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Any time I spot wedding details inspired by the great state of Texas, it never fails to make me smile! Even though Julia and David’s love story started in Minnesota where they grew up, they chose to invite their loved ones to their new home city of Dallas for their wedding. From the Lone Star State flag pin Julia attached to her bouquet to the tables named after roads in Texas, it’s clear that these Northern cuties have embraced their Southern locale wholeheartedly. Kristyn Hall of Event Elements helped them pull every sweet detail together so that Julia and David could focus on saying the vows they wrote, enjoying their abundant dessert table, and soaking in every one of their first moments as husband and wife!

Thanks so much to Elisabeth Carol for sharing this lovely day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! I borrowed diamond earrings from one of my bridesmaids; they were a gift from her parents on her wedding day. My something new was my wedding dress and shoes. For something blue, I had a navy blue ribbon that matched David’s suit tied around my bouquet. Lastly, my mother surprised me with my something olds on our wedding day: a handkerchief that was handmade by my great-grandmother.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? From David: I’ll go ahead and answer this one. We did a first look mostly for my benefit. I come from a family (mostly on my mother’s side) of emotional people, and I knew that seeing my beautiful wife-to-be for the first time would be a joyous and emotional moment for me. Not that I’m afraid of shedding a tear in front of our family and friends, but I didn’t want to make everyone sit out in the Texas heat for too long while I tried to get myself back together.Our photographer, Elisabeth Carol, set me up on the front porch and had Julia come up from behind to surprise me. It was a good thing we did a first look–Julia was absolutely stunning and I’ll cherish that moment forever.

We both thought it was important to express our love for each other in our own words, and ended up writing both separate vows and joint vows. Our personal vows were more of a story of what our love means to us. In our joint vows, we thought carefully about the things we wanted to promise to each other and what we wanted our marriage to become. Our favorite line was, “I promise to take you as my only love from this day forward and to join you on our journey of adventure and wonder. I promise to challenge you and myself to every day become a better person and spouse.”

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail was having my grandfather, Larry, marry us. It was so special to hear my grandfather say the words “I now pronounce you husband and wife.” We will never forgot that special part of the day!

I have a serious sweet tooth and couldn’t decide on just one cake, so we went with a whole dessert table. It featured five different cakes and a variety of bite-sized desserts–everything was so delicious and beautiful. I almost didn’t want anyone to eat them!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. David and I met and became very close friends during high school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We never dated in high school, but we remained in touch when we both went away to college–David to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and I to Boston University in Boston. David and I continued to spend time together as friends over the summer back in Minneapolis until one magical night at David’s family summer cottage, when he finally worked up the courage to kiss me. We have been together ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! A few days before Christmas, I was sitting on the couch in my pajamas when David went downstairs to get my Christmas present. David can be pretty last-minute when it comes to buying gifts, so I thought he was joking when he said he already had a gift for me. When he came upstairs, he was hiding something behind his back, and then he got down on one knee and proposed to me in our living room. We ended up keeping our engagement a secret for a few days, as we were heading home to Minnesota to be with our families for Christmas, and we wanted to tell everyone in person at once. We enlisted the help of David’s brother-in-law to gather everyone together, and when we arrived in Minnesota after a 14-hour drive through the night, we shared our news and celebrated with our families!
When did y’all get married? April 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 120
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My parents live in Minnesota, so my mom came to Dallas for a weekend of wedding dress shopping. I knew exactly what style I wanted: lace, straps, and something somewhat modest. We shopped at a few stores, but I kept going back to the same beautiful Mori Lee dress–one of the first I had tried on. After sleeping on it, we went back the next day and tried it on again. That time, my mom and I both knew it was the perfect dress for the wedding.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For our recessional, we chose “The Jurassic Park Theme Song.” This song selection was really just for the fun of it–the song and movie are a little inside joke between David and I. It was a special moment for us and definitely intrigued our guests quite a bit. We got a lot of, “Was that the Jurassic Park theme song?” during the reception.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Julia: After the ceremony, David and I were able to spend time just the two of us. It was so special to have those first few moments as husband and wife together to celebrate our love, our marriage, and our future. From David: By far the first look. A close second would be having everyone that means the most to us together for one fun night.

