue than one named Cottontop Plantation! I always love reading about why our sweet couples choose their venues, and Rebecca and Russell’s story is so fun. Their venue isn’t the only element of their wedding where meaningful details reigned–can y’all believe that Rebecca’s stunning gown is actually a family heirloom? It was worn by her paternal grandmother in 1958, and then by her aunt 1983. Not only is the dress in beautiful shape for an heirloom, it is also completely timeless and so very chic!

Big hugs to Britt Croft for sharing their lovely day with us!

P.S. I must say, I feel a bit akin to Rebecca, as my own dear husband tends to rock a beard as well!

My wedding dress is a family heirloom. My paternal grandmother wore the dress in 1958, and then my aunt wore it in 1983. The dress was handmade by a friend of the family who worked for a tailor in Columbia, South Carolina. I tried on many dresses, but could never find the vintage lace I was looking for. I asked my Mimi if I could try on her dress, and with tears in her eyes, she said she’d love that. Well, I fell in love with her dress! It was just what I wanted, and it was in really good shape for being that old. I had a friend of mine who does embroidery work sew three patches with all of our initials and wedding dates on them and my mom sewed them into the inside of the skirt.

Describe your wedding flowers. I carried a large bouquet of eucalyptus, dusty miller, brasilia berries, peach astilbe, peach roses, and white hydrangeas. I had the florist make two huge arrangements of the same flowers that were placed in white urns and displayed at the base of the porch steps where the ceremony took place. The farm tables we ate at were draped with a garland made of the same combination of flowers, plus silver candelabras and hurricane globes. The aisle was strewn with ivory rose petals.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? The name of the venue was Cottontop Plantation. It is out in the middle of the country, just seven miles from our house. My dad is a cotton farmer, and Russell works at the farm as well, so besides the venue being very convenient and beautiful, my family and I loved the name Cottontop.

We had two pastors perform our ceremony–one is a family friend we’ve known since I was a little girl, who wrote our introductory thoughts and vows. Our current pastor at our church performed the exchange of rings and the vows. He put a personal touch on it, which made us and our guests more relaxed.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The venue was at a cotton plantation and we used farm tables at the reception. We buried a bottle of bourbon exactly one month before the wedding to keep the rain away and it worked. It’s Southern tradition! I wore pearls as my jewelry and we served sweet tea and lemonade. I had bridal portraits taken at Boone Hall Plantation. We served our guests mac and cheese, chicken, green beans, potatoes, yeast rolls, and salad–a menu you could find on any Southern dining room table on any given Sunday at a family lunch.

My wedding cake was a two-tiered textured white buttercream cake. The tiers were tall and embellished with real roses. We kept it on display near our dinner tables on an old circular oak table with claw feet, draped with my aunt’s lace wedding veil–the same aunt who had worn my wedding dress before me.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Russell and I met back in high school when we were both new students. We had several of the same classes, even though Russell was two years older than me. He was the quarterback of the school’s football team and I was a cheerleader. We dated several years in high school and into college when I got the bug to date other people for a while. I dated several other people, only to realize how much Russell and I were meant for each other. During that time (three years), Russell never dated anyone–he never gave up on me.
Tell us all about the proposal! On April 10, I arrived home from work to find a beautiful Rent the Runway gown hanging up next to some shoes and jewelry. Beside it was a note saying, “1. Put the dress on 2. Fix your hair and makeup 3. Be ready at 7 PM. Ignore the cameras and don’t ask any questions.” My sisters and mom were there to help me get ready. At 7, my sister blindfolded me and drove me up to what was to be mine and Russell’s future home. When I got out of the car, she took off the blindfold and I stood there speechless. There was a gazebo strung with lights, a table for dinner, and candles. I was told to sit down at the table to read a note from Russell, and when I looked up, I saw him walking toward me with three roses. He said, “This first rose is for our past, second for our present and the third for our future. He then got down on his knee and proposed. After that, we sat down for dinner just as the sun was setting, and after dinner, we danced under the lights. It was like something out of a fairy tale! Here is the proposal video my sister, Roxanne (a photographer) made.
When did y’all get married? September 27, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We used a string quartet on the porch of the plantation. I didn’t think of using anything but timeless classical music, which sounds so beautiful on strings.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment that I will cherish forever was wearing my grandmothers wedding dress. All the months planning and leading up to the wedding, my grandmother was so proud that I chose to wear her dress.

Photographer: Britt Croft Photography / Videographer: Roxanne Photography / Venue: Cottontop Plantation / Florist: Dyson Designs / Wedding Cake: Teresa Reed / Caterer: Sweet Magnolia’s Catering / Rentals: Simply Elegant Party and Event Rentals and Celebrations / DJ: Bob Bonnett / Invitations: Alicia’s Gifts and Invites / Bride’s Veil: Vera Wang for Davids Bridal / Bride’s Brooch: Tiger Lilly / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo / Menswear: Greg Norman

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

    Brilliant colors. Especially the last photo of the bulbs.

