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Small town life is a beloved part of Southern culture–I’m certain many of y’all can relate to Molly’s pride in her quaint hometown! Molly loved growing up in Saxapahaw, North Carolina, and although she and Aaron met in Chapel Hill, they couldn’t resist the opportunity to dig into Molly’s roots and welcome their loved ones to Saxapahaw for their big day. Complete with hearty Southern cuisine, an abundance of family heirlooms, and many nods to their heritages, Molly and Aaron’s celebration held all the charms of a small town itself. Molly says, “The sense of small town community during our celebration was the most natural part for us, and by default, it was the most Southern part!”

Thank you so much to our Blue Ribbon Vendor A. J. Dunlap for sharing this lovely day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Before flying home for winter break, my mom encouraged me to try on dresses in Austin with my best friend. I found the most wonderful secondhand/consignment designer dress shop, Second Summer Bridal. We had a great time while I tried on every style of dress, just for fun, until I tried on THE ONE. I knew I couldn’t buy a dress without showing my mom anything, so I tried to let it go. Back in North Carolina for Christmas, I tried on many more with my mom, but couldn’t get that one dress out of my mind. Knowing it was a one-time sale, I called back in January with the slightest bit of hope it was still in the store. It was fate–no one had bought it yet! I went in the first week I was back in Austin and sealed the deal! After all the dresses I tried on, this was the one that made me feel like a bride!

Our florist was Pine State Flowers. They only use locally grown, North Carolina flowers. This meant we had to be flexible to what type and colors of flowers were in season locally, and we had a beautiful and sustainable end result!

We were so grateful to have family friends who took part in our wedding and helped us save money. A dear friend did bridesmaids’ hair, family friends were the musicians, a church friend made our cake, my best friend designed the invitations and ceremony programs and wrote on all the windows and chalkboards, a dear friend directed the ceremony, and a family friend was our amazing DJ.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? YES! Knowing we wanted space and time to ourselves to be mindful, present, and soak in the powerful commitment we were about to make was of the utmost importance to us. Having that time for just the two of us to reflect, laugh, cry, joke around, and be ourselves was essential.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I am from the small town of Saxapahaw, and all of my maternal family is from small mill towns along the Haw River. In fact, my grandmother worked third shift in the Saxapahaw Mill while attending business college! Once the heart of the community, the Saxapahaw Cotton Mill closed in 1994 due to tornado damage. In high school, I would drive past it and admire the dilapidated and boarded up building. Over the past decade, the Mill has been renovated into a thriving, central part of the Saxapahaw community, and houses the Haw River Ballroom. My family has fallen in love with the rejuvenated sense of community in Saxapahaw, so the Ballroom was a natural first choice for Aaron and I. Fun side note: the wedding was the first time my grandmother had returned to the Mill since working in it.

The BEST part about our entire wedding was how community-centered and relationship-based it was. Aaron and I are both from small towns and value community, so we made it our goal to create a “church” within the ballroom, and to honor and celebrate the relationships and connections with our own church families, friends, individual families, extended family, and the community. All of the cotton used throughout the wedding was grown by a North Carolina farmer in Tarboro. The seating assignment windows were composed of various antique windows–the four-pane window came from Aaron’s great-grandparents’ homestead house that is over 150 years old, and the six-pane windows came from Aaron’s maternal grandfather’s historic shop. The handkerchief were gifted to my maternal grandmother on her wedding day. She recently found them, unopened! The drawers for cards came from my maternal great-grandmother’s Singer sewing machine. She taught my mom to love sewing, and I am named after her. The ring bearer pillow was sewn by my mom from her dad’s old jeans, and the smallest ring tied to the pillow was my baby ring! Aaron’s nephew, one of the ring bearers, carried my grandmother’s family Bible down the aisle. My veil was made from my mom’s blusher wedding veil. All the bud vases and bottles were collected during my engagement by my mother and grandmother. My grandfather passed away last winter, and these have been a blessing and the perfect project for my grandmother. There were also photos of our parents and grandparents on their wedding days displayed at the reception!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The sense of small town community during our celebration was the most natural part for us, and by default, it was the most Southern part! On top of the family heirlooms used, we also incorporated the best kinds of Southern food! Served in small plates to encourage mingling and conversation during the reception, guests feasted on meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans, shrimp and grits, and macaroni and cheese with collards and black eyed peas. All catering was from the local “five star restaurant in a gas station,” the Saxapahaw General Store. There’s nothing more Southern than getting married in an old cotton mill, eating good Southern food, being surrounded by the community that raised you, and getting to spend the rest of your life with your best friend!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met the first month of college at UNC Chapel Hill, living in the same dorm. Aaron helped Katie, my suitemate, carry some packages down to our rooms one day. Katie introduced me to this cute guy who helped her, and the rest was history! For the next four years of college, we were inseparable–study rooms, basketball games, football games, dance performances, the Varsity theater, Carver Street, He’s Not Here, Brown Summit, and Saxapahaw. After graduating, Aaron moved off to Charlotte, and I headed to the tiny town of Eden. During Christmas of 2011, we realized we couldn’t stand being apart any longer, and we haven’t been since. Fast forward to August 2013, and Aaron and I moved to Austin, Texas so I could attend graduate school at UT-Austin. Aaron found a corporate recruiting job here and graduated from Western Carolina’s online graduate school. We have been in Austin for over two years and are embracing the Texan way of life for now!
Tell us all about the proposal! We were so excited to return to UNC for homecoming in November 2014. Once we were back in Chapel Hill, Aaron suggested we walk through campus and visit the UNC Basketball Museum. While we were walking towards the museum, I thought I would be so romantic and suggested a stop at Craige, our freshman dorm, where it all started. After sitting on the front steps of the dorm where we fell in love, we stood up, I blinked, and Aaron was on one knee! After his proposal, we continued on to the basketball museum without calling anyone. #goheels
When did y’all get married? November 7, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows–we used the less traditional vows from the United Methodist Church’s liturgy. A favorite line included: “I take you to be my husband/wife, from this time onward, to join with you and to share all that is to come.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My brother and two dear friends read at our ceremony–a task with more significance to us than being in the wedding party. They read three scripture passages: Song of Solomon 2:10-14, 16a; 8:6-7a, Romans 12:9-18, and Colossians 3:12-17.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. A family friend made a gorgeous four-tiered pound cake with buttercream icing, with the top layer saved for our first anniversary! You can’t beat a good ol’ Southern pound cake!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We felt it was very important to keep our relationship at the center of the wedding planning and were mindful of discussing not only the details of the big day, but also what we wanted our future to look like together. Premarital counseling with our minister, readings books together, and spending the majority of our time together not wedding planning helped enormously with this!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? One very special thing to me was having my brother walk me down the aisle to meet my father. My brother, Peter, and I have an incredible relationship and I wanted to honor that in this way.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We will stay in Austin, Texas for the next few years before returning home to North Carolina. We are so excited to make our new house a home together and continue to explore and enjoy this unique Southern town as partners in a new, married light!

