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Amy and Evan’s love story is what summer romance dreams are made of–they first started dating at 13 and 15 while on the same swim team, and although they rarely spoke during the school year, their young love reignited every time summer rolled around again. Since that very first year, Evan knew Amy was the one, and twelve years later, they were finally married! Y’all, it just doesn’t get sweeter than that. The decision of where to tie the knot was a no-brainer–Amy’s parents and aunt and uncle had both been married at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, and her grandfather served at the church for many years, even ensuring that each brick was laid perfectly when the new location was built. Amy and Evan’s wedding added one more beautiful layer of family history to the church, and Amy recalls that it was so special to be married in a place already full of memories!

Thank you so much to Kristen Gardner for sharing this lovely day with us!

I credit my sister, Katy, for finding my wedding dress. She stumbled upon a picture on Pinterest and sent it to me in a message saying “This is the one.” We shopped around at a few places, but nothing seemed just right. Finally, we found a boutique near Baltimore that carried the dress from the picture. The store ended up being the perfect place to find my wedding dress–Garnish is a small, intimate boutique, and it is beautifully decorated. Mia, the owner, is incredibly knowledgable, and Jessica, the sales associate, was so very sweet and positive, and made me feel gorgeous in every dress I tried on. I knew as soon as I put my Tara Keely dress on that it was absolutely perfect and exactly the way I wanted to look on my wedding day. The whole experience was so easy and I have such amazing memories of choosing my dress because of this adorable boutique!

Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers were gorgeous blooms in shades of blush pink, cream, and ivory, combined with lush greenery. We also tastefully included my favorite flower, baby’s breath, into the centerpieces, bouquets, and wreaths.

We were married in the church where my parents and my aunt and uncle were married. The church also meant so much to my grandfather, who passed away several years ago. He was the congregation president for many years, and when the church moved to its current location, he went by the church each day after he got off of work to ensure that every brick was laid perfectly. It was so incredibly special to say our vows and begin our marriage in a place with so many memories. Evan and I stumbled upon King Family Vineyard while we were vineyard hopping for his birthday one year. Evan works in the restaurant industry and is incredibly passionate about wine, and I thought the venue was absolutely stunning. It was an easy choice for us.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old was an old penny that I wore in my shoe–it has been worn by every woman in my family on her wedding day. I ended up having to tape it in to my shoe because I was so nervous about losing it! My something borrowed was my grandfather’s wedding band that I tied into my bouquet. My something blue was a blue monogrammed hankie that I kept in my dress pocket–yes, my wedding dress had pockets! I used the hankie to dry my happy tears.

Our wedding included many Southern details, such as our farm tables, monograms, and Southern cocktails. I think what made our wedding truly a Southern wedding though was that it was so very centered around family. Our day celebrated not only us as a couple, but also two families joining together. We were sure to include traditions from both sides.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Aside from having the ceremony in my grandparents’ church, my favorite wedding details were the garlands and flowers draped down the centers of our long farm tables. It was the exact vision I had in my head, and I was speechless when I saw how flawlessly Cody executed them. I will be forever grateful to her for making our wedding floral dreams come true!

