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Hallie (who is an actual cowgirl, y’all!) always knew she wanted to get married at her family’s farm, but after saying “yes” to Griffin’s heartfelt proposal came all of the logistics! They quickly realized that their goal of having the whole wedding at this meaningful property was not in the cards. As a compromise, they gathered their closest loved ones there for the ceremony and a cake and champagne toast, then headed to The Haw River Ballroom for their reception. Hallie’s parents have been regulars at the Saxapahaw General Store restaurant since they opened, so even though it wasn’t home, the ballroom already held plenty of family memories. This self-proclaimed sentimental couple loved celebrating in both locations with all their loved ones, at a wedding that not only nodded to their own love story, but also their families and their Southern heritage.

We’re so happy our friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor Graham Terhune was on hand to capture this beautiful day!

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Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we did a first look, primarily to knock out as many photos as possible before our reception. After talking over our thoughts with our photographer, Graham, he created an amazing moment for our first look at the ceremony site. Griff stood with his back to me among the antique pews, and I came out of my grandmother’s front door and walked up behind him. It was an incredibly powerful moment and we were both so thrilled to finally see each other. Immediately following our first look, our groomsmen walked from my parents’ home on the opposite end of the farm through the field to my grandmother’s house, on the same path that I used to take between the houses as a little girl. Griff and I stood by the fence and watched them traipse through the field, sunglasses on, in their tuxedos. It was such a fun moment!

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I can’t say enough good things about our wedding flowers and our experience with the Flower Patch of Hillsborough. It’s a family-run business that our family has loved for almost three decades. I was a bit of an atypical bride and wanted pumpkins, gourds and other earthy details to be a major element in all of our decor. Dionne from the Flower Patch took my wild ideas and brought them to life in the most incredible ways. From the garlands decorating our ceremony, to our bouquets, to the breathtaking arrangements at our reception, she truly captured and executed my vision flawlessly.

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Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows–we borrowed traditional vows from the Presbyterian church. That said, since we were getting married in a nontraditional environment, we had the opportunity to write the rest of our ceremony with input from our officiant. Writing our ceremony together was one of the most fun and meaningful things we did together while wedding planning.

I borrowed the antique cameo necklace that my mother wore on her wedding day in 1980, as well as her antique diamond earrings from the 1920’s. My something old was the lace wrapped around my bouquet, which was taken from my mother’s wedding gown. My dress from Traditions by Anna in downtown Raleigh was new and my garter was Carolina blue–a nod to Griff’s alma mater.

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What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Griffin and I are incredibly sentimental people. Our wedding celebrated us, but it also truly embraced both the autumn season and our Southern ancestry. Wherever we could, we sourced elements of the day from our families and their traditions. Speaking of small details, one of Griff’s and my father’s favorite moments was the burying of the bourbon to ensure fabulous weather. In late September, we buried a bottle of Jefferson’s bourbon upside down on the spot of our ceremony, and it worked! Our day was a perfectly cloudless, 72 degree fall day. Griff dug up the bourbon immediately after the ceremony to celebrate. It was a wonderfully impromptu moment.

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I have known that I wanted to get married on my family’s farm since I was a little girl. As soon as Griffin and I got engaged, we talked with my family about how to make it work logistically and quickly realized that we likely needed an unconventional plan to pull it off. We ultimately decided to have a small gathering for the ceremony in my grandmother’s front yard, in front of a 200-year-old oak tree, followed by a reception at our beloved Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw. My parents have been regulars at the Saxapahaw General Store restaurant since they opened, so working with their team felt almost like we were having the reception at home. It’s funny–as soon as we made this plan, everything else simply fell into place without issue, and it truly felt meant to be.

