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Southern city weddings have my heart, and today’s lovely day is no exception. Samantha and Eric fell in love during college in Williamsburg, spent many years long-distance, moved to Arkansas together, and were finally married on the most beautiful summer day in Richmond. They brought their love for literature (Samantha is an English teacher!) into their wedding through readings, decor, and even their ceremony venue–a restored church that used to be a theater frequented by Edgar Allen Poe. Paired with a smattering of Southern delicacies, some lovingly handmade details, and a whole lot of joy, Samantha and Eric’s wedding strikes the perfect balance between classic, Southern, and fun!

Thank you so much to Freshly Wed (the same photographers who captured Eric’s proposal–don’t miss the story in Samantha’s interview!) for sharing this sweet day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I decided I wanted two dresses: one to keep the traditional, Southern charm, and one with lots of lace to dance in! I brought my mother, maid of honor, and sister (via Skype) to Bliss Bridal shop, where they specialize in consignment and sample sales. The third dress I tried on an Allure Couture ivory silk gown. Everyone cried and I felt like Eric would fall in love with me all over again in that dress. The client services at Bliss are amazing. For my reception dress, I knew I wanted lace, as it is so traditional and sweet. As I shopped for bridesmaids’ dresses, I fell in love with the Watters Coriander Little White Dress. I loved the simple style and lace overlay. After making a few alterations, it was perfect for our outdoor reception.

We wanted to give our guests a good look at the Old Dominion’s state capital. We kept with the historical theme and hosted our ceremony at Monumental Church, which had originally been a theater. The Historic Richmond Foundation revitalized the grounds and stays open for tours on a daily basis. The best seat in the house belonged to poet, Edgar Allan Poe. While working at Harris Williams & Co., Eric developed a special relationship with one of the senior professionals, Tiff Armstrong. Tiff and his wife, Kelly, were more than generous to offer their beautiful estate as our reception venue. Located in the West End, the Armstrongs’ multi-acre estate housed beautiful views of horses, rolling fields, and sunsets overlooking the James River. With the traditional Victorian-style home, we utilized the pool house, deck, and outdoor kitchen for part of our cocktail hour. We are beyond grateful for the Armstrongs’ generosity.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We edited our vows to include the phrase: “I promise…to encourage your own fulfillment as an individual through all the changes of our lives.” This was important to us, as we knew that if we encouraged the individual, we’d grow stronger as a couple and team.

My something borrowed and old were my 86-year-old grandmother’s pearl cross earrings and pearl necklace. My something blue was a heart I (terribly) sewed into my dress. Besides my dress and ceremony accessories, our something new was our traditional jumping broom. We purchased this specifically to celebrate the tradition African American symbol for tying the knot. Once you jump over it, you sweep away the past for a new beginning. Additionally, whoever jumps the highest has the upper hand in the marriage. Of course, we jumped together and at the same height!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had to embrace all the beautiful country scenery that Richmond, Virginia has to offer. We had a traditional church ceremony and couldn’t wait to enjoy all the loveliness of a Southeastern summer outside. The weather played in our favor and we had a gorgeous day. With a few tents up for shade, our guests were treated to a wonderful “backyard” reception. Our signature drink, the Tipsy Arnold Palmer, was a huge hit with our guests. It combined lemonade and sweet tea vodka. Our food was an explosion of good Southern barbecue. We had fried oysters, brisket, pork barbecue, sweet potato mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, cornbread, and all the fixin’s.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The classic novels and literature themed we used to decorate really helped make our wedding unique. The trivia escort cards allowed guests to converse with one another and helped bring together different and unique groups of people. We loved that we could make everyone feel welcome!

We had a traditional four-tiered wedding cake with chocolate ganache, vanilla-almond marble cake, and carrot cake in the two top tiers for my husband. We had our monogram on one tier, an edible ribbon on another tier, and then used a handmade bride and groom Westie couple for the cake toppers. The cake toppers looked just like miniature versions of our dog, Boo! In addition to the traditional wedding cake, we also offered sweet treats to eat and take home at our dessert bar. My aunt is a caterer and baker, and she made everything from spice cake balls, chocolate and coconut cake balls, traditional carrot cake, cheesecake brownies, red velvet cake, and pecan pie.

