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When my darling BDK and I got married, one of the first things we did when planning was create a “non-negotiables” list. These were things that we both really wanted for our wedding, and throughout our planning, we focused on honoring each other’s wishes–minus his idea of white batting gloves on the boys! It helped us to realize what was important to the other person, and really aided us in making big decisions when our budget was involved. So, of course, I love Alice and Dan’s advice: “Have fun and build on your list of musts!” Alice knew she wanted classically elegant wedding on the water with great food, lots of hydrangeas, mojitos, and cotton candy, and Dan added Old Fashioned cocktails and an amazing band to their list. Together, they created a wedding that was as filled with Southern hospitality as it was lovely!

P.S. If you know me, you know how much I value the perfect Southern bump. Alice knocked it out of the park!

Thanks to Jacqueline Campbell for sharing this pretty day with us!

Every woman in my family gets married with an antique light blue polka dot handkerchief pinned inside her wedding dress! This covered my something blue and old. My something borrowed was my sister in law’s earrings from her wedding day. My something new was my dress!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did a first look underneath a weeping willow tree. It was so special to have a private moment with Dan before we got married. We also wanted to be able to take photos before the wedding so we could enjoy the party.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We both wanted to get married on the water, but didn’t want to venture too far from Washington D.C. We love the feeling (and the food!) at the Inn at Perry Cabin.

Our favorite moment from our wedding was when it started to rain right before our vows. All of a sudden, the crowd and our wedding party put up big Inn at Perry Cabin umbrellas, and everyone laughed! The pictures of the rain and storm clouds turned out so beautifully. Thankfully, the rain stopped and the sun came out for first kiss and cocktail hour.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Have fun and build on your list of musts! Planning a wedding is a lot of hard work, but it is such a special time in your life and in your relationship. I always knew I wanted a classically elegant wedding on the water with great food, lots of hydrangeas, mojitos, and cotton candy. Daniel was a great supporter of my wedding dreams, and added Old Fashioned cocktails and an amazing band to our list of wedding musts.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had a formal, but very relaxed, fun, hospitable celebration. One of our speciality cocktails was an Old Fashioned, which is Dan’s favorite! We served oysters at cocktail hour and crab cakes for dinner. Some of our favorite details were our display of blue toile-clipped escort cards, our pale pink wedding cake, and the table arrangements full of white and green flowers, lanterns, and candles.

We had a pale pink wedding cake, decorated with a cascade of fresh flowers. The cake was chocolate with vanilla buttercream, and each tier had three layers filled with fresh blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. From Dan: We met at a party in 2006. I was immediately head over heels, but Alice rebutted my advances. Over the next few years, we both dated other people and saw each other occasionally. Each time we ran into each other, there was a clear connection. Eventually, I heard she was single, and so was I, so I gathered up the courage to ask her out. She agreed, and we’ve been together ever since.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Dan: I bought a ring that needed to be shipped to me, and planned the proposal to take place on the delivery date. My plan was to tell her that I needed a new suit, and then bring her to Nordstrom to watch me try on various choices. I would change into a suit in the dressing room, come out with the ring in my pocket, and propose to her then and there. The day before the ring came, we spent the night at my brother’s house a few hours away, and then drove home to Chicago very early the following morning. During the drive, I tried to convince her that it was logical to stop at FedEx so I could pick up “an urgent package for work,” and then drive straight to Nordstrom to try on suits. She made it clear that she preferred to go home. We drove straight back into town, stopped at FedEx, and finally drove home to our apartment in downtown Chicago. Instead of taking the elevators up to our floor, I told her there was a new hot tub installed outside by our building’s pool, and that we should go look at it before we went upstairs. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and you could see the entire Chicago skyline from the pool deck. Alice asked me where the hot tub was. I took her hands, said something that I hope was memorable, took the ring out of my pocket, got down on one knee, and popped the question. After she said yes, I took her on a picnic on a boat on the Chicago River, complete with crab cakes, champagne, and chocolate.
When did y’all get married? August 2, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 135
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 chose a few passages and poems for friends and family to read during the ceremony. Our absolute favorite was “The Silken Tent” by Robert Frost.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to the Water Music Suite by Handel, which is what my parents had used at their wedding. Our string quartet played lots of Cole Porter and The Beatles at our cocktail hour, and our band played some Talking Heads at the groom’s request.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We used the Inn at Perry Cabin china instead of renting our own. Their china is very ornate and has a beautiful antique look. We loved it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are going to have a baby this summer!

