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Small towns and the South go together like biscuits and honey–they each seem to bring out the best in one another, don’t you think? Since Abigail and Adam’s love story began in their neighboring North Carolina mountain towns, there was no place like home for their rustic fall wedding. With limited venue options in her small hometown, Abigail and her family set out to help restore an abandoned produce packing warehouse. Not only did it become the perfect industrial space for her and Adam to celebrate with all their loved ones, it also now serves as an event space for the whole community. What an incredible legacy to leave!

Thank you so much to Michelle Lyerly for sharing this special day with us!

My mother, mother-in-law, and sisters came to Charlotte to help me find a dress. When I walked out in the dress I eventually bought, no one said a thing until we heard my best friend, who we called over Facetime, quietly say, “Oh, Abby!” We collectively started crying at that point and got right to work on the alterations.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? It was important to us both that the moment when I started walking toward him to become his wife happened in front of all of our friends and family, who had and would continue to support us as a couple.

Adam and I grew up in neighboring small towns in the mountains of North Carolina. Our love story started there and so much of who we are and what we love came from growing up together in that part of the state. We knew we wanted to be surrounded by the love of our hometowns on our wedding day. We also knew that many of our friends from college and work wanted to experience our small town firsthand!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Choosing a venue that wasn’t actually a venue yet! Murphy, North Carolina is a small place, so the choices for an event are limited. We ended up taking a risk and choosing an abandoned produce packaging warehouse in the center of town, built around 1911, as the venue. The exposed white brick courtyard sold me on the place! Our families worked with the owner of the building to clean, renovate, and re-purpose the building for the reception within six months. It was a challenge to bring the building up to code and make it suitable for not just a party, but a wedding reception, within such a short time frame! It ended up being stunning. The building now serves as an event venue, and it’s wonderful to see the community using the facility!

We kept the flowers to a minimum. The church and reception venue were styled using collected antique silver pieces, handmade antler flower crowns, hundreds of candles, a custom lighted marquee, collected oushak rugs, and white and green pumpkins from a local farm. Baby’s breath, white and pink roses, and greenery covered the tables and bars. Original iron window frames from the building were covered in fresh magnolia branches and suspended from the ceiling.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The whole town got involved! People stopped by on a regular basis to check in on the status of the reception venue’s restoration. Our families pitched in and built the tables (out of wooden beams recovered from the venue) and bars (collected wooden shipping pallets). When word got out that my sister was collecting antique silver pieces for the wedding, people started showing up at our house with pieces they found at yard sales or from their own personal collections. My uncle hand-stitched over 500 feet of white flag pennants for the courtyard, and my sister made amazing antler flower crowns. We even had people stop by the reception and join in on the fun. It was truly a hometown wedding!

