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I’m convinced that deciding where to get married is either one of the easiest or one of the hardest wedding planning decisions. I relate so much to Erin and Sean’s decision to marry in Raleigh, where they would be starting their newlywed life, because Dave and I did the exact same thing! For their classic Southern celebration, Erin and Sean brought a little bit of their hometowns to Raleigh by filling their downtown venues with nautical touches that nodded to their childhoods spent on the coast. My favorite detail of Erin and Sean’s big day? While they were introducing loved ones to their new hometown, they were also giving family and friends mementos for their own homes: “We have our oyster shell place cards displayed on our coffee table, and we’ve visited with friends who kept their place cards and have them displayed in their homes, too!”

Thank you so much to Julie Livingston for sharing this lovely day with us!

My mom, grandmother, and mother-in-law were all with me when I found my dress. I had two appointments in Raleigh and ultimately found my dress at the last place we went, Maggi Bridal. I had no clue what I wanted, so I tried on quite a few dresses, but it ended up being so easy for me to pick the dress. My dress was just so elegant, timeless, and Southern, which is what I wanted our entire wedding day to exude! My favorite part of the whole day was seeing the reactions every time I came out of the dressing room. Of course, they loved every dress I tried on!

Describe your wedding flowers. We started out with the idea of using driftwood and oyster shells as part of our arrangements and decor, as both Sean and I grew up near the coast. Our florist was so on board with our ideas, and had so many ideas of her own. It was so much fun to collaborate with her and watch her bring our vision to life in ways we couldn’t have imagined! Our flowers had a coastal theme and were all shades of creams, ivories, and whites with lots of greenery. Anna, our florist, was also able to source snowball viburnum, which was used in our bouquets and floral arrangements. This was especially important to me, as my late grandmother had a snowball bush that she was so proud of, so including the snowball viburnum was such a special way to honor her. There was even a huge vase filled with it near the entrance to the Merrimon-Wynne House–it was one of my favorite pieces!

Everything from our venue, to the food we served, to some of the traditions we kept was Southern! We buried a bottle of bourbon, which Sean and his groomsmen dug up the morning of our wedding while getting ready. To keep Sean and I from seeing each other, my brother brought me a glass of the bourbon! In addition to the tradition, the food we served was very Southern: mini chicken and waffles, fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, and shrimp and grits!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Sean and I decided we wanted to get married in Raleigh. We loved Raleigh and it was where we would be starting our lives together as husband and wife, so we wanted to choose a venue that would show all of our guests just how great Raleigh and North Carolina are. We started going to Edenton Street United Methodist Church in downtown Raleigh during the summer we were engaged and we loved it. We instantly felt like we were part of a family at EUMC, so there was no question that we wanted to get married there. Our reception was at the Merrimon-Wynne House in downtown Raleigh. My mother and I went to visit the venue and as soon we we walked through the front door, we knew this was where we wanted the reception to be. The Merrimon-Wynne House was everything I could have dreamed of for our wedding–Southern, classic, gorgeous light…and the icing on the cake was that it was only a few blocks from our church and had plenty of room for all of our guests. We were able to get ready there too, and it was so fun to hang out at the house all day with some of my favorite women!

