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Y’all, as I was reading through Abigail and Ben’s interview, I kept nodding my head and thinking “Yes! That’s it right there!” Everything about their wedding day was filled with intention and joy, from their venue choice (inspired by Abigail’s upbringing on a plantation surrounded by oak trees) to their advice for couples currently planning a wedding. They not only prepared for their wedding day, but prepared their hearts well for their marriage–Abigail said, “We wanted to be intentional with every detail, giving it great meaning to who we are together, but also who we are in Jesus.” From the looks of it, I’m sure guests would agree that they did an brilliant job!

Gracious, we’re thankful Callie Davis of Nancy Ray Photography was on hand to capture their sweet day!

Believe it or not, my dress was the first dress I ever tried on. I wasn’t certain what style I wanted, but I knew I wanted my dress to be timeless and elegant. I met my mom and grandmother in Raleigh to begin our search. At our first appointment, at Lana Addison Bridal in Cary, I showed the consultant a few different pictures of what I thought I may like. She brought me four different dresses. I tried the first dress on and could not stop smiling and twirling around. I looked at my mom and grandmother and said, “I think this is it.” They encouraged me to try the others on just to be sure. I tried them all, but didn’t feel like they were me. I tried on the first dress again and still loved it, but I began to second guess myself and ended up going to our second appointment. I tried on three other beautiful dresses there and got a bit overwhelmed. We decided to call it a day, and as soon as we walked out of the store, I looked at my mom and said, “We have to go back to Lana Addison, it has my dress.” I fell in love with it all over again–from the high neck line, to the combination of the soft lace and tulle, to the beaded waistline, it was perfect. I made the decision that I was only going to let my mom and grandmother see my dress. It made finding my dress and sharing that experience with two of the most special women in my life even sweeter, and I didn’t want to be swayed by the opinions of others. I wanted the first time my family, closest friends, and guests would see my dress to be when I was walking down the aisle to my groom.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Ben and I decided not to do a first look. We both wanted the first time we saw each other to be when I was walking down the aisle to marry him. We did, however, find a time before the ceremony to grab hands and pray with one another.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had one of our closest friends read 1 John 4:18-19. We chose this verse because it centered the entire day around Christ and we believe that without Christ loving us first, we would not be able to love one another. Another verse that is very important to us, Philippians 1:9-10, was on our dinner cards. We asked that our guest pray this verse over us and with us as we entered into marriage together.

We both liked the traditional vows, but also wanted to make them more personal and meaningful to us. We promised the same things to each other: “In the presence of God and according to his will I, Ben, take you, Abigail, to be my wife. I promise to love you, I promise to serve you, I promise to cherish you, as a testament to Jesus and his death on the cross, I give you my love.” We also wanted to affirm together the vows of having a Christian home. We were given this idea by our pastor and we loved it. “Depending upon God for strength and wisdom, do you both solemnly pledge yourselves to the establishment of a Christian home? Will you together, constantly seek God’s will and honor Christ in your marriage?”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I knew I wanted to be married in my hometown, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and I knew I wanted it outside. I grew up on a plantation that is surrounded by the most beautiful oak trees and I always envisioned them in my wedding someday. When I told Darlene (a dear friend and my wedding planner) what I had envisioned for my day, she said she knew just the place, and told me about the Rose Hill Mansion. I looked it up and fell in love immediately. It had the oak trees with the beautiful hanging moss, enough space to create what we wanted from scratch, and we could have the reception there. I knew it was where I wanted to marry Ben and I booked it without even having seen it myself in person.

