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Both Lisa and Emily know I’m a sucker for pink and gold weddings–I simply adore them. Kelsie and Evan’s wedding took my pink and gold love affair up a notch with their addition of bright, bold pops of coral! I’ve always professed not to be a flower person, but Kelsie’s bouquet of lush coral charm peonies, peony tulips, and David Austin roses has me wondering if the tide is changing. After dancing the night away under a ceiling of flowers, I imagine any guests with my hesitations became converts too! Silks a Bloom brought the outside in with their ornate installation, complete with Edison lights woven within the flowers to up the romantic atmosphere. A surprise late night snack of Chick Fil A nuggets just might be the only thing able to challenge those stunning blooms for the title of favorite detail from this fun celebration!

We’re sure glad Weddings by Christopher and Nancy shared this beautiful day with us!

P.S. Have you signed up for our Fruitful Summer series yet? There’s so much goodness in store whether you’re dating, engaged, newly married, or have a few years under your belt! See it all here.

I had an early morning appointment scheduled at Proposals Boutique in Little Rock, Arkansas with my mom and my older sister. It was such a special day because it was the first time I truly felt butterflies about our wedding day. We were the first customers at the store and were helped by an old family friend, Betsy. She made the day so special and memorable for us, and even shared a few happy tears! I went in with a completely open mind. Betsy had me try on all different types of dresses and materials. I had my heart set on the third dress that I tried on and thought it was the perfect one. Betsy was about to have me try it on one last time after about nine dresses, just to see if the spark and excitement were still there. At the last minute, my mom found a dress hanging on the rack and suggested I try it on, just to see what it looked like. As soon as I tried on the tenth dress, I pictured Evan’s reaction to seeing me in this dress. Betsy added the veil and the belt, and my eyes began to water. Betsy knew it was the dress for me because she commented on how I kept touching the dress, swaying in it, and moving so differently in this one compared to the others. After walking around the store a few more times, I knew I had found “the dress.” It was perfect, and even more special that it was picked out by my mom. We popped a bottle of champagne after Betsy asked me if I wanted to “say yes to the dress,” and it truly felt like my wedding planning had really kicked off!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The florals! Dancing all night under a cloud of flowers was probably one of the best parts of the day. I also loved my bouquet so much that I sent it off the day after the wedding to have it preserved in a shadowbox. I cannot wait to see how it will look in a few weeks!

We were so thrilled to do a first look! This was something we knew right off the bat that we wanted to do. I had seen one of my friends do one and saw how special it was for them. We both knew it would be a meaningful moment we could share together, and it would help calm our nerves before the ceremony. Our photographers, Christopher and Nancy, also suggested it, and we are so glad we went with our gut instincts. It was one of the most memorable moments from our wedding day.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows! It was something we had decided on months before the wedding, although we ended up writing them a few days before/the night before the wedding. My favorite line was “I promise to continually see the good in you every day, and I will no longer roll my eyes at you, but with you.”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We had our date for May 29, 2016 already set, and knew that with it being a late spring/early summer wedding, we would want to get married outside. The Terry House was the perfect location! I had seen pictures of friends who had been married there and remembered that the set-up was so accommodating. We wanted our ceremony and reception to be close by, and having them at the same place was even better!

Our wedding colors included different shades of coral and gold. I remember meeting with my wedding planner, Anne Claire, and my florist, Dale, and telling them that I was hoping for bright, bold pops of color! They sure made this request a reality. They built us a ceiling of flowers for our tent that we danced under, which was threaded with Edison lighting to help create a romantic and whimsical atmosphere for the reception. The flowers included pink and coral charm peonies, salmon pink peony tulips, and peach David Austin roses, mixed in with roses and lisianthus. In addition, watermelon snapdragons, assorted poppies, and scabiosa were mixed in, along with maidenhair fern, variegated greenery, and hydrangeas. The flowers truly made my dream wedding come true!

