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It has been such a delight having Meg, our spring intern, with us this semester! Since her time in our office is wrapping up, we couldn’t resist asking her to introduce y’all to one of our beautiful real wedding features! – Lisa

You know a couple is a special when an entire street shuts down to celebrate their big day! McKara and Brandon paid homage to their beloved downtown Lakeland in the best way possible–by using its streets as the venue for their reception! Ashton Events, one of our super talented Blue Ribbon Vendors, transformed N. Kentucky Avenue and Pine Street using the most darling and whimsical vintage details (I’m still swooning over those antique floral teacups), while still keeping in mind McKara and Brandon’s main desire: to highlight the strong sense of community that Lakeland has to offer. Guests enjoyed a yummy meal seated at gorgeous, community-style farmhouse tables, and the night ended with the couple inviting folks walking by to join in on the fun. How beautiful is that? McKara and Brandon really captured the sweet essence of community while fusing it with their own quirky and vintage taste. I’m completely tickled with this fun couple and their big day…and I think y’all will be, too!

Thank you, Esther Louise Photography, for sharing this wonderful day with us!

I had my heart set on a peach-hued gown. After looking in boutiques in Florida, I found that none of the bridal shops stocked dresses in the peachy/pink hues I had in mind. I wanted to try on the dress in the color I would be wearing, so a trip to New York City was set up. My mom and my best friend/maid of honor flew up to Manhattan with appointments set at several boutiques who had confirmed they had peach dresses in stock for me to try on. Our first stop was Kleinfeld’s. I really did not have high hopes for finding my dress at Kleinfeld’s because I had my eye on a Carol Hannah dress that I was sure was the one. But, I figured since Kleinfeld’s had the largest selection of peach dresses in stock, it would be worthwhile. Upon arriving, we were extremely impressed with the customer service. Our consultant, Judy, was helpful and attentive. She brought me a brand new style from Lazaro in a peony color–it was just in and had not even been tried on by anyone before. Judy pulled me into the dress and it was beautiful. The peony color was made from alternating layers of ivory, pale yellow, and pale pink tulle created a variation of peach hues within the skirt. The strapless sweetheart neckline was wrapped in delicate peach Chantilly lace with a little peplum over the mountain of tulle. I felt like a cupcake in the best possible way–the softest, peachiest, prettiest cupcake. But, that Carol Hannah dress was still in my mind, which Judy knew. My mom, MOH, and I toured a few more boutiques–Lovely, Reem Acra, and then finally, Carol Hannah. As I slipped into “the dress” I had been dreaming of, I waited for the feeling to know this is the one. Carol was on-site and came out to talk with me as I tried it on. As I evaluated the dress and discussed tweaks with Carol, my mom pointed out that all the changes I was asking for were to make the dress look like the Lazaro dress. She was right. I wanted the Carol Hannah gown to be the one so badly, but I had left my dress at Kleinfeld’s with Judy. The next morning, we returned to Kleinfeld’s. The sales manager saw us in the waiting area and said, “I was just talking about you during the sales meeting this meeting. I told the consultants that not every bride comes in here with red hair, wants a peach dress, and finds the perfect gown. I knew you would come back.”

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Brandon and I wrote our ceremony together, with input from our officiant–a local community member/friend we admire. We opted to write vows we would both say together versus separate vows we would make to each other. Our completed vows are a very accurate description of the nature of our relationship. This line, in particular, really speaks to our relationship: “I vow to take on anything this world sends our way, standing back to back with you, the one I love most.” I’ve always felt a good visual of our relationship is similar to a movie where two superhero partners are standing back-to-back, with threats coming at them from every direction. We’re not focused on the same thing all of the time, and we may not see what the other sees, but at the end of the day, I feel Brandon behind me and he’s got my back. I can count on that every minute, which allows me to trust him, tackle whatever is thrown at me, jump at opportunities that arise, and always know he will be there if I turn around.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We really credit the time we spent while creating my engagement ring before we were engaged as the most concentrated time we spent focusing on the idea of marriage. We discussed a lot about what we wanted from the relationship, what a successful marriage looked like to each of us, and made the choice together to move forward. Although Brandon traditionally “asked” me to marry him during the proposal, it was really a joint decision we made prior to that day.

