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Sadly, yesterday marked the unofficial the end of summer (pack up your white pants and bring out your monogrammed scarf!), but the good news is that Tate and Davis’ cheerful wedding will make summer feel a little bit longer! While Tate and Davis only lived in Charleston for a year, their time spent on the Charleston Harbor made the Historic Rice Mill the perfect venue for a sweet celebration with their family and friends. I’d have to agree with Tate on her favorite element of their wedding–she loved their family-style meal because it reminded her of her favorite holiday, Thanksgiving! I know our own Kristin would be tickled, since she also had a Thanksgiving-inspired wedding day meal!

Big thank you’s and a pumpkin spiced latte to Aaron and Jillian Photography for sharing this wedding with us!

People fail to warn you how crazy stressful dress shopping can be! Trying on ill-fitting sample dresses to find the perfect one that makes your body look bangin’, fits your price range, is timeless, AND wins the approval of your family is super challenging. I wanted something a little different, but still classic, that wouldn’t dwarf my petite figure. My Wentworth Street gown by Carol Hannah was exactly that. I even got a discount because I asked to buy the sample.

While we are always so smitten with the father/daughter moments at weddings, I love this sweet father/son moment too!

We did a first look because I am not superstitious and I loved the opportunity for more photos. I think waiting to see each other until you walk down the aisle can be a little more stressful than it needs to be. Seeing each other beforehand ensured that we both stayed present during the ceremony.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Davis and I love Charleston! It is a wonderfully romantic city and holds a special place in our hearts. We lived in Charleston from 2011 to 2012 and spent our weekends and afternoons on the boat in Charleston Harbor. The Rice Mill, being right by the marina, was a perfect fit!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but we did design our own ceremony that was performed by my father. My favorite part of our vows was: “Do you pledge to help each other to develop your hearts and minds, cultivating compassion, generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiasm, concentration, and wisdom as you age and undergo the various ups and downs of life, and to transform them into the path of love, compassion, joy, and equanimity?”

We chose our reading from The Irrational Season By Madeleine L’Engle because it very much represents our relationship and how we view our marriage commitment. “But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature. To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take. If we commit ourselves to one person for life, this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.”

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Dodeline Design created a custom monogram that incorporated our initials and elements of Davis’ family crest. It looks kind of like a harp, and no one could really figure it out, but I thought it was kind of cool. We were also THRILLED about our joggling board guest book that is covered with the sweetest notes and sentiments from our loved ones. Joggling boards are so Southern and SO Charleston. I love the cool history behind them. One of our artsy friends even painted our monogram on it and made it exceptionally special!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite element of our wedding was the family-style meal. Enjoying a meal with your closest friends and family is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It also reminds me of Thanksgiving (my all-time favorite holiday) because it is a time you can tell your friends and family how grateful you are for them. I also liked the “thank you haikus” we displayed at each place setting. It was super dorky, but after thinking about it, we knew that if we were to thank our friends and family in letters, we could end up writing pages! Keeping our thank you notes to short haikus allowed us to say what we wanted with just enough words.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had the most fabulous pink ombre cake! I love pink and anything ombre, so the cake was a delicious dream with three layers of red velvet, lemon, and dulce de leche cake. I was a little nervous that Davis wouldn’t like it because it was on the girly side, but he said “it tasted really good!”

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Davis and I first met at a friend’s concert in 2006–Davis grew up with the band’s lead singer (who was later a a groomsman in our wedding). The band would let Davis ham it up on stage and play the tambourine, while my friends and I loved “front-rowing it” (i.e. dancing as close to the stage as possible), so we inevitably ran into each other. We both attended North Carolina State University and share a love for the Wolfpack, adventures, and of course, our friends.
Tell us all about the proposal! Davis began shopping for the engagement ring three years before he proposed. In the spring of 2013, right before our seven-year anniversary, we took a last-minute trip to New York City, where Davis proposed early on a Thursday morning in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Needless to say, my girlfriends knew exactly why I was calling so early, before they even picked up the phone!
When did y’all get married? June 21, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 110
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We had a challenging time keeping our guest list small, because we knew our budget couldn’t handle a large party. Our rule of thumb was that if we could write each guest a letter telling them exactly why we wanted them to attend our wedding, then they would be invited–that idea is where our letter-style invitation came from.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I saved a lot on my wedding dress by buying the sample. We also didn’t get a fancy getaway vehicle because we preferred spending money on things that our guests would enjoy. We kept the contents of the welcome bags to strictly “consumables” (snacks and waters), because the last thing people need is extra “stuff.” I fell in love with a vintage consignment wedding band at Croghan’s Jewelry Box in Charleston–Davis actually purchased my wedding band months before he bought my engagement ring.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? After interviewing four other Charleston wedding photographers, we hired Jill and Aaron after an eight-minute phone conversation. We clicked instantly! They asked the right questions and really seemed to care about our event. Every interaction with them was extremely positive and fun! I would hire them again in a heartbeat.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Davis says our first look. I’d say the moments after the ceremony taking photos on the dock and dancing to Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” with all my best friends.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Always try to remember what is most important to you as a couple. The first thing Davis and I did when we got engaged was to make a list of the ten most important things we wanted in our wedding. When one of the 100+ random things that weren’t in the original budget came up, we could refer back to that list to help keep the budget under control. I would also recommend making a list of all the random things you want to do on the wedding day, because things move so quickly. Give the list to a trusted person who will be with you on the day of. For example, I planned to give my dad a gift and get a few father-daughter photos pre-wedding, but I never found the time to do it.

