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After reading that Emily and Vance met during a welcome picnic in college, when Vance used the successful pickup line “I like your pants,” I knew their wedding would be anything but ordinary! For these two actors, the Hazel Ruby McQuain Amphitheater was the perfect place to say their own vows, that included such sweet sentiments as Emily’s vow to put Vance before herself, and that it was “the greatest gift to do that so entirely organically and without hesitation.” I just love that so much! These now-New Yorkers knew they wanted to get married in their college town in West Virginia, and they felt right at home on the rooftop of the boutique Chestnut Hotel for their reception. Of course, the addition of some good ol’ Southern food always helps!

Big hugs to Veronica Varos for sending this lovely day our way!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My best friend was coming to town, so I googled a couple of places in NYC to go dress shopping. I’m so happy I found Saja, a small designer boutique in SOHO where everyone was lovely, and all the dresses were simple and elegant–perfect for chill, approachable brides like myself. I tried on five, and I thought, “Well, it’s for sure one of those five, and I have no interest in going anywhere else!” I narrowed it down to two, and went back a couple of weeks later with another friend. I walked out in my dress, and she said “That’s it!”

We knew we wanted to get married in our college town. Since we weren’t able to be there all the time, we enlisted the help of my sister, who was local. She was the one who suggested both the locations for the ceremony and the reception, and after visiting a couple of places, we were sold. We held our ceremony at the Hazel Ruby McQuain Amphitheater, which is on the water, has a gorgeous view, and had a stage feel, perfect for us actors. The reception was at the Rock Top Lounge at the Chestnut Hotel–a sweet little boutique hotel where we all stayed. The rooftop was PERFECT! It felt so New York-esque, and as New Yorkers now, we just fell in love with it.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we did! My favorite line of mine was: “This is the greatest thing I could ever do–marry you. We’ve already started a life together, and I sincerely love living every day with two hearts. I put yours before mine, and it’s the greatest gift to do that so entirely organically and without hesitation. I will love you every day as hard as I can until I love you more than I love myself….You’re everything I could ever need to live a happy, happy life.” My favorite part of his: “Through all the changes, we just keep falling in love with each other…As human beings, we change. Life happens. And this might be weird, but I promise to continue to grow–to evolve with each other. To learn from you. And I’m so glad I have the opportunity to keep falling in love with you time and time again.”

My flowers were absolutely perfect! My florist was so patient with me. I had so many images in my head, like desert meets neon meets bohemian meets funk meets watercolors. I gave her a wide variety of color schemes and told her what kinds of flowers I liked. Then, she made magic happen! She had never seen my husband’s shirt, but somehow, she matched all the flowers to his shirt and our kooky color scheme perfectly!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Be true to YOU! Everyone was blown away by our wedding (so humbling to hear that!), and it’s because they had “never been to a wedding like that before!”–the highest compliment. So be creative, and put your funky stamp on all of it!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? All of it was memorable, but I’d say the moment when my husband and I were up on the stage with our dream band playing our favorite song, and we were dancing like nobody was watching, was my absolute favorite! It was pure joy! I took a deep breath to try to soak up that moment, and I will never let it go!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were both theatre majors, and we spotted each other at orientation during our first year of college. At the welcome picnic, he approached me with a really good pickup line: “I like your pants.” Well, I was hooked. We ate pizza together by a tree and giggled as I got to know the most different and charming boy I’d ever met. We went on our first date three days later. He asked me to be his girlfriend the very next day, and I freaked out a little bit because I barely knew him. It was weird for a few months, but having almost every class together, we became friends. We both dated other folks for a few years, and during our junior year, we were forced to do a love scene together and spent a lot of time together rehearsing. We realized, “What are we doing!? We’re in love!” We started dating in January 2007 and got married in 2014.
Tell us all about the proposal! It was my birthday, and Vance had planned a fun-filled day with many little surprise events that friends could join in on: dinner, the zoo, a movie…ending with a huge private room just for us and our friends at a laser tag arena (mind you, this is something we never do, but we’re adventurous, so I was up for it!). Vance and I were on the same team with a couple of our friends. I was getting super into it, and mid-match, I said, “Where should we hide!?” to Vance. He replied, “Over there! By the inflatable tank!” I army crawled over there, and once I made it, I asked him, “Now what!?” He pulled out the ring and said, “Well, how about you marry me?” I toppled over in tears and giggled with excitement as I said yes, and we had about four minutes of the most lovely private time together, even though we were surrounded by chaos. Then, we half-heartedly continued the match, until our team lost. While the other team was shoving it in our faces, I lifted my hand and was immediately met with cheers of joy. It was perfect. Silly, so us, and both private and lovely, followed by a celebration with my best friends.
When did y’all get married? September 13, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? A little over 200
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I come from a huge Italian family, so as per tradition, all the moms, aunts, cousins, and grandmas baked a boatload of cookies. As if over 2000 cookies wasn’t enough, I still wanted to have a ceremonial cake to cut, so my aunt made us an Italian cream wedding cake, decorated with coconut and raspberries. It was so amazing!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our entire menu was Southern fare: pulled pork, BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, asparagus, biscuits, salad (with my aunt’s homemade dressing), and more.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Anywhere we could save, we did. Since our ceremony venue was at a state park, it was wonderfully cheap!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We have been together for a long time, so not much about our day-to-day has changed, but the energy has most certainly changed. My best friend described it as being “freeing”–knowing you can go forth and conquer the world, as an individual and as a couple. I feel so blessed that we earned this marriage… we went though so much together in our long relationship pre-wedding. We’re looking forward to our honeymoon to Mexico in January!

