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If I’m not even halfway through a bride’s interview and have already snapped lines of it to the gals in the office with the caption “preach!” it’s safe to say I’m going to love the wedding based purely on the bride’s outlook. But, there is so much more to adore than Caroline’s sweet personality! Caroline and Austin were married on her parents’ 60-acre farm in Alabama surrounded by 450 guests, including a few cows. The couple wanted their guests to feel “true Southern values and hospitality,” so everything about their wedding was filled with sweet sentimental details and personal family touches. In addition to celebrating their marriage at Caroline’s parent’s modern farmhouse, their cakes were made by Austin’s great-aunt and her sister-in-law Abby did all the calligraphy and paper goods. (You might recognize Abby and her lettering from her own wedding to Alex that was featured in Volume 7 and from our Southern Newlywed column. We’re big fans of The Bowlins — and now the Kidds, too — around here!)

Hugs to Lexie Bush for sharing Caroline and Austin’s wedding with us!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our wedding planning process started very differently than most when I posed the idea of getting married on my parents’ 60-acre cattle farm. My sentimental heart wanted to feel deeply connected to our wedding venue and I knew I wanted to be outdoors. I loved the idea of getting married at my family home, surrounded by the people we love most, within the sweetness of the long acres of land. Sounds easy, right? My brother proposed to his wife underneath a patch of trees in our pasture, and I envisioned our ceremony being in the exact same spot. This task started early in the winter with my up for anything-National Guard-pull up your boot straps Daddy working from daylight to dark, attempting to turn a former dairy barn into his daughter’s Southern/trendy/boho dream reception venue. Living in two different cities, my parents and I communicated via Pinterest and Instagram, constantly sending each other pictures and whimsical ideas that my mother vowed would come to life. The love and dedication my parents put into this wedding is nothing short of the most humbling emotion my heart has ever felt.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Well, every good Southern woman does, right? I will start with borrowed. I have been blessed to live 24 years with two wonderful grandmothers who love me so well. My Bibi insisted that I wear her opal ring that I have admired for years and have struggled to take off since. My something blue was my garter that came handmade by Ms. Bernice, a family friend. It was detailed with a blue ribbon and lace from her wedding dress. The kindest touch, and of course, so sentimental. My something old came from my wedding ring. The two diamonds on the sides are my Mimi’s. Her diamonds are such a special touch to something I will wear everyday. My something new was my BHLDN earrings. I knew I wanted something with a little bling but not too much sass. Ordering online made me a little nervous, but I couldn’t have found a more perfect pair!

When shopping began for my wedding dress, I honestly had no idea what I was looking for. I knew I wanted to feel comfortable and select a gown that I would love for years to come. My taste is simplistic with an artistic spin, and I would live in Free People and Anthropologie at all times if my teacher salary allowed it. I decided to make an appointment at Ivory and White after having jogged past their storefront for years. The minute we walked in, we were greeted by their more than friendly staff and bridal stylists. Sloan chose each dress for me after I described my personal style. I immediately loved my Sarah Seven gown, with its simple lace and romantic detailing. Molly made my gown custom to my taste by taking extra fabric from the bustle and adding a small belt around my waist. I am madly in love with my dress and felt like it matched the entire day perfectly. I highly recommend Ivory and White to every searching bride!

Describe your wedding flowers. Okay, now you’ve got me talking. Never in my wildest, beyond wildest dreams did I believe I would love my flowers the way that I did. I cried when we first met eyes! My florist, Benny Campbell, and I communicated by email multiple times a month, as I would send him countless pictures of bouquets I had fallen in love with in magazines. I wanted full but not too full, pink but not too pink, and eucalyptus but not too much eucalyptus. Every time I would describe this fictional picture to Benny, he would say, “Say no more, I got it.” I am so confident in my florist’s work and how seamless our interactions were. The bouquets perfectly matched the Show Me Your Mumu bridesmaid dresses and tied together my entire vision.

