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Liz + Josh created a beautiful Asheville wedding — somehow the magical marriage of springy and bright and rustic mountain style. Their invitation serves as the perfection introduction to a night full of family heirlooms, fun signage and pretty flowers and fruits.

As a UNC grad, I’m head over heels for L + J’s proposal story — a sunset proposal at the picturesque Old Well on campus. Biggest thanks to Angela Cox for sharing this gorgeous wedding with us!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Yes, we did. Mainly because I love the way the photos of those moments look, and I love how they help to tell the story of a wedding day: the photos of that intimate moment between an almost-husband and wife are so powerful and emotional. I loved the idea of capturing that feeling on our wedding day.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Planning the content of the ceremony was really important to us. We chose one reading that our officiant incorporated into her sermon, and then two others that were read by my first cousins, as well as a final blessing from Rumi to end the ceremony.

Describe your wedding flowers: Oh my gosh, how do I begin? This was by the far the most important part of the décor to me. I love and adore the work of one Asheville’s best florist, Jessica Gregory with Aria Floral, and as soon as we got engaged I knew I had to work with her! My color palette was to be light robin’s egg blue, with neutral accents in the burlap tablecloths and the guy’s linen suits. We used the florals to pop in lots of beautiful coral, hot pink, peach, pale yellow, cream, white, light pink, orange, and bright lime green as well as deep waxy green. I had this dream of using lots of fruit – peaches, Ranier cherries, cut pink grapefruits for their beautiful color, lots of vines, river rocks, and plenty of candle light throughout. I wanted a few tall pieces with hanging candles and then lots of the fruit and flower/orchard feeling carried throughout. I also found photos online of these amazing hanging flower boxes, which were just sort of a fantasy, but Jessica surprised me and made one out of a vintage planter that hung above the vintage mantle Josh and I had hunted around for and found on craigslist. It was GORGEOUS!

We’re seeing more and more of these chalkboard ceremony programs. I love the effect — graphic signage in place of paper goods (though y’all know how much we love paper).

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. This was a really important part for me!! My good friend Lauren and a family friend from my parent’s church played flute and hammered dulcimer as the bridal party and mothers processed in. Then we had two songs specifically that we had played for my processional and for the recessional. I walked in to the first 3 minutes of the Fleet Fox’s “The Shrine/An Argument” The lyrics and song were sort of inspirational for us as we planned our entire ceremony, and helped us envision the kind of hushed, intimate, and meaningful feeling we wanted everyone to leave with. We even used the lyrics to create a chalkboard hanging banner that we hung in one of the trees near the ceremony entrance, so everyone could read them. The moment when I started walking and could hear the song filling up the silence in the little mountain glade near a stream – it was perfect and so meaningful, just what I dreamed it would be. We recessed out to “Wouldn’t it Be Nice” by the Beach Boys. We just LOVE how that song starts and

Our wedding was designed to be a tribute to our beautiful Southern mountain home, where Josh and I were both raised. I absolutely loved the assortment of Appalachian quilts we used in our ceremony – Josh’s 90 year old grandmother is a life-long quilter and had created many of them. Her eyes lit up when she saw the brown horse-themed quilt she had made almost 34 years ago for Josh’s nursery. The china plates were also a tribute to our traditional Southern families. We used my mom’s pattern, my maternal grandmother’s pattern, Josh’s grandmother’s and great aunt’s pattern, Josh’s mother’s pattern, my Aunt’s pattern, and my great grandmother’s pattern. Not a single one was broken, to our relief! It was such a treat to see people admiring them. One guest was so excited that her late mother’s pattern was the plate that just happened to be placed at her seat. One detail that wasn’t photographed, unfortunately, was an old wheelbarrow we found in my dad’s garage and set up half-way up the rather steep hill that all our guests had to “hike” through the vineyard, between the ceremony and reception site. We filled it with ice and bottled water and beer, with a barnwood sign we made directing guests to take a little break, grab some refreshment, and enjoy the view! A lot of guests seemed grateful that we thought of it!