  2. avatar Whitney reply

    Gorgeous wedding! I love all of the details. May I ask where you got your wood monogram?

  3. avatar Kristi reply

    I absolutely the bridesmaids “getting ready” shirts- Any idea where she got them?!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi Kristi! They’re from Plum Pretty Sugar, and you can find them here: http://bit.ly/1zBhYqv :)

  4. avatar Fotograf Białystok reply

    to Britt Croft Photography – great job!

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Oh friends, this wedding is so close to our hearts! You may remember the beautiful Meredith and Beau from Meredith’s guests posts a few months ago–as former nanny to Lara’s little Grace, Meredith is an honorary SW gal, and we sure miss her around the office! Every step of their engagement, Meredith and Beau were so focused on creating a truly meaningful celebration, right in the heart of their favorite place. After this beautiful July day, they moved a few miles down the road from their venue to begin newlywed life–I can think of no sweeter way for them to be continually reminded of their vows and joy!

We’re so grateful to Shelby Peaden for bringing Meredith and Beau’s wedding day vision to life and to Lauren Kinsey for capturing it so beautifully!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. On December 28 (my birthday, yay!), my mom, sister, sister-in-law, baby niece, and I all headed up to the city to find my “perfect” dress. I was pretty open to anything! After trying on what seemed like every dress in the store, I had narrowed my favorites down to five, and decided to sleep on it. On our second trip, I tried on the five dresses again, and was quickly able to narrow them down by answering two questions: “Is this dress ‘me’?”, and “Is this what I picture myself in when I walk down the aisle to meet my future husband?” The dress we all fell in love with was simple, elegant, soft, and sweet–we were sold on everything…except the price! As I was driving home from the city with my mom, I searched the dress name and designer, and happened to find the exact dress we needed, in the exact size, height, and dimensions for sale (for less than half the price) on OnceWed! It was a pretty easy decision after that!

We were both a little uncertain about a first look at first, worried that we would lose some of the sweetness of the moment we saw each other, but as we thought about it more, we decided to go with a first look.This option allowed us to take a moment away from any built-up nerves. We took time to pray together, and I instantly felt a wave of peace come over me–such a special moment! A first look is not for everyone, but for Beau and I, that moment was just what we needed–not a special moment was “lost” from our first look, as we worried about in the beginning–rather, a special moment was gained!

Choosing the Town Hall as our ceremony site was probably the easiest decision we made throughout the entire planning process. Rosemary Beach is our place. Being in a long distance relationship and traveling back and forth between states throughout the years, this was always the one place that was constant in our relationship. We quickly (and easily) decided that the Rosemary Beach Town Hall would make the perfect location to celebrate together with our two “separate worlds” in our most favorite place!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My brother was the officiant at our wedding, and knowing him as a man who is passionate about the message of a Christ-centered marriage, I knew that he would be diving deep into the passage of Ephesians for our ceremony. After discussing our ceremony timeline with him the month before the wedding, I knew that what he had to say was exactly what was needed to be said–nothing more, nothing less.

What a joy it was for so many SW gals to have a small part in this sweet day! Morgan designed the paper products, Emily created the tinsel stirrers below, and of course, Lara and Ari were in attendance as Grace carried out her flower girl duties!

