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Last week, I was honored to join a few fellow Southern gals on a panel with Lover.ly to chat about Southern weddings. A great tip discussed was exploring different venue options that truly mean something special to the couple and their family and then making them your own. I think Baylor + Daniel hit the nail on the head by choosing the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, which has been a retreat for four generations of Baylor’s family. They then used farm tables, lace-tied flowers and strawberry basil lemonade to create a sense of relaxed, easy-going Southern charm. Gosh, I love that!

Thanks to one of our delightful Blue Ribbon Vendors, Elaine Palladino for sharing this sweet day with us!

My something borrowed was my grandmother’s pearls, something blue was my mother-in-law’s garter, something old was a pearl bracelet given to me by my dad, and something new was my shoes.

Describe your wedding flowers. I wanted flowers arrangements that were romantic and reminiscent of a garden’s natural beauty. Our florist, Veronica, created various centerpieces of moss-covered boxes and terrariums filled with peonies, garden roses, jasmine, anemones, clematis, spray roses and succulents. The pink, coral and magenta flowers were so luscious, and the best part was that no two arrangements were the same.

We decided to do a first look to relieve some of the nerves before our ceremony. Seeing each other in a more private setting among our closest family and wedding party was a really special moment we will always cherish. By the time we walked down the aisle, we felt no anxiety–just pure joy.

Y’all, this doll-baby is way too cute! Would it be wrong if I actually pinched those cheeks?

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The beautiful chuppah that my dad, cousin, sister and I built was my favorite detail. During the days leading up to the wedding, it meant a lot to have quality time spent with my family while sanding and staining the wood. They finished building it as I got ready and it was draped in ivory fabric and decorated with flowers. It was truly a labor of love and so meaningful to have as the focal point of our ceremony.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our guests traveled from all over the country to be at our wedding in Miami, so we wanted to make sure they truly felt a sense of locale and culture. To create this, we had a cigar bar, which included a local cigar roller, and a mojito bar serving two varieties: traditional and blood orange. These details were a huge hit with our guests and accomplished just what we had hoped–an authentic South Florida experience.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our cake was ivory and decorated in lace designs and flowers. Each tier was a different flavor–vanilla lemon, vanilla almond and vanilla rum–and all were delicious. We also had a dessert bar that included adorable mini key lime pies, macarons, eclairs and fruit tartlets. My mouth waters thinking about all the sweets!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were both planning separately to move to Colorado. Danny answered my ad searching for a roommate and we met for the first time two weeks before he moved in. We only made it three months as roommates before we started dating–there was just too much chemistry to ignore.
Tell us all about the proposal! We were living in Maui when Danny proposed. One spring weekend, we went on a little getaway to the mountains on the island of Lanai. Danny had been acting strange all weekend, and after we returned home, I confessed my disappointment, since I had anticipated a proposal. He said he was sorry for giving me the wrong idea and even suggested we weren’t ready yet! Little did I know, he already had the ring. I was folding laundry in our bedroom that evening when I walked out into the hallway to find Danny on his knee.
When did y’all get married? May 26, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. While my mom was visiting from Florida, we went dress shopping in Virginia. I tried one dress on that I couldn’t stop thinking about, but I continued my search. Six months and several dresses later, I went back to that first store and tried on the same dress–I knew it was “the one.”
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? With the help of Danny’s cousin, who was our officiant, we wrote our vows based on others that we had heard and read. My favorite part was hearing him say to me “I, Daniel Edward Knoll, take you, Baylor Guyton Young, to be my wife, my partner in life and my one true love…I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward, for as long as we both shall live.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My sister-in-law recited the Hands Ceremony and a friend of ours read an Apache Marriage Blessing, which ended in “may your days be good and long upon the earth.”
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our ceremony music was performed by a string trio and was absolutely beautiful. I decided to walk down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon” because the song has always made me so happy. Our first dance was “Crazy Love” by Van Morrison. It was romantic and relaxed, a feeling which seemed to perfectly represent our wedding and us as a couple.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The Biscayne Bay Yacht Club is one of the oldest members-only yacht clubs in the South and has been a retreat for my family for four generations. We enhanced the setting with farm tables, lace-tied flowers and strawberry basil lemonade with paper straws. Being out on the lawn at the water’s edge really helped to instill a sense of relaxed, easy-going Southern charm.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning a wedding from afar was a bit challenging. We got engaged while living in Hawaii and moved to Virginia to be closer to friends and family, but still found ourselves many miles from South Florida. We were only able to meet with our vendors in person a month before the wedding, and all other planning had to be done through phone and email.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My most memorable moment of the day was our first look. We had originally decided that we didn’t want to do it, but changed our minds, and I’m so glad we did! It was really special to be able to spend that time with Danny and take a moment to escape the chaos of the day. I’ll never forget the look in his eyes when he saw me in my wedding dress for the first time.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? If at all possible, make the dinner and dancing portion of your reception an hour longer. We had a typical five-hour reception that flew by. It’s worth setting up in advance so that you can enjoy the evening and don’t have to worry about paying your vendors to stay longer.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We recently returned from our honeymoon in Iceland and Spain. With all of the planning behind us, we are looking forward to simply spending quality time with each other and our families. We heard our first dance song at a friend’s wedding last month. All of the incredible memories of our wedding night came rushing back, and it was surreal for us to already be looking back on everything. It all goes by so fast.