Oh how romantic is this photo? Sweet kisses, string lights and a night of celebration? Perfection.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Josh and I were both born in Western NC, he in Franklin and I in Asheville. His family moved to Asheville when he was in the fifth grade, and we attended the same high school. However, he was three years older than I, so I only knew of him by name. Years later, after we’d both graduated from college and lived elsewhere, we both found ourselves back in our hometown. We had a pair of mutual friends who’d begun dating, and they would often tell each of us that they wanted to introduce us. One evening in June of 2008, the meeting was finally facilitated, along with several other friends, and I found myself have a great conversation with Josh. At the end of the evening, I was excited about the possibility of getting to know him better; he’d gotten my phone number and a few nights later, he called and invited me along with a group of friends to 80’s Night at Broadway’s, one of our favorite little dive bars in Downtown Asheville. It’s a big-time dance party to all the music of our mutual childhoods. After five hours of dancing non-stop, we both knew we would be together. We had our first kiss that night when he dropped me off at home.
Describe the proposal. I am a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and though Josh went to UNC-Greensboro, he has several UNC alums in his family, so we are both die-hard Tar Heel fans. Every year, it’s our tradition to get each other basketball tickets to see a few UNC home games for Christmas. In February 2011, we headed down to Chapel Hill for the weekend to see a Sunday basketball game. I had some sort of weird premonition while packing for the weekend away that something big might happen, like a proposal. When no proposal happened Friday and nothing happened Saturday, I decided it was just a fluke with no real basis. We attended the basketball game on Sunday (Heels won!) and as the sun was setting, Josh wanted to do one last walk around Carolina’s beautiful campus before we got in the car to drive back to the mountains. We wandered around, heading toward one of the two main quads on campus. The Old Well is a small columned rotunda in the middle of campus, with a beautiful Carolina blue domed roof and white Doric columns surrounding a marble drinking fountain in the middle. It’s one of UNC’s most beloved symbols and a prominent icon on our campus. Legend has it that anyone who drinks from the fountain (or “well”) will have good luck. As we approached it, Josh suggested we each drink some water there for luck. I kind of laughed, but agreed. As I turned around, Josh was kneeling behind me with my beautiful vintage engagement ring in his palm. There are always a small smattering of tourists and students around the Old Well, so needless to say, his proposal had a little audience! Of course I said “Yes!!” as soon as I figured out what was going on.
In what month did you get married? We got married June 2.
How many guests attended your wedding? 175
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: One of my best friends also got engaged within months of Josh and me, and she and I decided to take a little impromptu trip to Atlanta to start our wedding dress search. I really had no idea what I wanted – I had never imagined myself a bride, and couldn’t imagine what would be flattering on me and what I would be comfortable in. My friend and I both agreed we might even get simple white eyelet sundresses – maybe we’d forego the typical wedding dress route. As soon as we each tried on our first “real” wedding gown, that idea went out the window! We went to lots and lots of boutiques, just to see what options existed. A Swiss-dotted tulle drop-waisted dress from James Clifford stuck in my mind over all that I tried. When I returned to Asheville, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, even though the trip had been intended as just exploratory. I started calling around to shops in NC to see if anyone near us carried the dress I’d found. The designer was only available in two boutiques in North Carolina! My mom had seen a picture of it online, but of course I wanted her to see me in it, in person, to make sure she agreed that it might be “the dress.” We called the boutiques, and just one of them happened to have the actual dress in the shop to try on – as part of a trunk show that ended the next weekend! So, we left at lunchtime on a Friday to drive to Raleigh together to try the dress before the trunk show ended. She loved it, and on second sight, I loved it even more! I bought it that day.then builds with a drum into the first chorus! It just makes me smile! There was no other option.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: This was another thing that I had a specific vision for. I am a person who lives for the details, so I had so much fun planning these specific visual elements, like the look of the cake. I wanted something that go with our Appalachian mountain feel – nothing too perfect or clean – so fondant was definitely out (plus I don’t like that it’s not all that good to eat. Cake should be edible!) I worked with the amazing Tiffany Goode of Tiffany’s Baking Co. and we decided that shaved white chocolate would give a beautiful, rustic, free-flowing texture to the three-tier round cake. I definitely wanted a few big sugar flowers, too. We went with three big peonies that were soft blush pink. It turned out just beautifully and was delicious as well.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: A few of my top favorites were our vintage mantle with the rows of multi-height hurricanes on top, the moss covered trays I created with corks and beautiful tea-stained tags and calligraphed names that we used for our escort cards, the beautiful chalk board menu and “program” which my friend, the very talented Mandylynn Holt created, the vintage plates we used for dinner and dessert, the strawberry plants that Jessica used to decorate some of the feasting tables, and the alternating hay bale rows and farm benches we used for our ceremony seating. We covered all the bales with vintage quilts collected over many years by the women in Josh’s family and a few close friends.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? With two parents who are small business owners, it just wasn’t possible to have a “dream wedding” budget. When we first started playing with numbers, I admit I experienced a few weeks of disappointment that it seemed there was no way we could afford to do the beautiful Southern mountain wedding that I wanted. But, with some creativity, Josh and I worked out a savings plan and got creative and DIY with as many details as we could. I didn’t want to sacrifice any of the little touches that are so important to me, so we took lots of time and planning energy to find a way to make them all happen, despite a limited budget. I ordered all the fabrics wholesale, and my mom sewed all 30 of the burlap tablecloths and almost 100 feet of linen runners! We scoured yard sales and flea markets and estate sales for over a year to find deals on more dinner plates and dessert plates. We were successful in never paying more than $3 a plate, while using real china for all our pieces. My now-husband, both of our fathers and several of my best girl friends spent two days setting everything up. It was so gratifying to have everyone pitch in to make such a beautiful, memorable, special day.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? We spent between $10,000 and $25,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? The flowers, hands down! They were really the one area I spent “above average” on, and it was SO worth it. I feel flowers and candles and lanterns just MAKE an event, and Jessica’s work was exactly what I wanted – I loved every little vine and cherry.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Walking down the aisle, hearing the beautiful and haunting Fleet Foxes song, and looking at all our friends and family surrounding us in the beautiful mountain meadow, with my new husband waiting just ahead of me at the end of the aisle.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take your time! Try to be organized and disciplined with your lists of what you need to do and when you’d like to do it. Share the calendar somewhere you can both see it. Know yourself and build your wedding vision around what you’ll enjoy spending your time on. I was SO glad the entire time that I hadn’t taken on a bunch of crafts or décor projects myself — that’s just not what I love to spend my time on. Instead, I did a few big things and found great talented friends and artists on Etsy to help with the rest. Josh and my Mom were also BIG helps. Use your mother and fiancé – they want to be involved!!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? I’m not sure yet! We’ll see where life takes us! We’re both busy with our jobs and looking forward to a trip to NYC to visit my sister this fall. We have some projects around the house we’re looking forward to working on when life settles down, and I can’t wait to celebrate the holiday season as a married couple, finally!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
15 Comments
  1. avatar Mollie reply