We used driftwood that my mother collected from the coasts of North Carolina and Virginia on the dinner tables, with larger pieces on the porch and the mantle. Anna did an amazing job in incorporating the driftwood into our floral arrangements. There was also a large piece of driftwood draped with greenery, flowers, oyster shells, and candles that hung over our sweetheart table–it was stunning, and now hangs over our couch in our home! We saved oyster shells from an engagement party that my aunt and uncle hosted for us, and from other oyster roasts we had as a family, and used those as place cards for our guests and throughout the decor. One and Only Stationers, who created our programs and other details, wrote each guest’s name on an oyster shell in navy ink. We have our oyster shell place cards displayed on our coffee table, and we’ve visited with friends who kept their place cards and have them displayed in their homes, too! I just loved how all of these pieces were gathered by my family and turned into special pieces that Sean and I have kept and incorporated into our home.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Time management! I work for a public accounting firm and my schedule at work is not light! Some days, I felt like I would never be able to plan a wedding because I just didn’t have time. Luckily, I was able to lean on my mom for a lot of help. I know she sacrificed a lot of time to help me plan the wedding of my dreams–but I don’t think either of us would have had it any other way!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t sweat the small stuff, because on the day of your wedding, you will forget all about the small stuff! Something will definitely happen or go wrong (like the electricity going out at church, in our case!), but at the end of the day, you will still be married and it will still be the best day ever!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. From Sean: Erin and I met at a JV football game in high school through mutual friends. I was playing for the varsity team at the time, but decided to stick around after practice to see some of the underclassmen play. I remember being introduced to Erin and immediately having this feeling that I knew she was the one. We started dating shortly after that memorable Thursday night some nine years ago. After enduring a few years in a somewhat-long distance relationship, with Erin at NC State and myself at East Carolina, I made the decision to move to Raleigh, where we call home today.
Tell us all about the proposal! I had just finished my Masters in Accounting at NC State University and was spending all summer studying for the CPA exam. I had just finished taking one of the exams and was meeting Sean for lunch at Player’s Retreat, near NC State’s campus. It was a gorgeous day, so after eating lunch, Sean suggested we go for a walk. We walked down Hillsborough Street towards NC State’s campus and ended up in the Court of Carolinas. As we walked out into the Court of Carolinas, I saw this little puppy next to the sidewalk sitting in a basket. I turned to Sean, a bit worried, and asked, “Is that a dog? Who would leave a puppy out here by itself in the middle of July?” Sean then proceeded to walk over to the puppy, picked him up, and said, “Erin, I’d like you to meet Murphy,” and put him in my arms. I was speechless! While I stood there wide-eyed over my new puppy, Sean turned around, grabbed the ring box out of the basket, got down on one knee, and proposed! We were both shaking and tearing up, we were so excited! It was one of the happiest days of my life–I got a fiancé and a puppy!
When did y’all get married? August 1, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows. Instead, we opted for the traditional vows, which still hold so much meaning to us and the commitment we made to each other.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My uncle Billy J read 1 Corinthians 13 and my Uncle Bill read Philippians 4:4-9. I love 1 Corinthians 13 because it not only tells how important love is in all aspects of our lives, but it also reminds us how to love one another. Philippians 4:4-9 is just a joyful passage and it was so wonderful to be reminded that the Lord was near, surrounding Sean and I, our families, and our friends with His love and grace. It was so special to have my uncles read these passages during our ceremony because I am so close to each of them, and Sean and I really look up to them!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I ended up with a multitude of borrowed, blue, old, and new items on my wedding day! I had a gold pin that my grandmother, her sister, my aunt, and my mother all wore when they were married. I also carried a handkerchief embroidered in blue given to me by a cousin on my mother’s side, who explained that all the women in our family had carried it, and I was to pass it on to the next cousin to get married. My mom and dad gave me a beautiful silver and diamond bracelet.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We attended a few marriage counseling sessions at Edenton St. United Methodist and with our pastor. Through these sessions, I realized more and more how ready and happy I was to be marrying this man.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are living and working in Raleigh with our dog, Murphy. So far, we have just enjoyed coming home to each other, running errands together, cooking dinner together, and enjoying all that Raleigh has to offer. Being big college football fans, we frequent the NC State and ECU football games, cheer for the Panthers, and can be found hanging out with each other or our dear friends and family every weekend. We are looking forward to sharing new experiences together–we’d love to travel around the US and abroad and have a few long weekend trips planned in the coming months!

