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Ashley and Matt fell in love in the Southern Weddings hometown of Chapel Hill, but for their May wedding, they chose the special place where both of their families have vacationed for years: Charleston. To match the old Southern elegance of Lowndes Grove Plantation, Ashley and Matt loved filling their wedding with meaningful, classic details, their favorite being a custom crest that combined the coats of arms of both of their families. Just like their crest, their wedding joined their families together in the loveliest way!

Thanks so much to Ellis Photo Studio for sharing Ashley and Matt’s wedding with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my veil from my mom–she had the most gorgeous veil with scalloped lace edges, that we layered over a cathedral-length raw satin-trimmed veil. The lace on my mom’s veil nearly matched the lace on my dress perfectly, and having a piece of her at the altar with me meant the world. For blue, since Matt and I are both Tar Heels, you could say that we are always bleeding blue! Everything else was new–the dress, my shoes, and my earrings, but the best new thing was my new husband that I was on the arm of walking back up the aisle!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, and it was one of our favorite parts of our day! Matt and I wanted to have a chance to see each other and have a moment to ourselves to really relish in our wedding day together. It gave us a chance to share our last single moment together; not to mention, keep us from kissing right when I got to the end of the aisle!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We didn’t write our own vows, but I wrote the whole ceremony. It felt so amazing to come up with everything from beginning to end, and it was something I truly enjoyed. We got to interject how we felt about each other, while still keeping it traditional.

We wanted to keep our flowers simple and elegant with lots of white, some pops of blush, and greenery. I’m a big believer in a clean aesthetic and didn’t want any over-the-top colors jumping out. My bridesmaids carried graceful stems of white phalaenopsis orchids, and my bouquet was made up of several flowers, including peonies and gardenias. Gardenia is my mom’s signature scent, and every time I smell it, it makes me think of her! For the tables, we had a mixture of high and low arrangements, echoing a French aesthetic, with a mixtures of herbs in navy cachepots and love knots painted in white, complemented by sweeping orchids.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We worked with a graphic designer in my dad’s office who created a custom family crest for us. It united the Travis and Peterson coats of arms into a gorgeous detail that graved everything from the top of the cotton printed napkin menu, to the stamp on the invitations, to the custom pillows on the couches in the lounge area.

They say that you learn a lot about each other while planning a wedding, and one thing we learned was that we don’t like any of the same cake flavors except the traditional ones! We each kept vetoing each other’s options until we landed on chocolate and vanilla, but hey, who doesn’t love a traditional cake? We ended up going with a white cake layered with chocolate ganache and fresh raspberries, covered in buttercream. We kept the design very simple with swiss dots and rosette swirls throughout the layers.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Matt and I have known of each other since we were in elementary school, but it wasn’t until high school that we became friends. Matt left for UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall of 2005, and we talked every now and then, just to keep up with one another. When I got to Chapel Hill the following fall, he invited me to one of his fraternity’s parties the first week I was there. We started dating the following spring and haven’t looked back since!
Tell us all about the proposal! I’m the hardest person in the world to surprise, but somehow, this man pulled it off! We were out skiing for a long weekend in Park City, Utah at Deer Valley. We got in Thursday night, and my birthday was on Saturday. My mom mentioned that we should get some professional pictures done while we were there, and on Saturday morning on our first chairlift up for the day, Matt mentioned that we should get pictures taken at the top of the mountain before skiing down. Once we were at the summit, we realized the photographer was a little trek over. Matt took off quickly, and my first thought was “That is so out of character that he’s not waiting for me!” I figured he must really want to take these pictures and get to skiing. I caught up and we began our photo shoot, when the photographer told Matt to kneel on one knee and for me lean over and hug him from behind. We took that shot and I straightened back up, but then Matt paused and swiveled around. I didn’t think anything of it, but as he unzipped his jacket, I knew! He told me how much he loved me and how he couldn’t imagine his life without me, and he asked me to marry him! I immediately said YES!
When did y’all get married? May 31, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Charleston is our home away from home. Both of our families have been vacationing there for years, so it was a natural choice for our wedding. About a month after getting engaged, we started researching places in Charleston that included what we wanted: outside, in Charleston proper, and available for spring. The minute we saw Lowndes Grove, we knew this was it!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had both of Matt’s sisters do a reading, and my brother, Chase, led everyone in the Lord’s Prayer. Maggie, Matt’s younger sister, read Ruth 1:16-17 and Matt’s older sister, Jessica, read an anonymous love poem.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We were very traditional in our processionals and used a lot of the music that my parents had used in their wedding. A string quartet brought everything to life and gave a romantic feel to the opening of the ceremony. Matt and I decided on Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” for our first dance. We both love to dance and wanted something we could move around to!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My aunt is a master seamstress and helped to sew things like our custom pillows and the cake table skirt.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy it! You’re only going to get to do this once, so soak up everything and be present throughout the process. Surround yourself with a great team and have fun with it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Being married has been nothing short of amazing and we are just having fun with this crazy life. We have been watching our wedding video on repeat, so hopefully that doesn’t die down anytime soon!

