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I had to stop myself from saying “Amen” out loud while reading Casey and Jordan’s love story–while everyone’s story is different, I think we can all relate to these words in one way or another: “We have learned to embrace our imperfect story and understand that all of life is a process. Our relationship has seen brokenness, but it has taught us that the most beautiful things come out of that brokenness.” One of those beautiful things that came out of Casey and Jordan’s story was none other than the special day we’re sharing with y’all today! These two were married in a relaxed and joyful celebration that centered around the vows they wrote for one another, their families (love the story behind their maple syrup favors!), and the shared vision they had come up with for their dream celebration. A blank slate venue involved lots of coordination, but I’m sure you’ll agree that they pulled it off wonderfully!

Thank you so much to Flora + Fauna for sending Casey and Jordan’s day our way!

We met in college at a campus ministry event when we were both freshman. I was drawn to him immediately and thought he would be someone I would like to spend time with. We ended up reconnecting the next school year and dated for a few months before parting ways. We were only 19, after all, and not prepared to be in a serious relationship! We decided to give it another go a few years later. Jordan moved overseas to do a year of ministry and, while over there, ended the relationship. A few months after our break up, I moved to DC for my dream internship. Shortly into my time in there, I found myself sitting across a table from Jordan, shocked to be listening to him as he told me that he had moved to DC for an internship, in hopes to pursue me again. I needed time to figure out what I wanted, and Jordan waited patiently. It was a process for me of allowing my heart to trust Jordan again and become more peaceful, joyful, and in love. We have learned to embrace our imperfect story and understand that all of life is a process. Our relationship has seen brokenness, but it has taught us that the most beautiful things come out of that brokenness. Our story was better and more perfect than one we could have dreamed up, and we are better people for it.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. For whatever reason, I really don’t like most wedding dresses! I was really struggling with what I wanted to do because I knew I wouldn’t find something I liked at a traditional bridal boutique (and wasn’t into the prices either). My mom found the Dreamers & Lovers website and sent it to me, and I was immediately drawn to the laid back, boho feel of the dresses. Plus, the prices were more reasonable, as well. They have a home try-on option on their website, so I ordered two to try on, loved one of them, and that was it!

We decided to do a first look because Jordan wanted to be able to see me and have some alone time before we were with all of our friends and family. It was really special and worth it for us to have that time together. We also really wanted to be at the cocktail hour to maximize time spent with all our loved ones, so logistically, it made more sense to take all of the photos before the ceremony.

Describe your wedding flowers. I didn’t have a very specific vision for the bouquets–just a few general things I knew I liked. I wanted there to be lots of greens with not a ton of color. Our florist also suggested including herbs, which was an awesome and great-smelling idea. They turned out beautifully!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We read Isaiah 58:6-12 at the ceremony. Jordan read those verses to me when he proposed and they are our life verses that we want to live out together. Jordan’s dad also read a prayer that was read at his own wedding. Our favorite line is, “Grant to them, we pray You, a long, rich, and fruitful ministry in the service of Jesus Christ; and when their days on earth are done, and the sun is setting, may they then be found, then as now, hand in hand, still thanking God for each other. May they serve You joyfully and faithfully together until at last one shall lay each other in the arms of God.”

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows, and we highly recommend it. My favorite line that Jordan wrote me was, “I will always seek to know your heart and understand your perspective with tenderness.” Jordan’s favorite line that I wrote was, “I promise to follow you, for where you go I will go and where you stay I will stay.”

We really wanted full creative freedom and a blank slate. The venue we decided on was cheap, totally hands off, and laid back. We could do whatever we wanted! Although it was much more work for us to plan and coordinate all of the vendors and details, from food and drinks to flatware and tables, it was worth it for us. The property itself was so beautiful with its Spanish moss and trees, so we decided to have the ceremony right outside of the reception venue.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our photographers were amazing. We had such a fun time with them and really cherish the photos and video from our wedding. Another meaningful detail we loved was our favors. Jordan’s family is from Ohio, so we got maple syrup from Richard’s Maple Syrup in Chardon, Ohio shipped down and gave it out in little glass bottles as wedding favors. About four months after our wedding, we visited his grandparents in Ohio and actually got to go to Richard’s and see it in person!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? As a recovering people-pleaser, I know how hard and daunting it can be thinking about two families coming together and wanting everyone to be happy. Don’t be consumed by the temptation to make decisions solely based on other’s opinions or expectations. As much as you can, embrace the fact that someone will ALWAYS have an opinion on something–from etiquette to traditions, to things you should or shouldn’t do–and let it go! Don’t be afraid to execute your vision, even if others don’t understand it. You as a couple are going to look back on your wedding day and love everything about it, and that’s all that matters.

