Just this morning, Lisa and I were discussing how we both cry while reading Real Wedding interviews, and I was telling her how the images can make me cry as well! And let me tell y’all, Jessica + Burton’s wedding was no different! Between the images of Jessica’s mama in the same gown she wore down the aisle to the series of incredible expressions as they saw her for the first time, these Dixie Pixel photos have both Lisa and I reaching for our monogrammed tissue boxes (a new office requirement!).
We just had to include all three of these precious faces! Talk about priceless moments, y’all!
I knew I didn’t want to go the standard route, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted either. So, I found a local bridal boutique that only made custom dresses and restored vintage ones. That sounded good and different to me. Right after I made my appointment, I remembered that my mom might still have her dress in the attic in the “dress-up/costume” box for the grandkids. I called my mom, rushed out there, and got the dress to take to my appointment the next day. It fit! No alterations were needed, just a good cleaning and a few minor replacements of the zipper and a button. My mom had her headpiece and veil, too. It was all perfect. I tried on one dress and was done.
Describe your wedding flowers. My florist was amazing. She did took my skeleton of an idea and made it gorgeous. The colors were soft–pale pinks, yellows, greens and some white. We used a bunch of gorgeous roses from Burton’s step-dad’s rose garden. I wanted to keep it loose and light for our casual, outdoor affair. The lake was already a great setting; I didn’t want to overdo it. Oh, and, she surprised me big time! Just before I walked out, she hit pause on everything and sprinkled white rose petals all the way down the sidewalk aisle and all over the boat dock. I had no idea. It was one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me.
See, y’all! I can’t even look at Burton’s face in this photo without tearing up!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? No, we didn’t do a first look. My wedding planner suggested it was a good idea, especially to get rid of some of the jitters, but I liked the element of surprise. We shared everything at that point, and not many things were a surprise regarding the wedding. Burton didn’t know I was wearing my mom’s dress, and I wanted to see his face, among other family members, as I walked down the aisle. It was also such a small wedding that we knew we’d have plenty of time for pictures, etc., after the ceremony.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows. Our minister did a simple, traditional service.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? First and foremost, it was just family! Also, the food reflected an intimate, relaxed backyard elegance. At least, that’s how my caterer described it! She really set the Southern tone. We had tiny biscuits filled with chipotle pimento cheese and topped with crispy bacon as one of the delicious appetizers, fresh corn off the cob and cherry tomato relish, vanilla bean lemonade, and mason jar pies…to name a few. All family-style. I wore my mom’s dress–she was married at a church down the way in 1968 (45 years ago, this year!), and Burton wore a bow-tie.
We incorporated local flowers in my bouquet, including the roses from Burton’s step-father’s garden. And, the wedding was outside on Fort Loudon Lake formed by the Holston, French Broad and Tennessee Rivers.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. For something summery, we had a lemon cake filled with blueberry buttercream, drizzled in honey glaze, topped with fresh cream and fresh blueberries. The rest of the dessert table was spectacular: basil-peach mason jar pies, classic Petit Fours, assorted French macarons, vanilla bean Whoopie pies filled with coconut ice cream, and orange-scented chocolate cake pops. Yum!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Bugs love me. A couple of weeks before the wedding, I either got too many bug bites or some poison ivy on my leg. This is par for the course, but my dress was short! So, I worried about that, and then, I realized I was having an outdoor wedding by the water! Not sure what I was thinking. After being overly cautious with lawn treatments etc., it was a miracle that I didn’t get one (additional) bite. Thanks, Dad!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Burton is from Baton Rouge and moved to Knoxville in 8th grade. We had some mutual friends growing up in high school and college. I became good friends with his sister, Sarah, at UT Knoxville, and more so after both of us spent time living overseas. Several mutual friends mentioned over the years that Burton and I should get together. Burton likes to say I gave him the “Heisman” (think of the pose) for about 5+ years. Finally, we went on a date. The rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! After about two years of dating, we talked about getting engaged, but when it happened, I really had no idea it was coming. He got me! We were visiting his aunt in France. While we were touring around Paris, I gave him a hard time at every spot that looked romantic enough for a proposal…so, everywhere. I was kidding! Then we took a day trip to the Palace of Versailles. In the gardens, while trying to decide if we should rent a little row boat, I proceeded to give him the daily, “Well, this would be great place to propose…just sayin’.” We got the boat, it was hot, and I then began to tease him, rowing me around. I felt pretty guilty afterwards! Anyways, I didn’t understand why he was paddling longer than the fifteen minutes we’d paid for. He ignored me and asked me to look at something on the map in my purse, and when I looked up…voila!
When did y’all get married? June 8, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 25 family members
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Since we didn’t have any bridesmaids or groomsmen, I thought about having our sisters do a reading to include them as a special part of the ceremony. But, there was a 2-year old involved, and we just weren’t sure about how he’d do on the dock. My sister might have had to wrangle him at any moment, and we didn’t want just one of the three sisters missing, so we didn’t end up doing any readings.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a jazz pianist and his wife, who sang, and they were absolutely perfect for the setting. Great, relaxed background music. Our first dance was to a Frank Sinatra classic, “Fly Me to the Moon.” It was lovely, but I kept insisting that Burton be more “playful” with me, and Tara got a pretty good pic of my attempt. I think he felt the camera on him! My father-daughter dance was especially meaningful. At some point, during those tough high school years, my dad gave us all (three sisters) the Lee Ann Womack single, “I Hope You Dance.” I’ve never seen my mom cry so hard. They couldn’t believe I’d remembered.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Wearing my mom’s dress and having the ceremony on my parents’ dock! I couldn’t imagine wearing anything else or doing it any other way.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Everything but blue. Something borrowed (and old) was my mom’s dress and veil. Something old (and borrowed) was a sixpence, from my mother-in-law’s friend, for my shoe. I had two pairs of shoes that I could not decide between: some 1960s shoes from a local, vintage clothing shop, and some new shoes. I wore both.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Seriously, all of them! Everyone was so easy to work with and “got me,” even when I couldn’t fully describe what I wanted. Tara at Dixie Pixel made me feel so comfortable and captured the day perfectly. And, I am SO thankful for Colleen at White Orchid Bridal and that she gave me the opportunity to wear my mother’s dress! So special!!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Walking down the aisle of rose petals and standing there for the ceremony on the dock. Burton says, “The first time I saw you in your dress!!!” Also, dancing to a special song with my dad (and seeing my mom cry)…it was so sweet.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? To each their own. Big or small. Do it the way you want. Surround yourself with family and friends who “get you.” And use vendors who are your speed! If you find a vendor you like, you should check out their recommendations for other vendors. I found one and everything else fell into place.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are excited to try to start a family. That’s not for everyone right away, but we both waited a little while to get married…code: we’re (getting) old. I’m most looking forward to having a partner in life, through it all.
Photographer: Tara Kneiser at Dixie Pixel Photography | Planner: Peggy Love at Plan it with Love | Ceremony and Reception Venue: Bride’s Parents’ House | Florist: Pat Felts at Clay Pots Floral Events | Cake Baker: Bettina Hamblin at The Sweetery | Caterer: Bettina Hamblin at Luxe Catering | Rentals: Bettina Hamblin at Restoration Rentals | Jazz Pianist: Keith Brown | Bride’s Gown and Veil: Mother of the Bride’s 1960s Priscilla of Boston gown and veil, restored by Colleen Moore at White Orchid Bridal | Hair Stylist: Mandy at Prive | Makeup Artist: Claire Balest | Bride’s Shoes: Vintage Kate Spade | Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers and Jos. A. Bank