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There are so many special moments on your wedding day, but I’ll tell you right now: some of the most memorable might not be the ones you would expect! That’s one of the things I love to read in our real wedding interviews–the answers are so different for each couple. Lauren and Kristian, two self-proclaimed “goofballs,” will never forget their first kiss as husband and wife. As Kristian romantically dipped Lauren, he accidentally ripped out her veil, creating their perfect first memory as a married couple. Y’all, I love this so much! While losing her veil could easily upset a bride, it only made these lovebirds laugh! Not everything will be perfect on your wedding day, but being able to take the hiccups in stride will help you focus on the most important part: marrying the love of your life.

Thanks to Blue Ribbon Vendor Amy Arrington for sharing this sweet day with us!

I met Kristian the night of our alma mater’s ball. Long story short, three days before the Ball, my Nashville boyfriend called to let me know he would rather go to a concert than take me to a college dance. I told a good friend of mine the upsetting news. Since I was not in a sorority, this was going to be my first Samford dance, and I was now dateless. My friend quickly found me a date, not telling me who it was. On November 13, the most attractive, respectful, tenderhearted, thoughtful, funny, sweetheart of a man showed up at my dorm with a rose in his hand, just like any Samford PiKap would do, and it was love at first sight. We danced the night away on November 13, 2010 and haven’t stopped since!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. For Mother’s Day, I went home to Atlanta to spend the weekend with my mom. We were driving around Atlanta doing random errands when we drove by Bridals by Lori. My mom and I both looked at each other and said, “Why not? We had no intention of buying a wedding dress that day, especially since none of my bridesmaids or grandmothers were with us, but then I fell in love with the ONE!!! Thankfully, Bridals by Lori has a live stream and I was able to text all my best friends and tell them to log on so they could tell me what they thought of the dresses I tried on. It was unanimous!

My mom told me about the Estate on Piedmont, and when Kristian and I looked it up online, we were blown away by its beauty. We both loved the style, urban feel, and intimacy that it offered.

We went back and forth on a first look. We talked to different couples who did and did not do one, and decided that for our day, there would be so much nervousness, excitement, emotion, and anticipation, that it would be best for us to do a first look. And we are so glad that we did! It was so nice to have those special few minutes with each other that day.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It is impossible to pick just one, but the cross that Legendary Events designed for us was perfect and everything we hoped it would be!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we wrote our own vows. Our favorite line was, “For many years, I prayed that God would lead me to His choice. I praise Him that tonight, His will is being fulfilled.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Ephesians 5:31-32 was read by my longtime mentor and friend, Adrienne Christian, who flew in from the Dominican Republic, where she is a missionary.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? My mom, wedding planner, and event coordinator were a great team! They worked very well together, making it easy for me to make decisions. This allowed Kristian and I the time to go to premarital counseling and do a premarital bible study! So worth it!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Having our wedding at an estate in the middle of Buckhead made the wedding feel very Southern, from the old hardwood floors, to the grand piano, to the chandeliers on the ceilings in the ballroom!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Cake? I was too busy looking at my new husband! I cannot wait to actually eat in when we are mailed a fresh one on our first anniversary!

Tell us all about the proposal! On the morning of Saturday, April 5, 2014, my doorbell rang. To my surprise, Shawn, one of mine and Kristian’s friends, was at my front door with a clue in hand. I was going on a scavenger hunt!! The clues brought me through a fun day full of my favorite things, with some of my best friends showing up at every place. The sixth destination was Red Mountain Park. When we pulled up, one friend told me that another friend and I would be hiking up the mountain. Kristian met me at the top of the mountain, which has a gorgeous view of ALL of Birmingham. It was so beautiful, peaceful, and romantic. After he said some of the sweetest things, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Once he proposed, we still had quite the hike back down the mountain, and I wanted to go slowly because I did not see why we needed to hurry anymore. At one point, I was walking so slowly, Kristian picked me up and started carrying me! It was not until I heard my mom scream that I knew why we were in a hurry! Once we got to the bottom, we were greeted by all of our friends and family!! It meant so much to have all of my close friends and family there to celebrate our engagement!
When did y’all get married? March 14, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Kristian and I decided that I would walk down the aisle to “Holy (Wedding Day)” by City Harmonics. We wanted our guests to not only see the story of Christ loving the church, but also hear it at our wedding. I thought we were never going to decide on our first dance song. A couple at our church told us that “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran would be easy to choreograph to, so we settled on that since I am not a talented dancer.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes, my something borrowed, old, and blue was my grandmother’s garter. My something new was a small, sweet picture frame with my dad’s picture in it that my mom put in my bouquet.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our first kiss. Kristian dipped me, and in the process, ripped out my veil. We are such goofballs. It was a perfect first memory as a married couple!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? If it is in your budget, hire a wedding planner! If not, find a close friend or family member who can help you. Enjoy your engagement!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? I am currently the Associate Minister to Students at CrossPoint Church. Kristian and I love serving the 6th-12th grade students! In May, Kristian will graduate with a nursing degree, and hopefully will begin working at Children’s Hospital.

