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I love a classic Southern bride! Lauren (who happens to be one of our Southern Bride Bloggers, y’all!) and her beau, Aaron arranged photos in the Raleigh Rose Garden before marrying inside a church. The photos the resulted from Vesic Photography are simply stunning and their moody blue and green surroundings remind me of our V4 cover, but with a life of its own. Lauren actually took inspiration from Southern Weddings to come up with the readings with Aaron, collecting quotes from other couples to craft the perfect ceremony. I love the idea of incorporating the words that strike your heart in addition to the traditional vows and think Lauren’s tactic of slowing curating her favorite words often works best.

For forever, I dreamed of wearing a lace mermaid wedding dress. I had a modest budget so I found myself going to many stores to find the perfect dress. I tried on about 30 dresses in total. I finally found the dress while shopping with my mom and aunt at Bridalmart in Burlington. Bridalmart is this huge store and they have hundreds of dresses at many price points, but you have to pull them yourself. It can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you want! My aunt pulled and showed me the dress, but I was hesitant because I wanted a strapless dress and the fit was more trumpet than mermaid. I tried it on anyways and it was so beautiful. I was still skeptical, but my mom snapped many pictures. Looking at the pictures the days after our visit, I knew this was my dress!

Describe your wedding flowers. 
I wanted a color palette of cream, pink and peach. We used four types of garden roses, hydrangeas, ranunculus, spray roses, limonium and seeded eucalyptus. I think the funniest part was visiting my parent’s house the day after the wedding and seeing it packed with flowers.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? 
We did! I am so happy we did. Our photographer had us stand back to back and we exchanged a few words before turning around. We hugged and kissed and I was so happy. Like many people say, it was our only time alone that day. Also, it was our only opportunity for outdoor photos. We shot ours at the Raleigh Rose Garden, which was minutes away from the church. I have a large family and after the ceremony, we spent time taking the traditional family photos inside the church.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 
I actually used Southern Weddings for readings inspiration. I would copy and save readings onto my computer that I liked! We ended up choosing Philippians 2:1-5. “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”

We had very traditional songs during our ceremony because as a little girl I had always dreamed of getting married to these songs. Pachelbel’s Canon in D was the bridal processional, the recessional was Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. During the ceremony, we had two songstresses. Emily, who introduced us, sang Schubert’s “Ave Maria” and the Lord’s Prayer. Andrea, my good college friend, sang “Center of My Joy” by Richard Smallwood. We loved having our friends take part in our wedding ceremony. At the reception, Aaron and I danced to “I Was Made to Love You” by Gerald Levert. We were nervous about the turns in our dance so we whispered to each other before every turn to make sure we were on the same page! My dad picked “I’ll Write A Song for You” by Earth Wind & Fire for our daddy-daughter dance. If you read the lyrics, you’ll want to cry because it’s so sweet. Lastly, Aaron and his mother danced to “Stand by Me” by Ben King.

My grandmother loved collecting glassware, so I used her LE Smith Moon & Stars glasses and her milk glasses for centerpieces. I used her doilies and lace handkerchiefs for decor as well. Our hors d’ouervres were macaroni and cheese and “redneck martinis,” which are pulled pork in a martini glass with a hush puppy on top. However, I think the most Southern thing about my wedding was how much my family helped. My aunt was the coordinator, my godmother handwrote all of my place cards and my mother was responsible for everything else I needed! My dad also let Aaron drive his classic ‘55 Chevy for our transportation to the reception and as the getaway car.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. 
We did mini cupcakes for our wedding cake! It was fun because you could try multiple flavors. We had pumpkin, lemon, chocolate and vanilla. We had a mini-cake on top to cut that was pumpkin as well. After the cake was cut, we passed chocolate shot glasses filled with Kahlua and Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
All of the dancing. I wanted the wedding to turn into a huge party at the end and it did! We played Motown music during dinner and afterward transitioned to more current music. The dance floor was packed. Everyone was showing off their best dance moves, including some break dancing, a split and Aaron did the worm.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. 
In 2009, I returned home to Raleigh after graduating from college at Hampton University. I complained to one of my close friends, Emily, that I was bored and would like to meet someone. Emily told me that she worked with a guy who may be a good fit for me. She arranged a double date between herself, her boyfriend, Aaron and myself. Emily and her boyfriend ended up arriving over an hour late to the date so the first hour was just the two of us, complete strangers! We hit it off and the night ended with Aaron buying me Krispy Kreme donuts. The rest is history and Emily sang at our wedding!

