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Eliza + Brigham look like the kind of couple you just want to squeeze (as Kristin would say) because they look so happy and in love! The two met while teaching at the same school and made every excuse to see each other during the day, from relocating distracted students to another class to borrowing Sharpies. We love how their roles as teachers made its way into their big day. Guests chose an apple to find their seating arrangements and leave sticky notes of marriage advice and the couple used fun chalkboard signage throughout the day. The details sure did make Eliza + Brigham’s venue look sweet — but it only gets better when you learn that their big day took place on Brigham’s family farm. What a perfect place to start your married life!

Giant hugs to Abby Jiu who snapped all these lovely photos of E + B’s wedding!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. 
The whole process was much easier than I expected! I knew I wanted a simple dress that didn’t overwhelm my (very!) short frame and one that went with casual, country feel of our wedding, and was lucky to find a dress I loved right away!

It was really important to us that we were able to spend as much time with our guests as possible once they arrived, so we decided to do a “first look” so that we could get all of our photos done before the wedding began, while also making sure that we did not miss out on the magical moment of getting to see each other for the first time. While we initially made this decision for pragmatic reasons, it ended up being one of our favorite memories from the day — a moment just for us before the excitement (and chaos!) of the wedding began.

What an amazing photo! I just love the laugh Eliza and her dad are sharing before the ceremony.

We put together our own vows based on a mix of phrases and verses that spoke to us. A favorite passage from our vows is: “From this day on, I will be your partner and companion, for you are my dearest love and my best friend. I look forward to the joy we will find in each other’s separate successes, as well as in those we share. I welcome the challenge of whatever obstacles we encounter, for I know that whatever we face, we face together.”

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? 
We got married on Brigham’s family farm in Poolesville, Maryland, so our wedding definitely had a Southern vibe built right in! We also added some “Southern details” of our own, such as using red bandanas as dinner napkins and serving comfort food like fried chicken and mac and cheese!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
In keeping with our teacher theme, we had an easel to which our guests stuck post-it notes of advice for life and love.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. 
Neither of us are big fans of wedding cake so we went with apple and chocolate pie!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? 
Planning a wedding in September — the busiest time of year for teachers!

What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? 
A fabulous band that got everyone out on the dance floor!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. 
We met while teaching at the same DC charter school. The magnetism was there from the start, and we would invent every possible excuse to visit each other’s classrooms — relocating distracted students to “buddy class,” borrowing Sharpies, etc.

Describe the proposal. 
Brigham came over to my apartment after work on a Friday, and awkwardly asked me to join him for a glass of wine on the building’s rooftop deck overlooking Rock Creek Park. I found his urgency strange on a cold, windy evening, but was still shocked when he took to a knee on the roof and asked for my hand. My response was “Are you kidding me?!” which he took for a “yes.”

In what month did you get married? 
September

How many guests attended your wedding? 
225

Describe your wedding flowers. 
We went a bright mix of rustic flowers in rich fall colors that would compliment the natural beauty of the farm where we were married.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. Our first dance was the Jackson 5’s “ABC,” which got the party started as only two teachers could. We relieved Brigham’s dancing anxiety and my fear of public performance by having everyone join us on the dance floor after 30 seconds or so. The band ‘Round Midnight got the party going with all our Motown favorites, and channeled everything from Van Halen to Lady Gaga.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? 
Looking back at all of our family and friends as we walked through the evening sunshine at the end of the ceremony!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
Try not to sweat the details so that you can really enjoy what the day is all about!

What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We’re taking a long-awaited honeymoon to Italy this summer, then we both start in new roles at DC charter schools, which will keep us busy but growing. Our new puppy, Otis Redding Kiplinger is a trial run for the family we look forward to starting some day!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
3 Comments
  1. avatar Eliza and Brigham on Southern Weddings « Atrendy Blog reply

    […] out Eliza and Brigham’s adorable wedding on Southern Weddings blog.  I loved helping this amazing couple bring their wedding to to life. Abby Jiu did an amazing […]

  2. avatar Pam Barefoot reply

    Thanks ladies for blogging this sweet wedding!

    xo

  3. avatar Real Wedding- Eliza & Brigham « Atrendy Blog reply

    […] Enjoy these pretty photos by the talented Abby Jiu. You can also check out their lovely wedding on Southern Weddings blog. xo, […]

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Erin + Michael buried a bottle of bourbon in the backyard before the wedding in order to bring good weather. It worked! The couple was greeted with temperatures in the mid 70s and sunny skies — the perfect setting for their designed and delightful reception. A game of cornhole and a koozie-wrapped beverage are infinitely better when the sun shines, in my opinion. Of course, after partying away at Erin’s parents’ home, the newlyweds dug up the bottle and brought it with them to the after party!

