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I don’t even know where to start with today’s wedding because there is just so much that I absolutely love about it! Sweet, classic couple? Check. Sentimental venue with amazing views? Yes ma’am. An elegant reception and Southern details for days? You got it. Emily and Justin’s wedding was beautiful, no doubt about it, but what I love most about these two is the fact that they were so intentional in their wedding planning. They fulfilled some of Emily’s longtime wedding dreams (don’t miss the story about her dress!), built lots of meaningful moments into their timeline, and soaked in every second of the day once it arrived. We’re so happy that Genya of Vue Photography was on hand to capture it all so beautifully and then share it with us!

I actually found my wedding dress back in 2004! I was shopping for my debutante dress when I saw a sketch of a Carolina Herrera gown on the wall of the bridal salon. It was gorgeous and I begged my mom to let me try that dress on if they actually had it in the store, which they did! I still loved it years later and we went back to the same bridal salon to have it altered a little bit–I changed from a lace bolero-style top at the ceremony to a beautiful top with pearl and crystal accents for the reception.

Describe your wedding flowers. Beyond my wildest expectations! I am a very detail-oriented person, but have very little experience with flowers, so it was difficult for me to communicate what I wanted. I knew I wanted full arrangements in mostly white with green accents, and silver vases. I also had my heart set on a magnolia garland lining the back row of the chairs at the ceremony. Leon (our florist and caterer) did an amazing job.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Justin’s sister, Kristen, read Romans 12:9-18, and our friend, Heather, read an excerpt from a letter John Steinbeck wrote to his son in 1958, after his son told him he had fallen in love. Justin came across the letter in a book my dad had given me, and we love it so, so much. “First – if you are in love – that’s a good thing – that’s about the best that that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you. Second – There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you – of kindness and consideration and respect – not only the social aspect of manners, but the greater respect, which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak, but the second can release in you strength and courage and goodness, and even wisdom you didn’t know you had. Glory in it and be very glad and grateful for it.”

Kolomoki Farm is my family’s farm in southwest Georgia, and it is where I have wanted to get married ever since I first started to think about my future wedding! I know I’m biased, but I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place for a wedding. We timed our ceremony so that the sun would set during cocktail hour; it’s so gorgeous out there, and we wanted our guests to be able to enjoy it. Kolomoki is also where Justin proposed!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Justin and I both really loved having a private dinner by the lake during our cocktail hour. It was a hard decision, because we weren’t sure we wanted to miss that time with our guests, but it ended up being very special. We ate on our wedding china, relished in the fact that we were married (!), and had a moment to look over at everyone and take it all in. Walking through the tent at the start of the reception for our first dance was also an incredible moment. Seeing everyone that you love around you is such a surreal feeling.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I had a great time putting together our welcome bags and loved including special details–peanuts from our farm, UNC Tarheel-shaped cookies from Southern Seasons for Justin, bottled Coca-Cola just like we drink during quail hunting breaks, the welcome letter my dad helped me craft. I was also so proud of our escort cards–we had to think creatively so that they wouldn’t blow away in case it was windy, so I worked with Erin at Hi Note to create little cards that we tied with ribbon around champagne glasses for all of our guests. I loved that we got the party started that way!

I’m from Georgia and Justin is from North Carolina, so we are Southern through and through. We were married on my family’s quail-hunting farm in Southwest Georgia. Our food was incredible–we served boiled peanuts on all of the bars, pimento cheese and candied bacon at cocktail hour, and grilled quail, shrimp and grits, and a biscuit bar at the reception. We also incorporated lots of monograms! Justin and his groomsmen monogrammed their cummerbunds from High Cotton Ties, my mom had our cake knife and silver toasting goblets engraved, and we had our monogram embroidered on pillows that sat in rocking chairs during cocktail hour. Justin also wants to add that my wedding day gift to him was a shotgun, and that “there’s nothing more Southern than that!”

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We actually met at work! I thought Justin was really cute when I first met him, and I referred to him as the “hot, old guy at work” to my friends for several months before we ever went on a date (Note: he’s only four years older than me, but I guess 26 sounded so mature to my 22-year-old self at the time!). The morning after our first kiss, I called and texted my then-roommate–who was out of town–so many times that her boyfriend pulled her out of the shower, exclaiming “It’s Emily and Hot Old Guy!” She was one of my bridesmaids and hilariously re-told the story during her toast at our rehearsal dinner.
Tell us all about the proposal! Justin had the ring shipped to his parents’ house in North Carolina first, and told his mom to overnight it to him at work. The next weekend, we were down at my family’s farm (where we ended up getting married). Apparently, Justin had thought about proposing that Friday night, but my dad was in Montana at the time without cell phone service, and Justin wanted to talk to him beforehand. Then, he planned to pop the question while we were out riding horses, but I decided that I didn’t want to ride after all. Next, we were going to shoot skeet over the lake and he wanted to put the ring in one of the shotgun shell boxes, but we were out of clays, so we nixed those plans, too! Finally, later that night, Justin convinced me to go outside to watch the sunset, and when I finally got outside, he proposed by the lake behind our house!
When did y’all get married? October 26, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Living in Atlanta and planning our wedding in rural Georgia meant we had to do a little extra legwork in looking for vendors who wouldn’t have to travel so far to work with us. We also spent a good amount of time figuring out transportation and accommodations for our guests, since almost everyone was coming from out of town.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? A couple of my friends gave me two pieces of advice that really stuck with us throughout the planning process and on our wedding day. First, hire people you love. You spend so much time with some of your vendors–your wedding planner, photographer, everyone–that it makes sense to surround yourself with people that you genuinely like. Second, try to stay together throughout your reception. We tried to spend the engagement parties, showers, and rehearsal dinner chatting with guests so that when we were at our wedding reception, we wouldn’t feel pressured to split up in order to speak to everyone. We wanted to experience it together and have the same memories! Finally, bury the bourbon!! It worked for us.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We bought a house in the cutest neighborhood in Atlanta a couple of months before our wedding, so we are settling into life here with our dog. It’s been fun to move on to the next project–decorating! :)

