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When you combine a dreamy blush Monique Lhuillier gown, an abundance of pastel blooms, a garden that serendipitously shares the groom’s last name, and a couple who is clearly smitten with each other, you know a wedding is going to be incredible! With the help of Sage Nines Event Production, Ellen and Brad loved planning their spring nuptials in the Wills Perennial Garden at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, a place they visited often during their dating years. Besides the lovely, spring-inspired details, the highlight of their wedding was without a doubt the love of their community that surrounded them–their most memorable moment is sweet as can be!

Hugs to Mary Rosenbaum for sending Ellen and Brad’s lovely day our way!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. The weekend of dress shopping was so much fun. My sister flew in from LA and several of my bridesmaids were able to come as well. We scheduled the weekend around a Monique Lhuillier trunk show at The Bride Room. Mine was the third dress I tried on, and as soon as I had it on, we all knew it was the one. I called my dad over for the final opinion, and he loved it. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room!

My bridal bouquet was a hand-tied bouquet of fresh lavender and lilac, pale pink garden roses, blush astilbe, white lisianthus, light blue delphinium, dusty miller, and light pink ranunculus. The bouquet was very loose and wildflower-inspired. Our centerpieces were in gold mercury glass bottles and goblets and consisted of lavender, stock, light pink spray roses, light pink sweet peas, ivory garden roses, light pink astilbe, light blue delphinium, and light blue hydrangea. They were so elegant and lovely!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a string quartet playing songs by The Beatles for the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to “Here Comes the Sun,” which was perfect, as we could not have asked for a better day. Brad and the groomsmen came down the aisle to “With a Little Help from My Friends,” a song we thought was fitting for them. Walking back up the aisle, the string quartet played “All You Need is Love.”

Cheekwood Botanical Garden is very near our house, and we would often wind up there when Brad would come to visit our family in Nashville. Cheekwood has such beautiful gardens, and I really wanted a garden wedding and reception. We chose the Wills Perennial Garden (of course, since I was becoming a Wills!) and then tented the back of the mansion for the reception.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? That is such a hard question, as our day turned out practically perfect. But the food was especially unbelievable–Kristen Winston went above and beyond! We still hear about how good the food was at our wedding!

Our cake was a simple, textured buttercream cake, accented with lavender. One layer was chocolate chip cake with chocolate buttercream and ganache, one layer was European butter with vanilla buttercream, fresh strawberries, and lemon curd, and one layer of cinnamon red velvet with three layers of vanilla buttercream. AMAZING! The groom’s cake was made by a family friend, Chelle Baldwin of SweetAbility Bakery, who incorporated several of Brad’s hobbies and interests into an unbelievable cake!

Since Brad is from Georgia, he and his mom danced to “Georgia on My Mind.” My father and I danced to “Unforgettable.” The first dance was to an Ingrid Michaelson song, “The Way I Am.” The song is about how some of our flaws end up bringing us closer together!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment was when the band played “Home” as the last song. Brad and I stood at the front of the dance floor and basically sang the song to the crowd. Fortunately, they didn’t actually give us the mic! It felt like everyone there was on the dance floor, jumping up and down in unison, and having an amazing time. It was very surreal and symbolic, and we will never forget it.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Brad and I met very early in college, when we were in the same small group class. There was also a brief period when we were biology lab partners. We went through most of college seeing each other here and there, but did not really start talking again until senior year. At first I rejected Brad’s dates, but his persistence paid off, and here we are!
Tell us all about the proposal! Since we met at Sewanee, it was the perfect place to get engaged. We planned a weekend trip there to celebrate his birthday, including a hike out to KA Point, a beautiful overlook we’d been to many times before. When we arrived, he pulled roses and a book out from his backpack. He had asked several of our friends to write “proposals” to me and created a book of all of them. On the last page was a picture of Brad on one knee, and when I looked up, there he was on one knee in real life. Both sets of parents met us at the cabin afterwards for a celebratory lunch. The only thing he hadn’t planned for was the three inches of snow!
When did y’all get married? May 3, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 225
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No first look for us! At the wedding, I would be coming down a flight of stone steps into the garden, and I think we all wanted that moment to be extra special.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My Aunt Salley read Song of Solomon 2, which Brad picked out especially for us.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We met with our minister several times while planning the wedding to discuss our expectations of marriage and address potential problems. We found it extremely helpful and would encourage everyone to do it!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Try and stay calm and remember that the most important thing is that you are getting married to the person you love!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? After an amazing honeymoon in Switzerland, we moved to Birmingham, where we are doing a medical residency. I am a resident in internal medicine and Brad is in orthopedic surgery. We were in a long distance relationship prior to this residency, as we were at different medical schools, so we are most looking forward to living together and being able to see each other every day!

