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At Southern Weddings, we always say that the most meaningful source of wedding inspiration is your own love story and your personalities. Drawing from that rich well is a surefire way to ensure your guests will proclaim your day “so you”–something I think every couple wants to hear! As I read through Caroline and Shaun’s interview, I kept noticing subtle ways their own stories influenced their fall wedding, from the dress Caroline chose, to the song she walked down the aisle to, to the venue they invited their beloved guests to. I’m confident that surrounding themselves with things they truly love played a small role in their joy on this beautiful day, which is so evident in these photos by Whitney Wysong!

I had always known I wanted to wear a long-sleeved wedding dress. My grandmother and my mom both wore long sleeves for their weddings and I love the elegance a lace long sleeve adds to a wedding dress. It was the most important detail I wanted. I had a few appointments at some of the bridal boutiques around town, and went shopping with my parents and a few friends and relatives. The third dress I tried on was perfection. I loved the sleeves, I loved the keyhole back, I loved the material of the skirt, and the whole dress was covered in chantilly lace. I felt like it had a vintage look to it that matched my 1920s refurbished engagement ring. We cancelled all of my other appointments and went to brunch to celebrate finding “the dress” over a few mimosas!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We spoke to our pastor about our relationship a few times before the wedding. We talked about finances, family planning, and what to do when we get mad at each other. We both know now that when we get upset, we should take a little time away from each other to cool off so we don’t say anything hurtful. We were also instructed to talk other couples who have been married for different lengths of times and ask them what works for them and what doesn’t. That said, someone reminded us that it’s important to remember that every relationship is different, and what works for some people might not work for us. She told us to remember who we are and to always listen to each other before listening to other people’s opinions.

The most memorable moment for me was walking down the aisle with Shaun after the ceremony, and ringing the bell in the steeple of the chapel together as husband and wife. I thought it was the perfect way to kick off our marriage, and it was one of the happiest moments of my life.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I have always been an animal lover. I grew up riding and showing horses, so I spent all of my free time as a young girl at a barn. My family has always had at least three dogs, and we were always the people who had a knack for finding young and injured animals and nurturing them back to health. We had tons of baby squirrels, birds, rabbits, mice, snakes, and even a baby alligator at one point, when I was growing up. When I heard about Pine Knoll Farm, we went to check it out immediately. It is a working farm with a reception venue on the property. When we got out of the car, I was greeted by horses neighing–they have cows, goats, chickens, and a Great Pyrenese. The reception barn is gorgeous, with hand-welded light fixtures and a beautiful wooden stage built in. There isn’t a single detail about the venue that I didn’t love. It was the only place we looked at and we booked it that day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Shaun and I met while working together at a restaurant in west midtown Atlanta. I got a job there while I was studying to take my boards before I could begin working as a registered nurse. On my third day of training, I was pleasantly surprised to find out my trainer was a tall, cute guy who made me laugh the entire night. We started dating and were soon attached at the hip. We both enjoy traveling, so we started traveling together, and I loved wandering through streets of random cities with him, striking up conversations with strangers, trying weird food, and just laughing our way through Panama and Europe together. We not only fell in love, but also became best friends and life partners.
Tell us all about the proposal! On Saturday, December 20, 2014, I woke up and went for a run. Shaun and I had planned on running together that morning, but he was still sleeping and had been up working late the night before, so I decided to let him sleep in. Halfway through my run, I got a text from Shaun telling me to meet him in the big field behind Oakland Cemetery, where he was going to be letting our two dogs run around. Oakland Cemetery is a historic cemetery right across from the lofts we lived in. There is a huge, beautiful, open field behind the cemetery and we have been taking our dogs there to run around for years. People always laugh when I tell them we got engaged in a cemetery, but it’s one of our favorite places to go in Atlanta–we call it our hidden gem. When I walked onto the field, Shaun was standing there with our two dogs. When he got down on one knee, I immediately burst into tears, and, of course, said yes! After staying at Oakland for about an hour, Shaun told me he had arranged a brunch, and that we needed to head to one of our favorite places. When we arrived at Atkins Park, about 20 of our closest friends were there and ready to celebrate. It was by far one of the happiest and most exciting days of my life.
When did y’all get married? November 28, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. My wedding cake was a four-tiered ivory ruffle cake. The actual cake was lemon cheesecake with a lemon curd layer and italian buttercream icing. I had my florist put flowers on each layer of the cake. I loved it!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? To slow down and enjoy every second of it! It’s easy to stress over tiny details, but at the end of the day, none of those small details matter. Also, have someone make you a plate of food that night!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? For my bachelorette party, my bridesmaids asked Shaun some questions to answer without me knowing. The last question they asked him was “What are you most looking forward to in the future?” and I feel like his response was perfect: “In the future, I picture has having some awesome kids that we will raise and love and show them how to have fun. I picture us having our friends over with their kids and having cookouts and parties and going to Little League games. I am looking forward to expanding our blessed lives and keeping our network of friends and family close together.”

