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Many girls can probably say that their dog is one of their very best friends, but I imagine few can say their dog was also their matchmaker! Sure enough, it was Jennifer’s beloved golden, Maverick, who was responsible for her and Kerby’s meet-cute–y’all won’t want to miss the story below. Five years and a move to Charleston later, Jennifer and Kerby escaped to the idyllic Palmetto Bluff with their family and friends for their gorgeous spring wedding weekend. Along with dreamy floral crowns, fun pops of pattern, and details that nodded to their love story, Jennifer and Kerby’s celebration wouldn’t have been complete without Maverick in tow!

Thank you so much to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Perry Vaile for sharing this lovely day with us!

Kerby and I met five years ago in Washington, D.C. through my golden retriever, Maverick. I got Maverick when I graduated from college, and for many years, he was my rock during uncertain times of figuring out the next chapter in life. Little did I know, he’d also be the one to introduce me to my best friend and husband. I was going to a backyard birthday party for one of my mutual friends and brought Mav with so he could enjoy the festivities. After an hour or so, I spotted a cute boy rolling around on the ground with my dog. Naturally, I approached him and asked, “How do you know Maverick?” Kerby looked up and said, “I hung out with him the past two weekends while his owner was out of town. We’re best friends. Who are YOU?” And the rest is history.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My family and I grew up going to Hilton Head Island every summer, and it has always been a special place for me. Kerby grew up by the beach in Wilmington, North Carolina, so we figured somewhere near the water would be best for us. A friend of mine used to live in Bluffton, right outside of Hilton Head, and recommended that we look at Palmetto Bluff. We were swept off our feet from the first visit. The charm, natural beauty, and relaxed atmosphere–in addition to the convenience of Palmetto Bluff’s town square and cottages–could not be beat. We ended up moving to Charleston a month after our wedding, so we will be frequenting Palmetto Bluff for the rest of our lives!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Kerby and I initially disagreed on a first look. He wanted the classic, tearjerker scene of seeing his bride for the first time while standing in front of his family and friends. I knew I would be anxious the day of the wedding and wanted to see him before the ceremony so I could ease my nerves. After I explained that if we got pictures out of the way before the wedding, we could party longer afterward, Kerby quickly acquiesced.

We decided to write our own vows so we could feel like the ceremony was personalized to us. We decided on each writing “a few paragraphs,” and had my maid of honor read both ahead of time to make sure they worked well together. As I struggled to get through mine, Kerby held my hand and kept whispering to me to breathe. When I finished, he automatically went in to kiss me to make me feel better. Halfway there, he realized that wasn’t part of the plan and asked our minister, “Can we do that?” It got a good chuckle from the crowd.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We had a bar set up at the entrance of our ceremony serving Moscow mules and Dark and Stormys in copper mugs. We wanted our guests to feel comfortable and start the evening off on the right foot. It was a celebration, after all! We also made sure that Maverick was a part of every aspect of the wedding. Not only did he need to be celebrated for introducing us, but his presence helped us feel relaxed and at ease. His ears flapped in the wind as the bridesmaids did a motorboat cruise to the bridal luncheon at Marshside Mama’s. He rode in the golf cart with us to the rehearsal dinner, where he got in the way of corn hole and snuck pieces of barbecue. He walked down the aisle with my maid of honor and danced the night away with us under the tent. Palmetto Bluff allowed him to be the VIP he deserved to be!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Look for ways to personalize your wedding. Think about who you are as a couple, what you like to do together, and what’s most important to you, and try and incorporate that into everything you decide. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it is what ends up standing out to your guests and building that lasting memory in your mind.

Our flowers were GORGEOUS! Em Creative Floral did a wonderful job of combining neutrals with pops of coral, pinks, and reds. My favorite part was the baby’s breath crowns that were made for my bridesmaids. They looked like angels floating down the aisle.

Our wedding cake was a simple white cake with gorgeous, fresh flowers. In order to incorporate more flavors, we served cupcakes as well. One of my favorite pictures from that day is of me feeding Maverick a piece of the cake with Kerby looking on. He deserved to be a part of the wedding in every sense!