Photographer: Mary Rosenbaum / Videographer: Full Frame Digital Cinema / Planner: Sage Nines Event Productions / Venue: Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art / Florist: Enchanted Florist / Cake Baker: Dulce Desserts / Caterer: Kristen Winston Catering / Rentals: Liberty Party Rental and Music City Tents and Events / Lighting: Bright Event Productions / Band: The Downtown Band / Paper Products: Deirdre Zimon of Lennah Press / Bride’s Gown: “Candy” in Blush Tulle by Monique Lhuillier / Hair Stylist: Ashlea Mullins / Makeup Artist: Shannon Wright / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Menswear: “Classic Black Tuxedo” by Calvin Klein

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    her dress and flowers and stunning!!!

  2. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Beautiful wedding! I love her dress!

  3. avatar Abbey Angelle reply

    What is the round gold monogrammed item in the first picture?

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It is always so much fun to see a wedding planner’s wedding! In Leanne and Jason’s case, they were inspired by their love of the South, a collection of beautiful family heirlooms, their rival Texas college loyalties (y’all know I’m with Jason on this one–hook ’em!), and most importantly, their parents, who have both been married for over 39 years. The beautiful magnolias and preppy striped details are surely thanks to Leanne’s design savvy, but their touching ceremony and care for their guests was what made this day truly special!

Thanks to Sara & Rocky for sharing this lovely wedding with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my mother’s monogram brooch that my father had given to her on their wedding day in 1970. I’ve always loved it. Jason gave me a monogram necklace for our wedding as well. My something blue was my clutch. My mother carried it to her prom and gave it to me, and I had been saving it since high school to carry at my wedding. My something old was my veil, which was handmade of Brussels lace that my mother purchased in Belgium in 1969. It cost $450 even back then, and is a priceless family heirloom. My mother and aunt both wore it at their weddings, and I made the wedding dress consultant swear she wouldn’t bring me any dresses to try on that didn’t match my veil.

I chose to walk down the aisle to an instrumental version of Patty Griffin’s “Heavenly Day.” She is my favorite artist of all time, and every time I’ve heard that song, I imagined it being played at my wedding. She is from Austin, so it was fitting to use a musician from Texas. One of my bridesmaids sung “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”–this is not only one of my favorite hymns, it also really explained how our waiting patiently for each other attested to God’s faithfulness in our lives. Every person in our wedding has already been married, so we stood by countless friends as they met and married their spouses. We feel so grateful to have finally found each other and we know that God’s faithfulness will continue in our lives, no matter what challenges may arise.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, since we had a civil ceremony outside, we knew we wanted to write vows that represented our commitment to one another, and to really help our friends and family see our deep love for each other. My favorite lines from my vows to Jason were, “You smile at me when I am at my worst and turn my bad moods into fits of laughter… and who can forget your sense of adventure? You have turned my life into one giant, fun-filled ride.” My favorite line from Jason’s vows were, “I’ve waited for you my entire life; I’ve fought for you, and broken down the walls around your heart. I was always optimistic there was a future for us. You have been worth any struggle.”

Our entire wedding was over-the-top Southern. From the magnolias on our invitation, as a nod to my parents’ Mississippi roots, to the quilt that was displayed on the old church pew, hand-sewn by my great grandmother out of my mother and grandmother’s clothes. The cotton boll boutonnieres paid homage to my grandfather’s cotton farm. Our cocktail napkins said “Cheers Y’all” because we wanted our guests to know that every detail was about them feeling welcome and at home. Our first dances were all to country music, and we two-stepped, naturally. I even changed into my boots for the reception so I could really enjoy it all! We had custom cornhole boards made that represented the college football rivalry in our marriage–I’m a Texas A&M Aggie and Jason’s a Texas Longhorn. It must be a family tradition, as my parents went to State and Ole Miss!