Photographer: Veronica Varos / Videographer: Pictory Productions / Ceremony Venue: Hazel Ruby McQuain Amphitheater / Reception Venue: The Chestnut Hotel / Florist: Blooms Florist / Band: Wesley Bright & the Hi-Lites / Bride’s Gown: Saja

marissa Written with love by Marissa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Olivia Fischer reply

    Colorful and Lovely photography!

  2. avatar Veronica Varos reply

    Thank you for sharing Emily + Vance’s story, SWM! <3

  3. avatar “Your Wedding, Your Life, Your Joy” | Rustic Acres Farm reply

    […] work has recently been featured on publications such as the Today Show, BRIDES, Whirl Magazine, Southern Weddings, and Style Me […]

  4. avatar “Your Wedding, Your Life, Your Joy” » Rustic Acres reply

    […] work has recently been featured on publications such as the Today Show, BRIDES, Whirl Magazine, Southern Weddings, and Style Me […]

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    […] via Southern Weddings / Image by Veronica […]

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Is there anything better than a Southern summer? The joy and simplicity of long days at the lake, neighborhood swimming holes, juicy watermelon slices, sprinklers on full blast, picnics on the grass, and long days spent with dear friends inspired this shoot, beautifully styled by Amber Housley and Cedarwood Weddings and photographed by Nancy Ray Photography. It is practically impossible not to smile at this all-American editorial that reaches back into our sweetest childhood memories with the goal of inspiring a lighthearted and joyful beginning to marriage!

See more from this editorial in V7, now available in the Southern Weddings Shop and on newsstands across the South!

Latrice of Opulent Couturier took our patriotic color palette and ran with it when it came to dressing up these ladies, gents, kiddos, and even a dapper dog!

Cedarwood Weddings, just outside of Nashville, was the perfect setting for this lakeside shoot–we love the way this decorated dock looked as an intimate ceremony space.

Watermelon slices and ice cold bottles of Cheerwine epitomize summer to us–they’d be an amazing cocktail hour treat on a hot July day!

We can’t get enough of food trucks, and love the idea of your own personal “food truck rodeo” at your reception! Even without formal silverware, the presentation couldn’t be sweeter.

Have an outdoor venue and lots of pint-sized guests? Include a note in your invitation suite asking their parents to pack swimsuits and towels, and then set up sprinklers for some reception fun! We guarantee it’ll become one of their favorite memories.

S’mores, a campfire, and a quilt to cuddle up on–this sweet end to the day is a tradition that can be carried into many newlywed summers to come.

Photographer: Nancy Ray Photography / Videographer: Nicholas & Keaton / Venue, Styling, Florals, and Signage: Cedarwood Weddings / Coordinator, Designer, and Paper Goods: Amber Housley Weddings / Watercolor Map: Simply Jessica Marie / Catering: Poppy’s Cafe, Legato Gelato, The Peach Truck / Cakes: Patty Cakes / Hair and Makeup: Tara Thomas and Gina Putnam of Studio BBC / Fashion Stylist: Opulent Couturier / Bride’s Gown: “McCants” by LulaKate / Reception Dress: “Organza Striped” by LulaKate / Bridal Salon: The Bride Room / Bride’s Veil and Hair Accessories: Beatrice Couture Designs / Ladies’ and Kids’ Accessories: Charming Charlie / Bridesmaid Dresses: LulaKate / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids Nashville / Menswear: Street Tuxedo / Bow Tie: Otis James Nashville / Men’s and Kids’ Accessories: Land of the Thread / Kids’ Clothing: Gap Kids Green Hills Mall Nashville and Chaps Ralph Lauren

