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There are SO many amazing venues in the South, but there’s nothing quite like a family home when it comes to adding an extra layer of meaning to a wedding celebration. Darcee and Hunter were married at the adorable chapel on Hunter’s family ranch, and as Darcee said, it’s what brought their relationship full circle–“My prayers started there, he proposed at the chapel, and we were married at the chapel!” I’m sure all 400 of their guests felt just as home as they did while they then gathered for a cocktail hour under the big Texas sky, a family-style dinner that felt as joyful as Thanksgiving, and one of the most darling pie spreads I’ve ever seen!

Hugs to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Jen Dillender for sharing this sweet day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed a necklace from Hunter’s sister, which was given to her by their grandmother. It was one of the sweetest and most special details from that day. My something blue were my blue Manolo Blahnik pumps, which were a fun find with my mother-in-law! Something old was a flower pin from my mom’s side of the family that I had on my bouquet. Something new was a handkerchief from a sweet friend that was embroidered with a quote by my mom–it sure came in handy (pun intended!), as it caught a lot of tears that day!

Finding my wedding dress was the hardest part of all the planning. We had a pretty short engagement, so I was under a bit of a time crunch. I remember my bridal consultant holding up what would eventually be “the dress” and I told her I didn’t even want to try it on! Eventually, I gave in, and loved it! But the over-analyzer in me just had to see if there was something better out there. I ended up going to three more appointments, and at the last appointment, I saw the same dress, and even without trying it on again, I knew that was the one. Ironically, regardless of how stressful it was, I would do it all over again–there’s nothing quite like getting to play dress up with all the girls in your life that you love the most. Those appointments still hold some of my fondest memories.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Hunter and I decided to forgo the first look. It was one of the few things that we didn’t really have to think twice about because there was something really special to me about the thought of my dad walking me down the aisle to Hunter and I really wanted that moment to be the first time we saw each other.

Hunter and I were married on his family’s ranch. The ranch holds countless special memories for him and his family, and therefore, it’s super special to me as well. His grandmother built a chapel on the ranch a few years ago, and any chance I would get, I would go there to just sit and reflect on how grateful I was that I had met Hunter…and there were certainly many prayers said there that one day, I would become Hunter’s wife! This chapel would end up being the place where things came full circle for us: my prayers started there, he proposed at the chapel, and we were married at the chapel!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Hunter and I met a few months before my mom passed away, and unfortunately, he never got to meet her. It was the most heartbreaking time for me and it still blows me away how kind, patient, and understanding Hunter was, to be able to walk through something on that level with someone he had just met. When it came to picking out the song I would walk down the aisle to, “Mama’s Song” by Carrie Underwood summarized my feelings perfectly. Hunter is exactly what moms pray for for their daughters.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Lots and lots of prayer, honestly. Hunter is a police officer who works a lot of crazy hours, so we weren’t seeing each other much. I was working and planning a wedding, and while it was so much fun, it was hectic and left little time for us to see each other. I remember praying that I would be prioritizing my time well, seeing what was important and what was not, and that above anything else, that I was focusing on what it meant to become a wife.

I think the biggest Southern detail was our venue. During pictures, horses were sneaking up in the background. We had our reception in a barn that is typically a home to tractors and tools. We served dinner family-style, where each table passed around food to each other. While we were eating, I remembered looking up and seeing people chatting as they passed the rolls and butter and thinking, “This feels like one huge family Thanksgiving meal,” and I was so grateful for that!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Call us crazy, but neither Hunter nor I are really big cake eaters. We were extremely fortunate to not only have the best caterer around, but also one who is known for their AMAZING pies! We had a pie bar complete with a chocolate chip wedding pie, pies in mason jars, big pies, and mini pies!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We had some mutual friends who consistently told me how highly they thought of Hunter and how they really wanted us to meet, and I was just not having it. Eventually, they got us to the same place at the same time to introduce us, and I’m not saying it was love at first sight, but it was something close!
Tell us all about the proposal! It was around 8 A.M. one Saturday morning when an alarm started going off. It wasn’t my phone or my alarm clock, so I got a ladder out thinking it was the batteries in my fire alarm. It wasn’t, and I wandered around my house for five more minutes looking for the source of this noise, until I found an iPad under my dresser with a note on it from Hunter sending me on a scavenger hunt. Out of pure shock and not wanting to get my hopes up, I crawled back into bed, wondering what was going on. Eventually, I got back up, got dressed, and followed my clues. My last stop led me to find Hunter at my favorite spot at his family’s ranch. A few minutes after he proposed, his family showed up, and to my surprise, he had also gotten all of my brothers and my dad, who lives 13 hours away, there too! It was sweet, simple, and perfect.
When did y’all get married? April 9, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 400
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning a wedding without my mom. It was downright hard and super emotional not having her there for this, but thankfully, my mother-in-law and I were able to have the best time planning the wedding. She was gracious, kind, and made sure that we were always having fun, and if we weren’t, we stopped and came back to it later. I know my mom is thankful for the way she took care of me during that time, as am I, always.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t overthink it. Get to a point where you stop looking at another people’s weddings and just think about what really matters to you and your soon-to-be husband.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? What’s next for us is just slowing down and spending time together. Planning a wedding, getting married, honeymooning, moving, etc. has made for a crazy few months, and I’m looking forward to sitting outside on our rocking chairs just spending time together without a to do list.

