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There is no one way to have a Southern wedding–from family farms to city halls, we love them all! It’s not the decor that makes a wedding Southern, or even necessarily the location; rather, it’s the hospitality shown and the focus on creating meaningful moments for the bride and groom and guests alike. Kaki and Jay’s Chattanooga wedding was fabulously chic and modern, and they took great strides to ensure their guests felt involved and taken care of. From the hymn everyone sang during the ceremony to the gelato and chilled towels passed around to keep guests cool in the middle of June, Kaki and Jay made sure that everyone at their wedding felt like family. What could be more Southern than that?

We’re so grateful to our Blue Ribbon Vendors, Bamber Photography, for sharing this beautiful day with us!

Jay proposed to me at my parents’ house, and it was a complete surprise! He had the ring in a small pouch tied around my dog Zoe’s collar, and after I chased her down in the yard and realized what it was, Jay got down on one knee and proposed. It was such a special moment, and it was even better that my family was there to celebrate with us!

We wanted our service to be uplifting and joyful, so we chose songs and verses that we thought went along with this theme. The guests sang “To God be the Glory” during the service. At the reception, we entered to the band playing “Oh Happy Day,” and they surprised us with special lyrics–they inserted our names, Kaki and Jay, into the song. We exited the reception to the band playing “Love Train” with their horns, and the guests leading us down to our car!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We were married at the Presbyterian church where my mother was also married. My grandfather and mother have been major cheerleaders of the Hunter Museum for a number of years. I loved the beautiful river setting there, and it made for a beautiful backdrop!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? To cool the guests down at our summer wedding, we had fans and cold washcloths for the dance floor that were kept frozen in coolers. They were a big hit on such a hot day! Along with that, we had a local company, Milk and Honey, serve delicious and COLD gelato. As a shoutout to Jay’s football days in high school, I threw a football that had “You’re Next” written on it at the end of the reception!

Golf has been a big part of both of our lives, so when we were making our exit at the reception, the wedding party and guests surprised us by holding up golf clubs and making a tunnel that we ran through to our convertible!

When did y’all get married? June 21, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mom and I scheduled a number of appointments at different bridal boutiques in Atlanta. Lo and behold, after trying on just three dresses, I knew the search was over. I had found the dress I had always dreamed of! Since I found my dress in record time, my mom and I cancelled our other appointments and had a nice, long, leisurely lunch and a day of fun together.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our getaway car! A friend of my dad let us use his ’57 Bel Air Convertible that had a banner with our new married names on it as we left the church! We loved cruising to the reception with the top down–especially since a huge storm had passed through before the ceremony began!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I was so excited as the preacher pronounced us man and wife that I began to literally jump for joy! I was completely unaware I had done this until I was at the reception and guests were laughing about it!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? One of the best pieces of advice I received was from my mom, who told me, “You have to remember, it is only four hours out of your life,” which could not be more true! It is easy to get caught up in all of the details and get stressed, but it is so important to keep everything in perspective and remember what this day is truly about!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? After we returned from our honeymoon, we purchased a house, so we have been very busy settling in and doing small projects. We are just happy to be settling back into normal life, which includes lots of golf, tennis, and playing with our dog, Zoe!

Photographer: Bamber Photography / Reception Venue: Hunter Museum of American Art / Bridal Salon: Joan Pillow / Flowers: The Clay Pot / Caterer: Lee Towery Catering / Gelato: Milk and Honey / Grilled Cheese Truck: The Muenster Truck / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Prado / Band: Big Blast and the Party Masters / Paper Products: Shadow Box Paperie

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

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

    LOVE their car sign + garland – perfection!

  2. avatar Lindsey Bamber reply

    Thanks for the feature! We always love reading the Southern Weddings blog!!

  3. avatar Loverly reply

    That Chevy is just amazing- what a way to exit the most perfect day!

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    […] Sources from Left to Right: Getaway Car, Emerald Bridesmaids, Classic Green Tie, Magnolia Escort Cards, Candlelight Fireplace, Mint Juleps, […]

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Have y’all taken our 2014 survey yet? We would be so grateful for your feedback, and you could win a $50 AMEX gift card!

Fancy details certainly have their place in the wedding world, but there’s also something so special about simplicity. For their Alabama summer wedding, Meagan and Josh didn’t feel the need to include anything too over-the-top or complicated–they just wanted their family and friends to join them at one of their favorite places to celebrate their love, and nothing took the focus away from that! Along with their commitment to preparing for their marriage, not just their wedding day, I’m sure this is the reason Meagan remembers her engagement as mostly stress-free. As a bride-to-be myself, I’m taking a few notes from this gal in the hopes that I can follow her example!

