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I can spot a Louisiana wedding from a mile away! There is something so Southern and classic about them, but at the same time, a sense of modern chicness! That makes sense, right y’all? Maybe it’s Mia’s adorable short hair/birdcage veil combo or their use of succulents, but Mia and Ian’s wedding is a perfect example! To bring in that sweetly Southern feel? The wraparound porch at The Audubon Institute, of course! I don’t know many Southerners who don’t love gorgeous wraparound porches as a backdrop for celebrations with friends and family. I know I’m smitten!

Big hugs to Ms. Paige Reaux for sharing their day with us!

I did all of my dress shopping in one day because Ian’s mom had come down from Indianapolis to be with me while I tried dresses on. She, my mom, my MawMaw, and most of my bridesmaids were able to come. When I finally found my dress, I knew it was mine because I just wouldn’t take it off! I think I wore it for over an hour in the store while my bridesmaids and our mothers started trying on their dresses as well. I’m sure we drove the sweet shop crazy, but it was a very memorable day.

Thanks to Pinterest, I had been obsessed with having succulents as my wedding flowers since before we started planning. I ordered 100 succulent clippings, and together with my mom, I handmade each of the boutonnieres. We also wired succulents to insert into bouquets of fresh flowers for my bridesmaids. I ordered my bouquet from Succulently Urban, and it was more than I could have hoped for! I had so much help with the bridesmaids’ bouquets from my bridesmaid, Stephanie. Two days before the wedding, we went to Whole Foods and picked out fresh flowers to arrange. They included snapdragons, mini hydrangeas, and some berries. We arranged them with the succulents and ended up making really amazing bouquets. I couldn’t have done it without her.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? At first, we didn’t want to do a first look, but after talking to Paige and discussing it with Ian, we decided a first look was more fitting for us. We really wanted to have that time together before the ceremony to just soak everything in. I’m really glad we did it that way. All I wanted to do all day was to see Ian. After I finally saw him, everything was smooth sailing, and it really did make our wedding extremely relaxing and enjoyable.

We did not write our own vows, but we did exchange letters during our first look. We decided to do this as a way to make our vows more private. We spent our first year of dating apart because Ian was getting his master’s degree in London. We wrote letters to each other for most of that time, and having that vow-like gift at our wedding was really important to us.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I think that the wraparound porch on the clubhouse was a huge part of what made our wedding feel Southern. My whole family is from the South, and I have many memories of just sitting on my MawMaw’s front porch, relaxing and talking. After we saw the venue, I remember calling my mom, and when I told her about the porch, she told me that it was perfect since we are “porch people.” I knew it was the place for us.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our cake was a white cake with raspberry cream cheese filling. The design was very simple, and our baker added succulents to each tier. We had it displayed on a cut of cypress tree wood instead of a cake stand. I loved that touch because that was a cut from a tree that used to stand in my Oma’s (my grandmother’s) yard.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at Louisiana State University. I was a freshman moving into the dorms and Ian was a group leader who was helping to welcome students. My roommate, Stephanie, was in his group, and since I though Ian was cute, I tagged along with them a bit. After that, Ian and I didn’t see each other again until we took a class in the Honors College called FOCUS, which centered around a summer program that helped students from under-resourced schools in Baton Rouge. He taught philosophy and I taught dance. We did this for two summers, and slowly over that time, we got to know each other. He finally asked me out during the second summer!
Tell us all about the proposal! On our first real date, Ian came over to my apartment and cooked for me. Ever since then, cooking and eating together has been one of our favorite things to do. For his proposal, Ian invited my sister Amy over and said he wanted to try making a big, multi-course meal. Ian cooked pretty much the whole time, while Amy and I hung out. I later found out that Ian was too nervous to talk, so he just kept busy cooking! The meal was made up of courses that reminded him of dishes we had made together or other memories we had shared. Finally, he brought out the last “course,” which was the ring.
When did y’all get married? June 6, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We did have one short reading at our wedding. Early in our relationship, Ian had told me about this passage from Plato’s Symposium: “And so, when a person meets the half that is his very own…then something wonderful happens: the two are struck from their senses by love, by a sense of belonging to one another, and by desire, and they don’t want to be separated from one another, not even for a moment.” That short sentiment really struck both of us, so we decided to include it in our ceremony.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I knew that having a June wedding in the South meant a possibility of rain. The wedding was on a beautiful day, but it did drizzle from the moment our officiant started speaking until the moment we walked back up the aisle. I remember finally getting to Ian at the end of the aisle and we just laughed as the rain started. While it was something I had dreaded, it ended up making the ceremony even more memorable.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are moving to Chapel Hill, North Carolina! Ian is going to start his Ph.D. in Philosophy in the fall. The move has us really excited and we are looking forward to exploring a new part of the country together. We are also taking care of our new puppy, Gumbo! :)

