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If you follow us on Instagram, you might have seen that we spent a good part of last week at our first-ever Southern Weddings Team Retreat. One of the many things we talked about was what each of us loves about the South. Well, I’m so happy Whitney and Nick’s wedding is the first one I get to write after returning back to the office, because it’s filled with so many of the things I personally love about the South: amazing location filled with heritage and Southern charm, a surprise groom’s cake representing collegiate roots, and complete dedication to honoring family. I could not love the way Whitney and Nick honored their family in their decor more–each one of the lanterns surrounding their ceremony represented a family member who had passed. Heavens, y’all pass me some extra tissues! We often talk about filling not only our wedding days, but our lives, with meaningful details, and that is such a sweet example.

Big hugs to our sweet friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor, Mrs. Nancy Ray!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? We wanted to make our guests feel welcome! Our welcome bags included lists of information and important addresses, plus a bag of Holy City Popcorn in the Lowcountry Boil flavor, pralines, benne wafers, waters, and Cheerwine!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went dress shopping three times. The first two times were with my mom, sister, and mother-in-law, and both times were a complete letdown. I did not like any of the dresses that I thought I wanted. I had always thought that I wanted an all-lace dress that was sleeveless, and I absolutely did not want a ball gown or a strapless dress. My sister talked me into trying on dresses that I had never thought of considering, including several ball gowns that I ended up really liking. Several weeks later, my mom and mother-in-law came to Charleston with me for a planning trip, and we decided to pop into Modern Trousseau of Charleston. The girls there were amazing! I ended up getting the Lisbon dress that day!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we did decide to do a first look! It was somewhat of a no-brainer for us. Since we were having the ceremony and reception at the same place, we wanted to have the majority of our pictures taken before everyone arrived to the venue. We knew that we would want to start mingling with all of our family and friends soon after the ceremony was over, and we didn’t want to feel rushed to get the pictures that we really wanted. It was also a good excuse to see each other before the ceremony!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We have several favorites, the first being the lanterns that we hung in the tree at our ceremony site. We had eight lanterns, and each represented a family member who had passed and was unable to be present. I loved the picture charm that held a picture of my daddy that I attached to my bouquet. We also hung boxwood wreaths on the front doors of Lowndes Grove, in honor of Nick’s late grandfather, who owned a boxwood farm.

The flowers were perfect! I told Elise that I loved large fluffy flowers and I wanted them be blush pink and white. She ran with my description and created some of the most gorgeous arrangements that I have ever seen! Leading up to the wedding, our budget was getting tight, so I had to cut the focal arrangement for the bar. The day of the wedding, Elise surprised me with the most beautiful and huge arrangement for the bar! I started crying instantly and gave her the biggest hug! I cannot sing her praises enough; she is a true gem!

We offered a “Southern hydration station” prior to the ceremony. We knew that having an outdoor wedding in June was risky and that it could be toasty the day of the wedding. We wanted our guest to be comfortable, so we served water and pink lemonade. The location was about as Southern as you can get–Lowndes Grove is a beautiful white plantation house that sits on the Ashley River. We served shrimp and grits with fried green tomatoes, along with some other great food, and we had amazing bar snacks. There were bowls of fried okra, cheese straws, and boiled peanuts sitting around the lounge areas for people to snack on throughout the night.