We had no plans of doing a first look when we started wedding planning because of the timeless idea of not seeing each other before the ceremony. Because we had such a large wedding party though, we were advised to have a first look between the two of us for time and sunlight. Austin gave me a necklace with the coordinates of the cross we would be married under during our first look, and my photographers were able to capture moments of true joy and anticipation. Some of the most genuine images from the entire day came from the 15 minutes we shared together. Now, after the wedding has long passed, I highly recommend a first look to all planning couples. You will get beautiful moments shared on camera without the rush of an anticipated reception.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows and we were married by my uncle, who is a Southern Baptist pastor. He means the world to me, and also baptized me as a child, so having him as the minister for our ceremony was very meaningful. My favorite part of our ceremony was walking down the aisle to hear my uncle say, “The groom would like to share a few words.” For the next few minutes, the congregation, as well as myself, listened in awe of a man who humbly realized the meaning of marriage, and felt bold enough to share his convictions. As we exchanged our vows I could not have been prouder to call that same man my husband.

Everything about our wedding was sentimental. There was not one detail that was not thought of by our families and mulled over for weeks at a time. The morning of my wedding, I looked out of the window to see my mom, dad, and countless other family members and friends working on our front yard. It truly took me back to books I have read about the Deep South back in the day. Every person that worked for the “venue” was a family member or friend who dedicated their time to make this wedding special. For the last couple of weeks of planning, I moved back in with my parents, and it could not have been a better decision. My family adopted all of our venders and our wedding planner into the Bowlin family for this sweet season.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. If I could attend a carnival every day of my life, I would. In the short amount of time we have been married, my husband has been fascinated to learn that I consider a bag of M&Ms and a Diet Coke to be a full meal. Our first few months of wedding planning, we had a full dessert menu and had planned to skip the “real food” for the night. After much discussion, the men in my life demanded some kind of sustenance be served for the evening…vibe killers. My cake was a traditional bride’s cake with a twist. Detailing the sides and edges with flowers and a whipped icing technique made it match our eclectic vision for the barn. By request, Austin had a German chocolate cake and coffee cake balls at his groom’s corner. His favorite part was having TNKR labs from Chattanooga there making pourover coffee by request. Austin is a coffee nut to the core, so this was his prized detail to the reception. We also had Frios popsicles that were more of my touch. Who doesn’t love a popsicle on a hot summer night?

