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With Lisa on maternity leave snuggling the newest SW beau, I’m thrilled to be joining y’all here on the blog to share some beautiful wedding days with you, starting with Laura and Patrick’s Key West celebration! From opting to wear the veil her mother wore on her parents’ wedding day to tucking handwritten thank you notes into small bottles for each guest, Laura and Patrick took a day that is traditionally about celebrating a bride and groom and instead chose to cultivate the beginning of a life full of love by celebrating their families, their story, and what matters most to them. I hope you enjoy reliving their day as much as I did!

A big thanks to Erika Delgado for sharing Laura and Patrick’s day with us!

I knew I wanted a simple dress, without any lace or beading, that would complement my mom’s veil, which I planned on wearing. My mom’s veil was given to her by her grandmother for her and my dad’s wedding 40 years ago. The first day I decided to make appointments, I went with my mom and matron of honor. After trying on a few options that didn’t wow me, the consultant had an idea to have me try on a dress that came with a lace overlay, but to leave the overlay off. As soon as I put the dress on, I knew it was the one! I felt gorgeous in it–it was simple, classic, fit our venue, and most importantly, I could see myself marrying Patrick in it.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed meant a great deal to me: my grandfather’s dog tag from World War II. I tied the tag to lace ribbon and wrapped it around my bouquet. Even though he couldn’t be there in person, he was there with me as I took some of the most important steps of my life. Something old was my mom’s veil, which she wore on my parents’ wedding day. Something blue was the ribbon on my garter. Something new was two things: my wedding dress and my wedding day gift from Patrick.

Describe your wedding flowers. I knew from the moment I started planning that I wanted an all-white palette for the flowers, keeping it simple and classic. Because the reception was taking place in gardens, I didn’t want to compete with the beautiful landscape there. Our florist created a gorgeous mixture of white peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, and lisianthus. Instead of having large centerpieces, I preferred the look of many smaller arrangements mixed with oil lanterns and candles. I collected all of the glassware used for the florals throughout our engagement.

We met in Key West and experienced many memories throughout our relationship there, including our engagement. It made perfect sense to get married in the city where we fell in love. Both of us share a love of the ocean and the unique history and culture that Key West provides. When it came time to decide on a venue, we knew we wanted a location that held true to Key West. The lighthouse, being a beacon of safe refuge for sailors, coupled with Patrick’s time in the Coast Guard, made perfect sense. The large banyan tree next to the lighthouse provided a beautiful spot to say our vows. For the reception, we loved the the gardens of the Audubon House. The layout was unique and it felt like we were inviting friends and family to a backyard celebration in the heart of Key West. Between the ceremony and the reception, everyone boarded the Conch Tour Train to take in a little bit more of the island. The evening was finished off with dinner and (lots of) dancing the night away under the stars. All of our guests generously traveled to be with us, so we wanted to give them as much of a Key West experience as possible.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look on our wedding day. It was important to both of us that our eyes met for the first time in front of our loved ones, moments before we became husband and wife. When our eyes locked as I rounded the corner, all that mattered was each other. We will cherish that feeling forever.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Do what makes you and your significant other happy. People will have plenty of advice, but what worked for them may not work for you. Pick the things that matter the most to you, and that will make you happy. Do your research on vendors–choose ones who align with your style and understand the vision you have. When you you feel confident in your vendors, it makes the day run smoothly, and it allows you to relax and enjoy the day! Finally, throughout the planning process, it helps to think of the day from guests’ point of view. It is your wedding, but taking a little extra time to think about their experience will be greatly appreciated–they did travel just to be with you both on this big day!

In dreaming up our day, the inspiration all came from the sea. The colors came from the varying tones of Florida Keys water, from a muted light minty blue in the shallows to deeper blues where the ocean meets the sky. All of the place cards were pieces of driftwood collected by us in Puerto Rico while Patrick lived there. We love the idea of messages in a bottle. Throughout our engagement, we collected small bottles from antique stores. At the wedding, we rolled up a thank you note for each guest and placed them in the bottles. Attached was a tag with guests’ names that led them to their tables. Each table was named after a different Key we had memories in throughout the Florida Keys. In place of a guest book, we asked that our guests leave us a message and drop them into large old bottles.

