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Reading through Bonnie and Quentin’s interview, I kept thinking, “It was meant to be!” So many pieces of their love story and their sweet Virginia wedding came together in such a way that neither of them could have planned better–the fact that they met in the bar Bonnie’s dad had helped build years before, or that Bonnie’s dress is called “Dahlia” and she carried a gorgeous bouquet of the same bloom, for example. That’s not to say that everything was perfect along the way–no wedding ever is–but with such a firm foundation in place, Bonnie and Quentin were able to make the best of every moment (including an unexpected tornado warning in the middle of their reception!).

Thanks so much to Katie Nesbitt for sharing this lovely day with us!

Finding and working with Carly Reed Designs on the invitations and other paper elements was my favorite part of planning the wedding. After a few months of searching many invitation websites and stores, I was at a loss on what I wanted. There were certainly invitations I liked, but nothing that really felt like us. When I found Carly and saw that she also lived in Richmond, I knew I had to work with her! Going through the custom invitation design process was so much fun! Carly was extremely patient with me while we went through the process and allowed me to be as nit-picky as I wanted to be. I heard from many guests that they often have a “meh” attitude when they receive invitations, but they loved ours!

Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers were somewhat of a surprise– intentionally! Our florist is a farmer florist, so they couldn’t guarantee that they’d be able to produce or sustainably procure specific flowers. I had requested peonies or dahlias, and we were lucky to get gorgeous, large dahlias. I was so pleased with how all the flowers turned out. The selection and the colors fit our wedding perfectly.

Our families had collectively visited 32 venues all across Virginia before we found Riverside on the Potomac! We were still living in New York City when we first got engaged, so we were reliant on reports from our parents. When my parents found Riverside on the Potomac and sent me the pictures, we knew it was perfect.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We opted to do a first look and we are so glad we did. This allowed us time to do formal pictures with our wedding party and each other that otherwise would have been stolen from the cocktail hour (or not taken at all!). The best part about doing a first look was that it totally calmed both of our nerves. I think this may have made the ceremony even more special, since rather than me being an emotional basket case, we were able to be calm and focus on soaking in the words we were saying and the moments.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! The week before the wedding, I lost the earrings I was planning to wear. Luckily, one of my bridesmaids owned the same pair, so I just borrowed hers! My underwear was blue. I wore my mother’s veil as my something old, which was so special I really loved the way it made my otherwise-simple attire much more formal and bridal for the ceremony. Initially, I didn’t think I was going to use it since it had yellowed over the years, but after a little TLC with OxyClean and bleach, it ended up looking much better than expected. My shoes and dress were new.

On the day of the wedding, there was a potential for thunderstorms leading up to the ceremony time. The weather held out for the first look, pictures, ceremony, and cocktail hour, but right as we were lining up for the introduction at the reception, it began to pour. Since everything was inside from there on out, we thought we were in the clear! A few minutes after we sat down to eat, we began to hear the lovely noise phones make when there is a weather alert in the area. There were hushed whispers of a tornado warning, but no one was quite sure what to do. This is northern Virginia–we don’t typically get tornadoes! After a few minutes, I noticed my dad fumbling trying to turn the music off to make an announcement. I got up to help and ended up making the announcement that we needed to evacuate to the basement! How many brides have had to do that? Everyone made their way downstairs, drinks in hand. Luckily the “basement” was really renovated horse stalls with nice chairs and tables set up (we had even had our rehearsal dinner in the space!). The guests thought it was so fun and exciting (particularly since we were safely in a basement). It ended up being perfect for mingling with everyone, and we got some great pictures. While we would have preferred if this hadn’t happened, we think we made the best of it. All our guests said this would be a wedding they would never forget!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both attended Virginia Tech and met during our last year in Blacksburg, even though we lived next door to each other for a year prior to meeting. We met one night in September at the famous TOTS (Top of the Stairs) bar in Blacksburg. My dad helped build the bar while working there back in the ’70s. Mutual friends began talking that night, and we locked eyes. The next July, Quentin followed me to New York City.
Tell us all about the proposal! We both love New Orleans, and Quentin considers it a far more romantic place than New York. We were there during Jazz Fest, and on our last day, we took a long walk to brunch. Quentin took us on a scenic detour to a nearby park that he had previously scouted. He asked me to sit on one of those amazing, swooping, curvy New Orleans oak trees so he could take my picture, and then instead of whipping out a camera from his backpack, he went for the ring. He grabbed the wrong hand, because even after dating someone for five and a half years, that moment can make your knees weak! Of course, I said, “Yes!”
When did y’all get married? June 20, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 158
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my dress was an intensive process. After the ninth store, I knew I needed to find someone who carried the Blush by Hayley Paige dress I had been eyeing online for months. I was lucky enough to get in touch with the lovely ladies at Pure English Bridal, and while they didn’t carry the exact dress, they were more than willing to have the sample shipped to their store. After some failed attempts with other stores to get the dress, I knew they were truly going above and beyond. As soon as I saw the dress, I knew I was going to get it. I hadn’t tried on anything similar anywhere else, and I loved the simple design with the light Swiss dot fabric. It proved to be the perfect dress for a hot and humid June day in Virginia.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Unfortunately, neither of us even saw the wedding cake or dessert table at the wedding! With the tornado warning and evacuation, there was just too much going on. We ended up cutting the cake the next evening at my parents’ house before we departed for the honeymoon.

