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It’s safe to say that I’m a sucker for a good bouquet or floral arrangement, and my office bulletin board is covered in some of my favorites from past volumes of Southern Weddings. However, not even a 15 pound (!!) bridal bouquet could distract me from how beautiful Courtney looked in her gown and gushing over the joy on Courtney and Kyle’s faces throughout their day! My favorite part? The way Courtney and  Kyle worked so thoughtfully to weave their families into their ceremony! Be sure to read the story behind why they chose to forgo a traditional unity candle and what they chose instead. It’s the perfect keepsake from their wedding day that they will cherish for years to come!

A big thanks to Cody Hunter Photography for sharing Courtney and Kyle’s beautiful day with us!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our first look was amazing. We were under a canopy of oak trees with a cool breeze blowing. It was just our photographer, the videographers, and my sister who were there with us. It was so sweet and sentimental. Kyle and I both teared up when we saw each other, but we loved those quiet moments together.

I thought I knew what type of dress I wanted, and had a very specific look in mind, but wasn’t finding it anywhere. At our last stop, Laura Jacobs Bridal, I tried on a few that were gorgeous but didn’t feel like “the one.” Finally, I went with the consultant to the back of the store, where we both eyed a dress at the same time, and knew I had to try it on. It was literally the OPPOSITE of what I was picturing. When I came out, my mom, sister, grandma, and best friend were speechless. It was the one and we all knew it!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We wanted to be married under a big oak tree, somewhere that was very natural and had a story behind it. Buckingham Farms couldn’t have been a more perfect place! We loved that it was a working family farm and all of our food was truly farm-to-table. Kyle’s dad is a third-generation cotton farmer, and I grew up playing in the Florida landscape, so plants and growth signify so much to us. Instead of unity candles, we had a unity tree–our moms brought dirt in jars from our homes where we grew up, and we poured them into the base of a tree and watered it together. It was so special and we are still growing it today!

I walked down the aisle to “Turning Page (Instrumental)” by Sleeping at Last, one of our favorite songs and one that I have loved and played on the piano for years. The lyrics to the song are so incredible, but we wanted the instrumental version so the lyrics wouldn’t distract. My dad listened to the song for months in advance to prepare, just because it brought back so many memories of me playing at home. Since I was moving away and the first to get married in my family, it was very emotional for him! One of my best friends, Lauren, played guitar and sang “Holy Spirit” by Bryan and Katie Torwalt while our parents prayed over us and we did the unity tree. That song has always been one we want as a prayer over our lives and marriage, so it was such a sentimental moment.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We focused intently on preparing for marriage over the wedding. We were so excited for the wedding, but even MORE excited to just do life together side by side. We had weekly marriage counseling, read books, and did devotions together in preparation. It really was such a sweet season of life!

The flowers were unbelievable. We wanted a very natural and organic look, but left it up to our florists to pick the flowers. My bouquet probably weighed about 15 pounds (shoutout to my sister, the maid of honor, for holding it the whole ceremony!). We couldn’t have done it without Isn’t She Lovely Florals. I met with those ladies so much to dream up what the wedding would look like, and they are absolutely incredible with their vision and execution. People still tell me to this day how amazing all the hanging greenery was!

