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Classic, elegant, and rooted in place are a few words I often use to describe my favorite “type” of wedding, so I was delighted when I saw that Erika and Kenny’s Savannah celebration hit all of those nails on the head. Even though their 11-month engagement was a particularly stressful time in their lives, they pulled off a day that truly celebrated their love for one another, their families, and the traditions and culture of the South. It’s so evident that even in the midst of moving, house hunting, and more, when it came to their wedding, Erika and Kenny worked hard to be intentional and hospitable. I can only imagine their marriage will be marked with those same sentiments!

Thanks so much to Brian Flint for sharing this lovely day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had a few details of the wedding planned out in my head, but a wedding dress was not one of them. I just knew I wanted something timeless and true to myself. My first appointment was at Ivory & Beau in Savannah. After trying on only eight dresses, I went with my gut and chose a beautiful, lace Elaya Vaughn dress by Kate Pankoke. I was in and out of the store in under an hour! Easiest shopping trip ever.

A first look logistically made sense, but we never considered doing one. Every time we imagined our wedding day, our thoughts would jump to the moment when we would lock eyes as I walked down the aisle towards him. Even though I cried my way down the aisle, we have no regrets! It was such a happy and surreal moment!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a harpist at our ceremony and he was great! He played “How Great Thou Art” for the seating of the parents and grandparents and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” for the bridal party entrance. The harp music plus the waterside setting made it so enchanting!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? A family member graciously offered to let us host our ceremony in his yard, overlooking the marsh on Wilmington Island. This site has hosted many shrimp boils, oyster roasts, and celebrations. The moss-draped oak trees and the marsh at high tide provided us with a magical and romantic backdrop for our ceremony. We rented trolleys to transport guests from the ceremony to the reception, which was in downtown Savannah at the Knights of Columbus. We wanted an indoor reception that was convenient to all the downtown amenities. We had many out-of-town guests, and it was important to us to show them all of our favorite parts of Savannah.

Joann’s Florist did such a great job with our flowers! We used a lot of seeded eucalyptus, dusty miller, cream cabbage roses, white ranunculus, white hydrangeas, and white veronica sprigs. Garlands lined the tables and hung over the mantle of the fireplace. It really transformed the reception space! We saved some of the flowers to dry and frame for our house, but the rest were taken to a local nursing home so that they could continue to be enjoyed.

Our wedding cake was from Publix and we couldn’t have been happier! It was pretty, delicious, and affordable! Instead of a groom’s cake, we opted for a flaming donut bar. Our caterer, Savannah Event Catering, fried a Krispy Kreme donut, poured bourbon in the middle, lit it on fire, and extinguished the flames with a Coke. He topped it with pralines and served it with ice cream. Amazing and so entertaining!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met while we were living in Atlanta. Kenny made the first move and invited me to coffee. I let him choose the location and, to my surprise, he chose my favorite coffee shop. It was such a beautiful day and we sipped our coffee next to the river while enjoying great conversation. It really was perfect. We’ve been together, drinking coffee, ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! Traveling is one of our favorite things to do together, so I didn’t think twice when Kenny suggested that we take a relaxing weekend trip to Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. Daufuskie is a charming little island between Savannah and Hilton Head that can only be reached by boat. A local artist told us about a great place to watch the sunset, so that night, we rode our golf cart over to the point. Kenny balanced his iPhone on the golf cart to take a timed photo of us. After a few seconds, he turned to me and started saying sweet things as we were taking in the beautiful scenery. What I thought was a special moment turned into a REALLY special moment when he dropped to one knee. I was so surprised! I didn’t believe him until I saw the ring. He then told me his iPhone had been taking a video, not a timed photo. He captured the moment for us and we were able to freeze shot pictures from it. It was beyond perfect!
When did y’all get married? March 5, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: This is tough because everything came together in such a lovely way. We both really loved our hurricane lamps, though. My dad believes every house should have one (or ten). It was one of the first things my parents gave Kenny and me when we bought our first house. We were able to use my dad’s collection at the reception and it was beautiful. It added just enough light and charm to the space.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? A week after we were engaged, Kenny’s work transferred him to another city. Our engagement was 11 months long and included wedding planning, house hunting, job searching, and moving. It was an eventful, emotional, and often challenging 11 months. We grew so much during this season of change. We learned how to effectively communicate, tackle our challenges together, and keep our relationship God-centered.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was definitely the guest list. We both come from big families and have lived in multiple cities. We could have easily invited 500 people, but we wouldn’t have been able to have the wedding we wanted with that many guests. Cutting the list was a long and painful process, but I think it worked out well.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? With a design background, I knew exactly what I wanted for the invitations. The only issue was the cost, so I decided to take them on as a DIY project. I purchased my beautiful, deckle-edged, homemade paper off of Etsy and my dear and talented friend, Lauren Walker, designed my invites in her beautiful calligraphy. I completed the look with a monogrammed gold wax seal. It was a lot of work, but the outcome was exactly what I wanted.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Prioritize. Figure out what you would consider a successful wedding and plan accordingly. Spend your money on things that will help you reach that vision and save money in the areas that don’t matter as much. It varies couple to couple but it is the best way to figure out where to cutback and where to splurge.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We look forward to working on our historic home, spending a lot of time on our porch swing, continuing to travel the world, and experiencing life together.