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Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Beyond the incredible weather of that day, we both agree that our favorite detail was the very quick supper we enjoyed by ourselves at the Saxapahaw General Store while waiting to make our entrance. The buses dropped us off at the restaurant door adjacent to the Haw River Ballroom, and we got to sit down in one of the booths with all of the other diners, see our favorite folks on staff, and enjoy a few wonderful bites of our reception food. It was incredible to come in wearing our wedding attire and sit down just like any other Saturday date night!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Griffin and I met in 2008 while working at one of Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s most beloved watering holes. He was finishing up his degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and I had just returned home from Montana, where I had been working as a cowgirl. Griff was a lead server at Top of the Hill, and trained me on my very first day. We immediately became friends and, though we had both sworn that we’d never be in a relationship with another redhead, we started dating a little less than a year later.
Tell us all about the proposal! We were living near the Chapel Hill Botanical Gardens when we first adopted our dog, Bear. There are multiple trails leaving the botanical gardens, and our favorite was the one to Merritt’s Pasture–a beautiful, pastoral spot in the middle of Chapel Hill. On the day of the proposal, which was also our four-year anniversary of dating, Griff talked me into taking Bear for a walk there again, even though it was misting outside. He had a backpack, which I assumed held a towel and water for the pup, but once we got to a bench at the top of Merritt’s Pasture, looking down over the creek and trees, he whipped out champagne and glasses. That was when I knew something was up! He proposed with his grandmother’s diamond, which was special in that it was from his father’s side of the family, and his father had passed away unexpectedly a few years before. Unfortunately, I never got to meet his father, so to have this connection meant the world to me. We had the diamond set by the incredible team at Wade’s Jewelers of Gibsonville to match my great-grandmother’s wedding band from 1913, which is now my wedding band.
When did y’all get married? October 25, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? We had 75 at the ceremony and 220 at the reception.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Immediately following our small ceremony, we held a cake and champagne cocktail hour with that intimate group at the farm before heading to the Haw River Ballroom for the larger reception. My incredibly talented sister made the wedding cake we enjoyed at that time from devil’s food cake and buttercream icing recipes that have been in our family since the 1800s. The recipes were my great-grandmother’s, and I am named for her husband, my great-grandfather Hallie, so it felt like a wonderful tribute. We opted to not have a second cake at our reception. Instead, I wanted to celebrate and embrace autumn with an array of seasonal pies and desserts so that everyone could find something to enjoy. The team at the Saxapahaw General Store pulled that vision off to perfection.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? In the year leading up to our wedding, we worked hard to understand one others’ communication styles better, especially as they applied to finances. We also made sure to take time away from planning to talk about our future beyond the big day–especially about our goals and dreams, both short and long term. Those times kept us grounded and focused on what was important, and I believe it started us off on the best foot possible once we were married.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge for us came early on–accepting that our initial vision for both a ceremony and reception on the farm wasn’t going to work. At first, it was frustrating for a time, because we wanted to share the place we loved with all of the people we love, but the logistics for our vision continued to be prohibitive in so many ways. When we realized how much stress holding both events at home would add, and therefore possibly detract from our families’ enjoyment of the day, we pivoted and got the best of both worlds. We were married on the farm, but enjoyed the reception in a place where every detail was handled for us.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We purchased a 1930’s bungalow in downtown Durham shortly after our wedding and we are so looking forward to putting some time and love into it in the coming months and years. We’re also tentatively planning a trip abroad sometime in 2016–likely to Ireland!

Photographer: Graham Terhune / Planner: Carly Abernathy of La Fête / Ceremony Venue: Private Residence / Reception Venue: Haw River Ballroom / Florist: The Flower Patch / Wedding Cake: Sarah Sessoms / Caterer and Dessert Baker: The Saxapahaw General Store / Rentals: American Party Rentals / Band: The Troupers / Paper Products: Ply / Veil: Bespoke by Olga’s Bridal & Formal Couture / Hair and Makeup: Lanee Brooks Salon / Bridesmaids’ Dresses and Bride’s Shoes: J. Crew / Bridesmaids Robes: Belles of Cotton / Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers / Groomsmen Attire: Julian’s of Chapel Hill / Jewelry: Wade’s Jewelers / Ceremony Strings: Elegant Ensembles / Officiant: Ed Sansbury / Quaker Wedding Certificate: Emily Brooks Designs

Graham Terhune and Ply are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Graham reply

    Still one of our favorite weddings ever! Such a fabulous couple!! Thank you for sharing their day!