Photographer: Whitney Wysong Photography | Videographer: Tim Hunt | Day-of Coordination: Amanda Brewer of Boheme Concepts | Planner and Caterer: Events 2020 | Venue: Pine Knoll Farms | Florist: Sandra Burton | Cake Baker: A Piece of Cake Bakery | Bride’s Gown: Martina Liana | Bridal Salon: La Raine’s Bridal Boutique | Hair Stylist: Morgan Weathers of Tease Color + Hair Design Studio | Makeup Artist: Tabitha Ross | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” and “Willow” in Shadow Grey by Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Attire: Simon’s Formal Wear

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

    The church and reception location are exceptional! What a lovely wedding! Thanks for posting a true Southern wedding!

  2. avatar Gosia reply

    Stunning wedding! Bridesmaid dresses look fab!

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Holly and Austin may have met in a rather unconventional way (through an Instagram hashtag!), but their wedding day was full of traditional Southern fare and all the classics we know and love. Inspired by Holly’s Tennessee home and deep Southern roots, one of the highlights of their Swann Plantation celebration was their tasty “breakfast for dinner,” which included country ham, eggs, chicken and waffles, and biscuits and gravy. The Southern spirit of hospitality continued throughout the reception–to keep guests extra cozy, Holly and Austin provided seating areas around fire pits that were perfect for snuggling up around under quilts, all handmade by generations of Holly’s family!

Ais Portaits captured all of this sweet day, and we’re sure glad about that!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. After searching online, I came across a dress that peaked my interest, so I printed out a copy of the details. Two days later, my mother and I decided to run into David’s Bridal to try and find it. At first, the front desk told me my dress has been discontinued, which made the first 20 minutes of my wedding dress shopping experience terrible. However, the manager saved the day by informing her employee and myself that my dress was brand new! I tried on my tea-length wedding dress and fell in love. I only tried on two dresses, the second only because the employee insisted. I was so happy that the special moment was shared between my mother and I. She hugged me, cried with me, and babied me for one of the last times before I became a Mrs. It was a shopping trip I’ll never forget.

We decided to keep it traditional and let the first time he saw me be when I walked down the aisle. We did get to exchange cards and say a prayer together first (with his eyes shut). When he did see me walking down the aisle, it was priceless. Definitely worth not having a first look!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I got my Bachelor’s degree in music, so this was a very important part of the service to me. We had a small choral ensemble, a trumpeter, and a pianist/organist. The trumpet and organ played “Canon in D” when I walked into the church, which was special for me because my mother also used this song in her wedding. After the ceremony was over, we wanted to let people know the party was starting, even though they had to make a little drive to the reception site. As the church bells were chiming and we were standing in front of the congregation, the song “Everybody Dance Now” started playing. At this point, I surprised my new husband by taking a selfie (because we met on Instagram), and then the entire bridal party danced out of the church and onto the bus to head to the party!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I loved the traditional aspect of the church where our ceremony was held. There are lots of beautiful stained glass windows, and it’s one of the only churches in the area with just a center aisle. Our reception venue just captured the feel I was aiming to achieve. I’m Southern and I wanted that to be a part of our day, and this plantation was perfect because it had a charm and elegance to it. It allowed my guests to experience the Southern charm in the way I wanted it to be displayed.