Thank you so much to Mandy Busby for sharing Meagan and Josh’s wedding with us!

We knew that we wanted to get married outside at the lake and have a pretty casual wedding. We chose The Stables at Russell Lands on Lake Martin for our reception. It also allowed for lots of lights and our band to be outside, which I loved. We originally planned to have our ceremony on a lawn near The Stables. About a month before the wedding, we found out about a big oak tree in Russell Lands near The Stables. We decided to change our ceremony venue to under the big oak tree! Our venues were not on the lake, but you could see the lake from the field under the oak tree.

We decided to have a first look for many reasons. One reason was that we wanted to have plenty of time to take pictures. Our wedding was outside in August, so we wanted to have it as late as possible so people wouldn’t be too hot. The wedding started at 7 p.m. and since the sun was going to set soon after the ceremony, it would not leave us much time to take pictures in the daylight. We did not want to see each other for the first time in front of 350 people–we wanted to be able to talk and celebrate with each other and not have to wait until the ceremony was over. It also allowed us to get to the reception right after everyone arrived. We were so thankful that we had a first look because it allowed us to process the day a little bit and talk about all of our excitement. I love the pictures that we have and it did not take away from how special the ceremony was.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? I guess you could say that we wrote our vows, but we did not write them from scratch. We took several different vows that we had either heard or seen and combined them to make something that we liked and that fit us. My favorite line from Josh’s vows would be “I will love you and cherish you as Christ loves the church, giving my life for yours. I will lead and protect you as we are living testimonies of the grace of our God, who gave us one another.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We did not have any readings at our wedding, but Josh did speak. We wanted to make sure that the Gospel was shared that day. We had everyone that we loved there and wanted to share with them the most important thing to us.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had Jim ‘N Nicks BBQ, sweet tea, and lemonade. We served the sweet tea and lemonade in mason jars. We were married under a big old oak tree. We had mason jars with baby’s breath on the chairs of the aisle at the ceremony. Our band was a folk band, which was fun and very Southern! We had our guests sign quilt squares to make a guestbook quilt.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I loved our band. We had Act of Congress play and they were great! Josh and I had heard them play when we were in high school and loved them. We had their CDs and everything. We loved how they sounded and it definitely added to the night!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Josh and I met our freshman year of high school, but did not start dating until the end of our junior year. We had not spoken much, but during the spring semester, he randomly decided to ask me to prom. We had the best time at prom and decided to date soon after that! We dated for the rest of high school and then both decided to attend Auburn University. We dated all four years at Auburn and got engaged the fall semester of our senior year.
Tell us all about the proposal! My family has a lake house on Lake Martin, which is my favorite place to go. Josh and I have had some of our best memories out there since it so close to Auburn. During the fall of our senior year, we had gone to the away game at Mississippi State, and on our way back to school, my parents asked us to stop by the lake to drop something off for them. When we got to the lake house and walked around the back, I noticed that the boardwalk was lined with pictures. There were 20 or so pictures in chronological order from when Josh and I first started dating, leading to a bench surrounded by candles. We went and sat down and started talking. I wish I remembered all that happened, but I was so in shock, I really am not sure what was said! Thankfully, Josh gave me a letter that recapped everything that he wanted to say. The letter explained how he had spoken with my dad and how he thought the Lord had used me in his life. After reading over the letter, Josh got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I obviously said yes! Josh and his grandfather had built the bench we were sitting on out of wood that was over 100 years old that his grandfather had from an old house. On the back of the bench was engraved our names and the date of our engagement. My sister and Josh’s best friend were on the other side of the cove that our lake house is on and photographed the entire thing. I am so thankful for those sweet pictures! We left the lake and headed back to Auburn, where all of our friends and family were to help us celebrate.
When did y’all get married? August 3, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 350
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I first thought that I wanted to have a wedding dress made, but realized that it would be a little more difficult than I thought. One day, I randomly decided to go to Diane’s Formal Wear in Jasper, Alabama with my mom. I originally wanted a full lace dress, but soon realized that they didn’t feel like me. All together, I tried on six lace dresses and one silk taffeta dress. I ended up going with the silk taffeta dress and loved it!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The bridal party walked down the aisle to “Come Thou Fount” because I’ve always loved the song. I came down the aisle to “My Beloved” by Kari Jobe. After Josh shared the Gospel, we had a time for everyone to pray while “To The Cross I Cling” played. We chose this song because it went so perfectly with what Josh had just shared. We all left the ceremony to “White Dress” by Ben Rector played on a keyboard, because it was fun and upbeat! Our first dance was to “Hung the Moon” by Drew and Ellie Holcombe. We have seen Drew and Ellie in concert and love their music. Another fun part of the evening was when Josh sang “Loving You Is Easy” by Ben Rector with our band. It was such a great surprise and something I will cherish for a long time!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Like everything else, my cake was simple. It was a five-tier vanilla cake with white buttercream frosting. Nothing too exciting, but I loved how it turned out. We also sent our guests home with a bottled Coke and a chocolate chip cookie for their rides home!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed was a gold bracelet of my mom’s from Italy. My something blue was my underwear. My something old was a handkerchief that belonged to my great grandmother, which I wrapped around my bouquet. My something new was my dress!
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? Our first look was so special and beyond exciting! We could not believe our wedding day was finally here! There was so much joy and love in that moment, and it is something I will never forget.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Just relax! Enjoy planning your wedding and know that your engagement is about more than just getting ready for that one day. Take advantage of your engagement to prepare for your marriage. It is easy to get wrapped up in planning for that big day, but when it is all said and done, it is just that–one day. Your marriage is forever and something that should be prayed over and talked about before you get married.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We have moved to Homewood, Alabama and are loving it! We go for walks with our dog together almost every day and just enjoy one another! We look forward to getting to know each other even better and pursuing the Lord together in marriage. We love all the time we get to spend with each other and the opportunity to do life together.

