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My favorite thing about Theresa and James’ wedding is that they look like they’re having so much FUN in every single picture! When I read their interview, it quickly became evident how these two were able to relax and enjoy their day so much–they prioritized the details that meant the most to them, and then left everything in the very capable hands of our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Sapphire Events, to pull it all off. I love Theresa’s advice for brides, because it certainly seems like they took it to heart themselves, and created so many special moments because of it: “Don’t immediately dismiss every seemingly silly/goofy/embarrassing idea you come up with. A lot of the time, the goofy idea that you propose as a joke is the one that best expresses you and your partner…a few silly details can become almost inside jokes between you and your significant other, remind you why this other weird person is your match, help you relax during a sometimes formal event, and become the things you will remember most years down the line.”

Many thanks to Marissa Lambert for sharing this fun day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I had quite a few “old” items, including a sixpence in my shoe, passed down through the family, an “add-a-pearl” bracelet that my grandmother had amassed growing up, and my engagement ring, which had been passed down from my great-great-grandmother. My earrings were both old and borrowed–I borrowed my mother’s diamond stud earrings, one of which was made from the original diamond from her engagement ring. I also borrowed my veil from a friend. My dress and shoes were new, and my toenails were blue.

I never had the “feeling” or the “moment” when dress shopping–but I also didn’t really expect to. I found my dress in the third store on the first day I went looking. Both my mom and future mother-in-law had flown in to shop with me, and they both had “the moment” when I put the dress on. It took me a few more shops and a few more visits to finally commit, but–in the end–I felt beautiful on my wedding day, which is what matters.

Describe your wedding flowers. James and I wanted to focus on greenery and herbs as much as (or more than) flowers. We were hoping for a lush, natural feel, possibly incorporating the sense of smell with the herbs, and we tried to emphasize that to the florist more than getting into particulars about types of flowers and plants. All flowers are pretty, and I trusted her to use what was in season. The actual bouquets ended up being some of the most aromatic, enticing things I have ever smelled! As for colors, I asked for whites, creams, and hints of blush for the ceremony florals, to keep the palette crisp, and then for bright berry tones to be mixed in for the reception florals. The various tones of greens we used throughout acted as a neutral.

We did a first look, largely based on the recommendation of our amazing friend/wedding planner, and partly because we didn’t want to waste precious celebration time after the ceremony. Instead of the typical first look, where the bride sneaks up behind the groom and taps him on the shoulder, we made sure James and I first saw each other from a few yards apart. That way, we each got to take in the full picture and were able to savor the expressions and anticipation as I made the walk to meet him. I think it drove our photographer a little crazy, since she couldn’t capture both of us at once at the exact “reveal” moment, but this way, we were able to feel as though we were first seeing one another from either end of the aisle, while still getting all of the formal photos done before the ceremony.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We used traditional vows, but we were lucky enough to have had a mutual friend, who knew us both individually before, as well as after we became a couple, act as our officiant. He was able to work in lots of personal details that made the ceremony feel tailored to us a couple.

As a nod to our Midwestern, Great Plains roots, we requested that the musicians play “Hoedown” from “Rodeo” by Aaron Copeland (the “beef–it’s what’s for dinner” song) as we walked back up the aisle. I’m not sure how many people caught it, but it was a detail that made us smile. Our first dance was to “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. James really pushed to pick something else, since “Wonderful Tonight” is such a popular choice, but he made the mistake of making it our song by singing it in my ear as we danced at the very first wedding I took him to.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose to do our first look and photos at the Latter Branch Library in New Orleans, which is was where we went on our first date. We did the ceremony and reception at a brand new venue in New Orleans, which came highly recommended by our planner. One of the things she knew we would love was that the venue has a library/lounge area. While we loved this detail in and of itself, we found out months later during one of the planning walk-throughs that all of the books used in the library had come from the Latter Branch Library!

