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Anyone planning a wedding knows that all of the inspiration out there can be overwhelming, which is why we recommend that, instead of starting your brainstorming session on Pinterest or blogs, look to your own story and the things you love first. Jess and Aaron did a wonderful job of this, and from their venue that reminded them of their weekends spent at Virginia wineries, to the paper airplanes their guests threw during their exit, each sweet detail helped their wedding reflect who they are as a couple. Amanda Gray of Ashley Baber Weddings helped them bring it all together at Pippin Hill Farm–one of my personal favorite venues in the South!

Thank you so much to Meg Runion for sharing these lovely photos of Jess and Aaron’s wedding with us!

To me, the South is about loving people gathering together, enjoying delicious food, laughing, and having a great time! Using local products and vendors is something that always brings me back to the South because some of my favorite memories are of spending time with my grandfather in his garden, growing the food that my grandmother would then can for us to eat together. We even added jars of her homemade plum jelly to our welcome boxes.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I really wanted to be able to go shopping with my mother and grandmother, but didn’t really know what I was looking for, so I decided to do a scouting trip with one of my friends. It was a great day, but nothing made me feel the way I thought I should, so the search continued. I then learned of the Nordstrom Bridal Suite and decided to take a look online to see what they offered. The moment I saw my dress, I knew it was the one–yes, I found my dress on the internet! It was hard to imagine that it would be that easy, so I told myself to keep looking and see what else was out there. I even flew home to Florida to go dress shopping with my mom, but I kept going back to that dress I had found online. I called up the Nordstrom near D.C. and made an appointment, and the moment I saw it in-person, I knew my search had ended. I loved how simple, yet truly different the dress was. It honestly made me twirl around all day, especially on our wedding day!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We didn’t have any readings at our ceremony but we did read and sign a Ketubah during a small, intimate ceremony prior to the actual wedding ceremony. Aaron is Jewish and I was raised Baptist, so we wanted to find a way to incorporate both into our wedding day. The Ketubah honored the tradition of his family and is our promise to each other for how we will live in marriage together.

We worked with our officiant to create a ceremony that was personal to us, warm, and original. She provided us with tons of samples for each part of the ceremony, which made it super easy to put everything together. When it came to the vows, we both felt that we wanted something original, but also wanted to give a nod to tradition. We brought these together by taking some of the sample vows that she gave us and picking and choosing parts of them that spoke in words what we felt in our hearts.

When we started thinking of what we wanted in a wedding venue, a few things were at the top of our list: a relaxing vibe, beautiful scenery, and ease of planning. I turned to my trusty friend Google and began the search. Aaron and I enjoy visiting wineries around the D.C. area, so I started my search there. Then, I came across Pippin Hill and knew that we needed to make the drive to Charlottesville to go see it. When we turned the corner to Pippin Hill, the search was over. We didn’t even get inside before we knew that it would be perfect. On our tour, our excitement continued to grow. From the amazing food, to the beautiful bridal suite, to the breathtaking view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it transported us to another place entirely.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The things that make me smile every time I think of them are the personal details that I added for Aaron. I wanted to make sure that he felt just as much incorporated into the festivities as I did! Aaron is a private pilot, and if you talk to him for more than five minutes, his love for aviation will become crystal clear. I came up with the idea to create “pilot” and “co-pilot” signs for the back of our chairs at the sweetheart table, and it has created a funny debate to this day about who should be sitting in which chair. We also had paper airplanes for people to throw during our departure and they were a huge hit!

The wedding cake was three tiers of vanilla cake with bavarian cream and raspberry marmalade filling, iced with vanilla buttercream. Guests even went back for seconds (and thirds!). The flower topper our florist created was truly breathtaking, especially when paired with the pale peach petaled chiffon tablecloth. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it when we walked into the reception space! Since I knew Aaron wouldn’t be getting his favorite chocolate cake, I decided to have a special treat made in his honor: we served bourbon balls on silver platters at each table.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? At the end of the reception, Aaron and I were dancing, and all of a sudden, we looked up to see our friends and family arm in arm, standing in a circle surrounding us. It was the most love I have ever felt in my life and a truly magical moment. I was so touched that I started crying, and someone ran in to give me a hug, which resulted in the biggest group hug I had ever been a part of.

