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Though my husband and I are college sweethearts ourselves, I have always been a bit envious of high school sweethearts. Knowing you have found your one at a young age, like Taylor and Darrell, has always held some extra special magic to me. After meeting in high school, these two instantly became each other’s best friend and forever soulmates. One super sweet proposal, and a surprise engagement party later – Taylor and Darrell planned a joyful wedding at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. Bright pops of red florals from Poppy Lane Designs added a colorful addition to their classic wedding venue and globe string lights added a whimsical atmosphere, and also Taylor’s favorite detail!

Thanks to Magnolia Adams for sharing Taylor and Darrel’s wedding with us!

After a full day of trying on gorgeous wedding gowns, the dress I chose ended up being the very first one I had tried on. The feeling of “saying yes to the dress” will be something I’ll cherish forever.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No first look for us. We wanted to save the special moment for the ceremony, and it was perfect.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose our venue because we wanted to have the ceremony and reception at the same place. We had many out-of-town guests, so not needing them to drive from the ceremony to reception was perfect!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We did premarital counseling with my pastor, which was great, and we recommend it to all couples. It opens up discussion and topics that are critical for a healthy marriage.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Using Minted for save the dates, choosing simple but elegant table linens, and using Easy.com for the ceremony program. Plus, our venue was tax-deductible!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The globe string lighting we used above the dance floor and behind the cake table. I’m in love with hanging lights–they create such a whimsical and happy atmosphere!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Darrell and I met in high school many, many years ago. We instantly became each other’s best friend, encourager, supporter, person to laugh with, shoulder to cry on, and forever soulmates.
Tell us all about the proposal! We had planned a weekend getaway to Washington D.C. to meet up with friends, and decided to drive up early from Richmond to beat traffic. On the morning of May 1, I woke up early to finish packing, and that’s when the proposal happened! Darrell had secretly placed a ring box and a letter on my nightstand in the middle of the night. By the time I finished reading the letter, Darrell was on his knee asking me to be his wife! After the proposal, Darrell informed me that we weren’t going to Washington D.C. for the weekend–that was just a scheme so I’d be packed! We were actually flying to Oklahoma to surprise my parents at a dinner that my sisters planned. My first thought was, “You didn’t ask my dad to marry me?” But he quickly told me he asked many months ago–they just didn’t know when it would happen. I was quickly relieved, as well as beyond joyful because my family is my world and I couldn’t wait to get home! My sisters were at the airport to pick us up, and we headed straight to my parents’ house to surprise them. When we pulled up to the house, we saw 60 of our closest friends and family in the lawn with a sign that said “She Said Yes!” My parents had known the whole time, and I wasn’t there to surprise them–they were surprising ME with the best engagement party! To this day, I still get goosebumps about all of the planning that went into this proposal, and I am beyond thankful.
When did y’all get married? June 25, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 225
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? All the men in the wedding wore polka dot bow ties. We also served Buffalo Trace bourbon and had mini chicken and waffles for late night snacks!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning while living 1,200 miles away from our venue. I am thankful for FaceTime and the most wonderful mother–there is no way I could have done it without her!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Start planning and booking early! Also once you decide on something, don’t dwell on it or continue looking for the same thing–it will drive you crazy.

Photographer: Magnolia Adams Photography | Planner: Leslie Herring Events | Venue: Gaylord Pickens Museum | Florist: Poppy Lane Design | Wedding Cake: Mishelle Handy Cakes | Caterer: Abbey Road Catering | Rentals: Marianne’s Rentals | Lighting: Innovative Event Solutions | Paper Products: No Regrets | Bride’s Gown: “Janine” by Leanne Marshall | Bride’s Hair Accessory: “Crystal Head Wrap” by Jennifer Behr | Hair Stylist: Natasha Shipley Artistry | Makeup Artist: Chelsey Ann Artistry | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Morgan” in Dove Grey by Donna Morgan | Menswear: Allton’s

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Taylor Guttery reply

    This is just so perfect! Thank you for such a beautiful and heart humbling post! Also, thank you to Southern Weddings for so many inspirations and ideas (within our budget!)to help plan our dream wedding!