Tell us all about the proposal! After dating for four years, I had an inkling that Kerby would pop the question sometime soon. My family has a tradition of going to Orlando every year for Braves spring training, and Kerby was coming along–his first trip to Disney World! I figured this was it. However, by the end of the trip, we only had one night left, and we were spending it on a drinking tour of the different countries at Epcot. I knew Kerby wouldn’t do it then (in public, at a theme park, after drinking, no chance!), but I had to check his pockets on the monorail anyway. Empty. We started with a beer at a pub in England, then walked over to Canada. Kerby steered me to the replica of Niagara Falls (romantic!) and dropped to one knee. I was so shocked and embarrassed that he was doing this in public at Disney World that I started pulling him to get up. Once I saw the ring, reality took over and I happily said yes! We were then able to celebrate with a few drinks in different countries (like champagne in France!) and fireworks with my parents. It was a dream proposal that I never would have planned.
When did y’all get married? May 16, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 206
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I have a simple, relaxed style and, for some reason, always pictured myself in a simple, sleeveless, trumpet gown. I began going to stores in D.C. with my girlfriends and thought I found the ONE. When I went to try it on for my mom at a high-end boutique in Atlanta, I realized I didn’t feel like myself in it. My mom and I drove to Kelly’s Closet and instantly felt at ease with the girls there. We were so inspired by all the flowy, unique, timeless gowns. I tried on every Jenny Packham dress they had and ultimately fell for the “Esme” because of its open back and gorgeous beading.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had an acoustic guitarist for the processionals and recessional. We love the casual and relaxed feel that only a single guitar can provide. The bridesmaids walked down to “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and I walked down to “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz. Our processional was to “Home” by Edward Sharpe. Our first dance was to Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby.” We wanted a song that was completely different than most first dance choices. Neither of us are great dancers and we just wanted to go out and have fun. We never practiced, but had sung the song at the top of our lungs many times before. It helped that everyone in attendance knew every lyric and was able to sing along with the band! My dad and I danced to “Carolina Girl,” and Kerby and his mom danced to “Circle of Life,” which ended up with half our friends out on the dance floor, embracing in a swaying circle of Lion King enthusiasts.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? It was a real treat to have our officiants be ministers from the church my family attended growing up. We were able to meet with them a few times in Atlanta before our wedding for marriage counseling sessions. It was comforting that we had already openly discussed many of the issues that we knew we could face throughout our lifetime of marriage.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our wedding day, as everyone says, flew by way too quickly. What stood out to us were the moments that Perry, our photographer, pulled us aside to take pictures. She had us sit by the water to stop, breathe, and take in the moment.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are looking forward to soaking up our new, more relaxed lifestyle in Charleston. We recently made an addition to our family with another golden retriever–this time, a blonde female we named Sully after Sullivan’s Island.

Photographer: Perry Vaile | Videographer: Hart to Heart Media | Planner: Ashley Rhodes | Ceremony Venue and Caterer: Palmetto Bluff | Reception Venue: Private residence | Florist: Em Creative Floral | Band: The Atlanta Showstoppers | Paper Products: Low Country Paper Co. | Bride’s Gown: “Esme” by Jenny Packham | Bridal Salon: Kelly’s Closet | Hair Stylist: Alicia Stafford | Makeup Artist: Bride’s Side Beauty | Menswear: Bonobos

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Perry Vaile reply

    I adored this wedding, thank you so, so much for featuring it and sharing their story! Hands down, this wedding day was one of my very favorites to capture – their ease with each other and their guests was so refreshing, and the trust they put into my as the photographer meant the world! It was also kind of amazing to see Maverick the entire day! haha! I even dedicated a folder in their wedding gallery to just Maverick images because we had so many! Best Dog, for sure!

