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Last summer, I was a bridesmaid in one of my best friends’ weddings in Islamorada, and I can attest that it is such a beautiful place. It’s excluded from wildness of Key West, and filled with just the right amenities for a special wedding weekend! Believe me when I say, I can see why Lindsey and Greg fell in love with it so much, they decided to plan a destination wedding there in just seven weeks! From the blue heart made of her father’s shirt sewn into her dress, to the ribbon made from her mama’s wedding dress tied around her bouquet, even though they were short on time, Lindsey and Greg’s wedding day was certainly not short on meaningful details and fond memories.

Thanks to Natalie Watson for sharing this sweet day with us!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? It took us a long time to find a wedding venue, but when we stumbled upon Islamorada, we knew we wanted to get married there! We both love the beach, and our family and friends love warm weather, so it was perfect. With that, we decided to plan a destination wedding in seven weeks! We took photos before the wedding at the quaint and adorable Moorings Village and Spa, and then headed across the street to Pierre’s, a plantation house and restaurant, for the ceremony and reception. The venues were a perfect backdrop to our breezy, December wedding.

Oh, wedding dress shopping! It is safe to say I tried on about 100 dresses. I just couldn’t find one that I absolutely loved. I shopped in Michigan, Knoxville, and Nashville, and even ordered dresses online, sent them back, and then even ordered the same ones again…just to be sure! That is actually how I found my wedding dress. I ordered it, sent it back because I wanted a white dress, then after trying on more and never finding anything right, I ordered it again. That time, I knew it was the dress for me!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed an anklet from my mom that she wears every day. For my something blue, I had a blue heart sewed to the inside of my dress that was made from an old shirt of my dad’s. My bouquet was wrapped in a ribbon made out of my mom’s wedding dress, and I carried a hankie from my grandmother for my something old. As my something new, I wore a bracelet my dad gave me as a wedding gift right before he walked me down the aisle. It was such a sweet gift, because he gave the same one to my sister at her wedding, and he had a special message engraved in it.

One of the very last decisions we made for the wedding was what song I would walk down the aisle to. We have very different music tastes, and we chose “All of Me” by John Legend because we both love that song. Not only did we love it, it also set the mood for the ceremony–some of our family and friends were crying before I even reached the end of the aisle!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My most memorable moment was walking down the aisle and seeing a normally stoic Gary holding back tears after seeing me for the first time. I will always remember it!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? All of our vendors were amazing and wonderful to work with! We especially loved our extremely talented photographer, Natalie. She captured all of the special moments and details of the entire day. We will be able to look at our wedding pictures for years to come and remember the love, happiness, and excitement we felt that day.

Our cake was very simple, but delicious! It was a two-tiered vanilla cake with buttercream filling and key lime buttercream icing on the outside. Everyone wanted seconds!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met three years ago through a mutual friend at a bar in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. We hit it off immediately and went on our first date a few days later. We’ve been inseparable ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! We got engaged the day after Christmas! We had just gotten home from spending Christmas with my family in Michigan. Gary said he had to go run an errand, and then was going to bring dinner back for us. When he got back, we ate and opened the rest of our presents. The last one was a tiny box that had been hidden under the tree. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I found out later that the jeweler had called while we were on our way home from Michigan to tell him that the ring was ready…that was the little errand he had to run!
When did y’all get married? December 5, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 20
Describe your wedding flowers. Our flowers were beautiful! Our florists used pale pink, blush, and ivory garden roses, dripping greens, and sea grasses. My bouquet had peonies in it too, since they are my favorite flower!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We rented cottages at The Moorings Village for the weekend, which allowed us to spend extra time with the special people in our lives who made the trip down.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We were able to rent chairs and linens from our florist. By doing this, we saved money by only paying the delivery and set up/breakdown fee for one vendor!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Trust your vendors, accept help from others, and remember what the day is really about!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We look forward to spending the rest of our lives together, enjoying whatever life brings our way!

