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It has been just over three months since my wedding, and what I think I’ll always remember most about that day is how gosh darn happy I felt. Looking through these images of Jenica and Dylan’s celebration, it’s so clear that they could say the same! They look so full of joy, from Jenica’s time getting ready with her girls, right down to their fabulous reception. I especially loved reading about their most memorable moments, because they’re probably ones that they didn’t anticipate being favorites. The unexpected moments are what make every wedding totally unique, and the ones Jenica and Dylan experienced are sweet as can be!

Thanks so much to Robert J Hill for sharing this special day with us!

I had gone to about four appointments at different bridal salons in Georgia, Florida, and Virginia, always with multiple friends and family. I finally found what I was looking for on a solo outing. Dylan was working that Saturday and I was new to the area and didn’t have many friends, so I went exploring on my own. When I saw the adorable bridal shop in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, I thought, “Why not, I’m engaged and still in need of a dress.” Without an appointment, I found a classic satin, a-line dress with lace details, a big bow, no sweetheart neckline, and in ivory–just what I wanted! With my mother-in-law-to-be in tow and my mom FaceTimed in, I returned a few weeks later to buy the dress.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! As progressive as we may be, we really value tradition, so this was not an easy decision. But we knew that as soon as we were married, we would be ready to celebrate with our friends and family. We did not want to miss any part of our day, including the cocktail hour. I also wanted taking our wedding pictures to be a great experience–calm and not rushed. It was very relaxing and romantic to have had that quiet time alone to share our excitement and focus on what the day was really about, without the dozens of eyes that were on us at any other point of the day.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? As required by the church, we attended marriage prep courses that covered every subject you can imagine and led to constructive conversations that are always fun to have. We liked the class, and we dedicated time the night after each course to go over what we had talked about in the privacy of our home.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Focus on a few major things–the details that are must. Budget for them first and make sure there is someone, like a planner, there to execute them. Then, let the rest go! Put yourself in a position to just show up at your wedding and be grateful for what your family, friends, and vendors have done for you. Enjoy your day and cherish your groom, let go of your dreams, and live in the moment. In true Southern spirit, be a host with a gracious heart.

All of our dinner food was Southern: fried catfish, oysters, shrimp, a po-boy station, a grits bar, collards, and cornbread. We also had lots of Southern desserts! Our wedding logo featured our monogram, which we put on as many things as we could: the invitations, cups, napkins, fans, the advice sheet, etc. We had sweet tea with the sign “The South, where love and family are the sugar in our tea” next to it. We decorated with magnolias leaves in all of the arrangements and garlands. And of course, the venue itself was Southern–an old lumber mill on a bayou complete with Spanish moss, rocking chairs on the front porch, and mosquitoes!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Dylan: I wanted a second to myself to try and let the day sink in, so at one point, I walked out beyond the glow of the tent and stood alone under the willow tree. As I started to light the cigar my new mother-in-law had given me, everyone suddenly fell quiet. I looked up and saw the band leader reach out and help Jenica onto the stage. I knew, we all knew, that this was it, what everyone was waiting for and what I was hoping for: my wife was about to sing! Her “too good to be true” voice rang out into the night, “At last, my love has come along…” My friends finally noticed me in the back and pulled me to the dance floor. My lonely days were over, and in that moment, my life was a song. From Jenica: Honestly, probably leaving our wedding! A family friend let us use his red convertible Mustang as our getaway car. As we drove off, the driver turned up one of our favorite songs. Sitting on the back of the car while driving down the pitch black, windy road felt magnificent after sweating all day. The venue is very secluded and the sky was completely clear; we could see thousands of stars, something we don’t see in the city where we live now. We gazed up at the stars while singing at the top of our lungs, grinning ear-to-ear. We reflected on how perfectly our wedding day had gone and how happy we were to finally be married. It was so magical, and I’ll never forget it!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in graduate school at Florida State University at a mutual friend’s birthday party. I actually had a first date planned for later that night, but was having such a good time with Dylan that I called it off. Best decision ever!
Tell us all about the proposal! He proposed on Christmas day 2013. He led me to believe that he was going to pop the question on a trip to St. Thomas that we had planned for after the holidays, but instead, he surprised me while I was in my gym clothes at Fort Washington Park as we overlooked a beautiful sunset on the Potomac River. This is a very special place for me, as I always go running there and love to explore the area with my family when I visit my grandparents. He knows that I am very close to my family, and he wanted them to be able to share in our special occasion.
When did y’all get married? May 16, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was to Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me.” This was a very easy selection for me. It is one of my grandfather’s favorites, so it has always reminded me of my grandparents and the love they shared for 60 years. This song speaks to the central truth about a strong marriage, that not if, but when, hardship comes, as long as we stand by each other, we have nothing to fear. Dylan and I danced to this song many times in our kitchen while cooking dinner together prior to our wedding day, so it also evokes some of our favorite memories. We surprised Dylan’s mother by having them dance to R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly,” a song that Mrs. Conley has told Dylan his whole life reminded her of him. She was beside herself on the dance floor when it came on, and all the guests joined in by waving their arms and candles.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Every detail of our wedding day was pretty perfect, but our favorite component of our wedding was that we celebrated for multiple days. Instead of having only the one day to say a few words to each guest, we rented a huge house in Watercolor, Florida for our families and bridal party. We also arranged other rentals within walking distance for extended family and friends. We celebrated from Wednesday through Monday with pool parties, personal chefs, catering, and games. The neighborhood is truly stunning, and is a place that Dylan and I love very much. Turing our wedding into a huge vacation made our year and half of planning all worth it!
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? I moved to Rhode Island after graduate school and we recently bought a house! We are looking forward to settling into our new life in Rhode Island. We love to travel, so we look forward to many great trips before we start a family.