Our wedding cake was as delicious as it was beautiful! Our cake was almond cake filled with alternating layers of raspberry curd and triple cream, iced with a delicious Chambord buttercream. I loved the simple textured layers accented with natural greenery and flowers. We also had an adorable doughnut truck that served fresh, hot doughnuts and hot chocolate and cider. It was so fun and our guests absolutely loved it!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Evan and I grew up swimming for the same summer swim team at Franklin Knoll’s pool. Although we had seen each other around the pool for years, the first conversation we remember having was when Evan asked me to cover one of his swim lessons. In 2002, when I was just 13 years old and Evan was 15, Evan officially became my boyfriend. Although that first relationship only lasted several months, it was the spark that ignited our summer romance that would last for many years to come. Although we rarely saw each other during the school year, Evan and I would be reunited every summer. Each summer, we spent every waking moment together, from our 7:30 AM swim practices until late at night when they closed the pool and our parents finally made us go home. Once we were finally separated, Evan would call me and we would spend hours talking on the phone until we fell asleep. I remember our parents asking us what we could possibly have to talk about on the phone for two hours when we spent every day together! In 2006, Evan and I finally turned our summer romance into a year-round relationship. Over the years, Evan and I have gone through so much together and have truly grown up together. Since that first summer when he was just 15, Evan was always so sure that we were meant to be, and that we would get married one day. Twelve years later, we finally are!
Tell us all about the proposal! Evan proposed to me on Thursday, July 25, 2013 on the beach in Emerald Isle while we were on my family’s annual beach trip. Evan woke up early that morning to begin his planning, and when I woke up, he asked me to go for a walk with him. I agreed, but since I had no idea what he had in store for me, I spent the entire morning running around doing errands and giving Evan just enough time to get really nervous. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity to him, I was ready for a walk. We walked several houses down, and Evan got down on one knee. I was in utter shock, but of course, I said yes! We are so grateful for my brother-in-law, Chris, who was hiding in the dunesand captured some amazing photos of the magical moment. My family was able to watch the entire proposal through the windows of our beachfront rental. After we walked back down to the house, we were greeted by the entire family with tons of hugs, kisses, and tears. His proposal was topped off by toasting with a bottle of 1993 Moet Chandon Dom Perignon that Evan had been saving for years, just for the occasion. It was the most perfect day.
When did y’all get married? May 9, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 135
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose to use the same readings and hymns used at my parents’ wedding ceremony. It was so special!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? It was so important for us during the wedding planning process to keep in mind that we were not only preparing for one day, but preparing our hearts for the rest of our lives. We thoroughly enjoyed our pre-marriage counseling with our pastor, and topics from our sessions sparked deep conversations during our road trips home from Charlottesville.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Hands down, the most amazing part of the evening was our getaway. We rode in a 1940s vintage limo to our bed and breakfast, which was about 20 minutes away from our venue. We were still on such a high from the amazing day and we spent the entire car ride completely wrapped in each others’ arms, reliving every magical moment from the day. It was the happiest I have ever felt, and I know we will both carry that moment with us for the rest of our lives.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Make sure you take time to connect with yourself and be truly present and in the moment on your wedding day. Do whatever you need to do, whether that is yoga or just spending 20 minutes alone together to slow down and enjoy the moment. It is so surreal to be surrounded by everyone that you love. You will want to bottle that amazing feeling up and carry it with as you enter your marriage and the rest of your life.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are just taking time to let all the newlywed bliss soak in, and we truly enjoy being married. We are excited to get ready to start looking for our first house, and hopefully, adding a furry friend to our family!

Photographer: Kristen Gardner / Planner and Florist: Amore Events by Cody / Ceremony Venue: Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church / Reception Venue: King Family Vineyards / Cake Baker: Cakes by Rachel / Caterer: Harvest Moon Catering / Rentals and Lighting: MS Events / Band: Ignition / Calligraphy and Signage: Linda Sung of Amore Events by Cody and Remember November / Bride’s Gown: “2357” by Tara Keely / Hair Stylist: Top Knot Studio / Makeup Artist: Shirin Ratner / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale in Blush, Champagne, and Bellini / Groom’s Attire: J. Crew / Groomsmen Attire: Jos A. Bank / Doughnuts: Carpe Donut / Yoga: Zen Bride Yoga / Transportation: Albemarle Limousine

Amore Events by Cody is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Wedding Venues and Honeymoon Places reply

    Awesome VIneyard Wedding ! thx for sharing the photos !

  2. avatar Dana reply

    Love their story and bunting flags, of course!

  3. avatar Rachel Nordgren reply

    I’m a sucker for barn weddings! Those horseshoe hooks are such a fun detail!

  4. avatar Edgar Vs. Surrey videographer reply

    Great images! Love the atmosphere of the day!

  5. avatar Kristen Gardner reply

    This was truly one spectacular wedding! Thank you so much for sharing it!!

  6. avatar featured | southern weddings « Kristen Gardner Photography | the blog. reply

    […] Family Vineyard’s wedding was featured on Southern Weddings! You can view the full feature HERE. Southern Weddings is one of my favorite sources of wedding-day inspiration, and it was such a […]

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We are so very lucky that the South is home to some of the most beautiful locations to tie the knot–many of which are filled with rich history and generations of love stories that have passed through their doors. Catherine and Nelson’s gorgeous venue not only has those sweet details, but so much more! Their venue story goes all the way back to the summer before Catherine turned five–this sweet couple actually celebrated their marriage on the land where Catherine grew up, and where her parents intentionally built cottages (one for each of the children in their family), an adorable chapel, and their family home. Catherine grew up imagining herself walking down the aisle in Grace Chapel to join the man of her dreams in marriage–swoon! I’m sure of all the weddings the Heritage Haus has hosted, this one in particular will never be forgotten.

Gracious, we’re happy our Blue Ribbon Vendor Loft Photography shared this sweet day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went to several appointments with my mom, my mother-in-law, and friends, but I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. Many of the dresses were so close, but were missing that something special. Finally, I made an appointment to go to a different store by myself. The second I put on my dress, I knew it was what I had been looking for, and I purchased it that day.

My bouquet held white peonies, patience garden roses, white ranunculus, vendela roses, silver dollar, and seeded eucalyptus. The bridesmaids’ bouquets mimicked mine and included brunia berries to accent the slate color of their dresses. The same flowers were used throughout the wedding–attached to chairs along the chapel aisle, in a garland adorning the chapel entrance, dotted around the pavilion for cocktail hour, and in the reception table arrangements.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? It all started the summer before I turned five when my parents moved our family from Houston to the small town of Dripping Springs, Texas and bought a house on a 30-acre plot of land. My mother is a dreamer and a creator, and she had a vision to build on our property. Although the intent was to create this estate for our personal family use, I don’t think anyone could have imagined just how special our home would become to so many people. It was a very slow process: the cottages (one for each of the children in my family), then Grace Chapel (which was dedicated by our family pastor who performed my wedding ceremony), and then the rest fell into place. I adore my family home. I have lived there for the majority of my life and have countless cherished memories of growing up out in the country. I had imagined walking down the aisle in Grace Chapel to join the man of my dreams in marriage so many times when I was growing up. It meant so much to be married there and share my home with my closest and dearest family and friends.