Photographer: Natalie Watson / Ceremony Venue: Morada Bay / Reception Venue and Catering: Pierre’s Lounge and Restaurant at Morada Bay / Florist and Rentals: Parrish Designs of London / Cake Baker: Bob’s Bunz Islamorada Restaurant & Bakery / DJ: Phil Barnes from Rock With U Entertainment / Flamingo Cake Toppers: BHLDN / Bride’s Gown: “Carina Corset” and “Ahsan Skirt” by Watters / Hair and Makeup: Carolyn Jones / Groom’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Groom’s Tie: The Tie Bar / Portrait Location: The Moorings Village / Flower Girl Dresses and Floral Crowns: ShopElizaDean / Officiant: Jill Atkinson

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Natalie reply

    Thanks so much for posting this darling wedding! As a photographer I absolutely loved both venues, they were very charming! Ralph Lauren was doing a photoshoot there the morning of the wedding. Lindsey’s flowers were stunning! I highly recommend these vendors if you are planning a destination wedding in the keys! They really made Lindsey’s vision come to life!

  2. avatar Lindsay Callahan reply

    You captured these moments beautifully! Do you know what vendor the menu cards came from. I’d love to know. So simple and elegant. Thank you

  3. avatar Victoria reply

    Hey there- your wedding was beautiful! I’m loving the flamingo cake toppers but I can’t seem to find them anywhere online that I can still buy. Would you be willing to sell me yours? I’d love to use them too. So adorable!!

  4. avatar Olivia reply

    This is serious inspo for my wedding! I was wondering what the dance floor situation was? I’m considering doing a partial buyout of the restaurant so was curious what happens when it’s time to dance!

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Anna and Nathan’s outdoor ceremony looks like a breath of fresh air to me. The beautiful open field and prodigious tree at Blue Ribbon Vendor venue, Vinewood Plantation, provided the perfect Southern backdrop that they were looking for! Anna and Nathan’s goal throughout their wedding planning was to create a comfortable celebration, full of natural beauty and good food. You can’t beat that, and I venture to say that, judging by their joy that is beaming right through each of these photos, they’d agree!

Thank you kindly to Blue Ribbon Vendor, Chris Isham for sharing this lovely day with us!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did. Nathan and I cherished that moment and wanted it to be an intimate time. We both knew that it wouldn’t take away from the moment when I walked down the aisle, because I would be walking down the aisle to marry him, and it’s impossible to cheapen that. We loved having such a special moment between the two of us before all of the craziness began. It allowed us both to relax and take a deep breath when it was time for the ceremony.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had absolutely no idea what style I wanted, so I had to try on everything! After two dress shops, I was nearing the end of my pile when I tried on “the one” and instantly knew this was how I was supposed to feel. I didn’t want to take it off because it was so perfect! It was a classic dress with such a fun twist.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? For starters, it happened under a big tree in a huge field–does it get more Southern than that? Ultimately, we wanted our wedding to be comfortable, and to us, nothing seems more Southern than comfort, beauty, and good food.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Nothing compares to the moment that I walked down the aisle. It was as if everything slowed down for me. I thought about my sweet father walking next to me, just as he had for all of the years leading to that moment. I saw our bridesmaids and groomsmen, who had helped us arrive at this day. I was able to appreciate the fact that never again would we have so many people we loved in one place. Finally, I saw my groom at the end of the aisle waiting for me. That moment was the moment I had longed for and envisioned for over two years. I will never forget it.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We loved the uniqueness of our “naked” cake. It tasted great, it looked beautiful, and it was a little untraditional. It was one of the most fun details of the wedding.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Aside from premarital counseling and reading some recommended books, we sought advice from friends, family, and mentors who all have marriages that we admire. Needless to say, there was also a lot of prayer involved.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met through some mutual friends! By July, we were best friends, and November brought our first date. After that, we realized we were done searching for our future spouses. Two years later, he proposed.
Tell us all about the proposal! My sister invited us to cut down a Christmas tree at a farm just north of where we live. She said we would need to drive separately to the farm, due to lack of space. When we got there, she hadn’t arrived yet, so Nathan and I went exploring. He took us off the path and we started wandering through these huge trees. I faintly heard string music as we neared the destination he was leading us to, and as we rounded a corner, I noticed a sign that said “Page, Party of Two.” Honestly, I don’t remember half of what he said after that because I was in shock, but I definitely caught the most important part: “Will you marry me?” When I realized that we really weren’t cutting down a Christmas tree, he took me to my sister’s house, where all of our friends and family were waiting to celebrate with us.
When did y’all get married? October 24, 2014.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Something borrowed was a cathedral veil, which was lent to me by a sweet friend. My something blue was the bottom of my shoes. My something old was a brooch pinned to the front of my bouquet, that had been passed down by my sister. My something new was my dress.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Chris Isham. Not only was his work phenomenal, but he also become more of a friend than a vendor through the wedding process.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We want to learn how to love each other well and make our marriage as strong as it can be. For now, we are taking it one day at a time. The details will continue to fall into place as we go.