    Gorgeous wedding!

  2. avatar Carlene R.D. reply

    I love that they use southern produce in their centerpieces! I adore it. When I got married last fall, I had produce in my bouquet (I’m a dietitian). I have a super soft spot for it! Love your site!

  3. avatar Rose {Rose and Ruby Paper Co.} reply

    Love it – especially the DRESS!! Gorgeous!
    xx

  4. avatar Ceremony Programs, a necessary evil when planning a wedding? « A Connecticut Wedding & Event Planner's Blog reply

    […] YES. Yes, I do think your guests care. Yes, I do think they actually read them. And yes, they do all end up in the trash/recycle bin at the end of the night.  So great! What now? Enter- the chalkboard!!!! The perfect quick fix for this dilemma of magnitude proportion (insert gross exaggeration here). The chalkboard is not a newcomer to weddings- they are enormously popular and enormously useful. Whether shabby chic, retro glam, or black tie elegant, they are incredibly versatile to fit your style. And let’s face it, you can find anything on Etsy. But what about this clever use at this fabulous wedding found on a recent post of Southern Weddings? […]

  5. avatar Elizabeth reply

    I am obsessed with the bridesmaid dress color. What is the specific designer and color?

    • avatar Nicole reply

      Hi Elizabeth! Aren’t they lovely? Those dresses are B2 by Jasmine Bridal and Liz customized the color with a seafoam lining and powder blue chiffon for the outer layers.

  6. avatar Leah Hatton reply

    Would you mind telling me what specific color the Jasmine bridesmaid dresses were?