We are thankful for Melissa Schollaert for sharing this wedding this us and capturing the many happy part of the big day. I won’t spoil it all for you — scroll down and fall in love!

We held the reception under a tent on the property and carried over the concepts we established at the cocktail hour and ceremony with more natural and personal details. Each dining table had its own identity with centerpieces consisting of quirky thrift store and “attic” finds like candleholders, lanterns, old tins, bottles and other chotchkies. As a nod to my interior design background, guests found their table by fabric swatches which were used in the laser-cut table numbers and custom runners under each place setting that were made of the same fabric pattern. To tie in the outdoor setting, we used burlap potato and coffee sacks as chair covers and created a lighting installation with paper lanterns and tree limbs we found in the surrounding woods. Michael and I also have a huge connection through music. We spend so much time together enjoying live shows, so we knew that we had to have a live band — they had to ROCK and that they did! Nationwide Coverage kept the party going and people on the dance floor. Of course, it wouldn’t be a rocking party without a full bar and beer boat. Guests were able to self-serve beer and wine, and hi note created custom bottle openers and koozies as grab-and-go favors. With the help of our friend and officiant, Adam, we were able to have our very own bottled brew at the wedding. I absolutely loved custom the branding and label Michael created for it – it was a huge hit!

Briefly describe your wedding flowers: I wanted really bold, graphic florals for my wedding, but I also wanted them to feel very wild, like you picked them out of your backyard and stuck them in an old coffee tin. Angie from Birch Blooms overwhelmed me with her stunning work! Not only is she the cutest, sweetest and most excited florist I know, but she even surprised me by draping florals from the ceiling — I still tear up when I think about it. The flowers were the icing on the cake. They made all of our hard work designing and planning come to life!

What was Southern about your wedding? For starters, it was in Alabama! Alabama is a really beautiful, lush state, so having it outdoors overlooking Lake Logan Martin really capitalized on the Southern charm of our venue. The South is known for its hospitality, and our wedding was no exception. We were really fortunate to have family members and friends who contributed time, money and a whole lot of elbow-grease to our wedding day.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when planning your wedding? The VENUE! It is not easy planning a wedding at a private home. There are so many things you have to think about in addition to all the other details a wedding would have at a traditional venue — power circuits, garbage, restrooms and cleaning up the next day! It was a great accomplishment to pull it all off!

Tell us a bit about your first dance. (From the groom) Our song was ‘Harvest Moon’ by Neil Young. We both love his music and definitely have a musical connection with this tune.

We paid homage to our love for food with a custom menu from Alan Singleton that consisted of our favorite family recipes. In lieu of a traditional wedding cake, we asked our talented friend, Betsy Distler to create a small personal cake for us. Then, guests were able to enjoy bite-sized versions of our cake flavor and other delicious pastries, as well as our favorite childhood candies.

Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: I was really proud of how the laser-cut doilies turned out. They made such an impact underneath each guest’s plate.
Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? My Aunt Beth. She lives in Australia and was unable to attend, so several of my friends who helped with the wedding Skyped her in so she could be a part of our special day.
What range did your budget fall into? $25,000
Did you have a cocktail hour? (From the groom) Because the sun sets so late in May, we opted to have our cocktail hour prior to the ceremony, so folks could have a snack and cold beverage before the festivities began. Our good friend Felix created a Brat and Burrito bar to honor two of my favorite foods. We also had Erin’s mom’s famous margaritas by the pool. Guests were able to enjoy themselves lounging by the water or playing games in the yard. Our main goal was for everyone to have a blast!
What was the funniest moment? What was the scariest? (From the groom) One of the funniest and also scariest moments was when we read our vows to one another. We both couldn’t even look at them before the ceremony without getting emotional. When the time came, we were both really nervous, but after the first laugh, we were great. Our guests’ dance moves came in a close second for funniest moment.
Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? No traditions per se, but we did have an amazing caterer who took our favorite family recipes and recreated them into a fantastic spread for our buffet.
Did you try anything new or untraditional? Our whole wedding event was the epitome of untraditional, but everything we did was extremely personal and thoughtful, so with that, we created our own traditions.
Tell us about your grand exit. Having our ceremony and reception overlooking the lake, there was no better way to exit than by boat with a little fireworks show to send us off into the night.
What is the one thing that made your wedding different from anyone else’s wedding? It was at the home I grew up in. No one else has ever been married there and probably never will – that is pretty special.
Did you take a honeymoon? If so, where? (From the groom) We are saving up for a first anniversary trip to Italy and Sicily. Erin studied there for a semester in college and it is where I trace my roots back to, so it will be a special place for both of us to visit.
What advice would you give to someone planning his or her wedding? Have a plan, have a budget and STICK TO IT! You will enjoy your big day so much more if you heed this advice.
Who was your favorite vendor and why? All of my vendors are close colleagues and friends, so they are all my favorites, but the one person other than Michael that was integral to making it all happen was my mom. She worked with me every weekend for months designing and planning, tackling the biggest challenge of our lives: to pull off a wedding at her house. I also have to give kudos to Melissa, our photographer. She is one of my very best friends and she spent so much time and effort, weeks at a time, coming to help me work on the wedding.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
14 Comments
  1. avatar Kristin reply