We had a four-tiered wedding cake covered in textured cream cheese frosting. The bottom two layers were chocolate and vanilla, and the top two were lemon with raspberry filling. It was to die for! The groom’s cake was a little unconventional. Evan decided he wanted ice cream sandwiches instead! They were made of two chocolate chip cookies with vanilla or mint chocolate chip ice cream squished in the middle. A refreshing treat on a hot summer day!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We made sure our food reflected the best of our Southern roots. Evan and I met in Memphis, home of the best barbecue in the South! We made sure some form of barbecue was served (sliders), as well as fried mac and cheese bites. To everyone’s surprise, our biggest Southern detail of the wedding was the late night snack: Chick Fil-A nuggets!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. In 2008, Evan and I met during the summer of my sophomore year of college. He and I were the only two students selected to participate in a medical summer internship in Memphis. We had briefly met a few times during various club meetings and in passing on campus, but never had any meaningful interactions until then. Evan didn’t know this at the time, but I had a secret crush on him before we were chosen to work together that summer. I seriously believed it was fate, and now I know it truly was! About halfway through the internship, Evan asked me to go to the Memphis Zoo with him one day after work. We realized that we liked a lot of the same animals, and it was in the herpetarium when I realized Evan actually liked me! While looking at the turtles, he nervously asked me out on a date to go see a movie at the drive-in theater. I misunderstood that he was planning that for another time and not for later that evening. Oops! I insisted that we look up movie times and get dinner beforehand. That night, we sat in the hatchback of his car to watch the Disney-Pixar movie, Wall-E. Of course, something else had to go wrong on our first date, and it did–neither of us had any bug spray, so I got bitten by a ton of mosquitos! I remember we counted exactly 38 bites on my legs and arms, while Evan had maybe only five. We spent the rest of the night laughing about what happened, and soon after that was when I realized that Evan was the only one I wanted to watch all my movies with…but only indoors with air conditioning, or maybe with a can of bug spray nearby.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Evan: Kelsie was living with me in Norfolk for the month while she was doing an away rotation. To cap off a great month and celebrate our six-year anniversary, I planned a special getaway weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia. We checked into our hotel at Colonial Williamsburg, and went to explore the historical town in search for a good place for a picnic. We stopped by The Cheese Shop in downtown Williamsburg and picked up bread, cheese, and some wine. Unfortunately, it was late enough that all of the Colonial Williamsburg attractions had closed, so we adventured on to the nearby campus of The College of William & Mary. It was very reminiscent of our time at Rhodes, where we met. We picnicked in the quad and drank A LOT wine. I had researched a romantic part of the campus in the woods many weeks before, so after our picnic, we went into the woods and I somehow convinced her to follow me (I think the wine helped with this). After a small trek, we came across the Crim Dell bridge, hidden in the woods of the campus. She initially ran across the bridge, while I slowly walked to the crest, looking up something special for her to read on my phone. She came back and asked what I was doing. I had her read the story about the bridge’s significance, which said that if two lovers were to meet at the crest of the bridge and kiss, they would be together forever. After she read the story, we kissed and then I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. Little did we know that on the other side of the bridge, about a hundred yards away, was a group of college girls who witnessed the whole thing. When she said “yes,” a roar of cheers were heard. I had just become the luckiest guy in the world!
When did y’all get married? May 29, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Our officiant, Chaplain West, offered to enroll us in a premarital course online called Prepare Enrich. We took a test at the beginning about ourselves and it analyzed the results so that we could discuss it with our officiant. We had weekly premarital counseling sessions with him every Wednesday night for about six months before the wedding. Because we were planning our wedding long distance, we had to have our weekly sessions over the phone, which worked out perfectly well for all of our schedules. We finally met our officiant in person a few days before the wedding and it was as if we had known him our whole lives!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our biggest challenge was making sure we stayed within our budget. This was definitely made possible by having a wedding planner. Anne Claire was wonderful at giving us different pricing options when it came to vendors. She had things laid out for us so we could compare what we were willing to splurge on versus things we wanted to save money on. In the end, we were able to stay within our budget!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Every month, Evan and I would set aside a certain amount of money from each our paychecks into our wedding savings account. This really helped us not only learn how to save money for the future, but also allowed us to contribute as much as we could towards the wedding. This way, we could ease the burden off of our families and have more wiggle room to add on fun details at the last minute.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We were so happy to have our Filipino and my Indian culture represented in our wedding. This was exemplified throughout the whole evening, from the food, to the attire, and even the ceremony and dancing. Evan and I incorporated the traditional Filipino wedding traditions into our ceremony: coins, cord, veil, and candle. We also had Filipino primary and secondary sponsors as part of our wedding, who wore the traditional Filipino clothing (barong) during the ceremony. I had traditional Indian henna done on both of my hands to represent the other side of my heritage. We served Indian samosas as passed appetizers and had traditional Filipino pancit (noodles) and lumpia (egg rolls) as part of the dinner buffet. Finally, we performed a Filipino money dance, where guests took turn dancing with Evan and I, and pinning money onto us as they did so. It was so fun to see how our guests responded to all the different traditions!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are about to get a puppy! We have been patiently waiting for this day to come and it will probably be the second happiest day of our lives! We are also looking forward to finally taking our honeymoon this August to Maui, Hawaii! We are planning for a mix of relaxing activities, as well as a lot of adventure, hiking, snorkeling, and maybe even surfing. But let’s be honest, we’re most excited about the food!