The wedding cake was a three-tiered lemon pound cake with buttercream icing. We also had a dessert bar of cakes lovingly made by family friends. There wasn’t a single slice left at the end of the day!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? A local bluegrass band from the John C. Campbell Folk School. They played on the outdoor stage during the reception’s cocktail hour, greeting everyone with soulful Appalachian music. The outdoor stage was decorated with antique oushak rugs, an antique iron candelabra, and cascading pumpkins from a nearby farm. It was magical and felt just like home.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were so young! We first met with a group of friends outside the two-screen cinema in Adam’s hometown of Andrews, North Carolina. As is the case with most 13-year-olds, we weren’t so much dating as just seeing each other at group events or ball games. Adam went to my eighth grade dance with me, and from that point on, we’ve grown up together. So many times, young love is seen as irrational or unwise, and while it is certainly unpredictable, it’s amazing when it works out. I’m so thankful to know that Adam understands every part of me: my past, my present, and my future.
Tell us all about the proposal! I was in the middle of studying for spring exams when Adam showed up with an Easter basket. Easter is my favorite holiday, so I thought he was just making a sweet gesture. Each egg in the basket held gift certificates for my favorite things, but one light blue egg held the best gift: my engagement ring! Adam and I had dated for so long, I wasn’t sure if he would be able to surprise me when the time came, but this took my breath away. It was simple, creative, and thoughtful. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
When did y’all get married? October 25, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our families are very close, so the passage from Ruth 1 was meaningful and true.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I have so many! To name a few, a very good friend of mine gave me a watercolor she painted of our dog, Franklin, and his new last name as an engagement present. We had the image printed on the cake napkins, which was a wonderful way for Franklin to be a part of the celebration. We still use the leftover napkins for our bar cart at home! We also loved our dance floor. An old circular plant holder was used to suspend a disco ball, wrapped with a garland of greenery, over the black and white dance floor, and the stage was back lit by a custom designed marquee that said A+A. It set the tone for the party! Finally, a 1971 Minnie Winnebago, renovated by my father, served mini corndogs (my favorite), Coca-Cola bottles, and homemade potato chips as the night concluded.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We met with my former youth pastor and the minister for the wedding, Danny Byers, for premarital counseling. No matter how well you know a person, it’s so important to make sure your goals, values, and thoughts on faith work well together.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We used a lot of florals and greenery that we could collect ourselves: magnolia leaves, dried hydrangeas, and baby’s breath. We also worked with many local vendors, which cut down on shipping and transportation costs. My sisters really went above and beyond to make every detail special, so we were able to work without an event planner and just hired a day-of coordinator.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Your wedding needs to be true to who you are as a couple. The small details that represent you and your life together will make all the difference. I would also add, don’t take yourself or your wedding too seriously. The details I loved the most were the ones that made me laugh, like the deer with the bow tie that hung in the restroom, or the ones that created a buzz–when the trucker hats hit the dance floor, people let loose!

Photographer: Michelle Lyerly / Videographer: Brian Johnson / Planner: Brittney Forrister / Ceremony Venue: Murphy First Baptist / Reception Venue: The Hackney Warehouse / Florist: Occasions Florist / Cake Baker: Tara Dockery / Caterer: Herb’s Pit Bar-B-Que / Rentals: Elegance / Band: The Root Doctors / Matchbooks and Drink Stirrers: For Your Party / Koozies: Custom Ink / Invitation Suite: Reaves Engraving / Bride’s Gown: Tara Keely / Bridal Salon and Hair Accessories: Hayden Olivia / Hair and Makeup: Salon El Khouri / Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Suits: Michael Kors / Bow Ties: Brackish Bow Ties / Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan / Dance Floor Props: Oriental Trading / Dance Floor Lights: Flashing Blinky Lights / Tambourines and Hats: Custom Ink / Watercolor Artist: Sara Bozarth / Special Details: Kendall Simmons

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Meg Gravley reply

    Really huge fan of a dessert bar made by family and friends – so personal and functional. The triangular banners sewn by her grandpa…icing on the cake!

  2. avatar Dana reply

    the dress, the bunting flags, the dog napkins–what is not to love about this wedding?!

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I feel a special connection to today’s beautiful couple, Nina and Nick–their story started in Singapore, where I spent part of my childhood too! If there’s one thing I learned growing up abroad, it’s that the world is so small–you never know when you might cross paths with someone again. That was exactly the case for Nina and Nick, who reconnected in college at SMU, and started falling in love before the school year even started. Four years later, they began planning their Texas vineyard wedding with the help of Elixir Events, being careful to only include details that really meant something to them. As a result, the whole day was focused on their love and the joining of their families. What a perfect way to begin married life!

Thanks so much to Tracy Enoch for sharing Nina and Nick’s wedding with us!

The weekend after Nick proposed, my mom was in town, so we decided to take advantage of this trip and go wedding dress shopping. With no intention of finding my perfect dress yet, we set off to just have some fun. Browsing the racks of the Blushing Bride Boutique, we picked up a handful of dresses for me to try. After many vetoes, my eyes turned to what the boutique called the “vine dress.” Although it was beautiful, it was not the silhouette I had imagined myself in. I slipped into the dress, not overly enthused, and turned to stare at myself in the mirror…and this was the one, I knew it! Instead of breaking down and bawling, I was surprisingly calm, thoughtful, and logical. My mom couldn’t believe it! I knew it was the right dress because I made my decision in the calm, logical way that Nick would have. That is when the tears started rolling, because it wasn’t until then that I realized how much this man had impacted me for the better.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look. It was very important to both of us that we saw each other for the first time when I was walking down the aisle. We wanted to feel that magic!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We think that having our wedding outdoors added a Southern element. We also had both a bride’s and groom’s cake. All of the bridesmaids wore a simple gold necklace with a pearl that I gave each of them, and Nick’s aunt hosted a bridal luncheon for me and the ladies closest to me.