Photographer: Jacqueline Campbell / Planner: Pineapple Productions / Venue, Catering, and Cake: The Inn at Perry Cabin / Florist and Lighting: Dragonfly Wedding Flowers and Event Design / Rentals: D.C. Rental / Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Musicians: Chesapeake Strings / Band: Round Midnight / Invitations: Smock via The Dandelion Patch D.C. / Paper Goods: Empress Stationery / Bride’s Gown: “Carmen” by Lea Ann Belter / Hair Stylist: Sonja Gregorie / Makeup Artist: Amie Decker Beauty / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Menswear: Vera Wang for Men’s Wearhouse / Calligrapher: Arney Walker Calligraphy

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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  1. avatar [email protected] island wedding venues reply

    Amazing pictures and I just loved the bride’s hair style , she is looking lovely.

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By far one of the most popular and memorable details at my wedding was the lounge spaces we set up in our reception tent. Yes, people remember the ceremony and the music, but what people bring up most two years later is how much fun they had catching up with friends and family on comfy couches in a beautiful space (with the ability to pop back and forth to the dance floor!). It’s a great example of what’s true about weddings: people may not remember what you said or what you fed them, but they will remember how you made them feel. A feeling of inclusion and hospitality is a major wedding do, and a reception lounge can be a big step toward that!

Photo by Abby Jiu via Elizabeth Anne Designs

While lounges can be set up in many locations, we happen to think that Sperry Tents make the absolute perfect back-drop. And we’re not alone! In one of my earliest conversations with our florist (who had a Sperry Tent for her own wedding), she said, you know, the nice thing about a Sperry is that they are so beautiful, and create such an experience on their own, that you don’t really need much in the way of extra decor. Not needing the smaller details frees your budget up to include more substantial details, like a lounge space!

Photo by Orchard Cove Photography

As you can see, Sperry Tents are a classic, neutral backdrop that works with every aesthetic and location, from a field to a beach to a manicured backyard. The tents are handcrafted by sailmakers in coastal Massachusetts and are made from genuine sailcloth, and the wooden support poles are hand-milled at a historic 1930s sawmill. All of their design decisions prioritize craftsmanship – you can really feel the love that went into each one when you’re standing inside!

Photo by Docuvitae via Style Me Pretty

In case you’re wondering, in my experience, Sperry Tents are more expensive than a standard frame tent (though obviously with good reason). If you start to add anything to the tent like a liner, draping or pole covers, however, the price will usually exceed a Sperry!

Photos by Leila Brewster Photography

A few tips for those of you thinking of adding a lounge space to your wedding reception:

Search out rental options. Vintage rental companies are popping up left and right (we have several stellar options in the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!) and traditional rental companies are adding more lounge options as their popularity grows. There are options to fit every aesthetic, from shabby chic to ultra modern.
Plan carefully if using your own pieces. For my wedding, we decided it was more cost-effective to purchase pieces to supplement our rental couches rather than buying everything. We bought several Ikea Lack tables and white ottomans and then were able to either sell them after the wedding (on Craigslist!) or give them away. If you go this route, however, make sure that you have the vehicle necessary to transport your items to your venue, and that someone is assigned to pick them up post-wedding!
Make a diagram. I don’t know about y’all, but spatial issues are not my forte, and when faced with trying to figure out how to fit our couches and our tables and our bar AND our dance floor in our tent, I was baffled. Enter: Sperry’s AMAZING space planning tool. After selecting your tent size and shape on their website, you can add and play around with a ton of different decor options to come up with the perfect arrangement, including lots of different lounge configurations! SO helpful.

Photo by Tanja Lippert from Southern Weddings

Interested? Sperry Tents are only available through a network of licensed providers and are available for rent throughout the South. You can find out much more on their website here!

Photo by Jen Fariello via Southern Weddings

This post is brought to you by Sperry Tents–thanks for your support of the brands that make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
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Every single day at Southern Weddings, the stories of couples who have fallen in love, overcome obstacles, and committed their lives to each other, and the images of the day they became husband and wife, move us. We are infinitely thankful for the couples who share with us, and the talented photographers who make us feel as though we were right there, witnessing these incredibly significant moments in a couple’s story–the moments that they will remember forever. Callie and Jamie’s wedding is extra special to me, because not only do I get to soak in their love and joy alongside y’all in V7 and in today’s post, I also got to witness it firsthand as a guest. And I promise you, their beautiful celebration at RiverOaks Charleston was every bit as magical and meaningful as it looks in these breathtaking images by Nancy Ray, who served as both photographer and bridesmaid on this very special day!

