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For today’s groom, just writing about the memory of their proposal gets him all choked up, so it’s no surprise that when Emily and Jim tied the knot, their day was sweet and completely romantic! Paired with lots of delicate lace and the prettiest peachy pink color palette, Emily and Jim created a fun barbecue atmosphere, complete with a Coke toast, to ensure their day felt Southern, comfortable and welcoming! Obviously, in addition to their gorgeous day, we also love the adorable snuggling sheep Annamarie Akins captured at Hunt Club Farm!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I sure did! My something borrowed was a pair of pearl earrings from my mother. My something blue was an “I Do” sticker for the bottom of my shoes from my MOH. My something old was a vintage pearl ring that my grandmother had given my mother on her 16th birthday, which she passed down to me at my bridal shower. My something new was my sparkly gold Badgley Mischka shoes!

Finding my wedding dress wasn’t as easy as I had hoped it would be. When I first went shopping, I took everyone with me. It came down to two different dresses that I couldn’t decide between–my group’s preferences were split in half. Finally, I decided if either was the “one,” I would have known it. I continued my search and went to Pure English with just my mom and her best friend. The dress I ended up purchasing was the one for me, and I knew it when I kept wanting to put it back on!

Always so fun seeing Southern Weddings Shop products incorporated into real weddings!

My aunt Melanie officiated our ceremony, and when we were determining the readings for the ceremony, this one really stuck out: “Before I pronounce you married partners, I have just one more thing I want you to do. Your wedding day is one that seems to fly. It’s a day filled with emotion, friends, rings, and dances. Many people remember how fleeting their own wedding day was. So I want you to take a few seconds to look into each others’ eyes. Think about the happiness that you are feeling in this place, in this moment. Really let that feeling register in your heart and your mind. Now, I want you to think about your life together in 20 years. Where are you? What are you doing? We all know that your visions of the future are not identical, but always complimentary. John Lennon once said, ‘A dream you dream alone is only a dream, a dream you dream together, THAT is reality.’ That new reality starts now.”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? When we were first engaged, I saw that a friend had been married at Hunt Club. I asked Jim if he wanted to check it out as a venue. We went, and as soon as the Hunt Club coordinator told him that there was a BBQ company that would come and cook onsite all day, he was sold. That was it!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The whole vibe of the wedding was Southern! From the friendly and fun atmosphere to the BBQ, to the drinks out of mason jars, to the coke toast, we felt like our day was comfortable, welcoming, and laid back–which is what being Southern is all about.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Which one?! We had so many desserts, and it was because we simply couldn’t decide on one. Jim’s absolute favorite dessert is blueberry cheesecake, so Emma from Sweet Emma Lou put cheesecakes in small mason jars. I love apple and peach crisps, so she made them into mason jar desserts for me as well! We also had white almond raspberry and cookies and cream cupcakes, candy, macarons, donuts, and a six-inch cake for us to cut. We definitely went all out on desserts!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. From Jim: Floating around different projects at work, I was fortunate enough to be taking the spot of the most beautiful woman in the company, as she was moving to a new job. We had a week of transition, and I flirted a little. I waited a month or two before asking her out, and we started dating. A year later we moved to Virginia beach, and a year after that, we were engaged. Here we are three years later, married!
Tell us all about the proposal! From Jim: The adventure started in San Francisco where we bee-bopped around town for a few days without any set plans–just a goal to explore. To depart San Francisco in style, we rented a red Corvette convertible. Needless to say, it made the cruise down Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, to Monterey a little more enjoyable. Monterey was a blast, and on the next to last day, Emily said, “My friend mentioned this one park we should go check out, Point Lobos.” Unbeknownst to her, she would be engaged to me the next day, in that very park! I said we could check it out tomorrow, no big deal, which was playing into the plan of being there at EXACTLY 2 p.m. That day, we wandered down to Hidden Beach in Point Lobos and looked around. I said to Emily, “Do you want to do something crazy?” “Sure,” Emily responded. “Do you want to marry me?” Writing it gets me choked up again, just like it did that day. She jumped around for a minute or two before actually saying yes…but she did. The whole experience was captured by a photographer hidden in the woods.
When did y’all get married? May 31, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. When choosing our wedding songs, we thought about the people and time periods in our lives that they would represent. I walked down the aisle to Bright Eyes’ “First Day of My Life.” That song tells the story of meeting someone and how it feels like your life begins right in that moment. For the bouquet toss, instead of the classic “Single Ladies,” I chose “Settlin’” by Sugarland, a song that reminds my friends and me of the time in our 20’s when there wasn’t a care in the world, and we wouldn’t settle for anything less than what we deserved.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? BBQ! Mobile Pignic showed up onsite six hours before the wedding, smoked ribs and chicken, and then served it as a family-style buffet. It was perfect for the vibe and saved us a ton of money over traditional wedding caterers. Plus, no one had to answer chicken or beef on their invite.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Have fun with it. You aren’t going to please everyone, so try not to worry about making everyone happy. I know it’s easier said than done, but try to remember that your wedding is all about you and your future husband.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? As a couple, we’ve accomplished a lot this past year… we bought a house, planned a wedding, and had the most amazing wedding day ever. We think we will take a break and relax for a little while, plan some adventures, and enjoy life at home with our two boxer pups, Coral and Reef.