Photographer: Brian Flint Photography | Planner, Rentals and Florals: Carlson Premiere Events | Ceremony Venue: Private residence | Reception Venue: Knights of Columbus | Florist: Joann’s Florist | Cake Baker: Publix | Caterer: Savannah Event Catering | Band: A Nickel Bag of Funk | Bride’s Gown: Elaya Vaughn Bridal by Kate Pankoke | Hair and Makeup: Beyond Beautiful by Heather Ferguson | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo, Bari Jay, and Joanna August | Alterations: Stitch | Calligraphy: Lauren Walker with Caroline & Fitz Design Co.

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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Arielle says she has known all her life that she would someday be married on the beach. When it came time to decide where she and Chris would tie the knot, Seaside, Florida was the perfect choice–this Austin-dwelling couple has visited Seaside every year since their first year of dating! While I’m quite the fan of their location choice, I think their vow selection has my heart (be sure to read their favorite lines). They pieced together phrases that fit their relationship perfectly, saying that “every day brings something new, and the best part is walking through it with your best friend!” That’s the sweet stuff right there, y’all!

We’re so delighted Blue Ribbon Vendor, Dear Wesleyann was there to capture their lovely day!

I went to visit my family in Cincinnati and we went to the Reading Bridal District. I have a very boho style and have known all my life that I would get married on a beach, so it was a given that I had to find something wispy and light. We went into Yours Truly Kelly for our first stop, and there it was: a light tulle gown with little petals flowing down the train. It was too big, so my mom convinced me to try another shop, but I couldn’t get the dress off my mind! The next day, I went back and purchased the dress, and worked with a seamstress here in Austin to tailor it to my body, which required redesigning the bodice. We also added a belt made out of a hand-beaded fabric from a local shop in Austin.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We worked with the pastor from our church in Houston, Ecclesia, to piece together our vows. In my vows, I especially loved a phrase that said “I take you, Chris, to be my constant friend and faithful partner…I promise to love you unconditionally and support your goals from this day forward.” Chris loved this part of his vows: “I eagerly anticipate the chance to grow together, getting to know the woman you will become, and falling in love a little more every day. I promise to love and cherish you through whatever life may bring us.” These phrases fit us so perfectly because we have really grown up together. Every day brings something new, and the best part is walking through it with your best friend!

Chris walked my grandma down the aisle to “Edelweiss,” which is her favorite song. My dad and I walked down the aisle to “What a Wonderful World,” because he and I always listened to Eva Cassidy growing up, and we both love that song. Our friend played songs by Zac Brown Band on a ukulele while we did our knot-tying ceremony, which brought us back to our time in Nashville! Our first dance was to “Wagon Wheel,” because it was kind of our song when we first started dating, after lots of fun nights dancing and singing to it together at the bars with friends!

Describe your wedding flowers. I cried the moment I saw my bouquet. Marja from Florals by the Sea did the most incredible job using coral peonies, white anemones, white roses, lamb’s ear, and bright green foliage. It was breathtaking and looked so beautiful against the ocean and the sand.

If there’s one thing we heard most while planning our destination wedding, it was “Why Seaside?” Simply put, when Chris and I are there, it feels like the rest of the world could not be further away, and we enjoy a simpler way of life, if only for a few days. We’ve visited Seaside every year since our first year of dating! We invited guests to take time during the wedding weekend to walk through the Seaside farmer’s market, have a beer on the porch of the Great Southern, walk through the Perspicasity market, and pick up a few Seaside t-shirts along the way. Ultimately, we wanted our friends and family to fall in love with Seaside for the same reasons we did. Because of that hope, this quiet little beach town was the perfect choice for our wedding.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The colors, the clothing, the bow ties (Vineyard Vines), the entire look and feel, the architecture of Seaside, Southern food (chicken and waffle skewers, shrimp and grits, and local brews), the music choices, and all of our Southern friends and family…I could go on and on!

