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I imagine that a thunderstorm-filled wedding morning or a melting cake would be pretty upsetting for many couples, but for today’s Charleston bride and groom, these things were just part of the beautiful story that made up their May 31 wedding day. Thanks to their talented planner, Callie of Ooh! Events, Dotty and Matt knew they didn’t need to stress about a thing. Instead, they focused completely on enjoying their sweet, traditional ceremony, hosting their 300 guests at their classic tented reception, and soaking in every second of becoming husband and wife!

Thank you so much to Shannon Michele for sharing this lovely wedding with us!

My mom and I spent a few weekends visiting bridal boutiques around Charleston, finding some lovely gowns, but nothing that just felt right. Finally, at Jean’s Bridal in Mount Pleasant, I tried on a Paloma Blanca sample. It fit like a glove, was the perfect princess dress without a single bit of embellishment, and it had pockets–I knew I had found my dress. The color is called “natural,” which tends more towards an ivory shade, and to say I adore it would be an understatement. We ordered it along with a coordinating veil, and when it came in, all it needed was a bustle. Talk about meant to be!

I walked down the aisle to Wagner’s Bridal Chorus, and we walked back up the aisle to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. All of the songs we selected for the ceremony were very traditional and were gorgeously played by the Chamber Players.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Literally all morning and day long, we had torrential downpours, flooding, and thunderstorms. This was a little unnerving for us, having an entirely outdoor wedding (tented, but with this rain, we would have all been soaked). I knew that Callie would take care of it, no matter what the solution ended up being. Right around the time we were supposed to take photos, the rain let up. The photos with the grayish sky are gorgeous, and the cooler temperature was an amazing side effect. The rain letting up at the same time I finally saw Matt was my most memorable moment.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Shrimp and grits, an obvious Southern delicacy, was one of our stations, but we also spiced things up with a fajita station. My husband was a Sigma Nu at the University of South Carolina, and at all of their weddings, they take over the stage to sing a Hank Williams, Jr. song. Fraternity men singing Hank Williams, Jr.? What’s more Southern than that! Probably our favorite Southern detail from our wedding was our guest book. We opted for an 8-foot joggling board painted in Charleston Green for our guests to sign with metallic markers. It turned out better than I could have ever hoped!

Our wedding cake was a four-tiered, square, white cake with alternating layers of lemon and raspberry filling. It was iced in ivory buttercream and adorned with white gum paste magnolias…initially. In hindsight, buttercream outside on May 31 was not the best decision, and luckily, my wedding planner, Callie, came to the rescue and adorned the cake with some additional fresh flowers to hold it together long enough for us to have our cake cutting!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had East Coast Party Band (a fabulous beach music band) provide our reception music, so we knew we wanted our first dance to be a shag song. We decided on “How Sweet it is (To Be Loved by You).” My father and I danced to “My Girl,” which held special significance to us because he used to sing it to me quite frequently when I was a little girl (I am one of five, the youngest, and the only girl).

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our mutual friend (and my maid of honor) introduced us. She had known Matt for several years, and she and I had been friends for about a year. We finally ended up single long enough for her to introduce us, and she jumped at the opportunity. We officially met (after she had already shared his life story with me) at Party at the Point, an outdoor summer concert series, which is held at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina.
Tell us all about the proposal! Matt planned a trip for us to Savannah last October, the weekend after I had a work conference. I was completely exhausted, but excited for what I assumed would be our proposal weekend (we had never had a weekend getaway before this one that didn’t involve a tent and hiking too far). I planned every outfit I packed so that I would look perfect for the main event. After a while, I convinced myself that it actually wasn’t happening, and I texted my mom to let her know that we were still having a great time. After dinner, I changed into a t-shirt and athletic shorts and piled my hair on top of my head (since I knew that this wasn’t the proposal weekend after all), and we enjoyed wine on the balcony and admired the view of Savannah across the river. There was a wedding party wrapping up in the courtyard below, and I told Matt that it was a good thing the bride and groom were already gone, because no one looked like they were having much fun. Matt then assured me that our wedding would be a blast (of course it would be!), and I agreed, without diverting my gaze from the wedding guests below. And then, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye–my love was folding his long, lanky self down on one knee, and he asked me to spend my life with him! He didn’t hire those wedding guests, but it couldn’t have played out any more perfectly if he had.
When did y’all get married? May 31, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Just over 300
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did, and there wasn’t a question in my mind that we would. I am emotional, so I didn’t know how I would react upon seeing him for the first time, and I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t bawling walking down the aisle in front of 300 of our family and friends. I am so glad that we did a first look–it was such a special moment for us, and I will cherish the photos of those few minutes forever.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old and borrowed was a brooch that belonged to my grandmother, that my mother loaned me for my wedding day. I attached it to my bouquet, and it meant so much to have a part of her with me. My something new was my dress and shoes, and my something blue was my light blue toenail polish (Essie’s Meet the Parents)!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Honestly, the biggest challenge was finding a location. Charleston is a destination wedding location, and since we didn’t want to wait a full year (or longer) to get married, it proved to be a bit difficult to find a venue. Luckily, we were able to secure a spring date in Charleston with just enough time to plan.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? The best thing that I did when planning the wedding was once I made a decision, I stuck with it. I didn’t second guess anything that I had chosen, and I absolutely stayed off of Pinterest once I had met with Lisa at Ooh! Events. She and Callie understood my vision and style, and I trusted them completely. So that’s my biggest piece of advice: stay off of Pinterest and other wedding websites once you have your plans in motion! You chose each detail for a reason; cherish it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Once we returned from our honeymoon in Costa Rica, we got straight to work! Our first project as a married couple was laying new sod in the front yard, and we have just recently wrapped up laying a 700+ foot flagstone patio as well. Next up for us is a pergola and some patio furniture! We are loving married life, and I honestly couldn’t have chosen a better man to spend my life with.