Photographer: Annamarie Akins Photography / Planner: Hannah Hildebrandt Events / Venue: Hunt Club Farm / Florist: Johnson’s Gardens Inc. / Dessert Baker: Sweet Emma Lou / Catering: Mobile Pignic / Rentals: Bluebird’s Garage / DJ: Rodney Charles of Astro Entertainment / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Gown: Watters / Bridal Salon: Pure English / Hair and Makeup: Aubrey Lynn of Behind the Veil Studios / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bill Levkoff / Menswear: Jim’s Formal Wear

marissa Written with love by Marissa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Michael and Carina reply

    This wedding is absolutely lovely!!!
    So many gorgeous details <3
    xoxo M+C

  2. avatar Jan Pruden reply

    We felt so very blessed to witness these two and their families come together as ONE bigger and happier family. The LOVE was truly in the air! And so so many special thoughtful touches. Jim and Emily are the sweetest couple. May God bless them with everything wonderful!

  3. avatar Annamarie Akins reply

    Thank you so much for featuring Emily and Jim!! They are the best and I am so excited about this! Dream come true! :)

  4. avatar Cheryl Trebi reply

    I was the “best friend” that accompanied my best friend, Emily’s Mom, to “Pure English” where the gorgeous bridal gown was found! Being a mom of two sons, this was absolutely thrilling for me! I love this beautiful love story of Emily & Jim – they “glowed” in every picture, and still do!

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    […] : Les pièces montées : 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 / Les Sweet-table : 1 – 2 – 3 / Les bars à beignets : 1 – 2 […]

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While we try to share weddings that correspond with the season we’re currently in, one of the wonderful things about the South is that in some places, the season doesn’t really matter much! Ali and Matt were married on December 28, but in sunny Florida, that didn’t mean snow, pashmina scarves, and hot chocolate bars the way it does elsewhere; rather, it meant the perfect temperature for an outdoor ceremony and a reception under the stars. From the stone walls at their venue to their first dance, everything about Ali and Matt’s wedding day was incredibly romantic, and I can imagine that the December date made it feel even more intimate and cozy!

Thank you so much to Ash Imagery for sharing this lovely day with us!

Matt proposed on August 10, 2012. The plan was to go out to dinner for Matt’s dad’s birthday, so we got all dressed up and started walking to the restaurant. It was the summer, and Matt was extremely hot and started sweating. Since he was in a blazer, I kept telling him to just take off his blazer so he would be more comfortable, but he kept refusing, saying that “he looked good in it” (unbeknownst to me, he had the ring in his jacket and didn’t want me to accidentally see it!). We ended up walking almost all the way to the restaurant, and as we were walking through Rittenhouse Square (a really nice park in Center City Philadelphia), Matt just stopped. I turned around, and he was down on one knee!! I may have hit him with my purse in disbelief. Before I had the chance to call anyone, Matt ushered me to the restaurant, where my entire family and all of my closest friends were there waiting for us! It was absolutely perfect. We were able to have our private moment, and then share and celebrate with all friends and family.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had been obsessed (thanks to Pinterest) with a fitted lace dress, so as soon as Matt proposed, I started my hunt to find it. When I finally found it and tried it on, I was completely underwhelmed. At my next dress shopping trip, my mom suggested I try a completely different style than what I was previously thinking, so I tried on a big ball gown and absolutely fell in love. As soon as I put it on, I felt great in it–it was unique and still classic at the same time!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look for a number of reasons. After picking all the hors d’oeuvres, live music, and decor, we wanted to be able to enjoy every aspect of the wedding, which meant we needed to do pictures beforehand. We also liked the idea of having a private moment between the two of us before hosting such a big event!

We had three readings–my cousin read the first and last, and my uncle read the second (the one in Spanish). The first reading was “Blessing For A Marriage” by James Dillet Freeman, the second was “Soneto XVII” by Pablo Neruda, and the third was “Union” By Robert Fulghum.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I am from Florida, but Matt is from Philadelphia (where we live now), so we started looking in both areas for wedding venues. As soon as we saw Bella Collina, we both knew that it was the perfect place. Neither of us knew that there was such a fantastic place in the outskirts of Orlando (where I grew up).

Matt and I had planned a whiskey and cigar bar with plenty of cutters and lighters, as well as matches that had our favorite book covers on them. However, the cutters somehow didn’t make it to the venue. Luckily, Matt had kept his wedding gift from me, a cutter and lighter, in his pocket, so everyone who wanted a cigar had to come say hi and chitchat with Matt to do so. We didn’t plan this at all, but it ended up being one of our favorite details because it made that part of the evening even more personal. We wanted everyone at the wedding to feel special, because they all are such important people in our lives.

