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In her interview below, Madeleine says, “Everything is replaceable except people, so making time for our families and loved ones is a must for us.” I imagine that this core belief she and Caleb share is what informed so many decisions as they planned their Tennessee wedding! From their choice to do a first look, to the understated, but incredibly lovely, details that they selected to bring their vision to life, Madeleine and Caleb’s top priority throughout their engagement (and on their wedding day!) was focusing on what matters most to them: being in the presence of the people they love.

Thanks so much to Kristin Sweeting for sharing this sweet day with us!

I found my dress on the very first shopping trip! My mother, aunt, maid of honor, and I visited The Dress Theory, a beautiful boutique that was temporarily housed in a fantastic old train station, Houston Station, in my hometown of Nashville. I chose the second dress I tried on and it perfect for me!

Caleb and I had not really considered having a first look, but after attending several weddings throughout the spring and summer with and without first looks, we decided to do one, and I’m so happy we did! It gave us a priceless, sweet moment together before the ceremony, probably contributed to us being so relaxed, and helped us get to the reception and our guests more quickly.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did premarital counseling with our minister for several weeks, and during that time, we came up with the ceremony with him. He captured us perfectly and created a thoughtful, meaningful, funny, sweet ceremony. We are so grateful.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our minister weaved scripture into the ceremony, and Caleb and I lit a unity candle…which threatened to fall over, of course, but now it’s a funny memory!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I think everything was Southern! I was born and raised in Nashville and love all the traditions of our family. We also chose a very Southern chapel, and served food that included pimento cheese on sweet potato biscuits and a macaroni and cheese bar.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? The farm tables and French sofas and chairs from 12th Table achieved the exact look I was going for at the reception, but the most important decision we made was choosing our photographer, Kristin Sweeting. The photos are exquisite and her sweet and professional presence added value to the entire day.

I not a cake person, so I was thrilled to find a cupcake that I cannot get enough of! The Painted Cupcake created a beautiful little almond cake for us to cut alongside mountains of the most delicious cupcakes and macarons.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in high school at Donelson Christian Academy in Nashville–I had attended since kindergarten and Caleb started for his freshman year. We started dating as juniors and both went to Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He’s the extrovert to my introvert, and it’s so much fun!
Tell us all about the proposal! Caleb and I were working on a student film at Union University. He was supposed to be interviewing me for some behind the scenes footage when he dropped on one knee! We have great professional footage of it!
When did y’all get married? September 20, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 240
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a string quartet for our ceremony music. I walked down the aisle to “Canon in D” and we walked out to “Marry Me” by Bruno Mars! Our first dance was to “At Last I See the Light” from the Disney movie, Tangled. We chose this because seeing Tangled was one of our first dates, so the song has always had special meaning to us.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I wore my mother’s pearl earrings and her 25th anniversary diamond bracelet. We realized the day before the wedding that we didn’t have something blue, so our florist tucked a blue ribbon into my bouquet.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We did several weeks of premarital counseling in the months leading up to the wedding, which I feel is important for all couples. We’d been dating for six years, but I still found it very valuable and special.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? There are so many options and choices, it takes careful planning and organization to choose the things that are important to you, not what someone else had or what you think you are supposed to have. I knew the feel and look I wanted for the wedding, and made decisions based on what would bring that about.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The cheers when we were announced husband and wife were amazing! Everyone was absolute roaring as we walked back up the aisle. I had never seen that at a wedding, and it was so much fun!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Being married is so much fun! We are working hard and pursuing our career dreams while loving on the people around us the best we possibly can. Everything is replaceable except people, so making time for our families and loved ones is a must for us.

Photographer: Kristin Sweeting | Videographer: Peyton Penuel | Planner: Cande Cook of MAC Presents | Ceremony Venue: Scarritt Bennett | Reception Venue: The Cordelle | Florist and Rentals: 12th Table | Dessert Baker: The Painted Cupcake | Caterer: Flavor Catering | DJ: Matt Morris | Paper Products: The Paper Place | Bride’s Gown: “Laelia Floral” by Temperley London | Bridal Salon and Veil: The Dress Theory | Hair Stylist: Michelle Clark of Clark & Co. | Makeup Artist: Annelise Nutt | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Style F15933 in Wine by David’s Bridal | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

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

    Thanks Lisa for such a sweet story on my niece Madeleine’s wedding to Caleb. It was a splendid day and you captured it so well.

  2. avatar Bethni Hemphill reply

    Thank you for a beautiful story on my beautiful daughter! It was a joyous day made even more special by all the great people working with us. Thank you!

