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Leigh and Steve might not be Southerners by home address, but after a trip to South Carolina, they couldn’t have imagined celebrating their wedding anywhere else. But, just like our own Emily brought the South back to her hometown New England wedding, Leigh and Steve brought a bit of their home states with them through details like mussel shells place cards from the beach at the end of their street in Massachusetts and eucalyptus to as a homage to Steve’s childhood in California. And don’t think those were the only sweet details Leigh and Steve incorporated into their wedding! From taking a boat from the chapel to the reception, just like Leigh’s parents did, to including essays from her grandparents on marriage into their ceremony, tradition and family was weaved throughout.

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Rach Loves Troy for sharing their dreamy day with us!

Tell us all about the proposal! We were about to move in together, and I wanted to have a “big talk” about our future and timelines. Little did I know that I was playing perfectly into his plan. We went out to dinner one night to talk about everything, and walked from his apartment down to the Bunker Hill Monument. Once we got there, he completely surprised me and got down on one knee. He had also hired a photographer to hide in the background to capture everything, which was perfect, because I completely blacked out! If you want to see what an “ugly cry” looks like, I will send you our proposal pictures…
When did y’all get married? April 3, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 97
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be (much to the surprise of my mom). We went to one bridal salon and shopping took a total of 30 minutes. I ended up choosing pieces of two Judd Waddell dresses–the bottom of one dress and the top of another. I loved the lace back of the dress and the dropped waist.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we did. After thinking about it for a while, we realized we would be too excited after the ceremony to want to sit and take pictures. Our wedding planner, Tara, was amazing about setting the schedule for the day. We did our first look early and took almost all of our photos with our bridal party, which allowed us to have about an hour before the ceremony to relax and hang out in our cottage across from the chapel with our bridal party and parents.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My dad has been going down to Bluffton, South Carolina to play golf with his buddies for years. A couple of years ago, he let the rest of us in on this beautiful location. I considered venues closer to home in New England, but after a lot of hemming and hawing, I couldn’t imagine getting married and celebrating anywhere else but South Carolina. We absolutely loved the Moreland Landing location for the reception, because it was very important to me that we would be able to be outside for the reception (it was impossible to find a venue in New England that would allow us to do that). The Chapel was perfect, small, quaint, and not intimidating.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We asked my grandparents to write an essay on their thoughts on marriage. They are our only grandparents still with us, and made the very big trip down to South Carolina to be with us for our wedding. It was so special to have them be a part of the ceremony.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our wedding planner helped us find an acoustic guitarist to play the ceremony music. I walked down the aisle to “Edelweiss,” which was my parents’ first dance song at their wedding. I kept it a secret, but asked them to pay special attention to it. I nudged my dad as we walked down the aisle to make sure he heard it!
Describe your wedding flowers. I loved our flowers! Amy did an amazing job bringing my description of what I wanted to life. Peonies are my favorite flowers, and they looked perfect for the spring. We also had a lot of eucalyptus, which was an homage to Steve’s childhood in California.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We both loved the reception venue, Moreland Landing (that can be a detail, right?). The wedding was in early April, and it actually snowed back home in Boston that day, so it was perfect to be outside in the sunshine along the river, and then later dancing under the cafe lights. There was even a three-story treehouse that our guests could climb up to see beautiful views of the river! A more specific detail that was special to my heart was taking a boat from the chapel to the reception. My parents took a boat away from their wedding, and it was a nice, quiet time for us to reflect and take a bit of a breather after the ceremony. We also had mussel shells for place cards that I had picked up from the beach at the end of our street in Massachusetts–I wrote out everyone’s names and sent them down to our planner before the wedding.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We ended up choosing to do a buffet versus a plated dinner, and I feel like that kept the vibe very relaxed and fun. We chose the “pig pickin'” menu, which included a lot of great Southern food! The fried chicken was to die for. We also had roasted oysters during the cocktail hour, which was a very new way to eat oysters for all of us from up North (everyone loved it).
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Make decisions about what is very important to you both (and individually) on your day, and don’t go crazy over details that are less significant to you.

