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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?
Rachel

What’s your fiancé’s name?
Joshua

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
7 Comments
  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!

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Shannon + Chris added a nautical touch to their preppy Southern fete with a reception at the Annapolis Yacht Club. (Currently dying a slow, happy death at the sight of the seersucker suit and pastel striped tie.) The flag pennants, bold colors and lush hydrangeas remind me of another sea-inspired wedding we recently featured. (P.S. It’s Emily’s sister, Kate!) For more from this cheery Maryland wedding, visit Kristen Hudson-Nichols‘ blog post here!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? Our wedding theme was preppy chic. We focused the celebration on family, food, and tradition. We had a traditional Christian ceremony officiated by the same Reverend who baptized my little brothers. The ring bearers wore boat shoes and the wedding party wore J. Crew seersucker suits and dresses.
Describe your wedding flowers: My bouquet was made of white and green hydrangeas. The bridesmaids had white hydrangeas.
Describe your wedding cake: We did cupcakes with our initials and Swiss dots in lieu of a wedding cake. We cut the grooms cake, instead, which was shaped like a pizza in honor of Chris’s second love in life
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Walking down the aisle with my dad. Chris said it was his favorite moment seeing me walk down and it was my favorite moment seeing him standing there with tears in his eyes. Also, my second favorite moment of the weekend was that my dad, who is a pilot for Southwest Airlines, surprised me and flew my plane from Tampa to MD for the wedding.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are working hard and playing hard. We hope to start a family in the next couple of years.

Written with love by Katharine
8 Comments
  1. avatar Rachel – theWeddingVine reply

    The flowergirls and pageboy look adorable! beautiful wedding!

    • avatar Katharine reply

      Pageboy! That’s the word I was looking for! And yes, those munchkins are absolutely, positively adorable.

  2. avatar Tweets that mention Details: Shannon + Chris, Part II « Southern Weddings Magazine — Topsy.com reply

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marissa Kloess, Southern Weddings . Southern Weddings said: Flag pennants, bold colors + seersucker suits with pastel striped ties = the SW girls dying! Thanks, @kristennichols! http://su.pr/19bM6C […]

  3. avatar DeAnna reply

    Beautiful wedding! Can you tell me where the pink, green, and yellow striped tie came from?!

    • avatar Katharine reply

      Hi DeAnna! We loved that tie, too! Em + I are pretty sure it’s a guest’s tie, so we don’t have the specific vendor info on it, but I DO know that I just found a very similar one for Mr. Kyle at a Brooks Brothers outlet. (75% off, naturally.) Happy hunting!

  4. avatar Stefanie reply

    Love the flowergirl dresses!!! Where did you get them?

  5. avatar {#131} Navy Blue and Yellow Preppy Spring Inspiration | Dream Palettes | | WEDDING NOUVEAU reply

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Shannon described her Maryland wedding at the William Paca House and Garden as “preppy chic,” and after seeing the crisp green + blue color palette, we couldn’t agree more! Special thanks to Jubilee Photography’s Kristen Hudson-Nichols, who photographed the Southern-inspired soiree. The bride wore a fitted Maggie Sottero gown and outfitted her ‘maids in bright J. Crew sheath dresses that were perfect for the couple’s outdoor reception. (We hate to say it, but the darling ring bearers and flowergirls just about stole the show!)

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We both went to the same high school and college but never met each other. We met in the summer of 2006 through a mutual friend, Joe. I was trying to set up my girlfriend with Joe and Chris tagged along as the wingman. We have been together ever since.
Describe the proposal. We were out to dinner with friends and Chris was insistent on arriving early to see the sunset. His plan was to propose before dinner watching the sunset. He tried to get me to go catch the sunset and grab a drink at the outside bar but I was stubborn because it had been raining and I didn’t want my hair to “fro”. So he put the ring in his pocket during dinner. After dinner and once the rain had stopped, we all went to the outside bar for a drink. Chris pulled me away under the guise that he thought he saw his deceased father’s boat the “Morning Girl” docked at the restaurant. So we headed down to check out the very special boat and while walking on the dock and looking for the boat, Chris dropped to his knee and proposed.
Three word that describe the day are: Love, “us” and celebration.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The details were our favorite part and it’s hard to pick, but here are a few: 1) we pinned a picture of Chris’s father along with an anchor to my bouquet so he could be with us during the ceremony; 2) we only kept one secret about the wedding from our friends and families – Chris’s father’s best friend traveled from NY to give us a blessing during the ceremony in honor of Chris’s father; 3) my jewelry was my grandmother and mother’s; 4) instead of a guest book our guest’s signed oars; 5) instead of table numbers our tables were identified by cities that Chris and I had been to together; 6) instead of feeding each other cake we shoved it into my little brother’s faces; 7) the latitude and longitude of the garden where we were married in was engraved in Chris’s wedding band; 8) our guests took home pizza cutters engraved with “a slice of love” and our wedding cake was designed to look like a pizza in honor of Chris’s favorite food.

Written with love by Katharine
8 Comments
  1. avatar Lori reply

    What a beautiful wedding! Of course I am drawn to it for the fact it is navy and green but reading about the special details really sealed the deal for me. It sounds like it was such a sweet and personal day. When I first met with my planner (and now right hand woman!) her first question was: “How do you picture your day?” I an answered that I wanted it to reflect “us” as both individuals and couple.

  2. avatar Helena reply

    I love outdoor weddings. The children look great in those pale blue dresses!

  3. avatar Whitney reply

    Great post!! It was so wonderful to be a part of this magical sunshine filled day!! Is this wedding going to be featuerd in V4???

    • avatar Lara reply

      Hi Whitney! We love this wedding, too! All of our blog and print features are separate, so this will only be on the blog.

  4. avatar Kristi reply

    looks perfect… where did this take place?

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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