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Jessica and Travis wanted their guests to feel like family, which was pretty easy for them considering their parents grew up together! Both Jessica and Travis come from long lines of Floridians, so when it came to choosing where they’d say “I do,” Jessica’s family’s orange grove was a natural choice. Especially with her sister’s beautiful yard just 100 yards away, these family properties combined to become the perfect backdrop for a classic backyard party! Under thousands of twinkle lights, hung by Jessica and her father, these two celebrated with a Southern affair complete with seersucker, shrimp and grits, and a banjo to boot! Though their celebration took place at Jessica’s family’s property, I love the way they incorporated pine branches from Travis’ family’s ranch into their decor as well–such a sweet sign of the joining of two families.

Thanks for sharing, Sarah & Ben!

My mom, sister, mother-in-law, and I went dress shopping in Winter Park, Florida. I was adamant that I did not want a strapless dress, but the romantic, illusion neckline dresses that I had coveted in the magazines were not at all flattering on me. My sister picked my dress on a whim and told me to just try it on. When I put it on, it felt perfect. The lace applique, cathedral-length train made from layers upon layers of tulle, and wispy tulle layer at the neckline made it feel like much more than just a strapless lace gown. My seamstress, however, would not believe me that I planned to go barefoot in Vera Wang–she was horrified!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Preparing for our marriage was the most important part of planning the wedding. We both felt strongly that it was important to understand our vows before we recited them to each other. Travis’ family’s pastor, who married us, offered premarital counseling as part of the preparation. He has a wonderful, soft way of giving advice.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The pine cross at our ceremony. Travis and I gathered old heart pine branches from his family’s ranch. We used a draw knife to scrape off some of the old gray exterior and expose the beautiful dark red wood, and Travis cut notches in the branches and bolted them together. Travis hung the cross from the big pine tree where the ceremony was held, and the florists decorated it with very natural arrangements that echoed the flowers in my bouquet. The process of making the cross with Travis, and bringing in natural elements from his ranch, was such a meaningful experience.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 1 John 4-17 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. Although 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 is read at many weddings, this was especially meaningful to us. A friend of ours told Travis that if we live by the words in this scripture, we will always have a strong marriage. Before we were married, Travis printed it out, highlighted it, and put it on my refrigerator as a reminder to us both. We don’t always live by this scripture, but when we do, our bond is stronger.

