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We all know there is so much planning that goes into a wedding: the look, the details, and, especially in the South, making sure guests feel welcome and have a fabulous time. And, while I’m all for Southern hospitality, reading through Kelly and Austin’s sweet interview, I was most struck by how they felt. Your wedding day is filled with so many emotions and it goes by so quickly that it’s sometimes hard to remember everything, but reading that Kelly and Austin felt like the “luckiest people to be loved by so many incredible people” made my heart skip a beat. I remember feeling exactly the same way on my wedding day, and despite any snafus, marrying your best friend is always the best day ever!

Thanks to Alea Moore for capturing this beautiful day!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It’s hard to choose, because every time we turned a corner, there was something else to admire, but my favorite detail was probably my bouquet. I never imagined that I would have something so beautiful and special at my own wedding, so I seriously cried when I saw it.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? It was a hard decision because having a first look can make pictures a lot easier and save time during the wedding, but it just didn’t feel right for us. I explained to Austin that when I imagined seeing him for the first time on our wedding day, he was standing at the altar waiting for me. There is this really powerful moment when you see each other for the first time after all of the anticipation, and we wanted that moment to be a part of what made the ceremony special. Seeing each other in that moment is one of our favorite memories from the wedding.

We wrote our own vows, and it was the most challenging and meaningful thing we did for the wedding. When you have to sit down and really decide what you can promise to someone, you realize to a greater extent what marriage really is. We did’t hear each others vows until we were at the altar, and it was so powerful hearing what God had laid on our hearts separately as a vision for our marriage. There were so many similarities, it was pretty evident that He had already started preparing us to become one. This was my favorite line, adapted from Ephesians 3:20 “…today, I enter into this covenant with hopeful expectation that God will do immeasurably more with our marriage than all we could ask for or imagine, according to His power and not our own.”

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? The absolute best and most valuable thing we did while being engaged was going through pre-marital counseling. We got connected with a professional counselor through our church and spent six sessions with her trying to prepare for situations we would encounter in our marriage. Honestly, we went into the first session thinking “We’re a great couple… will there even be anything to talk about?”, but we were shocked when it ended and we still had so many things to talk through. We learned so much about each other, about ourselves, and about how to communicate through those conversations. When we finished the last session, we were actually sad that we wouldn’t get to go anymore, but we left feeling a million times more prepared for whatever marriage will throw at us.

We stumbled upon the Engine Room by chance during our venue hunt, and we knew from the moment we stepped inside that we would get married on those old wood floors, with natural light pouring in through the huge windows.

When we realized how much money it was going to be to cater a wedding for 240 people, we were in shock. We had to cut down the cost, so several friends suggested looking into food trucks, and that idea ended up saving us thousands of dollars! Since they don’t come with all of the extra staff, linens, dishes, etc., you are pretty much just paying for the food. To cut back on lines and add more selection, we got two trucks and had our own little food truck park for our guest to go up to and order their dinners. The trucks did’t just save us money, they also added a fun element to our wedding, and people have been raving about the food ever since.

We wanted simple cakes decorated with buttercream and fresh flowers. We couldn’t decide on a flavor, so we got several small cakes in different flavors from a cute bakery in Athens. The star of the show was this amazing tres leches cake that I still have dreams about eating.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? At the end of the wedding, we walked past all of our friends and family with sparklers, shouting congratulations and saying goodbye. Since we were moving away, it really was “goodbye” to so many of the people we love, which made the moment very bittersweet. When we got in the car and drove away, we were so overwhelmed that we barely had time to get out of the parking lot before we burst into tears. We got a few miles away and then pulled over the car and just cried together. We cried for how much our lives were about to change, for this scary new adventure, and mostly, for how every single aspect of our wedding was made perfect by all of the people we love and by the God who made it all possible. The only thing we could really say at that point was that we are the luckiest people in the world to be loved by so many incredible people, and that was by far the best day of our lives.