Don’t miss their highlights film from Lovell Productions!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at The College of William & Mary, where Eric played football and I was a cheerleader. We ran in the same circles, but we had never truly spent time together until our junior year. My roommate, Meghan, started talking about this guy everyone called OB, who turned out to be Eric (his last name is O’Brien, so everyone called him OB). One day, Meghan and I were having a study session at our apartment, when Eric showed up with some grapes and cheese for a snack. Unbeknownst to Eric, this was one of my favorite snacks (a close second to Goldfish crackers), so I shamelessly asked if I could have some. He smiled the warmest smile and politely shared. Fast forward through some AOL Instant Messenger conversations and Facebook poking (admit it, you did it too!), we started hanging out one-on-one. We may not have known it at the time, but our strong foundation of friendship at the beginning has made for a great, long-lasting relationship. Eric and I dated long distance pretty much upon graduating from W&M, so when I relocated back to Virginia to teach, an hour of distance seemed like nothing. I’m not the easiest person to get along with, so I knew God made Eric for me, and he assured me “vice versa.”
Tell us all about the proposal! It’s pretty typical to see people get engaged on major holidays, especially ones centered around family. One of my good friends got engaged on Thanksgiving Eve, and when I ran into the O’Brien kitchen on Thanksgiving morning and shared the news, a look of horror spread across everyone’s faces. I couldn’t figure out then what caused their confused looks, but I know now it was because my ring was just around the corner! Around the holiday season, Williamsburg gets all dolled up in its holiday finest for tourists, so Eric and I decided to invite my parents up to spend the day with us and tour Colonial Williamsburg. We brought our dog, Boo, with us and booked a hotel so that we could make a weekend out of it. I didn’t think anything of it—it’s a pretty typical event. To kill time while waiting for my parents to arrive, we took Boo on campus for a walk. The Crim Dell and the Crim Dell Bridge have some campus history behind them. If you walk across the bridge by yourself, you’re doomed to singledom forever. On the flip side, whomever you walk across the bridge with is meant to be your soulmate. Eric feigned the idea that Boo was coming loose from his harness, so we stopped…right at the bridge. The next thing I knew, Eric started talking about how much this place meant to us, how much I mean to him, and how he can’t picture his life without my laugh, smile, and heart in it. For someone who is not one for words, he sure did nail them. Then, he got down on one knee with a ring box. I was speechless! I guess he was down there for a while because I remember him getting up and asking me if my non-talking was actually me saying yes. I said, “Yes!” and jumped up and kissed him the hardest I’ve ever kissed him. We walked to the crest of the bridge, and then he told me he had hired photographers to capture the entire proposal! I was floored!
When did y’all get married? June 28, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Describe your wedding flowers. We tried to keep our flowers as bright and light as possible. Our centerpieces had lilies, baby’s breath, and daisies. My bouquet had peonies, baby’s breath, and lamb’s ear. Lamb’s ear was my husband’s deceased grandmother’s favorite plant. Since she passed away, we honored her in our wedding program and in the bouquets and boutonnières. To keep the focus on the yellow color of the bridesmaids’ dresses, we had them each carry a bouquet of lamb’s ears and baby’s breath.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Even when planning from far away, we had the opportunity to do some projects ourselves. With the help of family and friends, we made over 300 tissue poms and strung over 100 cranes. I made all the personalized escort and place cards to match our literary theme. With my background in print publications, I made all of our stationery and thank you cards, using Wedding Paper Divas and Vistaprint to print them.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? At 86-years old, we were thrill that my paternal grandmother could make it. Despite being born and raised in the North, she has the sassy, sharp-witted tongue of a true Southern mama. During the wedding process, she fell in love with this loveseat that a vintage prop company, Paisley & Jade, had in their inventory. Grandma made a donation to our wedding fund and we used her contribution to get the loveseat for our sweetheart table.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Remember why you’re getting married and just throw an awesome party to show your gratitude for those who have been there for you through all aspects of your relationship. The day flies by, so take time together and just look around!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We had an amazing two-week honeymoon in Greece, which was an amazing time that we got to spend together as husband and wife. Now, we’re so excited to finally be living together. We’re looking forward to buying our first home and finally giving Boo the yard he deserves!

