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Ellie and Nick met in a fraternity house in college, and while their love story might not have started in the most romantic way, their wedding is another story! Ellie and Nick worked with their florist, Botanica, to take the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts from a monochromatic museum into a romantic reception full of lush blooms, and of course, lots of Southern details! During their wedding planning, they not only focused on planning for their marriage, but on being hospitable and throwing a party guests would enjoy just as much as they did. I can’t help but love that they included a generational blessing given by their fathers and grandfathers. Such a sweet way to not only honor their family, but also to include them in their celebration.

So wonderful of Kristen Weaver to share this lovely day with us!

Tell us all about the proposal! During September 2013, I was in my last year of law school at the University of Chicago and Nick had just started his first year of medical school at the University of Florida. I made a trip to Gainesville for the weekend to see Nick and attend the UF-UT football game. On Friday, Nick suggested that we visit Paynes Prairie, a state park just south of Gainesville. We had the prairie all to ourselves and enjoyed seeing the wildlife and hiking the trails. Toward the end of our trip, we climbed to the top of a three-story watch tower and relaxed on the porch swing. Before heading back down, he got down on one knee to propose. After his very sweet speech, he reached into his pocket to pull out the ring, but accidentally pulled out the car keys instead! He had taken the ring out of the ring box so he could stealthily fit it into his athletic shorts pocket, but it had gotten caught up in the keychain. After a good laugh, I said yes!

I’ll admit, finding my wedding dress was harder than I anticipated. I bought a dress at the first boutique I went to–my mom, grandmother, and my three best friends were all there, and I foolishly let the excitement get to my head. Afterwards, I had some regrets, but assured myself that I would be happy when the dress arrived and I could try it on again. Well, it turned out that the boutique ordered it two sizes too small and then told me I must have gained weight (in fact, I had lost weight). I left in tears and tried to avoid talking about wedding dresses for as long as I could. Thankfully, my mom sensed my anguish and booked a trip to visit me in Chicago so we could go shopping for THE dress. We went to a few places, but we knew the search was over when I tried on the Esther dress at Vera Wang. We all cried (even our sweet bridal consultant!) and then celebrated with champagne and mini cupcakes. It was total redemption from our first experience and one of my favorite memories from wedding planning.

Describe your wedding flowers. We worked with Ian and Zoe at Botanica and they totally nailed it. I brought in pictures of loose, cascading bouquets and arrangements, but only had a vague idea of what colors I wanted. It was Ian’s idea to use more neutral tones for the ceremony and then pump up the color for the floral arrangements at the reception, which was in a rather monochromatic room.

We chose to have a first look. Those few minutes when it was just the two of us were the most peaceful moments of the whole day and a feeling I’ll remember forever. Even though we saw each other beforehand, nothing could have taken away the thrill of seeing him at the end of the aisle. It was the best of both worlds! Plus, we were much more relaxed in our pictures before the ceremony–after the ceremony, we were itching to get in there and celebrate with our friends and family!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We found out a few months before the wedding that there would be a huge evening festival in the same park where we were going to hold our ceremony. Thankfully, the music wouldn’t start until an hour after the ceremony, and the wonderful people at Botanica assured us that they could create a wall of greenery to stand between us and the event. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because the wall created so much privacy that the ceremony felt much more intimate than it would have otherwise, festival or not!

To begin the ceremony, my cousin sang the praise and worship song “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman. Nick and I love the song and thought that it would set the ceremony off on the right foot. I chose “Dawn” from Pride and Prejudice to walk down the aisle to. I’ve always loved the book and the movie, and I thought it was a beautiful arrangement. Nick and I walked back up to aisle to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” We wanted something fun to let everyone know that the party had started!

We chose the Museum of Fine Arts with our guests in mind. Most of our guests were coming from out of town, so we wanted them to be able to enjoy their weekend without worrying about the logistics of driving, parking, and all that good stuff. The museum fit the bill of being close to a major airport, within walking distance of a ton of great restaurant and hotel options, and large enough to hold 180 people.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? To me, being Southern is all about family and hospitality. To honor our families, we featured pictures of our parents and grandparents at the ceremony and cocktail hour, we chose my uncle to officiate our ceremony, he read out of a Bible that has been passed down from my great-grandmother, and we had our fathers and my grandfather come up during the ceremony to give a generational blessing. We got to keep the handwritten notes from my grandfather’s blessing, and they are among our greatest treasures. In all of the wedding plans, we tried to focus on being hospitable and throwing a party our guests would enjoy just as much as we did. We had custom corn hole boards set up during the cocktail hour and on the patio during the reception. We made sure all of the children felt welcome and entertained by including a box at their seats with a coloring book, an I Spy game, and some other fun goodies. And of course, the food was Southern! Our cocktail hour appetizers included blackened alligator, fried green tomatoes, and game sausage. Dinner began with a basket of cornbread at every table and included a shrimp and grits station. Our late-night snack was BBQ pulled pork sliders on sweet potato biscuits. We made sure our guests went home with full bellies!