Describe your wedding flowers. They were AMAZING!! Our flowers were white, ivory, and pale pink with touches of coral, green, and gold. Branching Out utilized roses, spray roses, garden roses, peonies, ranunculus, sweet peas, lisianthus, freesia, anemones with black centers, gardenias, magnolia foliage, clematis vine, jasmine vine, and Italian pittosporum to create natural, whimsical styles with of lots of texture and movement. We used a mixture of gold, white, and striped vases, urns, and footed bowls to create various heights of centerpieces throughout the reception space. Gold glittered rods were also styled with miniature magnolia wreaths with navy and white striped bows.

We had a biscuit bar at cocktail hour, complete with homemade strawberry jam, and also served sausage balls made from my grandmother’s recipe. Our dinner menu consisted of short ribs, jalapeno cheese grits, greens, squash casserole, cornbread, and parker house rolls with honey butter. We had coconut macaroons flown in from the Mississippi State Bakery as a surprise for my dad, and gave them out as favors with monogrammed stickers.

As Jason’s fraternity brother serenaded me, I knew this was my Southern wedding dream come true. Amazing food, family and friends, great music, and a well-stocked bar. It really was the perfect day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Jason and I met through an online dating website. We’re both older in the midst of busy careers, so we eventually took the plunge. Never in a million years did we actually think we’d meet our spouses that way. Our first date was in fall 2012 when we watched a Dallas Cowboys game, and then ended up going to Central Market, a local market and cafe, to shop for some beer to pair with one of Jason’s new cigars. We decided you can learn a lot about someone at the grocery store, just based on what they like to eat and how they shop. Now we always reminisce about our relationship at grocery stores, which definitely makes it more fun! I knew Jason was special when he would stay up till 2 a.m. to talk to me while I drove home from weddings. Dating an event planner isn’t an easy task, especially during wedding season! He would even bring me dinner sometimes when he knew I was exhausted and didn’t have time to cook. By the spring, we knew this was the best relationship we’d ever been in.
Tell us all about the proposal! We went to a friend’s wedding Memorial Day weekend, and Jason whispered, “I don’t think this is our last walk down the aisle together,” as we left the church. We went ring shopping together after our friend’s wedding weekend. I fell in love with a setting, and he selected a stone. When he said, “We’ll take it,” I nearly fainted! He turned to me and said, “Well, of course we know we’re getting married!” The ring was custom made and took three weeks to be completed. Those were the longest three weeks of my life! After they were up, I told him that if he held onto the ring for much longer, I didn’t think I’d survive. One Saturday afternoon in June, I went to his place after work. When I knocked and walked in, he was on his knee in the living room, surrounded by dozens of flowers and our favorite music playing. He then explained the significance of all the flowers: red roses because I’m the love of his life, white roses because his love for me is pure and he never wants to hurt me, maroon for my Texas A&M, orange for his Texas Longhorns, and an array of colors because I’m the “most colorful woman he knows.”
When did y’all get married? March 16, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Because I’m a wedding planner, I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time to look for a dress, or find one that didn’t require a multitude of fittings. My mom asked me to go to a shop that sold samples when my aunt was in town, and I never in a million years thought I would buy a dress that day. When I tried on the fifth or sixth dress and saw their faces, then looked in the mirror, I knew it was the one. It fit so perfectly and didn’t even need to be hemmed. It also looked so lovely with my mother’s heirloom Brussels lace veil that all the women in my family have worn in their weddings, which sealed the deal.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Jason and I wanted to do a first look so that we could have some time alone and get any tears out of the way before the ceremony. We didn’t want to “ugly cry” through our vows, which we wrote ourselves. We also knew that it would be so nice to take pictures beforehand and then spend more time with our friends and family who had literally flown in from all over the world to be there.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I loved the family photo table with the large magnolia wreath that said “Because He first loved us.” It was filled with pictures from our parents’ and grandparents’ marriages, along with photos of our relatives who couldn’t be with us. Not only did we get married because of God’s love, but because of all of the love that our family and friends poured into us, and the wonderful examples of marriage in the generations before us. Both mine and Jason’s parents have been married for over 39 years.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? It was definitely hard to design and plan a wedding as a full-time event planner. Because I’m exposed to so many amazing vendors, it was very hard to narrow down who to select and what design elements I could incorporate that wouldn’t feel reminiscent of other events I had planned. I really had to stay true to who Jason and I are as a couple and focus on what our family and friends would enjoy most. At the end of the day, I knew I wasn’t my own client–I was the bride. I learned that even though I wanted people to see my design talents, all that really mattered was that I was marrying my best friend and that everyone we loved would be there.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? One way that we saved money was with calligraphy. I thankfully inherited beautiful handwriting from my mother and grandmother, so I addressed all of our invitations and hand-lettered the magnolia leaf escort cards. We also purchased decor when we could get it on sale, such as some of the specialty vases, bar trays, striped straws, and decanters for the cigar bar. We tried to save money on any of the minor details that Jason and I could create by hand.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We both stopped during dinner to stare at our wedding bands and try to soak in the fact that we were actually MARRIED! We looked out over the room and were filled with so much joy to see everyone we loved look so incredibly happy and having such an amazing time.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a planner and try to get things done as soon as you can. The last few weeks leading up to your wedding should be focused on preparing for your marriage and enjoying your family and friends, not focusing on little details. It will help you go into your wedding with a sense of calmness that no amount of money can buy.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are getting settled into our house and enjoying projects to get it fixed up. We are looking forward to traveling, falling even more in love, and continuing to get to know each other even more every day. We can’t wait for a lifetime of adventures! Our journey is just beginning, and we are so excited about the possibilities.