Photographer: Ellis Photo Studio / Videographer: KLC Video Productions / Planner: Lizz Akerman of Southern Protocol / Venue, Catering, and Cake: Lowndes Grove Plantation / Florist: Charleston Stems / Rentals: Snyder Events and EventWorks / Lighting: AV Connections / Band: Groovetown of East Coast Entertainment / Paper Products: Ancesserie / Bride’s Gown: “BO53″ by CB Couture” / Bridal Salon: Lily Rose Bridal / Hair Stylist: Hunter Johnson of Updo Charleston / Makeup Artist: Pamela Lesch Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaid Dresses: Ann Taylor / Menswear: Berlin’s

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Gillian reply

    Thank you so much for featuring our photography today! We absolutely loved shooting this sweet blue + white wedding!

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Sadly, yesterday marked the unofficial the end of summer (pack up your white pants and bring out your monogrammed scarf!), but the good news is that Tate and Davis’ cheerful wedding will make summer feel a little bit longer! While Tate and Davis only lived in Charleston for a year, their time spent on the Charleston Harbor made the Historic Rice Mill the perfect venue for a sweet celebration with their family and friends. I’d have to agree with Tate on her favorite element of their wedding–she loved their family-style meal because it reminded her of her favorite holiday, Thanksgiving! I know our own Kristin would be tickled, since she also had a Thanksgiving-inspired wedding day meal!

Big thank you’s and a pumpkin spiced latte to Aaron and Jillian Photography for sharing this wedding with us!

People fail to warn you how crazy stressful dress shopping can be! Trying on ill-fitting sample dresses to find the perfect one that makes your body look bangin’, fits your price range, is timeless, AND wins the approval of your family is super challenging. I wanted something a little different, but still classic, that wouldn’t dwarf my petite figure. My Wentworth Street gown by Carol Hannah was exactly that. I even got a discount because I asked to buy the sample.

While we are always so smitten with the father/daughter moments at weddings, I love this sweet father/son moment too!

We did a first look because I am not superstitious and I loved the opportunity for more photos. I think waiting to see each other until you walk down the aisle can be a little more stressful than it needs to be. Seeing each other beforehand ensured that we both stayed present during the ceremony.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Davis and I love Charleston! It is a wonderfully romantic city and holds a special place in our hearts. We lived in Charleston from 2011 to 2012 and spent our weekends and afternoons on the boat in Charleston Harbor. The Rice Mill, being right by the marina, was a perfect fit!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but we did design our own ceremony that was performed by my father. My favorite part of our vows was: “Do you pledge to help each other to develop your hearts and minds, cultivating compassion, generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiasm, concentration, and wisdom as you age and undergo the various ups and downs of life, and to transform them into the path of love, compassion, joy, and equanimity?”

We chose our reading from The Irrational Season By Madeleine L’Engle because it very much represents our relationship and how we view our marriage commitment. “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.”