We had a wedding cake (lemon cream cake with raspberry filing and simple buttercream frosting) and a late-night dessert bar of fried Oreos, Twinkies, and Snickers with raspberry sauce!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our love story didn’t start in a very romantic way–we met at his fraternity house during our sophomore year at the University of Florida. My friend had just finished an exam and was planning a low-key night in with her friend, Michael, and she invited me to tag along. Turns out, Michael was Nick’s best friend and fraternity brother (he even ended up being the best man at our wedding). Nick wandered into Michael’s room at some point during the night, we started talking, and we hit it off right away. We exchanged numbers and kept talking, even when I moved to Italy for a summer abroad. He asked me to be “official” from 5,117 miles away over Skype.
When did y’all get married? November 22, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Nick and I tried to keep in mind that the real event was committing ourselves to each other in front of God, our friends, and our family. All of the other stuff was just icing on the cake. With that in mind, we tried to be conscious of how we dealt with each other during the process, because we knew we were setting the foundation for our marriage.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We got really lucky with an incredible team of vendors, but I will say that we just adored Bryan and Tracey from Lucky Lemon Films. They really took the time before the wedding to get to know us as people, not just as a generic bride and groom, and to let us get to know them. Nick and I are both camera shy, but they made us feel so at ease. Their work is incredible and we really felt like they captured who we are in the wedding film they created. We can’t stop watching it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are enjoying settling into our first home together in Gainesville with our dogs. 2014 was a hugely busy year for us, so we are taking it easy and cherishing our first year of marriage!

Photographer: Kristen Weaver / Videographer: Lucky Lemon Films / Planner: Nancy Cotto / Venue: St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts / Florist: Botanica / Cake Baker and Caterer: Olympia Catering / Rentals: Botanica / Lighting: Encore Lighting / Band: Brett Foreman Band / Paper Products: Invitation Consultants / Bride’s Gown: “Esther” by Vera Wang / Bride’s Accessories: BHLDN / Hair and Makeup: Rachel Reumann / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Nordstrom / Groom’s Attire: J. Crew / Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Dog Sketch: DM Creative Studios

marissa Written with love by Marissa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Bridget reply

    What a delightful wedding. Her wedding ring is one of the prettiest I’ve seen.

  2. avatar Kristen Weaver reply

    I can’t say enough about how much I adored Ellie and Nick, and photographing their wedding was definitely an honor for us! They are a beautifully wonderful couple and I’m so happy to see her wedding published on Ellie’s favorite blog!

  3. avatar Michelle reply

    Wow, this place looks so amazing !

  4. avatar Kristin reply

    Where are the flower girl dresses from?

  5. avatar ashley reply

    Hi i was just wondering who the designer was for the bridesmaods dreses

  6. avatar 6 Wedding Themes That Will Rule 2017 – Cyprus Weddings Magazine reply

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Getting married in the same church where your parents did is such a sweet way to honor your family, but that’s not the only reason I am smitten with Blythe and Ryan’s wedding! We are wedding date twins (BDK and I were also married on December 13!), and their ceremony was held at my very favorite church! I grew up attending the amazing Cathedral in downtown Mobile, and I not-so-secretly wish BDK and I had tied the knot there. The columns alone will make you weak in the knees! Add a classic lace Lela Rose gown, stunning all-white blooms, and a yummy menu at the Mobile Country Club, and you’ve just jumped onto the list of my favorite weddings we’ve featured!

Thanks to 509 Photo for sharing this lovely day with us!

P.S. Can we talk about Blythe’s getaway style? That dress + that fur–B, let’s be friends, okay?

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was our sophomore year at Alabama and I was on my way home for the weekend when I got a call from my friend, begging me to turn around and come back to Tuscaloosa, so I did! That night, we went to dinner with a girl who had just transferred from Georgia and did not know many people. After dinner, we went to to DKE house to hang out and meet her boyfriend and his roommate, Ryan. Little did I know, Ryan and I would end up getting married five years later!

I flew to Birmingham one weekend to meet with our planners, and stopped by Ivory and White to look at dresses. I had seen a Lela Rose dress online that I liked, but I did not know how it would look in person. I tried it on and LOVED it, but then I tried on another Lela Rose dress and loved that one too!! One was more classic and the other was a little edgy, and in the end, I decided to go with the more classic dress.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not! Ryan is very superstitious, so the first time we saw each other was at the altar!

