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During our team retreat, we played a Southern Weddings version of The Newlywed Game. Kristin and I lost to Emily and Lisa by just one point! However, when the question of whether your partner would rather go to Mardi Gras or the Kentucky Derby came up, KNW knew me the best! I love Mardi Gras, but I’ve never been to the Derby, and we often daydream of a Derby double date with our beaus. Lindsey and Ryan’s Derby-inspired wedding only makes me want to go more! I love how they timed their cocktail hour with the race, included mint juleps as their signature drink, and aptly named their tables after past winners, inspired by the guests at the table (be sure to read about that below!). But, despite their love for every special detail, Lindsey and Ryan said “our favorite detail was becoming husband and wife.” That’s the best detail in my book as well!

Big SW hugs to our friend Elaine Palladino for sharing this fun day!

P.S. How fun is it that Lindsey and Ryan are celebrating their first anniversary at the actual Kentucky Derby this weekend? So special!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Mutual friends of ours, Dave and Rachel Gossett, hinted for eight years that we should meet. Living in different cities, we both presumed that it was never really meant to be. Fast forward to Derby Day 2012 when Dave and Rachel were at my annual Derby party and sent Ryan his first picture of me. A little later in the evening, one text was followed by a few clever other ones, that led to a conversation that never stopped. We texted through May into June, talked on the phone for the rest of the summer, and then Ryan came to visit over Labor Day weekend. We met on my front porch for our first date, and though I will admit to being profoundly nervous, we both knew instantly that there was something special between us. We spent the next year and a half dating and being engaged long-distance, while Ryan took care of his ailing father in Jacksonville before making the big move to Miami last spring, just in time for the wedding.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did. I am exceptionally traditional in most areas of my life, and was convinced I’d never do a first look, but when we decided to time the cocktail hour so that it was during the Kentucky Derby, we knew if we wanted to see it, we’d have to do pictures beforehand. It was a good thing we did, because as soon as I was dressed, all I could think about was getting to Ryan. If I had to wait until the ceremony, I might have gone crazy! It was just us for those few moments, and it was fantastic. Well, it was supposed to be just us, until I saw the pictures later of the entire wedding party watching from inside the hotel. :)

I saw my dress on Pinterest almost a year before getting engaged. I saved the picture thinking, “I would love to find a dress like this one day.” The night of my engagement, my sister, who was so excited to start planning wedding details, asked me if I knew the kind of dress I wanted. I shared the picture, just to give her an idea of what I was looking for, but realizing it would be hard to match something to that dress. Somehow, within a couple of days, she had found the dress, identified the designer, found the only store in Miami that sold that designer, and sent me there the following Saturday. I walked in, tried on the dress, and knew it was the one. I am forever grateful to her, more than I could ever express.

We chose orchestral hymns for the seating of the mothers and the processionals. Having both been raised in the Protestant faith, the hymns we chose felt like a natural way to invite the Lord into our day, while also honoring our moms at the same time. Our close friend beautifully sang The Lord’s Prayer at the end of the ceremony for the same reasons. Our first dance was to “Amen” by Dave Barnes. The words remind us that in all things, we are thankful to God and trust in His plans for our future. As a side note, the trumpeter at the wedding decided on his own accord that the bridal processional should start with a lively “Derby” fanfare. It was a surprise to all, and a great laugh.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? It was extremely important to us and our parents that we were married in a church. Our home church doesn’t offer ceremonies on Saturdays, so we chose a beautiful church near the Biltmore Hotel, where our reception was going to be. We wanted our day to be as enjoyable and easy as possible for all of our guests, so we kept everything as convenient as we could. The Biltmore was the perfect backdrop for the feel and style of our wedding.

