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One of the “job hazards” of working at Southern Weddings is suffering from an occasional bout of wedding guest envy, and I could definitely say that today about Liz and Jim’s lucky loved ones! First of all, they seem like such a fun couple–just read about how they met (“As it turns out, if you ask the internet for an attractive, nice guy who likes the outdoors and wouldn’t mind dating a girl in the Army, you get Jim Perkins.”) or Jim’s equally sweet and amusing recount of his proposal. Second, their ceremony looks like it was so touching, from Liz being walked down the aisle by both her parents, to the personal vows she and Jim exchanged. And last but not least? Brunch, y’all. Any wedding with a biscuit bar, a waffle bar, AND syrup that was made by the groom’s family is alright by me!

Thanks so much to Elizabeth Fogarty for sharing Liz and Jim’s lovely celebration with us!

One of my bridesmaids allowed me to borrow the veil that her mother had made for her when she got married in 2013. As my something blue, I wore my mother’s diamond and sapphire earrings. For my something old, I wore a diamond cross that has been passed down through three generations of my family as a 16th birthday gift (first to my grandmother, then my mother, then me). Just before the ceremony, I gave gifts to my bridesmaids and my mother. My mom received a small David Yurman ring, and it turned out that she had called Jim ahead of time to find out what gift I was planning to give her. Just before the ceremony, she gave me a matching ring to wear on my right hand.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did! We had a very brief ceremony, but it certainly embodied our personalities and our love for each other. Jim’s favorite line from my vows was when I declared in front of everyone “You know me better than anyone else…even Mom.” My favorite line from his vows was when he used a phrase he says almost daily: “I will keep you safe, protected, and loved.”

Did you pull any wedding inspiration from memories you have together? Tell us about it! The trail mix bar was a symbol of our love of the outdoors. The idea for corn hole came up on one of our dates after we got engaged, when we played corn hole with some of Jim’s friends before a Seattle Sounders game. We have spent lots of time with family and friends and their children, so we chose to have a “kid parade” instead of flower girls and a ring bearer, in order to incorporate all the children who attended the wedding–there were 14 of them!

We chose to get married in DC because it was halfway between our families–mine is in North Carolina and Jim’s is in Connecticut. We knew we wanted to be outside, and the venue we chose was an Audubon Naturalist Society sanctuary. It was lovely for our May wedding–green and lush.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We kept our flowers simple, and did big signs written in calligraphy instead of programs and menus for every guest.

Our favorite detail was incorporating our parents’ recipes into the reception meal. We had both a biscuit and a waffle bar for our brunch reception. The biscuits were a North Carolina recipe perfected by my parents, and the syrup for the waffles was made by Jim’s parents in Connecticut. They also made maple leaf bottle favors of the syrup that served double duty as escort cards.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I have a thing for French macarons. Our caterer was able to make pink, white, and blue macarons for our wedding, along with a ceremonial cutting cake. We love that we got that classic cake cutting picture without having a real wedding cake.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. As it turns out, if you ask the internet for an attractive, nice guy who likes the outdoors and wouldn’t mind dating a girl in the Army, you get Jim Perkins. In other words, Match.com helped us find each other.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Jim: It’s not often that a man meets a woman and knows within six months that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. It’s possibly even rarer that this happens in long distance relationships. My company was scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in late April and my block leave was scheduled for late March. We planned a trip to Kentucky during that time to combine two things that we both, especially I, enjoy: rock climbing at the Red River Gorge and bourbon craft distilling around Lexington. This trip was set to be our last chance to see each other before Liz began her pediatrics residency and I started business school, so unless I wanted to propose to her at a nice brunch in Bethesda, this was my only chance to do it right. We planned to spend a few days in Raleigh en route to Lexington so that I could meet more of her friends and family, and this itinerary meant that we wouldn’t be able to drive to Lexington in a single day. We made the obvious choice to stop in Asheville for a night and I immediately knew that the Biltmore Estate would be the perfect spot to ask her to marry me. This likelihood must have been obvious to her as well, so I took extra care to act disinterested in the forced “lay-over.” As we pulled up to the Inn at Biltmore Estate, Liz began to sense that something was up. She was clearly expecting something as we rode the elevator to our floor and then opened the door to find an elegant room with a balcony, and even a bottle of wine waiting for us. Seeing this, I seized the opportunity to tease her–I poured some wine, handed her a glass, took a knee, and…helped her take off her boots. From that moment, I was dubbed “the boy who cried wolf.” I had fooled her enough and she wasn’t going to fall for it again. The next day, I slipped the ring box into my camera case and we drove over to the estate to begin the tour. As we passed through the garden, there were photographers taking pictures of all of the visitors. We finished our tour and went to pick up our picture. Liz thought it was nice, but I asked if we could get a photographer to take our picture with the house in the background. It “just so happened” that they had a “roving photographer” who could do it. We walked with him along the lawn and up the carriage ramps to a spot and chatted. As we got ready for the picture, Liz set down her purse. Pretending to set down my camera case, I knelt down and pulled out the ring. Before I could say anything, Liz looked down at me and told me to “Stop messing around, this guy is trying to take our picture!” I told her that this time, finally, I was serious, and asked her to marry me while our private photographer captured the moment.
When did y’all get married? May 16, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 115
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No first look for us. Not only did our morning wedding schedule not really allow time for it, we also wanted that moment seeing each other as I walked down the aisle. It definitely changed the time we had for portraits, but our photographer was amazing and she made it work.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My cousin became a Universal Life minister for the occasion. She wrote the ceremony and recommended a reading from E.E. Cummings, “I Carry Your Heart With Me.” One of Jim’s closest friends, who traveled all the way from Seattle for the wedding, did the reading. It was a very special moment for us.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Jim’s best man gave a really awesome speech–he created a PowerPoint similar to an Army mission briefing. It was funny, insightful, and truly touching.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are both Army officers. I am a pediatrics resident at Walter Reed hospital. Jim is an engineer officer currently earning his MBA at Georgetown. We have one more year in DC together before the Army takes Jim away for his next assignment. We plan to enjoy every minute.