Tell us all about the proposal! 
I love Zumba and my dad and I often go together at the YMCA. I would always encourage Aaron to come too, but he’d always decline. Finally on December 30, 2011 he agreed to come to a class with us. Usually it’s hard to find one man in a Zumba class so I had a lot of fun bringing two! After class, Aaron said he would like to continue working out with my dad. I headed home. (I lived with my parents at the time.) Later, Aaron surprised me by showing up at my door. Little did I know, but he had actually stayed at the gym to ask my dad for my hand in marriage! He asked in the locker room, which still think is funny. At my house, Aaron suggested we go for a walk and I agreed. I was so confused, and he was acting slightly different and had brought me huge bouquet of flowers. We sat down in my mother’s garden. Then Aaron got down on one knee and proposed. I was surprised and happy, I said yes! It was a few days after Christmas so my entire family was at home to share the good news with.

When did y’all get married? 
April 13, 2013

How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding? 

Did you write your own vows? 
We didn’t! I knew I could never eloquently put my feelings into words so we said the traditional words.

Did you have something borrowed, something blue, and something new? I borrowed my mother’s pearl bracelet (and I still have it, oops). My undergarments were blue and said “Bride” in rhinestones! And my dress was new!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our budget and the guest list, which go hand in hand. We ended up having a huge guest list and going over budget, but it was definitely worth it. Even with 270 people, I felt like I was surrounded by my closest friends and family.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? 
I love flowers, so I loved picking out the flowers with Dawn McCreary and collecting the centerpieces. The bouquets turned our beautifully and while I felt silly at first asking for a flower crown for the flower girl, it was gorgeous!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? 
We have so many memories. My favorite is standing back-to-back with Aaron in the Rose Garden, followed by being surrounded by all of our family and friends on the dance floor.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
If you can afford a day-of coordinator, consider it. My aunt and mom were wonderful and did all the work, but it would have been nice to have hired someone so they could relax and enjoy the day a little more. Besides that, don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help. As I said earlier, my godmother wrote my place cards. I had a party to assemble the invitations. A friend from church addressed all of my invitations as a gift. Now that I know how much work goes into a wedding, I will definitely be ready to help my friends when it’s their turn.

What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? 
We just moved in together, so I’ve been working on blending our possessions and decorating the house. We’re both focused on our relationship and our careers right now. I’ll be starting work as a resident physician in psychiatry at a local hospital in a few weeks and Aaron’s busy as an IT manager at software company.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar amanda reply

    SOOOOO fun to see Lauren’s wedding on here this morning!!! I just love the photos from her wedding and tell her all the time how much I LOVE her dress!! They’re a beautiful couple!

  2. avatar aaron reply

    My wife and our family and friends made this fantastic day! I’m very proud of lauren for planning this wedding and applying her vision! Shes my rock star! Thanks sw mag for sharing our day with others. Thanks all

  3. avatar Lauren reply

    What a BEAUTIFUL couple. I absolutely love everything about their wedding.

  4. avatar Laura reply

    What a beautiful wedding! I am getting married at The Garden on Millbrook next year and seeing this post made me so excited for my own big day!!

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Before I gush over how gorgeous Lauren + Devin’s big day is or swoon hard over that sparkly top gown, I have to tell y’all that my in-laws live in the same community where L + D’s reception took place, which makes this feature even more fun for me! I even run by the Wynlakes Country Club on the three mile loop I do when we visit BDK’s family, and it’s where we ate last Thanksgiving brunch! I love what a small world the South is!

Now, onto the loveliness. L + D met in seminary school, and Devin knew from the first day they spent together that he’d found his future wife! Heaven almighty, I adore these two! When it came to the details of their day, Lauren said, “I loved growing up in the traditional, Southern culture of Montgomery, and wanted it to be reflected in the details of our wedding.” Since my darling husband grew up just seconds from where their day took place (and I’ve spent much time there), I can assure Lauren that she did Montgomery proud!

Big SW hugs to A Bryan Photo for sharing this lovely day with us!