  2. avatar Greg Coltman reply

    Great images, particularly love the b/w shots.

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Our own Lisa is getting married this weekend (!), and we’re obviously really excited for her! One thing I truly admire is how she and her adorable fiancé Dave have prepared for their marriage. Like Lisa and Dave, Amy and Todd know how important the covenant of marriage is, so during their engagement, they chose to cultivate their relationship first and foremost. Amy told us “it was important to us to prepare not only for our wedding, but for the marriage to follow–the most important part!” We completely agree! I know their wedding must have been a beautiful reflection of that sweet preparation. And, y’all, I cannot let Todd’s expression when he saw Amy for the first time pass without a note. So much love right there!

Big SW hugs to Mandy Busby for capturing this pretty day!

Our wedding flowers were absolutely stunning. Laura McCarty of Marked pulled together beautiful neutrals with hints of pink–plus one brilliant yellow peony–that totally suited my neutral, subdued taste. She included lots of garden roses, peonies, and greenery, which are my favorites! Laura also added kumquats to one of the arrangements, which I loved! One of my favorite parts of our wedding was the beautiful arbor that Laura flowered up. I couldn’t have asked for anything more beautiful!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We had lots of help from friends and family, who were all willing to give us advice and guidance. We also went through premartial counseling, which was really helpful for us. It was important to us to prepare not only for our wedding, but for the marriage to follow–the most important part!

We decided not to do a first look. I wanted to save that moment for when I was walking down the aisle, and for us, I think it was perfect. Walking down the aisle was so incredibly special and memorable. Since we didn’t do a first look, it was very emotional and sweet, and the breeze wafted cherry blossom petals as I walked down the aisle. I will never forget it!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my wedding dress was so much fun! I bought my dress from The White Room in Birmingham, Alabama. I had my mom, my three sisters, and my grandmother all come with me, and they were all so kind and supportive. It was such an honor to have them all there! I only tried on three dresses, and I knew almost immediately after I tried on the third dress that I’d found my wedding dress! I loved that it was simple and romantic and reflected who I was as a person and a bride.

We loved having our wedding and reception at the Donnelly House in Birmingham, Alabama. I’d grown up on the same street as the owners, Carl and Karen, and it was so special to have them involved on my wedding day! The venue was also in a significant area of the city for us, as we spent a lot of our dating relationship downtown and on Highland Avenue.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t get caught up in the details! Details are really fun and special, but what’s really important is to enjoy the process and savor your engagement. It is such a sweet time to prepare for such a reverent day, so don’t worry too much or agonize over little details! It will all come together.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Todd and I met through mutual friends after I graduated from Auburn University and moved to Birmingham. He moved to Louisville shortly after I returned to Birmingham, but we kept running into each other at weddings and parties when he’d visit. Somehow, we started emailing, very “You’ve Got Mail.” He came in town one weekend to celebrate his sister’s birthday and he took me on a date! We decided just to go for it and date long-distance, and we are so glad we did.
Tell us all about the proposal! Todd surprised me by coming into town one Friday afternoon. That night, we had a friend’s wedding to attend, and after the ceremony, we hopped in the car and Todd told me we weren’t going to the reception–instead, he had made reservations at Highlands Bar & Grill for “a late birthday celebration” for me. We had an incredible meal, then headed back to my parents’ home, where Todd had recruited my mom and sisters to decorate with lights and lanterns. Todd proposed to me under an arbor of lights in the front yard, while, unbeknownst to me, all of my friends and family were watching and waiting inside with cake and champagne to celebrate! It was truly magical.
When did y’all get married? April 19, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We did have one reading, Colossians 1:9-14. We had one of our dear friends read it, and it was really special. It was important to us for our ceremony to be reverent and focused on the Gospel, so the scripture reading was very important to us.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Todd was totally in charge of the music, and he did an amazing job! He sings and plays guitar, so that was the only part of the wedding he insisted on planning. I walked down the aisle to “Hoppipolla” by Sigur Ros, one of our favorite bands. The song is incredibly beautiful and moving and perfect. We walked back up (or rather, danced back up) the aisle to Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love” which was so appropriate for us as a couple! We love to dance. Our first dance was “Save You” by Matthew Perryman Jones, who is a really significant artist for us. We’ve been to several of his concerts together, and his lyrics are so sweet and romantic, perfect for a first dance.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. My friend and cake lady extraordinaire, Malinda Nichols, made our wedding cake! It was really fun to have her as a vendor on our big day. She made a traditional vanilla wedding cake with buttercream frosting that was to die for, and Laura adorned the cake with flowers. It was beautiful. We also had Coke cake cupcakes with buttercream frosting and sweet little cupcake flags instead of a traditional groom’s cake!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Trying to be budget friendly was definitely a challenge, but honestly, planning our wedding was a joy!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We chose to limit the alcohol served to wine and beer. That helped cut down on our costs! We also chose to have both our wedding and reception in the same place, which helped our budget as well.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We’ve really enjoyed the first months of our marriage. It has been so joyful and fun! We’ve loved being able to live in the same city. It is such an honor to walk alongside your best friend every day. We’re excited to see where God leads us next!

