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Y’all, this month’s Southern Bride of the Month is getting married THIS WEEKEND!! Rachel graciously took time out of what I can only imagine was a busy week of wedding prep to answer a few questions for us. Please join me in making her feel welcome! (And be sure to leave some sugar at the end for her wedding weekend!)

Hi! What’s your name?

What’s your fiancé’s name?

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
We were at a mutual friend’s house for a birthday party. Josh was introduced to me, and when he walked away, I turned and said “dibs” to my friends! I was a smitten kitten, but too nervous to talk to him. A year later, he asked me out on a date and we have been inseparable since.

From their engagement session with Nathan Westerfield… see more here!

Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
Josh and I love to take weekend vacations, and travel together whenever possible. This particular weekend, we decided to visit Asheville to tour the Biltmore and visit a city we’d heard so many good things about. I had absolutely no idea what the weekend had in store, as we had never even mentioned the word “engagement,” even though we had been dating for almost two years!

After an amazing tour of the Biltmore, we went for a walk around the grounds and ended up at the top of a hill overlooking Bass Pond. We sat down for a few minutes, and while I enjoyed the view of the gorgeous fall trees, I eventually got bored and suggested we walk a little more. Josh patted the ground, and asked if I could just sit next to him a bit longer (he was sitting in grass while wearing khakis and a blazer — this should’ve been a dead giveaway that something was up!). We didn’t say much while sitting there, other than “I love you,” before he turned to me and said, “Well, will you marry me?” (I thought I was about to have a heart attack, y’all!)

I immediately began crying and laughing and said, “Are you serious?” and then “Yes!”, followed by him explaining that he had had the ring for an entire month and how he had talked to my family about proposing, which made me cry even more. We were able to sit there together, alone, for a little while longer, and those will forever be some of my favorite moments of my life.

When’s the big day?
September 1, 2012

Where might you two be tying the knot?
West End Church of Christ in Nashville

How did you pick your ceremony and reception venues? What do you love most about each space?
First, I wanted everything indoors. I wasn’t willing to gamble with Tennessee weather! We picked West End Church based on my love for a long center aisle. Also, the sanctuary is a gorgeous Tiffany blue color!
We chose the University Club because my parents’ reception was at there thirty years ago, and Chef Nick is a Southern food extraordinaire! We will have fried green tomatoes, chicken and biscuits, shrimp n’ grits, and all kind of good fixin’s at our reception!

Rachel loved this idea we shared for labeling food, and we love the sound of her Southern fixin’s! (Photos by Dave Lapham via Southern Weddings and Ingalls Photography)

Who or what has been most inspiring in the wedding planning process?
Most definitely Southern Weddings! I have folded pages, circled, highlighted — you name it — from every issue, and the blog is on my daily iPad reading list!

Who or what has been most helpful in the wedding planning process?
My mom. She deserves most of the credit!

Which part of your wedding are you most invested in?
We are big music lovers and go to the Bonnaroo music festival every year, so that was important to us. We meticulously chose our music and I can’t wait for our first dance together!

A sweet embroidered patch Rachel is thinking about adding to her gown (photo by Melissa Schollaert)

Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go? What will you be wearing on the big day?
I had a really difficult time finding a dress. I knew exactly what I wanted, and I tried on just about every dress in Nashville, but I never had ‘a moment’ with a dress, like I had always dreamed of. My phrase throughout the process was “I didn’t settle on a man, and I refuse to settle on a dress!”

I had applied to be on Randy to the Rescue, and had been through about four interviews to be on the show when it happened… I was helping a friend of mine find her dress, and we went into Olia Zavozina’s shop. She and I both found dresses there that night! I called my mom, she picked up my grandmother, and I knew after their reactions I had found “The One”! I can’t give too much away yet, but it’s a custom-made strapless ball gown with a sweetheart neckline. It was an amazing experience, and well worth the wait!

Since we obviously can’t show you Rachel’s dress, here’s a peek at her color scheme! Love the fresh navy + green! (Photo by Ashley Hoskins via Style Me Pretty

Who is your favorite vendor you’ve booked so far?
Nathan Westerfield, our amazing photographer! We interviewed about ten others before deciding on him, and I know he will capture our wedding perfectly! He is one of the most talented wedding photographers I have met, but he is also down to earth and listens to my ideas, which is important to us!

What do you love most about Southern weddings?
The traditions, monograms, the pearls, seersucker, heritage, the flowers, bow ties, the food, the huge bridal parties, the use of lace, burlap, doilies, groom’s cakes… you name it, I love it, and I want it in our wedding!

Tell us about the one that got away. Is there one dream thing or vendor you wish you could have fit into your budget?
Sigh. Plum Pretty Sugar robes, but with eleven bridesmaids, it was way out of our budget to outfit everyone. I’d highly recommend them to any other bride with a smaller bridal party, though!

