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Yes, I am a full grown adult, and yes I still truly believe in fairytales! (That’s why I about died when a childhood friend of mine married the Little Mermaid — or, at least the girl who plays her at Disney World! True story, y’all!) So, when I started reading Caroline + Ben’s interview, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear that I was absolutely taken by their modern day Cinderella story. That might be a bit of a stretch, but our bride did lose a shoe and her groom did (kind of) find it! Either way, I love that Caroline described Ben as her “knight in shining armor.” Swoon!

I also love the gorgeous classic details and family traditions C + B weaved throughout their wedding, especially the gardenias inspired by the ones surrounding her childhood home. What a lovely sentiment (and scent!).

Y’all are going to love the second line photos captured by Meg Baisden — they make me want to join in!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. This was a very difficult process. I tried on over 70 dresses and was even invited to Randy Fenoli’s new show, “Randy to the Rescue” in New Orleans. I thought I had found the right dress and even said yes to a dress on the show. However, after one last dress shopping excursion in Boston, I finally found the dress. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and on the way home from trying it on, I got the omen of a lifetime. My sister and I were driving down Beacon Street when I happened to notice that there was an Omni Hotel, which was where we were having our wedding reception. As we were driving by I caught a glimpse of one their window displays. I did a double take and quickly told my sister to pull the car over! I got out of the car and ran to the window, and sure enough, my dress was on display in the Omni window! We couldn’t believe it.

I’d have to say that Caroline made the right decision with this gorgeous dress. Those ruffles all the way down her gown are absolutely amazing!

Yes, we did a first look and I absolutely loved it. It might have been my favorite part of the whole day. I loved that it was just he and I—no one else. We were able to talk and reflect privately about how it was finally here and actually happening. The whole weekend was so surreal and it was nice to have some alone time with my best friend. It was very comforting, and I was very grateful for it.

I love the subtle, but super sweet way Caroline is holding her dad’s hand instead of linking arms.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The second line! The second line walk from the wedding ceremony to the reception was extraordinary. Everything was perfect—the weather, the streets, the crowd, and of course, the music! It was truly an amazing experience and a very special memory that I will never forget!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Oyster shells nameplates, Pimm’s Cup signature drinks for the second line walk (after the ceremony), cake pulls, and our welcome gift bags full of local goodies such as Zapps chips, saltwater taffy from Roman Candy guy, pralines, and a variety of other New Orleans items.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We picked out a beautiful all-white wedding cake decorated with our new initials, CJB, and fresh gardenias that were placed around and on top of the cake. I also had 8 “cake pulls” for by bridesmaids, which was a fun surprise for them. I personally picked out the charms for each of my bridesmaids, which offered a nice personal touch. They loved them!

Such a fun groom’s cake!

Ben and I danced to Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love.” We are both big fans of Van Morrison and felt that this song was a great classic that fit our relationship and the occasion perfectly. I danced with my father to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” This has always been one of my parents’ favorite songs, as well as mine. The fact that it was by Louis Armstrong was like the cherry on top; it fit into the New Orleans theme perfectly!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in college (we both went to UGA) at a party that Ben and his roommates threw. Ben really caught my attention after handling a rather annoying situation by someone who had had far too much to drink. This girl, whom I had never met, thought it would be funny to throw my shoe out the window (I had taken them off while playing pool with Ben). She threw it down onto the busy and very popular Clayton Street. This would not have been that big of a deal had my shoe been found, but it wasn’t! Ben ended up having to lend me a pair of his flip-flops for the rest of the night while we hit the bars and it ended up being quite comical.. It turned out to be one of the best nights of my life, other than losing my favorite pair of shoes. The next day, Ben called to let me know that he had gotten a check from the girl to cover the cost of my shoes! I had not asked for or expected this gesture, so you can only imagine my excitement upon finding out that Ben had acted as my knight in shinning armor and I was going to get a brand new pair of shoes! This was in the fall of 2003 (yes—a very long time ago!). Ben and I hit it off pretty quickly after that, and after eight years of dating, Ben popped the question in New Orleans, Louisiana!
Tell us all about the proposal! Ben surprised me at one of my favorite New Orleans locations, The Columns Hotel. After he popped the question in a private room filled with candles and and rose petals, the surprise continued as we walked downstairs for dinner to find some of our closest friends and family shouting congrats and popping champagne! Ben even made sure my mother, who was living in Italy at the time, was there. I couldn’t believe it!
When did y’all get married? 12/22/12
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Proverbs 3:1-6: “My child, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of life, and abundant welfare they will give you. Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them round your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and of people. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:13-18: “Happy are those who find wisdom, and those who get understanding, for her income is better than silver, and her revenue better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy.” These Old Testament scriptures make good wedding readings because a wedding is a transition between stages of life. It’s a time when our parents give us advice about what lies before us. Though a couple getting married aren’t children, it’s a good time to be reminded of the need to trust in the Lord
Describe your wedding flowers. Gardenias. I have loved the smell of gardenias for as long as I can remember. My mom had gardenias planted all around my childhood home and the smell has always triggered a sense of security and well-being for me. When Ben and I moved into our first home together (2009), the first things I planted were gardenia bushes. With all this being said, it is no surprise that my choice of flower was the gardenia. The groom and the groomsmen all wore gardenia boutonnieres, and everything else was accented with gardenias in some way or another. I even wore two fresh gardenias in my hair. They smelled amazing!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My wedding planner, Michelle Adams, was phenomenal all around. We could not have done it without her.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our first look and the second line were my two most memorable moments. Hands down.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take it one day at a time and when things get really tough, just remember what it’s really all about: marrying your best friend and getting to spend the rest of your life with them. No one is going to care which way the napkins are folded or the fonts picked for the menu, so just step back and try to look at the bigger picture. Be grateful for the wonderful new chapter in your life that you are about to begin.