Photographer: Aaron and Jillian Photography / Videographer: Life in Rewind / Planner: Southern Protocol / Venue: Historic Rice Mill / Florist: Charleston Stems / Wedding Cake: Charleston Cakes / Caterer: Good Food Catering / Rentals: EventWorks / Band: Unkle Funkle / Paper Products: Dodeline Design / Bride’s Gown: “Wentworth Street” by Carol Hannah / Hair Stylist: Katherine Bailey / Makeup Artist: Stuart Laurence / Bride’s Shoes: “Gilda” by Kotur / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style 418” by Wtoo / Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Southern Weddings Feature » Aaron and Jillian Photography reply

    […] featured on the fabulous Southern Weddings website today!  Seriously, over the moon!  Check out their SW feature HERE and their full wedding post on our blog HERE!  It’s filled with gorgeous bright florals, […]

  2. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    Her dress fits her beautifully and I love how it gathers at her hip.

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We always think of weddings as joyful here at Southern Weddings. That is, after all, part of why we love them so much. But for Ali + Austin, their happiness and excitement is evident in the details of the day. We love the fun pops of color that speckle their reception at Willow Oaks Plantation and the cute way that Austin talks about wooing his new bride! In the middle of all the fun you’re having looking through these photos from Robyn Van Dyke, you’ll also find yourself reaching for a handkerchief (or your “Pin It” button) when you come across the family moments she captured.

A few weeks after getting engaged, my mom, sister and I started looking for dresses (just for fun). After all, we had plenty of time! However, I found the dress surprisingly quickly at a boutique called Victorian Rose Bridal in downtown Raleigh. I knew I wanted something with lace on it and a sweetheart cut neckline, but other than that, I really had no idea what I wanted. It was the second store we had been to, but only the fourth or fifth dress I had tried on. When I came out of the dressing room with it on, my mom and sister told me that this was the one — it was written all over my face.

We decided not to do the “first look.” One of our favorite things about weddings is when the groom sees his bride for the first time – his look of absolute wonderment. We wanted to let the suspense build up to this special moment and wanted the first words we said to each other on this day to be our vows.

Did you write your own vows? In our ceremony, we said our traditional vows; however, before the ceremony, we had written letters to the other with our own list of vows. Austin’s favorite promise I made to him was “I promise to love you with unending grace the way God intended it.” My favorite promise Austin made to me was “I want to make you feel and believe that you are a daughter of Christ every day.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had two of our Young Life kids read scripture during our ceremony. We used 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and Colossians 3:12-17.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. In our ceremony, we had a guitar, a banjo, a mandolin, and a singer. During the prelude, we played “Divine Romance” and “Before the Throne of God Above.” When the groomsmen and bridesmaids came in, we played “Come Thou Fount.” When I came down the aisle, we played “Jesus I Come” by Shelley Moore Band. During the ceremony, the guests sang “In Christ Alone” while the wedding party and family prayed over the bride and groom. For the recessional, we played “Oh Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.” For our first dance, we played “Hung the Moon” by Drew and Ellie Holcomb.

I love seeing couples incorporate a prayer into their ceremony. There’s so much power and love behind these photos from Robyn Van Dyke and I just love that Ali + Austin chose to have their guests sing.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? (From the groom) For me, the most memorable part was seeing Ali walk out from behind the shutters to begin walking down the aisle. She looked absolutely beautiful. (From the bride) I loved confidently staring into Austin’s hazel eyes, knowing I was making the greatest decision of my life, completely forgetting about my fear of having everyone watching me!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? First of all, we got married on a plantation called the Willow Oaks Plantation in Eden, North Carolina. It’s also a hunting lodge. It had the typical beautiful white house with acres of land and huge trees providing lots of shade. There was a silo and an old water tower with a wooden fence surrounding the property. Secondly, my bridesmaids and I all wore cowboy boots with our dresses! It really brought out something extra. Finally, we had lots and lots of burlap: burlap table runners, burlap wrapped mason jars, burlap wrapped novels, etc. Thirdly, we had pulled pork barbecue with sweet potatoes, green beans, coleslaw, and biscuits. Doesn’t get much more Southern than that!