We got married in my parents’ orange grove on the Indian River lagoon, where I grew up. Both of us come from a long line of multi-generational Floridian families, so we knew that we wanted to get married in Florida. When it came to picking a venue, it was an easy choice, as my family is blessed to have the perfect set up for a waterfront wedding venue. The ceremony was held under a hundred-year-old pine tree adjacent to my parents’ house. After the ceremony, the guests moved to my parents’ backyard for cocktail hour, and then to my sister’s backyard for the reception, which is conveniently only 100 yards away. My dad and I spent countless hours putting up thousands of white twinkle lights, he also hung giant white paper lanterns across my sister’s yard. My parents, sister, and brother-in-law are some of the most warm, hospitable people I know, and they helped make our wedding day truly special.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We wanted our wedding to feel like a classic, Southern, backyard party, where everyone felt like family, which was relatively easy since our parents grew up together and share many loved ones. It was dressed up, but not stuffy, which to me, is very much a Southern tradition. Of course, the seersucker, linen bow ties, and banjo didn’t hurt either.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in the Okefenokee Swamp Park in South Georgia, where we had both gathered with friends and family to support the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition–a 100-day, 1000-mile trek across Florida from the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp as part of a campaign to raise awareness about the need to connect and protect a green belt stretching across the state of Florida. Travis was there to support his brother, a wildlife photographer, and I was there to support a good family friend, both of whom had participated in the Expedition. Travis’ black labrador, Molly, introduced us. She sought me out as the person most likely to throw a pine cone for her to retrieve, and she didn’t leave me alone until her dad finally came looking for her. Travis now claims that he had his dog well trained. About a year later, we went on our first date. It was a romantic, rainy evening at Travis’ family cattle ranch in Limestone, Florida. It also just so happened to be the end of hunting season, so eight of Travis’ muddy, camouflage-clad hunting buddies were there to witness the magic. The rain eventually stopped, the hunting buddies actually went hunting, Travis made a campfire, and we spent time under the stars. It was the perfect beginning to our love story.
Tell us all about the proposal! The weekend before my birthday in November 2014, we had decided to camp in my backyard. Travis set up a tent and a campfire and pulled my T.V. outside so we could watch college football while eating dinner. After dinner, I went inside to put cookies in the oven, while Travis panicked and hid the ring under a napkin. When I came back, he sat there staring at me until I picked up the napkin. He got on one knee, and I cried while he proposed. His brother, sister-in-law, and their toddler got in their car and drove over with a bottle of champagne. I have no idea who won the game, and I burned the cookies, but it was a perfect night.
When did y’all get married? May 2, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 325
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No. We are both fairly traditional and we wanted the moment when I walked down the aisle to be special.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. At the ceremony, we had a string quartet, which included a banjo player to give the music a very slight, but not overwhelming, bluegrass feel. Travis and I had a great time picking out three 80s and 90s ballads for them to play while guests were being seated. I don’t know if anyone recognized Journey “Don’t Stop Believin'” or Mr. Big “To Be With You,” but we thought the idea was hilarious. My middle name is Sunshine and many people still call me that, including my parents. I surprised my dad by having the musicians play “You Are My Sunshine” for our walk down the aisle. The string quartet played it beautifully with just a hint of banjo. When my dad heard the song begin, he teared up, looked at me, and we both started singing. Several people in the crowd joined in. It was a moment that I will never forget. During the ceremony, we had everyone sing Doxology. This song always reminds me of my days at Camp Merrie-Woode, where we would sing it before Sunday supper. Travis and I walked out of the ceremony to a beautiful old hymn, “Blessed Assurance,” by Fanny J. Crosby and Phoebe P. Knapp. It’s one of my all-time favorite hymns! We had a hard time narrowing down our choices for our first dance. We both love music, so this was a big decision! We had asked Travis’ best friend, a musician named Zach Ashton, to play our first dance song, whatever it may be. He came over to our house one evening about a week before the wedding to help us select a song, and ended up playing us a song he wrote called “The Ceiling.” We both immediately knew it was the perfect choice. On our wedding day, Zach belted out the most beautiful acoustic version of his song and, thanks to him, our first dance was an amazing, surreal moment that made me wish I had decided to hire a videographer.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Neither of us really appreciate wedding cake, so we opted for blueberry cobbler and vanilla ice cream. I thought my mom was going to disown me when I told her I didn’t want a wedding cake, but she eventually decided to let me get away with this break from tradition.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Since we got married in my parents’ backyard, we had to arrange for all vendors to come to us. Merritt Island, Florida is beautiful, but it isn’t exactly close to a major metropolitan area. We had vendors from all over the state! Getting married at a private home is wonderful, but it certainly adds a lot of extra work to the planning.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take time to remember what your wedding is really about. It is so easy to get caught up in having the perfect wedding with all the perfect details but, in the end, the perfect flowers, food, and groomsmen attire are not what you will remember. At one point during wedding planning, I became obsessed with having linen napkins in the perfect blue hue. I spent hours trying to find perfect napkins (that weren’t the price of a small wedding) until I finally realized how crazy I was acting. No one noticed that their napkins were a poly blend, but so many people told us how much they felt the love between us.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are expecting a baby in October, which I know will be the biggest adventure of our lives!

Photographer: Sarah & Ben | Planner: Kelly Hancock Event Planning | Venue: Private residence | Florist: Eau Gallie Florist | Caterer: Arthur’s Creative Events and Catering | Linens: Kate Ryan Linens | Reception Chairs and Tables: A Chair Affair | Ceremony Chairs, Stage, and Dance Floor: Kirby Rentals | Band: Derek and the Slammers | Paper Products: Decoratifs | Bride’s Gown: “Leda” by Vera Wang | Bride’s Veil: Vera Wang | Hair and Makeup: Collective Creations | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Lilly Pulitzer | Suits: Jos A. Bank | Tie and Bow Ties: High Cotton Ties | Ceremony Music: Music by Pegge

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar published: southern weddings » Sarah & Ben I Tampa Wedding Photographers reply

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Allison and Mark’s wedding day exudes so much brightness and joy–of course, fun seersucker details and their cheery color palette, accented by Lilly Pulitzer, didn’t hurt! This adorable couple wanted to create a wedding with old-fashioned tradition, but still incorporate a bit of uniqueness in their day. I love how they chose to stick with a traditional location–they actually celebrated their reception at the same beautiful, historic home where her parents had their wedding over 25 years prior!–but they added their own flair with fun decor. As a fellow Lilly girl, I’m pretty much smitten! Not to mention, the photo of Allison and Mark sharing a prayer with their families made me burst into tears–it’s everything I love about weddings wrapped into one meaningful moment.

Gracious, I’m so glad our friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor Faith Teasley was able to capture all these sweet details and exuberant joy!

