Today’s wedding is close to our hearts because the SW gals know the bride and groom personally. Emily was an intern at Southern Weddings three years ago and our shop manager earlier this year. She couldn’t wait to marry Brendan, and it was clear to us why. Brendan is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet and they both share big hearts, big dreams and a great sense of humor. Their wedding took place just down the road from the SW offices and Caroline Joy did an amazing job at capturing the celebration and the commitment that marked E + B’s big day. We are so grateful that we can share them with you today!
We were both pretty traditional about doing a first look, and Brendan was adamant about not seeing me until I walked down the aisle! We did pray together before the ceremony and exchange notes, which was one of my favorite parts of the whole day.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my mom’s veil. My shoes were blue(ish). My right hand ring was my grandmother’s before she gave it to me several years ago. It was pretty fun to show it to her again at the wedding. And I bought myself a pretty little cross bracelet a few weeks before the big day!
My dad’s only request for my wedding was that he walk me down the aisle to Pachbel’s Canon, so I found a really beautiful acoustic guitar version that now makes me cry! The bridesmaids processed to “Better” by Jess Ray, and Brendan and I also washed each other’s feet as a sign of serving each other in marriage while two of our close friends played guitar and sang “You’re Beautiful” by Phil Wickham. My dad and I danced to “Piano Man” by Billy Joel since that’s always been a favorite song of ours.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes! We really tried to incorporate as much of the Gospel into our vows as possible. Our ceremony was rooted in our faith, so it was very important for us to express our belief that we only love each other because God loved us first. From there, we added in little things that were fun or specific to us. I vowed to make him cookie dough whenever he pleases and he vowed to stop and let me photograph something as often as I want!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Ephesians 5:22-33
I love this moment!! It was one of Emily’s most memorable from the day and we can tell how giddy they both are to finally be married!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had touches of the South throughout the day. We gave guests little fans to keep them cool in the summer heat and had corn hole to play during the cocktail hour. I’m sure most of our guests were pretty stuffed with biscuits, BBQ and sweet potato casserole by the time they left too. We also sent everyone home with little jars of honey.
Oh I love this photo of Emily and her dad! The father-daughter dance is one of my favorite wedding traditions and I love that they had a bit of fun with theirs.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Delicious! While I only ate what Brendan smeared on my face, I’ve had Edible Art’s almond amaretto cake several times before, and it’s SO GOOD! We had it surrounded by all of our favorite desserts, from Girl Scout Thin Mints to mini banana pudding cups.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I’m a big collector of trinkets, so the tables were filled with tiny antique bottles and mismatched china. I loved collecting all those little bottles with my mom, and it’s fun having them around our new home now! Oh and the twinkly lights–magical!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Brendan and I knew each other a little throughout college at UNC-Chapel Hill, but we never actually had a real conversation until I think our senior year. We always seemed to be running into each other, and within a month, we were dating. When we got engaged, we both admitted to knowing that we’d get married after the first date!
Tell us all about the proposal! Brendan’s proposal took all day! He proposed on our one-year anniversary after a full-day adventure. To finish our date, he took me on a little stroll through the UNC’s arboretum, then led me around a corner to this beautiful vine-covered walkway, my favorite spot on campus. I was so confused, to be honest! Right as we walked in, there was a big sign that said “Emily, I love you because…” and my immediate reaction was “Oh hey, there must be another Emily around here!” But when I saw the 100 tiny cards hanging from the walkway’s ceiling and Brendan’s huge smile, I knew it had to be for me. As we walked, Brendan explained each card to me and all the different reasons and ways he loved me. (Yes, he is certainly a keeper!) These cards led out of the walkway, up the street, and past UNC’s Old Well to the bench where we had our first kiss, which was in the rain, no less! The last card said “because I have chosen to,” and after me briefly saying that I was still really confused, Brendan asked me to stand up. He got down on one knee and told me that those 100 things about me were great, but that if they all disappeared tomorrow, he’d still choose to love me forever. With that, he popped the question, and I literally collapsed in his arms! I’ve never been so overwhelmed with joy and gratefulness! I have a bunch more written on my blog here.
When did y’all get married? June 1, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. It was the first one I tried on! I’m incredibly indecisive, so that’s actually pretty incredible! It went through quite a few alterations to get it just right, but I remember literally twirling and dancing around the store with my mom and one of my bridesmaids after one of my fittings. My mom made her own wedding dress and used the leftover bits of lace to make the detailing on the belt, which made my dress even more special.
Describe your wedding flowers. I basically told our florist to have fun! I showed her a bunch of pictures of bouquets that I thought were pretty and she took it from there. It was a mix of garden roses, ranunculus, peonies and succulents. We ordered bulk flowers from them as well, and my awesome bridesmaids did all the table arrangements the day of the wedding.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Praying fervently that we’d have good weather since every bit of our wedding was outside. A rain plan was not easy to put together. And since I was also planning everything on my own, it was definitely a challenge coordinating all the details and vendors.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Oh, Caroline certainly lives up to her middle name! I was so excited to be photographed by a woman whose work and business I admire so much.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Oh it’s so hard to choose! I vividly remember the moments before I walked down the aisle (and actually seeing Lara and Grace!) because that’s when I saw the reception set up for the first time. I wish I could bottle the giddiness I felt right before we were pronounced man and wife. I loved dancing with my dad under all those twinkly lights. I just remember everything being so magical and better than I ever imagined.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? At the end of the day, as long as you say “I do,” nothing else really matters. It’s easy to get caught up in a bazillion details that make a wedding pretty, but the fact that two people love each other enough to commit their lives to each other is what makes a wedding beautiful. Take a deep breath, remember why you’re getting married, and everything will fall into place.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? A lot! I’m a wedding photographer, so I’m excited to know how my brides feel and serve them even more on their wedding day. Brendan is a second year medical student at UNC-Chapel Hill, so he’ll be getting even smarter than he already is and working to become the best doctor ever! We’re also having a blast finding new ways to love each other and have fun together. So far, building a fort in our living room has been my favorite!
Caroline Joy, Heirloom Vintage China, and Hot Dog! Photo Booth are all delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!