My most memorable moment was waiting for the doors of the chapel to open. Standing with my dad on one side of the doors and the anticipation of becoming a wife and standing with my husband on the other side was a moment in time that can never be recreated.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We were married in my family chapel on the property where I grew up. A pair of antique cypress doors from my mother’s home state of Louisiana mark the entrance of Grace Chapel. The ceremony was officiated by our longtime friend and pastor, who had baptized me when I was a child. Several pieces of silver that have been passed down through generations of my family were incorporated into table settings and displays.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It will all get done, so enjoy this moment! If your budget allows, a wedding coordinator will help tie up loose ends and ensure your day runs smoothly. I loved my coordinator! Try not to stress about the small details (even though you probably will). Inevitably, those will be the things you don’t notice as much on the wedding day. Focus on building your love and encouraging each other, because this is the beginning of the rest of your life.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Dancing! Nelson and I are typically not the first to bust a move on the dance floor, but the band’s energy and our wonderful DJ kept the party flowing and full of life! We didn’t stop dancing until the very end, and even our guests chanted for an encore from the band.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I had just moved to Houston the month before I met my husband. One night, at a fun local bar my friends and I used to go to, this tall guy came up to talk to me. After chatting for a while, we found out that we had mutual friends. I explained to him that, being new to town, I was looking to get to know people and that I wasn’t ready to date anyone. He got my number and the phone calls rolled in (he even called me that night and left a hilarious voicemail that I still replay to this very day!). He would call me at 2 P.M. on the dot each day when I got off of work to ask to hang out. I made lots of excuses about being busy, but after a full week of his phone calls, I came up with what I thought was the perfect solution: we could be running buddies! I figured that if he saw me sweaty and in workout clothes, he wouldn’t want any romantic relationship with me. We ran together regularly for a month, and talked about our jobs, families, friends, and everything in between. Since we had become friends, I invited him to a Super Bowl party at my house. After the game was over, he asked if we could take my dog for an evening stroll through the neighborhood. When we were approaching my house at the end of our walk, he stopped walking, leaned in, and kissed me. Completely shocked, I said “I can’t believe you just did that.” It probably wasn’t the response he was looking for! The rest has been history!
Tell us all about the proposal! Nelson, our dog, Teddy, and I drove up to Colorado last June to stay at my family’s summer home–a fun getaway from the Texas heat! The second day we were there, we took a scenic drive with Teddy on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was so incredible! After nearly three hours of sightseeing, we finally reached the top. I offered to drive back down, since the roads were so narrow that Nelson hadn’t gotten to fully enjoy the views on our drive up. On the way down, he kept insisting that I stop at the lookout points we had already visited. I, being tired, told him I wanted to keep driving so we could get home for lunch. I could tell something was up when he didn’t let up about stopping, saying he wanted Teddy to have one final run around outside. Finally, I pulled over into a thicket. I was hungry, tired, and exasperated that we had already stopped at every lookout point there possibly was, so I told Nelson that I would wait in the car while he and Teddy played. That definitely didn’t work, because he came up to the driver’s door, opened it for me, and said he REALLY wanted me to get out and play with them. Thankfully for Nelson’s sake, I got out of the car and started walking toward the thicket. When I turned around, Nelson reached for the zipper on his fishing shirt pocket, got down on one knee, and proposed.
When did y’all get married? April 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The recessional song was “Blackbird” by The Beatles. The first time I went to Nelson’s apartment when we were dating, he played that song for me on his guitar. I am very emotionally attached to music, and every time I hear that song, it reminds me of the excitement and joy of the relationship we were building. Our first dance was to “In My Life” by The Beatles. The lyrics of the song resonate with me–I’ve been on many adventures in my life, some even taking me across the world, but those experiences all brought me to Nelson. “Though I know I’ll never lose affection, for people and things that went before, I know I’ll often stop and think about them, in my life, I love you more.”
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old was my grandmother’s pin, attached to ribbon on my bouquet. The pin was given to her as a young woman by her father. My something new was my wedding gown. I borrowed my mother’s pave diamond earrings, which were a gift to her from my father on the day I was born. My something blue was my sapphire ring, a keepsake belonging to my husband’s aunt that was given to her by her father.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Taking on the role of husband and wife bears a lot of responsibility. I am excited about the opportunities God has in store for us to grow and learn together, whatever those may be.

Photographer: Loft Photography / Planner: Jessica Upton / Ceremony Venue: Heritage Haus / Florist: Wild Bunches / Cake Baker: Cakes by Lori and Sweet Treets / Caterer: Whole Foods Catering / Rentals: Whim and Marquee / Band: London Calling / DJ: Josh of Penguin Entertainment / Invitations: Crane / Save the Dates and Programs: Minted / Bride’s Gown: “9258” by Alvina Valenta / Bride’s Veil: Ivory Bridal Atelier / Hair Stylist: Lauren Hoy / Makeup Artist: Lauren Davis of Hint of Shimmer / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “G849C” in Slate by Amsale / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank / Transportation: Cynthia’s Manhattan Limousine

Loft Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Allison Miller reply

    Where can I find that fabulous box clutch?!?

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