Photographer and Videographer: Rach Loves Troy | Planner: Tara Skinner of Posh Petals and Pearls | Ceremony Venue: The Chapel at Palmetto Bluff | Reception Venue: Moreland Landing at Palmetto Bluff | Florist: Harvey Designs | Band: The Free via Sam Hill Entertainment | Paper Products: Goosefish Press | Bride’s Gown: Judd Waddell | Hair and Makeup: Bride’s Side Beauty | Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Monique Lhuillier

Palmetto Bluff, Posh Petals and Pearls and Rach Loves Troy are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    Upon first glance, Savannah and Zachary’s wedding is full of lovely details, pretty blooms, and an amazing lace gown from Watters. Now, while all those pieces make up one big, beautiful day, after reading through their interview, you’ll find that there is also so much more! Like we vow in our Sweet Tea Society manifesto, “we believe that planning for a wedding means planning for more than one day.” Savannah and Zachary truly brought that phrase to life with their gorgeous farm tables! Savannah’s stepfather built them especially for the wedding, and now, her mother has started a rental company to share them and other special pieces they collected with other brides. Isn’t that what the South is all about?

    Big hugs to Natalie Watson Photography for sharing this wedding with us!

    Like most girls, I have dreamed of my wedding dress since I was little. I knew that I wanted lace, and lots of it, and I knew that I did not want a ball gown. I found my dress while browsing the Watters website and immediately fell in love. I searched for the nearest place that carried the line in Tennessee and called to schedule a consultation. I specifically asked about the Kerry gown, and as it turns out, they had just received the dress the day before…in my size! I took all of my bridesmaids and my mom to the appointment. Although they picked out several other dresses for me to try on, I knew that I was set on the Kerry gown. I was just as happy with my choice on the day of my wedding and afterwards seeing it in the photos as I was the day that I chose it.

    Describe your wedding flowers. Flowers were actually something that we struggled with for a bit. Originally, I wanted peonies, but they aren’t in season in August. Neither are tulips, which were my second choice. Thankfully, our florist was able to use her knowledge of flowers to suggest alternatives that achieved the overall look that I was hoping for. It was important for me that we had more of a wildflower look than perfectly symmetrical bouquets, and I wanted to play with different textures and incorporate thistle. Our florist was able to create a look that perfectly accented our Southern vintage theme and color palette.

    We chose our venue because it was located in the quaint little town of Jonesborough, Tennessee, which happens to be the oldest town in the state. Our venue is actually a storytelling center used for festivals, but the gorgeous second floor wraparound porch had me smitten from the beginning. Luckily, they also rent the venue for weddings, so we were able to make it happen. We also liked that it allowed us to have both the ceremony and reception at one location.

    Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look. Even as a guest at a wedding, I always love watching the groom’s reaction to seeing the bride for the first time. Although I know first looks can be special in their own way, I wanted to keep things traditional and see Zach and his reaction to me as I walked down the aisle.

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our entire wedding day oozed Southern style. If I had to name one Southern thing in particular though, it would be our reception menu. We chose Southern comfort foods: fried green tomatoes, followed by fried chicken, mixed greens, sweet potato casserole, and macaroni and cheese. All of this was accompanied by butter and biscuits and followed up with individual mini pies.

    Our favorite details were the gorgeous farm tables that my stepfather built especially for our wedding. It was definitely a labor of love that had us painting and staining up to the week of the wedding. My stepfather knew how much I wanted them, and lovingly, he made it happen. It actually worked out well, and now, my mother has started a rental company with the many things that we accumulated so that other East Tennessee brides have more options!

