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Ladies, I just know you will love June’s Southern Bride of the Month. I loved her from today’s first interview question (what’s your name?), which she answered with an exclamation point! Anyone who’s that excited about answering basic questions is a winner in my book! Read on for more about Jordan and Steele’s upcoming Highlands celebration, and be sure to weigh in on her question at the end — definitely a common one!

Hi! What’s your name?
Jordan Easter!

What’s your fiancé’s name?
My fiancé’s name is Steele Taylor!

Paul Johnson

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
Steele and I met during our freshman year at Auburn University. We were introduced by two of our best friends (they are married now!) who always told us we would be great as a couple. We were in the same circle of friends through our freshman and sophomore years, and I always had the biggest crush on him! I even took him to our sorority Christmas social, but we remained friends until the end of our sophomore year, when he asked me out on a date.

Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
Steele and I had a birthday party to attend for a coworker on Saturday night (December 8th), and earlier in the week Steele had asked if he could take me on a surprise date before the party. When he picked me up, we drove to Piedmont Park in the middle of Atlanta, and I still had no idea what we were doing. When we got out of the car, he told me we were taking a carriage ride around the park. When he told me that the carriage was “just over the hill,” I definitely knew something was going on.

When we got to the top of the hill and after he had talked for a minute, I heard someone yell my name. I turned to the left, and saw my brother running up the hill wearing a shirt that said “Will” on it (his name is Will, so I was a little confused at that point). Then I heard someone else yell my name and on the other side, his sister was running up the hill with a shirt that said “You.” Then to my right, my sister was yelling my name and running up the hill wearing a shirt that said “Marry.” By the time I had turned around to look at Steele, he was down on one knee. Immediately, our parents came running up behind our siblings. Family is so important to both of us so I was so excited that not only had he included them but literally had them be a part of the proposal! He had called my coworker earlier that week to tell her we wouldn’t make it because he was proposing, and then made reservations for all of us at Watershed in Atlanta. It was such a fun night celebrating with our families! (History behind the sapphires: Steele chose to use that stone because both his mom and grandmother have sapphires in their rings!)

When’s the big day?
Saturday, July 6th. I can’t believe it’s so soon!!

Where might you two be tying the knot?
In Highlands, North Carolina at The Farm at Old Edwards Inn!

How did you pick your ceremony and reception venues? What do you love most about each space?
I grew up in Austin, Texas but my family moved to Rosemary Beach, Florida during my freshman year at Auburn. Originally we wanted to get married in Rosemary Beach. However, when we got engaged, we found out that our church and the venue I loved in Rosemary was booked until 2014, and we wanted a shorter engagement. We knew we wanted a destination wedding and since Steele grew up vacationing in the Highlands area, we gave Old Edwards Inn a call. They had two summer dates open and once we saw the space, it was an easy decision! Even though we were disappointed in the beginning to not get married at the beach, we are so glad that we chose The Farm at Old Edwards Inn.

From the Old Edwards website

Tell us a little bit about the wedding you’re planning: style, theme, feel, colors?
A classic, elegant, and FUN summer wedding! I love all white so I am using my great-grandmother’s white tablecloths for the table linens and all the flowers are white and green with a touch of lamb’s ear to match the surrounding area of Highlands. (Flowers are blooming everywhere in the summer in Highlands — hydrangeas literally on the side of the road!!! Amazing.) Groomsmen will wear navy suits with a custom green Vineyard Vines tie and my bridesmaids are wearing LulaKate short, navy bridesmaid dresses. I am pretty simple, so everything will be classic and clean-looking. I am excited about literally everything from the fabulous Old Edwards food to my coconut wedding cake from the most amazing bakery in the South, Pastry Art, to our awesome Mo-Town band! I am definitely counting down the days.

Ceremony set-up by Meg Smith via Snippet & Ink; low centerpiece photo by Jose Villa via Style Me Pretty; tall centerpiece photo by Jen Fariello via Elizabeth Anne Designs

Who or what has been most helpful and/or inspiring in the wedding planning process?
Hands down — my mom! She has great taste, and has been so helpful with sharing ideas and brainstorming. She has been a lifesaver throughout the entire process!

How have you involved your “community” (friends, family, etc.) in the wedding planning process?
I have a pretty large family, so it has been fun to involve my sister, aunts, cousins and grandmother. My mom’s sisters have been so helpful and are always sharing ideas. Our friends and wedding party have hosted parties and showers for us made us that much more excited for our wedding day!

