At Southern Weddings, we have a virtual club called The Sweet Tea Society, and its manifesto outlines some of the things we believe about weddings, love, and life. It reminds us of what is important and never fails to bring us back to our roots when life gets distracting. A few lines are "we believe in handwritten thank-you notes," and "we believe in history and heritage, and honoring both by planning a deeply meaningful beginning to married life," and as you can read in their darling interview below, Stephanie and Justin may as well be the poster Sweet Tea Society couple! They planned their intimate wedding celebration with so much care and thoughtfulness, and truly embraced each step of their wedding planning process. Don't miss the serendipitous story of how they met--it's an amazing one!
Thanks to Jason and Heather of Revival Photography for sharing this sweet day with us!
After watching "Say Yes to the Dress" for years and years, I was super excited to start looking for my perfect dress. I looked at a few places before my parents and I went to a small town outside of Louisville, Kentucky, where I knew there was a boutique bridal salon called Couture Closet. I knew the dress search was wearing my mom out, so I had planned to avoid the store for the day, but she suggested that we stop by. While I was telling my consultant, Lauren, what I thought I wanted in a dress, I heard my mom say, "Steph…I found the one." I turned around and saw the most beautiful, elegant dress that I had seen yet. When I walked out in the dress, my mom gasped and my dad got REALLY quiet. Lauren knew that I wanted a cathedral veil with a blusher, so she grabbed one with an inch-wide satin border and put it in my hair. I couldn't contain my tears as my dad held my hand to see how we would look when he walked me down the aisle. He started getting teary-eyed, too! I knew this was the dress that I would marry the man of my dreams in. Besides the choice to spend the rest of my life with Justin, I don't think I have ever felt more confident about any decision!
Describe your wedding flowers. I wanted all of the flowers to have a, "Why yes, I just grabbed a handful of the most beautiful flowers from my secret garden" look. Kristi Turbyfill, my florist, put together the most stunning combination of peonies, ranunculus, tulips, and seeded eucalyptus. When I first saw my bouquet, I immediately burst into tears, because they were the most beautiful flowers that I had ever seen!
We got married in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, because my family has owned a house there for 26 years. After moving so often growing up, this is the one place that has been constant in my life, and it truly feels like home. Justin fell in love with the area, which is only two hours from where he grew up in Tennessee, so there was not much discussion over where we were going to say our "I dos." The Inn at Crestwood is a house that was converted into a quaint inn with mountain views that take your breath away.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse, or line? No, we did not write our own vows--we actually tailored vows that we found in Southern Wedding magazine! I was reading SW on the plane, and immediately burst into tears when I read them, because they so perfectly captured the feelings that Justin and I have for each other. They were: “I, Stephanie/Justin, take you, Justin/Stephanie, to be my husband/wife. I will love you unconditionally and without hesitation. I vow to encourage you, trust you, and respect you. I promise to work with you knowing that together, we will build a life far better than either of us could image alone. Today, I choose you to be my husband/wife. I accept you as you are and I offer myself in return. I will care for you, stand beside you, and share with you all of life’s adversities and all of its joys from this day forward and all the days of my life.” And yes, we both got teary-eyed while saying them to each other!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Keeping the guest list down. I knew from the time that we got engaged that I wanted a REALLY small wedding (originally, I wanted around 40 guests!). Luckily, Justin felt the same about this, so we did our best to only invite the people who really mean the world to us. We are so blessed to have so many friends and family members who mean a lot to us, so we eventually decided on 90 guests, though at one point, the list was around 160! It was SO hard to decide who to invite, but in the end, the sincerity of our small group really made our wedding as romantic and perfect as it was.
Our cake was a four-tiered tiramisu and chocolate cake (the top layer was gluten free!) with simple polka dots on every other layer, as well as our new monogram. It was decorated with various colors of ranunculus, and each layer had a large pearl border around the bottom. We wanted to keep the cake simple and cute, and since I love anything with bows or polka dots, I immediately fell in love with this design!