Our wedding cake was from one of the best bakeries in Key West. We wanted something simple, yet delicious, and went with a three-tiered, all-white ruffled cake, topped with a gold conch shell to symbolize the Keys. Inside, the cake had two flavors: French vanilla layered with mousseline and fresh strawberries, and Key West rum with layers of chocolate ganache, mousseline, and fresh strawberries.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in Key West, Florida in January 2011. I had recently moved to the Keys and one of my best friends from college was in town for the weekend. We went for a night out in Key West, and she decided I had to meet her friend “just in case” I ever needed anything. Her friend was Patrick–they were childhood friends who grew up two streets apart, and he was stationed in Key West with the Coast Guard. Upon meeting Patrick, I was smitten, but never would have admitted it. Having just moved to a new town, I didn’t have much interest in getting into a relationship. I was stubborn, but Patrick’s persistence paid off, and two months later, we went on our first date.
Tell us all about the proposal! Patrick planned a date night in Key West at an amazing sushi restaurant. After dinner, he suggested we go for a walk down the pier next door. We got to the end of the empty pier, and while looking out over the water, we began talking about us and the changes our relationship was going to experience. Patrick was about to move to Puerto Rico for work, while I would continue living in the Keys. In the middle of this conversation, the words “I want to spend the rest of my life with you” came out of his mouth, while he spun me around and got down on one knee. After spilling his heart, he asked me to be his wife. I was completely surprised and, of course, said yes! After the fact, I learned that he had driven across the state to ask permission from my parents, had hidden friends taking photos of the proposal, and even coordinated with my boss to let me have the next day off of work.
When did y’all get married? April 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 110
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The bridal party walked down the aisle to the instrumental version of “Skinny Love” by Birdy. My dad walked me down the aisle to the instrumental version of “All of Me” by John Legend. This song really stood out for the message it was sending to my future husband, and now, every time I hear it, it brings me back to that moment. After the ceremony, our song to walk back up the aisle was “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors. Patrick chose our first dance song. We were on a vacation together when we first heard “Hey Pretty Girl” by Kip Moore, and Patrick instantly said, “This is what we should dance our first dance to.” I loved that he was so excited about the song and that he wanted it for our big day. For my dance with my father, we chose a version of “My Little Girl,” sang by SoMo. The lyrics spoke true of the strong bond between a father and daughter, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room during the dance. Patrick and his mom danced to “The Baby” by Blake Shelton. This song has always been “their song,” so there was no question that it would be what they would dance to.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: How personal the wedding was, from the custom crest, to our dog’s silhouette on the drink stirrers. Every detail involved in our day had our personal touch on it.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We got married in the southernmost City in the United States! I carried one of my dad’s handkerchiefs–I’ve never seen him without one. I also had handkerchiefs embroidered for both sides of parents as gifts on the day-of.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just bought our first house! We are looking forward to making the house a home, traveling, and eventually starting a family.

Photographer: Erika Delgado | Planner: Jill Atkinson | Ceremony Venue: Key West Lighthouse | Reception Venue: Audubon House | Florist: Love In Bloom | Wedding Cake: Croissants de France | Caterer: Catered Affairs of Key West | Rentals: Mile Marker Party Rentals | DJ: Kiss Me Entertainment | Custom Crest: Juliet Grace Design | Paper Products: Smitten on Paper | Bride’s Gown: “D1367” by Essence of Australia | Bride’s Bracelet: Coordinates Collection | Hair and Makeup: Studio Marie-Pierre | Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Adrianna Papell, Amsale, Monique Lhuillier, Joanna August, and Donna Morgan | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse | Groom’s Tie: The Tie Bar | Groom’s Watch: Citizen | Dog Silhouette and Drink Stirrers: Fire Hydrant Press | Head Table Sign: Laura Hooper Calligraphy | Envelope Calligraphy: Allie Seidel Design | Ring Box: The Mrs. Box | Tote Bags: Wedding Chicks Shop | Koozies: My Wedding Store | “Vows” Print: Southern Weddings Shop | Transportation: Conch Tour Train | Special Details: BHLDN | Soap Favors: Key West Soap Company

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
  1. avatar Erika Delgado reply

    What a beautiful wedding day! Thank you for sharing:)

  2. avatar Laura + Patrick Married in Key West » Erika Delgado Photography reply

    […] Featured on Southern Weddings […]

  3. avatar Curtis Wallis reply

    Love seeing all the smiles. Makes this day look so much more special. Beautiful wedding

  4. avatar Nancy Ellis reply

    any idea who makes the MOB gown? Thanks

  5. avatar Robb McCormick Photography reply

    Absolutely stunning wedding. Every detail perfectly executed in front of a perfect backdrop!

