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When it comes to the many things that make a wedding Southern, the most obvious one is the geographical location, of course! Kara and Philip had that in the bag when they chose to tie the knot at Colleton River Plantation on Hilton Head Island. Though a Pennsylvania native, Kara grew up traveling to her family’s vacation home on the island, so to her, it is a place “that signifies family, joy, memories, and endless beauty.” Kara and Philip worked with their planner, Embellished Events, to create an open-air party where no walls could block the beautiful views. I’m sure this day began a whole new chapter of joyful memories on Hilton Head for this sweet couple!

We’re sure happy Tim Will was there to capture this lovely day!

Describe your wedding flowers. My flowers were untamed and gorgeous! They had an English garden feel, and were full of peaches, sages, and pinks, grounded in soft whites and finished with ribbon I found during my travels to India. The ribbons were used in all the bouquets, garlands, and table arrangements. Branches on Hilton Head Island captured my vision so beautifully.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not; we chose to say the traditional vows instead. We felt these timeless words captured all we wanted to say.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had beautiful readings from the Bible. I particularly loved the Gospel reading from Mark, that included the verse, “They are no longer two but one flesh, therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Wow, those words have gravity!

On our wedding day, we surprised our guests with the sounds of local Gullah singers harmonizing with joy to “Oh Happy Day” as we departed the church. We also hand-dipped oyster shells in gold and embellished each with a pearl for our escort cards. Guests could take these home as a way to remember the place and the day.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I grew up traveling to my family’s vacation home on Hilton Head Island, so it has always been a place that signifies family, joy, memories, and endless beauty to me.

We chose to avoid the cost of a tent, and with the suggestion of my planner, Jennifer Leiti, we chose to have an open-air party under café lighting. We were so happy we did because the environment was the reason I picked this location. There were no walls to block the beautiful, expansive views of the sunset over the river. Thankfully, despite some early morning rain, we were blessed with good weather that day.

My wedding cake was a simple, white, tiered cake with ruffled fondant and some pretty flowers in the colors of my bouquet placed up each tier. The best part was really what was inside–it was decadent! Each layer had a different filling. Minette Rushing from Savannah Custom Cakes is a baking genius!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in college. We lived in the same dorm, and then in the same apartment building. Two years after college, only after a big separation, did we realize our friendship was actually love. This has been true ever since and will be for the rest of our lives!
Tell us all about the proposal! We first talked about getting married around a year or so ago while on a trip to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It was the first time Phil had ever been there, and I was overjoyed to be talking about our future marriage in this very special place. However, it was not until a very cold visit to Cape May, New Jersey that Phil decided to sneak a ring into my purse to be found at any time. We were sitting in a crowded bar and I was fishing around in my bag for something or other when I felt a little box…I think I knew what it was right away, and quickly looked up at Phil’s smiling face. I told him I wanted to move to our room for some privacy, where, conveniently, there was a bottle of champagne awaiting our arrival. Phil got down on one knee as I had always envisioned and the rest is history.
When did y’all get married? May 30, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my dress in a shop called Elizabeth Johns Ardmore, Pennsylvania, right outside of my home city of Philadelphia. The dress was designed by Lela Rose and I felt it reflected me and my style, and it would complement the beautiful surroundings and climate of my Southern wedding.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not. Seeing my soon-to-be spouse for the first time at the end of the aisle is a beautiful tradition we wanted to experience.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My shoes had blue soles, I wore a delicate strand of pearls that were given to me as a baby, I borrowed my sister’s wedding garter, and everything else was new.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Communicate with each other early and often, and don’t lose sight of what is important.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We would love to move to a new home, plant some deeper roots there, and start a family.

Photographer: Tim Willoughby | Videographer: Hart to Heart | Planner: Embellished Events | Ceremony Venue: St. Gregory the Great | Reception Venue and Catering: Colleton River Plantation | Florist: Branches | Cake Baker: Savannah Custom Cakes | Rentals: Event Haus | Band: Fantastic Voyage Band | Gospel Choir: Voices of El Shaddai Ensemble | Bride’s Gown: Lela Rose | Hair and Makeup: Christine Stephens | Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    In her interview below, Madeleine says, “Everything is replaceable except people, so making time for our families and loved ones is a must for us.” I imagine that this core belief she and Caleb share is what informed so many decisions as they planned their Tennessee wedding! From their choice to do a first look, to the understated, but incredibly lovely, details that they selected to bring their vision to life, Madeleine and Caleb’s top priority throughout their engagement (and on their wedding day!) was focusing on what matters most to them: being in the presence of the people they love.