Tell us all about the proposal! From Jordan: I wanted to have a private engagement moment, so we went hiking in a local state park in St. Augustine on the intracoastal. I took my big camera and camera bag, but instead of accessories and extra lenses, I stuffed it full of wine and celebratory snacks, hoping she wouldn’t look in the bag! We ended up reading on a private beach. I was pretty worried about finding the perfect place to read, which only made sense to her later! After reading together for a while, I asked to read a letter I wrote to her on a typewriter I gave her as a Christmas gift. At first, she thought it was part of her Christmas present, but then she eventually realized it was more than that. I read the note and got down on one knee. She giggled for a while and finally said yes. It was a perfect place to sit and enjoy the moment, and we eventually went back to her parents’ house to celebrate with our families.
When did y’all get married? August 8, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our dessert was made by my incredibly talented and servant-hearted roommate, Megan Beaudin. I don’t really like cake and was floored when I found out how much wedding cake cost, so I knew it wouldn’t be worth it for us. My roommate at the time of our engagement is an amazing baker, so I talked to her about the idea of making all of the dessert for our wedding. For some crazy reason, she said yes (thankfully!). She tested out different recipes, I gave her some ideas, and we finally decided on the final list. Everything was so dang goooood!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: From Jordan: My favorite wedding detail was my dad reading a prayer over us that was read over my parents at their wedding. I also liked Casey’s dress. And her hair smelled really good. From Casey: My favorite wedding detail was Jordan surprising me by bringing a Polaroid camera to take photos of each other before we got married. It was such a great idea and special that we took them of each other.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We read a book together called “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller. We would get together and talk through chapters, or even read chapters out loud to each other. Having structured time was a great way to prepare for marriage. We also did premarital counseling, which was very helpful!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We wanted to be able to use our creative freedom and vision, but going that route provides its challenges. It was way more time consuming to have separate vendors for each individual part of our wedding, and we always felt like we didn’t have enough time. Being in graduate school and planning a wedding was hard! Also, neither of us are planners by nature, but are energized by ideas. We would have all of these ideas floating around, but actually taking the time to plan out the logistics was exhausting for us.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are moving to Alaska this summer and will be working as tour directors! We both have a permanent case of wanderlust and wanted to take some time to travel before we get jobs. We both just graduated with our master’s degrees and are thrilled to be taking a break to see new places. When we get back, we will both get jobs in our fields–Casey as a social worker and Jordan as an urban planner. And we’re pretty excited about that, too, because we love what we do. We look forward to following God’s call and trusting Him to lead our lives.

Photographer and Videographer: Flora + Fauna | Day-Of Coordinator: Coastal Coordinating | Ceremony and Reception Venue: St. Augustine Rod and Gun Club | Florist, Special Details, and Bride’s Accessories: The Conservatorie | Cake and Dessert Baker: Megan Beaudin | Caterer: 4 Rivers Smokehouse | Rentals: St. Johns Illuminations | DJ: Travis Tosi | Paper Products: Artisan2 | Bride’s Gown: “Catherine Backless Lace Dress” by Dreamers & Lovers | Hair and Makeup: Casey Powell | Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden | Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic | Guest Favors: Richard’s Maple Syrup | Signage: Audra Jean Calligraphy

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Paperlust reply

    What a lovely rustic setting for the perfect wedding

  2. avatar Dana reply

    syrup favors! I would want to have attended this wedding!

  3. avatar Danielle Smith reply

    Absolutely love the prayer that was read at this wedding! Is there anyway I could get a copy of the whole thing? I would love to use it on a banner at my wedding this fall.

