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I first discovered fine art wedding photography almost four years ago, when a friend of mine left a Facebook comment on someone’s wedding pictures. Being the wedding picture-stalker I tend to be, I checked out the wedding album and was floored by how gorgeous and cinematic the photography was. Their photographer? None other than Tim Willoughby of Tim Will, who photographed today’s real wedding! Since Tim could be credited with the start of my love for amazing wedding photography, I’m especially honored to be sharing Rachel and Daniel’s beautiful Chattanooga wedding today. Their wedding is overflowing with Southern elegance, and you won’t want to miss their adorable proposal story—I definitely got tears in my eyes when I read it!

Tell us all about the proposal! Daniel and I have an affinity for bluegrass music. I just listen to it, but he plays the mandolin and guitar, and suffers from a banjo addiction. The song that we have always considered “ours” is “Ocean of Diamonds” by Jimmy Martin. One Sunday night last June, I returned to Charleston from out of town. Daniel had cooked dinner since I had been traveling all day. He told me he heard a great new band that I just had to hear. I was exhausted and stuffing my face when he started playing it. It took about five seconds for me to realize that it was him singing and playing guitar, mandolin and banjo. He had recorded it for me on Garage Band. Still not convinced he was proposing, we started dancing in the kitchen, and with our chests together I could feel his heart racing… that’s when I knew what was up! He got down on one knee and I was crying so hard, I can barely remember what he said. I said yes, and he gave me his grandmother’s diamond filigree ring.

The flowers were romantic and ethereal. The pale soft roses and peonies contrasted so well with the sharp blue thistle and dark blue anemone centers. My florist also wrapped some gold wire around my bouquet and the boys’ boutonnieres. It added a fairytale whimsy to the pastels!

Cami, my bridesmaid and best friend, sang “Be Thou My Vision,” a Gaelic hymn, right before I walked down the aisle. It is so hauntingly beautiful and her voice is so angelic, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the building. It meant so much to have her sing at my wedding. She has been in my life since the beginning!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had a few. My favorite was Song of Solomon 8:6-7. It speaks of an unquenchable love. That’s exactly how I feel about my groom.

Tim Willoughby is a photographer I found in Charleston. His ability to capture timeless, breathtaking images sold me immediately. Having him in Chattanooga for the weekend made me so calm. I didn’t have to worry if he was getting all of the right images because I knew he was. He was able to see all of the things I couldn’t. Over time, memories fade, and it gave me peace of mind knowing I would have his photos to look at forever.

Seriously, y’all, I could look at pictures of Rachel’s dreamy Vera Wang gown all day. If it looks familiar to you, it might be because our very own Emily tried it on during one of her dress shopping trips almost two years ago, at the same salon where Rachel bought her dress!

One of the most Southern things about our wedding was my dad’s bluegrass band playing for our cocktail hour. They also played our first dance, which happened to be “Ocean of Diamonds,” the song Daniel proposed to me with! I think the juxtaposition of the bluegrass band in a modern art museum was such a funky twist on what “Southern” can be. Who says Southern has to be at a plantation or in a barn?

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. My cake had a subtle floral pattern inset into the buttercream icing. The roses and blue thistle floral accents really stood out against the simple design. Daniel’s cake was a real work of art. I mentioned his banjo addiction right? Well his cake was a chocolate, to scale model of a Gibson banjo. It was insanely realistic…and delicious.

You know how much we love a gentleman in seersucker! This adorable duo is actually Daniel’s grandmother and her twin brother. Aren’t they the cutest?