The ceremony venue, The Loggia at Lake Mirror, is one of our favorite places in Lakeland. The 1920’s architecture overlooking the beautiful lake are right in line with our style. When discussing a ceremony venue, Brandon and I both instantly agreed about The Loggia. We wanted to be outdoors and this was the ideal venue. For the reception, we went a little outside of the box. We knew our guest list could be a little on the heavy side, eliminating most venues of our taste in the Lakeland area. We didn’t want to have to cut guests to accommodate the venue restrictions. One Saturday, while walking through the Farmer’s Market, I asked Brandon, “Why can’t we just have our reception here?” in a wishful thinking kind of way. Brandon thought about it and said, “I bet we could get the city to close the streets for us if they do for the Farmer’s Market.” From there, the ball began to roll. Our hearts were set on the streets of downtown as our reception venue. We approached the City of Lakeland for a road closure request. They had never been asked to hold a private party in the streets and were a little on the unsure side at first. From there, our wedding coordinator, Laura with Ashton Events, worked through all the red tape and permits. The finished reception result was completely worth it. For a fee at a fraction of the cost of a ballroom at a hotel, we were able to close three blocks of downtown Lakeland for our cocktail hour and reception. Cafe lights were strung between the buildings lining the street, feasting tables were brought in for a family-style BBQ dinner on vintage china, the coffee shop we frequent most mornings stayed open late to provide coffee and tea, we created a dance floor in the middle of an intersection, and our favorite wine bar around the corner hosted the after party. Ashton Events was instrumental in coordinating all the moving pieces of the party. It would have never been possible without Laura and her team.

With the venues that we chose, we had a lot of design elements to pull in to fill the space. We essentially started with a blank canvas. For the ceremony, we used a greenery garland at the top of the aisle and vintage wood crates and boxes filled with airy baby’s breath, which I loved as a fun, ethereal filler. Both components were repurposed at the reception in the lounge area. For my bouquet, I carried a hand-tied bouquet with a variety of peach, ivory, and pale pink blooms, lots of greenery, and a few scabiosa pods. Each of the bridesmaid’s bouquets was comprised entirely of one kind of bloom that was represented in my bouquet. This, to me, represented how each of the ‘maids was a different part and sector of my life, but how they all helped make it beautiful. On each of the bouquets, I selected a variety of textiles like velvet ribbon, silk strips, and fuzzy yarns to create a streamer/tassel look hanging from the blooms. For the centerpieces, we used a variety of vintage vases and vessels with springs and sprays of various peach, cream, and pale pink blossoms with lots of greenery and some scabiosa pods.

Our date has special significance because both Brandon’s parents and my parents were married on the same date. We incorporated this into our save the dates by having both sets of parents in the photo. We stood in front of our ceremony location at The Loggia and each couple held a sign with their wedding date, mine and Brandon’s reading October 10, 2014. We wanted guests to know the significance from the get-go, and this was a fun, visual way to share that. At the wedding, we surprised our parents with a little tribute to their anniversaries. Our cake table showcased five smaller cakes rather than one large cake. When it was time to cut the cake, we had displayed both sets of parents’ cake toppers on two of the cakes on the table, in addition to our cake with our own topper. We asked our parents to join us and we all took turns cutting our cakes. They were surprised and touched by the sentiment.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We elected for five smaller cakes instead of one large cake. This allowed us to select a few different flavors and create a display that included our parent’s wedding cake toppers for their anniversaries. We (and I really mean Brandon, because this was his favorite meeting of the whole wedding planning process) chose a pink champagne cake with a whipped icing as our center cake, which was layered with fresh strawberries. Strawberries are heavily grown in the local area, so this was a nice way to incorporate a little bit more of our city into the wedding. Two of the smaller cakes were orange citrus cake with cream cheese icing–again, a nod to the large citrus industry of our city. The final two small cakes were chocolate with vanilla icing (my personal favorite when it comes to classic flavors). We used five different vintage cake plates to create a display for the beautiful cakes. Each cake was decorated differently, utilizing watercolor painting on a very thin outer layer of fondant, a rustic icing with a sugar bloom, or an application of gold foil. Our main cake that Brandon and I cut featured adorable little ivory china swans with gold foil details from BHLDN. Swans are a big part of the Lakeland community, serving as the symbol of the city, so this was one more tie in to our community.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? That Brandon and I were able to enjoy every single moment. I’ve always heard that your wedding day flies by–you blink and it’s over. I’m not a relaxed personality type, but the day of our wedding, we both were so laid back. We were able to savor every moment and every memory. That is my favorite part–that I am able to relive the whole day in my head and remember being 100% present for those moments, not only through the beautiful photos and video. I credit this to having such a solid conductor of events at the helm with Laura from Ashton Events. We could relax because we knew it was all taken care of and every piece was being executed as planned.