Elaine Palladino is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
16 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Love the succulent escort cards!

  2. avatar Amanda {Amanda Jayne Events} reply

    I love the centerpieces!

  3. avatar Caitlyn | The Aerialist Press reply

    Love that venue!!

  4. avatar Desiree reply

    Gah! Loving so much of this! What a gorgeous wedding and there are some seriously talented peeps involved! yay :)

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  6. avatar Ellen Williams reply

    Can you tell me where her blue shoes are from or who the designer is?

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I am truly delighted to be sharing Ali and Austin’s wedding with y’all today! Not only are the pictures from their Texas wedding so beautiful and full of joy, their story–from both of their perspectives!–is also the absolute sweetest. From a first date “adventure” to a proposal that, yes, made me cry at my desk, to a wedding full of meaningful music and details, these Baylor sweethearts captured my heart. I hope their love brightens your day as much as it has mine!

Hugs to Jennefer Wilson for sharing Ali and Austin’s wedding with us!

I had the opportunity to go dress shopping with my mom, Sally, my little sister and one of the maids of honor, Emma. We began the day at The Blushing Bride, which is a boutique in my hometown of Frisco, TX. Right away, I noticed a beautiful, natural-waist dress with bits of lace detailing and absolutely fell in love with it! I asked to try it on first and was head over heels for it once I put it on! Both my mom and I cried when I showed it off! For the sake of getting perspective, I did try on more dresses at the Blushing Bride and went to one more boutique in Dallas later that day. However, while other dresses were beautifully made and very flattering, I couldn’t get dress #1 out of my head! I think that the important part about choosing a wedding dress is finding one that makes you feel radiant from any camera angle, that reflects your personal style, and that you feel comfortable eating and dancing the night away in!

Describe your wedding flowers. When gathering ideas on Pinterest, I was drawn to pictures of garlands and free-flowing arrangements. I wanted the bouquets to look organic and effortless–like they were picked from a beautiful garden. I also wanted to create a kind of arbor effect inside the Chapel at Chestnut Square with large arrangements that drew the guests’ eyes to the altar. All of the things on my wish list were masterfully created by Ashley Kirk of Ashlilium! The bridesmaid bouquets were whimsical and full of different types and textures of lavender, white, and soft pink flowers. Each was wrapped in soft gray velvet. My bouquet was a beautiful combination of large blooms and delicate accents. I was touched by the way that Ashley incorporated the handkerchief my mother-in-law had carried on her wedding day by wrapping it with the velvet around the base of the bouquet!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we decided to do a first look and we believe it was an excellent decision! I was anxious to see Austin and to have precious moments with him before the big day really got going! The photographs that were taken during the first look are some of my favorites and are proudly displayed on the walls of our new little house! Doing the first look before the ceremony also allowed Austin and me to be the first people to arrive at the reception. This gave us the chance to check out how everything we had been planning had come together! We also decided to do a receiving line as guests entered the reception. This was one of our FAVORITE decisions because we were able to greet and thank each one of our guests! It was important for us to communicate how much it meant to us that all of our friends and family were able to be a part of our big day! Brides will tell you that waiting to talk with people during dinner or dancing is a challenge. Because of the receiving line, we were able to sit down and enjoy our delicious dinner and have a blast on the dance floor knowing that we had already spoken to everyone!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? While preparing for the wedding, I was touched by a prayer for marriage that I found in the Common Book of Prayer. I asked Austin’s uncle, Ruben, who was officiating, to include it in some capacity during our ceremony. He included the sentiments in a personal prayer he had been preparing. “Make their life together a sign of love to this sinful and broken world, that unity may overcome estrangement, forgiveness heal guilt, and joy conquer despair.”
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment of my wedding day was walking down the aisle with my daddy and squeezing his arm tight as we neared the altar. I am blessed with an amazing dad who has always been by my side and supported me through every season of my life. Having him give me away was very meaningful to me because of the closeness my family shares. I remember locking eyes with Austin and feeling my tears turning to a smile full of excitement for our life together! I hope to create a new family with Austin that is as positive, nurturing, and loving as the family that raised me.

