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One of my favorite memories of my own wedding day is when BDK took my hand and squeezed it three times right after we were pronounced husband and wife. It reminded me to stop for a second and take in that special moment, so I love that Lisa and Joe made sure to pause during such a whirlwind day, take each other by the hand, and look around together to soak it all in. I know how hard it can be to stay present, but what a sweet way to focus on what matters most…and what a beautiful scene Lisa and Joe had to see! The Farm in Georgia was exactly what they had envisioned for their shabby chic barn wedding that was sophisticated and felt like them.

Big SW hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Bamber Photography for sharing this lovely day!

After much debate, we decided to do a first look. I have to say, I’m so happy we did! I went back and forth because I wanted that moment when we saw each other as I walked down the aisle to be really special. To my surprise, the more we talked to our photographer about a first look, it seemed like it would be more intimate that way. It was also very important to us to be able to enjoy the reception with our family and guests, and taking the majority of our pictures beforehand allowed us to enjoy that time with them after the ceremony!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. When it came to finding my wedding dress, I knew that I didn’t want a strapless dress–that was the one thing I was sure of! I envisioned an elegant, simple dress with delicate sleeves and a tulle skirt. I went dress shopping with my mom and sister, and we went to three different dress shops, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for! I then went back to the first dress shop and decided to try on some strapless dresses, just to see what I thought. I remember walking out in one and my sister saying, “That’s it!” It felt so perfect and made me feel like a princess. Who doesn’t want to feel like a princess on their wedding day, right?! So, lesson learned: know what you want, but don’t be too opposed to trying on other dresses. They might just surprise you!

We asked my Uncle Kelly, who we are both so close to, if he would marry us. He was so excited and honored, that he quickly got ordained! It meant so much to us to have someone so special and dear to our hearts standing there beside us as we said our vows to one another.

I wanted classic, elegant flowers in neutrals, whites, and soft pinks. Hydrangeas and peonies are two of my favorite flowers, so I definitely wanted to incorporate those! I knew I wanted my bouquet to be all peonies in a blush pink color. We then decided that the reception flowers would be white hydrangeas with pale pink snapdragons and soft-colored David Austin roses. My bridesmaid bouquets were a combination of snapdragons, David Austin roses, and beautiful wildflowers. I could not have been happier with the way the flowers turned out–they were absolutely stunning!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our ceremony and reception were both at the same venue, The Farm in Rome, Georgia. We knew we wanted an outdoor venue that was sophisticated and felt like us. I had always envisioned a shabby chic barn wedding, and The Farm was only about an hour and a half away from us in Atlanta. It was the first venue we saw, and it just felt right. We both fell in love with it, and seeing as we had both lived in Georgia for a number of years, this is where we met, and we both love being outdoors, we agreed it was the perfect venue for us.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? In Joe’s words to the grooms, learn to say “Yes dear!” I would highly recommend having a day-of coordinator. The number of last-minute details can be overwhelming, and it was extremely helpful to have someone there to help pull everything together the day-of. Other advice that was given to me prior to our wedding was to take my husband’s hand a few times throughout the night, stop, and look around together. Take it all in. You put so much work into that one day. It goes by so fast, so soak it all in the best you can!

We served very traditional Southern food to go with the Southern theme of the wedding weekend! We had various food stations at the reception where we served chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and fried green tomatoes. We wanted to infuse Southern flair into our wedding, since we’ve spent the majority of our lives in the South and met one another in Georgia!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For our first dance, we danced to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.” When trying to find the perfect first dance song, we heard this song together in the car one day, and it brought tears to our eyes. It was such a beautiful song that expressed exactly how we wanted to grow old together. We immediately decided that it was the one!