Photographer: Weddings by Christopher & Nancy | Videographer: Brad Fugere | Planner: Anne-Claire Allen | Venue: The Terry House | Florist: Silks A Bloom | Cake Baker: Sweet Love | Caterer: Simply The Best Catering | Rentals: Confetti’s Party Rentals | Lighting: Central Arkansas Entertainment | DJ: Mario Luna | Henna: Priyanka Badhwar | Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas | Bride’s Gown: Style 14716 by Wtoo | Bride’s Accessories and Bridal Salon: Proposals Boutique | Hair Stylist: Kakki Jones | Makeup Artist: Lorena Somers Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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When a wedding planner and a chef tie the knot, you might expect beautiful styling, gorgeous details, and delicious food. And in the case of Elyse and Jack, you’d be right! Their wedding day at Stella Plantation had all of those things and more. Mixing together sweet details from their love story (yummy mini pizzas) with romantic decor (tons of dreamy candles, plus 13 different crystal chandeliers!), they created a celebration that was just as lovely as it was meaningful. I also love the way they weaved Elyse’s signature “xoxo” throughout their day, and right on into their newlywed home!

P.S. If you’re thinking the only way these photos could be prettier is if they were printed on glossy paper and surrounded by other wedding goodness, you’re in luck! We’re so glad Greer Gattuso was on hand to capture this beautiful wedding, and we were proud to feature it in Southern Weddings V8. If you don’t have your copy yet, look for it on news stands across the Southeast, or order it before we sell out here!

Since I’ve signed all of my letters to Jack with “xoxo” for years, we fell in love with the idea of having “xoxo” accents throughout the design! As guests were first introduced to the wedding through the save the dates, they noticed my handwritten “xoxo” at the top. We then commissioned one of the best local calligraphers to design our “xoxo” logo, which we used as a dance floor vinyl, had laser cut for our wedding cake topper, gold foiled on our napkins, printed on our koozies, and more! We even used “elysexoxojack” as our wedding hashtag! The “xoxo” has since carried over into our home decor, which continues to make me smile and think of our wedding.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Having shopped through New Orleans with my clients, I knew I’d have to travel to find my dress, so my mother, bridesmaids, and aunts joined me in Houston for a long weekend. Ironically, the bridal attendant had to force me to try my dress on! After removing the one-shoulder strap and some floral appliqués, it was exactly what I had envisioned myself wearing.

As the guests arrived for our wedding ceremony, they were greeted by my six honorary bridesmaids at our confetti bar! They were instructed to make their own mix of navy and metallic confetti to toss at us as we walked back up the aisle as husband and wife. Our immediate family members were given wedding bells to ring after our kiss, and my sorority sisters were each handed a Killarney rose–my sorority’s signature flower.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. My dad walked me down a long, tree-lined aisle as a cello and violin played. Once the celebrant greeted the guests, my aunt delivered an original ode to love. This was followed by the reading of the poem “Love” by Roy Croft, a poem read during recruitment in Delta Zeta Sorority, by my maid of honor, and a contemporary version of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” sung by a dear friend. Thank goodness I had gifted Jack a “Mr.” hanky because I needed it a few times myself!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote an original set of vows for both of us to repeat during the ceremony. These vows were a little more traditional, but still so meaningful to us.

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? The cocktail party started outside of the tent at our champagne table, where we had rows of pre-poured champagne, each glass adorned with either a gold pom, a rock candy stick, or a rim of edible gold sugar. Our family and friends enjoyed cocktails around highboys with floral ties by the glow of our three 10-foot walls of candles.

New Orleans thrives on a buffet-style reception–they keep people moving, mingling, and dancing! Food was really important to Jack, as he’s a chef, but I am a picky eater, so we wanted to have food that could could represent us both. We offered elegant food like oysters bordelaise, turtle soup, red snapper filet with crawfish ravigot, cajun duck breast, and marsala mushroom-topped tenderloin to suit Jack’s sophisticated palate. Then, to represent my favorite foods, we served miniature Margherita pizzas and had a french fry and mac and cheese bar that guests could top with their favorite accoutrements!

Did you try anything new or nontraditional? Our guest book was a nod to the hopeless romantic in each of us! Like the Parisian love lock bridge, we asked guests to sign and add their well wishes for our relationship to a padlock, then lock in their love by attaching it to a trellis, which we continue to enjoy in the landscaping in our backyard!

What was your reception like? As cocktail hour came to an end, the drapes of the tent were pulled back to reveal the reception inside. A golden-draped tent with 13 different crystal chandeliers added the backdrop and lighting for our perfect night! Our tables were a mix of round and square tables, the chairs were a mix of gold chiavari, gold estate, and ghost chairs, and our three different specialty table linens added various navy textures to the room. The whole room twinkled!

Our cakes added some wow factor! The wedding cake was a four-tiered fondant cake accented with gold leafing and topped with our xoxo wooden cake topper! It sat on a gold bar cart–a gift from my aunts for my bridal shower–adorned with candles on the bottom shelf and on the floor around the base. The backdrop was a custom painted and gold-leafed wall that our florist created. After we cut our cake, we asked the ladies of the bridal party to join us for a cake pulls–a Southern tradition where each girl pulls a charm out of the cake that is said to predict their fate. The groom’s cake was four stacked king cakes, a New Orleans speciality, with a fleur de lis topper and purple, green, and gold Mardi Gras beads scattered on the table!

Don’t miss Elyse and Jack’s wedding film by our Blue Ribbon Vendor Bride Film below!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. In eighth grade, my parents moved to a new city right outside of New Orleans, where I made many new friends! One afternoon, I had joined my new girlfriends at the ballpark to watch their friends play baseball. After a foul ball was hit towards the stands, I scooped it up and chucked it back to the boys. Let’s just say that I didn’t throw like a girl! Impressed by my athleticism, Jack came to chat with me after the game. We spent many afternoons together at the ballpark after that, and the rest is history!
Tell us about a date you’ll always remember. For our one-year dating anniversary (keep in mind that we were 16 years old), Jack told me that he was going to cook pizza, my favorite meal, from scratch. He surprised me by writing “I <3 U” in pepperonis! He had already discovered his love for cooking (he's now a chef) and had gotten pretty good at it, so the fact that he simplified his dinner plans to cook this simple dish showed that he really understood and loved me. I’ve always told him just how special that meal made me feel! Describe the proposal: After the weather forced Jack to change his plans of proposing in the park in front of a photographer, the ring must have been burning a hole in his pocket. The very next day, he surprised me with another hand-tossed pizza, this one reading “Marry Me?” in pepperonis– a nod to our one-year anniversary date! Needless to say, we were too excited to eat the proposal pizza!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Elegant, custom, lively
How many guests attended your wedding? 200
What did the groom and groomsmen wear? Jack had purchased a light navy suit months before the wedding, but three weeks before the big day, an editorial arrived in the mail with a velvet, navy tux blazer that he had to have! It arrived just in time! He also wore my late grandfather’s Rolex watch that my father asked him to wear. During my dad’s rehearsal dinner speech, he said, “Jack, I would like you to wear this watch this weekend so that Elyse’s grandfather can be a part of his granddaughter’s wedding. Keep it on your wrist so he can feel your pulse quicken as you watch Elyse walk up the aisle in her beautiful wedding dress.” It meant so much to me to have my Dide there in spirit! The groomsmen all wore matching black suits with navy skinny ties. We also gifted them polka dot socks for a fun touch.
Tell us about your wedding flowers. I really wanted my bouquet to have a hand-picked, natural feel, so we used lush blooms in whites, ivories, and blush mixed with loose, cascading foliage to give it lots of movement. We applied gold leafing to a few leaves for a gilded touch! We used Frou Frou Chic hand-dyed ribbon to tie it all together. As a finishing touch, I had “Mrs. Jennings” in my handwriting turned into a gold bracelet, which we wrapped around the stems. Just as the bridesmaids’ dresses were different, I wanted their bouquets to be different as well. Each had the same filler flowers and foliage, but a unique focal flower! I also made each of the ladies a handwritten gold bracelet with their names to wrap around their bouquets.
Tell us a bit about your first dance. We danced to “Amazed” by Lonestar, which has been “our song” since we first started dating in 2003–the year the song became most popular. We sang every word of the song to each other while we danced! So romantic and nostalgic!
Tell us about your grand exit. In true dramatic fashion, we ended our reception with fireworks over the Mississippi River to celebrate not only our love, but all of the love that surrounds us each and every day! It was a truly magical ending to the most incredible weekend of our lives, and the perfect start to our forever!

Planning and Design: Elyse Jennings Weddings | Venue: Stella Plantation | Photographer: Greer Gattuso Photography | Videographer: Bride Film | Candles and Lighting: Luminous Events | Florist: Bee’s Wedding and Event Designs | Rentals: Perrier Rentals | Vintage Rentals: Distressed Rentals | Hair Stylist: Ginger Dickey | Makeup Artist: Ashley Sievert | Band: Groovy 7 | Catering: New Orleans Catering | Ceremony Musicians: New Orleans Finest Musicians | Officiant: Rev. Johnny Adams | Transportation: Bonomolo and Hotard | Save the Dates and Invitations: Tupelo Honey | Invitation and Envelope Calligraphy and Signage: Ebb and Flow | Cake Baker: Royal Cakery | Champagne Flutes: Anthropologie | Bride’s Gown: Ines Di Santo | Bridal Salon: Ivory Bridal Atelier | Bride’s Veil: Wedding Belles | Bride’s Earrings: Kendra Scott | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bride’s Robe: Flora Nikrooz | Menswear: Express | Bridesmaid Dresses: Adrianna Papell and Badgley Mischka | Tinsel Stirrers: Em for Marvelous | XOXO Cake Topper: My Girl Josephine | Bouquet Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic | Name Bracelets: Yvonne Boutique | XOXO Floor Decal: Off the Wall Expression | Confetti: Inside My Nest | Frosted Go Cups and Napkins: For Your Party | Koozies: Discount Mugs

Greer Gattuso, Bride Film, and Stella Plantation are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    By far one of my favorite weddings. It is the perfect mix of elegant and fun. I might be using some of these ideas :-)

  2. avatar Champagne bar with tinsel stirrers – Em for Marvelous – reply

    […] of my very favorite weddings from the latest issue of Southern Weddings is on their blog today! Elyse and Jack, who began dating when they were 16, blew me away with all of the thoughtful and […]

  3. avatar Elyse reply

    Our wedding was the very best day of my life and it’s made me smile from ear to ear to relive it through the magazine and the blog! You ladies are just the sweetest! XOXO

  4. avatar Sybil reply

    Beautiful wedding! I love alll the detail and how special it seems for the couple.

  5. avatar Nicole reply

    Beautiful…so this is what a wedding looks like when a super talented wedding planner makes the dream of her wedding day come to life. Details, Details, Details, Love, Love, Love!!!

  6. avatar Brooke reply

    This was one of my favorite weddings from the new magazine! Seeing even more pictures on the blog is just so exciting! I absolutely love the confetti bar and the mini chicken and waffles!

  7. avatar 5 Southern Wedding Traditions Any Couple Can Incorporate reply

    […] See the full wedding here! […]

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I already knew I was going to love Catherine and William’s wedding when Emily snuck me a peek of Catherine’s custom Heidi Elnora ball gown, their snowy portraits, and their twinkling opera house reception, but all of my expectations were blown out of the water when I read Catherine’s interview. I think she said it best when she wrote, “I think what makes a wedding Southern is how a couple thoughtfully incorporates faith, family, tradition, and hospitality in meaningful ways throughout the day to celebrate their love story and the people who brought them to where they are.” Catherine and William stuck to this sentiment so thoroughly throughout their engagement, and with the help of Catherine’s talented mama, every moment and detail of this Missouri celebration expressed their love story and their hearts. Even after all of the magic of the day, one of Catherine and William’s favorite moments was the end of the night when they poured a glass of champagne at their hotel room and excitedly recapped the entire wedding. I’m positive that with their sweet attitudes and their hearts for what matters most, there are so many more celebrations in Catherine and William’s future!

Thank you so much to Mike Cassimatis of MNC Photography for sending this sparkly day our way!

P.S. Y’all, I just HAVE to mention this…but how perfect is it that Catherine and William incorporated a few nods to their British heritages into their wedding, AND they share names with the beloved royal couple? Clearly, they were meant to be ;)

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were both law students at Vanderbilt, but we hadn’t met yet my first semester (or so I thought). Fortunately, we both had friends who convinced us at the last minute to come back to Nashville early for a New Year’s Eve party at a mutual friend’s house. When Will started talking to me, I thought it was rude that he didn’t properly introduce himself. Well, as it turns out, we had already met at a Christmas party at the same house, but I didn’t remember him! I left to go to another party, got on a friend for “giving my number out to random guys,” and told Will I couldn’t go out with him because my mom was coming into town on the 2nd for a girls’ week. Well, folks, I underestimated Will’s determination and found myself sipping an Old Fashioned with him at Whiskey Kitchen the very next night. A Tim McGraw sing-a-long later, and on the 2nd, I was telling my mom what a nice guy I had met!

My something borrowed was my favorite piece of my grandmother’s jewelry, a diamond bangle my grandfather gave her on their fifteenth wedding anniversary. My something old was a fur my grandfather on the other side gave my mom years ago, and my something new was my brand new Heidi Elnora dress. I was supposed to wear a blue garter but forgot to put it on!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did. We wanted to have that private moment between just the two of us, and we wanted to be able to relax and celebrate after the ceremony. It was really nice to see each other for the first time without any distractions, and we had so much fun spending our wedding day together with our wedding party!

My mom and I planned an epic dress quest across the South with appointments in Nashville, Huntsville, Birmingham and Atlanta. I tried on so many beautiful gowns, but with each one that got close, I kept asking, “Can we change the lace?” or “Can we add a bow?” or “Can we lower the waistline?” Nothing seemed exactly right. We walked into the Heidi Elnora Atelier at the very end of the day, exhausted and not expecting much until Heidi herself came out and changed everything! She is such a sweet, strong, spunky Southern woman. She started from scratch asking me about my vision and nailing down a silhouette. From there, we created a custom gown that was so very me! It was my favorite part of the wedding planning process by far, and I cherished my trips to Birmingham to visit with Heidi and her team and watch my gown come to life. The first thing Will said when he saw me in the dress was, “It’s so you!”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I’m a farmer’s daughter originally from a very small town in Southeast Missouri, but I always knew I wanted to get married in St. Louis and take photos at my alma mater (Washington University). We both love tradition and any excuse to dress up, so we dreamed up a classic (and sparkly!) black-tie evening with British touches to reflect both of our family heritages. I was initially disappointed to hear that we couldn’t get married at the church I attended during college, but when we heard Memorial Presbyterian was available, we couldn’t believe how perfect it was. It is next door to Wash U, is our denomination, and had the perfect grand, Gothic ambiance for our English-inspired ceremony.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The whole ceremony! Our pastor gave a beautiful charge about God’s purpose for marriage, and at one point, asked us to turn and face the congregation. The room was glowing with loved ones’ faces. We just smiled at each other and soaked in that coziest, happiest moment.

We chose a brass quartet for the ceremony music because Will grew up playing the trumpet, and we thought it would be fun to bring his love of brass into our wedding day! For the ceremony music, we decided to stick mostly to our favorite classic hymns. I walked down the aisle to “O God Beyond All Praising,” which we sing all the time at our church in Nashville. The congregation sang two hymns during the ceremony (thanks, friends!), “Be Thou my Vision” and “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” A bagpiper played through the snow as we exited the church in traditional British fashion

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? As my poor friends and family can tell you, I was an absolute mess stressing out about snow and ice, starting around Thanksgiving. The weather in St. Louis can really be anything anytime, and I was completely convinced that a huge blizzard would befall us and no one would make it to our wedding. I tried to convince Will and my mom that we needed to move the date, and when that failed, that we needed to make a special trip to St. Louis to bury the bourbon. They just shook their heads, so I had my small group praying for the weather for weeks! Well, when the sparkly snowflakes started to fall during our photo shoot, I laughed and exclaimed, “Thank you, Jesus, for the snow!” I could not imagine a more romantic finishing touch for our winter wedding, and the snowy photos are my absolute favorite reminders that God’s plans are better than mine. It made me think of how much I love the way snow slows life down and gives you time to just be still, which is how I wanted our wedding day to feel. Sure, our antique getaway car became an SUV, and guests’ flights home were canceled on Sunday, but boy did the snow look beautiful coming down out the windows of our reception!

For our reception, it was important to us to find a space with character and significance that wasn’t exclusively a reception venue. We joked that if each of us could choose our favorite non-geographical location, Will would choose a courtroom and I would choose a theater. (I was a theater major in college and worked in theater management in New York before law school.) Naturally, I won, and the 1934 Peabody Opera House was a dream! We fell in love with its opulent ceilings, gilded accents and cozy-but-stately feel. It screams black-tie winter wedding!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? A detail that was so special to me was that once the dancing got underway, I changed into the 1981 Priscilla of Boston gown my mom married my dad in. The only alteration we made was to remove the train, and it was perfect for dancing! I added a flower crown to look just like she did, and it was a really special moment. My dad was thrilled, and other relatives enjoyed telling me “I know that dress!” Some little details that I thought really added to the day included the strung lights that added ambiance over our reception, the couches that lined the dance floor for guests to take a break without leaving the action, and the band that had our guests dancing all night long!

Our décor was mostly ivory and gold, so we wanted to bring in some subtle blush pinks with the flowers. My favorite flowers are hydrangeas (which Will wrote down very early in our relationship), so we used a lot of them, along with roses, snapdragons, garden roses, and ranunculus. Our florist created an amazing canopy of elevated flowers hanging above our 34-person head table!

We had a traditional tiered cake with alternating layers of vanilla and caramel decorated with gold, and a groom’s cake with alternating layers of chocolate and red velvet, which is Will’s favorite. For a late night treat, we served my favorite St. Louis specialty: Ted Drewe’s Frozen Custard!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I’m not going to tell you not to stress about wedding planning, because let’s be real, it will inevitably be stressful. However, try to spend the weekend itself focusing on the people around you who love you enough to be there on your special day (and maybe even stand outside with sparklers at 11:00 P.M. in the snow!). All those people will never be in the same room with you again, and spending time with them is so much more important than the little details that go awry.

Tell us all about the proposal! We were in the middle of finals when Will suggested that we go for a hike before church the next morning to watch the sun rise over downtown Nashville. I thought it was a little suspicious when he kept changing the time that he wanted to pick me up, but with his hardest exam on Monday, I thought it would be the last day he would pick to propose. As we climbed the steep hill to Love Circle, I saw a picnic blanket with roses, photos of us, and my favorite breakfast sandwiches. I didn’t know what to do! Of course, I started crying, and as the sun rose behind us, Will took my hands and said a bunch of nice things I don’t remember until he got to “Catherine Elizabeth Moreton, will you marry me?” Our friend Ellen was there to capture the whole thing, and it was so much fun to share our news with our wonderful Nashville church family and then celebrate with worship and Sunday brunch.
When did y’all get married? February 28, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but we did memorize our vows! We wanted to make the same commitments that so many great couples before us have made to each other, but we also wanted the vows to feel more personal, so we bravely opted not to repeat after our pastor. Thankfully, we remembered them!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I think what makes a wedding Southern is how a couple thoughtfully incorporates faith, family, tradition, and hospitality in meaningful ways throughout the day to celebrate their love story and the people who brought them to where they are. I hope we accomplished that, because we tried! To start, my beautiful bridesmaids wore gold sequins to look similar to my gold sequined New Year’s Eve dress that caught Will’s eye the night we met. Our signature drinks were a “Make-her-Marks” Old Fashioned, because that is what we had on our first date in Nashville; and “Seaside Bride” champagne, because we went to Seaside for our honeymoon. One of the reasons for the date was that we met and fell in love in the winter. We tried to bring as much of our lives in Nashville into the day as possible, starting with having our pastor from Nashville marry us. That was a nice way to bring our church home to Missouri. We also served shrimp and grits at the cocktail hour, and included Will’s darling cousins from North Carolina to hand out programs and be our flower girl and ring bearer. Our invitations were hand-pressed at the Hound Dog Press in Louisville, Kentucky, where my mom and I had a great weekend designing everything with Nick on his antique machines. The gifts exchanged during the day also had a lot of Southern touches and meaning to us. On Friday night, my uncle gave Will his name carved out of wood to hang up with all the rest of the family names that hang on the porch of our lake house in Kentucky. I gave Will a journal I had been writing in to him since 2002. On our wedding day, he gave me a signet ring with my new monogram engraved on it, and I gave him a family Bible with our wedding as the first entry (as well as an in-progress needlepoint belt that is, unfortunately, still a work in progress). I gave my mom an engraved frame thanking her for everything, and my dad and brother got embroidered handkerchiefs.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We had great marriage counseling meetings with our pastor in Nashville, and we had marriage books all over our apartments, on tape in the car, everywhere! Tim Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage” is such a blessing, honestly. We also had a great workbook that helped us talk through our plans and ideas about what we want our marriage to look like. We had fun with endless “1,001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married” types of books, especially on road trips!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We enlisted the talents of my incredible mama! She is a wedding coordinator and calligrapher, so we didn’t have to hire either. I knew the macro-level planning was in good hands with her at the helm, and she lovingly addressed all 250+ save the dates and 250+ invitations.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Besides the ceremony itself, Will and I both agree our favorite moment of the day was when we got back to our suite at the Ritz, collapsed onto the couch, poured a glass of champagne, and rehashed the entire day. Questions included: “Were you freezing waiting for me for the first look?” “What was your favorite part?” “What were you thinking when I was walking down the aisle?” It was our first moment of normalcy as a married couple, and we will never forget how thrilled we were!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are so excited to deck our Arlington, Virginia apartment out for Christmas (multiple trees!) and establish some Marks family Christmas traditions!

