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When Dave and I were looking for a wedding venue, one of our biggest priorities was a place that made our family and friends know they were somewhere special from the moment they turned up the road. As far as venues that create that magical sense of anticipation go, Tuckahoe Plantation is at the top of my list–Emily and I were practically giddy when we drove down its pebbly road for our Fabric of a Southern Belle shoot last year, and I can only imagine that Sarah and Chad’s guests felt the same way! For this nature-loving couple, a venue with plenty of beautiful outdoor space was a must, and historic Tuckahoe turned out to be the perfect rustic, but still elegant, place for them to become husband and wife. They made wonderful use of the property, choosing different areas for the ceremony (how gorgeous are those trees lining the aisle?), the reception, and, very importantly, the spot where a bottle of bourbon was buried to ensure sunny skies!

Thank you so much to Sarah Jane Winter for sharing this beautiful day with us!

Chad and I love spending time hiking and camping together, and the outdoors are very special to us. We considered a few other venues with outdoor spaces, but we knew Tuckahoe Plantation was the right fit for us pretty early on. With its expansive fields, gorgeous gardens, and rich history, Tuckahoe is timelessly elegant, but also has a very laid-back vibe.

Before I went to look at dresses, I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for: fitted, an elegant neckline, and allover lace. I’ve heard from so many friends who went into the store wanting one thing, but ended up falling in love with a completely different style once they started trying things on. This was the exact opposite for me–I ended up with the perfect dress that was exactly what I had originally had in mind. The dress I purchased was even the first dress I tried on!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Chad and I changed our minds about this so many times. On the one hand, we loved the idea of seeing each other for the first time as I was coming down the aisle towards him. On the other hand, we also loved the idea of getting to share some time together before all the hubbub. We ended up doing a first look, and we were so glad that we did! It was so nice to get to spend time together without any distractions and it definitely helped to calm both of our nerves during the ceremony.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail of the wedding was the ceremony space at Tuckahoe. The aisle is lined with rows of the most beautiful crepe myrtles that arch over the aisle, and almost look like a cathedral ceiling. Chad’s favorite detail was that a flock of geese flew right over us during the ceremony!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We buried the bourbon behind the ceremony arbor a month before our wedding to keep the rain away on our wedding day. It was actually pouring rain on us while we were out there burying it, which I think was double good luck!

Our friends Corey and Jesse Wells are talented local musicians who play with several bluegrass groups around town. We chose to have them play songs that were meaningful to us as a couple during the ceremony. The groomsmen and our families walked down the aisle to an acoustic rendition of “Fearless” by Pink Floyd. This is one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs and it set the stage beautifully for the rest of the ceremony. The bridesmaids walked in to another of our favorite songs, “Sandusky” by Uncle Tupelo. My dad and I walked in to Van Morrison’s “Sweet Thing.” The wedding party recessed to an awesome rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie on Reggae Woman,” which kicked off the celebration! Chad and I chose “Further on Down the Road” by Taj Mahal for our first dance. Every time I hear that song, it takes me back to cooking dinner and dancing around the kitchen together in our first house.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It was pretty amazing to have all of our friends and family members gathered together in such a beautiful place. It almost takes your breath away when you look around and realize how much love is all around you at one time. It really was the happiest day of our lives.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chad and I met at a Widespread Panic show in Charleston. I was living in Richmond, Virginia at the time and he was living in Charlotte, North Carolina. Although we didn’t know each other, we had tons of mutual friends and ended up hanging out all night together at the show. We instantly clicked and he drove up to visit me in Richmond the next weekend. We took turns visiting each other every other week for the next year and a half, and then Chad’s company agreed to transfer him to Richmond.
Tell us all about the proposal! After a few years of dating, we escaped the cold winter weather in Richmond and took a vacation down to Roatan, off the coast of Honduras. Chad proposed on the beach the first night of our trip. He even hired a photographer to hide and capture the moment!
When did y’all get married? September 19, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my grandmother’s handkerchief to carry during the ceremony and my garter had a tiny blue ribbon on it. Chad also gifted me with a beautiful necklace the morning of our wedding that featured the diamond from his great-grandmother’s engagement ring. He had the stone reset, so that doubled as my something old and something new.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? For a little over a year, we met with our officiant every six weeks or so. We usually went out to dinner together or just met with him at his house to talk about marriage. He had lots of good advice for us and we have come to really admire him and his wife.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? One good tip the woman who made our cake shared with us is that you can opt for a smaller tiered wedding cake to display and cut, and then ask the baker to also make a sheet cake that will be cut in the back and served to the guests. The sheet cake slices can be a fraction of the cost of the tiered cake slices.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? We were engaged for over a year and I loved having a long engagement. We never felt rushed or pressured during the wedding planning process because we were so ahead of the game. Having that extra time allowed us to be really laid-back while we slowly ticked things off the list and enjoyed the process. If you aren’t planning to have a long engagement, my advice would be to focus on tackling things one at a time, and celebrate after you get each little task accomplished. When you first look at that long list of to dos, it can be overwhelming and intimidating. Just take it one thing at a time and don’t forget to enjoy the ride!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are taking a honeymoon in Europe this summer and are really looking forward to it. Now that all the wedding planning is behind us, we are enjoying mapping out our next adventure together.