Photographer: Freshly Wed / Videographer: Lovell Productions / Planner: Colleen Cook of CCS Events / Ceremony Venue: Monumental Church / Reception Venue: Private residence / Florist: GM Littleton Design / Cake Baker: Cakes by Graham / Caterer: Catering by Jill / Rentals: Party Perfect / Lighting: Leap Audio & Visual / DJ: Sean Mcnamee / Special Details: Paisley & Jade / Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas and Vistaprint / Bride’s Ceremony Gown: Allure Couture / Bride’s Reception Gown: Watters / Bridal Salon: Bliss Bridal Shop / Bride’s Ceremony Jewelry: Divine Jewel / Bride’s Veil: Candi Merle / Hair and Makeup: Avenue 42 Style Studio / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “D523” and “D538 in Daffodil Peau de Soie by Alfred Sung / Groom’s Attire: Black by Vera Wang / Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Alterations: Salt & Pepa Sewing Nook and Connie of Natural Steps Alterations / Ice Cream Truck: Mister Softee / Food Truck: Pizza Tonight / Getaway Car: Carol Woodson Richmond Trolley

lisa Written with love by Lisa
12 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    What a gorgeous veil! I love the photos of the bridal party encountering well wishers in the city, too! :)

  2. avatar Denée reply

    This wedding is simply stunning. I love the design and the story. The pictures truly bring the event to life.

  3. avatar Amanda Dukes reply

    Freshly Wed always does amazing work! This is yet another example of a beautiful wedding photographed brilliantly and beautifully by one truly talented duo!! You’ve done it again, Freshly Wed!

  4. avatar Katie reply

    Beautiful wedding and beautiful photography by Freshly Wed!!!!

  5. avatar Caitlin reply

    The black and white image of the two of them at the top of the stairs laughing is my absolute favorite (my wedding partner, Jennifer, photographed it) – a glimpse into their future… laughing together for the rest of time! Thank you so much for this feature!

  6. avatar Dana reply

    love this wedding! the literature touches were perfect!

  7. avatar Loverly reply

    Loving the colorful twists on a classic Southern wedding!

  8. avatar Samantha reply

    This is so fun to relive! Freshlywed and all our vendors were absolutely fabulous! The literary theme was hard to pull off, but thank goodness for Colleen Cook at CCS Events!

  9. avatar Tracy reply

    Freshly Wed girls are the best!

  10. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    You don’t often see bridesmaids in yellow, but they pulled it off and the color was even complimentary to the blue in the church. And, the bride’s veil, wow!

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We’re celebrating Kristin’s birthday today! Check out #KNWbirthday on social media to see the “recipe” for what makes her wonderful, and leave her some love!

While I’m an Alabama girl at heart, I’ve spent a good portion of my life in Florida. I would say I know some of the best hidden gems in the state, but I think Beth has a leg up on me–she and her sister write a super fun blog called Palm Beach Lately. While PB is a fabulous place to be, I’d have to say that Rosemary Beach takes the cake! It’s a quaint little beach town filled with the sweetest folks and the prettiest buildings (you can even drive your golf cart or ride your bike everywhere!). I can completly understand why Beth and Lawson fell in love with the town and decided to treat their guests to a wedding weekend filled with relaxing, riding bikes, and playing on the lawns.

Heavens y’all, the Town Hall even made for the most lovely backdrop for Paul Johnson to snap one of my favorite aisle shots! Thanks for sharing, Paul!

What a little doll!