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Danielle and Richard wanted their wedding to feel like they were throwing it in their dream fancy backyard, and when it came time to choosing a location for their pending nuptials, New Orleans turned out to be the perfect place! It’s a city they both love, and to Danielle and Richard, it symbolizes “warmth, festivity, and fun”–all fabulous attributes of a Southern wedding, y’all! After checking out 10 venues in 36 hours (woah!), they said an “instantaneous and unanimous” yes to The Terrell House. Of course, when you top off a beautiful ceremony with a surprise second line, it’s a given that your celebration was a blast!

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor, Maile Lani, for sharing!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had an image in my head of the style of dress that I wanted and did a lot of research online to try and find it. I came across a boutique in Soho called Saja that seemed to have the type of soft, unstructured, simple, yet elegant dresses that I liked. My sister and I went together, and the very first dress I tried on, I loved. I tried on a few more there, and then a few at BHLDN, but soon, I went back to Saja with my mom. When I put that first dress back on, there was no question. I love my dress and I love that I didn’t stress about it.

We did do a first look. We wanted to take all our formal pictures before the ceremony so that our guests wouldn’t have to wait for us (and so we wouldn’t miss any of the party). I was really worried that the first look and our portraits would be awkward., but somehow, our photographer, Maile, made them not LOOK awkward. We were laughing and goofing around the whole time, so it ended up being really enjoyable.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our first step was choosing New Orleans. We knew we didn’t want to get married in NYC or where either of us grew up (Boston and El Paso). New Orleans is a city that we both love and have visited frequently. It’s also a place that symbolizes warmth, festivity, and fun. On a short trip there, we checked out 10 venues in 36 hours, but our love for The Terrell House was instantaneous and unanimous. We wanted to get married somewhere that would feel like we were throwing a ceremony in our backyard (albeit a backyard nicer than one we’ll ever own!). Since we were going to have to plan everything from afar, it also helped that they do the planning, decorating, and catering themselves.

Describe your wedding flowers. Our flowers were all shades of pink with silver and turquoise accents. We wanted a unstructured, mismatched look with different shaped and sized vases, and no two bouquets looking exactly the same.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It’s just one day and it goes by so fast. Enjoy the planning, because if you are not having fun, it’s not worth it. When decisions come up, make them and move on. There is no right answer, so stressing over the decisions will only make you miserable. Your guests will not judge you on the details (and if they do, they are missing the point), and when you are actually living in the moment, even the things that didn’t turn out perfectly will become endearing. A lot of my guests commented on how relaxed I was as a bride, and I really was. All I saw around me were my friends and family from all around the WORLD, and Rick’s smiling face. It was such a happy day and I’m so appreciative that the whole process leading up to it was an adventure, rather than something stressful.

We don’t feel particularly drawn to multi-tiered, white wedding cakes, and find that guests don’t often eat them, but Rick LOVES cake. We decided to go with the New Orleans theme and get three doberge cakes in three different flavors. They were a big hit!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Walking the second line, I was already having so much fun, but at one point, I remembered to turn around and look at my guests. We hadn’t told anyone about the second line, so it was a huge surprise. Seeing their gaping mouths and the thrill in their eyes as we danced through the street, chaperoned by the police, with revelers from the neighborhood coming out of their homes to wave at us…it was the most special moment of my day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Rick and I are both television producers and we met when working on an MTV show. The first place we traveled together was Ohio State, and as we interviewed kids about their personal lives, a spark quickly grew between us. Once we returned home to NYC, we started dating, and it made the rest of our work travel a whole lot more fun. Almost exactly three years later, we were married.
Tell us all about the proposal! We had been talking about our future for a while and knew we wanted to make that commitment, but then I got a job working on a show where I would have to live in Chattanooga, Tennessee for three weeks a month for five months, so we put our plans on the back burner for a little while. Since both of us travel for work, we try to take advantage and visit each other when one of us is out of town at an interesting location. Rick came to visit me for a few days and we got to explore the city. One day, we went to a rock climbing haven at a golf course, and at one point, when we were resting on the top of a boulder, Rick proposed to me with my great-grandmother’s ring that he had gotten from my mother. It certainly wasn’t where I had expected to get engaged (I was wearing sweatpants and no make up!), but there was romance to the randomness of it. It symbolizes to me that no matter where life takes us, we can find a way to make any place we land special.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 85
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My 86-year-old grandmother traveled from Toronto to New Orleans–a very long trip. It was important to me to honor her by having her read at our ceremony, so she read “Blessing for Marriage” by James Dillet Freeman.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Having the love and laughter from our friends and family all around us. When all is said and done, that is 100 percent what we remember most.
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? The Terrell House has a deal with a liquor distributor, so we were able to order bottles at wholesale cost and then return the unopened bottles. Our liquor costs were way lower than any quotes we received from caterers. Also, I taught myself photoshop so that all the programs, welcome letters, etc., were handmade.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We just returned from our honeymoon–a safari in Tanzania, Africa–and now, it’s time to enjoy our lives together. I would be lying if I said we haven’t both talked about being sad that our wedding is all over, but it’s nice to have the time together where we don’t feel like there is something we have to plan.