    I still die over those lovely personalized corn-hole boards. I love the idea of yard games at a reception! So relaxed and so fun.

  2. avatar Ashleigh from Marry Me Metro reply

    I adore all of the state pride details in this wedding! Too bad between my fiancé and I we have four awesome states that mean something significant to us lol.

  3. avatar Dee Shore reply

    Ok… this is officially my new favorite wedding. The bar. The bar pulls the strings at my heart. The potato sack chair backs, genius!

  4. avatar Sarah reply

    Beautiful! Where was the burlap table runner purchased?

    • avatar Erin reply

      Sarah: Hi Sarah! My company, hi note, specializes in custom stationery and laser cut graphics, so we made custom cut our own stencil out of plastic and painted them ourselves.

  5. avatar liz reply

    Awesome koozies! What company did you use for them? I love how your initials are on the bottom!

  6. avatar Elma Mercer reply

    I loved this spread in V5! I’m a HUGE fan of bouquets… in my mind they are the centerpiece for the wedding! Midnight in the Garden is by far my fav :) The deep red, blush & creme are so rich & warm together. I’m also a huge fan of Mint Julep!

  7. avatar Joya reply

    Where can I purchase the coozie? It is The. Perfect. One!

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We loved Erin + Michael’s lakeside wedding from V5 as soon as we saw it. But we had no idea until we saw the full disc of images from Melissa Schollaert, how much work and how many details went into creating their big day. For two designers who own their own company called hi note, the wedding was a way for them to showcase their lives together as well as their talents and passions.

Aside from the many details, I’m in love with the venue E + M chose for their big day: Erin’s family’s lakeside home. “We both have fond memories of weekends spent on the water and wanted to share that experience with all of our friends and family,” said the groom. “The home was designed and built by Erin’s parents so that they have a panoramic view of the sunset. We knew it would be the perfect setting for our ceremony. All of the guests sat on hay bales covered with heirloom quilts and blankets overlooking the water. One of Erin’s close family friends, Tricia, played ceremony music that the three of us chose together. It was a very personal and intimate ceremony, but relaxed at the same time.”

Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: The laser-cut wood veneer invitations were definitely my favorite part of the whole experience. Erin and I put a ton of time into making each guest feel like they were getting a personalized, custom invite that reflected on the experience to come.

Finding my wedding dress was the first and quickest decision I made while planning the wedding. I knew I wanted something very organic and natural to suit the overall aesthetic of our day but I also wanted to feel elegant and beautiful. I tried on dresses at several salons but ultimately found the perfect designer, Claire la Faye, on Etsy. My mom and I sketched out some ideas and sent them to Claire. She created a custom gown for me by combining two of her existing dress designs and then added the strap and train detail that my mother and I came up with. It turned out even more beautiful than I ever dreamed, and it was really comfortable too!

Both my bouquet and my maid of honor’s bouquets were created by my mom and made up of brooches that my closest friends and family members contributed, as well as some thrift store finds. My creative mother, who is also a talented jewelry designer, made the boutonnieres out of old fishing lures, bird feathers, ribbon and burlap twine.

What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? (From the groom) Since our wedding was late in the evening, our photographer scheduled our portraits before the ceremony. Melissa arranged it so we could have a “first-look” moment with one another in the field where she shot our engagement photos. It was extremely special for the two of us to be able to see each other for the first time on our wedding day, privately, and really embrace the moment.

Of course Erin + Michael’s dear pup Otis had to be involved in the festivities! We like that he cleaned up with a snappy bow tie for the event.

How delicious (and convenient) is this refreshments station? Like Michael, I love that the laser-cut wooden signage gives every detail a personalized touch.