Don’t miss Jess and Aaron’s lovely wedding film by Shaking Hands below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Falling in love with Aaron was the easiest thing I have ever done. We were both living in Washington, D.C. and we had some friends in common. One night, I went to a local restaurant for a game of trivia with a group of friends, and Aaron was there too. After that night, we kept running into each other, and eventually, I broke the ice by asking him the question, “What five movies do you think every person needs to see?” His answers surprised me (think Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, etc.), and I knew instantly that I needed to get to know him better. On our first official date, Aaron asked me over, cooked me a wonderful meal, and we watched old movies together. After that, everything sort of fell into place and we never looked back!
Tell us all about the proposal! From Aaron: We went to a winery with a few friends on Columbus Day 2013. I had the ring in my pocket, hoping for the perfect moment to pop up, but one never seemed just right. As we drove home, I devised a plan, which I put into action as soon as we got back. As Jess was busy putting things away, I went out on our porch where she couldn’t see me and called her to come outside. As she turned the corner, I was down on one knee, she began crying, and the rest is history.
When did y’all get married? October 12, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
Describe your wedding flowers. Oh, the flowers! Pat and Sherry from Southern Blooms were so amazing to work with and brought my vision to life in such a fantastic way! I love gardening and having fresh flowers around the house, so this was such a priority for me. I wanted the ceremony and reception spaces to be warm and inviting, full of a mix of soft, warm peach garden roses, café au lait dahlias, peegee hydrangea, magnolia leaves and fresh herbs. For the ceremony, we wanted the beautiful vista to be the star of the show, so we used lanterns leading up the path, a simple garland swagged around the entrance of the Sperry tent, and a mix of rose and dahlia petals down the aisle. For the reception, we alternated centerpieces between arrangements in mercury glass bowls and a cluster of vintage hurricanes, smaller arrangements, and floating single blooms in mercury glass dishes. They also did a wonderful job using flowers to accentuate the decor in the Granary at Pippin Hill, with the most beautiful garland on the foyer table and the garland from the chandelier hanging over the dance floor!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! My borrowed, blue, and old were all covered by one item: a vintage handkerchief with beautiful blue embroidered flowers that my grandmother gave to me. My new was rose gold and moonstone earrings that Aaron gave me at my bridal shower, because he thought they would look nice with all the pale peach flowers and decor. He was right–I loved them and couldn’t have imagined wearing anything else on that special day.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Hands downs, our wedding coordinator. Amanda was our constant rock and was truly invaluable throughout the year-long planning process. She helped us think of details that we would have never even considered, kept us organized, and really took the stress of planning off our shoulders. It also didn’t hurt that she was incredibly fun to spend time with and an all-around wonderful person!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are so excited to make the most of our first year of marriage. We are settling in at home with our dog, Gambler, and we have a busy year of traveling ahead of us–mostly to celebrate the marriages of our friends and family!

Photographer: Meg Runion / Videographer: Shaking Hands / Planner: Amanda Gray for Ashley Baber Weddings / Venue: Pippin Hill Farm / Florist: Southern Blooms by Pat’s Florals / Dessert Baker: Albemarle Baking Company and Paradox Pastry / Rentals: Stonegate Events Rentals / Linens: La Tavola Linens / Tent: Skyline Tent Company / Lighting: Blueridge A/V and Lighting / Band: Derek Tobler / Calligraphy: Arney Walker Calligraphy / Paper Products: Momental Designs / Bride’s Gown: Reem Acra / Bridal Salon: Nordstrom Bridal Suite / Bride’s Jewelry: Ippolita / Bridesmaids’ Jewelry: Erin McDermott Jewelry / Hair and Makeup: Avenue 42 / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Lacey Long” in Silver Bells by Joanna August / Menswear: Vera Wang / Officiant: Rev. Claire Goodman / Ketubah: Jennifer Raichman / Family Crest: Juliet Grace Design

lisa Written with love by Lisa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Stephanie Scholl reply

