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Our Southern Weddings’ Editor Jess shares her North Georgia wedding!

I’ll admit I’ve thought about writing this post since my very first day on the Southern Weddings’ team (and long before a sparkly ring was ever on my finger!). I was certain that the hundreds of real weddings interviews I’ve read and helped write for the blog over the past two and half years would leave me prepared to pen this one.

And yet here I sit, scrolling through photos and unable to come up with words to express the overwhelming joy and emotion I shared with friends and family on April 14, 2018.

As a guest, it’s easy to notice the grand moments on a wedding day. The groom’s face when he sees his bride walking down the aisle. The couple’s first dance as husband and wife. The sparkler-lined exit from the reception.

And yet, as a bride, everything changes. While wonderfully memorable, the most vivid and sacred moments from our wedding day are not the grandiose moments. Instead, they are the smaller ones tucked in among the bigger ones. The feeling of calm that rushed over me as I looked out over the ceremony as people gathered. The wink our venue owner gave me before I walked down the aisle. The words Logan whispered in my ear during our first dance.

Those are the moments I will treasure for decades to come. These moments required no preparation. Yet, they felt beautiful enough that they dipped into a sacred space, one reserved for the two of us but occurring alongside those whom we have to thank for where we are today.

During a sermon at our church a few months, our pastor said, “We gather together to remember that which we’d so easily forget if apart.” Our wedding will forever be a moment we look back on to remember the things that matter most to us–our unwavering commitment to one another and the immense love and support from our dearest friends and loved ones.

Plans make a ceremony, but friends make a wedding and love makes a marriage. We will cherish all three for years to come.

On that note, we couldn’t be more grateful for Blue Ribbon Vendor Davy Whitener who captured the images below. Looking through them brings me back to our wedding day, and we will tell others of his generosity and gift for his craft for years to come!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Logan and I took a last-minute trip to Glen-Ella Springs Inn in Clarkesville, GA over New Year’s two years ago. We were both in the middle of heavy work seasons and we needed a place to recharge. Google and a co-worker recommended Glen-Ella, and just 12 hours later we were on the road. We arrived later than we initially planned due to work and we missed our dinner reservation at the restaurant. Luci, the innkeeper, was extraordinarily accommodating and we spent a few hours the first night talking to her and learning more about her and her husband Ed’s history with and vision for the Inn. We left well-rested and (very) well-fed a few days later and always knew we had found somewhere special. After getting engaged, we emailed Luci and didn’t hesitate to say yes to their one remaining date for 2018!

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. A shorter engagement meant traditional bridal salons would have limited options for dresses, so I started to think of alternative solutions! A friend of mine is a bridal consultant at BHLDN, and she assured me I would be able to find the dress of my dreams, so I booked an appointment there. My mother, mother-in-law, sister, and sister-in-law made a day trip from NC, and I was able to have the traditional bridal salon experience of trying on dresses, but I received my dress four (!!!) days after I ordered it!

“I was thrilled for each of the ladies standing next to me, and I wanted each of them to feel comfortable in what they were wearing. Instead of choosing a single gown, I gave them a color and requested long dresses, and I loved how the mismatched bridesmaids’ gowns turned out!”

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Logan’s father is a Methodist minister, and we were thrilled when he agreed to officiate our ceremony (luckily we knew he didn’t have any conflicts with the date!). We can think of fewer marriages stronger than his parents’, and it meant so much to have him lead us into this new chapter together. In addition to Logan’s father, we asked two couples who are significant to us share a few words of wisdom during the ceremony. Both of those couples have generously shared their wisdom, homes, and lives with us. They have walked with us through difficult seasons and they daily live out their values in a way we want to emulate.

Towards the end of our ceremony, after Logan’s father (our officiant) pronounced us husband and wife, Logan looked at him and asked, “Can I kiss her now?” His dad sweetly responded, “not yet, son,” which resulted in lots of laughter at the altar! After we recessed, we headed out to the meadow with our bridal party and family, and having those moments together proved to be one of the sweetest and most joy-filled moments of the day.”

“Throughout the wedding planning process, Logan had very few non-negotiables, but he insisted the first moment we saw each other be as I walked down the aisle. With 2.5 years at Southern Weddings under my belt, I knew the advantages of doing a first look (ease nerves, get all the photos on the shot list before the ceremony), but I couldn’t convince Logan. While it would have certainly been more convenient, I’m grateful Logan didn’t cave. I have vivid memories of the moment our eyes locked for the first time, and our portraits during the cocktail hour immediately bring back the same giddiness I felt on that day!”

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“My mother-in-law offered her beautiful lace wedding veil for me to wear, which Logan’s grandparents, mother, and aunt found decades ago on a trip to Brussels. In the decades since then, Logan’s mom, aunt, his two sisters, and now myself have worn it on their wedding days. We’re looking forward to passing it down for generations to come!”

“Logan and I took the advice of many friends to prevent a hungry bride and groom, and we chose to have a private dinner in the garden before heading to the reception. Not only did we get to have 20 minutes of uninterrupted alone time, but we ate every bite of delicious food on our plates!”

