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As I read through Emily and Matthew’s interview, “relationships” was the word that kept coming to my mind. Along with making sure their wedding was a great opportunity for their loved ones to connect (“there were plenty of places for the guests to dance, eat, or catch up with friends and family, whether that was on the dance floor, in the barn, in rocking chairs by the outdoor fireplace, or while playing cornhole in the grass”), Emily and Matthew also carved out time during the day for just the two of them. Their first look and private dinner, both right by the river, look like such special moments that I know they’ll cherish forever!

Thanks so much to Clark Brewer and Invision Events for sharing this beautiful day with us!

Laura McCarty did an AMAZING job on all of the florals. The inspiration for my bouquet was white-toned garden flowers, including white cloud, majolica roses, peonies, Juliet roses, and pops of blush peonies and dahlias. We also loved the greenery she used around the chandelier in the barn and on the wedding party table.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! We wanted to do a first look for two reasons. One, it was more practical to see each other before the ceremony so we could get the majority of our pictures taken. We wanted to enjoy the reception and time with our family and friends without having to worry about formal photos right after the ceremony. Second, Matt and I wanted to have as many shared memories of the day as we could. Getting to do a first look allowed us to spend some sweet time together before the ceremony, and since we did it down by the river with just Clark and Chris (the photographers), we got to get away from the hustle and bustle of venue prep for a few quiet moments.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we went with the classic vows. Matt’s co-best man and one of our dear friends, Alex, performed our ceremony, and he did a fantastic job. For the message, Alex focused on the story of Hosea, which is one of our favorite images of the Lord’s love for us. We knew we wanted that to be the main focus of the ceremony.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Most of the readings came from the biblical book of Hosea, but we also included Isaiah 43:4–7, Romans 3:10-18, Romans 5:6-11, and a few others in the ceremony.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Clark Brewer did a fantastic job photographing the day. Two of our favorite parts of the day were our first look and the private dinner we enjoyed down by the river. Clark documented both of those occasions so well, and they truly captured how beautiful the entire day was!

Picking the venue wasn’t as hard as picking the city. Matt and I went through many destination options before settling on my hometown of Birmingham. Once we knew we wanted to have it in Alabama, I was immediately drawn to Swann Lake Stables. It had the look and feel of being somewhere in the East Tennessee mountains (one of the destinations we considered), and we knew that in late October, it would be beautiful. It was laid-back, comfortable and naturally gorgeous, which was what we were going for in terms of style.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The food was deliciously Southern. Shindigs did a fantastic job serving up delicious dishes including everything from miniature quail and waffles, to shrimp and grits, to cornmeal-crusted okra. Everything about our venue also made the wedding quintessentially Southern. We enjoyed that there were plenty of places for the guests to dance, eat, or catch up with friends and family, whether that was on the dance floor, in the barn, in rocking chairs by the outdoor fireplace, or while playing cornhole in the grass.

When we first started the wedding planning process, I knew I wanted to have a “naked” cake. I don’t care much for heavy icing, and I like the rustic look of naked cakes. Kim did an awesome job turning that inspiration into a reality, and since it was simple and clean, Laura was able to add some flowers to make it a focal point of the reception.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Matt and I met in Austin in 2011. I had just graduated from college and moved to Austin, barely knowing anyone. A few weeks after I moved there, I ran into a guy I had gone to college with, who invited me to his bible study–that’s where I first met Matt. We were casual friends for a year or two, but as we got to know each other better through Friendsgivings, birthday parties, church activities, weekend trips, and TV nights, we developed (major) secret crushes. It took a night of karaoke and dancing out with friends in early 2014 for us to finally realize the major crushing was mutual. Timing was not on our side (Matt was moving to Dallas for a job at the end of the summer), but we decided to take a chance on our friendship and start dating anyway. It worked out in our favor!
Tell us all about the proposal! It was the Saturday before Easter 2015. Matt was living in Dallas and I was living in Austin. He was coming down for the weekend, and our plan was to go to the Texas Capitol building on Saturday morning for a tour and then meet up with his parents afterward for lunch. This wasn’t an unusual weekend plan because I was planning on moving to Dallas sometime in the coming months, and visiting the Capitol was on our Austin bucket list. His parents being in town wasn’t unusual either because they had come to spend Easter with his grandparents, who lived close by. Matt was able to hook us up with a private tour with Rod, the Sergeant-at-Arms for the House, through a mutual friend. Rod showed us around the Capitol, and as we were wrapping up, he asked if we wanted to make the trek up to the dome, where other tourists didn’t have access. Matt and I weighed whether we should do it or not since we were running late for our lunch, but Rod convinced us to make the climb, since this was a one-time chance sort of thing. When we got to the tip top of the dome, we were able to exit outside onto a small wraparound patio. When Rod said he had to “take a call” and stepped back in, I knew something was up. A few seconds later, Matt grabbed my hand, said my name, and I knew this was it! He got down on one knee and proposed right there. Rod was in on the whole thing, so after his “call,” he came back out and took a few pictures for us. Afterward, we did in fact meet up with Matt’s parents for lunch, but both of our families were there to celebrate with us, as well!
When did y’all get married? October 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 165
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. The week after we got engaged, I was visiting one of my bridesmaids in New York City, so we decided to do a brief shopping trip. It was unsuccessful, but I was able to get my feet wet and start to feel more like a bride. A few weeks later, I planned a dress shopping trip with three of my close girlfriends in Austin. I tried on probably 10-15 dresses and honestly loved most of them. We eventually narrowed it down to two favorites and took pictures to share with my mom and sister, since they lived too far to see them in person. My mom, my sister, and my dad all picked the same dress as their favorite, so I went with that one! It was exactly the dress I had had in mind: simple, classic, and not too glam for an outdoor wedding.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail was the wedding party table. It was forty feet of farm table that sat our closest friends. It was a joyful picture to see everyone from every phase of our lives in one place!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We went through premarital counseling with a couple at our church. It was important to us to learn from people who had gone through this season and could guide us through conversation and conflict in preparation for marriage.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We didn’t have to hire an officiant or ceremony musicians since we had our friends play those parts!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Enjoying dinner by the river immediately after the ceremony was a sweet and memorable moment. Having a few minutes alone to relax, eat good food, and revel in our new marriage was a special time for us.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Knock all of the big stuff out first! We jumped into wedding planning the week after we got engaged, and that allowed us to book most of our vendors in the first month of our engagement. The last two to three months before the wedding, we were able to take our time preparing for our marriage, not just finishing up last minute wedding details.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Matt and I reside in Dallas, where he’s an attorney and I’m working for a healthcare startup. The big challenge we’re tackling as a couple right now is keeping our new fiddle leaf fig tree alive.