Photographer: Vue Photography / Videographer: Anchor Heart Films / Planner: Amy DiLoreti of A Flawless Event / Venue: Kolomoki Farm / Florist: Leon Holloway of Gatewood’s Flower Shop / Wedding Cake: Cakes, Cakes, Cakes / Caterer: Leon Holloway of Cousins Catering / Rentals and Lighting: Rental Depot / Band: Yacht Rock Revue / Paper Products: hi note / Bride’s Gown: Carolina Herrera / Bridal Salon and Veil: Joan Pillow Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Natalie Teasley / Bride’s Shoes: “Shalyn” by Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Aidan” by Jenny Yoo / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids / Men’s Cummerbunds and Bow Ties: High Cotton Ties / Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Calligraphy: Penny Greer / Transportation: Capital Trailways / Koozies: Middle Georgia Embroidery / Ceremony Musicians: Auburn String Quartet / Cake Table Linens: I Do Linens

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Maria reply

    This is definitely a Southern wedding through and through. Gorgeous photos. My favorites are the ones with her dad. Precious!

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After reading about how these two met at a college football tailgate and then got engaged at an Atlanta Braves game (be sure to read about this special nod to Keely’s late father), I knew Keely and Hill’s wedding would be sweet, Southern, and full of personal details. And, y’all, they did not disappoint! Together with their planner, The Graceful Host, Keely and Hill created a romantic wedding with blush pink and monogrammed details that any Southerner would be proud of. Keely said “Who we are and where we come from is something us Southerners take pride in,” and I couldn’t agree more!

Big hugs to Lauren Friday for sharing this lovely day with us!

My something blue was the blue monogram of my father’s tie that was sewn into the back of my dress with his initials and our wedding date. My something new was my Valentino peep toe shoes. My something old was my father’s tie, which happens to be the only “blush” tie in his tie box. My something borrowed was the cameo that belonged to my great-grandmother, which was worn by my grandmother and mother on their wedding days. I had it tied and wrapped up into my bouquet.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our wedding party! That’s a detail right?! I had ten of the most beautiful, giving, and carefree group of girls, while Hill had ten guys that were as dapper as they were funny. Together, they all made our whole entire wedding weekend so much fun.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided to keep it traditional. After the 1,000 decisions that we had to make, this was by far the easiest. While I was walking down the aisle, it was as if all of our guests had disappeared and the only thing that we could both focus on was each other! Even with 200 pairs of eyes on us, it still felt so intimate.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We both feel like there is nothing more romantic and beautiful than the sounds of Webber, Pachelbel, Wagner, and Handel coming from a live string quartet. Hill and I are fans of Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, and very seldom hear some of those pieces without shedding a tear! I kept it a secret from Hill that my first processional song would be “Music of the Night” by Webber. As I walked from the house down to the start of the ceremony chairs, it then transitioned into a more traditional sound, “Bridal Chorus” by Wagner. We choose “Hornpipe in D” by Handel in honor of Hill’s parents, who used it for their wedding recessional 48 years ago.