Photographer: Robert J Hill / Videographer: Garrett Dollar / Planner: Kaley Wells / Ceremony Venue: St. Rita Catholic Church / Reception Venue: Eden Gardens State Park / Florist: Events by Nouvea / Dessert Baker: Fatty Patty’s / Caterer: Dee’s Catering / Band: True Soul / Bride’s Gown: Tara Keely / Bridal Salon: The Bridal Garden / Hair Stylist: Misty Lemire / Makeup Artist: Christina Engman / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Ann” in Melon by Little Borrowed Dresses / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Earcandy reply

    It was probably a magnificent sight for the bride to see her groom standing against the night sky underneath a willow tree. The fact that groom took the time to let it sink it probably made it all the more memorable – not that anyone could ever forget their wedding day.

  2. avatar Abbey reply

    I would love to know where you got the bridesmaid’s monogrammed pajamas? I’m looking for something similar.

    Thanks!

  3. avatar Dana reply

    they are so happy!!! love it!

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I love talking about weddings (probably a good thing, considering my job!), but when I scrolled through Jo and JT’s celebration, I found myself a bit speechless. It’s so evident that they were truly present as they became husband and wife–they soaked in and really felt every single moment. It’s breathtaking and inspiring to see, and I know y’all will love taking a peek into their special day as much as I did!

Didn’t Brandon Chesbro capture these moments perfectly? We’re so thrilled he shared Jo and JT’s wedding with us!

The venue that we chose was a private residence where my cousin grew up. The current owner doesn’t typically do weddings on her property, but when she found out about my family, she invited us to have the wedding there. It was so special to us to be married in such an intimate and gorgeous setting.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? JT and I decided to do a first look, mainly because we were both nervous, and we were able to ease each other’s nerves by getting to spend some time together before the ceremony. The few glasses of champagne we shared helped as well!

JT and I are both musicians, and it was important for us to use songs that were meaningful to us. Some of those songs included the Harry Potter theme song by John Williams, “There She Goes My Beautiful World” by Nick Cave, and a few Max Richter pieces. During the ceremony, my bandmate Louis Johnson sang “But Beautiful,” which is a special song for my dad and I.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had The Prayer of St. Francis read: “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.”

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? When JT and I sat down to eat brunch at the head table, we had a view of everyone sitting at their tables, laughing and sharing a meal. It was exactly what we had planned for our wedding day, and finally getting to see all of our loved ones in front of us was just perfect.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was the place cards. We had a poem from a book I bought JT for our one-year anniversary, “I Like You,” printed on them. It was a very special and personalized touch that meant a lot to us.