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Bless–what wasn’t? I would describe my wedding to others and some would say “Caroline, I had no idea you were so country?” I would stop them and say, “No, no, this isn’t country, this is Southern. There is a very clear difference.” When meeting with my wedding planner, that was my biggest criteria–I wanted people to feel true Southern values and hospitality, minus the “Hoedown Throwdown.” My parents’ home is a modern farmhouse that was built to model the 2012 Southern Living Dream House. My mother is one to attack any antique store at a moment’s notice, and can smell out oil paintings from a mile away, so her home is filled with her findings from over the years. I loved that while getting ready, I was in my own room and my friends were right in the middle of my family’s community. Our home is a true cattle farm, so you never know when you’ll hear a “moooooo” coming up behind you. Some of my favorite pictures are the ones with the cows behind us. Y’all should come on down to Bowlin Farm one afternoon!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Austin and I met in middle school. I am a year and 10 months older than him and noticed his good looks before it was reality TV to be a “Cougar.” Austin has always been adorable, athletic, and smart, even as a 13-year-old. I, on the other hand, rocked braces, glasses, and awkwardness like it was my occupation until maybe…last year. Austin and I continued to go to school together through high school and later to the same college in Birmingham, Alabama. Because we are deeply Southern, even though we barely knew each other, we always exchanged kind “how are yous” when we passed each other on campus. In the spring of my senior year, I was reminded that I had one more sorority formal before I crossed the stage at graduation. One evening, a friend recommended I ask that cute guy from high school. After many typed and re-typed text messages, I finally found the courage to press send, and sighed with relief when he replied, “Absolutely…but don’t wear heels. I’m a shorty.” That evening was the start of a beautiful friendship between us. The following summer, we exchanged books, laughter, and letters while we both traveled to different countries. Austin became my dearest friend, and later my boyfriend, and we were engaged on November 8, 2015.
Tell us all about the proposal! During college, I interned at Big Oak Ranch for Girls, which is a children’s home for girls in Springville, Alabama. It is a beautiful property with so much character, any soul searcher could find a wonderful purpose. My summer there was invaluable in shaping my character and humbling my heart. The week of my engagement, I received a message from their childcare director asking if I would say a few words at their volunteers banquet the following Sunday. I happily agreed and was so excited to show Austin the beautiful property and the heart behind it. That Sunday, we met and traveled to the ranch together. We drove up on the most perfect scene–gorgeous flowers and candles covered the outdoor chapel overlooking the lake. I remember thinking that this would be the most breathtaking banquet. Austin quickly told me that no one else would be coming and that it would be just us. He proposed in the most thoughtful way imaginable. After I said yes, he showed me countless letters from my family and friends, much like the many letters he had written while pursuing me. I have never felt more loved!
When did y’all get married? June 4, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 450
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? I am pretty sure the day we got engaged, my Amazon Prime account was pumped. “The Meaning of Marriage” by Timothy Keller was beneficial to both of us. We shared the same copy, so it was exciting to see which sentences Austin underlined each time I went to read. We also went through the book with our home group from our church. It was three couples–one that had been married for 10 years, one for less than a year, and then us. I grew so much just listening to others talk about their struggles and strengths in marriage. One of our favorite authors, Donald Miller, created “Meaningful Relationships” for engaged couples not living in the same city. It is a series of videos and questions aimed at understanding your partner’s story. It brings up topics you wouldn’t typically discuss in counseling, and we both found it awesome in helping us understand each other better. We would talk for hours after watching the videos!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? The Bowlins are rather social people, so it was amazing to see how others wanted to donate their time and resources. Our wedding cakes were made by Austin’s great-aunt and they were the bomb.com. That was such a wonderful gift to us; the sweetest for sure. My sister-in-law, Abby Bowlin (a former Southern Weddings bride!), did all my calligraphy and invitations, including the most perfect watercolor map, all while expecting her first child. Abby is the truest creative I know and was so gracious to offer her services in exchange for the promise of free babysitting nights. My parents made it clear early on that we wanted to have a nice wedding while still being good stewards of the money we were spending. Many things we would could have hired out for, we just did ourselves. I was hiding paint on my hands during the bridesmaid luncheon!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Value your friendship. At the end of this journey, you two are going to drive away and the wedding will be over. All of the pictures will never be able to capture the story that is happening between the two of you. Communicate openly, and share fears and excitement. Dedicate yourselves to prayer over your marriage, and hold each other to the standard of grace, not perfection. Let the little things like forks slide, and if the napkins don’t have a monogram, ain’t nobody goin’ care (or that’s what I’m telling myself).
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Austin has learned in the first month of marriage some simple life lessons. You must never actually dry your hands on a monogrammed towel, cuteness over functionality, and you must never speak ill of Elle Woods or Rory Gilmore. The boy just didn’t know?! We are having fun trying to establish a routine and YouTubing how to use our kitchen supplies. I am a school counselor finishing up my master’s degree, and Austin works as a youth pastor and plans to start seminary in the next year or two. We are so excited about what life has in store for us, we sometimes squeal about it (okay, right, that’s me).

Photographer: Lexie Bush | Videographer: Channing Brodie | Planner: Shalon Steed | Venue: Private residence | Florist: Benny Campbell | Cake Baker: Jan Gilmer | Caterer: Local Joe’s Catering | Rentals: Top Notch | Band: Brother to Brother | Special Details: TKNL Labs | Paper Products: Abby Bowlin | Bridal Salon: Ivory and White | Bride’s Earrings: BHLDN | Hair Stylist: Brooke Ledbetter | Makeup Artist: Lauren Thomas Findley and Brittany Elkins | Bride’s Shoes: TOMS | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu | Menswear: Belk

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Lauren Paonessa reply

    i am getting married in July and I am looking for a similar style of bridesmaids dresses. Can you tell me what colors these are???

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When you combine a family farm, fluffy spring blooms, and a couple that is clearly smitten with one another, you know a wedding is going to be a good one, and that is certainly the case for Julie and Jonathan! Even though they were planning their wedding during a super busy season of life, they were dedicated to preparing for marriage and incorporating as many intentional moments into their celebration as they could. Some of those were planned, like their first look and foot washing ceremony, while others were a surprise–Julie was shocked when she and her parents rounded the corner to find Jonathan singing and playing her processional song on guitar at the other end of the aisle!

