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Peaches are such a beloved staple in Southern agriculture and cuisine, and for couples like Ashlee and Tom, who live right in the heart of Georgia’s peach country, they take on an extra special meaning. From bridesmaids outfitted in mismatched peachy hues to the flavor of the ice cream Ashlee and Tom enjoyed during their first look, peaches played an important role in inspiring the look and feel of every detail of this sweet celebration. Ashlee said it best when she said, “Our goal was for our guests to be able to take a bite of a peach and to taste the peach ice cream, and, if just for a moment, be taken back to a time when life was much more simple than it is now.”

We’re so grateful to Haley Sheffield for sharing Ashlee and Tom’s beautiful wedding with us!

My first memory of Tom is from an Easter party in second grade; I’d found the “prize egg” during the hunt, and Tom came up behind me and stole the egg from my basket. Thankfully, one of the other guys in our grade wrestled it back from him. Tom swears he stole it because he had a crush on me, but I’m not quite sure if I believe that. We still laugh about it! Years later, when I told my parents that I was going on a date with Tom, my mom’s first reaction was, “the punk that stole your Easter egg?!” My parents adore Tom now, but he did have a reputation to overcome. Tom and I dated for eight years before we got engaged in June 2013.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, Tom and I did a first look and I’m so happy that we did. Our ceremony was at 7:30 P.M., so we wanted to do our photos before the official festivities began. I also wanted the first glimpse to be private and secluded, instead of in front of a large crowd. We saw each other on the front porch of the Lee Pope House and spent an hour walking through the peach orchard and venturing over to Pearson Farm to get peach ice cream, which is one of our favorite things to do together.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our vows together and repeated them after our officiant and close friend, Zack. My favorite phrase from our vows would have to be, “I vow to reach for your hand through any crisis and to turn to Christ through any trials.” I love how that phrase unites us with the Lord and is a gentle reminder that although we may lean upon each other, we ultimately look to Christ above all.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The music at the ceremony was one of my priorities. I chose to walk in to “Baleen Morning” by Balmorhea, which moved me to tears the first time I heard it a few years before our wedding. We also asked our guests to sing along with us to Steve Moakler’s song, “Holiday at Sea.” The lyrics to that song hold a deep meaning to us and remind us that this earth is only our temporary home.

Three days before our wedding, my lab, Odie, suddenly passed away. I was devastated and worried that I wouldn’t be able to put on a happy face through all the festivities that were about to take place. On our wedding day, I found comfort in the ordinary. Instead of anxiety, I looked at the crowd spread across the lawn at Lee Pope and I saw love. Instead of imperfect details, I saw the countless hours that everyone had pitched in to make that day perfect. I felt calm in the gentle breeze that day. I took deep breaths for the first time in months and felt thankful for the unseasonably cool temperature. As Tom and I slipped away, hand in hand, to share some peach ice cream, I found contentment in the simplicity of it all. For the first time of our 14-month engagement, I was able to see what that day was truly about. Although it was by far the most challenging part of our wedding and something most brides hopefully won’t have to face, I am grateful that it gave me the vulnerability to realize what a sacred day our wedding day was. I’d become so wrapped up in every detail being perfect that I’d neglected to focus on the real meaning behind the day.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our ceremony venue and reception venue both hold a very special place in our hearts. Our ceremony venue is a house near our family’s farm that holds so much farming history. I have a special connection with the Lee Pope House, and I knew immediately that there was no place I’d rather join our lives at than there. Tom and our families spent over a year fixing up our barn for the reception.

Tom is a farmer and I wanted our entire wedding to represent that tradition. Our wedding was centered around peaches–what this small county in Middle Georgia is famous for. Our goal was for our guests to be able to take a bite of a peach and to taste the peach ice cream, and, if just for a moment, be taken back to a time when life was much more simple than it is now.

Don’t miss Ashlee + Tom’s video from Hampton Road Studios!