Photographer: Jen Dillender Photography | Videographer: Rethinkvideo | Planner: Thirty Day Dash | Venue: Pegasus Ranch | Florist: Moosefeathers Florist | Caterer and Dessert Baker: Royers Cafe | Rentals: Loot Vintage Rentals and Aztec | Lighting: American Outdoor Systems | Band: Danny Ray and the Acoustic Production | Paper Products: Archer and Olive and Gracelaced | Bride’s Gown: “Severine” by Monique Lhuillier | Bride’s Accessories: Jennifer Behr | Hair and Makeup: Sunkissed and Made Up | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Aidan” by Jenny Yoo | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Michele reply

    Could not have been more beautiful! Wedding and people!

  2. avatar Abbi Hearne reply

    This is beautiful!! What a dream. Great job Jen!

  3. avatar Julian Zacsfalvi reply

    Beautiful details and cool outfit with the cowboy hats!

  4. avatar Cindy reply

    What color are the bridesmaids dresses?

  5. avatar Greg Coltman reply

    Great set of natural images. Great lighting!

  6. avatar julie reply

    What a BEAUTIFUL wedding, Darcee! I was wondering, do you know what color were your bridesmaids dresses were? Mineral? Dusty blue? Denmark blue? Gorgeous!!

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Kelsey + Brandon met, fell in love and said their vows just a few minutes down the road from us! The NC State alums created a perfectly sweet Southern fete full of details and traditions that we adore. Though the couple’s bourbon bar (adorned with bow ties, no less!) and beautifully lined tent rank as highlights from this wedding, I have to say that Brandon’s wardrobe change before the reception is a favorite feature of mine! Who says gents can’t have a dapper white dinner jacket to dance the night away in? Big hugs to Kellie Kano for sharing this wedding with us! P.S. Remember Kelsey? We featured her bridal shower a few months back! She’s also one of our Southern Bride Bloggers :) P.P.S. Be sure to check back in on Saturday to see this wedding come to life in a video by Inkspot Crow!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I tried on dresses a few times (including an impromptu appointment at Saks in New York) before heading to Alexia’s. I knew I wanted a flowy and romantic dress, but was open to help from my consultant. As I was describing what I thought I wanted, my consultant said she had a dress in mind. I tried on a bunch of dresses that day, but the Reem Acra really stood out in my mind. I really loved the blush under layer, but when we looked at different sash options, I was sold. I love that my dress was traditional, but had some personal touches too.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? We did! It’s something that Kellie (our photographer) really believes in and she sold us on it at our very first meeting. It was wonderful to be able to take that time for just the two of us. The rest of the day was such a blur that I truly cherish those moments we had together. It made me even more excited to walk down the aisle to Brandon. Both moments were completely different and perfect in their own way.

Did you write your own vows? We decided to recite traditional vows. In our meetings with our minister, we discussed the different options and decided that the traditional route was the right thing for us. It was so special to know that we were saying the same vows that so many happily married couples have also said.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? “Union” by Robert Fulghum and 1 Corinthians Chapter 13
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. Walking down the aisle, walking back up the aisle, first dance? Our entrance music was Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring and Air from Suite #3. I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Cannon, something that I’d always pictured myself doing. We exited the ceremony to Hornpipe, Water Music. We had a string quartet for the ceremony and they made everything sound so beautiful. It was so exciting to hear the music start up and get to experience the moment I’d been picturing for years. Our first dance was to Joshua Radin’s “You Got What I Need.” We both really liked that it wasn’t your typical first dance song and the words really resonated with us.