Photographer: Julie Livingston Photography | Videographer: Jared Cook Films | Coordinator: Gather Together Events | Ceremony Venue: Edenton Street United Methodist Church | Reception Venue: The Merrimon-Wynne House | Florist: Simply Elegant Floral Designs | Dessert Baker: The Cupcake Shoppe | Caterer: Catering Works | Rentals: Party Reflections | Band: The Magic Pipers | Paper Products: One and Only Stationers | Bride’s Gown: Maggi Bridal | Hair Stylist: Parlor Blow Dry Bar | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Mary” Top and “Tulip” Skirt in Umber by LulaKate | Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids | Menswear: VIP Formal Wear | Koozies: Pink House Press | Transportation: Ecostyle and Classy Transportation

Gather Together Events is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Ashlee Little reply

    Thank you so much for sharing Erin + Sean’s wedding! We’re glad you loved the driftwood chandelier as much as we loved making it. :)

  2. avatar Brenda Parker reply

    This was one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever seen. I was not at the wedding but have seen all the photos. It is obvious a lot of attention was paid to every detail to achieve an elegant southern wedding with a very personal touch. I enjoyed reading the back story of all the details of their story.

  3. avatar Dana reply

    a puppy and a proposal! not bad!!!

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Caroline knew her beautiful lace gown was the one for her as soon as she saw it in the window of Maddison Row while she passed the store on her way home from work. She also knew right away that since one of her favorite things about weddings is how couples incorporate special touches throughout their day (us too!), it was important to her that on her own wedding day, meaningful details were woven in. One of her favorites was the ranunculus halo worn by their flower girl–it had seven individual blooms on it in memory of their seven late grandparents who weren’t physically present at their wedding. We also love the sweet favors that Caroline and her mama canned themselves, using a family friend’s pickle relish recipe. I’m sure guests loved being able to witness a new chapter in Caroline and Luke’s life, and then take home a piece of their family history!

Big hugs to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Courtney Dox for sharing this sweet day with us!

During our engagement, I was working in downtown Charleston. Every day, I would take the same route home from work, and luckily for me, Maddison Row was on that route. I loved getting stuck at the Maddison Row intersection and inching my car up as close to the storefront as possible to see the three beautifully dressed mannequins in the window. On my way home one day, I spotted my beautiful dress, pulled out my iPhone, and snapped a picture! I called and set up an appointment with my photo in hand! I tried on several dresses during my appointment, but the beautiful Monique Lhuillier I had spotted was the one!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: One of my favorite things about weddings is seeing all of the special touches incorporated throughout, so I knew that was important to me for my own wedding. One of our favorite details was the ranunculus halo worn by our flower girl in lieu of a traditional flower basket. The halo had seven individual ranunculus flowers on it in memory of our seven late grandparents who weren’t physically present for our special day.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I grew up in a United Methodist Church, but my home church was too small for the wedding size we were planning, so we chose a beautiful United Methodist Church downtown for our ceremony. We chose Lowndes Grove Plantation for our reception because it is a gorgeous Charleston venue that encompassed all of the Southern charm we were looking for to make our wedding incredible!

The biggest challenge we had to overcome while planning our wedding was trying to figure out ways to maximize our budget. We had a large guest list and wanted to be able to include everyone without having to compromise on too many of the personalized touches we knew would make our wedding day so special. We quickly realized the big difference between want and need, and we were able to find a perfect balance to create an amazing day!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? The entire wedding planning process helped us plan for our marriage. We learned so much about how to talk to each other during stressful times and how to peacefully resolve differences. In the end, all we wanted was for the other to be happy on that day, and we learned early on to remember that point for the duration of our marriage.

Our flowers were absolutely incredible! We really wanted vibrant pinks and corals and romantic, trailing greenery. The bouquets and arrangements included beautiful peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, and other seasonal blooms, accented with succulents, maidenhair fern, and trailing jasmine vine. The groom, groomsmen, and ring bearer boutonnieres were made of succulents, and our flower girl wore a beautiful ranunculus and greenery crown.