Don’t miss Kelly + Austin’s highlight film from Imagine Video Productions!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Austin and I lived just minutes from each other in Woodstock, Georgia without crossing paths for almost 18 years. When we finally did meet, we spent most of the summer together, becoming close friends. At the end of the summer, Austin left for his second year at UGA, and I prepared to start my first semester at Georgia Tech. To me, Austin was the older guy who had everything he needed in Athens, but for some reason, he showed up at Georgia Tech almost every weekend over the next couple of months. Little did I know, Austin had started liking me over the summer, and had been patiently waiting all of those months to ask me on a date when I was ready. Finally, Austin came to Atlanta and told me that he really liked me, but I needed to “stop leading him on” if I wasn’t interested…and if I was interested, he’d like to take me on a date. I replied with a “maybe” and made the poor guy wait a MONTH before officially accepting his offer, but his patience paid off. After a year of dating long distance, Austin decided to join me in Atlanta and there was no looking back. I began to realize that the crazy love that Austin had for me and the things he was willing to do for me paled in comparison with the lengths that God is willing to go to show me His love. When being with someone teaches you that, you know that they’re a solid choice for a husband.
Tell us all about the proposal! In his fourth year of school, Austin was offered an internship with Boeing in Charleston for the upcoming summer. When he accepted that internship, Austin forwarded me an email they had sent him that was an invitation to a weekend in Charleston to get to know the city and his future managers (all expenses paid!), so he invited me to accompany him. On our second day, we went over to Middleton Plantation from our hotel, and spent the morning walking through the beautiful gardens and taking video footage (because Austin wanted a montage of the trip, obviously). At one point, Austin sent me down between the ponds overlooking the marshes as he set up the camera for another shot. As he walked down to meet me, he had the biggest smile on his face, said he had something to give me, and pulled out a letter. It was when I opened it that I realized that this was no ordinary letter. It began with “To my fiancé…” and as I read the rest (with tears in my eyes), he explained all of the reasons why I was the woman he had been praying for. I finished the letter and Austin got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Obviously, I said “yes,” and we just stood there in the freezing rain, crying and laughing and enjoying the moment. Austin then explained to me that the entire Boeing trip was a big lie! After asking my parents for their blessing, Austin had spent months designing my ring, sending me fake itineraries, and even helping me pick out a “business appropriate” outfit for the meeting with his managers. Since we didn’t have any meetings to get to after all, we spent the rest of the weekend calling friends and family with the big news. It was something I will never forget!
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 240
Describe your wedding flowers. The flowers at our wedding were heavenly. Lindsay Coletta did everything without much guidance from me and on very short notice, but somehow, the florals were better than I could have even imagined. She did lush greenery down the long guest tables, whimsical arrangements for the head table, and the most amazing bridal bouquet I’ve ever seen. Because of my smaller budget, I asked for quality over quantity. That was the best decision I made, because having a smaller amount of flowers that were breathtaking was way better than having a ton of flowers that were just blah.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our location was definitely a very Southern aspect of our wedding. Monroe is a tiny, charming town, kind of out in the middle of nowhere. The venue itself is an old cotton mill that is brimming with Southern charm and history. Bistro lights over the dance floor, s’mores by the fire pit, and a ton of people dancing gave our big wedding a hint of that casual backyard feel that makes the South such a great place to call home. And we can’t forget one of the best elements, a food truck entirely devoted to macaroni and cheese.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? After our wedding, we moved to the charming city of Charleston. Austin works for Boeing as a Database Administrator, and I am preparing to apply to Physician Assistant school. We’re really looking forward to getting to know this city and making it feel more like home. We hope to spend the next few years going on adventures, eating gelato, and taking advantage of living at the beach.

Photographer: Alea Moore Photography / Videographer: Ryan Lindsay / Planner: It Takes Two Events / Venue: The Engine Room at Monroe Cotton Mills / Florist: Lindsay Coletta / Cake Baker: Cecilia’s Cakes / Caterer: Happy Belly Food Truck and Mac the Cheese Truck / Rentals: I Do Linens / DJ: Mike Zarin / Paper Products: Allee Rodenbaugh and Minted / Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Hair and Makeup: Megan Neary / Bride’s Shoes: J. Crew Factory / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: RenzRags / Groom’s Attire: “Napoli” by Suitsupply, “Clifton” by Allen Edmonds, J. Crew Factory, H&M, and Daniel Wellington / Groomsmen Attire: J. Crew Factory / Photo Booth: Classic Photo Affair / Bartender: Lyght House Cocktails / Engagement and Wedding Bands: Solomon Brothers

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar carolyn reply

    I love that this bride ROCKED her glasses on her special day :)

  2. avatar Yours Truly Wedding Albums reply

    Gorgeous choice of colors and I love the location!