Photographer: Elisabeth Carol Photography / Planner: Kristyn Hall of Event Elements / Ceremony Venue: Texas Discovery Gardens / Reception Venue and Catering: The Belo Mansion / Florist: Raquel Lovern of RLove Floral Designs / Dessert Baker: Emily Allen of Cakewalk Bake Shop / Lighting: Brian Prescott of Simply Music / Band: Astounding Sounds / Calligraphy: Polished Pen Calligraphy / Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas / Bride’s Gown: Mori Lee / Hair and Makeup: Tracy Melton Artistry / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jim Hjelm / Menswear: Tommy Hilfiger

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Hannah reply

    So funny, I just photographed a different wedding where they walked out to Jurassic Park as well! It works surprisingly well! :) Beautiful wedding and best wishes for your life together!

  2. avatar Elisabeth Carol reply

    Love!! Thanks SO much for the feature! <3

  3. avatar Tracy Melton Dallas Hair Styling & Makeup Artistry | Julia’s Wedding Day reply

    […] might have seen me share that our bride Julia’s wedding day was featured on Southern Weddings Website not too long ago (on my social media – if you don’t follow along you totally […]

  4. avatar Deidre reply

    Hi! Doyou know by chance where they got the gold face for the centerpiece?

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Erin and Joe’s love story is a testament to the idea that “when you know, you know.” They knew after their first meeting that what they had found in each other was worth starting a long-distance relationship for. Joe knew by his first Christmas with Erin’s family that he would someday ask her to marry him. That same confidence carried into their engagement as they planned their Salt Harbor celebration, knowing that they wanted to start their marriage surrounded by community. Their big bridal party and the effort they put into caring for their guests is proof of that, and I can only imagine how palpable the love for this sweet couple was on their special day!

Thank you so much to A.J. Dunlap for sharing Erin and Joe’s wedding with us!

I traveled down to my friend’s bridal store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to find the perfect gown. I thought I wanted something with lace, but after trying some on, all of the lace dresses felt too formal for me. When I tried on my beautiful ombre gown, I knew it was the one. It had the special touch I was looking for, and the silk organza was so soft and light. It was perfect, and I knew right away that it was the dress I would wear on my wedding day.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! As my something old, I had a gold “A” brooch that belonged to my paternal great-grandmother and a gold heart charm necklace with my maternal grandparents’ names on either side that I attached to the stem of my bouquet. My grandparents were not able to make the trip to the wedding, so the necklace was in honor of them. My dress, shoes, veil, jewelry, hairpiece, and garter were new. At the last minute right before the ceremony started, my mom gave me her engagement ring to borrow for the evening–since she has such small fingers, I wore it on my pinky finger!

Our favorite detail was our GIANT wedding party, which included important people in our lives from lower school and beyond. We also had gentlemen (my brother and a friend) who stood on my side and ladies (Joe’s sister, sister-in-law, and a friend) who stood on his side.

For our ceremony and cocktail hour, we had a quartet that was led by my former high school orchestra teacher. I knew from the beginning of wedding planning that I wanted him to play for the ceremony. It was especially meaningful because our officiant, my maid of honor, and my brother are all former students of his as well, so it felt like a little reunion.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our ceremony and reception were held in the same place–we were aiming for simplicity and did not want guests to have to travel between different locations to get from the ceremony to the reception. We “flipped” the ceremony space into a reception, which was the easiest and most efficient way for us to achieve that goal. The food and the cake were provided by the country club, and having an all-inclusive experience helped us streamline our vendor list.

