Y’all, I feel a little guilty about sharing this wedding today, especially if we have any readers joining us from the Northeast. If you weren’t already craving warm spring days and juicy peaches, you will be now–I know Kristin might want to jump right into these photos, as she herself had a beautiful, peachy detail-covered wedding of her own! There is so much more to Julie and Michael’s big day than the gorgeous weather though. We could talk about the gorgeous blooms, or the perfectly placed vintage furniture, or even their pecan pie favors. But, what makes me swoon the most has got to be the importance of family weaved throughout their day. Julie not only wears Michael’s great-grandmother’s engagement ring, she also donned her mother’s wedding gown on the big day. If you think you need even more sweetness before you reach for a tissue, be sure to read about the empty row at their ceremony to honor their late family members. Y’all, this Louisiana celebration is such a gem!
We’re so thankful Ashleigh Jayne shared this wedding with us in V7!
My engagement ring originally belonged to Michael’s great-grandmother, Rose Danna. Her husband purchased the diamond in 1930, and the two were married in 1934. They had two children, Patricia and Carmella, who each got married and had children of their own. Carmello Danna (Pawpaw) passed away in 1999, and Rose Danna (Maw-maw) lived a long, full life as the matriarch of the family. I was blessed to know Maw-maw for several years before she passed away at age 98. When Michael decided to propose to me, he began shopping around for an engagement ring, and when he told his mother the news, she gave him Maw-maw’s ring. Now, it is not only a reminder of our marriage, but also a memory of Maw-maw that we will forever cherish, and one day pass on to one of our children.
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? Prior to our engagement, Michael and I had discussed getting married and what we imagined married life would be like. We didn’t, however, talk about what type of wedding we would want when that day came. After we figured out the logistics, the fun part began (fun for me at least!). I read wedding magazines, created Pinterest boards and started a wedding planning book to stay organized. It was at that point that I knew I wanted to hire a wedding planner to help pull all of my ideas together. From the moment Angela came on board in May 2013, the planning really took off! I described my inspiration to her, including family traditions, like wearing my mother’s dress. We wanted to have a “comfortable” wedding–nothing too formal, but with lots of attention paid to the little details.
Living in Louisiana, it is impossible to predict the weather. One year before our wedding date, I remember sitting on the patio of my parents’ house with propane heaters to keep warm! When we chose Nottoway as the venue for our wedding, we planned for all of the festivities to take place outside, so all we could do was pray for nice weather! The days before and after our wedding were quite hot, but that Saturday was absolutely perfect!! Beautiful sunny skies with a high in the low 80s. I could not have imagined a more perfect day to get married!
The ceremony was brief, but very special. Our officiant, Donna, began the ceremony with a touching Blessing of the Hands prayer. We incorporated our Catholic religion into the ceremony with two bible verses and a presentation to Mary. After the presentation to Mary, we handed roses to our mothers and grandmothers to thank them for all they have done for us. We decided to use traditional vows instead of writing our own, and although the words have been said by many before us, it was so special to promise each other our love “till death do us part.”
What was your reception like? It was held in the Grand Pavilion at Nottoway Plantation, which consisted of a giant white tent reception space and a courtyard with tables, a fountain, and a fireplace. The dance floor was packed the entire night! Our band, Press One for English, was fantastic and kept the crowd on their feet. We rented lots of vintage furniture, such as whiskey barrels, vintage dressers, and chandeliers. About 600 mason jars of various sizes held votive candles and lit up the tables, courtyard, and walkways at the plantation.
Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed about wearing my mother’s wedding dress and looking as beautiful as she did on her wedding day. After Michael proposed and we began planning our wedding, my mom took out her wedding dress, which had been boxed up since 1984. The dress fit almost perfectly! Of course, I knew there were a few things I wanted to change (like the giant puffy ’80s sleeves!), but with the help of our tailor, I knew it was going to be perfect for my big day. It was truly special to have my dad walk me down the aisle in the same dress my mom was wearing when he married her almost 30 years ago.
Did you include any Southern traditions in your wedding? Michael and are both very Southern and enjoy all of the traditions that the South has to offer. Having the wedding at Nottoway Plantation was Southern in itself, as it is the oldest antebellum mansion in the South. We prepared welcome bags for all of the guests staying on the plantation, and included water bottles with custom labels, mini burlap bags full of Louisiana spices, treats and snacks, and a weekend itinerary. At the reception, we did a cake pull with the bridesmaids, where each pulled a fortune charm from the cake.