    This is a seriously gorgeous wedding!! Ashley Baber Weddings is a favorite of mine; such a beautiful, meaningful wedding. And I adore Pippin Hill – I’ve been plenty of times to the amazing winery, and it’s on my bucket list for a wedding!

  2. avatar Lindsay Colvin reply

    That cake table linen is just beautiful!

  3. avatar Dana reply

    the invitations are so beautiful!

  4. avatar Amber reply

    Do you have any information on the quilt with the dog portrait in the middle? It’s so beautiful and a great way to incorporate your pup into the wedding!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Amber! I know the crest is by Juliet Grace Designs, but I’m not sure if the quilt was something she or someone else made! Hopefully Jess will pop in with some info :)

  5. avatar Jess reply

    Hi Amber! Emily is right, we had the crest designed by Juliet Grace Designs and then printed her beautiful work on fabric using Spoonflower.com and then the super talented Erica at SewEMG put it all together in the quilt. You can find her shop on etsy – https://www.etsy.com/shop/SewEMG

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In just five short days, V6 will be on newsstands, and I can barely stand it! Want your copy sooner? Pre-order you copy now, as shipping starts today!!

While we are bursting at the seams with excitement over V6 (admittedly making it a bit hard to focus!), today’s cheerful wedding snaps me right back to our mission and why we love what we do! The word that comes to mind when I look at Danielle + Sam’s big day is joyful. The fun pops of color, their sweet smiles, and especially their vows- they made them rhyme!- fills my heart to the brim with joy! As for those blooms, Danielle could not have made a better decision by letting the gorgeous florals do the talking!

Big hugs to Rachel Fesko for sharing this sweet day!

Y’all, I could just die! Danielle is way too cute in one of my very favorite dresses of all time!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed beautiful brooches from mother, mother-in-law and both of my grandmothers. The ones from my mother and grandmothers were vintage, so they also served as my something old, while the one from my mother-in-law was my something new. The something blue was the stunning ribbon wrapped around the bouquet.

Describe your wedding flowers. The flowers were one of the most important aspects of the wedding to me, and were a big part of why I chose Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden as a backdrop. Melanie of New Creations Flower Company knew this, and accented the beauty of nature with absolutely gorgeous bouquets and centerpieces. My bouquet was full and textured, and was made with pale pink ranunculus, Juliet garden roses, coral charm and purple peonies with lamb’s ear and geranium leaves. To accent the vibrant blue of the bridesmaid’s dresses, tweedia was also added. The centerpieces featured many of the same flowers placed in milk glass or blue glass vases and accented with mercury votive candles.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Sam and I decided to do a first look in the beautiful Orchid Conservatory of DSBG. We really wanted to capture the joy of this special moment in a setting where our wonderful photographer could capture every detail.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Sam and I wrote our own vows on pink and blue note cards. Sam wrote his first and was inspired to make his vows rhyme, so I, of course, had to follow suit! My favorite lines from his vows were “I vow to always catch you when you fall, because you are breathtaking when you fly. I vow to make you happy every day, because it tugs my heartstrings with you cry.” Sam’s favorite lines from my vows were “I vow to always make the bed; who knew such a chore would make you see red.”

