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Y’all, there are so many sweet Southern details I could gush over from Julie + Shane’s wedding! Like the amazing estate tables with monogrammed burlap runners, the glorious gold accents, the Arnold Palmer bar (I die!), and Julie’s custom lace gown, to start. But of course, my favorite part is that J + S’s reception took place in a real life, working hay barn! What?! Seeing how Julie and her planner, Erica Weddings, literally worked from a completely blank canvas to create a ranch wedding that was sophisticated Southern at its best is mighty impressive! And I’d be remiss not to mention that the caterers worked it out with a sit down dinner for over 200 without any power at all!

We’re dishing out big hugs to Josh McCullock for helping us feel like we stepped right into Julie + Shane’s soirée!

Shane and I were able to do a first look before the ceremony, and that time spent alone together in the quiet before all the festivities began was easily one of the best moments of the day. It was such a special moment for the two of us to anticipate what was to come. Not to mention, our wonderful photographer, Josh, got some stunning portraits during this time that we will always treasure.

I’m a big fan of these mixed bridesmaids’ dresses! They’re relaxed, classic, and compliment each other perfectly!

Describe your wedding flowers. 
Our florist (and wonderful friend!) Lindi with The Bridal Garden did such a fabulous job. I wanted the flowers to reflect all of the textures and the layers that were driving much of the design of the day. She nailed it. From our ceremony arrangements (placed on the stumps of a fallen tree off the ranch that my Dad cut for us), to the bouquets that were each a bit different and unique to each bridesmaid, and the countless table arrangements where no two arrangements were the same. I borrowed the milk glass that my sister had collected for her own wedding, and collected my own gold glassware to add to the “layered” look and add some sparkle.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? 
We were married under a giant oak tree. Our reception was in a barn — a real life, working hay barn. And it was 100 degrees. Does that count?! Kidding aside, one of my favorite Southern touches was the Arnold Palmer lemonade/sweet tea bar we had. Though Shane isn’t necessarily Southern by birth, he is definitely Southern at heart and loves his sweet tea. Our caterers set up assorted flavored lemonades and teas and our guests mixed and matched them as they pleased. They were served in vintage milk bottles we found, salvaged in their original crates from the University dairy at our alma mater. (Go Pokes!!!)

Josh, our photographer, stole us away immediately following our ceremony. Shane and I spent time just talking and soaking up the moment as the sun set over the ranch. I will never forget the way I felt in that moment, as we sat on the dock at the pond and watched our dearest friends and family gather to celebrate our marriage. It was a super powerful twenty minutes, and I am forever grateful for that time. Josh was able to snap a few of my most favorite pictures during this time, too.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? 
I am a bit of a foodie, and it was so important to me to have great food at our wedding. Our incredible caterers tackled the impossible task of serving a seated, three-course meal to more than 200 people in a barn without electricity, without any semblance of a kitchen nor anything a caterer should need! They went above and beyond my expectations, and served the most delicious meal. We are still getting rave reviews to this day. Of course our photographer (and now friend!), Josh McCullock is hands down the best around. I began online stalking his website before Shane and I were even engaged, and I knew he was a perfect fit for the style we were looking for in our wedding photography. I literally did a happy dance when he responded that he was not booked for Labor Day, and would indeed be available to shoot our wedding. He is beyond talented, and fabulous to work with.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. 
Shane was never a huge dessert eater before I entered his life and showed him the path to happiness by way of cake (and pie and cobbler…). We had a traditional white wedding cake with raspberry filling and vanilla buttercream. And as a “groom’s dessert” our caterers served a dessert course of fresh berries and real whipped cream with a honey drizzle in mini stemless martini glasses. For the record, neither of us were able to have any dessert that night!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
One of our favorite elements of our wedding day were the family and friends in attendance! People traveled from all over the country to Oklahoma to celebrate with us. As a nod to all of our favorite people traveling, our favors were two sugar cookies: one Oklahoma cookie and one California cookie, each with a heart on our hometowns. Attached to the box was a thank you note featuring a US map with tiny hearts all over the country showing where guests had traveled from.