We were so blessed by members of our church family, who offered to let us use their stunning 1957 black and white Chevrolet Bel-Air to drive away from the chapel in! We hopped in the car with petals falling and church bells ringing! It was such a fun exit!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We were married in a historic little white chapel commonly found in farming towns around Texas. We incorporated monograms on getting-ready robes, the cake, and in other reception details. Mason jars were used for drinks at the reception, as well as vases for flowers. We served Southern comfort foods at our reception and BBQ at the rehearsal dinner. Austin chose homemade apple pie as a groom’s cake. My house party was made up of two of my dear friends, Chelsea Cunningham and Bonner Briggs, who did a wonderful job of welcoming guests as they passed out programs and handed out muslin bags filled with lavender for our exit!

Austin and I had so much fun choosing the flavors of our wedding cake! We decided on white wedding, amaretto, and red velvet and each layer was delicious! Lace details from my dress were incorporated into the design of the cake. The bottom layer was ruffled with lace at the base, the next two layers were shades of lavender that gradually became lighter, the next layer incorporated more of the lace details, and the top layer highlighted a monogram that we had used on our invitations, which was encircled with a garland. For his groom’s cake, Austin chose to have apple pies made. Sonya Jacobs, wife of Warren, who performed the ceremony music, made all of the yummy apple pies and even put a little letter A on top of each of them!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ali’s version: On the first Tuesday of spring semester during my sophomore year at Baylor University, I took my seat in American Educational Thought a few rows behind a tall, dark-haired freshman, whom I quickly judged to be obnoxious. To my credit though, my opinion of Austin changed as the semester went on and I noted his intelligence, sense of humor, and passion for people with special needs. I distinctly remember the day that I considered Austin more than just a boy in my class. I was walking to my Children’s Literature class and passed Austin, who was reading on one of the campus’ swinging benches. As I approached the bench, Austin set aside his book to say hello. We made small talk about the classes we were headed to and parted ways. I knew Austin was a really friendly guy and I did not imagine that our quick conversation had made any lasting impact on him. My class that day ended early, and since it was a beautiful, sunny day, I decided to eat my lunch outside. I sat on the small stone wall and entertained myself by people watching, until I heard my full name called out from across the street. I then watched Austin wave enthusiastically, dismiss a group of his friends, and drag a friend across 5th Street to see me. After meeting his friend, I was told that I was quite a lucky girl to have Austin Amaro come over to talk to me and that Austin knew just about everyone on campus. I remember laughing as Austin teased his friend about embarrassing him, but I also thought I saw him blush. Once my classes were done for the day, I went home and immediately talked to Kylie Rhodes, my best friend and roommate at the time, about what had happened that day. We decided to “creep” him online so that she could see what Austin looked like. When we couldn’t find him on Facebook, Kylie and I resorted to looking Austin up on the Baylor directory and finding his school ID picture. Kylie then informed me that she had been told by a mutual friend that Austin had been interested in being set up on a date with me all semester and that he was “in love” with me. I recall my face burning as I blushed, but also feeling excited about his interest in me. After class that next week, Austin asked to walk me to my car and invited me on an “adventure.” We have been on an incredible adventure ever since! Austin’s version: The spring of my freshmen year, I somehow registered for a sophomore-level education class called American Educational Thought. On the first day of class, I was struck by a tall, beautiful blonde that walked through the door. I anxiously waited to see where this beauty would sit. Unfortunately, she sat behind my right shoulder, which meant I had to completely turn my body just to strike up a conversation. I did not let this deter my pursuit. A friendship developed and by April, I had mustered up enough confidence to ask her on a date. On April 20th, 2010, I walked Ali to her car at the business school parking garage, and asked her if she wanted to go on an “adventure” with me that weekend. I have no idea as to why I asked her on an “adventure” as opposed to a date, but now I had to live up to it. We exchanged numbers and walked away. As I headed through the business school lobby on my way back to Penland, I began high-fiving those around me and throwing my hands in the air with excitement. Little did I know that Ali was watching through the parking garage staircase and had seen me jump around with excitement and high-five random people. On April 24th, 2010, Ali and I went on our first date, and apparently it went really well. The spring semester ended with me receiving a C in American Educational Thought, and Ali receiving an A. Apparently, turning my shoulder all semester had not been good for my grades. I may have not gotten a good grade in the class, but I did get my best friend and my future wife.