Photographer: Mandy Busby / Venue: The Donnelly House / Florist: Laura McCarty / Cake Baker: Malinda Nichols / Caterer: Happy Catering Company / Bride’s Gown: Robert Bullock / Bridal Salon: The White Room / Bride’s Accessories: BHLDN / Hair Stylist: Joanna Ballentine / Makeup Artist: Molly Stilley / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    Believe it or not, Emily and Chris met during an Animal House-themed frat party! These two never thought they’d meet their better halves while donning togas, but after chatting, their common interests proved to take this meet cute right to relationship! Now, these two spend their time making way too much jam (be sure to read their adorable interview!), and dating each other even after their wedding–love that! Emily’s best advice for brides? “Continue to date each other and set aside time together that does not involve wedding planning.” We couldn’t agree more!

    Big thanks to Graham Terhune for sharing this gorgeous day that had Lisa and I swooning all last week! We could barely wait to share it!

    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed was my mom’s sixpence that she wore in her shoe on her wedding day. For my something blue, I honored both of my sweet grandmothers by wrapping a piece of my Grandmama’s blue wedding dress and my Granny’s blue handkerchief around my bouquet. My something old was my Papa’s fraternity ring that he wore every day. My something new was my sparkly Jimmy Choos!

    Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes and we’re so glad that we did! Our “first look” pictures are some of our favorites. Although we were initially hesitant to stray from tradition, we agreed to give it a shot for the sake of getting to spend more time with our guests at the reception and being able to enjoy a quiet moment together. Walking down the aisle to my groom was equally as exciting and emotional!

    I walked down the aisle to a bagpipe and organ duet of “Highland Cathedral.” Bagpipes have a special significance in Western North Carolina and I had always dreamed of walking down the aisle to this song. One of our favorite wedding planning moments was a private concert with our amazingly talented organist to select our music. We chose “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” for our Gospel hymn and my all-time favorite, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” for our communion hymn. We walked back up the aisle to “Hornpipe” by G.F. Handel. Our bagpiper was playing out on the lawn as guests exited the cathedral to board trolleys to the reception. Selecting our first dance song was perhaps the most difficult decision we made! We decided on “That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding. My dad and I danced to “Tupelo Honey” by our favorite artist, Van Morrison. Chris and his mother danced the Carolina shag to “I Love Beach Music” by The Embers in honor of Chris’ late father, who played in a beach music band.