Everything about our wedding, from the decorations to the food served to the ceremony details, reflected a simply Southern wedding. We chose to have our wedding in the spring so that Mark could incorporate his beloved seersucker, and I could incorporate Lilly Pulitzer. I rode to the ceremony and Mark and I left in a vintage car from the 50’s that was the perfect color. We served foods that we felt represented us and North Carolina, like carved pork, country-style vegetables, unique salads, and Carolina shrimp and grits. Of course, monograms were on everything and we included bow ties too!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Mark and I really wanted our wedding to be very old-fashioned and traditional, but also incorporate some unique things. We wanted to see each other for the first time on our wedding day when I walked down the aisle, but we also decided to do a modified “first look” to share a few moments together before the wedding. We met at the corner of the home where our reception was held and held hands around the corner for a few minutes while exchanging small gifts and sharing a prayer with our wedding party and parents. It was a very special moment I will always remember, and we are glad we decided to do it.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose to state traditional vows, and we also did a responsive reading that gave our friends and families a chance to speak for us as a couple. Most of our family was in the wedding party, and they had been practicing the long line that they were supposed to recite during the ceremony. They somehow forgot when to start their line during the actual ceremony, and I’m sure the crowd still wonders why we all smiled and began to chuckle.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 1 Corinthians 13. Of course, these are common verses for weddings, but they have always meant so much to both of us and we wanted to incorporate them into our ceremony.

All of our vendors were excellent to work with and complemented each other and our vision very well. When we started the wedding planning process, we knew that one of the first things we needed to find was a photographer. I came across Faith’s photography and fell in love with her work immediately. She did the best job representing our wedding day and our style, while capturing all of the details that made our celebration so special.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our ceremony was held at my home church, Westfield Baptist Church, in Dunn, North Carolina. It was a very special place for both of us, considering Mark had actually been dedicated in the church before his family moved. The reception was held at The Howard House in Dunn. It is a beautiful, historic home in the downtown Dunn area, and where my parents had their wedding reception over 25 years ago!

Describe your wedding flowers. We wanted to use flowers that were the perfect accents to the ceremony and reception, without distracting from either of the spaces. Mark’s grandmother grew flowers and sold them at the NC Farmer’s Market for the longest time, and flowers have always been a big part of our relationship and our lives. We pink and white peonies, hydrangeas, tulips, and ranunculus in our bouquets and boutonnieres. At the reception, we used arranged our flowers in vintage blue mason jars.

We are such cake snobs! We were dreading the whole cake experience, because we wanted it to be gorgeous, but we also wanted it to taste good. We couldn’t decide on a flavor, so we went with two. One layer was a traditional almond wedding cake with buttercream, and the other layer was a vanilla cake with strawberry cream between the layers and a decorative buttercream frosting. It was beautiful, delicious, and perfect for our wedding.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We have known each other all of our lives, but because of our age difference, we were never in school at the same time and our paths rarely crossed. I was still in college, but would go work in my hometown during the summer and on holiday breaks. Mark’s first job out of college landed him in our hometown as well. I had my eye on him for awhile, and with a little help from my cousin, who was Mark’s co-worker, I went for it! I finally worked up the guts (very unlike me) to send him a Facebook message (mature, I know). I told him that I thought he knew I had my eye on him, and if he wanted to grab dinner and get to know each other better, to let me know. We went on our first date on Friday the 13th (yikes!) over three years ago and continue to fall more in love every day!
Tell us all about the proposal! We lived a decent bit apart from each other while we were dating because of where our jobs were at the time, but we would make a point to work out or grab dinner together at least once or twice a week. Mark had just gotten back from a week-long business conference and told me that if I wanted to see him mid-week, I would have to make the trek to his house for a run and dinner afterwards. I pulled up to his driveway, expecting him to be waiting for me in running clothes. He was still dressed up and rocking on his front porch, waiting for me. I ran up, asking why he wasn’t ready for our workout, and he just replied that he was relaxing and wanted me to sit with him. I sat with him for a little while, and then he pulled out a shirt box that was wrapped up. We never kept up with monthly dating anniversaries, but he noted that we had been dating exactly two and a half years on that day and that he wanted to get me something. When I opened the box, it was a new monogrammed beach cover-up with my now-new monogram. I had wanted this cover-up for awhile, but didn’t want to buy it and then only wear it for a little while before my monogram changed! I loved it, but I just kept saying, “Mark, this is so wrong.” I was slightly irritated because we were not married and it didn’t seem fair to have something newly monogrammed with the wrong initials! He then got down on one knee and told me that he was ready for my name to change. Some sweet words followed–he has no idea what he said, and of course, neither do I. I was in complete shock, but it was the perfect proposal for us because I never saw it coming. I may or may not have thrown the shirt box over my face and screamed, “Now?! Right now?!” I was so in such shock, I couldn’t even eat dinner afterwards!
When did y’all get married? April 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
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? I have a design background, so I designed all of the wedding stationery and used a local printer, which saved a lot of money. We made all of the signs and hanging decorations ourselves the day before and morning of the wedding.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I think one of the neatest moments of our wedding was when we excused the crowd ourselves after the ceremony. Mark and I left the ceremony, followed by our attendants and family, and were able to spend a few moments alone while we waited for the processional. We then entered from the front of the church and excused our guests row by row. We loved getting to exchange hugs and sweet memories with each of our guests.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take it all in, relax, and remember that it is just a day. If something doesn’t go perfectly, it will be okay. You have the rest of your lives to laugh about it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are heading to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket for a delayed honeymoon. After we return, we look forward to getting our home, yard, and life back in order and sharing it together for many more years to come. We also have to finish all of our furniture renovations so we can park in our garage again!