  2. avatar Kate reply

    This wedding is absolutely stunning! Love all of the details including the beautiful calligraphy on the napkins and wedding ceremony program board! The photo of the groomsmen on the bikes might be one of my all time favorites though :)

  3. avatar Dana reply

    omg I love their meet-cute! Sweet dog

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People often say that opposites attract, but for Chandler and David, their similarities are what drew them together. After meeting online and going on two dates within a mere six days, these two were inseparable. Their common beliefs and ability to see eye to eye fostered a love that quickly grew, and it carried them right through their premarital preparation and into their wedding day. When guest list challenges arose, Chandler and David focused on celebrating with those who loved them as a couple, and kept their focus centered on their relationship by viewing their wedding as “our day” instead of individually. The beautiful Lowndes Grove Plantation was the perfect place for everyone to enjoy their celebration–there was even a place for their tiny flower girl to squeeze in a quick nap!

Thank you kindly to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Virgil Bunao for sharing this sweet day!

I knew I wanted to do a girls trip for my bridal gown shopping, so arrangements were made for family and friends to join me in Charleston exactly one year prior to the wedding. I was joined by my mom, my sister, my sister-in-law, my maid of honor, and David’s mother. We went to two salons in the morning, and then after lunch, we moved on to Gown Boutique of Charleston. At GBC, I tried on about four dresses. I was getting a little frustrated and worried that I was going to be talked into a gown I didn’t love, before I finally put on the only dress I tried on in the store that I personally pulled off the rack. I knew as soon as I saw it that I loved it. I looked up and realized my mom was crying, so naturally, I started crying, and so did many of the other girls. We all knew this was the dress. Although not part of the original plan, I was glad I ended up wearing a veil. Initially, I was completely against the idea of wearing a veil, and committed to wearing a flower crown. At my fitting in March, my mom talked me into trying on a simple, cathedral-length veil, and I ended up loving it. Still committed to the flower crown, we ordered the veil and agreed that we would decide later about when each would be worn. After talking with David after the wedding, I was very happy that I was able to combine the flower crown I loved with the beautiful flowing veil that he had hoped for.

While rain on your wedding day is supposed to be good luck, after months of planning an outdoor ceremony, rain was anything but a welcome visitor on our big day. Therefore, when we learned about the Southern tradition of burying a bottle of bourbon to keep the rain away, we were all for it. We were so excited when we received a call from our planner saying we had the “okay” from our venue to bury the bourbon! We were blessed with beautiful sunny skies and temps in the 60s and 70s for our big day.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? I first heard “The Blessing of the Hands” in a wedding video I watched early in our planning process. We both loved the words of this poem, so we insisted on having David’s brother’s wife read it during our ceremony. My childhood minister, Dr. Hawkins, who guided us through premarital counseling, also officiated our wedding. Dr. Hawkins incorporated 1 John 4:16 and Colossians 3:12-17 into the service, and did a beautiful sermon on marriage. It was important to us that my maternal grandfather had a role in our wedding–he was a navy chaplain for many years, and officiated the wedding of my parents over 40 years ago, so it was special to us to have him read scripture during our ceremony. He read Ruth 1:16-17 and Mark 10:6-9, which David and I had chosen together.

Our favorite detail was definitely the venue– not only was it a gorgeous backdrop for our wedding ceremony and reception, but it made the events on the day of the wedding flow so easily. My bridal party and I spent the entire morning getting ready in the Lowndes Grove Plantation house prior to the ceremony. After the ceremony, the guests were able to wander around the venue and explore the house, property, and the dock that extends out into the Ashley River. The venue also allowed us to bring in a swing, which was hung from a tree by an attachment point designed by David so that it swiveled to face either the river or the house. We, and many of our guests, captured beautiful photos with loved ones on this swing. Since the swing is ours, it is memento that we can hang at our own home, so it will remind us of our wedding day for years to come. Later in the evening, the house was great for guests who wanted a quiet place to enjoy each other’s company. Our reception was on the back patio under a tent, and once the band started playing, this area got loud (in a good way!), but there was a ton of comfortable seating inside that many of our elderly guests were able to escape to as the night carried on. Our flower girl, who was 13 months old at the time, was even able to take a little nap during the reception on the second floor of the house, which I know her mother appreciated. David and I loved Lowndes Grove from the first time we saw it, but it was especially nice to see how well it accommodated our guests’ needs.