    Thanks so much to Kristin Sweeting for sharing this sweet day with us!

    I found my dress on the very first shopping trip! My mother, aunt, maid of honor, and I visited The Dress Theory, a beautiful boutique that was temporarily housed in a fantastic old train station, Houston Station, in my hometown of Nashville. I chose the second dress I tried on and it perfect for me!

    Caleb and I had not really considered having a first look, but after attending several weddings throughout the spring and summer with and without first looks, we decided to do one, and I’m so happy we did! It gave us a priceless, sweet moment together before the ceremony, probably contributed to us being so relaxed, and helped us get to the reception and our guests more quickly.

    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did premarital counseling with our minister for several weeks, and during that time, we came up with the ceremony with him. He captured us perfectly and created a thoughtful, meaningful, funny, sweet ceremony. We are so grateful.
    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our minister weaved scripture into the ceremony, and Caleb and I lit a unity candle…which threatened to fall over, of course, but now it’s a funny memory!

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I think everything was Southern! I was born and raised in Nashville and love all the traditions of our family. We also chose a very Southern chapel, and served food that included pimento cheese on sweet potato biscuits and a macaroni and cheese bar.

    What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? The farm tables and French sofas and chairs from 12th Table achieved the exact look I was going for at the reception, but the most important decision we made was choosing our photographer, Kristin Sweeting. The photos are exquisite and her sweet and professional presence added value to the entire day.

    I not a cake person, so I was thrilled to find a cupcake that I cannot get enough of! The Painted Cupcake created a beautiful little almond cake for us to cut alongside mountains of the most delicious cupcakes and macarons.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in high school at Donelson Christian Academy in Nashville–I had attended since kindergarten and Caleb started for his freshman year. We started dating as juniors and both went to Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He’s the extrovert to my introvert, and it’s so much fun!
    Tell us all about the proposal! Caleb and I were working on a student film at Union University. He was supposed to be interviewing me for some behind the scenes footage when he dropped on one knee! We have great professional footage of it!
    When did y’all get married? September 20, 2015
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 240
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a string quartet for our ceremony music. I walked down the aisle to “Canon in D” and we walked out to “Marry Me” by Bruno Mars! Our first dance was to “At Last I See the Light” from the Disney movie, Tangled. We chose this because seeing Tangled was one of our first dates, so the song has always had special meaning to us.
    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I wore my mother’s pearl earrings and her 25th anniversary diamond bracelet. We realized the day before the wedding that we didn’t have something blue, so our florist tucked a blue ribbon into my bouquet.
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We did several weeks of premarital counseling in the months leading up to the wedding, which I feel is important for all couples. We’d been dating for six years, but I still found it very valuable and special.
    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? There are so many options and choices, it takes careful planning and organization to choose the things that are important to you, not what someone else had or what you think you are supposed to have. I knew the feel and look I wanted for the wedding, and made decisions based on what would bring that about.
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The cheers when we were announced husband and wife were amazing! Everyone was absolute roaring as we walked back up the aisle. I had never seen that at a wedding, and it was so much fun!
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Being married is so much fun! We are working hard and pursuing our career dreams while loving on the people around us the best we possibly can. Everything is replaceable except people, so making time for our families and loved ones is a must for us.

    Photographer: Kristin Sweeting | Videographer: Peyton Penuel | Planner: Cande Cook of MAC Presents | Ceremony Venue: Scarritt Bennett | Reception Venue: The Cordelle | Florist and Rentals: 12th Table | Dessert Baker: The Painted Cupcake | Caterer: Flavor Catering | DJ: Matt Morris | Paper Products: The Paper Place | Bride’s Gown: “Laelia Floral” by Temperley London | Bridal Salon and Veil: The Dress Theory | Hair Stylist: Michelle Clark of Clark & Co. | Makeup Artist: Annelise Nutt | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Style F15933 in Wine by David’s Bridal | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

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

      Thanks Lisa for such a sweet story on my niece Madeleine’s wedding to Caleb. It was a splendid day and you captured it so well.

    2. avatar Bethni Hemphill reply

      Thank you for a beautiful story on my beautiful daughter! It was a joyous day made even more special by all the great people working with us. Thank you!

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