Tennessee is home to me, and I wanted a wedding that I felt took me back to my roots. Our guests were given small homemade sweet potato pancakes with their choice of toppings and our signature drink, McMosas (mimosas). We served breakfast for dinner, including country ham, eggs, chicken and waffles, gravy and biscuits, potatoes, and anything you would consider traditional Southern breakfast. We offered a fall orange and cranberry juice, and our bar included McWilliams wine, Samuel Adams Octoberfest, and Angry Orchard, which all contributed to our vision for an elegant, fall, Southern wedding. Being a Tennessee Volunteer fan and alumnus of the college, we had both the original version of “Rocky Top” by the Osborne Brothers played, immediately followed with a recording of The Pride of the Southland band playing the football team’s version. The deck, which provided the dance floor, was shaking because of the excitement the guests had during this joyous, classic Tennessee moment. When the sun went down, in case guests were not staying warm with our open bar services or the dance floor, we provided couches around fire pits for them to sit and relax at, snuggling up with their dates or families under handmade quilts from generations of my family.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Austin and I met in one of the most unique ways. Austin was browsing Instagram and decided to search for photos under the hashtag #Dexter, because the series finale was set to air that week. The first photo that popped up was a photo of a young, bubbly, wide-eyed girl named Holly (that’s me!) who was super stoked about the series finale. He liked my photo…and maybe one or two more. I liked a photo of him. He followed me. I followed him. After a month or two of casual liking of photos and commenting, I decided to make sure he was a real person! No one wants to be “catfished,” so I added Austin on Facebook. He approved my friend request and our messaging continued. After a week or two of messaging and texting, Austin wanted to call me. I, however, did not want my illusion of the perfect man to be broken, so every time he called, I made up excuses of having too much homework, being at work, or being on the phone with someone else. The reality: I was at home by myself watching Netflix. :) Finally, on Christmas Eve, I answered a phone call from him. We ended up talking for hours that night and I have not gone a day since without talking to him. In January, when I had a date function to attend, I asked Austin, sure he wouldn’t drive ten hours to go to with me. To my surprise, he decided to drive up and meet me in person for the first time! We dated long distance for about four months before I moved down to Florida for a summer to get to know his family a little more. After the summer ended, Austin moved up to Tennessee to be closer to my family and me as I finished up college. The summer after college, I was accepted for an internship position in Orlando, Florida. This was my last move to Florida as a single lady.
Tell us all about the proposal! Before I moved to Florida for my summer internship, I took a week off work to go visit Austin and figure out where I would live for the summer. That Friday, Austin surprised me with tickets to see the Pentatonix (my favorite music band!) in Atlanta the next day! We drove eight hours to Atlanta early that morning. That night, he told me he wanted to go out to a nice dinner. We had a great time, and when we were going back to the car, he said, “I need you to put this bandana on to cover your eyes, or I need your promise to not look.” I chose the bandana, now knowing something was up. Austin drove me around the long way to my house, led me out of the car, and said, “Open your eyes.” He had filled the barn in my backyard with hanging lights, salt lamps, and pictures of us. I immediately started crying as he led me to a seat with an iPad and some speakers and told me to watch a video. It was a 20-minute video of all of my friends and family telling me how excited they were I was getting married!! At the end of the movie, it said, “Turn Around,” and there was Austin, on his knee. He told me he didn’t know what the future held, but that he wanted it to be with me. He said, “Will you marry me?” and I jumped into his arms and said “Heck yes!” He then pointed out that he had a photographer who had been taking pictures of the entire thing, along with a video recorder recording everything! When we walked back into my house to tell my family, all I heard was “SURPRISE!” Austin had gotten all of my family and close friends to come to the house to participate in an engagement party.
When did y’all get married? October 17, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Approximately 200
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We enjoyed our special dances for each other. My father-daughter dance was filled with special memories my dad and I shared–the medley included, “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble,” “Come On, Feel the Noise,” “Night at the Roxbury,” “Eye of the Tiger,” “Gullah Gullah Island,” and “My Girl.” It ended with a sweet song for my dad and I to dance to normally, “Edelweiss.” Austin surprised me later in the evening with a “boy band dance tribute to my musical preferences through the ages.” This included “It’s Gonna Be Me” by NSYNC for the boy band phase, then “Beautiful Soul” by Jesse McCartney for the boy phase, a Blink 182 song for the punk rock/dating age phase, “Can’t Touch This” for the daddy patrol phase, “Single Ladies” for my college/single life phase, “O Babbino Caro” for my opera singer phase, and finally, the “Disney Dudez” version of “Let it Go” for the “let it go and date Austin” phase. Austin was accompanied by four of his groomsman for a synchronized dance.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We met with both a marriage counselor and our pastor at least every other week. We have always heard that marriage is tough, and we know we are both different, so we faced the challenges head on. It has been so great to step into this beautiful relationship with the tools to create a lasting marriage!
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’re looking forward to just spending the next phase of life together. I’ll continue to grow my music teaching business and Austin is planning on going to graduate school. Most importantly, no matter what happens in life, we’ll have each other for support.