Don’t miss McKara and Brandon’s wedding film by White in Revery!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met our freshman year at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. We were both involved in sorority/fraternity life and were serving on Greek Council together. Brandon hardly spoke–he’s the quiet, shy type. I eventually transferred to finish my degree at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Our senior year of college, we reconnected through a Facebook status I commented on. We started private messaging and the conversation continued for three months while I finished an internship in England. Brandon had promised to cook me dinner and show me all these great new places in Jacksonville that had popped up since I left–so when I returned stateside, I made a visit to Jacksonville to “visit friends,” testing if Brandon would follow through. He did. He nervously cooked me dinner with the scarce ingredients in his downtown loft and we watched SNL skits all night. The next day, we went to the beach and he pulled me into the ocean…fully dressed. From there, we took visits back and forth between Jacksonville and Tampa until our graduation the following semester.
Tell us all about the proposal! Being that I’m in the design industry (and a Class A control freak), I’m extremely particular about, well, just about everything. When Brandon brought up the idea of marriage, the conversation naturally led to him asking about the type of ring I would like. Together, we spent about seven months sourcing the center stone (a peach seven-karat Morganite) and locating a local jeweler willing to create a custom ring. This was a very enjoyable time in our relationship–it eased us into the concept of marriage and moved us towards the future together. Finally, on August 11, 2012, I stated to Brandon that “I wasn’t going to spend the next however long on pins and needles, trying to look my cutest all the time just waiting for him to propose.” With his sheepish smile, Brandon told me “Well, just look cute today.” I didn’t get the hint and continued to playfully badger him. We went down to the Farmer’s Market, like we do every Saturday, but then Brandon split off, saying he had to drop something off and he’d catch up with me–knowing I’d head to one of our favorite vintage treasure haunts, The Black Swan Bazaar. After browsing, I was ready to move to the next shop, but one of the owners kept pulling me around the store to show me new inventory. Finally, Brandon showed at the entrance of the store. As I turned to head out, I was pulled one more time by the shop keeper who said, “Oh, have you seen one of these before?” as she touched the top of a cut-glass candy dish. I was thinking “Duh, lady, it’s a candy dish…” as she lifted the lid. Mid-thought, I saw a glimpse of the ring Brandon and I had been working on, inside the candy dish in a little box. I turned to look at Brandon and found him on one knee. Brandon muttered somethings which I don’t think my brain even heard because I was completely caught off-guard. We celebrated for a few minutes with the owners and shoppers at The Black Swan before Brandon informed me that his parents were at my parents’ house for a little celebration brunch.
When did y’all get married? October 10, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 200
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? The rental fees for the venues were very low. The Loggia was about $750 for the ceremony and closing the streets cost about $250. The streets were a blank canvas, so we had to bring in all the tables, linens, chairs, etc., but we had carte blanche on which vendors to use. We created custom packages with our photographers and videographers to met our needs. The packages they had were either a little under what we were wanting or a little over, so we asked for a personalized package. Typically we would have had to pay extra for things we didn’t want/need, but our vendors were super great and worked with us to meet our needs, which saved us money. For the centerpieces, my mom and I hunted and collected vintage vessels for the two years Brandon and I were engaged. We were able to find most pieces for $1-3 at thrift stores, garage sales, or antique shops. This saved on the cost of the rental, and we were also able to resell the items after the wedding to recoup the cost.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding coordinator! Hands down, it will be the best money you spend on the wedding. Don’t skimp on the hands to do the work that you plan! A lot of time, coordinators can help save you money through vendor relationships they’ve built.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Well, we found out a month after the wedding that we were expecting a baby. So we’re now enjoying the whirlwind experience of becoming parents to a baby boy! We’re looking forward to seeing where the next couple of years take us with my business, Brandon’s career, and watching our son, Rex, grow up in a city we love.