Our venue has a rich Southern history. It is an old cotton plantation and the mansion on the property has many antique artifacts to peruse inside. You can actually tour the mansion with the onsite staff and learn a lot about the history of the property and the people that lived there. It is an incredibly unique spot.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Flowers and decorations for sure! Jana Qualey and Bridget Short, who are dear friends to me, have their own side business called Little Vase Events, and let me tell you, they are the best of the best! We repurposed bridesmaids flowers and went out and collected all the oyster shells that we used on the tables. Our gold and white stripped napkins were made by Bridget and Jana themselves!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Keep things in perspective. Your wedding is one day, your marriage is for the rest of your life. When you get overwhelmed, step away and do something fun. Don’t lose your joy in what is such a sweet time of your life, or your sight on what is most important. I started journaling during our engagement, writing down my thoughts and feelings, memories, and all the reasons I love Ben and wanted to marry him. I gave it to him the week of our wedding and I love looking back at it and reliving those days and seeing him read those pages for the first time.

Don’t miss Abigail and Ben’s wedding film by Heart Stone Films below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ben would joke and say it was somewhat of an arranged marriage. Our brothers and Ben’s younger sister, who is also my best friend, had been trying to get the two of us together for years. Although I knew Ben’s whole family, it wasn’t until our sophomore year of college that we met for the first time at a mutual friend’s wedding. We crossed paths again a year later at Ben’s older brother Will’s wedding. This was the night Ben asked me to dance. I tease him now because he never called me after that night! Last year, I got a call from my friend to come visit with her in Greenville for a long weekend. I was living on Hilton Head Island at the time and I jumped at the chance to go and see her. I was unaware that only a few weeks before, Ben had moved to Greenville. I spent the whole weekend with them, and finally, Ben asked me out. When I had to head back home, Ben asked if he could still pursue me. I said yes, and we continued to talk and get to know each other. Soon after, I got a job in Greenville and made the move. Ben and I continued to grow closer to each other and the Lord, and now the rest is history.
Tell us all about the proposal! My family has a house in the outer banks of North Carolina that has been in our family since before I was born, and it is one of my favorite places. My family typically goes there over the 4th of July, so this time was no different, except Ben would be there. Every morning I woke up while we were there, I had a letter slipped under my door. I didn’t think much of this, only because of how thoughtful Ben always is. On July 4th, Ben asked if I would take a walk out to the dock with him. We sat down at the end and talked for awhile. When we got up, Ben grabbed both my hands with the biggest smile. I knew what was happening and said to him, “Is this really it?!” After saying many sweet words, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. And I said YES! As soon as he was up and we were hugging, my brother ran down the dock with his phone (he was FaceTiming with Ben’s brother and his wife) to celebrate with us. My sister-in-law was snapping pictures and the rest of my family, who had been watching from the house, came out to hug us. Ben planned breakfast for dinner that night, my favorite. We made our way back to Greenville the next day and Ben told me there was one more surprise. When we got back home, we went to his brother’s house, where all our closest friends and family were waiting to celebrate with us!
When did y’all get married? November 14, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Ben and I decided soon into our engagement that we wanted to prepare more for our marriage than our wedding. The most important thing for us while planning our wedding was to create a beautiful and meaningful event that glorified the Lord and reflected who we are. We wanted to be intentional with every detail, giving it great meaning to who we are together, but also who we are in Jesus.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My day would not have been the same without Callie Davis with Nancy Ray Photography. I can not sing their praises enough. Having Callie and Olivia there to capture our day honestly added even more joy to an incredibly joyful day. They took the time through the whole process to pour into me and make sure that everything was perfect and ready to go for my wedding day. I gained two sweet friendships.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Well, we’re getting a puppy in two months and can’t wait to have a furry friend in our family. We look forward to lots of adventures, learning new things about each other, and just getting to do life with each other. Ultimately, having children and raising them together excites us the most about our future. We aren’t ready yet, but our biggest dreams usually involve a house full of children.

Photographer: Callie Davis of Nancy Ray Photography | Videographer: Heart Stone Films | Planner: Darlene Cranston | Venue: Rose Hill Mansion | Florist: Little Vase Events | Cake Baker: Ronnie’s Bakery & Cakes by Lou | Caterer: Downtown Catering Company | Rentals and Lighting: Amazing Event Rentals | DJ: Will Krause | Paper Products: Swoozies | Bride’s Gown: Theia | Bride’s Accessories: The Poinsett Bride | Hair Stylist: Amber White at Kaleidoscope Salon | Makeup Artist: Bride’s Side Beauty | Bride’s Shoes: Sam Edelman | Menswear: Jos A. Bank

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

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar kelly reply

    Oh I just love the Nancy Ray team’s work! Such a beautiful wedding with the hanging moss, that gown, and the meaning behind it all.