Photographer: Paige Reaux Photography / Venue and Caterer: Audubon Park Clubhouse and Oak Grove / Bride’s Bouquet: Succulently Urban / Wedding Cake: The Sweet Life Bakery / Ceremony Music: Michael Legendre / Reception Band: Royal Dukes Band / Bridal Salon: Southern Bridal / Paper Product Design: Amy Ferriss / Paper Product Printing: Vistaprint / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Dessy Group / Groom’s Suit: Banana Republic / Groom’s Shirt: J. Crew / Groom’s Shoes: Johnston and Murphy / Men’s Ties: The Tie Bar / Macarons: Sucre

marissa Written with love by Marissa
7 Comments
  1. avatar chapel2chapel reply

    LOVE that they’re moving to Chapel Hill soon! Knew there was something about this couple that we liked the moment we saw this post! :-)

  2. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    So so sweet! And I love her bouquet!

  3. avatar Loverly reply

    This is so charming! Love the clean and elegant color choices!

  4. avatar Alix Hooker reply

    i love the bridesmaids dresses!! It says the dressy barn but I can’t find that color? What is it called?!

  5. avatar Eleni Love4Wed reply

    I just love the bridal bouquet with succulents!

  6. avatar Amanda reply

    What is the color of the bridesmaids dresses? I can’t find that color anywhere!

  7. avatar Kristen Southworth reply

    Beautiful! What is the style and color name for the bridesmaid dresses? I am looking for something identical but can’t seem to find it on the Dessy Group website.

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Weddings are always special and beautiful, but they are also so, so much more than that. They bring families together and begin new ones. They join two people who have chosen each other, over anyone else in the world. And in the midst of suffering, they are a much-needed source of happiness and comfort. Joan and Matt fell madly in love on their first date, and after months of Matt planning a proposal, there was an unexpected tragedy in Joan’s family. Her family urged him to go through with his plan anyway, and he asked Joan to marry him. As you can see in these beautiful pictures from their wedding, sure enough, their beautiful day was full of Georgia sunshine and the sweetest joy. We are so inspired by their love story!

Thanks so much to Soli Photography for sharing Joan and Matt’s wedding with us!

Matt and I met while working at a newspaper in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was a reporter and he came to the paper to help run the magazine division. He had seen me around the office and was trying to find a way to meet me. He later told me he thought I had one of the most beautiful smiles he’d ever seen. When we ended up in a meeting together, he fumbled around with what to say and acted awkward, but I liked him anyway. We had a lot in common, and I was taken by his vivacious personality and style. I asked him if he wanted to get coffee and he said he wanted to get drinks instead. We went to sushi and he told me his whole life story before the check came. We didn’t want the night to end. So, we went to a historic riverboat on the Tennessee River and drank Jack Daniels until we couldn’t see straight. We made friends at the bar with a blind guy and two Scottish bikers. We fell madly in love that night and we haven’t been apart since.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my wedding dress at Boutique Couture, a wonderful designer shop in downtown Chattanooga. It was love at first sight on one of my first trips shopping. All lace, fitted, with a heart shaped neckline and a glamorously long train. My mom told me I would be crazy not to get it, so I did.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We went traditional and I don’t really regret it. When Matt saw we walking down the aisle, he cried and cried. It was such genuine emotion, and it felt so special on our wedding day. Matt just loves surprises, so having see me for the first time at the altar felt like the ultimate in surprises.

We wrote our own vows, and it was what most people said was their favorite part of our wedding. We listened to our pastor, who said we should say what we wanted, but that we needed to remember the traditions, too. In Matt’s vows, he told a beautiful story of when he first realized I would be his wife. Before I read mine, I told him I was shocked he had written his so well. I thought I was supposed to be the writer in our family.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The barn and the farm were our favorite elements. Matt grew up on a dairy farm and my family raised cattle. It meant a lot to us to have the wedding near animals and on scenic land. I dreamed my whole life of dancing under string lights in an open barn with the hay bales stacked above.

Our wedding shouted the South from beginning to end. We had horses and goats in the fields. The party was inside a traditional old barn. We hung lace doilies that my mother in law made. We used old depression glass and milk glass to decorate. We ate BBQ and country pies and danced to my favorite country music. I wore boots under my beautiful wedding dress. And I tried to be the kind of Southern bride my grandmother would be proud of. I went to every table and thanked every guest for their attendance.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a small wedding cake decorated with billy balls and succulents, as well as several country pies. The groom’s cake was chocolate peanut butter and comic themed. Our desserts were so popular that we didn’t even get a piece of anything.

