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It’s not always easy to tell how a wedding day must have felt through the pictures alone, but that is not the case with Britt and Ren’s lovely Georgia wedding. There is such a calm and joy in these images, which makes me wish I could have been a guest and seen it all in person! Thanks to long communal farm tables, a charming country venue, and simple, sweet decor, Britt and Ren managed to make their 400+ guest wedding feel relaxed and intimate–no easy feat, I’m sure. I especially love Britt’s recollection of their most memorable moment, as well as the pictures that captured it all so beautifully!

Hugs to Paige Jones for sharing Britt and Ren’s day with us!

Last December, we took a visit to Ren’s family farm in South Georgia to drop off some wood and check on the property. As we walked around, Ren led us to his favorite field (mine too, now!) where he stopped to give me an early Christmas present. He pulled out a beautiful Anthropologie houndstooth coat from his backpack and told me to try it on. Inside the pockets were two tickets to New York for the next morning! I was pretty distracted by all the excitement, but the next thing I knew, Ren was down on one knee. Of course, I said YES to forever with my very best friend!

My dream Southern summer wedding post is coming up later today, but if I can update it already, I want to include this gorgeous bouquet! It’s perfect!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our pastor from our church in Oxford, Pat Ward, officiated our wedding beautifully. I felt like it was just the three of us up there as Pat spoke to us about Christ in the center of our marriage and our lives together. My favorite part was taking communion together, and then Ren and I served our wedding party and family communion while the musicians played “Live Forever” by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our awesome photographers, Paige and Michael Jones, stole us away for a few minutes to snag a couple pictures in the dwindling light. I loved having just a few moments alone after the ceremony and first dances were over. Paige told us to walk down the road a bit, so Ren and I raced each other there. It was just a sweet, sweet moment!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We chose to get married at a beautiful horse farm just a mile away from where Ren grew up .We had a Southern food buffet that included macaroni and cheese, collard greens, cornbread, biscuits and sweet tea! Did I mention the huge communal farm tables?

This macaroni and cheese food truck can stop by my apartment any day–I don’t think there could possibly be a cuter way to get my favorite Southern comfort food!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, of course! We didn’t want to be confined by tradition and tried to make all decisions about the wedding based on what we truly wanted to day to be like. Ultimately, we wanted it to be sweet, intimate, and very relaxed. It was a definite yes to hang out together beforehand and spend as much time as possible on the dance floor post-ceremony!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I love the variety of desserts we had. The cookies were made by my sister’s best friend’s new business, Jimella’s Bakery. They were so fun and colorful.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We first met in middle school, where we became fast friends. We stayed very close friends over the years, and despite Ren’s many attempts, we didn’t start dating until our junior year of high school. We went our separate ways in college, Ren to Ole Miss, and I to UGA, but then decided sometime junior year that not being together was no fun. We did long distance until graduation, when I moved to Oxford to pursue painting and Ren worked for Young Life and a local restaurant. We just wanted to be together in a town we loved. Life ended up bringing us back to Atlanta where we were engaged and married.
When did y’all get married? June 8, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 400
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. It was really a little too easy. I was initially looking for a delicate, lacey, beaded number. I found several that I loved at the first boutique we went to in Atlanta, but they were a little out of my price range. A couple days later, some girlfriends and I decided to stop by a little shop close to our hometown of Milton. As we picked out our favorites, one of my friends broke away from the sheaths to look at the A-lines, which I was avoiding. She found her old wedding dress from a year ago, and picked out the dress hanging next to it for me to try on. I tried that dress on last and it was the easiest decision of the whole wedding—we were all in love!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? This was something we talked a lot about, but ultimately chose not to do. I love the idea and if we had had a smaller wedding, we would have done it without a doubt. I was just too nervous to do so in front of 400+ people!
Describe your wedding flowers. The most beautiful creations I’ve ever seen! Lush and sherbert-y.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? To forget about everything everyone else was saying and do what we wanted to do!
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? Enjoy being engaged, it flies by! Focus on the big things that are important for you and your fiancé. The rest of the details don’t matter!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are just soaking up this busy, fun time. We’re loving settling in to our new home and learning how to love each other deeper and know each other better as newlyweds!