The greatest challenge Sam and I faced when planning the wedding was being out of state. Thank goodness for Skype! We had to schedule many meetings with our vendors via computer, and it sometimes felt as if we were flying by the seat of our pants. However, all of our vendors came through in a magnificent way–we were staggered by the look and feel of every aspect of our wedding.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? There is something quintessentially Southern about mason jars, and blue ones played heavily into our ceremony and reception decor. For our wedding favors, I wanted to incorporate the theme of Charlotte, my hometown, and Chicago, Sam’s hometown, coming together. We decided to give out Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Garett’s Popcorn, gourmet specialities of each geographic area. We called it “Windy City Treats meets Queen City Sweets!”

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. WOW Factor Cakes truly created an edible masterpiece. Our cake was four tiers of marble cake with alternating layers of hazelnut cream and chocolate ganache. The design of the cake was inspired by the floral lace pattern of my wedding dress, while the color of the cake accentuated the florals and bridal fashion.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Sam and I met online before it was mainstream. My high school boyfriend ran a computer game server, so I would hang out in the server’s chat room to talk to him. One day, there was a heated debate about feminism and I passionately defended girl gamers. Sam was intrigued by my point of view and sent me a message. We began talking every day, solidifying our friendship. We lost touch when I had go on medical leave from college, but reconnected when I returned. Our relationship turned serious when I went to study abroad in London in the spring of 2008. I had a hard time making friends, and Sam was there for me every step of the way!
Tell us all about the proposal! Our anniversary was coming up on May 20th, but I was going to be out of town. Sam and I planned to celebrate when I got back by going to a fancy restaurant. Unbeknownst to me, that was the day Sam was planning on proposing. On the 17th, I was home putting together a cat tree for our animals. I was getting angry because Sam should have been home hours before and he had been very cryptic about his whereabouts. When he got home, he could barely contain his excitement. After telling me he couldn’t wait, he bent down on one knee and handed me a small box. I gasped and opened it excitedly. Nestled inside was a beautiful ring. Sam asked if I would marry him and I immediately said yes!
When did y’all get married? June 15, 2013
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mother and sisters came up to Illinois for an extended vacation and we booked a ton of appointments back to back. I knew I wanted a tea-length gown, so that narrowed my selection. When I tried on the Justin Alexander dress in the natural/coffee, I had the “feeling.” I went to another appointment the next day and I tried on the Justin Alexander dress again, this time in ivory. This only reinforced my hunch that the same dress, but in the unique color, was my dress.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My mother read a passage about the nature of love from The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A’Kempis.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For our first dance, we used “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5. This was because we were a long-distance couple for two years, and got used to the longing and the tough goodbyes that compose long-distance relationships. During our reception, Sam wanted to keep the theme music upbeat and tried to incorporate elements of rock music. As a result, our cake cutting song was “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses, our bouquet toss was to “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen, and our garter toss song was the Mission Impossible theme. We also had a blast with our entrance music, which was “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore. We chose this because Sam got to come in dressed in an entire outfit of thrift shop gear, which was a huge hit with everyone!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I have so many favorite details! My sister is in art school and she both drew and hand-painted our wedding invitations. Another one was the cake topper. I was a DIY kind of bride, so I created the kitty cake topper myself in the likeness of our two cats. Sam and I also love board games and puzzles, so we incorporated this by having our guestbook be a large wooden puzzle featuring our favorite engagement photo.
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? We hit the jackpot with all of our vendors, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the work they did for us. That being said, the food and drinks were a huge hit with everyone at the wedding, so I have to hand it to Best Impressions catering for really doing something special.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There were a ton of memorable moments during our wedding! Still, it felt like the whole day just flew by. One moment that really stood out for both Sam and me was during the dance party at the reception. My best man requested “Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey, and during the song, everyone in our party gathered around us in a circle. They proceeded to serenade Sam and I throughout the whole song. I have rarely in my life felt more loved than I did during that song, and it really helped cap off the best night of my life!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding planner, especially if you are planning a wedding out of state! Ashley was worth every penny. Her relationships with other vendors ensured good pricing and saved me lots of time, as I did not have to wade through reviews or call and book the vendors themselves. Having a planner also allowed me to relax more and enjoy the process–I knew Ashley would have all the minutia I would have otherwise stressed about executed beautifully!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Sam and I are looking forward to crafting a life together in a way that was not possible before. We are both moving forward in our careers and are saving up for a house.

marissa Written with love by Marissa
16 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Love Danielle’s beautiful bouquet!