We encouraged our guests to embrace the theme of the Derby by wearing big hats and bow ties–and boy, did they! We also included mint juleps, pennant mason jars, and a bluegrass band. To top the night off, we opened (and emptied) a long-saved bottle of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle with all of our friends. To represent “South” Florida, we had a cigar roller at the reception.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We named our tables after horses who have won the Derby throughout history, and chose names that best represented the guests sitting at that table (for example, “Behave Yourself” was for the wedding party and “Spend A Buck” was for my parents’ table :)). We also set thank you notes on each table, which we hoped expressed to our family and friends just how much their love meant to us. Honestly though, despite our love for every special detail we included, our favorite detail was becoming husband and wife.

What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Our first anniversary! We are going to the 2015 Kentucky Derby with our immediate family. None of us have ever been and we thought it would be a wonderful way to celebrate a year of marriage with our families!

Tell us all about the proposal! Each year, my family travels with the Gossetts and all of our extended family to Sanibel for the Fourth of July. Before the weekend, Ryan met with my dad to ask for my hand in marriage. On the night of the 4th, while on the beach, we joked about being married a year from that day. I gave Ryan a hard time, saying “First, we have to get engaged!” Just 20 minutes later, while watching fireworks, Ryan whispered into my ear, “Remind me again what step one is?” I turned around in disbelief and Ryan got down on one knee! It felt like we were the only two people on the beach in those few moments, and then, we turned around to find our families and friends there to greet us with hugs and champagne.
When did y’all get married? May 3, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 275
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We exchanged traditional vows, but we tweaked one line. Instead of saying “to love, honor and cherish,” we added “care for” into the phrase. The way we take care of each other is often our greatest expression of love.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had two readings at the ceremony: Romans 12:1-2, 9-13 and Colossians 3:12-17. Romans spoke to us about how to honor the Lord, each other, and others through our union and love. Colossians taught us how to love each other. Also, Romans 12:13 tells us to “practice hospitality.” This instruction highlights a gift we feel God has given us, as we both find joy in opening our home and hearts to others.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My mom gets the glory for the DIY details. Among the countless, non-crafty details she managed, she still found time to spray paint horseshoes, assemble pennants, and sew napkin rings for nearly 300 people. As a team, we stuffed invitations, assembled programs, hand-wrote the name cards and pennant mason jars, and painted flower boxes and “happily ever after” signs.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Make it your own; tell your story. But most importantly, stay calm and remember that everything will turn out okay. It will be more perfect than you can possibly imagine, because at the end of it all, you will be married.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? In lieu of wedding favors, we made a gift to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, in honor of Ryan’s father, Douglas Franklin Parker, who passed away in April 2013. Each guest received a note from the foundation and a chocolate horseshoe from Dr. Parker’s favorite chocolatier, Peterbrooke.

Photographer: Elaine Palladino / Videographer: Michael Burgos Films / Day-Of Coordination: Claudia Glasson and Claudia Santana / Ceremony Venue: Granada Presbyterian Church / Reception Venue, Catering, and Rentals: The Biltmore Hotel / Florals, Rentals, and Lighting: Always Flowers / Wedding Cake: Todo Dulces / Ceremony Musician: Ross DeBardelaben of Miami Virtuosi LLC / Band: Tropics Entertainment / Special Details: Unearthed Vintage / Paper Products: Fresh Impression Letterpress Studio / Bride’s Gown: Watters / Bride’s Shoes: Benjamin Adams / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Sung / Menswear: Jos. A Bank

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Who Gets Married on Kentucky Derby Day | Equestrian Stylist reply

    […] Weddings recently shared a “Kentucky Derby Wedding by Elaine Palladino” post, and check out a few of these […]

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    […] must have had a blast shooting this fun Kentucky Derby themed affair at the Biltmore […]

  3. avatar Kirsti reply

    I just adore this wedding!! How precious can this be?? I love the derby theme and all of the little details they included in their special day!!

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We were chatting in the office the other day about how 2013 was the year of rainy weddings. While sweet brides across the South may have been sad about this at first, it takes just a few clicks through our Real Wedding galleries to see that rain truly doesn’t ruin a wedding! High school sweethearts Hannah and Graham experienced this firsthand–it poured on and off throughout their wedding day, but thanks to their wonderful attitudes and a fantastic team of vendors, their outdoor celebration was absolutely beautiful. We especially love their “taste of Athens, taste of home”-themed food–even the snacks they served were meaningful!

