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Georgia bride Kimberly shares her peach-filled wedding at Vinewood Plantation!

Between meeting her husband while standing in line for brunch (it was love at first sight!) to her love of all things peachy, I’m fairly confident that Kimberly and I would be fast friends. Aside from our similarities, her words about exchanging vows with her husband transported me right back to my own wedding day feelings. “We looked into each other’s eyes and for a moment,” she says, “it felt like nobody else was there. At the same time, it was so meaningful to declare how we would love each other in front of our family and friends!”

Kimberly admitted to not having looked at any wedding inspiration until after getting engaged (when she promptly ordered every back issue of Southern Weddings!), and it’s so clear that every detail and decision she and Peter made came from a place of love and intention… which makes my SW-mission-filled heart beam with joy.

Kimberly, let us know if you have any extra peach wedding cake or are willing to share that bourbon peach sweet tea punch recipe :) Thank you to Rustic White for sharing this sweet day!

I surprisingly found my dress the one time I went dress shopping alone! I visited almost every bridal boutique in the DC area over the summer, and I had brought someone with me for every one. Every time, there was a dress that someone else thought was the one, but I never felt like it was quite right. When I tried on my Modern Trousseau dress, I knew I had found the one! It was so special to get in my dress for the first time on my wedding day when no one but me had ever seen it.!

I wanted to get married in my Georgia hometown because I think there is something so meaningful about returning to your home to begin your journey into your new life as a married couple. It reminds you of your roots and all of the lessons you’ve learned that you carry into your marriage. Since Peter and I are not from the same place, we wanted to find a venue that reflected both of our pasts. Vinewood was such a beautiful setting for a wedding and Peter grew up on a farm in Wisconsin, so having a barn wedding in my hometown felt like the best way to honor both of our childhoods.

Did you decide to do a first look? Yes, we did do a first look and I’m so glad we did! Peter and I weren’t sure about it at first because we thought it was a little too non-traditional, but we decided on a first look because it would give us more time with each other and with our family and friends – and because I was really afraid I would cry if I saw Peter for the first time during the ceremony!

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? One of my favorite details was the cross we had a cross built for our ceremony altar. Peter and I originally wanted to have our wedding in the church, but we were so amazed by the beauty of Vinewood that we decided to create a church atmosphere outside instead. Now the cross is in our home as a reminder of our wedding and God’s presence in our marriage.

My other favorite detail is that my grandmama let me wear the promise ring my granddaddy gave her when they were teenagers. It’s a very dainty golden ring with a little diamond in it – my granddaddy borrowed the money to buy it from the cook at the boys’ school he attended because he knew my grandmama was the girl for him. My grandparents’ marriage is the model I aspire to in my own marriage with Peter and I was so thankful to have that first promise they made to each other with me during the ceremony.

What was Southern about your wedding? Since Peter’s family is from Wisconsin, I wanted to introduce them to the South and show them some good Southern hospitality. We did this in so many ways throughout the day, from inviting participation from our congregation of guests during the ceremony, to sitting family style at the reception so we could all feel like we were at a big family dinner together, to spending quality time with each of our guests.

The most fun Southern thing about our wedding was our Georgia peach theme — it was so fun coming up with all of the little ways we could incorporate it throughout the day! During our cocktail hour, we served a bourbon and peach sweet tea punch created by our wedding planner, who turned out to be an expert mixologist. We used fresh peaches in our decor. Since Peter and I are both lawyers, we had a set of scales of justice on display that was filled with flowers and peaches. During the reception, we served a menu of Southern food that my mama and grandmama created, including brandied peaches with goat cheese. And for dessert, we even had a peach wedding cake!

What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? Believe it or not, before getting engaged I hadn’t looked at any wedding inspiration, so right after Peter proposed, I ordered every issue of Southern Weddings Magazine and dove right into planning! We read all of the magazines together and it was so fun to start a project with my now husband.

