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It’s been so funny to refer to today’s wedding in the office, because this handsome couple shares a name with my own marvelous husband and me! Yep, we’ve got another Emily + John on our hands. And if I had to choose a pair to share a name with, I don’t think I could do much better. I love the romantic fall details they planned with Atrendy Wedding (especially the hot drink bar at their ceremony!), but what struck a chord with me most was Emily’s thoughts on their first look: the whole morning while I was getting ready, I felt anxious that John wasn’t with me. He’s been with me for every important thing that has happened since we met, and it seemed so odd not to share those moments of anticipation with him. As soon as we were reunited at our first look, all my nerves immediately evaporated. It allowed us to really savor the wedding and reception, and it was one of the rare quiet moments we had together all weekend. My own John is definitely my best friend, and I felt the same way on our wedding day.

Big hugs to Abby Grace for sharing these lovely photos with us!

From the minute I walked into Lovely Bride’s boutique in DC, I felt like I would find my dress there. We had been to a handful of shops that day, but nothing had stood out. When I tried my dress on, my first impression was that it was so incredibly comfortable. I loved the silhouette, the lace back, and the way it fell. I always thought I would design my own wedding gown, and I wanted to make a few changes, so I worked with the seamstresses at Green and Blue Studio to redesign the neckline. My dress was one part classic and one part glamorous, and most importantly, it felt like something John would recognize me in.

I wanted to avoid the Thanksgiving/fall look, so I opted for soft neutrals–mostly whites, with blush, peach and soft gray accents, as well as my favorite flower-I-had-never-heard-of: dusty miller. At the end of the night, my wedding planner arranged for a nonprofit called Petal Share to pick up the flowers and deliver them to hospitals, retirement homes, hospices, etc., which I thought was neat!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. John and I met in Fall 2009 during our first semester at Harvard Business School, where we were in the same section. John DJs as a hobby, and he DJ’d some of our section’s events that fall. I was the section photographer, and around the holidays, I was putting together a slideshow video for our school formal. I asked him to help me mix some music for the video, and we spent a whole day working on this project together. We went on our first date to a French restaurant called Aquitaine about a week later. The way John tells it, he knew I was the one by the end of that dinner. We’ve been sharing laughter and adventures ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! On Saturday, June 15, we were in Boston on a beautiful, sunny day. We were pulling up to check-in at the hotel where that formal had been held during our first year of school. Instead of going to the front desk, John gave me a love letter marked “#1,” and hailed another cab. We ended up going on a tour of places that were meaningful to our relationship, with love letters at each stop. He gave me Letter #3 on the Weeks Footbridge, which crosses the Charles River, took my hands, and dropped down on one knee. While this was happening, I heard a flurry of camera shutters clicking away. I had thought they were tourists, but they were actually there to photograph the proposal! They took us around Cambridge to do engagement photos before we continued on to stops #4 and #5, ending with lunch at Aquitaine, the site of our first date.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We started with traditional vows, but we personalized them so that each line really held meaning for us. My favorite line was one we added: “from this day forward, my home will always be with you”. To me, marriage has always been about finding an anchor and constancy in a life that is otherwise unpredictable and full of change. No matter what life brings us, all I need is John with me and we’ll be home.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? The Old Testament reading was from Tobit 8:4-8, which we chose for the final line, “… bring us to old age together.” That has always been our shared vision for marriage–that we would be hand in hand when we’re old. The New Testament reading was Colossians 3:12-17, which was also one of the readings my parents used at their wedding. The Gospel reading was John 15:9-12: “Love each other as I have loved you.” It can’t get more straightforward than that!

Mini grilled cheese sandwiches! And mini bottles of champagne to guide guests to their tables! Y’all know I am in heaven.

The things I love about the South revolve around family, tradition, soft colors and Chick-fil-A (I lived in Georgia for a long time…). I think the South is simultaneously casual and elegant, and that was the feel I wanted at our wedding. I loved the soft color scheme, the historic venue, and the combination of black tie in a totally relaxed atmosphere. We incorporated family heirlooms and tradition, and had my cousin officiate. We spent a lot of time thinking about how to best host our guests–most of whom traveled from out of town–and we planned things like the cider station, pashminas, welcome cocktails, and a farewell brunch for them. Finally, the red velvet groom’s cake was obviously a Southern touch, and the mini chicken and waffles during cocktail hour were my personal favorite.

I absolutely LOVED John’s groom cake. The pastry chef made a cake shaped like a DJ turntable, complete with a record saying “DJ Kos.” His cake was classic red velvet–the good Southern kind that’s actually cocoa-based, not just food coloring!