Thank you so much to Blue Ribbon Vendor Amy of Amy Arrington Photography for sharing Hannah and Graham’s wedding with us!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Graham and I met in high school, where he was the cool older guy with a shaggy haircut who drove a gold 1989 Jeep Wrangler (that may as well have been a golden chariot as far as my freshman self was concerned–I mean, he had a CAR!), and it was puppy love at first sight! We dated throughout high school and then college at the University of Georgia.
Tell us all about the proposal! After graduating from college, I got a job that allowed me to travel the country, but it meant spending a lot of time away from home. A few days before I left for my job training, Graham popped the question. The ring’s stone was his great grandmother’s! I cried hysterically, and of course, said, “YES!”

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! My something old was Graham’s great grandmother’s handkerchief, which I used in my bouquet. I wore my great grandmother’s aquamarine necklace on a chain borrowed from my bridesmaid, Ashleigh, as my something blue and borrowed. My something new was my shoes, which I love!

My wedding dress was by Tara Keely. I got it at J. Andrew’s Bridal in Peachtree City–they are so great there! The dress had a sweetheart neckline, allover alençon lace, a tiered bottom, and a long train.

Describe your wedding flowers. I have loved hydrangeas ever since my sister used them in her wedding, so we used those, along with white football mums, white ranunculus, and scabiosa pods. We used cotton in some of the arrangements too!

The day was super rainy–I mean, it POURED. We thought we would have to go to plan B and have the ceremony under the tent instead of out in front of the house. All of the sudden, the rain stopped, and there was a mad rush to get in the car, get the guests to their seats, and get on with it! I hopped in the car with my dad, and there was a short moment of calm before the storm that I was able to share with him. I think I’ll remember that forever!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Amy Arrington, our photographer, made our wedding photos turn out BEAUTIFULLY. The day was so rainy, but she made it look like the most beautiful day ever. Also, Epting Events kept everything together for us. They did so much behind the scenes to keep everything running smoothly. The food was amazing and I am so thankful for their expertise!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We wanted our wedding to be a true representation of our lives: Southern, relaxed, and fun. Our first dance was to “Hey Pretty Girl,” by Kip Moore. My dance with my dad was to “Crazy Love” by Van Morrsion, and Graham and his mom danced to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Our band was the Brandy Brothers Band and they were so much fun!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding was a tribute to our home in Athens, our state, and the South in general. Our food was themed, “a taste of Athens, a taste of home.” We had Georgia pecan brittle, roasted peanuts inspired by General Beauregard’s in Athens, and pimiento cheese (my favorite food) from two of our favorite Athens restaurants, Marty’s at Miday and The Branded Butcher. We had GooGo Clusters in honor of Graham’s grandmother, who he calls “GooGoo,” as well as Moonpies for my dad, because my nephews call him “Moonpie,” strawberry and peach sangria, and, of course, glass bottles of Coke (because what true Southerner doesn’t love that?). We also used Georgia staples like cotton and peaches in a lot of our decor.

Our wedding cake was an Athens classic: Cecilia’s cake! The top layer was red velvet, the middle was Spanish lemon, and the bottom was Italian cream.

When did y’all get married? September 21, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 225
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We are pretty traditional, so we decided to not do a first look. It ended up working out pretty well, since it was so rainy before the ceremony that we would have gotten soaked had we done one!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We had so many details that we loved! I think the “Taste of Athens, Taste of Home” theme that we used for the food was a favorite of both ours and our guests!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I had to plan a lot of the wedding while I was on the road, so having to plan things without seeing them in person was a real challenge! Graham was an amazing help though. He found the venue and the band!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t stress! There’s a lot of pressure to have the perfect wedding, but no one’s wedding is perfect. It’s about your relationship and sharing that with family and friends. As long as you keep that in focus, everything else will fall into place.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We just got an adorable Weimaraner puppy named Todd. He’s definitely a handful! We’re excited to start our lives together in Athens!