We treated our guests to a shrimp and grits bar, loaded potato bar, fried macaroni and cheese pops, and even served late night snacks of milk and cookies and mini pizzas in our signature monogrammed pizza boxes! Our monogram was EVERYWHERE. Who we are and where we come from is something us Southerners take pride in, so Deb at Olive Paper created a signature “H” monogram that was used on everything from our save The dates all the way to our custom koozies and pillows on the rocking chairs. Hill had actually gifted me my new monogram on a Moon and Lola gold necklace earlier that day, which I switched to wearing after we said our I do’s! Even Hill had his own special monogram–his late grandfather had left him his gold monogrammed cufflinks, and in his honor, Hill carried a buckeye, which you could always count on his grandfather having in his pocket every time you saw him!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Hill and I were introduced in 2011 by mutual friends at an Appalachian State University football tailgate. Immediately, there was a mutual attraction, but the timing with our ten-year age difference made it a little complicated at first! We lived two hours apart, and as you can imagine, our worlds were very different at the time! Our lives continued to go in different directions, but we remained in touch. During that period of time, I decided to pack my bags to live and work in Germany for a year. After countless emails from 4,558 miles away and many Skype calls, one thing was certain: we didn’t want to be without each other. In January 2012, Hill decided to take his first flight overseas to meet me in Vienna, Austria. We spent the most magical New Year’s Eve together and explored what would be the first of many European cities together! After my year in Germany ended, I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to finally be close to Hill.
Tell us all about the proposal! In June 2013, Hill decided to plan a surprise trip, which is nothing out of the ordinary–I hit the romance jackpot with this guy. He had planned a quick weekend trip down to Atlanta. Growing up, it was my dad’s “thing” to spend quality time as a family at Atlanta Braves games. For as long as I can remember, Atlanta has always held a special place in my heart for this reason, even after my father passed away when I was 13. After Hill and I enjoyed a Braves game, we headed back to get ready for dinner. As we walked out of the hotel room, Hill said “Wait a minute, I have something for you to wear tonight.” He went over to a box and pulled out a candy ring pop. I had always told him I didn’t care about a ring, and when the time was right, that a ring pop would do just fine. Bright, shiny, and cherry it was! He placed the ring pop on my finger and smiled. Before I could even speak, he laughed and said “Oh, that’s the wrong one.” He then dropped to his knee and pulled out the most gorgeous cushion-cut diamond I have ever seen. My jaw dropped as Hill asked me to be his bride, and somehow between the laughing and crying, I managed to get a yes in there! Later, I found out that Hill had asked my mother and my brother’s permission for my hand in marriage earlier that week, just like a true Southern gentleman should! It still gives me goosebumps to think about how much thought Hill put into making our proposal so special, and, most importantly, connecting it to my father.
When did y’all get married? May 31, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Aside from actually committing my love to Hill in front of our friends and family, finding my wedding dress was one of my favorite moments of our wedding process! My sister-in-law had purchased her gown from Monica at Bellissima of Salisbury a few years ago, and from the moment I walked into the store, I knew that I would be coming back for my dress someday! My first time trying on dresses was overwhelming because I fell in love with so many different dresses. I left that day knowing my dress would come to me; I just need some good ol’ fashioned “sleep on it” advice from my momma! During that time, Monica contacted me and asked me if I would be her model for a photo shoot she was doing for her Southern Weddings magazine ad! ;) Of course, I was honored and humbled! During that shoot, I started to gain a better understanding of what I liked, and Monica told me I would love the Kelly Faetanini gowns she had coming in soon. I had my eye on “Emmy” from browsing her gowns online, and the day that I went to try on the collection, I saved the best for last and knew “Emmy” was my girl!
Did you write your own vows? We like to stick to tradition! There is something to be said about saying the same vows our grandparents and parents used!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Hiring our wedding planner, Ashley of The Graceful Host. Having a wedding planner helped us put our money where it was most important to us!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding planner and don’t get caught up in the fluff of things. At the end the day, you are going to be married and that is the most IMPORTANT thing. Also, don’t skip the videographer just because you have the pictures covered! Hiring Shamus Coney, our videographer, was one of the best decisions we made throughout this process! You will not be sorry when you get those videos back! See ours here.

Photographer: Lauren Friday Photography / Videographer: Shamus Coney Films / Planner: Ashley Cash of The Graceful Host / Venue: Boxwood Estate / Florist: North Carolina New Creations Flower Company / Wedding Cake: Wow Factor Cakes / Caterer: Something Classic / Rentals and Lighting: Party Reflections / Band: Loose Chain / Bride’s Gown: “Emmy” by Kelly Faetanini / Bridal Salon and Veil: Bellissima of Salisbury / Paper Products: Olive Paper / Bride’s Jewelry: Kelly Faetanini at Nordstrom / Hair Stylist: Sara Mardis & Lisa Freeze / Makeup Artist: Sara Mardis / Bride’s Shoes: Valentino / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Monique Lhuillier at Bellissima of Salisbury / Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Koozies, Monogrammed Pillow, Cocktail Napkins: Mom and Pop’s Print Shop / Ceremony Music: Elegant Ensembles

marissa Written with love by Marissa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Charmaine reply

    These photos are beautiful love that wedding cake!

  2. avatar Ashley reply

    Thank y’all so, so much for featuring this sweet couple today! We absolutely adored working with Keely and Hill, and I’m so excited that the readers of SW Mag got to learn more about their beautiful love story … and to catch a glimpse of their gorgeous wedding day! XO

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    Keely is a gal after my own heart–peonies, Valentino bows pumps, and long curls? Bridal perfection in my book!

  4. avatar Breanna reply

    Those photographs are absolutely gorgeous! And I love what Keely said about not missing out on videography just because you have photos covered. That is such a tempting thing to cut when eying the budget, but there is something special about having that video too. The way Keely and Hill incorporated so many traditions and kept their parents weddings in mind when planning their own was so sweet! So much class and so much romance all wrapped up in this fabulous wedding.

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  6. avatar Boxwood Estate Wedding – Keely & Hill – Featured on Southern Weddings » Lauren Friday Photography reply

    […] feature and read more about the details of their day (coordinated by the fabulous Graceful Host), click here!  How gorgeous and stylish is this […]

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