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? We had a peach wedding cake with cream cheese icing! We had a lot of guests from out of state, so the peach theme was really fun for them. And I’m happy to say that the cake was a huge hit – we were lucky the top wasn’t eaten, too!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Peter and I met a little over two years ago while waiting in line for a popular brunch spot in Washington, DC and have been inseparable ever since – it was love at first sight!
Tell us all about the proposal! Peter and I were visiting my family’s lake house in Alabama for Memorial Day weekend. The lake house was a really special place to my family and me and I had told Peter lots of stories from my childhood there, so he knew how much being there meant to me. Shortly before the trip, my father sold the house to move to the beach in Florida since he wanted to retire where he grew up. So Memorial Day weekend was going to be our last weekend together at the lake house. On the last day of the trip, Peter woke me up early in the morning before anyone else was awake and asked me if I’d like to go on a walk around the lake. We walked down to the water and sat down next to each other in a little clearing by the edge of the lake. Peter held my hands, looked into my eyes, and told me that he knew how special the lake was to me and that he wanted to give me one final really good memory before I left for the last time. Then he said “Marry me, Miss Huey” and pulled out the most beautiful engagement ring I had ever seen. I was so happy I felt like I was in a dream and I asked him, “Is this really happening?” And then of course I said yes! Peter couldn’t have given me a better memory than saying yes to spending the rest of my life with my love and best friend!
When did y’all get married? May 19, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 80
What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Did you write your own vows? Have any special readings, traditions, or participants? Tell us! We had nine members of the congregation stand and give the Prayers of the People asking for blessings in our marriage and our future together. Our three siblings gave the readings and were members of the wedding party. Having so many family members and friends participate in the ceremony was such a strong testament to the work God has done in our lives building a community of support for us as we embark on the journey of marriage! Peter and I wanted very traditional wedding vows, so we took the language from an old Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. We loved that we were making the same vows to each other as our ancestors had done in the past.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. One of our favorite things to do together is seeing live music. We fell in love going to concerts together, so during the reception we played songs from many of the artists we had seen. We had an amazing DJ who did such a good job of incorporating all of the different types of music we like into the reception. People were dancing all night! We decided to do our first dance to “When You Say Nothing At All” by Alison Krauss because it was a song we both loved before we knew each other and perfectly said how we felt about each other.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Since we live in Washington, DC, we had to plan the wedding from a distance, which could be tricky at times. Luckily my sister, who was also my maid of honor, lives near Vinewood Plantation and helped with a lot of details. We also had an amazing wedding planner who did a ton of work for us and was really helpful! She helped us find all of our vendors and could go meet with them so we didn’t have to make as many trips!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? There was a couple getting married at the same venue the next day! We shared some of our rental items, like fans and chandeliers, and it really saved us a lot! Adding one more day to a rental often costs very little.
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? The most memorable moment was when Peter and I exchanged our vows. We looked into each other’s eyes and for a moment, it felt like nobody else was there. At the same time, it was so meaningful to declare how we would love each other in front of our family and friends!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There are so many little details that go into planning a wedding, and as you get closer to the date, it can feel like a lot of work, especially if you have a full-time job. Fortunately, my mother and my wedding planner were so helpful and I was able to rely on them to take care of all the things I couldn’t do myself. Remember that your loved ones want to make the day amazing too, and they’re always happy to help!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? Peter’s and my wedding was the very best day of our lives and we are so happy to share it with y’all!

Photographer: Rustic White Photography | Planner: Southern Flair Events | Venue: Vinewood Plantation | Florist: The Funky Shack | Wedding Cake: Cutie Pies and Cakery | Caterer: Tulla White Cuisine and Catering | Rentals: Crush Event Rentals | DJ: Brian Sires via Amp’d Entertainment | Special Details: Southern Vintage | Paper Products: Minted | Bride’s Gown: “Katie” by Modern Trousseau | Hair and Makeup: Jaime Marsau Beauty | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” by Jenny Yoo | Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

kristin Written with love by Kristin

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Bride Louise shares how she and her groom Christopher planned their Boca Bay Pass Club wedding, together!

Please meet today’s couple, Louise and Christopher! That’s right, I said couple. While we traditionally spend a bit more time focused on the bride, today we are following Louise and Christopher’s lead and focusing on the two of them together. I love how our newlyweds’ “same team” approach not only influences how they do life together in marriage, but how they tackled wedding planning, too. “Our advice would be to plan it as a couple!” Louise says. “If both the bride and groom can work together to plan their vision, then the actual wedding day feels like all of your mutual hard work paid off.” Keep reading for a few of the sweet ways they stay unified while preparing for their big day!

Big SW hugs to Hunter Ryan for sharing this sweet day!

