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It’s always fun to see what choices a bride who works in the events industry makes for her own wedding! When it came to Jenna and Dom’s big day, their focus was on creating an effortless experience for their guests and planning a celebration that truly reflected them as a couple. While reading their interview, one thing that stood out to me was how many memories they created as they planned for this day, from the many vintage china shopping trips Jenna and her mom took, to her meant-to-be dress shopping experience, and more. Although wedding planning can be stressful, sharing moments and experiences with people you love makes it so very worth it!

Thanks so much to Molliner Photography for sharing this day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My girls and I set out in Coral Gables on a mission! We went to David’s Bridal first, and while I liked one of the dresses a lot, I didn’t love it, so I left feeling a little discouraged. I told myself I shouldn’t go to Chic Parisian because I’d end up spending more than I really wanted to, but we went anyways. I showed my consultant a few pictures on Pinterest that I liked, and she walked in with the EXACT dress from my Pinterest, on sample sale!! I tried it on, and with a few minor alterations, it fit like a glove. The entire room went silent when I slipped it on, and both my mom and my sister teared up. I just knew that it was the one, as cliche as that sounds.

My first look with Dom was definitely my favorite moment. The whole week of setting up for the wedding had me so stressed out, and all I wanted was to get to the moment where I could see Dom, because that was going to make everything better. Realizing that in my most stressful (and worst) moments, all I need is Dom to make me feel calm again really struck a cord and made me realize once again why I was there that day: to marry the most amazing piece of me.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. The first time we met was in passing in an elevator at an after-prom party for my high school. He was dating a girl who went to my high school and she introduced us in the elevator on our way up to the party. The second time we met (and actually spoke more than two words to each other) was up in Gainesville at school, where he attended Santa Fe and I went to UF. We had mutual friends and kept running into each other at different social events. I knew from the moment we talked that he was someone special. He understood my sense of humor and truly made me feel like the most important person in a room.

We wrote our own vows, and they were amazing. We said some of the exact same things without ever having talked about them with each other prior. I think we would agree that the best part was when he said, “I promise to make the bed, pick up my dirty laundry off the floor, and take out the trash,” and then I read, “I promise to accept that fact that you will never actually make the bed, you just throw the cover on top of the messy sheets. I promise to accept that you prefer your dirty clothes on the floor rather than in the hamper, and I promise to learn to accept that fact that you must be asked three times before you take out the trash.” Both of our vows had moments that made both us and our guests cry, and then laugh, and then cry again. They were sweet and sentimental, but also lighthearted and fun.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I wanted a change of scenery from South Florida. I didn’t want palm trees and beaches–I wanted oak trees and moss. A lot of my dad’s side of the family comes from the Central/North Florida areas, and it feels like a second home when we visit. While I grew up in South Florida, I have always felt more connected to a slower paced, countryside lifestyle, and this space felt exactly like that. I also wanted all of my family members to be able to stay locally and enjoy a weekend-long event…so why not get married at a campground? My family (no strangers to camping) could pitch a tent and stay the weekend for free! The grounds are beautiful, there is a lake that provides the most amazing backdrop, and the old colonial building is everything I could have dreamed of. It was seriously in my top ten most beautiful buildings I have ever seen.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Probably the mismatched vintage china that was on the tables. My mom and I spent almost two years collecting different pieces from a bunch of different thrift stores. Not only did the china fully execute the look we were going for, but the memories I now have from my mom and I going to all those stores and collecting them is something I can keep forever. It was truly a blessing to get to spend two years with my mom picking out stuff for the wedding, I am so grateful to have her in my life.

We had a small, single-tier naked cake that we cut into, but the dessert for guests to eat were mini pies by the talented LePetit Sweet Bakery in Mount Dora, Florida. I have an insane love for anything apple cinnamon and Dom loves blueberry pie, so when we decided what dessert to serve, we thought that pies would be both unique and very reflective of our personalities. We had different chocolate mousse, blueberry, apple, and pecan options, and our guests raved about them for weeks. On our anniversary, we may just take a visit back and have her make them again!