We planned our wedding with the emphasis on making it as easy and fun for our guests as possible. We had shuttles take our guests to and from the wedding, so drinking and driving wouldn’t be a concern. We were blessed with cool summer weather, but held our events under nautical sail cloth tents that provided shade, and created our programs in the shape of fans, just in case of warm temperatures. We had corn hole boards set up that were painted with UNC and Vanderbilt themes (in honor of our alma maters). We also had a bourbon bar (Joe is a whiskey man), where guests could sip their favorites, and my brother painted us a sign to hang over the bar that said “Franklin & Broadway” in honor of the main streets in Chapel Hill and Nashville. During the cocktail hour, the bourbon bar served mint juleps and Moscow mules for guests to enjoy.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a simple, three-tiered wedding cake, but as a little surprise, it was a funfetti cake with strawberry cream in the middle! It’s too easy for a wedding to feel “stuffy,” so we wanted to go with a cake flavor that so many of us loved growing up. We also had a groom’s cake that was Vanderbilt-themed (because Joe loves Vanderbilt sports), with a perfect replica of a football helmet on it. The cake was Rocky Road flavor, which was definitely a guest favorite!
Did you pull any wedding inspiration from memories you have together? Tell us about it! Joe and I enjoy going to UNC and Vanderbilt sporting events together, so our exit with pom poms in our schools’ colors was a fun little addition! As we were waiting for everyone to get lined up so we could run through, we could hear people yelling the schools’ chants. It was a very memorable end to our wonderful night.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met over Memorial Day weekend in 2011 on the patio of a little bar in Topsail Beach, North Carolina. We were both in town visiting friends for the holiday weekend, and met through mutual friends. After chatting for most of the night, we realized there was something special between us and we wanted to see each other again, even though we were living five hours apart (I was in Durham, North Carolina and Joe was in Washington, D.C.). We spent the next year driving to see each other on the weekends, before we got the chance to move to Boston together for two years of grad school (yay, no more long-distance!).
Tell us all about the proposal! Joe proposed over Memorial Day weekend in 2014, at the very same beach where we had met three years prior. I had spent most of the day at the beach while Joe stayed up at my parents’ house. Later in the afternoon, Joe met me down at the beach, and we proceeded to set up our beach tent so we could enjoy some time together. I was laying on my stomach reading when he got down on the beach towel next to me and started talking about how much he loved me. He then pulled a ring box out of his pocket and asked me if I would marry him. I, of course, said yes, and then we celebrated with a bottle of my grandpa’s homemade wine, which had been given to Joe the first Christmas he spent with my family. He said he knew when he received it that it would be the wine that we would use to celebrate our engagement someday.
When did y’all get married? May 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We did not have any formal readings, but Joe’s brother recited a verse from the Old Testament and a prayer, which talked about being physically and mentally present for each other throughout our lives, especially in the first year of our marriage. It was really special.
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? We purchased a GoPro camera for guests to use to videotape the ceremony and reception. We were able to save money, and the GoPro provided more personal candid shots of the wedding, which was what we wanted. We also made our own save the dates instead of purchasing them from a paper vendor.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Use spreadsheets to track everything (budgets, guest lists, gifts received, vendor contacts), and be as organized as possible. Also, let people help you with wedding tasks–don’t try to do it all yourself. You will find that you’ll enjoy the wedding planning journey a lot more if you distribute some of the work. People will offer to help, so let them (and then thank them for making things easier for you).
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just returned from our honeymoon in Puerto Rico, and we are excited to ease into a “normal” life of cooking together and spending our free time on the weekends together. There are many date nights in our future!

Photographer: A.J. Dunlap Photography / Planner, Florist, and Rentals: Salt Harbor / Venue, Catering, and Cake: Country Club of Landfall / Tents: Sperry Tents / Furniture Rentals: Party Suppliers / Lighting: High Performance Lighting / Band: Band: Mr. Potato Head via East Coast Entertainment / Invitations: Invitations by Dawn / Programs: Woodlark Designs / Save the Date Stickers: Social Print Studio / Bride’s Gown: Martina Liana / Bride’s Jewelry: Nadri / Bride’s Hairpiece: Richard Designs / Hair Stylist: Wedding Hair by Liz / Makeup Artist: Lauren Tedino / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Bridesmaids’ Necklaces: Stella & Dot / Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss / Groom’s Shoes: Ted Baker / Groomsmen Attire: Savvi Formalwear / Groomsmen’s Cuff Links: Release Me Creations / Bridal Salon: Bustle / Dress Alterations: Isabel Donnelly / Bridal Suite: The Loft on Front / Transportation: Wilmington Trolley Company and Cape Fear Transportation

Invitations by Dawn and Donna Morgan are delightful Southern Weddings advertisers. Bustle, Sperry Tents, and East Coast Entertainment are members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory.