Photographer: A.J. Dunlap Photography / Videography: Olivia Wilkes / Videography and Sound: Ana Caicedo Macia / Video Editing: Anna Norwood / Venue and Planner: Haw River Ballroom / Florist: Pine State Flowers / Wedding Cake: Brenda Moss / Caterer: Saxapahaw General Store / DJ: Jason Barnes of JMB Marketing / Bridal Salon and Hairpiece: Second Summer Bride / Gown Alterations: Kira Kouture / Bride’s Earrings: Judith Bright / Hair and Makeup: Tease and Blush / Bride’s Shoes: Toms / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: RenzRags / Menswear: Combatant Gentlemen / Groomsmen Ties: The Tie Bar / Invitations, Ceremony Programs, and Calligraphy: Linsey Gray Creative

A.J. Dunlap is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar A.J. Dunlap reply

    Oh, how I loved this wedding! Thank you so much for sharing their day and their story!!! xoxo~A.J.

  2. avatar Anna Norwood reply

    Check out this video feature of Molly and Aaron’s special day!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCbru_s6lj4

  3. avatar Laura reply

    What a beautiful wedding and sweet couple! Love the small town feel!

  4. avatar Ryan reply

    Could anyone provide more details on the bridesmaid dresses? My fiancée and I are very interested in several of these dresses but cannot find the specific dresses on Renz Rags

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Amber and Jordan met as camp counselors, and on the last night of the summer, they stayed up until 4 A.M. trying to figure out how to make their new relationship work long-distance. For a couple who took such care planning for their courtship, I’m sure they were equally as invested in planning for their marriage! From Jordan’s sweet post-proposal video of their family and friends sharing encouragement, to reading their personal wedding vows the day before their wedding, these two stayed focused on what matters most: their marriage and their community. Family was certainly a priority for Amber and Jordan, and I am smitten with the way they chose to display their family photos. What a beautiful nod to their loved ones!

Big hugs to our friend Emily March Photography for sharing this sweet celebration with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed and old was a pearl bracelet that my mother had worn on her wedding day. My something new was my dress and my jewelry that Jordan gave to me as a wedding gift, and last but not least, my something blue was my garter!

I went to Celebration Bridal Shop in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia and tried on several dresses. I only tried on a few before I figured out that I was looking for: a classic, timeless, and comfortable dress. My dress was a simple ball gown with a sweetheart neckline. It even had pockets! I added a beaded floral belt and an elegant lace bolero to top it off, because it needed just a little something extra to make it mine.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows; however, we said them to each other the night before and said traditional vows during the ceremony. We decided to do this because we thought it was important to express to each other what we expect in marriage and to promise to the other person what we are going to do to make it last. Because of my lack of public speaking skills, we thought reading our vows in private would be better than in front of 100 people.

We both agree that our most memorable moment from our wedding day was the seeing each other as I walked down the aisle. We also enjoyed the time we spent taking pictures together out in the wilderness!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding was held at a historic estate in Central Virginia. We included monograms and plenty of fresh flowers, country music, whiskey, sweet tea, and above all, two families that celebrated the marriage of their children in union with Christ! The groomsmen also all wore socks in the colors of their favorite sports teams.