What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Dom and I are most excited to just wake up every day next to each other as husband and wife, alongside our fur baby, Paisley. We are taking things day by day, with no rush for the next step. We are enjoying being young and in love in sunny Fort Lauderdale. We have a lot of dreams in our five, 10, and 15 year plans–one of which includes owning a farm in Central-North Florida. We want to buy a big piece of land where we can build our dream home, farm flowers, and build a vintage barn to maybe host someone else’s perfect day!

Tell us all about the proposal! I was supposed to go to dinner with my best friend Sarah, but cancelled because I wasn’t feeling much like going out. Little did I know, I was ruining his master plan! Dom convinced me to go to dinner with him instead, and told me that I should dress up, which of course, I refused to do. When we got to the restaurant, Dom wasn’t eating, saying he had a stomachache. I totally bought it. When we got home, he went to the back of the hallway and was being kind of weird, so I asked him what was up. He asked me to join him, and when I turned the door knob to the back room, I saw a line of candles and rose petals from the back all through the backyard to the dock over the river that our house sits on. He had our song playing in the background, muttered words I will never remember, and got down on one knee. Of course, I said yes! We then walked back up to the house, where he had all of our family members waiting to celebrate, including my sister, who had flown in from San Francisco. It was low-key and exactly how I would have wanted it to be.
When did y’all get married? December 5, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 75
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? My girls and I were all wearing cowgirl boots, we had vintage handkerchief invitations, Sonny’s BBQ catered (ribs, pulled pork and chicken, mac and cheese, corn bread, sweet tea), we used mason jars for glassware, pie was our dessert, we gave homemade jam (made by my mom and I) as favors to our guests, we had monogrammed getting ready outfits for bridesmaids, we gave embroidered handkerchief gifts to my mom and aunt, and our guests sat on hay bales during the ceremony.
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? I did A LOT of things myself. I bought all of the mismatched china from thrift stores (rather than renting from a vintage company), I made all my own stationery and signage, we provided our own alcohol and glassware for the drinks, the guest tables/seating were included with the venue, and everything was linen-less. I do also have the somewhat unfair advantage of working for an event coordination and floral design company, so I was able to save money in those areas, as well.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire someone to do the heavy lifting. I am an event designer professionally, so relinquishing that control to someone else was pretty hard. And while, in my opinion, my wedding turned out perfectly and I am glad I had a big hand in that, I would say that I would have been able to enjoy myself the week prior a bit more had I hired people to execute my vision for me. It is so important for the bride and groom to be able to relax and enjoy themselves. Your wedding day is emotionally exhausting and for you to add a level of responsibility to yourself to also set it up is unnecessary when there are people who can do it for you.

Photographer: Molliner Photography | Videographer: Nate+Lori | Planner and Florist: Event Bliss Design | Venue: Doe Lake Campground | Dessert Baker: Le Petit Sweet | Caterer: Sonny’s BBQ | Rentals: Wish Vintage Rentals | DJ and Lighting: Meister Productions | Bride’s Gown: Marchesa | Bridal Salon: Chic Parisien | Hair and Makeup: Pure Aveda Salonspa | Bride’s Shoes: Country Outfitter | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Free People, American Eagle, Tobi, and Macy’s | Menswear: Macy’s, The Tie Bar, and Tilly’s

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah Chancey reply

    I absolutely love this wedding, having grown up with so many sweet memories surrounding a campground or park, I love that they keep the essence of that here, keeping things simple and elegant – just perfect.

  2. avatar Dana reply

    that twirling pic and first dance one…so presh!