Photographer: Katie Nesbitt Photography / Planner: Just a Little Ditty / Venue: Riverside on the Potomac / Florist: LynnVale Studios / Caterer and Cake: Main Event Caterers / Band: Adrian Duke Project / Paper Products: Carly Reed Designs / Bride’s Gown: “Dahlia” by Blush by Hayley Paige / Bride’s Shoes and Earrings: J.Crew / Hair and Makeup: Creative Images / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Elsa” in Leaver’s Lace by J.Crew / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank / Invitation Calligraphy: Calligraphy by Katie / Escort Cards and Signage: Letterally Crafts

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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    Lisa and I always talk about how we knew we’d be friends even before she started working at Southern Weddings, and that we’d love to hang out and just gush over gorgeous weddings and epic love stories! Well, I feel that same way about Blakely, and I know Lisa would absolutely accompany me with sweet tea in hand to a front porch chat with her!

    Not only is Blakely my kind of gal, but her and Curtis’ wedding was also full of sweetly crafted details and meaningful decisions that made their day a perfect reflection of their joy! Based on the gorgeous photo from Natalie Franke of the twinkle lights and the completely packed checkerboard dance floor, I can’t help but imagine how fun their wedding must have been. Be sure to read their adorable interview below for even more cuteness, like this line from their vows: “I promise to have a crush on you always, and to flirt with you even when we are old and wrinkly.” Gah, I love it!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Curtis and I both grew up on the Severn River in Annapolis, Maryland, but we did not meet until he was a junior and I was a freshman at the College of Charleston. I thought he was devastatingly handsome and completely out of my league. For fall break, I was driving back to Charleston from Annapolis with a friend, and Curtis was flying, so he met up with us so that we could drive some of his stuff back, but I had no idea. As soon as I pulled up, I swore to my mom that I couldn’t get out of the car–Curtis Little was there and I was wearing my “Saturday jeans” (my frumpy jeans). My mom forced me out of the car anyway. Curtis offered to help me carry some of my luggage, and on top of my laundry basket that he picked up was one of my paintings. He held it up and exclaimed, “This is amazing! Did you paint this?” “Yes,” I replied, “but you’re actually holding it upside down.” Mortified at the whole situation, I got into the car and decided to avoid Curtis for the rest of my life. Curtis says it was the first time he really saw me for me, a painter in my Saturday jeans. He decided that the next time he saw me, he would ask me on a date. And for two months, whenever I saw Curtis on campus, I walked the other direction, hid in an alcove, or delved into conversation with the nearest stranger. Finally, on a cold and grey day in December, I was walking out of the library when Curtis came flying down the street on his bike. The way Curtis tells it is, “Among all the black and grey winter coats, there was my girl in a red flower coat and turquoise high tops.” Curtis slammed on the brakes, hopped off his bike, and ran toward me. There, he asked me out on a lunch date. I’ve adored him ever since, and that painting that first made Curtis notice me is hanging in our dining room, upside down!

    So darn cute!

    I kept telling dress shops that I wanted something that looked like a white oyster shell or whipped cream, with no sparkles. I ended up finding a dress that I thought was the one, but after putting it on at my first alteration appointment, I realized that I did not like it anymore. I thought I would just have to fake it and pretend, but my mom looked at me and said, “I know you don’t like that dress, and you are only getting married once, so let’s find YOUR dress.” She was only in Charleston for one more day, so we searched and searched. We ended up at Bridals by Jodi in North Charleston. There, they had one section where you could you mix and match tops with bridal skirts. I fell in love with this skirt right away–it was a huge mix of tulle with no rhyme or reason. Our amazing seamstress, Nayada, took the skirt, helped me design a really simple top, and built it all into one dream wedding gown.