Photographer: Sara & Rocky / Videographer: Lynn Films / Planner: Catherine Ball Events / Venue: The N at Hardway Ranch / Florist: Branching Out Floral & Event Design / Wedding Cake: Ginny Stewart Designs / Caterer: EuroCater / Rentals: Gold Dust Vintage Rentals / DJ: Glenn Roush, Le Force Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: Casablanca / Paper Products: Inscriptions on the Boulevard / Bride’s Bracelets: J.Crew and Stella & Dot / Hair Stylist: Liz Hernandez / Makeup Artist: Adina Wright / Bride’s Shoes: “Antigravity” by Easy Spirit / Groom’s Attire: Calvin Klein / Tent: Dallas Party Tent & Event / Linens: Fabulous Events / Chalkboards: Eclectic Viv / Coconut Macaroons: Mississippi State Bakery / Menus: Minted / Monogrammed Napkins: One Kings Lane

lisa Written with love by Lisa
14 Comments
  1. avatar Wedding Rental Supplies reply

    Beautiful wedding! Loved the unique and pretty details of this wedding.

  2. avatar Erica reply

    Where was this wedding held?? I’m looking at venues in the area and this looks like a beautiful setting!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    I love all of their magnolia details – the wreaths + garlands are gorgeous!

  4. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    There is so much to love about this wedding: the outside seating is awesome, the pick up truck is a great idea and of course, the bacon with gravy and biscuits, I am sure was delicious!

    • avatar Hannah reply

      Beautiful wedding! Any idea where that guest book is from, I love it!

    • avatar LeeAnne reply

      Hey Hannah! My husband’s uncle actually made our guest book, but there are vendors on Etsy that make similar options. Good luck!

  5. avatar Rachel reply

    A beautiful wedding and an even more beautiful bride and person. I love you, LA! :) It was an honor to stand beside you on your wedding day.

  6. avatar Charmaine (Rustic Folk Weddings) reply

    Adore the way the couple paired their bold color palette throughout their wedding.

  7. avatar LeeAnne reply

    Hey Erica! The venue is The N at Hardway Ranch, in Bluff Dale, Texas. Good luck with planning and thanks for your sweet words!

  8. avatar facefacei87.com reply

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  9. avatar Louise reply

    I would love to know how the champagne bottle was made – is that a sticker or engraving and who were the suppliers? Thank you!

  10. avatar Kayla reply

    Hi there. Where did you get your wooden Texas-shaped guest book? It is beautiful!