  4. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Beautiful wedding! I love the pews outside – what a great look!

  5. avatar MODENOVA reply

    What a beautiful spread. We really like your pictures! Best, MODENOVA I

  6. avatar Cebu Wedding Photographer reply

    What a great and elegent wedding!I like the wedding theme,so beautiful and romantic!Thanks for sharing!

  7. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Sweet wedding! I love that they moved the pews outside for seating!

  8. avatar Kyla Mary Events & DesignMy Wedding Dress Inspiration | Kyla Mary Events & Design reply

    […] Kaitlyn James via Southern Weddings, Flora + Fauna via Southern Weddings […]

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When I hear a bride say she wants a dress “big and dramatic enough for Scarlett O’Hara,” my ears instantly perk up! So of course, I was already excited to see this stunning wedding from Blue Ribbon Vendor (and personal friend of mine!), Desiree Dawn Events, and, y’all, it did not disappoint! Mary Grace and Jason incorporated meaningful traditions into their wedding to honor the past, while also celebrating their future. There was plenty of sweet Southern hospitality and lots of special details, including hosting their reception in the same ballroom at The Biltmore that held their law school orientation dinner seven years prior! Jason even had an armadillo-shaped groom’s cake in honor of their favorite movie, Steel Magnolias. So fun!

Big hugs to Flora + Fauna for capturing this beautiful day!

I wanted a dress that was big and dramatic enough for Scarlett O’Hara–something that was Southern chic, with lace, a statement back, and a classic bow. I started my search by browsing images of dresses online, and came across Sheridan by Hayley Paige. When a dress takes your breath away, like when you have your first kiss with your husband-to-be, it must be the one!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, even though I’m very superstitious! We wanted to be able to savor that first moment of seeing one another on our wedding day–just the two of us, without all of our guests watching–and having that instant reaction and tender moment documented. A first look is a unique experience for each couple, so the way we saw each other for the first time on the most important day of our lives only added to our love story.

The Biltmore Hotel is the most storied landmark in Florida, and it holds special meaning to both of us. During orientation, our law school held a dinner at the Biltmore’s Country Club Ballroom. That dinner was one of the first times Jason and I crossed paths. Our reception took place in the same ballroom seven years later!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The moment that stands out the most was our ride to and from the ceremony. Since our ride was a vintage car, the mirrors weren’t tinted, so everyone driving by could see us clearly through the glass. They tooted, waved, and hollered at us as they passed by, rolling down their windows to congratulate us. That moment, of seeing perfect strangers being joyful and genuinely excited for us on our day, has stayed fresh in our minds.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Goodness gracious! Where do I begin? I wanted to incorporate meaningful traditions with my family to honor the past while celebrating our future, so I did a first look with my daddy and presented him with his gift–an embroidered handkerchief that can be passed down for generations. We gave miniature bottles of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and mini jars of delicious Southern honey (for our youngest guests) as favors, which also doubled as escort cards. We served our signature drinks in mason jars with colorful striped straws that guests could take home. We had a family-style layout with long farmhouse tables and mismatched chairs, surrounded by round tables with lace overlays, which gave a sense of warmth and family. Our table names were common Southern sayings, which filled our wedding with nods to the South. To give our guests a taste of good ol’ fashion Southern hospitality, we served classic Southern staples during cocktail hour, including a whole hog that was served with mac and cheese and honey cornbread. And we couldn’t do without everyone’s favorite Southern tradition: the groom’s cake. Our groom’s cake was in the shape of an armadillo because we (and especially Jason) love Steel Magnolias. During cake cutting, we even gave ourselves the tail piece, just like what Ouiser served to Drum! At the end of the night, we were certain our guests felt truly hosted, and not just entertained, because through the details, our wedding was an outpouring of genuine love for our friends and family.

Our flowers were reminiscent of fall in the South, thanks to an overgrown/organic look with lots of greenery, purple and wine tones, burgundy, palest peach and blush, and pops of coral. We also incorporated blackberries into the bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces for that extra touch of Southern charm!