Planner: Michelle Adams | Ceremony Venue: Louisiana State Museum Cabildo | Reception Venue: The Omni Royal Orleans Ballroom | Florist: Meade Wenzel | Wedding Cake: The Royal Cakery | Groom’s Cake: Gambinos | Caterer: Rib Room | Band: ELS | Bride’s Gown: Addison Gown by Coren Moore found at Flaire on Newbury Street of Boston Paper Products: Tupelo Honey Design, Oyster Shells by Maria | Bride’s Veil: Bird Cage Veil from Wedding Belles | Hair Stylist: Heather Mahony from H2O Salon & Spa | Makeup Artist: Christine Lombardo | Bride’s Shoes: Isabel by Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Dessy Collection in Midnight Blue | Groom’s & Groomsmen Attire: Rentals from Perlis

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Nicole reply

    Oh goodness! That is the CUTEST meeting story ever!

  2. avatar Meg Baisden reply

    What a lovely feature for a wonderful couple! Thanks so much, y’all!

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    The story of how they met is precious, and I LOVE her advice! Not to mention, her dress is stunning and the gardenias are beautiful! I just love this wedding. :)

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Hand-picked cotton centerpieces, dapper gents in classic black tuxedos and an oak-lined plantation: oh y’all, Caitlin + Jared’s wedding is sweet Southern goodness! With a stunning backdrop like Turkey Hill Plantation, C + J decided to keep it simple with a “less is more” approach to design, and I am totally on board with their choice. As Caitlin said, “The plantation we chose was so naturally beautiful that it didn’t need very much decoration. We decided to skip flowers all together; instead we used cotton!”

Big hugs to Tea Olive Photography for sharing C + J’s darling day with us!

Our wedding took place at a beautiful historic plantation that is settled at the end of a fantastic oak-lined driveway. The plantation also featured ancient live oaks that were dripping with Spanish moss. There is just something romantically Southern about the way the light shines against the moss. Having centerpieces and arrangements made of cotton also added a natural Southern touch. Along with that, we served barbecue with good ol’ fashioned bottled Coca Colas.

I love Caitlin’s wedding band – it’s so different, yet classic!

Jared’s family friends own several cotton fields, so we made a trip or two to cut the cotton plants for our big day. I then had the joy of cleaning tons of plants of cotton before the wedding. It really is amazing how dirty that stuff gets out in the elements!

One of my aunts helped me make my cotton bouquet and the boutonnières for the groomsmen. I decided to change it up a bit with the bridesmaids, and instead of having them carry flowers I gave them pretty little lanterns with twinkle lights and Spanish moss.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. I found an amazing orchestral version of “Secrets” by One Republic mixed with Beethoven’s 5th Symphony by the Piano Guys to walk down the aisle to. It’s such a beautiful song and had the most perfect build up — it still gives me chills! On our way back down the aisle we played “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours,” by Stevie Wonder. Jared actually picked this one, and he couldn’t have been more spot on. Our first dance was to a James Taylor song, “Smiling Face.” It’s one of our favorite songs, and just fits us.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? 
The most memorable moment for me was walking down the aisle with my dad. It is such an emotional moment; it’s hard to forget something like that.

Jared’s grandfather also helped me make the centerpiece boxes we used. We then gathered a mountain of Spanish moss to fill them. I absolutely adored how they turned out. We then rounded up antlers and had them painted gold to go along with our centerpieces and candles, which looked especially beautiful that evening.