Photographer: Esther Louise Photography | Videographer: White in Revery | Planner: Ashton Events | Ceremony Venue: City of Lakeland’s Loggia | Reception Venue: Downtown Lakeland, N. Kentucky Ave & Pine Street | Florist: FH Weddings | Cake Baker: Hands On Sweets | Caterer: Hickory Hollow BBQ | Rentals: Wish Vintage Rentals | Lighting: Tampa Lights | Band: Brian Sutherland Band | DJ: Cory Baron | China: Dishie Rentals | Paper Products: Boutique Greek | Bride’s Gown: “Style 3300” in Peony by Lazaro | Bride’s Accessories: Lazaro, Carolee, and Kate Spade | Hair and Makeup: Michelle Renee The Studio | Bride’s Shoes: Cynthia Rowley | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Fifth Avenue Showstopper Dress” by Badgley Mischka | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse, JoS. A. Bank, The Tie Bar, and Johnston Murphy | Linens: Kate Ryan Linens | Chairs: Signature Event Rentals | Bartenders: Tucker’s Southside Liquor & Package | Coffee and Tea: Mitchell’s Coffee House | Vintage Cars: MJC Classic Cars | After-Party Location: Tony’s Studio B | Photo Booth: Bash Booth

Ashton Events is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by admin
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    Oh friends, this wedding is so close to our hearts! You may remember the beautiful Meredith and Beau from Meredith’s guests posts a few months ago–as former nanny to Lara’s little Grace, Meredith is an honorary SW gal, and we sure miss her around the office! Every step of their engagement, Meredith and Beau were so focused on creating a truly meaningful celebration, right in the heart of their favorite place. After this beautiful July day, they moved a few miles down the road from their venue to begin newlywed life–I can think of no sweeter way for them to be continually reminded of their vows and joy!

    We’re so grateful to Shelby Peaden for bringing Meredith and Beau’s wedding day vision to life and to Lauren Kinsey for capturing it so beautifully!

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. On December 28 (my birthday, yay!), my mom, sister, sister-in-law, baby niece, and I all headed up to the city to find my “perfect” dress. I was pretty open to anything! After trying on what seemed like every dress in the store, I had narrowed my favorites down to five, and decided to sleep on it. On our second trip, I tried on the five dresses again, and was quickly able to narrow them down by answering two questions: “Is this dress ‘me’?”, and “Is this what I picture myself in when I walk down the aisle to meet my future husband?” The dress we all fell in love with was simple, elegant, soft, and sweet–we were sold on everything…except the price! As I was driving home from the city with my mom, I searched the dress name and designer, and happened to find the exact dress we needed, in the exact size, height, and dimensions for sale (for less than half the price) on OnceWed! It was a pretty easy decision after that!

    We were both a little uncertain about a first look at first, worried that we would lose some of the sweetness of the moment we saw each other, but as we thought about it more, we decided to go with a first look.This option allowed us to take a moment away from any built-up nerves. We took time to pray together, and I instantly felt a wave of peace come over me–such a special moment! A first look is not for everyone, but for Beau and I, that moment was just what we needed–not a special moment was “lost” from our first look, as we worried about in the beginning–rather, a special moment was gained!

    Choosing the Town Hall as our ceremony site was probably the easiest decision we made throughout the entire planning process. Rosemary Beach is our place. Being in a long distance relationship and traveling back and forth between states throughout the years, this was always the one place that was constant in our relationship. We quickly (and easily) decided that the Rosemary Beach Town Hall would make the perfect location to celebrate together with our two “separate worlds” in our most favorite place!

    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My brother was the officiant at our wedding, and knowing him as a man who is passionate about the message of a Christ-centered marriage, I knew that he would be diving deep into the passage of Ephesians for our ceremony. After discussing our ceremony timeline with him the month before the wedding, I knew that what he had to say was exactly what was needed to be said–nothing more, nothing less.

    What a joy it was for so many SW gals to have a small part in this sweet day! Morgan designed the paper products, Emily created the tinsel stirrers below, and of course, Lara and Ari were in attendance as Grace carried out her flower girl duties!

    Brian of Myrtie Blue was my amazing florist. I mentioned to him I wanted soft, fluffy florals with a little loose foliage, giving them a slightly wild, garden-y feel. We decided on creams, soft pinks, and peaches, as well as the soft light green lamb’s ear to echo the beautiful ribbons that would wrap around the bouquets: pastel velvet!