Describe the proposal. Since our story began on our now alma mater’s campus, Brandon decided that it would be the perfect place to ask me to be his wife. I unknowingly helped the proposal along when I sent my class ring to get fixed. Our friend Cody was in charge of ordering class rings at the time and he helped Brandon get everything in place. As planned, Cody called to let me know that he had arranged for my class ring to be placed in the belltower overnight, per NC State tradition. Cody and Brandon arranged for the 3 of us to meet at the belltower after the Homecoming Parade. I was completely oblivious to what was about to happen as I rushed ahead of Brandon to meet Cody to get my class ring. Cody proceeded to tell us a little about the history of the memorial inside the belltower as he unlocked the doors and took us inside. I picked up and opened the box expecting to see my class ring. Instead was a note that said, “turn around.” I turned around in confusion and there was Brandon down on one knee! I was so surprised that I asked a few times if it was all real before saying, “Yes, of course!” It was such a special and memorable proposal and I’m so happy that Brandon was able to surprise me. As an added bonus, we are the first couple to get engaged inside the belltower!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Everything. We were both born and raised in the South and that’s definitely helped shape who we are, and we tried to reflect that in our wedding. I think the biggest Southern tradition we included in our wedding was our faith, family, and friends. There’s nothing more Southern then getting together with the people you love to have a great time and to eat, especially when it’s fried chicken, grits, and biscuits. We also included Southern touches in our décor. Brandon and I made strawberry jam for our favors and used cotton bolls as our escort cards.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was the bourbon bar. We wanted our wedding to reflect both of our personalities and interests, and bourbon is one of Brandon’s. We spent so much time and care picking out all of the details and it turned out perfectly. We used vintage bourbon barrels for the base and a 100+ year old door as the bar topper. We also tied some of Brandon’s favorite bowties around my mom and aunt’s mint julep cups for a final touch.

For our cake we wanted something simple. We went with white buttercream icing accented with fresh flowers. The best part of the cake was definitely what was inside. We chose a white cake layered with French vanilla mousse and fresh strawberries. It was delicious.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Brandon and I first met when my sorority was partnered with his fraternity for NC State’s Homecoming in the Fall of 2007. I was living in our sorority house and Brandon was president of his fraternity at the time, so we were both very involved in that week. During the Homecoming activities, we got to know each other and decided to pursue our relationship. For our first date, we grabbed some coffee before taking a walk. Despite the cold weather and the terrible coffee, we had a wonderful time talking and just being together. We both knew we had found something special.
In what month did you get married? June (June 30, 2012)
How many guests attended your wedding? 170
Describe your wedding flowers: I adored our flowers. Since we were having a tented outdoor reception, I wanted it to feel like a garden party. The mix of soft peaches, pinks, and creams of the peonies, roses, and Queen Anne’s lace with the green of the lamb’s ear did exactly that. We also mixed mercury glass and glass cake stands in to give the centerpieces an almost antique feel.
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Our photographer. We not only treasure our pictures, but we’re so happy to know Kellie Kano. She is so talented and it was wonderful getting to work with her for our wedding. The way she captured our day and the emotion is exactly how I had pictured it in my mind and it doesn’t get any better than that.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? This isn’t our “most memorable moment”, but I just have to throw it out there. Y’all, it was HOT. We got married the last weekend in June which just happened to be the weekend that we broke some heat records in North Carolina. It was 105 at the peak of the day and still in the high 90s at 10:00 that night. Our guests were so amazing and I am so grateful that they dealt with the heat to be there for us. Our entire wedding was full of moments that we’ll never forget, but the most memorable moment of the day was the surprise fireworks. Having planned out every single detail of the wedding, I really wasn’t expecting any surprises. Our best man’s dad went to South Carolina to get the “good kind” and along with some of our friends, they shot them off toward the end of the reception. It was such an awesome surprise and made us feel so great to have friends that would go above and beyond for us on our wedding day.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take it slow. I know it’s exciting in the beginning and all you want to do is plan, plan, plan, but just enjoy that time. There will be plenty of time to figure everything out. Meet with a bunch of vendors and then meet with some more. You’ll find people that you just click with, and that might not happen the first time.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Brandon got a new job not too long after the wedding, so we’ve been enjoying settling into our new routine and enjoying life as a married couple. We’re also hoping to get a dog in the next few months.

Inkspot Crow Films is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Emily reply

    I adore your glitter shoes and dress monogram patch, Kelsey! Such a lovely wedding!

  2. avatar Allyson L. reply

    Absolutely beautiful wedding! Love your dress! I bought my dress at Alexia’s too. Congratulations!

  3. avatar Taking It All In {Wedding Week} | Engaged & Inspired reply

    […] Source […]

  4. avatar Lauren L reply

    Where did you purchase this sash it is breathtaking!