Photographer: Clark Brewer | Planner: Invision Events | Venue: Swann Lake Stables | Florist: Laura McCarty | Cake Baker: Kimberly Wiggins | Caterer: Shindigs | Rentals and Lighting: Event Rentals Unlimited | Band: The Neons | Special Details: Prophouse | Paper Products: Katie Roden | Bride’s Gown: “Cassidy” by Amy Kuschel | Bride’s Jewelry: Kendra Scott | Hair Stylist: Joanna Ballentine | Makeup Artist: Molly Stilley | Bride’s Shoes: Tory Burch | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Nouvelle Amsale | Groom’s Attire: Sid Mashburn | Ice Cream Sandwich Cart: Big Spoon Creamery

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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    One of the best parts of Kristin’s and my jobs is connecting the amazing vendors the South has to offer with our darling brides through the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory! It is also a joy to see our Blue Ribbon Vendors work together to create beautiful events. Molly and Richard worked with four of our delightful members for their wedding day, which was filled with lovely details, nods to their families, and the Southern hospitality to host 400 joyful guests. One of my personal favorite details (beside’s Molly’s super chic gown!) is that they decorated with Molly’s grandmother’s china, silver, and crystal that was passed down to her when she got married. So special!

    Big hugs to our friends Landon Jacob for sharing this Columbia wedding day with us!

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew I had to have my mom and my best friend come with me to find my dress. We went to the most beautiful bridal shop in Charlotte, J. Majors Bridal. It felt just like the movies–I tried on all these wedding dresses and knew exactly which one was the right one the second I put it on. When I walked out in the dress, my best friend started crying, and my mom and I both got teary too. I didn’t want to make the final decision until my dad and sister-and-law saw it, and they both loved it immediately too.

    When I went to the church to make the final music decisions, it was truly a magical experience. My parents came with me and we walked up several flights of stairs to the music director’s office of Richard’s church, which has been around for over 200 years. His office was beautiful, complete with huge windows, and the music director played all the songs we liked on the piano so we could get an idea of how it would all sound together. We were all very impressed and left extremely excited for the ceremony, knowing we were in good hands. The song my bridesmaids walked down to was Canon in D–I love this song and I feel like it really sets the mood for a wedding ceremony. My dad and I walked down to Trumpet Tune. We had the hymn “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” played during the ceremony because it is one of my favorites, and it seems so holy when an entire church is singing the same song. The song Richard and I walked out of the church to was Toccata, From Symphony V, which was so joyful!

    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Seeing Richard in the church for the first time. The aisle in the church is so long and my dad and I waited for what felt like forever before he walked me down the aisle to Richard. It was magical, just liked I had imagined it would be!

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My mom and all her siblings got married in the same church, and I have always thought that was so special. When I realized I could get married in the same church my brother and his wife got married in, I knew that’s what I wanted. For the reception, I wished I could have had the entire reception outside, but I didn’t want to worry about the weather during the entire 11 months of our engagement. My mom and I visited several beautiful venues that could hold 400 people, but knew immediately when we walked into Forest Lake that it was perfect. The ballroom is so grand and beautiful, and the outside area looks out over the lake. To me, it doesn’t get much better than that!

    The flowers were the most important detail to me out of everything. I grew up going to my aunts house in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and she has the most exquisite garden I have ever seen. I used to spend hours walking around with her outside when I was a little girl, so I wanted the flowers to look like they were fresh out of a garden. I could not have been happier with how they turned out. I wanted as much color as possible and my florist gave me exactly that, while sticking to a fall color palette.