I loved our paper, from the save the dates to the programs and the welcome basket. One of my dearest friends and bridesmaids owns her own paper and design shop called Sweet Peach Paper, and designed most of the paper items. She created a custom emblem that was used throughout the various paper pieces. I think one reason the paper was so near and dear to me is because I got to tell a story through the various items! We included our favorite restaurants, shops and sights on the welcome basket tag for our out of town guests, a page of all our special traditions in the program and my grandmother’s famous grit recipe on the favor tag! It was so much fun being able to make all the paper details my own.

I grew up wearing beautiful French-lace dresses. My mother taught herself to sew just so she could make the dresses for us! She has trunks full of them in their attic! She would slave over each dress, making sure each piece of lace was perfectly placed. I have so many memories of her staying up until wee hours of the morning finishing our Easter dresses. When we got engaged, I thought it would be so special for my flower girl to wear one of my old dresses. Of course, our flower girl had to go barefoot also, as we always did! Growing up, I never wore shoes. I wasn’t unique…no one else did either! Montgomery is unique in that it is normal for kids to go barefoot! In fact, it wasn’t required to wear shoes at school until I was in the 5th grade. I always enjoy telling people about that unique tradition in Montgomery because it seems strange if you aren’t used to it! The tradition started when my dad was a child and still to this day you will see children running around town barefoot.

My other favorite detail was spending the entire wedding day at my parents’ house. It was really important to me to have a relaxing and stress-free day. All of my bridal party came over that morning and dear friends of my mother hosted and brought in food for us. We ate brunch, laughed, relaxed and soaked up more time together. Later, the hair and make up ladies came and the photographer met us there. The majority of my bridesmaids and house party girls live states away, so it was the most special time to have with them. I will never forget those memories! It was absolutely perfect!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. 
I knew my dress was THE dress the moment I saw it on the mannequin in the bridal shop window! A few weeks before I got engaged, my mom and I were window shopping in a small shopping village near my house. We walked past the bridal shop and our jaws instantly hit the floor. There it was. The most stunning wedding gown we had ever seen. Weeks later and I could not get that dress out of my head! Soon after I got engaged, my mother booked a flight out to Dallas and we scheduled an appointment to try it on. It was the first dress I tried on and I honestly didn’t need to try on any others! This was it! I just couldn’t believe that finding my dress would be this easy so I tried on a few others just to be safe. None compared the Ulla Maija I fell in love with and I quickly decided that I was done. I had found my dress! My mom and I both cried, hugged then screamed!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? 
Initially we decided not to do a first look. We’re both pretty traditional at heart and thought there was something so sweet in waiting to see each other at the altar. We realized, though, that if we waited to see each other until the ceremony (at 6pm) we would forfeit pictures with each other in the daylight. After going back and forth for a while, we changed our minds and decided to do a first look. Honestly, the biggest reason we changed our minds was for picture purposes. In the end, I’m so glad we decided to see each other before the ceremony. Not only do we love our first look pictures, but it really did calm our nerves and set the tone for a sweet, sweet evening.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Two of my dearest friends read from Colossians 3:12-14 and 1 John 4:7-11; 19. The passage out of 1 John was, for lack of a better term, the theme verse of our wedding and marriage. We know that only through Christ and his own sacrificial love, we are able to love one another. “We love because he first loved us” is the anthem we hope to proclaim through our marriage.

I’m really moved by how Lauren described their decision to write their own vows: she said, “Your vows are a verbal expression of the covenant you are entering into, and we wanted to be sure that our words expressed the intimacy, gravity and magnitude of our decision to enter into that covenant.” YES!

