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Y’all, you’re not always going to agree with your beau when it comes to wedding planning (or in your marriage!)….and that’s okay! Communication and compromise are incredible tools to combat these little tangles. For today’s darling couple, choosing a venue might not have been a disagreement, but it did take a bit of time for Evan to fully understand Hannah’s venue preference. Hannah had always dreamed of getting married in the historic chapel on her boarding school campus, and while Evan may not have shared her vision at the beginning, it only took one visit to Saint Mary’s before he was on board, telling Hannah “I totally get how special this chapel is to you now, and I’m excited to share a memory with you here.” And share they did! These two lived out one of my very favorite pieces of wedding day advice: stick together! Hannah and Evan vowed their lives to each other on their wedding day, but also promised not leave one another’s sides the whole day after the ceremony, helping them to experience their special day together and share the same memories. BDK and I also used this simple technique, and I cannot support it more!

Thank you to Almond Leaf Studios for being on hand to capture this beautiful day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I’m a decisive girl, but would much rather have five things to pick from than twenty. I went wedding dress shopping with my mom, my sister, and my maternal grandmother in Charlotte, where I grew up and these ladies live. We went to a great boutique downtown called Hayden Olivia and I ended up finding my dress that day! I walked in and told the Hayden Olivia girls that I was not a fan of lace…and then, lo and behold, I walked out with a full lace dress. The way that I knew I had “the dress” was that when I put it on, I felt completely confident and like myself.

I went to an all-girls high school in Raleigh, North Carolina for boarding school and have always dreamed of getting married in the historic chapel on campus. My sweet groom was so patient through the whole planning process, and when I described how special Saint Mary’s is to me, he was on board with being married there. When Evan finally visited the chapel on one of our planning trips to Raleigh, he hugged me and whispered “I totally get how special this chapel is to you now, and I’m excited to share a memory with you here.” Saint Mary’s agreed to let us have our reception on campus too, since the girls were out for summer break. It ended up being perfect and so convenient for us, our bridal party, and our guests!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Unbeknownst to us, our officiant asked our parents and grandparents to write a short piece of marriage advice for us, which she read during her homily. It was so special and completely a surprise!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? It’s hard to pinpoint what was specifically “Southern” about our wedding because Southern is just who we are, but there are a few things that stand out. We served ham biscuit and chicken and waffles passed hors d’oeuvres with mojitos and sangria during cocktail hour. Our cocktail hour entertainment was a bluegrass trio, which is pretty darn Southern. We served Jack Daniels and craft beers from Tennessee and North Carolina, each of our home states, during the evening. The grandmothers and mothers wore corsages. Our reception entertainment was a movin’ and shakin’ soul band out of Atlanta called Evolution Party Band.

Evan and I vowed not to leave one another’s sides the whole day after the ceremony, and that was the best decision we made that day. It meant that all of the memories that we made on our wedding day were made together and in the same moment. A wise man gave me the advice that when it’s all said and done, this day is about your newly declared obligations to your spouse and your spouse’s to you. Greet your guests, have fun with them, but don’t forget to make all of the memories together with your new spouse. That’s the most important person on your wedding day and for the rest of your life.

We wanted our whole day to be reflective of us, so I chose wedding flowers that felt very natural and organic. We used lots of greens, whites, and some blush colors in loose arrangements. Gregg of Brides & Bouquets even incorporated some fresh herbs and blueberries into the arrangements, which was way cool!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I think the most important thing to think about is that you’re not planning a wedding–you’re planning a marriage. The dress and frills are great and all, but at the end of the wedding day, you should really be thinking about the fact that you entered the ceremony as individuals and left the ceremony a new family. That happens in a mere matter of minutes and that’s pretty darn amazing. It’s really important not to lose sight of that. Also, if you have room in your budget, hire a wedding planner! Even if just for the day, it’s nice to have someone be “in charge” so you, your mama, and your bridal party can just enjoy the wedding.

Evan gave me my (now our) dog, Honeybee, in college. My parents weren’t totally on board with me having a dog in college, but my dad is a beekeeper and I decided that naming the dog “Bee” would surely win my parents over. Cha-ching, it worked! The honeybee kind of became a theme at our wedding, thanks to our dog being named Bee, the outdoorsy feel of the wedding, and my dad’s honey from his latest harvest being our favors. We decided that having a cake that looked like a beehive would be a neat way to tie everything together. It looked amazing and tasted even better! We had one tier of lemon, one tier of almond, and one tier of confetti cake. We cut into the confetti cake tier–so fun!