Photographer: Shannon Michele Photography / Planning and Rentals: Ooh! Events / Venue: The Pavilion at Patriots Point / Florist: Out of the Garden / Cake Baker: Publix / Caterer: Relish Distinctive Catering / Paper Products: Open House Charleston / Bride’s Gown: “4165” by Paloma Blanca / Bride’s Veil: Paloma Blanca / Bride’s Hair Accessory: J. Crew / Hair and Makeup: Candice Lukasak-Herriott / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Arabella,” “Kylie,” and “Heidi” in Silk Chiffon by J. Crew / Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Photo Booth: Shutterbooth / Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Musicians: Charleston Chamber Players / Joggling Board: The Joggle Factory

Ooh! Events is a delightful member of the Southern Weddings sponsor family!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Linley Stokes reply

    Her bouquet is perfect!! Love the Greek Key backdrop, too!

  2. avatar Megan Chandler reply

    So stunning!

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We’re celebrating Kristin’s birthday today! Check out #KNWbirthday on social media to see the “recipe” for what makes her wonderful, and leave her some love!

While I’m an Alabama girl at heart, I’ve spent a good portion of my life in Florida. I would say I know some of the best hidden gems in the state, but I think Beth has a leg up on me–she and her sister write a super fun blog called Palm Beach Lately. While PB is a fabulous place to be, I’d have to say that Rosemary Beach takes the cake! It’s a quaint little beach town filled with the sweetest folks and the prettiest buildings (you can even drive your golf cart or ride your bike everywhere!). I can completly understand why Beth and Lawson fell in love with the town and decided to treat their guests to a wedding weekend filled with relaxing, riding bikes, and playing on the lawns.

Heavens y’all, the Town Hall even made for the most lovely backdrop for Paul Johnson to snap one of my favorite aisle shots! Thanks for sharing, Paul!

What a little doll!

I always envisioned going to New York to find my wedding dress, but when I went, I was torn between two styles. I went online to search for a dress that included what I liked about both dresses in one, and I found a Jim Hjelm dress that was exactly what I was looking for. I looked for the nearest shop that carried the dress and it ended up being the one!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I had visited Rosemary Beach, Florida for a wedding about nine years ago and always thought it was such a magical town for a destination wedding. We live in Palm Beach, but wanted a more intimate wedding. Many people were confused about why we were going to a beach town in Florida, when we already lived in one! When Lawson and I visited Rosemary Beach, he instantly loved the town too, and we knew it was exactly what we wanted for our wedding weekend. The town is quaint and beautiful, complete with intimate restaurants, pristine beaches, and amazing architecture. It was so great to see our guests relaxing, walking from their house rentals or hotels into town for dinner or cocktails, riding bikes, and playing on the lawns.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? No, we did not do a first look. Since I was a little girl, I always imagined walking down the aisle and seeing my groom for the first time. It is the most amazing feeling to see your future husband’s reaction…one of the most significant moments in your life. There is something so special about tradition.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? “These Hands” was read by the woman who set us up on a blind date.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I coordinated a wedding in NYC when I first started in the event business, and the bride walked down the aisle to Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me.” I remember thinking that when I got married, I wanted to walk down the aisle to that song. When we were leaving the church, we played “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. It seemed so fitting once we were pronounced husband and wife. Our first dance was to Ray LaMontagne’s “You are the Best Thing.” We both loved the song and what it stood for, so we knew that it had to be our first dance.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We gave vintage embroidered handkerchiefs to our mothers, grandmothers, and my sister with personal notes. The reception was in a tent on a lawn near the ocean, and the dance floor under the night sky. There was a custom corn hole game in the lawn at cocktail hour, along with a beer boat and koozies. And of course, my handsome southern gentleman.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Being creative with our budget. I love details, so picking what really was important and letting some of the other details go was hard sometimes.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our DJ. We love to dance and we danced the night away. Even a rain storm didn’t stop us! Everyone got under the tent and up on their chairs and kept dancing. We also loved our videographer. Everything went by so quickly, it was so hard to take it all in. We get to relive our wedding day every time we watch our video.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Etsy!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Looking back at the tent and seeing all our friends and family there to celebrate the next chapter in our lives as husband and wife.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something blue was my Gators garter, in honor of my time as a University of Florida Cheerleader, and my something borrowed was my Cartier bracelet from my brother, who owns Gregory James Jewelry.