Photographer: Elizabeth Fogarty / Planner: Natalie Schlosser of Atrendy Wedding / Venue: Woodend Sanctuary / Florist: Toulies / Caterer and Dessert Baker: Corcoran Caterers / Rentals: Paisely and Jade / Band: Brad Kolodner / Special Details: Just Write Studios / Paper Products: Dandelion Patch / Bride’s Gown: “Violet” by Matthew Christopher / Bridal Salon: Love Couture Bridal / Hair Stylist: DryBar / Makeup Artist: Lauren Jaber / Bride’s Shoes: Nine West / Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss / Rings: Tiffany & Co.

The Dandelion Patch, Paisley & Jade, and Atrendy Wedding are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Dana reply

    biscuits, waffles, and syrup <3 <3 <3

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One of my favorite memories of my own wedding day is when BDK took my hand and squeezed it three times right after we were pronounced husband and wife. It reminded me to stop for a second and take in that special moment, so I love that Lisa and Joe made sure to pause during such a whirlwind day, take each other by the hand, and look around together to soak it all in. I know how hard it can be to stay present, but what a sweet way to focus on what matters most…and what a beautiful scene Lisa and Joe had to see! The Farm in Georgia was exactly what they had envisioned for their shabby chic barn wedding that was sophisticated and felt like them.

Big SW hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Bamber Photography for sharing this lovely day!

After much debate, we decided to do a first look. I have to say, I’m so happy we did! I went back and forth because I wanted that moment when we saw each other as I walked down the aisle to be really special. To my surprise, the more we talked to our photographer about a first look, it seemed like it would be more intimate that way. It was also very important to us to be able to enjoy the reception with our family and guests, and taking the majority of our pictures beforehand allowed us to enjoy that time with them after the ceremony!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. When it came to finding my wedding dress, I knew that I didn’t want a strapless dress–that was the one thing I was sure of! I envisioned an elegant, simple dress with delicate sleeves and a tulle skirt. I went dress shopping with my mom and sister, and we went to three different dress shops, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for! I then went back to the first dress shop and decided to try on some strapless dresses, just to see what I thought. I remember walking out in one and my sister saying, “That’s it!” It felt so perfect and made me feel like a princess. Who doesn’t want to feel like a princess on their wedding day, right?! So, lesson learned: know what you want, but don’t be too opposed to trying on other dresses. They might just surprise you!

We asked my Uncle Kelly, who we are both so close to, if he would marry us. He was so excited and honored, that he quickly got ordained! It meant so much to us to have someone so special and dear to our hearts standing there beside us as we said our vows to one another.