Photographer: Maile Lani / Venue, Flowers, and Caterer: The Terrell House / Cake Baker: Debbie Does Doberge / Band: 504eva Band / Bride’s Gown: “HB6633” by Saja / Hair and Makeup: Kiss and Make Up / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Groom’s Attire: Loro Piana

Maile Lani is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Charleston Wedding Videographer reply

    Absolutely love browsing through the photos of this wedding! Gorgeous greenery, floral arrangements and New Orleans theme. Simply stunning.

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Southern hospitality and an undeniable focus on marriage are two wedding “details” that never, ever fail to capture our hearts. From the day they started dating, to their charming Williamsburg wedding day, to their newlywed life now, Sarah and Chris exemplify both of these important qualities beautifully. My favorite example? The handwritten notes they wrote to each and every guest at their reception (an idea they got from this Southern Weddings shoot–we’re tickled pink!), as well as their request that their guests write to them, too! To this day, Sarah and Chris are still going through the sweet memories and marriage advice that their loved ones shared with them, and the notes are a constant reminder of their wedding day and what matters most.

Big hugs to our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Rachel May, for sharing Sarah and Chris’ beautiful wedding with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. We got engaged in mid-August, and we were slated to leave for a study abroad semester at Oxford University about ten days later. Since I would be gone for almost four months, I wanted to get my dress before I left the country. My mom and I went to an adorable boutique in our hometown, The Inspired Bride in Williamsburg, Virginia. I had never tried on dresses before, but knew that I wanted my wedding look to be timeless, classic, elegant, and simple. I tried on seven or eight dresses, but the one that stole my heart was one that my mom and dad had seen in the window a few days earlier and suggested I try. Neither of us cried; we were just too happy. We toasted the great find and then headed to a 1950s diner to celebrate!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We held the ceremony in my home church, so that was incredibly special. I have spent so much time in that sanctuary and those halls! I also really love my hometown, Williamsburg, so I wanted the reception to be in a location that showed off the town. Originally, I had been thinking of doing it somewhere in Colonial Williamsburg, but they required you to use their own vendors and I wanted to do everything on my own. Instead, we choose to have our reception at Williamsburg’s Community Building, which is a beautiful breezy hall downtown. It was only five minutes from church, and the architecture matched the church’s perfectly. We loved it!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Sarah: I have two: the moment before the doors opened to the church, when I was just standing clutching my dad’s arm. I had been so emotional up to that point, and then all the sudden, a calm came over me and we just started beaming as the doors opened and Chris saw me. Also, the moment when the pastor started leading into the vows during the ceremony. That’s when it all hit me–this was really happening! We were about to say our vows! From Chris: My most memorable moment was definitely seeing Sarah for the first time. I remember that as I stood up on the platform waiting for the doors of the sanctuary to open, I was just trying to catch any glimpse I could through the little cracks in the curtains on the double doors. Finally, I saw a white shape pass by, and I knew she was about to come in. What a rush of adrenaline! The doors opened, and there she stood, looking like an angel. At that moment, I was so happy that I was the one standing there at the end of the altar. I just stood there grinning like an idiot, feeling completely overwhelmed with happiness.

I think the most Southern thing about our wedding was the hospitality. I cherish my family and friends, and was so excited to be celebrating this special day with them. Their presence and support and love are what made our day so special, so I wanted each and every guest to know that. That’s why I wrote to everyone–so that I would be sure to let them know how much they mean to me. My parents were also the perfect hosts–they thought of everything. Gusts were greeted at their hotels by welcome packets that my mom made. My dad welcomed everyone to the reception and prayed for the meal; my mom thanked all the volunteers from church with flowers and cake and handwritten notes; my little sisters (who are six) were both escorted to their seats by groomsmen.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I think my absolute favorite was the letters. I had actually seen the idea to write every single guest a handwritten note, welcoming them to the reception, in an issue of Southern Weddings! I loved the idea of communicating with each guest personally, so I wrote notes to each person coming to our reception, including all the kids. My mom thought that it would also be neat if, in turn, all the guests wrote notes to me and Chris, so at every place setting, there was a beautiful white note card for the guests to use to write to us. We still haven’t finished reading all of them! People loved the whole idea, and we have so been blessed by everyone’s kind words, advice, and prayers.