Photographer: Amy Arrington / Planner: Bethanny of Epting Events / Venue: Fair Havens Plantation / Florist: Michael Berry / Cake Baker: Cecilia’s Cakes (via Epting Events) / Catering: Epting Events / Rentals and Lighting: Goodwin Event Rentals / Band: Brandy Brothers / Bride’s Gown: Style 2206 by Tara Keely / Paper Products and Veil: Lettered Lace (the bride) / Hair Stylist: Lindsey Melder / Makeup Artist: Julie Earnhart / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mishka / Bridesmaid Dresses: Rebecca Taylor / Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Pimiento Cheese: Marty’s at Miday and The Branded Butcher

Amy Arrington Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
9 Comments
  1. avatar Fair Havens Plantation Wedding : Graham + Hannah reply

    […] you SOUTHERN WEDDINGS for featuring their […]

  2. avatar Dana reply

    beautiful dress!

  3. avatar Lindsay {Everistta} reply

    Such great details! I love those shoes first of all! Stunning! Love that the little flower girls wore monograms. So cute!

  4. avatar Emily reply

    I love the community that rallies around rainy day weddings! Never what the bride + groom would choose, probably, but they always seem to turn out beautifully.

  5. avatar Renee reply

    So cool when you met the person being featured.

  6. avatar emily reply

    where did the bride get her bridesmaids’ robes from? I love them! They are adorable!

  7. avatar Katie reply

    Could you please let me know where you got your bridesmaids’ robes? Lovely. Thanks! :)

  8. avatar Happy Mother's Day from Southern Weddings! – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Photo by Amy Arrington from Hannah + Graham’s wedding […]

  9. avatar Great Tips on Planning an "At-Home" Wedding! reply

    […] Amy Arrington Photography via Southern Weddings […]

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We know lots of y’all are wedding nerds (welcome to the club–we are too!), but I must say, there’s always something refreshing about a laid-back bride. Audrey and Ryan focused on the things that only they could do, like choosing meaningful music for their ceremony and reception, and left the rest up to the team at Le Rae Events and Design. As you can see in these pictures by Blue Ribbon Vendor Leslie Hollingsworth, everything came together so beautifully. I especially can’t stop admiring all of the pretty pastel blooms!

Thank you so much to Leslie Hollingsworth for sharing Audrey and Ryan’s wedding day with us!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We knew each other for several years before our actual first date, thanks to our interests in soccer. At the end of my freshman year of college, one of my friends came over to my apartment, and we got on Facebook. I don’t remember exactly how Ryan popped up, but when he did, I told my friend how good looking I thought he was. She proceeded to act like she was me on my Facebook and Ryan asked me on our first date. After our first date, I got scared and backed out, but we kept in touch throughout the next few years. Once I graduated and moved back home, we went on our second first date. We have been inseparable ever since.

My mom and I went to a store in Jasper, Alabama to go dress shopping. I knew the moment I tried my dress on that it was the one. It was just what I had dreamed of: form-fitting, not too big of a train, sleeveless, and lace, with just enough sparkle. Plus, it was comfortable!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment for me was during the ceremony. I could not stop crying, and seeing one of the groomsmen crying in the background made me cry even more. I remember Ryan looking at me with watery eyes and smiling as he wiped my tears off my cheek. Everyone aww-ed in the background, and Leslie took a picture of the memorable moment!