Although we would have loved to have our dog, Olsen, present at the wedding, we knew his playful, and sometimes rambunctious, personality would have never allowed it. At the wedding, David and I, on behalf of Olsen, had pink tennis balls and custom dog treats available for guests to take home to their four-legged friends. For weeks after the wedding, we received photos from friends and family of their dogs enjoying either the treats or their new pink tennis balls. We loved that these favors gave us the opportunity to incorporate our dog into the wedding, but it was also such a privilege to learn more about our guests’ beloved pets.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? One of the best things you can do is hire a wedding planner who fits your design style and personality, and is able to delegate tasks to family and friends who are offering to help. Ali was organized, assertive, responsive, pleasant to be around, and willing to be as involved as we wanted her to be. Ali and her team saved us an ample amount of money in the long run, not to mention, her team ensured the wedding planning process was always fun and not stressful.

To say I like bows would be a huge understatement–I LOVE them! From the beginning stages of planning our wedding cake, we knew there would be a bow on it. We wanted our cake design to be classic and more traditional in style, so we chose to have a solid white cake. The final product was exactly what we wanted: a four-tiered round cake with a simple quatrefoil pattern on the first and third tiers. The largest tier had a beautiful white fondant bow on the front of it. We had two different flavor options for our guests to choose from: chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and vanilla cake with passion fruit buttercream. Luckily for us, Patrick Properties sent us home with two slices of each flavor and an anniversary tier, so we were able to enjoy our tasty cake for many days following the wedding. We can’t wait for our first anniversary to enjoy it all over again!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. In July 2013, we had both recently relocated to the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina for jobs. Being single and knowing very few people in the area, we both decided to create online dating profiles on Match.com. I created my account on a Sunday afternoon, and shortly thereafter, David messaged me. After an email exchange, we agreed to meet in person for dinner in Durham at a small Italian restaurant called Piazza Italia. The connection was immediate. The conversation never stopped and we quickly realized that our personalities meshed perfectly. Before we knew it, the dinner was over, and not being ready to say goodbye, we headed across the street to James Joyce Irish Pub for drinks and trivia. Since we both had to work the next day, the night had to end earlier then we would have liked, so we planned a second date for that Friday. After two dates within a mere six days, we were inseparable and dating exclusively.
Tell us all about the proposal! Many of our friends and family members were speculating aloud that we were going to get engaged soon–even though we had only been dating for eight months. From these conversations, David had learned two important things: 1. I was confident my best friend Jillian wouldn’t know about the proposal ahead of time because she wouldn’t be able to keep a secret like that from me, and 2. I wanted an extended period of time together after the engagement to enjoy the moment (like a vacation or weekend). With that in mind, David knew that in order to surprise me, Jillian had to be involved and that the proposal needed to be on a weekday! On the morning of the proposal (April 24, 2014), Jillian, per the plan, called me and asked if we would like to join her and her boyfriend for a picnic dinner at Duke Gardens. Prior to this, David had told me he would be working late (in an attempt to throw me off) so I was hesitant at first because I didn’t want to be a “third wheel.” After hours of persuasion, Jillian convinced me to join her, at which point, David announced he no longer had to work late and would be available to come along. With the picnic basket (complete with the ring) in hand, Jillian was first to arrive at the bench where David was to propose. David and I found her waiting there, and after some quick “hellos,” Jillian announced she had to get her boyfriend from the parking lot. At this point, David suggested we enjoy some wine, pulled a bottle out of the picnic basket, and handed it to me. Etched on the glass wine bottle was “Will you marry me?”, my monogram, a sweet note. I was shocked and immediately began crying tears of joy. David was so excited he forgot everything he was going to say and ended up just reading the message on the back of the wine bottle instead of reciting his memorized speech, after which, he dropped to one knee and presented me with a beautiful engagement ring.
When did y’all get married? October 31, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 126
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I actually saw Lowndes Grove Plantation in a magazine years ago and thought it was so gorgeous. Since that moment, I have wanted to get married there. After we got engaged, David was on board with a Charleston wedding. Since we have family spread out all over the US and guests would be traveling from near and far, we wanted to pick a location that guests would enjoy spending a few extra days in, and Charleston definitely fit that criteria. David had planned a trip to Charleston for my birthday three weeks after we got engaged. During that time, we looked at four venues. We went to Lowndes Grove first and fell in love with it, but David was very excited about another venue in the Charleston area, so we wanted to check it out as well before we made any final decisions. All the venues we toured were beautiful in their own way, but just didn’t compare to Lowndes Grove Plantation.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Instead of writing our own vows, we decided to use traditional vows and write each other personal letters to be read prior to the ceremony in private.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We had many conversations that began prior to being engaged, during which we discussed many of the topics relevant to marriage. Having nearly identical viewpoints in so many key areas was a major contributing factor to us now being married. Our similarities and common beliefs only fostered the love between us. We also independently took the Prepare-Enrich premarital survey that measures a person’s perceptions on many critical aspects of life, such as finances, religion, family, children, etc. Our answers were used to highlight similarities and differences in our beliefs and was a part of our pre-marital counseling that was done by my childhood minister, Dr. Hawkins.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge to overcome with planning our wedding was putting together the guest list. At the end of the day, we ended up inviting those individuals who knew us and loved us AS A COUPLE. We viewed our wedding as OUR day rather than that of the bride or groom individually, so we wanted people there who had fostered and encouraged our relationship.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are thrilled to finally be married and to be able to move on to the next chapter in our lives, during which we will continue to build our relationship and learn how to conquer the challenges of life together. Memories we are looking forward to in the years to come are taking vacations together, starting our own family traditions, purchasing a house, growing our family with children and puppies, and fulfilling new roles as aunt and uncle. We are also looking forward to having friends and family over for dinner parties, special celebrations, and holidays.