Having Brittany from Ring The Bell as our planner was such a treat. She made the day of our wedding stress-free and kept everything running smoothly. Since our wedding was very DIY-heavy, it was really nice to have someone there the day-of to make sure none of our details were overlooked.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Go easy on yourself. Don’t sweat the small stuff. At the end of the day, you are marrying your best friend and all of the rest is just icing on the cake…pun intended.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. JT and I met at a 4th of July party in Nashville. I was new to town and didn’t know many people there. He had been a local for 10 years and quickly noticed the “new girl.” He had noticed some of his friends checking me out, but when no one made a move, he decided to introduce himself. We talked and flirted all night, and after some much-needed liquid courage, I decided to ask if he would take me on a motorcycle ride. I put my number in his phone, and we made plans to meet up later in the week. Since that night, I can’t think of a day that I haven’t talked to JT. I always think it’s corny when people say “love at first sight,” but JT and I knew quickly that we found something special.
Tell us all about the proposal! Our proposal was very intimate and special to us, so we’re keeping some of the details to ourselves. What I can tell you is that it was raining, JT was on one knee, and I cried. It was Halloween, so we went to Target afterwards to find finishing touches for our costumes. We ended the night with a bunch of friends at a dive bar in Nashville, dressed as Wednesday Addams and a hand grenade (JT is pretty inventive with his costumes). Of course, there was a lot of showing off the ring.
When did y’all get married? November 8, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 120
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I didn’t do the typical dress hunt like most brides. My brothers-in-law actually found my skirt for me and had it shipped to my house! It fit perfectly and made the process really stress-free. I did go try on a few dresses at a store with a girlfriend as well, just for fun.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wanted to keep our vows traditional, but also specific to us. We wrote them with the help of our good friend and officiant, Raleigh McCool.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We joked to friends that our marriage counseling was watching the show Parenthood and discussing it after each episode. Our real marriage counseling was spending a lot of time with married couples that we respect and look up to.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? JT and I didn’t feel we needed all of the bells and whistles to make our wedding special, which definitely helped us keep the cost down. Simple was best for us.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are enjoying sharing our first holidays and birthdays as husband and wife, and are looking forward to all of those to come.

Photographer: Brandon Chesbro / Planner: Ring The Bell Weddings / Venue: Private Residence / Florist: 57 Treasury / Cake Baker: Sweet Weddings / Caterer: Culinary Outfitters / Rentals: Taylor Rental / Band: Chad Howatt and Louis Johnson / Calligraphy: Megan Towle / Paper Products: St. Augustine Paper Co. / Menswear and Bride’s Skirt: J. Crew / Bride’s Top: Louloudimeli / Bride’s Hair Accessories: Urban Outfitters / Hair and Makeup Hues Hair Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Seychelles for BHLDN / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” in Mayan Blue and Lapis Blue by Jenny Yoo

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Gwen Usina reply

    I don’t usually have the patience to sit through anything that lasts longer than five minutes. But as I started seeing the pictures and then this, I couldn’t stop! It all was above and beyond what I would expect. Your wedding planner went off the chart! And you and JT could never have, and never will, look any more in love! Loved all the colors and the flow of everything! May God Bless you both for ever and have everlasting “LOVE.”

  2. avatar Dana reply

    this photographer is awesome!

  3. avatar Jen reply

    Where can I find that skirt?? I love it. I search j crew and ebay for it but couldn’t find it :(

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Southern Weddings readers are known for wanting to squeeze every drop of fun and meaning out of wedding planning that they can, and we love that trait! So it’s not surprising that we (and you) are all about asking your best gals to join you as bridesmaids in a special way. Often this has to be done virtually, but if you happen to live close by, we love this “will you be my bridesmaid” party inspiration from Mobella Events, all done up in fabulous Lilly Pulitzer style!

Big hugs to Sivan Photography for these images!

From Mobella Events: Some of life’s most precious moments happen on the grounds of your very own home. When it was time for Katherine to ask her friends to be in her wedding party, she decided to have them over and make it a surprise. What her friends thought was going to be a fun afternoon at their bestie’s house was about to get so much more exciting!

After seating her friends at the table, Katherine unrolled a scroll with a special message: “I have my mister, but I can’t do it without my sisters! Will you be my wedding gals?” The girls were beyond excited, and of course they said yes!

Anyone recognize that signature expression? It’s none other than our own Kristin Winchester, who couldn’t have been a more natural fit for a shoot about friendship and LP!

You can see this fun day in action, too!

I’d love to hear: how did you ask your bridesmaids to stand beside you on your big day? I wrote them each a heartfelt note and stuck them in the mail!

Attire: Lilly Pulitzer | Cake: Everything Cake | Caterer: Southern Traditions | Coordinator: Mobella Events | Desserts: Two Sweets Bake Shop | Flowers: Blue Ribbon Weddings & Events | Hair: Brittney Boscana, Brie & Brie | Linen: Wildflower Linen | Location: Peachtree House | Makeup: Tracie Cervero | Models: Lydia Aluri, Courtney Moore, Kristin Winchester, Charlotte Darley, Lindsay Demoranville | Monogrammed Items: The Monogram Merchant | Photographer: Sivan Photography | Rentals: A Chair Affair | Stationery: Pretty Peacock Paperie | Videography: Seltzer Films

Two Sweets Bake Shop is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Audrey {Custom Wedding Songs} reply

    I love that first picture of all the girls.

  2. avatar Peachtree House: A Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Bridesmaid Luncheon | reply

    […] This gorgeous Lilly Pulitzer inspired bridesmaid luncheon styled shoot has been featured on Southern Weddings! […]

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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