  2. avatar Featured on Southern Weddings: Danielle + Sam | The Hostess Blog reply

    […] just pinch me! Danielle and Sam’s beautiful, bright, garden-inspired June wedding is on Southern Weddings blog today. Can you just say dream come true?? One of my favorite blogs picked up one of my favorite […]

  3. avatar Emily reply

    The dress and the flowers in this wedding are truly STUNNING! Totally different from most other weddings!

  4. avatar Ivy Ellen reply

    This is such a beautiful wedding! I especially love the wedding dress it is so pretty. Congratulations to you both

  5. avatar Now That’s a Sweet Favor | Lulu's Event Design reply

    […] check out more photos of this wedding and this genius bride check out the Peony Wedding […]

  6. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up | Southern Weddings reply

    […] Danielle and Sam’s joyful big day put such a smile on our faces this week! We love her tea-length dress, their colorful flowers, and the details inspired by their respective hometowns. See it here. […]

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    […] Credits * 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 […]

  8. avatar Anniversary: Danielle + Sam – The Graceful Host reply

    […] year of wedded bliss, Danielle & Sam! PS. If you haven’t seen their wedding featured on Southern Weddings and Loverly, be sure to check it […]

  9. avatar Danielle & Sam | Best Impressions Caterers reply

    […] posted on Southernweddings.com and looking at the pictures makes us want the warm weather back! Click here to go check it out! The beautiful photos are by Rachel Fesko […]

  10. avatar Amazing Florals reply

    Great article and thanks for sharing those lovely peony wedding flower photos!

  11. avatar Chelsea reply

    I love this wedding- the colors, the smiles! What is the white star shaped flower mixed in with the bouquets? A tree blossom?

  12. avatar 15 Ways to Include Doughnuts in Your Wedding | The dream wedding in USA reply

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While I know the state of Alabama is quite large, I always feel a kindred spirit to our sweet Alabama couples. I can especially relate to Rachel + Carl with their long distance relationship stints. While planning from afar can be a challenge, they chose to focus on sweet and meaningful details that truly reflected the importance of family and community. I love how they chose the same cake maker Rachel’s parent used at their wedding. While I could go on over Rachel + Carl carefully planned details, Rachel’s advice to future brides is so wise. She said “It amazingly all works out. As your wedding gets closer and closer, you realize that what is most important is getting married to the love of your life and being surrounded by family and friends as you do so.” Isn’t that the truth?!

Big thanks to White Rabbit Studios for capturing this lovely day!

Our venue was a beautiful Southern plantation in the middle of cotton fields, which set the perfect mood for a vintage, Southern wedding. The use of decorations like peaches and milk glass brought some of the Southern charm, while the community was filled with Southern hospitality and warmth.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my wedding dress was quite an adventure. On our first trip shopping, I took my mom, my maid of honor, and my matron of honor. We went through about four different stores and tons of dresses. I was beginning to feel overwhelmed. After looking back over pictures later, one dress seemed to stand out to everyone, except for my mom. She wasn’t willing to commit and wasn’t going to be satisfied until we tried on every dress we could find. I found myself constantly comparing every dress to the one I found the first day. Finally, my mom agreed to let me go try on the original dress again, and I brought along another bridesmaid this time. Once I slipped on the dress and stepped out for everyone to see, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that it was the one. My mom ended up being obsessed with the dress and will admit she doesn’t understand why she didn’t like it at first.