    I told the bakery I wanted the cake to be as smooth as possible. I asked the florist to drape flowers down the five tiers, and I placed it on a gold cake stand. A gold cake stand is not easy to find, but my wonderful wedding planner made it happen! The cake was placed in the foyer of the ballroom and it was the first thing guests saw when they walked in. I am a huge lover of chocolate, so it just didn’t feel like my wedding until I finally added the most delicious and beautiful chocolate truffles made by the in-house pastry chef at Forest Lake to our dessert offerings. They were placed on beautiful vintage trays and served to the guests. I made sure I ate three of them while I was at the reception, and I asked my wedding planner to pack some up for the car ride after the reception, too!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Richard and I went to the same high school and college, but we didn’t start dating until after college when we were both living back in our hometown of Columbia, South Carolina. We ran into each other one night and he asked me to go to the South Carolina football game with him the next day. Thinking I would ride with him and meet up with my friends once we got there, I said yes. He picked me up, and our drive was the first time I had ever been with him without our friends around. He was the most interesting person I had ever met. We have been together ever since!
    Tell us all about the proposal! Richard’s mother had been planning a birthday dinner for him. They invited my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, Richard’s sister and her husband, and one of his best friends. He was living in Charlotte, North Carolina and I was in Columbia, South Carolina at the time. Dinner was planned for Thursday night in Columbia, and then Richard was going to take Friday off so we could go to the beach for a long weekend. He came into town and picked me up to go out for a drink downtown before dinner, since we hadn’t seen each other all week. We were on the way to the restaurant when Richard decided to take a side street by my church to avoid the downtown rush hour traffic. I was on the phone with my best friend, so I wasn’t really paying attention. Richard stopped the car in front of my church and said he wanted to get out for a minute to wait out the traffic. I got off the phone and we walked toward the benches in front of my church. There were cars everywhere, but Richard got down on one knee and proposed in front of my church. After lots of excitement and shock, we went to dinner, where everyone was waiting for us!
    When did y’all get married? October 11, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 400
    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The ceremony was held at a large, historical, downtown church that has been around since the Civil War. The church grounds have ancient Southern oaks and magnolias all over the property, and Southern generals and Revolutionary War heroes are buried in the graveyards. The menu for the reception consisted of ham biscuits, fried okra, fried chicken, figs, shrimp and corn fritters, and fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, to name a few. The table outside was decorated with my Grandmother’s china, silver, and crystal that had been passed down to me when I got married.
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Have fun and be happy. All of the planning is for something that is so joyful, so be happy planning it! I felt so lucky to be able to plan such a special event in our lives.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are living in Charlotte and are excited to finally be in the same city. We are most looking forward to doing normal day-to-day things together, like waking up together and eating meals together at our house!

    Photographer: Landon Jacob / Videographer: Caravan / Planner: Jessica Rourke / Ceremony Venue: Trinity Episcopal Cathedral / Reception Venue and Catering: Forest Lake Club / Florist: Fern Studio / Cake Baker: Parkland Cakes / Rentals: Ooh Events! / Lighting: Tony Sharp / Band: CEO / Paper Products: Brian Faulkenberry / Bride’s Gown: “Paz” by Augusta Jones / Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: Augusta Jones / Hair and Makeup: Greg Garrett at Metropolis Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Tory Burch / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” by Jenny Yoo / Menswear: Granger Owens / Calligraphy: Lydia Hendrix / Signage: Lady Letterpress

    EastCoast Entertainment, Lydia Robins Hendrix, Fern Studio, and Jessica Rourke are all delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    8 Comments
    1. avatar Alex reply

      So beautiful! Love the florals behind the bar and the deep color palette! And grandmas china, so sweet!

    2. avatar Claire reply

      What a timeless and elegant wedding! That dress!! A sweetheart neckline with a lace overlay has my heart pitter pattering, for sure!

    3. avatar Michael and Carina reply

      This wedding is absolutely stunning, and Landon’s photography captured it perfectly!

    4. avatar Joan reply

      I have had the Augusta Jones Paz dress picked out for me to try on and about twenty minutes ago I decided my colors with my fiancé. Funny thing is when I went to research the dress I came to this page and the colors were exactly the same I picked out. Thought it was neat for the dress and colors to match what I want. I hope I can find this dress in retail.

    5. avatar Amanda DeAngelo reply

      Hi there, these pictures are beautiful. I recently got engaged and am looking for bridesmaids dress ideas. I absolutely love the color and style of the bridesmaids dresses in this wedding. Is it possible to get the name of dress company and color choice?
      Beautiful wedding.
      Thanks

    6. avatar Top Ten Wedding Colors For Summer Bridesmaid Dresses 2016 | TulleandChantilly.com reply

      […] Photo Credits:Eric Kelley Photography via Once Wed/ via B Miller Weddings /via SMP/Vpon Sale Wedding/Julie Cate Photography/Landon Jacob Phtography via Southern Wedding […]

    7. avatar Sonia reply

      Is the bride looking to sell her dress by any chance???

    8. avatar 10 Darling Ways to Dress Up Your Mantle – reply

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    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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