Tell us all about the proposal! Our special date began with Austin taking me to Waco Hall to watch The Nutcracker performed by the Waco Symphony Orchestra and the Austin Ballet Company. It was very sweet and thoughtful of him to take me to The Nutcracker, because that has been one of my family traditions since I was a little girl. After the ballet, we went to the store to decide on some wine to take to dinner at Baris, which is one of our favorite Italian restaurants. We made a quick stop at Katie’s Custard to share a “Dirt and Worms,” which is my favorite ice cream treat, before driving down Austin Avenue to look at Christmas lights. Austin Avenue is one of the streets in Waco that Austin and I love to drive down to look at the beautiful old houses. It was also something we did on our very first dates. Austin Avenue led us straight downtown to a beautiful fountain next to Waco City Hall which had the Waco W lit up in Christmas lights. When we reached this location, Austin parked the car and asked if I wanted to walk around for a bit. He took my hand and walked around the fountain with me to a spot that had lights and candles already set up. At this point, Austin turned to face me and I heard our song, “Your Hand In Mine” by Explosions in the Sky, begin to play in the background. He somehow got me to stop looking at him and look up at the ALICO building, a Waco landmark, and it was then that I noticed that the C and the O had been turned off so my name was lit up for the whole city to see!!! He shared that it was no coincidence that we drove down Austin Avenue, that ALI was shining in the sky, and that we were in the same class together years ago. He quoted scripture, spoke incredibly kind words over me, and then knelt down on one knee and asked me to marry him! After I said YES, our friends and family were in town to celebrate our engagement with us! The entire night was incredible!
When did y’all get married? July 6, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I asked Warren Jacobs, the incredible worship pastor from my home church, Preston Trail Community Church, to perform during our sweet ceremony. We decided that the songs I had chosen would really sound beautiful if two guitars and a violin were used. Explosions in the Sky’s song “Your Hand in Mine” has always been meaningful to Austin and me. We listened to it on one of our first dates and Austin had it playing while he proposed! Warren was able to adapt the song so that the music built as each of the bridesmaids walked down the aisle and came to a climax when the doors opened for my entrance. Austin and I chose to take communion while Warren and Becca, my sister and one of the maids of honor, sang “Your Glory” by All Sons and Daughters. We chose this song because it spoke so clearly to the purpose of communion and marriage. We are first and foremost committed to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is through this relationship that our marriage is strengthened and can have a lasting impact on the people around us. We left the chapel on a happy note with “You Always Make Me Smile” by Kyle Andrews. Our band, Identity Theft, performed all of the special songs at our reception. Travis, Austin’s brother and best man, suggested the song “Feet Don’t Touch the Ground” by Stoney LaRue as a possibility for our first dance. We loved that the song communicated how different life was once we found one another and that now we can’t imagine life apart! My dad and I danced to “Butterfly Kisses” by Bob Carlisle because when I was little, that is the song I always pretended to dance with him to. Austin and his mom danced to “My Wish For You” by Rascal Flatts, because it communicated her love for him and her great hope for our future! The last song that we danced to was “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake, because it ended the night on a fun, energetic note, while also being sentimental!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed and old was the handkerchief from my mother-in-law. My something blue was the bow on my garter and the bows on my bustle. My news were my dress and Kate Spade earrings. I also carried a lucky penny in my shoe throughout the ceremony and reception thanks to my bridesmaid, Kendal Miller!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I have told everyone I know about how much I LOVED our photographer Jennefer Wilson. I walked away from our initial meeting telling Austin how much I wanted to be real life friends with her and her sweet husband Michael! Jennefer was so much fun to work with because she was easygoing, genuine, and incredibly talented! She was always willing to talk things through with me and even met me an extra time before the big day to walk through each location! She was also the one to draw up the final schedule for our big day which was SO beyond the call of duty, but was such a blessing to me! I can’t say enough nice things about this girl. She is wonderful and we were so happy to have her as a part of our wedding!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Just do you! If your wedding is a reflection of you and the relationship that you have with your future spouse, then it will be beautiful and enjoyed by all! My mom was great about reminding me throughout the process that at the end of the day, you are married, and the marriage is what matters! Don’t get caught up in the details! But, if you do need help with the details, throw a craft night! My mom and I invited friends over, turned on some fun music, served snacks and punch, and set up stations of the remaining wedding crafts for them to help us with. We had so much fun socializing and checking crafts off our list!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are currently living in San Antonio and have both found jobs teaching in the area! Austin will be teaching Special Education in Alamo Heights ISD. He will be focusing on life skills with students who have graduated from high school and helping to prepare them for life after school! I will be teaching Kindergarten in Northside ISD! We are most looking forward to having the opportunity to settle into our little house and to spend every day learning more about each other!