I’m not a cake gal, but heavens that looks divine! I adore the Swiss dots and pretty peach combo!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. A family friend set me up on a blind date with Lawson, and there was immediate chemistry. We talked and talked and had a great lunch before he headed out of town. I thought he was so cute and sweet, and we had a lot in common. He called me as soon as he got back, and we have been inseparable since.
Tell us all about the proposal! In October 2012, at one of my favorite places, Soho Beach House in Miami, with both of our families there, he asked me to marry him. He could hardly get the question out before I blurted “yes!” It was amazing to share that special moment with our families.
When did y’all get married? November 16, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our own vows. I was hesitant to do so, but Lawson really wanted to and I am so glad we did. Your own vows are a personal expression of your love and commitment to each other. My favorite part of ours was, “In front of those we love, I choose you today and everyday for the rest of our lives.”
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Not to sweat the small stuff. It’s easy to get caught up in the details, but the most important part of the wedding is to celebrate each other.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We recently moved into our new home and are looking forward to our honeymoon at the end of the year.

Photographer: Paul Johnson Photography / Videographer: Films by Francesco / Planner: Beth Beattie Branding, PR and Events / Ceremony Venue: Town Hall, Rosemary Beach / Reception Venue: Eastern Lawn, Rosemary Beach / Florist: Events by Nouveau Flowers / Wedding Cake: Confections on the Coast / Caterer: Townsend Catering / DJ: DJ Wolf / Bride’s Gown: Jim Hjelm / Paper Products: Palm Beach Parties / Bride’s Jewelry: Gregory James Jewelry / Hair Stylist: Amanda Parisi / Makeup Artist: Jamie Gummere / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Men’s Attire: Bonobos

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

    I adore their first dance photo – the clouds coming in make it so dramatic!

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    That dress was made for her!!

  3. avatar Mary reply

    This is such an insanely gorgeous wedding!

  4. avatar Mikkel reply

    Beautiful! Love the bridal party portraits and how the cake was captured. LOVE the calligraphy on the menus too! It all looked so gorgeous and like a great party in a beautiful setting!

  5. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #136 | Floridian Weddings reply

    […] From Palm Beach to Rosemary Beach for the prettiest little wedding by the sea. […]

  6. avatar Hilary reply

    I love her monogram design on her pillows & koozies, do you know which designer she used for those?

  7. avatar Molly reply

    Where did you get the koozies? I love the simple classic monogram.

  8. avatar Kate reply

    Love the PJs for the bridesmaids! Too cute – where did she get those?

  9. avatar Stevi reply

    Anyone know the style number of the wedding dress? I would love to get a better look at it. Thanks!

  10. avatar Erin Dunavant reply

    Who designed their logo? What Etsy site was used to personalize party favors?

    Thank you!

  11. avatar Kara reply

    I have been looking everywhere for this color of bridesmaid dresses! Yellow….but very pale yellow. Do you know the name of this color from Jcrew? Is it “champagne” or “parisian yellow”? It is hard to tell online!

    Thank you!

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Snakes and gators and turtles, oh my! Turns out Southern creepy crawlies do have a redeeming value — they can bring people together! :) I found myself smiling as I read Whitney’s version of the story of her and Gary’s first meeting — I can just imagine her blushing in front of her students! The gorgeous natural surroundings of their wedding (all that Spanish moss!!) seem like the perfect fit for this outdoorsy couple, who just so happen to have settled into their home on a farm post-wedding. Think they’d mind if we set up camp there, as well?

Kudos to Red Letter Events, who pulled the simple + lovely details together, and Landon Jacob, who shared the beautiful images!

I am a second grade teacher and Gary is a game warden. He came to my school for career day to share his exciting job of capturing gators, snakes, and other wildlife with the students. He flirted with me the entire time and made me blush in front of my students! When his presentation was over, he left his e-mail address with the school receptionist so that “he could get pictures from his presentation.” After a few months of unsuccessful attempts at e-mail flirting, we finally went on our first date at the Beaufort Water Festival in Beaufort, SC.