Tell us all about the proposal! I was in North Carolina photographing a wedding and Tom decided to come with me. He mentioned that he’d like to stay an extra day, which I found odd, because Tom is usually itching to get back to work on the farm. We went to visit Tom’s brother-in-law, Stephen, who is also a photographer. Stephen told me that he was “rebranding” and that he needed a new headshot for his website. The three of us went to a mountainside park close to Stephen’s house and I began taking photos. After we were done, Stephen somehow convinced me to let him take a few photos of Tom and me. He positioned Tom a few feet behind me in the background and then told me to look towards Tom. Tom was down on one knee holding the most beautiful ring, and all I remember was telling him he was “making a scene.” Those pictures are so special to us.
When did y’all get married? August 2, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I wanted my dress hunt to be very simple and relaxed. I took only my mom with me and we made a fun girls’ day out of it. We found my dress at the first shop we visited, The Sentimentalist in Atlanta. I loved how light and breathable it was. I’m a very low key person, so I wanted simplicity as well as comfort, and the Elizabeth Dye gown provided both. I selected a gold scalloped belt to accent the waistline.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Directly after the ceremony, Tom, Haley (our photographer), Aphid (our dog), and I snuck away for about 20 minutes. Tom took us to the edge of a field that overlooked the entire county–a gorgeous view. We caught the tail end of the sunset and it was the first time we’d gotten to be alone that entire month, really. It was so quiet and I felt so at peace at that moment.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We purchased a 100-year-old farmhouse and are knee-deep in renovations. Married life is so fun. I love not having to say goodbye at night. When he leaves for work in the morning, he kisses me on the forehead–he thinks I’m still asleep, but I’m not. I love that. I just love sharing this life with him.

Photographer: Haley Sheffield / Videographer: Hampton Road Studios / Planner: Molly McKinley Designs / Venue: Private residence / Florist: Lindsay Coletta Designs / Cake Baker: Jan McCord Catering / Caterer: Leon Holloway / Rentals: Southern Vintage / Band: Celebration Band / Paper Products: Emma Torrence / Bride’s Gown: “Tempest” by Elizabeth Dye / Bridal Salon: The Sentimentalist / Hair and Makeup: Sarah Elisabeth Makeup Artistry / Bride’s Shoes: “On the Floor” by Seychelles

Haley Sheffield is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Atlanta Wedding Planner & Designer | Peach-Inspired | Atlanta Wedding Planning & Design reply

    […] special thank you to Southern Weddings for featuring this sweet fete. You can view their feature here. Also, make sure to check out their amazing wedding day […]

  2. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    Those wedding videos get me teary every time! I really like how they incorporated a line from Oceans into their day :)

  3. avatar Victoria reply

    Hello!

    I’m a bride who is looking for mix and match dresses, and these bridesmaids dresses are gorgeous! I know that they are most likely no longer on sale, but I just have no idea where to look for this kind of style. Comfortable, breathable, and slightly more casual. Could you direct me to a place where I could find that? Thanks!

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As y’all may know, every summer, we welcome a lovely intern to our office! Erin, our current intern, is a Texas girl from Princeton University, and she’s been a huge help to us with everything from photo shoot prep to working on the blog over the last month. Since she has a soft spot for colorful outdoor weddings, we thought she’d be the perfect person to write today’s post! -Lisa

Even though Elizabeth and Greg call Chicago home, their destination wedding at Charleston’s Boone Hall Plantation was a true Southern affair! By using vintage Boone Hall postcards as escort cards and displaying gorgeous peaches throughout the reception, Elizabeth and Greg captured the visual beauty of the South, while little touches, like providing fans to the ladies and offering tours of historic venue during cocktail hour, captured Southern hospitality at its best. But the best parts about Elizabeth and Greg’s wedding were the heartfelt details: personal vows written by the bride and groom, naming their first dog Boone after their venue, and choosing to wed in Charleston so that they have many reasons to return to the beautiful city!