Tell us all about the proposal! Matt had been planning the proposal for months when our family received tragic news: my sister Dalta had been killed in a car accident a week before Matt planned to ask me to marry him. He had just traveled to my home in Birmingham, Alabama to ask my sisters and parents for their permission. We were devastated, but he was my rock. My father told him to go through with his plan, despite the pain we were suffering. Just 11 days after my sister passed away, he got down on one knee in front of my entire family and a group of close friends. He had made signs to put along the road to lead me to him and had my family in on his plan. Each sign detailed a beautiful moment in our relationship. Then the last one said “The Most Beautiful Moment Ever” and the arrow pointed to him holding a sign saying “This Moment.” For the first time in days, I saw my parents smile again. It was bittersweet, but I was overjoyed that the man of my dreams was asking me for forever. I jumped on top of him when I saw the ring. It was huge!
When did y’all get married? April 13, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Over 200
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Music is important to me and Matt, so we wanted our selections to be songs that meant a lot to us. We love Peter Cetera because his songs are so dramatic and Matt loves “Karate Kid: Part Two.” Our first dance was to “Glory of Love.” We learned a ballroom dance to go with it. I also sang Garth Brooks’ “To Make You Feel My Love,” because I think it is one of the most wonderful expressions of true love.
Describe your wedding flowers. The flowers included garden roses and ranunculus in yellow, orange and light pink. The whole bouquets with greenery looked untamed, like they were just picked from a field.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The hardest thing about planning the wedding was trying to grieve the loss of my sister at the same time.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I am most thankful for our wedding planners, the girls at Homespun Weddings and Events, our photographer at Soli Photography, and our florist at The Daily Flower. They really brought our imagination to life and had fun in the process.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The best moment was standing beside Matt during the ceremony, seeing his excitement and joy, hearing his vows, and kissing him for the first time as his wife.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I would say go with your gut. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing or thinking. Stay true to your vision as a couple. Don’t get too caught up in comparing your wedding to other weddings. Things won’t go perfectly, but it will be the imperfections that bring humor to you later. Soak in every minute, because the day will speed by so fast.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Everyone told Matt and I that the first year would be terrible, but we are loving every minute. Right now, we are thinking about our career futures and where we want to live next. I am trying to talk Matt into getting a beagle puppy.

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Those pies look delicious. I also love her amazingly sunny bouquet + those pretty bridesmaid dresses!

  2. avatar Mary reply

    Love her dress!! Maybe because it’s lunchtime, but my mouth is watering over those pies now! Such a beautiful wedding.

  3. avatar Dana reply

    this wedding has so many beautiful details! i love it!!

  4. avatar Featured: Matt & Joan – Southern Weddings | Soli Photography Featured: Matt & Joan – Southern Weddings | Chattanooga Photographer reply

    […] and Joan’s wedding was chosen by Southern Weddings Blog to be featured, oh my stars! I’m in love with the ladies at SWM and everything they’re […]

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It’s clear from the start that Chrissy + Tate’s wedding is different. From their Dixie Gin venue to their terrarium centerpieces and deer skull-flanked sweetheart table, we love how these newlyweds weren’t afraid of going a little outside the box with their ideas.

“Shortly after we got engaged, Tate’s dad said, “We’re really excited to see what y’all do for your wedding. We have a feeling it’s going to be really…different.” We’re not a run-of-the-mill pair, and we weren’t shy with adding in our taste and personality into the day. People came up to us throughout the night saying, ‘This is the most unique and fun wedding I’ve ever attended! I cried during your ceremony more than at my child’s!'”

We might have shed a few tears of our own, especially after seeing Chrissy + Tate’s sweet-as-pie dance photos. Be prepared, y’all!

Tell us a bit about your first dance. We danced to “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds. I’ve been a fan of his since high school, and the first time I heard that song, I knew I would dance to it at my wedding. Luckily Tate also loves the song and agreed! He doesn’t realize this, but I purposely snuck it into a playlist on one of our first road trips to see if he’d react at all to the lyrics. I remember him reaching over to squeeze my hand after it played and I thought, “Yes!!!” During our first dance, every guest gathered around us in a circle. It was really lovely.
What song did you use for your Father-Daughter dance? We danced to a cover of “Baby Mine” from Dumbo. There wasn’t a dry eye in sight.

What was the design inspiration for your reception? When coming up with a design concept for the reception (and the wedding overall), I tried to think of it in the same way I would decorate our home. Lots of texture, depth, variety, and a homey, vintage feel. Our families and friends were so helpful with setting up the day before, it could not have happened without them!

