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Y’all, as I was reading through Abigail and Ben’s interview, I kept nodding my head and thinking “Yes! That’s it right there!” Everything about their wedding day was filled with intention and joy, from their venue choice (inspired by Abigail’s upbringing on a plantation surrounded by oak trees) to their advice for couples currently planning a wedding. They not only prepared for their wedding day, but prepared their hearts well for their marriage–Abigail said, “We wanted to be intentional with every detail, giving it great meaning to who we are together, but also who we are in Jesus.” From the looks of it, I’m sure guests would agree that they did an brilliant job!

Gracious, we’re thankful Callie Davis of Nancy Ray Photography was on hand to capture their sweet day!

Believe it or not, my dress was the first dress I ever tried on. I wasn’t certain what style I wanted, but I knew I wanted my dress to be timeless and elegant. I met my mom and grandmother in Raleigh to begin our search. At our first appointment, at Lana Addison Bridal in Cary, I showed the consultant a few different pictures of what I thought I may like. She brought me four different dresses. I tried the first dress on and could not stop smiling and twirling around. I looked at my mom and grandmother and said, “I think this is it.” They encouraged me to try the others on just to be sure. I tried them all, but didn’t feel like they were me. I tried on the first dress again and still loved it, but I began to second guess myself and ended up going to our second appointment. I tried on three other beautiful dresses there and got a bit overwhelmed. We decided to call it a day, and as soon as we walked out of the store, I looked at my mom and said, “We have to go back to Lana Addison, it has my dress.” I fell in love with it all over again–from the high neck line, to the combination of the soft lace and tulle, to the beaded waistline, it was perfect. I made the decision that I was only going to let my mom and grandmother see my dress. It made finding my dress and sharing that experience with two of the most special women in my life even sweeter, and I didn’t want to be swayed by the opinions of others. I wanted the first time my family, closest friends, and guests would see my dress to be when I was walking down the aisle to my groom.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Ben and I decided not to do a first look. We both wanted the first time we saw each other to be when I was walking down the aisle to marry him. We did, however, find a time before the ceremony to grab hands and pray with one another.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had one of our closest friends read 1 John 4:18-19. We chose this verse because it centered the entire day around Christ and we believe that without Christ loving us first, we would not be able to love one another. Another verse that is very important to us, Philippians 1:9-10, was on our dinner cards. We asked that our guest pray this verse over us and with us as we entered into marriage together.

We both liked the traditional vows, but also wanted to make them more personal and meaningful to us. We promised the same things to each other: “In the presence of God and according to his will I, Ben, take you, Abigail, to be my wife. I promise to love you, I promise to serve you, I promise to cherish you, as a testament to Jesus and his death on the cross, I give you my love.” We also wanted to affirm together the vows of having a Christian home. We were given this idea by our pastor and we loved it. “Depending upon God for strength and wisdom, do you both solemnly pledge yourselves to the establishment of a Christian home? Will you together, constantly seek God’s will and honor Christ in your marriage?”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I knew I wanted to be married in my hometown, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and I knew I wanted it outside. I grew up on a plantation that is surrounded by the most beautiful oak trees and I always envisioned them in my wedding someday. When I told Darlene (a dear friend and my wedding planner) what I had envisioned for my day, she said she knew just the place, and told me about the Rose Hill Mansion. I looked it up and fell in love immediately. It had the oak trees with the beautiful hanging moss, enough space to create what we wanted from scratch, and we could have the reception there. I knew it was where I wanted to marry Ben and I booked it without even having seen it myself in person.

Our venue has a rich Southern history. It is an old cotton plantation and the mansion on the property has many antique artifacts to peruse inside. You can actually tour the mansion with the onsite staff and learn a lot about the history of the property and the people that lived there. It is an incredibly unique spot.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Flowers and decorations for sure! Jana Qualey and Bridget Short, who are dear friends to me, have their own side business called Little Vase Events, and let me tell you, they are the best of the best! We repurposed bridesmaids flowers and went out and collected all the oyster shells that we used on the tables. Our gold and white stripped napkins were made by Bridget and Jana themselves!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Keep things in perspective. Your wedding is one day, your marriage is for the rest of your life. When you get overwhelmed, step away and do something fun. Don’t lose your joy in what is such a sweet time of your life, or your sight on what is most important. I started journaling during our engagement, writing down my thoughts and feelings, memories, and all the reasons I love Ben and wanted to marry him. I gave it to him the week of our wedding and I love looking back at it and reliving those days and seeing him read those pages for the first time.