    • avatar Kelsey M. reply

      Lauren L:
      Sorry for the extremely late reply Lauren! I had it custom made by an etsy seller. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like she has a shop anymore. :(

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I love jam and mason jars, both separately and together — and mostly at weddings! In fact, the other day, my friend called me from the grocery store in a jam conundrum — which to choose? Thank goodness I was available, in my infinite wisdom, to guide him through the options. Unfortunately, I’m not the best at canning things in general, so this handy DIY from the lovely ladies at Yours is the Earth will have all us reaping the benefits!

This fun jam recipe is meant to be stored in the refrigerator, so you don’t have to get into the nitty-gritty of actual canning. (But feel free to use pretty jars, regardless!) Our friends at Yours is the Earth have provided us with canning labels, too! Perfect to personalizing those jam wedding favors, no? I love a homemade touch at weddings and I think guests really appreciate it, too.

What you’ll need:

2 pints ripe strawberries (or about 5 cups), hulled and chopped
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
The juice of a whole lemon

What to do:

Bring all of these ingredients to a simmer in a dutch oven. Mascerate the strawberries until you have a bright, sticky, slightly chunky jam. Transfer to sterilized glass jars with tight-fitting lids. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, if you can make it last that long! Those biscuits are calling!

If you are feeling really adventurous, add a drizzle of balsamic and a few cracks of pepper to the jam while it’s cooking.

For the labels:

Download our PDF template here, and print onto regular paper or sticker paper. Cut along the black outline with scissors. If you’re using regular paper or cardstock, place the label on top of a mason jar lid, then screw the metal ring on top of it. Or, punch a hole through the top and hang it around your jar with a bit of twine or ribbon.

If you’re using sticker paper, cut out and place that pretty little label anywhere your heart desires.

Thanks to our friends at Yours is the Earth for sharing this DIY! Now tell us, what will your wedding favors be?

If you found this DIY helpful, you might like these, too!
Ashley Brooke Designs’ Tote Bag DIY
How to: Preserve Fruits
How to: Biscuit Bar

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Rustic Weddings and DIY Mason Jars! « The Aspen Shops – Owner Blog reply

    […] how to utilize Mason jars to complete your perfect Rustic wedding (even some FREE labels found on Southern Weddings provided by Yours Is The Earth) or how to utilize them in every day life! For more instructions on […]

  2. avatar Vanessa reply

    I love these! Definitely saving this for a later use :)

  3. avatar Allie@HoneyBeeInvites reply

    I love these labels! So amazing!

  4. avatar Friday Link Lovin’ » Yours is the Earth reply

    […] GATHER For a tomato canning party! Arm yourselves with your favorite canning jars, a great book of recipes, and a huge pot. That will get you started. It really is easier than it looks, especially when using an acidic food, like tomatoes. Don’t you want to savor all of those market or garden-fresh beauties for the dark days of winter? Now is a great time to start. Our canning lid labels make for pretty and useful storage. Give them as gifts to your guests! If you’re up for it, there’s still a free download available here. […]

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  7. avatar Jen’s Bridal Shower « MishMash-E reply

    […] for the different juice types (which she can now have for her place). We downloaded some free label templates (sis Steph found on pinterest) for labeling the different pitchers (which we also used for favors […]

  8. avatar Claudine Greer reply

    As the rain falls outside here in the northwest, my heart is looking forward to summer canning, and jamming, and all the yuminess of the process …. Love your labels! Could you tell me what font did you use? :)

  9. avatar {Imprimibles} 10 diseños 100% molones para etiquetar tu comida casera (y gratis) | Cosas Molonas | Blog de Inspiración & DIY | reply

    […] 2. Fresh Love, de Southern Weddings […]

  10. avatar Alan Diaz reply

    How I may get the labels????!!

  11. avatar Homemade Cinnamon Honey Butter—Simple, Delicious & A Great Gift! | Livin' The Mom Life reply

    […] I got the super cute mason jar lid labels HERE. Aren’t they […]

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    […] etichette rotonde, di Southern Weddings […]

  13. avatar jessica reply

    me gusta mucho

  14. avatar Zen reply

    We were looking for cool but simple labels for our homemade gifts (bath salts, salsas, pickled beans, granola…) and found your post. THANK YOU for sharing your designs!

  15. avatar Cristina Álvarez García reply

    I love it

  16. avatar 10 of the best… Food Printables | The Loveliest Food reply

    […] 7. Jam jar labels by Southern Weddings – click here […]

  17. avatar » Aromatischer Glögg & kupferfarbener Adventskalender « reply

    […] Die Labels (also die Schildchen auf den Gläsern) habe ich von hier. […]

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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