Everyone says it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day–well, we got extra lucky! The morning of our wedding day, the rain came down hard and we ended up having to move our ceremony to a different area of the vineyard. At the time, it was hard for me to gain perspective after we had been planning for so long, but in the end, it could not have worked out more perfectly. It ended up being more than we could have hoped for–we say it was meant to be!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Mitas Hill made such a good first impression on us that we both immediately felt it was meant to be. It is such a rarity to find a vineyard in North Texas, and it was perfect for our outdoor wedding.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We saved money by keeping things simple. We thought about what was really important to us, and then let everything else fall away. We wanted our wedding to be all about the joining of our two families and celebrating our love, and that is exactly what it was!

We really struggled to find a song that would be appropriate for our first dance. Finally, a week before the wedding, my angel of a sister shared the song “Forever Like That” by Ben Rector. It couldn’t have been more perfect–the words spoke to us, and it has become so special to us.

We went with a simple and elegant design for the bride’s cake, and incorporated beautiful vines to accent the vineyard around us. The groom’s cake, on the other hand, was inspired by one of our favorite TV shows, Game of Thrones. It was amazing!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. From Nick: Our paths first crossed in Singapore. We had been living internationally for most of our lives due to our parents’ careers, and it just so happened that we both ended up at the Singapore American School at the same time. Most people would assume our relationship started there, but we were both too afraid to make a move. Circumstances brought us together again, however, with each of us deciding to attend Southern Methodist University one year apart. We officially met at SMU, and I, in an act of uncharacteristic social prowess, managed to score a date with Nina before the school year had even begun. This headstart proved unnecessary, as our relationship quickly blossomed into a whirlwind romance. From Greek formals and SMU Boulevards, to music festivals and road trips, we quickly grew to be more than just great friends, and realized we shared a lot more than a common history of growing up overseas. Four years later would be the real test of our relationship upon my moving after graduation. However, distance, as they say, makes the heart grow fonder, and in this case, showed us what was truly important: each other.
Tell us all about the proposal! For almost a year after his graduation, Nick and I maintained a long distance relationship, with him living in Houston for his job while I finished my degree at SMU. Nick was visiting for one of his long weekend trips, and that Saturday morning, while I thought he was hanging out with his best friend and nursing a hangover, he was actually putting in motion the plan to ask me to spend the rest of our lives together. Towards the end of the day, he told me to make my way back to the Tri Delta sorority house for a belated surprise, as my birthday had been earlier that week. Waiting for me was one of my dear friends, who helped me get ready before I was whisked away to the first of many destinations. I first stopped in front of the Sig Ep house (Nick’s fraternity), where we had first made eyes at each other four years before. There, I was handed a letter written by Nick, which, among the heartfelt and romantic thoughts, gave me my first clue as to where to start the scavenger hunt down memory lane. After following the clues to places that hold special memories for us, I finally found Nick waiting for me at White Rock Lake, where he had planned a sunset picnic for Valentine’s Day just months before. I couldn’t breathe as I drove up in my little red Jeep. There he was, the man of my dreams, standing in the middle of the small bridge overlooking the lake. I finally caught my breath and made my way to his side. Taking my hands, Nick reminded me of memories from our four years together. After a deep breath, he got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of our lives together! It was the best day of my life!
When did y’all get married? June 13, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 220
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose 1 Corinthians 13:4 because both of our parents had used this reading at their weddings.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There were so many amazing moments from our wedding. For us, the most memorable were the quiet moments we were able to share together amongst the craziness. When we were able to take even just a few seconds to look into each other’s eyes and acknowledge exactly what was happening around us and how much we loved each other, that was the best!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? We didn’t have the luxury of being together during our engagement–we were over 3,000 miles apart. Don’t take one second together for granted. Enjoy every little detail and moment you have, because you only get to do this once. Don’t let the little things stress you out. Remember what the day is really about and the person you will get to spend the rest of your life with!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Next for us is saying goodbye to the USA and hello to St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Nick has already been living there for about a year, and now, it’s my turn to pick up and move to be with my guy. Having both lived overseas, we know our adventures are just beginning, and we can’t wait!