I always envisioned going to New York to find my wedding dress, but when I went, I was torn between two styles. I went online to search for a dress that included what I liked about both dresses in one, and I found a Jim Hjelm dress that was exactly what I was looking for. I looked for the nearest shop that carried the dress and it ended up being the one!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I had visited Rosemary Beach, Florida for a wedding about nine years ago and always thought it was such a magical town for a destination wedding. We live in Palm Beach, but wanted a more intimate wedding. Many people were confused about why we were going to a beach town in Florida, when we already lived in one! When Lawson and I visited Rosemary Beach, he instantly loved the town too, and we knew it was exactly what we wanted for our wedding weekend. The town is quaint and beautiful, complete with intimate restaurants, pristine beaches, and amazing architecture. It was so great to see our guests relaxing, walking from their house rentals or hotels into town for dinner or cocktails, riding bikes, and playing on the lawns.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? No, we did not do a first look. Since I was a little girl, I always imagined walking down the aisle and seeing my groom for the first time. It is the most amazing feeling to see your future husband’s reaction…one of the most significant moments in your life. There is something so special about tradition.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? “These Hands” was read by the woman who set us up on a blind date.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I coordinated a wedding in NYC when I first started in the event business, and the bride walked down the aisle to Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me.” I remember thinking that when I got married, I wanted to walk down the aisle to that song. When we were leaving the church, we played “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. It seemed so fitting once we were pronounced husband and wife. Our first dance was to Ray LaMontagne’s “You are the Best Thing.” We both loved the song and what it stood for, so we knew that it had to be our first dance.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We gave vintage embroidered handkerchiefs to our mothers, grandmothers, and my sister with personal notes. The reception was in a tent on a lawn near the ocean, and the dance floor under the night sky. There was a custom corn hole game in the lawn at cocktail hour, along with a beer boat and koozies. And of course, my handsome southern gentleman.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Being creative with our budget. I love details, so picking what really was important and letting some of the other details go was hard sometimes.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our DJ. We love to dance and we danced the night away. Even a rain storm didn’t stop us! Everyone got under the tent and up on their chairs and kept dancing. We also loved our videographer. Everything went by so quickly, it was so hard to take it all in. We get to relive our wedding day every time we watch our video.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Etsy!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Looking back at the tent and seeing all our friends and family there to celebrate the next chapter in our lives as husband and wife.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something blue was my Gators garter, in honor of my time as a University of Florida Cheerleader, and my something borrowed was my Cartier bracelet from my brother, who owns Gregory James Jewelry.

I’m not a cake gal, but heavens that looks divine! I adore the Swiss dots and pretty peach combo!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. A family friend set me up on a blind date with Lawson, and there was immediate chemistry. We talked and talked and had a great lunch before he headed out of town. I thought he was so cute and sweet, and we had a lot in common. He called me as soon as he got back, and we have been inseparable since.
Tell us all about the proposal! In October 2012, at one of my favorite places, Soho Beach House in Miami, with both of our families there, he asked me to marry him. He could hardly get the question out before I blurted “yes!” It was amazing to share that special moment with our families.
When did y’all get married? November 16, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our own vows. I was hesitant to do so, but Lawson really wanted to and I am so glad we did. Your own vows are a personal expression of your love and commitment to each other. My favorite part of ours was, “In front of those we love, I choose you today and everyday for the rest of our lives.”
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Not to sweat the small stuff. It’s easy to get caught up in the details, but the most important part of the wedding is to celebrate each other.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We recently moved into our new home and are looking forward to our honeymoon at the end of the year.

Photographer: Paul Johnson Photography / Videographer: Films by Francesco / Planner: Beth Beattie Branding, PR and Events / Ceremony Venue: Town Hall, Rosemary Beach / Reception Venue: Eastern Lawn, Rosemary Beach / Florist: Events by Nouveau Flowers / Wedding Cake: Confections on the Coast / Caterer: Townsend Catering / DJ: DJ Wolf / Bride’s Gown: Jim Hjelm / Paper Products: Palm Beach Parties / Bride’s Jewelry: Gregory James Jewelry / Hair Stylist: Amanda Parisi / Makeup Artist: Jamie Gummere / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Men’s Attire: Bonobos

marissa Written with love by Marissa
11 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    I adore their first dance photo – the clouds coming in make it so dramatic!

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    That dress was made for her!!

  3. avatar Mary reply

    This is such an insanely gorgeous wedding!

  4. avatar Mikkel reply

    Beautiful! Love the bridal party portraits and how the cake was captured. LOVE the calligraphy on the menus too! It all looked so gorgeous and like a great party in a beautiful setting!

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  6. avatar Hilary reply

    I love her monogram design on her pillows & koozies, do you know which designer she used for those?

  7. avatar Molly reply

    Where did you get the koozies? I love the simple classic monogram.

  8. avatar Kate reply

    Love the PJs for the bridesmaids! Too cute – where did she get those?

  9. avatar Stevi reply

    Anyone know the style number of the wedding dress? I would love to get a better look at it. Thanks!

  10. avatar Erin Dunavant reply

    Who designed their logo? What Etsy site was used to personalize party favors?

    Thank you!

  11. avatar Kara reply

    I have been looking everywhere for this color of bridesmaid dresses! Yellow….but very pale yellow. Do you know the name of this color from Jcrew? Is it “champagne” or “parisian yellow”? It is hard to tell online!

    Thank you!