James and I are not big cake people, so this was not a big focal point for us. We just wanted something that looked nice and tasted good for our guests. I had told him ahead of time that I was going to smash the cake in his face, but James didn’t believe me until it happened. We got into a full-out cake war–I’m pretty sure we have some photos with cake shoved up my nose! Laughing, goofing around, and going crazy with the cake is another of my favorite memories from the day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. In true New Orleans fashion, James and I met a few times through mutual friends before finally being stuck together waiting out a hurricane. A group of us decided to get together to weather the storm (and to eat everything in our refrigerators!), and during those couple of days, we decided we kinda, sorta liked one another.
Tell us all about the proposal! James picked me up from work on a mundane Tuesday night and took me around town on a progressive date under the guise of scouting out potential party locations for my birthday at the end of the month. I suspected nothing, even when he mentioned that one of the restaurants would be a great rehearsal dinner venue! When we finally got home that night, our house was completely filled with flowers. He dropped to his knee in our living room, just the two of us, surrounded by blooms.
When did y’all get married? September 19, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 175
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: James had organized a group of friends to compete in a charity barbecue competition called Hogs for the Cause. The year after we started dating and I joined the team, the team won the cocktail category of the competition with a drink called a Bourbon Missile Crisis. We decided to serve the Bourbon Missile Crisis to guests prior to our ceremony and during cocktail hour, and we set out the team’s trophy to hold paper straws. Because guests had drinks for the ceremony, our programs were printed on cocktail napkins. We also had personalized wayfarer sunglasses available to wear during the outdoor ceremony, and to take home as favors. For the reception, we had flower crown headbands for the guests. A group of close, generous, crafty friends all gathered at our house a month or so before the wedding to help me hand-make nearly 100 flower crowns. We saw a few of those flower crown favors resurface again for Mardi Gras!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding took place in New Orleans, Louisiana, where James and I met and are making our life together. We included a courtyard ceremony, a jazz band, and a brass band.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Along the way, someone advised us to make a list of our most valued aspects of the wedding, and to prioritize only those items. Nobody is going to remember every tiny detail, so splurge on one or two important things, and then make it work with the less important items.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t immediately dismiss every seemingly silly/goofy/embarrassing idea you come up with. A lot of the time, the goofy idea that you propose as a joke is the one that best expresses you and your partner. While you don’t want the entire wedding to feel unorganized, a few silly details can become almost inside jokes between you and your significant other, remind you why this other weird person is your match, help you relax during a sometimes formal event, and become the things you will remember most years down the line.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We’re looking forward to our blowout 50th anniversary vow renewal–and everything before and after!

Photographer: Marissa Lambert Photography | Planner and Rentals: Sapphire Events | Venue and Rentals: Il Mercato | Florist: Meade Wenzel | Cake Baker: Haydel’s Bakery | Caterer: Joel’s Catering | Lighting: Southern Hospitality Event Rentals | Bands: Harry Hardin, Joe Simon’s Jazz, and Paulin Brothers | DJ: DJ Mike Swift | Paper Products: Presse Dufour | Bride’s Gown: “Style 5911” by Stella York | Hair and Makeup: Kiss and Makeup Beauty Services | Bride’s Shoes: Valentino | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo, J. Crew, Donna Morgan, Amsale, and BHLDN | Groom’s Tuxedo: Luca Falcone | Busses: American Luxury | Save the Dates, Napkins, and Programs: Rudman’s

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Nicole reply

    Oooh I love how dreamy this is! And her dress is phenomenal!

  2. avatar Adrienna reply

    What a gorgeous wedding! Sapphire Events always put on such gorgeous affairs, with so much detail.

  3. avatar Meredith reply

    What a breathtaking day! Well captured, too!

  4. avatar Sarah Drake reply

    Is there any way for me to get in touch with this bride? I am IN LOVE with that light blue bridesmaid dress with the one shoulder flowers. I can’t find it in the links provided. Please help! :)

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Friends, there is so much to love about today’s home tour, our kick-off of 2015! My first impression of Val and Tyler’s bungalow was that it was simple, calming, and clutter-free, so I wasn’t surprised to read that that’s the look they’re going for: “Having a peaceful, simple home is super important to us. We have places in our home that look bare and probably unfinished to others, but to us, it is perfect. It is so easy to outgrow a house, simply by filling it with too much stuff.” Read on for much more wisdom from this sweet and creative pair, and an exciting discount from Val’s shop!

Big hugs to Ashleigh Jayne for these lovely photos!