The venue was our initial inspiration for the wedding. As an interior designer and now stationery designer for weddings and events, I always try to honor the natural aesthetic of a venue. When we decided to have the wedding at my parent’s home, we knew it needed to be casual, fun and relaxed — just like lake life. We also wanted to reflect on the fact that it was the place I grew up and now a place we visit as adults, which is why we chose to make the decor at every table different, serve family recipes and have our favorite childhood candy as a midnight snack to evoke that feeling of “home.” (From the groom) The other inspiration was just ‘us’: our story, who we are and where we are from. Every single detail, from colors, graphics, decor and food, was a reflection of who we are as individuals and as a couple.

The family tree display in front of the ceremony area was a lovely (and a tad punny) idea.

Who participated in your ceremony? One of our close friends officiated the ceremony, my maid of honor was my cousin Dana and the best man was Scott, Michael’s brother. We wanted our family to be a direct part of our ceremony, so we had our parents and grandparents seated next to us as part of the wedding party.
Did you write your own vows? Yes, we did write our own vows. Michael stole the show with his opener, “When I met you, your nickname was Bob and you lived in a trailer…” Yup, he really said it, and it’s totally true! I lived in a trailer in college and had a boy’s nickname. Even the guests who didn’t know the backstory still got a really good laugh. It even took me a moment to regain composure!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met at Auburn University and were friends throughout college. We both got jobs in Atlanta and reconnected seven years after we met. The rest is history.
What is a date you will always remember? September 15, 2010 – the day we got engaged!
Describe the proposal: (From the groom) Our first big step as a couple came when we adopted a rescue dog together. Otis is such a huge part of both of our lives, and one of our favorite places to take him is a park near our house with a huge field for him to play. I thought this would be the perfect place to propose to Erin, but I also wanted be sure we could capture the moment. I asked our friend and wedding photographer Melissa to call Erin and ask if she wanted photos taken of Otis. Erin had wanted to have portraits taken for some time, so Melissa and I thought this was the perfect way to surprise her. We were taking some candid shots of us walking Otis, and I mentioned that he was really looking forward to our trip. Erin, not knowing what trip I was referring to, was obviously confused. I then explained that we were flying to Denver the next day to see one of our favorite bands play live, and that it would be the perfect way to celebrate our engagement. I then got down on one knee and proposed! Denver was a place we both wanted to visit, so were able to enjoy a long weekend celebrating our engagement. Erin was definitely caught off guard, but said yes, and it was all caught on camera.
Tell us about your beautiful engagement ring. The two things I knew I wanted in my engagement ring were a yellow diamond and a vintage aesthetic to the setting. We browsed at rings, but I must admit, I got a little overwhelmed with all the choices. Michael ended up finding the diamond in New York (where he is from) and the setting in Alabama (where I am from). He did a great job — it suits me to a T.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Personal, nostalgic, graphic
How many guests attended your wedding? 100

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
11 Comments
  1. avatar Kate Collison reply

    I think this is gorgeous! Sweet and romantic, but “poppy” and fun. How beautiful! Congrats to the couple!

  2. avatar Melissa Schollaert reply

    Thanks so much SW for featuring this lovely wedding! Hope that your readers love it. I’m so happy that I was a part of Erin & Michael’s wedding and captured it for them. They are so talented and I just loved everything that they came up with. If you LOVE this wedding, you must checkout Hi Note, they are more than just stationery designers and really come up with some cool concepts.

  3. avatar Erin reply

    Thanks so much SW for featuring our wedding! It was such a labor of love and are so glad you think so as well!

  4. avatar Emily reply

    Gorgeous! I love the colors in this wedding, and I adore their literal family tree! :)

  5. avatar Dee Shore reply

    The day I get married, I’m going to be a big ole copy cat, because this… this is just my dream in photos.

  6. avatar David reply

    Great job capturing the Mike and Bob wedding experience. I had the pleasure of attending this grand event, the pictures are great but don’t do it justice. The attention to deatil was astounding, after some of Nila’s margaritas and more then a couple Coor’s Light I couldn’t help myself from telling everyone around us that we were, in fact, attending a wedding that you read about in a magazine, sure enough – here it is. Mike and Bob are increditably talented, passionate and dedicated to what they do. Again, great article – this couple will go far in both life and love. My only unbiased complaint is that hi note (yourhinote.com) wasn’t around 8 years ago when I married my wife.

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  8. avatar Rachel reply

    I know this is a weird question but I am having an outdoor wedding at my family’s cabin. We have accommodated 60 people for Thanksgiving in the past. With around 75 guests and only 1 bathroom, any suggestions on what to do? Did you have this concern? Thanks!

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