Jared is very picky about his cake: he likes chocolate and only chocolate. So for our cake, we had a simple small chocolate cake. We also served chocolate as well as pumpkin spice cupcakes in honor of fall and my personal love of pumpkin. I also incorporated a groom’s cake for Jared. One of his favorite pastimes is fishing for redfish, so naturally his cake was in the shape of one!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. 
The two of us met during our freshman year of college at Charleston Southern. We were in the same public speaking class and shared glances at each other for a few weeks before Jared worked up the nerve to walk me to my dorm after class. We shared several walks over the next few weeks until he finally asked me to be his girlfriend, and several years later his wife.
Describe the proposal. 
Jared planned a surprise for the two of us during the SEWE weekend in Charleston. He had only hinted at one thing, “It’s something you’ve always wanted to do.” Well boy did that make my head spin. There were tons of things I had always wanted to do! As I was enjoying the Jack Hannah show and patiently waiting to see the cheetah, he informed me that we were late for our “thing,” and had to leave. I was pretty disappointed due to the fact that the show wasn’t even halfway over, but we made our way to the car and began the drive to Patriots Point. I had a sneaking suspicion he was taking me to see my old teammates, as they were playing against College of Charleston, but again I was wrong. We passed the softball fields and continued on, parking near the docks. At this point, I was wondering what the heck we were doing, and then we met the Captain of the Firefly. Jared had chartered a sailboat for the two of us to cruise the harbor on. I was dumbfounded and thought that this in itself was the surprise! We then skimmed atop the Charleston harbor enjoying wine, cheese, and fruits for quite some time until Jared insisted that I come to the bow of the boat. It had been raining off and on and I wasn’t too keen on getting wet, but I eventually obliged. We did the cheesy “Titanic moment” and as I turned to head back to cover, Jared was down on one knee with a beautiful ring asking me to marry him. After answering with a yes, we then took cover as the Captain showed me that he was taking pictures of the whole thing! I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
In what month did you get married? 
How many guests attended your wedding? 
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. 
I found my wedding dress the first day I went shopping. I didn’t have much of an idea what I was looking for until I put it on. I was actually debating between two dresses that were significantly different, but was so happy with my final choice.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? 
We decided not to do a “first look” as we are both pretty traditional. We were looking forward to first seeing each other down the aisle — we didn’t want to miss that dramatic moment.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
There were way too many to count them all. I absolutely loved our venue, our ceremony site, the driveway, and the backyard. It is so naturally beautiful. I also was over the moon for how our centerpieces turned out. I could go on, but everything was just perfect.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? 
A big challenge for me was planning the wedding two hours from home where Jared lived. It was slightly difficult trying to orchestrate everything that needed to be done, especially while trying to also spend some non-wedding time together on the weekends. We didn’t want every weekend to be all about the wedding since we only saw each other every week or so, but there are some things that aren’t easy to decide over the phone.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? 
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? 
I wouldn’t say I splurged on any particular thing, but I cannot say how happy I was with our photographer. She truly did an amazing job capturing our day. I couldn’t have asked for better.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
Don’t let it stress you out, and add a little time to your wedding day schedule. We had a very padded schedule and it worked out so well. The groomsmen and groom were a little late to their pictures, but we weren’t rushed because of great planning.

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Stephanie Gregory reply

    Amazing job Christine! The cotton centerpieces and boutonnières are heavenly!!

  2. avatar Elizabeth reply

    Gorgeous! Love the use of cotton in place of flowers and lanterns for the bridesmaids! Great menu options for a southern wedding, and any couple who decides on bottled Cokes for their wedding is a-okay with me :) Love!

  3. avatar Ken Tan reply

    Great job, Tea Olive Photography for capturing and sharing this. What a beautiful wedding!

  4. avatar Sergio Goncharoff reply

    Gran work! Exelente pic! Me encanta…

  5. avatar Sophie reply

    The best thing I’ve ever seen! Photographer is the best!

  6. avatar Carol Neil reply

    Absolutely the most beautiful wedding and so down to earth cost wise! What a beautiful couple they are, just radiate love! Such a true inspiration to southern couples everywhere!

  7. avatar Oh, How Pinteresting! » Kelsey Tice Photography reply

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  8. avatar Laura reply

    Where is her engagement ring from? That is exactly what I have been looking for and can’t seem to find anything like it anywhere.

    • avatar Caitlin reply

      Laura: Hi Laura, my band is from Croghan’s in Charleston and it is the Coast Diamond brand. The band is NOT listed online, but a Coast Diamond dealer should be able to order it. There was another variation of it that alternated marquis with diamond/square designs. Good luck!

  9. avatar Non-Floral Boutonnieres – {Because Some Men Won’t Wear Flowers!} | DesignedByBH reply

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