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Tag: tented wedding reception

When you combine a dreamy blush Monique Lhuillier gown, an abundance of pastel blooms, a garden that serendipitously shares the groom’s last name, and a couple who is clearly smitten with each other, you know a wedding is going to be incredible! With the help of Sage Nines Event Production, Ellen and Brad loved planning their spring nuptials in the Wills Perennial Garden at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, a place they visited often during their dating years. Besides the lovely, spring-inspired details, the highlight of their wedding was without a doubt the love of their community that surrounded them–their most memorable moment is sweet as can be!

Hugs to Mary Rosenbaum for sending Ellen and Brad’s lovely day our way!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. The weekend of dress shopping was so much fun. My sister flew in from LA and several of my bridesmaids were able to come as well. We scheduled the weekend around a Monique Lhuillier trunk show at The Bride Room. Mine was the third dress I tried on, and as soon as I had it on, we all knew it was the one. I called my dad over for the final opinion, and he loved it. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room!

My bridal bouquet was a hand-tied bouquet of fresh lavender and lilac, pale pink garden roses, blush astilbe, white lisianthus, light blue delphinium, dusty miller, and light pink ranunculus. The bouquet was very loose and wildflower-inspired. Our centerpieces were in gold mercury glass bottles and goblets and consisted of lavender, stock, light pink spray roses, light pink sweet peas, ivory garden roses, light pink astilbe, light blue delphinium, and light blue hydrangea. They were so elegant and lovely!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a string quartet playing songs by The Beatles for the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to “Here Comes the Sun,” which was perfect, as we could not have asked for a better day. Brad and the groomsmen came down the aisle to “With a Little Help from My Friends,” a song we thought was fitting for them. Walking back up the aisle, the string quartet played “All You Need is Love.”

Cheekwood Botanical Garden is very near our house, and we would often wind up there when Brad would come to visit our family in Nashville. Cheekwood has such beautiful gardens, and I really wanted a garden wedding and reception. We chose the Wills Perennial Garden (of course, since I was becoming a Wills!) and then tented the back of the mansion for the reception.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? That is such a hard question, as our day turned out practically perfect. But the food was especially unbelievable–Kristen Winston went above and beyond! We still hear about how good the food was at our wedding!

Our cake was a simple, textured buttercream cake, accented with lavender. One layer was chocolate chip cake with chocolate buttercream and ganache, one layer was European butter with vanilla buttercream, fresh strawberries, and lemon curd, and one layer of cinnamon red velvet with three layers of vanilla buttercream. AMAZING! The groom’s cake was made by a family friend, Chelle Baldwin of SweetAbility Bakery, who incorporated several of Brad’s hobbies and interests into an unbelievable cake!

Since Brad is from Georgia, he and his mom danced to “Georgia on My Mind.” My father and I danced to “Unforgettable.” The first dance was to an Ingrid Michaelson song, “The Way I Am.” The song is about how some of our flaws end up bringing us closer together!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment was when the band played “Home” as the last song. Brad and I stood at the front of the dance floor and basically sang the song to the crowd. Fortunately, they didn’t actually give us the mic! It felt like everyone there was on the dance floor, jumping up and down in unison, and having an amazing time. It was very surreal and symbolic, and we will never forget it.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Brad and I met very early in college, when we were in the same small group class. There was also a brief period when we were biology lab partners. We went through most of college seeing each other here and there, but did not really start talking again until senior year. At first I rejected Brad’s dates, but his persistence paid off, and here we are!
Tell us all about the proposal! Since we met at Sewanee, it was the perfect place to get engaged. We planned a weekend trip there to celebrate his birthday, including a hike out to KA Point, a beautiful overlook we’d been to many times before. When we arrived, he pulled roses and a book out from his backpack. He had asked several of our friends to write “proposals” to me and created a book of all of them. On the last page was a picture of Brad on one knee, and when I looked up, there he was on one knee in real life. Both sets of parents met us at the cabin afterwards for a celebratory lunch. The only thing he hadn’t planned for was the three inches of snow!
When did y’all get married? May 3, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 225
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No first look for us! At the wedding, I would be coming down a flight of stone steps into the garden, and I think we all wanted that moment to be extra special.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My Aunt Salley read Song of Solomon 2, which Brad picked out especially for us.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We met with our minister several times while planning the wedding to discuss our expectations of marriage and address potential problems. We found it extremely helpful and would encourage everyone to do it!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Try and stay calm and remember that the most important thing is that you are getting married to the person you love!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? After an amazing honeymoon in Switzerland, we moved to Birmingham, where we are doing a medical residency. I am a resident in internal medicine and Brad is in orthopedic surgery. We were in a long distance relationship prior to this residency, as we were at different medical schools, so we are most looking forward to living together and being able to see each other every day!