How did y'all meet? Tell us your love story. Justin and I met at a recruiting dinner while we were students at Auburn University. We hit it off immediately, even with the three recruiters sitting there, in the middle of Mellow Mushroom in Auburn, Alabama. After talking for awhile after the dinner was over, I went home and called my parents to tell them that I had met the most amazing guy. On the surface, this was a very normal boy-meets-girl story, but in reality, our story started 35 years earlier! In the mid-1970s, my parents were in college at Auburn University. My mom's roommate and best friend was Jan Andrews and dad’s roommate was Malcolm Dailey. My mom and dad were introduced through a tennis game, and eventually, my they introduced Jan and Malcolm. Both couples ended up getting married a few short years later! Throughout the years and by the time I was born, the two couples had lost touch, besides sending Christmas cards each year. I surprised my family by deciding to attend their alma mater, and upon arriving, my dad told me to find another student named Justin Dailey--Malcolm and Jan’s son. I thought that it would be incredibly creepy to friend him on Facebook, so I ignored my dad’s advice (never a good idea!). Fast forward three years and a lot of hard work later, there were only two people invited to this recruiting dinner: me and Justin Dailey! The best part of this story is, though, that even though the backstory is pretty special, it is just a bonus. Justin and I would be a perfect fit regardless of any family history together, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him!
Tell us all about the proposal! The night Justin proposed to me, he took me to dinner at Mellow Mushroom in downtown Auburn, where we had first met. When we finished eating, Justin suggested that we should take a walk around some Auburn landmarks--Toomer’s Corner and Samford Hall. Justin had been living in Austin, Texas, for the last year and a half, and it had become a tradition for us to take this walk at least once every time he came back to campus, so I didn’t suspect anything. We finally came to the front of Samford Hall, which was lit up with Christmas decorations and lights. At this point, Justin stopped, took my hands, told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, and then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was completely surprised! After I screamed "Yes!" and we hugged, Justin’s little sister appeared out of the bushes with her camera, screaming--she had captured the whole thing! Then, my older sister came around the corner, and a few seconds later, both of Justin’s parents AND my parents came walking up the sidewalk. I was so excited! The night was so perfect!
When did y'all get married? April 26, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 87
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? The biggest way that we saved money was by keeping things simple. It is so easy to get distracted by the details these days, but when I got sidetracked, I would always think, "Will I care about this detail when I have just committed to spend my life with the most amazing guy, and now we get to celebrate with our loved ones?" If the answer was no or even maybe, I would move on. It worked wonders for keeping my priorities straight! Keeping the guest list to a minimum was extremely helpful as well.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment of our wedding day was actually after we left the reception in our getaway car. Justin and I drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway to an overlook on Grandfather Mountain where, for the first time as husband and wife, we were completely alone. We hugged and cried, danced and laughed, and soaked up all of the fantastic memories from the day. After we had spent some time soaking in the day’s events, we hopped back into our convertible and drove by my parents’ vacation house. We noticed that their lights were on, so we pulled into the driveway. Still in our wedding best, we continued to celebrate and reminisce with my mom, dad, sister, and brother-in-law. Around 1:30 a.m., Justin and I drove back to the Inn at Crestwood and heard a ruckus still coming from the bar area. After a short deliberation, we headed to the bar, where we continued to celebrate until the early morning. It was so spontaneous and so memorable!!
Photographer: Revival Photography / Videographer: Divine Treasures Video / Planner: Cece Hampton Events / Venue: The Inn at Crestwood / Florist: Kristi Turbyfill of Events by Elizabeth Ashley / Cake Baker: Hallmark Cakes / Caterer: The Table at Crestwood / DJ: Anything Music DJ's / Bride’s Gown: “Ross” by Augusta Jones / Bridal Salon: The Couture Closet / Ceremony Programs: Snow in July / Invitations: The Mountain Cottage / Bride’s Veil: “Rachael” Veil by Sara Gabriel / Hair Stylist: Lindsey of Studio M Salon through Beautiful Bride on Location / Makeup Artist: Sharla Bance / Bride’s Shoes: Pelle Moda / Maid of Honor's Dress: "L3009" in Teal by Belsoie / Bridesmaids' Dresses: Belsoie / Men's Attire: Ted Baker London / Groom's Bow Tie: Nordstrom