Jenny + Jonathan tied the knot this past summer at one of Nashville’s most sought after wedding venues, the beautiful Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. They enlisted the talents of Evin Photography to capture the couple’s wedding day and as usual, she did a great job. Jenny looked stunning in her strapless gown that she paired with a pewter sash and a birdcage veil while her groom looked dapper in his tux. What really caught my eye about this wedding is the way Jenny + Jonathan look at each other…you can just see the love. Jenny was kind enough to provide us with a a little added insight into their special day…
Tell us a little bit about how you met your husband. How long have you known each other? Where did you meet?
My husband and I both grew up in Tennessee, had common friendships, and were involved in summer camps and church youth groups together. However, we did not actually interact or become friends during that time. It was not until over a decade later that we got reacquainted, deciding to have a friendly dinner to catch up on old times which lasted long into the night. We talked and laughed nearly every waking hour for that weekend that I was in town visiting my family, and by the 3rd day (Labor Day), I knew I had met my future husband. And I was not the only one who felt that way…He began looking for an engagement ring by the end of that week. 2 months later we were engaged, and 7 months after that, we married!
How did he propose? How long were you engaged for?
The proposal was incredible. Because I had not been able to spend very much time with my family due to my college studies out of state, Jonathan incorporated my family and all of my favorite things of TN into one amazing day. He flew me into Nashville, had my mother and sister greet me in a limousine which took the three of us to the spa for massages, manicures, and pedicures, and had our lunches paid for at my favorite Italian restaurant. It is noteworthy that at each location there were roses and romantic hand-written notes waiting for me. In each of those notes, which I will cherish forever, he told me of his initial affection for me, his growing devotion, and expectations of a happy life together. He then had the limousine take me to meet my father at our favorite dessert place for coffee and cake (our father-daughter time when I was growing up) and on to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, the location of Jonathan and I’s first date. There he greeted me with an armful of roses and led me to a beautiful location overlooking a pond where a violinist came out from behind the trees to play what would become the song to which I walked down the aisle. On one knee, crying, he proposed and I happily accepted. Jonathan, being the romantic that he is, wanted to marry almost immediately, on my next school holiday break (only a month away), but I persuaded him to wait until all my courses were finished and I could move back to TN. He agreed and the wedding planning began.
How did you choose your venue? What elements drew you to it?
Cheekwood was an obvious choice for us, as it was the site of our first true date as well as the location of the proposal. Additionally, we both love the scenery there and felt it was just what we always envisioned for our weddings. He wanted something with beautiful scenery and deep-rooted history in the area, while I wanted something that is as natural and untouched as possible for an outdoor ceremony.
Your wedding was filled with gorgeous details. Did any have special meaning? What was your favorite?
We did not incorporate a theme, per se, into our wedding. However, parts of our personal histories and loves were to be seen everywhere. We both love music, and Jonathan seems to be able to play any instrument he touches, so we picked our music carefully and had musical notes on the invitations, programs, etc. We also have the same initials (my maiden name is Morris), so our cake and the dance floor were monogrammed with JM. And finally, we both love (a little too much I would say) good coffee, so we had a special coffee bar set up for our guests. Small details that together help describe us as a couple.
What’s your favorite picture from your wedding?
I love the picture of us standing under an arbor in our ceremony clothes. Jonathan is so handsome and I am so happy. However, I also love the silly one of us making faces at each other, because that displays our playful nature so well. What we do most together is laugh.
Tell us a little bit about your menu.
Within each of our families are diverse tastes, some persons who are a bit more adventurous with food and others who do not venture out from the familiar. We did our best to cater to each type of person, offering an herbed beef tenderloin with roast asparagus and a fruit and feta salad, as well as battered chicken breasts with mashed potatoes and cornbread. I felt that the two choices would be comfortable enough for any guest, while allowing something a bit more gourmet for those who were interested. As a side note, there is nothing I love more than lamb, so initially that was on the menu. However, one of my guests expressed fear in having to eat “sheep,” so it was quickly removed from the menu and replaced with the chicken. That still makes me smile.
Out of the entire day, what was the most memorable moment?