Don’t miss their wedding film by Heart Stone Films below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Evan and I met during our freshman year of college at the University of Tennessee. Mutual friends organized a backpacking trip in the Smoky Mountains and invited both of us along. After a weekend of camping, hiking, no showering, and sleeping on the ground, Evan still wanted to take me on a date! We returned from our backpacking trip on Sunday and Evan took me on our first date on Monday evening. Seven years together passed before our wedding day! To this day, being outside together is still our favorite pastime.
Tell us all about the proposal! After college, Evan and I both decided to pursue our dreams together, but apart. He worked on a boat in the Bahamas and I worked in an art gallery in London. To make things even more convenient, we were accepted to graduate schools in different states. When he started dental school in Memphis Tennessee, I started graduate school for art education in the mountains of North Carolina…a fun eight-hour drive apart! Evan asked my dad (and siblings) for their blessing over Christmas break of 2013, knowing that being all the way in Memphis meant that he might not see my family again for a long time! Nine months later (the secret nearly killed my sister), Evan flew out to Western North Carolina to visit me for a weekend in October 2014. We decided to go for a hike with my dog to enjoy the perfect fall weather and take in the changing leaves. We got to our summit spot on the hike and sat for a little picnic. After we ate lunch, Evan popped the question. I did not see it coming and was totally surprised! The best things about the proposal were that it was reminiscent of the way that we met, and we got to enjoy the moment all to ourselves for a few hours as we hiked back down the mountain!
When did y’all get married? June 20, 2015, nine months after the proposal
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 200
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No first looks. We decided to keep it traditional, and the tears in our eyes when we saw each other made the wait totally worth it.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a guitarist and a violinist as our ceremony musicians. They played “What a Wonderful World” during the seating of the mothers and grandmothers, “Here Comes the Sun” during the bridesmaid processional, “Water is Wide” when my dad and I walked down the aisle, and “Oh Happy Day” when we left the chapel. We had a bluegrass trio to entertain during the cocktail hour and an larger band during our reception.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Sure did. I borrowed my mom’s veil, had my new monogram stitched into my dress in blue thread (and my bridesmaids wore blue!), the diamond in my ring was Evan’s grandmother’s, and my dress was new. I also wore a handmade lace garter that has been worn by women on my mother’s side of the family for several generations. We even remembered to rub a sixpence in my shoe before the ceremony, another family tradition, for good luck!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We will be in Memphis until Evan finishes up dental school, so I’ll be painting and teaching, and then who knows. To infinity and beyond!

Photographer: Almond Leaf Studios | Videographer: Heart Stone Films | Planner: Orangerie Events | Ceremony Venue: The Chapel at Saint Mary’s School | Reception Venue: Saint Mary’s School | Florist: Brides & Bouquets | Wedding Cake: Sugar Euphoria | Dessert Baker: Sweet Water Ices | Caterer: Belle’s Catering | Rentals: Party Reflections and Paisley and Jade | Lighting: Get Lit | Band: Evolution Party Band of East Coast Entertainment | Special Details: One and Only Paper | Paper Products: Little House Shoppe | Bride’s Gown: Modern Trousseau | Bridal Salon: Hayden Olivia | Hair Stylist: Studio Etica | Makeup Artist: Makeup for Your Day | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank | On-site Painting: Ben Keys of Wed on Canvas

Heart Stone Films, Orangerie Events, and Sugar Euphoria are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Paisley & Jade reply

    We absolutely love this wedding! The Orangerie styling of our chalkboard bar is gorgeous and our London Doors as a popcorn bar?! Just awesome. Thanks so much for featuring Hannah and Evan’s beautiful day!

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Small towns and the South go together like biscuits and honey–they each seem to bring out the best in one another, don’t you think? Since Abigail and Adam’s love story began in their neighboring North Carolina mountain towns, there was no place like home for their rustic fall wedding. With limited venue options in her small hometown, Abigail and her family set out to help restore an abandoned produce packing warehouse. Not only did it become the perfect industrial space for her and Adam to celebrate with all their loved ones, it also now serves as an event space for the whole community. What an incredible legacy to leave!

Thank you so much to Michelle Lyerly for sharing this special day with us!