When did y’all get married? November 16, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. John is a music fanatic, so we spent a lot of time thinking about this! We went fairly traditional with the ceremony music. Our first dance was to our band’s rendition of John Legend’s “Stay with You”; it’s a beautiful, soulful song. John and his mom danced to Rascal Flatt’s “My Wish,” and I danced with my dad to Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.” Both John and my dad are huge Dylan fans, and this particular song is one my dad and his late sister used to sing at family events, so it was a special way to honor her memory as well.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I went with a sweet and simple cake: three round tiers, textured buttercream, and a large beaded border. The cake was almond with strawberry meringue buttercream filling. The pastry chef put little chocolate crunchies in the center, which reminded me of the ice cream cakes we used to get for our birthdays growing up.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I did my own calligraphy on the invitations, escort cards, place cards, and signs. For the signs, I found all the frames on Etsy, and my mom figured out a way to turn the black chalkboards a soft gray color. I spent hours doing all the design and lettering by hand. I was also thrilled with the way our guestbook turned out–we had a photo booth, so our guests used their photos to make a scrapbook for us. It was so much fun reading it when we got back from our honeymoon.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! For my something borrowed, I wore my great grandma, grandma and mom’s original engagement rings on my right hand. For something old, I wrapped my flowers in lace from their wedding dresses. My mother-in-law gave me a locket passed down in her family to pin to my flowers as well. To me, this was like a good luck symbol to be carrying the strength and wisdom of all those long marriages with me as I started my own. My something blue was a monogrammed handkerchief I carried, just in case John or I teared up during the ceremony. My mother gave me a beautiful pearl and diamond bracelet as my something new.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The hardest thing for us was planning the wedding in five months from a different city during a busy period at work. I had one “super weekend” in Virginia where we booked the rehearsal dinner, hotel, and band, had the food and cake tastings, had my first dress fitting, and did hair and make up trials all in one. My wedding planner helped by recommending the vendors, but my mom was really the star. She did so much of the heavy lifting to bring my vision to life, including hand-making the ceremony decorations and helping with all the DIY elements.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I’m torn between my photographer and my wedding planner. As a photography fanatic, I was most excited for the photos, and Abby just did a superb job. It’s one of the few times in my life that the photos actually look the way I felt. But, having Pam and her team there on the wedding day to worry about everything so my mom and I could just relax and have fun was an incredible blessing.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Reading John’s letter to me before I got into my gown and went to meet him for our first look, and then finally seeing him and feeling like we could take on the world together. John says his favorite moment was catching a glimpse of me through the trees as my dad and I made our way down the brick path to the garden where the ceremony took place.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Let go of the need to make your wedding perfect. Our wedding was made perfect by all the little things that didn’t go according to plan that day, experiencing the love and support of our friends and family as they helped us resolve the mini fiascos, and laughing through it all.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Right now, we are really focused on our careers and getting settled in Chicago. We are getting ready to buy our first home!

Photographer: Abby Grace Photography / Planner: Pam Barefoot at Atrendy Wedding / Venue: River Farm / Florist: Toulies en Fleur / Cake Baker: Fluffy Thoughts / Caterer: Well Dunn Catering / Rentals: Party Rental Ltd and Rent-All Center / Band: Hipshack via Sam Hill Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: “Lauren” by Nicole Miller / Alterations: Green and Blue Studio / Paper Products: William Arthur and Minted / Hair Stylist: Bridal Artistry DC / Makeup Artist: Audrey at Bridal Artistry DC / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Dessy, After Six and Joanna August / Groom’s Attire: Balani Custom Clothiers / Photo Booth: Monumental Moments Photo Booth / Ceremony Music: Halley Schoenberg Jazz Trio

Atrendy Wedding is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Emilia Jane reply

    So gorgeous Abby! That first image is perfection and the whole feature is too lovely <3

  2. avatar Matt reply

    Those are some beautiful pictures! And the wedding looks beautiful as well.

  3. avatar Abby Grace reply

    Thank y’all so, SO much for featuring one of my favorite couples ever! Pam from ATrendy is a wedding genius, so I knew John & Emily’s big day was going to be a vision. Thank you, thank you!!

  4. avatar Kyla F reply

    I absolutely love the care and thought that was clearly put into the details in this wedding, especially Emily’s hand-lettering (gorgeous!) and her bouquets.

  5. avatar Melissa reply

    I love the grooms cake and my groom is actually a DJ- can I ask where you got that cake?