    • avatar Nicole reply

      Hi Leah! Those dresses are B2 by Jasmine Bridal. Liz customized the color with a seafoam lining and powder blue chiffon for the outer layers.

  7. avatar Five Fun Ways to Use Chalkboards reply

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  8. avatar Linda reply

    I am from Asheville, I would love to know where this venue is? Gorgeous wedding!

  9. avatar Taylor reply

    Hello! I am wondering if you could let me know what color the bridesmaids dresses are! And, where they were purchased? Thanks!

    • avatar Liz (the bride!) reply

      Hi Taylor, these dresses were B2 by Jasmine. I got them at Wedding Inspirations in Asheville. You could call and order them remotely if you’re not in the area. Google them. The dresses are a custom color: Seamist satin lining, with the Powder Blue chiffon outer layer. Style B2078. Hope that helps!

  10. avatar Elinor reply

    What a beautiful Asheville wedding! Love the wedding flowers! Xo.

  11. avatar Spring Wedding Flowers :: Wedding Tips and Trends reply

    […] delicate and airy and make a perfect bridesmaids bouquet to compliment the bride’s. You can see these flowers looked gorgeous together at the wedding of Liz and Josh, captured by Angela […]

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I have to say that between Melanie’s have-fun-planning mentality and the fact that in addition to their wedding cake, they offered milk and cookies and a late night spread of yummy comfort food at the after party – I would love to have attended this wedding! Big hugs to Brooke Mayo for making me feel like I was there!

Melanie + Joe’s goal for the weekend was to exude true Southern hospitality at its finest! I’d have to say that they nailed that! Just looking at the glamorous glittery linens makes me want to put on my dancing shoes, then watching a gorgeous Carolina sunset at their reception definitely gives me the warmth they were looking for.

I wanted a very intimate and romantic feel for our wedding flowers. I described my “vision” to my amazing wedding planner, Katrina Hutchins and she created a breathtaking inspiration board to share with our florist. Together they created a masterpiece! For the reception, we used plush white peonies, roses, and baby’s breath in unique mercury glass vases. Mixed in were floating candles accented with mint colored ribbon to add a subtle pop of color to the tables. The final product far exceeded my wildest expectations!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? After considerable debate, we finally decided to do a first look. Of course there is nothing like that moment when the groom sees the bride for the first time at the end of the aisle. At weddings, instead of looking at the bride when her processional begins, I look at the groom to see his expression. I love the tradition in that. However, our wedding day was about what made the most sense for us as a couple, for our families, and for our friends in attendance. The first look was a really special moment that allowed for us to have those few minutes alone and absorb the beauty of our special day. It also allowed for time alone, pre-ceremony, with our families and wedding party to take the edge off, so to speak, and calm nerves and emotions. Since we got married outside, the heat was a factor and we wanted our wedding party to be as comfortable as possible. Doing the first look allowed them to quickly move on to the cocktail hour after the ceremony and begin celebrating!

At the reception, the wedding party was seated at long farm tables, creating a warm sense of inclusion among the group. In addition to our wedding cake, we offered milk and cookies, along with a late night spread of yummy comfort food at the after party. To cap off the weekend, we offered a drop-in style Sunday brunch for our guests to drop in and say goodbye on their way out of town. We wanted the weekend to exude true Southern hospitality at its finest!

There were SO many details that made the entire day perfect for us. Joe and I were able to take a few minutes before the reception began to sneak a peek at the reception hall in all its glory and really soak in every detail before our guests arrived. We wanted classic elegance, paired with rustic warmth. The silver sequin linens mixed with a natural hard wood in the chiavari chairs and farm tables really portrayed this perfectly. We also had three gorgeous chandeliers hanging from the gazebo overlooking the sound. We loved that our guests could watch the gorgeous Carolina sunset at our reception!