My mom, sister, and best friend came to New York City to help me with my wedding dress shopping. Our first appointment was at Kleinfeld’s and by the third dress I tried on, I knew it was “the one.” I felt obligated to visit all the other wedding dress stores that weekend, but after Kleinfeld’s we all went to Eataly’s rooftop and ordered champagne to celebrate because I knew I found the perfect dress!

I think one of the most important goals for our wedding was to feel like we truly engaged and celebrated with our guests. By having a first look, it allowed us to have more time to see our guests and to show them how grateful we were that they traveled so far to support us. Seeing each other before the ceremony also allowed us to relax and have more fun throughout the rest of the day!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. My grandmother plays the organ for her church and my mother was also very involved with her church and choir growing up, so I relied on both of their help to choose the ceremony music. In particular, my grandmother requested that we play “Chanson de Matin” by Sir Edward Elgar during the prelude and my mother suggested we have a live trumpeter play “Trumpet Voluntary” by Jeremiah Clarke during the bridal procession. Overall, we wanted the music for our ceremony and reception to feel upbeat and joyful, including our first dance song “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” by James Taylor!

Before our first look and the ceremony, Chris and I individually read letters that we wrote to one another. I’ve always been a big fan of writing letters and I think this method of sharing our vows privately felt very special to us. During the ceremony, it was meaningful to hear Chris’s favorite Bible verse read out loud (Proverbs 3:5-6). Overall, I think my favorite part of the whole ceremony was holding Chris’s hands and looking him in the eyes when we said our wedding vows. I’ll never forget how genuinely happy I felt at that moment.

What was Southern about your wedding? Chris and I both went to Southern schools (Vanderbilt and Elon) and although we now live in the North, we wanted to incorporate a lot of Southern charm at our wedding! For example, we included a family legacy table with portraits of our parents and grandparents. We also hung a bottle of bourbon with our wedding date from the Bayly’s house porch (we improvised from “burying the bourbon”) to prevent any rain. (And it worked!) Lastly, Chris and I went to college where it is tradition to paint a cooler and fill it with beer for your date before a themed date weekend. Chris and I designed each other’s coolers to reflect our personalities and used an amazing painter from Etsy (Kelsey Schild) who crafted the coolers for us. During our reception, we placed them next to our bar lounges for anyone who wanted to grab a casual beer and they were a big hit!

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? Hmmm… that’s a tough one. I love details at weddings because I feel like that’s when you truly get a sense of the couple’s personality. I wanted our guests to walk away from our wedding weekend saying something like, “that wedding totally felt like Lou and Chris.” So I would say one of my favorite details was our monogrammed crest that was sprinkled throughout our wedding (i.e. our ceremony programs, welcome bags, menus, bar lounges, etc). Our crest had unique little personal symbols including running shoes (for me), golf clubs (for Chris), and an apple (to represent NYC). I also loved how we decorated our bridal party trolley with fun wedding decor. Lastly, my favorite detail was our “Same Team” sign that was placed on the back of our chairs during the reception.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Chris’s parents live in Boca Grande, Florida and introduced us to the Boca Grande Lighthouse Methodist Church and the Boca Bay Pass Club many years ago. Both the ceremony and reception venues have always felt very intimate and special to us. The island of Boca Grande has a big place in our hearts because it’s where we often visit Chris’s family and it feels like our secret vacation spot. By having our wedding at these two venues, we felt like our friends and families could get a better sense of how meaningful this place is to us.

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? I don’t want to be one of those brides who says “EVERYTHING!” but from start to finish, I truly felt like it was the most magical, unforgettable experience of my life. Some of the most memorable moments include: seeing Chris for the first time on Banyan Street, walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing Chris smiling and waiting for me, celebrating and dancing with our bridal party during the trolley ride to the reception, taking pictures on the beach with our amazing photographers, and not leaving the dance floor the entire night with all of our best friends and family.

And don’t miss Louise + Chris’s highlights film by Current Films!