I grew up Catholic and always wanted to get married in the Cathedral downtown. It is such a beautiful church and my parents were married there years before on December 12, so our anniversaries are a day apart! We are members at the Country Club of Mobile, so it was a natural choice for our reception. We loved that the back room opened up to the outdoors!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The wedding party took a trolley ride from the church to the reception, and it was so much fun having everyone together!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? All of the food served was inspired by the South! From the grilled oysters, to the boom boom shrimp, to the Chrissy’s, to the groom’s cake (complete with a Texas flag)!, we loved it all!

Tell us all about the proposal! I hate New Years Eve–I think it is so overrated, and I would much rather stay at home and have pizza and wine! Ryan made reservations for us at a restaurant called Steele near my apartment, and we planned to meet his parents and friends for drinks beforehand at the Katy Trail Icehouse. For some reason, Ryan wanted to walk there on the trail–he usually never wants to walk! When we got to the trail, I saw candles lit and roses all over the stairs leading up to the trail. I started walking right past it (thinking, “Oh great, someone’s getting engaged and it’s not me–again!). Then, Ryan grabbed me, got on his knee, and popped the question. Of course, I said yes! We then headed to the Icehouse, where all of our friends and family were there to celebrate! It was such a special night and I will never forget it!
When did y’all get married? December 13, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I live in Dallas and the wedding was in Mobile, so it was very hard to not be there and plan everything in person!

Photographer: 509 Photo / Planner: Mariée Ami / Ceremony Venue: Cathedral Basilica Of The Immaculate Conception / Reception Venue and Caterer: Country Club Of Mobile / Florist: Elizabeth’s Garden / Cake Baker: Couture Cakes / Band: Musical Fantasy / Bride’s Gown: “Spring” by Lela Rose / Bridal Salon and Bride’s Accessories: Ivory and White / Hair Stylist: Jason Chambers / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale

Ivory and White is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Michelle reply

    Beautiful pics !

  2. avatar Stephanie Scholl reply

    What a classic, romantic, and gorgeous wedding this is! I’m loving all of the details, including the black & white photos!!

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This fall, we have had the pleasure of having Christina, a senior at UNC, as our editorial intern! Her sweet disposition, positive attitude, and love for weddings have made her a delight to have in the SW office, and we will certainly miss her. We couldn’t let her leave without introducing y’all to a beautiful wedding, so we invited her to write today’s post! – Lisa

Recognize these college sweethearts? Y’all just might have seen them on the last page of V7! Cody’s surprise proposal to Meredith at a photo shoot is one of the sweetest moments I’ve ever seen, and when the proposal is that special, you just know the wedding will be even more meaningful. So many elements of this Nashville wedding, from the family barn venue to the original songs performed by dear friends, were so true to their home state, and we can’t think of anything more Southern and meaningful than wearing your momma’s veil! This couple’s love makes our hearts so full, and we are so delighted to share their special day, photographed by The Image is Found!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did, and my favorite was my old and borrowed! I was able to wear my mother’s veil that she made herself years ago. She grew up in Brussels, Belgium and used actual Belgian lace from my great-grandmother to hand sew the cathedral veil, almost 35 years ago. It felt like wearing a piece of family history.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did a first look, and it was perfect. We wanted to have time to take a breath, slow down, and enjoy each other on our wedding day. Having no one else around made the first time we saw each other really special, and it helped us feel like we hit pause for just a second when there was a lot going on.

We got married just outside of Nashville in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee. Our ceremony was in an open field next to my uncle’s house, and we had the reception at his barn. We love the small town feel of Leiper’s Fork, and we have spent a lot of time out there. We even have family holidays in the same barn.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Lucky for us, several of our friends are amazing musicians. Jillian Edwards and Parke Avery played cover songs at our ceremony, and I walked down the aisle to one of Parke’s original songs. Living in Nashville lends itself to having incredibly talented friends! During communion, Parke played “Your Love is Strong” by Jon Foreman. Standing out in the field, listening to those words of truth was such a grounding moment and a reminder of why marriage was designed by the Creator–to show His unconditional love and commitment to us.

Our flowers were literally exactly what I had envisioned. Lauren Ledbetter and I searched for flowers that I loved and incorporated greenery as well. She arranged the bouquets with peach garden roses, pink spray roses, white anemones, dusty miller leaves, seeded eucalyptus, willow eucalyptus, and peach ranunculus. However, what I think tied it all together (literally as well) was the handmade silk ribbon from FrouFrou Chic.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Most weddings in Tennessee are naturally pretty Southern, but Leiper’s Fork is about as Southern as it gets! Having our ceremony in the land trust and reception next door at our family’s barn was pretty special. It meant a lot to us, and it’s a place that we can always visit and relive our wedding day. We used a tractor’s trough to hold cold beer, hay bales were covered in quilts for extra seating, and we drove away in a 70’s Chevy K-5 Blazer.