We couldn’t agree on a song for our first dance until one day when “Oh Girl” by The Chi-Lites came on my Pandora station, and I immediately knew it was the one! We thought it would be a perfect fit for our band and we loved the idea of a classic song that everyone in the crowd would know and could sway along to.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had a beautiful, traditional Southern wedding with the most picturesque setting and traditional Southern foods. One of my favorite Southern traditions we included was the guest favor passed at the reception–my mom and I made pear relish using a family friend’s recipe, packaged it in four ounce quilted Mason jars, and tied a tiny butcher’s twine bow around each lid. I loved the days spent in the kitchen canning with my mom to create such a heartfelt thank you to everyone who came to help us celebrate!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Luke began his pediatric residency in July 2011 at the Medical University of South Carolina, and my twin sister was working as nurse on the general pediatrics floor at the time. During his second year of residency, they were on an overnight shift and several people were chatting about significant others. Luke was asked if he was dating anyone, and when he said no, they immediately began brainstorming who they could set him up with. My sister mentioned she had a single twin sister and set us up on a blind date. We went out a few weeks later and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! On October 30th, 2013, I got off work early and arranged for afternoon manicures and pedicures with my sister. We went to our usual salon and had a fairly uneventful afternoon. When we got back to my house, my sister went home, and Luke was home from work, but acting suspiciously abnormal. He said he had made dinner reservations for us at one of our favorite restaurants for our weekly date night, so I went to my room to search for the perfect outfit for our night out. He came into the room and told me he’d surprised me and gone and picked up some new makeup I’d been wanting, and set it down on the dresser. He walked out of the room and I kept searching for clothes, only looking at the makeup several minutes later. When I opened the bag, there was a ring box inside and I yelled, “WHAT IS THIS?!” I quickly ran down the hallway to the living room, where Luke was waiting for me on one knee! I was so shocked, I threw the ring box at him, which he immediately opened and asked me to marry him! Of course, I said “YES!” to a man who not only knows what kind of makeup I wear, but also picks up hints that I’d been wanting new products and successfully surprised me with them!
When did y’all get married? May 23, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175-200
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? I absolutely love first look photos in wedding albums. The expressions and emotions are so genuine, and the excitement of the big day is captured forever! It was so hard for me not to want that moment captured for us, but we both strongly felt that we wanted our first reveal to be when I came down the aisle. I wanted the moment to be so pure that I even decided against bridal portraits, so my first time in my gown was on our wedding day.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we wanted to preserve the tradition of a United Methodist wedding and recited vows from the United Methodist Book of Worship.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Of course! My twin sister lent me her monogrammed handkerchief from her wedding two years prior. My paternal grandmother was the donor of something old, giving me her antique gold bangle bracelet to wear. My maternal grandmother passed 10 years prior to my wedding, but was there in spirit for my something blue, which was pale blue fabric from her wedding attire wrapped in lace from my wedding dress and wrapped around my bouquet. I considered my beautiful dress my something new!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We made decisions to select less expensive furniture options in some places, selectively place linens around the venue to provide optimal effect, and made other similar choices that would allow us to save small amounts across varying aspects of our wedding, adding up to bigger savings.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right now, we are just loving married life and building our life together! We want to see the seven wonders of the modern world and are looking forward to a little traveling before starting a family. We saw Chichen-Itza on our honeymoon and can’t wait for our next adventure!

Photographer: Courtney Dox / Planner: Ashley Wez of Boutique Planning / Ceremony Venue: Bethel United Methodist Church / Reception Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation / Florist: SYG Designs / Cake Baker: Jim Smeal Cakes / Rentals: Snyder Event Rentals and EventHaus / Lighting: Technical Event Company / Band: Heart to Heart / Paper Products: Studio R Design / Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Bride’s Accessories: Vera Wang / Hair Stylist: Christine Pointek of Allure Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Lula Kate / Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Event Design: JLV Creative / Transportation: ACW Limo and Absolutely Charleston / Linens: Nuage Designs

Courtney Dox and LulaKate are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    SO beautiful!! They are such a gorgeous couple, and that is a reception after my own heart–biggest heart eyes for that gray and white checkered dance floor and striped cake!