I had many amazing moments with my husband on that day, but much of our time together seemed to go by so quickly that much of it is a blur in my mind. (Thank goodness for the photos and videos!) But I would have to sat the most memorable moment is when I was waiting alone in my dressing room to be met by my father. My bridesmaids had already left to line up to walk down the aisle and it was nearly my turn to get into position as well. My father came in and told me, with tears streaming down his cheeks and a shaky voice, that the song playing later that evening for our father-daughter dance was one he had picked out when I was only 5 years old. He said it was his commitment to me to be the best father he could be, to always take care of and protect me, and to hand me off one day to a man he deemed worthy. He believed Jonathan to be that very man. And I will say, in all honesty, that my father was exactly that kind of father. The song is “If I Could” by Ray Charles. I began crying as we danced on the third verse. Here are the lyrics:
If I could – I’d protect you from the sadness in your eyes. Give you courage in a world of compromise. Yes, I would…
If I could – I would teach you all the things I never learned. And I’d help you cross the bridges that I burned. Yes, I would…
If I could – I would try to shield your innocence from time. But, the part of life I gave you isn’t mine. I watched you grow – So I could let you go…
If I could – I would help you make it through the hungry years. But, I know that I could never dry your tears. But, I would – If I could…
Yes, if I live – in a time and place where you don’t want to be, you don’t have to walk along this road with me. My yesterday – won’t have to be your way…
If I knew – I would try to change the world I brought you to. And there isn’t very much that I could do. But, I would – if I could…
Oh, baby, Daddy wants to protect you. And help my baby through the hungry years. ‘Cause you’re a part of me. And if you ever, ever need, I said a shoulder to cry on, Or just someone to talk to, I’ll be there. I’ll be there. I didn’t change the world. But, I would – If I could…
Looking back on your engagement and wedding, is there any advice
you would give to brides in the planning process?
I suppose as far as advice goes, I may not have much to offer that others haven’t already readily given. I will say that the best choice I made was to remain relaxed and not have anxiety over the details. Little things may go wrong, but they create the best memories. Your marriage will not have perfection, so your wedding doesn’t need it either. It just needs to express who you are as a couple. I let my bridesmaids wear the dress of their choosing (within our color scheme) and the groom/groomsmen wear flip-flops. That is what they wanted to do, so it made the wedding exactly what it was supposed to be. The only other advice I would give is do not settle for prices quoted to you. Our wedding was beautiful, amazing, but cost less than we were quoted from every vendor because I did not accept their initial price offers. The mark-up is huge for events such as these. Do not be the bride that becomes a doormat and accepts what she is told at face-value. Be savvy and strong. I was and do not have any regrets (and saved hundreds of dollars).
In case you hadn’t heard, just last month Charleston took home the Conde Nast Reader’s Choice Award as “The Top City in the United States.” Not bad, eh? Thanks to the relaxing salt water breeze, cuisine worthy of breaking out your ‘fat pants’, the genteel locals and a culture rich in Southern history and values, it’s no wonder brides flock to the Holy City to say their ‘I do’s.’ I mean, could you ask for a better wedding backdrop? Well, historic downtown Charleston makes for a pretty perfect engagement session, too. Just ask today’s Lowcountry couple, Megan + Andrew. They spent a summer afternoon with Charleston photographer Monica Day as they explored quaint alleys, charming cobblestone roads and the beautiful Waterfront Park. It’s everything I love about Charleston…
Laura + Chris were married this past September just outside of Dallas, Texas. The couple were hoping for a simple, yet elegant affair and that’s just what they had at the lovely Honeysuckle Gardens. Laura went with a purple and orange color palette that was fitting of their rustic venue and added some fun punches of color to their wedding day. From the meaningful ceremony shots to all the darling details, the talented team from Mulberry Lane Studio was on hand to capture the couple’s memorable day.
Paper lanterns are the perfect whimsical addition to your Lowcountry wedding reception decor. Their added glow sets the mood for a fun, festive atmosphere perfect for a big ol’ Southern wedding. They’re not only perfect for a fabulous, Charleston outdoor reception or breezy, Myrtle Beach tented affair or added them to your indoor event to liven up the space. While you can purchase paper lanterns online in a wide array of sizes and colors, you’ll need to enlist the help of your rental company or wedding planner to set them up day-of. Check out some of our favorite receptions where brides incorporated lanterns into their decor and you’ll see the beautiful ambiance they exuded.
Brittani is a recent college grad and a talented photographer who will be tying the knot in the Lowcountry next year. She’s graciously invited us to join her on her wedding planning journey as she navigates her way through venue selections, menu choices and everything in between!
Hey there ALW readers! My name is Brittani and I’m a bride-to-be planning my 2012 wedding to the man of my dreams. I’m so excited to start this journey with you all and I want to give a huge thanks to Erin for allowing me to share my experiences; on one of my favorite wedding blogs, no less! Erin and I both hope that by sharing as I go through the stages of this crazy thing called wedding planning, I may be able to help other brides-to-be navigate this crazy time, gain a little insight as to how (or how not to!) go about the process, or at the very least, offer a little entertainment.
To start this series, I’m sure you all want to know a little bit about me and my fiancé, so here we go! I’m a 22-year-old Maryland native who recently moved to the south and can’t get enough of this amazing place I now get to call home. I graduated from college this past spring and I’m currently living my dream as a lifestyle wedding and pet photographer here in the beautiful lowcountry of South Carolina.