Photographer: Jennefer Wilson | Videographer: Jerod Chambers | Ceremony Venue: The Chapel at Chestnut Square | Reception Venue: The Flour Mill | Florist: Ashley Kirk | Wedding Cake Baker: Shannon Star from Layered Bake Shop | Pie Baker: Sonya Jacobs | Caterer: McKinney Catering Company | Band: Identity Theft | Bride’s Gown: “Deidre” by Lis Simon | Paper Products: Love vs. Design | Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: Kate Spade | Hair Stylist: Montanna Wilson | Makeup Artist: Denise Basden | Bride’s Shoes: Kenneth Cole Reaction | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style 320” by Bill Levkoff | Men’s Vera Wang Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

lisa Written with love by Lisa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Kat reply

    I love how the bride’s joyful expression carried throughout every single picture!!

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Beautiful!

  3. avatar Dana reply

    how they met is so adorable; i especially loved austin’s version! her wedding flowers are perfection!

  4. avatar Britni Ramsey reply

    Great job Jennefer!! Their story is so precious!

  5. avatar Melissa Vause Feetham reply

    This wedding cake and the wedding featured before this one had the same cake topper…what does it say? Mean?

  6. avatar Melissa Vause Feetham reply

    nevermind! I see it now…says “We do!” I was trying to read it as “liledol” hehe ;-)

  7. avatar Featured | Southern Weddings – Jennefer Wilson Photography reply

    […] Our couples always bless us more than we could ever ask for or imagine but Ali + Austin are a rare gem. Their constant encouragement has left a huge mark on our hearts and we couldn’t be more thankful. They are the couple that you wonder “is it possible to be THAT nice?” when you say your goodbyes. Their story makes you even more sure that God has big, intentional dreams laid out for His children…I am forever thankful for these two! Take time to read their beautiful love story, you wont be disappointed! You can find the post here!  […]

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AnnaKathryn (even her double name is Southern!) + Ryan’s big day was filled with intentional details and sweet surprises, but the thing that stood out most to their fabulous planner from RiverOaks was the number of loving family hands that went into this wedding: “there was a uniqueness to the willingness of all involved in the planning and execution of this wedding in that so many wanted to serve – in a real humble and sincere manner.” Wow, now that is some Sweet Tea Society goodness! Keep a lookout for thoughts from AnnaKathryn, her Momma, and the gals of RiverOaks throughout this post — they all wanted to chime in!