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Yours Truly Wedding Albums reply

    Breathtaking images! What a gorgeous wedding!

  2. avatar A.J. Dunlap reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful southern wedding that we had the privilege of photographing. We are so honored to see it featured here!!! xoxo~A.J. & Kyle

  3. avatar Dana reply

    I like his sweet, low-key proposal!

  4. avatar Reece reply

    Love Social Print Studio!!! I used their photostrips and tinybooks as my save the dates. ❤️

  5. avatar Tatyana Lee reply

    That bouquet is incredible!

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Neither Olivia nor Chad is from the South, but after meeting in Charleston, they knew they wanted to start their marriage there, and show their friends and family why they love it so much! Thanks to its beautiful oak trees, big ol’ wraparound porch, and boat access, The Creek Club and its quintessential Lowcountry feel proved to be the perfect place to introduce their guests to the South. With a little help from a fun tradition, the South showed off with a glorious day for Olivia and Chad to say their vows! Speaking of vows, I love that Olivia said, “Knowing we were saying the same vows that our parents and grandparents said before us made it very special for us.”

Boy, we’re happy Kelly Dillon was on hand to capture this sweet day!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did, thanks to our photographer, Kelly. We really loved the idea of an intimate moment for our first look, and we loved that a lot of pictures would be out of the way so that we could enjoy our cocktail hour instead of disappearing for an hour or so. I also don’t think it took away from the walk down the aisle–my heart was still pounding and I still teared up with excitement when I saw Chad waiting for me at the end of the aisle.

For us, our favorite detail had to be our lab, Buoy. Chad has had her since before we met–she is how he got me to come over to his house the first time, and she is with us for literally everything we can incorporate her into. Having her be our flower dog was so important. We may be crazy dog parents, but having her there for our big day made it even more special to us!

My wedding flowers were everything I could have dreamed of and more, thanks to Whitney at Branch Design Studio. With the help of Pinterest, Whitney was able to see what I liked, which turned out to be anything pink! After that, she gave me several books of past weddings she had done so that I could point out what flowers and styles I liked. This was super helpful because before the wedding, I knew the names of very few flowers–I did not even know what a peony was!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Neither of us are from Charleston–we both moved here about five years ago. I am from northern Illinois and he is from western New York. After getting engaged, we knew we would be married in Charleston. We wanted to show all of our friends and family why we live here and why we love this city so much! We wanted the venue to be outside and on the water, things I think every Charlestonian loves. The Creek Club at I’on had everything we could ask for: a large lawn for the ceremony looking out over the creek, Spanish moss, and nice, large oak trees. It had the quintessential Lowcountry feel, thanks to a huge wraparound porch that was perfect for hosting cocktail hour. Chad also loved the venue because it would allow him to arrive and then us to leave together via our boat. This was a unique feature that not many other sites offered.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? For me, it was walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing Chad, the man of dreams and love of my life, standing there smiling and waiting for me to join him. I may have already seen him that day, but my heart had never skipped a beat like that before.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My maid of honor was coming into town from Chicago for a weekend, so we decided it would be a great time to try on gowns. We went to White on Daniel Island for the first shop of the day, and Jodi, the owner, was the perfect hostess. After a little discussion on what I might like (strapless, sweetheart neckline, a-line, no lace), my MOH, another bridesmaid, Jodi, and I started putting dresses into the fitting room for me to try on. When I put on my gown, I was hesitant at first, but I loved all of the beading and crystals and the fact that it was a little different than most wedding gowns. We decided that this would be my number one choice, but I would continue trying on other dresses. From that point on, I compared every dress I tried on to that one, and nothing compared. The following weekend, we went back to White, I tried on every Jenny Packham gown there was to offer, and put on the gown I loved last. It was still the most gorgeous gown I’d ever seen and it just felt like me. Jodi let me twirl around in it for a good hour or two and popped another bottle of champagne to celebrate!