Describe your wedding flowers. I honestly have no clue about flowers, so I just told Rae from Le Rae Events that I liked wildflowers and pastel colors, and she did the best job picking them out! They were beautiful!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding was at a beautiful barn with a deck that overlooked a pond. My mom bought mason jars and used black chalkboard paint to paint mustaches on the jars for the men, and pink chalkboard paint to paint lips on them for the women. We also had a cute food truck that served hamburgers, wings, and french fries.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. My cousin, Adam Nichols, bakes for a living, so I told him I just wanted the cake to taste like my favorite candy: a Reese’s peanut butter cup. The cake was dark chocolate with Reese’s and a peanut butter layer inside. It was the best cake I had ever tasted! My dad got a tree stump to set the cake on, and Adam carved a heart with our names inside, which was so beautiful and went well with the theme. Adam also made some pastel flowers to place on top of the cake. For the groom’s table, we bought pies from Red’s Little School House, a local place that catered the wedding, and they were delicious!

Tell us all about the proposal! One day in March, about a year after we started dating, I had a feeling deep inside me that I could not shake, so I went to a jewelry store and picked out a ring that I knew Ryan would like. However, I decided to leave without it and wait patiently for him to ask in his own time. As the day wore on, that feeling would not go away, so I went back to the store and bought the ring. I then cooked Ryan a fantastic dinner, got down on one knee, and asked him to spend the rest of his life with me.
When did y’all get married? September 21, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 200
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look, and I am very happy that we did. I wanted to capture the moment Ryan first laid eyes on me, and what better way to do that than a first look?
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I did not want to walk down the aisle to the traditional wedding march. When I heard “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, I knew that was the song I wanted. However, I also wanted everyone to hear the beautiful words, so I asked my cousin to sing (with the piano and cello in the background) while my bridesmaids walked down the aisle, and when it was my turn, the piano and cello beautifully took over. I am a Beatles girl, so I could not walk back up the aisle without “All You Need is Love” playing. Our first dance was to Eric Clapton’s “Beautiful Tonight.” I just love that song, and thought it was the perfect song to dance to with my new husband. We also asked the band to to play “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire. Since our wedding date was September 21, the lyrics were so perfect: “Do you remember the 21st night of September? Love was changing the minds of pretender while chasing the clouds away. Our hearts were ringing in the key that our souls were singing as we danced in the night, remember how the stars stole the night away.”
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Having everyone there to celebrate the most special day of our lives with us. Our day would not have been as special without our friends and family by our side.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I am a pretty laid back person, so I did not have many challenges. It definitely helped to have someone there to plan the wedding and get all of the details that I did not want to worry about together. I do not know what I would have done without Rae!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? How can I pick just one detail? The whole day was full of details and our vendors did everything they could to make sure our day was the best. Le Rae Events did an amazing job moving an outdoor wedding inside, and created a beautiful aisle and backdrop. Leslie did a fantastic job capturing our precious moments of the day! I am so happy to of had them both by my side, creating and capturing my fairy tale.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Do not stress out over your day, because at the end of it, no matter what crazy situations may come, you will be married to the love of your life. Nothing other than that truly matters.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to becoming parents. We are expecting a little girl, and could not be happier. We can’t wait to raise our family and grow old together.

Photographer: Leslie Hollingsworth / Videographer: Sylvester Folks / Planning, Flowers, and Lighting: Le Rae Events and Design / Rentals and Linens: Brendle Rentals / Venue: The barn at Pisgah Hill / Cake Baker: Adam Nichols / Caterer: Red’s Little School House / Band: The Syndicate Band / Bride’s Gown: Allure / Bride’s Hair Accessories: Prattville Bridal Boutique / Hair and Makeup: Carmen Darden / Bride’s Shoes: Antonio Melani / Bridesmaid Dresses: ModCloth

Leslie Hollingsworth is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Their food truck is too adorable! Love it!

  2. avatar Amber reply

    Everything is so beautiful!

  3. avatar Laraine reply

    So sweet and warm

  4. avatar Rae Culver reply

    Tears…….Seriously! What a confirmation of why we love what we do! As if being on here isn’t enough, but then the sweet words by our gorgeous bride! Day made! :)

  5. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #122 | Floridian Weddings reply

    […] + a barn + the most gorg flowers… such prettiness from one of our Faves, Leslie […]

  6. avatar Sponsored Post: Jewelers Mutual – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Audrey + Ryan | Leslie Hollingsworth […]

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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