The most memorable moment of our wedding day was the very end of the reception. As the night concluded, Chris and I walked up the stairs to the Bud & Alley’s bar, and I just remember looking down at our guests and seeing so much love. Everyone was beaming with joy. It was beautiful and I feel so blessed to have that memory to think back on every day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met while attending Belmont University in Nashville. I was having a dinner party with some of our fraternity and sorority friends, and one of them brought Chris, who had just transferred to Belmont, along. We became very good friends in the following months, and began dating about a year later. We haven’t looked back since!
Tell us all about the proposal! We had moved to Houston, Texas for work. My family was planning to visit for Thanksgiving, so I had an inclination that Chris would possibly propose during their visit, but I suppose he couldn’t wait! It was a Thursday evening and we got in the car to go out for a late dinner. We had decided to go to Dolce Vita, our favorite spot in Montrose, but Chris started driving in the opposite direction towards Houston’s mall, The Galleria. I remember being so confused (and hungry!). He kept talking on and on (much more than usual) about our new church and our life in our new city. Eventually, he parked in the mall parking garage and told me he wanted to check out some sort of art display. This was very unusual, because he isn’t really the art type! I followed him and the next thing I knew, we were in an unlit park with a large cement wall, most commonly referred to as the Water Wall. Usually, the wall is lit up, but on this night in particular, they were doing some maintenance and there was a boom lift in the middle of it. I looked at Chris and said something along the lines of “Why are we at this dark park…it’s not even open, and there’s construction stuff everywhere!” I turned around to walk away when he stopped me and said, “Well, I was going to ask you to marry me!” I turned around in utter disbelief and laughed, asking if he was joking. After he assured me that he was serious, I, of course, said yes, and then we went to have a celebratory dinner at Dolce Vita!
When did y’all get married? May 17, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 75
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Probably the cake table, because it was so close to our hearts. The cake stand was handmade by Chris’ dad, and my grandparents’ cake topper from their wedding sat beside it. The hand-beaded starfish chandelier that my mom so lovingly made for us added to the beautiful display.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my veil from my best friend Katie (we were in each other’s weddings, too!). My something old was a family locket with photos of my grandfather and my grandma (God rest her soul) inside, which I tied to my bouquet. My something blue was a handmade garter (seersucker, of course!) from my mother-in-law, Lori, and my earrings from BHLDN were new!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We did a full marriage course with our church. We highly recommend doing this. It helped us to work through tough questions that we will eventually face in the future and taught us to communicate openly and respectfully with one another. It has helped our relationship immensely and I’m forever grateful to our pastors, Paul Randall and Chris Seay.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Chris and I spent a lot of time talking about our wedding, but he always reminded me when we needed to maintain our real life. In the days leading up to the wedding, we spent time just enjoying the moment–we checked into a sweet little cottage and sat inside, drinking wine and listening to the rain. We enjoyed lots of rest and time with family and friends, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. All I can say is to just remember that your wedding is about the rest of your life together and that life goes beyond the wedding day. It’s where your story begins!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right after the wedding, Chris and I made plans to move from Houston to Austin. We both took new jobs and made the official move in January 2015. We are now making plans to buy our first house. Hopefully, it will be a fixer-upper, because we both love a good project! Aside from that, we’re in the middle of planning our next Seaside reunion trip for Labor Day weekend with our best friends!

Photographer: Dear Wesleyann / Videographer: Gilmore Pictures / Planner: Heather Archdeacon Williams of Defining Moments Weddings and Events / Ceremony Venue: Coleman Beach / Reception Venue and Catering: Bud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant / Florist: Florals by the Sea / Cake Baker: Publix / DJ: B Boy Productions / Paper Products: Simply Fetching Paper / Bride’s Gown: La Sposa / Bride’s Earrings: BHLDN / Bride’s Necklace: Liz James / Hair Stylist: Kallie Warner and Ilyssa Glover Goddin / Makeup Artist: Kallie Warner / Bride’s Shoes: “Buti” in Metallic by Castaner / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “778” in Capri by Bill Levkoff / Groom’s Pants: Bonobos / Groom’s Shirt: Façonnable / Groom’s Bow Tie: Brooks Brothers / Groomsmens’ Pants: “Chinos” in Navy by Dockers / Groomsmens’ Shirts and Bow Ties: Vineyard Vines / Nautical Rope Table Numbers: Karen’s Wedding Shop

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Irving Gil reply

    Arielle and Chris were such a pleasure to work with and their wedding was so beautiful. Seaside is one of my favorite cities and I was so happy to be a part of their special day!

  2. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #197 – Floridian Social reply

    […] get enough of this colorful beach wedding, especially the groom's poppin' pastel […]

  3. avatar Candance reply

    This is amazing. Gorgeous. The details are absolutely flawless.

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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