  3. avatar Destination Wedding Planning in Ocala / Marion County reply

    […] state, Doe Lake Campground has become a favorite amongst lovebirds seeking a fairytale-inspired yet eclectic wedding celebration, complete with panoramic lake views and massive oak canopies. Within the campground, you’ll also […]

  4. avatar Destination Wedding Planning in Ocala / Marion County reply

    […] state, Doe Lake Campground has become a favorite amongst lovebirds seeking a fairytale-inspired yet eclectic wedding celebration, complete with panoramic lake views and massive oak canopies. Within the campground, you’ll also […]

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We look at hundreds of weddings a month at Southern Weddings, but no matter how many we see and share, there are some couples, stories, and celebrations that stick out in our memories, even years later. In the case of Emily and Josh’s Tennessee wedding, it’s all three. No one in the SW office will soon forget the story of their meant-to-be wedding venue–a true testament to Southern hospitality and friends who are more like family. We’ll always remember the prayerful ceremony that united Emily and Josh as husband and wife, and the latte bar at their cocktail hour that nodded to the beginning of their love story. And most of all, we’ll remember the sweet joy and pure love that radiated from them in their first moments as newlyweds. What a beautiful reminder of what a wedding is really about!

Thank you so much to Amanda K for sharing this incredible day with us in V7!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? Finding my wedding dress was overwhelming, but definitely so much fun. The first day I went to try on dresses, I went to a little shop in downtown Atlanta called The Sentimentalist. It was so darling! My mom and sister came with me and there were definitely some tears shed. Though I didn’t end up getting my dress there, it was the best time I had trying on dresses. I went to quite a few other shops and even ended up choosing a dress at one of them, feeling like I was running out of time! But all the while, I had my eye on a delicate dress from Rue de Seine and couldn’t get it out of my head. I emailed them, expecting them to not be able to make or get me the dress in time (they’re based in New Zealand), but they were so accommodating! I’m so happy I went with my gut and took the risk of ordering online, because my dress was perfect! It did take some alterations to get it just right, but the lady who helped me was the kindest woman and truly made it perfect.

Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? All the girls have amazing style, so I felt confident letting them pick their own dresses, with some hints and suggestions of what I liked, of course. I gave them the guidelines of cream and soft pink, and gave them the okay when they found something they liked. I wanted their personalities to show through what they wore, and I wanted them to feel beautiful! In doing that, they added a bohemian edge to the wedding that I loved—it really reflected who we are!

Tell us all the basics of your wedding! We got engaged in April 2013 while I was abroad and it was absolutely beautiful. I was still in school till December, so we decided to wait until the next spring to get married, to remind us of the season we got engaged in and to give me enough time to plan the wedding! It just so happened to work out that the last Saturday in April was the 26th, and since our dating anniversary is the 26th of March, April 26 seemed to be the perfect date for us. Additionally, it was Josh’s parents’ 39th wedding anniversary, which made this date extra special!

Tell us about the ceremony. The ceremony was very important to us, because at the heart of the whole thing, it’s that small moment in time when you promise yourselves to each other that matters the most. We wanted that moment to be special and to honor Christ. We asked Josh’s cousin, Matt Smallbone, to officiate our wedding, as we respect him as a man of God, the head of a wonderful family, and as a pastor. He made the ceremony very special by telling our story and sharing some funny memories of Josh as a kid, but he also led an inspiring message about the journey of marriage. We included a hymn for worship, and then we included a ceremonial foot washing and a tree planting. Both of these were very meaningful; for the tree planting, we both poured soil from each of our parents’ gardens into the plant, and the foot washing was a time for us to humble ourselves before each other. I started bawling during the foot-washing ceremony! One of my English professors would read “The Prayer of St. Francis” before every class; it became one of the most important prayers in my life. We had the prayer read over us by one of Josh’s brothers during the ceremony as a reminder of what the hope of our heart should be as a married unit. We read the prayer together now, and it is such an encouragement.

What was Southern about your wedding? Between the folk music, the food, the scenery, and the prayer, there was no escaping how Southern our wedding was. Even though Josh is Australian at heart, he is just as much Southern at heart. And me? I’m full-blown Southern. Our wedding centered around food, God, and family! Good cooking and good hosting is the Southern way to show love and celebration, and it was so important to us that we provided this to our guests.

