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When planning a wedding, there are a million things that can distract from what really matters, which is why I admire Wendy and Travis so much for the two things they committed to focusing on. Number one, they kept in mind that their wedding was first and foremost about them becoming husband and wife. Number two, they wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate the people who had helped shape them into who they are today. From the details inspired by Athens, Georgia, where their love story started, to the creative way Wendy saved money on her gown in order to put that budget toward caring for their guests, they did a beautiful job bringing both of their priorities to life, with the help of Candice Beaty at Chancey Charm Weddings!

Thank you so much to Lauren Carnes for sharing this sweet celebration with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t dreamed about finding THE dress in a bridal store, but when it came down to our budget, buying a designer dress wasn’t very high on my list of priorities. Instead, I looked into alternative wedding dress sites that would help keep costs down (OnceWed, Preowned Wedding Dresses, etc.), and ultimately decided on a dress that I found on Etsy. I ordered it in plenty of time to buy a gown from a traditional retailer if it didn’t work out, but I’m happy to report that it fit perfectly! My dress was delivered about a month after I ordered it, and although I made some minor alterations, I was very happy with it. For the ceremony and portraits, I added a Watters lace overlay that I bought on Tradesy. As someone who is not the slightest bit creative, I can confidently say that, with a little bit of work, it is possible to have your dream dress and not break the bank!

We decided to do a first look, and I would totally recommend it to any other couples who are even considering it. Our first look was a time for us to steal away for just a few moments. We exchanged letters we had written to one another and just took everything in. Seeing Travis prior to the ceremony helped settle my nerves so much, too! Our first look was probably my favorite moment of the day. Aside from that, it was important to both of us that our wedding party was able to enjoy the reception (and join up with their significant others) as soon after the ceremony as possible. Since we chose to do a first look, we were able to take group photos before the ceremony, which helped streamline the group photo process so much.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. “In Christ Alone” was played during the seating of the mothers and grandparents, and I walked myself down the aisle to “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us.” My dad passed away three years ago, so not only was this song special because of its message, but it was also a way to remember him while I walked down the aisle. Travis and I walked out to “Something Beautiful” by Needtobreathe, a song and band that we both love.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Aside from the hummingbird cakes, we incorporated some Athens and Georgia-inspired touches into our reception. We served Terrapin beer, a beer brewed right in Athens, along with artwork by our dear friend and Atlanta artist, Britt Bass Turner, on the cookies. My sorority sisters sang our traditional wedding song to Travis and I, while his fraternity brothers performed what can affectionately be called their “fraternity chant.” Finally, the setting alone was very Southern! The magnolia trees, the blooming hydrangeas, and the rustic scenery all contributed to the Southern vibe of our wedding.

I asked Mary, my florist, to do something soft and feminine with an organic look, and she totally delivered! I know very little about floral design, so I showed Mary some bouquets that I liked and let her run with it. She knew exactly what I was looking for, from the ribbons on the bridesmaid bouquets to the greenery on the farm tables!