Our wedding cake was perfection! It was four tiers of yummy goodness! The layers alternated between chocolate chip cake and a very unique and delicious key lime bliss cake.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story: Joe and I met just over four years ago through mutual friends in Charlotte, NC. We hit it off immediately, and the rest, as they say, is history!
Describe the proposal: Joe’s brother and his girlfriend were in town visiting, so we took them out for a fun night on the town, which included an outdoor concert in Charlotte. It was a gorgeous night and we enjoyed showing off our city! As the night came to an end, Joe arranged for a limo take us back home. While I questioned why a trusty cab wouldn’t do, I went along with the plan and alas, was none the wiser. Finally we made it home and upon walking in our front door, I noticed dozens and dozens of red roses. Thoroughly confused and caught off guard, the next thing I see is Joe down on one knee, holding THE most gorgeous ring I’ve ever seen, asking for my hand in marriage! I was completely shocked! Joe had arranged for friends to come over and set the stage for what would be one of the happiest moments of my life!
In what month did you get married? June
How many guests attended your wedding? 126 guests
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I visited several boutiques in Charlotte, and had settled on two dresses that I really liked, but didn’t “love.” My mother was in town, so I decided we should try one final boutique, which is where I found “the one.” It was love at first sight! I felt like a princess in a fairytale in my dress! I never wanted to take it off!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had two readings: An “Apache Wedding Blessing” and “1 Corinthians 13, 1-13”
Tell us about the music you used throughout your wedding: Music can set the tone for any occasion and we certainly realized the significance of having outstanding talent to make our special day even more memorable. We absolutely loved the musicians who performed for our wedding. First was Roy Murray, who is an artist local to the Outer Banks. Our ceremony music included a trumpeter, flutist, and string quartet. I walked down the aisle to Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary.” For our reception, Joe and I knew we wanted to have live music to keep the energy high and people on their feet! We first heard a band called “Rubberband” at a concert in Charlotte and loved every minute! We were so lucky they were available to play for our wedding. We still have guests commenting on how fantastic they were! They performed our first dance song, which was “Crazy Love” and father/daughter and mother/son dance, which was “Wonderful World.” The band was certainly a highlight of the night!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Perhaps the most Southern attribute to our wedding was the setting itself. We chose the Outer Banks in North Carolina as our wedding destination because of our love for the Carolina beaches. You can’t help but to relax and enjoy your time in such a serene and beautiful place! In addition to the setting itself, sweet Southern touches were infused throughout the long weekend. We hosted a welcome party, offering traditional Southern fare, and opened the rehearsal dinner invitation to all guests in attendance of the wedding. We wanted to keep it casual, offering Southern barbeque and all the fixin’s! During the ceremony, guests could cool off with a glass of pink lemonade and the family of the bride and groom were seated at traditional wooden church pews in the front rows.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? By far the biggest challenge was that while in the midst of planning a destination wedding, we were also planning a move and building a house in Boston. Physically the planning was quite demanding, but perhaps emotionally it was just as difficult, considering all the very big changes that were ahead!
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? We were SO thrilled with the exemplary service, food, and ambience of our venue – the Sanderling Resort and Spa. They were a dream to work with from start to finish. We also were thrilled with the work of our most fabulous photographer, Brooke Mayo. Her work is by far extraordinary, and we couldn’t imagine anyone else capturing the memories of our special day!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Joe and I would agree that the highlight of our wedding day was taking a moment during the reception to look around the room and see all of our closest friends and family members laughing and having such a good time. It was a surreal moment. I remember being overcome with gratitude and emotion over the fact that everyone made the effort to be there with us to celebrate our special day. There is no feeling quite like that. It was a beautiful thing!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding planner you love, choose vendors that are a good fit for you and your wedding vision, be organized, and don’t procrastinate! Don’t seek out too many opinions from other people – trust your own!, and most importantly, HAVE FUN with the process! It goes by so quickly — absorb and appreciate every minute of it.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We recently left our home in the South for a new adventure and job opportunity in Boston, MA. We are getting settled and enjoying exploring a new part of the country! Once we’ve had some time to adjust, we’d like to start a family. It has been an exciting year for us and we look forward to what the future holds!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
23 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Their tables are INCREDIBLE! I’m head over heels for those linens, white flowers, and letterpress menus!

  2. avatar Marissa reply

    Isn’t it stunning? The glitter is just too much fun!

  3. avatar Utah Custom Wedding Announcements reply

    “Have fun with the process” is soooo true. Too many engaged couples get lost in stress of planning that they miss out on some great memories.

