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Oh y’all, now you know Miss Natalie is a true blue Southern bride when she says the biggest planning challenge was working around football season (so very Sweet Tea Society of her!). I can relate as my very own mother-in-law made us well aware that she would not be in attendance if we wed on Iron Bowl weekend! All football alliances aside, Natalie and Parker’s ceremony location might be one of my very favorites–I’ve actually had the pleasure of attending service at the Seaside Chapel and it’s even more stunning in person! All those candles on the altar have me seriously swooning!

Big thank you’s to our sweet friends at Pure 7 Studios for sharing this lovely day with us!

Heavens, those cookies are so stinkin’ cute!

Describe your wedding flowers. Our flowers were beautiful! They were mostly white with a touch of blush, and included roses, dahlias, ranunculus, and lisianthus.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Having all of our friends and family with us on such a special day!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old and blue was my grandmother’s handkerchief that my sister had monogrammed with her initials in blue for her wedding day — I had my initials monogrammed right under hers and wrapped it around my bouquet.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my dress was such a wonderful experience. I traveled from Birmingham to Atlanta with my mom and sister to search for the perfect gown; I knew I had found the right one when they both started crying as soon as I walked out of the fitting room!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We chose not to do a first look. We really wanted to keep with tradition and have the experience of seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? All of the bridesmaids wore pearls and there were monograms everywhere!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning a wedding in the middle of football season!!!!!!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was SO delicious! It was four layers in different flavors: two strawberry, one red velvet, and one vanilla. Parker is not a cake person, so we also had a cheesecake bar with different toppings.

And don’t miss Natalie and Parker’s sweet film by Momentus Films!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in Destin, Florida. Parker lived in the area and I was on vacation with a group of my college girlfriends. I agreed to go to dinner with him the next time I was in town, and that was that!
Tell us all about the proposal! I had just graduated college the previous weekend and we went to the beach to celebrate. I was getting ready to go to lunch when Parker told me he had to run a few errands and would be back soon. When I came downstairs, I found roses with a note asking me to come and meet him on the beach where we had first met, and he proposed there. He had made dinner reservations for later that night, and when I walked into the restaurant, my whole family was waiting to surprise me!
When did y’all get married? September 14, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My wedding planner made me the happiest bride ever! She put everything together and made sure it was absolutely perfect on our wedding day so that we could enjoy our friends and family.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Seeing each other for the first time–neither us of will ever forget that moment!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy every moment. It goes by so quickly.

Photographer: Pure 7 Studios / Videographer: Momentus Films / Planner: Jennifer Fisher / Ceremony Venue: Seaside Interfaith Chapel / Reception Venue: Lyceum Lawn / Flowers, Rentals, and Lighting: Events by Nouveau / Wedding Cake: Confections on the Coast / Caterer: Townsend Catering / Band or DJ: Heritage / Bride’s Gown: Lazaro / Paper Products: Alan’s Invitations / Bride’s Veil: Bridals by Lori / Hair Stylist: Katie Tapscott / Bride’s Shoes: “Lang Sandal” by Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “JH5320” by Jim Hjelm / Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

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

    Off course working around football season is a big challenge! In fact, each time around the year has its owns challenges. I wanted to make sure to find the perfect time for my wedding and I found the best tips and guide on this website: http://www.floridaweddingdestination.com/
    There is all you need to know if you are planning to get married on the Treasure Coast!

  2. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #133 | Floridian Weddings reply

    […] I would agree to wearing a pre-selected bridesmaid dress again if these gorgeous gold and white numbers were chosen! Just […]

  3. avatar Erica reply

    The post came out beautifully. Natalie was the epitome of what a southern bride represents and we adore her. Thanks for the feature, ladies!

  4. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    What a gorgeous wedding and wedding party! Love the mothers’ dresses too!