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Gosh, how can I pick one moment? I guess the most memorable would be the dance floor, because I spent the majority of the night there. The dance floor was packed from start to finish. Everyone was dancing like maniacs! I am a super awkward dancer, but being with old and new friends, my family and Daniel’s family all together was kind of mind blowing. I kept looking over and seeing two people from two completely separate parts of my life breaking it down together like fools. It was a once in a lifetime thing.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Daniel and I met at a football game during our junior year of high school in 2005. We dated all through the rest of high school. When college came, I was going to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and he was headed to join the crew team at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. We thought it was over from the horror stories people told us about long-distance relationships. Over those four LONG years of dating 650 miles away, we realized that no matter how hard a long-distance relationship was, it wouldn’t even be close to the pain that would come from not being in each others’ lives. Luckily we survived, and I was able to move to Charleston, SC after graduation to be with him when he started medical school.
When did y’all get married? May 25, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 325, give or take.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mom, two sisters and future mother-in-law came to Charleston one August weekend for a day of dress shopping. We started in the morning at Maddison Row in downtown Charleston. My dress was the third one I tried on, and I just knew. I tried on a few others, but kept going back to the Vera Wang Emmeline. I told them when I first walked in that I loved tulle, and this dress has TONS of tulle. I ended up buying it that morning and canceling my other dress appointments that day. My mom was disappointed that the shopping ended so quickly!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. Since I was a little girl, I have been looking forward to having my church doors swing open and my groom seeing me with the rest of my guests.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No way! I can’t write to save my life. Daniel and I wrote each other letters before the wedding. My words are best kept on a private piece of paper.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Something borrowed was a hair barrette my mother had gotten as a gift from her parents when they vacationed in Mexico. My something blue was a blue stone bracelet of my mother’s. New was a delicate lace handkerchief wrapped around my bouquet that a family friend wove on her loom! For my something old, I had my late grandmother’s costume turtle brooch peeking out of my bouquet.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge for me was narrowing down my ideas. Between reading wedding magazines and being on Pinterest all day, it is so hard to decide which direction you want to go! There are so many amazing ideas out there. Eventually I had to just close my eyes and imagine my ideal wedding. Things started to fall into place.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy it. Your engagement is a time to savor. It only lasts a short while! Don’t stress the little things. It’s easy to get wrapped up in planning a “dream wedding” and to forget that you are marrying the man of your dreams.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Daniel and I are settling into our new house in Charleston. He is continuing medical school, and I have an awesome interior design job. We just got a sweet new doggy, and we’re enjoying everyday life as a happy little family.

lisa Written with love by Lisa
20 Comments
  1. avatar Laura reply

    Love these beautiful pictures! Chattanooga holds a special place in my heart so I loved that they incorporated some of the city’s best known landmarks into the photos.

  2. avatar Emily reply

    I ADORE her gown! Tulle perfection!!

  3. avatar Wedding 101 Greenville reply

    Everything about this wedding is stunning! Beautiful photography, insanely gorgeous gown, and the texture of the flowers = to die for!!! Love this one!

  4. avatar Kat reply

    Every time I see that gown I die just a little!!!! LOVE it!

  5. avatar Kristin reply

    Transportation via bright yellow school bus AND a dress that is something straight from a fairytale? Yes, please!! Love!!

  6. avatar Lauren reply

    The pictures are gorgeous and those cookies? Amazing!

  7. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    What a beautiful dress and bride! I love the groom’s cake! Just pinned it on our Western Wedding Board.

  8. avatar Christina reply

    Love, love, love this wedding!! Does anyone know who she used for the koozies? Random, I know. But every Southern wedding needs koozies! ;)

    • avatar Rachel reply

      Christina and Jay:
      Hi from the Bride! I used Totally Koozies. My friend Emily illustrated that logo and uploaded the image in their custom section

  9. avatar Carey reply

    As a wedding guest and mother of one of the bridesmaids, I can say that this was the most beautiful and meaningful weddings I have ever attended. I have known Rachel since she was a child and Daniel since they began dating. This wedding was a celebration of two beautiful people that love each other and two special families that bring together many people who love them and who were honored to celebrate, with abandon, this special day with them. It was not only a celebration of the couple, but of their amazing love of family and our love for them and their families! We love you, Rachel & Daniel!

  10. avatar Jay reply

    Lovely wedding!! Where are the zoozies from!?

  11. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze | Floridian Weddings reply

    […] Totally love that this wedding party was carried around town in a big yellow school bus! […]

  12. avatar Taylor reply

    LOVE this! Where are the personalized drink stirrers from? I am obsessed with those!

  13. avatar Emily reply

    That dress!!!! And all of these pictures are AMAZING. I love the one of them on the dance floor with their heads together, totally perfect.