  6. avatar Pinterest Wedding Picks Your Guests Will Love! – Hey Wedding Lady reply

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  7. avatar Wedding Invitations by Tango Design reply

    Stunning wedding, all details so looked after. Love the shot with the mini grill cheese sandwiches, the groom cake and all blackboard details. Best from Australia!

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My heart just about burst when I started scrolling through Kelsey and Clint’s wedding pictures. Everything from Kelsey’s cowboy boots to that dreamy Texas sky makes me miss my home state! Not only was Kelsey and Clint’s beautiful wedding such a celebration of the Lone Star State and the South, it was also full of details that celebrated their relationship and what matters most to them. Their rock “guest book,” for example, was a unique way for people to share their prayers and love, and now, Kelsey and Clint are encouraged by the messages on those rocks regularly. By focusing on faith and family, their wedding a truly meaningful beginning to married life.

Hugs to Taylor Lord for sharing Kelsey and Clint’s wedding with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? 
I borrowed Clint’s grandmother’s brooch for my bouquet, wore my tried and true Lucchese Boots for something old, and bought a gold bracelet with my new monogram for something new.

My family planned a trip to Park City, UT, and while I was preparing for a much-needed vacation, Clint was preparing for a sweet surprise. We planned on going climbing later in the week, but the anticipation was getting to Clint. On the very first morning, Clint proclaimed that we should hike that day due to the weather. My sister and brother-n-law backed out at the last minute due to an “injury.” I, being the inexperienced climber and gullible sister, bought every fib. During our assent, the signs began to appear “Are your hands swelling?” and “You should call your mom and let her know our ETA for lunch.” They were all minor questions that later revealed his secret. We rode the gondola lift to the peak and at the top sought out the perfect viewpoint. It was here, when Clint was fiddling with his GoPro camera to ensure that it was set perfectly, that I knew. Then, the sweet question followed. After tears, kisses and long embraces, Clint said there was one more surprise. Around the bend, my family was waiting for a sky-high celebration. Well done, Clint!

We love that Kelsey included the house party tradition in her wedding! Not familiar with house parties? Learn about this oh-so-Southern tradition here.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 
Our dear friend Kyle read Psalm 62:1-2, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you 
The wedding party took their seats to “Walk Down This Mountain” by Bebo Norman. Beyond the obvious title, my brother-n-law, Gabe Scott, is a musician and has played with Bebo for years. Plus, one of my best friend’s from college was our vocalist. It was sentimental on many levels. Being the amazing brother that he is, Gabe also composed an original piece on the hammered dulcimer for my bridal processional. During the ceremony, the entire congregation sang “Come Thou Fount” while Clint and I had a private moment of communion. Finally, for the first dances, we stuck with two Southern staples: George Strait and Alan Jackson.

We got married in the smallest incorporated city in the great state of Texas, Round Top (population: 91). My parents moved out to the country from Houston years ago, and now we call this charming town home. Even though it’s tiny, twice a year, Round Top transforms into one of the biggest antique destinations in the nation. The town square is home to the infamous Royer’s Round Top Cafe, small shops, Henkel Hall and a picturesque white church. I had two bridesmaids and the rest of my friends were House Party–one the best Southern traditions, in my opinion. The sound of our wedding was an ode to the South. My friend’s band, Brother of Pearl, played bluegrass and folk classics during cocktail hour. Then, the Westernaires polished off the evening with the sounds of steel guitar and fiddle, leading guests in a classic two-stepping evening. Our bar only served Texas beer and wine: Shiner and Becker Vineyards. Under the oak trees, we set up a game of washers. My dad used to judge the washer pitching tournaments at the Houston Rodeo, so no family gathering is complete without a game. Finally, Louie, our shepherd/lab mix, was an honorary groomsman and walked us down the aisle. He looked quite dapper in his bowtie. A true Southern gentleman.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Letting go of the details. Event planning is something that I love to do, but I constantly had to remind myself that people were there to help me. I surrounded myself with amazing talent: Taylor Lord, Gypsy Floral, Loot, my wedding coordinator Linda and of course, my mother.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
Rocks are an important detail in our relationship. Clint guides church groups up 14k mountains in Colorado and they ask the kids to find a rock that symbolizes something in their life to pray over. We wanted to incorporate this throughout our wedding. We had a display of river rocks for people to share blessings, thoughts, verses or encouragements. They now reside on our coffee table, and ever so often, I sort through them, finding one that speaks to me. Truly a blessing that we will carry throughout our marriage.