Instead of one large wedding cake, we chose to do a bunch of smaller ones that would allow people to taste a little bit of each flavor. We had traditional vanilla and chocolate cakes, as well as two hummingbird cakes. My grandmother always made each grandchild a hummingbird cake for our birthdays when we were younger, and she would decorate them with little animal figurines that made them feel so magical. The hummingbird cakes were a little way to remember her, since she was such an important part of our family. We also had cookies from Kellie’s Baking Co., complete with our friend Britt Bass Turner’s designs on them. The cookies were almost too cute to eat!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Travis and I were introduced by a mutual friend at Travis’ fraternity house during our freshman year at the University of Georgia. We didn’t talk long since Travis was tending to a dizzy-bat-gone-wrong scenario at the house. I walked away thinking, “Hm, he was cute.” We stayed in touch throughout freshman and sophomore years, mostly because our friend groups overlapped. Travis was busy cultivating a budding social life and staying involved in the fraternity, and I was busy spending countless hours tied to my chemistry notes. Needless to say, we weren’t seeing too much of one another. Fast forward to our junior year when Travis asked me on his fraternity formal in Nashville. He was the fraternity president at the time, so I obviously had to say yes. I am so glad I did! We had a great time in Nashville, and shortly after we got back, Travis manned up and asked me on a real date. The rest, as they say, is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! This past fall, my birthday fell on a big football weekend (UGA v. Clemson), which was wonderful, because all of our friends were in town and it felt like a big party! Travis had slyly asked me earlier if I would rather celebrate my birthday with all of our friends in Athens, or have a date, just the two of us, the following week. Not one to deny the chance to stretch out a birthday celebration, I asked if we could go to dinner the week after somewhere in Atlanta. Travis and I made our way to downtown Atlanta for dinner that Friday evening, and–miracle of all miracles–didn’t hit any traffic at all on the I-75/85 connector. If you live in Atlanta, you understand how rare and precious this is! Travis told me we were a bit too early for our dinner reservation, so we decided to grab a drink to buy some time. Afterwards, while we were walking to dinner, we passed a park that had lights glowing at the top of a hill. I was curious, so I told him I was going to quickly go see what was going on. When we got closer, I could see that the lights were actually lit candles surrounding a blanket and a bottle of champagne. It wasn’t until Travis was on one knee that I knew it was real. We were engaged!! We got to celebrate with our families at breakfast the next morning and started the planning right away. It was the perfect amount of time alone and celebrating with friends and family. I wish I could relive that night over and over!
When did y’all get married? May 9, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Travis and I were part of a premarital counseling program through our church. They paired us with a mentor couple who walked beside us over several months as we prepared for marriage. We met regularly with this couple and discussed everything from finances to expectations within the home to perceptions of marriage. In addition, we met with our officiant (who also happens to be our couples’ small group leader) and his wife a few times. We dove into “The Five Love Languages” and “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts” with them. All of these efforts have been so valuable, and we’re already incorporating the things we took away from these sessions into our marriage.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? More than anything, we wanted our wedding to be a time to celebrate all the people who had helped shape us, both together and individually. When considering where we were going to save money, we chose to cut corners in places that we felt wouldn’t affect our guests: my dress and his tux, the save the dates and invitations, and supplying our own alcohol were probably the biggest places we saved. We also scaled back on any upgrades to chairs for wedding seating, chose to do a buffet-style dinner, and used a DJ rather than a band for the reception. All of these things helped save so much money and didn’t detract from the day in the slightest bit!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? When we first got engaged, my sister told me “everyone will have an opinion.” And it’s so true! As someone who’s really sensitive to this sort of input, I sometimes had to step back and realize that I wasn’t going to make everyone happy, but that’s not what the day was about! I guess my advice would be this: everyone will have an opinion, but it’s so important to do whatever suits you and your future husband best. I tried to include Travis in any decision that I was making. It made our wedding day so fun knowing that we had created this thing from the ground up, and it was a small taste of what it would be like to make joint decisions as husband and wife.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Now that we’ve both finished grad school (one week before our wedding, no less), we’re so excited to enjoy our time together in the same city! We hope to explore more neighborhoods in Atlanta, find little spots that we can call our own, and grow some roots in our community. We also hope to travel a good bit in the next couple of years!

Photographer: Lauren Carnes Photography / Planner: Candice Beaty of Chancey Charm Weddings / Venue: The Hill at Epting Events / Florist: Mary Eddy at Vine and Branch Floral / Cake Baker: Cakes by Anna Johnson / Cookie Baker: Kellie’s Baking Co. and Britt Bass Turner / Caterer: Epting Events / Cocktail Hour Music: Clayton Lee / DJ: Hollon Yarborough at Amp’d Entertainment / Calligraphy: Betsy Paolella / Bride’s Gown: MisDress / Bride’s Lace Overlay: Wtoo / Hair and Makeup: Jen Lewis at Pastel Makeup and Hair / Bride’s Shoes: “Glittering Gold Heels” by Seychelles / Groom’s Jacket: Jos. A. Bank

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

    I love their engagement story! Birthday week and a proposal!