  14. avatar Sapphire Events Blog » Wedding Inspiration Board: Oh My Darling, Dixie | Sapphire Events New Orleans Wedding Planner reply

    […] Tea Photography and Petal’s Edge Floral Design, banjo groom’s cake by Tim Will via Southern Weddings, Cokes by Kate Triano via Southern Weddings, wellies by Lindsay Madden Photography via Style Me […]

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Since y’all liked Michael + Charlie’s wedding so much (here + here), I have a hunch you’re going to be equally huge fans of Whitney + Jeff’s. It’s also set in Florida, and Whitney is also rocking a fabulous ruffled dress by Vera Wang. But Whitney + Jeff’s wedding has a style all its own: a lovely pink and grey color scheme, peonies for days, a poolside ceremony, and an overall vibe that manages to be both modern and romantic. Check back soon for part two with more fabulous photos by 1313 Photography!

P.S. Don’t you love those Plum Pretty Sugar robes Whitney and her girls are sporting? I think they’d make a perfect bridesmaid gift, especially paired with a monogrammed tote!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Jeff and I met in 2002 when we were both in college in Washington, DC. Jeff was a sophomore at George Washington University and I was a freshman at American University. We were both working at Abercrombie and Fitch and had our first conversation while we were walking in Georgetown after work. It was going great until my bus came and I hopped on without giving Jeff my number! We didn’t reconnect until several months later when we both had to come in for a staff photo. I drove Jeff back to his dorm and, after noticing I was listening to country music, he asked me to go to a Pat Green concert with him later that month.
Describe the proposal. Jeff wanted to surprise me, so he planned a secret trip to New York City. I thought we were just visiting his parents for the weekend, but he woke me up at 6 that Saturday morning and said he had something special in store for me. We drove to the city, where we checked into the gorgeous Jumeirah Essex House Hotel right on Central Park South. I was immediately whisked away for a spa treatment. When I returned to the room, a bottle of wine from the year we met and some chocolates were waiting for me. At that point, I started to get suspicious, but Jeff threw me off by taking me to a nondescript diner for lunch. Afterwards, a cab drove us up the West Side Highway to the Cloisters, a gorgeous French monastery that was transplanted in Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson River. When we approached the fountain in the middle of the courtyard, Jeff got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. As I cried “yes!” I heard the clicking of a camera. I turned around to find one of my best friends, who had been lurking in the shadows and captured the entire moment on film. We spent the afternoon celebrating with friends and capped off the day with a delicious dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, overlooking the city.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Chic, romantic and fun!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our ceremony. After being together for more than eight years, we wanted to have a really personal ceremony to reflect the different elements of our personalities, religions and relationship. Other than our personalized vows, my favorite moment was listening to our friend sing the song “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. Her voice was so beautiful, it gave me chills!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I knew I wanted something somewhat unexpected that had a “wow” factor without being too over the top. I went shopping with my mother all over South Florida, and tried on about 50 dresses! I fell in love with the origami folds of my Vera Wang gown. I felt like I was walking on a cloud the moment I tried it on. The dress made a statement, but was still romantic at the same time. I put my spin on it by modifying it to a sweetheart neckline and swapping out the grosgrain sash for a crystal Jennifer Behr belt to add a little glam factor.

Photographer: 13:13 Photography // Day-Of Coordinator: Karla Blanco // Venue: The National Hotel // Florist: Petunia Florist // Wedding Cake Baker: We Take the Cake // Caterer: The National Hotel // Paper Products: Blush Paperie // Bride’s Dress: Vera Wang // Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil: Bella Bleu Bridal // Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale

emily Written with love by Emily
8 Comments
  1. avatar Bridget reply

    Oooooooo!! The florals are killing me. In a really good way :). I love the pink and green bouquet especially. And YES!! The robes—LOVE.

  2. avatar Modern Florida Wedding by 1313 Photography, Part II « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] a little bit gaga over Whitney + Jeff’s modern yet romantic Florida wedding. If their poolside ceremony didn’t rock your socks off, their sleek reception will. The frosty grey color scheme and […]

  3. avatar Modern Florida Wedding by 1313 Photography, Part II | Gift Registry News reply

    […] a little bit gaga over Whitney + Jeff’s modern yet romantic Florida wedding. If their poolside ceremony didn’t rock your socks off, their sleek reception will. The frosty grey color scheme and […]

  4. avatar The Friday Fresh Squeeze | Floridian Weddings reply

    […] loving couple! Check out the rest of their sweet engagement here.Did you catch the beautiful modern wedding at the National Hotel that was featured on Southern Weddings this week? The (amazing!) dress, the cute bridal party […]

  5. avatar Jessica reply

    I’ve searched high and low… can you pleeease tell me where that gorgeous ring is from? Thank you!