I wanted classic, elegant flowers in neutrals, whites, and soft pinks. Hydrangeas and peonies are two of my favorite flowers, so I definitely wanted to incorporate those! I knew I wanted my bouquet to be all peonies in a blush pink color. We then decided that the reception flowers would be white hydrangeas with pale pink snapdragons and soft-colored David Austin roses. My bridesmaid bouquets were a combination of snapdragons, David Austin roses, and beautiful wildflowers. I could not have been happier with the way the flowers turned out–they were absolutely stunning!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our ceremony and reception were both at the same venue, The Farm in Rome, Georgia. We knew we wanted an outdoor venue that was sophisticated and felt like us. I had always envisioned a shabby chic barn wedding, and The Farm was only about an hour and a half away from us in Atlanta. It was the first venue we saw, and it just felt right. We both fell in love with it, and seeing as we had both lived in Georgia for a number of years, this is where we met, and we both love being outdoors, we agreed it was the perfect venue for us.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? In Joe’s words to the grooms, learn to say “Yes dear!” I would highly recommend having a day-of coordinator. The number of last-minute details can be overwhelming, and it was extremely helpful to have someone there to help pull everything together the day-of. Other advice that was given to me prior to our wedding was to take my husband’s hand a few times throughout the night, stop, and look around together. Take it all in. You put so much work into that one day. It goes by so fast, so soak it all in the best you can!

We served very traditional Southern food to go with the Southern theme of the wedding weekend! We had various food stations at the reception where we served chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and fried green tomatoes. We wanted to infuse Southern flair into our wedding, since we’ve spent the majority of our lives in the South and met one another in Georgia!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For our first dance, we danced to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.” When trying to find the perfect first dance song, we heard this song together in the car one day, and it brought tears to our eyes. It was such a beautiful song that expressed exactly how we wanted to grow old together. We immediately decided that it was the one!

Joe and I aren’t huge cake fans, so we knew we wanted a sweets table with an assortment of desserts for everyone to choose from instead! Some of the desserts we included were cupcakes from a local Atlanta cupcake shop that we love in some of our favorite flavors (white chocolate, salted caramel, and cookies and cream), macaroons, white chocolate-covered pretzels, heart-shaped mints that my Aunt Trish made, and cake pops! We also wanted a small cake that we could cut, and I love the look of the naked cakes, so we also had a six-inch naked cake with a few beautiful peonies on top. Everything was displayed on a beautiful, antique, white-washed buffet table!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Joe and I met on eHarmony! Joe reached out to me by private message, and by that point, I had almost given up on the dating scene. I almost cancelled our date because I was so nervous, but my sister talked me into going, and thank goodness she did! We met at the cutest restaurant for drinks and instantly had such a strong connection. Before we knew it, seven hours had passed and we were on our way to a second drink spot to continue the night! We both look back on that day and agree that after that first date, we both knew this was something special. We could hardly wait to see each other again!
Tell us all about the proposal! For our second date, Joe took me to Piedmont Park in Atlanta and prepared the most romantic picnic! He picked me up, we went to the park, found the perfect huge oak tree to sit under, and he laid out a blanket. He had a whole picnic basket prepared with cheese, crackers, sushi, wine–the works. I remember being so impressed! The week of our proposal, he mentioned that we hadn’t been back to the park since our second date, and suggested that we go on an impromptu casual date night picnic. I thought it was a great idea! When we arrived, we found our same oak tree, laid our blanket down, and before I could sit down, he bent down on one knee and asked me to marry him! It was the most romantic, beautiful proposal! He then told me he had planned dinner reservations at our first date spot, JCT Kitchen in Atlanta. As we drove there, I was so excited to share my news, and I tried to call my sister, my mom, and my dad, but no one answered. We arrived at the restaurant, and to my surprise, they were all there to surprise me!
When did y’all get married? May 23, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! As a traditionalist, I definitely wanted to make sure that I had something borrowed, blue, old, and new! For my something borrowed and old, my mother has the most stunning European jewelry from her Great Aunt Frieda, and I knew I wanted to wear something of hers. I found these beautiful diamond earrings that looked amazing with my wedding dress. It was important to me to incorporate something from my mother in my wedding day attire, and I’m so happy I was able to wear those! For my something blue, my mom and dad had a handkerchief made for me that was white with my name embroidered on it in blue writing. It was so perfect for my something blue! For my something new, I spoiled myself and bought Manolo Blahnik flats that I wore. They were drop dead gorgeous!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Marriage is about compromise and working together as a team. We kept this in mind as we were planning our wedding. It was important to us that this was day was about both of us. We relied on the friendship we have built and the depth of our commitment to one another, which carried us through the ups and downs of wedding planning.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We both agree our first look was our most memorable moment! I still remember walking toward Joe as his back was turned to me, feeling the butterflies, and telling him to turn around and not to cry, or I would start crying too! He later told me that as soon as he heard my voice, he started to tear up.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We look forward to creating new memories as a married couple, purchasing our first home together, and starting a family!