Don’t miss Abigail and Ben’s wedding film by Heart Stone Films below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ben would joke and say it was somewhat of an arranged marriage. Our brothers and Ben’s younger sister, who is also my best friend, had been trying to get the two of us together for years. Although I knew Ben’s whole family, it wasn’t until our sophomore year of college that we met for the first time at a mutual friend’s wedding. We crossed paths again a year later at Ben’s older brother Will’s wedding. This was the night Ben asked me to dance. I tease him now because he never called me after that night! Last year, I got a call from my friend to come visit with her in Greenville for a long weekend. I was living on Hilton Head Island at the time and I jumped at the chance to go and see her. I was unaware that only a few weeks before, Ben had moved to Greenville. I spent the whole weekend with them, and finally, Ben asked me out. When I had to head back home, Ben asked if he could still pursue me. I said yes, and we continued to talk and get to know each other. Soon after, I got a job in Greenville and made the move. Ben and I continued to grow closer to each other and the Lord, and now the rest is history.
Tell us all about the proposal! My family has a house in the outer banks of North Carolina that has been in our family since before I was born, and it is one of my favorite places. My family typically goes there over the 4th of July, so this time was no different, except Ben would be there. Every morning I woke up while we were there, I had a letter slipped under my door. I didn’t think much of this, only because of how thoughtful Ben always is. On July 4th, Ben asked if I would take a walk out to the dock with him. We sat down at the end and talked for awhile. When we got up, Ben grabbed both my hands with the biggest smile. I knew what was happening and said to him, “Is this really it?!” After saying many sweet words, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. And I said YES! As soon as he was up and we were hugging, my brother ran down the dock with his phone (he was FaceTiming with Ben’s brother and his wife) to celebrate with us. My sister-in-law was snapping pictures and the rest of my family, who had been watching from the house, came out to hug us. Ben planned breakfast for dinner that night, my favorite. We made our way back to Greenville the next day and Ben told me there was one more surprise. When we got back home, we went to his brother’s house, where all our closest friends and family were waiting to celebrate with us!
When did y’all get married? November 14, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Ben and I decided soon into our engagement that we wanted to prepare more for our marriage than our wedding. The most important thing for us while planning our wedding was to create a beautiful and meaningful event that glorified the Lord and reflected who we are. We wanted to be intentional with every detail, giving it great meaning to who we are together, but also who we are in Jesus.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My day would not have been the same without Callie Davis with Nancy Ray Photography. I can not sing their praises enough. Having Callie and Olivia there to capture our day honestly added even more joy to an incredibly joyful day. They took the time through the whole process to pour into me and make sure that everything was perfect and ready to go for my wedding day. I gained two sweet friendships.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Well, we’re getting a puppy in two months and can’t wait to have a furry friend in our family. We look forward to lots of adventures, learning new things about each other, and just getting to do life with each other. Ultimately, having children and raising them together excites us the most about our future. We aren’t ready yet, but our biggest dreams usually involve a house full of children.

Photographer: Callie Davis of Nancy Ray Photography | Videographer: Heart Stone Films | Planner: Darlene Cranston | Venue: Rose Hill Mansion | Florist: Little Vase Events | Cake Baker: Ronnie’s Bakery & Cakes by Lou | Caterer: Downtown Catering Company | Rentals and Lighting: Amazing Event Rentals | DJ: Will Krause | Paper Products: Swoozies | Bride’s Gown: Theia | Bride’s Accessories: The Poinsett Bride | Hair Stylist: Amber White at Kaleidoscope Salon | Makeup Artist: Bride’s Side Beauty | Bride’s Shoes: Sam Edelman | Menswear: Jos A. Bank

Nancy Ray Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar kelly reply

    Oh I just love the Nancy Ray team’s work! Such a beautiful wedding with the hanging moss, that gown, and the meaning behind it all.

  2. avatar Rose Hill Plantation Wedding – Southern Weddings Magazine – reply

    […] and Ben’s Rose Hill Plantation Wedding is featured on Southern Weddings Magazine! Yay!!! Alex was the lead filmmaker and editor for this gorgeous wedding and we are so excited for […]

  3. avatar 2016 Online Features Part 1 | Nancy Ray Photography reply

    […] and Ben’s Rose Hill Mansion Wedding Featured on Southern Weddings Photographer: Callie […]

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We never get tired of the classics around here–there’s just something so sweet about knowing a couple will still love every detail of their wedding when they show the pictures to their grandchildren someday! Annemarie and Sean certainly fit that bill, and what is even more special about their celebration is how involved their community was in bringing it to life. The reception was held at Annemarie’s grandparents’ home, and friends and family members contributed their time, talents, and treasures to make every detail magical for the newlyweds. Be sure to read Annemarie’s interview for some of the special ways their loved ones contributed–it included everything from the catering, to the magnolia leaves, to their getaway car!

Thank you so much to Olivia Griffin for sharing this lovely day with us!