Joe and I aren’t huge cake fans, so we knew we wanted a sweets table with an assortment of desserts for everyone to choose from instead! Some of the desserts we included were cupcakes from a local Atlanta cupcake shop that we love in some of our favorite flavors (white chocolate, salted caramel, and cookies and cream), macaroons, white chocolate-covered pretzels, heart-shaped mints that my Aunt Trish made, and cake pops! We also wanted a small cake that we could cut, and I love the look of the naked cakes, so we also had a six-inch naked cake with a few beautiful peonies on top. Everything was displayed on a beautiful, antique, white-washed buffet table!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Joe and I met on eHarmony! Joe reached out to me by private message, and by that point, I had almost given up on the dating scene. I almost cancelled our date because I was so nervous, but my sister talked me into going, and thank goodness she did! We met at the cutest restaurant for drinks and instantly had such a strong connection. Before we knew it, seven hours had passed and we were on our way to a second drink spot to continue the night! We both look back on that day and agree that after that first date, we both knew this was something special. We could hardly wait to see each other again!
Tell us all about the proposal! For our second date, Joe took me to Piedmont Park in Atlanta and prepared the most romantic picnic! He picked me up, we went to the park, found the perfect huge oak tree to sit under, and he laid out a blanket. He had a whole picnic basket prepared with cheese, crackers, sushi, wine–the works. I remember being so impressed! The week of our proposal, he mentioned that we hadn’t been back to the park since our second date, and suggested that we go on an impromptu casual date night picnic. I thought it was a great idea! When we arrived, we found our same oak tree, laid our blanket down, and before I could sit down, he bent down on one knee and asked me to marry him! It was the most romantic, beautiful proposal! He then told me he had planned dinner reservations at our first date spot, JCT Kitchen in Atlanta. As we drove there, I was so excited to share my news, and I tried to call my sister, my mom, and my dad, but no one answered. We arrived at the restaurant, and to my surprise, they were all there to surprise me!
When did y’all get married? May 23, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! As a traditionalist, I definitely wanted to make sure that I had something borrowed, blue, old, and new! For my something borrowed and old, my mother has the most stunning European jewelry from her Great Aunt Frieda, and I knew I wanted to wear something of hers. I found these beautiful diamond earrings that looked amazing with my wedding dress. It was important to me to incorporate something from my mother in my wedding day attire, and I’m so happy I was able to wear those! For my something blue, my mom and dad had a handkerchief made for me that was white with my name embroidered on it in blue writing. It was so perfect for my something blue! For my something new, I spoiled myself and bought Manolo Blahnik flats that I wore. They were drop dead gorgeous!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Marriage is about compromise and working together as a team. We kept this in mind as we were planning our wedding. It was important to us that this was day was about both of us. We relied on the friendship we have built and the depth of our commitment to one another, which carried us through the ups and downs of wedding planning.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We both agree our first look was our most memorable moment! I still remember walking toward Joe as his back was turned to me, feeling the butterflies, and telling him to turn around and not to cry, or I would start crying too! He later told me that as soon as he heard my voice, he started to tear up.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We look forward to creating new memories as a married couple, purchasing our first home together, and starting a family!

Photographer: Bamber Photography / Videographer: Nick Westfall / Venue: The Farm / Florist: Janet Nutt / Cake Baker: Piece of Cake / Dessert Baker: Honeymoon Bakery / Caterer: Zest Catering / Rentals: Heirloom Vintage Rentals / Band: Francisco Vidal Band / Paper Products: Lemon Meringue / Bride’s Gown: “0126174” by Alyne Bridal / Hair Stylist: Drew Delaney / Makeup Artist: Brittini Pearson / Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Megan” in Soft Peach by J.Crew / Menswear: Brooks Brothers

Bamber Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Clarisa Sian reply

    I`m out of words! I can say only that this unique wedding concept inspires me! Congrats!

    • avatar Lisa Manusakis reply

      Thank you so much Clarisa Sian for such a sweet comment! Thank you Southern Weddings for featuring us on your blog, we are very honored! Xo, Lisa and Joe

  2. avatar Katy reply

    Could you share where you go the fabulous food signs? They are beautiful!

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Hi, y’all! This month’s Southern Bride of the Month is Elizabeth, who is a Southern girl through and through! She’s planning a classic Southern wedding with a vintage twist in Georgia. I hope you enjoy getting to know her and her fiance, Joe, and be sure to read through to the end and then offer up your advice!

Hi! What’s your name?
Elizabeth Ashley Jeffcoat

What’s your fiancé’s name?
Joseph Emerson Johnson

Engagement photo by The Reason

What do y’all do for a living?
Joe is a senior marketing analyst, and I’m an intensive care registered nurse.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
The older Southern boy with bright blue eyes, polo button downs, and a perfect frat swoop had always caught my eye, but since he was a year older than me, I could only wish. Joe and I both played basketball and always knew of one another, but he was the starting varsity lead scorer, and my JV status didn’t really compare.