Gary told me on a Friday that we were going to Jacksonville, Florida to go shopping. Honestly, I was already a little suspicious, because shopping isn’t Gary’s cup of tea. Instead of making the turn to head to Florida, he turned to go to Hilton Head Island, SC. We took a boat to Daufuskie Island, SC and rode around in a golf cart. I kept asking him if we could go to the beach. He agreed and we stopped under a beautiful oak tree by the beach. He set up a small picnic and we shared a peach soda. Then, he pulled out a paperback children’s book. It was titled ‘The Secret Princess,’ and written by Gary S. Herndon! As he read the story to me, I started to get really nervous! It was the story of our relationship. Once he got near the end of the story, the illustration was very similar to the exact spot where we were sitting, near the beach under a beautiful oak. Finally, he got down on one knee and popped the question and I excitedly replied, “Yes!”

Did you decide to do a “first look”? 
We decided on a first look as we got closer to our wedding date. I wanted to be able to feel comfortable and enjoy the moment as I walked down the aisle and I was grateful that our first look took away some of my nerves.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. 
I walked down the aisle to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which was played by a local violinist and cellist. Our first dance was “Honey Bee,” by Blake Shelton and my father and I danced with my father to “Fly Like an Eagle” by the Steve Miller Band.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? 
The most memorable moment from our wedding day was walking down the aisle and taking each other’s hands in front of our closest friends and family members as we prepared to officially become husband and wife.

Our photographers, Jordan Thompson and Landon Jacob of Landon Jacob Photography, were our absolute favorite vendor. They went above and beyond our expectations for our engagement and wedding photography. Jordan made the swag for the back of the pickup and they were both so helpful throughout the entire day.

Did you spot our gold vows print? We are tickled pink that Whitney + Gary displayed it at their reception!

Our food was very Southern. From boiled peanuts, watermelon, fried chicken, biscuits, BBQ, and a macaroni and cheese bar, we had a spread of Southern deliciousness. Our signature drink was lowcountry lemonade, which consisted of local Firefly sweet tea vodka, lemonade, a sprig of mint, and a lemon twirl.

Ashley Bakery was wonderful! We selected a four-tier, round cake with alternating layers of red velvet and yellow almond cake with delicious almond buttercream frosting. The cake was adorned with handmade sugar peonies in spring colors.

When did y’all get married? 
May 24, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 
100
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. 
I scoured Pinterest and wedding magazines before getting engaged and knew that I loved Jim Hjelm’s alencon lace gowns. The second wedding bridal shop I visited had two lovely Jim Hjelm alencon lace dresses that I loved. I went back and forth between the two and finally decided to go with the one that was more simple. The process of finding the dress wasn’t stressful at all and I really enjoyed the support of my mom and sister throughout the process.
Describe your wedding flowers. 
May was my top choice for having a wedding because I knew peonies would be available! My bouquet was a whimsical mix of white and light pink peonies which was wrapped in ivory lace and vintage ribbons. My maid of honor, my sister Chelsey carried a bouquet of white peonies. The mothers also carried small posy bouquets of white peonies. Aisle flowers were white hydrangeas. Centerpieces were vintage blue and clear mason jars filled with white hydrangeas, pink peonies, pink roses, peach garden roses, dusty miller and grey berzillia berries.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
Our favorite detail of the wedding was our lavender toss exit and taking off in our 1954 International Harvester pickup!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? 
My something borrowed was a strand of pearls that belong to my mother that I wore for the reception. My something blue was a lovely blue stone bracelet from J.Crew. My something new was my coin pearl drop earrings from Etsy. My something old was a hanky that originally belonged to my great-great grandmother.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? 
We are setting up our home, which happens to be on a farm. I am excited to spend a relaxing summer on the farm with a few trips mixed in. I am finishing my master’s degree and Gary is hard at work on the farm and at his real job. We are so excited for what the future holds!

Landon Jacob is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
11 Comments
  1. avatar Kat reply

    Oh that cake is gorgeous and I just love the flowers on the back of the truck!

  2. avatar Be Inspired PR reply

    can’t get over this romantic wedding! It’s literally a dream!

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    Every single one of those truck shots is so, so stunning!! What a perfectly romantic Southern detail!

  4. avatar Hannah reply

    Hi! Would you share what the style number of the dress is? Thanks! Gorgeous!

  5. avatar Wedding Invitations by Tango Design reply

    Love the country style for this wedding, with the ute as transport for the bride and the flowers on the back. Beautiful, down to earth and elegant at the same time.

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