We joke about our wedding location being heavenly and magical, but in truth, it really was! One day, before we were even engaged, when Josh and I were going for a drive in Franklin, we came across a hilltop that had a structure peeking through the trees. We indulged our curiosity, and having no idea whose property it was, we trespassed up on the hill. After experiencing the breathtaking scene, I looked at Josh and said, “Let’s get married here!” By the time the wedding planning finally came around years later, we had completely forgotten about this finding. It wasn’t until we were at our wits’ end looking for a location in our price range that someone asked us if we had looked at Josh’s doctor’s property that he had built for his daughter’s wedding. It turned out to be the same structure we had seen peeking through the trees that day! Josh’s doctor was kind enough to say that he doesn’t lease out the property, but only lets family use it, and he considers us family! Being married in Franklin was very important to us because it is not only where we met and fell in love, it’s where both of our families are, and it truly is where we feel at home. It was so fitting to be outside, breathing in the fresh green air with a view of the rolling hills of Tennessee. Cows and fields and farms surrounded us, and it felt completely like us and completely like home.

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? We did, but we did it a bit differently with Mexican Cokes, a latte bar, and some yummy basil lemonade. We spent a lot of time arranging the hour before dinner; we wanted this time to be fun for the guests while we left the site for our photos. We had lawn games, a photo booth, henna tattoos, and even Australian lollies (candy) for all of Josh’s Aussie relatives! We heard back from everyone that they had such a fun time during this part of the wedding.

What was the design inspiration for your reception? We went with a natural look for the reception. We just added a little greenery to the farm tables, some candles on tree stumps around the fireplace, and some flowers here and there, and it was beautiful! My dad chopped tree branches into tiny slices for me to write everyone’s names on for their escort cards, which added a nice touch.

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. Our wedding cake was not only gorgeous, but also absolutely delicious! Lucy made two cakes for us: a massive chocolate cake and a medium-sized vanilla cake. She nailed the “naked cake” look and decorated it with beautiful flowers. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a delicious cake in my life, but maybe I’m biased? We were nice to each other and didn’t smash the cake in each other’s faces, although I did manage to smear some icing on him!

We danced to a mashup of “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” by Elvis and “All of Me” by John Legend. Josh’s many siblings are all extremely musically talented, and they actually played and sang live as a group with just a guitar. It was lovely. We had practiced and gone to dance lessons, yet we were kind of a disaster! But in that moment, we didn’t even think about the lessons; we just slow-danced naturally while thinking about each other and the day. It was beautiful to be dancing underneath the pavilion’s chandeliers and string lighting.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Looking back, we were so young! It didn’t feel like it then though. I was fifteen and Josh was seventeen. I was working at a little coffee shop just a few blocks away from my house. Josh came in one day and ordered a smoothie, so we struck up conversation and realized we had many mutual friends. After that, we saw each other everywhere! He started coming into the shop pretty often. Since I was fifteen, I didn’t have a license and couldn’t drive to and from work, so Josh would come in right before close and nonchalantly offer to drive me home. This friendship carried on for about a year before we actually decided to become boyfriend and girlfriend, the first time for both of us to call anyone that. Josh was gracious and patient when I moved three hours away for three years, and even when I moved to France, where he followed me and asked me to be his wife!
Tell us about the proposal! I have always had a little bit of an obsession with all things French, so when the opportunity arose to study painting abroad for a semester in the south of France, I started booking my ticket. Little did I know, Josh was booking his ticket too. He traveled to France and surprised me near the end of my two months there by sending a taxi to come pick me up and take me to a hilltop in Pujols, about fifteen minutes from where I was! I was dropped off by a rose petal trail and a sign that said “Follow this trail for an adventure.” I followed it to where Josh was on his knee with a ring in hand. He asked me to marry him (in French!), and I said yes. We cried and enjoyed a perfect picnic that Josh had set up, complete with wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, and French cheese.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Heavenly, intimate, joyful.
How many guests attended your wedding? 155
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? The scenery of the venue was our greatest design inspiration. Everything from the wedding invitations to the farm dinner tables to my bouquet were chosen and designed to reflect the true, genuine, timeless beauty of nature. We love to spend our time together doing things like hiking up to lookouts, going for scenic drives, or stargazing at the beach. We search for and find the truest form of beauty in the nature all around us, so we wanted our wedding to reflect that beauty!
Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? Josh’s family has a tradition that at every family dinner, they have apple cider and long speeches, which of course had to happen at our wedding as well!
Did you try anything new or nontraditional? From Josh: I have four brothers and since I didn’t want to pick a favorite, I made them all my best men. What was unique was that they all got up during the best men speech and each shared a word.
Tell us about a way or ways you saved money or cut costs while planning. My dad built our arch and the doors we walked through. He also helped gather wood for all kinds of things in the wedding, including tree stumps, which helped save a ton of money! We also had friends and family cover all the music. The main way we saved money was by making things ourselves, like the favors, and by assigning jobs and asking for help from family and friends. People want to help with weddings in any way they can, you just have to ask them!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? The wedding industry is amazing, but it can also be a little jaded! Don’t let any wedding vendors take the joy out of the planning process. It’s not realistic that everyone can plan their wedding a year in advance or buy their dress six months before the wedding, and that is what some people seem to expect. If someone makes you feel bad for that, don’t let them bring you down. It is hard work to put together a great wedding, but it’s also such a joy; don’t get bogged down in the details!
What’s next for you as a couple? From Josh: We are living in east Nashville, right near downtown. We plan to stay in Nashville as we settle into our new life and home, near both of our families and our nieces and nephews. We are both working to pay the bills and saving up for the future, whatever it may hold! We learned during the wedding planning process that we make a great team. Em is a great dreamer, creator, and visionary, and I am a great logistics, make-it-happen person. We long to work together and find something we can do where we can partner together each day. We’re not sure yet if that’s starting a company together or moving out of the country to be missionaries!

