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As a young girl, Sam never imagined her wedding, but she did spend hours on her grandparents’ peanut farm, daydreaming about moving to a big city and falling in love. When that dream came true, she and Jamie chose Hidden Valley Farms as their wedding venue–it combined their appreciation for the city that brought them together (Nashville) with Sam’s childhood dreams. Their venue was not the only meaningful detail–Sam and Jamie’s goal was a wedding celebration that represented “our heritage and our hearts.” Isn’t that the most precious way to combine two so very important aspects of life? There is so much more beauty than meets the eye in this lovely wedding, from decor collected from family, the most incredible something borrowed (don’t miss that story!), and florals inspired by Sam’s late grandmother.

Gracious alive, I’m glad Rachel Moore was there to bring it all to life for us through these photos!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I wore my grandmother Bobbie’s pearl earrings and diamond tennis bracelet as my something old, and my dress and veil were new. My something blue was a keepsake box that belonged to my great-grandmother, and my new sister-in-law gave me a silver sixpence for my shoe. My something borrowed was such a surprise. On the morning of our wedding, my aunt and my grandmother came by to share a piece of family history with me, and they let me borrow several trinkets, including my great-great-grandparents’ copper wedding rings. My great-great-grandparents immigrated to the United States from Italy in the mid-1890s, and they were madly in love, but had to come overseas at different times for financial reasons, so they were married by proxy. One of the rings says “Amore” which means love in Italian. I felt so honored to pin those rings to my bouquet along with the other family heirlooms.

Finding my wedding dress was such a special experience. I had just finished writing all of my final papers for graduate school when my mom and my two younger sisters traveled all the way to Nashville to go dress shopping with me. After several stores and several dresses, we went back to see the third dress I had tried on at the first store. I felt so effortlessly “me” as soon as I put it on, and knew it was what I was looking for. My dress was classic and comfortable, while also being unique and romantic, which is very much in line with my style.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look and we were glad that we did. We are both pretty private people and I don’t like to be the center of attention, so as the day progressed, I became a bit anxious. Right after we saw each other, it felt like everything else disappeared in an irreplaceable moment that just the two of us shared, and it is a memory we will cherish forever.

We decided to recite traditional vows. I was not expecting to be so emotional when my eyes locked with Jamie’s as we were joined as husband and wife, but I’ll never forget him wiping away my tears while I said my vows. We had so many guests comment on how sweet and reverent our wedding ceremony was, and that was our main objective.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? As a young girl, I never really imagined what my wedding day would be like; instead, I would spend hours on my grandparents’ peanut farm, looking up at the blue sky over hundreds of acres of land, while imagining what it would be like to one day move to a big city and fall in love. We had our wedding on a middle Tennessee farm to combine our appreciation for the city that brought us together with my childhood daydreams of falling in love on my grandparents’ south Alabama land.

Our flowers were picked to honor my late grandmother Bobbie, who was an Alabama Master Gardener and my hero. She could find beauty in any flower growing wild on the side of the road, and her perennials still blossom every spring, so I carried her small garden spade in my bouquet to have a piece of her with me. We worked with a farmer florist to pick the most elegant and natural flowers that were in season. All of our flowers were locally grown and free flowing, just like I wanted them.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail might be the one hundred candles we had in the barn. The brass candlesticks were a last minute addition and they not only took our breath away, but also added such an intimate and cozy feeling to the rainy day.