My fiancé’s name is Dustin and he’s a 26-year-old handsome cowboy with deep South Carolina roots and an accent that will just about make you melt. We met in 2009 when I was a sophomore in college and he was travelling for work and in Maryland for a six month job in D.C. To spare you a long story, there was certainly a connection there from day one that I tried my hardest to ignore. Despite his persistence to get to know me better, I spent a few months refusing to give him the time of day. Oops! I’m so glad he can be stubborn though, because his persistence eventually paid off and by the time he was moving to Indiana for the next job, something inside told me I needed to get to know him better.
On a whim I flew to Indiana to see if that friendship we had developed for two months over the phone could be anything more, and let me just say – I truly believe that the very best things come to you when you NEVER expect it. After that trip, we both knew it was going to be hard but we wanted to try to make this long distance relationship work.
For two years we flew all over while he continued to travel for work, put thousands of miles on our vehicles, and spent a LOT of time missing one another. But I will forever be appreciative of what those few years taught me and how deeply I value our relationship for getting through sometimes six or seven weeks apart only to have three days together.
When I started my senior year of college, Dustin had moved back to South Carolina to work for a different company that would require less travelling and would allow more time with his son from a previous relationship (more on this little dude later!). We’d been talking about marriage for a long time and knew early in the relationship that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. With graduation fast coming, I knew a proposal had to be in the plans before long.
I drove to South Carolina over my spring break in March and truly thought “This is it!” the entire drive down. This was the perfect time to get engaged, but Dustin quickly threw that idea out the window shortly after I arrived by telling me he really didn’t want to get engaged until after I graduated so that I wouldn’t lose my focus. Of course I was disappointed, but he had a point. He also made sure to make a joke out of it and tell me that if I wanted him to propose so badly, he’d just go to the grocery store and get one of those cheap plastic rings out of the little bubblegum machine by the front doors.
One day after he got home from work, he asked me to help him out by his horse’s pasture, so reluctantly I peeled myself from an assignment I was working on and walked out to the field with him. I really can’t remember everything he said but he pulled me in close for a hug and told me he loved me, and then said, “Oh yeh, I almost forgot, I got you something,” and pulled out one of those cheap bubble containers from the store! I literally threw my head back, laughed, and just gave him a look that said “Good one!” He looked at me and replied, “No really, open it,” and the second I pulled that plastic pink top off, the most GORGEOUS ring was staring me in the face. Umm, you don’t have to be a genius to know that this thing definitely did not come out of a bubblegum machine! I was completely taken back, totally surprised that he actually surprised me (I’d always swore he wouldn’t be able to!), and started to cry. He said more sweet stuff and finished it off with “Will you marry me?” As the story goes, I said yes.
While it was a super-low key proposal, it was exactly us and just what I’d always hoped it would be…sweet, down-to-earth, and totally unexpected. We knew we wanted a pretty long engagement, and I definitely didn’t want to start the planning process until I graduated. Soon after graduation in May, I moved to South Carolina and we spent the summer enjoying our time with Landon (his son), our horses, and our two yellow labs. Finally in August, we started the planning process and set our date.
Planning a wedding is extremely exciting and I can’t wait until that day to see the months of preparation, visualization, and planning come to be. But more than anything, I truly look forward to being surrounded by our friends and family, celebrating our love and commitment to one another, and officially coming together as a family.
In the couple of weeks I’ll be sharing what date we chose, which parts of the wedding were the most important to us, how we decided the vibe we wanted for the event, and more. I hope you join me over the next few months and of course I’d love to hear some of your experiences as well, so feel free to leave a comment!
Jennifer + Matthew were married last Fall deep in the heart of the Lowcountry. The couple were wed at the historic Stoney Creek Presbyterian Chapel in McPhersonville, South Carolina where talented photographer Kellie McCann was on hand to capture their day. This antebellum chapel dates back to 1833 and was the perfect choice for their intimate, laid back wedding. After the ceremony, they moved the celebration to a private home in Beaufort where guests were treated to the best of the Lowcountry. They enjoyed a casual, relaxing atmosphere with stunning views of the marsh and spectacular Lowcountry cuisine.
The fabulous husband and wife duo behind Colby Wheeler Photography spent a gorgeous Tennessee afternoon with bride-to-be Becky in classic, yet rustic, bridal session. Becky looked amazing in a strapless gown accessorized with her favorite pair of boots while her hair was swept softly off her face. The entire session seemed to fit Becky perfectly and the Wheeler’s did a great job capturing her in her element. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with perfect weather, picturesque landscape and a stunning bride….am I right?!