    We ended up with SO many desserts at our wedding. Initially, we thought that we would skip a cake and just have individual cherry, apple, coconut, pecan, and chocolate pies. However, my mother thinks that it is a downright SIN to not have a wedding cake, so we ended up with one of those too (which I am so thankful for, since our cake was gorgeous!). Zach dislikes cake, so for his “groom’s cake,” he opted for his favorite sugar cookies from a local bakery instead.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Zachary and I met in high school. We sat right beside each other in French class, and even though we always had huge crushes on each other, it wasn’t until a few years after high school that our relationship grew into something more.
    Tell us all about the proposal! Our proposal was an absolute dream! I have a small obsession with New York City, and Zachary had never been, so we planned a little weekend visit there the week before we relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee. I may have dropped a few hints that I would love to get engaged in New York, but I honestly had no idea that it would happen on that weekend trip. Zachary, knowing nothing about NYC, reached out to a high school friend of ours who was living there for help finding an unexpected proposal location. I had our weekend all planned out without a minute to spare, but on our second day there, Zach announced that we had plans for the evening and needed to return to the hotel by 4 to get ready. This announcement, coupled with his giddy and nervous demeanor, is when I started to suspect that something might happen. That evening, we got in a cab, and Zach rattled off an address. We were dropped off on the corner of a cobblestone street in the West Village, and Zach led me to an unmarked door. We stepped inside, and I recognized the restaurant–One if by Lane, Two if by Sea. As I freaked out because Ashley Tisdale was dining in the restaurant, Zach nervously waited to pop the question. One of the waiters took the ring from Zach when I was in the ladies’ room, and the owner of the restaurant brought it out on the stem of a rose, lying on a bed of rose petals on a silver platter as a “special dessert.” Zach nervously asked me to be his wife in a speech that neither of us really remembers, and I happily said yes! We spent the remainder of the weekend giddy and in love as we enjoyed my favorite city.
    When did y’all get married? August 2, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We were a little too nervous to write our own vows, so we spent forever online searching for the perfect ones. We ended up piecing lines together from a few different sources.
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There was a moment right before we had our sparkler exit when Zachary and I finally had a second alone to take in the entire day. I remember standing at the top of the staircase, feeling so thankful to have married such a precious man, and so thankful for how perfect our day had played out.
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Although it sounds cliché, take the time to breathe, step back, and enjoy the process. The year that we were engaged literally felt like a blink. I would also say to stick to your personal style, and don’t try to throw a wedding with a theme that is not representative of your personality. This can be difficult in a world where Pinterest and blogs constantly provide new ideas.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to all of the little experiences and journeys that married life will take us on. I finished my Master’s degree prior to our wedding and started working full-time in September. Zach is currently interviewing for graduate school, where he will study to be a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. He has applied to several places, many of which are not in Tennessee, so a move might be in our near future.

    Photographer: Natalie Watson Photography / Venue: International Storytelling Center / Florist: Connie Timmons / Cake Baker: Misty Barber / Caterer: Main Street Cafe & Catering / Rentals: Southern Knot Wedding Rentals / China Rentals: China Dolls / DJ: Ogle Entertainment / Table Numbers and Chair Covers: BHLDN / Invitations: Teal Typewriter Studios / Programs, Seating Chart, and “I Spy” Games: How Lovely Paper / Bride’s Gown: “Kerry” by Watters / Bride’s Veil: Erica Koesler / Bride’s Earrings: Tajani / Makeup Artist: Faces by Ren / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Various styles in Misty Rose Silk Chiffon by J. Crew / Menswear: JC Penney / Ties: The Tie Bar

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

      I really enjoyed this post on Zachary and Savannah’s wedding. I saw many aspects in the photos that reminded me of my own “Dream Wedding” Pinterest board. I especially enjoyed the custom made farm tables. It’s nice to have certain aspects of your wedding that can’t be recreated. Congratulations to you both!

    2. avatar Erin | Elizabeth Anne Designs reply

      LOVE! There are too many pretty details to count! xo

    3. avatar Kirsti reply

      This darling wedding has so many of the details I have always dreamed of, put into action and they are just as beautiful as I imagined! My favorite part is the southern reception menu (one of my favorites-fried green tomatoes)!!