Photographer: Sarah Jane Winter | Venue: Tuckahoe Plantation | Florist: Elizabeth Daly Designs | Cake Baker: The Buttercream Bee | Caterer and Lighting: Mosaic Catering + Events | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals of Virginia | Band: Soul Expressions | Paper Products: By Invitation Only | Bridal Salon: Jingles Bridal Salon | Hair and Makeup: Avenue 42 | Bride’s Shoes: Banana Republic | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Blair” and “Newbury” by Joanna August | Bow Ties: Collared Greens | Day-of Coordination: Tart Event Co. | Ceremony Musicians: Corey and Jesse Wells

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

    Thanks so much for sharing this, ladies! What an incredible day it was :)

  2. avatar Dana reply

    I love that sign they put at the entrance with their name in flowers!

  3. avatar Zookbinders Wedding Albums reply

    What a lovely wedding! I love the location!

  4. avatar Alden Rykard reply

    Beautiful wedding! Love the venue and floral detailing!

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Laura and Jonathan’s Texas wedding is absolutely lovely, as you’ll see below, but what’s most inspiring about this couple is how much they prioritized what matters most during their three-month (yes, only three!) engagement. They left most of the details in the hands of Chrissie Stuntz and Branching Out Floral and Event Design, and spent their time as an engaged couple focusing on preparing for their marriage. Laura described their celebration as “casual and comfortable and good for the soul,” and from the looks of it, that is exactly what they achieved!

Thanks so much to Stephanie Brazzle for sharing this sweet day with us!

Describe your wedding flowers. Oh gosh, to be honest, I don’t have a clue what a single flower in there was called. All I know is that they were stunning! Debby Jewesson brought my dreams to life–beautiful greens and whites in a beautifully imperfect, but still elegant, combination. I remember explaining the vision for our wedding to her as “casual and comfortable and good for the soul.” She brought that to life in the best way.

Planning for our marriage was absolutely the priority for Jon and me. We prayed for our marriage–a lot. We worked hard to make sure the actual wedding took a backseat to our relationship. We read books that older, wiser couples recommended to us. We went to professional premarital counseling and had the opportunity to talk through our communication and conflict styles, our expectations, and other difficult topics, such as budgeting and families. We really recommend it!