    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose two readings for our ceremony. The first was 1 John 4:16-19 and the second was Matthew 19:4-6. We wanted our whole wedding to show how our relationship with God is first and foremost. Without God’s love for us or our relationships with God, we would never be able to love one another. We felt those two verses truly captured how we wanted to put Christ at the center of our life and wedding, but still showed joy and fun!

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I have always dreamed of having my wedding in our 100-year-old colonial-style home. We moved there while I was in elementary school, and it has weathered birthday parties, graduations, proms, and much more. On that back porch was where Curtis decided he loved me, and in our family room was where I decided that I loved him. It was perfect. I got ready in my parents’ room, where I could see guests arriving though the back window. We had the ceremony out back, overlooking the Severn River. Guests then moved to the front yard for lawn games, hor d’oeuvres, and cocktails. We rang the dinner bell that came with the house when it was first built, and guests then headed to the tent for dinner. Finally, we paraded to the backyard for dancing and dessert. The backyard had been totally transformed from ceremony site to dance floor, complete with twinkly lights. It was magical!

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had a John Daly as our signature cocktail, which is a combo of Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and lemonade. We called it “A Little Southern Charm,” because I figured we should play up our last name, Little. Our other drinks were served out of a rowboat. We also had a brass band play through dinner, and they led a parade from the dinner to the dancing in our backyard. The backyard was transformed with a checkered dance floor, twinkly lights, and lanterns hanging off the porch. These elements combined to give us the fun, laid-back atmosphere that defines what we adore about the South.

    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. For our wedding cake, we did lots of little cakes on different shades of turquoise cake stands. They were all round, but were many different sizes and texture of frosting. My brother said it was the best cake he’d ever had, and admitted to having four pieces the next day. Curtis’ favorite thing in the world is ice cream, so we rented an ice cream cart filled with cookie sandwiches, Choco Tacos, Reese’s Ice Cream Bars, and more. The guests loved this little surprise. It was perfect for a summer night.

    Be sure to watch Drawn to the Image‘s film of Blakely and Curtis’ big day–it’s so very sweet, you won’t want to miss it!

    Tell us all about the proposal! After Curtis graduated from CofC, he moved to DC. We started long distance and wrote to one another in a book. I expected to get engaged the next summer, and I wanted him to write about getting the ring, asking my dad, and on and on. Curtis had more ambitious plans to surprise me. I was studying abroad for my spring semester at an art school in Florence, Italy, so for my spring break, Curtis and I decided we would meet in Greece and visit Athens and Santorini. My family told us that it was unsafe for me to travel from Italy to Greece alone, so they were going to come along. When Curtis arrived in Greece, he made it very clear that we were going on a walk in the morning so that could could have some time alone, since we hadn’t seen one another in three months. That morning, we got breakfast and walked to the top of a cliff overlooking the most beautiful turquoise water I’d ever seen. I was raving about the water and the view, my art classes, and Europe itself, when I brought up the book we were supposed to be writing in. Curtis looked at me and said, “Blakely, I can’t write in the book about all those things because I’ve actually already done all those things.” I was extremely confused and thought he was joking until he pulled out the ring. He got down on one knee, told me I was the woman the Lord had made for him, and asked me to marry him. All I could do was scream with excitement!
    When did y’all get married? June 7, 2014
    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 wrote our own vows together about a week before the wedding so that we could practice and not sob through the whole thing. Curtis and I made our vows match in the beginning and ending phrases. In the middle, we made them personal to one another. One of my favorite lines that we both used was, “I promise to follow the Truth, and speak truth to you; to pray for you, and help you remain firm in your faith.” My favorite line that Curtis vowed to me was, “I promise to care for you and love you through color, through turquoise; I will laugh with you until it hurts and will always smile when I hear your sweet name.” Curtis’ favorite line that I said was, “I promise to live with you by the sea in a home overflowing with laughter and enthusiasm for life. I promise to have a crush on you always, and to flirt with you even when we are old and wrinkly.” I’m crying just rereading these!
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I am super lucky to have a singer/songwriter as my best friend. Becky Kinder (her song “Taken” is actually written about Curtis and I!) sang “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” during the ceremony, and it brought everyone to tears. I could truly feel the Lord’s presence. Curtis and I danced our first dance to “You and Me” by Penny and the Quarters. We chose it because it throws you back in time and is such a sweet, feel-good song. My dad and I danced to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra because when I was young, I told everyone that it would be the song my future husband and I would dance to. Since my dad knew I loved it so much, he would always dance with me if it came on. Quickly, it became our song. My brother and I are really close, and he is an amazing dancer, so we had our own dance to “You Make Me Feel So Young” by Frank Sinatra, which was one of my favorite parts of the night. Finally, in honor of Curtis’ late grandpa, we finished the night with “New York, New York.” Curtis’ family are huge Yankees fans because of his grandpa, and after the Yankees win, they play “New York, New York” as the fans leave the stadium. I loved being able to look at Curtis as we were belting the song and say “WE WON! We get to keep each other forever! We really won!”
    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The turquoise door! My mom is the most fun person you’ll ever meet, and one of her “things” is that she is always painting the color of our front door to match the season or event that we are holding at our home. It’s been red, yellow, coral, hot pink, and now turquoise! She and I picked the color to match the invitations, and I thought it looked perfect!
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Curtis and I moved into a sweet little apartment in downtown Charleston. We are so excited to just be together! Learning to cook dinner and eating ice cream if it fails, loving those around us well and welcoming them into our crazy home, and just praying and holding hands. Curtis has been working as a commercial real estate broker here for about a year, which basically means he knows all the cool new spots in the area. I will be continuing my career as an artist in both my paintings at Blakely Made and in floral design at Charleston Stems.

