We all know I’m a classic wedding kind of girl; I love big pink blooms and puffy dresses (yes, I even wore a tiara at my own wedding!) But, y’all! Completely juxtaposed with what I traditional fawn over, there is something so lovely about Morgan and Coty’s wedding day that I am obsessed with! I’m pretty sure it’s their exuberant joy, but the handmade details, including the campfire log benches-turned-ceremony pews has a little something to do with it too! When Morgan told us about their guests singing “You Are My Sunshine” as they danced in dripping wet wedding day clothes after the rainstorm, my heart jumped right out of my chest!
I’m sure we can all agree that big hug are in order for Michael + Carina for sharing this sweet day with us!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Coty saw me on my first day of high school as I strolled out onto the floor in my cheerleading outfit during a pep rally. Our eight-year dating anniversary actually fell three days after our wedding!
I made my bouquet the day before the wedding. I recommend that all brides go to a flower market so you can actually see what a bloom looks like in person, rather than just in a catalog. I knew I wanted a pastel color palette, since there weren’t any set colors for our wedding, and the David Austin roses were perfect for the romantic look I wanted to achieve. The flower market was out of dahlias, so I chose white football mums for a similar texture. Ranunculus and the sweet feverfew added the perfect touch of fun and wild. I finished the bouquet with ripped strands of white fabric.
We have been camping and kayaking at Shortbranch Farms since we were teenagers. For the past several years, we have loved to sit by the river and dream about what we each would do if we were to ever decorate it for our wedding. The owners are family friends, and it was such a blessing that they allowed us to get married on the land where we have so many memories!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I am in love with our ceremony benches. I looked and looked for something I thought was appropriate, cost-effective, and aesthetically pleasing for the simple ceremony we desired. I didn’t want aisle or alter decorations, so I needed something that would speak for itself. The owners of the farm had small log benches around their campfire at their cabin, so we asked him if he could create something similar to seat 130-140 people! They came out perfectly!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We are from Kentucky and we love our state! We had to include some Kentucky bourbon in our day, so Coty buried the bottle in his grandfather’s old ammo box, and he and his groomsmen dug it out the morning of the wedding for a toast. I have to say–it unfortunately didn’t keep away bad weather!
We live in a very rural area in the middle of the nowhere, Kentucky. We are an hour from a (small) mall and thirty minutes from the nearest grocery. One of our biggest challenges was finding vendors that offered what we loved in our tiny area. We ended up doing a lot of items ourselves–stationery, flowers, decor–and a lot of driving and ordering to get other items.
After the rain came, everyone grabbed a pie and ran to the covered bridge. Coty and I cut a soggy pie with our hands and fed it to one another. Everyone then sang “You Are My Sunshine” as we danced in our dripping wedding clothes. It was like being in a scene from a romantic movie.
Tell us all about the proposal! We met the amazing Alicia of Aesthetiica Photography in the woods for a frosty winter session in the middle of December. Coty and Alicia had brainstormed for weeks before and planned a secret cue for when he should pop the question. We cuddled up in the blanket for a few photos in the perfect light, and the photographer told me to throw the blanket off to the side. When I turned back around, Coty was on his knee!
When did y’all get married? August 23, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did, but believe it or not, our vows were in Coty’s pocket during the rain, and both papers were smudged beyond recognition. Make sure your wedding vows are backed up somewhere so you can read them in fifty years!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We chose to have a banjo player for the ceremony–we love listening to modern bluegrass music and it is such a big part of our state’s history. He began playing slowly as everyone entered the ceremony, and for our exit, he played a fast tune in a manner Coty calls “pickin’ and grinnin’.”
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? Less than $10,000
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? I didn’t look at the weather on the morning of the wedding–whatever happened was going to happen, and there wasn’t any amount of worrying that could change it. It started out in the mid-nineties, but I was just beaming from ear to ear that it wasn’t raining. At our reception, as we made our way to cut our pie, the heavens opened and the rain came flooding down. Everyone ran for the covered bridge and we all stood huddled together waiting for the rain to end. It didn’t. It rained 3.75 inches by morning. We had a blast playing in the rain, and although we wish everyone hadn’t gotten soaked–especially our sweet grandparents–we were married all the same.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Our newest adventure has been getting a golden doodle puppy! We actually had a dog when we got married, and now the two of them keep us busy and entertained!