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? It truly was such a sentimental wedding. Our guests said over and over how special our ceremony was and how truly touching it was. That was important to us. We value the significance of marriage and didn’t want to take it lightly and blow through the ceremony. That, to us, was the best part.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I am a Florida girl and he is a Texas boy. We met at the one and only Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Though we were both on Liberty’s track and field team, we had nothing to do with each other at first. (Partly because I liked another guy at the time and partly because he was very shy when it came to girls. Adorable, right?) As time went on, we slowly got to know each other and became interested in each other’s quirks and charm. Our relationship was built on little notes to one another, surprise dates, and always being open and honest with each other. We spent the long summers apart, but knew it would only help us grow closer and strengthen our communication. I knew Kyle was the man I wanted to marry early on, so I began journaling about every date and all our little moments together. That is one of my most cherished possessions to date and something we will show our kids for years to come.
Tell us all about the proposal! We were flying to my parents’ house for our big New Year’s Eve party on the beach, but a HUGE snow storm canceled our flight. Many, many flights later, we ended up flying out of Dallas and made it to Florida at 2 A.M. on January 1, 2015–proposal day! Kyle was totally himself and it was a normal day. When we got home, I went in to shower and get ready for the “nice dinner restaurant” we were going to. Kyle greeted me at my door and asked if he could give me one last Christmas present out on our dock. I went with him and he gave me a big elephant blanket (my favorite animal) and I proceeded to explain that we should get going. He was acting strange and said, “Can we make a fire? I promise, it’s a special one.” I agreed (semi-reluctantly), and as the sun went down, he made a fire in our dock fire pit. I didn’t know what was going on until he started to read parts of 1 Corinthians 13 that he had written on the fire starter sticks. Once there was a roaring flame, he came over to where I was sitting and tearfully said, “I want Christ to always be the center of our relationship. If we continue to be rooted in His word, the flame of our love will only grow stronger.” He had me close my eyes, and when I opened them, he was holding a lit-up sign he had made that said “Marry me?” I was speechless! Then, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, holding the most gorgeous ring I had ever seen. I, of course, said “Yes!” and my family came running out in celebration.
When did y’all get married? October 17, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our own vows a few nights before the wedding. It was such a sweet, sweet time together. We wrote separate vows and read them to one another. We are very active and love being outside and traveling, so one of the vows I wrote for him said, “I vow to always adventure through life with you, never lacking the sense of wonder you stir in me.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our pastor (my uncle) read aloud our life verse, that is our prayer for each other and our marriage: Philippians 1:9-11. It says, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.”
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 LOVE traveling. We are currently planning a trip to Hawaii, as well as preparing to bring home our golden retriever puppy, Bear. We are so excited to be parents to a little pup!

Photographer: Cody Hunter Photography | Videographer: Phos Media | Planner and Florist: Isn’t She Lovely Florals | Venue and Caterer: Buckingham Farms | Dessert Baker: Show Me Love Confections | Rentals: Niche Event Rentals | DJ: DJ Jorge via Stereophonic DJs | Invitations: Artifact Uprising | Place Cards: Sophia Loves Letters | Bride’s Gown: Martina Liana | Hair Stylist: Kristy Connley | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Angelo | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
4 Comments
  1. avatar Peggy Fields reply

    This is one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever seen!

  2. avatar Foldable flats reply

    So beautiful couple look .. nice sharing post

  3. avatar Greg Coltman reply

    Great use of lighting!

  4. avatar flatoutofheels1 reply

    Lovely wedding blog post…..

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Amy and Brian met on a double blind date on election night in 2012, and as the only two Republicans in the restaurant, their night may not have ended the way they would have liked politically, but personally, it turned out perfectly! After two new jobs and a new city, Amy and Brian knew they wanted to celebrate their wedding in a familiar spot: Naples, Florida. Brian grew up visiting the beautiful beach town, and Amy quickly grew to love it too. It was just right for their Southern Florida-inspired wedding, filled with bright and bold florals, and even miniature pineapples at every place setting! I love this nod to Southern hospitality, and I completely agree with Amy’s response to what could possibly be cuter than 150 miniature pineapples: “The answer is nothing.”

Thank you kindly to Set Free Photography for sharing this beautiful day with us!

Right before we got engaged, Brian received a promotional opportunity that required relocation from Chicago to Columbus, Ohio. Since our lives were a jumbled mess of moving parts at the time, I decided to travel to New York City, where my sister and maid of honor lives with her husband, for wedding dress shopping at the one and only Kleinfeld’s Bridal. I figured if I had to fly back and forth from whereever I might be living at the time for various fitting appointments, it would be best to choose a place that came with a free weekend’s stay (coupled with some quality family time)! My mom flew in from Oklahoma (where I was born and raised), and we made a fun girl’s weekend out of the trip, filled with lots of wedding to dos, dinners out on the town, and even a Broadway show! I walked into Kleinfeld’s with a handful of photographs of wedding dresses that were all completely and utterly different styles. I had a hard time expressing what I wanted to the sales representatives. but those Kleinfeld ladies sure did hit it out of the park! I felt so beautiful when I tried on my dress–I immediately knew it was the one!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We got married in Naples, Florida, where we go every year for Thanksgiving! Brian has grown up going to Naples with his parents and grandparents. I have grown to adore the place–nothing beats the combination of sunshine, the beach, and family!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not do a first look, and it was one of the easiest decisions of the whole wedding planning process, since it was one of Brian’s only real demands! Brian wanted the first time he saw me on our wedding day to be when I was walking down the aisle to meet him. If there is one thing my husband is not, it’s emotional, but as that moment was happening and I got closer to him, I saw that he was crying. He never, ever, ever cries, and it was one of the most special moments of the day.