Deciding who would make our cakes was the easy part. There was no other choice than Mrs. Peggy McKinney. She makes the best peanut butter chocolate cake I’ve ever had in my life, and of course we chose that for the groom’s cake. In true Southern fashion, Devin wanted to memorialize his alma mater and got that bright orange Tennessee “T” on the top of his cake. (I have to give a big “War Eagle” here to make sure my loyalties are known :) ) The bridal cake was a traditional, white five-tiered cake with our monogram on the fourth tier. Each tier was a different flavor ranging from pound cake to strawberry. It was so good!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
 We have to admit, planning a wedding was the very last thing we anticipated when preparing to move cross-country! It wasn’t too long ago that we were living states away from each other, having never met and without a mutual friend in common! Devin’s from Tennessee; I’m from Alabama and neither of us had any desire to leave the great Southeast! Well, the Lord had a different plan in mind. (And we are so thankful He did!) In 2010, God placed a desire in each of our hearts to pursue a seminary education and by August of 2011, we packed up our bags and moved to Dallas, Texas to do just that! August 25, 2011 was our first day of class. We had both registered for Bible Exposition 101, spent every Tuesday and Thursday morning together but never crossed paths. Around the end of October, a mutual friend, convinced we would be perfect for each other and set out to make that change. In fact, he told Devin he’d found his future wife! Together with Devin, they planned a fun group outing for the sole purpose of us meeting. We hit it off that night and he asked me on a date for the upcoming weekend. Of course I said yes!
Describe the proposal. It was our seven-month anniversary and I was anticipating a fun night on the town celebrating. I had just returned from a trip to Alabama and was excited to spend some time with Devin. He told me we were going to go out for a nice dinner and to a movie we wanted to see. Lucky for me, I’d been in Alabama with family and it had been a while since I’d dressed up for something special. I was excited to put on a dress I’d never worn and spend a little extra time getting ready! The thought that tonight might be THE night had crossed my mind, but I stuffed it back down seconds later telling myself it was not happening for a few more months. When Devin picked me up he was completely cool and calm. We often walked through the many parks that surround my neighborhood so when he told me he found a new park and wanted to check it out before dinner, I didn’t really think anything of it. When we arrived at the park, I noticed a gorgeous gazebo and beautiful pond with a fountain. As soon as I got out of the car I saw a bouquet of flowers and some rose petals on the ground. At this point I was really confused! I was convinced he wouldn’t propose for at least a few more months so I was certain that this couldn’t be it! Devin says that as we started walking up to the gazebo I stopped and froze. I was in such shock and was trying to make sense of it all in my head! It’s such a surreal feeling! Devin managed to get me into the gazebo, said some really sweet and sincere things that I WISH I could remember, got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife! I was so in shock that I forgot to say yes! Of course, I eventually said yes. All of a sudden, I look up and out pops one of my dearest friends, Mary (who just so happens to be a photographer) who Devin secretly asked to capture the engagement. She literally hid in bushes in order capture the whole proposal. I was so surprised and so excited to have pictures from such a special occasion! After he proposed, we went to dinner, just the two of us, at our favorite little spot. It was such a sweet, sweet time to process things together and hear about how the plan had come into place! After dinner, Devin suggested we swing by my house and put the flowers in water before we headed out for more celebrating. I was completely SHOCKED when I opened the door and heard a roaring SURPRISE! Devin had gathered all of our friends together so we could celebrate with some of our favorite people. He knows me so well. We got the best of both worlds — special time with just the two of us, and a sweet party with our friends. Devin really did plan such a sweet and special evening that I will never forget!

In what month did you get married? March

How many guests attended your wedding? 