The couple: Valerie (29) and Tyler (30)
Years married: 4 1/2
Where they live: Lafayette, Louisiana
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Valerie is the owner of Val Marie Paper and designs wedding stationery and prayer journals. Tyler is owner of Pixelbrush Studios and develops websites. Two business owners means date nights involve trying to figure out how many tables a restaurant has to seat to turn a profit or daydreaming about our goals.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We became best friends and stayed that way for a year and a half, tried to start a business together (!), and finally realized we wanted to be best friends for life.
What is your favorite part of being married? The laughter. We are so silly and weird together. That feeling that you are totally accepted just as you are is amazing.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? You hear people talk about getting comfortable and the relationship changing from puppy love to becoming an old married couple, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are incredible perks to being an “old married couple.” You learn to communicate, so big fights are now short “discussions,” and once you learn how to be a “we,” you are more laid back with things.

Tell us a little bit about where you live. We just bought our first home this past summer. We live in traditional neighborhood development and are surrounded by family. There is always something fun happening here!
Tell us about the process of moving in together. This was pretty easy. Tyler tells everyone his life was definitely upgraded when he got married–sheets on the mattress, purified water filters, and everything! ;) Our style has developed and changed over the years, especially as we’ve both had to hone in on our business brands. It has influenced our home life tremendously, and we are much more confident with our style now!

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Our living room. We have almost two walls completely covered in windows that overlook a bunch of big oaks and our porches.
What most makes your house feel like home? Our house was prayed for for so long. Being here is a constant reminder of how God’s plan is so much bigger (and better) than ours. We were originally going to build a house somewhere else several years ago, but Tyler got cold feet. I was devastated and tired of waiting, but didn’t want to push it if God was leading him in this decision. Had I forced it, we never would be where we are now! There are days when I’ll start the “I wish our house had…” and I have to snap back to reality and gratitude for the many blessings we have.
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? We splurged on the house, which has great bones, so we’ve been able to save on actual items. We have tons of Ikea furniture, World Market pieces, and hand-me-downs.

What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Two moments really stand out for me. We wrote our own vows and shared them with each other for the first time during our first look. Also, when we got to the front of the aisle, I took a deep breath and looked out at all the faces in the crowd. This was my way of switching gears and slowing down to enjoy the celebration.
How do you remember your wedding in your home? We have our favorite print from our wedding hanging in our bedroom and a shelf in our living room with our wedding album and polaroids.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? The dishes. We got simple ivory dishes from Bed, Bath & Beyond. They definitely seemed like a boring choice at the time, but we still love them!
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? A nicer knife set. We got one of the least expensive ones because we thought knives were knives. It’s already time to invest in a new set!
Who cooks dinner? Tyler does! This started when I was nauseous while pregnant with Vivi. I never really took the kitchen back over once we realized he was the better cook!
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? Tyler gets so creative, we rarely have the same meal twice, but he does indulge me by serving a lemon chicken pasta from The Pioneer Woman every few weeks. In the winter on weekends, it’s a chicken and sausage gumbo.

What’s your favorite place to find recipes? Tyler loves going to YouTube for cooking techniques. I hear a lot about a “Chef John.” ;)
How does your family handle finances? Do you use a set budget? I handle the daily finances and Tyler is in charge of big picture finances (like retirement and taxes).
What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? We just started doing a family meeting on Sunday mornings during a big, relaxing breakfast before church. We go over each other’s schedules and any special things we need to know. I also talk about un-fun topics like health insurance and other things that I don’t like to bog our weeknights down with.

Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Our favorite at-home date nights involve what we call the “super couch.” We move our mattress into the living room and eat take out in bed and watch a movie! After a long work day, it’s the perfect way to relax.
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? I tidy the house before he gets home and always try to greet him at the door with a smile and a kiss!

Do you have children? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? Yes! One sweet 16-month-old named Vivi Mae. We are hoping to add to our family soon!
Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… more of the positives and less of the negatives. I know it’s good to be prepared, and I don’t think we need to hide the hard stuff, but I remember being engaged and burnt out hearing about how hard things were going to be for the first week/month/year.

Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? Having a peaceful, simple home is super important to us. We have places in our home that look bare and probably unfinished to others, but to us, it is perfect. It is so easy to outgrow a house, simply by filling it with too much stuff. Living in a two-bedroom, 800-square-foot apartment with a newborn and a stationery shop taught us so much about simplifying our things. Our mission when we doubled our space with our new home was to not lose the white space, and instead, to embrace it.

We’re so grateful to Val and Tyler for sharing their hearts and home with us! Be sure to follow along with Val on her blog and on instagram. And be sure to stop by her shop – Val just released her “Marriage Field Guide,” a conversation-starter and guide for married and engaged couples. She’s offering 10% off to y’all with code ILOVESWMAG!

A little reminder: we’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – not just folks who write blogs (though we love them, too!), but also your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

emily Written with love by Emily
6 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Your house is adorable, and I love your thoughts on keeping it clutter free! And I am super jealous of you living so close to so much family! :)

  2. avatar Valerie reply

    Thanks so much for having me!! I have absolutely loved this series and so honored to be a part of it! :)

  3. avatar Valerie reply

    Yes! Emily, it is so nice. I think we both were a little nervous at first but it’s been a great thing!

  4. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    Oh I love Val! She has such a sweet spirit :)

  5. avatar Mackenzie reply

    What brand are the shades on the bedroom windows?

  6. avatar Melissa Joynson reply

    Love the simplicity of this home! It is beautiful. If you do not mind me asking, what is the name of the blue paint color you used in the bedroom? It is lovely.

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There’s so much classic Southern style in today’s inspiration nugget that I almost can’t stand it! Spanish moss, a statuesque plantation home, pineapples, a lace gown, and last but certainly not least, a sweet couple celebrating their first anniversary who knows the wedding is just the beginning. Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Sapphire Events for making our morning a little more lovely!

From Valerie, the planner: Earlier this spring we invited a real couple, Christine and Jordan, to collaborate with us on an anniversary shoot to capture the couple one year after they exchanged vows. The photographers and I wanted to bring out the beautiful light this couple shares for each other. We also gave the couple an opportunity to talk about their love after the first year of married life together, who they look up to as an example of a strong relationship, and what a marriage means to them now that the wedding planning process is behind them. I love the Southern Weddings mission to promote the marriage as more important than the wedding, and the results of Christine and Jordan’s brief interview with us in sharing those same values.

From the bride, Christine:

The most special moment about your wedding day: We were both so anxious before mass and the reception felt like a blur, but while we were at the church, it felt like it was just the two of us. It was nice to have that time to focus only on one another. The silly conversations we had and laughing and sharing in that moment together is something we will never forget.
What do you all look forward to in your next year of marriage? Continuing to get to know one another, grow and work together. One of the characteristics of people with happy marriages is that they never stop working on their marriage. They never stop learning about each other and never get complacent with their relationship. I cannot wait to continue to put in work together and learn something new to love about each other every day.
One piece of advice you would give to someone getting married right now? Don’t stress about your wedding day and all the details. Although it may seem like it now, your wedding day is not the most important day of your life and it will not make or break your marriage. You and your significant other decide that. Take a moment to remember why you’re getting married in the first place and that the incredible amount of love you have for one another will count for way more in the long run than what flavor the cake is or what you give out as favors. Focus on each other and try to remember as much as you can about that day, because it goes by fast!

Photography: GK Photography | Design and styling: Sapphire Events | Flowers: Nola Flora | Linens: Perrier Party Rentals | Invitation: Scriptura | Bridal Salon: Wedding Belles | Groom’s attire: John’s Tuxedos | Hair and Makeup: Bleu, a Blow Dry Bar | Venue: Houmas House Plantation

Sapphire Events and Nola Flora are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
5 Comments
  1. avatar ashley bateman reply

    Love Love Love!! Love their Love!

  2. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #168 – Floridian Weddings reply

    […] Totally inspired by these centerpieces: pineapples nestled on gilded leaves! […]

  3. avatar Genevieve reply

    This makes me want to get married all over again!

  4. avatar Gillian reply

    I’d love to know the actual designer and style number of that gown, it’s fabulous! Thanks!

  5. avatar Allison reply

    Sapphire Events is my absolute fav when it comes to styling events. I so want them to style/design my wedding!

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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