Photographer: Aislinn Bailey | Videographer: Viola Cinematics | Planner: Amanda Graves of Southern Bliss | Ceremony Venue: Second Presbyterian Church of Knoxville | Reception Venue: Swann Plantation | Florist: Sassafras | Cake Baker: Cheryl McMillian Cake Design | Caterer: Luxe | Rentals: Campbell Rentals and Tents | DJ: Premier Party Machine | Paper Products: The Happy Envelope | Bride’s Gown and Accessories: David’s Bridal | Hair and Makeup: Porsha Kimble Adams | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Aislinn Bailey reply

    We are always so thrilled to see our work published, but having it on Southern Weddings is a dream come true. Thank you!

  2. avatar Faith reply

    Such a sweet story!! Congrats to the newlyweds!

  3. avatar Amanda Graves reply

    Thank you so much for featuring/publishing Holly and Austins wedding!! We are beyond thrilled!

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I’ve always felt that true love means spending the rest of your life with your best friend. Though I haven’t asked them, I’m pretty sure Lauren and Tim would agree! From their engagement, throughout their planning, and right into the beginning of married life, Lauren and Tim not only committed to being one another’s best friend, but also made every effort to keep their relationship a top priority. I especially love how when wedding planning got challenging, they swapped the stress for a fun activity together–a tactic they plan to use throughout their marriage. Vowing to “communicate fully and fearlessly” as best friends and as husband and wife, I know that their loved ones are in for a treat to see Lauren and Tim’s marriage continues to bloom!

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Perry Vaile for sharing their beautiful wedding day at Summerfield Farms with us!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? As soon as we drove up to Summerfield Farms, it felt special. We loved the little tree for our ceremony site, the hay ride, and the rustic, intimate setting of the barn. After visiting a few other sites and taking a few snowy trips to Summerfield Farms, we booked with them in February 2014. We never saw the property in person without snow until July 2015 after a few renovations. We were not disappointed!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We didn’t! This was totally Tim’s decision–he was adamant that the first time he saw me in my dress was at the ceremony. Instead, I decided to do a first look with my dad!

After spending several weekends trying on wedding dresses with my mom, I wasn’t sure if I would know when I found the right dress. I liked everything that I had tried on, but I wasn’t in love with any of them. We decided to travel about an hour from our house to visit Southern Bride. As soon as we walked in, my mom and I both fell in love with the same dress. The dress in the store that day was a little too small, so I wasn’t able to try it on, but no matter what else I put on that day, we kept going back to that same dress. The store happened to be having a trunk show coming up for the designer, so the owner of the store was able to get the same dress with a slightly different lace pattern in my size included in the show! We made the trip back to try on that dress, and as soon as I put it on and saw myself in the mirror, I burst into tears! There was no denying that it was the perfect dress for me!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had one reading at our wedding. During our private communion, Tim’s brother read lyrics from the song “I Will Be Here” by Steven Curtis Chapman.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We hadn’t planned on writing our own vows, but after some encouragement from our preacher, we decided to go for it! In our vows, we made promises to each other as best friends and as husband and wife. My favorite line was my promise to “communicate fully and fearlessly.” We also worked in a little laughter–it wouldn’t have felt like us otherwise!