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Fun fact: the Equestrian Elegance shoot in Southern Weddings V8 has actually been many years in the making! We love working with KT Merry (see past editorials she has shot for us here, here, and here), and have always known that she has a huge passion for all things equestrian. Last year, while driving through the Virginia countryside for a V7 shoot, Emily and I couldn’t stop talking about the beauty of the landscape and that we’d love to highlight it in an upcoming issue. Finally, when we connected with the talented team at Easton Events about creating something magical for V8, all the pieces fell into place for the creation of a truly incredible Virginia horse country shoot. We couldn’t be more thrilled with how it came together!

Biggest thanks to KT Merry, Easton Events, Beehive Events, the team at Pippin Hill, and so many more wonderful folks (see below for the full list!) who brought this gorgeous spring day to life!

As Emily mentioned yesterday, each of our editorials in this issue revolved around the story of a couple we dreamed up. Our Equestrian Elegance bride is an avid horseback rider, and after meeting her groom at the University of Virginia, they decided to tie the knot in Charlottesville at a celebration that highlighted the magic of this corner of the South. This stunning invitation suite by Amber Moon Design perfectly set the tone!

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If many of your guests will be traveling to celebrate with you, greeting them with local treats (or simply your favorites) is a thoughtful idea. For this Virginia basket, local wine, apples, and peanuts were musts!

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Y’all, how breathtaking is our bride? Beehive Events used plenty of spring blooms (including dogwoods, Virginia’s state flower) in her bouquet, and we love the way they looked against this subtly printed Romona Keveza gown. The pastel shades make a statement, but are still lovely and classic.

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We were so excited to finally work at Pippin Hill Farm! The views of the Blue Ridge Mountains make a stunning ceremony backdrop–we used beautiful wicker chairs and two simple floral arrangements that set the space, but didn’t distract from the natural beauty of the venue.

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Some of our favorite details from this editorial came out during cocktail hour–from treats for the horses (plus a sign illustrating proper feeding technique, of course!), to local cheeses and meats, to Virginia peanuts, to an ombré display of local wines. As a favor, guests were sent home with “horse feed”–a custom blend of granola served in classic Weck jars.

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With the help of natural elements and tons of texture, our neutral color scheme had a big impact. Casa de Perrin kindly sent the most exquisite china, flatware, and glassware for us to use, which were the perfect complement to Beehive Events‘ furnishings and florals.

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East West Production also made a gorgeous film to accompany this editorial–take a look below!

For more from this feature, be sure to pick up a copy of V8 online here or on news stands across the Southeast!

Photographer: KT Merry Photography | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Videographer: East West Production | Planner and Stylist: Easton Events | Florals, Linens, Rentals, and Props: Beehive Events | Venue and Caterer: Pippin Hill Farm | China, Flatware, and Glassware: Casa de Perrin | Hair Stylist: Yolonda Jones | Makeup Artist: Lora Kelley | Cake: Buttercream Bakeshop | Paper Goods: Amber Moon Design | Calligraphy: Anne Robin | Illustrations: Karina Puentes | Bride’s Gown: RK6408 by Romona Keveza | Vintage Ring: Trumpet & Horn | Groom’s Suit: J.Crew | Bow Tie: Gold Coast Goods | Children’s Clothes: Petite Bebe | Vintage Helmet: Bluebird Creek Vintage

lisa Written with love by Lisa
8 Comments
  1. avatar Marion Blount reply

    This is breathtaking. Easton Events always sets the bar high! Beautiful!

  2. avatar Rhiannon reply

    This is by far one of my fave shoots in V8. It’s beautiful! Kudos to everyone involved!

  3. avatar Erin | Elizabeth Anne Designs reply

    this is absolutely breathtaking—every perfectly planned and styled detail… and captured by the lovely KT Merry!

  4. avatar Katie B reply

    Reasons why this is one of my ALL TIME favorite shoots:

    1) As a horse crazy girl who never quite grew out of it, this really speaks to my heart!
    2) The landscape, wow, I can see why you guys were inspired after driving through this countryside!
    3) Understated Elegance. The beauty of the scenery really took center stage!
    All the hearts for this one :)

  5. avatar Jessica reply

    The couple, the food, the setting is absolutely gorgeous. I love how they included the children in the wedding.