Photographer: Mary Rosenbaum / Videographer: Full Frame Digital Cinema / Planner: Sage Nines Event Productions / Venue: Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art / Florist: Enchanted Florist / Cake Baker: Dulce Desserts / Caterer: Kristen Winston Catering / Rentals: Liberty Party Rental and Music City Tents and Events / Lighting: Bright Event Productions / Band: The Downtown Band / Paper Products: Deirdre Zimon of Lennah Press / Bride’s Gown: “Candy” in Blush Tulle by Monique Lhuillier / Hair Stylist: Ashlea Mullins / Makeup Artist: Shannon Wright / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Menswear: “Classic Black Tuxedo” by Calvin Klein

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

    her dress and flowers and stunning!!!

  2. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Beautiful wedding! I love her dress!

  3. avatar Abbey Angelle reply

    What is the round gold monogrammed item in the first picture?

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One thing I love witnessing at weddings is the unabashed vulnerability of the couple and their guests, whether it’s a groom who just can’t contain his tears after first seeing his bride, or the emotion of the first look with the bride’s daddy. There is just something so beautiful about the raw emotions. I think that’s why I love this line from Molly and Kevin’s sweet secret letter so much. We Southern women are a strong (and strong-willed!) bunch, which makes Molly’s sweet vow to Kevin so romantic and vulnerable, all at the same time! She said “You are my leader and I will gladly follow wherever you go.” Oh my stars! I’m sure their ceremony at the beautiful Lowndes Groves Plantation was a joy to witness, and their reception looks like it was a blast, too!

Big hugs to Caroline Ro for sharing Molly and Kevin’s wedding with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. In April 2014, my sister, two bridesmaids, my mother-in-law, my mother, and I enjoyed two appointments and about 50 dresses. At the first shop, I tried on about 30. It was an amazing experience and I got very very close to saying yes to one, but then my mom told me I needed to attend both appointments before I decided. Thank goodness I listened to her, because the next morning, we showed up at White on Daniel Island. I was about 10 dresses in before I tried on the one. I knew right away that this was it, and so did my family. It’s true that you do get that feeling, “This is my dress!!!”

My wedding flowers were absolutely stunning, filled with chocolate orchids, eucalyptus, a white rose in honor of the Thayer women (these ladies all carried 13 white roses on their wedding days), white hydrangeas, purple hellebores, dusty millers (my favorite), and ivory ranunculus. My bouquet was wrapped in my grandmother’s blue handkerchief and I pinned a picture of each of our grandmothers to the stems.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Kevin didn’t want me to tell him what I was walking down the aisle to, so I surprised him with my processional to Gabriel’s “Oboe.” I chose this song because it reminded me of my grandmother. She loved her instrumental music and I remember sitting in the back of her car listening to it. She was so excited for our “big Southern military wedding.” Unfortunately, she passed away just a few short weeks before Kevin and I got engaged. She and my mother were my inspirations for our entire wedding.

We did not write our own vows, but our pastor had us write secret letters to each other prior to our wedding, and he read a few passages from each. We didn’t get to read the whole letters until right before we left on our honeymoon. My favorite line of Kevin’s was: “You have been, and will continue to be, the center and foundation of our relationship and household. Being the man of the household means nothing without a solid foundation”. Kevin’s favorite line that I wrote to him was: “You have taught me to give my heart fully and have made me realize that I cannot do this life without you. You are my leader and I will gladly follow wherever you go.”

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our pastor was amazing!! He is the pastor at Kevin’s church in Greenville, and we have known him for years. His passion and message brought out the true message of the day: commitment. Lowndes Grove was also amazing, and their staff, coupled with the location, made it a day we’ll never forget. The hand-rolled cigar bar was a huge hit with everyone and was an awesome way for everyone to take a break from dancing.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We prioritized the flavor rather than design. We kept the design simple, and chose a lemon cake with buttercream icing and red velvet with sweetened cream cheese icing. We cut the cake with Kevin’s Marine officer’s sword, which added our own little flair to the tradition.