Photographer: Virgil Bunao | Videographer: Siegel Films | Planner: A. Caldwell Events | Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Florist: Tiger Lily Florist | Cake Baker: Jessica Grossman | Caterer: Fish | Rentals: Snyder Events, EventWorks, and 428 Main | Lighting: Innovative Event Services | Band: The Mighty Kicks | Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Musicians: Charleston Virtuosi | Save the Dates: Green Tie Studio | Invitation Calligraphy, Navy and White Wedding Signage, Welcome Sign, Hors d’oevures Cards, and Place Cards: Mason Dixon Designs | Artwork and Calligraphy for Table Numbers, Programs, Menus, Invitations, and Welcome Letters: Cass Deller Design | Paper Goods Formatting and Printing: Ply | Bride’s Gown: Eugenia Couture | Bridal Salon and Veil: Gown Boutique of Charleston | Bride’s Earrings: Bailey’s Fine Jewelry | Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls Wedding Hair and Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: Elehandmade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: LulaKate | Men’s Suits: The Black Tux | Men’s Shirts, Ties, and Tie Clips: J. Crew | Bridesmaid Robes: Talbots | Custom Dog Treats: Treat Dreams Dog Bakery | Koozies: SplendidSips | Welcome Bags: Welcome Bags Weddings | Cocktail Napkins: Memorable Wedding | Monogrammed Corn Hole Bags: The Lakeside Woodshop | Coral Quatrefoil Pillows: Pillows by Janet | Bride and Groom Chair Signs: Host and Toast Studio | Custom Corn Hole Board Decals: WG Cornhole | Monogrammed Chevron Swing Pillow: Peppermint Bee | Transportation: Lancaster Tours

Virgil Bunao is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Molly reply

    Yay! Congrats Chandler + David! Working with you both was such a wonderful experience! Your globetrotting stationery :) will forever hold a special place in my heart! So happy for you both!

  2. avatar Ali reply

    AW! We LOVE YOU TWO!!! What a fun experience this was and we are so blessed to have worked with two amazing individuals with such a deep love for each other and God! Hands down one of my favorite weddings to-date! XO

  3. avatar Zookbinders Wedding Albums reply

    Such a lovely bride! Gorgeous wedding!

  4. avatar Blavou Photography reply

    Wow, lovely wedding and inspirational photography!