We had a three-tiered wedding cake with red velvet, vanilla buttercream, and carrot cake layers to cover all of our favorite flavors. We placed two gold “love birds” as toppers on the cake because Jamie’s nickname in his family is J-Bird, and his nephews call him Uncle Bird. We also had an incredible pie table with pumpkin, coconut cream, key lime, and blueberry pies. At Thanksgiving, my great-aunt Betty always has a quaint pie table that my family gathers around after the meal to enjoy time together, and I loved having a subtle nod to this tradition.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both joined Teach for America as corps members in 2011 and were placed in Nashville. We met the day we moved and spent that summer in the Mississippi Delta teaching summer school and becoming friends. We tried to stay just friends, but we couldn’t deny that there was something special between us for very long. On one fateful August afternoon, Jamie was going to the Nashville Public Library to do some work for school and asked me if I wanted to go, too. The two of us have been a happy pair and by each other’s sides ever since that first “date” at the library.
Tell us all about the proposal! After celebrating three years of dating, Jamie proposed on August 22, 2014. His birthday fell on a Tuesday, so I kept telling him to pick out a restaurant to go to for a nice Friday night dinner. Friday came and he hadn’t picked a place yet, but he called me that morning to say that we had reservations at one of our favorite little cafes in Sylvan Park. When I came home later that day to white rose petals on my front steps, I certainly suspected a proposal. I walked in and there he was, holding a colorful bouquet in the candlelight. He said the most beautiful words and got down on one knee in the kitchen. Before he could even finish the question, I exclaimed the happiest “Yes!” with the happiest tears. We decided that we wanted to wait to call our families until a little later in order to take in the moments of only us knowing. As we walked up to the restaurant, all of a sudden, I heard a group say “Congratulations!” I looked closer to see my sisters, Jamie’s brother and sister-in-law, and both sets of our parents, all of whom had never met each other before that night. It was the perfect private proposal on a regular Friday afternoon, and then the most charmed evening with our closest loved ones.
When did y’all get married? October 3, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? When a North Carolina groom marries an Alabama bride, it is bound to be inherently Southern. Aside from that, we wanted our wedding celebration to represent our heritage and our hearts. We collected old photographs to showcase our beautiful families. My grandfather Sammy worked tirelessly for months leading up to our wedding to cut down a dying oak tree on his farm to make the wood slabs for our reception centerpieces, and my uncle let us borrow bottles that he had collected for decades to sit atop the wood. We had a very Southern menu of barbeque, macaroni and cheese, shrimp and grits, veggies, and biscuits, served with local jams and honey. Sammy is an important person in my life, so it was an honor to have him say the most touching blessing before our reception meal. It felt just like home.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? With all of the anticipation leading up to our wedding day, we knew that laying the foundation for a strong marriage was the most important part. We read books together, prayed together, and attended premarital counseling courses together. We genuinely enjoyed the season of engagement because we viewed it as a time to prepare for marriage.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Looking at each other during the ceremony and reciting our vows was the most memorable moment. We had the dreariest weather on our wedding day, but only joyful tears came down my cheeks during our intimate ceremony. Although our outdoor ceremony was quickly moved indoors, we could have been anywhere in the world, and all that mattered was that we were publicly committing our lives to one other in the presence of God and everyone we loved.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Breathe before and on the day of your wedding; be completely present and take in both the small and monumental moments. Understand that the best is yet to come, but do your best to savor the time that is fleeting.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right now, we are soaking in being newlyweds and we love it. It still blows us away that we get to spend the rest of our lives together. We love coming home and just being married, as simple as that sounds. We are currently saving up to buy our first home. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for us!

Photographer: Rachel Moore Photography | Planner: Modern Vintage Events | Venue: Green Door Gourmet at Hidden Valley Farms | Florist: Basil and Bergamot | Caterer and Cake: Whole Foods Catering | Rentals: Southern Events Party Rentals | Lighting: Bright Event Productions | Band: 24/7 | Paper Products: Marked | Bride’s Gown: Ti Adora Style 7451 by Alvina Valenta | Hair and Makeup: Katie Russo Beauty | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank | Musicians: Mockingbird Musicians | Getaway Car: Matchless Transportation

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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  1. avatar Nashville Wedding Planners: Sam + Jamie’s Tennessee Farm wedding | Modern Vintage Events reply

    […] heartfelt and beyond lovely. We were thrilled when their wedding was chosen to be featured by Southern Weddings Blog. Congratulations again, Sam and Jamie and here’s to many beautiful years […]

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We’re just smitten with our new Blue Ribbon Vendors and we can’t wait to share them with you! Each one of these vendors was hand picked, and I’m confident working with whichever one you choose would be a joy. Get to know these ladies and gents through some of our favorite interview questions, then click through to their listings to find out more!