Brian of Myrtie Blue was my amazing florist. I mentioned to him I wanted soft, fluffy florals with a little loose foliage, giving them a slightly wild, garden-y feel. We decided on creams, soft pinks, and peaches, as well as the soft light green lamb’s ear to echo the beautiful ribbons that would wrap around the bouquets: pastel velvet!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There were so many beautiful details, but I would have to say that the backdrop for the ceremony and cake table was my favorite that night. We had our wedding verse, Ruth 1:16, written in gold on a large canvas backdrop that we stood in front of for the ceremony, and it then doubled as a backdrop behind our cake during the reception! The cake table also had an amazing gold sequined tablecloth that popped nicely against all the soft blues in our reception space. We were able to keep our personalized canvas at the end of the day, and I am excited to have it for the rest of our lives!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? About two months before our big day, I was sitting at a wedding with my future in-laws. When our friend’s ceremony had ended, and the new couple had exited the venue, all I could think about was how special their vows were and how happy they looked…that’s when it all clicked! I had been worrying about what song would be played when, and what decor would be used where, but at the end of the day, I couldn’t tell you what songs were played at her wedding, or even what flowers were in her bouquet. When your wedding day has come and gone, all that you take with you are the memories made, the words spoken, and the promises kept. Every bride hears it when they begin planning a wedding, and it is much easier said than done, but try to focus on the bigger picture. You are planning a wedding, yes, but more importantly, you are preparing for a marriage with your best friend–and that is a thing to be celebrated!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Beau and I both grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, so we had known each other for years prior to our official meeting. We attended the same high school, where I knew him as the handsome and talented football star. Fast forward three years, and that same cutie happened to be in my Library Aide class fall semester of our senior year. Considering the fact that our “class” consisted of four students, there was plenty of time for Beau and I to really get to know one another. To my surprise, that guy that I had known of for my entire life, but had yet to get to know, ended up being one of the most genuine, precious, and God-fearing leaders I had ever met. We dated throughout our senior year of high school, persevered through some of the hardships of long distance dating through college, and finally got engaged five years later on December 11, 2013. I’ve told him time and time again that finding him in 2008 changed my life, and I am forever grateful!
Tell us all about the proposal! I was Grace’s nanny last year, and as someone who is in the same house as the SW gals every day, you see a few photographers popping in every now and then. When Lara had mentioned to me that there would be a photographer coming to the house to take some holiday family pics for them, and that I should wear “holiday party-appropriate” attire, I did not think anything of it! Come Wednesday morning, I arrived to work (clueless as ever) feeling good about myself because I had actually put makeup on and fixed my hair…thank goodness! After the mini photo session was almost complete, Lara mentioned that we would be heading over to her church to take some final pictures in front of all their Christmas decor. Beau lived in Ohio, and was supposedly at football practice just hours before, so I was shocked when my Beau greeted me at the front entrance of the church with a bundle of roses. He walked me down a candlelit aisle, and seated me in a chair up on the stage. He then washed my feet, all while sharing with me the importance of serving and loving me like Christ loved the church. In typical McKinney fashion, I just lost it. Beau handed me a gift before he popped the question I had been waiting for since I was a little girl: a bible with my future name engraved on it “Meredith A. Blankenship.” We hugged, rejoiced, laughed, and cried.
When did y’all get married? Friday, July 11, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Beau and I considered writing our own vows, but as the wedding grew closer, we decided to go with traditional vows. Although I think unique vows are absolutely precious, Beau and I were content to use the same words that our siblings, parents, and grandparents had all shared on their special days, too!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Delicious! Seriously, Rhonda, the owner at Confections On The Coast, is out-of-this-world amazing at what she does–both on the exterior and the interior of her cakes. On the outside, I wanted my cake to be simple, clean, and to have a little pop of sparkle. I love polka dots, so there were gold swiss dots on every other tier, and a few soft, pink flowers on the top. On the inside, there were four different types of cake: strawberry, coconut, chocolate peanut butter, and french vanilla. Yum!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I thought of my “borrowed” as two things: the diamond on my engagement ring from my mother, that was once my grandmother’s, and that can hopefully go to my future daughter someday, and my grandpa’s Purple Heart that I attached onto my bouquet. My something blue was my perfume, Something Blue by Oscar de la Renta. My something old was my pre-owned wedding dress (what a great deal!), and finally, my something new was my shoes.
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? We were able to save money in a few areas, one of the main ones being our wedding attire. My dress was bought used from OnceWed and my bridesmaid dresses were on super sale from Anthropologie. Our men’s clothing from J. Crew was ordered through Ebates using a J.Crew card, and purchased through their wedding associate, all to receive a greater discount. The second area we saved in was our bar menu, where we had a limited menu instead of an open bar.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? What’s next? Oh goodness, Beau and I are currently in the middle of our, what I like to call, “adventure year!” Life has been so much fun since we said “I do!” One exciting thing is we are currently living about eight miles down the road from where we got married, in a little beachside condo we adore! As for married life, we are just enjoying being together after so many years of distance. The little things are what bring us joy: coffee together in the morning, praying together each day, planting ourselves in an amazing church, and creating friendships in the same friend group (not seven states away from each other). Marriage is such a gift. We are thankful!

Photographer: Lauren Kinsey / Videographer: Uhles Videography / Planner: Shelby Peaden Events / Venue: The Town Hall in Rosemary Beach, FL / Florist and Lighting: Myrtie Blue / Cake Baker: Confections On The Coast / Caterer and Rentals: Townsend Catering / Band or DJ: Rock The House / Paper Products: Morgan Moore / Tinsel Stir Sticks: Em for Marvelous / Bride’s Gown: “Emotion” by Monique Lhuillier / Veil: Veiled Beauty / Belt: Camilla Christine / Hair and Makeup: Lanna Bloodworth / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Sugarberry Dress” by Anthropologie / Men’s Suits: J. Crew / Bow Ties: Lumina Clothing / Men’s Shoes: WSS

Myrtie Blue and Shelby Peaden are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
8 Comments
  1. avatar shelby peaden reply

    Yay! So happy to see Mere + Beau up on the blog today. Such a beautiful, kind, loving family! Happy to have been a part of their wedding!

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  3. avatar Lover.ly reply

    What a sweet story from an amazing couple! Love all the personal and heartfelt details of this wedding.

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  8. avatar Amanda reply

    What a lovely wedding story. I love gold and your color scheme was beautiful. I especially loved seeing all the joy and love on everyone’s faces throughout!

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