Photographer: Mike Cassimatis / Videographer: Lovebird Studios / Planner: Nancy Moreton (Bride’s mother) / Ceremony Venue: Memorial Presbyterian Church / Reception Venue and Caterer: Peabody Opera House / Florist: Lisa Molitor / Cake Baker: Sarah’s Cake Shop / Rentals: Amerevent Group / Lighting: Exclusive Events / Band: Griffin and the Gargoyles / Signage: Buffy Weddings / Party Favors: Trophy House Treasures / Paper Products: Hound Dog Press / Bride’s Gown and Veil: Heidi Elnora / Hair Accessories: Jennifer Behr and Enchanted Atelier by Liv Hart / Hair Stylist: Christy Parsons / Makeup Artist: Emily Miller Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Blouson Bodice Sequin Mesh Gown in Gold by JS Collections / Attendant Dresses: Alfred Sung / Bridesmaid Furs: Tulip Bridal / Groom’s Attire: The Knot Standard / Flower Girl and Ring Bearer Attire: J. Crew / Getting Ready Location: The Ritz Carlton / Ceremony Musicians: Clarion Brass / Girls’ Getting Ready Robes: Just Cottons / Custom Invitation Design: Sarah Hanna / Wedding Logo Design: Folisi Design Studio / Photo Booth: Photography and Video Innovations / Late Night Snack: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard

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

    Wow oh wow! This is such a beautiful wedding! I love all the personal touches throughout — it seems so personal. Thanks for sharing.

  2. avatar Meredith Sledge reply

    WOW! Phenomenal images!!

  3. avatar Bubbling Brides reply

    The sparkle accents are amazing. The sequin bridesmaid dresses are the best!

    XoXo,
    The Bubbling Brides Team
    Bubbling Brides

  4. avatar kelly reply

    oh i agree, this interview hands down is one of the very best!

  5. avatar Catherine reply

    We’re so honored to be included in the Southern Weddings family, and it was so fun to relive the day! Thank you so much Lisa and Emily!

  6. avatar Dana reply

    This is quite the royal looking winter wedding!

  7. avatar Wedding Wednesday No. 1: Our Proposal Story – Classic Catherine reply

    […] Once that nerve-wracking bit had passed and the surreal feeling of being engaged started to set in, everything comes back into sharper focus in my memory. Then, of course, it was time to check out that ring! I LOVE SPARKLY THINGS. […]

  8. avatar Baby’s First Snow! – Attention to Darling reply

    […] both featured on Southern Weddings. So happy she did! See their GORGEOUS winter wedding here and our home feature here. Finally, just for perspective, here’s a before picture […]

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