The wedding cake was a three-tiered round cake covered in vanilla buttercream. One layer was a lemon cake with key lime filling, and the other two layers were almond cake with vanilla buttercream and raspberries. So yummy! I surprised Nick with a groom’s cake designed to look like Carter-Finley Stadium, with all of the State students holding up signs that spell Wolfpack. Around the sides of the cake, there were various pictures of us throughout the years at different games. The cake was red velvet and devil’s food cake. Laney from Delicious Desserts was amazing to work with and had such great ideas. I had never seen someone so excited when we had our brainstorming meeting!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Whitney: It is crazy how vividly I remember the wedding day, and there are so many good memories! I think the most memorable to me was when I jumped the gun and said “I do” before it was time! I was so nervous and so excited, I just had to get it out! From Nick: I also loved when Whitney jumped the gun and said “I do” before it was time. I also enjoyed when everyone danced to “Shout,” and at one point, everyone was on the dance floor!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in September 2007 while at a NC State football game. We had several mutual friends who had met up while tailgating. Nick was standing off to the side being quiet, and our friends didn’t think to introduce the two of us. I took matters into my own hands, introduced myself, and offered him a Cheerwine! We are both from the small town of Cleveland, North Carolina and we went to the same high school, but since Nick is a little older, we had never met before.
Tell us all about the proposal! March 2013 had been a rough month for me, as I had lost my daddy suddenly to a heart attack the same day I started my career as a physician assistant. Nick and I had been looking forward to getting out of town the weekend of March 30, 2013 for one of our friend’s weddings in Charleston. For several weeks prior, we had been attending a Bible study that also doubled as a training course for a 5K. We had planned to squeeze in a run on Saturday morning and then meet up with several friends for breakfast. Nick planned out a route that would take us to Battery Park and to the pineapple fountain. He had been fighting a cold for most of the week, so I kept asking if he was sure he wanted to go, but he was very adamant. I even tried to get him to change the route so he wouldn’t have to run as far, but he just said, “Whitney, we are running to Battery Park.” Once we got to the park, we sat down on a bench. Then, he started saying sweet things and got down on one knee! I, of course, said yes and giggled a lot! Nick could not have timed the engagement any better; I needed the excitement to help take my mind off of losing my daddy.
When did y’all get married? June 7, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My Aunt Kathy read 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. It has always been one of my favorites! I actually had “love never fails” engraved in Nick’s ring as a surprise.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! My something borrowed was my sister’s veil. My something blue and new were one and the same–I had a blue monogram patch with my new initials sewn into my dress. My something old were the pearls that I wore around my neck during the ceremony. My daddy had given them to my momma for one of their anniversaries, and my sister also wore them on her wedding day.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I have two vendors who I could not have gone without! I don’t even see these ladies as vendors; I see them more as friends! The first is Sara Hosch, our wedding planner. She had this way of knowing exactly what I wanted or what I would like before we even talked about it! The other vendor is the talented Nancy Ray! I have followed Nancy’s blog for a long time, and when I met her for the first time, I was starstruck! She is one of the nicest people I have ever met, but she gets the job done like nobody’s business! I also loved that she instantly called me “Whit” during our engagement session!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I know everyone says this, but enjoy every moment! Wedding planning can have its moments of stress, but just know that it will all be worth it in the end! When else in your life will all the people you love be in one place? So seriously, enjoy EVERY moment!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are settling into our everyday routines and enjoying each other’s company. We are most looking forward to all the fun adventures and trips that we will take as a couple. Also, I am sure we will have a few kids along the way.

Photographer: Nancy Ray / Planner: Sara Hosch / Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation / Florist: Elise Nuckols of Charleston Stems / Caterer and Wedding Cake: Fish / Groom’s Cake: Laney Cowan of Delicious Desserts / Rentals: Snyder Events / Lighting: AV Connections / Band: Java Band / Paper Products: Scotti Cline / Bride’s Gown: “Lisbon” by Modern Trousseau / Bride’s Earrings: Swell Caroline / Hair and Makeup Artist: Sabra Mizzell of Willow Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Sam Edelman / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style 154” by Bill Levkoff / Men’s Suits: Jos. A. Bank / Men’s Bow Ties: Brooks Brothers

Nancy Ray is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and Scotti Cline is a delightful SW sponsor!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Whitney & Nick Wedding | Nancy Ray Photography reply

    […] for their wedding came from one of our favorite wedding blogs here in the NRP studio, and today the Southern Weddings Blog made one Southern bride (and her photographer!) very happy for featuring her wedding. Thank you for […]

  2. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Always love the classic look of blue and white!