Nancy Ray, Amber Housley, and Cedarwood Weddings are all delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
11 Comments
  1. avatar Southern Weddings V7: Fancy Free Behind the Scenes – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] miss the final images and all of the talented vendors from this shoot, which you can see right here! And a huge hug to […]

  2. avatar Amber Housley reply

    So thrilled to have been a part of this HOT but magical today. So great working with all the vendors and friends involved to make this come to life. Thank you for the opportunity to produce this for you!

  3. avatar Latrice Cushenberry reply

    It was an absolute joy to be apart of such an amazing shoot & see it come to life! Thank you for the opportunity to share & style! {{{Many hugs & squeezes}}}

  4. avatar Fun and Fancy Free Styled Shoot in Southern Weddings V7 | Amber Housley | Nashville Wedding Planner | Designer | Nashville Wedding Planner | Stylist | Custom Wedding Invitations Stationery | Lifestyle | Inspired reply

    […] an honor to see our styled photo shoots published, especially when the publication happens to be in Southern Weddings V7! We adore the heart behind this magazine and the ladies who run it, and are feeling so blessed to […]

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    […] say that we are thrilled to have our Fun and Fancy Free styled shoot featured in the newly released Southern Weddings V7 is an understatement! We adored […]

  6. avatar lisa johnson reply

    Spectacular! Cedarwood never disappoints – a gorgeous Nashville Wedding tradition!

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    […] America, community, and playful details make this look like so much fun! I feel that this editorial gave me permission to allow some aspects of our wedding to be casual but charming. View the original post here. […]

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From the bride’s fishtail braid to the paper suite designed to look like a fresh-out-of-the-oven berry pie, this wedding inspiration from Nicole Berrett and The Southern Table has me ready for summer wedding weekends! Just in time for the Fourth, their red, white, and blue ideas are a burst of Southern sweetness. And though their palette could be translated to any month of the year, there’s something especially appropriate about featuring it near Independence Day – after all, there are few things as worthy of celebratory fireworks than a new marriage!

Caroline from Lovely Paper Things made an insanely gorgeous paper suite with the theme of “Sweet as Pie.” The actual invitation was a hand-painted pie wrapped in a pie tin, with recipe cards for guests to give the couple their “recipe for a happy marriage,” a menu in the form of a sweet cookbook, and escort cards tied to mini jars of jam!

Maxine from The Southern Table put on the perfect touches with the florals, using red, white and blue in the most beautiful way I could have imagined! The flowy, lace “Sian” gown from BHLDN, and the gorgeous makeup (red lip!) and fish tail braid that Rayven from Beauty & The Blush did on our stunning bride was just the icing on the cake!

Here in Texas we love our holidays, especially our great nation’s birthday on the 4th of July! We went with a red, white and blue theme with a sophisticated Southern twist. I really wanted pies to be involved, and Heidi from Sugar Bee Sweets did an amazing job with her delectable sweets!

Photographer: Nicole Berrett Photography | Floral Design: The Southern Table | Hair & Makeup: Beauty & the Blush | Pies: Sugar Bee Sweets | Paper Goods: Lovely Paper Things | Bridal Gown: BHLDN | Film Scans: Photovision

Nicole Berrett is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
4 Comments
  1. avatar Breanna reply

    I am totally in love with so many little details of this shoot. From the blue table cloths, to the gorgeous flowers in her hair, and the bold, red stationary, to the look-so-good-I-can-taste-it pies, Nicole Berrett and all the vendors put together some fabulous inspiration.

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    Excuse me while I go pin every single thing from this shoot. I love every detail, and Nicole’s photography is beautiful!!

  3. avatar Caroline | Lovely Paper Things reply

    Yippie! Such a delight to have the Lovely Paper Things, for this darling inspiration shoot featured! What a marvelous team of vendors to collaborate with! Thanks so much!! xoxo

  4. avatar Top 10 Fall Wedding Colours for 2016 from Pantone – Part I – : reply

    […] Jen Owens via Love My Dress // Wedding Pie ~ Sugar Bee Sweets, Photography by Nicole Berrett via Southern Weddings // Engagement Ring ~ Baxter Moerman, Photography by Jen Rodriguez via Magnolia Rouge// Wedding […]

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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