However, my junior year, Joe and I both had weight training during the same period, and began developing a relationship past his perfect hair and eyes! Not only was Joe everything I could imagine in a man, he also has such an amazing family. Before Joe and I started talking, I had already said yes to go to prom with one of my good guy friends, who also happened to be best friends with Joe. However, that didn’t stop Joe, who managed to figure out what we were doing after prom and asked my best friend, now maid of honor, if he could also come to her house! I am so lucky to have found my soul mate so early in my life; God truly blessed me with this man and his family.

Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
First off, I am the world’s worst person to try and surprise. Almost every attempt Joe or my Momma have ever made to surprise me, I’ve figured out! But this time, Joe and Momma had been scheming for a month or so about our perfect day.

On December 12, 2010, I woke up really early for work. My Momma also works at my hospital in the same unit, and she was with me that day, but she didn’t let on at all, even when she had to leave in the middle of the day to let Joe into my car!

I finally ended my stressful day around 7pm, and began the freezing journey to my car. When I first saw my car, I saw something hanging from the seat, and I freaked out, thinking someone had broken in! I called Joe, but didn’t get an answer. It was so cold, I decided to just go look in. When I made it to the window, I saw a piece of paper with an address and “Go Here” written on it (in Joe’s unmistakable writing). I put the address into my Garmin and began following the route. Well, somewhere along the first mile, I hit a detour button, and it started taking me somewhere else! I called Joe again, but he still didn’t answer! When I “reached my destination” and it was a gas station in a not-so-good section of Atlanta, I really hoped something was wrong and reprogrammed the Garmin. I finally reached the right address – the W Hotel in Buckhead – but after 45 minutes, when it should have taken me 10! I found out later that Joe was getting so nervous that he broke my ring box in half from opening and closing it so much!

When I pulled up to the valet, he opened my door and said “Elizabeth, we have been waiting for you,” and led me to the front desk where he handed me a key, led me up the elevator, and then to our door! When I opened the door, all I could see were rose petals and old ticket stubs lining the floor. As I walked into the first room, Joe had set out all of the old cards and keepsakes I had given him over the last five years. When I rounded the corner, Joseph was there with the (deformed) ring box, down on one knee, proposing. All I said was, “Of course!” I wish I could remember all the sweet things he said, but it was so overwhelming! After we got to spend some time together, both of our families and two of my best friends met us to celebrate at the hotel bar!

Anna K Photography

When’s the big day?
March 24, 2012

Where might you two be tying the knot?
Our ceremony will be at Duluth First United Methodist Church and our reception will be right around the corner at Sugarloaf Country Club.

How did you pick your ceremony and reception venues? What do you love most about each space?
Joe’s family has been members of Duluth First United Methodist Church since Joe and his brothers were little. The church is not only absolutely gorgeous, with huge stained glass windows and a bright red front door, but the traditions and occasions his family has shared there make this location so special. We are also happy that our YoungLife leader from high school will be marrying us!

Our reception venue, Sugarloaf Country Club, was the easiest decision we made. Joe and I have grown up there sharing numerous holidays, family birthdays, and Wednesday night suppers.

Sugarloaf Country Club

Who or what has been most inspiring in the wedding planning process?
My Momma is not only my best friend, but has come up with the best, most unique ideas for our wedding. As a surprise to me, she decided to make a cuff bracelet for me to wear on our wedding day that incorporates my “something new, something old, something borrowed, and something blue.” For months she has been collecting vintage and new cream and white beads, and each bead is then attached by hand. It is a masterpiece that I will forever cherish!

Dramatic hydrangea inspiration (design by Caplan Miller and photo by Brian Fitzsimmons)

Has your vision for your wedding changed or evolved over the course of your engagement? If so, how?
My overall vision has remained constant: I’ve always wanted a very vintage, Southern, swanky yet formal combination. We will have a yummy grilled cheese station, hydrangeas everywhere, lace doilies mixed with lots of vintage crystal, long dresses, and black tie attire. Over time, however, things have shifted as we got more realistic about which aspects are most important to us and which DIY projects I would actually be able to complete.