Lowndes Grove Plantation was the first and only place we really looked. Kevin had been to a wedding there before, and, having grown up in Charleston, I knew how amazing of a place it was. The way the setting sun shined across the water and through the Spanish moss on the trees epitomized my mental picture of a Southern plantation. When it came to the food, we had good old Southern barbecue, shrimp and grits, bacon-wrapped scallops, and some great bourbon to bring it all together.

There are so many moments, but the most memorable was when Kevin and I were able to break away from everything and look over our wedding as outsiders. We followed the advice of some of our friends and have passed it on to all of our friends with upcoming weddings because it meant so much to us. We went all the way to the back of the tent and stood up on the brick ledge, holding each other close and just watched everyone having a fabulous time at this beautiful setting. It was magical, and the “snapshot” in time will remain with us forever!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Kevin and I met at Clemson University in 2007. He was the big bad senior, and I was the new freshman looking for fun and adventure. We were introduced during the Sigma Nu Mountain Weekend at Camp Wayfarer by my roommate, who knew him from high school. The moment I met him, I knew he was going to be someone special in my life, but of course, we were there with different dates! We saw each other occasionally after that, and I invited him to the Alpha Delta Pi Mallard Ball. Our on and off dating continued until 2011, when he returned from his first deployment to Afghanistan and I graduated from nursing school. After being separated by so many miles and for so many months, we knew we wanted to start taking things seriously. During his second deployment to Afghanistan, he called and asked me to move with him when he was to be reassigned to Quantico, Virginia when he returned home. We have been living in Fredericksburg, Virginia since November 2012. We bought our boxer puppy, Reagan, in February 2013, and I kept hinting to Kevin to make it official–I would tell Reagan in front of Kevin how jealous I was that he had the same last name as daddy! Kevin got the hint and proposed on January 24th, 2014!!!
Tell us all about the proposal! From Kevin: My plan: have a nice dinner, have some good convo, head back to the car, propose, go get a celebratory beer, and surprise Molly with all of our friends there. Throughout dinner, I blamed my fidgeting in my chair on being sick. The topic of conversation led to our friends who were recently engaged, which caused Molly to drop the bomb on me of “Well, I guess they know what they wanted…” Boom, the ring in my pocket got exponentially heavier while we continued to converse. Following dinner, we made our way back to the car to drop off our leftovers, and on the corner of the street, I pulled her close and told her how much I loved her and how much she meant to me. I then started to drop to a knee and grabbed her hand. Molly said, “Kevin, what are you doing? The ground is wet! What are you doing?” I pulled out the ring and asked her to marry me, to which she replied, “Kevin…what is that??? Who is that for?? What is that???” I asked the question a second time, to which she finally replied with a teary “YES!” We then went to get a celebratory beer from Capital Ale House, and Molly was surprised again with a tremendous cheer and applause from all of our friends who were waiting for us.
When did y’all get married? December 13, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Kevin: The second I was allowed to turn around and see Molly coming down the aisle. Even as a US Marine, it took everything I had to not cry. She was so absolutely stunning as she made her way down the aisle that I was completely tunnel visioned. I can’t even remember the song that was playing for her processional.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Even if you are not very close with your soon-to-be mother-in-law, like I am with mine, get her involved. Invite her to your dress shopping appointments, fittings, bridal showers, etc. You won’t regret it, and she will never forget it. My mother-in-law is a mother to three boys, so doing all the girly things just made her year! Also, get a videographer. I fought my mom on getting one, but she insisted. I now watch our wedding video at least once a day!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Having known each other and been together for so long prior to marriage, we are ready for the ultimate big step: building our family! This is the reason we went to Africa for our Safari honeymoon–we asked ourselves prior to booking: what would we regret not doing before having kids? We had a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

Photographer: Caroline Ro / Videographer: Dock House Digital / Planner: Megan Chandler of Ooh! Events / Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation / Florist: Out of the Garden / Catering and Cake Baker: Fish / Rentals: Snyder Rentals and Ooh! Events / Lighting: Ooh! Events / Band: Men of Distinction from EastCoast Entertainment / Paper Products: Lydia’s / Bride’s Gown: “C207” by Allure / Hair and Makeup: Charlotte Belk / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style 485” in Plum by Bill Levkoff / Ceremony String Trio: Classical Charleston

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marissa Written with love by Marissa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Just a gorgeous wedding and I love the men in their uniforms!