  6. avatar Engagement Ring Shopping: How Much is Too Much? | Heart Love Weddings reply

    […] Photo by Studio 13:13 via Southern Weddings […]

  7. avatar Pink and Turquoise Wedding from Erin McLean Events, Part II « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Loving this wedding? Check these out! Whitney + Jeff’s modern and sparkling pink wedding here and here. Megan + Steven’s pink and blue Southern soiree here and here. Caitlin + […]

  8. avatar Fabric Inspiration : Happy Valentine’s Day! | Blue Magpie Invitations Blog reply

    […] (clockwise from top left): 13:13 Photography via Southern Weddings Magazine; Michelle Warren via Snippet and Ink; Kristin Moore Photo via The Bride’s Cafe; Tinywater […]

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Paul and Mecheal Johnson always seem to photograph the sweetest couples and families, don’t they? Katie + Clark are no exception. Their custom invitations from The Happy Envelope (see more on those here!) set the scene for a long weekend of celebration at WaterSound Beach in Florida. Stephanie of Savoir Faire Weddings planned the party (with plenty of help from the bride herself!), and enlisted Florals by the Sea for the beautiful blooms. One of my favorite details? Katie picked out her Vera Wang dress when she was searching for something to wear to her high school prom. Eight years later, B. Hughes Bridal made her Vera dreams come true! I’m just guessing, here, but I’m thinking Katie’s bridesmaids, wearing custom LulaKate dresses designed by the bride and purchased at Bella Bridesmaid in Nashville, must have been almost as happy (sartorially speaking) as the bride herself. We’ll be back with more from Paul Johnson soon!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met on July 22, 2006. My friend Amy and I were going to a party on Saturday night. While walking down the street, a car was speeding right toward us. It pulled up, and the person inside rolled down the window and yelled “Rooney-Morris, what’s up!” I looked at the person, confused. He knew me but I didn’t know him. Amy introduced us and it turned out to be Clark. We said our hellos and then went our separate ways. Later that night, Clark turned up at the party we were at. After a very fun night of dancing to and getting to know each other, Clark called it a night. Amy and I went to another place, where to my surprise, Clark showed up again! At this point, he said he wasn’t leaving without my phone number. I was a little hesitant to give it out, but with Clark’s persuasive skills, I handed it over.
Describe the proposal. Clark’s family takes a vacation every year at the end of July to Hilton Head Island, SC. After 4 years of dating, I finally made it to the Coffey family vacation. We had dinner reservations the night after we arrived for The Sage Room. Before dinner, Clark and I took a walk on the beach. While walking, Clark said, “Hey, what’s that?” I looked to my right and saw a circle of candles with rose petals in the middle, a bottle of champagne and 2 champagne flutes. At this point, I had an idea of what was about to happen. I began to cry and kept saying “oh my gosh, oh my gosh!” Clark got down on one knee and I don’t remember a thing he said except, “Katie Morris, will you marry me?!” I, of course, said yes, grabbed Clark and would not stop hugging him.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Flawless, elated, unforgettable.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had sweet tea (mixed with a little lemonade and Firefly vodka), sang the SEC football song, Rocky Top, we had burlap, fried green tomato BLT’s, and crawfish to top with at the mashed potato martini bar! We had a lot of Southern people doing what Southerners do best: throwing a party every night of the wedding weekend starting on Thursday, lots of “y’alls,” blessing our hearts and family love.

emily Written with love by Emily
24 Comments
  1. avatar Layla Mayville {Simply Savannah Events} reply

    The bridesmaids dresses are lovely!! You could wear those again : )

  2. avatar Rachel Tatem reply

    What a beautiful day! The bride was radiant great job capturing it!

  3. avatar kalanicut reply

    Love the bridesmaid dresses. Look like a completely perfect day. Gorgeous!

  4. avatar Mecheal Johnson reply

    We love Katie and Clark! They and their family are so sweet and down to earth.
    Their wedding was so beautiful!