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We decided to write our own vows! This was something that was pretty special to us. Your vows are a verbal expression of the covenant you are entering into and we wanted to be sure that our words expressed the intimacy, gravity and magnitude of our decision to enter into that covenant. The first few lines of our vows were the same and followed with our own unique words and promises. The first few lines of our vows read, “With great joy, I, Lauren, created in God’s image for His glory, and saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, pledge my deepest love to you I promise to love you not only with my words, but with my actions and trust.”
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. This was one of the very hardest things in the wedding planning process! I had always dreamed of walking down to one of my favorite songs, with a single voice, guitar and strings. So intimate and romantic! When it came down to it, though, I decided to go with instrumental versions of my favorite hymns and classical pieces on the organ with strings. I married in a beautiful sanctuary and the acoustics called for sound that filled the whole space…hence the organ and strings! Our mothers and grandmothers walked down to “Jesu! Joy of Man’s Desiring,” the bridal party walked in to “Canon in D,” and I walked down to “Trumpet Voluntary” (talk about big sound!). We recessed to Scott’s version of “Hymn to Joy.” One of the most special moments of the entire wedding was in the middle of the ceremony. We had a dear friend sing a beautiful rendition (accompanied by breathtaking strings) of “Bless the Lord” by Matt Redman. During the song, the entire wedding party gathered around us and prayed over us. It was such an intimate, special moment that we will cherish forever. We are SO blessed to have such dear friends who love us, pray for us, challenge us and encourage us.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? 
Our wedding was Southern through and through. I loved growing up in the traditional, Southern, Montgomery culture and wanted it to reflect the details of the wedding. Perhaps the most Southern thing about our wedding were the traditions laced throughout. We decided to marry in the First Baptist Sanctuary for many reasons. Not only is it stunningly beautiful, but I grew up in that sanctuary! I was baptized there, watched my siblings get baptized there and buried my grandparents there. To top it all off, my parents got married in the exact same sanctuary, standing in the exact same spot, almost 30 years to the day earlier. There is so much emotion and history in that room that we really couldn’t have chosen anywhere else to say “I do!” My something old was my grandmother’s pearls. She was such a special woman to me. I was fortunate enough to grow up in the same town as her and spent so much of my childhood with my special Grandbubby. I have never known a more poised, classy Southern lady. My something new was a beautiful blue topaz ring that Devin gave me as a wedding gift. He wanted to give me something that we could keep in our family for years and hopes that one day our children will be able to wear it. My something borrowed was an embroidered handkerchief that I attached to my bouquet. The same handkerchief has been carried by the women in Devin’s family for over five generations! It is embroidered with a blue “C” after his great, great grandmother named Cora. My something blue was a gorgeous diamond and blue sapphire pendant that I attached to my grandmother’s pearls. It was my great grandmothers, for whom my sister is named. Mary Grayson (my sister) was given the pendant on her 21st birthday and let me borrow it for the wedding. My mother gave Devin and me the silver goblets that she and my dad used on their wedding day! She monogrammed them with our new initials. Perhaps one of my most favorite traditions was that I gave my dad one of my grandmother’s old handkerchiefs and embroidered it with a special note. He carried it as his pocket square. We also had a shrimp and grits bar! How much more Southern does it get?
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? 
I definitely have to say our photographer! Ever since my freshman year of college, sitting in my dorm room with my best friends (and future bridesmaids!) when we would drool over the photo’s on Bryan’s website, I knew I wanted him to shoot my wedding. He was one of the first phone calls I made after getting engaged!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? 
There are three moments that are unforgettable. First, the moment in the ceremony when our wedding party gathered around us and prayed over us while one of favorite worship song was sung in the background. Tears were streaming down my face as I listened to our dearest friends, encouragers and challengers pray over our marriage, while holding hands with the man for whom I had just pledged my love. It was such a surreal moment. The other memory was when I danced with my dad. I am such a daddy’s girl and love my dad to the moon and back. Up until that day, he was the number one man in my life. (He is now happily number 2!) He is so very special to me and I loved sharing such a special moment with him. Lastly, I remember this moment at the reception. I was dancing with my new husband and looked around to see our family and friends dancing up a storm. I remember thinking how special it was to have everyone that we love in one place.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
Planning a wedding brings out so many emotions! It’s so exciting yet can be stressful and exhausting. My advice is to remember the purpose of what you are doing. In all honesty, your wedding day isn’t really about a wedding at all – it’s about a marriage. Of course we celebrate because there is reason to! But inevitably, something won’t go as planned (The country club caught on fire at our wedding! But that’s another story for another day!), but you will still be married! Remember why it is you are doing all this planning in the first place! It’s about you and your fiancé and how God brought you together. Spend time reflecting on all He has done rather than stressing over the minor details! I got caught up in the planning madness a couple of times during the process and wish I had reminded myself in those times that this is not about my perfect fairytale wedding. It’s about making a covenant before God and celebrating what HE has done.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Devin and I are happily living in Dallas, Texas! He’s finishing up Seminary and I’m working for a church. We can’t wait to see where the Lord has in store for us!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Kerri reply

    LOVE the bridesmaids’ dresses! So classy and a beautiful color and style

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    I love all of these elegant details, but even more, I love the stories behind them!

  3. avatar AshleyHH reply

    I also LOVE the Bridesmaids dresses… Who are they by?? I am currently shopping for my girls as my southern wedding is in November! Can’t wait!

    • avatar Lauren reply

      AshleyHH: thanks for the kind words Ashley! The bridesmaid dresses are Jenny Yoo. I was very pleased with them and so were my maids! Good luck!