Wedding cake and groom “cake” inspiration! (Photos by The McCartneys via Style Me Pretty and via Tara Guerard Soiree)

What has been the best part of wedding planning?
Some of the best parts for me have been creating and crafting some of the personal details. I drew our wedding program by hand (complete with map!) and handmade our ring pillow, among many other things.

What has been the biggest challenge so far in wedding planning?
Our biggest challenge so far would have to be managing our large wedding party — 24 people in total! We are blessed to have so many friends and family, but coordinating them all has been a small challenge. Thank goodness for our wedding planner! Also, it was a challenge to find a good weekend that didn’t conflict with the SEC football schedule! (Go Vols!)

A perfect photo opp for state-proud couples like Rachel and Joshua! (Photo by Kristyn Hogan)

What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
Our first look. Just thinking about it makes me tear up and get chills! This is one tradition I don’t mind breaking, because I am so excited to have a moment together that’s just ours. Josh is looking forward to his “groom’s cake” pie bar. Also: me bawling my way down the aisle with my dad (it’s inevitable). Of course, we are both excited for the part where we say “I do”!

Any plans for a honeymoon? Where do you want to go and what will you do?
We’re headed to Saint Lucia, y’all! We are looking forward to a week of relaxation, with some exploring and snorkeling sprinkled in.

Any advice you’d like to pass along to fellow brides?
I have passed along the Little Borrowed Dress site to every bride I can! If you are like me and want to save your girls some money, check it out. For $75, they can rent a floor length dress in any color, which is what we are doing: the Hillary Jane dress in navy.

Thank you so much for joining us today, Rachel! Best wishes this weekend!! Readers, if you’d like to apply to be a Southern Bride of the Month, check out this post for all the details! If you’ve already emailed me, you’re still in the running for future months!

Melissa Schollaert is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Megan reply

    I’ve gotten to know Rachel over the past few months through our blogs and she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside! Can’t believe her wedding week is finally here!

  2. avatar Kristi reply

    I have known Rachel since she was a young girl and watched her grow up to the amazing person she is today! What a beautiful woman she is (inside and out!!) and I am so excited for her dreams to be coming true. Congratulations and blessings to you. I love you!

  3. avatar JoAnna reply

    Precious wedding! I love every bit of it. Congratulations and I hope all goes well for you this weekend! :)

  4. avatar Sarah reply

    Rachel is one of my best friends, and I can’t imagine a someone that embodies all of the wonderful traits of southern brides and the Sweet Tea Society more than she does. Her and Josh are two of the kindest, most amazing people I know, and I am SO EXCITED to stand up at their wedding this weekend. Congrats, Rach! Love you!!

  5. avatar Mary Mullen reply

    Cannot wait to see this wedding! What a sweet couple!

  6. avatar Andrea reply

    Congrats! And best wishes to you and your groom!

  7. avatar In Another Life, Let’s Have Some Pi | Weddingbee reply

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Amelia + Dan are the first to admit that they’re not very traditional. To be honest, I love that about them. While all of the girls in the office adore a great tradition (have you been keeping up with our Southern Traditions series?), we also appreciate when couples put their own spin what a wedding should be. It shows us so much more about their personality as a couple and opens our eyes to new details! I love that Amelia wanted to give this advice to brides currently planning their weddings: Stay true to you! Make sure you are planning the wedding of your dreams. Sure, we’ve heard that many times in unique weddings, but Amelia + Dan really show us that you don’t need a white gown or flowers to create a gorgeous celebration.

How perfect is this vintage key and burlap boutonniere? Would have been perfect for our burlap Ultimate Southern Challenge! From Amelia: The boutonnieres encompassed the vintage Southern vibe we were hoping to achieve, with an antique key backed with burlap and lace ribbon all connected with a button and twine. In my family, buttons represent my grandmother, because she collected buttons. That was another neat way to represent our family in the wedding.

Oh yes, we have some fabulous fashion in store for you today. From Amelia, on her wedding gown: Because of my love of fashion, I am one to make a statement with my dress, and I refused to settle for any dress that wasn’t exactly what I imagined. At first, I wanted a black wedding dress, and Daniel and I had quite the back and forth over what black represented to him and what black represented to me. I told him I hadn’t even found it yet, so don’t go fretting so soon! While most people thought my dress would be all black, or hot pink, or some crazy pattern, I left it a secret until the wedding day. Instead of a traditional bridal shop, my Mom and I went shopping at Nordstrom. I tried on many dresses, all within my theme of black and cream, and there was one that stood above the others. It had an exposed back, halter front (I wanted a dress with straps) and pockets! (I am teacher, and pockets are my best friend!) It was perfect.