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Small town life is a beloved part of Southern culture–I’m certain many of y’all can relate to Molly’s pride in her quaint hometown! Molly loved growing up in Saxapahaw, North Carolina, and although she and Aaron met in Chapel Hill, they couldn’t resist the opportunity to dig into Molly’s roots and welcome their loved ones to Saxapahaw for their big day. Complete with hearty Southern cuisine, an abundance of family heirlooms, and many nods to their heritages, Molly and Aaron’s celebration held all the charms of a small town itself. Molly says, “The sense of small town community during our celebration was the most natural part for us, and by default, it was the most Southern part!”

Thank you so much to our Blue Ribbon Vendor A. J. Dunlap for sharing this lovely day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Before flying home for winter break, my mom encouraged me to try on dresses in Austin with my best friend. I found the most wonderful secondhand/consignment designer dress shop, Second Summer Bridal. We had a great time while I tried on every style of dress, just for fun, until I tried on THE ONE. I knew I couldn’t buy a dress without showing my mom anything, so I tried to let it go. Back in North Carolina for Christmas, I tried on many more with my mom, but couldn’t get that one dress out of my mind. Knowing it was a one-time sale, I called back in January with the slightest bit of hope it was still in the store. It was fate–no one had bought it yet! I went in the first week I was back in Austin and sealed the deal! After all the dresses I tried on, this was the one that made me feel like a bride!

Our florist was Pine State Flowers. They only use locally grown, North Carolina flowers. This meant we had to be flexible to what type and colors of flowers were in season locally, and we had a beautiful and sustainable end result!

We were so grateful to have family friends who took part in our wedding and helped us save money. A dear friend did bridesmaids’ hair, family friends were the musicians, a church friend made our cake, my best friend designed the invitations and ceremony programs and wrote on all the windows and chalkboards, a dear friend directed the ceremony, and a family friend was our amazing DJ.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? YES! Knowing we wanted space and time to ourselves to be mindful, present, and soak in the powerful commitment we were about to make was of the utmost importance to us. Having that time for just the two of us to reflect, laugh, cry, joke around, and be ourselves was essential.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I am from the small town of Saxapahaw, and all of my maternal family is from small mill towns along the Haw River. In fact, my grandmother worked third shift in the Saxapahaw Mill while attending business college! Once the heart of the community, the Saxapahaw Cotton Mill closed in 1994 due to tornado damage. In high school, I would drive past it and admire the dilapidated and boarded up building. Over the past decade, the Mill has been renovated into a thriving, central part of the Saxapahaw community, and houses the Haw River Ballroom. My family has fallen in love with the rejuvenated sense of community in Saxapahaw, so the Ballroom was a natural first choice for Aaron and I. Fun side note: the wedding was the first time my grandmother had returned to the Mill since working in it.