Check out their wedding film by Flora + Fauna here!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Jason and I started law school at the University of Miami at the same time. We lived around the corner from each other, but we didn’t meet until October. My roommates and I threw a Halloween party (we dressed up as characters from The Wizard of Oz and I was the Scarecrow). Jason came and noticed me in my costume, which was enough to light a spark!
Tell us all about the proposal! One sunny morning, Jason took me back to the UM campus. We walked by our law school and stopped at a fountain. He proposed there, and told me that was the spot where he had first seen me.
When did y’all get married? We were married on November 9, 2014, seven years from the day we went on our first date. Our Canes were on a bye week that weekend, so it was meant to be!
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Describe your wedding cake. The inspiration for our wedding cake was Southern elegance. The bottom tier was light gold with textured buttercream icing and the other tiers had smoother icing with some texture and were a similar shade of ivory to my dress. Our florist incorporated fresh flowers, red berries, and blackberries around the cake. The top tier of our cake was spice cake with apple cheesecake filling–perfectly appropriate for a fall wedding! The second tier was marble cake with chocolate Godiva filling, and the third was half chocolate and half vanilla cake with cappuccino filling. The bottom tier was Jason’s favorite: vanilla rum. We tried each flavor during our tasting, and they were all slices of heaven!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes, to all of the above! My something old was my pearl necklace, which Jason helped me pick out when we were dating. My something new was my pearl bracelet, a wedding gift from my parents. My something borrowed was my sister’s Tory Burch perfume, which was literally and figuratively near and dear to my heart! My something blue was a sparkling blue crystal on the sole of my shoes. To complete my look, The White Magnolia sent me a sixpence for my shoe.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? When you’re planning your wedding, YOGMO–you only get married once! If you’re on a budget, but there is something that tugs at your heartstrings, do it and figure out where you can save money in other places. After the cake is cut and the last guest leaves, you’ll look back on your day without any regrets.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We were so busy planning our wedding that we didn’t have time to plan our honeymoon! Waiting until after we said “I do” turned out for the best because we both had the post-wedding blues, and planning our honeymoon has filled that void. We’ll be glamping in Montana in a honeymoon tent at The Resort at Paws Up this September.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? A little rain became a downpour. We got wet, and so did our guests, but it didn’t put a damper on our day, and actually added a bit of romance to the air. So brides, have no fear of some rain, because there’s something about it that’ll make your day beyond magical!

Photographer and Videographer: Flora + Fauna / Planner: Desiree Dawn Events / Ceremony Venue: St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church / Reception Venue and Caterer: The Biltmore Hotel / Personal Flowers: Julia Rohde Designs / Reception Flowers: Petal Productions / Cake Baker: Elegant Temptations / Rentals: Hitched Event Rentals / Vintage Rentals and Table Runners: Unearthed Vintage / Lighting and Band: AAMusicians / Linens & Overlays: Petal Productions / Chargers: Tastebuds Catering / Cake Stand: BHLDN / Paper Products: Make Merry! / Bride’s Gown: “Sheridan” by Hayley Paige / Veil: Cynthia Kay from The White Magnolia / Jewelry: Tiffany & Co. / Hair and Makeup: Amy Palma of South Beach Makeup Studio / Bride’s Shoes: “Conrad” by Something Bleu / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Lacey” by Joanna August / Photo Booth: Sideshow Booth Co. / Late-Night Snacks: Yardbird Southern Table & Bar / Groom’s Cake Baker: Todo Dulces / Menswear: The Black Tux / Groom’s Bow Tie & Pocket Square: Everett K Handcrafted Ties & Bow Ties / Groomsmen’s Ties: The Tie Bar / Flower Girls’ Dresses: “43312” in Oatmeal by Seahorse / Choreographer: Luis Lopez of Arthur Murray Dance Center / Vintage Car: Florian’s Classics

Desiree Dawn Events and Make Merry! are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Mary-Grace and Jason | Biltmore Hotel | Miami Wedding Cakes | Elegant Temptations reply

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    […] involved in Mary-Grace and Jason's wedding was a dream! Their entire day was filled with Southern charm at the Biltmore Hotel. Every detail […]

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