Photographer and Videographer: Mandy Busby / Venue: Russell Lands on Lake Martin / Florist: Grace’s Florist / Wedding Cake: Catherine’s Market at Russell Lands on Lake Martin / Caterer: Jim ‘N Nicks / Rentals and Lighting: Brendle Rentals / Band: Act of Congress / Bride’s Gown: “Mimi” by Watters / Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Morgan Ashley Salon / Bride’s Sandals: Frye / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Eshakti / Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Paper Products: Val Marie Paper

lisa Written with love by Lisa
10 Comments
  1. avatar Anastasia Arrigo reply

    So beautiful!!!

  2. avatar Jillian Anderson reply

    Beautiful wedding! I love her dress and the simplicity of the wedding. It looks so beautiful. And I love how the groom presented the Gospel at the ceremony. Congratulations!

  3. avatar Chevin Woodruff reply

    I love that while Meagan & Josh were getting married the love of God helped them to share something even more important as Josh shared the Gospel. No doubt by this humble act God will bless their love and marriage beyond their understanding. The photos are absolutely lovely. And catch the spirit of the day.

  4. avatar Mandy Busby reply

    What a pleasure to be featured on Southern Weddings! Also love how they got the bride to share some advice on planning a wedding. Meagan was such a gracious bride and they really allowed her to show that in the Q&A.

  5. avatar crystal reply

    Great article and photos! Loved the wedding ideas and planning tips you have on this blog!

  6. avatar Dana reply

    I LOVE her wedding dress!

  7. avatar Valerie reply

    So happy to see this couple’s big day!! Meagan was one of the sweetest brides I’ve had the pleasure of working with!!

  8. avatar Meagan and Josh Wedding » The Creative Work of Mandy Busby reply

    […] simple Alabama barn wedding was featured at Southern Weddings. Thanks to them for allowing me to share […]

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  10. avatar Colleen Berg reply

    Can you tell me where you got the stickers for the bags printed? Thank you!

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While today’s lovely couple has been inseparable ever since they met, Lauren still didn’t catch a few of the more minor meaningful details Marshall included in his proposal (read below for the whole sweet story!). When it came to their big day, however, these two didn’t miss any opportunity to work in personal, thoughtful touches — both for each other (a fun cigar bar!), and for their guests. With the help of their planner, Katrina at Come Together Events, they created a day that was truly a reflection of not only their relationship, but their family and friends, as well: “throughout, we tried to think of small, personal ways to show everyone who came how much we appreciated them.” Love that Southern hospitality!

Big hugs to Cunningham Photo Artists for sharing this gorgeous, classic day with us!