This next set of photos is so beautiful! I know that if I were a guest at A + A’s wedding, I would have needed a hanky to wipe away tears.

What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? The venue for sure. It was exactly what we had been looking for and was absolutely beautiful. We got nothing but raving reviews on how beautiful the place was. I can’t tell you how many times we got asked, “How in the world did you find this? I’ve never even heard of Eden, North Carolina!”

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. (From the groom) We met on the first day of college at NC State University on our way to Young Life. I was really into Ali, but she wasn’t having any of it. After two years of developing a great friendship and watching each other grow in our relationships with Christ (and lots of persistence), Ali finally said yes to going on a date with me. Two years later, we were engaged!
Describe the proposal. In early December of 2011, Austin told me we were going on a double date, but changed plans at the last minute and told me we were going on a surprise trip to the Outer Banks. I was extremely surprised when I found out that we would be flying on a private plane! Once we got out there, he took me for a walk on the beach (and I could tell he was very, very nervous), and at the end of the walk, he took me to a spot on the beach where he had laid out some flowers, and then he asked me to marry him (of course I said yes!). When we arrived home, I was very surprised to see that Austin had invited all of our close friends and family over to celebrate our engagement.
In what month did you get married? July
How many guests attended your wedding? 290
Describe your wedding flowers: For our flowers, we wanted to go with lots of peaches, ivories, pale pinks and champagnes. Some of the flowers included were white hydrangeas, cream and pale pink roses, mini peach spray roses, peach stock, peach and green hypericum berries, and lots of baby’s breath.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: We had a four-tier ivory cake with a peach and cream floral design on each layer. We had two types of cake: Mexican vanilla cake with hazelnut chocolate filling, and chocolate cake with mint chocolate chip filling (Austin’s favorite!).
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There are two answers to this question. In terms of tangible details, we loved having vintage books as our centerpieces for the reception tables. I am a high school English teacher so it definitely matched my personality. More than anything else, our favorite detail was when our entire wedding party and family prayed over us during our ceremony while the audience sang “In Christ Alone.” It was something that really refocused the attention on what marriage is all about, beyond the physical details of it all.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The guest list was probably the hardest part. Because we have both been involved in Young Life for the last five years, there were lots of high school and college kids that we wanted to be there. I also have a huge family, so that definitely boosted numbers up. There were certainly some really hard cuts we had to make, but ultimately we wanted those who have had a significant impact on our lives to be present on that day.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? Around $25,000.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t lose sight of what really matters about this day. Sure, coming up with fun ideas and planning out all the details is a blast, but at some point, something will more than likely go wrong. The singer gets sick, the cake turns out wrong, your dress rips, it pours rain… the list goes on and on. But at the end of the day, you will be professing your love for one another in front of all the people who care about you the most, and nothing is more beautiful than that.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are learning how to love and serve each other more and more every day. We’re excited about having a couple of years to truly enjoy each other’s presence and grow as a couple and someday start a family of our own!

Robyn Van Dyke is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
7 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    I’m in love with this post! I just got my cowboy boots for my wedding…. the pic above totally inspires me because my girls are wearing pink dresses too!

    xoxo
    Emily
    emilyannestyle.com

  2. avatar chris reply

    it really great by seeing all pics specially the letter reading pic by couple…its amazing experience and thanx for the share
    Budget Planners

  3. avatar Coretta’s Jewels reply

    The gown! The corporate prayer with everyone gathered! Love!

    Coretta
    Coretta’s Elegant Events

  4. avatar Tara reply

    Can anyone tell me what gown this is? I’m trying to choose mine right now and this looks very similar to both Enzoani and La Sposa dresses I’ve tried on. Thanks!

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We usually stick to showcasing weddings that took place in our beloved South, but when a bride goes to this much trouble to bring the South to her, well, we think that deserves a little love on Southern Weddings! Sarah’s Momma, who just so happens to own an antique shop in Texas, drove a UHaul full of vintage Southern goodness all the way out to California for her daughter’s wedding. The warm and cozy celebration that resulted was worth all the miles, as I think you’ll see. Michelle Warren’s lovely film images do an exquisite job of documenting the warm and cozy celebration that followed, helping us to see that yes, all those hours behind the wheel were well spent for Sarah + Dan!

My wedding dress was one of the first ones I tried on. I actually saw it in on a mannequin in the window of the bridal boutique and knew I had to try it on. It was the only one they had in stock, so I was embarrassed that I made the sales girl go into the window display and take it off the mannequin, but it was worth it. It was love at first sight!