Not being from the South originally, we wanted to show off some amazing Southern Lowcountry cuisine. To showcase that, we started with appetizers of chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, and sweet BBQ shrimp. In our welcome bags, we included bags of stone ground grits, along with our favorite shrimp and grits recipe, to allow our friends and family members to try it out when they returned home. As far as Southern tradition is concerned, a month before our wedding, we buried a bottle of bourbon to bring us good weather. I’d say it worked because it was the most gorgeous day in early May with the perfect temperature in the upper 70s. Clear skies gave way to a beautiful Charleston sunset!

We love seeing our “I Choose You” print from the Southern Weddings Shop at Olivia and Chad’s reception!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was just perfect for us. It was a four-tiered white and gold foil cake with stenciling. I thought it had just the right amount of elegance and tied in with our wedding colors. Tammy at Cakes by Karsada was amazing to work with. We chose vanilla cake with alternating fillings of raspberry and Italian buttercream and blueberry and Italian buttercream. Sooo good!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chad and I met in December 2010 at Midtown Bar & Grill in Charleston. I had just finished nursing school finals and was about to go home to Illinois for the holidays, and Chad was out with some friends. After mingling and several drinks, he managed to get my real name and number. Over the holidays we texted back and forth and he asked me out on a date when I returned. On January 6, 2011, I almost decided to be a no-show on the date, but I went after some friends told me I should. We met a Pearlz Oyster Bar and ended up having a great time. The rest is history.
Tell us all about the proposal! A little over three years into our relationship, we were in Breckenridge, Colorado on a ski trip with a few other couples. After a great first day of skiing, Chad said he wanted to get one last run in and asked if I could film him with the “slow-mo” option on my iPhone as he came down the mountain. He did an awesome run and I was so excited that I had gotten it on video that I didn’t notice until after he finished that he had taken off his skis and sat down next me. He finally got my attention and asked me, “Babe, today has been an amazing day, right?” I said, “Yes?” He continued, “Well every day of these past three years have been amazing with you. Will you marry me?” I said yes and couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.
When did y’all get married? May 2, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not. This was something that we knew we wanted to keep traditional from the start of our wedding planning. Knowing we were saying the same vows that our parents and grandparents said before us made it very special for us.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Pinterest. It was my best friend and worse enemy. I may have always dreamed of getting married, but colors, flowers, and lighting were all new to me. Pinterest gives you so many options, it’s hard for someone as indecisive as myself to really focus on what I wanted. I actually stopped myself from going on Pinterest after I met with our florist and lighting vendors so that I couldn’t change my mind on anything.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? A huge cost saver for us was that my husband is a graphic designer. He designed our wedding logo, and designed and printed our invitations, ceremony cards, escort cards, and menus for the wedding. We had quite the printing pop-up shop in our home!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Relax and enjoy your engagement–it will be over in a flash. It’s easier said than done, but at the end of the day, it will all work out and be the most exhilarating day of your life.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are just excited to return to regular life together! We already own a little home on the upper peninsula of Charleston. Chad can now return to doing little projects around the house. I have taken the summer off of graduate school, but I still have one year left to obtain my MSN as a family nurse practitioner. We are also looking forward to adding to our family with the addition of another puppy soon!

Photographer: Kelly Dillon / Planner: Meredith Tanton of Sweetgrass Social / Venue and Catering: Creek Club at I’on / Florist: Branch Design Studio / Cake Baker: Cakes by Karsada / Rentals: Eventworks / Linens: La Tavola Linens / Lighting: TEC / Band: New South Players of East Coast Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: “Daphne” by Jenny Packham / Bridal Salon: White on Daniel Island / Hair and Makeup: A Jolly Occassion / Bride’s Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “2880” by Dessy / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaid Charleston / Menswear: Brooks Brothers / Ties: Private Stock Ties

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Antonio Gual reply

    What a charming wedding celebration! -Best wishes!

  2. avatar liam smith reply

    beautiful cake

  3. avatar Real Wedding: Olivia + Chad | Sweetgrass Social reply

    […] To learn more about Olivia and Chad’s special day visit their feature on Southern Weddings! […]

  4. avatar Real Wedding at Creek Club in Charleston, SC – Sweetgrass Social reply

    […] To learn more about Olivia and Chad’s special day visit their feature on Southern Weddings! […]

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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