Another grilled cheese station by The Reason! See more here!

Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go? What will you be wearing on the big day?
Yes, my dress was checked off the list very early on! It was the very first dress I tried on, a Vera Wang. My Momma and I both were shocked, thinking there was NO way the very first dress could be the one. So, we decided to keep all of our reservations just to make sure. We tromped all over boutiques, including Bridals by Lori and Priscilla of Boston, and finally surrendered to the first gown, since not one other dress compared.

Some of Elizabeth’s hair inspiration! (on left unknown and on right by Hair and Makeup by Steph)

Also, last January I was so lucky to win a custom getaway gown by Chaviano Couture right here on the Southern Weddings blog! Annette has already started taking apart my Momma’s wedding dress to incorporate her lace into my gown. I am beyond excited about seeing the final product; Annette is so talented and passionate about her designs! This is a piece I hope to pass down to my children.

Annette’s sketch!

My eight amazing bridesmaids will be in black Allure gowns – simple and classic. (See them here!)

Do you have a favorite Etsy store you’d love to tell us about?
I purchased my wedding sash from Little White Dresser. I also had custom silhouettes made by KO Two Wedding Creations. Her design is a spitting image of us and she worked with me to create a logo I love.

What has been the best part of wedding planning?
There is nothing better than being able to spend extra time with my eight bridesmaids, seeing the generosity of all our family and friends that have hosted showers for us, table time with my almost-in-laws, watching the look in my Momma’s eyes as I try on my wedding dress, and looking outside at my Dad sawing away on his workbench for more of my DIY projects. These special moments would never be possible without Joe picking me to be his wife!

Atlanta welcome bags (photo by Melissa Schollaert) and ruffled chair decor (photo by Phyllis Lane)

What has been the biggest challenge so far in wedding planning?
THE GUEST LIST! Joe and I have had such a challenging time cutting our numbers. The only time my stress level rises is when dealing with our color-coded excel spreadsheet to cut more numbers! We are happy with our final count, but hoping the whole “15% won’t come” thing is accurate!

What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
I am most looking forward to getting ready with my best friends, and then having my Momma fasten that last button on my dress. I get chills thinking of that moment! Sticking to Southern tradition, the first time Joe sees me will be as I walk down the aisle. That second is something I hope to forever remember. I can’t wait to see the look on that man’s face!

Photo by Dixie Pixel via Ruffled

Any advice you’d like to pass along to fellow brides?
Start your guest list first thing, as your venue and budget depend on it!

Now it’s your turn to ask for advice – is there anything you’d like to poll the SW readers on?
Pictures are SO important to Joe and me. Does anyone have any advice on how to balance getting the most pictures, but not missing out on your own wedding?

Thank you so much for playing along, Elizabeth! Readers, if you love Elizabeth’s style and would like to see more of it, you can check out her Pinterest board right here! If you’d like to apply to be a Southern Bride of the Month, check out this post for all the details! If you’ve already emailed me, you’re still in the running for future months!

Meet a few more Southern Brides of the Month:
Alissa, planning a destination wedding in sunny Rosemary Beach
Kelly, planning a Savannah wedding with a heartfelt favor
Megan, planning an at-home wedding with fabulous paper details

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Maegan reply

    LOVE the proposal!! My Bridesmaids wore that exact dress, but in grape – They are so stylish and flattering. Your weddings sounds like it will be gorgeous!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Maegan, I’m actually glad to hear that, because I’m considering dressing my gals in that Allure dress, too! Glad to hear another vote of confidence! :)

  2. avatar Vanessa reply

    I also love the proposal! Very sweet! And the fact that they’re having a grill cheese station… yup, they own me over right there! :)

  3. avatar Beth reply

    Love this post and the gift bag inspiration. I am having Atlanta themed bags and I love the idea of the Braves peanuts. I just am not sure if I can fit them in our bags!! We are doing peach butter from a friends farm, coca cola glasses (little ones), varsity hats, some salt water taffy, and then some other regular things for people to snack on!

  4. avatar Dani reply

    Absolutly love the ruffle chair covers.
    Where were they from?

  5. avatar Wedding Inspiration: Ruffles | Elizabeth Anne Designs: The Wedding Blog reply

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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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