  11. avatar LeeAnne reply

    Louise – we ordered the champagne through a company in California, Miramonte Winery.

    Kayla – my husband’s uncle made our guest book. It is solid Maple, so will last a lifetime. You can definitely find similar items on Etsy that can be made to order.

    Best wishes to you both!

  12. avatar Pretty Palettes #98 reply

    […] But!  This color palette isn’t reserved solely for nautical weddings.  These wedding colors can be used in summer weddings anywhere!  In fact, these photos are actually from a wedding at a ranch in Texas!  You can check out the fill feature over on Southern Weddings. […]

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Hello, belles! Last week we shared our first entry into our Dream Southern Summer Wedding series with Mrs. Thomas’ peachy perfection! This week it’s my turn to do a little faux celebration planning. And don’t forget to check back soon as the other gals will be coming to you over the next few weeks!

Unlike my adorable colleagues, Emily and Kristin, I did not already have a summer wedding, so when it came to dreaming up what I’d choose for a Southern summer day I knew it would have to look a little something like this:

The feel: Pink, preppy + full of fun! My real-life wedding was a fabulous formal affair laced with lovely light pink and classic details, so when it came to a Southern summer wedding I knew I needed to amp of my favorite color, add in some cool treats since it’s a scorcher in the South, and add in some monograms for good measure. Obvi!

The place: The Front Lawn at Rosemary Beach. Absolutely dreamy! And in my dream, we’ve got big ol’ fans keeping everyone cool!

The time: 6pm, in early June

The style: Preppy, colorful and casual. I’d wear the Christy gown from Lula Kate; it’s got ruffles for fanciness and it’s cool enough to dance in! I think I’d copy cat the gals in that lovely photo with pretty pink + gold good stripes. And for the boys, I’d have to go seersucker pants, casual button downs and of course some fabulous striped bow ties!

The food: We’d go ultra casual here, and have the famous Shuckums cater a big ol’ oyster dinner complete with mine and BDK’s favorite style “Shukums Rockefeller”. And don’t y’all worry, to fancy up the place we’d have raspberry bellinis with gold-rimmed glasses, and divine donuts from Charlie’s Donut Truck for desert. Heavens, I’m ready for a vacation there now!

The music: I love the live music that filled the Main Street in Rosemary, so I’d have to go with a local band playing all our favorites. A little Wagon Wheel, a bit of Chicken Fried, and of course a lot of Sweet Home Alabama. After all we want people to kick their shoes off, pop on those flip flops and dance the night away!

The flowers: A bright and cheery combo of ranunculus, big puffy peonies, and azaleas to represent my home state. I’d tie off the bouquet with the adorable peach and pink striped bow in the photo above. I’d keep the tables simple and clean with low arrangements of bright pink pretties, gold silverware, monogrammed napkins and a strand of string lights above of heads.

What do you think, dolls? What would YOUR dream Southern summer wedding look like?

marissa Written with love by Marissa
9 Comments
  1. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Love the Hot Pink for a warm summer wedding! Great ideas!

  2. avatar Carly reply

    I LOVE this, M! Bright pink = perfection. : )

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    So gorgeous and oh-so-Marissa! That bridesmaid look is one of my favorites too!

  4. avatar Ivy Ellen reply

    The bridesmaids’ dresses are so pretty they match the pink colour theme so well!

  5. avatar Candice Sutton reply

    I love the bridesmaid dresses! Can you tell me where these are from please?

  6. avatar Elegant Beach Wedding by Pure 7 Studios – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Florida is a favorite destination for quite a few of the SW gals (Marissa even chose it for our Dream Southern Summer Wedding series), and I love the elegant spin Claire and Matthew put on their beach destination! Thank you […]

  7. avatar Sam reply

    What an absolutely gorgeous colour palette! I think the gold adds a lovely extra dimension. Wonderful!

  8. avatar FEATURED FRIDAY| Pure7 Studios in 2013 reply

    […] Claire and Matt’s elegant 2012 Rosemary Beach wedding. It was even included in Marissa’s Dream Southern Summer Wedding Series later on. We must say, It’s A Shore Thing really out did themselves (yet again) bringing to […]

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