The Wedding of || CHRIS + LOUISE || The Boca Bay Pass Club from Current Films on Vimeo.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Our love story is that we have always been – and will always be – on each other’s “same team.”
Tell us all about the proposal! Chris proposed when we were in St. Lucia for vacation before the Christmas holiday. On the morning Chris proposed, we were laying out and relaxing on a beach that was located in a remote, secluded cove area. Chris went snorkeling and when he came out of the water, I was lounging on a beach chair at the time. Chris knelt down and told me to close my eyes because he said he had found a pretty shell for me. When I opened my eyes, in place of a shell, Chris handed me a beautiful ring instead. There was a photographer in the background and a waiter ready with champagne on the beach – the whole experience was magical and unforgettable.
When did y’all get married? May 6, 2017!
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? about 160 guests total
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? Why did you choose it? At every wedding we attend, Chris and I always make it a mission to take a break from the dance floor and taste the wedding cake. We both have a not-so-secret sweet tooth, so having a wedding cake was a must for us! One of our favorite drinks at Boca Grande is called the “hummer” (basically an adult milkshake) from the Pink Elephant restaurant in town. So we paired our wedding cake with mini “hummers” that were passed around the dance floor. We can’t forget to mention our favorite dessert, which was Mrs. Bayly’s famous chocolate chip cookies that were handed to our guests at the end of the evening.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? We were engaged for about a year and a half, so I felt like I really had time to plan out everything without feeling rushed. Chris and I wanted our wedding to feel like a weekend-long vacation (the advantage of having it in Florida!) so we planned activities starting with our Thursday night “Burgers and Beers” at the Bayly’s house and ended with a relaxed Sunday brunch. My favorite thing about wedding planning was going through the process with Chris. Oftentimes the bride and her family take charge of the majority of planning, but we wanted our wedding to reflect both of us (and both of our families). Therefore, we really shared the responsibilities and assigned each other different wedding tasks – Chris took care of the big vendors and I focused on the flowers and decor. Also, I could not have planned anything without my incredible wedding planners. Nicole Kaney Productions (NKP) Team helped me through every step of the way and I truly don’t think I could have done it without them!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? I think the hardest part was that we were basically planning a destination wedding. We live in New York City and Boca Grande is a relatively quaint island that is over an hour or two away from the closest airport in Florida. Initially, the start to our wedding planning felt intimidating because we didn’t really have any “word of mouth” vendor recommendations. We relied a lot on our wedding planners from Nicole Kaney Productions (NKP) to help us find vendors who really captured our personalities. The NKP Team was an incredible sense of support for us and really connected us to some of the most amazing vendors we could have ever asked for!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Before Chris and I even started to plan our wedding, we created a detailed Excel spreadsheet that had our estimated budget (including different tiers!) on every projected vendor and decor cost. Agreeing on this budget beforehand was really important for us because it allowed us to stay within a cost range for every vendor, or else it’s super easy to get carried away. We selected only a few big things to rent such as the tablecloths, chairs, and chargers, and then we utilized the Pass Club for everything else (tableware, glasses, food, drinks, etc.) to cut costs. It’s also easy to spend a lot of money on flower arrangements so we stuck to a less expensive flower (thank goodness hydrangeas are my favorite!) and used a lot of greenery to reduce costs. We also alternated between high floral arrangements and low floral arrangements on the tables. Lastly, I’m a huge fan of stringed lights and candles which are not expensive to rent. So rather than spending more money on decorations, we used a lot of hanging lights in the tent and candles everywhere to make it feel more intimate and romantic.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Our advice would be to plan it as a couple! I think it’s so easy to get caught up in the minor details and the stress of pleasing two families and all of your guests, but at the end of the day planning a wedding is all about what makes you both happy. If both the bride and groom can work together to plan their vision, then the actual wedding day feels like all of your mutual hard work paid off. Also, give yourself some time to be an engaged couple without always worrying about the wedding logistics. Chris and I would joke that we had “no wedding Wednesdays” where we would have dinner and talk about everything but the wedding to give ourselves a break. Lastly, I recommend choosing vendors who are fun, supportive, and take time to get to know you as a couple. All of our vendors were absolutely incredible and helped us feel like we could relax and have a blast on our wedding day!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? We had a smaller rehearsal dinner (just our bridal party and immediate family) at the Boca Grande Club and then hosted a welcome party where we invited all of our guests for cocktails and food. Having a welcome party allowed us to mingle with all of our guests in a more relaxed setting which took off some of the pressure to see everyone on the actual day of our wedding. It also created a more fun kick-off weekend vibe for all of our guests to get excited for the next day!