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Remember this adorable engagement session? Y’all loved Sara and Austin, and their bright, preppy style, as much as we did, and we’re delighted to share their wedding today! With the help of Rhiannon of Hey Gorgeous Events, Sara and Austin planned a colorful celebration in the heart of Texas, complete with Kate Spade-inspired details, plenty of gorgeous blooms, sweet nods to their families and Southern roots, and a few cameo appearances by their lovable bulldog. It’s impossible not to smile looking at these photos by Love, The Nelsons, and be sure to read about the heart that was poured into every detail of this joyful day!

Describe your wedding flowers. Mind-blowing. Beyond my wildest dreams. I don’t even know where to start. Rhi took a video of my first look at my bouquet–I was just so giddy and excited, and the squealing sound I made was embarrassing. There were flowers everywhere at our wedding–dahlias and hydrangeas and various kinds of garden and sweetheart roses were used throughout the floral elements as base blooms. Ranunculus, anemones, stock blooms, and sweet pea were used to create lush texture. Boxwood greens, laurel-like garlands, and small amounts of green jasmine vine were used throughout the event to add a touch of kelly green to the color palette, while lending to an understated preppy look. There were also pops of succulents and the most amazing accents of vibrant, wine-colored leaves! Rhi seriously outdid herself!

My something borrowed was my grandma’s bible, which my dad and I held together as we walked down the aisle. All the women on my dad’s side of the family have carried it with their bouquets. My something blue was a small piece of satin that had “love and loyally” embroidered on it with blue thread, sewn into the hem of my dress. The saying is the closing salutation used in formal correspondence with other members of my sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. My something old was a diamond earring (just one, because I lost the other as a child) given to me by my mom, which was a gift from her parents when she was young. I had the single diamond reset into a tragus earring. My something new was my amazingly sparkly Kate Spade glitter shoes! The second I saw them, I knew I had to have them for my wedding!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did! We really wanted to have those traditional words in our ceremony, like “to have and to hold” and “for as long as you both shall live,” but we also wanted to add our personal vows, so our ceremony ended up being a hybrid of both. Exchanging our vows was very emotional–I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room. I have to say, Austin totally knocked it out of the park! My favorite line from his was, “I promise to always bring you flowers when I am wrong and carry your shoes home when I am right.” It got a great reaction out of the crowd, because everyone knows I always end up complaining about my feet hurting due to my impractical choices of shoes.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. In March 2013, my mom and my sister came to help us pack and get ready to make our move from Florida to Texas, so we took advantage of the three of us being together and went to every bridal store in the Tampa Bay area. After trying on what felt like a million dresses, we were exhausted and I was discouraged. Wedding dress shopping took a backseat for about five months while we got settled in Texas. That September, my parents came for their first visit, and again, I had a jam-packed schedule of bridal appointments. From the beginning, I had said that I didn’t want strapless and I didn’t want mermaid. After yet another long day of trying on dresses, the sweet stylist at the boutique pulled a strapless mermaid and said, “Please just try it, you might be surprised.” Boy, was she right! I fell in love with the strapless mermaid sample that came as-is, needed to be altered into a sweetheart top, couldn’t be let out, and was totally outside what I ever imagined myself wearing on my wedding day.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our invitations were very traditional, with a twist. The front of the invitation was simple and understated, with traditional wording straight out of the Emily Post etiquette book, but the back had this beautiful floral pattern, designed by Lemon & Lavender, that was used throughout the wedding. Our food was very Southern–we served Texas BBQ, complete with beef brisket and sausage, mesquite-smoked chicken, macaroni and cheese, and jalapeño cornbread. People said it was the best wedding food they had ever had!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: So many details, so many favorites. The blush-colored sequin linens (Rhi was right, a tablecloth can make such a statement), the laser-cut cake topper, the boxwood Mr. & Mrs. chair swag, the programs that doubled as fans (because it was HOT and those came in handy for our guests), our hand-lettered chalkboard welcome sign, and clear plastic beer cups that incorporated our clever wedding hashtag: #mrmrslafinally (our last name is LaFaille, and after a four year, seven month, 30-day courtship, followed by a one year, nine month, 27-day engagement, we FINALLY got married!).