Our vows were a hybrid of the traditional wedding vows and vows written by a pastor at Living Hope Church in College Station, Texas. I really love every line, but I will share just a few here! From Jonathan’s, “By God’s grace, I will love you and lead us towards Christ. I will provide for you, pursue you, and keep you safe.” From mine, “I will encourage you, support you, and in all things, fight to put your needs before my own.” From both, “I will never leave you, because God commands me, and because I love you.”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I love trees and Jonathan loves anything outside, so I immediately started looking for a giant, majestic tree to host our ceremony in front of. I didn’t realize that most of the trees that serve as wedding venues are located a bit outside the city. After a LOT of searching, we found the Cooper Hotel and Fitness Center right in the middle of Dallas. We were able to have the ceremony and the reception outdoors at Cooper, so it was the perfect choice for us.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The food! Blue Bell ice cream, brisket, quesadillas, and cornbread. There is nothing like Southern cooking, and we enjoyed sharing these traditions with Jonathan’s family, who came from all over the country. Also, the fact that we had an outdoor wedding in late October was quite Southern–you can’t do that in the North!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Sitting down at dinner next to Jonathan and looking around to see everyone he loves and everyone I love together in one place, eating and laughing and enjoying the evening. These are the people who will stand by us through every hard thing, whose relationships we cherish, and in that moment, we were able to look around and remember “Every person here is a gift to us. We are thankful.” I will never forget that!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I met Jonathan in India during our intern year at International Justice Mission, an NGO that protects the poor from violent injustice. We had both just graduated from college and moved across the planet to begin this work that meant so much to us, and we were initially a bit annoyed to find a really incredible, relatable, and distracting member of the opposite sex working in the department next door. We hesitated to begin a relationship for a lot of reasons, but after several months, Jonathan asked me to dinner at the nicest restaurant he could find. We fell in love over French-pressed coffee and chicken tikka masala, while driving his scooter through the streets of a city so dear to us, and constantly learning something new about our good and gracious God.
Tell us all about the proposal! Jonathan COMPLETELY surprised me, which is impressive because I was on high alert! Back in the States, I flew home from meeting his family in Milwaukee. We had a tearful goodbye, and I had no idea that he was totally faking it and jumping on the next plane to follow me to Dallas! I was walking through the Arboretum with my best friend Kellie, when there he was, this incredible man, asking me to be his wife. I said YES!
When did y’all get married? October 25, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 170
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our timeline! We wanted a three-month engagement, so we didn’t have the luxury of shopping around. Fortunately, we had Chrissie Stuntz (the greatest wedding planner of all time) to lead the way–she knew everyone and everything, and with her connections, we were able to make bookings very quickly!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We used a LOT of greenery, which was far more affordable than flowers and just as beautiful. We lined all our own envelopes and e-mailed out our save the dates. Cooper Hotel let us bring in our own alcohol, so we bought all the wine and beer at Costco. We also used Uber for our getaway car, which I highly recommend!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Make a list of things that you and your fiancé really, deeply care about including in your wedding. Stick to those priorities regardless of what challenges them. Take a deep breath and LET GO of everything else. Two other random suggestions: 1. Take an AdvilPM the night before your wedding so that you actually sleep, and 2. Give a bridesmaid the specific job of looking you in the eye about every hour or so and saying something like “Stop. Look around. Remember and give thanks for this moment.” I wish I had remembered better to stop and be so grateful for the incredible people surrounding me all day, and for all they were doing for Jon and me.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Jonathan and I are enjoying the cozy apartment life in our completely new city of Madison, Wisconsin (brrrrr!). We start law school (Jon) and graduate school for social work (me) in the fall. We loved living in India and are certainly open to moving back, but until then, we are learning how to be married and enjoying the American life–cheeseburgers, coffee shops, and baseball games included. :)

Photographer: Stephanie Brazzle / Planner: Chrissie Stuntz / Venue and Catering: Cooper Hotel and Conference Center / Florist: Branching Out Floral and Event Design / Cake Baker: Romano’s Bakery / Rentals and Lighting: Taylor’s Rental Equipment Co. / Band: Inside Out / Special Details: Destiny Foundation / Paper Products: Minted / Bridal Salon: Bridal Boutique of Lewisville and Olivia Caballero / Hair and Makeup: La Bichette / Bride’s Shoes: Vans / Bridesmaids’ Dresses and Groom’s Attire: J.Crew / Groomsmen Attire: J.Crew and Banana Republic

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

    I love how you incorporated your Kappa pin! I am also a Kappa and have been trying to find a way to “wear” mine and my sisters’ pins as part of my something blue or something borrowed. This is a beautiful wedding!

  2. avatar Martha reply

    Such a great wedding story. Loved reading it! Any chance we could get the details on the designer and style of that gorgeous dress?? I absolutely LOVE it!

  3. avatar Featured: Southern Weddings » Dallas Wedding Photographers – Stephanie Brazzle reply

    […] If you missed out check out Laura and Jon outdoor wedding on Southern Weddings […]

  4. avatar Marisol Arguello reply

    Beautiful pictures and Beautiful wedding.

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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