These industry professionals held an outdoor, intimate ceremony of their own.
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Ashley and Justin
Ashley, the regional manager of bridal store The White Magnolia Bridal Collection, and Justin, a wedding photographer, first met in November 2013 at a holiday party hosted by a wedding vendor. Entranced by her beauty, Justin decided to do some "networking" and introduce himself, with a friend in tow for support. After the "hello's," Justin learned that Ashley had just moved to Tampa, Florida, to open another store and offered to send her a list of business contacts. One week later, the pair reunited at another industry holiday party, where Justin's infatuation only grew. Justin and his friend decided to pay Ashley a visit at the new shop—for "networking" purposes, of course. At the end, Justin turned to his friend and asked, "Do you think Ashley is out of my league? Because she is marriage material." Justin slowly pursued Ashley over the next few months, and they became a couple in 2014. Little did these two Tampa-based professionals know that they'd be planning their own ceremony one day.
A year and a half later, Justin and Ashley were in Jacksonville, Florida, for a friend's birthday party. On the morning of the supposed celebration, Justin woke Ashley up and asked if she wanted to watch the sunrise with him on the beach. When the couple arrived, Ashley was met with candles lining the walkway to the shore. As they approached the water, Justin gave Ashley a journal stamped with their favorite Bible verse, with a year's worth of entries about how he was preparing to make her his wife inside. As they rounded the corner, Ashley noticed a small picnic, with blankets, candles, and lanterns. But what she didn't notice was a photographer, ready to capture the moment when Justin popped the question.
But the surprises weren't over yet. After saying "yes," the couple pulled up to Maple Street Biscuit Company, Ashley's favorite breakfast spot. Usually closed on Sundays, Justin had rented out the entire restaurant and invited all of their friends and family to celebrate the happy occasion. Even Ashley's parents were there, though they live seven hours away.
When deciding a venue, the couple wanted a location that offered guest lodging, mountain views, no time restrictions, and the freedom to have a multi-day occasion. They found all of that in Sugarboo Farms, and, on September 17, 2016—exactly one year after their engagement—held an intimate celebration surrounded by 79 of their closest friends and family in Blairsville, Georgia.
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Their stationery suite by Paper Daisies Stationery featured printed invites and a watercolor map of Sugarboo Farms housed in folded paper with laser-cut wooden trees. "They were truly the most amazing invites I have ever seen," the bride says. "I am still floored with how great they turned out!"
The couple wanted something tangible and unique for their save-the-dates, so Paper Daisies Stationery stamped it onto a circular slice of wood that doubled as a magnet.
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Welcome to Camp
The Thursday before the wedding, the couple hosted an adult summer camp called Camp DeMutiis. The groom's friend Ian played counselor and led five different teams—40 people in total—in group activities throughout the day. The final task? Produce a short film describing a memorable moment in the couple's relationship. "Since there were 11 photographers in attendance and several videographers, the videos were incredible and absolutely hilarious!" Justin says. "We didn't expect to love them so much, and we will treasure them forever."
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Justin's favorite moment of the day was seeing his bride for the first time in her ceremony dress.
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Ashley wore a Beatrice Couture Designs veil and a dusty blush Modern Trousseau lace dress—picked out by the owner of The White Magnolia Bridal Collection, where Ashley is the regional manager. "The second I put it on, I said, 'this is it,'" she says.
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A Pine Poster
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Ashley's father walked her down the aisle to a cover of Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years" by The Piano Guys.
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A Communion to Remember
During the ceremony, the couple took communion with wine, grapes, and bread while their friend Renee played "Like an Avalanche" by Hillsong United—one of the couple's favorite songs. A ring warming also took place, with their wedding bands getting passed around for guests to pray over.
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During the traditional ceremony, the couple read their own vows, which was the bride's favorite part of the day.
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The couple made their first steps officially as husband and wife to "Best Day of My Life" by American Authors, and paused for a sweet embrace after walking back up the aisle.
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After moving to a different part of the expansive field for cocktail hour, guests traveled to yet another section for the reception, where they sat under strings of bulb lights hung by friends and family the morning of. Candle jars handmade by the mother of the bride were hung from the trees.
Guests dined on comfort food classics like barbecue chicken, macaroni and cheese, Southern-style green beans, and broccoli salad—all prepared by Catering by Cindy. Ashley is not a fan of cake, so pies from Southern Sweets Bakery were served for dessert instead.
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The Center of Attention
For the centerpieces, Jade Lee Events placed bundles of roses, delphinium, dahlias, and foliage in gold vases from Botanica International Design & Décor Studio. Bottles of wine with custom labels by Paper Daisies Stationery, blue taper candles in gold holders, and tea light candles in textured glass votive holders also graced the scene.
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Put in Place
Each place setting featured a round placemat topped with a dusty blue napkin and menu—all tied together with a matching ribbon. The menu was printed on white textured paper with a blue watercolor background.
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"I had no idea what I wanted to wear, and actually put off dress shopping until the last possible minute because I was so nervous," the bride says of her search to find her dream wedding dress. After trying on patterned ball gowns, Ashley put on this Willowby by Watters "Lanikai" crop top and "Amora" skirt on a whim and fell head-over-heels for it. However, she wanted something more classic for the ceremony, so she chose to wear the separate set to the reception. "I never expected to love this cropped look, but the second I had it on I just knew," she says. "It felt timeless but still fun."
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Life of the Party
The couple did not have a formal wedding party, but still took group pictures with their closest friends. The bride's confidants—nicknamed "The Wolf Pack"— wore varying floral print dresses and jumpsuits in lieu of matching gowns.
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The couple led guests through the long and dark woods to the dance floor with a boom box playing "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith. "It was the perfect start to an incredibly fun evening," Justin says of the dancing, which lasted until midnight. "I don't remember leaving the dance floor once." Once there, the bride and groom danced to "Orange Sky" by Alexi Murdoch. The rest of the party got down to mixes made by the DJ.
Post-reception, the party traveled to the pool for an unofficial after-party, where Ashley took a dive in her dress. "After our wedding, all of our friends said they haven't had that much fun since high school," Justin says.
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Photography, Brett Heidebrecht
Location, Sugarboo Farms
Event Planning and Flowers, Jade Lee Events
Catering, Catering by Cindy
Videography, Voila Cinematic
Officiant, Scott Patterson
Stationery, Paper Daisies Stationery
Pies, Southern Sweets Bakery
Music, Eric Harding of Grant Hemond and Associates
Hair and Makeup, Scoobie West & Company
Groom's suit, Bespoke & Co.
Groom's accessories, Suitsupply tie and pocket square