  2. avatar Rose Hill Plantation Wedding – Southern Weddings Magazine – reply

    […] and Ben’s Rose Hill Plantation Wedding is featured on Southern Weddings Magazine! Yay!!! Alex was the lead filmmaker and editor for this gorgeous wedding and we are so excited for […]

  3. avatar 2016 Online Features Part 1 | Nancy Ray Photography reply

    […] and Ben’s Rose Hill Mansion Wedding Featured on Southern Weddings Photographer: Callie […]

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When it comes to weddings, and many other things for that matter, I’m a firm believer that simple is often best. A few carefully chosen, purposeful, beautiful details that can stand on their own without being cluttered by too much “stuff” can have such an impact, and more importantly, this approach leaves guests the mental space to focus on you and your new husband, rather than be distracted as they try to take in countless activities and displays. Lauren and Jeremiah are a perfect example of this lovely restraint–they selected a naturally beautiful venue, accented it with a few meaningful touches (the lily of the valley bouquet Jeremiah had sent to Lauren’s bridal suite, and the strawberry shortcake they cut into that nodded to Lauren’s childhood tradition, to name a few), and focused on enjoying their day with their many out-of-town guests. I can only imagine what beautiful memories they have of the time they got to spend with the ones they love on their wedding day!

Thank you so much to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Perry Vaile for sharing this day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I was looking for a combination of delicate, classic, bohemian, and breezy. The designer Rosa Clara really unified these aspirations and included the subtlest hint of sexy. Miraculously, during a weekend off, there was a Rosa Clara trunk show in Raleigh! I was completely enamored with the second dress I tried on. My mother and sisters live in Michigan, so we had to resort to FaceTime for their approval–which was unanimous.

We chose to do a first look because we wanted to maximize our time spent with out-of-town guests. Many of our family and friends traveled from the Northeast and Midwest to North Carolina to celebrate our wedding. It was the perfect choice for us–I do not believe I could have waited until the evening to kiss him!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We had both our ceremony and reception at the spectacular Merrimon-Wynne house. It was important to us to provide our guests with an easy experience, due to the fact that many had traveled to share the weekend with us. I looked at a number of places and none could compare with the elegance and glamour of Merrimon-Wynne. The clincher was the insanely gorgeous bridal suites (yes, there are two!), where we primped and preened all morning.

There was beautiful sunny and breezy weather throughout our wedding day, until the moment I walked down the aisle. When our reverend began speaking, the skies opened up and poured rain! The wedding party scurried inside and we completed the marriage ceremony in a cozy, ornate hallway, surrounded by our loved ones who were spilling into rooms and peering around staircases. The intimacy of the ceremony reinforced that marriage is ultimately about love and family.