Eek, I get so excited every time I see a monogram dress patch!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress.
 It was the first one I tried on! I had pretty concrete ideas about how I wanted my wedding dress to look before I tried anything on, which could have easily created a lot of problems. Lace dresses seemed to be very popular at the time we got engaged, and I’ve always thought lace was very romantic and classic; but I wanted something just a little more unexpected. I had fallen in love with the beaded bodice of a gown I’d seen while dress shopping with one of my best friends for her wedding a year or so before, but I didn’t care for the fabric of the skirt. When I opened the bridal magazine that my roommate gave me the day after Marshall and I got engaged and saw a beaded bodice, Chantilly lace, and silk organza all in one dress, I knew it was the one! I immediately called my mom and she ran out to find the magazine. I searched online for stores in my area that carried that designer, and of course, none did in their regular collections. One boutique, Hayden Olivia Bridal in Charlotte happened to be hosting a trunk show the following month. I called to see if the dress would be available to try on, and they were kind enough to add it to the show inventory. We set up the appointment; I tried it on, and didn’t look any further.

My “something old” was a necklace that my grandmother had given me a year or so before our wedding. It is so elegant that I hadn’t found an occasion to wear it, so the first time was in our wedding. My “something new” was a pair of diamond earrings that my dad surprised me with the month before our wedding. My “something borrowed” was a diamond bracelet from my grandmother. My “something blue” was a pair of porcelain blue birds of paradise that my mom carried in her bouquet when she and my dad got married.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? 
The moment the sanctuary doors opened. My dad and I had been standing behind them closed for what seemed like a long time, so the anticipation was mounting. I could hear that the music was leading up to our processional, and I tried to prepare myself. But when those doors finally opened, and I saw all of our family and friends there, spilling all the way to the back of the church I didn’t think we could fill, and Marshall at the end of the aisle. It took my breath away. I think I audibly gasped. I remember the church coordinator whispering quite loudly, “Walk!”

We did not do a “first look.” When it came to planning our wedding ceremony, we found that we both wanted it to be very traditional. For us, all of the anticipation of the walk down the aisle came with that. I wanted to be in my dress and walking down the aisle at the moment that I first saw Marshall on our wedding day. It’s a special memory for me. As far as the photography considerations behind a “first look,” we had a great compromise. We did an “after session.” Marshall put back on his tux. I had my hair and makeup done again, another bouquet made, and got to be a bride for another day. It was so nice to have an excuse to put that beautiful dress back on before it had to be preserved and put away! I would highly recommend it!

Describe your wedding flowers. 
Lots of white! I wanted an all-white wedding, and Marshall was all for it. We used a lot of different flowers to create texture and subtle contrast. Lynette Atienza of Charlotte’s The Bloom Room completely understood my vision and ran with it! She’s amazing! The bouquets were packed full of “fluffy” flowers like hydrangeas, dahlias, garden roses, and ranunculus. Some of that was carried through to the reception tables in lower arrangements, but our main idea for the flowers at the reception was that they be almost forest-like, an autumn interpretation of flowering branches. Lynette put together gorgeous tall arrangements with larkspur and delphinium to create a lengthy, branch-like look, as well as actual birch branches. It was breathtaking when we walked in! I think my very favorite part (besides my bouquet) was the entry piece, an overflowing mound of Phalaenopsis orchids. We had played around so many ideas for the entry table, but our wedding planner, Katrina Hutchins of Come+Together Events and Lynette kept saying that it could be better. They finally came up with this showstopper of an arrangement, and it was incredible!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. 
The design was white icing with white pressed sugar flowers cascading down the cake. It coordinated perfectly with the flower arrangements and the pressed flower details on the menus, place cards, and escort cards. The cake itself was one layer of strawberry (Marshall’s favorite) and one layer of “chocolate decadence” (my favorite), so each guest could have a taste of both in one slice. It was iced in Italian meringue buttercream. Delicious!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
Marshall would say the cigar bar. He likes to indulge in a cigar every now and then, so our wedding reception seemed like the perfect time to let him have his fill! Since he let me go crazy with flowers and all things white, something special for him was a must. My favorite detail of the ceremony, apart from getting married of course, was Communion. Ours was a religious ceremony, and we chose to have Communion be a part of it. As we sat at the front of the church, all of our family and friends who chose to participate filed down the aisle. It created a communal environment and gave Marshall and I the opportunity to really let it sink in just how many people had come to support us. My favorite detail of the reception was the pressed flowers on all of the paper products. There were literally flowers everywhere! I just couldn’t get enough! And the koozies!