Photographer: Amy Arrington Photography / Videographer: Connor Wagner / Venue: The Estate / Florist, Caterer, and Wedding Cake: Legacy Events / DJ and Lighting: Chris Watson / Paper Products: Village Press / Bride’s Gown: Style #120747 by Bliss by Monique Lhuillier / Bridal Salon and Veil: Bridals by Lori / Hair Stylist: Bailie Rangel / Makeup Artist: LuLu / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bari Jay / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

Amy Arrington is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Stephanie Scholl reply

    This is one of my favorite weddings to date! Her bouquet is exquisite, and I filed that away immediately!! I love how sincere, down to earth, and cute this couple is, and their wedding day abounds in the most beautiful and meaningful details.

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What started as a chance meeting (after Janelle “sashayed” in front of Paul, of course!) grew into something so sweet! But, it wasn’t a surprise to these two–Paul even saved the receipt from their very first date because “he had a feeling that ‘this’ might be going somewhere!” Not only did Paul save the receipt, he ever-so-romantically presented it to Janelle at their reception as a surprise. Along with that, I’m sure that seeing Paul’s brother officiate the gorgeous ceremony at the Waterside Chapel was so touching to witness!

Big hugs to Ashley Seawell for sharing this lovely day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes, this was very last minute. My something borrowed and something old was an heirloom locket from my mom that I have always loved. When opened, the locket has two pictures: one of my mom and dad on their wedding day and the other of my mom and her mom on her wedding day. I think its priceless, especially since my grandmother is no longer with us. My something blue was my garter. My something new was my wedding dress!

We visited the Inn at Palmetto Bluff early last year and absolutely fell in love with the place. The grounds were immaculate and we felt we were worlds away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Upon seeing the breathtaking Waterside Chapel, we knew this was the place we wanted to get married. Most importantly, we wanted to share our experience with loved ones who would hopefully be able to appreciate it as well.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Paul’s older brother, Eric, performed the ceremony and used many Scriptures from the Bible that focused on love and the marriage covenant.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our ceremony Songs consisted of the following: “Jesu, Joy of a Man’s Desiring” for the seating of the family, “Canon in D” performed by a close friend for the procession of the bride, “Revelation Song” for the lighting of the unity candle, and “Hallelujah Chorus” for the recessional. Our first dance song was “The One, He Kept For Me” by Maurette Brown Clark. This song was a testimony to God’s faithfulness in our lives and how He kept us until the perfect time when we would meet and eventually join as one.

The location, food, family focus, and tradition were very Southern! The large oak trees with Spanish moss scream Southern, and as for our food, we wanted comfort food and dishes that meant something to us, so we served shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and brisket.

Describe your wedding flowers. Sue Burden did an amazing job with the flowers. She was easygoing and set my mind at ease from the start. I showed her some of the pictures I had collected and told her I wanted various shades of white for the flowers with a little greenery. She delivered and I was extremely pleased with the results.