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There were so many beautiful details, but I would have to say that the backdrop for the ceremony and cake table was my favorite that night. We had our wedding verse, Ruth 1:16, written in gold on a large canvas backdrop that we stood in front of for the ceremony, and it then doubled as a backdrop behind our cake during the reception! The cake table also had an amazing gold sequined tablecloth that popped nicely against all the soft blues in our reception space. We were able to keep our personalized canvas at the end of the day, and I am excited to have it for the rest of our lives!

    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? About two months before our big day, I was sitting at a wedding with my future in-laws. When our friend’s ceremony had ended, and the new couple had exited the venue, all I could think about was how special their vows were and how happy they looked…that’s when it all clicked! I had been worrying about what song would be played when, and what decor would be used where, but at the end of the day, I couldn’t tell you what songs were played at her wedding, or even what flowers were in her bouquet. When your wedding day has come and gone, all that you take with you are the memories made, the words spoken, and the promises kept. Every bride hears it when they begin planning a wedding, and it is much easier said than done, but try to focus on the bigger picture. You are planning a wedding, yes, but more importantly, you are preparing for a marriage with your best friend–and that is a thing to be celebrated!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Beau and I both grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, so we had known each other for years prior to our official meeting. We attended the same high school, where I knew him as the handsome and talented football star. Fast forward three years, and that same cutie happened to be in my Library Aide class fall semester of our senior year. Considering the fact that our “class” consisted of four students, there was plenty of time for Beau and I to really get to know one another. To my surprise, that guy that I had known of for my entire life, but had yet to get to know, ended up being one of the most genuine, precious, and God-fearing leaders I had ever met. We dated throughout our senior year of high school, persevered through some of the hardships of long distance dating through college, and finally got engaged five years later on December 11, 2013. I’ve told him time and time again that finding him in 2008 changed my life, and I am forever grateful!
    Tell us all about the proposal! I was Grace’s nanny last year, and as someone who is in the same house as the SW gals every day, you see a few photographers popping in every now and then. When Lara had mentioned to me that there would be a photographer coming to the house to take some holiday family pics for them, and that I should wear “holiday party-appropriate” attire, I did not think anything of it! Come Wednesday morning, I arrived to work (clueless as ever) feeling good about myself because I had actually put makeup on and fixed my hair…thank goodness! After the mini photo session was almost complete, Lara mentioned that we would be heading over to her church to take some final pictures in front of all their Christmas decor. Beau lived in Ohio, and was supposedly at football practice just hours before, so I was shocked when my Beau greeted me at the front entrance of the church with a bundle of roses. He walked me down a candlelit aisle, and seated me in a chair up on the stage. He then washed my feet, all while sharing with me the importance of serving and loving me like Christ loved the church. In typical McKinney fashion, I just lost it. Beau handed me a gift before he popped the question I had been waiting for since I was a little girl: a bible with my future name engraved on it “Meredith A. Blankenship.” We hugged, rejoiced, laughed, and cried.
    When did y’all get married? Friday, July 11, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Beau and I considered writing our own vows, but as the wedding grew closer, we decided to go with traditional vows. Although I think unique vows are absolutely precious, Beau and I were content to use the same words that our siblings, parents, and grandparents had all shared on their special days, too!
    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Delicious! Seriously, Rhonda, the owner at Confections On The Coast, is out-of-this-world amazing at what she does–both on the exterior and the interior of her cakes. On the outside, I wanted my cake to be simple, clean, and to have a little pop of sparkle. I love polka dots, so there were gold swiss dots on every other tier, and a few soft, pink flowers on the top. On the inside, there were four different types of cake: strawberry, coconut, chocolate peanut butter, and french vanilla. Yum!
    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I thought of my “borrowed” as two things: the diamond on my engagement ring from my mother, that was once my grandmother’s, and that can hopefully go to my future daughter someday, and my grandpa’s Purple Heart that I attached onto my bouquet. My something blue was my perfume, Something Blue by Oscar de la Renta. My something old was my pre-owned wedding dress (what a great deal!), and finally, my something new was my shoes.
    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? We were able to save money in a few areas, one of the main ones being our wedding attire. My dress was bought used from OnceWed and my bridesmaid dresses were on super sale from Anthropologie. Our men’s clothing from J. Crew was ordered through Ebates using a J.Crew card, and purchased through their wedding associate, all to receive a greater discount. The second area we saved in was our bar menu, where we had a limited menu instead of an open bar.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? What’s next? Oh goodness, Beau and I are currently in the middle of our, what I like to call, “adventure year!” Life has been so much fun since we said “I do!” One exciting thing is we are currently living about eight miles down the road from where we got married, in a little beachside condo we adore! As for married life, we are just enjoying being together after so many years of distance. The little things are what bring us joy: coffee together in the morning, praying together each day, planting ourselves in an amazing church, and creating friendships in the same friend group (not seven states away from each other). Marriage is such a gift. We are thankful!