    • avatar AshleyHH reply

      Lauren: Thanks so much for responding! I will look em up! ;)

  4. avatar Meredith reply

    My parents live in Montgomery and I love the venue of First Baptist Montgomery! I grew up going to church there as a kid! :) We too had a Peggy McKinney cake at our wedding and they are the best!!! Beautiful wedding!

  5. avatar Wedding Roundup. | southern drawl. reply

    […] fabulous ladies over at Southern Weddings featured our special day on their blog this week. Pop on over if you want to see more wedding […]

  6. avatar Charissa reply

    I’m just in Love with her dress – so beautiful!

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Emily said I was going to love this wedding, and boy was she right! Lauren + Justin’s Texas celebration makes my preppy, fashion-y, Southern heart skip a few beats! First, the color palette is ballet pink and navy. Score! There’s a big ol’ monogram. Double score! And last, but most certainly not least, there is Lauren’s incredible style! Yes, it’s all encompassing. From the fab-u-lous blush pink fascinator she rocked, to the navy + white striped ribbon tied in a perfect bow around her bouquet to her adorable getaway dress. Absolute home run! Oh yeah, and there are mini pecan pies!

I simply cannot forget to send big SW hugs to Brett Heidbrecht who captured their big day, and to Grit+Gold for creating such a beautiful event.

Oh Lauren, I must admit I am a bit jealous of that fascinator!

Oh man. I felt like I tried on and looked at so many wedding dresses. Everyone kept telling me that I’d have some magical feeling when I tried on “the one” and I just wasn’t getting it. Finally, I was just about to buy a “just okay” dress mostly because I was sick of trying them on. My mom pleaded with me to come to Dallas and try some on for her before I made any decisions, so I did. Mother’s intuition was right because I found THE dress at the first store we went to in Dallas! I love the elegance and the Southern feel to it! I also love the blush pink sash. I wish I could wear it again! I also purchased a short white Nicole Miller departure dress. Justin’s parents held us a second reception in Kansas City in August where I got to where the Nicole Miller dress again!

One of our favorite details was the venue. The Hall of State is a stunning museum of Texas history located on the State Fairgrounds in Dallas. I have never missed a fair ever since I was born and so I have been into the Hall of State many times. When my mom and dad would take me there to see the exhibits, they would always tell me that they could see me getting married there, even when I was a little girl! I wasn’t even sure if they did weddings, but as soon as I got engaged it was one of the first venues that I wanted to check out. It was just perfect! Justin loved it because it is directly located behind the original Cotton Bowl where he had attended many Kansas State football games as a kid. The Hall of State was and is such a special place to us and our family. Another special detail was our getaway car! That truck belonged to my great grandfather and is actually the truck that my dad was taken home from the hospital in! A couple of years ago, my dad tracked it down and restored it. I was glad he let us use it for the big day.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look and I am so glad we didn’t! If you ask Justin what his favorite part of the wedding day was, it was when the curtain opened and we saw each other as I walked down the aisle to a violin version of, “Come Thou Fount.” His face was unforgettable, he was close to crying and I just couldn’t stop giggling I was so excited and nervous!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 2 Corinthians 5:14-21. The message was very special, it talked about how we no longer live for ourselves but for Jesus Christ because he died for our sins and that sacrificial love is what compels our marriage and every aspect of our lives. Jesus is what holds us and everything together.

Y’all know I about leapt right out of my chair when I saw their “guest book”! Oh my heavens, this is pure perfection in my book! And can Lauren be any cuter in that image above? Her smile is contagious!

Now let’s pause and acknowledge this amazing cake! Navy blue stripes + a ballet pink bow? Yes, please!

