It’s safe to say that I’m a sucker for a good bouquet or floral arrangement, and my office bulletin board is covered in some of my favorites from past volumes of Southern Weddings. However, not even a 15 pound (!!) bridal bouquet could distract me from how beautiful Courtney looked in her gown and gushing over the joy on Courtney and Kyle’s faces throughout their day! My favorite part? The way Courtney and Kyle worked so thoughtfully to weave their families into their ceremony! Be sure to read the story behind why they chose to forgo a traditional unity candle and what they chose instead. It’s the perfect keepsake from their wedding day that they will cherish for years to come!
A big thanks to Cody Hunter Photography for sharing Courtney and Kyle’s beautiful day with us!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our first look was amazing. We were under a canopy of oak trees with a cool breeze blowing. It was just our photographer, the videographers, and my sister who were there with us. It was so sweet and sentimental. Kyle and I both teared up when we saw each other, but we loved those quiet moments together.
I thought I knew what type of dress I wanted, and had a very specific look in mind, but wasn’t finding it anywhere. At our last stop, Laura Jacobs Bridal, I tried on a few that were gorgeous but didn’t feel like “the one.” Finally, I went with the consultant to the back of the store, where we both eyed a dress at the same time, and knew I had to try it on. It was literally the OPPOSITE of what I was picturing. When I came out, my mom, sister, grandma, and best friend were speechless. It was the one and we all knew it!
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We wanted to be married under a big oak tree, somewhere that was very natural and had a story behind it. Buckingham Farms couldn’t have been a more perfect place! We loved that it was a working family farm and all of our food was truly farm-to-table. Kyle’s dad is a third-generation cotton farmer, and I grew up playing in the Florida landscape, so plants and growth signify so much to us. Instead of unity candles, we had a unity tree–our moms brought dirt in jars from our homes where we grew up, and we poured them into the base of a tree and watered it together. It was so special and we are still growing it today!
I walked down the aisle to “Turning Page (Instrumental)” by Sleeping at Last, one of our favorite songs and one that I have loved and played on the piano for years. The lyrics to the song are so incredible, but we wanted the instrumental version so the lyrics wouldn’t distract. My dad listened to the song for months in advance to prepare, just because it brought back so many memories of me playing at home. Since I was moving away and the first to get married in my family, it was very emotional for him! One of my best friends, Lauren, played guitar and sang “Holy Spirit” by Bryan and Katie Torwalt while our parents prayed over us and we did the unity tree. That song has always been one we want as a prayer over our lives and marriage, so it was such a sentimental moment.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We focused intently on preparing for marriage over the wedding. We were so excited for the wedding, but even MORE excited to just do life together side by side. We had weekly marriage counseling, read books, and did devotions together in preparation. It really was such a sweet season of life!
The flowers were unbelievable. We wanted a very natural and organic look, but left it up to our florists to pick the flowers. My bouquet probably weighed about 15 pounds (shoutout to my sister, the maid of honor, for holding it the whole ceremony!). We couldn’t have done it without Isn’t She Lovely Florals. I met with those ladies so much to dream up what the wedding would look like, and they are absolutely incredible with their vision and execution. People still tell me to this day how amazing all the hanging greenery was!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? It truly was such a sentimental wedding. Our guests said over and over how special our ceremony was and how truly touching it was. That was important to us. We value the significance of marriage and didn’t want to take it lightly and blow through the ceremony. That, to us, was the best part.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I am a Florida girl and he is a Texas boy. We met at the one and only Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Though we were both on Liberty’s track and field team, we had nothing to do with each other at first. (Partly because I liked another guy at the time and partly because he was very shy when it came to girls. Adorable, right?) As time went on, we slowly got to know each other and became interested in each other’s quirks and charm. Our relationship was built on little notes to one another, surprise dates, and always being open and honest with each other. We spent the long summers apart, but knew it would only help us grow closer and strengthen our communication. I knew Kyle was the man I wanted to marry early on, so I began journaling about every date and all our little moments together. That is one of my most cherished possessions to date and something we will show our kids for years to come.
Tell us all about the proposal! We were flying to my parents’ house for our big New Year’s Eve party on the beach, but a HUGE snow storm canceled our flight. Many, many flights later, we ended up flying out of Dallas and made it to Florida at 2 A.M. on January 1, 2015–proposal day! Kyle was totally himself and it was a normal day. When we got home, I went in to shower and get ready for the “nice dinner restaurant” we were going to. Kyle greeted me at my door and asked if he could give me one last Christmas present out on our dock. I went with him and he gave me a big elephant blanket (my favorite animal) and I proceeded to explain that we should get going. He was acting strange and said, “Can we make a fire? I promise, it’s a special one.” I agreed (semi-reluctantly), and as the sun went down, he made a fire in our dock fire pit. I didn’t know what was going on until he started to read parts of 1 Corinthians 13 that he had written on the fire starter sticks. Once there was a roaring flame, he came over to where I was sitting and tearfully said, “I want Christ to always be the center of our relationship. If we continue to be rooted in His word, the flame of our love will only grow stronger.” He had me close my eyes, and when I opened them, he was holding a lit-up sign he had made that said “Marry me?” I was speechless! Then, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, holding the most gorgeous ring I had ever seen. I, of course, said “Yes!” and my family came running out in celebration.
When did y’all get married? October 17, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our own vows a few nights before the wedding. It was such a sweet, sweet time together. We wrote separate vows and read them to one another. We are very active and love being outside and traveling, so one of the vows I wrote for him said, “I vow to always adventure through life with you, never lacking the sense of wonder you stir in me.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our pastor (my uncle) read aloud our life verse, that is our prayer for each other and our marriage: Philippians 1:9-11. It says, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.”
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We LOVE traveling. We are currently planning a trip to Hawaii, as well as preparing to bring home our golden retriever puppy, Bear. We are so excited to be parents to a little pup!
Photographer: Cody Hunter Photography | Videographer: Phos Media | Planner and Florist: Isn’t She Lovely Florals | Venue and Caterer: Buckingham Farms | Dessert Baker: Show Me Love Confections | Rentals: Niche Event Rentals | DJ: DJ Jorge via Stereophonic DJs | Invitations: Artifact Uprising | Place Cards: Sophia Loves Letters | Bride’s Gown: Martina Liana | Hair Stylist: Kristy Connley | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Angelo | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse