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When Dave and I were looking for a wedding venue, one of our biggest priorities was a place that made our family and friends know they were somewhere special from the moment they turned up the road. As far as venues that create that magical sense of anticipation go, Tuckahoe Plantation is at the top of my list–Emily and I were practically giddy when we drove down its pebbly road for our Fabric of a Southern Belle shoot last year, and I can only imagine that Sarah and Chad’s guests felt the same way! For this nature-loving couple, a venue with plenty of beautiful outdoor space was a must, and historic Tuckahoe turned out to be the perfect rustic, but still elegant, place for them to become husband and wife. They made wonderful use of the property, choosing different areas for the ceremony (how gorgeous are those trees lining the aisle?), the reception, and, very importantly, the spot where a bottle of bourbon was buried to ensure sunny skies!

Thank you so much to Sarah Jane Winter for sharing this beautiful day with us!

Chad and I love spending time hiking and camping together, and the outdoors are very special to us. We considered a few other venues with outdoor spaces, but we knew Tuckahoe Plantation was the right fit for us pretty early on. With its expansive fields, gorgeous gardens, and rich history, Tuckahoe is timelessly elegant, but also has a very laid-back vibe.

Before I went to look at dresses, I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for: fitted, an elegant neckline, and allover lace. I’ve heard from so many friends who went into the store wanting one thing, but ended up falling in love with a completely different style once they started trying things on. This was the exact opposite for me–I ended up with the perfect dress that was exactly what I had originally had in mind. The dress I purchased was even the first dress I tried on!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Chad and I changed our minds about this so many times. On the one hand, we loved the idea of seeing each other for the first time as I was coming down the aisle towards him. On the other hand, we also loved the idea of getting to share some time together before all the hubbub. We ended up doing a first look, and we were so glad that we did! It was so nice to get to spend time together without any distractions and it definitely helped to calm both of our nerves during the ceremony.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail of the wedding was the ceremony space at Tuckahoe. The aisle is lined with rows of the most beautiful crepe myrtles that arch over the aisle, and almost look like a cathedral ceiling. Chad’s favorite detail was that a flock of geese flew right over us during the ceremony!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We buried the bourbon behind the ceremony arbor a month before our wedding to keep the rain away on our wedding day. It was actually pouring rain on us while we were out there burying it, which I think was double good luck!

Our friends Corey and Jesse Wells are talented local musicians who play with several bluegrass groups around town. We chose to have them play songs that were meaningful to us as a couple during the ceremony. The groomsmen and our families walked down the aisle to an acoustic rendition of “Fearless” by Pink Floyd. This is one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs and it set the stage beautifully for the rest of the ceremony. The bridesmaids walked in to another of our favorite songs, “Sandusky” by Uncle Tupelo. My dad and I walked in to Van Morrison’s “Sweet Thing.” The wedding party recessed to an awesome rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie on Reggae Woman,” which kicked off the celebration! Chad and I chose “Further on Down the Road” by Taj Mahal for our first dance. Every time I hear that song, it takes me back to cooking dinner and dancing around the kitchen together in our first house.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It was pretty amazing to have all of our friends and family members gathered together in such a beautiful place. It almost takes your breath away when you look around and realize how much love is all around you at one time. It really was the happiest day of our lives.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chad and I met at a Widespread Panic show in Charleston. I was living in Richmond, Virginia at the time and he was living in Charlotte, North Carolina. Although we didn’t know each other, we had tons of mutual friends and ended up hanging out all night together at the show. We instantly clicked and he drove up to visit me in Richmond the next weekend. We took turns visiting each other every other week for the next year and a half, and then Chad’s company agreed to transfer him to Richmond.
Tell us all about the proposal! After a few years of dating, we escaped the cold winter weather in Richmond and took a vacation down to Roatan, off the coast of Honduras. Chad proposed on the beach the first night of our trip. He even hired a photographer to hide and capture the moment!
When did y’all get married? September 19, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my grandmother’s handkerchief to carry during the ceremony and my garter had a tiny blue ribbon on it. Chad also gifted me with a beautiful necklace the morning of our wedding that featured the diamond from his great-grandmother’s engagement ring. He had the stone reset, so that doubled as my something old and something new.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? For a little over a year, we met with our officiant every six weeks or so. We usually went out to dinner together or just met with him at his house to talk about marriage. He had lots of good advice for us and we have come to really admire him and his wife.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? One good tip the woman who made our cake shared with us is that you can opt for a smaller tiered wedding cake to display and cut, and then ask the baker to also make a sheet cake that will be cut in the back and served to the guests. The sheet cake slices can be a fraction of the cost of the tiered cake slices.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? We were engaged for over a year and I loved having a long engagement. We never felt rushed or pressured during the wedding planning process because we were so ahead of the game. Having that extra time allowed us to be really laid-back while we slowly ticked things off the list and enjoyed the process. If you aren’t planning to have a long engagement, my advice would be to focus on tackling things one at a time, and celebrate after you get each little task accomplished. When you first look at that long list of to dos, it can be overwhelming and intimidating. Just take it one thing at a time and don’t forget to enjoy the ride!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are taking a honeymoon in Europe this summer and are really looking forward to it. Now that all the wedding planning is behind us, we are enjoying mapping out our next adventure together.

Photographer: Sarah Jane Winter | Venue: Tuckahoe Plantation | Florist: Elizabeth Daly Designs | Cake Baker: The Buttercream Bee | Caterer and Lighting: Mosaic Catering + Events | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals of Virginia | Band: Soul Expressions | Paper Products: By Invitation Only | Bridal Salon: Jingles Bridal Salon | Hair and Makeup: Avenue 42 | Bride’s Shoes: Banana Republic | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Blair” and “Newbury” by Joanna August | Bow Ties: Collared Greens | Day-of Coordination: Tart Event Co. | Ceremony Musicians: Corey and Jesse Wells

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

    Thanks so much for sharing this, ladies! What an incredible day it was :)

  2. avatar Dana reply

    I love that sign they put at the entrance with their name in flowers!

  3. avatar Zookbinders Wedding Albums reply

    What a lovely wedding! I love the location!

  4. avatar Alden Rykard reply

    Beautiful wedding! Love the venue and floral detailing!

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Oh friends, this wedding is so close to our hearts! You may remember the beautiful Meredith and Beau from Meredith’s guests posts a few months ago–as former nanny to Lara’s little Grace, Meredith is an honorary SW gal, and we sure miss her around the office! Every step of their engagement, Meredith and Beau were so focused on creating a truly meaningful celebration, right in the heart of their favorite place. After this beautiful July day, they moved a few miles down the road from their venue to begin newlywed life–I can think of no sweeter way for them to be continually reminded of their vows and joy!

We’re so grateful to Shelby Peaden for bringing Meredith and Beau’s wedding day vision to life and to Lauren Kinsey for capturing it so beautifully!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. On December 28 (my birthday, yay!), my mom, sister, sister-in-law, baby niece, and I all headed up to the city to find my “perfect” dress. I was pretty open to anything! After trying on what seemed like every dress in the store, I had narrowed my favorites down to five, and decided to sleep on it. On our second trip, I tried on the five dresses again, and was quickly able to narrow them down by answering two questions: “Is this dress ‘me’?”, and “Is this what I picture myself in when I walk down the aisle to meet my future husband?” The dress we all fell in love with was simple, elegant, soft, and sweet–we were sold on everything…except the price! As I was driving home from the city with my mom, I searched the dress name and designer, and happened to find the exact dress we needed, in the exact size, height, and dimensions for sale (for less than half the price) on OnceWed! It was a pretty easy decision after that!

We were both a little uncertain about a first look at first, worried that we would lose some of the sweetness of the moment we saw each other, but as we thought about it more, we decided to go with a first look.This option allowed us to take a moment away from any built-up nerves. We took time to pray together, and I instantly felt a wave of peace come over me–such a special moment! A first look is not for everyone, but for Beau and I, that moment was just what we needed–not a special moment was “lost” from our first look, as we worried about in the beginning–rather, a special moment was gained!

Choosing the Town Hall as our ceremony site was probably the easiest decision we made throughout the entire planning process. Rosemary Beach is our place. Being in a long distance relationship and traveling back and forth between states throughout the years, this was always the one place that was constant in our relationship. We quickly (and easily) decided that the Rosemary Beach Town Hall would make the perfect location to celebrate together with our two “separate worlds” in our most favorite place!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My brother was the officiant at our wedding, and knowing him as a man who is passionate about the message of a Christ-centered marriage, I knew that he would be diving deep into the passage of Ephesians for our ceremony. After discussing our ceremony timeline with him the month before the wedding, I knew that what he had to say was exactly what was needed to be said–nothing more, nothing less.

What a joy it was for so many SW gals to have a small part in this sweet day! Morgan designed the paper products, Emily created the tinsel stirrers below, and of course, Lara and Ari were in attendance as Grace carried out her flower girl duties!

Brian of Myrtie Blue was my amazing florist. I mentioned to him I wanted soft, fluffy florals with a little loose foliage, giving them a slightly wild, garden-y feel. We decided on creams, soft pinks, and peaches, as well as the soft light green lamb’s ear to echo the beautiful ribbons that would wrap around the bouquets: pastel velvet!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There were so many beautiful details, but I would have to say that the backdrop for the ceremony and cake table was my favorite that night. We had our wedding verse, Ruth 1:16, written in gold on a large canvas backdrop that we stood in front of for the ceremony, and it then doubled as a backdrop behind our cake during the reception! The cake table also had an amazing gold sequined tablecloth that popped nicely against all the soft blues in our reception space. We were able to keep our personalized canvas at the end of the day, and I am excited to have it for the rest of our lives!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? About two months before our big day, I was sitting at a wedding with my future in-laws. When our friend’s ceremony had ended, and the new couple had exited the venue, all I could think about was how special their vows were and how happy they looked…that’s when it all clicked! I had been worrying about what song would be played when, and what decor would be used where, but at the end of the day, I couldn’t tell you what songs were played at her wedding, or even what flowers were in her bouquet. When your wedding day has come and gone, all that you take with you are the memories made, the words spoken, and the promises kept. Every bride hears it when they begin planning a wedding, and it is much easier said than done, but try to focus on the bigger picture. You are planning a wedding, yes, but more importantly, you are preparing for a marriage with your best friend–and that is a thing to be celebrated!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Beau and I both grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, so we had known each other for years prior to our official meeting. We attended the same high school, where I knew him as the handsome and talented football star. Fast forward three years, and that same cutie happened to be in my Library Aide class fall semester of our senior year. Considering the fact that our “class” consisted of four students, there was plenty of time for Beau and I to really get to know one another. To my surprise, that guy that I had known of for my entire life, but had yet to get to know, ended up being one of the most genuine, precious, and God-fearing leaders I had ever met. We dated throughout our senior year of high school, persevered through some of the hardships of long distance dating through college, and finally got engaged five years later on December 11, 2013. I’ve told him time and time again that finding him in 2008 changed my life, and I am forever grateful!
Tell us all about the proposal! I was Grace’s nanny last year, and as someone who is in the same house as the SW gals every day, you see a few photographers popping in every now and then. When Lara had mentioned to me that there would be a photographer coming to the house to take some holiday family pics for them, and that I should wear “holiday party-appropriate” attire, I did not think anything of it! Come Wednesday morning, I arrived to work (clueless as ever) feeling good about myself because I had actually put makeup on and fixed my hair…thank goodness! After the mini photo session was almost complete, Lara mentioned that we would be heading over to her church to take some final pictures in front of all their Christmas decor. Beau lived in Ohio, and was supposedly at football practice just hours before, so I was shocked when my Beau greeted me at the front entrance of the church with a bundle of roses. He walked me down a candlelit aisle, and seated me in a chair up on the stage. He then washed my feet, all while sharing with me the importance of serving and loving me like Christ loved the church. In typical McKinney fashion, I just lost it. Beau handed me a gift before he popped the question I had been waiting for since I was a little girl: a bible with my future name engraved on it “Meredith A. Blankenship.” We hugged, rejoiced, laughed, and cried.
When did y’all get married? Friday, July 11, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Beau and I considered writing our own vows, but as the wedding grew closer, we decided to go with traditional vows. Although I think unique vows are absolutely precious, Beau and I were content to use the same words that our siblings, parents, and grandparents had all shared on their special days, too!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Delicious! Seriously, Rhonda, the owner at Confections On The Coast, is out-of-this-world amazing at what she does–both on the exterior and the interior of her cakes. On the outside, I wanted my cake to be simple, clean, and to have a little pop of sparkle. I love polka dots, so there were gold swiss dots on every other tier, and a few soft, pink flowers on the top. On the inside, there were four different types of cake: strawberry, coconut, chocolate peanut butter, and french vanilla. Yum!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I thought of my “borrowed” as two things: the diamond on my engagement ring from my mother, that was once my grandmother’s, and that can hopefully go to my future daughter someday, and my grandpa’s Purple Heart that I attached onto my bouquet. My something blue was my perfume, Something Blue by Oscar de la Renta. My something old was my pre-owned wedding dress (what a great deal!), and finally, my something new was my shoes.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We were able to save money in a few areas, one of the main ones being our wedding attire. My dress was bought used from OnceWed and my bridesmaid dresses were on super sale from Anthropologie. Our men’s clothing from J. Crew was ordered through Ebates using a J.Crew card, and purchased through their wedding associate, all to receive a greater discount. The second area we saved in was our bar menu, where we had a limited menu instead of an open bar.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? What’s next? Oh goodness, Beau and I are currently in the middle of our, what I like to call, “adventure year!” Life has been so much fun since we said “I do!” One exciting thing is we are currently living about eight miles down the road from where we got married, in a little beachside condo we adore! As for married life, we are just enjoying being together after so many years of distance. The little things are what bring us joy: coffee together in the morning, praying together each day, planting ourselves in an amazing church, and creating friendships in the same friend group (not seven states away from each other). Marriage is such a gift. We are thankful!

Photographer: Lauren Kinsey / Videographer: Uhles Videography / Planner: Shelby Peaden Events / Venue: The Town Hall in Rosemary Beach, FL / Florist and Lighting: Myrtie Blue / Cake Baker: Confections On The Coast / Caterer and Rentals: Townsend Catering / Band or DJ: Rock The House / Paper Products: Morgan Moore / Tinsel Stir Sticks: Em for Marvelous / Bride’s Gown: “Emotion” by Monique Lhuillier / Veil: Veiled Beauty / Belt: Camilla Christine / Hair and Makeup: Lanna Bloodworth / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Sugarberry Dress” by Anthropologie / Men’s Suits: J. Crew / Bow Ties: Lumina Clothing / Men’s Shoes: WSS

Myrtie Blue and Shelby Peaden are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
8 Comments
  1. avatar shelby peaden reply

    Yay! So happy to see Mere + Beau up on the blog today. Such a beautiful, kind, loving family! Happy to have been a part of their wedding!

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  3. avatar Lover.ly reply

    What a sweet story from an amazing couple! Love all the personal and heartfelt details of this wedding.

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  8. avatar Amanda reply

    What a lovely wedding story. I love gold and your color scheme was beautiful. I especially loved seeing all the joy and love on everyone’s faces throughout!

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