Thanks so much to Bella Grace Studios for sharing this lovely day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. A few months after the engagement, Jonathan’s parents invited my parents and I to a short vacation in Destin, Florida. That week, we had so much fun cooking meals together and relaxing on the beach. Later on in the week, when rain came our way, I decided that I wanted to go dress shopping while I had both my mom and my soon-to-be mother-in-law in one place. It was such a sweet time together. I only tried on three dresses, and the last dress (which my mother-in-law picked off the rack for me) was everything I had ever wanted. I never thought I would pick a dress that quickly, but my mother-in-law knew me better than I had expected!

Jonathan and I chose to do a first look. It was just us and our photographer on a nearby road nestled under a tunnel of trees. In all honesty, I was very skeptical about the first look, because I thought it would take the “wow factor” away when I walked down the aisle. But oh, how wrong I was! It ended up being one of the best decisions we made during the day and made everything so stress-free. Plus, little did I know that the “wow factor” wasn’t missing in the least–as I turned the corner to walk down the aisle, my groom was singing/playing my favorite song to me as I walked closer to becoming his wife.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our song is “My Only Love” by Matt Maher, and we had planned on Andrew, the best man playing and singing it as I walked down the aisle. But Jonathan surprised me, and he sang and played it instead! Oh my heart!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The best detail of our wedding was the two old doors and rug that served as our “spot” at the ceremony. We loved how the doors and floral arrangements on top framed us perfectly and contrasted so well with the lush green trees behind them. We get to keep those doors in our family now, and the rug sits in our apartment. We plan for that to always be in our home as a sweet reminder of where we stood when we became husband and wife.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Jonathan’s favorite part of my vows was, “I promise to always set my affection and devotion on you as we both pour out our love on the feet of Jesus together for the rest of our lives.” My favorite part of Jonathan’s vows: “Julie, my bride, my dear, to God and to you, I vow to say yes to you for the rest of my life. To dream with you not only of places we want to go, but also of the miraculous things we want to see God do.”

The most memorable moment of our wedding day for both of us was washing each other’s feet during our ceremony. Not only because Jonathan’s feet stunk (SO BAD), but mostly because of the symbolism it was for us and our relationship. We were following the example that Jesus left for His disciples when he humbled Himself to wash their feet, to serve them, and love them when they didn’t deserve to experience that type of love from the King of Kings. We feel that way about our relationship; we have done nothing to deserve the sweet love and affection God has given us for each other, so we want to be good stewards of that gift and serve each other in love for the rest of our lives. When I was washing his feet, I began to weep, and realized what a gift Jonathan really has been to me, and he felt the same. Such a sweet moment.

Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers were soft and full with a muted color palette that matched the atmosphere we created perfectly. I had white and peach roses with soft green dusty miller greenery in my bouquet, while the bridesmaids had assorted white roses and soft greenery in theirs. My sweet florist made a flower crown for me to wear for the reception as well. The men wore eucalyptus boutonnieres and Jonathan had a white rose added to his, which contrasted so well with his scruffy beard. In addition to the bridal party flowers, a close friend and I arranged a huge assortment of flowers on top of two old painted doors that we used at the ceremony. That was such a fun DIY to tackle together.