Southern touches could be seen throughout, from the pecan pies to the silver sets we used as centerpieces and in one very cool Southern vintage Chevy! Also, our signature drink was an Arnold Palmer. The whole wedding had a Southern preppy feel. I love stripes and they were everywhere! My dress also had a Southern belle feel to it, and instead of a traditional veil, I wore a blush pink fascinator. It was quite a statement!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met when I was a junior at the University of Arkansas. Justin had just graduated from Kansas State University and moved to Arkansas to be on staff with a campus ministry I was involved with as a student. Our first meeting seemed pretty typical, except for the fact that we both walked away with secret crushes on each other! We would see each other and talk at ministry events and we always just seemed to click. I respected and looked up to Justin so much that I thought he was way out of my league. I would even suggest to my older girl friends that they should get to know him because I just never thought he’d be interested in me! I guess I was very wrong because in the fall of my senior year, Justin called me and asked if he could come by my sorority house where I lived to ask me a question. I was praying he would ask me on a date! When he showed on my front door step he just said, “I’m just gonna cut to the chase. I want to take you on a date.” All I could say was, “Okay.” He then asked if I would go on a date with him that Friday and I of course answered YES! It turns out, he had wanted to ask me out for the past six months but had to wait because I had gone out of the country to India that summer! After two dates, we both had to go home for winter break, me to Dallas and he to Kansas City. I didn’t really know when I’d see him next or where we were at but I knew I really liked him. My dad told me when I got home I had to go to a friend of the family’s Christmas cocktail party. My little sister and I were getting ready together and she was taking way too long. I kept badgering her and finally she just said, “Instead of bugging me about being late, how about you go get me a glass of water from the kitchen?” When I went to the kitchen, all dressed up for the party, Justin was standing there waiting for me! I was shocked! He told me there was no Christmas party and that he had planned it all out so that he could take me out that night and surprise me! That night, he asked me to be his girlfriend and then a week later he asked me to come to Kansas City to meet his family. I guess you could say things moved pretty fast, because we got engaged only three months after our first date!
Describe the proposal. It was the Friday before we were about to leave on a Spring Break trip with four of our best friends. We were planning on driving all the way to New York City. Justin asked me if he and I could go out to dinner together that night, but I just thought it was a normal date. We went out to dinner and in the middle of it, his phone rang… and he answered it! Honestly, I was kind of annoyed, he usually never answers his phone during dinner! When he hung up, he said that it was his friend Bo and that he had accidentally left his condo unlocked and had already left for Spring Break. He asked if we could go lock it for him, to which I said, “Sure.” Justin then paid the check and went to the bathroom for like ten minutes! Then I was really confused. I thought he was sick, but actually he was in the bathroom practicing what he was going to say! When we got to the condo, Justin played it cool and told me we should check out the balcony. When he opened the door, there was a beautiful view of the entire city and when I looked down at my feet, there were pink flowers and candles everywhere! All I could say was, “What?” Justin tried to guide me along the path and I just started shaking. At the end of the path there were pictures of us and a bench and more flowers — it was breath-taking. We sat down on the bench and Justin talked to me for a while (because I was speechless). He then told me he loved me for the first time and got down on one knee and proposed. Then we shared our first kiss! When we back to his house, there was big surprise party of all of our friends and family! Best day ever.
In what month did you get married? July
How many guests attended your wedding? 215
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. My favorite song we used was when we exited the ceremony to “Love On Top” by Beyonce! I LOVE Beyonce and was so excited to incorporate a little sass into the ceremony! I also loved when all of my Pi Beta Phi sisters got in a circle and sang the “Pi Phi Miss” song to me!
Describe your wedding flowers: All pale pink! I don’t know much about flowers so I just had to trust my florist and she did GREAT! They were very beautiful!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: The cake was great and looked so cute, but the real crowd pleaser was the pecan pies as the groom’s cake! The funny thing is, I am actually allergic to pecans but pecan pie is Justin’s favorite. That was one dessert we weren’t feeding each other on the wedding day.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Probably time. We only had a four month engagement, which sometimes means compromising. But it is completely doable! I had everything I wanted and, for the most part, it was a stress-free process! Mostly because my mom and my coordinator were so awesome.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-50,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? A planner. I couldn’t have done it without Lottie!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I loved our exit! My mom made these really cool ribbon wands for everyone to wave and it just looked awesome! Running through them to the truck holding Justin’s hand was so fun, I was on cloud nine! Starting that old truck was also pretty memorable. I think we almost ran over our photographer. (Sorry Brett!)
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Just take it one thing at a time and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are currently working for a student ministry at the University of Arkansas for the next year and then we will be moving to the East Coast where Justin will be working for a financial sales firm. We are both excited and maybe even a little scared about this huge next step, but are so happy to be doing it together!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    I am not even going to try to pick a favorite detail to comment about–I love everything!!