  3. avatar Loverly reply

    We are loving this bride’s bouquet! Great color combo.

  4. avatar Amy reply

    Just beautiful – perfect pictures, gorgeous wedding. Enjoyed it all.

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Laura and Mason’s wedding is a near-perfect example of what we mean when we say we love weddings with meaningful, personal details. From the songs they chose to the things they wore to the food they ate and the tables they ate at, every layer of their celebration had a story behind it or a significance attached to it. While I’m sure every guest didn’t catch every nuance of every detail, I’m equally sure that the overall effect — of a joyful, very intentional beginning to married life — was evident to all. Happily, we get the inside scoop from the bride herself, with beautiful photos by Paige Reaux to illustrate! Please enjoy, friends!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Mason and I agree that our best days are days we spend together, so we decided to do a first look. We wanted to be able to spend some quality time together before the ceremony and reception laughing, exchanging gifts, and having photographs taken. I was so thankful that we did the first look, because with the rain hiccup we experienced later in the day, I don’t think we would have gotten nearly as many great photos.

The gals of TULIP outdid themselves with this one! The loose, garden-style bouquets were jewel-toned for fall, with garden roses, raspberry clematis, ranunculus, dahlias, smoke bush and maple foliage, and seeded eucalyptus.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We, like many Southern couples, decided to keep with tradition and say the vows that generations before us have said. Instead of being worried about reciting a speech in front of hundreds, we were able to be completely present, joyful, and genuine as we repeated those promises to each other.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Shakespeare’s sonnet 116 was read at the start of our ceremony. Mason and I spent a semester studying in London, so we knew we had to incorporate some Shakespeare! We also had a scripture passage, Philippians 4:4-9, printed in our programs. The same verse is engraved in Mason’s wedding band.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Mason and I chose each song for the string quartet to play during the prelude–a custom mix of traditional hymns and contemporary songs. Our ceremony had a couple of musical shout outs to our parents’ weddings. We included “We’ve Only Just Begun” by the Carpenters, which was sung at the Mason’s parent’s wedding, in the prelude, and “Surely the Presence,” which was sung at my parents’ wedding, during the ceremony. We also had a duet of “How Deep the Father’s Love” sung as we took communion together immediately following our vows.

To transform the sanctuary, my dad had “October Glory” maple trees brought in, and Lesley from TULIP accented them with two beautiful altar arrangements.

We had a near-catastrophe with a 15-minute rainstorm during the hors d’oeuvres hour of the reception, during which Mason and I both got drenched (luckily, we had a backup tent for our guests to take cover)! But when the rain stopped and the celebrating started, I looked around and thought “Thank you, Lord!” because my dream was able to come true!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Well, first of all, my husband’s name is Mason Dixon, and we were both born and reared below the line of his namesake. Having our ceremony at the small town church I grew up going to and the reception at my childhood home gave our wedding the special warmth of Southern hospitality. I gave all of the special women in mine and my groom’s extended families a monogrammed vintage handkerchief. We had magnolia garlands galore and state fair taffy as favors for the guests. Our menu was totally Southern and very Mississippi oriented—we had mini chicken and waffles, pimento and cheese fritters, fried catfish, blackened gulf shrimp, fried okra, and gourmet mac n’ cheese, just to name a few!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The chalkboard menu boards at the reception were one of my favorite details. I spent many hours writing them, so I became a little attached. Other favorites were definitely the custom velvet table runners made by my aunt and the white pumpkins painted in gold with our monogram. Oh, and I can’t forget the lovely farm tables that my dad had built especially for the event, using 120-year-old wood from our family farm!

My cake was a five-tiered French almond vanilla cake with strawberry filling and buttercream icing. A cascade of roses and a gold sequined tablecloth made the cake display as pretty as it was yummy. For Mason’s groom’s cake, he had a trio of chocolate cakes in different flavors. The center cake was cinnamon chocolate (his favorite!) accented with gold coins, in reference to Mason’s banking career and coin collection. One of the accent cakes was German chocolate and the other was raspberry chocolate.