We loved the overall Southern feel of Summerfield Farms. The hay ride was a unique Southern touch that we couldn’t live without! We used magnolia leaf garlands on the front of the barn, tons of mason jars, and Southern foods including mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, and corn on the cob!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We tried to do all of the little reception details ourselves. We made the T and L that sat in front of us at the reception. Tim hand wrote all of our chalkboards and our menu. We made the magnolia leaf garland that hung on the outside of the barn. We were able to pick up all of our mason jars, bud vases, and wooden boxes from secondhand sales. We also have wonderful friends who let us borrow wood rounds for tables.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met working together in the athletics department at UNCG! Tim had left UNCG and we only kept in touch because of a mutual friend. After a few group outings and double dates, Tim and I started dating.
Tell us all about the proposal! Every year, I go to New York City for work. In 2014, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity to take a mini vacation. One evening, while I was at an event at the NY Public Library, Tim met up with a college friend who had moved to the city. The plan was for the three of us to meet up after my event and go to dinner. Tim called me and told me that our plans had to change, and asked me to meet them outside. When I got there, Tim’s friend, who I had never met, insisted on taking our picture in front of the library. I thought it was a little strange, but I just went with it! After the picture, Tim turned toward me and said, “You know you’re my best friend, right?” The next thing I knew, there was an a cappella group singing “Stand By Me” and Tim was on one knee! Everything after that is a blur, but then we went to dinner, where Tim had a bottle of champagne waiting for us!
When did y’all get married? October 10, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 85
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We decided to go with more of a dessert bar. It included a small two-layer cake, chocolate chip croissants, lemon bars, pumpkin spice waffle whoopee pies, and s’mores.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? While we were planning our wedding, we kept reminding ourselves that as stressful as it got, the wedding wasn’t the important part! The important part was that we got to spend the rest of our lives with each other. When things would get really stressful, we would put everything wedding-related to the side and do something fun together. We plan on using this trick throughout our marriage!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Perry Vaile, our photographer! I can’t say enough about her support and encouragement throughout our wedding process. From the first moment I talked to her, I felt like I had known her forever. She encouraged us to live our very best life full of excitement, down to the very last minute of our wedding! She was also the biggest cheerleader for our outdoor wedding on a rainy day. We could not have asked for more!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable part of our wedding day was seeing each other for the first time! Since we didn’t do a first look, that moment took place when was when I was walking down the aisle towards Tim. Tim wanted to wait until I was in full view to look up, so he had our preacher tell him when he could look! When he looked up, it was like time stood still for that second. I don’t think I will ever forget the look on his face!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? After our honeymoon to Hawaii, we caught the travel bug bad! We want to spend our first few years of our marriage traveling as much as possible and creating our perfect home together.

Photographer: Perry Vaile | Day-Of Coordination: Coordinated Events | Venue: Summerfield Farms | Florist: Relish Design | Dessert Baker: Easy Peasy Decadent Desserts | Caterer: Fresh Local Good Food Group | Rentals: Carolina Event Rentals | DJ: Triad DJ | Paper Products: Minted | Bride’s Gown: Style 5840 by Stella York | Bridal Salon: Southern Bride | Bride’s Hair Accessories: ModCloth | Bride’s Earrings: Anthropologie | Bride’s Veil: Boutique De Voile | Hair and Makeup: Megan Snipes | Bride’s Shoes: “Like You Mean It Wedges” by Seychelles | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Style F15711 in Marine by David’s Bridal | Menswear: Keane Suit by Tommy Hilfiger

Perry Vaile is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Great setting for a fall wedding!

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