Y’all know we love a good sorority sing, and this one looks like it was a complete blast!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. 
Shane and I met in college. A mutual friend introduced us the weekend prior to the first week of classes our freshman year. He was this very tall, very cute boy from California who seemed very much out of my league as a girl from small town Oklahoma. We chatted for a short bit then went our separate ways that night, and I half expected not to speak to him again. Wouldn’t you know it, I walked into my first class Monday morning, and there sat that handsome curly headed boy I had been introduced to. We spent that next semester in class together — me doing the daily crossword puzzle, and Shane taking meticulous American Government notes. Over the course of the next year we had become the very best of friends. About a year later, we went on our first date. And the rest is history. We’ve been together ever since!

Tell us all about the proposal! 
It was an unusually beautiful and sunny January day. Shane asked me to take a walk in the park. We brought along our adorable dog Eleanor. Towards the end of our walk, Shane very simply asked me if I would be his wife and spend my life with him. He gave me the most beautiful ring, and I said, “YES!”

When did y’all get married? 
September 1, 2012

How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 
About 225

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. 
I had been to a handful of bridal stores, tried on many dresses, and just was not pleased with anything I had found. I would like the skirt of one dress, but the top of another. I would like the lace of another dress, but the shape would be wrong. Let’s face it — I’m as picky as they come. I finally found Kristine, the owner of a local bridal boutique. We worked together off of a rough sketch I drew that combined the elements of what I was looking for in a dress. She custom designed the perfect dress for my wedding day. Every last detail was more than I could have dreamed!

Did you write your own vows? 
When it came to our vows, we opted for the traditional, Christian marriage vows. I just love the traditional vows. Talk about powerful! “To have and to hold from this day forward…” Does it get any better than that?!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 
Two of our dearest friends read passages from my late grandfather’s bible: Romans 8:31-39 and Philippians 4:4-9. An excerpt from Romans: “In all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. 
An acoustic version of “Come Thou Fount” was played during the processional. We exited to Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dreams (Come True).” Our first dance was to Little Big Town’s “Bring it on Home.”

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? I borrowed my sweet mother’s tennis bracelet, a gift to her from my Dad many years ago. The brooch on my belt was vintage. My mom made my veil herself for my something new. And we just plain forgot about blue!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? 
I searched for a venue. I tried, I really did! But nothing appealed to me more than the blank slate of the giant hay barn with the beautiful backdrop of our close family friends’ working ranch in rural Oklahoma. With my background in design, I really wanted to design the entire event from the ground up, exactly as I envisioned it. Most of our family and friends thought I was crazy, and I probably was. With the help of my momma (she’s a saint!) and countless other family members and friends we transformed the barn into a pretty stunning reception space. We swept the dirt floor, we draped all the walls and ceiling beams in fabric, we brought in lighting. It was unbelievable. Shane and I will be forever indebted to all of those who put in hours of hard labor to help my vision become a reality!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
Be organized. And EDIT. No one will notice those teeny details that you are losing sleep over. As a details-obsessed bride, I KNOW it’s hard. Don’t forget to take time for you and your fiancé and enjoy your engagement!! Also, if there is any way you can fit it in the budget, hire a really great day-of coordinator. There is no better gift you can give yourself.

What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? 
We are enjoying married life in our new home state of Kansas, settling into our first house, and contemplating adopting another dog-child. We are looking forward to the West Coast reception my husbands’ parents are hosting in California this summer, and seeing those that couldn’t make it to our wedding.

Photographer: Josh McCullock | Planner: Erica Weddings | Ceremony Venue: Private Ranch | Reception Venue: Private Ranch | Florist: The Bridal Garden by Lindi | Wedding Cake: Merritt’s Bakery | Caterer: Ladyfingers Catering | Rentals: Party Pro Tulsa | Lighting: Zach Downing/Empire Lighting | DJ: Zach Downing Entertainment
Special Details: Signage/Paper Products/Calligraphy: Bride’s Own, Etsy Shop: Lovely Letter Inc | Bride’s Gown: Abelina’s Bridal | Invitations: Paper Girl | Hair Stylist: Kiersten at identity salon | Makeup Artist: Faccia Bella

Josh McCullock is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    All of these photos are so sweet! Love the ones of Julie + her dad and Julie + Shane!

  2. avatar Rayna {Colorado Wedding Photographer} reply

    Wow, what am amazing wedding and beautiful bride! Love all the advice too. :)

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    Gold details are my weakness, and these ones are perfect!

  4. avatar Wedding-Party Style – Weddingbee reply

    […] Photo by Josh McCullock  / Image via Southern Weddings […]

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