Since our venues were an open field and the family barn next door, the biggest challenge was being the first wedding held there. There were no blueprints to follow or anyone saying “We often do it like this.” My mom and I spent a lot of time planning out the logistics… and the lack of a rain plan! We were so blessed, as it turned out to be such a beautiful day in October.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Cody and I met during our freshman year in college. We had the same math teacher, and our classes were back to back, so we would pass each other every day and catch each other’s eye from time to time. Cody and I fit into the “opposites attract” category. I came from a small school in Nashville, am a perfectionist, and I was social, but an introvert at heart. Cody, on the other hand, was always the life of the party, smart without even trying, never forgot a name, and was incredibly charming. I went to Knoxville devastatingly homesick for Nashville, catching rides home every weekend. Finally, a few weeks into the semester, I had to face my biggest fear: staying the weekend on campus. Somehow, I ended up hanging out with Cody, and it changed everything. For the first time, I got to see Cody in his element: his city, his family, and his abundant excitement for life. After that, I never could quite shake him. I learned that grades didn’t have to come at the expense of my college memories, and I learned that getting an A+ is not always worth the adventures missed out on. The next seven years have been nothing but incredible adventures with a man who quickly became my best friend. I assure him it’s okay to simply stay in alone and watch Crazy, Stupid, Love, and he convinces me to stay out until 3 a.m. to sing karaoke. Regardless of being so different, there is something to say for being “known” so deeply in all of your quirky ways. After five years of dating and two years of long-distance (and me making the mistake of casually saying “I don’t want to be engaged during school”), I graduated from Vanderbilt on a Thursday, and less than 24 hours later, he asked me the question that he without a doubt knew the answer to.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Cody: Well, I can tell you right now that I’ve always known I was going to marry Meredith. Like Mere said earlier, she once made the comment, “I don’t think I want to be engaged during school,” so naturally, I proposed the day after she graduated. We were at a wedding in December when Rachel Moore unknowingly kicked my plan to propose in high gear. She asked Meredith’s friend Tori (the bride) who we were and if we would be models for a styled shoot. Before the shoot, I called Rachel, and she LOVED the idea of a proposal during the shoot. I talked to Mere’s parents, got the ring, and coordinated with Rachel (all under Meredith’s nose), and the big day finally arrived. I hid the ring all day, we had so much fun, and Meredith still had no idea what was about to happen. At the end of the day, Mere had changed into her “getaway” dress, and Rachel set up the shot for us to be “leaving the reception” so I could pop the question. We waited till the end of the shoot was so that if Meredith cried, her makeup wouldn’t be messed up for the entire shoot! Sure enough, before I could get all of my words out, the waterworks were in full effect. Mere still didn’t believe it was happening (as her face shows in the pictures) until I pulled out the ring, but she said yes!
When did y’all get married? October 12, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: In honor of both of our grandparents who had passed away, we had each of our brothers carry a flower down the aisle during the seating of the grandparents and set the flowers in their chairs. It was a way for us to remember them on our wedding day and remind us that they were cheering us on from even better seats.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Pick three things that are most important to you, and budget around those three. If you have a certain photographer, dress, or band that you absolutely have to have… go for it! Budgeting can be so difficult, but we would say invest in what you care about and find a way to cut costs and make sacrifices in areas that do not matter to you as much. For us, we were fully invested in photography and band, but the cake was not so important. Every couple is different, and when you look back, you just want it to feel like “you.”
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? The next big thing on our list is buying a house! We know the house hunting process might take a while, but we’re excited to plant some roots in Nashville and have a place to call home.

Photographer: The Image Is Found / Planner and Florist: Lauren Ledbetter / Venue: Private residence / Cake Baker: The Painted Cupcake / Catering: Temple Catering / Rentals: Music City Tents & Events / Band: Groove Addiction / Paper Products: Hardink Calligraphy / Bride’s Gown: Allure / Hair and Makeup: Amanda Gros / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale / Menswear: Express / Silk Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic

The Image is Found is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by Southern Weddings
2 Comments
  1. avatar Claire Cowman reply

    Wow! Her smile is so contagious! You can just tell when brides are radiating a pure joy on their wedding day!!

  2. avatar Heather reply

    Beautiful wedding. I love that the groom was willing to follow the brides wishes of not wanting to be engaged in college but knew how much he loved her and asked within 24 hours of graduating. Beautiful story!

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