Daniel and I asked a very close friend of ours, Todd, to play guitar during our ceremony. I walked down the aisle with my dad to the song that Daniel and I had our first dance to, “Come Back When You Can” by Barcelona. We kicked it up a notch on the way down the aisle as a married couple with “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes! Let’s be honest: At this point, it is obvious that Daniel and I are anything but traditional! We envisioned ourselves dolled up, walking around beautiful and historic Charleston taking pictures with our photographer. It was absolutely worth it. The other positive to seeing each other before the wedding was that it let Daniel get acclimated to my dress. He was more thankful he saw me beforehand not because of the color of my dress, but more for him to get all the tears out before the ceremony.

Amelia is a self-described “non flower person” (at least at weddings), so it was not surprising that they chose a unique route for their reception centerpieces. On what made her wedding Southern: We chose cotton to be present in our ceremony and reception and of course, and we had to indulge in the Lowcountry fare that Charleston offers, especially that of Good Food Catering! We centered each table with mason jars and doilies and had two large buffets that hosted our memorial area and vintage items. Each buffet was dripping with pearls and doilies. We covered the arches in the walk-throughs with pennant banners. We loved the idea of dried naturals instead of flowers to pull the natural setting of The Rice Mill Building together.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Daniel and I were introduced by his roommate, whom I knew from college. We met at our apartment’s summer pool party. Being a teacher, I was fortunate enough to have the summer off from school. Daniel was finishing up his summer class load. We spent all of our free time hanging out and getting to know one another. Daniel used his adorable charm to woo me and the rest is history. Little did I know that “the boy from downstairs” would quickly become my best friend and then my husband.
Describe the proposal. Daniel and I had been wanting to take a mini vacation, so I threw out the idea of driving to Austin, Texas for a weekend to get away. Little did I know, he was hoping I would suggest a trip to Austin because that was where he wanted to propose. He knows me well enough to know that if he just booked us a trip to Austin on his own, I would immediately suspect something. Once we arrived, we started getting ready for our dinner date when I noticed he had already downed half of the bottle of champagne we brought with us. I figured he was just excited to be on vacation. He kept asking me over and over again if I was ready yet. I finally threw on my lipstick and told him I was ready to go. Then, he looked at me told me he had something for me. I sighed and though, “now he is the one keeping us from dinner. What could be so important to delay sushi?!” He pulled something out of his pocket and started telling me how much he loves me and how I would make him happy for the rest of his life. I didn’t understand what was happening until he had the ring in his hand and was getting down on a knee. The words are a bit of a blur now, but I just remember looking startled and surprised! After the ring was securely on my hand, I couldn’t stop looking at it. Daniel says I didn’t look at him the rest of the trip!
In what month did you get married? March!
How many guests attended your wedding? 100
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we chose to repeat traditional vows. One reason being that my twin brother, the family lawyer, married us.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We did not have readings, but my brother brought in his and my philosophy major by quoting a few excerpts from our favorite philosopher, Kant.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: We chose to have many various flavors of cakes instead of a tiered traditional cake. Thanks to Sugar Bakery, we had one nine-inch cake, our “wedding cake,” along with eleven six-inch cakes, all in various yummy flavors.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning a wedding out-of-state! My mom and I took a full week to visit the venue, bakery, hotel and hospitality room. I fell in love with the venue just from viewing it online and read rave reviews of the bakers online as well. It was a jam packed week, but one I will never forget. Thankfully, my mom and I had the help of my new mother and sister-in-law to help us along the way. Beside that one week visit, we relied mostly on the graciousness of our vendors to be sure our ideas would fit perfectly.
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Photography, for sure. It lasts forever and we knew Nathan would fit the bill perfectly.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Enjoying our dinner at the reception with our parents and best friends. We were actually able to eat our entire dinner. I think that small amount of downtime was good for Daniel and I to soak it all in.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are most looking forward to buying a house within the next year, here in Dallas. We house hunt every weekend…and every night online.

Photographer: Nathan Westerfield // Venue: The Rice Mill Building // Caterer: Good Food Catering // Rentals: lighting and heart warmers from Snyder Event Rentals, china from Ooh Events and Shop Out of Hand // Linens: Snyder Event Rentals // Invitations: David’s Bridal (online) // Bride’s Dress: BCBG // Bride’s Headpiece: Tasha, Nordstrom’s // Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Anthropologie, Blue lace overlay

Ooh Events is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Loving this wedding? Take a look at these, too!
Rebecca + Colin’s charming Charleston wedding here.
Jessica + Derek’s fashionable and blue wedding here.
Jennifer + Kyle’s black and white and feathered wedding here and here.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
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    Her wedding dress = so unique, I love it! And the bridesmaids dresses are so chic!

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