  4. avatar Katrina Hutchins (come+together) reply

    Thanks so much for the feature! My link to my website is not working–can it be fixed pretty please :)? Thanks so much to the ladies at SW!!!!

  5. avatar Featured: Southern Weddings Magazine » come+together events reply

    […] Thanks so much to Southern Weddings Magazine for featuring Melanie and Joe’s gorgeous OBX wedding! What an honor to be showcased on such an amazing publication! For the full post click HERE! […]

  6. avatar Glamour and Glitz | Renee Landry Style reply

    […] and Glitz Posted on August 28, 2012 by bluefintek We are thrilled to be featured in this awesome blog.  These were the most amazing linens we have ever worked with! Gorgeous photos by Brooke Mayo.  […]

  7. avatar MacKenzie reply

    This is awesome! Thanks for sharing this wedding. We’re excited to work w/ Katrina Hutchins next summer; super creative!

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  14. avatar Theresa reply

    Where can I find the sliver sequin table cloths please let me know?

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  19. avatar Noelia Argueta reply

    I love the tableclots. I am in need of one tablecloth for my daughter Drill Team Banquet table. Every girl needs to decorate their own table with different theme. Our is Bling-Sparkle. I need help……

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Kristin + JJ had just two and half months to plan their wedding, but for a couple who has spent most of their relationship long distance, it was the perfect amount of time to pull together the details and say “I do.” The newlyweds filled their outdoor ceremony and reception at the Whitford Plantation with old Southern hymns and sentimental bluegrass. It was the Avett Brothers’ music, after all, who helped Kristin + JJ fall in love. We’re sending out big hugs to Scott Piner who shared this wedding with us!

Since we had only 2.5 months to plan the wedding, I knew I would not have much time to find a dress and that I would have to buy my dress right off the rack and cross my fingers for a very quick seamstress to do any needed alterations. No pressure. While calling many bridal salons in the Raleigh area, my girlfriend and I encountered many shops that would not even consider having me look at their dresses because of my time constraint. Almost defeated, we called one of our thought-to-be long shots and to our surprise, the shop manager answered and graciously welcomed us to come and see their sample dresses that day. The first dress I tried on was an ivory Chantilly lace gown by Vera Wang. I tried on several dresses after, but none compared with the first gown’s blend of the vintage ivory lace with contemporary lines. So I purchased that flawless sample dress for less than half of the marketed price because it was from a previous year’s collection.

How cool are those feather bouts? They were made in memory of Kristin’ grandfather and in celebration JJ, the family’s newest hunter.

Did you write your own vows? No way!! We both felt the same way when we asked each other about the possibility of writing our own vows. We both know how we feel about one another and there was no way either of us could verbalize those thoughts when we were so emotionally charged.

Describe the proposal. We had just finished lunch when I was making brownies for JJ to bring to work. I overheard JJ playing the guitar in the office. I put my brownies into the oven walked with my coffee in hand to sit by JJ and listen to him serenade me. He began to play and sing my beloved ballad by the Avett Brothers; and by this time I had begun to harmonize with his handsome voice. After we finished the song, he crawled over to me and we embraced. The moment was perfect, except that I felt his heart pounding very hard in his chest. As I withdrew to ask him if he was okay, I saw him holding a box out to me and then he asked me. I said yes and we embraced again. I love that our story was low key and involved all my favorite things: baking, coffee, music and my love.

I’m crazy for the antique vases and blue bell jars filled with delicate flowers that K chose as centerpieces.

My most favorite flower is the hydrangea. I have admired them since childhood, when I used to watch my grandmother water and tend to her huge hydrangea bushes in New Jersey. Instead of ornate arrangements we wanted an understated, fresh look. We chose to use a mixture of hydrangeas in blues, greens and whites along with drosophila for added texture and bells of Ireland for height all arranged in the colored canning glass jars JJ and I collected over the two months leading up to the big day.

Describe your wedding cake: Originally, I found myself drawn to the texture and structural designs of a fondant cake, but we were unwilling to sacrifice flavor for design. Our baker, Ali, helped us attain both with a very simple design of a smooth European buttercream frosting while getting the desired texture with simple dots of all sizes and rows of beading.