Jamie and I decided immediately that we wanted to plan more for our marriage than for our wedding. The main design inspiration for our wedding came from our prayer for our marriage: that The Lord would cultivate in us a marriage as strong as the oaks and as deep and wide as the sea. We wanted to create a meaningful event that pointed to the Lord and reflected who we are as a couple. We tried to make every decision with deep meaning, as this day was one that we had been looking forward to for so long, and one that we will share with our families for the rest of our lives.

All the jewelry that I wore were family heirlooms: my mother’s emerald and diamond earrings gifted to her on her wedding day from her mother-in-law (something borrowed), my great-grandmother’s diamond bracelet (something old), my great-grandmother’s ring and great-grandmother’s pin on my bouquet (something blue). My something new was my wedding dress and shoes. My mom sewed my great-grandmother’s ring into the inside back of my dress with blue thread, and I also carried my great-grandmother’s sweet pansy handkerchief down the aisle. Selecting gifts for my family as a thank you was an important detail for me, as I wanted to pick out meaningful gifts that would not only remind them of our wedding day, but would stay with them for a lifetime. A gold engraved locket for my mom, a gold engraved pocket watch for my dad, and shotgun shell cufflinks for my brother, along with handwritten letters seemed to be the perfect fit.

What was the weather like on your wedding day? By the Lord’s blessing, it could not have been any more perfect. We had asked so many people to pray for the weather, since everything would be taking place outside and we didn’t really have a back-up plan. I cried multiple times that day, just thinking about how those prayers were answered, and through the weather, the Lord was blessing our marriage. It was sunny, warm, and perfectly breezy.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? Although I had no idea what style I wanted, I knew that I wanted my dress to be timeless and elegant with a small twist. After trying on some dresses in Raleigh, my mom and I drove to Nitsa’s in Winston-Salem. After the fourth dress, I kept asking if I could put on the third dress again. Once I had it on, I didn’t want to take it off. After a few tears from both my mom and me, my mom asked me to list everything that I loved about this dress: the combination of soft lace with tulle, the unique peplum, and the delicate sweetheart neckline. She then looked at me and said “It’s perfect. If you love it, then you don’t need anyone else’s opinion.” In that moment, I promised her what she had been asking me to do, which was not to show anyone my dress except her, my brother, and my dad. It’s a bride’s dream to show off her dress to all of her family and bridesmaids, but this idea that I didn’t like at the time, but agreed to anyways to please my mom, ended up being one of the greatest decisions in my wedding planning process. My closest family, friends, and guests saw me in my wedding dress for the first time as I was walking down the aisle to my groom.

Tell us about your wedding ceremony. Our whole ceremony was thoughtfully planned out and we wanted it to move slowly, allowing us to take in each precious moment. We spent a lot of time with our officiant planning our ceremony and making sure that our main focus was not on us, but on Jesus. Jamie and I chose to have some of our close friends read two pieces of scripture in our wedding: Colossians 3:12-17 and Hosea 2:19-20. We felt these two verses truly captured the way that Jesus has loved us and the way that we hope to love each other: with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. We immediately knew that we wanted our best friend, Courtney Lancaster, to marry us. It was important to us to have someone marry us who truly knew us, separately and together, ugly and pretty, and who could stand up confidently share with our guests what we believed and why we had been called into marriage. Courtney has been my best friend since I was in sixth grade. She was my youth minister, Young Life leader, led Young Life with Jamie, and is the reason that I know Jesus the way I do today.

Since I had a very long aisle, it was important to me that my mom be able to see me walking down the aisle with my dad, so our officiant also asked our guests to wait for my mom to stand before they did. This was such a sweet moment not only for my mom, but also for me when we locked eyes and she watched my dad walk me down the aisle.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our own vows together, promising each other the same lines with a tiny bit of variation. My favorite lines were “By God’s grace, I will affirm and challenge you in becoming all that God has purposed you to be, and will serve Him together with you as one, giving Him the glory and honor.” In our ring vows, “I promise from this day forward, you will not walk alone. With these words, and with all my heart, I marry you and bind my life to yours.”