Photographer: Chris Isham / Venue: Vinewood Plantation / Florist: Laura Shain / Caterer: Tulla White / Lighting: The Funky Shack / DJ: Complete DJ / Ceremony Musicians: Celebration String Quartet / Paper Products: Katherine Latham / Bride’s Gown: Mori Lee / Hair Stylist: Mari Matthews / Bride’s Shoes: Betsy Johnson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bill Levkoff / Menswear: H&M

Chris Isham and Vinewood Plantation are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Chris Isham reply

    Yes! Thanks so much for sharing Anne & Nathan’s wedding! Y’all are the best!

  2. avatar Les petits (D)tails du (D)Day #3 Le wedding cake | reply

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We look at hundreds of weddings a month at Southern Weddings, but no matter how many we see and share, there are some couples, stories, and celebrations that stick out in our memories, even years later. In the case of Emily and Josh’s Tennessee wedding, it’s all three. No one in the SW office will soon forget the story of their meant-to-be wedding venue–a true testament to Southern hospitality and friends who are more like family. We’ll always remember the prayerful ceremony that united Emily and Josh as husband and wife, and the latte bar at their cocktail hour that nodded to the beginning of their love story. And most of all, we’ll remember the sweet joy and pure love that radiated from them in their first moments as newlyweds. What a beautiful reminder of what a wedding is really about!

Thank you so much to Amanda K for sharing this incredible day with us in V7!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? Finding my wedding dress was overwhelming, but definitely so much fun. The first day I went to try on dresses, I went to a little shop in downtown Atlanta called The Sentimentalist. It was so darling! My mom and sister came with me and there were definitely some tears shed. Though I didn’t end up getting my dress there, it was the best time I had trying on dresses. I went to quite a few other shops and even ended up choosing a dress at one of them, feeling like I was running out of time! But all the while, I had my eye on a delicate dress from Rue de Seine and couldn’t get it out of my head. I emailed them, expecting them to not be able to make or get me the dress in time (they’re based in New Zealand), but they were so accommodating! I’m so happy I went with my gut and took the risk of ordering online, because my dress was perfect! It did take some alterations to get it just right, but the lady who helped me was the kindest woman and truly made it perfect.

Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? All the girls have amazing style, so I felt confident letting them pick their own dresses, with some hints and suggestions of what I liked, of course. I gave them the guidelines of cream and soft pink, and gave them the okay when they found something they liked. I wanted their personalities to show through what they wore, and I wanted them to feel beautiful! In doing that, they added a bohemian edge to the wedding that I loved—it really reflected who we are!

Tell us all the basics of your wedding! We got engaged in April 2013 while I was abroad and it was absolutely beautiful. I was still in school till December, so we decided to wait until the next spring to get married, to remind us of the season we got engaged in and to give me enough time to plan the wedding! It just so happened to work out that the last Saturday in April was the 26th, and since our dating anniversary is the 26th of March, April 26 seemed to be the perfect date for us. Additionally, it was Josh’s parents’ 39th wedding anniversary, which made this date extra special!

Tell us about the ceremony. The ceremony was very important to us, because at the heart of the whole thing, it’s that small moment in time when you promise yourselves to each other that matters the most. We wanted that moment to be special and to honor Christ. We asked Josh’s cousin, Matt Smallbone, to officiate our wedding, as we respect him as a man of God, the head of a wonderful family, and as a pastor. He made the ceremony very special by telling our story and sharing some funny memories of Josh as a kid, but he also led an inspiring message about the journey of marriage. We included a hymn for worship, and then we included a ceremonial foot washing and a tree planting. Both of these were very meaningful; for the tree planting, we both poured soil from each of our parents’ gardens into the plant, and the foot washing was a time for us to humble ourselves before each other. I started bawling during the foot-washing ceremony! One of my English professors would read “The Prayer of St. Francis” before every class; it became one of the most important prayers in my life. We had the prayer read over us by one of Josh’s brothers during the ceremony as a reminder of what the hope of our heart should be as a married unit. We read the prayer together now, and it is such an encouragement.