Judging by Lauren’s hair, her and Marshall’s reception was a blast!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. 
We met the weekend before we both began our first year of law school. A group of fellow 1Ls were meeting up at a local watering hole. I tagged along with some new friends, and Marshall was the first person I met. He challenged me to a game of pool that did not go very well for either of us, but we hit it off! We went on our first date the following weekend and have been together ever since!

Tell us all about the proposal! 
Throughout the whole day, Marshall did the sweetest things, only they were completely lost on me at the time. I didn’t realize until that evening that he had been attempting to hit all of the milestones of our relationship all day long. For example, he insisted that we go to lunch at the place we had our first date. Only that restaurant was not my favorite, so I kept suggesting others. He finally ordered it to go and brought it to me, saying that he was just really in the mood for it that afternoon. Before dinner, he was, again, unusually adamant about getting drinks at the bar where we first met. I, again, unknowingly kept messing up his plans. After a quick drink outside at the bar he was so set on going to, we left the patio area through a back entrance that rerouted us through a small courtyard. He proposed there, in this hidden green space beside the place we first met. It was very sentimental and romantic. He did a great job!

When did y’all get married? 
September

How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding? 
230

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 
I Corinthians 13 Colossians 3:14-17

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We chose Canon in D for the seating of the mothers and Grandmothers, Rigaudon for the bridesmaids, and Trumpet Voluntary in D Major for my walk down the aisle. For our recessional, we chose Allegro Maestoso from Handel’s Water Music Suite. We had many hymns play during our ceremony, like “Love Divine” and “All Loves Excelling for the Beauty of the Earth,” which was sung by our local children’s choir. It was magical.  Our first dance song was “La Vie en Rose” by Louis Armstrong. The father-daughter dance was “I Loved Her First” by Heartland, and the mother-son dance was “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? 
When I think of the South, especially in the context of a huge party like a wedding, I think of hospitality. Throughout our planning process, we tried to think of small, personal ways to show everyone who came how much we appreciated them. We hand wrote thank you notes on all 230 parting gift boxes and made a point during dinner to go to every table as a couple and say hello to each person who took the time to celebrate with us.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? 
Meeting each other’s expectations and making compromises. There is a lot of pressure on brides and grooms to do something new, unique, or “better” than the next couple. I found that I had expectations going into wedding planning that I didn’t even realize I had. We quickly found that we were so much happier and content planning our wedding when we stayed true to ourselves and prioritized.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? 
Lighting. It’s relatively inexpensive and accentuates all of those things, big and small, that you’ve planned and paid so much for.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
Consider your family and your guests. When we first started planning, I naively thought this day was all about Marshall and me. Weddings are such a family affair; it’s a big day for a lot of people. So, I would encourage brides and grooms to take the time to consider how to make those most important to them feel loved and included in their big day. And for your guests, I highly, HIGHLY recommend taking the extra time to assign seating. It may be extra work, but it will make each guest feel welcome and included in your day. It achieves so many things: acknowledges that you’re aware the guest has made the effort to attend your wedding, expresses a level of appreciation for their effort in that you’ve planned specifically for them, gives them a “home base” for the night (everyone needs a place to set their purse), ensures that couples and friend groups won’t be split up, guarantees your mother and grandmother a prime spot at the reception (your grandmother will want a seat, and she’ll want it to be a good one), and no one wants to eat standing up (not even a young person).

What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? 
We’re enjoying settling into our new life in Charlotte. We’re fortunate to be close to family and friends and in a city that we both love. Married life is off to a very happy and content start for us.

marissa Written with love by Marissa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Bridget reply

    What a stunning classic wedding. Have you noticed tuxedos making a comeback recently for the men? It seems like all of a sudden, there is a shift back towards more formal elegance (which always looks fantastic!).

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Love their centerpieces, as well as that sweet photo of her with her dad!

  3. avatar Katrina Hutchins (come+together) reply

    Thank you SO much for the wonderful feature! I truly enjoyed planning this wedding with this amazing couple!

  4. avatar Featured: Southern Weddings » come+together events reply

    […] Thank you SO much to Southern Weddings for the beautiful feature from Lauren+Marshall’s wedding. I am so honored and thank you to my awesome vendor team! See the full feature HERE. […]

  5. avatar Cristin Lee reply

    Absolutely gorgeous — Party Reflections was thrilled to be on the vendor team of this classic wedding!

  6. avatar Drea Cunningham reply

    Thank you again for the wonderful feature! Lauren and Marshall have become so dear to us and we are thrilled for their happiness!

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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