  2. avatar Lindy reply

    LOVE this wedding! So gorgeous!! And those cookies… I’ve loved Britt Bass Turner’s artwork since I stumbled upon it about a year ago… and seeing her work on cookies is just amazing! What a creative way to add a bit of whimsy to your wedding (and so sweet since she’s a personal friend… love little details like that!)

  3. avatar Lauren Carnes reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this gorgeous and heartfelt wedding and story! Wendy & Travis are such wonderful people and it was an honor to capture their day!

  4. avatar Alexandra reply

    What a wonderful wedding full of the stuff that really matters. I love how they prepared for marriage so thoroughly!

  5. avatar Candice Beaty reply

    Ladies! I am so honored! Seriously so squealing and squeaking honored to be featured! Wendy is such an incredible girl and friend and her wedding exploded with her joyful and amazing heart! Thank you for loving it as much as we do!

  6. avatar Naomi Jane reply

    Thanks for sharing this heart touching love story. It reminded me of my wedding story. Everything from proposal to wedding looks a fairytale. Congrats Wendy and Travis. May you have love and happiness around forever.

  7. avatar A Misdress Gown for a Romantic Garden Wedding – Princessly Press reply

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There is just something about good ol’ Southern food – am I right, y’all? It can take you back to being a kid again, remind you of your grandmother, or make you feel at home. Shona and Charles are no strangers to different cultures and travel. In fact, they both grew up in Europe and met as a flight attendant and pilot! But, when it came to showing their guests sweet Southern hospitality, only Southern food would do! They served shrimp and grits and peach BBQ chicken in little mason jars, and even sent their guests home with peach jam homemade by Shona’s mama. And that’s just to start us off with all the tasty and thoughtful details from their celebration.

We’re so glad Blue Ribbon Vendor Melissa Schollart was on hand to capture all the beauty planned by fellow BRV member Simply Charming Socials!

My mom, sister Sarah, mother-in-law, and close family friend, Carol, went to Bridals by Lori in Sandy Springs. I tried on soooo many dresses, and fell in love with a drop waist ball gown. I wanted to feel “bridal” on my wedding day, and this dress was beyond-my-dreams beautiful. I knew it was the dress for me when the tears fell. After finding my perfect dress, we had a memorable girls’ lunch at the St. Regis.

My wedding flowers were very romantic, with lots of cream and pops of peach. We included anemones in the bouquets in honor of my late Nana.

We had a violinist at our wedding ceremony because Charles played the violin–in fact, he went to college on a scholarship for violin. For our first dance, we played “Heart of the World” by Lady Antebellum. We love Lady A and have seen them in concert many times, so this seemed like a perfect song to start our life together.

We decided on the Wimbish House for our reception for many reasons–it was close to our church, and was a beautiful, intimate venue that didn’t feel like a banquet hall. It is very traditional and fit the overall romantic, traditional feel of our wedding.

We are not big cake people, so we had a very simple Publix cake that was turtle cake with buttercream frosting. We also had a dessert table with mini pies, creme brûlée, and cookies. They were out of this world amazing, and so pretty!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We served great Southern food, including shrimp and grits in little mason jars, peach BBQ chicken served in mason jars, and peach jam my mom homemade for favors.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. When we met, Charles was a pilot and I was a flight attendant. Our first date was at a Mexican restaurant in Buckhead, Atlanta. We became fast friends with so many things in common–Charles is an Air Force pilot like my dad was, we are both close to our families, we’re Catholic, and we both lived in Europe as kids.
Tell us all about the proposal! Charles proposed after a romantic picnic in Piedmont Park on the gazebo overlooking the city.
When did y’all get married? September 27, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 85
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, and at first, we were hesitant to do a first look because we wanted a traditional wedding. However, we are so happy we decided to do one. It was my favorite part of the whole wedding. Seeing Charles was so special, and it gave us some alone time before the day began.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Marriage is a sacrament in the Catholic Church, so we attended classes, met with our priest, and worked with a mentor couple.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Get a wedding planner!!!! Kristine made our wedding better than I could have ever dreamed. She kept us on track in regards to timeline and money and led us to amazing vendors.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Charles is continuing to fly for the Air Force Reserves and an airline, and I am a fourth grade teacher. We are looking forward to starting a family and sharing our lives together. We can’t wait to do some traveling in Europe this summer, enjoy more picnics in Piedmont Park with our dog Herc, and create beautiful memories together.