Photographer: Tracy Enoch Photography / Videographer: Landon Whinery / Planner, Florist, Rentals, Lighting, and Special Details: Elixir Events / Venue and Caterer: Mitas Hill Vineyard / Cake Baker: Flour Child Cakery / Music: Peter Nicholas / Paper Products: The Magic Pen and Party / Bride’s Gown: Lillian West / Bridal Salon and Accessories: The Blushing Bride Boutique / Hair Stylist: Reah Meier of Be Youtiful Hair Designs / Makeup Artist: Hannah Baylong / Bride’s Shoes: Michael Kors / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Andrew Adela / Menswear: Vera Wang

lisa Written with love by Lisa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Nina Lesiuk reply

    Lisa,
    Thank you so much for helping us share our love story. It is just incredible that you lived in Singapore too, it really is such a small world!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      It’s our pleasure! I couldn’t believe it when I read your interview–such a small world! Thank you for sharing with us and our sweet readers! Xoxo

  2. avatar liam smith photography reply

    beautiful photographs Tracy

  3. avatar Tracy reply

    Thank you so much for featuring this sweet couple and their wedding!!

  4. avatar Dana reply

    they are darling! love the cake!

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Throughout my 4+ years of writing here on Southern Weddings, I’ve written about couples BDK and I have been wedding date twins with, who have similar stories as us, and even a groom that played on the same baseball team as my beau. But, Wendla and Thomas are a very special couple to me, as they’re the very first reception venue twinsies I’ve had the pleasure of writing about! I have always adored the Lakeside Inn for its charm, location, and beautiful porch, and seeing it decked out in gold glitter is so unique! BDK and I had a very traditional reception in the lobby of this historic hotel, and seeing its front lawn transformed into Wendla and Thomas’ pretty navy celebration has me planning a trip to Mount Dora in my head. I can assure you, the adorable town is as magical as their celebration makes it look!

Thank you so much to Kt Crabb for sharing this sweet soiree with us!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The bridesmaid dresses! I knew I wanted gold sparkly dresses, but was having a hard time finding exactly what I wanted. My neighbor, who is also a seamstress, offered to help make them. We searched through many fabric stores and ordered countless fabric swatches until finally finding the winner. Each girl sent her a dress they already had that fit them well, and the seamstress recreated the dresses in my fabric. I was very nervous about how they would look all together, but it turned out perfectly. They glimmered and sparkled all day long!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We wanted our wedding to be traditional, so a first look was just not for us. I was so excited to see Thomas’ expression at the front of the church when I walked down the aisle. And I’m so glad we waited–his face at that moment was my favorite part of the day!

Knowing we would both be anxious on our wedding day, repeating traditional words seemed more realistic for us. As simple as repeating vows seems, I was so excited on our wedding day that I blurted out “I will” before the correct time, much to the amusement of our guests! Thomas’s father is a Methodist minister in Tennessee, and was able to perform half of the ceremony, along with my church’s minister. His homily was perfectly tailored to us and our relationship.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I am from Mount Dora, Florida, and my family has lived here for many generations, so it was important for us to share that with our guests. We were married at St. Edward’s Episcopal Church. My great-grandparents owned the house that used to stand on the property of the church, my grandmother played the piano there many years ago, I was baptized there, and I spent many summers and lots of time after school there with the youth group. With all of those memories, it was the perfect place for Thomas and I to say “I do.” For our reception, we went to the Lakeside Inn during our search and immediately knew that we would have our reception there. It is a historic hotel on the water in the heart of Mount Dora with a large yard in front. Our planner suggested putting a white tent there and making the place exactly what I wanted. I melted at that thought!