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Born a northerner and the daughter of a Coast Guard captain, I usually think of seaside weddings and their nautical flag palettes as the province of New England nuptials. But that’s not quite right, because the South has miles and miles of coastline, and a boating culture all its own! Rachel Red Photography and Lindsay Bishop Events chose to embrace the bold colors and simple style of Charleston Harbor for this elopement inspiration shoot, and I must say, it’s a breath of fresh (salty sea) air.

A few words from Lindsay on the inspiration behind this shoot:

When they began planning their wedding, the two of them knew that they didn’t want a grand gathering; it just didn’t feel like them. Madeline and Chandler wanted to celebrate the beginning of their marriage surrounded with only the people that meant the most to them, in the place that they felt most at home. Eloping on a sailboat at sunset just felt right! The Schooner Pride was the perfect vessel for their nuptials. Modeled after an 18th century coastal trading schooner, the 84’ tall ship embodied all of the romantic, historic elements that Madeline loves so much about Charleston. They used signal flags to frame their quaint ceremony space, spelling “Forever” in the colorful emblems. With a color palette inspired by the signal flags they love so much, their distinctly nautical style was reflected in every detail. A beautifully textured blue and white striped linen adorned the main dining table, and weathered wood boards were paired with shining gold flatware to evoke feelings of an old ship. Soft Turkish towels made lovely accents for a number of food displays.

After the ceremony, their intimate group enjoyed an enormous farmer’s snack board filled with charcuterie and cheese, accompanied by savory shrimp salad boats and succulent pickled shrimp, paying homage to the low country’s abundance with tons of local ingredients. No Charleston party is complete without oysters, and Madeline and Chandler didn’t disappoint with a giant clam shell full of raw oysters paired with lemon slices and adorable mini bottles of Tabasco sauce!

Ship: Schooner Pride | Photography: Rachel Red Photography | Planning and floral design: Lindsay Bishop Events | Rentals: Ooh Events and Polished Tabletop | Linens: La Tavola | Bride’s dress: Lovely Bride | Jewelry: Victor Barbone Jewelry | Menswer: Menguin and Banana Republic | Hair and makeup: Paper Dolls Wedding Hair & Makeup | Paper goods: The Silver Starfish | Food: Cru Catering | Turkish towels: Charleston Weekender | Signal flags: My Signal Flags

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Renee reply

    Who is the floral desogner

  2. avatar Rachel Red Photography reply

    Thank you for sharing this fun session! Your blog is full of gorgeous inspiration, so it’s quite an honor for us to be a part of that today!

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I think the best homes tell us something about the people who live there. At a glance, you know something about the residents even before you meet them – what they love, what they value, what makes them feel safe and comfortable. For Natalie (a Blue Ribbon Vendor!) and Huey, who met while rowing in high school and have always lived near the ocean, a navy and white home dotted with nautical touches is just perfect. I know y’all will enjoy the wisdom of this sweet young couple, so let’s dive on in!

The couple: Natalie, 24, and Hugh, 25
Years married: 1.5
Where they live: A few minutes outside of Annapolis, Maryland
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Natalie is a wedding photographer and Hugh works in IT Sales just outside of Baltimore. We have two dogs that we spoil rotten: Sophie the miniature Australian shepherd and Hunter the rescue pup! We met during our sophomore year of high school on the crew team and fell in love rowing together on the Severn River. We started dating that spring and attended college near one another in Philadelphia. During my senior year at Penn, Huey proposed and we married the following summer at his parents’ property.

Do you rent or own? We own our little townhouse and absolutely love it! From the moment we moved in a year ago, we’ve been slowly renovating each room and making it our own. We both grew up in this area, and after attending school in Philadelphia, we knew we wanted to live near the Chesapeake Bay. We truly couldn’t imagine spending our lives anywhere else.
Tell us about the process of moving in together. We are both so young that when we moved in together, we didn’t own a darn thing (not even a bed frame!), so rather than blending styles, we truly had to begin from scratch! We’ve been lucky to have so many pieces handed down that we’ve painted and modernized to fit our contemporary coastal style!
Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? I think our favorite room in the house is our dining room! There is something truly special about sharing a meal with the one you love. This room has sentimental value to us because our table once belonged to Hugh’s grandparents in the early 1960’s. So many amazing dinners and vibrant conversations have been shared over this table, and it makes me even more excited to see how our family grows and changes in the years to come.

What is your favorite part of being married? My favorite part of being married is spending Sunday mornings cuddled up together with our two dogs running circles around our feet. We cherish the quiet moments. The day to day. Those little things that truly are the big things.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? I’ve been surprised by just how much we’ve grown together since our wedding day. I never realized that I would fall in love with my husband over and over again, or that the love we shared the day we got married was merely a fraction of the love we have today. I truly thought that I knew what it meant to love Huey… and after all that we’ve been through in the past eight a half years, I’m constantly amazed by how our love continues to grow.
What most makes your house feel like home? Our house feels like a home because of the people (and pups!) that are constantly a part of this space.