Photographer: Melissa Schollaert / Planner: Kristine Cholakian of Simply Charming Socials / Ceremony Venue: Cathedral of Christ the King / Reception Venue: The Wimbish House / Florist: Lindsay Coletta / Cake Baker: Publix / Caterer: Bold American / DJ: Lethal Rhythms / Save the Dates and Programs: Minted / Invitations: Ashley Buzzy / Bride’s Gown: “Couture Collection Style 4300” by Eve of Milady / Bridal Salon and Veil: Bridals by Lori / Bride’s Hair Accessories: The Sentimentalist / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style D461” in Midnight by Alfred Sung / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse / Cocktail Hour Pianist: Blue Sky Atlanta

Melissa Schollaert and Simply Charming Socials are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Heidi reply

    Ooh, lots of soft pretty here! So tastefully executed with such attention to detail … like those adorable little single-stem ranunculus displays. Best wishes!

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One of our favorite pieces of wedding advice is to choose vendors based not only on how much you love their work, but also on how much you like them as people! Your photographer, planner, and a handful of other folks will be with you during some of the most important moments of your life, and if they feel more like friends than just people you hired, it will make your wedding that much sweeter. I can imagine that this was certainly the case for Jenny and Justin, who worked with some of the nicest people below the Mason-Dixon, including our friends and Blue Ribbon Vendors, Landon and Jordan of Landon Jacob Photography and the team at RiverOaks Charleston. With their help, Jenny and Justin took four short months to plan their beautiful South Carolina wedding, complete with nods to Justin’s Hawaiian heritage and a few delightful surprises for one another!

Describe your wedding flowers. Absolute perfection. I sent one photo to the RiverOaks team and the florist made arrangements that were even more beautiful than I had pictured. When I entered the bridal suite, I stared at the arrangements for at least five minutes…my breath was taken away. My bouquet was a light, cascading bouquet filled with a mixtures of peonies, roses, and other delicate-looking flowers. There was also a pop of anemones (white with navy center) to coordinate with the navy bridesmaid dresses.

In honor of Justin’s Hawaiian heritage, he had handcrafted leis delivered from Hawaii for the ceremony. Justin, his groomsmen, the ring bearers, and the flower girls wore the leis during the ceremony. He placed one around my neck after we said our vows, and he presented four very special women in his life with their own leis as well.