I have never liked wedding cake, so I wanted to find a delicious and pretty alternative. We opted to have ladies from our families and church bake their families’ favorite cake recipes! We ended up with a spread that included Kentucky butter cake, three-layer German chocolate cake, five flavor pound cake, lemon chiffon cake, and chocolate cake with homemade vanilla icing and fresh berries! For the centerpiece cake, I bought a simple, round, two-layer almond pound cake with vanilla buttercream icing from a bakery by my house. I stacked the layers myself and then a friend added fresh roses to the top.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met during my freshman year of college in New York City–we had classes together and a few mutual friends. We both signed up to go on a summer exchange trip to China, so we got to know each other more as we prepared for the trip. Apparently, everyone knew something was up with us, but I was oblivious! I didn’t realize I might like him until the last few weeks of the school year. On the last day of finals, Chris asked if we could go on a walk when I was done studying. We walked up Madison Avenue and over to the East River, where we watched the late night ferries to New Jersey. Finally, he summoned up the courage to say, “Well I guess you have noticed that I like you…what should we do about that?” And that’s how we started dating. :)
Tell us all about the proposal! We were on a weekend vacation with his family at Silver Beach on the Jersey Shore. He had been telling me for months about how much he loved to do time-lapse photography of the sunrise when he was at the beach, so when he started begging me to go with him, I thought it was totally normal. We planned to get up at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 11 to go set up the camera on the shore. He sweetly woke me up and brought me hot coffee in a travel mug to take with me. He also packed a bunch of quilts and sweatshirts and donuts, because the morning was so chilly and he knew I would be starving. As it started to get lighter, Chris got more and more quiet. When the sun was just about to come over the horizon, he got up and suggested that we dip our feet in the water. I happily got up and went to give him a hug…and his heart was pounding SO fast. He knelt down and pulled a ring out of his pocket and the sun burst over the horizon. I was in total shock! We spent the next hour walking in the sand and the water, talking, laughing, and calling my parents with the good news. When we finally went back to the beach house, his whole family was waiting with hot breakfast sandwiches and hugs!
When did y’all get married? May 31, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 200
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We selected our vows primarily from the Book of Common Prayer. We really like the classic “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, so long as we both shall live.” We believe that while loving your spouse is a joy, it is also sometimes a choice. We wanted our vows to reflect our belief that love should be unconditional; our marriage is for life.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We were on a mission to save money, so we did a lot of things ourselves. Family and friends provided drinks, desserts, cold foods, and appetizers. We bought wholesale flowers and made almost all the arrangements and bouquets ourselves (except for mine!). We held the ceremony in my church (free), and the reception at an affordable community building. We also had a squad of ladies searching consignment stores and yard sales for vintage milk glass in the months before the wedding!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Rachel May did an incredible job capturing our day and was such a joyful person to be around. She was also the one person who made me cry during the wedding–I didn’t cry at all (I was too happy and don’t really cry in public) until the end of our reception when Rachel came up to me with tears in her eyes saying how much she had enjoyed being a part of our day.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Remember that this is about a marriage, not a wedding, and that while all the special details are wonderful and important, they are not as wonderful or important as what you are promising to each other. Also, remember that this is a VERY special time to be able to share with family and friends. Even if it feels easier to just keep it small or go elope, take the time and effort to really concentrate on the people that love you. Soak up their love and support and allow yourself to be truly blessed by them, just as they are being blessed by your commitment and love for each other!

Photographer: Rachel May / Ceremony Venue: Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church / Reception Venue: Williamsburg Community Building / Bride’s Bouquet: Aleen Floral Designs / Wholesale Flowers: Bunches Direct / Wedding Cake: Carrot Tree Kitchen / Caterer: Williamsburg Concession and Catering / Rentals: Williamsburg Event Rentals / Ceremony Music: Tim Seaman / Reception Music: Eclipse Jazz Quartet / China Rentals: Something Vintage / Bride’s Gown: Stella York / Bridal Salon and Veil: The Inspired Bride / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Bracelet: BHLDN / Hair Stylist: Ashley Smith / Makeup Artist: Marylyn Toney / Bride’s Shoes: Ralph Lauren / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Sung for Dessy Group / Men’s Attire: Tony Bowls

Rachel May is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Rachel May reply

    And I’m teary eyed again. Thank you SO much for sharing their wedding!! <3 <3 <3

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Sarah’s dress looked so beautiful twirling on the dance floor! I love it!

  3. avatar Erin | Elizabeth Anne Designs reply

    gorgeous! love every single detail and the bride is absolutely stunning!

  4. avatar Sarah reply

    Gorgeous! Do you have any information on the bride’s beautiful necklace?

  5. avatar Karen Roa reply

    A beautiful wedding full of intentionality and love. We were blessed to be part of Sarah and Chris’ wedding in a small way. It is a delight to see their well thought out celebration featured on Southern Weddings!

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