What was Southern about your wedding? Between the folk music, the food, the scenery, and the prayer, there was no escaping how Southern our wedding was. Even though Josh is Australian at heart, he is just as much Southern at heart. And me? I’m full-blown Southern. Our wedding centered around food, God, and family! Good cooking and good hosting is the Southern way to show love and celebration, and it was so important to us that we provided this to our guests.

We joke about our wedding location being heavenly and magical, but in truth, it really was! One day, before we were even engaged, when Josh and I were going for a drive in Franklin, we came across a hilltop that had a structure peeking through the trees. We indulged our curiosity, and having no idea whose property it was, we trespassed up on the hill. After experiencing the breathtaking scene, I looked at Josh and said, “Let’s get married here!” By the time the wedding planning finally came around years later, we had completely forgotten about this finding. It wasn’t until we were at our wits’ end looking for a location in our price range that someone asked us if we had looked at Josh’s doctor’s property that he had built for his daughter’s wedding. It turned out to be the same structure we had seen peeking through the trees that day! Josh’s doctor was kind enough to say that he doesn’t lease out the property, but only lets family use it, and he considers us family! Being married in Franklin was very important to us because it is not only where we met and fell in love, it’s where both of our families are, and it truly is where we feel at home. It was so fitting to be outside, breathing in the fresh green air with a view of the rolling hills of Tennessee. Cows and fields and farms surrounded us, and it felt completely like us and completely like home.

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? We did, but we did it a bit differently with Mexican Cokes, a latte bar, and some yummy basil lemonade. We spent a lot of time arranging the hour before dinner; we wanted this time to be fun for the guests while we left the site for our photos. We had lawn games, a photo booth, henna tattoos, and even Australian lollies (candy) for all of Josh’s Aussie relatives! We heard back from everyone that they had such a fun time during this part of the wedding.

What was the design inspiration for your reception? We went with a natural look for the reception. We just added a little greenery to the farm tables, some candles on tree stumps around the fireplace, and some flowers here and there, and it was beautiful! My dad chopped tree branches into tiny slices for me to write everyone’s names on for their escort cards, which added a nice touch.

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. Our wedding cake was not only gorgeous, but also absolutely delicious! Lucy made two cakes for us: a massive chocolate cake and a medium-sized vanilla cake. She nailed the “naked cake” look and decorated it with beautiful flowers. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a delicious cake in my life, but maybe I’m biased? We were nice to each other and didn’t smash the cake in each other’s faces, although I did manage to smear some icing on him!