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    The simplicity and spontaneity of an elopement can help to strip away some of the “stuff” that surrounds weddings, leaving just the essence of a marriage: committing yourself to the one you love in front of the people who matter most. For this editorial, we imagined a couple who wanted to elope in Charleston, but still celebrate with their very closest family and friends. Though we tucked in lots of special details focused on hospitality, whether you have five or 500 guests in attendance, gracious hospitality can always by the centerpiece.

    Big hugs to the supremely talented KT Merry for these photos and to the ladies of A Charleston Bride for pulling together the details. Purchase your copy of V7 (and her BFF, our brand new wedding planner!) here!

    To shy to exchange personal vows in front of your guests? We love the idea of writing each other promises in letter form to exchange the morning of the wedding or at your first look. Having a calligrapher letter them for you makes for a beautiful keepsake.

    Charleston City Hall was the perfect spot for these beautiful, light-filled photos! They’re some of my favorites in the magazine!

    This editorial was inspired in part by one of our friend Kathryn’s inspiration boards. She imagined the scene set at the William Aiken House, and we agreed that the venue’s yellow walls could not have been more perfect to bring this scene to life!

    Special glassware can instantly transform a table. We loved the combination of sleek black wine glasses and vintage tumblers!

    Photographer: KT Merry | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Designer and Florals: A Charleston Bride | Venues: Charleston City Hall and the William Aiken House | Caterer and Baker: Fish | Cake stand: Country Kitchen SweetArt | Rentals: Snyder Rental, Ooh! Events, Event Haus | Ticking napkins: Un Original Americain | Flatware: West Elm | Hair and makeup: Carrie McLeod of Paper Dolls | Getaway car: Charleston Rickshaw | Invitations and stationery: Smitten on Paper | Calligraphy: Blue Glass Design | Custom sewing: Behind the Seams | Palm fans: Favors and Flowers | Wrapping paper: Sugar Paper, Ann Page, Snow & Graham, Linda & Harriet | Welcome bags: A Signature Welcome | Bass player: Other Brother Entertainment | Bride’s gown: “Lucille” by Monique Lhuillier | Bride’s cuff: Modcloth | Bride’s shoes: Nina | Bride’s clutch: Mar y Sol | Other jewelry: Perfect Details | Menswear: J. Crew | Bow tie: TieMart | Bridesmaid dresses: Rent the Runway and Modcloth | Pineapple dress: Townsen | Overnight bag: Mark & Graham

    emily Written with love by Emily
    7 Comments
    1. avatar Southern Weddings V7: Holy City Behind the Scenes – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

      […] our 5 A.M. wakeup calls, when Emily and I hit the road to Charleston for our Holy City Hospitality shoot, we were giddy with excitement. The clouds cleared more and more the further south we drove, […]

    2. avatar Nancy Ray reply

      Love this shoot so much. I must say, the image of the man with the standup bass in the grass caught my eye. The light, the composition – just beautiful. All of the images are stunning, but it’s always fun to see one unexpected image stand out. Beautiful work as always, KT!

    3. avatar Winifred Paper reply

      That tablescape is absolutely to die for!

    4. avatar 21 Gorgeous Signature Cocktails To Serve At Your Next Party | LinenTablecloth reply

      […] Southern Weddings […]

    5. avatar Svatební inspirace | Stylový odchod – Originální Svatba reply

      […] s girlandou Brklyn View Photography via Style Me Pretty | bílá rikša s nápisem KT Merry via Southern Weddings | lodička Anastasiya Belik via Magnolia Rouge | skútr Ryan Ray via […]

    6. avatar Something Short And Sweet About Love Take Three – Coastal Bride reply

      […] night with a Bartender’s Choice at the Gin Joint.” Meg, My Borrowed Heaven KT Merry via Southern Weddings “A dream date to me is a simple one where we’d spend all day at the beach swimming, […]

    7. avatar Tyra reply

      This is beautiful! Anyone know if you can actually get married in Charleston City Hall? Thanks!

    Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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