  5. avatar Sarah reply

    I knew that planning a wedding was a lot of work, but I never thought about the little details that make a big difference. I mean, for example portable toilets rental is something really important and personally, I had no idea what company to choose. My colleague recommended me Fredoom Waste and the service was just excellent: http://freedomprowasteservices.com/

  6. avatar caitlin reply

    I love the flower girl and ring bearer outfits! I am getting married in Rosemary Beach in May 2017, and would love to know where this bride found those adorable outfits!

  7. avatar FEATURED FRIDAY |Pure7 Beach Weddings reply

    […] we’re sharing with you the Seaside, FL wedding of Natalie and Parker. Southern Weddings featured this Pure7 Wedding being sure to point out just how much of a true southern belle Natalie […]

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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With a simple second chance text message, Laura + Shannon’s not-so-favorable beginnings flourished into their very own happily ever after, complete with cheek-aching smiles. And speaking from experience, I’d have to say the romantic ride on the Navy Pier’s ferris wheel might have helped a bit! I love how you can’t scroll through this post without getting caught up in Laura’s ear-to-ear grin in the portraits our friend Paul Johnson captured. That, dear ladies, is bliss.

Another thing I can’t just scroll past: the amazingly gorgeous Seaside Interfaith Chapel paired with baby’s breath decor. Laura wanted her flowers to feel light, airy, and ethereal, and I’d say she absolutely accomplished that!

Y’all, this might be my very favorite invitation suite to date!

The women in my family are very close, but live very far away. My sister, Sarah lives in Denver, sister-in-law Erika lives in New York City, while my mother and I live in Florida. I couldn’t imagine finding THE dress without them, but the logistics were a challenge. To make it work, we’d need to meet somewhere we could easily get to and back home in a weekend. Being a “Say Yes to the Dress” lover, I thought it would be amazing to have this experience at Bridals by Lori in Atlanta. So we booked hotel rooms and bought plane tickets. The trip was incredible: we celebrated the occasion with champagne and delicious food, and in the end, I got to “Say Yes to the Dress” with my favorite women by my side.

Describe your wedding flowers. Table décor included puffs of baby’s breath and Queen Anne’s lace in milkglass and cobalt containers. Baby’s breath also lined the aisles of the chapel. The bridesmaids carried simple bouquets of baby’s breath. I carried a bouquet of baby’s breath, Queen Anne’s lace, and ranunculus. I wanted it all to feel light, airy, and ethereal.

We weren’t too excited about having traditional readings in the ceremony. Too many weddings use the same texts, which often feel like they’re included only to fill space in an otherwise too-short ceremony. We wanted something more personal, but had no idea what to do. So we enlisted my brother, Matt (also a groomsman), to surprise us with a reading of his choice. He chose a passage from “The Irrational Season” by Madeleine L’Engle. “… But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take…. It is indeed a fearful gamble…. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature. To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take…. If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation…. It takes a lifetime to learn another person… When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.” It was absolutely perfect.

We decided not to do a “first look.” We wanted to have that traditional moment in the aisle, and to allow it all the intensity it deserved. Instead, I had a “first look” with my father. He hadn’t seen my dress or accessories before the big day; he had wanted to be surprised. I thought capturing the moment a dad finally saw his youngest daughter as a bride would be a wonderful idea, so our photographer, Mecheal Johnson, coordinated it as our own personal first look. The photos are beautiful and emotional, creating a memory we’ll have forever.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? 
There are two. First, our huge bridal party (eight on each side). We were blessed to have all of our siblings and closest friends, most of whom live very far away, together at the same time. Second, we included communion in our ceremony. Right after we took our vows, the pastor served us, then we served the entire congregation. I served the bread and Shannon served the wine. It was incredibly special to be able to connect with every guest in such a meaningful way during our ceremony.

See! There’s simple no way to scroll past these photos of Laura and not feel the joy that’s jumping (pun-intended) right off the screen!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding?  (From the bride) The food! Townsend catering served incredible shrimp and grits, and build-your-own grouper tacos. And the setting. The reception was outside, under a canopy of beautiful live oak trees. (From the groom)There was also some seersucker being worn by a few of our guests. Love it.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We chose a round white cake (with blush flower accents), with alternating tiers of vanilla and coconut filling. It was made by Rhonda at Confections on the Coast.