  5. avatar Sarah reply

    Katie was such a joy and a delight to work with. Putting our heads together, we were able to create the perfect invites for her big day. Congratulations, Katie and Clark!

  6. avatar Madi reply

    I would love to know where those precious bridesmaids dresses were found!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Madi! Aren’t those bridesmaid dresses gorgeous? Katie customized them herself through LulaKate (www.lulakate.com) and purchased them through Bella Bridesmaid (www.bellabridesmaid.com). Hope that helps!

    • avatar doris reply

      congrats katie and clark!!

      i really love the bridesmaids dresses… are there any other websites where i can find the bridesmaids dress other than lulakate and belle bridesmaid??

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Doris! I believe LulaKate dresses are sold at other retailers besides Bella Bridesmaid, but I’m not positive (and unfortunately, the retail locations link on their site seems to be down!). I would try giving them a call — they should be able to help you out!

    • avatar jal reply

      Emily:

      is this a zoe with full skirt or another design with a ruffle added on? i LOVE it…

  7. avatar Monthly Round-Up :: June 2011 « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] WEDDING DRESS: Marissa fell head over heels for Katie’s Vera Wang dress. It looks lovely on the dance floor! Sierra chose Katie’s beautiful lace gown […]

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  9. avatar Emily reply

    Hi Jal! The bridesmaids dresses appear to be a mix of LulaKate’s “Zoe,” “Maggie,” “Christy,” and “Chandler” styles. I believe Katie let her bridesmaids pick their favorite designs. I hope that helps!

  10. avatar will you be my bitch – ahem – i mean, bridesmaid « kahwin khronicles reply

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  11. avatar LulaKate : It’s Friday; I’m in Love: Katie and Clark’s Wedding reply

    […] Shantung color combo. Pictures of her wedding have flooded major websites like The Knot, Pinterest, Southern Weddings, and more. If you’ve been on the hunt for Bridesmaids Dresses, you’ve probably stumbled […]

  12. avatar Amanda reply

    HI! I am getting married and I LOVE LOVE LOVE these bridesmaid dresses!! Is there anyway I could find out where she got them????? THANKS XOXO
    Amanda

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Amanda! These lovely dresses are made by Lula Kate, and Katie purchased them through Bella Bridesmaid. Best of luck!

  13. avatar Mary ann reply

    I love your bridesmaid dresses! Where did you get them? What brand are they?

  14. avatar alisha reply

    Hello there. I was wondering where you purchased your bridesmaid dresses. I absolutely love them. I am from Canada and I can’t find them anywhere. I am traveling to Myrtle Beach May 24 through May 29 and I would love to find a store in the vicinity that carries these dresses. If you can help that would be great. I would even appreciate the name of the designer or the name of the style of dress.

    Thank you so much in advance for your time. I really wish I had some “southerness” in my blood. lol

    • avatar Nicole reply

      Hi Alisha!

      Katie customized her bridesmaid dresses through LulaKate. They appear to be a mix of LulaKate’s “Zoe,” “Maggie,” “Christy,” and “Chandler” styles. There’s a store locator for LulaKate here, and it looks like the closest ones to Myrtle Beach are in Charleston. I hope that helps! Best of luck :)

  15. avatar Bridesmaids in Skirts reply

    […] Row 1 – Rebekah Westover; Row 2 – Paul and Mecheal Johnson via Southern Weddings (left); Annie Randall (right); Row 3 – source unknown via Pinterest (left); Simply Bloom […]

  16. avatar Jenna Carter reply

    I’d love to know where you got these bridesmaids dresses! Adore them!

  17. avatar Dee reply

    Where can I find these bridesmaids dresses??

  18. avatar Sponsored Post: Virginia Beach – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Katie and Clark’s‘s wedding, photographed by Paul Johnson Photography 3. Consider the weather. As with all outdoor weddings, it’s important to think about how the weather will affect your day. For example, if you’re getting married in the summer, plan to have lots of water and fans available. If it’ll be chilly (we love the idea of a winter beach wedding!), pass out pashminas and set up a hot drinks station. 4. Come up with a backup plan. A detailed backup plan is another outdoor wedding must-have. As well as planning for rain, think about what to do if you’re faced with a particularly windy day, which can affect beaches more dramatically than other outdoor areas. […]

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