During the time he was supposed to be saying his “thank you” speech, Paul decided to do his own thing. To my surprise, he told his version of how we first met and the details of our first date. At the end, he pulled out the receipt from our first date, back on March 19, 2010. He said he kept it because he had a feeling that “this” might be going somewhere. Who knew he would save it for three and a half years and present it to me on our wedding day!!! Oh, how I love that man!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I was studying for my licensing exam in Books-A-Million on a Saturday afternoon when in walked a cute guy in gym clothes who caught my eye. He sat down at a table not too far away from me so I decided to get up and sashay across the bookstore to go get a book (that I didn’t really need). Upon returning to the table, I realized Paul had not even looked up, so I decided I should really get back to work. I sat down and proceeded to study. A few minutes later, I looked up, and there he was! Paul smiled and introduced himself and asked if he could sit with me. We talked for a bit, exchanged numbers, and went on a date the following Friday–March 19, 2010. The rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! Paul says he did not originally intend to propose on the day that he did, but something in him made him go with the flow and do it! I thought it was beautiful. We were headed to church when he said he forgot his Bible, so he ran back inside to get it, but took way too long. I was still sitting in the car waiting for him when he called me on my cell phone. He did not sound like himself and he asked me to come help him out with something quickly. I assumed he had hurt himself, so I bolted inside to see what was wrong. I ran around looking for him and eventually found him in his room on bended knee. I asked him if he was okay, and he looked up, stared me in the eyes, said some beautiful things, and proceeded to ask me to be his wife. Of course, I said yes…I’d been waiting for this for longer than I’d like to admit! :)
When did y’all get married? January 12, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 75 guests
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. This did not go as smoothly as I initially thought it would. I went home to Miami to go shopping with my mom, and I just knew my hometown would have what I was looking for, as the options were endless and more than I could ever ask for. By the end of the weekend, I was tired, frustrated, and had just about given up, so I returned to Raleigh empty-handed. I researched the bridal stores in the area, and the last store on my list, Alexia’s Bridal, had MY dress–the dress I envisioned. It caught my eye immediately. I tried it on and I knew I was sold when I found myself prancing around in it, dancing in the mirror, and smiling!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? No, we opted out of a first look. We are very traditional and wanted to be surprised.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Having a destination wedding, it was difficult at times to let go of the reigns and trust that everything would come together as God intended. Most of the planning was done via phone and email with our wedding planner, Sage, who was absolutely wonderful and attentive. I had a hard time finding someone to do my hair and makeup to my satisfaction, but Sage eventually found Denise Teasdell, and the trial was the day before the wedding. Thankfully, she was absolutely wonderful.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Paul wore his own suit, we didn’t have a wedding party, we limited the number of guests, we were married during an off-peak season and day, and our family helped us out with different projects when they could.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We are extremely thankful that Paul’s older brother, Eric, who is a minister, was able to marry us. He has been so instrumental in our lives and he knows us well. Having him marry us was meaningful in more ways than anyone could ever realize.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I loved walking through the doors of the chapel and locking eyes with my husband-to-be until I reached him at the altar. I never imagined he would get choked up, but he did, and so did I. It was a moment I will never forget. When I asked Paul what was his most memorable moment was, he said, “Seeing you down the aisle.” He knows just what to say to make me smile!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Remember what the true purpose is for the day–the union of you and your soulmate. Everything else pales in comparison to that.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are so blessed to have one another. As a couple, we are looking forward to completely consolidating residences and beginning to start our own family!

Photographer: Ashley Seawell / Venue, Catering, and Desserts: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, a Montage Resort / Wedding Designer: Sage Beecher / Florist: Sue Burden / Wedding Cake: Dorcas Rowson / Groom’s Cake: Signe’s Bakery / Band: Reggie Coddrington and Band / Bride’s Gown: “Jiselle” by Carolina Herrera / Invitations: Dani Writes / Bride’s Sash: Vera Wang / Hair and Makeup: Denise Teasdell / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Groom’s Attire: Armani / Soloist/Guitarist: Beth Forby / Ceremony Musicians: Two Strings Are Better than One

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

    Adore her veil + gown!

  2. avatar Lindsay {Everistta} reply

    What a stunning wedding from beginning to end. Just loved it! I love the Bride’s veil. So simple and pretty.

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There are two beautiful details that really stand out at Sara + Justin’s wedding: the gorgeous estate tables and the innovative ceremony backdrop. I’m a bit obsessed with estate tables, and the dark wood of S + J’s is the perfect blend of formal and farm table-esque. Now that ceremony backdrop – oh my loveliness! I was already smitten with the installation, and then I read that the paintings were created by Sara’s late grandmother. Wow, I’m so impressed how Sara + Justin were able to seamlessly incorporate such meaningful pieces in to their wedding. I also love Sara’s nod to tradition by wearing the same head piece as her mother and grandmother did.

Jodi Miller did a fabulous job capturing all the details and emotion of their big day.

I wanted elegant flowers, but I also wanted to incorporate our love of cooking through the use of fresh herbs. The fresh herbs were such an amazing touch not only for their beauty, but for the scent that they perfumed throughout the ceremony and reception. I will never forget the sweet smells of rosemary and basil during our ceremony, blowing toward us from the wall of flowers and herbs behind us.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Yes. We wanted to be able to spend as much time with our guests as possible. It also made the trip down the aisle a tad less nerve-wracking!

I’m sure Sara’s grandmother is so honored to see her art displayed in such a lovely way.