The BEST part about our entire wedding was how community-centered and relationship-based it was. Aaron and I are both from small towns and value community, so we made it our goal to create a “church” within the ballroom, and to honor and celebrate the relationships and connections with our own church families, friends, individual families, extended family, and the community. All of the cotton used throughout the wedding was grown by a North Carolina farmer in Tarboro. The seating assignment windows were composed of various antique windows–the four-pane window came from Aaron’s great-grandparents’ homestead house that is over 150 years old, and the six-pane windows came from Aaron’s maternal grandfather’s historic shop. The handkerchief were gifted to my maternal grandmother on her wedding day. She recently found them, unopened! The drawers for cards came from my maternal great-grandmother’s Singer sewing machine. She taught my mom to love sewing, and I am named after her. The ring bearer pillow was sewn by my mom from her dad’s old jeans, and the smallest ring tied to the pillow was my baby ring! Aaron’s nephew, one of the ring bearers, carried my grandmother’s family Bible down the aisle. My veil was made from my mom’s blusher wedding veil. All the bud vases and bottles were collected during my engagement by my mother and grandmother. My grandfather passed away last winter, and these have been a blessing and the perfect project for my grandmother. There were also photos of our parents and grandparents on their wedding days displayed at the reception!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The sense of small town community during our celebration was the most natural part for us, and by default, it was the most Southern part! On top of the family heirlooms used, we also incorporated the best kinds of Southern food! Served in small plates to encourage mingling and conversation during the reception, guests feasted on meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans, shrimp and grits, and macaroni and cheese with collards and black eyed peas. All catering was from the local “five star restaurant in a gas station,” the Saxapahaw General Store. There’s nothing more Southern than getting married in an old cotton mill, eating good Southern food, being surrounded by the community that raised you, and getting to spend the rest of your life with your best friend!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met the first month of college at UNC Chapel Hill, living in the same dorm. Aaron helped Katie, my suitemate, carry some packages down to our rooms one day. Katie introduced me to this cute guy who helped her, and the rest was history! For the next four years of college, we were inseparable–study rooms, basketball games, football games, dance performances, the Varsity theater, Carver Street, He’s Not Here, Brown Summit, and Saxapahaw. After graduating, Aaron moved off to Charlotte, and I headed to the tiny town of Eden. During Christmas of 2011, we realized we couldn’t stand being apart any longer, and we haven’t been since. Fast forward to August 2013, and Aaron and I moved to Austin, Texas so I could attend graduate school at UT-Austin. Aaron found a corporate recruiting job here and graduated from Western Carolina’s online graduate school. We have been in Austin for over two years and are embracing the Texan way of life for now!
Tell us all about the proposal! We were so excited to return to UNC for homecoming in November 2014. Once we were back in Chapel Hill, Aaron suggested we walk through campus and visit the UNC Basketball Museum. While we were walking towards the museum, I thought I would be so romantic and suggested a stop at Craige, our freshman dorm, where it all started. After sitting on the front steps of the dorm where we fell in love, we stood up, I blinked, and Aaron was on one knee! After his proposal, we continued on to the basketball museum without calling anyone. #goheels
When did y’all get married? November 7, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows–we used the less traditional vows from the United Methodist Church’s liturgy. A favorite line included: “I take you to be my husband/wife, from this time onward, to join with you and to share all that is to come.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My brother and two dear friends read at our ceremony–a task with more significance to us than being in the wedding party. They read three scripture passages: Song of Solomon 2:10-14, 16a; 8:6-7a, Romans 12:9-18, and Colossians 3:12-17.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. A family friend made a gorgeous four-tiered pound cake with buttercream icing, with the top layer saved for our first anniversary! You can’t beat a good ol’ Southern pound cake!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We felt it was very important to keep our relationship at the center of the wedding planning and were mindful of discussing not only the details of the big day, but also what we wanted our future to look like together. Premarital counseling with our minister, readings books together, and spending the majority of our time together not wedding planning helped enormously with this!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? One very special thing to me was having my brother walk me down the aisle to meet my father. My brother, Peter, and I have an incredible relationship and I wanted to honor that in this way.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We will stay in Austin, Texas for the next few years before returning home to North Carolina. We are so excited to make our new house a home together and continue to explore and enjoy this unique Southern town as partners in a new, married light!

Photographer: A.J. Dunlap Photography / Videography: Olivia Wilkes / Videography and Sound: Ana Caicedo Macia / Video Editing: Anna Norwood / Venue and Planner: Haw River Ballroom / Florist: Pine State Flowers / Wedding Cake: Brenda Moss / Caterer: Saxapahaw General Store / DJ: Jason Barnes of JMB Marketing / Bridal Salon and Hairpiece: Second Summer Bride / Gown Alterations: Kira Kouture / Bride’s Earrings: Judith Bright / Hair and Makeup: Tease and Blush / Bride’s Shoes: Toms / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: RenzRags / Menswear: Combatant Gentlemen / Groomsmen Ties: The Tie Bar / Invitations, Ceremony Programs, and Calligraphy: Linsey Gray Creative

A.J. Dunlap is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar A.J. Dunlap reply

    Oh, how I loved this wedding! Thank you so much for sharing their day and their story!!! xoxo~A.J.

  2. avatar Anna Norwood reply

    Check out this video feature of Molly and Aaron’s special day!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCbru_s6lj4

  3. avatar Laura reply

    What a beautiful wedding and sweet couple! Love the small town feel!

  4. avatar Ryan reply

    Could anyone provide more details on the bridesmaid dresses? My fiancée and I are very interested in several of these dresses but cannot find the specific dresses on Renz Rags

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