A sparkly dress and loose hair definitely spell “magical getaway” style to me!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Our relationship was a subject of much prayer, faithfulness of true friends and grace of the Lord. Two and a half years ago, we met through our married friends Lindsay and Bryan. And what do any two married people do when they have two single friends? Try to get them together. Unfortunately at the time, JJ lived in Lake Tahoe and only came home to visit periodically. We met at a couple of times at laid back dinner gatherings with bunches of friends, not getting much time to speak one on one. In fact, one of the first times I really spoke to him was when I was drilling a hole in his nail that he crushed in the garage door the morning prior. Shortly after this, JJ left for a voluntary deployment overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan with the Coast Guard. He emailed me once in the first part of his deployment to fill me on his well-healing nail bed and then returned home during his mid deployment break. During his break, I saw him a couple times at Bryan and Lindsay’s, and we actually were able get to know each other a little better. He returned for the rest of his deployment for the next five months and we exchanged emails getting to know each other. We became and remained friends alone, though. I did not see him until four months after he returned from his deployment, but even through life’s twists and turns, we still ended up at a very familiar place — in Lindsay and Bryan’s backyard laughing and talking by the fire. One night, the boys were playing some familiar songs on the banjo and guitar when JJ started to sing and play my favorite love ballad by the Avett Brothers. Listening to him play and having learned his heart, I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him by my side.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Fresh, serene and intimate.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I couldn’t really name just one detail of the wedding that I could call my favorite. Rather, all the crafts that we incorporated into the ceremony and reception truly made our celebration personal. Some of those crafts included the colored glassware we collected, the fan programs, the votive favors made with sea glass from beaches in Hawaii and sand from Atlantic beach, the Chinese lanterns that JJ and our crew hung the day of the wedding, boutonnières I made from duck feathers that JJ and Bryan had captured together, the veil that I bedazzled by gluing 300 Swarovski crystals onto, the flower girl basket I made and decorated, the wreath that hung on the front door to the plantation, and finally, the family pictures of both our parents and grandparents that we displayed at the entrance.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Both JJ and I tend to migrate to a style that seems to be a marriage of contemporary lines with a vintage feel. It was only natural for that to be tone of the wedding. With my affinity for my mom’s antique aqua canning jars, I chose to use a mixture of them for the centerpieces with simple hydrangeas, wild flowers and candles for the centerpieces. In memory of my beloved grandfather and in celebration of the new addition of a hunter to my family, we used of duck feathers for all the gentlemen’s boutonnieres. Even the music reached into the Southern pocket. The ceremony music was a collection of old Southern hymns played on an acoustic guitar, while the first song JJ and I danced to as a married couple was a folk bluegrass favorite by the Avett Brothers. Another Southern touch was the fans we made and gave to guests to cool themselves with during the course of the outside service. One of the largest Southern elements was the backdrop for our wedding ceremony and reception, the beautiful Whitford Plantation. The plantation is a beautifully grand and historic structure with spacious grounds that were owned by a Confederate colonel John Nathaniel Whitford.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our biggest challenge for sure was planning the wedding in 2.5 months. This was mainly due to finding an available venue. Our families are of utmost importance to us and we wanted to make sure that all our families were going to be able to come and be a part of our celebration. Looking back, we both would not want to do it any differently. I believe we would literally pull our hair out if we had to spread planning a wedding over any kind of extended period of time.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I think the most memorable moments of the wedding day were all the little times of respite between JJ and I, when we had a second to take in the fact that the day was actually here. 

What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are looking forward to being in the same town. Our relationship, including the first two and half months of marriage, has been long distance. We have been commuting three hours to see one another, so it will be awesome just to be able come home to one another.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
10 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Everything is so lovely and elegant–the cake is my favorite! Major kudos to the bride and groom for planning such a beautiful wedding in such a short amount of time!

  2. avatar Melissa Vause reply

    BEAUTIFUL wedding for just having two months to plan it!!

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  5. avatar Jenny (Captured Photography by Jenny) reply

    Kristen! You looked amazing! And your wedding was adorable :) Congrats my dear!

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  7. avatar Allen J. reply

    I am surprised that any place would discourage you from looking at what they have. Yes, 2.5 months is not a lot of time but surly it is plenty. Your wedding turned out beautiful. I am happy things went well even with that setback.

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