  2. avatar AshleyHH reply

    Are the bridesmaids dresses anthro or just the accessories? I love those dresses!

  3. avatar Corinna Hoffman reply

    Wowww, the venue is beautiful, and I’m loving the bride’s wedding dress! Her bridesmaids dresses are awesome too! :)

  4. avatar Reggie Campbell reply

    Brett, you killed this one dude… and that venue is really, really sick! Good stuff man!

  5. avatar Caitlin {Bayside bride} reply

    The venue is stunning! The cake looks so delicious too!

  6. avatar Marcelle reply

    Where did you get the monogram for your guestbook??

  7. avatar Dress Envy – reply

    […] This gorgeous shot is by Brett Heidebrecht Photography, and you can find lots more from the wedding on Southern Weddings! […]

  8. avatar Brittany Kelland reply

    I LOVE the navy blue stripes mixed with the light pink. It’s such a pretty combination!

  9. avatar B. Garcia reply

    Could you please let me know where you ordered this unique guest book? Or where i can find something similar?

  10. avatar Lottie Fowler reply

    Thanks for the love! We had a blast with this couple! Sweetest ever!!

  11. avatar Hawaii Wedding Planner reply

    Absolutely gorgeous wedding!! The monogram guestbook is a fabulous idea! A definite must share with my Hawaii brides.

  12. avatar Gail from OliverINK Etsy reply

    Love the navy with the pink. A nice way to mix masculine with feminine.

  13. avatar 2013 Wedding Trends: Prints reply

    […] photography via Homespun Parties (right); Row 2 – via Revel; Row 3 – Brett Heidbrecht via Southern Weddings (left); Stacey Kane Photography via The Knot (top right); (bottom […]

  14. avatar Wedding Veil Inspiration | From Madi to M.R.S. reply

    […] that fascinators are stinkin’ awesome (like the AMAZING one shown below that was worn in a recent Southern Weddings post)….but I have to say, sometimes it just doesn’t get prettier than a bride in a gorgeous […]

  15. avatar jenny reply

    LOVE this wedding post! every detail was absolutely perfect! I only wish I had done the MONOGRAM :) what a GREAT idea to use it as a guest book! I will have to start telling my customers about your wedding and how you incorporated the monogram into the wedding :)

  16. avatar Decorazioni per sedie reply

    […] insieme le sedie degli sposi (evitate movimenti bruschi in questo caso!). Wedding Chicks, Southern Weddings, Brooke Images, Carrie […]

  17. avatar Wedding and Event News…. the blog » Real Wedding Wednesday { Texas Hall of State } reply

    […] I am in complete awe at the grandeur of this venue! But they do say that everything’s bigger in Texas This gorgeous navy blue and pink inspired event was held at the Texas Hall of State and featured all sorts of southern inspiration {check out their mini pecan pies}! […]

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  20. avatar Alyssa reply

    The Texas hall wedding with the carved guestbook was awesome. How do I go about doing that?

  21. avatar Allison reply

    Where is this stunning fascinator from?

  22. avatar Wedding Inspirations: Beachy + Nautical – From This Day Forward Weddings reply

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  27. avatar Color Series #7 : Navy + Blush + White | Cherryblossoms and Faeriewings reply

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  29. avatar Darkest Blues & Shades Of Pink | Wedding Inspiration – Wedding Inspiration & Ideas | UK Wedding Blog: Want That Wedding – Wedding Inspiration & Ideas | UK Wedding Blog: Want That Wedding reply

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  32. avatar Sarah Beth reply

    I love the color scheme! I’m planning my own wedding using the same colors. I’ve been looking for navy striped table runner that don’t look nautical…. In love with these! Can you give me any tips?

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    […] Whether you are getting married on the beach or a seaside venue, here are some ideas on how to create a beautiful, nautical-themed atmosphere for your wedding ceremony and reception! […]

  35. avatar Joyce Sampson reply

    I fell in love with the couples initials where the guests sign as a guest book. My grandson’s wedding is in July. Where can I purchase? Love this idea. Please advise. Thank you so much.

  36. avatar EWI 2017 Trendy New Grey Wedding Invitations with Matched Color Ideas – Blog reply

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