Thanks to Amelia + Dan for sharing Elizabeth and Greg’s big day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old was a locket with a photo of my grandparents inside, which I wore on my garter. My something new was my wedding gown. My something borrowed was a bracelet from a close cousin of mine, and I wore Something Bleu shoes, which have a blue gemstone in the sole.
Describe your wedding flowers. Branch Design Studio did the most incredible job on my flowers. At the end of the altar were two rustic wooden wine barrels with vintage peach crates containing peach spray roses, coral peonies, peach ranunculus, white stock, yellow finesse roses, daisy feverfew, and scabiosa pods. My bouquet was made of mostly peonies and peach Juliet garden roses. It also included ranunculus, dusty miller, and a few yellow craspedia pods. The bridesmaids’ bouquets had white and yellow peonies with peach garden roses as well. Since their dresses were yellow, I added scabiosa pods to their bouquets in place of the yellow craspedia.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look to enjoy a moment alone together before the ceremony began. This way, we were also able to enjoy more time with family and friends during the cocktail hour, as we took a majority of our photos before the wedding started.

While planning our wedding, I made three trips to Charleston. For all three, it was raining when I visited Boone Hall. Therefore, I knew that on the day of the wedding, the weather was going to hold out for us, and the plantation was even more stunning in the sunshine.

We had rustic wooden wine barrels with clusters of peach arrangements on them at each of the four doors as you stepped into the Cotton Dock. In addition, each of the doors had lush rectangular wreaths covered in peach roses and peach stock. Mason jars hung from the ceiling containing peonies and ivory tea lights at varying heights. Above the sweetheart table hung more mason jars containing ivory tea lights and peach blooms strung from twine. Peach garden roses lined the tables, as well as wooden boxes of peonies, roses, dusty miller, and craspedia. Each window in the Cotton Dock had a cluster of vases and mason jars with coral peonies and ivory tea lights.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We wanted to make Charleston’s rich history a focal point of our wedding celebration. The mansion was opened during the cocktail hour for guests, where they were able to take tours and learn about Boone’s history. For seating assignments, we used black and white vintage postcards of Boone Hall. Since Boone Hall was once known for growing cotton, we had puffs of raw cotton strung along the back wall. They also were known for growing pecans, which we had incorporated into our desserts. We had fresh peaches in vintage peach crates throughout the venue, in addition to sugared peaches on the hummingbird cake. We gave out vintage fans to the ladies before the ceremony–as my mother in law put it, a Southern gentleman endures the heat! We were sure to have our DJ play many of our Southern favorites to complete the picture!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We chose hummingbird cake, as it was a favorite of ours from our first visit to Charleston. It brought another Southern aspect to our wedding for our guests to try. The cake was decorated with fresh sugared peaches to go along with our peach theme for the wedding weekend, and it was absolutely delicious! Greg was so excited about the cake that he fed himself first when we cut it! In addition to the cake, we had a dessert table with bite-sized desserts including s’mores bars, lemon tarts, caramels, and chocolate pecan bites. We also had a groom’s cake decorated like a Jameson bottle.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our friendship began in high school and continued on as we both attended Indiana University. While our friends attempted to set us up from the beginning, it wasn’t until I was back home for the summer in Chicago that sparks started to fly. Greg’s profession is with the Chicago Blackhawks, and with a little encouragement from my close friend, our new story began the summer night they won the 2010 Stanley Cup.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Greg: When we first started dating, Elizabeth made it clear that the key to her heart was sushi with a side of spicy mayo; it was her guilty pleasure food and we would enjoy it often. As I began to think of different ideas that encompassed our early dating for a proposal, I kept coming back to sushi. I finally came up with the idea of a custom fortune cookie detailing our fates and fortunes and, although fortune cookies are not traditionally served at sushi restaurants, I hoped it wasn’t too much of a stretch. I made a reservation at one of the nicest Japanese restaurants in Chicago and delivered the fortune cookies and a bottle of Dom Perignon earlier in the afternoon before dinner that night. When we arrived at dinner, the plan was to have them bring out the chocolate-covered strawberry (another favorite of Elizabeth’s) and fortune cookies as an amuse bouche. They eventually brought the appetizers without having brought the fortune cookies, and I had to convince Elizabeth to visit the restroom so I could track down the wait staff to get the cookies out. Thankfully, they did, and while she thought something was amiss, she played along as we opened our customized cookies. I read mine aloud, saying “Mine says ‘You will find a girl who will make you want nothing more in life than to make her smile,’ what does yours say?” Her message said, “You will be with a man who will love you, respect you, and care for you for the rest of your life.” Then, I got down on one knee and proposed. She said yes and we celebrated over sushi and champagne before meeting friends out later that night.
When did y’all get married? May 11, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 95
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our own vows in order to be able to say what we really wanted to give to one another in our marriage. My favorite phrase was “I promise to laugh with you, encourage you and inspire you,” as these are things we wish to maintain as our love grows over time.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I chose to walk down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” It is such a lovely, classic song, and it was especially beautiful played on the strings by Classical Charleston. For our first dance, we chose “Hey Pretty Girl” by Kip Moore. The song’s lyrics really resonated with Greg and how he saw our relationship unfolding. Before we opened the dance floor to everyone, we danced to “Dancing in the Moonlight” with our immediate families. This was “our song” long before we started dating, going back to our early high school days. It was the perfect song to get the dancing started on such a beautiful night.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are working on decorating our new home in the city and look forward to getting our first dog together (named Boone)! We have recently done some traveling in Europe and are excited for a tropical getaway for our honeymoon once the cold arrives in Chicago. From there, we look forward to starting a family!