My mother, mother-in-law, and sisters came to Charlotte to help me find a dress. When I walked out in the dress I eventually bought, no one said a thing until we heard my best friend, who we called over Facetime, quietly say, “Oh, Abby!” We collectively started crying at that point and got right to work on the alterations.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? It was important to us both that the moment when I started walking toward him to become his wife happened in front of all of our friends and family, who had and would continue to support us as a couple.

Adam and I grew up in neighboring small towns in the mountains of North Carolina. Our love story started there and so much of who we are and what we love came from growing up together in that part of the state. We knew we wanted to be surrounded by the love of our hometowns on our wedding day. We also knew that many of our friends from college and work wanted to experience our small town firsthand!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Choosing a venue that wasn’t actually a venue yet! Murphy, North Carolina is a small place, so the choices for an event are limited. We ended up taking a risk and choosing an abandoned produce packaging warehouse in the center of town, built around 1911, as the venue. The exposed white brick courtyard sold me on the place! Our families worked with the owner of the building to clean, renovate, and re-purpose the building for the reception within six months. It was a challenge to bring the building up to code and make it suitable for not just a party, but a wedding reception, within such a short time frame! It ended up being stunning. The building now serves as an event venue, and it’s wonderful to see the community using the facility!

We kept the flowers to a minimum. The church and reception venue were styled using collected antique silver pieces, handmade antler flower crowns, hundreds of candles, a custom lighted marquee, collected oushak rugs, and white and green pumpkins from a local farm. Baby’s breath, white and pink roses, and greenery covered the tables and bars. Original iron window frames from the building were covered in fresh magnolia branches and suspended from the ceiling.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The whole town got involved! People stopped by on a regular basis to check in on the status of the reception venue’s restoration. Our families pitched in and built the tables (out of wooden beams recovered from the venue) and bars (collected wooden shipping pallets). When word got out that my sister was collecting antique silver pieces for the wedding, people started showing up at our house with pieces they found at yard sales or from their own personal collections. My uncle hand-stitched over 500 feet of white flag pennants for the courtyard, and my sister made amazing antler flower crowns. We even had people stop by the reception and join in on the fun. It was truly a hometown wedding!

The wedding cake was a three-tiered lemon pound cake with buttercream icing. We also had a dessert bar of cakes lovingly made by family friends. There wasn’t a single slice left at the end of the day!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? A local bluegrass band from the John C. Campbell Folk School. They played on the outdoor stage during the reception’s cocktail hour, greeting everyone with soulful Appalachian music. The outdoor stage was decorated with antique oushak rugs, an antique iron candelabra, and cascading pumpkins from a nearby farm. It was magical and felt just like home.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were so young! We first met with a group of friends outside the two-screen cinema in Adam’s hometown of Andrews, North Carolina. As is the case with most 13-year-olds, we weren’t so much dating as just seeing each other at group events or ball games. Adam went to my eighth grade dance with me, and from that point on, we’ve grown up together. So many times, young love is seen as irrational or unwise, and while it is certainly unpredictable, it’s amazing when it works out. I’m so thankful to know that Adam understands every part of me: my past, my present, and my future.
Tell us all about the proposal! I was in the middle of studying for spring exams when Adam showed up with an Easter basket. Easter is my favorite holiday, so I thought he was just making a sweet gesture. Each egg in the basket held gift certificates for my favorite things, but one light blue egg held the best gift: my engagement ring! Adam and I had dated for so long, I wasn’t sure if he would be able to surprise me when the time came, but this took my breath away. It was simple, creative, and thoughtful. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
When did y’all get married? October 25, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our families are very close, so the passage from Ruth 1 was meaningful and true.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I have so many! To name a few, a very good friend of mine gave me a watercolor she painted of our dog, Franklin, and his new last name as an engagement present. We had the image printed on the cake napkins, which was a wonderful way for Franklin to be a part of the celebration. We still use the leftover napkins for our bar cart at home! We also loved our dance floor. An old circular plant holder was used to suspend a disco ball, wrapped with a garland of greenery, over the black and white dance floor, and the stage was back lit by a custom designed marquee that said A+A. It set the tone for the party! Finally, a 1971 Minnie Winnebago, renovated by my father, served mini corndogs (my favorite), Coca-Cola bottles, and homemade potato chips as the night concluded.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We met with my former youth pastor and the minister for the wedding, Danny Byers, for premarital counseling. No matter how well you know a person, it’s so important to make sure your goals, values, and thoughts on faith work well together.
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? We used a lot of florals and greenery that we could collect ourselves: magnolia leaves, dried hydrangeas, and baby’s breath. We also worked with many local vendors, which cut down on shipping and transportation costs. My sisters really went above and beyond to make every detail special, so we were able to work without an event planner and just hired a day-of coordinator.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Your wedding needs to be true to who you are as a couple. The small details that represent you and your life together will make all the difference. I would also add, don’t take yourself or your wedding too seriously. The details I loved the most were the ones that made me laugh, like the deer with the bow tie that hung in the restroom, or the ones that created a buzz–when the trucker hats hit the dance floor, people let loose!