Gypsy Floral did an incredible job bringing our vision to life. We wanted the flowers to accent and showcase the amazing venue in Round Top, Texas. My bridal bouquet was composed of white peonies, white ranunculus, Juliet garden roses, thistle and white scabiosa flower accented by dusty miller. The stem was wrapped in ribbon and closed with Clint’s grandmother’s knife and fork brooch. French flower buckets filled with cream and green florals framed the church staircase, while two lemon leaf garlands lined the handrails. During the cocktail hour, Loot Vintage Rentals created seating vignettes under the oak trees. Each included a gorgeous arrangement to make it feel like home. Centerpieces were arranged using Queen Anne’s lace, my grandmother’s favorite flower. Finally, over the wedding party table, the girls created a driftwood arbor that was beyond my imagination. Created from aged driftwood, angle vine and curly willow, they hung terrariums and lanterns down from the center. The piece was a beautiful anchor for the entire evening.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. 
Cakes by Cathy has been a friend of my husband’s family for years. When we got engaged, it was no question that we were using Cathy. I wanted simple buttercream frosting with soft pearl dots lining each layer. Cathy worked with the Gypsy Floral team to add a floral garland. The “H” monogram on top came from BHLDN. For the groom’s cake, we went with another obvious (and delicious) choice, Royer’s Round Top Cafe. Tara Royer created the most beautiful pie display, almost like you were walking into an old soda fountain shop. And what is pie without ice cream? Blue Bell Ice Cream is made in the next town over, and if you’ve never experienced this delight, make a trip to Texas! Needless to say, dessert was scrumptious.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. 
Clint and I met while working on a political campaign. He was the politician’s executive aide and I was the photographer. Needless to say, we spent many hours traveling together and our friendship quickly grew into something much more special.
When did y’all get married? 
March 16, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. 
After ten bridal boutiques (yes, you read that correctly) we found the one! I guess you could say I’m an indecisive shopper. Amber from Julian Gold Bridal in San Antonio was amazing. She found all the elements that I had loved about other dresses in this one Christos gown. Lace, sweetheart neckline, straps, comfortable and most importantly, it looked great with boots! We switched out the belt for an Emily Riggs hand-beaded design, shined my boots and called it a day.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? 
How does one pick? I have to say, The Westernaires were a sweet surprise. Dancing is a big deal at weddings. It’s safe to say it can make or break the affair, so we took a risk with our old fashioned two-stepping tunes. The dance floor was full all night long! It was one thing Clint and I didn’t expect and were so excited to see happen.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? 
My husband’s dad is a pastor in San Antonio. Out of all the laughter, dancing and memorable moments, his marrying us is one that will always be near and dear to our hearts.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
Breathe. The time will fly, the wedding day will race by. Take a moment to enjoy what you planned. We left our wedding, made the block, and came back to keep on dancing. We didn’t want the night to end!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? 
Traveling together! We are planning trips big and small. Experiencing new cities and cultures is something we are both passionate about.

Photographer: Taylor Lord Photography | Videographer: Stephan Stephanian | Wedding Planner: Linda Brunson – Family Friend | Ceremony Venue: Haw Creek Church | Reception Venue: Henkel Hall | Florist: Gypsy Floral | Wedding Cake & Dessert Baker: Cakes by Cathy Young & Royer’s Round Top Cafe | Caterer: Royer’s Round Top Cafe | Rentals: Loot Vintage Rentals | Band: The Westernaires | Bride’s Gown: Christos (Style: Irina) | Paper Products: Colette Creative (Invitation), Inviting Affairs (Program) | Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: Emily Riggs Bridal (Belt), Kate Spade (Earrings), Etsy (Monogram Bracelet) | Hair Stylist: Morgan Stephanian, friend | Makeup Artist: Morgan Stephanian, friend | Bride’s Shoes: Luccese Boots | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo (Style: Nabi) | Groom’s Attire: Joseph A. Bank | Groom’s Bow Tie: Billy Reid | Groomsmen Attire: Joseph A. Bank | Groomsmen Ties: Billy Reid

Taylor Lord is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Kat reply

    Their rock guestbook is so unique and so meaninful to the couple – I love that! And that driftwood arbor?! By far my favorite detail of their day!

  2. avatar KELSEY + CLINT | round top wedding | AUSTIN WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER TAYLOR LORD reply

    […] light, yummy couple, YUMMY PIE! Thanks to Southern Weddings for their feature today of this adorable southern Round Top Texas […]

  3. avatar Ray Hadaway reply

    Kelsey and Clint: Thank you for including us in your wedding. All of us in The Westernaires had a great time! It was a treat to meet the governor of Texas and to join in all the festivities. Wishing you both the best in life and blessing on your new life together.