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We incorporated several pieces of custom artwork. We worked with an incredibly talented family friend and artist to create a Quaker marriage certificate for guests to sign and a bar menu with our signature drinks and beer and wine selections. We also purchased a watercolor wedding map to include in our welcome bags and a custom painted monogram to use as a label for our strawberry jam wedding favors. Each of these are now hanging on the wall in our home and serve as a lovely reminder of our wedding day.

    Describe your wedding flowers. Since most of our guests were from out of town, we wanted our reception to feel casual and welcoming, like a dinner party among friends. Stacey from the Bloom Room gave our venue the romantic, homey vibe that we envisioned with low arrangements of flowers that were lush, but not over the top. We used anemones, garden roses, peonies, hydrangea, and delicate greenery in an eclectic mix of antique silver, crystal, and mercury glass vases.
    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. It was divine! Our cake was funfetti with vanilla buttercream filling and frosting. The icing had a subtle, soft texture with our new married monogram on the top layer. Each layer had a piped beaded border and touches of fresh flowers.

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I think one of the biggest things that sets Southern weddings apart is the value placed on honoring family traditions. For us, the most special of those was that we were married on my parents’ anniversary! One of my favorite details was a handkerchief I gave my mom with both of our monograms and wedding dates. We included the cake pull tradition at the bridal luncheon the day before, and then each bridesmaid tied their charm around their bouquet. We also served several classic Southern comfort foods at our reception. We had mini trout cakes and pimento cheese crackers for cocktail hour and buttermilk fried chicken (tossed in NC’s Texas Pete hot sauce!), green beans, and macaroni and cheese for dinner.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chris at I met during the fall semester of our senior year at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. We knew of each other through friends; however, we officially met at an “Animal House”-themed mixer for his fraternity and my sorority. I never would have guessed that I would meet my husband at a toga party! We exchanged phone numbers and quickly found that we had a lot in common. We had our first date later that week with dinner at our favorite Greek restaurant and a walk through the arboretum.
    Tell us all about the proposal! We planned a trip to the mountains to visit my parents for the weekend. On that Saturday, December 15, the four of us decided to head to Asheville to see the annual gingerbread house competition at the Grove Park Inn. After we spent time looking at the exhibit, Chris suggested that we walk around the resort a bit and get a picture together. We stopped to pose for a picture on a terrace overlooking a beautiful sunset over the Blue Ridge mountains. Just as my mom was getting ready to snap the picture, Chris got down on one knee and proposed! Then, as the icing on the cake, Chris’ mom and sister came running out to congratulate us. Little did I know, they had followed us from a distance throughout the gingerbread exhibit and around the resort. After that, we celebrated with dinner and champagne with our families.
    When did y’all get married? April 26, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 170
    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Before we were engaged, I fell in love with a dreamy tulle cap sleeve gown that I saw on Pinterest. When I started shopping for my wedding dress, I realized that the chances of finding that gown were slim to none, as it was an older design. I hoped to find something similar from the same designer, so I scheduled an appointment at Nitsa’s in Charlotte and invited my mom, sister, both grandmothers, and my best friend. As we began pulling dresses to try on, I was so excited to find that my dream dress was still available! The dress was everything that I hoped it would be: soft, feminine, and perfect for twirling!
    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My family is from a very small town near Asheville. We knew that our church would be too small to accommodate our guests, and reception venue options in my hometown would be limited. We decided to get married in Asheville, the city where Chris proposed and a place we love to visit together. We had our ceremony at the historic All Souls Cathedral. All Souls was commissioned in 1896 by George Washington Vanderbilt III, developer of the Biltmore Estate. For our reception, we loved the intimate atmosphere of the Century Room, with its exposed brick walls and views of downtown Asheville.
    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We recited traditional Episcopalian vows and wrote our own personal vows to each other that were read on the morning of our wedding.
    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My granddaddy read Philippians 4:4-9. This reading comforted us during the chaos of the final months of wedding planning and kept us focused on the meaning of marriage. Our other readings were Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, read by Chris’ sister, and Matthew 5:1-10 for our Gospel reading.
    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our biggest challenge was definitely the guest list. We made the unfortunate mistake of booking a reception venue before we created our guest list. We spent so much time analyzing room diagrams and sending desperate emails to the event coordinator at the Century Room. In the end, I think we were able to maximize the space as best we could.
    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Chris and I love to cook together, so we decided to make strawberry jam for our wedding favors. We slightly underestimated the amount of time that it would take to make 170 jars of jam and ended up spending an entire weekend in the kitchen, but it was well worth it. We also took on a few other DIY projects, including our escort card display and a sidewalk sign.
    What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We are so grateful to have had Graham Terhune Photography! Graham and his wife, Samantha, are the sweetest, most genuine people that we had the pleasure of working with. They made us feel so comfortable on our wedding day and they didn’t miss one second of action. One of the best moments for my mom was watching Graham chase after our getaway car to ensure he got a great shot!
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We will never forget when our priest asked us to turn around and glance around the church during the homily. Seeing so many of our favorite people from all different parts of our lives gathered together to celebrate with us was such an overwhelming feeling!
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It can be so easy to lose sight of the purpose of your wedding, especially when you get wrapped up in all of the details you “have to have.” Continue to date each other and set aside time together that does not involve wedding planning.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We’re enjoying life as husband and wife and spending time with our dog, Betsey. On our wedding day, Chris surprised me with 12 dates to celebrate each month in our first year of marriage. Next month, we’re headed to the U.S. Open!