Photographer: Amelia + Dan / Videographer: Life In Rewind / Planner: Pure Luxe Bride / Venue: Boone Hall Plantation / Florist: Branch Design Studio / Cake Baker: D’lish / Caterer: Cru / Rentals: Event Works / Lighting: PDA / DJ: Dream House Productions / Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Bridal Salon: Ultimate Bride / Paper Products: “Carolina” by Bella Figura / Bride’s Veil: Weddings 826 / Hair and Makeup: Ash & Co / Bride’s Shoes: Something Bleu Oyster Bed D’Orsays from BHLDN / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “D564” in Daisy by Dessy / Groom’s Attire: De Louice / Groom’s Shoes: Russell & Bromley / Groomsmen Attire: Tommy Hilfiger / Calligraphy: Write By Mike / Men’s Salon: Old South Barber Spa / Ceremony Musicians: Classical Charleston / Pastries: Wild Flour Pastry / Transportation: FingerSnappin’ Entertainment Trolley, Charleston Style Limo, Vintage Limousine

Pure Luxe Bride is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by Southern Weddings
4 Comments
  1. avatar Olivia Cox reply

    In love with everything about this wedding — from the warm and welcoming color scheme to the simply elegant place settings and gorgeous floral arrangements everything is perfect. Definitely sharing this post with my bride-to-be cousin!

  2. avatar amelia + dan reply

    thank you so much for sharing this sweet couple’s wedding day! :)

  3. avatar d’lish reply

    Hey there! Great post and so happy to see the wedding cake in all it’s glory :) Hoping maybe the creator of the groom’s cake can get some credit (not sure who it was) because it’s a great cake and they deserve to be recognized, too! :)

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

    […] Elizabeth and Greg are Chicagoans, but they couldn’t resist the charm of Charleston for their wedding! Chelsea and Will fell in love with their venue, Castleton Farms–it was right in the middle of their two home states. Sarah and Mike incorporated family members into their wedding in the (literally) sweetest way. Leah and Tripp‘s wedding was so sweet and Southern, and we love the story of how they met! […]

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I can’t help but have a soft spot for today’s wedding–I fell head over heels in love with the venue, King Family Vineyards, during the venue search for my own wedding, and it is so much fun seeing the way Leah and Will made the space their own! These UVA alumni planned their big day from Texas, so their families and a wonderful team of vendors pitched in to help bring this sweet day to life. The pastel stripe theme that ran through so many of the details, from the bridesmaid dresses to the wedding cake, was such a fresh, summer-y twist on this traditionally rustic venue!