Seeing couples opt out of a “first look” for a moment of prayer still remains one of my favorite moments in a wedding day!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Carl and I debated over this many times. We ended up deciding to not do a “first look” and have the first time he saw me to be walking down the aisle. We felt like there was something sweet and special about that moment. We were also used to not seeing each other very often, so waiting didn’t seem like a huge deal. We did decide to pray with each other before the ceremony began, though. Our photographer and videographer led the two of us to a tree near our ceremony site with our eyes closed. They placed us on two different sides of the tree and made us face forward. We were able to hold hands and spend some time in prayer together. It was a perfect moment. It was nice to know what was going on in his head and finally be able to praise the Lord together for all his goodness. I just remember being overwhelmed with how good the Lord is. He had taken care of everything that day: the weather, the silly little details, and he had brought me the most amazing husband. I’m so glad we got that little bit of time to share together.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows. We wanted them to truly reflect the metaphor of how Christ loves his church and how that drives our relationship. One of my favorite parts was that we both ended up using the same phrase: “Knowing that God’s glory comes before all else.” I think if we can both really live by that phrase, knowing our relationship is not about ourselves, but about the glory of God, we can make it through any stage of life that comes our way.What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We did not have readings at our ceremony. Instead of readings or a special song, we invited our wedding party and parents to surround us in prayer. They all gathered around and prayed, as one groomsmen and one bridesmaid led a prayer aloud. Our community is something that is extremely important to us, and to know they were supporting us was a really meaningful portion of our ceremony.

Wedding flowers were an adventure for us. My mom had expressed interest in trying to do flowers ourselves because of the price, and I guess for fun. This made me really nervous. Where were we going to get the flowers, how do you make a bouquet, how do you keep flowers? So many questions made me worried. However, by doing it ourselves, they were able to be exactly how I had pictured them. We were able to get the flowers I desired, like peonies, and even at cheaper prices. The arrangements were filled with beautiful peachy, pinky flowers that really created the soft, romantic look I was aiming for. A family friend who had experience being a florist created all of the arrangements and boutonnieres. The morning of the wedding, the bridesmaids and I met with another family friend, who helped us create our own bouquets. I think the girls were really nervous about it at first, but they seemed like they really enjoyed doing it themselves, and the bouquets turned out beautifully.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was actually made by the same person who made my parents’ wedding cake. We decided to go with a classic white cake, but had it mimic the milk glass that was a large part of our decorations. We had originally decided we would just have it plain with no flowers, but about two weeks before the wedding, we realized having sugar flowers would make it so pretty. We had found a picture for inspiration, but our cake decorator did not think she would be able to make them. My mom found a Youtube video of how to go about making sugar flowers and showed it to a friend. With no cake decorating experience, our friend created stunning sugar flowers to add to the cake. I’m so glad she did, because I think it’s what really made the cake!