Our wedding cake was a four-tiered white cake prepared by Ambrosia Bakery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The cake filling alternated between cream cheese pecan and traditional cream. The cake was topped with flowers and surrounded by peaches. The groom’s cake was a replica of an Atlanta Braves baseball jersey, specifically Chipper Jones. Michael is a HUGE Braves fan and has cheered for the team since he was very young.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Michael and I met in 2002 during our freshman year of high school. We shared many of the same classes and quickly became friends. We were prom dates our junior year, and we officially dated during our senior year until we went our separate ways for college. During our time in college, Michael and I stayed in touch and caught up over holidays and summers back home. No matter how far apart we were, we were still great friends. During the summer of 2010, we both headed back to Baton Rouge. We spent the summer together and decided we were ready to start dating again. After that summer, Michael began his first year of law school at Mississippi College while I returned to Auburn for my final year of school. The long distance was tough at times, but it truly brought us closer together. After my graduation, I found a job in Baton Rouge, bringing us only 2.5 hours apart. For Michael’s last semester of law school, he was able to get an internship in Baton Rouge–we were glad to finally be living in the same city!!
Tell us about the proposal! In celebration of our two-year anniversary, Michael and I decided to spend a weekend in New Orleans. After relaxing in our room at the Hotel Monteleone, we headed to dinner at The Court of Two Sisters. The weather was beautiful and we had a table outside on the courtyard, underneath the hanging lights. After a delicious four-course meal, Michael left the table for the restroom, while I sat soaking up the wonderful evening. Upon his return, he got quite serious and said he wanted to discuss something with me. He started a speech about how much he loved me, everything we had been through, and how he wanted to spend forever with me. Then he got down on one knee, pulled a ring out of his pocket, and said, “Julie Marie Barth, will you marry me?” I was in complete shock!! When I finally came back to reality, I said “Of course I’ll marry you!” Our waiter brought out a new menu that said “The Court of Two Sisters welcomes Michael and Julie on their engagement.”
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Southern, unique, memorable
How many guests attended your wedding? Around 175
What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? The most special part of the ceremony was the reserved seats in the front row that remained empty in honor of our family members who had recently passed. One was for Michael’s great-grandmother, Maw-maw–she was an incredible lady and very important in our lives. She passed away in 2011. The other empty chair was in honor of my precious younger brother, Samuel Michael Barth, who died in a motor vehicle accident in November 2012. Losing him was the hardest time in my life, but taught me to appreciate every single moment. I did not know at the time, but was told afterwards about a very special moment–some people believe (myself included) that a dragonfly symbolizes the soul of a lost loved one. Since my brother passed away, I have had frequent encounters with dragonflies. During our reception, a dragonfly sat at the tip of the white tent for the entire evening. I know it was Sam watching over us and enjoying the party from the best seat in the house.
Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? I am the only girl that has been born into the Barth family in almost 100 years. Needless to say, most “Barth family weddings” involve one of the male cousins. At all the receptions, my dad and his three brothers would call out the new woman joining the family and induct her in with the “Barth family song,” an original created by my grandfather and his sons. About halfway through the reception, my dad and uncles hopped on stage and called Michael and I to join them. They welcomed Michael to the family, and of course, sang their rendition of the Barth family song.
What’s next for you as a couple? Since May, we have enjoyed our new life as a married couple. I have stayed extremely busy with nursing school and Michael with his career, but we still manage to make time for the silly adventures that we have always enjoyed together.
Photographer: Ashleigh Jayne Photography / Videographer: Dan Jones Film and Cinematography / Planning and Design: Angela Marie Events / Venue and Catering: Nottoway Plantation / Florist: Poppy & Mint Floral Company / Cake Baker: Ambrosia Bakery / Bride’s Shoes: BHLDN / Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale / Hair Stylist: Alison Smith of Paris Parker Salon / Bow Ties: Me and Matilda / Signs and Banners: Whatchawant Design / Paper Goods: MillerLine Design / Rentals: Timeless Vintage Rentals / Linens: Ballard Designs and Doug Olinde, LLC / Monogrammed Forks: Found Purpose / Transportation: Ascension Golf Carts / Embroidery Hoops: Mama Bleu Designs / Ribbon Wands: kate kate nyc / Guest Book: Go Rustic / Boxes and Buttons: Pick Your Plum / Welcome Bags: Wedding Chicks / Ring Pillow: Hannah Aspens Bridal