Our cake was so amazing! It was a three-tiered round cake with black and white stripes on the top two tiers and an all-white bottom tier. It was sitting on a base covered in beautiful bright green boxwood, had a small, perfectly-placed cluster of HGE blooms, and was topped with a gorgeous gold laser-cut cake topper that said “happily ever after.” We also had a groom’s cake in the shape of Howard’s Rock at Clemson University, Austin’s alma mater. The groom’s cake sat on a marble table that was adorned with all of Austin’s favorite things: hot tamales, cigars, golf balls/tees in big apothecary jars, an old gumball machine that was given to him by his late grandfather filled with peanut M&M’s (his grandpa’s favorite candy), a square gold vase that held the state flags of all the places Austin has lived, and even a ceramic figurine of an English bulldog.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in March 2008 while we were both vacationing in Negril, Jamaica. I was in my junior year of college and on a trip with two friends–girls only, relaxation required, and no drama allowed. Austin was on his high school senior trip with 15+ friends–last hurrah, no rules, and a whole lot of memories to make. It was hard not to notice them. We were officially introduced after running into each other on the beach. Our groups exchanged friendly conversations and hollow declarations of meeting up again. It wasn’t until a fortuitous encounter at the hotel bar that same evening that we started to recognize there was a magnetism that existed between us. We had our first kiss in a Jamaican discotheque, and thanks to the sheer scandal of this budding relationship, we have a picture of our first kiss. We spent the rest of the week getting to know each other and hoping it would never end. Once the trip was over, the reality of the situation set in. I lived in Colorado. Austin was in South Carolina. It all seemed crazy, but we knew we had a connection and we knew we wanted to make it work. So, a zillion dollars in plane tickets that first year while I was still in Colorado, a lot of miles on our cars once I moved to West Virginia, four years of college for Austin, three moves, and one ornery-but-lovable bulldog later, here we are–starting our lives in Texas. We couldn’t be happier or more excited to finally be husband and wife.
Tell us all about the proposal! It was the week of Thanksgiving 2012 and my parents and sister were visiting us in Florida. On Saturday morning, the only thing on the agenda for the day was decorating our Christmas tree, which I really wanted to do while my family was still there. Since decorating a tree and dropping people off at the airport hardly requires getting ready, I was going to go sans shower, which was met with extreme opposition by my sister and mother–so much so that they ended up convincing me that I smelled and I reluctantly heeded their demands that I get ready. Once everyone was showered and looking cute (unnecessarily, in my mind), we began to decorate our Christmas tree. True to form, The Colonel (my daddy) was filming the whole event on his iPad. We emptied four boxes of ornaments and topped it off with a giant gold glittery bow (obvi). My parents said, “Okay, now let’s light it up and get a picture of y’all in front of your first Christmas tree.” We turned the lights on as I hammed it up in front of the camera, and then Austin got down on one knee in front of everyone and said, “Sara Ashley Lucas, I love you more than anything in this world–will you marry me?”
When did y’all get married? September 20, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 90
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My Uncle Steve officiated the wedding; he also married my parents 35 years prior. That was really special to us. We took his standard ceremony and made a few tweaks here and there to put our own stamp on it. My mama loves 1 Corinthians 13, so we spilt that up between two of my sorority sisters and they each read a portion. It was really special to be able to involve them in such an intimate way!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. My daddy and I walked down the aisle to “Shape of Us” by Ian Britt. I did struggle a bit with whether or not I should use the original version with the words or find an instrumental version. I took my wedding planner’s advice to just do what felt right to me and not to worry about what people would think, so I ended up using the original. After all, it’s the words that made my first listen of the song so profound. A crowd favorite at our reception was “Country Roads” by John Denver. It was the last song of the night and such a perfect way to pay tribute to West Virginia. My parents both grew up there, we still have a lot of family there (many who were in attendance), and I even lived there for three years right after college. A part of my heart will always be in the “Wild and Wonderful” state of West Virginia!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We loved the concept of juxtaposition; the idea of our guests eating good ol’ Southern BBQ off of gold-rimmed china with gold flatware was so perfect! The whole BBQ notion lent itself seamlessly to a buffet rather than a plated dinner, which is inherently less expensive. I mean, let’s be honest, everyone wants to serve up their own helping of macaroni and cheese!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding planner–not just any wedding planner, but one that shares your aesthetic and style, one that understands your vision, and one that you can be honest with. Hands down, the best investment. I would have lost my mind without Rhi! And make sure you “click” with your photographer. Feeling comfortable in front of Shalyn and Drew was really important to us!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We have planned so much of everything up to this point, so we are really just looking forward to living and not planning! We are excited to continue to grow as individuals and as a couple. And eventually, grow our family! But for now, Austin, Rumpelstiltskin, and I are looking forward to a long weekend cuddling on the couch!