    Ray Hadaway
    The Westernaires
    Western Swing & Classic Country

  4. avatar Dana reply

    reception area is so beautiful! this is a perfect texas wedding!

  5. avatar Gypsy Floral reply

    Loved every moment spent with this lovely couple! The day was a true reflection of their love and we were so happy to be a part of it! Gorgeous photos by Taylor Lord.

  6. avatar tara royer steele reply

    fav wedding ever!! love y’all!!

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Happy Monday, friends! So far, you’ve gotten a peek at the Dream Southern Summer Weddings of the lovely Emily, Marissa, Nicole and Kristin, and now it’s my turn!

One thing that sets me apart from most of my fellow SW gals is that I am a city girl, through and through. My sister and I joke that we sleep better to traffic noises than country noises, and nothing fires me up quite like exploring places like Atlanta, Raleigh, or Austin (three of my very favorite Southern cities). With that being said, an elegant wedding in my nearest big city (Raleigh) complete with lots of charming Southern details would be my dream come true!

Clockwise from top left: bridesmaid dresses by Jessica Lorren, tablescape by Caroline Joy via Style Me Pretty, chalkboard calligraphy by Jen Huang via Style Me Pretty, cake by Steve Steinhardt via Southern Weddings, Raleigh wedding portrait by Nancy Ray via Style Me Pretty, Just Married sign by Max Wanger via 100 Layer Cake, invitation by Patricia Lyons via Southern Weddings, venue by Sam Stroud via Southern Weddings, Vera Wang Delaney dress by Lacie Hansen via Snippet and Ink

The feel: Classic and chic with an undeniable sense of Southern hospitality. Lush florals, swirly custom calligraphy, and cafe lights strung across the ceiling would help strike the perfect balance between urban and romantic. The details would all have an understated Southern feel, such as mint julep signature cocktails, a seersucker something blue, gussied up biscuits (like from our V6 biscuit shoot–check out a little sneak peek on Instagram!) and monogrammed cocktail napkins.

The place: I love industrial elements in reception spaces, especially brick walls, hardwood floors and huge architectural windows. A venue in the heart of Raleigh with any combination of these things would be fine by me!

The time: Early June, around 5 p.m.

The style: Since we’re just dreaming here, I’d splurge on one of my favorite dresses ever, the gorgeous Vera Wang Delaney. Y’all, this dress gives me chills! I love anything with bows, so I would pair it with some dreamy Valentino bow pumps, and complete the look with a long, wispy veil, My girls would wear long, mismatched dresses in shades of blush, gray and ivory, plus some delicate gold jewelry. My groom and his guys would dress in classic, dark gray suits and brown wingtip shoes.

The food: I can’t quite shake my love affair with the foodie culture in Austin, where I went to college, so I’d have to go with an elegant, modern take on Tex Mex. If Torchy’s Tacos would like to deliver to Raleigh as well, I would not refuse it. :)

The music: This is one place I would bring in more distinctly Southern elements, especially because I love country music. I’m thinking a live bluegrass band at cocktail hour and then a handful of my favorite country songs on the reception playlist.

The flowers: My two favorite flowers are quite strictly spring flowers (peonies and dogwoods–though see if you can find a different way I’d incorporate dogwoods!). For the summer, I would opt for blush garden roses, white gardenias and pale pink ranunculus, all anchored with some dark greenery. My bouquet would be tied with a charcoal gray Froufrou Chic ribbon and accented with my mom’s gold heart locket (something old and borrowed!). Centerpieces would consist of more of the same, arranged in loose, low vessels that let the flowers and greenery spill out on to the table.

What do y’all think? What would your dream Southern summer wedding look like?

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Caroline Joy reply

    As Austin-ites ourselves, Torchy’s Tacos is our absolute favorite! :) I love every bit of this beautiful post, Lisa!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Thank you so much, Caroline! I cannot wait to get some tacos and queso when I visit Austin over Thanksgiving–my stomach is growling just thinking about it!

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Gorgeous! What a sparkly and fun Southern soiree :)

  3. avatar lena reply

    Oh so pretty!

  4. avatar Dana reply

    i would totally be a bridesmaid in this wedding! especially if torchys is there :)

  5. avatar Elegant Fall Wedding by The Studio B Photography – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] know how much a city wedding gets my heart pounding, and Anne and Eric’s Nashville nuptials are no exception. I could go […]

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