  3. avatar Claire Cowman reply

    Oh, wow! I love the whispiness of that cake’s icing! Beautiful photography and feel to the whole wedding, love the use of light in all of these photos!

  4. avatar Matthew Rycraft reply

    Looks like a great day. Really like the grooms evening outfit!

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I don’t even know where to start with today’s wedding because there is just so much that I absolutely love about it! Sweet, classic couple? Check. Sentimental venue with amazing views? Yes ma’am. An elegant reception and Southern details for days? You got it. Emily and Justin’s wedding was beautiful, no doubt about it, but what I love most about these two is the fact that they were so intentional in their wedding planning. They fulfilled some of Emily’s longtime wedding dreams (don’t miss the story about her dress!), built lots of meaningful moments into their timeline, and soaked in every second of the day once it arrived. We’re so happy that Genya of Vue Photography was on hand to capture it all so beautifully and then share it with us!

I actually found my wedding dress back in 2004! I was shopping for my debutante dress when I saw a sketch of a Carolina Herrera gown on the wall of the bridal salon. It was gorgeous and I begged my mom to let me try that dress on if they actually had it in the store, which they did! I still loved it years later and we went back to the same bridal salon to have it altered a little bit–I changed from a lace bolero-style top at the ceremony to a beautiful top with pearl and crystal accents for the reception.

Describe your wedding flowers. Beyond my wildest expectations! I am a very detail-oriented person, but have very little experience with flowers, so it was difficult for me to communicate what I wanted. I knew I wanted full arrangements in mostly white with green accents, and silver vases. I also had my heart set on a magnolia garland lining the back row of the chairs at the ceremony. Leon (our florist and caterer) did an amazing job.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Justin’s sister, Kristen, read Romans 12:9-18, and our friend, Heather, read an excerpt from a letter John Steinbeck wrote to his son in 1958, after his son told him he had fallen in love. Justin came across the letter in a book my dad had given me, and we love it so, so much. “First – if you are in love – that’s a good thing – that’s about the best that that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you. Second – There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you – of kindness and consideration and respect – not only the social aspect of manners, but the greater respect, which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak, but the second can release in you strength and courage and goodness, and even wisdom you didn’t know you had. Glory in it and be very glad and grateful for it.”

Kolomoki Farm is my family’s farm in southwest Georgia, and it is where I have wanted to get married ever since I first started to think about my future wedding! I know I’m biased, but I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place for a wedding. We timed our ceremony so that the sun would set during cocktail hour; it’s so gorgeous out there, and we wanted our guests to be able to enjoy it. Kolomoki is also where Justin proposed!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Justin and I both really loved having a private dinner by the lake during our cocktail hour. It was a hard decision, because we weren’t sure we wanted to miss that time with our guests, but it ended up being very special. We ate on our wedding china, relished in the fact that we were married (!), and had a moment to look over at everyone and take it all in. Walking through the tent at the start of the reception for our first dance was also an incredible moment. Seeing everyone that you love around you is such a surreal feeling.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I had a great time putting together our welcome bags and loved including special details–peanuts from our farm, UNC Tarheel-shaped cookies from Southern Seasons for Justin, bottled Coca-Cola just like we drink during quail hunting breaks, the welcome letter my dad helped me craft. I was also so proud of our escort cards–we had to think creatively so that they wouldn’t blow away in case it was windy, so I worked with Erin at Hi Note to create little cards that we tied with ribbon around champagne glasses for all of our guests. I loved that we got the party started that way!