Now, as a big fan of horse and buggies (BDK and I rode off in a carriage from our own wedding!) I loved that the bride and her father’s carriage entrance was a complete surprise to everyone, setting the tone for an evening where details unfolded slowly and with purpose.

Big thank yous to Hunter McRae for capturing all the loveliness of AnnaKathryn + Ryan’s celebration!

From the RiverOaks ladies: We used orchids, sweet peas, parrot tulips, hellebores, garden roses, peonies, lilac, ranunculus, and various gathered foliage such as ferns, pods, and hostas to make the floral elements unique to this day. The bride’s bouquet was adored with a simple pearl cross fashioned from the corsage pins on the stemmed handle. The bride and her mom told us they wanted a gathered look, as though objects were taken from a home to prepare for a wedding. The bride’s mother asked that the elements be simplistic, strong, and elegant, like her daughter. So, the twenty-plus guest tables were topped with a collection of ceramic urns with herbs, lanterns on rye grass, bouquets on tree stumps, glass cloche terrariums, bundled candles, and handled pitchers with florals. The cocktail area had grapevine and moss balls topped with orchids hanging from the trees.

From AnnaKathryn’s mama: AnnaKathryn hadn’t spent time dreaming and thinking about her wedding, so when the time came she had no clue about wedding gowns and styles. Shopping was a precious time with her maid of honor, a sweet friend of 20 years, and her mom. Knowing that her wedding would be outside, she wanted a gown that moved with her. We were overjoyed when she was confident she found her dress! Her maid of honor tried on a few bridesmaid dresses, too, and AnnaKathryn surprised us again when she decided on her bridesmaids’ dresses and the colors all during our first visit to a bridal shop. Typically, AnnaKathryn labors over decisions, but with the wedding, she seemed to have the mindset that things would be beautiful, which carried her through planning with joy and ease, never having the weight of the need for things to be perfect.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My father is a pastor in Mount Pleasant, and it was so special to have him marry us.  He spoke his homily from Isaiah 61:3, “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” This is a verse he and my mother have prayed for their children and generations to come since their own marriage.
From the RiverOaks ladies: The brother of the bride opened the wedding with the reading of Psalm 103 by standing in the aisle amid all the guests. The bride and groom asked everyone sharing the joyful occasion with them to please pray the words of Romans 15:5-6 for them, as they desire their marriage to be founded upon the Gospel of Christ and anchored in the Word of God.

From the RiverOaks ladies The ceremony, although outdoors, was truly set in a sanctuary. The contemporary worship leader at the bride’s church thoughtfully prepared music of praise to set the tone, which was important to this couple and their families as they entered into a Biblical marriage. Hymns such as “Come thou Fount of Every Blessing” and “How Firm a Foundation” were played throughout the ceremony and during communion (using the groom’s parents’ communion cups). The horse-drawn carriage bridal entry arrived to the powerful tune of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Lastly, it was fitting for the wedding guests to sing “And Can It Be” together, as everyone who knows the bride’s father knows it’s his favorite hymn.

From the RiverOaks ladies: The three flower girls continued their role as sign bearers throughout the wedding. In order to transition the guests in a delightful way, the girls took turns frolicking through the reception with beribboned pennants such as “cut the cake,” “first dance,” “sweet treats,” and “goodnight.” Additionally, as wedding planners we like to build in something special for the groom that is all about him. The traditional military Sword Arch (the groom graduated from The Citadel) was brought to RiverOaks as the couple departed through sparklers. The bride also handed off her bouquet to the groom to carry while she “walked the line” with a football in honor of her linebacker!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Entering by horse-drawn carriage with my dad to Highland Cathedral on the bagpipes and seeing Ryan at the altar. Also, before cutting the cake, Ryan thanked our guests for coming, and then really blessed me publicly with a short toast.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Planning a wedding, especially in Charleston, can be overwhelming.  Find a good wedding planner and communicate your desires, expectations, and limitations.  Planning the details can be super fun, but don’t let the small things steal the joy of the process.  At the end of the day, you will still be married to your love!