For our first dance, we went with Louis Armstrong’s version of “La Vie en Rose.” I absolutely love this song–I find it so romantic, and Louis Armstrong’s version always makes me feel love. We wanted the DJ to skip the intro and start the song when Louis starts singing, but he must have misunderstood and only played the beginning trumpet solo. No one knew any different, and some of our guests even thought we did it on purpose and commented on how romantic it was!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I loved the idea of having a giant dessert bar with a bunch of tiny desserts, but we also wanted some cake. We decided on three small cakes (red velvet, marble, and carrot) that could be surrounded by all the mini desserts. The desserts included mini pear caramel bread pudding; mini Irish cream bread pudding; mini pies in cherry, apple, and pumpkin; Key Lime cupcakes; red velvet and chocolate Cabernet glitter cake pops; mini gingerbread bundts with powdered sugar; chocolate-covered Oreos; s’mores on a stick; raspberry tarts; hot chocolate on a stick; mini cannoli; lemon squares; fig tarts; Oreo truffles; and mini red velvet peppermint cupcakes. Our only regret of the night is not asking for a to-go box with one of each dessert! Somehow, the only dessert we got was the piece of cake we fed each other after the cake cutting!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Matt and I met teaching English in Chile. Matt had been there for four months, and I was one of the newbies. We hit it off as friends right away, and then developed crushes on each other, but being in another country, we didn’t really think that we would be able to last as anything more than friends. When we got back to the States, it was pretty obvious that we wanted to keep seeing each other!
When did y’all get married? December 28, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 250
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? Our wedding was on December 28 and it was held entirely outside; this could only happen in the South!
What range did your wedding budget fall into? More than $100,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I think the biggest way we saved money was on the invitations. We used Wedding Paper Divas and they turned out amazingly! Wedding Paper Divas had so many options for such a great price. Also, instead of using a calligrapher, we found and downloaded a really pretty font and printed the addresses right on the envelope. I found a how-to on the internet and it was so easy!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We decided to splurge on our videographer (Moetic Wedding Films) and photographer (Ash Imagery), and we were so happy we did! People tell you that the wedding day goes by so quickly that you will barely remember it, and unfortunately, that is true! Having a good videographer and photographer really paid off because we are able to relive our wedding day through our photos and video. They both did an incredible job and we are so grateful to have picked them!!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? For the ladies, I would say two things. First, Pinterest is your best friend during the initial stages of wedding planning, but once you start making decisions, stop looking!! Second, a day-of wedding planner is a must! I was able to relax and not think about a single detail on my wedding day because our planner/coordinator was taking care of it all! Matt’s advice for the gentlemen is “Make sure your suit fits and be on time.”
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are staying in Philadelphia for a little bit. Matt is finishing law school and I just got a job working in early childhood education. However, we can’t stay away from the South for too long, so I think that once we start expanding our family, we will make our way back to sunny Florida.

Photographer: Ash Imagery / Videographer: Moetic Wedding Films / Planner: Alison Watkins of Blush by Brandee Gaar / Venue and Caterer: Bella Collina / Florist: Lee James Floral Design / Wedding Cake: Party Flavors / Dessert Bar: Two Sweets Bake Shop / Lighting: Kaleidoscope Event Lighting / DJ: DJ Wade of Other Brother Entertainment / Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas / Bride’s Gown and Veil: Rivini / Bride’s Jewelry: Solutions Bridal / Hair and Makeup Artist: Cristi Miranda / Bride’s Shoes: “Something Blue” by BHLDN / Men’s Attire: Point Click Tailor

Two Sweets Bake Shop is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
9 Comments
  1. avatar Kyle reply

    Thank you for featuring this stunning wedding!!! We can’t get enough of it!! Ash Imagery did such a fantastic job capturing their joy and the gorgeous details!!

  2. avatar Loverly reply

    Her dress is absolutely stunning, so unique!

  3. avatar Lauren Taylor reply

    Wow! Her dress and all the details are so beautiful! The bride and groom look so incredibly happy, too!

  4. avatar Steph – Ivy Ellen reply

    Such a beautiful wedding – the dress looks perfect on Ali, she definitely chose right!

  5. avatar Kim @ Hello Wedding reply

    I love how they let the small things that didn’t go as planned turn into the memorable moments at their wedding. Just beautiful.

  6. avatar Blush by Brandee Gaar – Orlando, Florida Wedding and Event Planner » Blush featured on Southern Weddings!! reply

    […] You guys!!!  I have been waiting months to share this with you and I’m out of my skin excited that not only do we get to share this wedding with all our Blush fans, but that all the wonderful Southern Weddings readers will see it too.  It’s that gorgeous!!  I am head over heels in love with all parts of this wedding.  The bride’s joy, the sweet details, her gorgeous dress, the stunning tent, the perfect sparkler exit…I mean it doesn’t get much better than this!!!  If you do one thing today, it should be checking this amazing wedding captured by Ash Imagery out on Southern Weddings!! […]

  7. avatar Kristen reply

    Can anyone find out if the bride is willing to sell her veil?!! I love it and it would look perfect with my Rivini dress! Thanks!

    • avatar Michelle reply

      Kristen, did you ever find/buy a rivini veil? I am looking for the exact same one and would DIE to have it! Willing to buy it off of you if you did!

  8. avatar – Solutions BridalSolutions Bridal reply

    […] Thanks  Southern Weddings and Ash Imagery for sharing.  […]

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