Our ceremony and reception were both held at a family farm outside of Lexington, Kentucky. It was significant because it was in my hometown, and family and friends from college were all close by. The reason we chose the venue was because we knew and trusted the family that owned the farm, and it would allow us to have the outdoor wedding and barn reception that we wanted, all in the same place. We were very happy that it was away from the city as well, so there were no loud noises or distractions.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Jonathan and I met through mutual friends during my first week of college. He is a year older than me, and I thought that the group of guys he ran around with were so funny–there is never a dull moment with that crew. He grew up in the Nashville area and came to Kentucky for college, so we had so much to talk about and learn from each other. Neither of us was looking for anything serious, but I knew that he wasn’t just any guy. As we spent more and more time together, we became best friends. He asked me to be his girl and the rest is history. Three and a half years later, I still get butterflies when I’m on my way to see him!
Tell us all about the proposal! We spent our last summer in college apart–Jonathan was working at Spring Hill Camps in Cincinnati, Ohio and I was an intern at Compassion International in Colorado Springs, Colorado. While we were both living out dreams and having the best summers of our lives, we would talk over FaceTime each night and say “I miss you” way too many times to count. At the end of the summer, I was about to start my journey back to Kentucky, so Jonathan flew out to help me with the 20-hour drive! Before we left Colorado, I told him that I wanted to take him to my favorite spot I had explored over the summer, Dream Lake in Estes Park. We had the best day talking about our summers and just enjoying each other’s company as we hiked up to the magical spot that I was so in love with. We got to the lake, and after taking in the view, I turned around and he was on his knee asking me to marry him. I cried and said yes! Little did I know that two sweet friends I made that summer were recording and photographing the entire thing! Jonathan had been planning it for months. He is just the best.
When did y’all get married? May 28, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 275 sweet friends and family!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had four flavors of wedding cake served at our reception: lemon, chocolate mousse, strawberry, and bourbon, of course, since we were in Kentucky!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We are so blessed to have amazing examples of marriage in both of our lives, so we felt very prepared going into all of this! We went through marriage counseling with our mentors, who we have know for our entire season of dating. They walked us through “The Mingling of Two Souls” by Matt and Lauren Chandler and had endless conversations with us covering principles of marriage that you might not always see from the outside. They prayed with us and over us and continue to challenge and encourage us!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? One thing I did to save money was to do all of the hair and makeup myself! The morning of the wedding was so fun–we relaxed and the bridesmaids did each other’s makeup while I curled everyone’s hair, including my own. I’ve always been notorious for playing with my friends’ hair while hanging out, so why would I do it any differently on my wedding day?
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Spread out the planning so you can enjoy it! I had so much fun slowly checking things off my list–setting deadlines in a planner (I used the Southern Wedding Planner!) is great way to not get overwhelmed. Also, allow people to help. I’m a designer, so I love making things by myself, but some of my favorite memories were painting old doors with friends and going shopping with my mom and making decisions with her. Wedding planning can and should bring you closer to the people around you–they want to celebrate this season of your life with you and your fiancé!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are making our home in Franklin, Tennessee, where we both work and live. We are looking forward to traveling together, learning from our mistakes and victories, and serving the community around us as our marriage and family grow. We also can’t wait to see Tennessee beat Kentucky in football for years to come.

Photographer: Bella Grace Studios | Venue and Catering: Gilkison Farm | Florist: Chambliss Designs | Wedding Cake: Sweet Lilu’s Catering | Rentals: Bryant’s Rent-All | DJ: Chase Scott | Vows Books: Seliz Design | Bride’s Gown: “KP3695” by David’s Bridal | Veil: “WPD16266M” by David’s Bridal | Bride’s Shoes: “Kivah” by INC International Concepts | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Midi Bandeau” by ASOS | Groom’s Attire: Levi’s | Bow Ties: “BC578ST” by The Tie Bar

lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    What a sweet proposal story!

  2. avatar Josh Merideth reply

    Thank you so much for sharing… Such a sweet beautiful couple!!

  3. avatar Amy reply

    Such an adorable bride and groom, Loved all the photos!

    We at http://poemstogo.tv wish them a lifetime of love and happiness xxxoo

  4. avatar Julie Hay reply

    here is our proposal video too! :)

  5. avatar Skylar Caitlin reply

    Bella Grace Studios did a fantastic job capturing this couple! I can feel their genuinely sweet spirits flowing off the screen.

  6. avatar Geoff reply

    What a great back story to the wedding and how they met. Photos looks great!

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I’m obsessed with period pieces, especially about the early sixties, and I currently cannot get enough of the The Astronaut Wives Club. There is something about the style that is so timeless and unfussy, yet modern and chic. I could say the same thing about Jordan and David’s beautiful black and white wedding! Their relationship started at a honky-tonk in Nashville, but when they first discussed moving to David’s hometown of Tampa, Jordan began incorporating flamingos into her classic style. The fun bird played a role in their engagement, so they also subtly weaved it into their wedding design! The Oxford Exchange served as the perfect location for a sophisticated celebration complete with meaningful details, like brass candlesticks collected from yard sales and thrift stores by family and friends.

Big hugs to Kristin Sweeting for sharing Jordan and David’s beautiful day with us!