I lost my mother to breast cancer about two and half years ago, so planning a wedding without her was definitely a challenge. She was such a talented organizer and planner! I tried to incorporate her memory into as many wedding decisions as possible. For example, I found the best picture of my mom and dad covered in birdseed as they left their own wedding reception, which made it easy for me to decide that we should have birdseed tossed during our exit as well. I was so thankful to have my incredible father, sisters, and fiancé, who all put in so many hours helping me plan!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Exchanging notes from American history class during the second semester of our freshman year at Mississippi College brought us together. As I was handing over a copy of notes for the final exam, Mason asked me to go get coffee with him. By the next semester, we were officially dating. And the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! Early one November Saturday morning, I was riding in the car with Mason to what I thought was a banking banquet, where he was supposed to receive an award. We took a detour, and when I asked Mason if we were lost, his response was a simple kiss on my forehead and an admission that he was not really receiving an award that day. I was a little suspicious, but still in denial that this might be the day we get engaged. The next thing I knew, we were standing near Lake Caroline watching an incredibly large rainbow-striped hot air balloon being inflated. We got into the hot air balloon, and as I was looking over the edge of the basket, high above the treetops, I felt Mason tap me on my shoulder. I turned around and he was down on one knee with a huge smile on his face and a diamond ring in his hand. To make it even better, Mason had written and recorded a special love song for me that he played when we were safely back on land. He had even organized a celebration with our families for that evening. I felt so blessed and loved. What an exhilarating day!
When did y’all get married? October 5, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 350
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. While flipping through the pages of my first set of wedding magazines, I came across a picture of a dress that I fell in love with. I kept this image of lovely silk with hints of alenҫon lace in my mind as I went shopping with my two sisters, and just as we were about to give up hope and leave the second store empty handed, my older sister spotted my dream dress on the mannequin!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! The pearl and diamond earrings I wore were borrowed from my grandmother, and since they were circa 1910, they also served as my something old. Blue was covered doubly—I wore a sapphire and diamond bracelet that had belonged to my mother, and my older sister sewed a bespoke teal blue velvet and alenҫon lace garter to coordinate with all the details of the day. For something new, I had shoes given to me by my younger sister and a special fragrance that will forever be associated with wedding excitement.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I have great things to say about all of my vendors! Lesley from TULIP created amazing bouquets, Heather from Pretty Presentations spent two full days at my house setting up and figuring out the rain plan, and Paige of Paige Reaux Photography is definitely one of the best photographers in Mississippi. Another detail that the day would NOT have been complete without was my adorable flower girls. The list could go on and on!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I can’t pick just one! I specifically remember my dad calming me down during the nervous/excited moments just before he walked me down the aisle. The sheer joy I felt when Mason and I said our vows is something I will never forget! It even felt somewhat ethereal when the sunlight beamed through the stained glass windows and lit our faces.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Invest in the planning process as much as possible! It WILL feel overwhelming, but it is totally worth it when you see your vision come to fruition and you get to marry someone you love. It really makes for a pretty spectacular day!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are enjoying settling in our home and being able to spend lots of time together. We’ve been having fun using all the great wedding gifts we got and learning how to cook! We are excited to travel together, and right now we’re looking forward to a ski trip this spring.

Photographer: Paige Reaux Photography / Videographer: Brian Flint / Ceremony Venue: Bay Springs Baptist Church / Reception Venue: Bride’s family home / Florist: TULIP Design Studio / Cake Baker: Elyse Thompson / Caterer: Pretty Presentations / Rentals: Taylor Rental / Lighting: Davaine Lighting / DJ: Solid Gold / Bride’s Gown: Judd Waddell / Bridal Salon: Low’s Bridal / Paper Products: Sweet Caroline Designs and Fresh Ink / Bride’s Shoes: Joan and David / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaid / Men’s Attire: Joseph Abboud / Flower Girl Dresses: Pegeen / Linens: La Tavola and DIY / Farm Tables: Custom by the bride’s father / Favors: Malone’s Taffy / Calligraphy: Dominique Jordan / String Quartet: Rhythms Music Services

emily Written with love by Emily
9 Comments
  1. avatar kim reply

    Beautiful florals-Leslie does such lovely work always!