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Every time I’m flipping through V6 and get to Kate and Cesar’s wedding, it makes me smile. This darling couple put so much love and thoughtfulness into their big day, from the people they asked to participate in their ceremony, to the many DIY projects Kate and her family lovingly handcrafted. Each detail was meaningful to them–some reflected Cesar’s Nicaraguan heritage or Kate’s love for all things vintage, for example, but most of all, they showed their guests the utmost in Southern hospitality. We are so inspired by Kate and Cesar, and we hope you love seeing their beautiful wedding pictures by Blue Ribbon Vendor Gracie Blue Photography!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? I actually had my wedding dress for years without even knowing it. My mom got remarried a few years prior to my engagement. When we went dress shopping with her at a store that was going out of business, the shop owner invited us to have fun and try on anything. I tried on a lace wedding dress that had caught all of our attention. My mom thought it was just beyond perfect for me. Although I loved it, since I wasn’t engaged, I felt really uncomfortable buying a dress without having a fiancé first! Despite everyone’s encouragement to go for it, I said goodbye to the dress, since the time just wasn’t right. After we got engaged, that dress stuck in the back of my mind. Then Christmas came. At the end of opening presents, my mom told my sister and I we each had one last gift over at her house. When I got to her house, there it was…the dress. I was completely shocked!

We really wanted our wedding to be filled with love and just plain fun. I wanted to impart a sense of homespun nostalgia with carefully crafted details and personal touches. My grandfather was a huge part of my life. He had grown up on a farm and instilled an affection for the pure beauty of pastoral environs in me. I knew I wanted to have a wedding that honored that love of rustic settings. I melded that with colors and elements that simply seemed happy and beautiful.

What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? It was such an emotional day! There are really so many wonderful moments to choose from, but our first look definitely stands out. Cesar and I honestly couldn’t wait to see one another. Gracie, our amazing photographer, suggested we write each other short notes to exchange the moment before we turned around to see each other for the first time. Such a sweet idea! Cesar’s note to me was witty with references he knew only I would fully appreciate–it made me smile and melted my heart. Cesar’s reaction seeing me was everything I could have ever hoped for–emotional and overflowing with pure love and sincerity. I wish I could relive it again and again.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. My grandmother walking me down the aisle was one of my most special moments. My grandparents were an integral part of my upbringing and I’m honestly at a loss for words to describe how much these two incredible individuals impacted my life. My grandfather battled Parkinson’s for many years and passed away in 2005. I know he would have loved to walk me down the aisle. When my mom remarried after my grandfather passed, I suggested she carry a locket around her bouquet with Grampa’s picture so that he could “walk her down the aisle.” When my time came, I carried that same locket on my bouquet, so that Grampa was “officially” going down the aisle too. Locket or no locket, he would always be there in spirit. I also wanted to have my dad included in our ceremony, so he read a sweet poem titled “On Your Wedding Day” that I had come across. Cesar’s youngest sister, Silvia (who traveled from Amsterdam to join us) read 1 Corinthians 13 in both Spanish and English. We joined two cultures and diverse families, so it was important to us to reflect that in our ceremony by having Spanish incorporated.

As someone with an artistic background (and limited budget), we did some big-time DIY. I wanted to feel invested in every detail. I designed our escort cards and we created the large escort card backdrop with yellow gingham fabric as the perfect compliment. My mom and I acquired our own linens–light aqua runners with lace runner overlays. Butter yellow napkins encircled by light green paper vine napkin rings that my mom made finished the place settings. She hand stitched each table number on fabric featuring tiny yellow rosebuds in embroidery hoops. She also sewed lots of fabric bunting, using a combination of new and vintage fabrics I selected. In addition, circle paper garlands were created and then combined with colorful paper poms and white eyelet paper lanterns for added whimsy. My baby of all the projects had to be the very large chalkboard art that I designed and executed. I wanted it to make a sweet statement, both in its words and aesthetic.

I have had a love affair with flowers ever since I was tiny. Through the wedding planning, I fell head over heels for coral charm peonies, ranunculus, and full, ruffly garden roses (Campenella and Juliet garden roses, in particular). I adored our yellow and peach ranunculus to no end. I also love sweet pea, swirling veronica, and the soft silvery hues of dusty miller. Yellow tulips, soft peach and vibrant pink hypericum berries, Tanacetum, pretty white and apricot stock, and spray roses added to the mix of lovelies.