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? When we thought about our wedding, Logan and I had one goal: to use it as an opportunity to say thank you to the people who have walked alongside us–individually and together as a couple. Logan and I have written many letters to each other throughout our relationship, and we loved the idea of leaving a handwritten note at each guest’s place setting to personally thank them for the impact they’ve had on our lives. It meant writing quite a few notes, but we were grateful for the chance to express our gratitude.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We love music! Each month we curate monthly playlists that have become popular in our circle of friends, so we had a lot of fun choosing songs. For our processional songs, Logan’s brother-in-law, Matt, played the guitar, and his cousin, Megan, sang. Our mothers were seated to “Come Thou Fount” and our bridesmaids walked down the aisle to one of my favorite hymns, “Thy Mercy.” My father and I walked down the aisle to a song Logan and I love, called “Oh, Sing” by The Native Sibling. It was inspired by an old hymnal that the singer spent time looking through and studying. I can’t listen to the song without tears coming to my eyes. Our first dance was “My Whole Life Long” by Delta Rae. Delta Rae is one of our favorite bands, and we love their NC roots!

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? Logan and I aren’t big cake people, but we’ve had many nights where we pull frozen cookie dough out of the freezer and grab a glass of milk! We opted for cookies and milk instead of the traditional cake, and a local bakery made mini chocolate chip, peanut butter, and snickerdoodle cookies. They even uncooked them at our request to make them a little gooey! A dear friend and college roommate made ginger snaps from her family’s secret recipe. Our only regret was ordering too few; they were all gone by the end of the night!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Sometimes love surprises, sometimes love delights, and sometimes, it does both.
Tell us all about the proposal! October 21, 2017 proved to be a day worthy of celebrating! Logan pulled off the biggest surprise of my life by insisting we take a “last-minute” trip to go apple picking in the NC mountains. He had friends cancel some plans on us, pretended to book an Airbnb at the last minute (it was already booked), and an hour after his initial idea, we were in the car on the way to Hendersonville, NC. The next morning, he insisted we get up early to beat the crowds. A few cups of coffee and a basket of Pink lady apples later, we were engaged! With the help of our families and without telling our mothers he was proposing, he sneakily arranged for our families to meet us for dinner, and we were able to share the news with both of our mothers in person!
When did y’all get married? April 14, 2018
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 145
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? The hardest part of wedding planning was the financial piece. We had to prioritize our wedding budget, which meant making a lot of hard decisions, particularly when it came to the guest list. We learned how to better communicate with one another, best manage the expectations of others, and make wise financial decisions that would set us up for a healthy marriage–not just a beautiful wedding day.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite part of wedding planning was working alongside all of our amazing vendors. It meant so much to know not only could I hand off pieces of our big day to people we trust, but in turn, we had the opportunity to support their hard work and businesses.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Logan and I paid for the majority of our wedding ourselves, and we graciously accepted the generosity of our friends. A dear friend and bridesmaid, Laura, designed all our paper products as a gift, and Emily Thomas (a familiar name to you all!) used all her Southern Weddings experience to serve as our day-of coordinator. Not only were we able to save money, but it brought me so much peace of mind to know people I respect and trust were in charge of key moments of our day. We also used candles in our centerpieces to maximize our floral budget. We skipped wedding programs altogether, choosing to put those funds to things that touched all our guests–like the delicious food!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Take it one step at a time. Over the course of our six-month engagement, Logan and I were in our busiest work seasons, my grandfather passed away, we bought a condo, and I traveled for four weeks for work. When I thought about my to-do list as a whole, I immediately got overwhelmed. However, when I broke down what needed to happen by weeks (and days), it felt much more manageable. I’d encourage every bride to take it one step at a time and think about the tasks that need to happen next. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or defer to the experts when decision fatigue sets in. Our vendor team was phenomenal. Bella Flora did an amazing job with our wedding flowers with very little guidance from me, and it was a sweet surprise to see my bouquet for the first time. And check out the tuxes from Tom! Trust the people you’ve surrounded yourself with, and prepare to fully soak up the sweetest memories.

Photographer: Davy Whitener | Planner: Emily Thomas | Venue, rentals, and caterer: Glen-Ella Springs Inn | Florist: Bella Flora Designs | Cookies: Sugartopia Sweets | DJ: Family friend | Paper Products: Laura Bennett Paper | Bride’s gown: “Rosalind” by BHLDN | Veil: Family heirloom | Earrings: Goldenstrand Jewelry | Hair stylist: Melanie Sorrow | Makeup artist: Margaret Snider | Bride’s shoes: GAP | Bridesmaid dresses: BHLDN, Tulle & Chantilly, and Tobi | Groom and groomsmen attire: Tom Dixon via Executive’s Cutting Edge | Bouquet ribbon: Frou Frou Chic

Davy Whitener is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
6 Comments
  1. avatar Stephanie Shaul reply

    Endless congratulations, Jess!!! I loved reading your wedding story, and the images from your day are truly remarkable, emotion-filled, and gorgeous! I can feel the incredible joy and love (and laughter!) that you two and your family and friends shared, for sure. Savor every moment of newlywed life! xoxox

    • avatar Jess Metcalf reply

      Steph! As always, I’m grateful for your genuine encouragement and excitement! Thanks for celebrating alongside us! Xx!

  2. avatar Kirsti reply

    Jess, I am very certain that your veil is the most beautiful veil I have ever seen!!! Congrats to you and Logan!!!

    • avatar Jess Metcalf reply

      A high compliment, Kirsti! I’m grateful it was loaned to me for our big day! Xx!

  3. avatar Francie reply

    Jess, I loved reading about your wedding and seeing all of the photos. Everything was absolutely gorgeous! As someone who loves writing and receiving letters, I was so touched by all of your letters to your guests. What a thoughtful and meaningful thing to do. Congratulations and best wishes to you and Logan! Francie (we met at MTH in March)

    • avatar Jess Metcalf reply

      Francie! It’s so good to hear from you! I’m so grateful for your kind words and for the chance to share our big day with so many friends near and far through SW! Sending you a big hug!

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