Our cocktail hour was held in the front of the RiverOaks house while their team transformed the backyard from the ceremony to the reception. Our passed hors d’oeuvres included Southern treats such as Lowcountry fried green tomatoes topped with pimento cheese, applewood smoked bacon-wrapped shrimp, and smoked maple leaf duck breast. We also served two signature cocktails: a Gulf oyster shooter and Charleston Cosmopolitan.

Jamie and I chose to do a private dinner on the dock so that we could enjoy our delicious meal together and alone before the party began. The view was incredible, and it was one of our favorite moments of the day. When planning our wedding, Jamie and I wanted to be intentional with planning specific times where we could be still with each other and take in all of the moments of our day. We did this at our private dinner, as well as during the communion in our ceremony and at the end of the night when we rode away on the boat before driving to our hotel. After we were finished eating, we joined our family and bridal party at the head table for the remainder of the meal.

Tell us about a way or ways you saved money or cut costs while planning. Flowers for sure! We repurposed the bridesmaids’ bouquets and ceremony florals as centerpieces at the reception and chose to decorate the tables with broken oyster shells instead of large floral arrangements. Because we decided to have our guests seated at long rectangle tables, it was important to us to have low and clean table decorations, in hopes that our guests would be able to have conversation instead of being blocked and distracted with large floral arrangements.

As a wedding photographer, one of my favorite moments of a wedding is the bride and groom’s exit, so I knew that I wanted to make mine extra special! Our exit started at the reception with the last song on the dance floor. We asked the band to play “Last Dance” by Donna Summer and had gold and white confetti shot over the dance floor. I then went and changed into a sparkly getaway dress and we walked through one very long and exciting line of sparklers onto the dock. Jamie and I climbed up in the tuna tower and exited on a beautiful sport fisherman boat. As we drove away, fireworks were shot in the sky!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your love story! Although Jamie and I went to high school together, we were not close friends, but we did have many mutual friends including my best friend, Mary Courtney. It wasn’t until the summer after my senior year (Jamie’s freshman year of college) that we started to spend more time together. When the summer had ended and it was time for me to go to the University of South Carolina for my freshman year of college, Jamie admitted to me that he liked me and wanted to know if we could continue to talk while I was gone. I said yes, and we talked almost every day, continuing to get to know each other. Soon enough, we started dating. After a year at the University of South Carolina, I felt that the Lord was calling me back to Raleigh, so I transferred to NC State. Jamie and I continued to grow closer to the Lord and each other, and the rest is history.
Tell us all about the proposal! After I got off work on Sunday, August 11, 2013, Jamie took me on a surprise date to the NC State Arboretum. We had been there a couple of times together and had been recently talking about going again, so I didn’t think anything of it. As we walked through the gardens, Jamie seemed a little rushed, but he’s normally always on a mission (much like me), so I politely asked him to slow down and walk with me. We walked aimlessly (or what I thought was aimlessly) through the gardens and stopped in the rose garden. He walked us over to “the spot,” turned me around with the biggest smile on his face, and said “Callie.” Immediately, I knew what was happening and began sobbing, saying “Is this really it?” Jamie and I had been dating for four years and had never said the words “I love you” (instead, we would say “I like you”), so I knew this moment was going to be one that I would remember forever. After saying many sweet words and telling me that he loved me and has loved me for a long time, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said YES! Jamie then told me that there was another surprise, and I turned around to see Nancy and Will Ray jump out of the bushes with their cameras. After many hugs and more tears, they took us around the garden to do a mini session as an engaged couple. It was probably one of the hottest days of the summer, but we didn’t care, because we were finally engaged! After we left the Arboretum, Jamie told me we were “going to get dinner,” but then, he took me back to my parents’ house, where all of our closest friends and family were, to celebrate!
When did y’all get married? May 3, 2014
Tell us all the basics of your wedding! Why did you choose these things? Did any of these details hold special meaning for you as a couple? Since I am a wedding photographer in Raleigh, NC, I am very familiar with all of the wedding venues and have worked many of them multiple times. I wanted to get married somewhere that I didn’t consider “my office” and that would be particularly special to us. I grew up and lived in Charleston for a brief time, and the water and beach have always been a special place to both Jamie and me, so when I texted him one day telling him “It would be a dream to be married in Charleston” and he responded with “I will marry you anywhere,” I knew we could make it happen. We began researching wedding venues in Charleston and through a friend’s recommendation, we found RiverOaks Charleston. From their website, it perfectly matched the vision in our minds–beautiful mossy oaks, the river, outdoor space, and a design process that allowed us to create something from scratch. It was the only venue I looked at, but I knew that it was where I wanted to marry Jamie. We wanted to cultivate real relationships with the people that we would be working so closely with on our most important day, and with Marianne and her team at RiverOaks, we had just that.
How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about marriage? Jamie and I will be living in Raleigh with our new silver lab puppy in our newly renovated home and continuing our dream jobs! Since we got engaged, Jamie and I have been most excited about living together, doing life together, reading the bible and praying together, and not having to part ways at night. Now that we are married, these are our favorite things about marriage! We are truly a team and each other’s biggest support!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Remember that your marriage is more important than your wedding. Make all of your wedding decisions together from deep within your heart. All of our wedding details and plans were thought through with deep meaning, which we believe made our event as special as it was. Lastly, journal throughout your engagement. I decided to keep a journal where I would write to Jamie periodically telling him how I was feeling and why I want to marry him. After nine months of filling that journal, I gifted it to him on our wedding day. It fills my heart with great joy when I come into the kitchen and see Jamie sitting at our kitchen island, reading his Bible and my journal early in the morning.