We found my dress at the first boutique we visited, and I only tried on four! My two sisters, my mother, and my future mother-in-law were there to help with the decision. I knew I wanted something very classic, with simple curves and a clean neckline. I found a dress on the sample rack that needed just a few alterations for size, and we removed the embellished belt that came with the dress for a very polished, modern, sophisticated look. The dress embodied everything that I wanted my wedding to be, and more importantly, it was comfortable and a perfect extension of my everyday style.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our readings were Mark 10:6-9 and Isaiah 62:5. Since I only had my sisters (and my brother) as bridesmaids, it was nice to have my best friends read at my wedding. I love the passage from Mark because it speaks to the very beginning of the institution of marriage, and that there is a beauty in leaving what is known in one way for something that is known in a completely different way. The scripture from Isaiah was important to us because it speaks to the essence of our being and the foundation of our faith as a couple. Marriage is just a small glimpse of what it is like to have a relationship with our creator.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The start and end of the ceremony. I don’t like to be the center of attention, so as the ceremony grew closer, I became anxious. A quick summer storm started as we walked from the bride’s room to the narthex. It was the kind of light rain that has a soft thunder, and smooth rays of light filter through the clouds. The world was so serene and quiet in that moment. By the time the ceremony ended, the storm has passed, but I’ll never forget God giving me that moment of calming assurance, beauty, and peace. As we walked back up the aisle, our guests cheered and clapped so loudly, as if they were just as excited for us to be married as we were. It was such a reminder of the support we have behind us.

We chose not to do a first look. I was willing to sacrifice the time for photos in order to have that special moment of seeing Dave at the end of the aisle in front of our friends and family. The tradition and history of that moment was something I didn’t want to sacrifice and it was like nothing I’d ever felt before.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My younger sister got married in October 2014 in our hometown, so given the close timing, I wanted to do something different. Getting married in Tampa was a great way to celebrate the life I would start sharing there with Dave. We chose to get married in the church that Dave grew up in. At the time of booking the wedding, I was also interviewing for a position with the interior design firm at the Oxford Exchange, Oxford Design (I got the job!). I fell in love with the space and knew I could trust the team at Oxford to bring my vision for the night to fruition. The building fit the classic, yet modern, look I was going for, and almost everything could be handled in-house.

We didn’t want assigned seating, with the exception of the grandparents, but we did want the tables to look inviting and personal. We also wanted the evening to flow organically and naturally, and encourage eating and drinking at one’s leisure, wherever they were. At each seat, we had a card tied with a black velvet ribbon that read: “Eat. Drink. Dance. Your seat is here but your place is on the dance floor. Thank you for celebrating with us!” This politely let people know that they were encouraged to sit, but not to hold onto their seat.

Describe your wedding flowers. We were married in a beautiful sanctuary, and I wanted to make sure we didn’t do anything to hide the architectural appeal of the church. I wanted the service to be very reverent. My older sister created a simple arrangement of palm fronds, cut from my future in-laws’ backyard, and white tulips for the narthex. For the reception, I again wanted to let the space stand out, only using florals as embellishments for the tables. A large, glass arrangement of French white tulips greeted guests at the entrance, while the tables were decorated with a center garland of loose greenery foliage and white roses that were placed in brass candlesticks.