I love these yummy old-fashioned cream cheese doughnuts! They’re from the Alys Beach donut truck, one of my favorites!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story.  We met in the fourth grade in Peoria, Illinois. Given the shy and awkward nature of pre-teens harboring secret crushes on each other, we had few actual interactions. After middle school, we parted ways and lost touch. Nearly 15 years later, Facebook brought us back together. We spent the winter of 2010 corresponding through email. From Florida, I would discuss my impending move to Chicago and recount all the fun I was having with friends. In grad school at LSU, Shannon would envy my revelry and describe his approaching dissertation defense. When Shannon flew to Chicago to interview for a job, he suggested to me that we meet up. I obliged, and so he made the two-hour trek from his hotel to downtown Chicago. We exchanged pleasantries as we were seated, spent a few minutes catching the other up on our lives, and discussed the few mutual friends with whom we still stayed in touch. Before the appetizer had arrived, however, the conversation began to fizzle (crickets chirping). In short, the date went poorly. I found him arrogant and self-absorbed.  He was likewise unimpressed. That seemed to be the end of that. Months later, it turns out, Shannon accepted the Illinois job. He moved to the Chicago suburbs and, trying to make new friends, decided to give me another chance. He texted me whenever he made a trip into the city, to see if I was available. I was not. I was always working and had started dating someone from Baton Rouge. Undeterred, he invited me to a Halloween party. Without any plans of my own, guilt-stricken from rejecting his many previous requests and newly single, I relented. We enjoyed the party, the night ended with a kiss, and the rest, of course, is history.
Tell us all about the proposal!  It was the fall of 2011. Just a few months after we started dating, Shannon had decided I was “The One.” Trouble was, he had accepted a job in Orlando and would move there next summer. He told me this and, when I took it in stride, asked if I would come with him. When I agreed, he knew I would one day be his wife.  As the move to Florida grew closer, we decided it a good idea to create a Chicago “Bucket List.”  One of my coworkers, after hearing of the bucket list, suggested we visit Navy Pier and ride the ferris wheel. It wasn’t on the list, but I had never been there, so it was included and plans were made: I would take photos of the Chicago skyline from the Ferris wheel at sunset. Meanwhile, Shannon received an email: The ring he ordered had been shipped from Peoria to Chicago. It was available for pick-up. He got up early the next day and sped off to retrieve it as soon as the store opened. With the ring in hand, Shannon recalled something his friend at the jewelry store had said weeks earlier: “Just so you know,” he warned, “as soon as you get it, that thing will burn a hole in your pocket.” Shannon dismissed the comment as insignificant. He figured he would hold on to the ring for a week or so while he devised a way to propose. He was wrong. As soon as he put the ring in his pocket, the mental weight of its influence weakened his resolve. He would propose today. He returned to the apartment and wondered how he was going to keep this from me all day. After a casual suggestions, we decided we would knock off a few more things from the bucket list. I mentioned the conversation I had with my coworker, and the Ferris wheel ride was included on the day’s agenda. We ate a late lunch at Pequod’s Pizza, then rode bikes along Lake Michigan to Navy Pier. We parked the bikes and walked to Harry Caray’s, where we had a beer and waited for the sun to set. Shannon didn’t talk much the entire day. For the next hour, he simply watched the crowd pass by and, when listening to me speak, offered his best (nervous) smile. When the sun had begun to set, and I determined that the light was just about right, we walked the short distance down the pier to the Ferris wheel. As the car ascended, I admired the view and snapped photos. At the ride’s peak, Shannon got down on one knee, but he couldn’t get the words out; he just knelt there, waiting for me to say yes. When I remained quiet, alternating my gaze from him to the ring, he realized he needed to say something. “Please marry me” was all he could muster. “Of course, yes!” I exclaimed. The cars on either side of us, realizing a proposal had just occurred, began to applaud. Naturally, we had to buy the official photo documenting the occasion. It would be the last image of us as single individuals.
When did y’all get married?  April 13, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding?  95

