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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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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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When we decided there would be a pig involved in one of our Southern Weddings V8 shoots, it became absolutely imperative that we had behind-the-scenes photo and video footage shot to share with you all. Thanks to Olivia and Elizabeth of Nancy Ray Photography and the team at Heart Stone Films, we have so much goodness today!! Please enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at Love Preserved!

We adore this short film from Heart Stone Films!

See all of the finished photos and vendors from this shoot here!

emily Written with love by Emily
8 Comments
  1. avatar Maureen reply

    I love watching ya’ll work your magic. So fun to see behind the scenes!

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    This day was magical. LOVE these pictures!!

  3. avatar Kristina reply

    These behind the scenes posts are so much fun! I especially love the videos ;-)

  4. avatar Marilisa reply

    Those flower girls with the pig are TOO cute! Love this, ladies!

  5. avatar Amy reply

    This shoot looked like so much fun! Looking forward to seeing it in the magazine!

  6. avatar Rhiannon reply

    The best day ever! Still can’t get over that sweet little piglet :)

  7. avatar Hey Gorgeous, The Blog – Au Revoir 2015 reply

    […] I went off again to North Carolina for both my fifth time at Making Things Happen and my second Southern Weddings Magazine editorial. All in one week! If there was one theme prevalent during the first half of my year it […]

  8. avatar Au Revoir 2015 :: Rhiannon Bosse reply

    […] I went off again to North Carolina for both my fifth time at Making Things Happen and my second Southern Weddings Magazine editorial. All in one week! If there was one theme prevalent during the first half of my year it […]

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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