I absolutely love hydrangeas. My grandmother had blue ones in her garden when I was growing up, and they were always so gorgeous! I chose whites and light pinks in order to not overpower the striking bridesmaid dresses (my favorite part of my entire wedding, other than my groom). My bouquet was made of white hydrangea, light pink garden roses, and a dusty miller collar. My reception flowers were very special, because they were arranged by my mom’s good friend and nursery operator, who volunteered to make my floral dreams come true. She set up all of the white hydrangeas in my multiple tall and short vases.

We met at a coffee shop to taste cakes made by an adorable lady who works out of her home. Thomas chose two flavors for the head cake: a pink champagne cake (her custom flavor) with cream cheese filling, and white chocolate cake with raspberry filling. I chose the edible gold glitter for the outside of the cake.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in medical school in July 2012. I was an incoming second year student assigned to Thomas, an incoming first year, to be his “big.” I helped him move into his new place and get ready for his first year. I was immediately infatuated by his Southern charm and good looks. I am so grateful for my dear friend who set up the big-little matching! Soon after school began, we started studying together daily. That eventually led to me giving Thomas an ultimatum: either we go on a date, or I had gone too far beyond my big-little responsibilities. He was a true gentleman and won me over on our first date. By the end of the year, we had introduced our families to each other.
Tell us all about the proposal! Thomas completely surprised me! He got my father’s blessing and my family heritage diamond, picked out the setting, and waited for a good time. We were living in different cities and had hectic schedules, and he came into town one weekend for a local gala fundraiser. When I got home from my shift, he was already there with flowers and wine. That wasn’t too out of the ordinary, since he always went above and beyond during the times that we could see each other. He took me out to my family home’s back porch to “look at something in the backyard.” When I turned around to ask what he was looking for, he was down on one knee. I couldn’t believe it! He asked me to marry him and I said “Absolutely!”
When did y’all get married? March 21, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our parents and bridal party entered to a piano rendition of “A Thousand Years,” which we heard on the radio months before the wedding and flagged it to be a part of our big day. Our first dance was to “Come to Me” by the Goo Goo Dolls. Thomas used to sing it to me every time it came on in the car, and one day, I said “Can this be our first dance?” He was very excited!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Nothing says Southern more than family! From the pre-wedding parties to the after-reception soirée, mine and Thomas’ families mixed and mingled like old friends. The people in my hometown went above and beyond to make sure our wedding day (and the whole weekend) was just what we wanted.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Studying for medicine is a task in itself, but adding a wedding to the mix is something else. We truly learned how to communicate and listen during our engagement. We were living in different cities for rotation purposes, and had to schedule and reschedule wedding planning opportunities. This taught us a lot about each other, and even more, it taught us about balancing our careers and marriage.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? I matched into pediatrics in Orlando, so we will live together for a year. He will match next year in a military residency program, and will most likely have to move out of state to be on an Air Force base. We will live apart for a few years apart while our careers start, but eventually will be reunited to start a home together. With his military commitments, we have no idea where we will be, but we are excited for the adventures that come with that!

Photographer: Kt Crabb Photography / Ceremony Venue: St Edward’s Episcopal Church / Reception Venue and Caterer: Lakeside Inn / Florist: Terri’s Flower Shop / Cake Baker: The Cake Lady / Rentals: Grand Rental / Lighting: Grand Rental / DJ: Accent Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: Mikaella Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Pure Aveda Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Vera Wang / Groom’s Coat: itailor / Menswear: Michael Kors / Bow Ties: The Tie Bar

Kt Crabb is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Catherine Sensing reply

    Your article has captured the truly beautiful wedding that it was. The bride and groom are a perfect couple.

  2. avatar Wendla Sensing reply

    thank you Marissa for your beautiful post of our wedding day! So happy we are reception venue twinsies!

  3. avatar Jillian Pottkotter reply

    Love this wedding. The hints of navy and gold are just wonderful. As a fellow married medical school student, I know how hard juggling everything can be. Good luck on your residencies!

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  6. avatar Andrew Szopory reply

    I’m loving all the bright vibrant weddings on this blog so different to what every other blog seems to be doing these days :) Keep up the great work

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