Photographer: Faith Teasley Photography / Planner: Vicky Cooney / Ceremony Venue: Westfield Baptist Church / Reception Venue: The Howard House / Florist: Four Seasons Florist / Cake Baker: Ashley Cakes / Caterer: Elegant Party & Catering / Rentals and Lighting: Tabletoppers / DJ: Butch Halpin of Carolina Sounds / Vintage Car: The Little River Cruisers / Paper Products Printing: Twyford Printing / Bride’s Gown: “1561” by Kenneth Winston / Bride’s Veil: Bridal Mart / Hair and Makeup: Natalee Ezzell / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Lilly Pulitzer / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank / Groom’s Bowtie: CCA Designs / Groomsmen’s Ties: Charles Tyrwhitt

Faith Teasley and Ashley Cakes are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Wedding Venues reply

    sweet love ! awesome wedding ;)

  2. avatar Faith Teasley reply

    Love this sweet couple! Thank you SW for featuring Allison and Mark’s beautiful wedding!! xoxo

  3. avatar Erika {Artfully Wed} reply

    This is darling! I love the Lilly Pulitzer dresses!

  4. avatar Allison and Mark | Fine Art Film Wedding Photographer reply

    […] seen on Southern Weddings… […]

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Southern Weddings readers are known for wanting to squeeze every drop of fun and meaning out of wedding planning that they can, and we love that trait! So it’s not surprising that we (and you) are all about asking your best gals to join you as bridesmaids in a special way. Often this has to be done virtually, but if you happen to live close by, we love this “will you be my bridesmaid” party inspiration from Mobella Events, all done up in fabulous Lilly Pulitzer style!

Big hugs to Sivan Photography for these images!

From Mobella Events: Some of life’s most precious moments happen on the grounds of your very own home. When it was time for Katherine to ask her friends to be in her wedding party, she decided to have them over and make it a surprise. What her friends thought was going to be a fun afternoon at their bestie’s house was about to get so much more exciting!

After seating her friends at the table, Katherine unrolled a scroll with a special message: “I have my mister, but I can’t do it without my sisters! Will you be my wedding gals?” The girls were beyond excited, and of course they said yes!

Anyone recognize that signature expression? It’s none other than our own Kristin Winchester, who couldn’t have been a more natural fit for a shoot about friendship and LP!

You can see this fun day in action, too!

I’d love to hear: how did you ask your bridesmaids to stand beside you on your big day? I wrote them each a heartfelt note and stuck them in the mail!

Attire: Lilly Pulitzer | Cake: Everything Cake | Caterer: Southern Traditions | Coordinator: Mobella Events | Desserts: Two Sweets Bake Shop | Flowers: Blue Ribbon Weddings & Events | Hair: Brittney Boscana, Brie & Brie | Linen: Wildflower Linen | Location: Peachtree House | Makeup: Tracie Cervero | Models: Lydia Aluri, Courtney Moore, Kristin Winchester, Charlotte Darley, Lindsay Demoranville | Monogrammed Items: The Monogram Merchant | Photographer: Sivan Photography | Rentals: A Chair Affair | Stationery: Pretty Peacock Paperie | Videography: Seltzer Films

Two Sweets Bake Shop is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Audrey {Custom Wedding Songs} reply

    I love that first picture of all the girls.

  2. avatar Peachtree House: A Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Bridesmaid Luncheon | reply

    […] This gorgeous Lilly Pulitzer inspired bridesmaid luncheon styled shoot has been featured on Southern Weddings! […]

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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