    Photographer: Lauren Kinsey / Videographer: Uhles Videography / Planner: Shelby Peaden Events / Venue: The Town Hall in Rosemary Beach, FL / Florist and Lighting: Myrtie Blue / Cake Baker: Confections On The Coast / Caterer and Rentals: Townsend Catering / Band or DJ: Rock The House / Paper Products: Morgan Moore / Tinsel Stir Sticks: Em for Marvelous / Bride’s Gown: “Emotion” by Monique Lhuillier / Veil: Veiled Beauty / Belt: Camilla Christine / Hair and Makeup: Lanna Bloodworth / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Sugarberry Dress” by Anthropologie / Men’s Suits: J. Crew / Bow Ties: Lumina Clothing / Men’s Shoes: WSS

    Myrtie Blue and Shelby Peaden are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    8 Comments
    1. avatar shelby peaden reply

      Yay! So happy to see Mere + Beau up on the blog today. Such a beautiful, kind, loving family! Happy to have been a part of their wedding!

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    3. avatar Lover.ly reply

      What a sweet story from an amazing couple! Love all the personal and heartfelt details of this wedding.

    4. avatar Feature Friday::Pastel Rosemary Beach Wedding – Shelby Peaden Events Blog reply

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    8. avatar Amanda reply

      What a lovely wedding story. I love gold and your color scheme was beautiful. I especially loved seeing all the joy and love on everyone’s faces throughout!

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    There are very few more Southern meet-cute settings than an SEC football game, and even though it took a few months after the Arkansas vs. MSU matchup where Alison and Brian met for them to start dating, these Southern roots rang true as they planned their Mississippi wedding! The talented Lesley of Tulip Design Studio helped bring all of their romantic inspiration to life at Providence Hill Farm–an equestrian farm that reminded Alison of her childhood in the country. As you can probably imagine, we’re especially smitten with the monogrammed Oatmeal Lace wraps around each of the bouquets!

    Thank you so much to Adam + Alli Photography for sharing this lovely day with us!

    Our wedding flowers were so perfect! They were soft and romantic, and they had a garden feel to them. My florist used a color palette of ivory, white, various shades of soft pink, and gray. We had an abundance of beautiful peonies, garden roses, hydrangea, and dahlias. Each of the bridesmaid bouquets featured a custom monogram ribbon by Oatmeal Lace. The reception florals were arranged in beautiful stone and wood vessels that fit the feel of the wedding perfectly!

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mom, maid of honor, and I all started the journey to Low’s Bridal in Brinkley, Arkansas after work on a Friday and decided to cut the trip in half by stopping in Tunica, Mississippi. That Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early, only to realize that the light snow that was predicted had turned into inches of thick snow. What was suppose to be a short two-hour drive turned into hours on the road sitting in traffic, and we finally arrived at Low’s Bridal at 1 p.m. (our appointment had been at 10). Everyone was so nice, and told us to take our time browsing. Around 5:30, I was completely worn out and all but in tears as my decision came down to two polar opposite dresses: the exact dress that I knew from the beginning I had always wanted, or the ball gown I was wearing that every little girl dreams of getting married in. Finally, I just decided to go with the one I was wearing, and needless to say, I said yes to the wrong dress. Thankfully, the company it was ordered from had not started making the dress, and I was able to switch them. I was completely overjoyed and happy in that moment, and realized that was the feeling I should have felt when saying yes to the dress.

    I’ve always known that if we wrote our own vows, there was no way I would be able to hold it together and say what I wanted to say, much less get anything out before breaking down. That was another decision I am thankful I made because I completely lost it, even just repeating after our officiant. I have two verses from our ceremony painted on a wood palette hanging above our bed: “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Mark 10:9) and “For where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” (Ruth 1:16).