Name: Laura McCarty, Marked
Where you call home: Birmingham, Alabama
Favorite part of a wedding day? The sweetest and most beautiful part of any wedding day is when the groom sees his bride walk down the aisle. His face says it all… and as my sweet husband always says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing!” (Proverbs 18:22)

Name: Ashley Bateman, NOLA Flora
Where do you call home: New Orleans
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? Family traditions, family heirlooms, and family recipes

Name: Anna Echols, One Belle Bakery
Where you call home: Wilmington, NC
How I got into weddings: I helped one of my college friends set up her reception on her wedding day. I used to plan alumnae events for Meredith College after I graduated, but helping with a wedding was a whole new ball game. I enjoyed every minute of helping her that day, and although I never had the urge to be in charge of an entire wedding, I knew it would somehow become a part of my career!

Name: Rebecca Hassee, PEWS
Where you call home: Birmingham, Alabama
Favorite part of a wedding day? When the bride and groom walk back down the aisle as husband and wife for the first time. The joy, the cheers, the laughing, and the beautiful wedding party that follows them – it’s all so beautiful and joyous!

Name: Perkins Morgan & Morgan Montgomery, Paisley & Jade
Where you call home: Richmond, Virginia
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? We love the traditions and family history that Southern couples embrace and incorporate into their day!! Being curators of all things vintage ourselves, we love nothing more than a good story – whether it’s family wedding portraits on display at cocktail hour, a piece of the bride’s grandmother’s dress incorporated into her bouquet, or vows that have been spoken by generations before.

Name: Pasha Belman, Pasha Belman Photography
Where you call home: Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? The beautiful outdoors draw me to the South. There is a huge variety of perfect wedding locations, from romantic sandy beaches and elegant flower gardens to glamorous country clubs and historic plantations. Dream Southern-style wedding locations create impressive wedding photography opportunities for me. I can never get enough of this gorgeous weddingland filled with sunlight-kissed celebrations.

Name: Emily Shaya, Pret a Fete
Where you call home: New Orleans
Favorite part of a wedding day? The ceremony. Although they don’t usually last very long, the ceremony is something the bride and groom will never forget. There is something special about saying vows that your grandparents (and their parents) said before you!

Name: Angela Higgenbotham, Rocking H Ranch
Where you call home: Lakeland, Florida
Favorite part of a wedding day? The “first look,” seeing the groom catch his breath at first glimpse of his bride!

Name: Sarah Becker Lillard, Sarah Becker Photography
Where you call home: New Orleans, Louisiana and Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was born in Texas, so that great state is also home to me!
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? Meaningful traditions, tearful toasts, embroidered handkerchiefs, handwritten vows, cake pulls, second lines, brass bands, and gulping up sweet tea in between photographing all the above!

Name: Scotti Cline, Scotti Cline Designs
Where you call home: Atlanta, Georgia
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? What’s not to love about a Southern wedding?! Southern traditions, beautiful venues, lovely weather, powerful family moments, genuine people, and personal touches. No two weddings are the same and whether you’re a bride, guest, or vendor, you’re going to have an amazing experience.

Check out all of our favorite vendors in the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory! I also wanted to mention that we’re working particularly hard to expand some of our areas of slim pickings – namely, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. If you would like to recommend someone (or nominate yourself!) for any of these states, please email emily at southernweddings.com!

emily Written with love by Emily
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    Our own Lisa is getting married this weekend (!), and we’re obviously really excited for her! One thing I truly admire is how she and her adorable fiancé Dave have prepared for their marriage. Like Lisa and Dave, Amy and Todd know how important the covenant of marriage is, so during their engagement, they chose to cultivate their relationship first and foremost. Amy told us “it was important to us to prepare not only for our wedding, but for the marriage to follow–the most important part!” We completely agree! I know their wedding must have been a beautiful reflection of that sweet preparation. And, y’all, I cannot let Todd’s expression when he saw Amy for the first time pass without a note. So much love right there!

    Big SW hugs to Mandy Busby for capturing this pretty day!

    Our wedding flowers were absolutely stunning. Laura McCarty of Marked pulled together beautiful neutrals with hints of pink–plus one brilliant yellow peony–that totally suited my neutral, subdued taste. She included lots of garden roses, peonies, and greenery, which are my favorites! Laura also added kumquats to one of the arrangements, which I loved! One of my favorite parts of our wedding was the beautiful arbor that Laura flowered up. I couldn’t have asked for anything more beautiful!

    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We had lots of help from friends and family, who were all willing to give us advice and guidance. We also went through premartial counseling, which was really helpful for us. It was important to us to prepare not only for our wedding, but for the marriage to follow–the most important part!