I walked down the aisle to the love theme from Cinema Paradiso, a great, romantic Italian movie that we both love. We walked back up the aisle to “Married Life” from the Pixar movie, Up. It’s the song that plays during the first 10 minutes when they go through the timeline of the old couple’s relationship. It’s a very touching and poignant scene.

Do you love that Sarah and her Dad drove up to the ceremony in a lovingly restored 1940’s truck? We do!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Right after the ceremony, we had to drive back to the reception in the old pickup truck and had a moment alone to really absorb the moment and reflect.

Here’s some good news from Sarah for those of you painstakingly planning and constructing details (and sometimes wondering if anyone will notice): they will! My advice? Plan everything WAY in advance. Vendors get booked up far earlier than you would imagine. Also, make sure to add lots of personal touches. Your guests will really appreciate it.

And yes, there were beautiful details galore at this wedding! Renae’s Bouquet used local wildflowers and herbs along with roses and peonies for the arrangements and bouquets, and everything was arranged in vintage bottles and containers that Sarah’s mom sourced from flea markets in Texas (see: UHaul above!).

Wedding foosball — so fun!

We had a very simple carrot cake with some flower decorations as our wedding cake, but we had an amazing dessert buffet, with delicious mini cupcakes, pies, and my favorite giant chocolate chip cookies from a baker in Chicago!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met in college in probably the most “college-y” way you can meet: over a game of beer pong. Instantly bonding over our love of drinking games and movies, we agreed to meet up in our film class the next day. Gradually, over the course of the school year, the friendship morphed into a romantic relationship.
Describe the proposal. Having dated for five years, including a period of cross-country long distance, it soon became clear that we were going to be together forever. Our common desire to work in entertainment brought us both to Los Angeles, where we now live and work. One of our favorite weekend trips is driving up to the Santa Ynez Valley, filled with amazing wineries, gorgeous scenery, and delicious food. On our five year anniversary, we decided to take a trip up to celebrate, and while picnicking, Dan popped the question! By the end of the weekend, we knew that they had to get married up there as well.
In what month did you get married? June 2011
How many guests attended your wedding? Around 120
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The location! We had guests coming in from all over the world, and everyone was impressed with the beautiful venue in the vineyards of the Central Californian Coast.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Being from Texas, I had to have some type of BBQ at the wedding! We had three food stations: Texan food (brisket, onion rings, etc) for my upbringing, European food (Swiss and Spanish favorites) from Dan’s childhood, and Californian produce (from where we live now). More Southern details include the rustic feel of our barn reception, the 1940s Ford pickup truck that I drove up to the ceremony in and the line dancing!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We had to bring in everything at the venue…even the bathrooms! Having the reception in the barn was great because it was a blank canvas to work with, but there were so many decisions to make since we had to bring everything in for the event. My mom brought in lots of great antiques and vintage details from Texas. She even drove a Uhaul out to California with all of her decorations!
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Food and wine! It was great to give our guests such a big selection, and they got to experience all of the delicious local produce and wines from the Central Coast area.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Our ceremony was very personalized. We worked with the officiant and he incorporated our favorite traits about our spouse into the ceremony. We also wrote our own vows. I loved that we both reiterated how natural and organic our relationship has been. It has never felt like “hard work.” We just really enjoy each other’s company and everything that comes with that.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? The 1 Corinthians 13 passage that everyone has at their wedding because my parents used it as their wedding vows.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We just bought a house! Looking forward to decorating, sprucing it up, and having lots of parties in our backyard this summer!

Photographer: Michelle Warren Photography // Planner: Carla Jacobsen of Special Occasions // Ceremony venue: Coquelicot Estate Vineyard / // Florist: Renae’s Bouquet // Dessert: Pattibakes, Enjoy Cupcakes, & Carol’s Cookies // Caterer: New West Catering // Rentals: Town & Country Rentals // Linens: La Tavola Linens // Paper Products: Urbanic Paper Boutique // Bride’s Dress: Melissa Sweet // Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: Vintage // Bride’s Shoes: London Sole // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale

emily Written with love by Emily
12 Comments
  1. avatar molly stillman reply

    OH wow! this wedding is BEAUTIFUL. so so so beautiful. great way to start a Tuesday!

  2. avatar Gina reply

    I loved this wedding. So perfect and colorful! All the details match so perfectly and that pink… rocks my world! Great choice!

  3. avatar Erin Davenport reply

    Love the wedding foosbal and favor mailboxes, what cute ideas! Beautiful overall, and love seeing the fabulous Michelle Warren featured :)

  4. avatar Tim Duncan reply

    Love the invitation! Super cute!

  5. avatar Gayle reply

    Wedding fussball?! Genius!

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