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Beside the fact that it was held at a beautiful equestrian center in the heart of the South, our wedding designer included details such as monogrammed ribbons for all of the bouquets. Nothing says you’re in the South more than a custom monogram! Guests dined on classic Southern food like boiled shrimp, shrimp and grits, and fried chicken.

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I loved the monogram ribbons flowing down from our bouquets, the pop of sequin linens and pillows throughout our reception area, and our fabulous program fans. We both loved the huge chalkboard that had detailed information on each side about Brian and I, which we stood in front of during our receiving line as a photo backdrop.

    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We had to make the call two days before the wedding to implement our rain plan. We were all a little bummed about it, but it worked out in the end, and it was beautiful!

    Don’t miss Alison + Brian’s film from BGP Wedding Films!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met the weekend of the Arkansas vs. Mississippi State football game on November 20, 2010 in Starkville. I was a sophomore at MSU, and Brian had just returned home from playing in the Arizona Fall League. Brian and his best friend drove to Starkville to spend the weekend and catch up. His friend visited my roommate, which is how Brian and I first met. For the next three months, we stayed in contact and saw one another any time we were free. Brian was so charming and such a gentleman, but a guy was the last thing I was looking for at the time, so to me, he was just a friend with an incredible personality. At the end of February, we said our goodbyes as he was leaving for another season of baseball with the Pittsburgh Pirates. It only took two weeks of him being gone before I realized he was truly everything I had ever looked for in a guy. On June 4, 2011, he officially became a part of my life forever.
    Tell us all about the proposal! It was incredible! Brian had taken me out to dinner for a “work promotion.” After finishing our meal, we were walking to his truck when I realized a limo was waiting outside the restaurant for us. Brian said it was taking us to go look at Christmas lights, but we had to make a quick stop first so that Brian could help his brother with something at their CrossFit/baseball facility. Once we arrived, he told me to stay in the car. Literally right when he walked through the front door, a video on the limo’s TV screen started playing. Brian had made a slideshow video of pictures from all of his favorite memories of us together over the past few years with a caption on each slide that quickly brought me to tears. As soon as the video ended, the limo driver opened my door. All the lights were off inside the facility, and there were six beautiful Christmas trees, three on each side, filled with lights and a card on each tree. I read a sign with directions explaining to start on the right with the first tree and zigzag back and forth reading each card. Once I got to the end, the last card had an additional special message saying to turn the corner and to go find him. I turned the corner to find Brian standing in between two tables filled with candles. He gave a beautiful speech, and then said he had three questions to ask me. First, he asked if I would accept his rose (yes, he loves the Bachelor/Bachelorette). Second, he dropped down on one knee and asked me to marry him. After lots of hugs, kisses, and tears, he asked his third question, which was if I would dance with him. When the song was coming to an end, Brian whispered in my ear saying he had one last surprise for me. He turned me around, and there stood both of our families. Having our families there meant the world to me and that moment will forever hold a special place in my heart.
    When did y’all get married? June 28, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 400+
    What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Hands down, Lesley Frascogna. She was our florist, our planner, and designer, but to me, she was so much more than that. I owe so much of our wedding day and every single day leading up to that to her. She truly turned my vision into a reality. Not a day went by when she wasn’t contacting me to help me stay on track with everything. Lesley was so much more to us than just a “vendor,” and I will forever be blessed and honored to have her a part of our wedding.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We’re looking forward to expanding our cooking skills, experiencing football games (since we’re a family divided), making our own traditions, traveling, and of course, starting a family of our own one day!!

    Photographer: Adam + Alli Photography / Videographer: Brock Gomez Productions / Planner and Florist: Lesley Frascogna / Venue: Providence Hill Farm / Cake Baker: The Cake Diva / Catering: Pretty Presentations Catering / Rentals: Mississippi Tent / Lighting: Davaine / Band: Al Paris & the Heartbreakers / Monogrammed Ribbon: Oatmeal Lace Design / Signage: Southern Sprout / Paper Products: Thimble Press / Bride’s Gown: “9104” by Allure Bridals / Hair Stylist: William Wallace Salon / Makeup Artist: Louis Peterman of William Wallace Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “2895” by The Dessy Group / Menswear: Tuxes Too / Linens: La Tavola

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    5 Comments
    1. avatar Zyfaf reply

      Gorgeous blue colors, adorable farm animals, and a lovely couple = wedding bliss!

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