What advice would you give to someone planning his or her wedding? Planning a wedding is very time consuming. I felt like I had two full-time jobs! Know that everyone wants to help you, and chances are, if you ask, they will. When dress shopping with your Mom (or anyone, really), keep in mind that she may have imagined you in a gown that is completely different from what you would like to wear. Try on a gown of her choice anyway, if for no other reason than to see her smile. Etsy is your new best friend! Not everyone will be able to attend your wedding, but try not to take it personally. Don’t be afraid to take risks! Our save the dates were magnets with the two of us making ridiculous faces and the caption, “Things are getting serious.” At first our families were apprehensive, to say the least. As everyone received theirs in the mail, they called our parents laughing, saying how much they loved having such a cute picture on their fridge!

I’m not much of a flower girl and the venue had so much character that I didn’t want to distract from its natural beauty. Rather than traditional centerpieces, we made terrariums filled with moss and succulents and placed them on a tree stump in the center of each table. We bought house numbers from a home improvement store and glued them to bricks for table numbers. To help the space feel lush, we found squares of moss online and used them as placemats, as well as a moss aisle runner for the ceremony. We also filled blue mason jars with cotton burs, and placed flameless tea lights inside to create a soft glow. Our place settings had gold charger plates topped with a dinner and salad plate made from bamboo and simply folded floral napkins that Tate and I made as a DIY project. We also used the tables as an opportunity for a unique guest book activity: wedding Mad Libs! On a trip together to upstate New York, we played Mad Libs for hours. It is yet another example of how we added bits and pieces of moments in our relationship into our wedding day. Everyone filled out the cards while they waited their turn for dinner, which also made for a fun activity.

Heather of Social Bites of Ruston made us an absolutely delicious white cake with vanilla icing. Of the two of us, Tate has the sweet tooth, so I left choosing a cake up to him. Cake tasting day was probably his favorite day in the whole process! We also found the cutest cake topper on Etsy. It’s a giraffe bride and groom and is a nod to an inside joke we share about giraffes. It was another small way we were able to incorporate our personalities into the day.

Where did you sit? Our head table was a tufted settee surrounded by candles and family heirlooms with two vintage TV trays we found online as a table. It was very comfortable and really cute! The deer skulls on the wall behind us were back from Tate’s hunting days – we have one on the wall at home, too.
What kind of food did you serve during cocktail hour and dinner? Amanda and the staff at Flour Child Fine Foods made the best meal I have ever had at a wedding. For hors d’oeuvres, we had champagne marinated shrimp with spicy remoulade, assorted cheese, and crudités served in cucumber cups. For dinner, we had fried chicken and waffles, pulled pork sliders, bacon-wrapped quail over truffle mac and cheese, cheese grits, a mixed greens salad, and freshly made strawberry lime mojitos. At the end of the night, they brought out individual cups of French fries. It was all absolutely scrumptious!
What was the scariest moment? Tate’s mom warned me early on that no matter how much you plan, something will go wrong at the wedding. With that in mind, the scariest moment was probably when my friends sent me a text saying the bus we hired was 45 minutes late, and a large group of people had to beg the hotel to bring them in their airport shuttle. Luckily, the hotel agreed and everyone made it on time. In general though, our shuttle rental was not reliable, which was frustrating.
Did you toss the garter or bouquet? I completely forgot about purchasing a garter, so we only did a bouquet toss. It was fun! Ironically, the two friends next to my friend who caught the bouquet are now engaged.
Did you include any Southern traditions in your wedding? We had a Groom’s cake, and Tate’s dad was his best man. Tate and his fellow Ole Miss graduates gathered in a circle and yelled Hotty Toddy.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when planning your wedding? Living in another state was tough as it wasn’t easy to see how it would all come together until it actually did. We rented a storage unit and would ship items there in advance, which was really helpful. When marrying in another location, I really recommend getting there at least a week ahead of time to make sure everything is good to go.
What range did your budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
Did you take a honeymoon? If so, where? Rather than have a gift registry, we registered for our honeymoon. Let me tell you, it was so much better than a new blender! We spent 16 days traveling through Southern Italy and it was nothing short of incredible.
Best advice anyone gave you on planning a wedding? Invest in a great photographer, as they are worth every penny. I immediately flipped upon seeing Courtney Dellafiora’s work online. Her talent, style, and eye as an artist is so unique—and you can tell photography is her calling. We were so happy she was available on our wedding day! She captured all of the emotion and moments beautifully. We first saw the wedding photographs while on our honeymoon and we both gasped — they are stunning. We cannot thank or recommend her enough.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
4 Comments
  1. avatar Ben reply

    What a cool reception space! Actually, love all the details of their day!

  2. avatar Shelby reply

    That picture of her & her daddy dancing brings tears to my eyes! What a special moment captured so beautifully!

  3. avatar Robe de mariée reply

    Is it a country wedding?

  4. avatar Elegant Wedding Invitations reply

    A really breath-taking wedding. Loving all the details and the theme. Beautiful and emotional father-daughter picture.

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