While spending Christmas at my parents’ house in Tennessee, we discussed potential songs for the ceremony. Justin played Highland Cathedral and told me a story about how much he loved that song. I thought it would be fun to surprise him, so with that in mind, I told him I didn’t like the sound of bagpipes, so we’d probably have to choose another song for the processional. We actually never discussed ceremony song selection after that day, so it was easy, with the help of my ingenious wedding planner, to surprise Justin with a bagpiper playing Highland Cathedral as I came down the aisle. This took some great skill from the RiverOaks team because the bagpiper had to warm up off of the premises, but be back at the venue on time. They handled it flawlessly!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Everything about the ceremony! How fast my heart was beating as I watched the wedding party walk down the aisle, then a feeling of total peace as I heard the bagpiper begin to play the processional, knowing it was my time to walk down the aisle towards the love of my life. Walking through 150 of our closest loved ones and seeing Justin’s face as I walked towards him. The most beautiful homily I’ve ever heard by our officiant, who even teared up while speaking. Our first communion together, intently saying our vows, awaiting that kiss, and being introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Justin Clark. A lot of brides say their wedding day was a blur for them, but our ceremony still remains so clear…everything after that was a blur though!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The venue’s backdrop of deep water and beautiful oak trees covered in Spanish moss is about as Southern as it gets. Our signature cocktail was Firefly and Lemonade with a mint garnish. Some of the menu items included chicken and waffles and fried green tomato and pimento cheese bites. We had a traditional joggling board. The groom and his groomsmen wore seersucker with palmetto bow ties. Instead of a traditional guest book, we had our guests sign Michael Trouche’s Charleston: Yesterday & Today so that we could have the perfect coffee table book to remember our day by.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? It was everything that I wanted and more–an outdoor venue on the water, under live oaks with Spanish moss, where I could have sparklers, wish lanterns, and a big exit by boat. It was one of the first places Justin took me when I moved to Charleston and I remember walking around and thinking “This would be the most perfect place to get married.” We are so grateful that RiverOaks was able to make that a reality for us, and they offered us even more than we imagined.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Justin and I met while working at the opening of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in California. We went our separate ways, not knowing that a year later, we would begin to develop a wonderful friendship. We shared interests in music and snowboarding, and despite being 2,500 miles away from each other, we were able to make each other laugh every day. About six months later, we were finally able to spend time together in person, and the rest is history!! We dated long distance for almost two years.
Tell us all about the proposal! On Saturday, December 21, 2013, some mutual friends asked me to help with a youth group scavenger hunt around Charleston. A group of us would be blind-folded, allowing the kids to walk us around Waterfront Park underneath the Ravenel Bridge as part of a “trust and compassion” exercise. As I was on my way to the park, I messaged Justin, telling him that I was sad I was going to “our spot” without him. It was always the last place we would visit before I took Justin to the airport during our long distance relationship. The girls and I arrived and were told that the youth group would be there shortly, so we should go ahead and sit on the bench to be blind-folded. I sat on the end bench facing the water and my eyes were covered up with a scarf. Immediately, the other girls took for the bushes to hide and photograph the big moment. As I was sitting on the bench blind-folded, waiting for tons of yelling teens to run up and grab me, someone began to unfold the scarf around my eyes. It startled me because that wasn’t part of the plan. I looked up and Justin was standing in front of me. I was totally shocked because he wasn’t supposed to arrive in Charleston from California until the next day. He got down on one knee, and after a beautiful speech, he asked me to marry him. We had a wonderful dinner with some of our closest friends, celebrating the sweet news with them. The next day, we went to Biltmore in Asheville and spent Christmas with my family in Knoxville. It was the perfect proposal and celebration.
When did y’all get married? April 27, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 150
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Justin’s favorite cake is yellow with chocolate frosting, so as a surprise for him, I had the caterer do a yellow cake with chocolate filling, covered with white fondant. The cake topper was our new initials monogrammed in a gold script that I had ordered on Etsy.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We had a short engagement, allowing time for only what was necessary. I made a list of my non-negotiables and realized that if something didn’t make that list or fit into the budget, it was okay to live without.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Just breathe and remember what this ceremony represents. Spend just as much time preparing your hearts for the lifetime of marriage ahead of you as you do on the details of your wedding day.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to finally being on the same side of the country!! We are currently living in California, where Justin’s job has taken him, and are excited to walk this path together as husband and wife.

Photographer: Landon Jacob Photography / Venue, Planning Styling: RiverOaks Charleston / Florals: Deborah Gibson Design / Catering and Cake: Michelle Sturgeon with LadyChef / Bar: Squeeze On Site / Rentals: Event Works, Polished, Event Kitchens, Event DRS / DJ: Beaman DJ Productions / Bride’s Gown: “7T9612” by David’s Bridal / Invitations: Brian Carroll with Marine Marketing and Programs / Makeup Artist: Micheala Murtaugh of Stella Nova / Bride’s Shoes: Blue by Betsey Johnson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Maxi Convertible Dress” in Navy by Sakura / Men’s Attire: “Seersucker Suit” by Jos A. Bank / Bow Ties: Palmetto Moon

RiverOaks and Landon Jacob are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Marianne reply

    What a day to see a couple dating long distance…..bi-coastal no less …..become ONE. Charleston is so special to them and it was such a great reward to carry out their day at RiverOaks. The sentimental yet elegant touch of Hawaii was beautiful and heartfelt. Thank you Southern Weddings for sharing this labor of love day!

  2. avatar Cathy reply

    What an awesome story and beautiful wedding. Georgeous bride and venue.

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