  6. avatar Bethany H. reply

    I can’t get over how gorgeous the bride is! That dress was made for her!

  7. avatar Dana reply

    this is the most perfect virginia wedding shoot in the world!

  8. avatar Southern Peach Summer Wedding Palette | Hey Wedding Lady reply

    […] Photo by KT Merry Photography, Event Design by Easton Events, Wedding Cake by Buttercream Bakeshop via Southern Weddings […]

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Emily and I had the pleasure of traveling to Kentucky earlier this summer, and even though we were there for just a few days, we quickly fell in love with the Bluegrass State! Kelly and Mick fell in love quickly, too–while these University of Kentucky sweethearts started as friends, they knew right away that there was something more between them. Since one of their favorite traditions is attending nearby horse races (Mick even incorporated a horse race into his creative proposal), their wedding combined Kelly’s dream of an outdoor celebration with inspiration from their favorite date, to create a day that was as meaningful as it was beautiful. See how many gorgeous Southern details you can spot–from the bourbon barrel tables to the escort cards and more, there are lots to admire!

Thanks so much to Lynnesy Catron for sending this sweet day our way!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! My something borrowed was a thin rose gold ring of my mother-in-law’s. It is her favorite ring and it is one of a kind. My something blue was my Christian Louboutin shoes–the most amazing splurge of the wedding! Mick stole them the day before the wedding without me knowing and wrote the cutest message on the bottoms. My something old was my grandmother’s wedding band. My grandmother passed away a few years ago, and I had always wanted to wear her ring when I got married. Mick’s mom also gave me the ring that Mick’s dad gave her the day Mick was born. My something new were two amazing presents from my husband: he had a ring created in rose gold that has the Roman numerals of our wedding date, and something I’ve always wanted, diamond earrings.

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My mom’s best friend owns a wedding boutique, Rebecca’s Wedding Boutique. She gave me the best present, and allowed me to go to bridal market with her and the staff in Chicago before my wedding. I worked at the boutique when I was in high school and sold wedding dresses to brides, so I knew a ton about wedding dresses and the designers. After the first day of previewing and shopping, I did not find anything that I loved, but the very last fashion show of the day was Watters, my favorite designer. When I watched my dress in the show, I knew instantly that it would be mine. Rebecca is close friends with the crew at Watters, so they let me go backstage and “model” the dress I loved. I walked down with my mom and friends from Rebecca’s watching, and I knew it was the one. It was such a special moment and I loved finding my dress that way.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The boys walked in to “My Old Kentucky Home” being played on the violin. I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon in D played on the violin, which was meaningful to me because both my mom and Mick’s mom walked down the aisle to that song.

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What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? With Mick working in the horse industry and my love of outdoor weddings, we knew that our wedding would be outside on a farm or centered around horses. When my lifelong friend found out we were engaged, she told me that I had to check out her friend’s venue, Saxony. With one visit, we knew it was right for us.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Where to start? We used all local produce for our menu, which included hot browns, shrimp and grits, and bourbon maple-glazed salmon. Our signature drinks were a bourbon sour and a madras. Mick’s mom hand-painted the most beautiful horses that were used as table numbers and a display over the tent. I also made bourbon barrel tables with glass tops that had wine corks in the bottom. To continue with the Southern horse racing theme, the escort cards were old fashioned betting totes (tickets). Brass name plates on the tables resembled name plates typically found on horse bridles. I also collected antique milk glass for the vases and antique gold frames to put pictures in. Instead of the traditional guest book, we asked people to sign old fashioned rocking chairs. For years to come, we can sit in the seats and read the words from all of the people who love us.

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I have an unnatural obsession with peonies–there were over 400 peonies at our wedding! They lined all of the tables in single vases, in the bouquets, and in all of the flower arrangements. I love how romantic and airy the peonies were, and they blended well with the outdoors.

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Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The family-inspired touches. We are both very family focused, and wanted that to show throughout the wedding. We had so many old family pictures of everyone displayed that it felt like we were home. Also, since Mick’s dad has passed, we had a special painting where people could write things that Jeff may have said if he were at the wedding.