  2. avatar Kimberly reply

    My beautiful daughter and now son in law are so lucky to now share a fabulous life together! The wedding day was filled with so many luscious memories for me! Everything was perfect.

  3. avatar Charmaine reply

    Grilled finger sandwiches … yes please.. Beautiful wedding

  4. avatar Charleston Wedding Videographer reply

    Such a beautiful day and beautiful couple. We were so honored to capture Molly & Kevin’s special day on film!

  5. avatar Jeffrey newton reply

    It was a beautiful wedding! Please tag us for the transportation :)

  6. avatar Megan Chandler reply

    So excited to see this stunning wedding shared! Love this couple!

  7. avatar Molly+Kevin // Married // Charleston » CarolineRo // Blog reply

    […] to top everything off, Southern Weddings kindly featured Molly and Kevin’s day […]

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By far one of the most popular and memorable details at my wedding was the lounge spaces we set up in our reception tent. Yes, people remember the ceremony and the music, but what people bring up most two years later is how much fun they had catching up with friends and family on comfy couches in a beautiful space (with the ability to pop back and forth to the dance floor!). It’s a great example of what’s true about weddings: people may not remember what you said or what you fed them, but they will remember how you made them feel. A feeling of inclusion and hospitality is a major wedding do, and a reception lounge can be a big step toward that!

Photo by Abby Jiu via Elizabeth Anne Designs

While lounges can be set up in many locations, we happen to think that Sperry Tents make the absolute perfect back-drop. And we’re not alone! In one of my earliest conversations with our florist (who had a Sperry Tent for her own wedding), she said, you know, the nice thing about a Sperry is that they are so beautiful, and create such an experience on their own, that you don’t really need much in the way of extra decor. Not needing the smaller details frees your budget up to include more substantial details, like a lounge space!

Photo by Orchard Cove Photography

As you can see, Sperry Tents are a classic, neutral backdrop that works with every aesthetic and location, from a field to a beach to a manicured backyard. The tents are handcrafted by sailmakers in coastal Massachusetts and are made from genuine sailcloth, and the wooden support poles are hand-milled at a historic 1930s sawmill. All of their design decisions prioritize craftsmanship – you can really feel the love that went into each one when you’re standing inside!

Photo by Docuvitae via Style Me Pretty

In case you’re wondering, in my experience, Sperry Tents are more expensive than a standard frame tent (though obviously with good reason). If you start to add anything to the tent like a liner, draping or pole covers, however, the price will usually exceed a Sperry!

Photos by Leila Brewster Photography

A few tips for those of you thinking of adding a lounge space to your wedding reception:

Search out rental options. Vintage rental companies are popping up left and right (we have several stellar options in the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!) and traditional rental companies are adding more lounge options as their popularity grows. There are options to fit every aesthetic, from shabby chic to ultra modern.
Plan carefully if using your own pieces. For my wedding, we decided it was more cost-effective to purchase pieces to supplement our rental couches rather than buying everything. We bought several Ikea Lack tables and white ottomans and then were able to either sell them after the wedding (on Craigslist!) or give them away. If you go this route, however, make sure that you have the vehicle necessary to transport your items to your venue, and that someone is assigned to pick them up post-wedding!
Make a diagram. I don’t know about y’all, but spatial issues are not my forte, and when faced with trying to figure out how to fit our couches and our tables and our bar AND our dance floor in our tent, I was baffled. Enter: Sperry’s AMAZING space planning tool. After selecting your tent size and shape on their website, you can add and play around with a ton of different decor options to come up with the perfect arrangement, including lots of different lounge configurations! SO helpful.

Photo by Tanja Lippert from Southern Weddings

Interested? Sperry Tents are only available through a network of licensed providers and are available for rent throughout the South. You can find out much more on their website here!

Photo by Jen Fariello via Southern Weddings

This post is brought to you by Sperry Tents–thanks for your support of the brands that make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
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