Photographer: Love, The Nelsons / Planner and Florals: Hey Gorgeous Events / Venue: Vista West Ranch / Wedding Cake: Classic Cakes by Lori / Caterer: PoK-e-Jo’s / Rentals: Premiere Events, Loot Vintage Rentals, Whim Event Rentals / DJ: Complete / Paper Products: Lemon + Lavender / Calligraphy: Laura Hooper Calligraphy / Bride’s Gown: “Sorento” by Ines Di Santo / Bride’s Veil: Sara Gabriel / Bride’s Sash: Venust Bridal Design / Bride’s Bracelet and Shoes: Kate Spade / Bride’s Garter: Fallen Star Couture / Bride’s Earrings: Nicole Miller via Rent the Runway / Hair Stylist: Mindy Fuller / Makeup Artist: Makenzi Laine / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: LulaKate / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse / Bridesmaids’ Monogrammed Chambray Shirts: Crystal Faye / Monogrammed Bouquet Ribbons: Oatmeal Lace / Flower Girl’s Tutu: Tutu Girl / Dog’s Bow Tie: Mia’s Closet

Vista West Ranch is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
29 Comments
  1. avatar Zookbinders reply

    What a gorgeous bride, love the earrings. The wedding cake is also beautiful! Love the stripes and the Happily Ever After on top.

  2. avatar Bradley James reply

    This is incredibly stunning! Love everything about this wedding, impeccable job Rhi and Shalyn.

  3. avatar Julie reply

    That place setting is gorgeous!

  4. avatar Shalyn Awesomesauce Nelson reply

    YOU GUYS ARE MY FAVORITE MUFFINS IN THE WORLD! Thank y’all for the beautiful feature! Truly wish y’all lived close so I could hug all of your necks! <3

  5. avatar MaryIsabel reply

    Love the Ines Di Santo dress!

  6. avatar Dana reply

    love her shoes, the pink suspenders, the flowers, and the ceremony arch!

  7. avatar Amy reply

    Just lover-er-ly all the way around! Best wishes to the bride and groom

  8. avatar Amy reply

    Love the pink, suspenders, dresses, and the bride, how gorgeous and the smiles, best part!

  9. avatar The Fabulous Five – Spunky Sapphire Events reply

    […] Spade-inspired wedding designed by the always fabulous Rhi from Hey Gorgeous Events and featured on Southern Weddings.  That sentence is just a plethora of incredible people with missions that mean so […]

  10. avatar jacin reply

    that arch is insane! so gorgeous.