I didn’t work super hard to make sure it would happen, but kind of hoped it would just come together. My something borrowed was my mom’s garter that her grandmother had made her for her wedding day. My something blue was the one I realized I didn’t have anything for the night before, so I ended up deciding to wear blue panties the day of so it would all be complete. My something old was my uncle’s vintage MG that we used for our getaway car. It was a car he and my grandfather had bought and worked on. It was also really special because my mom and dad left in another MG that my uncle and grandfather had worked on as their getaway car at their wedding. My something new were these beautiful opal earrings my parents gave me for graduation. I have always loved opals, especially since my grandfather gave me a pair when I was a little girl. Unfortunately that exact pair was nowhere to be found, so a new pair worked just as well.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Carl and I met in high school while on a mission trip to Honduras with our youth group, where it was easy to see each other’s true selves and hearts. We were both extremely involved in our church and had a strong passion for the Lord and others. Not long after we started dating, Carl began college at Auburn University. For two years, we navigated the ups and downs of a long distance relationship, getting by with many letters and four-hour drives. Eventually, I joined Carl at Auburn. We were finally able to enjoy the presence of each other and a true community of common friends. After graduating in psychology and interning for a year, Carl received a job in North Carolina as a youth pastor. We were obviously excited for the Lord’s blessing, but once again found ourselves in a long distance relationship.
Tell us all about the proposal! One weekend when we returned to Madison, Carl surprised me with a special date. On the hour drive there, I struggled with an internal battle over whether or not the proposal was happening. When we finally arrived I was excited to discover that we were at a county fair. I love the rides, atmosphere, and sweet charm of fairs. He knows me very well. My suspicion still snuck up as he offered to go all out on fair food, and even ride the dizzy rides that make him sick. However, I once again convinced myself it was not happening, because it would be too dangerous to have a ring in your pocket on those rides. Little did I know, the surprise was waiting for me at home. When we got back to my house, after forcing me to stay awake, he proposed at the same spot where he had once asked me to be his girlfriend over five years before.
When did y’all get married? May 26, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250-275
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our ceremony and reception music was one of our favorite parts of the wedding. For our ceremony music, we decided to do all Christian worship songs by artists like Bethel, Hillsong United, and United Pursuit Band. We used “Like Incense/Sometimes By Step” by Hillsong United for the bridal party and I to walk down the aisle. The way the song builds made a perfect, dramatic, and worshipful entrance. For leaving back down the aisle, we picked a more upbeat song called “This is What You Do” by Bethel. It was a perfect song to joyfully walk down the aisle to as husband and wife, and even caused my mom to dance back down the aisle. Our first dance and father-daughter dance were very special to us as well. Our bridal party included three of our friends who we had really wanted to sing, but knew it would be complicated for them to do so in the ceremony. We decided we would have them sing those first two songs instead. It was very sweet to not only be dancing with loved ones, but have loved ones singing, as well. For our first dance, we used an acoustic version of “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson, which was one of my favorite songs as a kid. Our father-daughter dance was an acoustic version of “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder, which was the perfect song for my dad and I to shag dance to.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It’s really hard to pick a favorite detail because overall, everything came together so perfectly. Although it was out of our control, we were so thankful and excited about the weather. It wasn’t raining, which was a huge plus, but it was also just the right temperature and lighting. Out of the details we could control, I think it would be a tough battle to choose between the flowers and the music. They both played such a vital role in creating the atmosphere that we desired.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? One of the biggest challenges for me was Carl and I being long distance while trying to plan the wedding. It was hard to make decisions together, since he could not be there to view the venue or the cake or other decorations. A lot of the decisions, I had to make on my own. I really wanted the wedding to be a good representation of the two of us, so I was worried it wouldn’t all come together. However, I think he probably enjoyed not having to be quite so involved.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We were extremely happy with our photographer and videographer, White Rabbit Studios. They were a dream to work with. Not only were they pleasant to be with all day, but the photos capture the day exactly how I remember it to be. We had such a wide variety of photos, from the decorative details to the candid emotions of the day.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I think one of the most memorable parts of our wedding day was going through the Burger King drive-through for icees with one of my maids of honor and the best man after leaving the reception. It was nice to finally sit down and enjoy a semi-normal moment with our best friends right before we headed off to the honeymoon.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It amazingly all works out. As your wedding gets closer and closer, you realize that what is most important is getting married to the love of your life and being surrounded by family and friends as you do so. Many details I fretted over before, I didn’t even notice or think about come the day of the wedding. Enjoy the day being surrounded by those you love and those who love you.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? After our honeymoon, I joined Carl in North Carolina, where we have really enjoyed just getting to be together and enjoy one life together instead of two lives apart. I have been working on starting a wedding invitation line, while Carl has continued to work in youth ministry. I think one of the things we are most enjoying in our marriage is doing ministry together. This summer, I’ve been able to help Carl out with his youth group through retreats, fun trips, and bible studies. It’s really neat to partner together in that and truly serve each other while serving the youth. We can’t wait to see what adventures come our way!