Thank you kindly to Jon Schaaf for sharing Leah and Will’s wedding with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Our families met for the first time at Will’s family’s beach house on Oak Island in North Carolina shortly after our engagement. One morning, the ladies decided we should make the short drive to Wilmington for some preliminary wedding dress shopping. I had absolutely no expectations of finding my dress that day, but the first dress I tried on took my breath away, and I knew it was the one. The cherry on top was that the floor model was on sale for $500!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We used pretty traditional music during the ceremony. We actually hired a local high school string quartet to play. They were great, and we saved a lot of money!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look. Will really wanted to do it so that we could take pictures around Charlottesville, but I was adamant about not seeing each other before the ceremony. The look on Will’s face made it so worth the wait! He definitely got a little misty-eyed, which was priceless.

On our wedding day, it rained most of the morning. Around noon, the weather cleared up and we made the call to keep the ceremony outside. While we were saying our vows, a warm, light rain started. The temperature was perfect and the Virginia mountains looked beautiful in the mist. After spending so much time worrying about the weather, it was really an awesome moment.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our biggest challenge was planning the wedding from Austin, Texas. Thankfully, our families and vendors were incredibly helpful and made the process as painless as possible. We only made one weekend trip to Charlottesville, and the rest of our planning was done over the phone. Heather Boe, our day-of coordinator, was a huge help on the wedding weekend.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a three-tiered cake with mint stripes. Each tier was a different flavor. We also had our cake designer make a chocolate cake for my grandfather to celebrate his birthday, which was the same day as our wedding!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at a bar called the Biltmore in Charlottesville, Virginia. I had recently graduated from the University of Virginia and was about to start working as a nurse at the medical center. Will had just returned to Charlottesville for his second year of business school at UVA. He was out with friends on his first night back in town and noticed me and some friends at the bar. He worked his way over to us and eventually asked for my number. We went on our first date a few days later. The rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! In April 2012, we took a trip to Cozumel, which we had been planning for quite some time. Although I thought Mexico would be a perfect place to get engaged, Will and my best friend did a great job convincing me that it wouldn’t happen until the summer. At the suggestion of his brother, Will waited a few nights after we got there, in order to throw me off. On the third night that we were in Cozumel, Will told me that he wanted to watch the sunset from a terrace over the ocean. Unfortunately, it turned out to be too cloudy to see the sunset (which I quickly pointed out). Unfazed by the weather, Will announced that he wanted to take a picture. He sent me over to the edge of the terrace while he pretended to set the camera timer (he actually turned it on video mode). I was looking out over the ocean, and when I turned around, he was down on one knee. It was perfect!
When did y’all get married? July 27, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I would say one of the biggest cost-savers was buying our own liquor. We were lucky that our venue and caterer allowed us to do this. After the wedding, we were able to return the unopened bottles, minimizing waste.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I can’t say enough good things about our photographer, Jon Schaaf. Throughout the weekend, he made everyone feel incredibly comfortable. Countless family members and friends commented on how personable and funny he was. Our photos are absolutely beautiful–they exceeded all of our expectations. Taking wedding photos can definitely be awkward at times, so having a photographer who puts you at ease is really important!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? It has been a big year for us! I finished grad school, we both have new jobs, and we’re building a house. Our move-in date is scheduled for our one-year anniversary and we are beyond excited!

Photographer: Jon Schaaf / Videographer: Doug Stanford / Day-Of Coordinator: Heather Boe / Venue: King Family Vineyards / Florist: Sugar Magnolias / Wedding Cake: Albemarle Baking Company / Caterer: The Local / Rentals and Lighting: MS Events / Band: Hipshack / Paper Products: Minted / Hair and Makeup: Moxie Hair Lounge / Bride’s Shoes: Lilly Pulitzer / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Sassy Stripes” by LulaKate / Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    those bridesmaid dresses look phenomenal with the ceremony venue!

  2. avatar Mikkel reply

    I absolutely love all the details and the soft colors! The striped cornhole with matching wedding cake is amazing. And the horse shoes where the dress was hung up…love it! Congratulations!

  3. avatar Six Dreamy Virginia Vineyard Weddings « Virginia's Travel Blog reply

    […] leah + will (king family vineyards,  crozet) | by john schaaf […]

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