  2. avatar Laura reply

    Everything about this wedding is beautiful. Also, I can’t get over the groom’s name, can’t get much more Southern than that :)

  3. avatar Paige Reaux Geter reply

    What a beautiful job you’ve done, Emily, with featuring all of these vendors and Laura and Mason. They are two very special people and I loved reading extra details from their story that I wasn’t aware of :) Thanks for everything!

  4. avatar Amanda {Planning It All} reply

    Are those frames on trees? I love it!

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  9. avatar Marg Hyland reply

    We are so honored to be included in this beautiful wedding. The flower girl dresses were the perfect compliment to the overall scheme!
    Marg Hyland. Founder/Head Designer
    pegeen.com

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Welcome to Lauren + Jake’s wedding full of strawberry deliciousness and summery farm fun! According to Lauren, one of the biggest priorities when planning was to have a laid-back, Southern feel. I think the newlyweds succeeded in their mission. Not only were guests transported from the ceremony site to the reception by a wagon-hitched tractor, but they were greeted with bluegrass music, a menu of Southern fare, farm animals, cornhole and s’mores! We’re sending giant hugs to Anna Hedges who brightened our day with this wedding.

As a paper-nerd and strawberry-lover, Lauren + Jake’s simple invitation suite steals my heart. My favorite part? The handwritten feel of their return address!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I knew that I wanted a dress from J. Crew because I wanted something simple and comfortable. Our photographer told me about finding bridesmaid dresses for her sister’s wedding at a J. Crew clearance store near Asheville, NC. They had a few wedding dresses in my size, and I loved the first one I tried on.

I walked down the aisle to the Beatles’ “Here Come the Sun,” played acoustically by our friend Ryan. The recessional was “You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates.

How festive is this reception setup? Lauren handmade all 300 feet of bunting by herself!

Lack of time was our biggest obstacle. I wanted our day to include a lot of personal details, so I planned most of the wedding and made most of the decorations by myself. This wouldn’t have been such an obstacle except that I was also juggling veterinary school simultaneously.

Patterns and textures are one of my favorite parts about seeing weddings. L + J’s gingham runners and rosette napkin rings take the cake! (And who’s complaining about those baskets of strawberries next to each place setting? Not me.)

Since we got married on a farm with an old-fashioned feel, we felt that it was more appropriate to have pie than cake. Our caterer baked delicious strawberry pies that served as centerpieces for each table.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Jake and I met through friends when he was a senior and I was a junior in high school. We dated long distance for five and a half years during my time at college in South Carolina and my first two years of veterinary school in Knoxville, TN.
Describe the proposal. Jake proposed during a weekend visit to Knoxville. We went on a hike together and he popped the question by a lake. I’d never seen him so nervous before!
In what month did you get married? May
How many guests attended your wedding? 150
Did you decide to do a “first look”? We did a “first look” because we thought that it would ease the tension and nervousness of the day!
Describe your wedding flowers: I didn’t have anything specific in mind when I discussed the flowers with the florist, but I knew that I wanted something that looked unfussy but beautiful. She came up with a great assortment of peonies, anemones, and other local, seasonal flowers.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The s’mores! We set up a fire pit and provided roasting sticks and s’more fixings for a late night snack for our guests.
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? The food was the most expensive part of our day, but it was so worth it! We’re self-proclaimed foodies, so providing a great menu to our guests was really important to us.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? A great part of our day was the send off. Our guests lit sparklers and it was so special to be surrounded by the glowing faces of the people most important to us before we left to start our new life together.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t think about it too much! I am a very type-A, high-stress person and I tried my best to relax during the months leading up to the wedding. I think that I enjoyed the day even more because I was able to unwind.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We’ll be in Knoxville for two years more as I complete my time in veterinary school. We have no idea what the future holds for us, but we are looking forward to moving ahead together.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
6 Comments
  1. avatar Bella Eventi by Olivia George reply

    Love the personal touches and can’t believe she made all that bunting herself! Lovely!

  2. avatar Lucia reply

    I love these wedding photos! Can you please tell me where the invitations are from? Thank you,
    Lucia

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  5. avatar Alexis reply

    What fabric did you go with to cover the hay bales?

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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