Photographer: Paige Jones | Videographer: Levi Mlinar | Planner: Jamie O’Dea | Coordinator: Jordan Alexander | Ceremony and Reception Venue: Chukkar Farms | Florist: Meredith Mejerle for Amy Osaba | Cookie Sandwiches: Jimellas Bakery | Cake Baker: Mac the Bakeshop | Caterer: Mac the Cheese Food Truck | Rentals and Lighting: The Rental Place | Band: Enturaj | Bride’s Gown: JLM Couture, Jim Hjelm | Paper Products: Silhouettes by Anna | Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: Sibo Designs | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Claudia Mejerle | Bride’s Shoes: Frye Boots | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Choice of Bridesmaids within specified palette | Groom’s Attire: Tommy Hilfiger |  Groomsmen Attire: Choice of Groomsmen

Paige Jones is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    perfect flowers and a beautiful dress! i love the pictures of them on the road.

  2. avatar Paige Jones reply

    YAYAYAY!

    Thanks for sharing. This was such a fun wedding :-)

  3. avatar Haley Sheffield reply

    Love this wedding! LOVE the way Paige captured it… so much joy. Beautiful photos.

  4. avatar Bridget reply

    I had no idea there was such a thing as a mac and cheese truck – that beats an ice cream truck hands down! That wedding looks like it was so much fun.

  5. avatar Kristin reply

    Those long reception tables were a gorgeous way to have everyone dine together!! Love this detail.

  6. avatar Gracie reply

    What a gorgeous wedding photographed by one of my favorite photographers in the southeast!!! Beautiful southern details and genuine joy :)

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I wish y’all could have been in the office when Lara and I first received the full collection of Shannon + Victor’s images from Jonathan Canlas. No lie — we screamed a little bit. Something like, “WHAT! Oh. My. Goodness. You must be kidding me!” Then, we’d click over to the next photo and do that all over again. Scroll down and you’ll do the same. This couple is gorgeous beyond words and their wedding day is, as Shannon tells us, a reflection of who S + V are as a couple. Though some of Atlanta’s most historically significant locations acted as the setting for their wedding day, they purposefully chose not to follow the rules. The result is something both classic and contemporary. We think it’s the perfect match for a couple who wanted to celebrate their new life together as well as the legacy of their families.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress.  What is your favorite thing about it? I’m very decisive so when I know, I know. The dress I selected was the first dress I tried on at the first shop I went to in New York. The dress was Vera Wang, and the contemporary but classic style spoke to me. Another important element is that my mom surprised me by having a piece of her wedding dress sewn into mine. That was very special for me.

I didn’t want to do the “typical” bridesmaid’s dress. I searched far and wide to find unique items that would best showcase my fierce and fabulous friends. I fell in love with a Romona Keveza dress I saw on the runway a few years back. The dress was no longer being made so I used the vision (and the help of the wonderful, Linda Sears of TK Designs) to recreate the dresses for my girls.

These portraits are truly lovely and timeless. Jonathan Canlas does such a wonderful job of capturing each personality. We actually featured all of the bridal party’s portraits on two pages of the magazine because we loved them so much! The two above are a couple of my favorites. Shannon + Victor look in love, excited and radiant.

Were there any family traditions you included in the ceremony? We included large, canvassed black and white photos of various family members wedding in the entrance to the church. It was a nice sentimental touch that showed the tradition of marriage in both of our families.

I didn’t want flowers because I felt like they were too typical. A big part of the design scheme is that there were no flowers. Various types of greenery took the place of flowers. My bouquet was made of Proteas from South Africa. My mom and wedding planner surprised me with the flowers, which suited me well and worked with my vision to use inventive and international plants that reflected my desire for creativity and love of other cultures. The bridesmaids had feathers, not flowers! They each carried a black feather clutch. The boutonnieres were a guinea feather.