My something borrowed was the most special “something.” Brian’s mother passed away after a long battle with cancer a few years ago. I didn’t get the opportunity to meet her, but he raised my husband into the man he is today, so I know she must have been an incredible woman. During my bridesmaids’ luncheon the day before the wedding, my two sister-in-laws gave me her wedding band as a gift for my something borrowed. I have worn it every day since the day I received it. My something old was a coin that my Nana, my mother, my sister, and I all wore in our shoes on our wedding days. I had to tape mine on the sole, since I wore sandals!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Everyone was incredible, but I have to say my sister, Emily Collins. She did all of the calligraphy for the wedding, from the save the dates and invitations, to the place cards, to the beverage signs, to the escort sign, to the programs, to the welcome baskets, and much more (pretty much on every piece of stationery in my wedding!) She is a high-end interior designer and architect by trade, and it was so incredible to have a little piece of her in my wedding in these ways. I love her dearly and will be eternally jealous of her amazing artistic abilities!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We had real miniature pineapples above each place setting. It was such a small, discrete detail, but I was head over heels for them! What could possibly be cuter than 150 miniature pineapples? The answer is nothing.

We had two different types of wedding cake (for chocolate and vanilla lovers), and we also had yummy desserts served at the tables immediately following dinner. The desserts were very Florida-inspired–chocolate-covered strawberries, fresh fruit tarts, Key lime pie tarts, and cannolis. The Key lime pie tart was probably my favorite!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We first met on a double blind date on the night of the 2012 presidential election. We were inadvertently set up by one of my best friends and bridesmaids, Emily, and one of Brian’s fraternity brothers, Jake (we have to give credit where credit is due!). We were the only Republicans in the entire restaurant, so we ensured all of our drinks were sent to us red, infused with grenadine. While the night didn’t end well for us politically, professionally (hello, mini market crash), or physically (work was not fun the next morning), it did work out personally!
Tell us all about the proposal! Brian proposed to me on a summer night in August. He told me that he had made dinner reservations for us at Gibson’s, a Chicago favorite. As I began hailing a cab from our apartment to the restaurant, he grabbed my hand and started walking me down the street and across the Wells Bridge that extends over the Chicago River. He led me to the front of the restaurant and bar where we had first met two years before, and we sat on the patio for a drink before heading over to Gibson’s. After a delicious meal, we walked out of the restaurant, and he started directing me to an unknown location. We ended up on the Lake Michigan beach, with the beautiful Chicago skyline lit up behind us. Before I knew it, he was on one knee, asking me to marry him. It was beautiful, private, and perfect, and one of the happiest days of my life. After the proposal, he led me to a fancy schmancy hotel in downtown Chicago, complete with an overnight bag packed by one of my best girlfriends, rose petals, and a bottle of celebratory champagne. The room faced the water, so we watched the Navy Pier fireworks go off while excitedly calling all of our best friends and family members. The next morning, Brian took me to a surprise brunch, where all of our friends were anxiously waiting for us!
When did y’all get married? April 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had two readings: “A Marriage” by Mark Twain and Romans 12:1-2, 9-18.
Describe your wedding flowers. In one word, stunning! I might be a little biased, but they were the most beautiful florals I have ever seen! Bright, tropical, fun, flirty–exactly what I had envisioned!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Plaid bow ties and navy suits, pink champagne and whiskey ginger signature cocktails, a stocked cigar bar cart with custom labels and match sets, and Southern Florida-inspired bright and bold florals, to name a few!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We moved cities (from Chicago to Columbus), got two new jobs, purchased a home together, and moved into said home, all while we were planning our wedding! It was an extremely busy time, but all of these moving parts were true blessings!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t dwell in the details, enjoy every moment of the planning process, and approach the bumps in the road with a light heart–everything will end up as perfectly as you imagine!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Travel, settling into a new city, making new friends, and (of course) kids!