Did you write your own vows? We didn’t, but our officiant used our own words in her address during the ceremony. Our favorite line from Justin’s interview with our officiant was, “Marriage means that I am guaranteed to have Sara as my best friend and partner for the rest of my life.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? The Union by Robert Fulghum
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. I walked down the aisle to “In My Life” by the Beatles. I walked back up the aisle to “Here Comes the Sun”, by the Beatles. For our first dance, we danced to “Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: Justin and I both don’t particularly enjoy cake. I am an ice cream fan and he loves cookies. We had gelato provided by a local vendor in Charlottesville and our venue made three of Justin’s favorite homemade cookies. We are adventurous eaters so our gelato flavors included a chipotle chocolate and of course, ice cream sandwich making was encouraged.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Justin and I met at our first job out of college at a consulting firm called BearingPoint. Justin had worked at BearingPoint since 2005 and I was hired and started in the late summer of 2007. Once I joined the firm, I was responsible for finding a project. As fate would have it, I was asked to interview for the same project that Justin was leading. The interview was not particularly great and during the post-interview discussion, one of Justin’s colleagues suggested I was too inexperienced for the project. While Justin didn’t agree with his colleague, the decision was tabled for another day. Fortunately, what I lacked in consulting experience, I more than made up for in shrewd negotiating skills. By the time Justin returned to his desk, he received a phone call from me suggesting that if the team did not act immediately, they would lose their opportunity to hire me. I assured Justin that I had offers from several teams at BearingPoint and needed to make a decision immediately. Backed into a corner, Justin panicked and with no real authority told me that I would receive an offer to join the team. While this gave Justin the unenviable task of explaining his new role of hiring manager to the actual hiring manager, I received an offer and the rest, as they say, is history.
Describe the proposal. Three years elapsed from the day we first met at BearingPoint to the day we booked a vacation together to Turks and Caicos. Having been through our first corporate bankruptcy (goodbye BearingPoint) and the beginning of two new jobs at rival consulting firms (hello Deloitte and PwC), stress dictated a need for some rest and relaxation in a tropical paradise. We both agreed Turks and Caicos presented the perfect option. The vacation was planned for January of 2011 and thus the engagement wheel was set in motion. In order to keep the engagement a secret until January, Justin had to buy a ring and keep the ring in his possession for two months. Needless to say, nobody thought he could do it…not even Justin. Justin was horrified by the idea of high pressured in person jewelry shopping. As evidenced by his anemic negotiating performance with me three years prior, he knew his strengths were not suited to deal with jewelry salesmen. Therefore, he did what any rational internet aged male would do and found an online establishment, performed weeks of research, and ultimately executed one of the largest purchases of his life sight unseen over the internet. Justin had to carefully coordinate the timing and subsequent delivery of the purchase so as to avoid detection. Justin chose two days before Thanksgiving. At the time, the date seemed perfect; close enough to a holiday to not arouse suspicion regarding a random work from home day for Justin but far enough from a holiday to prevent me from working from home. Unfortunately, the night before the ring was to be delivered, I mentioned offhand, “good news, my boss said I can work from home tomorrow…we will be able to hang out all day!” As you can imagine, terror and panic again shot through Justin’s body. Not knowing what to do he texted one of the our close friends, Kathleen. After some awkward cryptic text messages, Kathleen read between the lines and understood that I HAD to go to work. Kathleen called my boss and convinced her to make me go into work. Disaster averted. Despite a few minor hiccups between Thanksgiving and the vacation date, Justin was able to preserve the surprise for me. Once in Turks and Caicos, we went for a long walk on the beach. After some stealth maneuvering and good timing, Justin was able to find a quiet spot of sand overlooking the ocean. Just as the sun was setting over the Atlantic, Justin asked me to marry him. I quickly agreed and we spent the rest of the week having biking adventures, snorkeling, and eating and drinking like kings
In what month did you get married? July
How many guests attended your wedding? 128
Did you write your own vows? We didn’t, but our officiant used our own words in her address during the ceremony. Our favorite line from Justin’s interview with our officiant was, “Marriage means that I am guaranteed to have Sara as my best friend and partner for the rest of my life.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? The Union by Robert Fulghum
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. I walked down the aisle to “In My Life” by the Beatles. I walked back up the aisle to “Here Comes the Sun”, by the Beatles. For our first dance, we danced to “Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Paying homage to my grandmother by displaying her hand paintings on our flower wall during the ceremony. I also wore the head piece that she and my mother wore in their weddings and a pair of her earrings.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? The band. We didn’t stop dancing the whole time. We also did a photo booth and I think our guests really enjoyed it during the wedding and we really enjoy it as a keepsake. Also the venue — Veritas is a full service wedding venue. They provided us with a wedding coordinator leading up to the wedding and a day-of event manager. The day of the wedding, I didn’t worry about any details — they had it all covered. Leading up the wedding, I had an expert I could reach out to for advice whenever I needed.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? We made a contact sheet leading up to the wedding and called all of our vendors the week before to confirm everything. It wasn’t necessary, but the biggest source of anxiety for us was making sure all of the vendors showed up and on time. Also, at the very least, get a day-of coordinator. You don’t want to give those jobs to your bridesmaids or parents; they should be enjoying everything along with you!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? A honeymoon to Bora Bora in October and one day, a family!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Wedding Gift Shopper reply

    The idea of the eggplant on the center table is cool

  2. avatar Julie reply

    Everything was so beautiful!! It was such an elegant wedding. The icing on the cake came when we all had so much fun!!!

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