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The ceremony music was classical, and chosen to include my cousin Nick, who happens to be an incredible trumpet player. He played Trumpet Tune for the “call to worship” and Trumpet Voluntary for the procession and recession. Another of my cousins, Beth, is an opera singer. During the unity candle lighting, she sang, “O Mio Babbino Caro.” The lyrics, about a young girl begging her father to let her go marry the man she loves, seemed appropriate given our childhood history. The music was breathtaking as it filled the little Seaside Chapel.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our wedding favors. We gave our guests classic Seaside coffee mugs and old-fashioned cream cheese doughnuts (from the Alys Beach donut truck). I designed favor tag labels that said “Thank you for being a part of our happily ever after. You doughnut know how much it means to us.”
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? My older sister, Sarah loaned the earrings she received as a “push present” for the birth of her first child as my something borrowed.  Shannon’s grandmother’s ring served as my something blue. There is a china doll that has been carried by brides in my family for generations, whig was my something old. The doll rested in a pouch on my handmade bouquet wrap. The wedding dress and accessories were something new.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding?  (From the bride) My biggest challenge was trying not to overextend myself with the design details. As an event designer, I was in my element and doing what I love most, but I had to try to “keep a lid on it” so I could focus on being a bride too. (From the groom) I just tried to keep the wine chilled and the bride stress-free.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day?  (From the bride) Walking down the aisle, having all of our closest family and friends smiling at me. (From the groom) The same.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding?  (From the bride) Keep the engagement short. That way, there’s less time to worry about everything, and you’re still super excited when the wedding weekend arrives! (From the groom) Guys, if you’re not taking an active planning role, stay out of the way!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? 
Building our own family traditions. And our one-year anniversary. Shannon has promised we’ll spend it in Hawaii.

Photographer: Paul Johnson Photography| Videographer: Momentus Films | Planner: It’s a Shore Thing | Ceremony Venue: Seaside Interfaith Chapel, Seaside, FL | Reception Venue: Ruskin Place Green, Seaside, FL | Florist: Bella Flora | Wedding Cake: Confections on the Coast | Caterer: Townsend Catering | Band: Nightfire | Event Design & Stationary: Gathered Events | Bride’s Gown: Judd Waddell | Paper Products: Gathered Events | Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: Laura Taylor | Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist: Bridget at Rolland’s Salon & Art Gallery | Bride’s Shoes: Vera Wang | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale, blush crinkle chiffon gowns in various styles | Groom’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Groosmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank

marissa Written with love by Marissa
9 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    I adore her bouquet! And the heel kick photo is too cute :)

  2. avatar Kerri reply

    That picture on the beach is SUCH perfection! WOW!

  3. avatar Annie Turner reply

    Love!!! Whenever I see a post with Paul and Mecheal’s photos I know I just have to look. I’m never disappointed either! Always beautiful!

  4. avatar Laura Taylor reply

    Beautiful! Thank you so much!

  5. avatar Jojo Zhang reply

    Such a pretty wedding with so many beautiful details. I especially love weddings that involve being by the shore with a breathtaking backdrop of the water.

    I’m going to this wedding in Mexico later this year and my best friend/bride-to-be made this map for guests that pinpointed the marker to the exact spot the ceremony is going to be on the beach. Thought it might be helpful for future couples wanting to share their location!
    http://amap.to/beachwedding

    Thanks again for the gorgeous wedding! The couple looked so in love!

  6. avatar Betty Weber reply

    This wedding is gorgeous! Every detail! Kudos to everyone involved!

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  9. avatar Happy Birthday, Lisa! – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] and daughters (like in Laura and Shannon’s wedding by Paul […]

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