Photographer: Set Free Photography / Planner: Jet Set Wed / Venue and Caterer: LaPlaya Beach and Gold Resort / Florals: Isn’t She Lovely / Cake Baker: Ella Cakes / Rentals: Sweet Southern Charm / Lighting: O’Ryan Sound / Band: Society Hill via Brett Foreman Productions / Paper Products: DM Paper Designs and Honest to Emily / Bride’s Gown: “R4BIS” by Le Spose Di Gio / Hair and Makeup: Jamie Lyn Cintron Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Stella McCartney / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “G856U” by Amsale / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank / Trees: Foliage Factory

marissa Written with love by Marissa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Stacy Sullivan reply

    Thank you for featuring this beautiful wedding! We are doing a happy dance!! Always on honor to be featured on your inspirational wedding blog! xo

  2. avatar Pristine Chapel Lakeside reply

    This is a very beautiful wedding. The gold, pink, and white compliment each other beatifully. The groom’s blue suit goes really well with the color scheme.

  3. avatar Dana reply

    I love her flower crown!!

  4. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #203 – Floridian Social reply

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It is so special to see a couple who celebrates their marriage in a way that is a perfect fit for them, even if that celebration is less than traditional. Morgan and Brian are a lovely example–with the help of their planner and designer, Kylie Swanson, they said their vows by the ocean in Marco Island, Florida, surrounded by just 21 of their loved ones. A few weeks later, they also celebrated with family and friends back home in Oklahoma. We were delighted to share both parts of their wedding celebration in V7, and are equally excited to share them with y’all today, starting with their romantic seaside ceremony. We hope they inspire you to think outside the box and plan your wedding in the way that is most meaningful to you!

Thanks so much to Aaron Snow for sharing Morgan and Brian’s gorgeous wedding with us!

I have always adored the ocean, so choosing a destination wedding and getting married on the beach was a dream come true. Exchanging vows by the ocean was significant for Brian as well–when he was a teenager, he felt like God had told him that one day, he was going to wake up every day by the sea. Well, my name, Morgan, actually means “by the sea.” The symbolism is beautiful.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? My favorite part about my dress was its simplicity. The fabric was Spanish tulle and silk, so it was very lightweight. The design had a delicate, feminine, free-spirited quality that fit my personality. It was ideal for a beach wedding.
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? I let my older sisters choose a dress that they loved and felt beautiful wearing. It came in three colors: blue, blush, and mint. We chose mint!

Tell us about a date you’ll always remember. We will always remember our first date to a Tulsa Drillers minor league baseball game; Brian bought us tickets directly behind home plate. It felt as if we had the entire stadium to ourselves because there were so few people in attendance that night. It wasn’t a wildly extravagant date, but it was a precious and memorable one, filled with incredible warmth, happiness, love, and laughter. There’s something to be said about the simple things in life. All we wanted to do was spend time getting to know each other, and we truly cherished every single moment together. I pray that every moment is still deemed extraordinary, even fifty years from now. Life is made up of moments!

Exchanging our vows was the most special part of the ceremony. Those two simple words, “I do,” shaped the rest of our lives. Marriage vows are a covenant between best friends to love and cherish each other through thick and thin; they are promises to be lived out in each moment.

Did you try anything new or nontraditional? One thing in particular that stood out as nontraditional is that we decided to have everyone stand around us during the ceremony rather than bring out chairs. It made for a really magical moment.

Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? Everyone was special, but one person in particular traveled over 24 hours to celebrate with us! Brian and his parents flew my best friend, Natalie, into Florida from Zimbabwe to be a part of our special day. We surprised her with a bridesmaid dress in her hotel room, and it was a very tearful, happy moment for everybody.

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? We had a short cocktail hour at our wedding in Florida and it was a great transition for our guests while we wrapped up some portraits with Aaron.

We left the floral design up to Kylie, and after our initial meeting describing the type of design that I’m drawn to, I knew she would be able to pull together something incredibly beautiful. It was so surreal seeing my bouquet for the first time, because Kylie managed to pull together all of the colors and textures I loved and create something so spectacularly gorgeous.


Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? I don’t know if it was a family tradition necessarily, but Brian’s dad read a powerful blessing over the two of us and over every married couple present at our reception.

What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? Brian surprised me by serenading me after we exchanged vows. He sang “Happy” by The Daylights, which was “our song” during our entire engagement. It was amazing!!!

Don’t miss Morgan and Brian’s wedding film by Pen Weddings below!

When did y’all get married? May 29, 2014
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.We were introduced while hundreds of miles apart–Brian was finishing his college education in Mississippi and I was studying in Missouri. We met for the first time in person on May 19, 2013 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after a month of long-distance courting. We would Skype for several hours every day, sharing our hearts on just about everything: hopes, dreams, desires, and fears. We discussed our strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and anything in between. Most of all though, Brian and I talked about our mutual love and passion for the Lord. All of our conversations–no matter how brief or lengthy, casual or serious–pointed to God. Beyond our compatibility, we both were deeply devoted to our faith and pursued the heart of God above all else. We honestly fell in love with the reflection of Christ that we saw in each other. We were inseparable that summer. Brian says that when he saw me for the first time, he knew I’d have his heart for the rest of his life. After six months of dating and a lot of prayer, Brian proposed. We got married a year and ten days after meeting.
Tell us about the proposal! In January 2013, Brian’s parents took us to Israel to tour the Holy Land with our church. Brian decided that there was no better place to ask me to join him as “one” than the very spot where Jesus asked to be one with us: the Garden of Gethsemane. Standing at the base of the Mount of Olives, Brian read to me from John 17, dropped to one knee, and proposed. I said YES! Along with a sparkly new engagement ring, Brian gave me a heart carved from olive wood. Olive trees hold incredible symbolism, and we were surrounded by them during the proposal. The olive tree thrives under great heat and is known for its tenacity. They live, grow, and bear fruit in any and every condition: hot, dry, cold, wet, fertile, rocky, or sandy. It is said that you can never kill an olive tree–even when cut down or burned, new shoots emerge from its roots. Like the evergreen olive tree, we pray that our marriage will withstand anything.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: It was joyful, vibrant, and blessed!

How many guests attended your wedding? 21
Who was your officiant? Why did you choose him/her? The officiant was Jason Cook, a former NFL player. He was Brian’s mentor at the University of Mississippi.

Did you try anything new or nontraditional? A fire dancer performed at the end of the night!
Did you take a honeymoon? If so, where? Since we got married in Florida, we thought it would be a great idea to start out our marriage in the Keys. After getting married in Marco Island, we rented a car and drove to Islamorada. We spent about four days at the beautiful Cheeca Lodge and Spa and stayed in a really delightful little bungalow. After our time in the Florida Keys, we drove to Miami and flew out to Turks & Caicos for eight days. We stayed at the Seven Stars Resort. The Caribbean was breathtaking!

Photographer: Aaron Snow / Videographer: Pen Weddings / Planner, Designer, and Stylist: Kylie Swanson / Ceremony Venue: Marriott Marco Island / Reception Venue: KJM The Farm / Florals: Isn’t She Lovely (Florida) and Poppy Lane Design (Oklahoma) / Catering: Marriott Marco Island (Florida) and Ludger’s (Oklahoma) / Cake Baker: Marriott Marco Island (Florida) and Amy’s Cakes (Oklahoma) / Hair and Makeup: Blo OKC / Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Bridal Salon and Veil: JJ Kelly / Bridesmaid Dresses: Dillard’s / Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic / Paper Goods: Gather & Co. / Rentals: Niche Event Rentals (Florida), Kahoy Studios (Oklahoma), and Marianne’s Rentals (Oklahoma) / Transportation: Tulsa Vintage Rides / Lighting: Zach Downing Productions

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar 365 Days of us. | Morris Ministry reply

    […] Please check out this beautiful blog post of our special day: Southern Weddings Feature […]

  2. avatar Dan Biggins Photography reply

    In a word, swoon! I dream of photographing a beach wedding, but don’t get much chance living in the UK! Beautiful photos, couple & wedding :)

  3. avatar Romantic Boho Beach Themed Wedding Inspiration For Your Big Day – Stylish Wedd Blog reply

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