Describe your wedding flowers. We chose a miscellany of shades of green and white. The flowers were free-flowing and loose, with ample herbs incorporated. My mother and I purchased a variety of mercury glass vessels and used them to make the centerpieces. Jeremiah has a green thumb and filled the vases with potted sage and lavender. He also gifted a lily of the valley (my childhood favorite flower) bouquet to the bridal suite, which perfectly matched our color scheme.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Jeremiah’s siblings are incredibly talented musicians and vocalists, and they kindly performed a song by Kishi Bashi called “Q&A” during our ceremony. The song reads like poetry and lent itself well to an acoustic performance. Our first dance was to “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard, performed by the Vitamin String Quartet. The movie “Once” was the first movie for which I stayed awake for the entirety of the film, so it had some playful meaning, and Jeremiah thought the tempo lent itself well to a foxtrot.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We first crossed paths during my Tufts Medical School years while Jeremiah was completing his residency program in Otolaryngology. There was a definite attraction, but we were very work-oriented during those years! Our romance (inconveniently) began when I moved to North Carolina to start my own surgical training. After one whirlwind and surreal travel weekend, we both knew there was something special between us that was worth the effort and occasional pain of long distance.
Tell us all about the proposal! Jeremiah and I had a standing Friday night champagne date to treat ourselves after travel. The evening started like most others–he had to work late, so I fell asleep on his couch. We were casually enjoying our bubbles on the couch when he completely surprised me by bending down on one knee and promising to make my smile his lifelong goal. After I tearfully and happily agreed, he whisked me off to a romantic French dinner in Cambridge, followed by a romantic getaway weekend at a cabin in Maine. The weekend was complete with skis, lobsters, and rare sunny Maine snow!
When did y’all get married? May 9, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but we crafted our entire ceremony with Reverend Renteria. It was an enjoyable experience to pick and choose the different aspects of the ceremony together. Our mutual favorite phrase was a playful and all-encompassing quote from George Bernard Shaw: “You are my inspiration and my folly. You are my light across the sea, my million nameless joys, and my day’s wage. You are my divinity, my madness, my selfishness, my transfiguration and purification. You are my rapscallion fellow vagabond, my tempter and star.”
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. My family has a long-standing tradition of enjoying strawberry shortcakes on summer evenings, and since strawberries are in season in May, we opted for strawberry shortcakes with lemon cream and thyme. To simplify our lives, Posh Nosh Catering created the dessert as well as our dinner.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Time! I did a lot of wedding planning in the early morning hours between consults and responded to emails between surgical cases. It was a nightmare to schedule my dress fittings during regular work hours!
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? Try to make the experience as playful as possible, because it can easily become very stressful. I accomplished this by convincing my fiancé to walk in the woods or head to a brewery so we could discuss wedding details.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? I need to finish my residency and Jeremiah is starting a new job, then we can finally embark on a more “normal” life together. We are running a marathon and share a mutual enjoyment of hiking and adventuring.

Photographer: Perry Vaile / Venue and Planning: The Merrimon-Wynne House / Florist: Watered Garden / Caterer and Dessert Baker: Posh Nosh Catering / Rentals: Party Reflections / Band: The Reckless Brothers / Bride’s Gown: “Ubeda” by Rosa Clara / Bridal Salon: Traditions by Anna / Hair Stylist: Parlor Dry Bar / Makeup Artist: Thuy Larker / Bride’s Shoes: “Landmark Metallic Strappy Heel” by Badgley Mischka / Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic / Officiant: Reverend Robin Renteria

Perry Vaile is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    Hi! Your wedding pictures are gorgeous! My daughter purchased the same dress and is getting married in June! I am a seamstress and trying to figure out how to bustle it. Can you send me a picture of the back bustled up.? I see it from the side and it looks beautiful! Thanks!!! Julie

  2. avatar scott reply

    What a lovely spot to get married, Under the tree out the back! Nice photography too.

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Lucy and Will’s wedding makes my heart sing a little, because with every image, I can imagine them looking back on their wedding in five, ten, and even fifty, years, and still loving everything about it. As they planned their special day with the help of Carson Castellaw at Bella Flora, they included special nods to their families (like Lucy’s heirloom veil and a gorgeous family photo display), their love story (they were married in the church that led to their first meeting!), and even the married life they were creating through their wedding (they coincidentally both gifted one another with monogrammed wedding gifts). All of those meaningful elements were set against a timeless green and white color palette and arranged under a clear-top tent to create a lovely beginning to Lucy and Will’s marriage!

Thank you so much to Sarah Kate Photography for sharing this celebration with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My parents and I went to New York City for my brother’s engagement in January. The engagement was a surprise, so we did not want to run into them anywhere, and decided to spend our day where we knew they would not be: bridal salons. I tried on a few dresses with only my parents there and found the one. I kept it a secret to everyone but my family until the day of, which was hard, but so worth it!!