Oh my, these desserts sound delicious! From the RiverOaks ladies: Dessert was one of the best toasted coconut cakes we have ever tasted! It was made with gluten-free love for the bride. A church member made 25 additional coconut cakes from the bride’s favorite recipe that were the talk of town. As if that weren’t enough, Chef Bob prepared berry cobblers for each family style table as well, topped by table service al la mode! The mother of the bride also made mini ice cream sandwiches with homemade gluten-free gingersnaps filled with various coconut milk ice cream flavors to pass as a late night snack on the dance floor.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration?  What was Southern about your wedding? Shag dancing under the lighted live oaks.  We also surprised Ryan with a Citadel-style sword arch as we headed for our get-away boat.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? It was a challenge to balance the wedding planning with finishing my last semester of nursing school.  I passed my boards the week before the wedding.  My mom and the RiverOaks team were incredible and picked up my slack in the planning process!

From the RiverOaks ladies: The outdoorsy Mr. and Mrs. who love boating the low country departed by boat with Thai lanterns overhead provided by the grandfather of the bride who resides in Thailand and couldn’t make the wedding. After some reflective time alone on the river and the dispersal of the guests, the couple returned quietly to their venue and departed by limousine to historic downtown Charleston for a “mini-moon” before their trip to Europe a few months later.

How did the two of you meet?  Tell us your story. Mutual friends introduced us, but we really hit it off when Ryan asked me and two friends on a triple-date with his brother and a football teammate from the Citadel.  The date consisted of a 3-on-3 basketball tournament which the girls won! We had so much fun getting to know each other during dinner at Poe’s Tavern afterward.  A few weeks later, Ryan took me to a show at the Sottile Theater, which sealed the deal.
Describe the proposal. Right at the beginning of our relationship, Ryan told two of his best friends that I would be his wife.  It took about 7 months, but he proposed to me at the scenic grounds of Alhambra Hall in the Old Village of Mt. Pleasant on September 17, the day before my birthday.  Unbeknownst to me, he planned a birthday party for me that same night.  When our friends and family yelled “surprise,” we surprised them right back with a ring on my finger!
In what month did you get married? May 2012
How many guests attended your wedding? 220, with a large wedding party!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Ryan did not know that I would be entering by horse-drawn carriage with my father.  Because we had this special entrance planned, we did not do a “first look.”  It was a special moment when we made eye contact that we will not soon forget.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: We served peach and blueberry cobbler for dessert, but our far and away favorite was the coconut wedding cake.  I only wish that some had made it into our limo that night!
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? We are so happy we chose to go with Hunter McRae; she captured the beauty of the day and was so sweet and helpful during the whole process.  It was a last-minute decision by my mom, though, to have Leslie Buhler do videography.  We are so happy she did.  The compilations she put together for us really take us back to that day.
What’s next for you as a couple?  What are you looking forward to in the future? I am back in school at MUSC to be a nurse practitioner and Ryan is working as an engineer.  We love to explore the natural beauty of Charleston and spend time with other newlyweds.

marissa Written with love by Marissa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Melissa Tuck reply

    Love the ring shot (succulents yes!) and the cake shot. And that first photo is an awesome journalistic shot – love all the action going on and it’s composed spot on! Such a lovely wedding and beautifully captured!

  2. avatar Lauren reply

    This wedding is so thoughtful and gorgeous. I love it!

  3. avatar Stephen reply

    BEAUTIFUL!

  4. avatar Gorgeous Charleston Wedding | Wedding Resource reply

    […] If you love beautiful weddings, you will adore this Charleston, SC gem full of heartfelt details. The bride and her father entered the ceremony in a horse-drawn carriage and then her father, a pastor, also performed the marriage ceremony. A special gluten-free toasted coconut cake was on the menu, as were meaningful hymns, a Citadel sword arch, and a gorgeous pair of wreaths on a cross at the outdoor altar. Enjoy all the Southern wedding goodness over at Southern Weddings. […]

  5. avatar Boho Pins: Here Comes The Bride – Boho Weddings™ reply

    […] sign (Photographer Black Frame Photography) / heart chalkboard (photographer Jonny Draper) / 3 bridesmaids (Photographer Hunter McRae) / round chalkboard (photographer Eon […]

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