Photographer: Michael and Carina Photography / Venue: Shortbranch Farms / Florist: Import Flowers, bouquet by the bride / Caterer: Brothers / Chairs: Brown Paper Bag of Kentucky / Band or DJ: Otis / Favors: The Succulent Source / Bride’s Gown: “9MK3576” by David’s Bridal / Hair Stylist: Riley Eskridge / Bride’s Shoes: “Jaxxon High-Back” by Gianni Bini / Groom’s Suspenders: No Slip Suspenders / Groom’s Bow Tie: Clip a Bow Tie / Groom’s Wood Wedding Band: Cool Natural Jewelry
Y’all know I’m a pink and gold glitter kind of girl. However, despite what I’m traditionally smitten with, Mary Courtney and Kit’s rustic mountain wedding has me completely in love. I was talking to BDK about this wedding, and I told him that while the wedding is absolutely beautifully designed by Chad Biggs (he agreed!), I think one of the reasons I love it so much is the sweetest interview from Mary Courtney, and the way she and Kit kept their planning focused on creating a wedding full of meaningful moments, and a foundation to build their marriage upon.
Big hugs to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Graham Terhune for sharing this sweet day with us!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Katie, who did my hair, was such a blessing! I have really curly, thick hair, so I was very nervous to have someone try to style it. I met Katie about a month and a half before the wedding for a trial, and from the moment I met her, I felt like she was one of my best friends. She is so gentle and encouraging! My mom, my sister, and I laughed and cried with her talking about life, the wedding, and our shared faith in Jesus. I was so excited to see her again on my wedding day!
We had a shorter engagement, so I did not have much time to waste! I decided to try a store near my parents’ house in Raleigh, Traditions by Anna. At Traditions, I tried on a few different styles and ended up loving the first dress I tried on! It was lace and had straps and a low back, which was exactly what I wanted. There was a detachable train that we originally did not pay any attention to, but we ended up loving it! It made the dress so unique because it was all tulle, so it was a different fabric than the rest of the dress. Our seamstress created a really unique bustle with it. I loved my dress and wish I had another event to wear it to!
We decided to stick to the tradition of not seeing each other on our wedding day until I walked down the aisle. Before the ceremony, we stood holding hands around the corner of a door and were able to pray together without seeing each other. That was such a sweet moment and it was nice to be able to hold his hand and hear his voice after not talking all day!
Our favorite detail was that all our favorite people were a part of our wedding day! Our best friends were our bridesmaids and groomsmen (which is why there were so many). Dave, who married us, also married my parents almost 30 years ago! Our videographer was one of Kit’s old roommates. I lived with a family in Charlotte last year, and the little girls I lived with became like little sisters to me, so they were our flower girls (they thought we were asking them to marry Kit when we asked them to be our flower girls–I can understand, he’s cute)! Our parents were a huge part in helping us pull everything together and covering our day in prayer. All our different vendors felt like old friends to us because they cared for us so well throughout the process.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We wanted our wedding to point to Jesus and how he has changed our lives. We also wanted our wedding to be a celebration, so that helped us choose the songs we used for our ceremony! I walked down the aisle to “10,000 Reasons,” which is a song we both love and felt was a beautiful worship song to celebrate us getting married! We sang “In Christ Alone” as a congregation during the wedding, and when our bridal party laid hands on us and prayed for us during the ceremony, “Death In His Grave” was played.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We wanted to get married in the mountains of North Carolina, and Claxton Farm is right near Windy Gap! Windy Gap is a Young Life camp where we will go on weekend and summer camp trips with Young Life for years to come. We thought it would be special to be able to drive by and say, “Hey, remember when we got married there and it was the best day ever!?” Windy Gap is also where my dad met the Lord when he was in high school and our family went there growing up, so it was a special place for my whole family.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We loved being able to have dinner by ourselves after our ceremony before joining the party again! Some of our best friends did this at their wedding and suggested it to us. It was the perfect amount of time to be alone, since we had not talked to each other all day. It was a sweet moment to realize WOW! We are husband and wife! This is awesome!