What is your favorite memory from your wedding? We can’t agree on a single memory that we both love the most… the overall experience of getting married in the backyard surrounded by our friends and family was truly more than we could have ever asked for. It was perfect.
How do you remember your wedding in your home? We have wedding pictures printed everywhere and a wedding album on the way! We also keep our dated cake forks in the kitchen, and we bring them out on our six-month and one-year anniversaries to share a piece of caramel cake.
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Get outside and explore your own backyard. We live by the water, so many of our dates involve sitting out by the Bay and having dinner, holding hands along the dock, or enjoying dessert in downtown Annapolis. It’s amazing how much we’ve discovered right in our quiet little town just by walking around together.

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? We save on furniture and most of the pieces we own are either family heirlooms (the dining room table, our bed), or antique store finds that we’ve painted or modernized to fit our home. I’m also a little obsessed with HomeGoods. Oh, HomeGoods. I could shop that store for hours at a time.
How does your family handle finances? We have shared accounts and Huey handles all of our personal finances, since I’m generally busy crunching numbers for my business!
What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? Stay committed to putting one another first. I run my own business and it can be so easy to let our date night evenings slide because I am falling behind on editing or another album needs to be designed. We’ve worked to set boundaries on other things (work, activities, extended family gatherings) so that we can always make time for one another.

Who cooks dinner? We tend to alternate. Huey is in charge of the grill; I handle the stove. He is awesome at seasonings. I can bake up a storm.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? We keep weeknight meals pretty simple with salads and yummy grilled sandwiches. On the weekends (when I’m not shooting a wedding), we absolutely love to have steamed crabs or grill up some barbecue chicken on our back deck.
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? I have the Epicurious app and I love it. So easy to use and it keeps me inspired. I also love my grandmother’s recipes, many of which she wrote out by hand for me on a little notebook that I keep in my kitchen.

What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? Natalie: Huey really (REALLY!) dislikes doing the dishes and always has–we often joke that we bought this house because it was our first place together that had a dishwasher! So even though our rule is “I cook, you clean,” I will sometimes do the dishes to surprise him when he’s watching a game or relaxing after a home-cooked meal. Hugh: I get up almost every morning to take care of our dogs so that Natalie can sleep in for an extra thirty minutes. During wedding season, she is often working late, so this is my way of giving her extra time to rest.

Do you have children? We are excited to fill our home with babies one day. I would love three or four; Huey has always wanted two. We’d feel blessed with any number at all. Currently, we are absolutely in love with being puppy parents and having the freedom to travel together. We can see our family expanding in the future and are excited for that day to come!

Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… that we would never stop learning about each other. After dating for seven years, I truly thought I knew everything there was to know about my best friend, but what amazes me is how much I continue to learn (and continue to love) with every passing month.
This year, our family is most excited about… this year, we are most excited about traveling together to Europe for the first time and exploring the Amalfi Coast side by side! We have never been to Europe as a couple and it’s going to be the trip of a lifetime!

We’re so grateful to Natalie and Huey for sharing their hearts and home with us! Be sure to follow along with them:
Natalie Franke Photography
Natalie’s blog
Natalie’s Facebook
Natalie’s Twitter
Natalie’s Instagram

P.S. We’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    I have always admired Natalie and it’s so fun to read about their newlywed home! Love that they’ve incorporated heirloom pieces so seamlessly into their style.

  2. avatar katelyn james reply

    Awww I love it!!!! I didn’t want it to end!!!!!!!!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Oh how I wish that bed weren’t a family heirloom!! It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for – so pretty!

  4. avatar Karen reply

    Beautiful home!

  5. avatar Julie Armstrong reply

    Fun and enjoyable

  6. avatar Fotograf Warszawa reply

    Beautiful house. The colors of the flowers, decor and paintings, delight.

  7. avatar Rebekah reply

    A couple whose relationship is just as beautiful as they (and their home!) are :)

  8. avatar Kate Robinson reply

    So gorgeous! Such a cute couple :)

  9. avatar November Inspirations – Something Pretty reply

    […] Decorate: We featured Natalie Franke’s adorable Annapolis home on Southern Weddings last week and her front door stopped me in my tracks. It has me dreaming up other perfect combinations of nautical and autumnal, from wedding receptions to place settings. (Photo by Natalie Franke via Southern Weddings) […]

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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