To send off our guests, Cesar’s mom brought handmade pottery favors crafted by Nicaraguan artisans to house votive candles. It was wonderful having something so personal and reflective of his heritage as a parting gift. They all were acquired in Nicaragua by Cesar’s mom from local markets.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We actually had five wedding cakes! Our “official” wedding cake was two tiers of deliciously moist cake with the yummiest white chocolate raspberry filling between the layers. It had white buttercream frosting in a rustic whipped style. Flanking the center two-tiered cake to either side were two beautiful single-tiered cakes with the dreamiest ruffled buttercream frosting on vintage ruffled Fenton milk glass cake stands. One of the cakes featured the yellow ruffled frosting, and inside was a delectable yellow lemon cake with fresh lemon curd and blueberries between layers. Yum! Next was a light peachy-pink frosted cake, done in a different ruffled style, made of moist chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling. This was Cesar’s flavor request and his favorite. We joked that it was his groom’s cake–the girliest groom’s cake ever, since I got the lovely look I wanted and he got the flavor he wanted! Finally, we had two small white buttercream vegan cakes for our vegan guests–one with white cake, and one with chocolate. You would never in a million years know they were vegan with how great they tasted! These were perched upon the most beautiful L.E. Smith yellow hobnail cake stands.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It all began one evening in August 2001 in Miami, when we first met over a card game with friends and were paired up as a team. Who would have thought that my partner in cards that night would end up being my partner in life? We instantly felt a connection and chemistry. A friendship developed, and then I ended up leaving Miami a few short months later. Our relationship actually started as a long distance one, filled with countless phone calls, eagerly awaited plane trips, and lots of love. It’s funny that both Cesar and I lived in Savannah at the same time (and the restaurant Cesar worked at was my absolute favorite in Savannah), but we didn’t actually meet until a few months later in Miami.
Tell us all about the proposal! After years of long distance, Cesar made the move to Georgia to be with me and we’ve been inseparable ever since. He popped the question on the banks of the Chattahoochee River. He totally caught me off-guard, which made it that much better. For me, everything leading up to his proposal had been simply a wonderfully fun day, full of happiness and our favorite things. Then came the big moment and the ring. I cried an ocean of ecstatic tears. It was the most incredible and surreal feeling and I loved every second of it.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Beautiful, emotional, unforgettable
How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 70
Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? Yes. Cesar concocted the recipe for our “Peachy Pinguino” signature cocktail, which was a HUGE hit! It gave a nod to both our backgrounds, since the rum was from Nicaragua (where he’s from) and the peach schnapps, of course, represented the Peach State! We played music that mixed in tunes that had that retro vibe (classics from the 30’s, 40’s, & 50’s plus indie songs with a throwback sound), along with other favorites everyone loves. It was all next to a small lake outside the reception space. The great outdoors, music and mingling–an ideal combo!
What kind of food did you serve? We had an incredible buffet and received loads of compliments on how delicious everything was! Being mindful and respectful of guests’ dietary restrictions was important to us. Our caterer successfully balanced our love of cuisine with the needs of our guests, and hit it out of the park in the process! There was never ANY sacrifice on taste. Nuts and cheese were offered on the side for some dishes so that guests could avoid them if they needed to. Our buffet included fresh strawberry spinach salad tossed with raspberry vinaigrette and topped with sweet and spicy pecans, dried cranberries and crumbled Maytag blue cheese, vegan fried green tomatoes topped with vegan roasted red bell pepper sauce and fresh herbs (we advised the vegan guests that the dish was totally vegan, but other guests thought they were just super scrumptious fried green tomatoes!), baked Red Snapper courtbouillon with tomatoes and peppers over a grilled vegetable medley, Cajun-seasoned Gulf shrimp over monterey jack cheese grits (the BEST shrimp and grits I’ve ever had!), beef short ribs with Coca-Cola demi-glace (another nod to where we live, the world’s Coke capital) accompanied by rosemary roasted potatoes. This was a HUGE hit!
Tell us a bit about your first dance. Our first dance was to The Beatles’ “In My Life”–Cesar picked it; he really loves the song and it meant a lot to him to have it played at our wedding. It seemed fitting since it tells the story of one’s journey through life, and we’ve been together a long time, so we’ve had quite a journey. The lyric “In my life, I love you more” just sums it up perfectly. I remember swaying to the music with him and us both exclaiming quietly, “We did it!”
What were some of the highlights of the reception? The only thing I knew for sure (prior to becoming engaged) that HAD to be a part of my wedding was an old Johnny Mercer song, “Too Marvelous for Words,” my favorite version being sung by the jazz great Joe Williams (born in GA!). It was a song I knew must be played as a tribute to my grandfather. I asked my Uncle Dan to dance a special dance with me after the parent dances in Grampa’s honor. I think we were both a little nervous about doing it because we were concerned about how emotional it would be. As we were about to go on to the dance floor, he whispered “Let’s start from opposite sides of the dance floor, come towards each other, and I’ll twirl you around a few times.” And we just went for it! What I thought would be a struggle to get through with teary eyes actually turned out to be an upbeat, fun dance with my uncle, and then we asked everyone to come to the dance floor to join in. I knew that song would be an unforgettable moment, but I never thought it would be so happy. Knowing Grampa, a jokester, it was actually all the more fitting. “Too Marvelous for Words”–indeed he was.
Did you try anything new or untraditional? Dancing salsa was pretty new for most of my family, but with all the fun Cesar’s family was having, you couldn’t help but want to join in!
Tell us about your grand exit. Everyone lined up the hill near the reception area with extra-long sparklers for a super sparkly exit! I know more and more couples are doing that, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. It was so much fun and felt magically surreal. Remembering to take in as many faces as I could through the beautiful glows and sparks, we excitedly made our way up the hill. With guests hooping and hollering, and bright flares of the sparklers against the pitch-black night, it was definitely a grand exit to an evening we’ll never forget!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We believe the future holds great things. I joined Cesar as his business partner after we married, and together, we’re enjoying collaborating on films. Getting to celebrate in others’ happiest moments through filming weddings and joyous events has become so rewarding. I’m also hoping to pursue event styling for intimate gatherings. We recently got a puppy from a rescue shelter, so our furry friend, Charlie, has been a rather amusing companion and fun addition to the family. We’re hoping to further add to the family with little ones of our own and are excited for the day that happens.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Set aside date nights that don’t involve wedding planning discussions. Enjoy the time being engaged. Sometimes it’s hard with all the planning that goes on, not to mention curve balls life can throw you. I admit, I struggled with that at times, and if you are struggling with it too, you’re not alone; just take a step back and think about what truly matters. Know it will all be worth it on that beautiful day you tie the knot. Above all, trust your gut. If something seems like it’s not quite right for you, then it probably isn’t. There are so many decisions to make while planning, a lot of which can be in unfamiliar territory. Guidance from family, friends, and wedding professionals is very valuable. Just make sure it falls in line with what feels right for you and your fiancé and don’t second-guess yourself too much. Lastly, savor every wonderful minute of your wedding day to the fullest! Lots of it really does go by in a blur so try to take in everything you can with mental snapshots throughout the day to remember those incredible feelings you experience. You’ll cherish those memories forever.