We didn’t mean to, but we both gave each other monogrammed gifts the day of the wedding. He gave me a necklace with my new monogram and I gave him a monogrammed cummerbund!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I think the most memorable moment of our wedding day was the ceremony. It was the part of the wedding that we were most looking forward to: committing to one another in front of God and our family and friends.

I absolutely love flowers and I think they were my favorite part of the whole event! Carson, our wedding planner, and Lucy at Bella Flora went above and beyond on the flowers, making sure they were exactly what I was imagining. We wanted the reception to feel very natural and rustic, but still elegant, and used a combination of white and green flowers.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I think our wedding had a lot of Southern flair, especially the reception! The venue itself is a ranch, but the clear tent and hanging lanterns made us feel like we were outside the whole time. The food at our reception was so good–we had guacamole and salsa tostadas, quail legs, cheese grit tacos, and more.

We had a bride’s cake and a groom’s cake. The bride’s cake was a five-tier white cake with my new monogram and flowers all over it. Will’s cake was two-tired, covered in chocolate shavings and succulents. We are both pretty traditional when it comes to cake flavors, so mine was white cake with white icing and his was all chocolate. I actually never saw the groom’s cake amidst the craziness of the reception, but it looks beautiful in the pictures!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy the process! It is a short season that is so much more fun when it’s enjoyable, rather than stressful.

Don’t miss Lucy and Will’s wedding film by Elle Films below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, but didn’t cross paths until our junior year of high school. Will first noticed me at a mission trip preparation meeting. We started dating not long after, and have been together ever since.
Tell us all about the proposal! Will proposed on December 20, 2013 at his family’s lake house. He told me that since the Christmas season is always busy, the 20th would be the best night for us to celebrate and exchange gifts. He gave me my gift first, which was an iPad, and I was shocked. He had set the iPad background to a photo of him holding the ring, so when I turned it on, I saw the picture. When I looked up, he was down on one knee. He asked me if I would marry him, and I said yes! Afterwards, he surprised me again with all our closest friends and family waiting to celebrate at my parents’ house. It was the perfect night!
When did y’all get married? September 20, 2014
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We had a hard time deciding whether or not to do a first look, but in the end, we decided not to, and I’m so glad! For us, it made the ceremony even more special and sacred.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Christ Chapel Bible Church was an easy choice for us, as it was the church both of us grew up attending. We decided on Heart of the Ranch for our reception because I wanted an outdoor venue where I could create a new look from scratch. Heart of the Ranch was the perfect place for us!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed the veil that my grandmother, mom, and aunts have all worn, and am excited to continue to pass it down. My something blue was my garter, old was my earrings, and new was my shoes.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We made sure to take time out of wedding planning and focus on us and the future of our marriage. We did premarital counseling through our church, which was so great and fun!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to life slowing down post-engagement and settling into married life together in Dallas!

Photographer: Sarah Kate Photography / Videographer: Elle Films / Planner: Carson Castellaw of Bella Flora / Ceremony Venue: Christ Chapel Bible Church / Reception Venue: Heart of the Ranch / Florist: Bella Flora / Cake Baker: Creme de la Creme / Caterer: Bonnell’s / Band: The Project Band / Paper Products: Southern Fried Paper / Bride’s Gown: Oscar de la Renta / Hair and Makeup: Maitee Miles / Bride’s Shoes: J. Crew / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “9327” by Alvina Maids / Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

Southern Fried Paper is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    This wedding is a stunner!! I love her showstopper of a dress, and I have always loved the idea of keeping your dress a surprise til your wedding day. My sister did this (only my mom and I saw it beforehand), and I think it was an amazing decision. I also love how this couple wanted to keep the wedding natural and rustic, yet elegant – and it’s perfectly all of that!

  2. avatar Dana reply

    beautiful venue made even more beautiful with all those flowers!!

  3. avatar Yannis Larios | Wedding Photographer reply

    Fabulous color palette!
    And a magnificently organized wedding with meticulous attention to last detail.
    Kudos!

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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