I went wedding dress shopping with my mom, grandma, and aunt at The Poinsett Bride in Greenville soon after I got engaged. I had a specific Steven Birnbaum dress with an illusion neckline in mind that I wanted to try. The bridal salon didn’t have the dress I was looking for, but they did have a very similar dress by the same designer. As soon as I put it on, we all knew it fit the timeless, classic look I was hoping for. The ladies at The Poinsett Bride were able to add a custom illusion neckline to the dress. I could not have been happier with the way it all came together!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We were married at First Presbyterian Church of Laurens, a lovely, historic church in my hometown. Choosing our reception venue was easy for me: most of our family gatherings center around my grandparents’ home. Many of my favorite memories, from birthday parties to family weddings, have taken place there, and I couldn’t imagine having the reception anywhere else.

We are so glad we did a first look. Olivia captured some of my favorite pictures from the whole day during it. We really enjoyed being able to spend some time alone together before the wedding, especially since it was an evening wedding. We also wanted to spend as much time as possible with our guests at the reception, so doing a first look was an easy decision for us.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? My grandfather is a minister, and he performed our ceremony using traditional vows. He married my parents as well, so it was very special to all of us to have him play such a meaningful role.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. My uncle sang “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need,” a beautiful Southern hymn that has been a family favorite for many years. My dad and I walked down the aisle to “Thaxted” by Holst and the recessional was “Toccata, Symphonie V” by Widor.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: One favorite detail was arriving at the reception in my uncle’s antique car, a roadster converted from a 1929 Ford Model A, but there were so many special details, it is very difficult to decide on just one!

We were very blessed by our generous family and friends who contributed their time and talents in countless ways. Family friends assembled the table arrangements for the reception, and my grandmother and several friends and family members prepared the majority of the food for the reception (which is an amazing accomplishment, considering the number of guests!). We also used a lot of items from our family instead of renting, like the silver pieces and the furniture at the reception.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Dear family friends generously gave us our cake as a wedding gift. It was a traditional, three-layer white cake with vanilla buttercream frosting and beautiful white roses cascading down the side. We also served homemade vanilla and chocolate ice cream made by my brother.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met our senior year at Clemson University and started dating that spring. After graduation, I began medical school and Sean moved to Atlanta for graduate school. Even with busy school schedules and a few hundred miles between us, we still saw each other as much as we could.
Tell us all about the proposal! We were both back in Clemson for a friend’s wedding. The evening after the wedding, Sean suggested we go for a walk on campus, which is something we enjoyed doing together frequently as students. We eventually stopped at a scenic place on campus where he asked me to marry him!
When did y’all get married? August 9, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 400
Describe your wedding flowers. The bouquets were made up of white garden roses and hydrangeas, accented with magnolia leaves. We used lots of magnolia leaves from my grandmother’s trees in the wedding. My mom made magnolia leaf garlands and wreaths for the church–the poor magnolia trees were starting to look pretty bare after she was finished with them! We used family silver pieces from my mom, grandmothers, and aunts as the containers for the reception table centerpieces.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my mom’s pearl earrings. The handkerchief I carried was monogrammed with blue thread. I wore my great-grandmother’s diamond ring and a new pearl bracelet from Sean.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our goal was to incorporate our families as much as possible. We displayed wedding pictures of our parents and grandparents at the reception. The menu also included several Southern family recipes, including my great-grandmother’s benne seed cookies and cheese biscuits made by great-aunts. My mom made her famous pecan pralines for the favors.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We loved having Olivia as our photographer; she also happens to be a member of my extended family! She has photographed several other weddings in our family, so I was very familiar with her incredible talent and had hoped that she would be our photographer for a while.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? After dating long distance for three years, we are thrilled to finally enjoy each other’s company on a daily basis. We are very excited to move to Charlotte, where I will start my pediatric residency training in June.

Photographer: Olivia Griffin Photography / Planner: Lisa Kirk / Ceremony Venue: First Presbyterian Church of Laurens / Reception Venue: Private residence / Florist: Rick Childers / Rentals and Lighting: Event Rentals / Paper Products: Reaves Engraving, Inc / Bride’s Gown: “Rosanne” by Steven Birnbaum / Bridal Salon and Accessories: The Poinsett Bride / Bride’s Shoes: Something Bleu / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “D627” by Alfred Sung in Black Dupioni / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank

lisa Written with love by Lisa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Katie Purnell reply

    Traditional, classic weddings are the best. So beautiful.

  2. avatar Loverly reply

    We always like when a bride really takes the time to include family traditions and recipes into her wedding! It makes the day truly special and one of a kind!

  3. avatar Chelsea reply

    Oh my goodness, I just love those Mr. and Mrs. chair ties- they look just like ones from one of the Southern Newlyweds home tours!

  4. avatar Sara reply

    Hi there! I love that the bride’s mother made garland and wreaths from magnolia leaves. We have some magnolias in our yard. How far in advance do you think you could make those before the wedding day?! Maybe I could prolong their shelf life with some misting? Thanks so much!!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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