Did you pull any wedding inspiration from memories you have together? Tell us about it! Our table numbers at the wedding were coordinates of memorable places in our relationship, such as where we met, where we had our first date, our church, where Jordan proposed, and where we grew up. I think it was memorable for our guests as well!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We saved a lot of money by doing DIY projects. Jordan made our centerpiece boxes and I painted them. I made the jewelry for the bridesmaids, my headpiece, the escort cards, our card box, the ladder picture stand, the table numbers, the monogrammed wreath on the front door, and all of the signage for the entire wedding!

My wedding flowers were so beautiful and I wish I could have preserved them forever! We used a mix of peonies, lamb’s ear, roses, and anemones. They were the perfect balance between soft, subtle colors and greenery. I was very impressed with Irvington Spring Farms and the work they did!

Our wedding cake was gorgeous, and it tasted amazing as well! Geisel Nye did an awesome job combining three different cakes that I liked into our perfect wedding cake! One layer was Boston cream pie and the other two smaller layers were banana cake with Nutella frosting and chocolate ganache.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in 2012 while working at a Christian summer camp, Shiloh Adventure Camp in Cocoa, Florida. We were the only two counselors that year who were crazy enough to take on the entire summer! After the kids had left on the last day of camp, we decided to relax together a little before the end-of-summer party at a local church. When we left the party, we ended up sitting in his truck until around 4 A.M., just talking and getting to know each other better. Even though we didn’t want that night to end, we had to go to bed, and Jordan kissed my forehead before I left. We got maybe two hours of sleep that night, and then had to tear down camp the next day. After that long day of work, we decided to go to the beach to hang out for a little bit before I started my drive back home. We ended up trying to figure out how to make a long-distance relationship work. Over the next two years, we dated long-distance, and while it was difficult at times, we trusted the plan God had given us and enjoyed every second. Jordan moved up to Lynchburg after graduating college at UCF in June 2014!
Tell us all about the proposal! Jordan cleverly worked with my roommates to create an amazing day for me! My roommates drove his truck down to Smith Mountain Lake, parked it by the water, and decorated the bed of the truck with flowers and blankets and pillows. All the while, Jordan and I were on our way to the lake for a charity home tour that we had wanted to do for a while. Right before we got to the dock to pick up the boat, he pulled off to the side of the road and told me to come for a walk, which I thought was weird because it was raining! He then proceeded to walk to a gate that clearly stated “No Trespassing.” I quickly said, “I don’t think we should be here.” Jordan laughed at my typical adherence to rules, and we continued to walk toward the water. When I saw the truck, I knew what was about to happen. He proposed on bended knee in the rain and mud with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen, and it was perfect! After the proposal, he washed my feet and made several promises to me. He then surprised me with a video that he had put together (with the help of his brother) starring our families and friends. They talked about when they knew we might get married and how we have changed for the better since meeting each other. It was better than I could have ever imagined. All in all, it was perfect and I could not have asked for anything better!
When did y’all get married? May 22, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided to keep with the tradition of not seeing each other before the wedding. I wanted the first time Jordan saw me to be when I walked down the aisle. I didn’t care about getting first look pictures or getting photos out of the way–I cared about Jordan and that special moment when we would first lay our eyes on each other on our wedding day. (However, I did get a few peeks at him through a window!)
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose West Manor Estate because even though we visited on a dreary, rainy day, we still loved the beauty of the grounds and the elegance of the inside of the house! I told myself that if I loved it this much on a cold, rainy day in October, how much more would I love it on a warm, sunny day in May?
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We read “Foundations Of Marriage” by Regina Hill.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We attended pre-marital counseling at our church. This kept us focused on our marriage instead of our wedding day! I believe this should be a priority for anyone getting married–it gave us the opportunity to take a step back from planning and focus on our relationship.
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? Just more of the same! We are looking forward to living life together, going grocery shopping, exercising, and watching our puppy grow up! What could be better than doing life with your best friend?

Photographer: Emily March Photography / Venue and Caterer: West Manor Estate / Florist: Irvington Spring Farm / Cake Baker: Geisel Nye of Cakeview llc. / DJ: Alan Dever Entertainment / Paper Products: A Paper Wedding / Bride’s Gown: Sophia and Camilla / Bride’s Veil: Belles Veils / Hair and Makeup: Spa4109 / Bride’s Shoes: Modcloth / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: RenzRags / Menswear: Giorgio Napoli

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Wedding Venues reply

    Great photo-relation ! thx for sharing, the shots are perfect !

  2. avatar Arlene Bass Grandmother reply

    We are so happy for Amber and Jordan add hope they have lots of happiness in all the years to come. The wedding was so beautiful. This is such a special treat for all to see. Thank you. All our love for this special couple. All our Love and Kisses, Grandma and Granddad Bill. See you soon.

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Love the beautiful card box!

  4. avatar Tulle Convertible Bridesmaid Dresses with Different Color Options | TulleandChantilly.com reply

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