Take a peek at Kelly + Mick’s wedding film, too!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Mick was the first boy that I met at UK. We met on my very first day of college and were friends for a year, but already knew that there was something more. We took a geology class together, and Mick later told me that he took really great notes so that I would study with him. He even made sure they were very neat so that I would be able to read them (our pastor mentioned that during our ceremony). When Mick finally asked me out, we did the traditional movie and dinner date, and then on our third date, he took me to church with his mom and sister. Ever since, we have always been together.
Tell us all about the proposal! Mick works in the horse industry and I have grown up around horses. Every year, we try to make it to the track at least once with our couple best friends, and during the spring meet, we decided to go. I always pick a horse based off their names, not their stats–I just pick whatever is familiar to me or meaningful in some way. I had just won on the third race when Mick handed me a program and suggested that I pick one out for the fourth. It was a normal-looking program, and I start reading the names. The first one, Mr. Goldhouse, was a nod to the nickname for Mick’s college house–the first place we ever met. The second horse was Captains Quarters, which is the place we exchanged our first “I love yous.” The third horse was named My Girl Millie, Millie being the name of our dog. I told Mick and our friends that I had to bet on that horse, but they told me to keep reading. What followed next was St. Maarten Sweetheart, the first place we took a vacation together, Clubhouse Spouse, meaningful to his family, and White Wedding Dancer. I turned the page for the last horse, and it said Marry Me Kelly. I looked to see him down on one knee! After he asked, I noticed that the “jockeys” were all of our family members. It was amazing! He had had the page Photoshopped the day before and placed it into the program, complete with logos and everything. I had no idea!
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We had the most amazing minister who met with us many times and helped us go over everything that we had not already discussed. We had the tough talks as well as the fun ones, and having a guide like Scott was the best thing that we could have asked for.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Taking care of everyone. I tried hard to make sure that both sides of the family were taken care of. I probably put too much of this on myself, but I just really wanted to make sure everyone felt special during our wedding.
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? Flowers! My amazing wedding planner arranged all of my single peony arrangements, and that saved a ton of money. Talking with vendors in detail and really shopping around helped me become a savvy bride. I also made the chalkboards, signage, bourbon barrel tables, and bar letters myself (with help).
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Relax and enjoy the process! Everyone wants their wedding to be perfect, but make sure you enjoy yourself along the way. Especially two months out, start delegating! Your bridesmaids and MOH are there to help.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just started the process of building a house, so that will be a huge step for us. Moving into our very own house and starting a family there is what we are looking forward to most these days. Also, we are looking forward to Mick’s sister’s wedding this February! We are so excited for her and her husband-to-be, and cannot wait to celebrate with them.

Photographer: Lynnesy Catron / Videographer: Jenn Byrne / Planner: Marti Holnagel / Venue: The Polo Barns at Saxony Farm / Florist: Stems / Cake Baker: European Delights / Caterer: The Woodford Inn / Rentals: Purdons / Band: The Jordan English Band / Bride’s Gown: “Kian Corset” and “Priya Skirt” by Watters / Bride’s Accessories Rebecca’s Wedding Boutique / Hair and Makeup: Katie Russo Beauty / Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Maid of Honor’s Dress: “Sophia” by Watters / Bridesmaids Dresses: “WTOO 852” in Latte by Watters / Groom’s Attire: J. Crew / Groomsmen Attire: Macy’s / Tent: Goff Tent / Furniture: Canvas Event Furniture

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

    Beautiful! I love the horses on the tables – what a unique touch!

  2. avatar Featured on Southern Weddings {Mick + Kelly} | reply

    […] + Kelly’s highlight reel of their gorgeous wedding at Saxony Polo Farms is featured on Southern Weddings today! Be sure to stop on by and see all the beautiful photos captured by the lovely Lynnesy Catron […]

  3. avatar Meg Gravley reply

    So delicate! From the decorations to bridesmaid dresses – this is beautiful. The simplicity puts the emphasis on the couple, I love that.

  4. avatar kelly » Lynnesy Catron Photography reply

    […] read about Kelly and Mick’s love story, take a peak at their feature on Southern Weddings.  Kelly and Mick are two, absolutely beautiful people and I loved getting to know their friends […]

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