  11. avatar Jadzia reply

    The flowers!!!!!!! Truly spectacular!!

  12. avatar Liz reply

    This was such a beautiful wedding! Amazing job Shay and Rhi!!

  13. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    The floral arrangement on the arch at the reception is stunning. There are so many details to love at this wedding: the bulldog with the bowtie, the circle twine lights at the reception, the hot pink suspenders, and her shoes to name a few!

  14. avatar Southern Weddings Magazine – A great resource for planning your wedding | Eloquent Event reply

    […] Click here to read the full post. […]

  15. avatar Friday Five – Fabulous Floral Altars – You Mean The World To Me : You Mean The World To Me reply

    […] Image: Love, The Nelsons via Southern Weddings […]

  16. avatar Hey Gorgeous, The Blog – Sara + Austin {HGE Wedding with Love, The Nelsons} reply

    […] The beautiful photographs were taken by our dear friends Shay and Drew of Love, The Nelsons. Simply put; they are one of a kind. Enjoy some of my absolute favorites from this special celebration! Oh! And you may have caught this wedding over on Southern Weddings where it was featured in November. It was very exciting to see such this wedding grace the pages of a publication both the bride and I so admire. Check it out here. […]

  17. avatar Arche fleurie – Floral arch | Happy Chantilly reply

    […] Photo : Love, The Nelsons Flowers:  Hey Gorgeous Events via Southern weddings […]

  18. avatar Picture-Perfect Wedding Ceremony Alter Ideas – MODwedding reply

    […] Featured Photography: Love, The Nelsons via Southern Weddings […]

  19. avatar 26 Floral Wedding Arches Decorating Ideas – Deer Pearl Flowers reply

    […] / Shaun Menary Photography via weddingchicks Photography: Love, The Nelsons via Southern Weddings Photography: Gaby J Photography via ohlovelyday / michaelandannacosta.com via SMP […]

  20. avatar gorgeous wedding ceremony arch! – Wedding Mo reply

    […] Via: southernweddings.com […]

  21. avatar Wedding Ideas: 21 Gorgeously Inspiring Cerermonies – MODwedding reply

    […] Featured Photography: Love, The Nelsons via Southern Weddings […]

  22. avatar 21 Gorgeously Inspiring Wedding Ceremony Ideas | crazyforus reply

    […] Featured Photography: Love, The Nelsons via Southern Weddings […]

  23. avatar Ceremony Arch Inspiration Ideas | Tasteful Tatters reply

    […]        source                                                                     source […]

  24. avatar Long Hot Pink Bridesmaid Dresses ⋆ Wedding Ideas By Color reply

    […] via […]

  25. avatar Hey Gorgeous, The Blog – Au Revoir 2014 reply

    […] most favorite floral creations of all time and pinched ourselves when the gals at Southern Weddings featured the event. I also got to hug this girl. More than once. And our Andrews finally got to hug it out. […]

  26. avatar The timeless of Spring Wedding Ideas reply

    […] Photo : southernweddings […]

  27. avatar Wedding Arch Ideas You'll Fall In Love With | The Koch Blog reply

    […] Once Wed 2/ Elizabeth Anne Designs 3/ Southern Weddings 4/ Southern Weddings 5/ Elizabeth Anne Designs 6/ Wedding […]

  28. avatar Hey Gorgeous, The Blog – Kristina + Josh Part One reply

    […] has told me, Henry even has a bow tie to wear down the aisle. Sara and Austin from my recent Texas wedding also had a bulldog ring bearer! I think I have a very specific type of client don’t you […]

  29. avatar Ideas para bodas al aire libre reply

    […] Foto 1 vía Story Mix, foto 2 vía Story Mix, foto 3 vía Southern Weddings, foto 4 vía Colin Cowie Weddings, foto 5 vía Happy Wedd. Banquete: Foto 1 vía Pinterest, foto 2 […]

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