Photographer: Michelle Lyerly / Videographer: Brian Johnson / Planner: Brittney Forrister / Ceremony Venue: Murphy First Baptist / Reception Venue: The Hackney Warehouse / Florist: Occasions Florist / Cake Baker: Tara Dockery / Caterer: Herb’s Pit Bar-B-Que / Rentals: Elegance / Band: The Root Doctors / Matchbooks and Drink Stirrers: For Your Party / Koozies: Custom Ink / Invitation Suite: Reaves Engraving / Bride’s Gown: Tara Keely / Bridal Salon and Hair Accessories: Hayden Olivia / Hair and Makeup: Salon El Khouri / Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Suits: Michael Kors / Bow Ties: Brackish Bow Ties / Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan / Dance Floor Props: Oriental Trading / Dance Floor Lights: Flashing Blinky Lights / Tambourines and Hats: Custom Ink / Watercolor Artist: Sara Bozarth / Special Details: Kendall Simmons

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

    Really huge fan of a dessert bar made by family and friends – so personal and functional. The triangular banners sewn by her grandpa…icing on the cake!

  2. avatar Dana reply

    the dress, the bunting flags, the dog napkins–what is not to love about this wedding?!

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Every corner of the South has a unique personality, and we like celebrating them all! On Fat Tuesday, New Orleans and its fabulously rich Mardi Gras history is an easy pick. From the colors to the symbols, every aspect of Mardi Gras has tradition and meaning, making it ripe with inspiration for a bold and vibrant wedding! If you need a brief run-down on Fat Tuesday fun, check out this post we published last year, then scroll down for the rest of the celebration!

The team, lead by Ashley from The Graceful Host, chose two dresses by Modern Trousseau from Hayden Olivia Bridal. Both were full volume and totally glam, just like Mardi Gras! They also included a cathedral-length veil, a classic choice for New Orleans brides, many who marry in grand cathedrals.

Separk Mansion, a newly renovated home, was the perfect backdrop. With Mardi Gras as their inspiration, the team chose to infuse the energy and fun of carnival season into the floral design while still keeping the overall look formal, like a Mardi Gras ball.

Classic New Orleans delicacies like mini muffulettas were served.

Love this ruffled cake linen, inspired by the bride’s gown! Sweets were in no short supply, from the tiered cake to beignet truffles. Of course, the team had to include the cake pull tradition, a New Orleans staple!

Love these fun photos Old South Studios captured of the second line!

From Ashley:

Being that I was born and raised in New Orleans, I jumped at the opportunity to design a real wedding inspiration with true New Orleans style! It was so important to me that no detail be left out. And, our bride and groom are actually a real married couple! They were so sweet, and had a blast “doing it all over again”! I wanted this wedding to be approachable and have elements that brides could take away and use within their own wedding. The entire day was so much fun, and it was so rewarding sharing my culture with Charlotte!

Photography: Julie Staley, Old South Studios | Event Design and Coordination: Ashley Culicchia Cash, The Graceful Host | Venue: Separk Mansion | Makeup Artist: Erin Ashley Makeup | Hair Stylist: Adrian Howe Esthetics & Beauty | Floral Design: Chelish Moore Flowers | Menu and Bar: Donald Shives, Best Impressions | Cake Baker: Got What It Cakes | Paper Goods: Elisabeth Rose | Rentals: Party Reflections | Wedding Gowns: “Tate” and “Teacup” from Modern Trousseau’s Fall 2014 collection, available at Hayden Olivia Bridal | Belts: Whitney Alyssa from Hayden Olivia Bridal | Jewelry: Haute Bride from Hayden Olivia Bridal | Groom’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Second Line Umbrellas: Gems Printing | Welcome Box: Paper Source

emily Written with love by Emily
9 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Those mini muffalettas are too cute!

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Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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