Tell me a bit about the wedding ceremony. Vic and I each selected two couples to do readings based on people whose marriages we admired and hoped to emulate. We asked each couple to choose a passage from the Bible that communicated what they felt it was most important for us to know as we began our marriage. The passages they selected were a surprise to us until the ceremony!
Did you write your own vows? We actually did! And then forgot them. So we said the standard vows at the ceremony.

What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? Walking down the aisle was definitely a moment. The minute I saw my dad, I felt a rush of emotion and I couldn’t even look at him. I definitely felt the bigness of the moment.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.  (From the groom) We met in Atlanta over Christmas break during our junior year of college. Shannon’s best friend was dating my cousin at the time. They were at a mutual friend’s house and I planned to meet them but got lost. Shannon picked up the phone to give me directions. We had a great time and saw each other again at a New Years Eve party where we exchanged numbers, and the rest is history!
What is a date you will always remember? (From the groom) On our first date, we were both in NYC and just explored the city. We even played in the massive Toys R Us in Times Square. It was all fun and allowed me to see how open-minded and exploratory Shannon was, a trait we both share.
Describe the proposal: (From the groom) I wanted to propose in NYC where we spent a lot of time dating but that wasn’t feasible logistically. I wanted the opportunity to ask her father for his blessing in person and I knew he would be in Atlanta for Labor Day. After I got his blessing, I proposed to Shannon about an hour later at her parents home. I wanted friends and family to be a part of the moment so it worked out well. 
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Adrenaline, celebratory, sentimental.
What was the weather like on your big day? The weather was perfect. Sunny and mild – which is exactly what we were hoping for.
How many guests attended your wedding? Around 300.
Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: The bridesmaids’ dresses. And the groom.
Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: The bride!
What was the biggest challenge you faced when planning your wedding? Clearly communicating my vision. I would have ideas or concepts in my head and often had difficulty explaining them in detail.
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your big day? I woke up feeling like it was any other day. It didn’t hit me until I saw all of my bridesmaids dressed and ready. Then, I started to get a little nervous.
Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? The most special guests for me were my grandfather’s and grandmother’s sister. Both of my maternal grandparents passed so to see their siblings there was so important to me. While I know my grandparent’s were there in spirit, it was nice to have them represented in a more tangible way as well.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
13 Comments
  1. avatar Sukey reply

    What a fabulously stunning wedding! I love that the bride had such clear vision for her wedding day and stuck to it –from the feathers to those amazing bridesmaids’ dresses. Her gown and his custom attire are pure elegance – so sharp together!

  2. avatar Jen O. reply

    One of the most stunning weddings I’ve ever seen. Jon is amazing and captured it beautifully. I love, love, love this.

  3. avatar Desiree reply

    This was my favorite wedding from V5 — it’s to die for!! The bridesmaid dresses and the swag that was shown off as they processed…you can’t duplicate that. That’s all natural. I would want to party with these ladies all.the.time. And don’t even get me started on Shannon’s veil/hair piece. I gasped when I saw it!!! SO excited to finally see it on the blog!! ahhhh

  4. avatar Ursula reply

    Now that is what I call pure fab!! Absolutely gorgeous. I love that the bridesmaid carried a feather clutch instead of flowers. Original and breathtaking!! My favorite pics this year.

  5. avatar Emily reply

    The two page spread of the portraits from this wedding were hands down my two favorite pages in the V5!!! Ok, actually I cannot pick a favorite, but they were definitely near the top!

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  9. avatar kate reply

    Hey! can you tell me what brand the groom’s tux is? I am having trouble finding a nice-looking white/ivory dinner jacket for my upcoming wedding :)

  10. avatar Pasha Belman Photography reply

    This is one gorgeous couple and the photos are just amazing.

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  13. avatar Maurice Roberts reply

    This is one great and awesome pics!