    Photographer: Graham Terhune Photography / Videographer: Good Earth Films / Ceremony Venue: The Cathedral of All Souls / Reception Venue: The Century Room / Florist: The Bloom Room / Cake Baker: City Bakery / Rentals and Lighting: Classic Event Rental / DJ: Mitch Fortune Productions / Bride’s Gown: “Julianna” by Christos / Paper Products: Reaves Engraving / Bridal Salon and Veil: Nitsa’s / Bride’s Earrings: The Bride’s Maids Shop / Bride’s Bracelet: Tiffany & Co. / Hair and Makeup: L.A. Beauty Bar /Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “G763C” by Amsale / Men’s Attire: Black by Vera Wang / Wedding Coordinator: Joseph W. Lane Events / Transportation: Gray Line Trolley / Reception Dress: Kate Spade / Getting Ready Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar / Cufflinks: Smathers & Branson / Calligraphy: Dottie McKesson and Brinkley McNeil / Wedding Map: Caligrafia Bella / Quaker Marriage Certificate and Bar Menu: Lauren Gray Weddings

    Graham Terhune is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    7 Comments
    1. avatar Lisa reply

      Oh my goodness, I love this wedding so much! Emily and Chris are absolutely beautiful together, and the details they chose are so lovely and thoughtful.

    2. avatar Graham reply

      We love seeing Emily and Chris’ gorgeous Asheville wedding featured on SW today! Thank y’all so much the feature!

    3. avatar Rachel Nordgren reply

      That dress is absolutely dreamy! Also…homemade strawberry jam? Fantastic idea for favors!

    4. avatar Nancy Ray reply

      Well done, friends! This is stunning!

    5. avatar Plum Pretty Sugar reply

      Oh goodness! What a stunning couple! It is such a treat to have our robes be a part of their wedding day! We send love and so many congratulations. So much!

      xo

    6. avatar North Carolina Wedding Film by Good Earth Films – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

      […] and I had a bit of an e-mail swoon-fest over Emily and Chris’ Asheville wedding when we featured it earlier this year, so you can imagine my delight when Good Earth Films sent […]

    7. avatar Wedding Video Wednesday XXI » Borrowed and Blue Occasions reply

      […] Aren’t they just adorable?!? This gorgeous couple was also featured on the Southern Weddings Blog! […]

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