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Dodeline Design created a custom monogram that incorporated our initials and elements of Davis’ family crest. It looks kind of like a harp, and no one could really figure it out, but I thought it was kind of cool. We were also THRILLED about our joggling board guest book that is covered with the sweetest notes and sentiments from our loved ones. Joggling boards are so Southern and SO Charleston. I love the cool history behind them. One of our artsy friends even painted our monogram on it and made it exceptionally special!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite element of our wedding was the family-style meal. Enjoying a meal with your closest friends and family is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It also reminds me of Thanksgiving (my all-time favorite holiday) because it is a time you can tell your friends and family how grateful you are for them. I also liked the “thank you haikus” we displayed at each place setting. It was super dorky, but after thinking about it, we knew that if we were to thank our friends and family in letters, we could end up writing pages! Keeping our thank you notes to short haikus allowed us to say what we wanted with just enough words.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had the most fabulous pink ombre cake! I love pink and anything ombre, so the cake was a delicious dream with three layers of red velvet, lemon, and dulce de leche cake. I was a little nervous that Davis wouldn’t like it because it was on the girly side, but he said “it tasted really good!”

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Davis and I first met at a friend’s concert in 2006–Davis grew up with the band’s lead singer (who was later a a groomsman in our wedding). The band would let Davis ham it up on stage and play the tambourine, while my friends and I loved “front-rowing it” (i.e. dancing as close to the stage as possible), so we inevitably ran into each other. We both attended North Carolina State University and share a love for the Wolfpack, adventures, and of course, our friends.
Tell us all about the proposal! Davis began shopping for the engagement ring three years before he proposed. In the spring of 2013, right before our seven-year anniversary, we took a last-minute trip to New York City, where Davis proposed early on a Thursday morning in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Needless to say, my girlfriends knew exactly why I was calling so early, before they even picked up the phone!
When did y’all get married? June 21, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 110
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We had a challenging time keeping our guest list small, because we knew our budget couldn’t handle a large party. Our rule of thumb was that if we could write each guest a letter telling them exactly why we wanted them to attend our wedding, then they would be invited–that idea is where our letter-style invitation came from.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I saved a lot on my wedding dress by buying the sample. We also didn’t get a fancy getaway vehicle because we preferred spending money on things that our guests would enjoy. We kept the contents of the welcome bags to strictly “consumables” (snacks and waters), because the last thing people need is extra “stuff.” I fell in love with a vintage consignment wedding band at Croghan’s Jewelry Box in Charleston–Davis actually purchased my wedding band months before he bought my engagement ring.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? After interviewing four other Charleston wedding photographers, we hired Jill and Aaron after an eight-minute phone conversation. We clicked instantly! They asked the right questions and really seemed to care about our event. Every interaction with them was extremely positive and fun! I would hire them again in a heartbeat.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Davis says our first look. I’d say the moments after the ceremony taking photos on the dock and dancing to Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” with all my best friends.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Always try to remember what is most important to you as a couple. The first thing Davis and I did when we got engaged was to make a list of the ten most important things we wanted in our wedding. When one of the 100+ random things that weren’t in the original budget came up, we could refer back to that list to help keep the budget under control. I would also recommend making a list of all the random things you want to do on the wedding day, because things move so quickly. Give the list to a trusted person who will be with you on the day of. For example, I planned to give my dad a gift and get a few father-daughter photos pre-wedding, but I never found the time to do it.

Photographer: Aaron and Jillian Photography / Videographer: Life in Rewind / Planner: Southern Protocol / Venue: Historic Rice Mill / Florist: Charleston Stems / Wedding Cake: Charleston Cakes / Caterer: Good Food Catering / Rentals: EventWorks / Band: Unkle Funkle / Paper Products: Dodeline Design / Bride’s Gown: “Wentworth Street” by Carol Hannah / Hair Stylist: Katherine Bailey / Makeup Artist: Stuart Laurence / Bride’s Shoes: “Gilda” by Kotur / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style 418” by Wtoo / Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Southern Weddings Feature » Aaron and Jillian Photography reply

    […] featured on the fabulous Southern Weddings website today!  Seriously, over the moon!  Check out their SW feature HERE and their full wedding post on our blog HERE!  It’s filled with gorgeous bright florals, […]

  2. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    Her dress fits her beautifully and I love how it gathers at her hip.