We served a two-tiered raspberry champagne cake from Chocolate Pi, and my uncle hand-made over 20 different flamingo toppers for us to choose from! My sister placed the extra flamingos in a flock formation on a sheet cake iced green in honor of my “yard flock” engagement at the bridal brunch. I also wanted to incorporate our dog, Tux, into the wedding somehow, so Savages Bakery hand-painted “Tux” cookies that were served along with the cake.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I loved all the “extras” at the reception. We had a caricature artist on-site for the first few hours of the reception, which everyone loved–it was a great party favor! I also loved having rock candy sticks in the champagne! The dance floor props of guitars, black and white feather masks, pink boas, and glow in the dark necklaces were crowd favorites, and the band especially loved the pink glitter flamingo glasses!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Dave and I randomly met at a local honky-tonk, Paradise Park, in Nashville. He asked me to dance and somehow, between the loud music and the large crowd, we were able to talk long enough to realize that we shared mutual friends, including my younger sister, Abigail, and her husband, Adam. A few months after we met, Dave asked me to be his date to a wedding, and we’ve been together ever since. I still have a screen shot of our first text message exchange from that night, which is framed above his bedside table.
Tell us all about the proposal! In discussing the future, Dave and I often discussed moving to his hometown of Tampa, Florida. Realizing that Florida may be my new home in the near future, I decided that, as a mountain girl, my aesthetic needed to change a bit, and I started to fully embrace flamingos. I came home one night in December to find my entire yard flocked with pink flamingos and Dave waiting on the porch for me, ring in hand. After a celebratory dinner, Dave had one more surprise. We went to the place where we first met, Paradise Park, and all of our Nashville friends were assembled for a congratulatory cheers! We carried the flamingo theme throughout the entire wedding.
When did y’all get married? May 23, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose to say traditional vows. I don’t know about my favorite phrase, but I do remember suddenly panicking over whether or not I should say “I do” or “I will” during the first response part of ceremony. I quickly looked over at my older sister (my maid of honor), who mouthed the correct words to me. During her toast the night before, she had teasingly spoke about always having to speak for me when we were small, and here she was, telling me what to say on my wedding day!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We served true Southern staples: shrimp and grits with collard greens, pecan-crusted chicken and waffles, and butternut squash ravioli. A vintage RV, recently renovated by my father, served popcorn and Coca-Colas as people left, and we drove off in my father-in-law’s restored 1951 red Chevrolet truck. The most Southern thing about my wedding, though? So many family members pitched in to help. Whether it was collecting brass candlesticks from yard sales and thrift stores for the tablescapes, mixing gallons of a special margarita mix, or painting stationery for our guests, our families pitched in and helped make the wedding feel unique and meaningful.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We started to renovate a condo together as our first home right after we got engaged–that will teach you A LOT about the person you are getting ready to marry! Working together on the condo was a great way for us to learn how we worked and lived as individuals, and what that would need to look like as a couple, both socially and financially.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My sister is a stylist and I work in interior design, so we were able to forgo a wedding planner, other than the day-of coordinators, who were amazing! We created our own photo booth using props and a backdrop I found for $5 at a closing sale. We used a personal collection of brass candlesticks for the tablescapes and kept the floral arrangements minimal.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? A day-of coordinator is essential–more than anything, guests appreciate a well-executed weekend. It’s a very emotional weekend, but also a highly logistical one! Make sure the weekend plans are clear and easy for your guests.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are continuing to settle into our new condo and look forward to working on some more renovations together. Mostly, we are just happy to be in the same city, which means that no one has to go home on Sunday nights!

Photographer: Kristin Sweeting / Videographer: Baxter Miller / Planner: Sarah Fairbairn of One Fine Day, Inc. / Ceremony Venue: Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church / Reception Venue, Catering, and Lighting: The Oxford Exchange / Florist: Botanica International Design and Decor Studio / Cake Baker: Chocolate Pi / Rentals: Wish Vintage Rentals / Band: The Voltage Brothers / Special Details: Brittney Forrister / Bride’s Gown: Martina Liana / Bridal Salon: La Raine’s / Hair and Makeup: Jess Waldroup / Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style D589” by Alfred Sung and “Feathered Hem Dress” by Ann Taylor / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse / Calligrapher: Jenny Elmore / Invitations: Reaves Engraving / Caricature Artist: Tony Hernandez of Carrot Catchers / Cookies: Savages Bakery & Deli / Brass Candlestick Rentals: Wish Vintage Rentals and 12th Table / Red Carpet: Rent-All-City

marissa Written with love by Marissa
11 Comments
  1. avatar Nina reply

    What a gorgeous wedding! I especially love the black and white shots and the ones showing movement. So real!

  2. avatar Michael reply

    they are so Young and beautiful. Hope that you will have the life that you wish for.

  3. avatar Dana reply

    Absolutely gorgeous… Every.single.detail!!

  4. avatar Robert & Sue Pickelsimer reply

    An Awesomely Beautiful Wedding Event of our niece Jordan & “new” nephew, Dave! SOUTHERN WEDDING did a wonderful job telling their beautiful LOVE STORY! Thank You! Uncle Robert & Aunt Sue

  5. avatar Kel Ward reply

    Oh, I love everything about this wedding! That dress is to die for!

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  7. avatar charleston wedding photographer reply

    awesome pictures!Looks like old pics from 60’s

  8. avatar Sara and Ken Winston reply

    Ken and I could not be happier having Jordan join our family. She did a fabulous job putting their wedding together. She and her entire family are so wonderful. They came for a long weekend just to help us prepare for the rehearsal dinner that we had in our backyard. Thanks to the entire Forruster Family! Great day a joyous memory forever!

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