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One of my favorite parts of getting our Real Weddings ready to share with y’all is reading each couple’s vows. From the traditional classics to creative rhymes, and even some jokes and lighthearted moments, vows are an incredibly meaningful part of each day, and usually offer some insight into the couple reciting them. Erin + Steve’s vows really struck a chord in my heart, especially this line from the groom: “I, Stephen, take you, Erin, to be no other than yourself. Loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know, I give you my word, my faith, and my solemn vow.” Heavens, that makes me tear up just reading it!

Beyond their sweet, sweet vows, I love how Erin’s mama played a big role in the handmade decor of their day. She not only created the invitations and decorated their getaway bikes, she utilized Hobby Lobby and Lowes to put together some seriously gorgeous centerpieces! Big hugs to our friends at Landon Jacob for sharing this colorful affair! Seriously, y’all, pay attention to the heartwarming moments they captured tucked into every corner of this feature!

I initially tried on wedding gowns in upscale boutiques in the suburbs of Philadelphia with my mother and sister in-laws-to-be. I fell in love with a $6,000 Monique Lhuillier dress, completely clueless of the wedding market value of dresses. Back home in Columbia, SC I went to a local bridal salon with my mom, sister in-law, and aunt where I found the winner: Lazaro 3101, a great mix of lace with Spanish flair. I again had sticker shock at the $3,000 price tag and tried to bargain. I scoured recycledbride.com, preownedweddingdressses.com, and finally found the winner on Ebay for $1200. Upon arrival, the dress fit like a glove and needed no alternations. It was meant to be!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? We did. At first I was totally opposed to the idea but was inspired by my best friend’s wedding that I attended a month prior and the sharing of an intimate moment together instead of a more public, shared moment at the ceremony. It eased a lot of our nervous energy and I’m very happy with our decision.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? My mother is an interfaith minister who had tons of books on creating ceremonies and rituals lying around. We came upon some vows that I believe were shared between her close friends that spoke to us and the incredible risk and trust that marriage demands. Our chaplain was quite fond of them as well: “I, Stephen, take you Erin to be no other than yourself. Loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know, I give you my word, my faith, and my solemn vow.”

One of my favorite things about our wedding was all the detailed creations of my mom, Heidi Darr-Hope, which included the invitations, centerpieces, bikes and lanterns. She bought lanterns from Hobby Lobby and filled them with rocks, candles, and objects from Mexico and draped them in sparkling gold ribbon. She blew up our invitation (that she created) as a sign, and decorated Steve’s and my bicycles. For centerpieces, she gathered Hobby Lobby paper flowers, paper birds, moss-covered rocks, dried beans, candles and bold-colored linens from Palmetto Party Rentals! It was an eclectic mix of fabulousness.

The weather was also amazing! Seventy-degree, sunny perfection graced us in October and made for a fabulous weekend. We also served gourmet shrimp and grits in martini glasses by Loosh Culinare and incorporated some non-traditional elements as well. Our moms and dads walked us down the aisle (both parents raised us, right?). We loved being hoisted in the air on chairs as in Jewish celebrations, and we passed Italian wedding cookies around instead of a traditional cake to honor Steve’s Italian heritage (he’s an Italian citizen!).

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: My colleague at work, who is a life insurance product specialist by day and photographer, jewelry, dress, and (apparently) ornate cake maker by night, created the three-tiered white cake with her mother and transported it, driving 20 miles an hour, from Lexington, SC. It was a work of art and tasted delicious!