Photographer: Bamber Photography / Videographer: Nick Westfall / Venue: The Farm / Florist: Janet Nutt / Cake Baker: Piece of Cake / Dessert Baker: Honeymoon Bakery / Caterer: Zest Catering / Rentals: Heirloom Vintage Rentals / Band: Francisco Vidal Band / Paper Products: Lemon Meringue / Bride’s Gown: “0126174” by Alyne Bridal / Hair Stylist: Drew Delaney / Makeup Artist: Brittini Pearson / Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Megan” in Soft Peach by J.Crew / Menswear: Brooks Brothers

Bamber Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Clarisa Sian reply

    I`m out of words! I can say only that this unique wedding concept inspires me! Congrats!

    • avatar Lisa Manusakis reply

      Thank you so much Clarisa Sian for such a sweet comment! Thank you Southern Weddings for featuring us on your blog, we are very honored! Xo, Lisa and Joe

  2. avatar Katy reply

    Could you share where you go the fabulous food signs? They are beautiful!

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A month after their intimate ceremony on the beach, Morgan and Brian gathered their family and friends back home together for a fun, casual reception. Even though the design between their Florida ceremony and Oklahoma reception switched from beachy to rustic, the most important thing remained the same: it was a joyful celebration of the love Morgan and Brian share. Y’all please enjoy part two of Morgan and Brian’s wedding, full of gorgeous styling by Kylie Swanson, and captured by the talented Aaron Snow!

Our reception took place on an equestrian farm in Tulsa. The horses were such stunning creatures and made beautiful wedding guests. I love being outdoors, so I really enjoyed the natural touches of the wide open spaces and grassy fields. All of the wood features and tables brought great warmth to the reception, and the greenery along the tables were extra lovely.

What was Southern about your wedding? Farm tables, horses, and the great outdoors!

What kind of food did you serve? We served a combination of some of our favorite foods at both our wedding and our home reception. Both were served buffet-style and were very casual.

Being a bride who never really had a particular “vision” for my wedding day, I honestly left all of the design up to our planner and designer, Kylie Swanson. She really made it her mission to get to know Brian and I as a couple, and that affected the outcome of both our wedding and our reception back home. Aside from having her focus on our aesthetic as a couple, I was drawn to bright colors and I love anything with great natural light.

For our cake in Florida, we chose to stick with something classic, and Kylie adorned it with fresh blooms. Our cakes at our home reception also included flowers and were not only beautiful, but also extremely delicious!

Tell us about your grand exit. We ran through a tunnel of smiles and sparklers and into a vintage hot rod getaway car.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? It was probably the time crunch–we got engaged and married in four months. For couples with short engagements, I recommend hiring a wedding planner, for sure!
Tell us a bit about your first dance. Our first dance was to the original version of “Crazy Love.” It was soft, sweet, slow, and intimate. It felt like we were the only ones there.
Did you toss the garter or bouquet? We did both!
Tell us about a way or ways you saved money or cut costs while planning. Kylie not only created two incredible events in a short amount of time, but she was also invaluable in budgeting everything and brought everything together seamlessly. She supplied us with great vendor teams and we trusted not only her vision, but also those she chose to work with.
What’s next for you as a couple? Three months after our wedding, we moved to England to be missionaries.
What are you most looking forward to about marriage? We are simply looking forward to doing life together. One of God’s greatest gifts is getting to share your days with your best friend.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Wedding planning can be inevitably stressful, so always keep what your wedding day is really all about in the forefront of your mind! Brian says to make every decision fun and to celebrate when you get something accomplished.

Photographer: Aaron Snow / Videographer: Pen Weddings / Planner, Designer, and Stylist: Kylie Swanson / Ceremony Venue: Marriott Marco Island / Reception Venue: KJM The Farm / Florals: Isn’t She Lovely (Florida) and Poppy Lane Design (Oklahoma) / Catering: Marriott Marco Island (Florida) and Ludger’s (Oklahoma) / Cake Baker: Marriott Marco Island (Florida) and Amy’s Cakes (Oklahoma) / Hair and Makeup: Blo OKC / Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Bridal Salon and Veil: JJ Kelly / Bridesmaid Dresses: Dillard’s / Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic / Paper Goods: Gather & Co. / Rentals: Niche Event Rentals (Florida), Kahoy Studios (Oklahoma), and Marianne’s Rentals (Oklahoma) / Transportation: Tulsa Vintage Rides / Lighting: Zach Downing Productions

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Wendy reply

    Thank you so much for the beautiful feature. It was a honor to have Morgan and Brian celebrate their marriage at KJM The Farm! We wish the couple a very happily ever after!

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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