Photographer: Ashley Vaughn from White Rabbit Studios | Videographer: Dustin Timbrook from White Rabbit Studios | Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Cedars 1859 | Kathy Grissom, Family Friend | Wedding Cake: Connie’s Creations | Caterer: Endless Catering | Rentals: All Needz Rentals | Band: The Purple Ravens | Bride’s Gown: Bella Couture, Allure Gown | Paper Products: Rachel Botts Design | Bride’s Earrings: Kohls | Bride’s Veil: Renaissance Consignment | Hair Stylist: Bridesmaid Ivy Tidwell | Makeup Artist: Bridesmaid Stephanie Kearns | Bride’s Shoes: Seychelles I Do Pump | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan Donna Dress from Weddington Way | Groom’s and Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Hand Painted Signs and Cake Topper: Emily Edwards | Guestbook: First Snowfall | Robes: Just Cottons 

marissa Written with love by Marissa
17 Comments
  1. avatar Shannon reply

    Her flowers are beautiful! Any idea where she ordered them through before putting them together DIY? (Such as an online retailer or a flower wholesaler)

  2. avatar Emily reply

    I love the little banner (that changed throughout the day!) on their getaway car! So cute!

  3. avatar Stephanie reply

    WOW!! Perfection. Loved being a part of this beautiful, God-filled and fun wedding :)

  4. avatar Mary Lynn reply

    Here is the scoop on the flowers. We purchased our peonies from a local grower that was listed on the Cut Flower Association website. You can search by flower and by state for local growers. The association website is: http://ascfg.org/2011/buyers_guide/choose2.php?alphachoice=3
    We bought the peonies from a grower in Kentucky, Ella King of Kings Country Gardens. They were beautiful and so much less expensive. The remainder we bought from a floral wholesale business; Davis Flowers. Even though they sell primary wholesale they sell to the public also. They got us fabulous garden roses at a great price. We consider buying from Fifty Flowers online, they are another good DIY source. If you have a particular flower in mind you need to check if it is available during the time of year of your wedding.

  5. avatar kathy grissom reply

    what a beautiful wedding.everything was perfect.only God knew how long you nana would live and it was just long enough to see her granddaughter get married and see the smile on nana face will always be one of my favorite memories,because we don,t know if we will be so blessed.she said after that beautiful night what a beautiful bride racheal was over and over the most beautiful bride i will never forget the look on her face when she told everybody that called .over and over the love you could see in her face and her voice.thanks for letting me share the love ,see yall soon love kathy grissom.

  6. avatar White Rabbit Studios » Fine Art Film Photography » Rachel & Carl: Southern Wedding reply

    […] Congrats to Rachel and Carl and thank you so much for entrusting the White Rabbit team to capture your wedding! Also, huge thanks to Southern Weddings for featuring Rachel and Carl’s extraordinary day! Read all about it here! […]

  7. avatar Jamie reply

    where did you find your bridesmaid dresses? I love the color!

  8. avatar Rachel reply

    The bridesmaid dresses were bought from weddingtonway.com and they are Donna Morgan dresses I believed called “Donna”.

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  11. avatar Magaly reply

    I am currently looking for peach bridesmaids dresses and I cannot find any! Could you please tell me where your bridesmaid’s dresses are from? Thank you so much in advance!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Magaly! These adorable dresses are Donna Morgan via Weddington Way: http://www.weddingtonway.com/all/bridesmaid-dresses#color-modal

  12. avatar Lucy reply

    Marissa,

    Such a beautiful wedding! Can you share where you picked up the groom’s bowtie? My cousin has the same exact color scheme as you, and I am struggling to help her find the bowtie.

    Thank you!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi Lucy! We’re not sure where Rachel and Carl picked up their bow ties, but we just launched a bow tie collection with High Cotton Ties that includes a peach chambray bow tie that could be perfect! You can find it here: http://highcottonties.com/collections/southern-weddings-collection/products/sweet-as-a-peach-bow-tie

    • avatar Lucy reply

      Thank you Lisa! I will be checking out your collection!

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