What was the most memorable moment from your wedding day? Two moments. One was walking down the aisle with the veil covering my face and my parents in both arms. It was truly surreal with the light twinkling in, a sea of smiling, loving faces, and harp notes drifting through the breeze. Another was that we had SO much fun riding bikes around the fountains as our exit. We were having so much fun that we went for a second ride through the tunnel of guests and then hopped on a pedicab to our afterparty at Nonnah’s.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met three years ago during our first days as graduate students in the School of International Business at USC. We both used the exact same word to describe our initial reaction to each other: Intrigued. For several months, we pursued our interest, curiosity, and desire of one another, developing a deep friendship. However, things weren’t all easy. Steve would be leaving the country soon for his eight-month internship and I felt the tension of wanting to be clear and definite about the nature of our relationship on one hand, and just allowing our love and connection to come in its own time on the other. I chose to allow, not force, the excitement, pleasure, and hope at each step along the way to bring us closer together. It was our inevitable separation for language study and internships in South America that brought clarity to our hearts about the depth and commitment of our feelings. Stephen had to leave for Brazil and shortly thereafter, I was to be in Mexico and then Chile. I realized that I was truly in love when while in Mexico, instead of enjoying the experience, I found myself spending all my time Skyping with Steve. Thanks to the wonders of Skype and a chance to be together for a few weeks in Brazil, our love and friendship grew and blossomed, despite the long separation.
Describe the proposal. Once we were both back in South Carolina, Steve hatched the perfect plan to propose that involved secretly getting his parents from Philadelphia, along with my parents, and tucking them away in a house on Sullivan’s Island. Then there was a very long and hot bicycle ride on the beach until he could find some privacy, a sandy knee for Steve, many tears of joy for me, and finally, a great big surprise party with both families back at the beach house when we returned newly engaged and deeply in love.
In what month did you get married? October
How many guests attended your wedding? 200
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” and “The Way.”
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. We liked the cello and harp duo, both USC students, that played. Steve walked down the aisle to Bach’s “Cello Song,” “The Swan” was played for the bridesmaids and groomsmen, and I walked down the aisle to Debussy’s “Girl with the Flaxen Hair,” which I did a solo ballet dance to as a moonbeam when I was young. It reminds me of grace, freedom, and lightness — just how I felt walking down the aisle. Steve’s sister and operatic genius, Megan, sang the “Glory of Love” with the cellist and harpist during the ceremony. For our first dance, we went back and forth on songs and finally settled on Stevie Wonder’s “You are the Sunshine of my Life.” We took dance classes at Vista Ballroom in the three weeks prior to the wedding and learned some basic American Rumba moves with dips and spins. Our band played the song live on the wedding day and it was a bit slower than practiced. We made it through laughing and feeling awkward the whole time but it was so fun!
Describe your wedding flowers: I’m not huge on flowers and told my mom only this: “Keep it local and vibrant and I like succulents.” She worked with a local florist but did the majority of the work herself – purchasing lots of succulents from Lowe’s.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Moving from surveying the options to making a decision! There were a lot of wonderful choices on all levels of detail, but getting momentum moving and checking items off the list relieved a lot of stress.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? I felt very happy about not splurging on anything. It gave me a big sense of peace knowing that this day was about celebrating our union, not amassing debt or getting carried away on extravagant details. We creatively saved money at all points in the planning process and I felt amazing!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Two moments. One was walking down the aisle with the veil covering my face and my parents in both arms. It was truly surreal with the light twinkling in, a sea of smiling, loving faces, and harp notes drifting through the breeze. Another was that we had SO much fun riding bikes around the fountains as our exit. We were having so much fun that we went for a second ride through the tunnel of guests and then hopped on a pedicab to our afterparty at Nonnah’s.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Soak it in. It is intense to feel so much love and support from everyone in your life, so try to let go of the “plan” you’ve been scheming for months and soak in the wonderfulness of the day. Don’t get caught up in the “what’s next” part.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are renovating an old home and will be happy to move in and do what we love to do most – lay around in sweatpants, cook, drink wine or coffee and chat! We also have a pretty impressive travel lineup going: Patagonia, Berlin, Rio, Colombia, Sonoma, and more! We have a lot to look forward to!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
8 Comments
  1. avatar Katie @ Lovebird Productions reply

    The bright colors, the getaway bikes, her dress….it is such a wonderful Southern affair. I love it!

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  5. avatar alex reply

    who makes the berry colored bridesmaid dress? beautiful!

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