Cocktail table photo by Joey + Jessica; hydrangea centerpiece photo by Katie Stoops via Southern Weddings

Has your vision for your wedding changed or evolved over the course of your engagement? If so, how?
I am and have always been OBSESSED with weddings. Before we were engaged, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted. Once we got engaged and our location changed from the beach to the mountains, my vision definitely changed! I love a wedding that reflects the area, so everything from the bridesmaids’ dresses to the flowers changed once we decided on Highlands.

What part of wedding planning, if any, has made you the most anxious?
Without a doubt, the guest list. It has been the most stressful for both families! I am also very Type-A and have worked in event planning, so I am anxious that the day won’t go smoothly. Thankfully I serve a Father who takes that anxiety from us! I have spent a lot of time in prayer to give any anxiety and the entire day to the Lord. All that really matters when it is all said and done is that I will be Steele’s wife!

Bouquet photo by James Anderson; green and white bouquet photo by Martha Stewart Weddings; gardenia bouquet photo by Eric Kelley

What wedding-related decision have you been the most indecisive on?
Bridesmaid dresses! My roommate and I must have tried on every dress in Atlanta. It took me almost three months to decide, and every day I woke up and said “THIS is the dress!” …only to change my mind by the end of the day. It was a running joke with my roommate, who is also one of my bridesmaids.

One of Jordan’s lovely bridesmaids modeling her actual dress (!), and some bridesmaid bouquet inspiration by Fleur

Which part of your wedding have you been most intentional about planning?
The whole weekend! Since the Fourth of July falls two days before our wedding, we are starting the celebration on Thursday with Fourth of July party, then a welcome party for all of our guests on Friday night with live music from Tim Tyler, an Auburn favorite. Our goal was to make the whole weekend a celebration! We also both love good food, so we made sure our menu included all of our favorites.

How has the budgeting been? What’s your best budgeting tip?
Oh goodness! Budgeting is not my specialty! I have tried to do a lot on my own (example: programs, save the dates, etc.) and find the best deals I possibly can, but it isn’t always easy. My best tip is to keep track of expenses. I have kept a pretty detailed Excel spreadsheet, which has definitely helped.

Jordan + Steele’s invitation!

Tell us about the one that got away. Is there one dream thing or vendor you wish you could have fit into your budget?
Yes! I would have loved to have Inkspot Crow Films — they do fabulous work, but unfortunately they were booked and out of our budget. I chose instead to splurge on our AMAZING photographer, Paul Johnson Photography.

Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go? What will you be wearing on the big day?
Yes!!! It was one of my favorite parts of wedding planning! My mom, sister, future mother in-law and sister in-law drove to Birmingham (they have great bridal boutiques!) for the weekend and made three appointments in one day (we were determined to find the one!). I tried on so many beautiful dresses but still hadn’t found my dress. Before our last appointment of the day, we felt a little discouraged that we might not find it that weekend. At our last appointment, I tried on three dresses that the store had shipped in for me. I loved all three but when I put the third out of the three on, my younger sister burst into tears! She never cries, so we all knew that was it. I also didn’t want to take it off. It is a Lela Rose gown and it is perfect for a summer wedding in the mountains!

Left photo by Kate Webber via Style Me Pretty

Do you have a favorite Etsy or independent store you’d love to tell us about?
Etsy has been great! Jewelry By Jim’s Granddaughter made gold knot rings for when I asked my friends and family to be my bridesmaids (“Help Us Tie the Knot” was the theme). We also ordered personalized wine labels for welcome gifts for our guests, and I have purchased flower girl and hostess gifts on Etsy. I even ordered a vintage enameled box for the ring bearer to carry our rings!

What has been the best part of wedding planning? The worst part?
I have always loved weddings, so the whole process has been so much fun! It has been fun getting to talk to my mom every day and plan everything together. Steele and I have also gotten a lot closer over and learned a lot about each other. The worst part has been the stress that comes along with wedding planning!

Paul Johnson

What do you wish you would have known at the beginning of your engagement?
To let the little things go and focus on the important things about a wedding! I have the tendency to dream big and go a little overboard on details that some people may not even remember. I have definitely had to learn to ask myself, “is this really necessary?”

Any plans for a honeymoon? Where do you want to go and what will you do?
We are going to Sugar Beach in St. Lucia! We don’t have any plans except to relax and enjoy a vacation together.