Describe your wedding flowers. I wanted beautiful flowers that looked very natural and organic with a garden feel. I don’t love bright colors, so I asked our florist for the flowers to be mostly white and green. She threw in some succulents and different textures and created bouquets, wreaths, and arrangements more beautiful and unique than I could have imagined!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our desserts were incredible! Our friends at Ruth & Randshaw created the most delicious pies. We picked out a few different flavors that everyone would LOVE: strawberry rhubarb, chocolate oreo, pecan, and apple pie! I was so glad they packed us a to-go box of every flavor! Ruth & Randshaw also catered a brunch for my parents and their friends for the morning after the wedding–they are unbelievable bakers and the sweetest sisters!
I was really excited about our first dance because Kit is an incredible dancer and loves to cut a rug! I let him pick our first dance song, so naturally, he picked his favorite song to swing and shag to, which is “You Make My Dreams Come True.”
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Kit and I met at Clemson University, where Kit was actually the Clemson Tiger for three years during school! We met during my freshman year, Kit’s sophomore year, at my sorority’s spring formal, but it wasn’t until the next year when Kit and his friends lived in the apartment next to me that we started to get to know each other. My roommate was on his Young Life team and in the same major so he was over a lot working on projects and skits for Young Life. Kit says he realized quickly that he was coming over more to see me than to work on projects. He asked me on our first date by mailing me a postcard from Vermont (where he is from) when he went home to visit his family one weekend. We went on a few dates, and then we were off to different parts of the country for the summer. Kit continued to pray for our relationship and that if this was in the Lord’s will, it would work. Finally, that fall when we got, back to Clemson the Lord made it clear that I was supposed to date this boy. It took seven months after our first date before we officially became a couple. The Lord has been a continual thread throughout our relationship and I am grateful He gave me the courage to trust this sweet boy!
Tell us all about the proposal! I was having a really hard day when Kit picked me up in Charlotte on Friday, January 17 to drive home to Raleigh for a wedding that weekend. I cried to him in the car about how I missed him and the distance was wearing on me. Kit sat in the driver’s seat, smiling. I was so annoyed–I didn’t know why he was taking this so lightly! The next morning, we had plans to go on a run, but I was taking my time, not noticing that everyone was trying to get me out the door. My sister tried to get me to wear something cute, but I said, “Tessa, it is 30 degrees outside–I need to be warm!” Soon enough, we were running toward the trail and I wanted to turn a different way than he did, but told him we would come back the way he wanted to go. As we were passing where he wanted to run, I saw a blanket, some flowers, and some books. I stopped and said “Wait, is this for me?” Kit held my hand and walked me over to the blanket, where he gave me a book that had the inside hollowed out and a letter inside. He had written the letter a year and a half earlier, saying he knew he wanted to marry me. I cried, read it twice, and couldn’t stop saying “Oh my gosh!” Then, he handed me a bible that had my new name engraved on it, grabbed my hands, got down on one knee, told me how much he loved me and wanted to serve me and put the Lord at the center of our marriage, pulled out the most beautiful ring, and then asked me if I wanted to marry him. I screamed YES! Back at my parents’ house, I was surprised by his parents who flew down from Vermont, plus a bunch of other friends and family who had come a long way to see us!
When did y’all get married? August 30, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 290
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? One of my family friends from growing up designed our invitations, programs, napkins–she is very talented!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Kit always says, “Don’t sweat the petty things.” Planning will seem so overwhelming at times, but if you can take a step back and go on a walk or play outside with your fiancé, take advantage of it! Laugh, cry, talk about things other than the wedding, and remind each other why you are so pumped to start life together. Your wedding day is the best day ever, and guess what? Marriage is a blast–you get to do life with your best friend in the whole world!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We just moved to Columbia, South Carolina to be on Young Life staff! We are so happy to be living in the same city again and working together! Kit is my boss (woah!) and it has been so much fun to work alongside each other, loving college and high school students while sharing who Jesus is and what he did for us. It is such an adventure to move to a new place with your best friend, and we are loving it so far!
Photographer: Graham Terhune Photography / Videographer: Earthswell / Planner: Chad Biggs / Venue: Claxton Farm / Florist: Expressions of Love Florist / Dessert Baker: Ruth & Randshaw / Caterer and Rentals: m7 / Band: Rubberband / Paper Products: Anna Grace Photography and Design / Bridal Salon and Veil: Traditions by Anna / Hair Stylist: Katie Manselle / Makeup Artist: Melissa Doeber / Bride’s Shoes: Anthropologie / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Joanna August / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank
Graham Terhune is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!