Photographer: Hunter Ryan Photo | Videographer: Current Films | Planner: NK Productions | Ceremony Venue: Boca Grande Lighthouse Church | Reception Venue and Caterer: Boca Bay Pass Club | Florist: Becca Creighton of Flowers by Fudgie | Wedding Cake: Cakes by Ron | Rentals: Linens By The Sea and MMD Events | Lighting: U.S. Tent Rental | Band: The Royals via East Coast Entertainment | Special Details: Simply Jessica Marie | Paper Products: A+P Designs | Save the Date Design: LB McKelvy Designs | Save the Date Printing: 5 Thirteen Designs | Bride’s Gown: Pnina Tornai | Bride’s Veil and Bridal Salon: Kleinfeld Bridal | Bride’s Earrings: J. Crew | Hair and Makeup: James Griffith Salon | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: The Dessy Group from Bella Bridesmaids | Men’s Attire: Ludlow Suit by J. Crew | Rehearsal Dinner and Welcome Party Venue: Boca Grande Club | Bridal Brunch and Suite: Gasparilla Inn and Club | Transportation: SRQ Trolley | Decorated Coolers: Lavish Lettering

marissa Written with love by Marissa

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Friends, today is my fifth wedding anniversary! You may have caught my ongoing Instagram stories party, where I’ve been sharing some of my favorite photos from different parts of our celebration (if not, you can always see the full feature here and here!). I love celebrating an anniversary because not only does it give me an excuse to pull out my wedding album, watch our wedding film, and go out to dinner with my best friend (yum!), it’s an opportunity to stop and reflect.

An anniversary is the perfect time to cheer yourselves on (something I think is so important!), to remind yourselves of everything you love about the person you married, and to give thanks for all the ways your life is better for having your partner in it.

Like a new year, an anniversary is also a time to consider ways you might be able to improve. John and I are far from perfect, but we have done a few things right in our first five years of marriage. Today I wanted to share five, in the hopes that they might be an encouragement to you!

1. We draw strength from something outside of ourselves. One of the most beautiful things about marriage is that it’s a place where your ugly can show, and you’ll be loved, unconditionally, despite it. That being said, I know I’d be a much more selfish, unforgiving, ungracious, record-keeping wife without a Father who is continually calling me to die to myself and love others as I’ve been loved. We would not have the marriage we do without our faith.

2. We’re willing to change. When I think of the couples I know who have gotten divorced, it’s very rarely because of something dramatic and awful. Usually, the answer is something along the lines of “we drifted apart” or “he’s not the same person I married.” This seems kind of strange to me, because wouldn’t you expect someone to change over time?! Stanley Hauerwas, quoted in Tim Keller’s book The Meaning of Marriage, says it well: “We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change. For marriage, being [the enormous thing that it is] means we are not the same person after we have entered into it.”

When change comes, John and I have committed to growing towards each other. Towards each other, not away from each other, and not side by side. We expect each other to change (as high school sweethearts, it was inevitable!), and when we do we (imperfectly) seek to understand it and grow along with it.

3. We trust in our relationship without reservation. This is a hallmark of our particular marriage. We’ve never given each other a reason to doubt it, and so we’ve never been tempted to do so. We don’t treat our love for each other like it’s conditional, or could be threatened to be taken away, or withheld as a bargaining chip. Even if we are angry or frustrated, at bedrock, we both know without a doubt that we are acting from a place of unshakeable love.

4. We don’t ask the other to fulfill needs they can’t. This one can be so hard, friends! While my and John’s lives are deeply, inextricably entwined, we try to take responsibility for our own happiness first instead of looking to the other to fulfill every emotional need. Practically speaking, for us, that means building an inner confidence, maintaining equilibrium through each other’s bad days (you have to put on your own oxygen mask first!), and again, going to God to be reminded of our true worth.

5. We enjoy each other. You know that saying, find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life? I like to switch it up a bit: marry your best friend, and you’ll never work a day in your marriage. That, of course, is not entirely true — even the best marriages have harder days and easier days — but if you truly LIKE your partner, and love spending time with him or her more than anyone else, everything else seems to fall into place. One of our favorite ways to be reminded of how much we like each other is going on evening walks together – we are totally on T.J.’s bandwagon!

Whether you’re celebrating your first or fiftieth anniversary, know I’m cheering you on, friends! And if you’d like to share, I’d love to hear something you’ve done right in your marriage in the comments :)

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Mike reply

    Love these wedding photographs! The bride looks so happy.

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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