I’m from Georgia and Justin is from North Carolina, so we are Southern through and through. We were married on my family’s quail-hunting farm in Southwest Georgia. Our food was incredible–we served boiled peanuts on all of the bars, pimento cheese and candied bacon at cocktail hour, and grilled quail, shrimp and grits, and a biscuit bar at the reception. We also incorporated lots of monograms! Justin and his groomsmen monogrammed their cummerbunds from High Cotton Ties, my mom had our cake knife and silver toasting goblets engraved, and we had our monogram embroidered on pillows that sat in rocking chairs during cocktail hour. Justin also wants to add that my wedding day gift to him was a shotgun, and that “there’s nothing more Southern than that!”

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We actually met at work! I thought Justin was really cute when I first met him, and I referred to him as the “hot, old guy at work” to my friends for several months before we ever went on a date (Note: he’s only four years older than me, but I guess 26 sounded so mature to my 22-year-old self at the time!). The morning after our first kiss, I called and texted my then-roommate–who was out of town–so many times that her boyfriend pulled her out of the shower, exclaiming “It’s Emily and Hot Old Guy!” She was one of my bridesmaids and hilariously re-told the story during her toast at our rehearsal dinner.
Tell us all about the proposal! Justin had the ring shipped to his parents’ house in North Carolina first, and told his mom to overnight it to him at work. The next weekend, we were down at my family’s farm (where we ended up getting married). Apparently, Justin had thought about proposing that Friday night, but my dad was in Montana at the time without cell phone service, and Justin wanted to talk to him beforehand. Then, he planned to pop the question while we were out riding horses, but I decided that I didn’t want to ride after all. Next, we were going to shoot skeet over the lake and he wanted to put the ring in one of the shotgun shell boxes, but we were out of clays, so we nixed those plans, too! Finally, later that night, Justin convinced me to go outside to watch the sunset, and when I finally got outside, he proposed by the lake behind our house!
When did y’all get married? October 26, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Living in Atlanta and planning our wedding in rural Georgia meant we had to do a little extra legwork in looking for vendors who wouldn’t have to travel so far to work with us. We also spent a good amount of time figuring out transportation and accommodations for our guests, since almost everyone was coming from out of town.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? A couple of my friends gave me two pieces of advice that really stuck with us throughout the planning process and on our wedding day. First, hire people you love. You spend so much time with some of your vendors–your wedding planner, photographer, everyone–that it makes sense to surround yourself with people that you genuinely like. Second, try to stay together throughout your reception. We tried to spend the engagement parties, showers, and rehearsal dinner chatting with guests so that when we were at our wedding reception, we wouldn’t feel pressured to split up in order to speak to everyone. We wanted to experience it together and have the same memories! Finally, bury the bourbon!! It worked for us.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We bought a house in the cutest neighborhood in Atlanta a couple of months before our wedding, so we are settling into life here with our dog. It’s been fun to move on to the next project–decorating! :)

Photographer: Vue Photography / Videographer: Anchor Heart Films / Planner: Amy DiLoreti of A Flawless Event / Venue: Kolomoki Farm / Florist: Leon Holloway of Gatewood’s Flower Shop / Wedding Cake: Cakes, Cakes, Cakes / Caterer: Leon Holloway of Cousins Catering / Rentals and Lighting: Rental Depot / Band: Yacht Rock Revue / Paper Products: hi note / Bride’s Gown: Carolina Herrera / Bridal Salon and Veil: Joan Pillow Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Natalie Teasley / Bride’s Shoes: “Shalyn” by Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Aidan” by Jenny Yoo / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids / Men’s Cummerbunds and Bow Ties: High Cotton Ties / Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Calligraphy: Penny Greer / Transportation: Capital Trailways / Koozies: Middle Georgia Embroidery / Ceremony Musicians: Auburn String Quartet / Cake Table Linens: I Do Linens

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

    This is definitely a Southern wedding through and through. Gorgeous photos. My favorites are the ones with her dad. Precious!

  2. avatar southern weddings blog: emily + justin » Vue Photography reply

    […] always a treat to be featured on Southern Weddings! Head over to their blog today to see Emily + […]

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