In the Sweet Tea Society, we share a belief that simple is often better, and Rachel and Sam’s wedding day is a perfect example of this sentiment. They chose to honor God, their family, and their own love story at their sweetly simple wedding, reminiscent of Southern celebrations from times past. They held a morning ceremony at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where Rachel’s grandparents were married in 1950, followed by a brunch reception, complete with sweet tea and the buzz of good company to celebrate their day. I love how Rachel and her mom kept each other focused during their planning by asking “what kind of significance will this really have?” when considering details. What a poignant question to keep in mind.
Big SW hugs to my friend Brooke Glassford of Colorbox Photographers for sharing this lovely day!
I had originally decided that I wanted to wear my mom’s dress. It is a beautiful lace gown that I loved, but we knew there were a couple of things we would want to change about it. We went wedding dress shopping just to get ideas, but the girls at The White Room really did their job well! I ended up falling in love with an Anne Barge dress, and I was really torn about it, but my mom assured me that it was my dress. I am so happy with the choice. We ended up using some lace from my mom’s gown on my veil that she sewed herself, which ended up being even more special to me. It is something we will pass down for generations to come.
Our wedding was more like the Southern weddings in times past–it was at 11:00 in the morning and we served brunch with lemonade and sweet tea afterwards. We enjoyed the company of friends and family and didn’t have anything fancy going on other than the buzz of good company.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My grandparents were wed at St. Paul’s in 1950. It is the church that I grew up in and that my father grew up in and that my grandfather grew up in. It was very special to my family and to Sam and I that we were married in a place with such rich history and deep meaning.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? This is a hard one. I think the most memorable moment of our wedding day was saying my vows to Sam. That was the moment when everything started to really sink in for me. I also really loved this moment that after we were announced as husband and wife, we turned around to face our friends and family, and the whole church joined in to sing the Doxology. It was such a joy to get to see so many loved ones and to sing praise to the Lord with them!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? The main way that we planned for our marriage was through prayer for our future. We prayed for each other as well as ourselves in the new roles we were about to take on. Our main desire for our marriage is that the Lord be honored and glorified.
Our wedding flowers were beyond gorgeous! The day before our wedding, I had to run by the church and ended up walking into the reception venue. I was immediately in tears because of how beautiful everything was, and because of the people who blessed me with the talent they have been blessed with. Two women who have had a big impact on my life, and especially on my walk with the Lord, were in charge of all of the flowers. They, along with a team of family and friends, created more than I could have ever asked for. The flowers certainly pointed to the beauty of the Lord and the brilliance of what He creates.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Sam and I met in kindergarten. Although we “dated” from 7th-12th grade, we say that we truly started dating our junior year of college after we became Christians. We know that it is only because of the Lord’s great mercy on our lives and His great love for us that we are able to love each other.
Tell us all about the proposal! October 10, 2014 is one of my most favorite memories. It was just a normal Friday, and a close friend of ours had invited us over to eat with their family at their cabin, about 30 minutes outside of Auburn. I didn’t think twice about it, even though Sam came up with a thousand excuses for why the Sheils were coming to the cabin after us. He was basically on one knee the second we stepped out of his truck and onto the porch. He recalled lots of things that had happened over our 11 years together and talked about wanting me to be his wife. I was completely shocked and so excited that I didn’t say anything for a while! He then prepared a delicious meal for us and we sat on the porch for hours, excitedly talking about our future together and thanking the Lord for allowing it all to really happen as we had always wished.
When did y’all get married? July 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 250
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. We really wanted to have that moment to ourselves to soak in the day before all of it moved too quickly to remember. Seeing him at the end of the aisle waiting for me was still just as special and exciting as I had always dreamed it would be.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 1 Corinthians 13 was read during our ceremony by our officiant, Sam’s dad. He talked about how our home needed to be built on Godly love in order for our home to be sustained.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I think the biggest challenge for us was our guest list. We knew we wanted a more intimate ceremony, and although 250 guests doesn’t seem very intimate to some people, in our small, Southern town, it is! Cutting down the guest list was definitely challenging for us.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My parents asked me to choose three things that were really important to us for our wedding. We chose three big, important things and tried to cut corners on everything else. My mom and I would stop each other and ask, “Is this really that important?” Or “What kind of significance will this really have?” It made the planning process a lot more enjoyable.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My advice is to enjoy the process! It is something you will never have the opportunity to do again, and it’s neat to think that the Lord planned this specific time just for you. Praise Him for it, thank Him for it, and give it up to Him. Planning seemed like a breeze because I knew I wasn’t doing it alone.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right after we got married, we moved to Tuscaloosa from Auburn. We both just started new jobs here and are looking forward to getting plugged into a local community in this new place.
Photographer: Brooke Glassford of Colorbox Photographers / Videographer: David Haygood / Venue: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Carlowville / Florals: Catherine Gilmer and April Lane / Caterer and Cake Baker: Granny B Catering / Rentals: Encore Rentals / Paper Products: Kadie Smith / Bride’s Gown: “Pembroke” by Anne Barge / Bridesmaids’ Hair and Makeup: Amber Todd / Bride’s Shoes: Toms / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: David’s Bridal / Menswear: Jim Massey Formals / Ties: Landisun
I love, love, love the heart and simplicity behind this wedding! It’s so refreshing to see a wedding these days that evokes the feel of weddings of the past… less focused on the details and the party and more focused on simplicity, family, community, and love. Thanks for sharing this one – it sure it gorgeous & is one to remember!
Thank you SO much for featuring this wedding! It was an honor to capture AND an honor being featured by SW!
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Seriously, seriously beautiful wedding. I am so in love with the central focus of love, family, and God in this wedding. This reminds me of looking through your grandparents’ old wedding albums and it was just chock-full of happy pictures; a blushing bride and a dapper groom. So beautiful. Let’s return to this again, y’all!
I watched this couple grow up…It was indeed a great day!!! A glorious day!