Jordan + Steele are planning to serve a coconut cake… yum! Inspiration from Salt Lake/Park City Bride & Groom (photo by Barrett Doran) and Martha Stewart Weddings

Any advice you’d like to pass along to fellow brides?
Soak in every moment! Our engagement has flown by faster than I ever imagined, and it has taken me until now to realize that I only get to do this once.

Now it’s your turn to ask for advice – is there anything you’d like to poll the SW readers on?
Everyone has told me that the entire day goes by in a blur. I know that is probably inevitable, but any advice on how to soak in and really enjoy our wedding day?

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Kat reply

    Hi Jordan! I’m a July bride too :) I definitely struggled with deciding on the ‘maids dresses and still struggle with the question “is this really necessary” when it comes to all the little details! One piece of advice SW very own Emily blogged about after her wedding really stuck with me and I vowed to do it the morning after my wedding: write EVERYTHING down! What you ate, how you felt, who you saw, what made you cry, etc. The photographer will capture SO much but only you know your heart! I plan to journal it all out the morning after on the honeymoon flight. Best wishes girl!!! I hope your day is everything you dreamed it’d be… and more :)

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Kat, you are too sweet to quote my own advice… but I still stand by it :) My other best tip for slowing the day down (which I’ve also written about before) is to plan out every detail of your morning: what time you’ll get up, where you’ll be, who else will be there, what you need to get done, what the room will look like, what you’ll wear, when you’ll get dressed, what you’ll eat, what you’ll listen to, etc. I firmly believe that how you start the day REALLY affects how the entire day feels, and if you can start your day in a relaxed, intentional way, it will get you off on a great foot. Also, stay in the moment: don’t go NEAR social media in any form. It will all be there to look at the next day, but you want to be present with the people in front of you!

  3. avatar Sloan reply

    I would absolutely agree with writing everything down. My husband and I married on May 4 and the next day, we still had vivid thoughts about everything, but they have definitely faded over time. I meant to write everything down and now that is my biggest regret!

  4. avatar Alexandria reply

    I’m getting married July 6th too!! We loved the idea of spending the holiday with our family and friends and then getting married! Plus some years it will allow us to easily travel for our anniversary! It just seemed like the perfect date! We did decide on a beach wedding because we found the most amazing new venue, the Koru Beach Klub, in Avon. Cape Hatteras was my grandfathers favorite lighthouse too, so it really means a lot that we are getting married there! Congratulations to you and I hope your day goes off without any problems. You’re so correct that its the best feeling to give your anxieties to God because everything is in his control!!

  5. avatar Joyce Cunningham reply

    I am a `old` bride of 1960 but the advice I would give is : remember that you have 5 senses and they all can help you remember. Every so often during your big day stop and LOOK in such a manner as taking a mental picture of friends and relatives who have come to wish you joy. SMELL whatever is in the air, TOUCH the different items around you, TASTE the item of that hour (kisses, desserts, meals,snacks). And HEAR the sounds (birds, breezes, music and especially what your soon to be husband is saying! GIVE THANKS to God for each wonder of the day. Best wishes!

  6. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Southern Brides of the Month–congratulations, Jordan and Steele! See Jordan’s interview here and more pictures (by Paul Johnson) from their wedding […]

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    […] viaJoey + Jessica / Southern Weddings […]

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Since the Old Edwards Inn is my absolute favorite destination in North Carolina (see here for why!), this film from McKenzie Miller was a shoe-in from the start. If I needed extra convincing, though, Wesley’s mile-wide smile, her shocked face when she opened Matt’s gift, and all of the (Southern) winter details that filled their wedding did the trick. Please enjoy, friends!

From the bride:

On January 26, 1957, my grandmother married my grandfather in Moultrie, Georgia. 57 years later to the day, I became Mrs. Matthew Edmonds up in the beautiful mountains of Highlands, NC. We lost my grandfather in September of last year and couldn’t have imagined a better way to remember him on their anniversary. It was the most incredible feeling to be surrounded by our two families and our closest friends for an entire weekend of celebrating what God has blessed the two of us with.

We had only dated for a year when we got engaged but that saying “you know when you know”, well, I believe it! Highlands made the perfect setting for an Atlanta girl and a Birmingham boy to be joined in marriage before God and before our very favorite people. We are so blessed and thankful for such a perfect weekend, icy roads and all, and couldn’t have dreamed of a better start to forever.

Thank you so much for sharing, McKenzie!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar George reply

    A gorgeous bride. A handsome groom. And a very well shoot video that made them and their wedding look even more stunning. Thanks.

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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