    We decided not to do a first look. I wanted to save that moment for when I was walking down the aisle, and for us, I think it was perfect. Walking down the aisle was so incredibly special and memorable. Since we didn’t do a first look, it was very emotional and sweet, and the breeze wafted cherry blossom petals as I walked down the aisle. I will never forget it!

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my wedding dress was so much fun! I bought my dress from The White Room in Birmingham, Alabama. I had my mom, my three sisters, and my grandmother all come with me, and they were all so kind and supportive. It was such an honor to have them all there! I only tried on three dresses, and I knew almost immediately after I tried on the third dress that I’d found my wedding dress! I loved that it was simple and romantic and reflected who I was as a person and a bride.

    We loved having our wedding and reception at the Donnelly House in Birmingham, Alabama. I’d grown up on the same street as the owners, Carl and Karen, and it was so special to have them involved on my wedding day! The venue was also in a significant area of the city for us, as we spent a lot of our dating relationship downtown and on Highland Avenue.

    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t get caught up in the details! Details are really fun and special, but what’s really important is to enjoy the process and savor your engagement. It is such a sweet time to prepare for such a reverent day, so don’t worry too much or agonize over little details! It will all come together.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Todd and I met through mutual friends after I graduated from Auburn University and moved to Birmingham. He moved to Louisville shortly after I returned to Birmingham, but we kept running into each other at weddings and parties when he’d visit. Somehow, we started emailing, very “You’ve Got Mail.” He came in town one weekend to celebrate his sister’s birthday and he took me on a date! We decided just to go for it and date long-distance, and we are so glad we did.
    Tell us all about the proposal! Todd surprised me by coming into town one Friday afternoon. That night, we had a friend’s wedding to attend, and after the ceremony, we hopped in the car and Todd told me we weren’t going to the reception–instead, he had made reservations at Highlands Bar & Grill for “a late birthday celebration” for me. We had an incredible meal, then headed back to my parents’ home, where Todd had recruited my mom and sisters to decorate with lights and lanterns. Todd proposed to me under an arbor of lights in the front yard, while, unbeknownst to me, all of my friends and family were watching and waiting inside with cake and champagne to celebrate! It was truly magical.
    When did y’all get married? April 19, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We did have one reading, Colossians 1:9-14. We had one of our dear friends read it, and it was really special. It was important to us for our ceremony to be reverent and focused on the Gospel, so the scripture reading was very important to us.
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Todd was totally in charge of the music, and he did an amazing job! He sings and plays guitar, so that was the only part of the wedding he insisted on planning. I walked down the aisle to “Hoppipolla” by Sigur Ros, one of our favorite bands. The song is incredibly beautiful and moving and perfect. We walked back up (or rather, danced back up) the aisle to Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love” which was so appropriate for us as a couple! We love to dance. Our first dance was “Save You” by Matthew Perryman Jones, who is a really significant artist for us. We’ve been to several of his concerts together, and his lyrics are so sweet and romantic, perfect for a first dance.
    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. My friend and cake lady extraordinaire, Malinda Nichols, made our wedding cake! It was really fun to have her as a vendor on our big day. She made a traditional vanilla wedding cake with buttercream frosting that was to die for, and Laura adorned the cake with flowers. It was beautiful. We also had Coke cake cupcakes with buttercream frosting and sweet little cupcake flags instead of a traditional groom’s cake!
    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Trying to be budget friendly was definitely a challenge, but honestly, planning our wedding was a joy!
    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We chose to limit the alcohol served to wine and beer. That helped cut down on our costs! We also chose to have both our wedding and reception in the same place, which helped our budget as well.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We’ve really enjoyed the first months of our marriage. It has been so joyful and fun! We’ve loved being able to live in the same city. It is such an honor to walk alongside your best friend every day. We’re excited to see where God leads us next!

    Photographer: Mandy Busby / Venue: The Donnelly House / Florist: Laura McCarty / Cake Baker: Malinda Nichols / Caterer: Happy Catering Company / Bride’s Gown: Robert Bullock / Bridal Salon: The White Room / Bride’s Accessories: BHLDN / Hair Stylist: Joanna Ballentine / Makeup Artist: Molly Stilley / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
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      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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