Photographer: Amanda K Photography / Videographer: Anchor Heart Films / Designer, Rentals, and Reception Decor: Megan Proby of 12th Table / Venue: Private residence / Florist: Lauren Atkinson / Caterer and Wedding Cake: Lucy’s Kitchen / Bride’s Gown: “Eve” by Rue De Seine / Bride’s Shoes: Klub Nico / Bride’s Jewelry: Consider the Wldflwrs and Anthropologie / Bride’s Veil: Custom by Muna Couture / Bride’s Hair Accessory: Lauren Atkinson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Empire Mesh Lace Dress” by Free People, “Embroidered Fable Dress” by Free People, and “Eagan Beige Silk Embroidered Maxi” by Joie / Hair Stylist: Jordan Byers / Makeup Artist: Jordan Byers and Rachel Shepherd / Groom’s Fashion: Zara / Groomsmen’s Fashion: Top Man / Paper Goods: Chelsea Petaja of Oh My Deer / Lettering: Jessie Early / Transportation: A Better Bus / Lighting: Matt Brady / Sound: Ralph Rivera

lisa Written with love by Lisa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Anastasia Kristina reply

    OH wow, this is probably my favorite real wedding that has been posted on here! I love everything about this, and a lot of the ideas I have already planned on using in our wedding in June! Also I love Franklin, and I love that they live in East Nashville, where we are almost weekly – maybe we will run into this lovely couple!!!!!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Love hearing how much you love this wedding! It holds a special place in our hearts, too :)

  2. avatar Katelyn reply

    Beautiful wedding. Love the boho vibe of it all! Do you know where the groom’s tie was purchased? I love the personalized monogram (and that it’s a skinny tie)!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Yes! It is from a great Southern company, Otis James: http://otisjames.com/

  3. avatar S Stanton reply

    I was blessed to be a guest at this wedding as beautiful as the pictures and the words in the story are nothing can compare T feeling of love and joy and intimacy that Josh and Emily shared with all of us that day.

  4. avatar Alok Sahu reply

    nice your wedding story is very beautiful and all the photos are also very beautiful.

  5. avatar Allister Freeman reply

    Stunning photography. The colours, tones and compositions are beautiful.

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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