Photography: Gracie Blue Photography / Venue: The Inn at Serenbe / Officiant: Dr. Rusty Edwards / Catering and Bar Service: Endive / Coordinator: carolynA Events / Floral design: Holly Bryan Floral and Botanical Design / Paper Goods and Styling: Bride, Kate Incer / Bride’s Dress: Casablanca / Alterations: Angela Vazquez / Reception Dress: Lodekka / Bride’s Hair Accessories: Twigs and Honey / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bride’s Ceremony Necklace: Nikki Haley Designs / Bride’s Clutch: Mrs. Murgatroyd’s Collection / Bridesmaid Dress: Lauren by Ralph Lauren / Hair Stylist: Keka Heron / Groom’s Suit: Jos. A. Bank / Groom’s Tie: Geoffrey Beene / Cakes: Blooming Flour Bakery / DJ: Matt Callahan of Events to Remember / Paper Poms: Pom Love / Crinkle Fans and Rosettes: BHLDN / Milk Glass Cake Stands: Vintage Fenton / Yellow Cake Stand: Vintage L. E. Smith

Gracie Blue is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
9 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    From her pink bow heels to her sweet ruffled reception dress, I love so many details of this wedding! But their lovely portraits by Gracie Blue have to be my favorite part :)

  2. avatar Dana reply

    love the peaches and pink and yellow flowers!

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