We danced to a mashup of “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” by Elvis and “All of Me” by John Legend. Josh’s many siblings are all extremely musically talented, and they actually played and sang live as a group with just a guitar. It was lovely. We had practiced and gone to dance lessons, yet we were kind of a disaster! But in that moment, we didn’t even think about the lessons; we just slow-danced naturally while thinking about each other and the day. It was beautiful to be dancing underneath the pavilion’s chandeliers and string lighting.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Looking back, we were so young! It didn’t feel like it then though. I was fifteen and Josh was seventeen. I was working at a little coffee shop just a few blocks away from my house. Josh came in one day and ordered a smoothie, so we struck up conversation and realized we had many mutual friends. After that, we saw each other everywhere! He started coming into the shop pretty often. Since I was fifteen, I didn’t have a license and couldn’t drive to and from work, so Josh would come in right before close and nonchalantly offer to drive me home. This friendship carried on for about a year before we actually decided to become boyfriend and girlfriend, the first time for both of us to call anyone that. Josh was gracious and patient when I moved three hours away for three years, and even when I moved to France, where he followed me and asked me to be his wife!
Tell us about the proposal! I have always had a little bit of an obsession with all things French, so when the opportunity arose to study painting abroad for a semester in the south of France, I started booking my ticket. Little did I know, Josh was booking his ticket too. He traveled to France and surprised me near the end of my two months there by sending a taxi to come pick me up and take me to a hilltop in Pujols, about fifteen minutes from where I was! I was dropped off by a rose petal trail and a sign that said “Follow this trail for an adventure.” I followed it to where Josh was on his knee with a ring in hand. He asked me to marry him (in French!), and I said yes. We cried and enjoyed a perfect picnic that Josh had set up, complete with wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, and French cheese.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Heavenly, intimate, joyful.
How many guests attended your wedding? 155
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? The scenery of the venue was our greatest design inspiration. Everything from the wedding invitations to the farm dinner tables to my bouquet were chosen and designed to reflect the true, genuine, timeless beauty of nature. We love to spend our time together doing things like hiking up to lookouts, going for scenic drives, or stargazing at the beach. We search for and find the truest form of beauty in the nature all around us, so we wanted our wedding to reflect that beauty!
Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? Josh’s family has a tradition that at every family dinner, they have apple cider and long speeches, which of course had to happen at our wedding as well!
Did you try anything new or nontraditional? From Josh: I have four brothers and since I didn’t want to pick a favorite, I made them all my best men. What was unique was that they all got up during the best men speech and each shared a word.
Tell us about a way or ways you saved money or cut costs while planning. My dad built our arch and the doors we walked through. He also helped gather wood for all kinds of things in the wedding, including tree stumps, which helped save a ton of money! We also had friends and family cover all the music. The main way we saved money was by making things ourselves, like the favors, and by assigning jobs and asking for help from family and friends. People want to help with weddings in any way they can, you just have to ask them!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? The wedding industry is amazing, but it can also be a little jaded! Don’t let any wedding vendors take the joy out of the planning process. It’s not realistic that everyone can plan their wedding a year in advance or buy their dress six months before the wedding, and that is what some people seem to expect. If someone makes you feel bad for that, don’t let them bring you down. It is hard work to put together a great wedding, but it’s also such a joy; don’t get bogged down in the details!
What’s next for you as a couple? From Josh: We are living in east Nashville, right near downtown. We plan to stay in Nashville as we settle into our new life and home, near both of our families and our nieces and nephews. We are both working to pay the bills and saving up for the future, whatever it may hold! We learned during the wedding planning process that we make a great team. Em is a great dreamer, creator, and visionary, and I am a great logistics, make-it-happen person. We long to work together and find something we can do where we can partner together each day. We’re not sure yet if that’s starting a company together or moving out of the country to be missionaries!

Photographer: Amanda K Photography / Videographer: Anchor Heart Films / Designer, Rentals, and Reception Decor: Megan Proby of 12th Table / Venue: Private residence / Florist: Lauren Atkinson / Caterer and Wedding Cake: Lucy’s Kitchen / Bride’s Gown: “Eve” by Rue De Seine / Bride’s Shoes: Klub Nico / Bride’s Jewelry: Consider the Wldflwrs and Anthropologie / Bride’s Veil: Custom by Muna Couture / Bride’s Hair Accessory: Lauren Atkinson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Empire Mesh Lace Dress” by Free People, “Embroidered Fable Dress” by Free People, and “Eagan Beige Silk Embroidered Maxi” by Joie / Hair Stylist: Jordan Byers / Makeup Artist: Jordan Byers and Rachel Shepherd / Groom’s Fashion: Zara / Groomsmen’s Fashion: Top Man / Paper Goods: Chelsea Petaja of Oh My Deer / Lettering: Jessie Early / Transportation: A Better Bus / Lighting: Matt Brady / Sound: Ralph Rivera

lisa Written with love by Lisa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Anastasia Kristina reply

    OH wow, this is probably my favorite real wedding that has been posted on here! I love everything about this, and a lot of the ideas I have already planned on using in our wedding in June! Also I love Franklin, and I love that they live in East Nashville, where we are almost weekly – maybe we will run into this lovely couple!!!!!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Love hearing how much you love this wedding! It holds a special place in our hearts, too :)

  2. avatar Katelyn reply

    Beautiful wedding. Love the boho vibe of it all! Do you know where the groom’s tie was purchased? I love the personalized monogram (and that it’s a skinny tie)!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Yes! It is from a great Southern company, Otis James: http://otisjames.com/

  3. avatar S Stanton reply

    I was blessed to be a guest at this wedding as beautiful as the pictures and the words in the story are nothing can compare T feeling of love and joy and intimacy that Josh and Emily shared with all of us that day.

  4. avatar Alok Sahu reply

    nice your wedding story is very beautiful and all the photos are also very beautiful.

  5. avatar Allister Freeman reply

    Stunning photography. The colours, tones and compositions are beautiful.

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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