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If you follow us on Instagram, you might have seen that we spent a good part of last week at our first-ever Southern Weddings Team Retreat. One of the many things we talked about was what each of us loves about the South. Well, I’m so happy Whitney and Nick’s wedding is the first one I get to write after returning back to the office, because it’s filled with so many of the things I personally love about the South: amazing location filled with heritage and Southern charm, a surprise groom’s cake representing collegiate roots, and complete dedication to honoring family. I could not love the way Whitney and Nick honored their family in their decor more–each one of the lanterns surrounding their ceremony represented a family member who had passed. Heavens, y’all pass me some extra tissues! We often talk about filling not only our wedding days, but our lives, with meaningful details, and that is such a sweet example.

Big hugs to our sweet friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor, Mrs. Nancy Ray!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? We wanted to make our guests feel welcome! Our welcome bags included lists of information and important addresses, plus a bag of Holy City Popcorn in the Lowcountry Boil flavor, pralines, benne wafers, waters, and Cheerwine!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went dress shopping three times. The first two times were with my mom, sister, and mother-in-law, and both times were a complete letdown. I did not like any of the dresses that I thought I wanted. I had always thought that I wanted an all-lace dress that was sleeveless, and I absolutely did not want a ball gown or a strapless dress. My sister talked me into trying on dresses that I had never thought of considering, including several ball gowns that I ended up really liking. Several weeks later, my mom and mother-in-law came to Charleston with me for a planning trip, and we decided to pop into Modern Trousseau of Charleston. The girls there were amazing! I ended up getting the Lisbon dress that day!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we did decide to do a first look! It was somewhat of a no-brainer for us. Since we were having the ceremony and reception at the same place, we wanted to have the majority of our pictures taken before everyone arrived to the venue. We knew that we would want to start mingling with all of our family and friends soon after the ceremony was over, and we didn’t want to feel rushed to get the pictures that we really wanted. It was also a good excuse to see each other before the ceremony!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We have several favorites, the first being the lanterns that we hung in the tree at our ceremony site. We had eight lanterns, and each represented a family member who had passed and was unable to be present. I loved the picture charm that held a picture of my daddy that I attached to my bouquet. We also hung boxwood wreaths on the front doors of Lowndes Grove, in honor of Nick’s late grandfather, who owned a boxwood farm.

The flowers were perfect! I told Elise that I loved large fluffy flowers and I wanted them be blush pink and white. She ran with my description and created some of the most gorgeous arrangements that I have ever seen! Leading up to the wedding, our budget was getting tight, so I had to cut the focal arrangement for the bar. The day of the wedding, Elise surprised me with the most beautiful and huge arrangement for the bar! I started crying instantly and gave her the biggest hug! I cannot sing her praises enough; she is a true gem!

We offered a “Southern hydration station” prior to the ceremony. We knew that having an outdoor wedding in June was risky and that it could be toasty the day of the wedding. We wanted our guest to be comfortable, so we served water and pink lemonade. The location was about as Southern as you can get–Lowndes Grove is a beautiful white plantation house that sits on the Ashley River. We served shrimp and grits with fried green tomatoes, along with some other great food, and we had amazing bar snacks. There were bowls of fried okra, cheese straws, and boiled peanuts sitting around the lounge areas for people to snack on throughout the night.