    Photographer: Natalie Franke / Videographer: Patrick McNamara / Venue: Private residence / Florist: Charleston Stems / Wedding Cake: Debbie Kupfer / Caterer: Ken’s Creative Kitchen / Rentals: Rental Works / Bridal Salon: Bridals by Jodi / Paper Products: Sara Metzger Designs / Bride’s Belt: BHLDN / Makeup Artist: Bare Minerals / Bride’s Shoes: Banana Republic / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Men’s Attire: Macy’s / Alterations and Gown Top: Nadya D Custom Design & Alterations / Ice Cream: Scoops2u

    Natalie Franke is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    20 Comments
    1. avatar Natalie reply

      Oh my goodness! It is such an honor to see my photographs on Southern Weddings today! Blakely and Curtis are two of the sweetest people you could ever imagine meeting… and I am so happy that you are sharing their love story!

    2. avatar Nicole reply

      Oh goodness, their vows almost made me cry at my desk!

    3. avatar Lisa reply

      Seriously, they could not be more adorable!! Love their story and how lovely and intentional their wedding was!

    4. avatar Stephanie reply

      Does anyone know where she got her mother of the bride’s dress? I love it!

      • avatar Blakely reply

        She got it at neiman marcus! It was a full length dress, which was beautiful too!

      • avatar Maghon reply

        Blakely, I have had your wedding pinned for months! I love every detail. Can you share where you got your canvas pennants? I love the white/natural ones and I want to find them for our wedding on May 22. I keep searching but haven’t had any luck! Thanks so much!

      • avatar Blakely reply

        Hi Maghon! Sorry I missed your comment. I actually made all the pendants. Sometimes you can find old DYI stuff on http://ruffledblog.com/recycle-your-wedding/

        Hope this helps!! Congrats on your wedding!

    5. avatar Alana Klein reply

      Beautiful story! It just made me so excited for me wedding, even though it’s 11 months away! Do you know where they purchased the flag with their initials? I am looking for something just like it!!

    6. avatar Sara reply

      I have to echo what Natalie said – it is an honor to have my invitations featured on Southern Weddings! It was one of the happiest moments of my life to be a part of their big day and celebrate my dearest friends.

      Alana, I designed the flag, but the mother of the groom had it made by Watermark, a company in Annapolis.

    7. avatar Laura reply

      I got the dress at Neiman Marcus. It was full length originally.

    8. avatar seaside maryland wedding. reply

      […] sky, and joy in the air, and I got to marry my dear Curtis! We were lucky enough to get featured on Southern Weddings Blog this week! There you will find all the details to our love story, and our wedding day + amazing […]

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      […] Kim + Andrew’s Wedding at the Oaks, & Kimmie + Andrew’s Engagement Session), Southern Weddings, & The Huffington Post (here + here)! Oh, and we even got an image on BuzzFeed last month! […]

    12. avatar Kristi reply

      I am curious about the invitations in this post. (blue with the compass at the top and water color map included) I love them and would be delighted to find them for a mountain wedding

    13. avatar Mallory reply

      where did she get her beautiful dress?

      • avatar Lisa reply

        Hi Mallory! Blakely’s skirt was from Bridals by Jodi in Charleston, and the top was custom designed by Nadya D Custom Design and Alterations in Mount Pleasant, SC :)

    14. avatar Mother daughter wedding photo ideas to capture on the big day – Wedding Party reply

      […] Natalie Franke via Southern Weddings […]

    15. avatar Susanna reply

      I love your style! And right now I’m really interested in your bridesmaids’ dresses. Where’d you get them?

    Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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