Photographer: Nancy Ray Photography / Videographer: Heart Stone Films / Venue, Planning, and Design: River Oaks Charleston / Design and Paper Goods: Rebecca Rose Creative / Florist: River Oaks Charleston and Deborah Gibson Design / Caterer: Cru Catering / Tent: Sperry Tents / Bar Service: Squeeze on Site / Wedding Cake Baker: Twenty-Six Divine / Bride’s Gown: “Confection” by Monique Lhuillier / Bridal Salon and Veil: Nitsa’s / Bride’s Shoes: Joie / Bride’s Bouquet Ribbons: Froufrou Chic / Bride’s Getaway Dress: French Connection / Bridesmaid Dresses: “Nadia” in Peacock Silk Chiffon by J. Crew / Hair Stylist: Hilary Mansell of Visage Salon / Makeup Artist: Elina Mille of Bellelina / Groom’s Tuxedo: Jos A. Bank / Groom’s Marlin Cufflinks: GameKeepersGifts / Groomsmen Suspenders: Hold Up Suspender Company / Suspender Monogramming: Monograms Inc. / Shotgun Shell Cufflinks: OruAka / Vintage Tabletop Rentals: Polished / Standard Rentals: Eventworks / Lounge Seating: Out of Hand Rentals / Specialty Linens: La Tavola / Calligraphy: Jill Velez Calligraphy / Rock Candy: Nuts.com / Transportation: Lowcountry Valet / Reception Band: Atlanta Pleasure Band / Ceremony Painter: Meredith Haake / Boat Transportation: Full Circle

Nancy Ray Photography, Heart Stone Films, Rebecca Rose Events, and RiverOaks Charleston are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Lacoya @ Hello Love Events reply

    Oh. My. Word – this is just precious! I love all of the heartfelt details like the handwritten vows, the journal, the fireworks (who doesn’t want fireworks?!). I especially love how they were bold about letting their guests know that their wedding day and, ultimately, marriage would be rooted in the spirit of the Lord. God bless you, both. Lovely wedding! XO

  2. avatar Classic Wedding Invitations reply

    Such a gorgeous wedding!

  3. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    Callie and Jamie’s day is my favorite wedding that I have ever seen. I am inspired by the way that they put the focus on Jesus, glorifying Him in all of it. Their intentionality in soaking up the day and being present is so wise, too. From the broken oyster shells to the beautiful bouquets, monogrammed suspenders, and peacock J. Crew gowns, I am smitten with every detail and am so glad y’all featured them!

  4. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #174 – Floridian Weddings reply

    […] stealing this couple's idea of a private dockside dinner before the reception, plus their modern black, white and teal stationery bits are gorg, […]

  5. avatar Inspiration No. 4 (Shades of Green) reply

    […] Sources from Left to Right: Getaway Car, Emerald Bridesmaids, Classic Green Tie, Magnolia Escort Cards, Candlelight Fireplace, Mint Juleps, Shaded Bridesmaids, […]

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    […] you so much for featuring our wedding and telling our love story. Be sure to see our blog feature here and the magazine […]

  7. avatar Tatyana Lee reply

    Love the color of the bridesmaids dresses!

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