The wedding cake was a three-tiered round cake covered in vanilla buttercream. One layer was a lemon cake with key lime filling, and the other two layers were almond cake with vanilla buttercream and raspberries. So yummy! I surprised Nick with a groom’s cake designed to look like Carter-Finley Stadium, with all of the State students holding up signs that spell Wolfpack. Around the sides of the cake, there were various pictures of us throughout the years at different games. The cake was red velvet and devil’s food cake. Laney from Delicious Desserts was amazing to work with and had such great ideas. I had never seen someone so excited when we had our brainstorming meeting!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Whitney: It is crazy how vividly I remember the wedding day, and there are so many good memories! I think the most memorable to me was when I jumped the gun and said “I do” before it was time! I was so nervous and so excited, I just had to get it out! From Nick: I also loved when Whitney jumped the gun and said “I do” before it was time. I also enjoyed when everyone danced to “Shout,” and at one point, everyone was on the dance floor!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in September 2007 while at a NC State football game. We had several mutual friends who had met up while tailgating. Nick was standing off to the side being quiet, and our friends didn’t think to introduce the two of us. I took matters into my own hands, introduced myself, and offered him a Cheerwine! We are both from the small town of Cleveland, North Carolina and we went to the same high school, but since Nick is a little older, we had never met before.
Tell us all about the proposal! March 2013 had been a rough month for me, as I had lost my daddy suddenly to a heart attack the same day I started my career as a physician assistant. Nick and I had been looking forward to getting out of town the weekend of March 30, 2013 for one of our friend’s weddings in Charleston. For several weeks prior, we had been attending a Bible study that also doubled as a training course for a 5K. We had planned to squeeze in a run on Saturday morning and then meet up with several friends for breakfast. Nick planned out a route that would take us to Battery Park and to the pineapple fountain. He had been fighting a cold for most of the week, so I kept asking if he was sure he wanted to go, but he was very adamant. I even tried to get him to change the route so he wouldn’t have to run as far, but he just said, “Whitney, we are running to Battery Park.” Once we got to the park, we sat down on a bench. Then, he started saying sweet things and got down on one knee! I, of course, said yes and giggled a lot! Nick could not have timed the engagement any better; I needed the excitement to help take my mind off of losing my daddy.
When did y’all get married? June 7, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My Aunt Kathy read 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. It has always been one of my favorites! I actually had “love never fails” engraved in Nick’s ring as a surprise.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! My something borrowed was my sister’s veil. My something blue and new were one and the same–I had a blue monogram patch with my new initials sewn into my dress. My something old were the pearls that I wore around my neck during the ceremony. My daddy had given them to my momma for one of their anniversaries, and my sister also wore them on her wedding day.
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? I have two vendors who I could not have gone without! I don’t even see these ladies as vendors; I see them more as friends! The first is Sara Hosch, our wedding planner. She had this way of knowing exactly what I wanted or what I would like before we even talked about it! The other vendor is the talented Nancy Ray! I have followed Nancy’s blog for a long time, and when I met her for the first time, I was starstruck! She is one of the nicest people I have ever met, but she gets the job done like nobody’s business! I also loved that she instantly called me “Whit” during our engagement session!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I know everyone says this, but enjoy every moment! Wedding planning can have its moments of stress, but just know that it will all be worth it in the end! When else in your life will all the people you love be in one place? So seriously, enjoy EVERY moment!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are settling into our everyday routines and enjoying each other’s company. We are most looking forward to all the fun adventures and trips that we will take as a couple. Also, I am sure we will have a few kids along the way.

Photographer: Nancy Ray / Planner: Sara Hosch / Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation / Florist: Elise Nuckols of Charleston Stems / Caterer and Wedding Cake: Fish / Groom’s Cake: Laney Cowan of Delicious Desserts / Rentals: Snyder Events / Lighting: AV Connections / Band: Java Band / Paper Products: Scotti Cline / Bride’s Gown: “Lisbon” by Modern Trousseau / Bride’s Earrings: Swell Caroline / Hair and Makeup Artist: Sabra Mizzell of Willow Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Sam Edelman / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style 154” by Bill Levkoff / Men’s Suits: Jos. A. Bank / Men’s Bow Ties: Brooks Brothers

Nancy Ray is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and Scotti Cline is a delightful SW sponsor!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Whitney & Nick Wedding | Nancy Ray Photography reply

    […] for their wedding came from one of our favorite wedding blogs here in the NRP studio, and today the Southern Weddings Blog made one Southern bride (and her photographer!) very happy for featuring her wedding. Thank you for […]

  2. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Always love the classic look of blue and white!

  3. avatar Claire Cowman reply

    Oh, wow! I love the whispiness of that cake’s icing! Beautiful photography and feel to the whole wedding, love the use of light in all of these photos!

  4. avatar Matthew Rycraft reply

    Looks like a great day. Really like the grooms evening outfit!

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